Saturday, May 18, 2013

19 abandon holiness

Abandon holiness, discard cleverness
and the people will benefit greatly. 
Eliminate philanthropy, put away morality
and the people will regain compassion. 

Forsake academic knowledge, relinquish propriety
and the people will lose their anxieties. 

Disavow cunning, renounce greed
and there will be no theft. 

These lessons are superficial, and could go on forever.
Even then they would still not be sufficient.
One need only rely upon this:

Manifest simplicity, like an undyed silk.
Hold to your natural state, like uncarved wood.
Cast off your ego, and curtail your desires.

— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


  1. Well there you have it, all there is to know and all one needs to know. Great backlit photo also, Ruth. I assume that is Don, but I could be wrong.

    1. Letting go, George. That last stanza, wow.

      Yes, it's Don, you are right. This path to the meadow through the sumac is such a joy.

  2. somehow all gifts and all potential poisons lie inside our consciousness, inside our sense of self.

    when i am alone (or with james) i am most successful at the last stanza. (what a beautiful poem.) i need to understand why it is so difficult to hold to when i am in the larger world. how painful it is to fail then, the failures most directly my own, springing from the root of me, not the world.

    such an intimate photograph of you and don, even though you are not inside the shot:)


  3. This I study; this, i try to learn (via the Tao, the Yoga Sutras, and Pema Chodron...
    As for the photo, I agree with erin :-)

  4. I'm visiting this on Pentecost Monday, Ruth, which somehow takes on new meaning. And suddenly I'm thinking of new wine in old wineskins...and why it doesn't work!


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