Tao Te Ching Chapter 19

If you would see, look

Eliminate holiness
and abandon wisdom,
and everyone will benefit
a hundred times over.

Eliminate philanthropy and proper behavior
and the people will return
to true devotion.

Eliminate cleverness
and abandon profits,
and thieves will disappear.

These three things are false adornments.

Recognize the simplicity
of embracing one’s natural state of being.

Stop seeking knowledge
and you will remain above worry,
Setting aside your self-interests and desires.


When I remember I am neither holy or wise it benefits everyone.
When I remember the blessing and the word go nowhere and mean nothing,
I remember it is only an illusion to believe we are separate.
I remember we are one. 

When I remember I am neither generous or conformed, I can neither give nor teach.
I remember who I am.
I remember what I think I have is only what I think I have.

When I remember there is no profit in artifice and deception, nothing can deceive me.

Adornments are never simple or true. Honesty is.
There is peace in simple honesty, unadorned.

Be humble. Be true. Be honest.

I’m just me, for better and for worse. I have words, thoughts, feelings, a gaggle of personas, a karmic history, an identity, an ego, a path, a source and destination and way points between, a nature and a nurture, a neurology and a psychology, a body and a world and a spirit and a soul.

Responses to Tao Te Ching Chapter 19

  1. I wonder if squirrels meditate… (see photo).

    Probably not. Squirrels don’t have jobs and struggle with living in the world or living in a cave. They just live. Life is their meditation.

    • Hi Amy.
      Speaking for my inner squirrel, which is considerable squirrelly, I know we meditate constantly by living. ;)

      The picture reminded me of a part of the quote of the Dalai Lama I posted in Chapter 17:
      “It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.” The Dalai Lama’s point being that it is easy to be caught up in the world “without” and so become inclined to see and be influenced by much of what is outside us and know little of what is within.

      When I saw the picture it seemed to me to widen that perspective with equal perfection. Life is short and transient, the Tao eternal. Soon the room is abandoned, the windows are broken. What is left is our tufted little Buddha buddy, beholding creation. In some inexpressible way it is… simply perfect.

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