Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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1546 – 1623 CE

A leading Buddhist monk and poet during the Ming Dynasty, Deqing had a big influence on the Wanli Emperor but was caught in the middle of political conflict between the emperor and his mother as well as tensions between powerful Daoists and Buddhists. In 1595 he was put on trial, imprisoned, and later exiled. His monastery (one of the largest Buddhist centers in China) was burned to the ground. Pardoned after 20 years, he resumed his wandering, teaching, and altruism. Regarded as one of the great reformers of Chinese Buddhism during the later Ming Dynasty, he was renowned and admired as poet, teacher and commentator. Lao-tzu tao-te ching-chieh, Red Pine

Poets Taoist


Quotes by Deqing (27 quotes)

“At first it was very hard. But once I learned how to use my mind, it became very easy. What the world considers hard, the sage considers easy. What the world considers easy, the sage considers hard.”

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

Themes: Contemplation

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“At the beginning of this book, Lao-tzu says that Tao can’t be put into words. But are its 5,000-odd characters not words? Lao-tzu waits until the last verse to explain this. He tells us that though the Tao itself includes no words, by means of words it can be revealed – but only by words that come from the heart.”

Chapters: 81. Journey Without Goal

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“If you realize that you don’t understand… this is the door to all mystery. If you cling to understanding while trying to discover what you don’t understand… this is the door to all misfortune.”

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

Themes: Magic

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“Once things reach their limit, they go the other way… Thus to hide the light means the weak conquer the strong… Deep water is the best place for a fish. But once it is exposed to the air, a fish is completely helpless.”

Chapters: 36. The Small, Dark Light

Themes: Water Humility

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“Once we forget form, our self becomes empty. Once our self is empty, nothing can harm us. Once there is no self, there is no life. How then could there be any death?”

Chapters: 50. Claws and Swords

Themes: Forget Memory

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“Only when yang descends and yin rises does everything flourish… When sages are above the people, and their hearts are below, we call this uniting with Heaven.”

Chapters: 68. Joining Heaven & Earth

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“Our usefulness depends on our empty, shapeless mind.”

Chapters: 11. Appreciating Emptiness

Themes: Emptiness

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“People only know the work of working. They don’t know that the work of not working is the greatest work of all… If they knew that something came from nothing, they would no longer enslave themselves to things.”

Chapters: 40. Returning

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“People raise themselves up on their tiptoes to see over the heards of others,but they cannot stand like ths for long.”

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

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“Purposeful action leads to exhaustion. The Tao is empty and acts without purpose. Therefore it can’t be exhausted.”

Chapters: 6. The Source

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“Robbers and thieves arise from hunger and cold. If people are hungry and have no means to live, they have no choice but to steal. When people steal, it’s because those above force them..”

Chapters: 75. Greed

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“Sages move through the world with an empty self and accept the way thing are. Hence they leave to tracks. They do not insist that their own ideas are right and accept the words of others… They do not care about life and dealth, much less profit and loss.”

Chapters: 27. No Trace

Themes: No Trace

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“The Tao is in us all. Though good and bad might differ, our nature is the same. How then, can we abandon anyone?”

Chapters: 62. Basic Goodness

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“The Way of Heaven is to give but not to take The Way of Humankind is to take but not to give.”

Chapters: 77. Stringing a Bow

Themes: Compassion Greed

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“The wise rule the world through selflessness. All things come to them because they are one with all things.”

Chapters: 35. The Power of Goodness

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“The world withers and the Tao fades… therefore the wise join the dust of others and soften their own light. And they leave no trace.”

Chapters: 27. No Trace

Themes: No Trace

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“Their utter honesty enables others to see. Hence they cannot be abandoned. They are content and free of desires. Hence they cannot be helped. They dwell beyond life and death. Hence they cannot be harmed.”

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

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“They force people to turn to stealing and then try to rule with cleverness and laws. But the more laws they make, the more thieves appear.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Crime

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“This verse explains how sages forget about words, embody the Tao, and change with the seasons.”

Chapters: 23. Nothing and Not

Themes: Forget

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“Those who cultivate this within themselves become sages, while those who practice this in the world become rulers.”

Chapters: 22. Heaven's Door

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“Those who seek the Tao begin by using wisdom to eliminate desires… Once their desires are gone, they eliminate wisdom… Thus by doing nothing, the sage can do great things… those who would rule the world should know the value of not being busy.”

Chapters: 48. Unlearning

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“To know what truly endures is to know that Heaven and Earth share the same root, that the ten thousand things share one body, and that there is no difference between self and others.”

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

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“To recognize the Way is hard. Once you recognize it, holding on to it is even harder.”

Chapters: 28. Turning Back

Themes: Perseverance

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“What is simple has no name. Once we make something,we give it a name. But name gives rise to name. Where does it end? Hence Lao-tzu tells us to stop chasing names.”

Chapters: 32. Uncontrived Awareness

Themes: Simplicity

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“When the mind is given free rein in the realm of thought, it no longer knows what is real.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

Themes: Reality

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“whichever one is remorseful and compassionate will win. For the Way of Heaven is to love life and to help those who are compassionate to overcome their enemies.”

Chapters: 69. No Enemy

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“Words mean traces. Traces mean knowledge. Knowledge means presumption. Presumption means involvement. And involvement means failure.”

Chapters: 43. No Effort, No Trace

Themes: Failure No Trace

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Quotes about Deqing (1 quotes)

“One of the greatest Buddhist writers of the Ming dynasty and responsible for revitalizing the practice of Zen in China, [Deqing's] commentaries on Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu are among the best ever written and are used by Taoists as well as Buddhists.”

Red Pine 1943 CE –
( Bill Porter)
Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat
from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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