14 May 2014

The Way to Everlastingness is Selflessness - Lao Zi (7)

Contrary to common thinking that one must fight for oneself in order to survive in this world, Lao Zi tells us that it is about forgetting oneself that leads to longevity and legacies. This is from Dao De Jing Chapter 7. Give and share out and all will get more!
By giving and sharing what we have, we end up getting more. That is the law of nature. The nature ecosystem is about living things contributing to the livelihoods of one another up and down the food-chains. Plants offer their pollen for Bees to produce honey and ends up getting cross pollination to produce fruit for other living things and the seeds to reproduce themselves in more locations. This wonderful work of amplification and multiplication is started by some one forgetting one's interest and contributing to others. Consider Gandhi for India, Mother Teresa and such people. Their dreams and impacts continue on even after their deaths.

Here is the original Chinese text:
  1. 天长地久,
  2. 天地所以长且久者,
  3. 以其不自生,故能长生。
  4. 是以圣人后其身而身先,外其身而身存。
  5. 非以其无私耶!故能成其私。
My translation:
  1. Heaven and earth are everlasting.
  2. The reasons for their everlastingness are as follows:
  3. Because they don't just self-maintain their lives and hence they are able to live long.
    (Giving to others trigger giving from others and thereby create greater abundance throughout for all to share).
  4. Likewise, Sage put their interests last and can go out first (to serve). Put himself on the outside (not as central) and ends up sustaining the self.
  5. Is it not because he has no selfish interests ? And therefore able to achieve self-actualization. 
It is not what you can get but how much value that you can give that gives you the success and satisfaction.
Consider this post losing-yourself-in-pursuit-of-life by David Brooks where he said life is not about finding yourself but loosing yourself. It resonates with Lao Zi's teaching here.

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