Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 71
Sick of Sickness

To know without believing we know is best.
Believing we know creates mental illness.
When we recognize belief as sickness,
Healing begins.
Because the wise are sick of this illness,
They aren’t sick.

Commentary

“The whole of my teaching is simply making people recognize that what they mistake for conditions of health are really conditions of disease, that their virtues are really vices, that what they prize is really worthless.”

Lao Tzu 老子 via Arthur Waley
(Lǎozǐ)
604 BCE -
from The Way and its Power

Themes: Health Virtue

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“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

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

Themes: Books Belief

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Socrates
469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

Themes: Doubt

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“To a wise and good man the whole earth is his fatherland.”

Democritus Dēmókritos
460 – 370 BCE
Father of modern science and greatest of ancient philosophers

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“Realizing that fully-convinced 'knowing' creates suffering and delusion begins the healing.”

Wang Zhen via Shan Dao
809 – 859 CE
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

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“Talking about ‘attaining enlightenment’ is the one of the best ways to drive true realization far away.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运 via Shan Dao
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)
? - 850 CE

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“Understanding depends on things. Hence, it involves fabrication. Not understanding returns to the origin. Hence, it approaches the truth.”

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

Themes: Openness

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“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”

Rumi مولانا جلال‌الدین محمد بلخی
(Rumi Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī)
1207 – 12783 CE
from Masnavi مثنوي معنوي‎‎) "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning”

Themes: Travel Freedom

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“If you realize that you don’t understand… this is the door to all mystery. If you cling to understanding while trying to discover what you don’t understand… this is the door to all misfortune.”

Deqing
(Te-Ch’ing)
1546 – 1623 CE

Themes: Magic

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“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”

Francis Bacon
1561 – 1626 CE

Themes: Deception

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“Do not believe, or like, lightly… Lying is the usual thing, so then let belief be unusual.”

Balthasar Gracian
1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Lies

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“Combine all the teachers you have met into one.”

Karma Chagme Rinpoche I ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱས། via Erik Pema Kunsang
1613 – 1678 CE
from Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen

Themes: Teachers

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“The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.”

Baruch Spinoza
1632 – 1677 CE

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“Each man must create his own system or else he is a slave to another mans.”

William Blake
1757 – 1827 CE

Themes: Slavery

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“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.”

Arthur Schopenhauer
1788 – 1860 CE

Themes: Religion Reason

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“vulgar minds who are swayed by all kinds of current opinions, authorities, and prejudices, are like the people which in silence obey the law and commands.”

Arthur Schopenhauer
1788 – 1860 CE

Themes: Law and Order

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“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882 CE

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“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”

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

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“The universe is wider than our views of it.”

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

Themes: Openness

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“A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
1835 – 1910 CE

Themes: Religion Belief

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“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
1835 – 1910 CE

Themes: Religion

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“If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be – a Christian.”

Robert Louis Stevenson
1850 – 1894 CE

Themes: Christianity

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“You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can't escape.”

G. I. Gurdjieff
1866 – 1949 CE

Themes: Slavery

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“Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!”

Carl Jung
1875 – 1961 CE

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“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955 CE

Themes: Ignorance

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“Belief is the systematic taking of unanalyzed words much too seriously. Paul's words, Mohammed's words, Marx's words, Hitler's words---people take them too seriously, and what happens?…sisters of charity selflessly tending the victims of their own church's inquisitors and crusaders.”

Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

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“Give us this day our daily Faith, but deliver us, dear God, from Belief.”

Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

Themes: Belief

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“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

Eric Fromm
1900 – 1980 CE
from The Sane Society

Themes: Integrity Virtue

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“People make mistakes in life through believing too much, but they have a damned dull time if they believe too little.”

James Hilton
1900 – 1954 CE
from Lost Horizon

Themes: Mistakes Belief

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“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

Marshall McLuhan
1911 – 1980 CE

Themes: Belief Reality

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“What you know without knowing you know it is the right kind of knowledge. Any other kind… you’ll lose the way.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE

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“Thinking that our confusion is the understanding of knowledge creates mental illness.”

Shan Dao 山道
1933 CE –

Themes: Confusion

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“I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.”

George Carlin
1937 – 2008 CE
One of the most influential social commentators of his time

Themes: Golden Chains

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“Our vast collections of knowledge and experience are just part of ego’s display… we have simply created a shop, an antique shop.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Look into every situation and examine it, so that you won’t be fooling yourself by relying on belief alone. Instead, you want to make a personal discovery of reality through your own intelligence and ability.”

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

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“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too”

John Lennon
1940 – 1980 CE

Themes: War

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“While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States sometimes must have
To stand naked.”

Bob Dylan
1941 CE –

Themes: Evil

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“Thus do Zen masters ask their students to show them their original face.”

Red Pine or Bill Porter
1943 CE –

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