19 November 2016

Dao is incorruptible - Lose not Your Identity - DaoDeJing 56

Men like to control things and get what they want through manipulation; either using force or temptation. But Dao cannot be manipulated nor tempted. A person with the virtues of Dao will be like that, cannot be influenced by circumstance nor men. He retains his identity no matter what. DaoDeJing 56.
DaoDeJing Chapter 56 Text and Translation:

知者不言,言者不知,
Those who know speak not. Those who don't know talk a lot [as if they know].

塞其兑,闭其门,
Block the openings, and shut the doors.

挫其锐,解其纷,
Grind off the sharpness and untied the tangled.

和其光,同其尘。
Harmonize with the light and be like the dirt.
(Merge into the environment to be indistinguishable)

是谓玄同。
That is called the great similarity.

故不可得而亲,不可得而疏,
Hence, cannot get close to it nor get away from it.

不可得而利,不可得而害,
Cannot get benefits nor harm it.

不可得而贵,不可得而贱,
Cannot honor it nor to despise it.

故为天下贵!
Hence, it has the highest honor the world.

Don't Make Yourself Special - Don't Stick Your Neck Out!
Most of us get our identity and worth from the opinions of others. A famous quote from sociology is "I am what I think you think I am".  So we try our best to get the praises from others. We try to differentiate ourselves from others. We want to be special. Yet, Dao is of himself and always maintain its identity. It does not want to stand out but rather want to merge into the environment. It does not want to draw the attention of people. Dao is full of wisdom and power. But it does not show off. Men like to do the opposite, talking as if they know a lot when they only know the surface. Consider the ridiculous statement made by a Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin when he went into space, "I don't see God!"

Know Your Identity and Be Yourself
Dao shows us the lesson to be ourselves no matter what.  Some people worship God because they can get things from God, like money, health, wealth etc. God is not actually God but rather like a Genie to them at their bidding. Lao Zi tells us that. We cannot force or tempt Dao to get Dao to do our things. Similarly, we must develop such a virtue of Dao, of knowing our identity and being ourselves in all circumstances of life. The Bible has the story of Satan tempting Jesus three times trying to get Jesus to do things to prove that He is the Son of God. Jesus knows who He is and there is no need to prove to anyone. You are a human being of worth and you don't have to prove who you are. You act out naturally from your identity and be what you are. You don't have to become the someone that you are not.

Lim Liat (c) 19 Nov 2016

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