December 4th, 2011

2

2. LETTING GO OF COMPARISONS

We cannot know the Tao itself,
nor see its qualities direct,
but only see by differentiation,
that which it manifests.

Thus, that which is seen as beautiful
is beautiful compared with that
which is seen as lacking beauty;
an action considered skilled
is so considered in comparison
with another, which seems unskilled.

That which a person knows he has
is known to him by that which he does not have,
and that which he considers difficult
seems so because of that which he can do with ease.
One thing seems long by comparison with that
which is, comparatively, short.
One thing is high because another thing is low;
only when sound ceases is quietness known,
and that which leads
is seen to lead only by being followed.
In comparison, the sage,
in harmony with the Tao,
needs no comparisons,
and when he makes them, knows
that comparisons are judgements,
and just as relative to he who makes them,
and to the situation,
as they are to that on which
the judgement has been made.

Through his experience,
the sage becomes aware that all things change,
and that he who seems to lead,
might also, in another situation, follow.
So he does nothing; he neither leads nor follows.
That which he does is neither big nor small;
without intent, it is neither difficult,
nor donᇘŮwi￿￿ e��e.��r ଯ> His task completed, he then lets go of it;
seeking no credit, he cannot be discredited.
Thus, his teaching lasts for ever,
and he is held in high esteem.

Taoism - Stan Rosenthal's Tao Te Ching - Translation

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