Tao-te ching Comments

Who Knows to Stop is Free
from Dangers

    Or fame or life,
    Which do you hold more dear?
    Or life or wealth,
    To which would you adhere?
    Keep life and lose those other things;
    Keep them and lose your life: - which brings
    Sorrow and pain more near?

    Thus we may see,
    Who cleaves to fame
    Rejects what is more great;
    Who loves large stores
    Gives up the richer state.

    Who is content
    Needs fear no shame.
    Who knows to stop
    Incurs no blame.
    From danger free
    Long live shall he.
    (Ch. 44, Legge version.)


The meaning of this chapter is the advice to keep what is more important, in this case, life (as it is). One who is content with what he has avoids shame and one who knows when to stop avoids dangers and lives long. The avoidance of dangers and prolonging one's life are among the key-subjects of Taoism.

But the avoidance of dangers (and failure) is not an easy task. We must learn to adapt to the actual life requirements. In order to do this one must know what these requirements are. We provide teachings on how to find out what these requirements are in our courses should you need to know more (see level 1 of the Initiation into Taoism - click here).

Commentary by Jhian



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