11 October 2016

The Truly Great Freely Gives and Demands Not - DaoDeJing 34

What makes a person great? What causes great respect? The one who gives freely and yet not demand recognition or control. This is the behavior of Dao says DaoDeJing 34.
DaoDeJing Chapter 34 Text & Translation:

大道泛兮,其可左右。
The great Dao reaches out everywhere, on the left and on the right, (benefiting all).

万物恃之而生而不辞,
All things live on it and yet it keeps quiet.

功成不名有,衣养万物而不为主。 
Mission accomplished and yet want no recognition. Nature all things and yet control them not,

常无欲,可名于小;
Always not demanding and hence is hardly noticeable, to be called little.

万物归焉而不为主,可名为大。
All things follow it and command them not, so can be called great.

以其不自为大,故能成其大!
This is because it does not think itself as great and so it can accomplish great things.

What is greatness?

1. By Size of Influence.
We can go by the influence it reaches. We said Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the like are great because they build large businesses and have lots of wealth. They have many people working for them. They make things that many buy and use. It is very easy such greatness.

2. By Character - The Response to His Great Size - Humility
The character of a person can be seen by the way he handles his wealth and reputation. Does his head become big and demand special treatments and praise from others. Does he go around commanding people to do this and that for his pleasure? Does he think he is above the laws and can do whatever as he pleases. Does he abuses and misuses others because of his wealth and power? Lao Zi asks us to look at the behavior of the Great Dao. Despite its greatness, it demands and controls not. It freely and willingly gives and gives. That's is the other dimension of greatest --- humility. 

The Secret for Success and Longevity
Humility is the secret. The greater one's accomplished the greater the needs to be humble, to be out of sight and interests of others. It frees one do more and be less distracted. The objective is not about our glory but the benefits we bring to others. History tells us that very often, the new kings usually got rid of the people who made them kings. Why? Because their contributions were greater than the kings. In the Bible, Saul was jealous of David because 1 Samuel 18:7 As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." and was determined to kill him.

Lim Liat (c) 11 Oct 2016

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