Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Tao Te Ching
Chapter 32
Uncontrived Awareness

Uncontrived awareness goes on forever,
Undefined and nameless.
Small and like uncut wood in primal simplicity,
No one can control or manipulate it.

When rulers follow this Tao,
The world becomes like a guest,
Heaven and Earth harmonize,
Life becomes like the freshness of rain,
People become good for each other,
And all things take their natural course.

For practical wisdom,
Experience must be defined and ordered.
But when definitions proliferate,
It’s time to stop and understand more deeply.
If people know when to stop,
Danger dissolves.
True wisdom in the world
Is like a river flowing home to the sea.


“Visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves… a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth… An egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life it to be awakened.”

Fu Xi 伏羲 1 via Richard Wilhelm, Hexagram 61
Emperor/shaman progenitor of civilization symbol
from I Ching

Themes: Openness

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“The greatest prayer is patience.”

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

Themes: Patience

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“If you climb to a height and beckon, it’s not that your arm grows longer, but it is seen from farther away. If you yell downwind it’s not that the sound gets swifter, but it is heard more clearly.”

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

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“Resolved to die one can be killed.
Resolved to live, one can be captured.
Quick to anger, one can be goaded.
Pure and honest, one can be shamed.
Loving the people one can be aggravated.

All five are excesses.”

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

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“He has also set eternity in the human heart.”

Koheleth 1
from Ecclesiastes קֹהֶלֶת‎

Themes: Continuity

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“If you climb to a height and beckon, it’s not that your arm grows longer, but it's seen from farther away. If you yell downwind it’s not that the sound gets swifter, but it is heard more clearly.”

Xun Kuang 荀況 310 – 235 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Xún Kuàng, Xúnzǐ)
Early Confucian philosopher of "basic badness"

Themes: Strategy

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“Those who can see what is small and hold on to it are rare indeed.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

Themes: Less is More

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“To discover the Tao, nothing is better than embracing simplicity.”

Wang Bi 王弼 226 – 534 CE

Themes: Simplicity

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“The mind is very great in capacity… When we use it, we can know something of everything, and when we use it to its full capacity we shall know all. All in one and one in all.”

Huineng 惠能 638 – 713 CE
(Huìnéng, Enō)
The Sutra of Hui Neng

Themes: Oneness

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“I who live in spontaneous reality... exist in things as they are.”

Virupa བི་རཱུ་པ། 1 via Keith Dowman
(“Dakini Master”)
Mahasiddha #3
from Masters of Enchantment

Themes: Here and Now

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“Your own mind, uncontrived, is the body of ultimate enlightenment.”

Niguma 1

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“Grant your blessing so that confusion may dawn as wisdom.”

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

Themes: Confusion Wisdom

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“We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.”

Francis of Assisi 1181 – 1226 CE

Themes: Christianity

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“A thunderclap under the clear blue sky… all beings on earth open their eyes.”

Mumon Ekai 無門慧開 1183 – 1260 CE
(Wumen Huikai)
Pioneering pathfinder to the Gateless Gate

from The Gateless Gate, 無門関, 無門關

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“All know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.”

Kabīr कबीर 1399 – 1448 CE

Themes: Paradox

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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.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE

Themes: Simplicity

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“Leave off hungry. One ought to remove even the bowl of nectar from the lips… Little and good is twice good… Too much pleasure is always dangerous.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

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“Every situation--nay, every moment--is of infinite worth; for it is the representative of a whole eternity.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE

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“To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake 1757 – 1827 CE

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“Luminosity is the nature of one's mind that aeons of confusion cannot darken.”

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ། 1781 – 1851 CE via Erik Pema Kunsang
from Flight of the Garuda

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“When I encounter a sunrise, a painting, a woman, or an idea that makes my heart bound like a young calf, then I know I am standing in front of happiness.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE
from Report to Greco

Themes: Inspiration

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“The continual stream of new discovery and fresh revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of the eternal youth of the living Dharma and its wonder, splendor and spontaneity.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche དིལ་མགོ་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ། 1910 – 1991 CE
"Mind" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

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“the discovery of inertia and momentum is the greatest insight of western civilization.”

Carlos Castaneda 1925 – 1998 CE

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“You have to make order, you have to make distinctions, but you also have to know when to stop before you’ve lost the whole in the multiplicity of parts.”

Ursula Le Guin 1929 – 2018 CE

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“Race, gender, ethnic, national, age, handicap, appearance-based prejudice are all ways of substituting something trivial and unworthy for real merit and ability. Prejudice means trying to preserve unearned privilege and advantage.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

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“When one realizes that our many thoughts of anger and desire… are devoid of any self-nature, everything becomes a land of gold.
Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

Themes: Anger Patience

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“Politics is the ability for all reflections of political situations to arise in the mirror of discriminating awareness at once… the ability to look joyfully in the mirror of mind with a relaxed mind free from projections and doubt… the great confidence that is not afraid to be inspired by unprejudiced views”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Political Consciousness

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