17 November 2016

Am I a robber? Exploitation is not Dao - DaoDeJing 53

The danger of this world is the popularization of 'Self' - "I did it my way", "I achieved it myself", "I am a self-made success." Lao Zi warns us in DaoDeJing 53. Just myself without the appreciation of the providences and help of others and nature and heaven is called robbery! I have robbed the efforts of others and nature.
DaoDeJing 53 Text and Translation

1 使我介然有知,行于大道,唯施是畏。
I am fully convinced that wisdom is to walk in the path of the great Dao, and to appreciate its providences. (Not to take the contributions of nature and others for granted).

2 大道甚夷,而民好径。
The way of Dao is broad and flat. However, people like to take short-cuts [to out-smart the laws].

3 朝甚除,田甚芜,仓甚虚,
The palaces are clean but the fields are unplanted and the storehouses are empty.

4 服文采,带利剑,厌饮食,货财有余,
They wear beautiful clothes, with sharp swords on their sides. They complained about the good food. Their wealth and goods are excessive.

5 是谓盗夸,非道也哉!
Such is called great robbery. It is not the way of Dao!

The Wisdom You Need to Hold on to
What we are and what we have are given to us. We may plant the seeds, but the life and the growth of the seeds come from Dao. Without the life from Dao, we can plant and plant and there will be nothing. Yet we emphasize the planting and ignore the major contributor - Dao. We take Dao for granted. We replace Dao with ourselves on the throne. This is the first warning - never neglect who is the true source of life. It is no wonder that other sources also point to this important wisdom. The Bible has repeated said, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 1:7, 9:10,15:33;Job 28:28;Psalm 111:10

Man Prefers to Outsmart the System
We stay away from the flat path of Dao and try different ways to out-smart the system. When it is morally wrong, we put up laws to legalize it. After all, we are in charge. Right and wrong goes by my feeling. Everything is relative. We forget that such a statement is an absolute one indeed. Lao Zi points this out for us to take note.

I, Me, Mine and who cares.
Our focus is only I, me and mine. No one else really matters except when I need them. People are tools for use. Their sufferings are not my concern so long as they do not affect me. I take good care of myself. I stay in big mansions, drive luxurious cars, enjoy good foods etc. I deserved all that because I earn them. 

It is called Robbery
Lao Zi boldly proclaims that such self-centered living with the exploitation of others is just plain robbery. We must correctly recognize and name the sin. Then there will be hope for us to make the needed correction and save our own lives before it is too late.

Lim Liat (c) 17 Nov 2016

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