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Lao Tzu was a archive keeper in one of the petty kingdoms of the time. All he left us is his book, the classic manual on the art of living written in a style of gem-like lucidity, radiant with humor and grace, large heartedness and deep wisdom. 
People think of Lao Tzu as a hermit, a dropout from society dwelling serenely in some mountain hut, unvisited except by the occasional traveler asking what is the meaning of life. But it is clear from his teachings that he deeply cared about society if society means the welfare of one’s fellow human beings. 
The misconception may arise from his insistence on Wei vs Wu Wei, literally Doing or Not Doing, which has been seen as passivity. Nothing could be further from truth. 
A good athlete can enter a state of body awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself effortlessly without any interference of the conscious will. This is a paradigm for non-action, the purest and the most effective action. The game plays the game, the poem writes the poem. We cannot tell the dancer from the dance. 
Less and less do you need to force things until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. Nothing is done because the doers has wholeheartedly vanished into the deed. The fuel has been completely transformed into flame. 
This nothing is in fact everything. It happens when we trust the intelligence of the universe in the same way that an athlete or a dancer trusts the superior intelligence of the body. 
Hence Lao Tzu emphasized on softness. Softness means the opposite of rigidity and is synonymous with suppleness, adaptability,  and endurance. Anyone who has seen a Taichi or Akido master dong or not doing will know how powerful this softness is. 
Lao Tzu’s central figure of a man or a woman whose life is in perfect harmony with the way things are. 
The master has mastered nature not in a sense of conquering it but becoming it, in surrendering to the Dao, in giving up all concepts, judgments, and desires, her mind has grown naturally compassionate. 
She finds deep in her own experience the central truth of the art of living which are paradoxical only on the surface that the more truly solitary we are the more more truly compassionate we can be. The more we let go of what we love the more present our love becomes. the clearer our insight into what is beyond good and evil the more we can embody the good. until finally she is able to say in all humidity, I am the Dao the truth, the life. 
The teachings of Dao Te Ching is in the deepest sense unencumbered by any concept of sin. The master doesn’t see the evil as a force to resist, but simply as an opaqueness, a state of self-absorption which is in disharmony with the universe process as that as with a dirty window the light cannot shine through. This freedom from moral categories allows him great compassion for the wicked and the selfish. Thus the master is available to all people and doesn’t reject any one. He is ready to use all the situations and doesn’t waste anything. This is embodying light. 
What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher. What is a bad man but a good man’s job. 
  • 背景: 战乱,两种虚无主义:1) 无是无非;2)存在与生死 (BEING)
  • 文化: 物质,制度,信念
  • 30 -儒家, 40-道; 50 – 读易
  • 生命的整体与永恒; 跳开人的世界,过去了就算了
  • 人的思维:无名 = 不存在 (命名星星)
  • 存在一定有理由。平等与仁爱之心
  • 超越,透明;而不执着 – 无为


道:真实 – 仁爱; 儒:真诚 – 之不可为而为之 – 正义


儒:以人为中心;人的向善与恶;“人能弘道,非道弘人; 人不学不知道。天人合德, 修养完美,成为君子。 

  • 楚王失弓,楚人得之   / 国家
  • 人 失弓, 人得之   / 人类
  •  失弓, 得之  /万物 – 整体观

道代替天: 人类史-》宇宙史; 天人合一(庄子); 天与人一也 (自然与人); 与道冥合, 局部回归整体。 一滴水回到江海才不干涸。 

“以道观之,物无贵贱。” 庄子



  • 神创论: 一神教的三大一神:父亲-正义的审判
  • 泛神论: 仁慈

道 不等于 自然, 道是根源

密契主义 Mysticism – 神秘主义,整体主义

静坐冥想的忘我:我 vs 非我: 1. 不可说,合二为一。 2. 暂现性。 3. 被动性,无法操作。 4. 生命力再现。 

回到能源基础,然后逍遥。 庄子

反者,道之动。 一切从道而来,又回到道。 

世界在神之内: 神是自因。 万物皆可归结为它因。 

== 笛卡尔斯宾诺沙加缪萨特

道为什么创造万物? (上帝为什么造人?)

  • 人穷则呼天,痛则呼母。 
  • 庄子这么苦,为什么快乐? “。。。增益其所不能”
  • 了解必然性,才可以摆脱。 人类生而自由,却到处都是枷锁。 

道:门槛; 儒: 修行

母亲: 包容;合大怨,有小怨。以德报怨。  宗教: 父亲 ; 以直报怨 – 正义

意义:理解的可能性。 无人 – 生态平衡; 有人 – 有意义。 

感性, 理性: 认知-智慧、概念

反省的门槛: 自我意识

  • 人在吃饭 – 人知道他在吃饭 – 人知道他知道他在吃饭 / 人饿了,但是可以考虑情况,餐桌礼仪,再决定行为。 
  • 狗吃饭 – 狗知道他在吃饭 / 狗饿了就吃。 
  • 动物,本能 – 生存
  • 人, 认知 – 生存同时有认知, 区分 – 欲望-困扰、竞争

道: 把知当作避难,功成身退,


  • 谁是关心询问的邻居? 我们表面:羡慕和同情
  • 老头,老子, 看到背后可能的发展与整体性。 

道: 把知当作启明。全身保真

  • 知常曰明, 见小曰明,自知者明
  • 镜子

和光同尘,披禾藏玉。 blend in and low keyed





25, 42, 1, 4, 14, 21,

15, 20, 3, 5, 57, 10 

  • 在乱世,虚无主义的困扰, 寻求真实 (开始-归宿 — 存在的价值、返璞归真–希望)
  • 我,吾, 有道者 — 悟道的统治者 – 代替道来照顾百姓
  • 身,心,灵 (不可测)
  • 庄子: 真人,神人,至人,天人


一神教: 严父,责任感, 正义审判

佛教: 轮回; 机会,母慈

黑格尔(肯定就是否定); 柏拉图 (感官 – 扭曲; 摆脱欲望的限制)



45, 30, 31

67, 27, 49

  1. 慈爱: 母亲的心
  2. 俭约
  3. 不敢居天下先: The nature does not leap. 



30, 31, 46, 50, 57,67, 68, 69

80. 理想国: 



The Tao is called the Great Mother;
empty yet inexhaustible, [selfless, giving]it gives birth to infinite worlds.

It is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.

天長地久。天地所以能長且久者,以其不自生,故能長生。 是以圣人后其身而身先;外其身而身存。非以其無私邪?故能成其私.


The sky and the earth are infinite, eternal.
Why are they eternal?
Because they never live for themselves. thus they can never die.
Why are they infinite?
They have no desires for themselves;
thus they are present for all beings.

The Master stays behind and puts others in front of her;
that is why she is ahead.

She is detached from all things;
that is why she is one of them.
Because she has let go of herself,
she is perfectly fulfilled.

It isn’t a sacrificing of self. It is realizing your self’s great purpose. It is the meaning of life.

上善若水。水善利万物而不爭,處眾人之所惡,故几于道。 居善地,心善淵,与善仁,言善信,政善治,事善能,動善時。 夫唯不爭,故無尤。


水,居处善于择下而居,存心幽深而明澈,交游共处谐和相亲,言行表里如一,公共 关系易于清静太平,办事能干,行动善于应机顺势而行。正因为水总是利导万物而不 与之争,所以,它很少患过失。

《易》曰, 一阴一阳之谓道,继之者善也,成之者性也。又曰:天以一生水。盖道运而为善,犹气运而生水也,故曰上善若水。二者皆自无而始成形,故其理同。 道无所不在,无所不利,而水亦然。 然而既已丽于形,则于道有问矣,故曰几与道矣。然而可名之善,未有若此者,故曰上善。 

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things effortlessly without fighting for
It is content with the low places that people disdain. (People look down upon those who are inferior to us. snobbish.)
Thus it is almost like the Tao. 

In dwelling, choose humble or lower place.
In thinking, stay deep and clear.
In dealing with people (conflict), be fair and generous.

In talking, keep genuine.  
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you can.
In move, do when it is appropriate. 

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

持而盈之,不如其已; 揣而銳之,不可長保。 金玉滿堂,莫之能守;富貴而驕,自遺其咎。 功遂身退,天之道也。


ill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill. [Greedy will backfire.]Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.


when enough is enough

11. 三十輻,共一轂,當其無,有車之用。 埏埴以為器,當其無,有器之用。 鑿戶牖以為室,當其無,有室之用。 故有之以為利,無之以為用。

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

12. 五色令人盲;五音令人聾;五味令人爽;馳騁畋獵,令人發狂;難得之 貨,令人行妨。 是以圣人為腹不為目,故去彼取此。

  • 爽,差失也。
  • 目耳口心:不以顺性反以伤自然
  • 为腹者,以物养己。为目者,以物役己。故圣人不为目也。

Colors blind the eye. 
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

/looking, listening, tasting, enjoying are all natural pursuits. But if these pursuits go beyond what we really need, the nature will get damaged. Master pursuits satisfaction for her stomach not for her eyes. Filling stomach will nurture your body, while satisfying your eyes, you will become a slave of materials. 

13. 寵辱若惊,貴大患若身。 何謂寵辱若惊?寵為下,得之若惊,失之若惊,是謂寵辱若惊。 何謂貴大患若身?吾所以有大患者,為吾有身,及吾無身,吾有 何患? 故貴以身為天下,若可寄天下;愛以身為天下,若可托天下.

  • 宠必有辱, 荣必有患。知身之为患本也。
  • 寵為下: 得宠是卑下的。

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success
is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope
is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self,
then you can care for all things.

/chapter 13: the above translation is far from the original meaning. 




16. 致虚极,守静笃,万物并作,吾以观其复。夫物芸芸,各复归其根。 归根曰静,是曰复命。 复命曰常,知常曰明。 不知常,妄作,凶。 知常,容。 容乃公,公乃王,王乃天,天乃道,道乃久,没身不殆。

  • 凡有起于虚,动起于静,故万物虽并动作,卒复归于虚静,是物之极笃也。

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
and their return to origins.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the Source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, considerate, and altruism like sky, and then the Dao.
kind-hearted as a grandmother,
When you lose your own and merge into the Dao, you will never be conquered. 

17. 太上,不知有之; 其次,亲之、誉之; 其次,畏之; 其次,侮之。 信不足焉,有不信焉,悠兮其贵言。 功成事遂,百姓皆谓”我自然”。

When the Master governs,
the people are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done, the people say,
‘Amazing, we did it, all by ourselves!’

18. 大道废,有仁义; 智慧出,有大伪; 六亲不和,有孝慈; 国家昏乱,有忠臣。

涸泽之鱼。相吻以沫, 相濡以沫,不如相忘于江湖。

When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.

When the body’s intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.

When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.

When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.

19. 绝圣弃智,民利百倍; 绝仁弃义,民复孝慈; 绝巧弃利,盗贼无有。此三者以为文,不足,故令有所属: 见素抱朴,少私寡欲。

《易》曰:形而上者谓之道,形而下者谓之器。 孔子之虑后世也深,故示人器而晦其道。老子则不然。 

Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

If these three aren’t enough,
just stay in the center of the circle
and let all things take their course.



22. 曲则全,枉则直,洼则盈,敝则新,少则得,多则惑。 是以圣人抱一为天下式。 不自见,故明; 不自是,故彰; 不自伐,故有功; 不自矜,故长。 夫唯不争,故天下莫能与之争。 古之所谓”曲则全”者,岂虚言哉?诚全而归之。

If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.

The Master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn’t display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

When the ancient Masters said,
‘If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,’
they weren’t using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao
can you be truly yourself.

23. 希言,自然。 飘风不终朝,骤雨不终日。 孰为此者?天地。 天地尚不能久,而况于人乎? 故从事于道者: 道者同于道,德者同于德,失者同于失。 同于道者,道亦乐得之; 同于德者,德亦乐得之; 同于失者,失亦乐得之。 信不足焉,有不信焉。

Express yourself completely.
Then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
When it blows, there is only wind.
When it rains, there is only rain.
When the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

If you open yourself to the Tao,
you are at one with the Tao,
and you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
you are at one with loss
and you can accept it completely.

Open yourself to the Tao.
Then trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place.

24. 企者不立,跨者不行。 自见者不明, 自是者不彰, 自伐者无功, 自矜者不长。 其在道也,曰余食赘行。 物或恶之,故有道者不处。

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.


26. 重为轻根,静为躁君。 是以圣人终日行不离辎重,虽有荣观,燕处超然。 奈何万乘之主而以身轻天下? 轻则失根,躁则失君。

27. 善行,无辙迹; 善言,无瑕谪;善计,不用筹策; 善闭,无关楗而不可开; 善结,无绳约而不可解。 是以圣人常善救人,故无弃人; 常善救物,故无弃物。 是谓袭明。 故善人者,不善人之师; 不善人者,善人之资。 不贵其师,不爱其资,虽智,大迷。

28. 知其雄,守其雌,为天下谿。 为天下谿,常德不离,复归于婴儿。 知其白,守其黑,为天下式。 为天下式,常德不忒,复归于无极。 知其荣,守其辱,为天下谷。 为天下谷,常德乃足,复归于朴。 朴散则为器,圣人用之则为官长。 故大制不割。

29. 将欲取天下而为之,吾见其不得已。 天下,神器,不可为也。 为者败之,执者失之。 故物或行或随,或歔或吹,或强或羸,或载或隳。 是以圣人去甚,去奢,去泰。

30. 以道佐人主者,不以兵强天下,其事好还。 师之所处,荆棘生焉;大军之后,必有凶年。 善者果而已,不敢以取强。 果而勿矜,果而勿伐,果而勿骄,果而不得已,果而勿强。 物壮则老,是谓不道,不道早已。


31. 夫兵者,不祥之器,物或恶之,故有道者不处。 君子居则贵左,用兵则贵右。 兵者不祥之器,非君子之器,不得已而用之,恬淡为上。 胜而不美,而美之者,是乐杀人。 夫乐杀人者,则不可得志于天下矣。 吉事尚左,凶事尚右;偏将军居左,上将军居右。 言以丧礼处之。 杀人之众,以悲哀莅之;战胜,以丧礼处之。

32。 道常无名、朴,虽小,天下莫能臣。 侯王若能守之,万物将自宾。 天地相合以降甘露,人莫之令而自均。 始制有名,名亦既有,夫亦将知止。 知止可以不殆。 譬道之在天下,犹川谷之于江海。

33. 知人者智,自知者明。 胜人者有力,自胜者强。 知足者富。 强行者有志。 不失其所者久。 死而不亡者寿。

34。 大道泛兮,其可左右。 万物恃之以生而不辞,功成不名有,衣养万物而不为主,常无欲,可名于小; 万物归焉而不知主,可名于大。 以其终不自为大,故能成其大。

35. 执大象,天下往。 往而不害,安平太。 乐与饵,过客止。 道之出言,淡乎其无味。 视之不足见,听之不足闻。 用之不可既。


36. 将欲歙之,必固张之; 将欲弱之,必固强之;将欲废之,必固兴之; 将欲取之,必固与之。 是谓微明,柔弱胜刚强。 鱼不可脱于渊,邦之利器不可以示人。

37. 道常无为而无不为。 侯王若能守之,万物将自化。 化而欲作,吾将镇之以无名之朴。 镇之以无名之朴,夫将不欲。 不欲以静,天下将自正。

38. 上德不德,是以有德;下德不失德,是以无德。 上德无为而无以为;下德为之而有以为。 上仁为之而无以为;上义为之而有以为。 上礼为之而莫之应,则攘臂而扔之。 故失道而后德,失德而后仁,失仁而后义,失义而后礼。 夫礼者,忠信之薄而乱之首也;前识者,道之华而愚之始也。 是以大丈夫,处其厚,不处其薄;居其实,不居其华。故去彼取此。

39. 昔之得一者: 天得一以清; 地得一以宁; 谷得一以盈; 万物得一以生; 侯王得一以为天下正。 其致之也。 天无以清,将恐裂; 地无以宁,将恐发; 神无以灵,将恐歇; 谷无以盈,将恐竭; 万物无以生,将恐灭; 侯王无以贵高,将恐蹶。 故贵以贱为本,高以下为基。 是以侯王自谓孤、寡、不谷。 此非以贱为本邪?非乎? 故致数誉,无誉。 不欲琭琭如玉,珞珞如石。

40. 反者道之动,弱者道之用。 天下之物生于有,有生于无。