Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Rainer Maria Rilke

1875 – 1926 CE

Profound singer of universal music

One of the most popular and best-selling poets of all time, a Catholic who believed that Jesus had a baby with Mary Magdalene, secretary to famous sculptor Rodin, lover and confidant of married Sigmund Freud student, psychoanalyst, and Nietzsche’s love focus, Lou Andreas-Salomé; Rilke’s mystical writings are still frequently quoted on TV, in movies, music, and self-help books. Taking art as religion and the only source of human redemption, he reconciled dichotomies like life and death, suffering and joy, beauty and destruction unifying opposites and finding deep meaning is all experience. He described god as nature, life force, and an evolving consciousness only slowly coming into existence. Hermann Hesse wrote that “through him resounds the music of the universe.”

Eras

Sources

Duino Elegies

Unlisted Sources

Buddha in Glory

Letters to a Young Poet (1904)

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910)

Time Magazine, 1969

Quotes by Rainer Maria Rilke (31 quotes)

“Everything terrible is something that needs our love.”

from Duino Elegies

Chapters: 22. Heaven's Door

Themes: Golden Rule

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“If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.”

Chapters: 77. Stringing a Bow

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“The only journey is the ‘Let life happen to you.’ Believe me: life is in the right, always. Journey within.”

from Duino Elegies

Chapters: 47. Effortless Success

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“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”

from Duino Elegies

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Themes: Progress

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“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”

from Duino Elegies

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

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“Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”

from Duino Elegies

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

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“Religion is the art of those who are uncreative.”

Themes: Art Religion

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“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.”

Themes: Problems Magic

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“If no one else, the dying must notice how unreal, how full of pretense, is all that we accomplish here, where nothing is allowed to be itself.”

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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart... live in the question.”

Themes: Openness Patience

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“If we surrender to earth's intelligence, we can rise up rooted, like trees.”

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“We wasters of sorrows… trying to foresee their end… they are nothing else than our winter foliage.”

Themes: Suffering

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“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”

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“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow”

Themes: Anger

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“Our heart always transcends us.”

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a very foreign tongue… Live the questions now… live along some distant day into the answer.”

Themes: Curiosity

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“Most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.”

Themes: Ignorance

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“Most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.”

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“I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.”

Themes: Contemplation

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“Weren’t you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?”

from Duino Elegies

Themes: Confusion

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“Even the knowing animals are aware that we feel little secure and at home in our interpreted world.”

from Duino Elegies

Themes: Suffering

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“The one so loved that a single lyre raised more lament than lamenting women ever did; and that from the lament a world arose in which everything was there again”

Themes: Problems

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“Once there was God, now there is no God, some day there will be a God again.”

from Time Magazine, 1969

Themes: God

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“Is not impermanence the very fragrance of our days?”

Themes: Impermanence

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“A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.”

from Buddha in Glory

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“Fame is the sum of misunderstanding that gathers about a new name.”

Themes: Fame

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“The gnarled fidelity of an old habit.”

Themes: Culture

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“We are solitary. We many delude ourselves and act as though this were not so. that is all.”

from Letters to a Young Poet (1904)

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“Fame, that pubic destruction of one in process of becoming, into whose building-ground the mob breaks, displacing his stones.”

from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910)

Themes: Fame

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“Take your practiced powers and stretch them out until they span the chasm between two contradictions... For the god wants to know himself in you.”

Themes: Paradox

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“A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude. If they succeed in loving the distance between them, a wonderful living side by side can grow up.”

Themes: Marriage

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Quotes about Rainer Maria Rilke (0 quotes)

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