The Tao Te Ching was written 2,500 years ago, making it perhaps the oldest book still in print. Its longevity is due to the power and simplicity of its message.
The ancient metaphorical language of the original book is not easily understood today. This edition presents this timeless message in plain English for all to understand.
The Tao Te Ching exercises a powerfully transformative effect on those who contemplate it. Let it do so for you.
The Tao Te Ching shows you how to create harmony in your life by finding the Middle Path. It describes a force called the Tao that operates uniformly throughout the universe and is the causal agent of everything that happens. It explains how you can develop personal power through being in harmony with the Tao.
The Tao Te Ching is said to have been written by Lao Tzu, the Custodian of the Imperial Archives during the reign of the Chou Dynasty. It is the result of the author's careful observations of the unfolding patterns of Nature. Learn how to harmonise with these patterns and transform your life.
A central idea in Taoism is avoiding extremes and always seeking the middle path on our journey through life. The objective is to negotiate the middle ground between opposites or extremes so effectively that no act is followed by a reaction. The net effect is one of neutrality. Finding the middle path means not needing to suffer the consequences of an act. In terms of the doctrine of Karma, it means knowing how to avoid bad reactions, or bad karma.
Harmony with the Tao means living so that we do not swing like a pendulum from one drama to the next, creating disturbances in our lives that get in the way of calm inner reflection. It is finding the Middle Path. We are encouraged to sense the world around us directly and to contemplate our impressions deeply. It advises against relying on the structures and belief systems that have been created by others and put forward as orthodox truth. Such ideologies remove us from a direct experience of life and effectively cut us off from our Intuition. As discussed in an earlier chapter, the seeker after Satori should cultivate their Intuition since this is the only way that a person can truly know the world, and that is from an experiential rather than intellectual position.
The Middle Path requires you to develop an awareness of the physical forces that shape our world and direct its events. Such forces operate uniformly at all levels, from the macrocosm to the microcosm. They operate in the universe as a whole and in the minds and lives of individual people. An understanding of these natural laws and the forces they direct gives a person the power to direct events in the world without resorting to force, by using attitude instead of action. Influence on others is achieved through guiding rather than ruling. The objective is always to avoid taking action that will elicit counter-reactions. In Nature, an excessive force in a particular direction tends to trigger the growth of an opposing force, and therefore the use of force cannot be the basis for establishing an enduring social condition.
The follower of the Tao comes to understand that everything in the universe is in a state of flux, and that the emotional and intellectual structures that we like to build for ourselves in order to feel secure and understand the world are likewise subject to change by external forces that are largely beyond our control. The challenge is to accept the inevitability of change and not waste our energy trying to prop up these impermanent structures, defending them against criticisms, and convincing others to believe in them so that they might become recognised as permanent truth.
Grasping the reality of the impermanence of all structures allows us to align ourselves with the forces of Nature that bring about incremental change in the social and physical world. We can embrace and support change whenever and wherever it wants to occur.
Tao Te Ching: Lao Tzu's Timeless Classic for Today
Lao Tzu's Timeless Classic in Modern English
Publication date: 19/04/2011
2,500 years old and still going strong.
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