Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Tao Te Ching – Chapter 33
This short little chapter is easy to overlook, yet it contains deep teaching for living a happy and content life.
Knowing others is wisdom
Knowing the self is enlightenment
The characters for knowing 知 and wisdom 智 are similar, but the one for wisdom adds a “sun” component underneath. So wisdom is enlightened knowledge. But the character for enlightenment 明 takes it further by combining the sun 日 and moon 月 to create pure light beyond knowing and wisdom.
Conquering others requires force
Conquering the self requires inner strength
One of the things I love about martial arts, at least how it’s taught at my school, is that it is much more about developing inner awareness and energy than it is about overcoming someone else by physical force. There is always someone bigger and stronger, but if I develop my inner strength, then I can never be threatened or defeated.
One who stays centered endures
To die yet not perish is immortality
This last line is intriguing–yes? It reminds me of the Bible’s teaching that we must lose our life to gain eternal life. To me, this means that when we recognize that our individual ego self is impermanent and illusory, and let it go, we awaken into our true, eternal nature.
Overall, this chapter teaches that becoming self aware and taking responsibility for ourselves will lead to liberation from the limits of the transitory ego. The bad news is that we can no longer blame anyone for our lack of well being. The good news is that we have the power within ourselves to awaken into truth and joy. By being true to ourselves, we transcend ourselves – the wonderful paradox of awakening!
Walk into the fire
It will burn you to life