TEXT
大道汜兮,其可左右
万物恃之以生而不辞,
功成而不有。

衣养万物而不为主,
常无欲,可名于小;
万物归焉而不为主,可名为大。
以其终不自为大,
故能成其大。


TRANSLATION
Great Tao is a stream that divides and reforms, now left, now right.
All living things rely upon it to grow and thrive and it is there for them.
Good work accomplished, it has nothing.

It clothes and nurtures beings without making anything special of it.
Always being without desire, its name could be Small.
All living things return to it, but without making anything special of it.
Therefore it could be called great.
Real greatness is to not do things with a view to personal greatness.


COMMENTARY

Near to where I live the great rivers Allier and Loire have many islands. The river stream divides and comes back together again. If it were not for human interference there would be even more channels. This image of the branching stream captures the way that the Tao flows along, bringing nurturance to the land and all creatures.

The Tao achieves and benefits but does not possess. It has no ambition for itself. We might think it a small matter or we might realise that it is the most important thing of all.

The words “It clothes and nurtures beings” makes me think of the passage in the Bible where it says that Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed as well as birds of the field. The natural working of things generates the most amazing wonders. It does not do so with any intention of making a name for itself. The sage follows suit, doing what is necessary without putting on airs, without thinking of fame or reputation.

Real greatness is a matter of acting selflessly. Acting selflessly is a matter of keeping one’s mind on one’s task and duty rather than self concern. There are always a hundred good things one could be doing. If one is concerned with self, one thinks “I should…” and at the back of that ‘should’ is a wish to be judged as a specially good and worthy kind of person. In this way one wears oneself out trying to do all the good things (and be seen to be doing them) and seeking perfection, yet whatever is accomplished is at least a bit tarnished. On the other hand, when one is not concerned about self one simply chooses one of the hundred things and gets on with it, neither slacking nor over-taxing oneself, but just doing what comes naturally. One thing leads to another. Things get done and some get left, perhaps to be picked up again later or perhaps to resolve themselves in another way one had not thought of, but, in any case, one is not keeping count. Somehow it all works out as it should. Those who are benefitted flourish, but it is no big deal. The Tao goes on flowing.

Views: 26

ITZI Conference 2019

Subscribe to ITZI Conference Newsletter

* indicates required

Blog Posts

MY MEDICAL CONDITION

Posted by David Brazier on June 26, 2019 at 18:04 6 Comments

My medical condition continues to be a mystery. It is clear that I do not have any of the big nasty things - brain tumour, cracked skull, stroke, etc - as these have been ruled out by MRI investigation. Nonetheless I continue to have persistent, continuous head pain that varies in intensity and I become exhausted by the least effort so that I am functioning like an invalid incapable of doing very much. There is always a possibility that the whole syndrome is a…

Continue

Grace.

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on June 2, 2019 at 1:02 4 Comments

“Do we know what it means to be struck by grace? It does not mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark Valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us… Continue

Sit

Posted by Geeta Chari on April 26, 2019 at 22:13 3 Comments

This is a short video of a Buddhist monk and his family. 

It raised questions on parenting and Buddhism - does detachment (or perhaps quietism), as practiced here, lead to demotivation and disengagement with the world around one?

His children find the detachment practised by the monk disquieting. They appreciate the irony of detachment, which is supposed to…

Continue

Zero Limits

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on April 20, 2019 at 14:13 0 Comments

 

 

 

I have recently been made aware of a practice known as Ho’ponopono. Ho’ponopono is an ancient Hawaiian healing practice, based on universal forgiveness, that was rediscovered and popularised in the 80s. A man called Joe Vitale(Hawaiian I think)  became enchanted by the practice after his daughter was healed from an…

Continue

© 2019   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service