Chapter of the Week: #49 [Archive]

This is off topic of guestbook signing but a favorite of mine is why do something today when you can hold it off 'till tomorrow?


  • edited July 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 49 was originally featured on the 3rd week in December.

    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 49
    The sage has no mind of his own. He takes as his own the mind of the people.

    Those who are good I treat as good.
    Those who are not good I also treat as good.
    In so doing I gain in goodness.
    Those who are of good faith I have faith in.
    Those who are lacking in good faith I also have faith in.
    In so doing I gain in good faith.

    The sage in his attempt to distract the mind of the empire
    seeks urgently to muddle it. The people all have something to
    occupy their eyes and ears, and the sage treats them all like children.
  • edited December 1969
    I tend to take the mind of the people and let their thoughts and views influence me too much. Recently I was accused of terrible things, and had rumors spread about my presence on these forums, and intentions in my outside life. I let these distorted, ignorant views affect me greatly. I also negatively reply too often to those who are just venting or who misunderstand me.
    I need more faith in myself and the good people around me. I dont have much patience wirth fools and those of ill will, but I'm working on it...they are children, and I'm a child too...
  • edited December 1969
    I have a thought about the sentence: 'The sage in his attempt to distract the mind of the empire seeks urgently to muddle it'. What I think this might mean is that the sage is trying to stop the mind by suddenly throwing out something to 'muddle' or confuse the mind. Perhaps, keeping the people's eyes and ears busy (as one would a child) is the way the sage would 'muddle'.
  • edited December 1969
    While outside doing Tai Chi today I notice the morning light reflecting off the duck pond and onto shadows beyond. First there was a reflection of gentle ripples, then as a duck entered the pond, the reflection changed to an excited shimmer, but as the duck left it again returned to gentle ripples. This is my mind. At least the mind that brings me contentment. Can I polish my [chref=10] mysterious mirror, And leave no blemish?[/chref]

    I suppose in modern terms this is about ego. When I'm without thought of self and pushing my own agenda, I can feel this... has no mind of his own... takes as his own the mind of... For me this speaks not only, of people, but all of creation. There is the calm, then the storm, then calmness returns. [chref=65]Only then is complete conformity realized.[/chref]

    The similarity between Native American spirituality and Taoism is striking; I can only assume they brought this world view with them from Asia. It is a vision of nature still awaiting us post 1492 Columbus immigrants to see. I suppose we must wait awhile until the dust settles.

    Those who are good I treat as good; Those who are not good I also treat as good is Christ's 'turn the other check'.

    Ha! Distract the mind of the people and treats them all like children recalls for me how parents attempt to distract their young children and give them something to occupy their eyes and ears. We are infants who die long before we have an opportunity to reach full [chref=51]maturity[/chref] and know ourselves as we truly are, and not the culturally conditioned idea we have of ourselves. Hopefully that too may change; see There may be a silver lining at the conclusion of ethics.

    Note: I mention Tai Chi so others may consider it. Besides its mental and physical benefits, it can be a gateway to [chref=40]turning back [/chref].
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    Treating everyone as good, having faith in everyone, to me is seeing the universe as perfect as it is. When I can see that reality is what it is, regardless of my idiosyncratic standards, then I can accept people for who they are. This includes accepting myself. The faith is that the reality is we?ll all follow our own natures, which are full of desires.

    Keeping the mind of the empire muddled, to me, is keeping our thinking murky, as opposed to ?knowing? through learning, from the last chapter. When we have something to occupy our eyes and ears, then we have less time to be thinking too much. Treating the people as children is to me seeing us all as just kids who are looking after our own desires. If our attention is occupied, we?re less likely to be going off wildly after the latest desire.

    Buddhism talks a lot about compassion, for everything, even insects. I think similarly to Carl, that if I?ve let go of my sense of self, my ?over-thinking? disappears, and I?m able to accept the way people truly are. When I can do that, I have so much compassion, because everyone struggles with whatever suffering they have in their life, which comes from desires. And no one escapes that struggle, not even the Dalai Lama.
  • edited December 1969
    'Infants dying before we reasch full maturity' reminds me of a couple statements I've heard lately. One from my karate master, a 40 year martial artist, 8th degeree black belt, told us that at this point in his career, he's working back towards becoming a beginner again. and in Stephen Haye's ninja book, he makes a similar statement about ninja training taking 40 years, the first 20 learning the basics, and the next 20 learning to ignore the concepts of good and evil, etc..and forget all you've learned in order to progress back to the beginning, something along those any case, we'll never live long enuf to reach these goals, but the journey, not the destination, makes the effort worth it...
  • edited December 1969
    The sage has no mind of his own. He takes as his own the mind of the people.

    -- This could imply a more democratic attitude than was customary at the time. Instead of following a personal agenda without regard for a ruler's true occupation, one listens to the hearts and minds of the people and responds . . . gently . . . and behind the scenes. Does this mean that the ruler does whatever his subjects want? I hope not. Think of George Bush and all his voters. And what does one do when his subjects are 'polarized' on issues? Muddle all of their minds? Or educate them?

    Health, happiness, and harmony.
    Bao Pu
Sign In or Register to comment.