Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 49
No Set Mind

The wise have no set mind of their own,
No goals or intensions.
They take the mind of the common people
As their own.
They’re kind to good people
And they’re kind to bad people
Until they become good.
They trust the true
And they trust the false
Until they become true.

With the world
They mix their minds,
With the world
They merge their lives.
People focus their eyes and ears
While sages only smile.

Commentary

“The wise never harbor hostility… the virtuous man only sees the virtue in everyone else.”

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

Themes: Projection

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“Do not repeat the means of victory respond to form from the inexhaustible.”

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

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“How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?”

Plato Πλάτων
428 – 348 BCE

Themes: Dream

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“Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly. When he woke up he wondered if was Chuang Tzu dreaming he was a butterfly or now a butterfly dreaming it was Chuang Tzu.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 via Thomas Merton
(Zhuangzi)
369 – 286 BCE

from The Way of Chuang Tzu

Themes: Butterfly Dream

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“Sages do good as if they fear there is not enough of it and prepare against calamity as if they fear they cannot avoid it.”

Liú Ān 劉安 via Thomas Cleary
(Huainanzi)
c. 179–122 BCE
from Huainanzi

Themes: Inspiration

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“He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος
55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

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“The mind of sages has no point of view, and their thoughts have no direction.”

Wang Bi 王弼
226 – 534 CE

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“What we see and what we touch is stuff of dreams and mirages.”

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

Themes: Dream

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“From time without beginning, the tree of unknowing has been watered by the monsoon of mental habit.”

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

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“All dharmas should be regarded as dreams.”

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

Themes: Dream

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“To see truth, contemplate all phenomena as a lie… contemplate all experience as inherently deceptive, all form as inherently deceptive, all sound as inherently deceptive. In time, you will discover that even your belief in deception is a lie.”

Thaganapa
11th C. CE

Themes: Deception

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“In light there is darkness; where it operates no traces remain. With the hundred grass tips in the busy marketplace graciously share yourself. Wide open and accessible, walking along, casually mount the sounds and straddle the colors while you transcend listening and surpass watching.”

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

Themes: No Trace

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“To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others.”

Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師
1200 – 1253 CE

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“Become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you.”

Nichiren Daishonin
1222 – 1282 CE

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“Blindly following ancient customs and traditions doesn’t mean that the dead are alive but that the living are dead.”

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

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“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

Montaigne
1533 – 1592 CE

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“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare
1564 – 1616 CE
from Hamlet

Themes: Non-Thought

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“The way you see people is the way you treat them and the way you treat them is what they become.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832 CE

Themes: Basic Goodness

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“We are close to waking when we dream that we are dreaming.”

Novalis
1772 – 1831 CE

Themes: Dream

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“Everybody lies...every day, every hour, awake, asleep, in his dreams, in his joy, in his mourning. If he keeps his tongue still his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude will convey deception.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
1835 – 1910 CE

Themes: Lies Dream Deception

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“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
1835 – 1910 CE

Themes: Projection

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“When a pickpocket sees a saint, he sees only his pockets; when a saint sees a pickpocket, he sees only his innocence.”

Ramakrishna
1836 – 1886 CE

Themes: Delusion

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“Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.”

Henri-Louis Bergson
1859 – 1941 CE
from Laughter

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“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

Rabindranath Tagore
1861 – 1941 CE

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“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965 CE

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“only when we have found the sense in apparent nonsense can we separate the valueless from the valuable.”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

Themes: Deception

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“The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.”

Martin Buber מרטין בובר‎‎
1878 – 1965 CE

Themes: God

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“It is the destiny of things real to destroy those that are artifice.”

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

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“Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?”

Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Evil

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“The butterfly that lives a day has lived eternity.”

T.S. Eliot
1888 – 1965 CE

Themes: Butterfly

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“Moment after moment we should renew our life, we should not stick to old ideas of what life is, or what our way of life is… If we always stick to old ideas and always repeat the same thing over and over again, then we are confined in our old way of life.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
1904 – 1971 CE

Themes: Non-Thought

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“Guidance, if given at all, should be so subtle that the person concerned doesn’t know he is being guided. Confrontation, to Taoists, is unthinkable… for the Tao is most easily found when laughter comes spontaneously.”

John Blofeld
1913 – 1987 CE

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“He never spoke with any bitterness at all, no matter how awful the things he said. Are there really people without resentment, without hate she wondered. People who never go cross-grained to the universe? Who recognize evil, and resist evil, and yet are utterly unaffected by it?”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE
from The Lathe of Heaven

Themes: Evil Hate

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“most of us wander on and off the Way and don’t know a sage from a sand pile.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE

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“Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don't even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality.”

Robert Anton Wilson
1932 – 2007 CE
from Real Reality

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“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

Yoko Ono 小野 洋子
(“Ocean Child”)
1933 CE –

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“It's a Barnum and Baily world, just as phony as it can be. But it wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me.”

Billy Rose and Yip Harburg
1933 CE –
It's Only a Paper Moon
from It's Only a Paper Moon

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“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso
1935 CE –

Themes: Kindness

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“Whatever we experience in our life – pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness… or whatever – is just purely memories… a phantom… things have a dreamlike quality.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE

Themes: Pleasure Dream

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“But you know I know when it's a dream”

John Lennon
1940 – 1980 CE
from Magical Mystery Tour

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“In this world there is no absolute good, no absolute evil. Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa… The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil… Indeed, balance itself is the good.”

Haruki Murakami via Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel
1949 CE –
from 1Q84

Themes: Evil Middle Way

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“One who desires unending praise and attention is like a butterfly trying to find the edge of the sky.”

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: Butterfly

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