Lao Zi's Tao 3/8(Português / English)

Uploaded by diogotux on 15.12.2011

Since perception is limited, one needs to work extra hard.
Life should be a harmony of mind and boy.
Living in accordance with Tao brings this about.
The utility of nonbeing
Lao Zi raised three examples,
a cart is to carry people and goods,
utensils are to carry things.
Houses are places to live in.
All these things bring convenience to people,
these things are good to our lives.
But if there is no empty place for the axle,
the car can't move.
If there is no empty space in the utensil,
it can't carry food.
If there is no space in a house,
we cannot live.
So, emptiness is useful.
So Lao Zi said, “Emptiness is useful."
In this world, people know only the usefulness of what is there,
but they do not know the advantage of what is not there.
In fact the usefulness of what is not there is greater than that of what is there.
The wheel of a carriage has thirty spokes fixed into the hub.
Because the hub is hollow,
the carriage can move.
Take this cup.
This cup can hold things because it is hollow on the inside.
We use the hollowness of a window.
We can live in a house because
it is hollow on the inside.
We can thus see that
whilst what exists gives us convenience.
It is pointless to have there.
That which is not there makes it useful.
That which is there alone cannot be very useful
unless both the states of what exists
and what does not exist are combined.
Controlling the senses
One's needs are limited
but one's desires know no bounds.
Over-indulgence in enjoyment of colours
will impair one's vision eventually.
Over-indulgence in enjoyment of sounds
will eventually impair one's sense of hearing.
It's too noisy. I can't hear!
Over-indulgence in enjoyment of food
will eventually impair one's sense of taste.
Over-indulgence in activities such as hunting
will eventually impair one's mind and mental health.
Over-indulgence in the procurement of wealth
causes one to suffer insecurity and tarnished morality.
Thus, one anchored in Tao lives a simple life.
He seeks only to fill the stomach, not to gratify the tastes.
He prefers a life of plainness and solitude to that of luxury and pomposity.
Fathomless is the sea, so it is with the ways of man.
To pursue one's ambitions
and not knowing when to stop, alas!
Instead of contentment and comfort,
Entrust the world to the selfless person
People of the world take reputation and gains too seriously
so much so that both praise and insult will cause them to become agitated.
Living a frightened existence because of the fear of disasters.
In the eyes of people, high station is considered noble;
it makes them feel a cut above others.
Therefore there is fear that losing it will bring distress.
Insults are considered lowly.
One feels ashamed when being insulted.
So people are afraid of being insulted and humiliated.
We have big troubles
because we are always thinking in terms of self-interest.
If you have no ego,
will you suffer calamities?
Thus if a person is selfless,
the world may be entrusted to his care.
Man must be unselfish and selfless.
If man can put aside the thoughts of life and death,
all insults and favours will not move him
and fear will not exist.
Chapter Four
Knowing the eternal law
Man's mind is originally clear, quiet and peaceful.
But it is often clouded by harmful desires.
Consequently, it is led to perceive matters
in an improper manner and it acts improperly.
Thus, we have to try our best to bring our mind
back to its clear and quiescent state.
Then we can see clearly the cycle of existence
and all things flourishing naturally.
All things will return to their source.
This source is called 'stillness'; it is also called 'constant'.
To understand the 'constant' is called 'insight'.
Not to understand the 'constant', acting rashly, is to court disaster.
Those who understand the 'Eternal Tao' can perform many different things.
They can be frank,
upright, unprejudiced and can comply with nature
and can thus act in accordance with Tao.
Living in accordance with the Great Tao is to know the eternal.
And you will encounter no danger for the whole of your life.
One who is adept at attaining 'simplicity of mind' and 'quietude'
will be all-comprehending,
able to know the regulation of changes in all things.
He will be able to penetrate
the mysteries of existence and be one with the Tao.
Four classes of rulers
There are four classes of monarchs who rule their countries by different methods.
The top-class ruler applies silent instructions,
leaving his subjects to do what they like and to lead their own lives.
I only know we've a monarch
but I don't know what he's done for us.
The second-class monarch
uses moral principles to influence his subjects
and to rule them with benevolence and rewards
Our ruler is wonderful!
He's done a lot of things for us.
The third-class monarch
controls his subjects with political power
and threatens them with punishment.
Our ruler controls us sternly.
He's fierce and frightening.
The fourth-class monarch
makes a show of force and deceives his subjects with stratagems.
Our ruler bullies us beyond the limit.
We must unite and rise against him!
The best way of administration is 'to rule effortlessly without striving'.
Let the populace do what they like and lead the way of life they wish,
thereby bringing about the greatest benefit so much
so that the populace do not realise their government's achievement,
alleging it comes about spontaneously.
Oh, such peace and prosperity is as it should be.
Good government can be likened to the lungs in our body.
The best lungs work so effortlessly that
you do not feel your own breathing.
If you can feel your lungs doing the breathing,
then there must be something wrong with your lungs.
The decline of Tao
When a fish is in water, it doesn't feel the importance of water.
Man lives in air, he doesn't feel the importance of air.
The more you forbid, the poorer the populace will become
The harsher the laws, the rifer is the banditry.
The greater the power of the government,
the more turmoil there will be in the nation.
Recognizing a certain good deed, it's because it's rare in the society.
As we can see some good deeds as recognized in the society,
those are all precious and rare.
In the most ancient times,
people were simple and honest without pretensions.
By the time of the early kingdoms, people's minds have improved.
The rulers therefore thought of a system
to control their subjects.
And so cheating and trickery came into existence.
Using my wits, I can prevent tax evasion!
I can evade tax with my cleverness!
Members of the family could live together harmoniously,
giving way to each other.
Filial piety or kindness need not be mentioned.
Only when there are squabbles and disharmony in the family
do the terms'filial piety'and 'kindness'arise.
You must live harmoniously!
You must be filial! You must be obedient!
When a country is peaceful,
government officials perform their duties properly,
according to their stations
The term 'loyalty' does not exist.
They are all my officials!
When the country is in turmoil,
government officials cannot perform their duties properly.
In this situation, the term 'loyal officials' comes into being.
He is the only official who is loyal to me.
Benevolence, intellect, filial piety and loyalty
come into play only because Tao is not adhered to.
The fact that they are necessary proves that
Tao is forgotten and human goodness is in decline.
This is retrogression, not progress.
The world and I
Knowledge is the root cause of worries
Discarding intellect and knowledge
will rid on of anxieties.
People tend to seek honour and shun humiliation;
to seek goodness and disdain evil.
But how great is the difference between honour and disgrace?
And how great is the difference between good and evil?
But I must not act differently from others,
showing my invincibility.
It is a fact that one feels compelled to fear what others fear.
But as Tao is so immense and limitless,
it is far different from the ways of the world.
The multitude seems to be indescribably happy and excited;
seeming to be relishing a pompous feast,
enjoying the View from a terrace during the spring festival.
I'm the exception.
I'm like an innocent and unsmiling baby unmoved by these activities.
Weary of worldly ways, I'm like a homeless drifter.
People have more than enough, except me.
I seem to suffer from insufficiency.
I appear to be like a fool.
People of the world are showing off their learning, except me.
I seem to be muddle-headed.
People of the world are shrewd and quick-witted, except me.
I seem to be artless.
Everyone seems to be very capable, except me.
I'm stupid and clumsy.