Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Tao Te Ching
Chapter 19
All Methods Become Obstacles

Stop trying to be kind and just –
You will discover Basic Goodness.
Stop believing in wise words and reason –
You will become your own sage.
Stop always striving for profit and gain –
Competition, robbers and rivals will disappear.
Forget even these three rules –
You will discover ordinary mind.


“Rid of legalized profiteering, people would have no thieves to fear.”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Witter Bynner
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

Themes: Crime

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“Rid of conventionalized duty and honor, people find their families dear.”

Lao Tzu 老子 1
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

Themes: Family

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“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Letting Go

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“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten the words, so that I can talk to him?”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE

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“When rites and duties become decorations they breed artificial and hypocritical people.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
from Huainanzi

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“‘If I haven’t anything in my mind what shall I do?’ Joshu replied: ‘Throw it out.’ ‘But if I haven’t anything, how can I throw it out?’ continued the questioner. ‘Well,’ said Joshu, ‘then carry it out.’”

Joshu, Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn 趙州從諗 778 – 897 CE

Themes: Emptiness

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“Put an end to wisdom that leaves tracks and reason that deceives and people will benefit greatly.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Ralph D. Sawyer
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

Themes: Deception

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“In these days people only seek to stuff themselves with knowledge… All you can call them is people who suffer from indigestion… All the concepts you have formed in the past must be discarded and replaced by void.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运 1
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)

Themes: Opinion

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“Self-liberate the antidotes.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ 980 – 1054 CE via Chögyam Trungpa
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)
from Seven Points of Mind Training, Lojong བློ་སྦྱོངས་དོན་བདུན་མ;

Themes: Golden Chains

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“Confucius relied on kindness and justice, ritual and music to order the kingdom. Lao-tzu’s only concern was to open people’s minds”

Su Che 呂洞 1039 – 1112 CE via Red Pine
(Su Zhe)
Great writer of the Tang and Sung dynasties
from Tao-te-chen-ching-chu

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“The ways of the world become daily more artificial. Hence we have names like wisdom and reason, kindness and justice, cleverness and profit.”

Chiao Hung 1540 – 1620 CE
(Jiao Hung)

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“Trying to suppress delusion is delusion too. Delusions have no original existence; they’re only things you create yourself by indulging in discrimination.”

Bankei 盤珪永琢 1622 – 1693 CE
(Bankei Yōtaku)

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“Delusion and enlightenment produce one another… You get rid of this, then grab hold of that. Don’t you see how stupid it is!”

Ryokan 良寛大愚 1758 – 1758 CE
(Ryōkan Taigu,“The Great Fool”)

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“I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and robbery would be unknown These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

Themes: Less is More

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“We frequently meet with men whose erudition ministers to their ignorance, and who, the more they read the less they know.”

Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 – 1862 CE
from History of Civilization

Themes: Less is More

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“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

Themes: Christianity

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“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE
from Report to Greco

Themes: Teachers

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“The will of God or the lunacy of man - it seemed to him that you could take your choice, if you wanted a good enough reason for most things. Or, alternatively, the will of man and the lunacy of God.”

James Hilton 1900 – 1954 CE
from Lost Horizon

Themes: God

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“The moment you meet a teacher, you should leave the teacher, and you should be independent.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

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“Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete.”

Carlos Castaneda 1925 – 1998 CE
from Journey to Ixtlan

Themes: Oneness

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“Wanting approval and appreciation easily becomes a strong chain in the herd instinct dynamic, something noticeably diminished in the lives of history-changing innovators.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

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“Again and again it happens… the methods become obstacles… The problem seems to be the attitude that the pain should go and then we will be happy. This is our mistaken belief. The pain never goes, and we will never be happy.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

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“According the Buddhist scriptures, a true guide is one who helps you to cross the turbulent river, then burns your boat for you.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa

Themes: Teachers

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“You have to recover from the hangover of the previous medicine you were taking.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE

Themes: Medicine

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