Tao Te Ching Chapter 18

When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body’s intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.

Stephen Mitchell, Translator

When the great way falls into disuse
There are benevolence and rectitude;
When cleverness emerges
There is great hypocrisy;
When the six relations are at variance
There are filial children;
When the state is benighted
There are loyal ministers.

 D. C. Lau, Translator

When the Geat Tao is forgotten
separation is created.
People play at goodness and piety,
forgetting what is good and holy.

People forget their common destiny
and become separately sly.

People turn their minds to what they see
and ignore what they know.

When our oneness is forgotten
people seek favor and pay obeisance
and maneuver for advantage.

When oneness is lost and chaos results,
when community is lost and the land is insane,
the people claim the land for themselves
and no-one else.

They have no other place.
They have forgotten their place.
They have become small.
They are separated.
The great Tao is forgotten.

Genuine.                      Fake.
Honesty.                       Hypocrisy.
Us.                    Me.
Good.                            Bad.
Our Oneness.               They don’t count.
Be yourself.                 Be someone else.
Contribute.                  Take away.
Share.               Hoard.
Get real.           Pretend.
Help.                Trick.
Love the earth                          Pave the earth.
Come in.                       Keep out.
Smile.               Scowl.
Laugh.              Curse.
Dance.             Compete.
We’re in it together.                   Look out for # 1.
What you see is what you get.           What you see is my best mask.

I choose.

3 Responses to Tao Te Ching Chapter 18

  1. I LOVE that last one. Did you write that? It really brings it home.

    • Hi Amy.
      Yes, it’s my own reflection and I’m glad it finds its way “home” to you. Your appreciation is appreciated!

      In some of the chapters I’ve reflected my own understanding of the translations in my own words. Lenore has made the same comment as you about some of my other reflections, she likes them because the words illuminate the meaning for her, and words don’t always do that. (Tell me about it…)

      Her appreciation is a great inspiration to me to keep doing it because she is brilliant AND wise and possessed of an intuitive connection which waits patiently for me at point “z” while I work my way there from a to b to c etc. I often verify my thinking with her knowing, and trust her implicitly. Truth be told, she’s the brains of the operation around here. I will be sure to have her read this. I need all the points I can get. At last count it was 387, 921 to 17 and she was making a strong run, pulling away.

      The language and eccentric expressions are my own and I can not blame her for that, unfortunately. If only I could… We each have good yin yang balance, she the stronger in yin while I put just a bit more weight on the yang side of my scales. Together we manage to stay balanced and fairly close to “home.” Which there is no place like.

      Cheers, Bob

      • PS: I know some of you are wondering how on earth I managed to get 17 points. When we started this latest score (last week) she spotted me a thousand points. That should explain a lot. She usually beats me a million to one, and then has the grace to kiss me on the cheek and tell me, “That’s OK, honey. Look at it this way – you’re one in a million!”

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