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  Back to Read the Tao To chapter 3


High & low, beautiful & ugly: all your creations

2 -Making things ugly

When people see beauty, they think, "that's beautiful".
Thinking of something as beautiful makes you think other things are ugly.
Calling something "good" forces you to call some other things "evil."

The ideas "difficult" and "easy" support each other.
"Long" and "short" define each other.
"High" creates "low"
"Tone" creates "noise"
"Before" creates "after"
"Have" creates "don't have"

This is why the Sage acts without effort and teaches without words.
New things are created and the Sage just accepts them.
Things fade away and the Sage accepts that too.

A Sage can have things without feeling they "own" them.
The Sage does things without putting an emotional stake into the outcome.
The task is accomplished, but the Sage doesn't seek credit or take pride in the accomplishment.
Because the Sage is not attached to the accomplishment, the accomplishment lasts forever.

Original Chinese and notes

[Tao Chapter 2]


I have arranged the characters to emphasise the elegant repetition and the use of
"[Tao Hanzi]" (xiang / appearance)

 

 

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