Tao Tuesdays – Chapter 33

Every week Amy Putkonin posts a chapter from her version of the Tao Te Ching on her website http://www.TaoTeChingDaily.com and invites other bloggers to comment on the chapter as well as linking to her own excellent commentary on the chapter. I always write mine before I read hers as an exercise in authenticity. This is my unfiltered, direct understanding. I encourage you to read here commentary too. The beauty of the Tao Te Ching is in the way it gives different and wide-ranging wisdom to each pair of eyes that reads it. We are all indeed Sages, and we all have some insight to offer. If you would like to add your understanding, please do so by linking to her blog and adding your name to the list of commenters on the Tao Te Ching Daily link above. Thanks!


Chapter 33

Knowing others is wisdom.
Knowing yourself is enlightenment.

Mastering others is force.
Mastering yourself is strength.

Knowing contentment
is to understand wealth.
If you persist, you will always find a way.

The thing I love about Taoism is it’s clarity. It is simple, plain, straightforward and obvious. Nothing special to do or believe. Living wise and well is spelled out, eesy-peesy. It takes minutes to know, but a lifetime to execute.

This chapter holds no cagey secrets. It is profound at face value:

It’s easy to see what other people ‘should’ do or what may be best for the world around you. Knowing yourself is a whole other kettle of fish. Knowing your own nature opens the whole world and shows us the “Way”

Physical force may superficially conquer others, but it takes far more true strength and real courage to discipline ones self. Many times Taoism has a reputation for being a “do your own thing”, drink white russians and go bowling reputation. Self-dicipline has it’s place…perhaps not physical actions as much as mental outlook. As in Buddhism, it our nature to be un-content. It is our nature to impose our will rather than bend it. If we bend our will toward contentment then we have conqured ourselves, and see the abundance in the life around us.

There is andage along the lines of “you only fail when you quit”. If we remain open, then the way of knowing, enlightenment and contentement will find us somehow.