Tao Te Ching | Lao Tzu – Laozi | Spirituality Podcasts

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Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Dwight Goddard’s translation of the Lao Tzu’s classic book the Tao Te Ching, published in 1919.

The Tao that can be understood cannot be the primal, or cosmic, Tao, just as an idea that can be expressed in words cannot be the infinite idea.

And yet this ineffable Tao is the source of all spirit and matter, and being expressed is the mother of all created things.

Therefore not to desire the things of sense is to know the freedom of spirituality; and to desire is to learn the limitation of matter. These two things, spirit and matter, so different in nature, have the same origin. This unity of origin is the mystery of mysteries, and it is the gateway to spirituality.

When everyone recognizes beauty to be only a masquerade, then it is simply ugliness. In the same way, goodness (if it is not sincere) is not goodness. So existence and non-existence are incompatible. The difficult and easy are mutually opposites — just as the long and the short, the high and the low, the loud and soft, the before and the behind, are all opposites, and each reveals the other.

Therefore the wise person is not conspicuous in their affairs or given to much talking. Though troubles arise they are not irritated. They produce but do not own; they act but claim no merit; they build but do not dwell therein; and because they do not dwell therein, they never depart.

The Spirit of the perennial spring is said to be immortal. She is called the Mysterious One. The Mysterious One is typical of the source of heaven and earth. It is continually and endlessly issuing forth and without effort.

True goodness is like water, in that it benefits everything and harms nothing. Like water, it ever seeks the lowest place, the place that all others avoid. It is closely kin to the Tao.

For a dwelling, it chooses the quiet meadow; for a heart, the circling eddy. In generosity, it is kind; in speech, it is sincere; in authority, it is order; in affairs, it is ability; in movement, it is rhythm.

Inasmuch as it is always peaceable, it is never rebuked.

An excess of light, blinds the human eye; an excess of noise, ruins the ear; an excess of condiments, deadens the taste. The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.

Therefore the wise person attends to the inner significance of things and does not concern themselves with outward appearances. They ignore matter and seeks the spirit.

Holding fast to the Tao of the ancients, the wise one may understand the present, because they know the origin of the past. This is the clue to the Tao.

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