• Brian E Pearson

Lao Tzu ("Tao Te Ching")


Lao Tzu, ("Old Master"), circa 500, BCE

ON FOLLOWING THE WAY,

NOT THE RULES


To give without reward

To help without thinking it virtuous—

therein lies great virtue

To keep account of your actions

To help with the hope of gaining merit—

therein lies no virtue


The highest virtue is to act without a sense of self

The highest kindness is to give without condition

The highest justice is to see without preference


When Tao is lost one must learn the rules of virtue

When virtue is lost, the rules of kindness

When kindness is lost, the rules of justice

When justice is lost, the rules of conduct

And when the high-blown rules of conduct are not followed

people are seized by the arm and it is forced on them

The rules of conduct

are just an outer show of devotion and loyalty—

quite confusing to the heart

And when we rely on these rules for guidance—

Oh, what ignorance abounds!

(Verse XXXVIII)

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