Tao Te Ching

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

Chapter 66
Go Low

By always seeking the most lowly position,
Oceans can welcome and receive all rivers and streams.
In this way the wise, by placing themselves lower than others
Gain the most respect and influence.
They teach and guide by listening.
They lead by following behind.

For these reasons,
When the wise are in charge,
The people don’t feel oppressed.
When the wise are in front,
The people don’t feel blocked.

The world never tires of praising
And appreciating this kind of leader.
Because they don’t struggle or compete,
They have no competition.

Commentary

“Therefore, 100 victories in 100 battles is not the most skillful. Subduing the other’s military without battle is the most skillful.”

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

Themes: Skillful Means

Comments: Click to comment

“Wise up by going low.”

Koheleth
c. 330–180 BCE
from Ecclesiastes קֹהֶלֶת‎

Themes: Humility

Comments: Click to comment

“Sages… treat the people as if they were their children. Thus, the whole world wants them for their leaders. The people never grow tired of them because sages don’t struggle against them. Everyone struggles against something but no one struggles against those who don’t struggle against anything.”

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

Comments: Click to comment

“Sages wear what no one looks at, do what no one watches, and say what no one disputes… they are different but appear ordinary.”

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

Themes: Ordinary Mind

Comments: Click to comment

“The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds; High towers fall with a heavier crash; And the lightning strikes the highest mountain.”

Horace
65 – 8 BCE

Comments: Click to comment

“The person who desires to rise above all things must descend below all things”

Jesus via Didymos Thomas
3 BCE – 30 CE
from Gospel According to Thomas

Themes: Humility

Comments: Click to comment

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”

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

Themes: Philosophy

Comments: Click to comment

“Recognize that the waves are not different from the ocean itself.”

Saraha
8th century CE

Comments: Click to comment

“All living beings by nature are one’s parents… How will you find the Guru to accept you when you look down on others?”

Nāropā
955 – 1040 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Sages… do not act unless they are forced. They do not respond unless they are pushed. They do not rise unless they have to choice. Thus, in their actions, they place themselves behind others.”

Lu Huiqing
1031 – 1111 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Just resting is like the great ocean accepting hundreds of streams, all absorbed into one flavor.. How could they not reach into the genuine source?”

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

Comments: Click to comment

“The truly holy person welcomes all that is earthly.”

Hildegard of Bingen
1098 – 1179 CE

Themes: Integrity

Comments: Click to comment

“If I have become great it is because I have won men’s hearts by kindness and gentleness.”

Saladin صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب‎‎
(An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub)
1137 – 1193 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“[Giants are dwarfs.] Giants are usually really dwarfs as abundance lowers importance. Don’t value books by their thickness, quantity over quality, magnitude over intensity.”

Balthasar Gracian via Shan Dao, #27
1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Appreciation

Comments: Click to comment

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I sit here. When I come back to it, I never have to remind it of anything; I begin just where I left off.”

Willa Cather
1873 – 1948 CE
Modern day Lao Tzu

Themes: Patience

Comments: Click to comment

“When we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home, that is happiness.”

Hermann Hesse
1877 – 1962 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness.”

Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Poetry

Comments: Click to comment

“A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.”

B.R. Ambedkar
(Babasaheb)
1891 – 1956 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Never have so many capable writers warned mankind against the dangers of wrong speech—and never have words been used more recklessly by politicians or taken more seriously by the public.”

Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“But the conceited man did not hear him. Conceited people never hear anything but praise.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1900 – 1944 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“We destroy the love of learning… by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards… A's on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean's lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.”

John Holt
1923 – 1985 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything—not about winning or losing—but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is.”

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

Comments: Click to comment

 

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.