Tao Te Ching: stop being holy

by everlivingpoet

All we really need to do, I sometimes think, is read a good translation of the Tao Te Ching, like the rather free-handed one by Ursula K. Le Guin. I read it as a text about immanence or the virtual:

The valley spirit never dies….
Forever, this endures, forever.
And all its uses are easy.

Stop being holy, forget being prudent,
it’ll be a hundred times better for everyone…

…what works reliably
is to know the raw silk,
hold the uncut wood.
Need little,
want less.
Forget the rules.
Be untroubled.

Be broken to be whole.
Twist to be straight.
Be empty to be full.
Wear out to be renewed.
Have little and gain much.
Have much and get confused.

The best door’s unlocked and unopened.
The best knot’s not in a rope and can’t be untied.

What others teach I say too:
violence and aggression
destroy themselves.
My teaching rests on that.

To know enough’s enough
is enough to know.

blunting edge,
loosing bond,
dimming light,
be one with the dust of the way.
So you come to the deep sameness.

That’s why the wise
want not to want,
care nothing for hard-won treasures,
learn not to be learned,
turn back to what people overlooked.

Heaven will last,
earth will endure.
How can they last so long?
They don’t exist for themselves
and so can go on and on.

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