Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lao Tzu: The Taoist Sage

"Outside the universe, sages see without discussion. Inside the universe, sages discuss without deliberation. When it comes to the passing times and generations and the records of kings of yore, sages deliberate without debating."

"Therefore there is that which distinction does not distinguish, there is that which explanation does not explain. What is it? Sages take it to heart, average people try to explain it to each other. That is why it is said that there is something not seen by explanation."

"The Great Way is not called anything: great discernment is unspoken; great humaneness is unsentimental; great honesty is not complacent; great bravery is not vicious."

"When a way is illustrious, it does not guide; when humanitarianism is fixated, it is not constructive; when honesty is puritanical, it is not trusted; when bravery is vicious, it does not succeed. These five things are like looking for squareness in something round."

"So we know that to stop at what we don't know is as far as we can go. Who knows the unspoken explanation, the unexpressed Way? Among those who do know, this is called the celestial storehouse: we can pour into it without filling it we can draw from it without exhausting it; and yet we don't know where it comes from. This is called hidden illumination."

[Thomas Cleary, "The Essential Tao," p. 76.]

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