April 18th, 2011

15

Long ago the land was ruled with a wisdom
Too fine, too deep, to be fully understood
And, since it was beyond our full understanding,
Only some of it has come down to us, as in these sayings:
'Alert as a winter-farer on an icy stream,'
'Wary as a man in ambush,'
'Considerate as a welcome guest,'
'Selfless as melting ice,'
'Green as an uncut tree,
'Open as a valley,'
And this one also, 'Roiled as a torrent,
Why roiled as a torrent?
Because when someone is in turmoil how shall they find peace
Save by staying patient till the stream clears?
How can  someone's life keep its course
If they will not let it flow?
Those who flow as life flows know
They need no other force:
They feel no wear, they feel no tear,
They need for mending, no repair.
.
The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (The Witter Bynner version), Terebess Asia Online (TAO)
(with some minor changes.)
goban

15

The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.
-
-
The ancient Masters
were damn impressive.
They were deep. Real deep.
Words can't even begin to describe
how deep they were.
You can only talk
about how they acted.

They were careful,
like a man walking on thin ice.
They were cautious,
like a soldier behind enemy lines.
They were polite,
like a guest at a party.
They moved quickly, like melting ice.
They were as plain as a block of wood.
Their minds were as wide as a valley,
and their hearts as clear
as spring water.

Can you wait
for that kind of openness and clarity
before you try to understand the world?

Can you hold still
until events have unfolded
before you do the right thing?

When you act without expectations,
you can accomplish great things.
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.