17 May 2020

Couple of interesting poems from Tao Te Ching

Now reading Taoism in that book Religions of Man. I had very little understanding of Taoism before this. One of the key learnings I had was Taoism’s focus on “creative quietude” (wu wei). In chapter 78 in the book Tao Te Ching (by founder Lao Tzu), is a great poem comparing the virtues of water – infinitely supple yet incomparably strong – to wu wei. (in the context of water eroding away rocks)

“What is more fluid, more yielding than water?
Yet back it comes again, wearing down the tough strength
Which cannot move to withstand it.
So it is that the strong yield to the weak,
The haughty, to the humble.
This we know.
But never learn.”

There is another poem in Chapter 17, that I had read before but never realized that the source is the original book of Taoism.

“A leader is best
When people barely know that he exists
… Of a good leader, who talks little
When is work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will all say, ‘We did this ourselves’ ”

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Posted May 17, 2020 by Rajib Roy in category "Musings

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