Posted by: Peace Day Pilgrim | February 15, 2009

some input from Lao Tzu


Tao Te Ching Chapter 8


Translation & annotation by Derek Lin








The highest goodness resembles water

Water greatly benefits myriad things without contention

It stays in places that people dislike

Therefore it is similar to the Tao[1]


Dwelling at the right place

Heart with great depth[2]

Giving with great kindness[3]

Words with great integrity[4]

Governing with great administration[5]

Handling with great capability[6]

Moving with great timing[7]


Because it does not contend

It is therefore beyond reproach[8]


1 Water is the most fitting metaphor for the Tao. Water always flows to the lowest place, not because it is forced to do so, but because it follows its own nature. We also place ourselves lower, not because we contrive to do so, but because it is our nature to be humble.


2 A deep pool of water is much more that its surface. Likewise, there is more to a Tao cultivator than meets the eye. The more people get to know us, the more they will discover.


3 Water provides its benefits and moves on, without waiting for any benefits in return. We benefit others in the same way. When we provide assistance, we do so with no strings attached.


4 Water reflects its surroundings and does not hide or change anything in its reflection. We conduct ourselves with this same sense of integrity and accuracy. People come to trust us, because they realise we will give them the truth when no one else will.


5 Water administers to everything equally. It slakes the thirst of the kind person just as it does the unkind person. Thus, we also do not pick and choose recipients of the benefits we provide.


6 Water is versatile. It conforms to the shape of any container. Following this, we also cultivate flexibility and adaptability. Because the world is continually changing, we make constant adjustments to handle new challenges.


7 Whether it takes the form of rain or snow, water follows the timing of natural events. We are the same. We live each day following its natural flow, and take appropriate actions at the appropriate times.


8 Water gives itself to everything without protest. Like water, we do not engage in petty squabbles, because our only wish is to be of service.


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