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Tao For Today; Verse 2

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. She enjoys helping people work towards healthier lives.


Understanding the Tao Te Ching.

The Tao Te Ching is a philosophical text written by Lao-tzu, a philosopher and historian, during the time of Confucius. This text, written in two parts, with eighty-one short sections or verses, serves as a philosophical and spiritual guidepost.

The term "Tao" means way or path. In many philosophical works, this term refers to a calling. In the Tao Te Ching, the term Tao refers to a much larger metaphysical principal, a universal oneness, from which all things come, and to which all things return. While "Tao", is a path, and a way, the meaning is much broader, encompassing and mysterious. Tao is a universal flow of energy.

The term "Te" refers to the moral power and virtue associated with one who follows a correct path. In the Tao Te Ching, Te refers more to the virtue one gains by following Tao, the way.

Finally, the term "Ching" refers to the rules or the plan. The Tao Te Ching is a guidebook of rules or suggestions to gain virtue by following a path.

A literal translation would be "Way Virtue Rules."

The perennial wisdom presented within the Tao Te Ching seems mysterious and complex with first reading. Upon further inspection, meaning recedes further, until the text seems convoluted and impossible to understand. Such is the mystery of Tao. Rather than wrestle with literal meaning, absorb the words and let the Tao speak to you.

Tao Te Ching Verse Two

Recognize beauty and ugliness is born.

Recognize good and evil is born.

Is and Isn't produce each other.

Hard depends on easy,

Long is tested by short,

High is determined by low,

Sound is harmonized by voice,

After is followed by before.

Therefore the Sage is devoted to non-action,

Moves without teaching,

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Creates ten thousand things without instruction,

Lives but does not own,

Acts but does not presume,

Accomplishes without taking credit.

When no credit is taken,

Accomplishment endures.

Translated by Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo

Another Translation of Verse Two

If all on earth acknowledge the beautiful as beautiful

then thereby the ugly is already posited.

If all on earth acknowledge the good as good

then thereby is the non-good already posited.

For existence and non-existence generate each other.

Heavy and light complete each other.

Long and short shape each other.

High and deep convert each other.

Before and after follow each other.

Thus also is the Man of Calling.

He dwells in effectiveness without action.

He practices teaching without talking.

All beings emerge

and he does not refuse himself to them.

He generates and yet possesses nothing.

He is effective and keeps nothing.

When the work is done

he does not dwell with it.

And just because he does not dwell

he remains undeserted.

Translated by Richard Wilhelm

Everything is Connected


What it Means to Me

Beauty cannot exist without ugly. Good cannot exist without evil. The act of labeling one thing automatically defines other things. Living in harmony with Tao means accepting things as they are without judgement; accepting paradoxes, opposites, and dichotomies as life unified.

We are all one. We each are part of the eternal whole and the 10,000 things resides inside each one of us. We are them. They are us. We are all connected and joined and together. There is no need for judgement, criticism or comparison. Observe. Be. Allow.

Each one is made of the eternal Tao, and the created 10,000 things. Let this contrast reside within you. Observe the Tao in everything and let go of judgement and criticism. Notice how you feel when you consider the idea that we are all good and bad. We are all beautiful and ugly. Light and dark. Yes, we are good. Yes, we are bad. We carry a part of every piece within us.

The Sage or wise person moves through life, experiencing and creating, not judging or imposing. While the Sage acts, he also surrenders to the energy of the Tao. Action and non-action reside within when you relax into the moment and release the outcome. Do what you must, but don't cling to the outcome.

Rather than seek credit, the Sage accomplishes without trying, then reclaims his place in the eternal. The Sage returns credit to the energy of the universe and when his life is spent, reclaims his place in the eternal mystery of Tao.

Today, be at peace as you observe the Tao unfolding in everyone. Do not judge, label or criticize. Just be. Notice and observe and at the end of today, accept that we are all connected to something much greater than ourselves.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Deborah Demander


Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 20, 2010:

Thanks Katie.

Winsome, thanks for the great reflection.

Thanks for reading ceciliabeltran.


Cecilia from New York on May 20, 2010:

Oh I agree with this a whole lot!

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on May 17, 2010:

I like the Greek word for perfect that literally means "mending the nets"--implying that perfect is a verb and the "perfecting" of the net that is our life is ongoing by the direction of the Spirit of God and possible only by reflection (eg moon reflecting the sun) the unveiled, imperfect faces reflecting the only perfect one and being transformed in the process "from glory to glory" =:)

Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 06, 2010:

Deb, Aw wonderful and now I feel the peace of a frozen river... Isn't that who it goes. Love the Tao, PEACE :)

Ashmi from Somewhere out there on May 06, 2010:

Hi Deborah......the difference between a sinner and a saint is???..that the saint never gave up. The saint was once a sinner and the sinner can be sanctified.

The Way to perfection must be constant. To be, how hard can it be? We know that we are, what we don't know is who we are. To remain in pure being; without being this or that. What a blessing!

Whatever is perceived blissfully is beautiful.

Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 06, 2010:

Thanks for stopping by bp. You are right, it's not easy, but it is possible to practice perfection.


breakfastpop on May 06, 2010:

Fascinating hub. These are words to live by, but I must say it's not easy.

Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 06, 2010:

Thanks everyone for stopping by.

Suny51, that's exactly the point. Everything does lead up to Him.


suny51 on May 06, 2010:

In any case,every thing leads up to Him,No?


Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on May 06, 2010:

It really is!

thevoice from carthage ill on May 05, 2010:

finest quality hub to read thanks

Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 05, 2010:

Thank you, alternate poet.

Sometimes simplicity is all that is required.


alternate poet on May 05, 2010:

Good idea to put up the Tao - when I discovered it I was struck by how it parallels 'modern' Critical Thinking, and how we are only a couple of thousand years behind it !

I also like your uncomplicated explanation, too many people try to mysticise it - when in fact it is a relatively simple guide to good human behaviour.

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