Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 37
Nameless Simplicity

The wise do nothing through acting,
They do everything through being.
Never making a big deal about anything,
They accomplish everything.

When leaders follow this way,
All things grow naturally
And the world’s passion
To stray from goodness
Is checked at its core
In Nameless Simplicity.

When desires are stilled,
Grasping and fixation dissolve,
Peace reigns,
And in not wanting,
All the world spontaneously
Rests in appreciation.

Commentary

“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.”

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

Themes: Gardening

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“If the general is not victorious over his anger and sets them swarming like ants, One-third of the officers and soldiers are killed… This is the calamity of attack.”

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

Themes: Anger

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“The ancients ruled the world by doing nothing. This is the Virtue of Heaven — Heaven moves without moving.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周
(Zhuangzi)
369 – 286 BCE

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“And once we are free of desire, we must also forget the desire to be free of desire. Serene and at peace, the ruler does nothing, while the world takes care of itself.”

Xuanzong 武隆基
(Hsuan-Tsung or Wu Longji)
685 – 756 CE

Themes: Desire

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“All the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing our self to be happy. All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy.”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།།
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
685 – 763 CE
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

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“All the good works gathered in a thousand ages such as deeds of generosity and offerings to the Blissful One, a single flash of anger shatters them.”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།།
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
685 – 763 CE
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

Themes: Anger

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“The chilled crane in its nest in the clouds has not yet been aroused from its dreams.”

Hóngzhì Zhēngjué 宏智正覺
(Shōgaku)
1091 – 1157 CE

Themes: Dream

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“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'thank you,' that would suffice.”

Meister Eckhart
(Eckhart von Hochheim)
1260 – 1328 CE

Themes: Appreciation

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“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.”

William of Ockham
1287 – 1347 CE

Themes: Simplicity

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“There's a virtue born from suffering that dims and conquers the sense of pain.”

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

Themes: Virtue

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“Silence is not always a sign of wisdom but babbling is ever a mark of folly.”

Benjamin Franklin
1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

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“One with compassion is kind even when angry; one without compassion kills even as he smiles.”

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

Themes: Compassion

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“All suffering comes from desiring happiness for oneself.”

Jamgon Kongtrul the Great འཇམ་མགོན་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ་བློ་གྲོས་མཐའ་ཡས།
(Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé)
1813 – 1899 CE
from Torch of Certainty

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“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

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

Themes: Business Money

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“When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
1835 – 1910 CE

Themes: Truth

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“To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all.”

Anatole France
(Jacques Anatole Thibault)
1844 – 1924 CE

Themes: Imagination

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“The art of letting things happen, action in non-action, letting go of oneself… became a key to me: we must be able to let thing happen in the psyche… this becomes a real art of which few people know anything. Consciousness is forever interfering.”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

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“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Less is More

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“If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers...”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1900 – 1944 CE

Themes: Love

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“Indians chase the vision, white men chase the dollar.”

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

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“Moment after moment, everyone comes out from nothingness. This is the true joy of life… activity which is based on nothingness… Without nothingness, there is no naturalness – no true being.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
1904 – 1971 CE

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“It is wonderful how by negatives and privatives Lao Tzu gives a sense of serene, inexhaustible fullness of being.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE

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“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

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

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“Imagine all the people, living for today.”

John Lennon
1940 – 1980 CE

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“Name takes sides. Complexity limits options Hence, those who uphold nameless simplicity don’t take sides and keep their options. Open”

Red Pine or Bill Porter
1943 CE –

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“If you still define yourself as a Buddhist, you are not a buddha yet.”

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: Buddhism

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  1. Shan Dao
    In 1973, a remarkably well-preserved on silk Tao Te Ching version was discovered in a tomb sealed in 168 BCE. Discovered in a suburb of Changsha, Mawangtui, this text mainly differs from others in beginning with the Te section that starts with Chapter 38. Ursula Le Guin writes about this difference, “To my mind, the best reason for following the Ma wang Tui text in reversing the order of the books is that the whole thing ends with a chapter (37) that provides a nobler conclusion than 81.”