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The Peace of Tao

Part 35 of the Tao Teh King for Awakening

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Hold the Great Symbol and all the world follows, follows without meeting harm, (and lives in) health, peace, commonwealth.

Offer good things to eat and the wayfarer stays. But Tao is mild to the taste.

Looked at, it cannot be seen.

Listened to, it cannot be heard.

Applied, its supply never fails.

(Tao Teh King 35).

Hold the Great Symbol and all the world follows, follows without meeting harm, (and lives in) health, peace, commonwealth.

This is impossible to interpret in an absolutely assured manner. First of all, who believes that Master Lao Tzu wanted people to carry around a symbol, and of what? Since it is called “Great Symbol” we can assume that he meant the Tao, which cannot be depicted but can be symbolized. However, the common yin-yang symbol seen everywhere was not formulated until centuries after Lao Tzu. So though we may not be absolutely sure of our interpretation, when we consider that words and concepts are symbols, Lao Tzu likely is urging us to live every moment with our understanding of the Tao, never leaving it out of any aspect of our life–that we should look at all things in the context of what we know of the Tao. In other words, our lives themselves should be expositions of the Tao. Since the Tao includes all existence, harmony and freedom from obstacles, if we become the living Tao then all things will come to us in a positive, strengthening, and peaceful way that will also be a benefit to all around us.

Offer good things to eat and the wayfarer stays. But Tao is mild to the taste.

The obvious and the material easily attract deluded human beings like highly-flavored food. Therefore the master tells us that if we offer what the wayfarer, the wanderer in samsara, considers “good eating” he will be attracted. But just as soothing and mildly flavored food (the kind of food recommended in Bhagavad Gita 17:8) seems boring and without flavor to such people, so to the samsarins immersed in sensual materiality even the words about the Tao seem insipid, useless, and even foolish: what then to say of the Tao Itself? Its very existence is inconceivable and of no interest to them. It is certainly the same in religion. One time in a major city I saw a sign over the door of a large church: FREE HOT DOGS. Before that in another large city I saw outside a church a sign that said: “Let us cook Sunday breakfast for you!” We need not imagine the quality of such churches, or of those they would attract. Billions are racing in pursuit of the unreal, but how every few in comparison are walking the ways that lead to the Real.

Looked at, it cannot be seen. Listened to, it cannot be heard.

This is understood easily by those mystics with inward vision, but is nonsense to all others. We must come to see the Unseeable, hear the Unhearable, touch the Untouchable and know the Unknowable.

Applied, its supply never fails.

When we live the Tao we draw upon the infinite Being of the Tao which has no end (because It has no beginning). How is this? Because we have been part of the Tao all along. We need to awaken to this reality. That is why Saint Paul exhorts us: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,” (Ephesians 5:14). The word translated “awake” is egeiro, which means “rise up.” A lot of people wake up and loll in bed, but simple awakening not enough. We must arise in our consciousness and go back to our Source. We have no other destiny because we have no other nature.

Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: The Rhythm of Life

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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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