The marks of great Character follow alone from the Tao.
The thing that is called Tao is elusive, evasive. Evasive, elusive, yet latent in it are forms. Elusive, evasive, yet latent in it are objects. Dark and dim, yet latent in it is the life-force. The life-force being very true, latent in it are evidences.
From the days of old till now its Named (manifested forms) have never ceased, by which we may view the Father of All Things. How do I know the shape of the Father of All Things? Through these (manifested forms)!
(Tao Teh King 21)
The marks of great character follow alone from the Tao.
This is an essential piece of wisdom. Only when the Infinite is revealed in and through the finite, only when the cosmic is shown as the true essence of the individual life, is there any greatness of character. Tao being the Source, the more our consciousness is being merged in that Consciousness the more the traits of the immanent Tao manifest in us as the eternal seeds they are, and the further we move along the path of transcendence whose goal is That which is completely without character or attribute (guna) of any kind.
Only those who increasingly dwell in the Tao possess “great character.” Any other traits are evanescent mirages, being fundamentally unreal. Therefore only those who know and reveal the Tao are worthy of our respect. All others are phantoms.
The thing that is called Tao is elusive, evasive. The East has always known that the Real is also the Unknowable, the Unseeable, the Inconceivable. But such insight is possible only to those who have known, seen and accurately perceived It as truly unknowable, unseeable, and inconceivable. This makes no sense to the left-brain intellect of the West, but is perfectly good sense to the right-brain intellects of the East.
The Absolute Reality that is Tao eludes the grasp of thought and conception, but to the purified consciousness that fact itself is a revealing mystical experience, a knowing beyond the mind: the intuition of the spirit.
Evasive, elusive, yet latent in it are forms. Elusive, evasive, yet latent in it are objects. Dark and dim, yet latent in it is the life-force. The life-force being very true, latent in it are evidences. It is usually thought in non-dual philosophy that the Absolute Non-dual Being is the antithesis of all relativity, that the relative and the Absolute are incompatible, that when one prevails the other is banished. But Lao Tzu is telling us that forms, in the sense of subtle archetypes, are an inherent part of the Tao, as are their manifested objects which we perceive; that unless the Tao existed they would not exist even as mirages. Further, the Tao enlivens all that exists in relative mode. Their existence is not false or illusory, but those that do not see the one Tao in all have the error and illusion in their own minds. Of course, duality never really exists, it is a matter of the One appearing as Many. It all comes down to perception.
From the days of old till now its named (manifested forms) have never ceased, by which we may view the Father of All Things. How do I know the shape of the Father of All Things? Through these (manifested forms)! So relative existence is not a veil hiding the Tao from us, but is a revealing of the Tao to us. The problem lies in our not seeing this to be true. Again, it is all in the seeing. As Swami Sri Yukteswar said regarding astrology: “If ignoramuses misread the heavens, and see there a scrawl instead of a script, that is to be expected in this imperfect world. One should not dismiss the wisdom with the ‘wise.’” The same is true in relation to the entire creation. The Tao is is present right in front of us at all times.
Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: Futility of Contention