True wisdom is understanding the extremes and maintaining the right balance. The Way/Dao of Heaven is the abundance that comes by giving. The Law of Mulitpling Returms from Giving, works for the natural world and also for man. These are very similiar to the teaching of the Bible too.
The first and last chapter of a book are probably the most significant part of the book. Lao Zi's Dao De Jing begins with 道可道，非常道 the Dao that can be described is not eternal Dao, telling us that the true understanding of Dao cannot be fully expressed in our limited langauge and mind. Nevertheless, he spent the remainder of the his book describing what the Dao is and how it works. The conclusion in Chapter 81, ends with:
The saints accumulate not. He that serve others possesses more. He that gives to others gain more.
天之道，利而不害；The laws of heaven bring benefits without any harm.
圣人之道，为而不争。The law of the saints is serving without competing.
The Law of Heaven and for Man is then about the multiplying effects of giving and serving without fighting to gain for oneself.
Most scholars and teachers think that Lao Zi is teaching us about selflessness, no action and the following of nature. But by going through the chapters of Dao De Jing as we have done, we can find that Lao Zi is teaching us about enlarging our self to include all, that we may give to all, and that the Law of Nature works by multiplying back the giving and returns in abundance of lives and things. It teaches us to serve and to give of ourselves and our possessions and that will bring forth a better and a more abundance world.
Here is the details of Dao De Jing 81 expressed in mind map format together with the relevant and similar Bible verses for your reference and reflection:
1. What is on the outside and the inside may differs. Pleasing words, especially flattery words, are not trustworthy. It also works in reverse, trustworthy words, speaking the truth, may be hurting to us. We should guard ourselves against words that charms us. That is how con man deceive people.
2. Arguing to convince others may to be right way to fully persuade a person. Arguing may just makes a person more defensive and angry and could never be convinced. The good and persuasive person works on our thoughts and desires first and walk through our reasonging that we may discover for ourselves our own errors and do our own correction without any arguments!
3. Since time and effert are limited, if we want to understand something deeper, we need to narrow down the scope. On the other hand, if we want to see something in perspective, we should broaden our scope. By going higher up to see farer and going down to see the details, we get to understand a subject better. Don't misinderstand this verse to stop us from being broadminded or being an expert in a narrow field. There is no value judgement in the verse. It is just statement of fact of constraint and we need to know how to work the constraint that we face in life. Choose wisely.
The Secret of Abundance is:
The secret of abundance is counter-intutive. We thought we should accumulate to get more. But in a world of interdependency and exchanges, it is the more value we give, the more returns we will get. In a network work, the multiplying effect works both way, for good or for bad. The Dao of Heaven, the Order of Nature, or the Will of God will ensure this law of multiplication works all the time.
Lim Liat (c) 15 July 2014