Chapter of the Week: #44 [Archive]

What we understand, like, already know and believe, we dont think about enuf; these things don't change us enuf. Only that which causes us pain, disagreement, grief... helps us grow. Or at least helps us grow more or in different, often better ways.


  • edited June 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 44 was originally featured on the 2nd week in November, 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 44
    Your name or your person,
    Which is dearer?
    Your person or your goods,
    Which is worth more?
    Gain or loss,
    Which is a greater bane?
    That is why excessive meanness
    Is sure to lead to great expense;
    Too much store
    Is sure to end in immense loss.
    Know when to stop
    And you will meet with no danger.
    You can then endure.
  • edited December 1969
    For me, this is about the consequences of putting too much store in anything, e.g., name or person, person or goods. I don't innately recognize my experiences of loss as a direct consequence of my desire to gain. I instinctively desire gain and fear loss without knowing that both of these are two sides of the same coin. Little wonder this fundamental state of existance [chref=56]is known as mysterious sameness.[/chref] It defies the illusion of 'logic'. Now what is the value of knowing this?

    Constant remembrance (as far as possible) that my experience of loss is a function of my desire for gain helps undermine the store I'm otherwise tempted to put in 'things' (goods or ideas). This weaken my illusion of self, for as Buddha observed, "the illusion of self originates and manifests itself in a cleaving to things" ... Well heck, I don't truly know if it does this, but I do know that it weakens my belief that self is real. This alone helps me know a deeper contentment than ever before. Simply said... life becomes simpler.
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    Knowing when to stop, for me, relates to the chapter about hammering things to a point. With moderation and paying attention, I?m more likely to stop at a ?natural? place. When I?m totally caught up in satisfying a desire, I?m much more likely to go overboard, and then suffer the consequences. (Like eating an extra-large hot fudge sundae, and then feeling miserable.)

    Gain or loss, which is a greater bane? I find that being drawn to gain leads to a never-ending pursuit of desire fulfillment. The ante keeps going up in terms of what I want, and what I think I need. Loss, however, can turn me back to myself (unless I run from the pain, into trying for more desire fulfillment).

    When I?m not content, it?s easy to meet with danger or disgrace, because I may pursue desire so much that I lose my head. Such as when I get upset with my wife, because she doesn?t wash my work water bottle when she washes the rest of the dishes, and I?ve already asked her 3 times. If I just get upset with her, I end up disgracing myself, making a sad situation, because I blindly pursued what I wanted. Instead, I can find contentment by just washing the bottle myself, and recognizing that we?re all imperfect.
  • edited December 1969
    My name or my person? Well, taking my 'person' to mean the acts I do, the way I treat others, certainly thats more important. A name is just a convenience, a legal neccesity. How many eons did man get by without formal names? Yet even cavemen must've known something along the lines that 'the person in that cave will share his food with you, and that one won't'. Animals know this too, and what are we but animals?
    I'm judged by my deeds, my person, by many who'll never learn my name, and even when I judge myself, I dont think 'Robert did this or that'.
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