Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu returns here to the mysterious nature of Tao, the Way. It's so vague and distant that we can only guess its existence by the deductions we make from observing the world around us. It's the inner working of the universe, and probably therefore also the originator of it.
Tao is the natural law by which the universe operates.
A natural law has no form of its own, but governs all there is, and never gets fatigued or diminished. Although it causes all the magnificence of the world we live in, it's infinitesimal, like the dust of the dust.
This law that governs all can have no preferences. It treats the biggest things the same as the smallest, none with less care. To Tao, they are essentially the same.
Mountains, planets, galaxies, they all consist of atoms, which do in turn consist of particles so minute that their existence may never be confirmed. Since everything in the world consists of things small, the minute is closer to the nature of Tao. And since most things in the world go by unnoticed, the hidden is also closer to the nature of Tao.
Because Lao Tzu sees the Way as the reason behind all, he concludes that it must have the most to do with the things that we regard as lesser. The big events are rare, while everyday proceedings take place constantly. The bigger the size of things, the fewer they are. So, the Way deals mainly with the small.
We should ponder this, so that we remember to pay the most attention to the things that seem to be the least significant.
The most enduring powers in the world are those that stand out the least. Sharpness does not last, nor does the tightness of a knot, or the brightest light. There is nothing that remains longer than its own dust.
So, if we become like dust, we will prevail – and we will be in unison with Tao.
That has not been the typical trait of mankind so far. Instead, we ravel at burning down forests to build temples and palaces, drilling tunnels through mountains, and changing the courses of rivers. Ours is noisy species.
Although Ti was indeed regarded as a creator god, Lao Tzu doubts that he predates Tao. Even a creator god must obey the natural laws that rule the universe, or it would not have come into existence. If it did, it would not have remained.
A natural law does not exist by itself, but through nature, where it manifests itself. Therefore, it has no birth date. There may be a starting point for its manifestation, but the law itself is timeless. When a world of whatever kind appears, it has to follow the law for such a world. But the law does not change if the world appears or disappears. It remains the same forever and anywhere. So, it's eternal and ever-present. It was before the gods, and it's present where they are not.
There can be a universe without any gods to rule it, but not one without laws for it.
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