26 June 2014

Genesis - The Origin & Four Greats by Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 25


The Origin of and the Answer for man. In DaoDeJing Chapter 25, Lao Zi tells the origin of man, earth, heaven and the Way(Dao). It all begins with the great 'I AM'. Lao Zi's account is extremely similar to the account of the Bible as recorded in the book of Genesis. He also provides the answer for how man should live on earth.
I find DaoDeJing Chapter 25 account of the origin very similar to the Biblical account. Hence, I put them together show them in the mind-map below for your consideration:

Putting the 4 greats in order, we can see that the "I AM" (The beginning and ending) God create the Order of the Way of operation of creation, then the universe (heaven), then the earth (as a star of the universe) and then when all is ready for living, the man. The solution then for the problems of life is for man to follow the ways of nature, universe and the Way of God.

See also The Big Bang Theory, DNA and Lao Zi's Dao in DaoDeJing 21.

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24 June 2014

Leadership Singapore Style and Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Attended FGB Gatekeepers dinner with a talk given by Lim Siong Guan who wrote the book "The Leader, Teacher & You". Mr Lim is one of the pioneering leaders that help build Singapore and so his style of leadership may be called the Singapore Style. I am doing much work on Sinlogy or Ancient Chinese Wisdom and I find many things of what he said could also be found in Classical Chinese Philosphies.

Some key points (read the book for more) in the talk that had my attention were:

Positional Leadership - They need to learn from past, adapt to the present, anticipate for the future. Consider this famous Chinese saying, 宋·范仲淹《岳阳楼记》:“先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐” The leader worry first before the people worry and he is only happy after the people are happy. It shows the foresight and the farsight of the leader and his love for his people.

The mission should be contant but vision need to be renewed. The Book of I-Ching provide a complete set of guidance of what to keep and what to change for the 64 Hexagrasms or situations and virtues of life.  See I-Ching in One Minute for Abundant Life

Personal Leadership:
-- Not position but followers;
-- Not popularity but results;
-- Not preaching but Examples.
-- Not privileges but responsibilities.

Leadership is 
  • from the front, 
  • side, 
  • back and
  • inward where the people has internalized the attributes of their leader.
    I-Ching #1 乾 Heaven/Creation, line 7, 用九 群龙无首 吉 Dragons have not leader. Good Fortune.
    Or Lao Zi's the highest level of leadership is invisible. When the people have completed it, they said they did it all by themselves. Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership?
In my courses, I ask the question of where the CEO should stand with the choices of
  1. at the front leading the troop
  2. in the middle working with the managers
  3. at the back strategizing
  4. at the sidelines cheering the troop
  5. all the above.
I was in fact discussing this question with friends on my table before Mr Lim's talk. I was pointing out the the Chinese mindset and the Western mindset are very different. The Western mindset tends to have fads that changes with time. The Chinese mindset is always "It all depends on the particular situation". One at the table mentioned that I was not commital. But the true wisdom is always not jumping to a conclusion for prescribing a fixed formula to all problems. The correct answer of course should be choice 5 but it is only completed is you list down that particular situation for the right type of leadership. It was very interesting to have Mr Lim talking about this issue.

Success of Singapore is based on its values of honour - honouring one another, integrity, honesty or essentially righteousness. It reminded me of Mat 6:33 seek ye fiest the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things will be added to you. I-Ching teaches us "利者,以中和也“ Profts come from harminizing with righteousness.

Maslow' s 8 stages Needs Model.

The revised version add 'others' into the original self centred 5 stage model.

Consider Confucius‘ sayings on love 仁:
  1. The Active or Positive Attitudes:
    忠是「己欲立而立人,己欲達而達人」。
    Faithfulness is "Wanting ourselves to stand up(be indepedent) to help others to stand up too. Wanting ourselves to be successful to help others to be successful too."
  2. The Passive Attitude:
    恕是「己所不欲,勿施於人」Empathy is what we dislike we don't do it unto others.
Consider how Confucius defines greatest in How Great are You? Let Confucius Tell you.
  • The 3 Levels of Greatness
    1. Sharing of Material Wealth/Goods.
    2. Right Use of Power. No self-glorifying and abuse of others.
    3. Love for the People of All ages. Care for the aged, trust for friends and upbringing of the young.
Consider too, the even higher dimenision of Lao Zi in Who is the Greatest? The Unsung Hero and Lao Zi
  • What does Lao Zi teach us about being greatest?
    It is not about self proclaimed greatness nor wanting people to praise to you. 
    It is not about doing something to gain reputation or money for self.
    It is about meeting the needs of the situations or people, quietly doing them and doing them tirelessly.
The Comprehensive Leadership Styles:
A more comprehensive leadership skills covering the actions for various situations can be found in
4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching

The 4D Leadership Evaluation Model:
A good way to measure the quality of leadership can be found in The Superior Mindset of A Leader - The 4 Dimension...

To build up such 4D Leaders, we need to develop the man according to The Multi-Brains Whole-Man Thinking Framework for succeess in the VUCAD world.

Hope you see the broadness and depth of Classical Chinese Wisdom and its applicability for this model world.

Lim Liat (c) 24 June 2014

23 June 2014

Going against the Law of Entropy to build Lastingness by Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 23

Have relationship problems? Let Lao Zi shows us 3 aspects to get them right. Do you share the same values? Do you truly walk out your values? Are you willing to sacrifice for your values? If so, you are building lasting relationship.
Nature shows us that everything is temporary and changing. The Law of Entropy tells us that everything moves toward randomness over time. Yet in this DaoDeJing 33, Lao Zi gives us a twist from his usual advice of following the law of nature to tell us how to build permanence in the world of temporariness. He talks about how to build lasting relationship and gives us three aspects of Dao(values), De(Vrituous Character - the Level of Attaining the Dao(Values), and Sacrifice in relationship building.
The details of Dao De Jing 23 are shown in the mind-map:
Why is this chapter 23 talking about relationship?
The chapter begins with natural events like storms and rains are temporary and then ask about how can man escape from such temporariness. The last statement speaks of integrity and trust or rather the lack of. In the middle, Lao Zi shares the tree key concepts of Dao( The Way of Nature or Values in this context), De (the attainment of men to reach the Dao) and the Sacrifice or Loss in maintaining the Dao. It speaks of agreeing, following and welcoming one another. So, we know he is talking about building lasting relationship among people.

The 3 Aspects of Lasting Relationships:
The first aspect is Dao or Values. Those who walk together must agree and shares the values to start.  Confucius reminded us that if we don't share the same values we cannot walk together (literally plan together).  Before you start any relationship, even a business relationship, please make sure the partners share the same values. It is good practice for the church to encourage couples to marry someone that share the same faith. Otherwise, the relationship cannot last. It will if only one of them change his/her faith to agree with the other. Business partnership also follows the same rule. Without the same values, the business practices will differ.

The second level is De the actual realization of the Values that we claim we share. This is a measure of the maturity of the virtuous character (according to the shared values) each person has reached. It is about walking out the talk of our beliefs. A believer marrying a non-believer shows the lack of believe in his or her own faith. Of course, some will give the excuse that he/she will become one once they get married. The wisdom is that if one cannot change before the marriage, one will surely not change after the marriage since the motivation to do so will be less.

The third level is the one of sacrifice or suffering losses. We are face with various challenges in this world. There is possibility of our own neglect or moments of burn-out that we fail to keep our promises. Then there is the lure of temptations or the pressure of threats and persecutions from others that cause us to bend our values and under deliver our promises. In face of suffering, will we still stick to our values and promises. If so, the relationship will strengthen further after such challenging sacrifices. Sacrifices are truly measures of the true values we place in the relationship.

What to do with broken promises?
We need to admit our failure and go back to where we have failed and recover from there. Did we fail because of external threats or temptations or just our burn-out? Or in fact we have different understanding of the values that we thought we shared? Seeking clarification, forgiveness and restart will help to build better and longer lasting relationship. We have to earn back the trust that we have lost.

Lim Liat (c) 23 June 2014

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21 June 2014

8 Keys for Sustainable Success by Lao Zi in Dao De Jing 22

How to sustain your current success? Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 22 gives 8 keys. It is easier to summarize them into one word - Humility for ease of recall. But knowing the details of the 8 pointers are keys. Here is the mind-map.
We can apply Lao Zi's teaching to my nation of Singapore. Few will disagree that Singapore is successful. But the cracks are showing. The leadership and the people must take heed to work together as before when we build the nation. Let's learn from Lao Zi.
Some people say that success is hard but sustaining it is even harder. So it is a popular saying that wealth does not last through three generations. There are a few studies to support that saying. In fact, many do not even last through the 2nd generation. What can be done to create lasting organization and personality? Lao Zi give us 8 keys in Dao De Jing 22 and they are captured in the mind-map below:


The 8 keys are also the sttributes of a lasting vitue called humility. There are other lasting virtues like love, joy, peace.  But high level and high sounding terms like humility and love are easily misunderstood. Many people have different definitions for them. The 8 keys do provide the details to explain humility in a better light and also giving us the how for applications to create sustainable success.

Go through the 8 keys and list down what actions you can take to sustain your success. Else, to recover from failure will be tougher job.

Lim Liat (c) 21 June 2014

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07 June 2014

The Big Bang Theory, DNA and Lao Zi's Dao in DaoDeJing 21

Lao Zi encouraged us to study the signature of Dao that we may discover how it all begins so that we may follow its patterns for living. The Big Bang, Quantum Physics, Genetic Codes are probably hinted by Lao Zi. Let's look at it with an open mind.....


With the advancement and discovery of Science, we get to understand Lao Zi's descriptions of the Way of Dao better. The flickering, blur, deep, dark, mysterious take on greater meaning with our understanding of quantum physics, subatomic particles, big bang theory, expanding universe on the physical science on one hand and the DNA codes of the biological science on the other hand. Lao Zi encouraged us to study the traces of the Way to discover the origins of life and the universe. They did not appear randomly or just like that, but come through a process that we can study, appreciate its beauty and follow its patterns. The patterns are virtues for living. This is similar to I-Ching with its 64 hexagrams denoting 64 states of events but also represent 64 virtues as guides for man to live by.

Here is the mind-map for Dao De Jing Chapter 21 the Signature of Dao:

Lim Liat (C) 7 June 2014

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05 June 2014

Bee Gee's 'I started a joke' resonates with Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 20

When you pursue things that are different from the world. The world will laugh at you. Your success becomes their ridicule. That was the feeling that Lao Zi had when he wrote DaoDeJing chapter 20. He explained the cause of stress, how different was his values against the world and he persistence pursue to live with and by the Way of Dao though he may be ridiculed.
 Dao De Jing original text, translation and interpretation are given in the mind-map below:


The cause of much stress and worry is men's pursue of knowledge to gain more. More wisdom, glory, wealth and whatever. Men has become so worry and afraid of many things. Lao Zi has a different set of values and pursuit. He is so different, almost opposite, of the world that they ridicule his lifestyle. But he remains persistence in his values. His last sentence is:
  • 我独异于人, 而贵食母 
    I alone am different from others, and I value sucking from mother.
  • Mother, used by Lao Zi, refers to the Great Way of Dao.
    See The Secret of an Easy & Refreshing Life - Let Mother Nature do the Work.
  • So, Lao Zi's life purpose is to discover the Dao and live in and get nutrition from Dao.
  • This reminds me of Jesus' word, Matthew 4:4 NIV Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
  • Lao Zi is telling us that man is also spiritual and needs spiritual pursue of Dao.
  • By following the Way of Dao, life can be meaningful and stress free.
Lim Liat (c) 5 June 2014

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04 June 2014

Better Life is to Go for Simplicity & Purity says Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 19

Better life does not come from accumulation of more but rather giving up to have less. Greed knows no ends.
Since young, we are taught to study hard, get good degrees and then earn a lot of money or be in high governmental positions. Such is typical of the thinking and wishes of many Chinese parents. But Lao Zi suggested that a better life is to gain for simplicity and purity or authenticity. Be true to ourself is more important than gaining glory and wealth especially at the expense of others.

Here is the mind-map for Dao De Jing 19 with text, translations and link to Chapter 3 The Problems and Answers for Men According to Lao Zi and a Bible reference to Luke 12:15.

Lim Liat (c) 4 June 2014

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02 June 2014

Moral Laws are for the Sinners says Lao Zi in DaoDeJing 18

Lao Zi and the Biblical Paul agreed on the purpose of Laws - Laws are meant for the sinners.
When the Way of Dao is lost, we then need to put up a set structures to cover-up our lost and make us look good. Some think intelligence, some science and technology can create this utopia. But intelligence without integrity will create a bigger mess faster. Lao Zi did not tell us the answer to return to the Way of Dao. He may some hint and glimpse in Chapter 4 The Way is the Son said Lao Zi. This reminds us of St Paul's saying that the purpose of Laws was to reveal sins.

DaoDeJing Chapter 18 text, translation and interpretation with relevant Biblical verse is given in the mind-map below:
Lim Liat (c) 2 Jun 2014

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