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Joy in the Present
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5th November 2003

Tao Te Ching Interpreted Succinctly

a 9-fold pattern of 81 insights presented as phrases

- / -


An alternative ordering of the 81 items is presented elsewhere.
See also Commentary on Tao Te Ching Interpretation: and the possibility of higher order patterning
Patterning possibilities are presented separately in detail in 9-fold Higher Order Patterning of Tao Te Ching Insights
Navigational implications are explored in Hyperspace Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects

[See also multiple interpretations of I Ching]


1. Journeying through unnaming the myriad patterns of the past -- that hide the emergent implicate order with which they are strangely identical [m/n/x]

2. Engaging without engaging -- for labeling anything engenders a complement with which it is called endlessly to dance [m/n/x]

3. Cultivating non-engagement -- with what has already emerged from the implicate order [m/n/x]

4. Having been there; having done that -- "not this; not that" [m/n/x]

5. Engendering through complementarity -- without gain [m/n/x]

6. Completing -- as the enduring call to engendering [m/n/x]

7. Enduring -- through centering on what ultimately nourishes [m/n/x]

8. Easing forward, going wherever, without competition -- seeking depth, like water [m/n/x]

9. Avoiding excess -- and the problems it brings [m/n/x]

-- / --

10. Centering through learning; knowing through not-knowing; reflecting without distorting; instigating without owning; leading without ruling [m/n/x]

11. Benefiting from what is not -- through its framing of what is [m/n/x]

12. Sensing the inner -- to avoid desensitizing the outer [m/n/x]

13. Governing others appropriately -- through recognizing their exemplification of oneself [m/n/x]

14. Living the present -- through recognizing the undifferentiated nature of ancient beginnings [m/n/x]

15. Subtly stilling to clarify the troubled; elusively moving to enliven the inert; strangely fulfilled by unfulfilment [m/n/x]

16. Accepting wisely the enduring cycle of beginning and ending -- to ensure the enduring peace that offers the freedom for open-hearted magnanimity [m/n/x]

17. Acting simply, enabling others to value their own initiatives -- since such insightful leadership is hardly recognized -- [m/n/x]

18. Failing to exalt merit -- that induces hypocrisy and disorder, disguised behind a screen of fashionable values [m/n/x]

-- / --

19. Being untroubled through needing little and wanting less -- irrespective of rules, injunctions and seeking after merit [m/n/x]

20. Living uncertainty, confusion and strangeness -- in awkward contrast to those whose clarity derives from polarization [m/n/x]

21. Knowing the strange uncertainties offered in the moment -- by the spirit of the elusive, from time immemorial [m/n/x]

22. Acting contrarily -- as an appropriate way of expressing the integrity of that which can only be understood through paradox [m/n/x]

23. Being in the moment -- through trusting in the power of the moment [m/n/x]

24. Avoiding disproportion and self-satisfaction -- to ensure healthy development [m/n/x]

25. Following the unnamable -- sustained by the unchanging that evokes it, through the process of following it in the moment [m/n/x]

26. Becoming insightful through assiduous handling of obligations; progressing effectively based on a core of stillness [m/n/x]

27. Educating the challenged as the inspiration of the wise -- whether or not that is appreciated [m /n/x]

-- / --

28. Knowing the other, and retaining one's identity and quality -- as the true source of power and renewal [m/n/x]

29. Doing "nothing" to the world -- for, as a sacred entity, doing "anything" to possess it is to degrade and lose it [m/n/x]

30. Leading through inspiration that does not seek to win -- in contrast to the vanquishing of others that degrades all concerned [m/n/x]

31. Using weapons, when there is no choice, with a calm, still mind -- since enjoying their use, and their killing of people, is to lose one's share in the common good [m/n/x]

32. Knowing when to cease making essential distinctions -- as the key to safeguarding that which ensures integrity and vitality [m/n/x]

33. Applying to oneself the skills developed successfully to deal with others -- as a key to appropriate action and a quality of wisdom and greatness [m/n/x]

34. Achieving greatness without great doings -- as accomplished by the wise [m/n/x]

35. Holding fast to the eternal process through the very ordinary -- as the preferred key to its significance [m/n/x]

36. Prevailing through weakness -- as necessarily following the rise and dominance of the stronger [m/n/x]

-- / --

37. Self-organizing of myriad things -- as naturally entrained by the stillness in unnaming and unshaping [m/n/x]

38. Abiding in letting go and doing nothing -- as superceding clinging to power towards a determined end, in the righteous light of premature understanding or obedience to directives [m/n/x]

39. Enwholing to sustain the integrity of the subtle -- as enabled by encompassing the ordinary [m/n/x]

40. Returning from weakness -- through which being is eternally born of nothing [m/n/x]

41. Understanding appropriateness -- as challenged by the contrariness of insight inappropriate to its nature [m/n/x]

42. Losing as the key to the cycle of winning and losing -- essential to wider knowing [m/n/x]

43. Ensubtling to enliven the impenetrable -- that appears permanently to constrain [m/n/x]

44. Self-constraining fruitfully -- avoiding the traps of projection [m/n/x]

45. Remaining calm and clear to ensure that the capacity for appropriateness is renewed -- despite appearances to the contrary [m/n/x]

-- / --

46. Knowing that enough is enough -- as the key to wanting less [m/n/x]

47. Understanding the truth and opportunity of the moment -- avoiding its inhibition through seeking elsewhere [m/n/x]

48. Unlearning -- to ensure that things are progressively governed more fruitfully [m/n/x]

49. Enminding the world to see the ordinary through the eyes of children -- caring for it through them [m/n/x]

50. Living in recognition that this implies dying -- but living appropriately to remove the fear of that dying [m/n/x]

51. Nurturing life according to natural processes -- neither possessing it, claiming it, nor controlling it [m/n/x]

52. Understanding insignificant beginnings and their pathways to endings from which beginnings arise anew -- in order to avoid unfruitful dispersal [m/n/x]

53. Ensuring modesty -- so as to avoid inequitable and shameless accumulation [m/n/x]

54. Ensuring that rules for oneself are consistent with those for the world [m/n/x]

-- / --

55. Knowing harmony as knowing the eternal -- in contrast to achieving maturity as part of the cycle presaging death [m/n/x]

56. Knowing that discourages talking -- in contrast to the talking that discourages knowing [m/n/x]

57. Avoiding instrumental thinking, initiation of innovative change and regulation of action -- which tend to be counter-productive and inappropriate [m/n/x]

58. Bumbling on without forcing -- through indirection [m/n/x]

59. Gathering insight to ensure staying power -- irrespective of the worldly undertakings chosen [m/n/x]

60. Allowing potentially disruptive forces to have their place -- within a larger context [m/n/x]

61. Lying low to ensure integrity and continuity -- 'the meek shall inherit the earth' [m/n/x]

62. Honoring the appropriate as a gift -- in contrast to the fashionable [m/n/x]

63. Focusing on the challenge of beginnings -- as the foundation for any subsequent achievement, whatever its scope [m/n/x]

-- / --

64. Attending to what may have been neglected in the achievement of undertakings [m/n/x]

65. Being in ignorance of appropriate action -- as empowering appropriate response to the unexpected in the moment [m/n/x]

66. Following rather than leading -- as the key to appropriately sustainable guidance [m/n/x]

67. Leading the mightiest by not presuming to do so -- however improbable this may seem [m/n/x]

68. Avoiding competition -- to ensure the appropriate use of ability [m/n/x]

69. Yielding to antagonism -- thus disempowering the attacker and devaluing any resultant victory [m/n/x]

70. Being obscure -- as characteristic of an understanding and mode of action that is not of this world [m/n/x]

71. Knowing without knowing -- as the only remedy for the sickness of knowing without not-knowing [m/n/x]

72. Fearing the dangers of acting inappropriately [m/n/x]

-- / --

73. Acting silently, non-competitively, and non-directively -- to readily ensure the most appropriate consequences [m/n/x]

74. Avoiding the presumptuousness of usurping the judgement on others by the larger scheme of things [m/n/x]

75. Living for more than the pursuit of wealth -- or solely for the sake of living [m/n/x]

76. Bending in response to pressure -- as the essence of strength and the key to survival [m/n/x]

77. Redistributing from those who have to those who have not [m/n/x]

78. Recognizing the counter-intuitive, paradoxical nature of appropriate action [m/n/x]

79. Fulfilling obligations -- as indicative of the subtle power that eludes those focused on their rightful claims [m/n/x]

80. Enjoying the freedom of movement in relation to what is to hand, without yearning for elsewhere or elsewhen -- or the use of the facilitating devices they evoke [m/n/x]

81. Doing without outdoing -- avoiding the destructive traps of charm, contention, and learning [m/n/x]


Links to other translations:
m
=translation by S. Mitchell; n =Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English;
x =Line-by-Line Comparisons of 29 translations (St. Xenophon Library)


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