Book Reads: The Tao-Teh-King: Sayings of Lao-Tzu (by C. Spurgeon Medhurst) [☝]

November 04, 2012

A few months ago, I bought this book at Booksale about the Taoism doctrines. I'm into exploring the teachings of other religions, so this book caught my attention. But what really made me buy it is the scribbled note at the inner front cover of the book:

Few books are amongst those which opened the eyes of this one ready to perceive. Tao-te-Ching is one of them. To absorb its message and live its Truth is a great privilege and joy. I hope you, too, are ready to perceive the way of the Tao. 
Love, Scott.

It really intrigued me and after I scanning a few pages of the book, I decided to buy it.

The Tao-Teh-King
The teachings herein are "sublime and timeless concepts" and Lao-tzu's work can serve as a spiritual and inspirational guide. Here are some passages from the book that are worth noting.

Chapter 2.When everyone in the world became conscious of the beauty of the beautiful it turned to evil; they became conscious of the goodness of the good and ceased to be good.

This is similar to what's written in the Bible (the Holy Book of Chrisitianity), that part in Genesis wherein Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. After eating the fruit, they gained the knowledge of knowing Good and Evil.

Chapter 3.When worth is not honored the people may be kept from strife.When rare articles are not valued the people are kept from theft.When the desirable is left unnoticed the heart is not confused.Therefore, the method of government by the Holy Man is to empty the heart, while strengthening the purpose; to make the will pliant, and the character strong.
This is similar to the saying "less is more". 

Similar to this:
Chapter 7 (Comment). Those who seek least enjoy most. Lao-tzu's allegory is one with the paradox of Jesus, that life is best found when lost, and most lost when found, for only the all-loving know life, and only the disinterested love all.
Chapter 19. Abandon knowledge, discard wisdom - the people will gain a hundred fold. Abandon the humanities, discard righteousness - the people will return to filial love. Abandon cleverness, discard gain - robbers and thieves will be no more.
Chapter 23. A whirlwind does not outlast the morning; a deluge does not outlast the day. Who produces these? The Heaven-Earth. If the Heaven-Earth cannot produce lasting phenomena, how much less can man?
Lack of sincerity is caused by superficial faith.
Chapter 27. Good doers leave no tracks.
Chapter 33.Who knows men has discernment; who knows himself has illumination. Who overcomes men has strength; who overcomes himself has determination. Who know contentment has wealth. Who acts vigorously has will. Who never departs from his base, endures long; he dies, but does not perish; he lives eternally.
Chapter 39. Humility is the root of honor.
Chapter 43. The world's weakest drives the world's strongest.
Chapter 44. Fame or life, which is dearer? Life or wealth, which is more? Gain or loss, which is worse?
Chapter 50. Birth is an exit; death an entrance.
Chapter 63. Manipulate difficulties while they are easy. Take in hand great things while they are insignificant. Every difficult thing in the world had its origin in what was at first easy. Every great thing in the world was once insignificant. Therefore the Holy Man makes no distinctions and thus he is able to accomplish that which is great.
Chapter 65. When the people are difficult to control it is because they possess too much worldly wisdom.
Chapter 70. Those who know Me are few; those who imitate Me are worthy.
Chapter 76. Hence a soldier who is arrogant cannot conquer; the tree which is strong is doomed.
One example that came to mind for this is the saying about which bamboo tree, which bows down during a storm and thus, its branches does not break.

Though most of the passages are too deep for me to understand, I was still able to absorb timeless lessons from it. 

Lao-tzu is indeed one wise man, and his teachings live on.

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