Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Chapter 24
Unnecessary Baggage

Those who tiptoe stumble,
Those who strut can’t walk far,
Those who show off don’t impress,
Those who brag receive no credit,
Those who define themselves aren’t real.
Self-promoters do no good.

This is like unnecessary baggage,
Over-eating, working too hard,
Not knowing when to stop.
When the wise are full, they stop eating;
When tired, they rest;
They avoid what others fight over.

Commentary

“Of all the world’s wonders which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believe that he himself will die.”

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“There was never a time when you and I and all the kings gathered here have not existed and nor will there be a time when we will cease to exist.”

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Of all the world’s wonders which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believe that he himself will die.”

Vyasa व्यास
c. 3000 BCE
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Comments: Click to comment

“Death is only the beginning...”

Imhotep
2650 – 2600 BCE
First Western architect, engineer and physician

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

Homer
850 BCE - ?
Primogenitor of Western culture

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Know the other and know oneself,
Then victory is not in danger.
Know earth and know heaven,
Then victory can be complete.”

Sun Tzu 孙武 via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
544 – 496 BCE
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

Comments: Click to comment

“The way of the superior man is hidden but becomes more prominent every day, whereas the way of the inferior man is conspicuous but gradually disappears.”

Zisi 子思 via Wing-Tsit Chan
(Kong Ji or Tzu-Ssu)
481 – 402 BCE
Confucius' grandson and early influence on Neo-Confucianism
from Doctrine of the Mean, Maintaining Perfect Balance, Zhongyong 中庸

Themes: Anonymity

Comments: Click to comment

“Not too little, not too much: there safety lies.”

Euripides
480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Middle Way

Comments: Click to comment

“Who knoweth if to die be but to live, and that called life by mortals be but death?”

Euripides
480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“That mortal is a fool who, prospering, thinks his life has any strong foundation”

Euripides
480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today
from Trojan Women

Themes: Success

Comments: Click to comment

“When your mind is transparent to the depths and your words and actions are one, the whole world becomes transparent.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周
(Zhuangzi)
369 – 286 BCE

Comments: Click to comment

“No evil is honorable: but death is honorable; therefore death is not evil.”

Zeno Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς
(of Citium)
334 – 262 BCE

Comments: Click to comment

“Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.”

Koheleth
c. 330–180 BCE
from Ecclesiastes קֹהֶלֶת‎

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.”

Plutarch
(Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)
46 – 120 CE

Themes: Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“All life ends in death; every meeting ends in parting… so why grieve?”

Kaṅkāripa ཀངྐཱ་རི་པ།
(”The Lovelorn Widower”)
8th C. CE
Mahasiddha #7

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Birth and death apply to everybody constantly, at this very moment.”

Padmasambhava པདྨཱ་ཀ་ར། via Chögyam Trungpa & Francesca Fremantle
("The Lotus-Born", Guru Rinpoche)
8th century CE
from Tibetan Book of the Dead

Comments: Click to comment

“Today I cut down the tree of unknowing.”

Cauraṅgipa ཙཽ་རངྒི་པ། via Keith Dowman
("The Dismembered Stepson")
10th century CE
Mahasiddha #10
from Masters of Mahamudra

Themes: Wisdom

Comments: Click to comment

“Taoists don’t avoid what others hate… They only avoid what others fight over, namely flattery and ostentation.”

Lu Huiqing
1031 – 1111 CE

Themes: Humility Taoism

Comments: Click to comment

“You should meditate on death without thinking of anything else, like a mother whose only child has died.”

Gampopa སྒམ་པོ་པ། via Herbert Guenther
(Sönam Rinchen, Dakpo Rinpoche)
1079 – 1153 CE
from Jewel Ornament of Liberation

Comments: Click to comment

“Those who cultivate the Tao yet still think about themselves are like people who overeat or overwork.”

Li Xizhai via Red Pine
(Li Hsi-Chai)
12th century CE
from Tao-te-chen-ching yi-chieh

Themes: Anonymity

Comments: Click to comment

“Sedentary culture is the goal of civilization. It means the end of its lifespan and brings about its corruption.

Ibn Khaldun أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي
1332 – 1406 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“As long as a human being worries about when he will die, and what he has that is his, all of his works are zero.”

Kabīr कबीर
1399 – 1448 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“This is the real fear presaging my dying: what if my fire be only straw and flame?”

Gaspara Stampa via Jane Tylus
1523 – 1554 CE
from The Complete Poems

Comments: Click to comment

“A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

Montaigne
1533 – 1592 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

Montaigne
1533 – 1592 CE
from Essays, French Essais

Comments: Click to comment

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

Deqing
(Te-Ch’ing)
1546 – 1623 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated.”

John Donne
1572 – 1631 CE
from Songs and Sonnets

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“The art of letting things alone… Remedies often make diseases worse… It takes a wise doctor to know when not to prescribe, and at times the greater skill consists in not applying remedies.”

Balthasar Gracian
1601 – 1658 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“If you don’t take the thought of death to heart, your spiritual practice will stray into conceit, arrogance, and materialism.”

Karma Chagme Rinpoche I ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱས། via Shan Dao
1613 – 1678 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“We never came into being and we never go out of being. All of these coming and goings are just pulses in the pattern.

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

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“Real poetry, is to lead a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.”

Matsuo Bashō 松尾 芭蕉
1644 – 1694 CE

Themes: Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet
1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“He who moves not forward, goes backward.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832 CE

Themes: Creativity

Comments: Click to comment

“Expect poison from the standing water.”

William Blake
1757 – 1827 CE

Themes: Water Evil

Comments: Click to comment

“The charlatan… is a man who cares nothing about knowledge for its own sake, and only strives to gain the semblance of it that he may use it for his own personal ends, which are always selfish and material.”

Arthur Schopenhauer
1788 – 1860 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

Emily Dickinson
1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that's the genius behind poetry.”

Emily Dickinson
1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“We must die to one life before we can enter another.”

Anatole France
(Jacques Anatole Thibault)
1844 – 1924 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”

Henri-Louis Bergson
1859 – 1941 CE
from Creative Evolution

Themes: Evolution Change

Comments: Click to comment

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

Rabindranath Tagore
1861 – 1941 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“The road to success is always under construction”

J. D. (Jake) Sandefer
1868 – 1940 CE

Themes: Success

Comments: Click to comment

“The old man smiled. 'I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived.”

Willa Cather
1873 – 1948 CE
Modern day Lao Tzu

Themes: Old Age

Comments: Click to comment

“Introverts are educators and promoters of culture who show and value the interior life which is painfully wanting in our civilization.”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

Themes: Civilization

Comments: Click to comment

“opposites always balance on the scales – a sign of high culture. One-sidedness, though it lends momentum, is a mark of barbarism.”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.”

Hermann Hesse
1877 – 1962 CE

Themes: Conformity

Comments: Click to comment

“death is the regular, indispensable condition of the replacement of one individual by another along a phyletic stem. Death - the essential lever in the mechanism and upsurge of life.”

Teilhard de Chardin via Bernard Wall
1881 – 1955 CE
from Phenomenon of Man

Comments: Click to comment

“'Oh Tigger, where are your manners?' 'I don’t know, but I bet they’re having more fun than I am.'”

A.A. Milne
(Alan Alexander Milne)
1882 – 1956 CE
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Conformity

Comments: Click to comment

“The lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.”

Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Entertainment

Comments: Click to comment

“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
1884 – 1962 CE

Themes: Old Age

Comments: Click to comment

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. — John the Savage”

Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963 CE
from Brave New World

Themes: God Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market.”

Eric Fromm
1900 – 1980 CE
from Art of Loving

Themes: Consumerism

Comments: Click to comment

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.”

Eric Fromm
1900 – 1980 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Man’s main task is to give birth to himself.”

Eric Fromm
1900 – 1980 CE

Themes: True Self

Comments: Click to comment

“The Sioux have a name for white men. They call the wasicun – fat takers…Americans are bred like stuffed geese – to be consumers, not human beings… Some cruel child has stuffed a cigar into their mouths and they have to keep puffing and puffing until they explode.”

John Fire Lame Deer via Richard Erdoes
1903 – 1976 CE
from Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions

Themes: Materialism

Comments: Click to comment

“Death is the only wise advisor that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong…, turn to your death and ask if that is so.”

Carlos Castaneda
1925 – 1998 CE
from Journey to Ixtlan

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“life is a day, a passage through green where light is more certain than leaves”

Gesshin Myoko Roshi
1931 – 1999 CE
from A Sudden Flash of Lightening: Words Out of Silence

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

“To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.”

Pema Chödrön
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
1936 CE –
First American Vajrayana nun
from When Things Fall Apart

Comments: Click to comment

“Death can be regarded as a way of extending ourselves into the next life… as some kind of invitation to allow this thing we cherish so very much called our body, to perish.”

Chögyam Trungpa via Carolyn Rose Gimian
1939 – 1987 CE
from The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa

Themes: Letting Go

Comments: Click to comment

“He feels the joy and sorrow of love in everything he does. He feels hot and cold, sweet and sour, simultaneously. Whether things go well or things go badly, whether there is success or failure, he feels sad and delighted at once.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Comments: Click to comment

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Bob Dylan
1941 CE –

Comments: Click to comment

“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right.”

Muhammad Ali
(Cassius Clay)
1942 – 2016 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

Comments: Click to comment

 

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.