In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.
The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as a stone.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 39, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
This chapter says it all. And, I hardly need to add anything to what Lao Tzu says. Nevertheless, here I am, typing away. I guess it is because I do have one thing I would like to add to Lao Tzu’s words. Could we, as citizens of planet Earth, require one thing of all our elected leaders? Something like the Hippocratic oath which physicians take, “First, Do No Harm”.
It isn’t like Lao Tzu hasn’t said this many times before. I was chuckling to myself, earlier, as I read through today’s chapter. I was thinking Lao Tzu has become a broken record. But then I thought, how many of my readers even know what a broken record is, today. It means he keeps repeating himself. But, I do know today’s equivalent. It is a meme.
When we are in harmony with the Tao, the world is a paradise. A clear and spacious sky. A solid and full earth. All creatures flourishing together, content with the way we are, endlessly repeating ourselves, endlessly renewed.
It is because we interfere with the Tao that the sky becomes filthy. The earth becomes depleted. The equilibrium crumbles. And, creatures become extinct.
Yes, a Hippocratic oath for would be leaders sounds pretty good to me. “First, Do No Harm.” Will your constant practice be humility? Do you understand the whole? Because, how else can you view the parts with compassion? Don’t insist on glittering like a jewel. Instead, let the Tao shape you into something as rugged and common as a stone.
That’s it. I am keeping it brief, today. Tomorrow, we will tackle the shortest chapter in the Tao Te Ching. It may be short, but it packs quite the punch. See you, then.