The Way to Life - A Tao Te Ching

commentary added into text in italic


if you single out talented people for praise
you will cause jealousy and stir up contest
this will divide people against each other
encourage co-operation rather than competition
prize everyone equally

the greater the value placed on worldy goods
the more likely they will attract thieves
obsession with cost and ostentatious display
remind people of their relative poverty
causing dissatisfaction and anxiety
the measure of wealth is in harmony and satisfaction
not in the rarity of objects

empty nonsense from the mind
and fill bellies with nutritious food
quieten wilfulness and calm emotions
strengthen bones and cultivate good health
align individuals’ ambitions with social needs
innocent of jealousy, competition and desire
who can trick people into destructive behaviour?

act with the least effort
then everything will be in harmony with its own nature

july 2006