Lao Tse — Tao Te Ching

9. One should not pour water into a full vessel. And there is no sense in sharpening an edge too much. And if a room is overfilled with gold and jasper, who will guard it?

Excessiveness in everything causes troubles.

When the work is finished, one should retire.

Such are the laws of harmony suggested by Tao.

10. In order to maintain calm, one has to feel Unity with Everything*. Then one does not develop false egocentric desires.

One has to refine the consciousness. Let one, in this respect, become similar to a newborn baby. The one who becomes so subtle becomes free from delusions.**

One has to rule the country and the people with love for them and without violence.

The gate from the world of matter to the hidden world is open when one stays in calm. Understanding of this truth comes in non-doing.

To educate without violence, to create without boasting, to produce without possessing the products, to be older than others and not command them, this is the true righteousness of Great Te***!

11. Thirty spokes are united in one wheel. But, the use of the wheel depends also on the space between the spokes.

Vessels are made of clay. Yet, their usefulness depends on the empty space inside them.

Buildings consist of walls, doors, windows. Yet, the building’s usefulness depends also on the space in it.

This is the relation between the usefulness of objects and emptiness.

12. The one who sees only five colors in the world is like the blind.

The one who hears only the sounds of the material world is similar to the deaf.

The one who partakes of only material food and feels only its taste is deluded.

The one who, in pursuit of prey, races at full speed is insane.

By accumulating jewelry and adornments, people act to the detriment of themselves.

The efforts of the wise are directed at having enough food, not at accumulating many objects. They, satisfied with little in the world of matter, choose the Primordial.


To feel oneself an integral part of the Absolute.

*Only through this can one cognize Tao.

**I.e., the higher ethics suggested by Te, by the Holy Spirit (Brahman).


To be continue.

Classics of Spiritual Philosophy and the Present

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