25 November 2016

The Best is Yet to Be - DaoDeJing 45

Most people misunderstand that Lao Zi is telling us to be at rest, passive, contented to the point of almost laziness. The true teaching of Lao Zi is actually the opposite, be busy, with only one qualification, doing the right things taught by Dao. Here you see that Lao Zi is teaching us to go for excellence with peace of mind. DaoDeJing 45.
DaoDeJing Chapter 45 Text and Translation:

1  大成若缺,其用不弊;
The great accomplishment seems incomplete. However, using it has no problem.
(There is always area for improvement. Completeness spells death of change).

2  大盈若冲,其用不穷;
The great fullness seems like the rushing waterfalls. However, it can be used without exhaustion.

3  大直若屈,大巧若拙,大辩若讷
The great straightness seems crooked.
The great skill seems rough.
The great debater seems slow of speech.

4  躁胜寒,静胜热
Movement overcomes coldness.
Rest overcomes the heat.

5  清静为天下正。
The right way for the world is to be transparently clear and restful [through no forceful action].

Complete means No More - The END 
In I-Ching, there are 64 Hexagrams. The 63rd is Complete and the last 64th is Incomplete. Hence, it will cycle on without end. If we put Complete as the last hexagram, then it is all over when we are complete and there will be no continuation. Never think that we have completed or else we will make no improvement. Things are ever changing. What is complete for now may not be when things change. So, we must have the attitude of always learning and making improvements.

GO for Excellence Not Perfection
The 2nd part of verse 1 shows that even it is incomplete, there is no fault or no problem in using it. The lack is not real. We think we need it to be perfect to be useful, but in practice, it is enough to do the job well. It is defect free in its use. Don't ask for and demand perfection, make something useful first and then continue to make improvements to better and better.

Fullness should be Overflowing without end
If we fill a bucket water to the edge, we think it is full.  But it is useful for one use. Is it really full? Lao Zi tells us that true fullness is overflowing with goodness without end. It is like the waterfalls where the water flows without end. We can use and use and it was never exhausted. That is true fullness. If our patience can be exhausted we are not really very patience indeed. So is our love, faith or hope. True virtues are never exhausted.

Appearance and Reality Differ
Maybe Lao Zi understands that the earth is round. Any truly long straight line is actually not straight but it curves around the surface of the round earth. Morally speaking, straight is not unbending. Lao Zi in "Reality is the Opposite, So Cheer-up - DaoDeJing 41" speaks about this, the great square has no corners. 

Right Action for the Right Situation
If we are feeling cold, then some actions will generate some heat. If we are feeling hot, then resting will help in reducing the heat generated.  What we do depends on the situation. That is the principle of fitting the situation. This is also a principle of 无为 WuWei, No forcing action.

The Right Way is Quietly and Calmly Follow the Way
What is the best way to success and to manage the world? Be calmly at rest first to discover the Dao and then calmly and quietly follow the Dao. Don't be emotional, either happy or fearful, but be calm and objective to study and to come out with answers. Peace of mind is needed to observe well and to think clearly and creatively.

Know that contentment and aspiration do not conflict. Both can be done at the same time in The Great Wisdom for Living - DaoDeJing 33

Lim Liat (c) 25 Nov 2016
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