Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 26
The Still Rule the Restless

The root masters the trivial,
Stillness masters moving
And constantly transforms itself.
Therefore the wise
Never leave the root,
Are never seduced by the superficial.
They don’t ignore their body
Chasing external things,
Forgetting their true nature by
Following their emotions.

If leaders are frivolous,
They lose respect.
If impatient and restless,
They lose support.
If self-serving,
They lose all value.

Commentary

“The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart – that is, a man’s thoughts – should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore”

Fu Xi 伏羲 via Richard Wilhelm, Hexagram 52
c. 2852–2737 BCE
Emperor/shaman progenitor of civilization symbol
from I Ching

Themes: Here and Now

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“Being prepared and awaiting the unprepared is victory.”

Sun Tzu 孙武
(Sun Zi)
544 – 496 BCE
HIstory's supreme strategist

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“When asked by two high officials from the king to become the prime minister, ‘Give my compliments to His Majesty and tell him that I am happy right here crawling around in the mud.’”

Chuang Tzu 莊周
(Zhuangzi)
369 – 286 BCE

Themes: Humility

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“The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature.”

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

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“A dragon is still. Hence, it is able to constantly transform itself. A tiger is restless. Hence it dies young.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 via Edward Erkes
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)
202 – 157 BCE
from Lao-tzu-chu

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“Learn less, contemplate more.”

Descartes René Descartes
1596 – 1650 CE

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“Know how to wait…You must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity… ‘Time and I against any two.’”

Balthasar Gracian
1601 – 1658 CE
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Time Patience

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“Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by incapacity.”

William Blake
1757 – 1827 CE

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“Men, it has been well said, think in herds but it will be seen that they go mad in herds. They only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

Charles Mackay
1814 – 1889 CE
from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

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“It is precisely the weaker nature, as the more delicate and free, that makes progress possible at all.”

Friedrich Nietzsche
1844 – 1900 CE
from Twilight of the Idols

Themes: Freedom

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“so long as men are not trained to withhold judgement in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans.”

Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from Unpopular Essays

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“"When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal."”

Hermann Hesse
1877 – 1962 CE
from Siddhartha

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“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”

Nikos Kazantzakis
1883 – 1957 CE
from Zorba the Greek

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“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.”

Anais Nin
1903 – 1977 CE

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“You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do… The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity to what you can do just now, in this moment… just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
1904 – 1971 CE

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“Chuang Tzu drily observed that the pursuit of the ethical Tao became illusory if one sought for others what was good for oneself without really knowing what was good for oneself.”

Thomas Merton
1915 – 1968 CE

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“if you treat your body as unimportant you risk insanity, or inanity.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE

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“Stop acting, stop speeding. Sit and do nothing. You should take pride in the fact that you have learned a very valuable message: you actually can survive beautifully by doing nothing.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Journey Without Goal

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“All emotions are basically a form of prejudice.”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ།
(Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche)
1961 CE –
"Activity" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Themes: Delusion

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