The Way is Tao

By Jos Slabbert

All these thoughts,
words arranged on paper,
come from the Tao
and return to the Tao.
Yet they do not touch it.

 
 

1

Do not disturb the world.
It is the temple of
Tao.

2

The silence of Tao
is filled
with power.
Not even
the roar of cannon
can silence
the silence
of Tao.

3

Charity
has no label,
compassion no religion,
wisdom no dogma,
empathy no rules.

Integrity
needs no laws,
enlightenment no temples.

Living in total harmony
with Tao
is beyond culture,
oneness
with Tao
beyond philosophy.

Emptiness and silence
cannot be defined.
The Way
has no name,
for it is
Tao.

4

The ignorant
fall in love with words,
yet
words
do not touch
the Tao.

The wise
fall in love with truths,
yet
truths
do not capture
the Tao.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
needs no words nor truths,
for she accepts
emptiness
and embraces
silence.

5

The Taoist sage
knows
truth that can be captured
is falsehood.
He does not invest his faith in truth.
His faith is in
the Tao
which is
silent and empty.

6

The Tao
is
invisible
to the intellect.

Faith
in the total mystery
that is Tao
brings
wisdom and compassion.

7

Silence
cannot be told
or heard.

Emptiness
cannot be thought
or felt.

The Tao
is vague
and mysterious,
yet more real
than our senses and our mind.

8

The Tao
is silent,
yet its silence
guides the humble.

The Tao
is empty,
yet its emptiness
gives strength to the meek.

The Tao
is vague,
yet its vagueness
gives clarity to the compassionate.

The Tao
is unreachable,
yet it is
part of your true self.

9

The Tao
is cruel and false
to the hypocritical and unscrupulous,
but to the sincere,
the Tao
is
mercy and truth.

10

The Tao
is cold and dispassionate
to those addicted to desire,
but to the detached,
the Tao
is
warmth and consolation.

11

The Tao
is relentless
to those without remorse,
but to the repentant,
the Tao
is
a new beginning.

12

The Tao
is unpredictable
to the artificial and the egotistical,
but to those in harmony with their true nature,
the Tao
is
the Way.

13

The Tao
is
the source of destruction
to those controlled by hatred,
but to the compassionate,
the Tao
is
the Mother of Life.

14

The Tao
is folly and suffering
to those dedicated to illusion,
but to those that have traversed
the valley of disillusionment,
the Tao
is
wisdom and joy.

15

The Tao
is nonsense
to those clinging to the intellect,
but to the sage residing in emptiness,
the Tao
is
common sense.

16

True faith
is to serve and to endure
without the hope of
personal gain.
To walk
with the Tao
is to live beyond merit.

17

The Tao
seems cruel
to the heartless,
but warm and kind
to the merciful.

18

The way of the Tao
is repugnant
to the greedy,
but a joy
to the humble.

19

The Tao
is obscure
to the ambitious,
but clear and glorious as sunrise
to the gentle.

20

Even though
the Tao
cannot be understood
by anyone,
the compassionate and the sincere
know
the Tao,
for they are close to it.

The faith of the sincere
is unshakable
for it is not based on
understanding,
but on mystery.

21

The sage
sidesteps thinking
when it bars his way
to reality,
but he
ignores reality
when it is in discord
with his inner vision.
The sage
transforms life
without interference,
for his inner vision
comes from
emptiness and silence

22

There is no clarity
in the world of differentiation.
Concepts are dirty mirrors
distorting reality.
Lucidity lies
beyond discrimination.
Yet clarity
does not exist even in
emptiness.

The Tao
is
vague,
for there is
neither oneness nor separation in it,
yet its mystery is
the source of
true understanding.

23

The Tao
permeates all beings,
yet is beyond our reach,
untouched,
untainted.
It is like the sunlight
on your palm,
which blesses you with warmth,
but disappears
the moment you close your hand
to capture it.

24

Even in paradise
the fool
will turn the emotions clouding his mind
into the reality of suffering.
The Taoist sage
has a mind
empty as the blue sky.
She avoids
the avoidable,
and faces the inescapable
with equanimity.

25

Like water
in its everlasting cycle
the sage in harmony with Tao
follows her humble path,
nourishing all,
always returning to the source
from whence she has come.

26

True harmony
with Tao
is to dissolve
the ego
and become
silent.
The purest revelation
is
emptiness
and
silence.

27

Futility
rises from
the ignorant assumption that
life
has no meaning
without
objectives.

Meaning based on ego
is illusion
created
by ignorance,
mere words
signifying nothing,
yet leading to despair.

The Taoist sage
has the courage
to live
without meaning.

He knows
the Tao
has no meaning
that can be captured
by words.

He accepts life
like an infant
snuggling against
his motherís fragrant breasts.

28

Attachment
inevitably brings
sorrow.

The fool
denies this
and brings sorrow
upon himself.

The wise
know the value of
detachment
and live prudently.

The sage in harmony with Tao
embraces life
in joy and in sorrow,
for he dwells in
emptiness
where the ego has lost its sting
and where
attachment and detachment
are
identical.

29

The ignorant
revel
in their likes and dislikes
and they use
their discriminatory faculties
to find pleasure in life.

The sage close to Tao
does not discriminate
and has no
likes or dislikes.
She
finds joy
without discernment
and is therefore
seen as naive
by the sophisticated and the quick-witted.
But opinion
does not matter to her,
for her inner vision is
at one with Tao,
and her silence endless.

30

To the ignorant
the senses
are the gateway
to delusion and suffering.

To the sage
the senses
are the gateway
to joy and enlightenment.

31

Like a child in paradise,
the enlightened sage
in harmony with Tao
sees the world
untainted by thoughts and concepts,
an undefined effervescent kaleidoscope
of transient color and form,
with herself
an inseparable part,
indistinguishable
from the sentient beings
roaming about.
Her unity is one of awe and joy.

32

To the wise,
silence
in humiliation
is the ultimate feat.

To the sage
residing in emptiness,
humility
comes as naturally as
breathing.

True power
comes from emptiness.

33

One word of wisdom
is worth more than
ten thousand words spoken by a fool.
One moment of
silence
in the presence of Tao
is worth more than
ten thousand words spoken in wisdom,
for its silence describes
emptiness.

34

Clinging
does not preserve
even the most cherished moment.
On the contrary:
it turns virtue and joy
into vanity and despair.

The Way of Tao
is to let go
so things will go their natural way.
Only then will
the essence be preserved.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
finishes her task
and moves on to the next.

35

Thoughts
create illusion.
Concepts
conjure up desire.
Ideologies
evoke destruction.

Emptiness
is the womb of compassion.
Silence
is the source of wisdom.
The Tao
is
the Way.

36

The restless spirit,
immersed
in the rush of life,
will never find peace
but only distress.

The spirit frightened of life,
escaping
into emptiness,
will never find tranquility
but only despair.

Dwelling
in emptiness
yet living life to the full
is
true peace.

37

Words
carried by the spirit
corrupt
the corruptible,
but they transfer
virtue
to the virtuous.

38

The compassionate
need
neither words nor concepts
to guide them on their way,
but not even silence
can liberate
those embracing hatred.

39

The ignorant
are guided
by their egos and ambition,
the righteous
by their principles and laws,
the wise
by their wisdom.
The sage in harmony with Tao
needs no guidance,
for she lives in emptiness,
from where
compassion and wisdom
flow
like pure water
from an eternal spring.

40

The ignorant
measure success
by possession and honor attained.

The wise
measure success
by insight and wisdom gained.

The sage at one with Tao
knows
success is an illusion,
and measuring greatness
the admission of failure.

The Taoist sage
does not measure,
but she eats when she is hungry
and sleeps when she is tired.

41

At the very core of everything is
Silence and Mystery.
Reaching out to it
is losing
yourself.

42

She clung to her sorrow like to a lover,
afraid to let go of her passions.
Yet when she had wept herself empty,
she arose,
pregnant with life.

The Tao is dispassionate,
yet even
beyond
the trauma of loss,
the Tao gives
life
to the grieving.

43

The ignorant,
afraid of death,
cling desperately
to youth,
surrounding themselves with
symbols of virility,
seeking
substance
in
form.

The Taoist sage
revels
in the natural rhythms of Tao
and lives
without trepidation.

44

Time
is the great humiliator.

Time
destroys
the vanity of the proud.

Time
confronts
the ignorant
with impermanence.

Time
disillusions
the materialist
with the bitter taste of futility.

Swimming against the flow of Tao
is ignorant.
Accepting the inevitable
is wise.

45

There is
a time to be wise
and a time to be foolish,
but never to be old and vain.

46

There is
a time to win
and a time to lose,
but never to be hungry for power.

47

There is
a time to laugh
and a time to weep,
but never to plan revenge.

48

There is
a time to be loved
and a time to be rejected,
but never to hate.

49

There is
a time to live
and a time to die,
but never to reject the moment.

50

There is
a time to speak
and a time to be silent,
but never to be cowed into submission.

51

There is
a time to buy
and a time to sell,
but never to succumb to greed.

52

There is
a time to think
and a time to act,
but never to manipulate.

53

There is
a time to agree
and a time to disagree,
but never to spread enmity.

54

There is
a time to appear
and a time to disappear,
but never to be ruled by the ego.

55

There is
a time for darkness
and a time for light,
but never to be the victim of ignorance.

56

There is
a time to question
and a time to accept,
but never to lose faith.

57

The ignorant,
being without compassion,
capture a mocking bird
and confine it to a cage,
calling it beauty.
But beauty
cannot
be captured,
nor possessed.
Listen to the lonely song of the mocking bird.
It sings of suffering, not of beauty.

The ignorant,
being without wisdom,
try to capture the Tao with words
and confine it to a dogma,
calling it God.
But the Tao
cannot
be captured,
nor possessed.
Listen to the way the ignorant sing to their gods.
They sing of suffering, not of Tao.

58

The thin line
between
wisdom and arrogance
fades
in the cold light
of piety.
Mercy becomes justice
and
forgiveness revenge
when sinners shiver in
the chill of righteousness.

The Taoist sage
is unaware
of his own wisdom
and does not distinguish
between
right and wrong.
His warmth is a consolation
to the desolate.

59

Like a prism
breaking pure light
into
a rainbow of colors,
language turns pure insight
into
the illusion of truth.

60

Between
the thought and the word
the truth
is often dragged through the mud.

61

Words
often
confuse and divide.
Silence
flowing from Tao
always
brings clarity and harmony.

62

Smiles
without agendas
are
delightful forms of silence
creating warmth
in even the coldest hearts.

63

The vast desert
is empty and silent
with not a trace of anger.
The cool sea breeze
fills my lungs
and I am at one
with the seagulls surfing the wind.

64

The ignorant
search desperately
for meaning in illusion.

The wise
find meaning
in disillusionment.

The Taoist sage
is not bothered
by meaning,
for he finds joy
in each breath that he takes.

65

The Taoist sage
is
detached
and
does not discriminate.

She
enters
where the proud refuse to go.

She
touches
the untouchable.

She
loves
the unlovable.

She
forgives
the unforgivable.

She
serves
the undeserving.

The Taoist sage
overcomes all barriers,
for she is empty
and
in total harmony with
Tao.

66

Renewal
is the acceptance
of loss and insignificance.

Even
the slightest quiver
of your ego
will obscure
Tao.

67

Do you want to know
who
I am?

Just penetrate
your own layers of illusion
until you have reached
emptiness,
and you will find me
where I have always yet never been.

68

Do you want to know
what
I am?

See
the open sky
empty
except for clouds in perpetual flight
driven by the winds,
as they have been since the beginning of time,
and you will know.

69

Do you want to know
where
I am going?

See
all sentient beings drifting past in an endless stream of time and illusion,
seemingly concrete yet transient and empty,
and you will know.

70

Do you want to know
if
I am real?

The Tao throbs in me.
Touch me and you will know.

Yet the moment
you wink,
you will find me gone.

Not that I mind.

It is the Way of Tao.

71

The ignorant
seek salvation
in action.

The wise
find consolation
in virtue.

The Taoist sage
is unaware
of virtue
and does not act,
for the world is
sacred.

72

Thinking alone
will never bring harmony
with Tao.
Clinging to philosophy
instead of
moving forward in commitment
is the cowardís way
of preserving the ego
and avoiding
emptiness.

73

The ignorant
who cling to the beauty of their own thoughts
instead of
moving forward in compassion,
are like pilgrims who sight paradise,
but refuse to enter,
intimidated by their own visions
of demon angels
grimly guarding
the gates.

74

The sage
in harmony with Tao
knows
without thinking,
for she sees only
the unity
of emptiness.

Like an alien
amongst her own people,
the person in harmony with Tao
moves on the fringes,
wary of the justice of her people,
unable and unwilling
to participate in
their rituals
of ignorance and death.
The loneliness
of the Taoist sage is
separation
induced by
empathy and wisdom.

Hers is the Way of Tao.

75

The spirit is vital
and needs
space,
not regulation.

Rules and laws
signify
the death
of the spirit.

76

Clinging to thought
instead of moving into reality
is a futile effort
to become wise
without being committed.

77

Fleeing into emptiness
to escape life
is the foolish effort
to find enlightenment
without being compassionate.

78

Philosophy without application
is a weak imitation
of sincerity
and brings no comfort,
but only despair.

79

Stale ritual
is the vain effort
to capture vitality
without being part of life.

80

Morals
are
the death shrouds,
dogmas
the wreaths,
ideological arguments
the sad choirs
at the burial of the spirit.

81

Suffering
cannot be defeated by
stale dogma.
Only the joy of the spirit
breaks through
prescriptive barriers
to follow
its pure anarchic path
of liberation.

82

What does it benefit
a man if he can
fearlessly confront
the fiery tiger,
but he is scared of his own
ego?

Isnít he then like
a child
intimidated
by a ghost
invented by himself?

The Taoist sage
dwells
in emptiness
and is not afraid
of attachment.
Like a child
filled with innocence,
the sage
is truly free.

83

To those blessed
with life,
suffering is unavoidable.

To those blessed
with longevity,
deterioration is inescapable.

To those blessed
with the warmth of true relationships,
the coldness of separation
is the ultimate outcome.

To the truly fortunate,
the father dies before the son
and the mother before the daughter.

Life
as a manifestation of desire
may perhaps bring joy,
but it will certainly bring suffering.
It is the Way of Tao.

The ignorant
reject the reality of life
but suffering will ultimately destroy
their illusion
and confront them with the
despair of futility.

The wise
accept the reality of life,
and suffer with quiet grace,
yet their wisdom does not liberate
them from the inevitable,
but often increases
their sorrow.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
accepts life with the innocence
of a child.
He does not seek escape,
but enjoys the warmth of sunlight
and shivers when it is cold.
His is the courage of emptiness,
where hope is unnecessary.

The sage at one with Tao
experiences every moment
of joy and sorrow
with the lightness and humor
of humility.

84

Trapped
in their narrow circles of mercy,
they are blind
to suffering outside
the boundaries set by their ignorance.
Fathers, matrons, teenagers, lovers,
children dressed for Sunday picnic,
oblivious of suffering,
enjoy the bloody spectacle of
matador and bull,
the agony of ritual murder.
Their ignorance is
complete,
for they are unaware of it.

85

Not to expect any reward,
to accept loss,
to endure,
this the person without ego can do,
for the true self is the source of
selflessness.

86


See
the green fields
spread out before your feet.
Tread softly,
for you are stepping on
Buddhas.

87

Do not touch
the morning glory
entwined in the door.
Enter through the window.

88

Do not disturb
the children
playing among the trees.
Their laughter
is
the pure sound of
Tao.

89

Do not snicker at
the old lady
tottering along the path
in unmatched socks.
She is
Tao
returning to
Tao.

90

Separation from Tao
is
illusion.

Understanding this
gives
courage.

Living it
is
enlightenment.

91

Searching for
paradise lost
is futile,
for it has never left you.

It is the fiction of our minds
that condemns us
to hell.
It is the reality of emptiness
that liberates us.

Break the illusion
and return to emptiness,
and silence
will show you
where you have always,
yet never been.

92

The ambition for spiritual elevation
is a form of greed
even more destructive than
greed for material possession.

Spiritual aspiration
claims divine purpose
but it degrades the spirit
as it turns virtue into vanity
and compassion into demonstrative charity.

The lust for spiritual greatness
professes the promotion of unity
but it manipulates and divides
as wisdom becomes cunningness.

Spiritual honor
turns wisdom into folly
and sages into silly old men.

True spiritual greatness
never glitters.

Enlightenment
belongs to the truly humble
who reside in emptiness
where the ego has no influence
and ambition does not exist.

The gates to true spiritual greatness
are wide open to every single human being,
yet those greedy for greatness
will not enter,
for they despise lowly paths
and find no honor in emptiness.

93

The ignorant
long for fame
as if it were the elixir of life.

The wise
understand
that fame is often
the doorway
to vanity and despair.

The sage at one with Tao
finds comfort in
obscurity
where the ego wanes
and the spirit is revitalized
by the power of
humility.

That is why not even fame
can touch him.

94

Losing wisdom
is a greater loss than
losing wealth and honor,
yet one instance of hatred
is more devastating
than the loss of eons of wisdom.

95

One moment of insight
is worth more than
ten thousand lifetimes of ignorance,
yet one moment of compassion
is more precious
than even the profoundest insights
gathered over ten thousand lifetimes.

96

The spirit
asphyxiates
in the stress of worldly ambition
like a fish flung out of water
gasping and writhing
to death
on dry sand.

97

The ignorant
use intelligence
to animate illusion.
The wise use intelligence
to break illusion
and truly understand.
The sage
sees reality
because she is close to
Tao.

98

The ignorant
do not care for virtue,
but only for personal gain.
The wise
know nothing can be gained
if virtue is lost.
The sage
filled with silence
will sacrifice even virtue
if compassion dictates him to,
for he lives in emptiness,
where there is no possession
and nothing can be lost.

99

A
lifetime
dedicated
to illusion
is not worth
a single day of life
lived in the full awareness
of impermanence and transience.

100

Not even
the wisest sage,
nor the most compassionate friend,
nor the profoundest text
can guide you
more truly
than your spirit
in total harmony with
Tao.

101

The ignorant
prepare a cup of hatred
for their foes
only to swallow its poison
themselves.

The wise
pour only
peace into their cup
in order to share its sweetness
with friends and foes alike.

The true sage
neither pours nor drinks.
She moves outside
cycles of
friendship and enmity.
That is why
the sage is
a true preserver of peace.

102

Only compassion
turns
the comfort of theory
into
the risk of action.

Only compassion
transforms
the futility of dualism
into the
mystery of unity.

Only compassion
gives meaning
to the meaningless
and warmth
to cold hearts.

103

Restlessness
is the slow suffocation
of the spirit
out of touch with
Tao.
Only in emptiness
does the spirit find
the peace to wait
until
movement becomes
the natural manifestation of
Tao.

104

Enlightenment
is not the result of thinking,
but of
sincerity based on
compassion
and
the wisdom of emptiness.

105

The ignorant
cling to
possession, status, honor, enjoyment
and everything life offers.

The spiritually ambitious
prefer to withdraw from life
as they strive
towards
quietude and enlightenment.

The true sage
has no spiritual ambition.
His detachment
cannot be disturbed by
the ups and downs
of ordinary life.
His silence
cannot be broken by
the clamor for survival.
He does not need
withdrawal or seclusion
to be at one with Tao.

He lives with both feet on the ground
but with his mind filled with Tao.

His power
is the true power of
emptiness.

106

The sage
in harmony with Tao
would rather live with
the disgrace of integrity
than
the honor of betrayal.

107

The sage
at one with Tao
would rather suffer
rejection resulting from honesty
than enjoy
acceptance based on falsehood.

108

The sage
dwelling in emptiness
prefers
the loneliness induced by wisdom
to
the company that pretense provides.

109

The sage is truly free,
for she has the courage
to face
the derision that freedom exacts,
and to reject
the popularity that captivity brings.

110

The sage close to Tao
will rather suffer
the grief of compassion
than enjoy
the fruits of selfishness.

111

The sage
filled with compassion
prefers
the bitter taste of defeat
to
the sweet nectar of cruel victory.

112

The sage
filled with mercy
knows
the sacrifice of forgiveness
is the difficult road to true closure,
and the satisfaction of revenge
the sweet fruit of evil.

113

The sage
would rather live with
the disadvantages of being gentle
than enjoy
the lucrative rewards of being manipulative.

114

The wise sage
prefers
the humility of silence
to
the pride of speech.

115

The sage
at one with Tao
knows
the defeat
that non-action brings
is victory,
and the victory
resulting from manipulation
defeat.

116

The sage
secure in her wisdom
would rather suffer
the agony of disillusionment
than be addicted
to the ecstasy of ambition.

117

For the sake of integrity,
the sage chooses
the loneliness of Tao
before
the closeness of friends.

118

The ignorant strive
to possess
only to discover
fear in a handful of dust.

The ambitious strive
for status
only to discover
futility in honor.

The wise strive
for wisdom
only to discover
folly is immune to truth.

The sage at one with Tao
does not strive,
for she knows
truth cannot be captured
and compassion is only possible
where ambition has ceased.

Yet her refusal
to touch the world
is the way to true peace.
It is the Way of Tao.

119

Being too busy
is clinging to illusion.
It is the cowardice
of someone afraid of emptiness.

120

A single moment of anger
can destroy
the virtue of a lifetime,
but a single moment of compassion
can destroy
eons of evil.

121

Language
corrupts
the noblest thought,
but even the noblest thought
corrupts
the purity of silence.

122

The silence of
Tao
can be heard only by
the silent.

123

The swallow has decided
only summer
exists.
Every autumn,
it turns its back on winter,
and crosses rivers, mountains and oceans
in arduous quest of its
eternal summer.

The sparrow takes
the seasons in its stride.
It enjoys the warmth of summer
and shivers in the chill of winter.

The clever and ambitious
believe
in the dominance
of mind over matter.
They emulate the swallow.

The Taoist sage
knows
the true mind
is in harmony with
the seasons.
He is a friend of the sparrow.

124

Knowledge
carries with it
the agony of disunity.
Once you have eaten
of the fruit,
a return
to primordial harmony
is impossible.

All our efforts
to recapture
primeval innocence
drive us even further
from the gardens of Tao.

Listen to
the winged demons
wailing
at the gates,
their swords
glistening
in the shadows!
They are painted devils
created by
our own minds.

125

The sage
at one with creation
recognizes
the storm
when it is still
only a ripple on the surface
of a tranquil lake.

126

The sage
in total harmony with Tao
eliminates
enmity
when it is still
only a slight irritation.

127

The true sage
arrests
the deed
when it is still
nestling
in vague thought.

128

The sage
who knows that
destruction
starts with a quarrel
prevents war
even before it is a
frown.

129

The true healer
cures
the disease
before
the symptoms
arise.

130

The ignorant
see
fulfilment
as the gratification of desire,
and they enter
where betrayal turns
the search for satisfaction
into
despair.

The wise
do not enter
where temptation
may become
betrayal.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
seeks
no fulfilment
and enters where he wills.

131

There is only the certainty
of illusion
to the ignorant.

The wise
live with
the agony of disenchantment.

The Taoist sage
needs no illusions
and cannot be disenchanted.
She accepts Tao
and moves in harmony with
change.

132

The true sage
moves
in cycles of mercy
and not
of vengeance.
He treats
the lowly criminal and the elevated saint
with equal dignity.
He breaks cycles of hatred
by ignoring
convention
and following
the natural way of Tao,
where
forgiveness has become
unnecessary.

133

True compassion
may take you
beyond strength and hope
to depths of despair
where
reward is loss,
and
acknowledgment rejection.

The true sage
is not afraid of weakness
and feels at home
where the righteous shudder to go.
Her compassion is blind,
for she expects less than gain.
The Taoist sage
moves in the realms
of Tao.

134

Nothing moves
except
the true source
of power.

The sage knows
the leaves rustling in the trees
are moved
neither by the wind
nor her own mind.

135

Like a dry desert river
waiting for
water
to surge
from the mountains
turning
scorched dust
into fragrant life,
the sage
stays motionless
in the Tao.
He has the patience
to wait
until action,
clear and humble as water,
arises by itself,
not touching the sky,
yet bringing life to withered hearts.

136

The ignorant
try to find
fulfilment
in the gratification of desire.

The religious
fight
desire as the source of
sin and damnation.

The wise
nurture
their desire for virtue
and curb
their desire for evil.

The Taoist sage
has the freedom
of someone who knows
life itself
is a manifestation
of desire.

Living
in total harmony with Tao,
the sage
does not fearfully avoid
nor cling to
desire,
for she dwells in
emptiness,
where the ego
has lost its influence.

Like a child,
she embraces joy
and lives
with whatever the moment brings,
and evil
does not touch her,
for her innocence
is complete.

137

The truly faithful
do not discriminate
and they are not confused,
for they penetrate
the illusion of diversity
and see only
the unity and beauty of
emptiness
which is real.

138

Suffering
is the path to hell
for those
who hate,
but it is
the path to wisdom
for those
filled with compassion.

139

Suffering
teaches
compassion
to the wise,
and
wisdom
to the compassionate.

140

Suffering
is a test of faith
to the weak.
To the sage
in harmony with Tao
it is the reward
of trust.

141

The fool
clings
to the illusion of
material things.

The wise person
cherishes
the disillusionment of
truth.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
has given up
the vanity of truth
and feels at home
with
the humility of emptiness.

142

The wise
fear
the degradation of ignorance.
The ignorant
fear
the humiliation of becoming less.
The religious
fear
the disgrace of hell.

The sage
close to Tao
is unintimidated by
degradation and ignorance,
because she seeks
neither elevation nor wisdom,
and she can face disgrace,
for her humility
carries the power of
emptiness,
where fear does not exist
and courage is unnecessary.

143

The wise
agree with the Master that
fortune and blessing
gather
where there is
stillness.

The sage
at one with Tao
cares
neither for fortune
nor for blessing.

His stillness has no ambition.

He changes the world
without
touching it.

144

The ignorant
are afraid of stillness
because they refuse to face
their own folly.

The wise
prefer to be still,
because they believe
stillness brings truth.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
is still,
because she is untouched by
likes and dislikes.

Like a vast deep lake,
her spirit filled with stillness
reflects Heaven
and moves the Earth.

145

The spirit
of the sage
residing in stillness
is vast and clear as the heavens.
She may seem empty
but she is
the true mover of things.

146

The sage
at one with Tao
understands
even the noblest action
may defile
the purest motives.
Therefore
he does not move
until his motives have dissolved into
nothingness
and his movement is filled with
stillness.

147

The sage
who accepts the Mystery
needs no faith
to live in joy.

He swims in Tao
like a dolphin
frolicking in the waves.

148

The sage
immersed in Tao
has so much faith
that not even
loss of faith
can let her waver.

Like a nightingale
she will fill the dark forests
with her sweet song
even on
the eve
of destruction.

149

Righteousness
turns
virtue into vanity.

Demonstrative charity
turns
natural virtue
into
artificial glitter.

True Virtue
is like
a subterranean lake
providing fresh water
to thirsty creatures of the desert
at fountains
concealed in obscure crevices
and dark pools
hidden in caves.

150

True Virtue
cannot be utilized for gain:
men filled with greed
despise it.

True Virtue
exists only in obscurity:
men seeking fame
will have nothing to do with it.

True Virtue
has no ambition:
men seeking elevation and honor
do not consider it in their actions.

True Virtue
does not seek merit:
men ambitious for holiness
ignore it.

True Virtue
does not touch the world:
men hungry for power
endeavor to destroy it.

151

Utilizing virtue
destroys virtue.
It is the path to hell.

The ignorant
will go to hell for honor.
The religious
use virtue
to go to heaven,
but enter hell instead.
The wise
avoid the path to hell
and prefer the obscurity
of virtue.

The sage
in harmony with Tao
is not interested in virtue.
He acts
spontaneously and intuitively
wherever
his natural compassion
compels him to,
and he will even destroy virtue
and enter hell
when necessary.

The sageís
detachment from virtue
is
True Virtue.

152

The religious
forgive
to be forgiven
and to be cleansed
of their sins.
The wise
forgive
to grow wise
and to break
cycles of hatred.
The sage
forgives
without agenda
even those
that wonít forgive,
because it is
simply
the way she is.

153

Look around you and see
the delight of life.
Do not let its
seeming substantiality
fool you,
nor its transience
make you sad.

People in harmony with Tao
filled
with the wisdom of innocence
live
like children
with whatever the moment brings,
and with eyes giving
life
to everything they touch.

154

Moses in the desert
Buddha in his grove
Mohammed in his cave
Christ on the mountain
all had
visions of glory
corrupted
by men lusting for power.

The True Taoist Sage
avoids
inspiring
men yearning for greatness,
for she knows
they turn
truth
into
paths of hell.

The True Taoist Sage
dwells
where truth is safe.
She prefers
the company of
the humble
dwelling in emptiness
who turn their own lights inward
and become less everyday.

155

Preparation for the Day

I am not
the thoughts in my mind.
Let them come and let them go.

Silence
is my natural state.
Let me control my tongue.

Stillness
is the way.
Give me
patience and humility
to act only when necessary.

Tranquility
is my natural condition.
Let my mind be
a placid pool
undisturbed by emotions,
reflecting only
Tao.

Compassion
fills my true self.
May my thoughts,
my speech
and my actions
be filled with compassion
and guided by wisdom.

Emptiness
is my essence.
Let me curb my ego.
No vanity
may enter my thoughts.
No pride
may enter my speech.
No arrogance
may enter my action.
Let me find comfort
in obscurity and anonymity.

I am emptiness only.
Nothing else.
Everything else is illusion.

Causing suffering
to any creature
no matter how remote
or how different
is cutting
into my own flesh.
Being kind
to any creature
no matter how remote
or how different
is being kind
to myself.

Separation is illusion,
unity is real.
I am part of every thing.
Every thing is part of me.

Let me move to
the rhythm of
Tao
in total unison with
Tao.

Everything comes from
Tao
and everything returns to
Tao.

So let it be.

 

 

© Jos Slabbert 2001
Postal Address: P.O. Box 4037, Vineta, Namibia
Fax No.: 09264 64 46 1014 E-Mail: jos_slabbert@hotmail.com

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