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13 March 2008 @ 06:49 am
Tao of the Day - a single point viewed from different angles  
When the Tao is followed, the war-horses plough fields;
when the Tao is not followed, the war-horses ravage countrysides.
The greatest misfortune is desire.
The greatest burden is greed.
The greatest curse is discontent.
Only those who know when enough is enough will ever have enough.
- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching #46, trans. Ray Grigg)

There is no greater illusion than fear,
No greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself.
- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching #46, trans. Stephen Mitchell)

Fear births jealousy, fuels anger, and prompts harsh words.
The most difficult times contain the greatest fear.
- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching #46, trans. William Martin, The Couple's Tao Te Ching)
Current Music: "Tear in your hand" - Tori Amos
Prince of Happinesspoh on March 13th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'm still waiting for my copy of the Tao Te Ching...

The second one, should that be "that" or "than?"

It echoes a lot of my feelings towards people who study martial arts for "COMBAT READY SELF-DEFENSE" namely because there's a lot of fear-mongering that goes along with selling that style of instruction, and people just end up being jittery. Like Rex Kwon Do from Napoleon Dynamite but in real life.
bitterfun on March 13th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
There is something lost in the translation of the second quote. As is, it implies preparing a defense is a great wrong. Where as preparing a defense for an illusion is really the great wrong. Lao Tzu makes other references in the Tao Te Ching to having a defense through strength in self and flowing with your environment.
Kburgunder on March 13th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
The way I've always internalized the middle interpretation is similar to the whole Taoist "if you do not trust them, you make them untrustworthy" ... Maybe it's because I spend so much time fascinated with romantic relationships, but to me, the quote is mostly a reminder to myself to not flinch before someone has even thought about punching me - and I don't mean that literally, but it applies to both the proverbial and the literal. Now if it's clear they're going to punch me, I'm mostly definitely going to prepare to defend. And I'm also going to spend a lot of time learning about proper defense. But, until that moment, don't manifest the situation, don't escalate a situation from nothing.

That's how I take it, at any rate.

I also wholly concede your point.
Prince of Happinesspoh on March 13th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
Being tensed all the time does no good, that's for sure. Learning this through judo also. Relaxed and open all the way up to the point of attacking. Understanding this concept and applying it...different creatures in the sense that application requires cultivation.