Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 70
Inscrutable

These teachings are easy to understand,
Easy to practice;
Yet very few understand
Or put them into practice.

These words have an ancient source,
These actions an ancient beginning.
But when this source is unknown,
There can be no real understanding.

Therefore the wise appear simple and ordinary on the outside
While holding a precious treasure concealed within.

Commentary

“Three things can not hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.”

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

Themes: Moon Truth

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“Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.”

Euripides
480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Inscrutable

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“Live unobtrusively.”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs
341 – 270 BCE
from On Nature

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“When men are enlightened enough to follow their natural instincts, they will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money”

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

Themes: Law and Order

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“When men are enlightened enough to follow their natural instincts, they will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money.”

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

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“The ordinary, isolated intellect, no matter how brilliant or inspired, has not the energy to command our thoughts, words, impulses, memories and experiences in a way that conforms to truth and the Good.”

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

Themes: Truth

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“To wear coarse cloth is to become one with what is ordinary. To keep one’s jade concealed is to treasure the truth. Sages are difficult to know because they do not differ from ordinary people and because they do not reveal their treasure of jade.”

Wang Bi 王弼
226 – 534 CE

Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“The reason the Tao is esteemed by the world is because it cannot be known or perceived. If it could be known or perceived, why should it be esteemed?... Thus sages wear an embarrassed, foolish expression and seldom show anyone their great and noble virtue.”

Lu Huiqing
1031 – 1111 CE

Themes: Virtue

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“The teaching's voice is total silence amid the ringing wind chimes. The moon hangs in the old pine tree, cold in the falling night.”

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

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“The Tao is also hard to understand and hard to put into practice… because all words are wrong, because it cannot be learned, and because the mind only leads us astray. Effortless stillness is not necessarily right, and actionless activity is not necessarily wrong.”

Li Xizhai via Red Pine
(Li Hsi-Chai)
12th century CE
from Tao-te-chen-ching yi-chieh

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“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will ever hear.”

Francis of Assisi
1181 – 1226 CE

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“Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening.”

Mumon Ekai 無門慧開
(Wumen Huikai)
1183 – 1260 CE
from The Gateless Gate, 無門関, 無門關

Themes: Doubt

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“One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we must ennoble our works.”

Meister Eckhart
(Eckhart von Hochheim)
1260 – 1328 CE

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“Never suppose that either the evil or the good that you do will remain secret, however strict may be your enclosure.”

Teresa of Avila
1515 – 1582 CE
from Way of Perfection

Themes: Evil Deception

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“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet
1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Inscrutable

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“Rest not - life is sweeping by
Go and dare before you die.
Something mighty and sublime,
leave behind to conquer time.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832 CE

Themes: Death and Dying

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“Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.”

William Blake
1757 – 1827 CE

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“we are in danger of forgetting the language which all things and events speak without metaphor… No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert.”

Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

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“it's much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.”

Leo Tolstoy
1828 – 1910 CE

Themes: Anonymity

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“How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog. To tell your name the livelong day, To an admiring bog!”

Emily Dickinson
1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Inscrutable

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“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.”

Emily Dickinson
1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Less is More

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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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“Never explain―your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”

Elbert Hubbard
1856 – 1915 CE

Themes: Inscrutable

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“We are so greatly tempted to turn everything into purpose and method that I deliberately express myself in very abstract terms in order to avoid causing a prejudice in one direction or another.”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

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“Therefore it is the law of the mystics to see all things, to experience all things, either of heaven or earth, and yet to say little.”

Inayat Khan
1882 – 1927 CE

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“I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.”

Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931 CE

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“We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.”

T.S. Eliot
1888 – 1965 CE

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“I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.”

Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963 CE

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“If all was told, supposing there lived a person who could tell all, there would be no mysteries left, and that would be very bad. Man cannot live without mystery.”

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

Themes: Magic

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“you don’t spell out the truth, you imply the truth with wakeful delight… When you spell out the truth it loses its essence and becomes either ‘my’ truth or ‘your’ truth… By implying the truth, the truth doesn’t become anyone’s property.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

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“Words and deeds can be falsified, but not understanding and practice… As with geodes, jade is found inside ordinary looking rocks. Officals once wore it on their hats as an emblem of their status, and alchemists often included it in their elixirs.”

Red Pine or Bill Porter
1943 CE –

Themes: Inscrutable

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“You can't find the right roads when the streets are paved.”

Bob Marley
1945 – 1981 CE

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