Tao-te ching Comments

Waiting for the Right Time


    Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his instructions without the use of speech. (Ch. 2, Legge version.)


How can one do something without actually act? Can we move things without actually moving them? Can we change things without actually working on them? Can one climb a mountain without actually take the effort of climbing? What is the meaning of "without doing anything"?

In fact, the phrase "without doing anything" is the translation of the Taoist nondoing (wu-wei). This is a very important Taoist concept.

It is said in Tao-te ching that Tao is doing everything and actually doesn't do anything. Thus it is the model (archetype) of doing without doing. The wise man tries to emulate the Tao conduct when dealing with people or things.

Moreover, the wise taught people without speaking. This is very strange, indeed. How can one communicate with others without using words, without talking with them? Perhaps he/she is using other ways, such as telepathy?

The answer to these question is: everything is done by itself when time to be done has come.

When one waits for the wind to blow in, he no longer needs to bother with sailing the sea!

The same, when time to learn has come there's no need of words and teachings.

Commentary by Jhian



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