Chapter of the Week: #28 [Archive]

Whoever takes the empire and wishes to do anything to it I see will have no
respite. The empire is a sacred vessel and nothing should be done to it.

I am led to consider that since all things in harmony and discord make up the universe, power or earthly desire would upset the balance of nature, and a sage following the path should avoid these things. I'm at work right now, and I can percieve inner-truth while reading that statement. Competition is uneccessary and a waste of energy. Peace is the only way to sucess within one's own mind.

Hence some things lead and some follow;
Some breathe gently and some breathe hard;
Some are strong and some are weak;
Some destroy and some are destroyed.

Therefore the wise avoids excess, extravagance, and arrogance.

My interperetation of this passage is that all things are reflections of subjective reality, and each have their opposite. 'For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.' We also see that Enlightenment would mean perfect harmony with nature, and all things in balance with the universe.

Is there anything I seem to have missed :?:

-Blake L.


  • edited February 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 28 was originally featured on the 3rd week in July, 2004.

    Note: The Tao Te Ching can be obscure, especially if you think you're supposed to understand what it's saying! We find it easier and more instructive to simply contemplate how the chapter resonates with your personal experience. Becoming more aware at this fundamental level simplifies life. This approach conforms to the view that true knowing lies within ourselves. Thus, when a passage in the scripture resonates, you've found your inner truth. The same applies for when it evokes a question; questions are the grist for self realization.

    Chapter 28
    Know the male
    But keep to the role of the female
    And be a ravine to the empire.
    If you are a ravine to the empire,
    Then the constant virtue will not desert you
    And you will again return to being a babe.
    Know the white
    But keep to the role of the black
    And be a model to the empire.
    If you are a model to the empire,
    Then the constant virtue will not be wanting
    And you will return to the infinite.
    Know honour
    But keep to the role of the disgraced
    And be a valley to the empire.
    If you are a valley to the empire,
    Then the constant virtue will be sufficient
    And you will return to being the uncarved block.

    When the uncarved block shatters it becomes vessels.
    The sage makes use of these and becomes the lord over the officials.

    Therefore the greatest cutting
    Does not sever.
  • edited December 1969
    How is it that the greatest cutting does not sever? For me, it's takes place in my mind. Know the ... speaks to the role [chref=52]discernment[/chref] plays in my life. So, when I shine the white light of my discriminating mind on the 'cosmic eternal oneness' or more simply put, the uncarved block, it shatters into a chaotic scene of myriad things - feelings, judgements, talents,... an unending flood of variety in all manner of things. Whew!

    The only peace I've found from such knowing, is to approach life with as much [chref=15]tentative[/chref] humility as I can settle down into. If knowing correlates to the male, white and honor, then the other 'side' is being, which is when I keep to the role of the black, female, disgrace and again return to being a babe.

    Of course being and knowing are not truly severed from each other, just as life and death, good and bad, and - well you name it - aren't. My peace lies at the deepest level of perception where I can reconnect what I've see as separate and severed. In practical terms, continuously aiming to keep to the role of the black, female, disgrace (as I'm able to anyway) works as a counter balancing approach that helps compensate for my innate tendency to know and cut too much.

    P.S. Now, if only I had free will my keeping to the role of ..., would truly be constant. :)
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