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- This classic is a “series of insights into life and nature; it is suggestion rather than statement. It looks at what it means to follow the way of the Tao and how to go about doing so. Be humble, don’t strive, the weak are strong, be generous, be frugal, don’t force things are some of the many timeless tenets it advocates
- The Tao Teh Ching lays out an amazing framework on how to live. Among other things, avoid unnecessary things, stress and emotions. This type of framework can change your outlook on life, people, decisions, goals, etc and alleviates so many unnecessary components that cause unneeded stress and worry
- There are too many gems to highlight here or to only read once but below are some of the passages I found most powerful
- “…Therefore, the Sage wants to remain behind, But finds himself at the head of others; Reckons himself out, But finds himself safe and secure. Is it not because he is selfless That his Self is realized?
- “The highest form of goodness is like water. Water knows how to benefit all things without striving with them. it stays in places loathed by all men. Therefore, it comes near the Tao…If you do not strive with others, You will be free from blame.”
- “…Hence, only he who is willing to give his body for the sake of the world is fit to be entrusted with the world. Only he who can do it with love is worthy of being the steward of the world.”
- “…The Great Way is very smooth and straight; And yet the people prefer devious paths.”
- “…Do the non-Ado. Strive for the effortless. Savour the savourless. Exalt the low. Multiply the few. Requite injury with kindness…”
- “…Therefore, the Sage desires to be desireless, Sets no value on rare goods, Learns to unlearn his learning, And induces the masses to return from where they have overpassed. He only helps all creatures to find their own nature, But does not venture to lead them by the nose.”
What I got out of it
- Powerful, forever important and relevant. I’ll come back to this classic many times.