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The Mystic Virtue

Part 51 of the Tao Teh King for Awakening

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Tao gives them birth, Teh (character) fosters them.

The material world gives them form. The circumstances of the moment complete them.

Therefore all things of the universe worship Tao and exalt Teh.

Tao is worshipped and Teh is exalted without anyone’s order but is so of its own accord.

Therefore Tao gives them birth, Teh fosters them, makes them grow, develops them, gives them a harbor, a place to dwell in peace, feeds them and shelters them.

It gives them birth and does not own them, acts (helps) and does not appropriate them, is superior, and does not control them.

This is the Mystic Virtue.

(Tao Teh King 51)

Tao gives them birth, Teh (character) fosters them.

It is essential that we realize we take our being from the Tao, that we are not one thing and the Tao another. Actually, the Tao is all things. Being a part of the Tao it is inherent in us to live in accordance with the Tao, but in our many previous lives we have usually gotten more and more out of phase with the Tao until our lives virtually oppose the Tao and seem to be something completely outside the Tao, even irreconcilable with the Tao. This is an illusion, but it can produce many very real and painful results.

In our origin we are identical, but each of us develops as uniquely as snowflakes form. The Tao is infinite, and it is its infinity that is manifesting in all this never-repeating variety. Teh, character or quality, is an aspect of the Tao, and it keeps us fluid as we evolve through a kaleidoscope of forms. We remain the same in essence, but continually differ in expression, rather like an artist’s brush and paints. Tao is the great Artist, the great Playwright, the great Stage Manager and Director. As we move up the evolutionary ladder, the characteristics we develop gradually refine until all distortion, conflict or deficiency disappear and we are revealed as perfect images of the Perfect. All this is totally intended in the divine plan and is therefore totally natural. The only reason our perfection cannot be manifested without a struggle is our habits and conditionings from prior lives that go contrary to it. Cleaning up the spots and ironing out the wrinkles is the purpose of the interior mystical life which is the foundation of Taoism.

The material world gives them form. The circumstances of the moment complete them.

Wu: “Matter shapes them, Environment perfects them.” Coming into the material plane we take upon ourselves many forms in succession, and each moment of those incarnations affects us, as does our response to them. And this we call karma. Karma is usually thought of as something to be rid of, but in fact karma is the impelling force of evolution. Rebirth is not bondage; ignorance is bondage. We need to develop wisdom: awareness of and conformity to the Tao. When that is done, rebirth becomes a wonderful source of growth and expansion that leads to freedom from any need for further rebirth. Then we dwell in higher and higher worlds until we transcend them all and can remain beyond them or enter into them at will. This is freedom.

Therefore all things of the universe worship Tao and exalt Teh

The worship all things render to the Tao is their life within the Tao which is totally spontaneous, an expression of their nature as part of the Tao. They particularly do this by developing an infinite variety of forms, qualities and characteristics. In this way they not only exalt Teh by are themselves exalted by it.

Tao is worshipped and Teh is exalted without anyone’s order but is so of its own accord.

As just said, this all occurs spontaneously and is an expression of the very nature of things.

Therefore Tao gives them birth, Teh fosters them, makes them grow, develops them, gives them a harbor, a place to dwell in peace, feeds them and shelters them. Everything arises from Tao and Teh.

It gives them birth and does not own them, acts (helps) and does not appropriate them, is superior, and does not control them.

Mabry renders this: “The Tao gives birth, but does not possess; acts, but does not take credit; guides, but does not control.” This is not just a statement of fact but is meant to give us insight into how we should be doing our part in the evolutionary life within the Tao. We should not think to possess or attribute to ourselves that which we produce. We should not identify with our actions and think that we are acting independently of the Tao. We should not violate the freedom and nature inherent in all things, but work with them so they will unfold naturally and not be forced, for that will lead to distortion, misery and destruction. Certainly other people should only be guided and never controlled or persuaded. And then they should be left alone. If they do or do not accept guidance they should be left in peace.

This is the Mystic Virtue.

Mabry: “This is the mystery of goodness.” Everything outside this is not good or benevolent but egotism and a sure path to disharmony and suffering, blindness to the Tao and interior death.

Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: Stealing the Absolute

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Introduction to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Chapters of The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Preface to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

  1. On the Absolute Tao
  2. The Rise of Relative Opposites
  3. Action Without Deeds
  4. The Character of Tao
  5. Nature
  6. The Spirit of the Valley
  7. Living for Others
  8. Water
  9. The Danger of Overweening Success
  10. Embracing the One
  11. The Utility of Not-Being
  12. The Senses
  13. Praise and Blame
  14. Prehistoric Origins
  15. The Wise Ones of Old
  16. Knowing the Eternal Law
  17. Rulers
  18. The Decline of Tao
  19. Realize the Simple Self
  20. The World and I
  21. Manifestations of Tao
  22. Futility of Contention
  23. Identification with Tao
  24. The Dregs and Tumors of Virtue
  25. The Four Eternal Models
  26. Heaviness and Lightness
  27. On Stealing the Light
  28. Keeping to the Female
  29. Warning Against Interference
  30. Warning Against the Use of Force
  31. Weapons of Evil
  32. Tao is Like the Sea
  33. Knowing Oneself
  34. The Great Tao Flows Everywhere
  35. The Peace of Tao
  36. The Rhythm of Life
  37. World Peace
  38. Degeneration
  39. Unity Through Complements
  40. The Principle of Reversion
  41. Qualities of the Taoist
  42. The Violent Man
  43. The Softest Substance
  44. Be Content
  45. Calm Quietude
  46. Racing Horses
  47. Pursuit of Knowledge
  48. Conquering the World by Inaction
  49. The People’s Hearts
  50. The Preserving of Life
  51. The Mystic Virtue
  52. Stealing the Absolute
  53. Brigandage
  54. The Individual and the State
  55. The Character of the Child
  56. Beyond Honor and Disgrace
  57. The Art of Government
  58. Unobtrusive Government
  59. Be Sparing
  60. Governing a Big Country
  61. Big and Small Countries
  62. The Good Man’s Treasure
  63. Difficult and Easy
  64. Beginning and End
  65. The Grand Harmony
  66. The Lords of the Ravines
  67. The Three Treasures
  68. The Virtue of Not-Contending
  69. Camouflage
  70. They Know Me Not
  71. Sick-Mindedness
  72. On Punishment (1)
  73. On Punishment (2)
  74. On Punishment (3)
  75. On Punishment (4)
  76. Hard and Soft
  77. Bending the Bow
  78. Nothing Weaker than Water
  79. Peace Settlements
  80. The Small Utopia
  81. The Way of Heaven

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