1 September, 2011
Tao Te Ching
Underneath the mysterious language, numerous paradoxes, and ambiguity of the Tao Te Ching lies a helpful, concise passage and interesting way of life. Its complex yet simple verses can give one great insight on moral behavior and righteousness, how to live life simply, face and deal with struggles in both society as a whole and our daily lives, and how civilization should be governed. Written by Lao Tzu, meaning Old Master, Thoughts from the Tao-Te Ching is just a small excerpt from the 81 chapter philosophical document. The central teachings of this chapter include compassion, simplicity, and patience in order to be “at one” with the Tao and seek enlightenment. The poetic verses written in this chapter are written with a great deal of contemplation and symbolism all of which refer back to one of the three main themes. The way in which Lao expresses his ideas is sincere, simple in words yet complex in meaning, but to the point that his thoughts and ideas are valid enough to believe. The verses necessitate patience, understanding, and compliance in order to analyze their complex meaning. Lao Tzu puts a large emphasis on how a ruler should govern, in that a leader should be concerned with the lives of his people and not use much force. He states, “When the Master governs- the people are hardly aware that he exists.”(Stanza 17). He goes on to say “If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.”(Stanza 17). These two of many lines about governing in the Tao, support his claim about little control and the importance of the people. Lao Tzu strongly emphasizes the need for the rulers to apply them throughout all aspects of their lives. He is simply stating that a Master should rule with such moderation that the people hardly realize he is ruling. In order to understand one’s people, a leader must be committed and loyal. He must take time to get to know the people so that their...