13th Verse of the Tao

The best translation, in my opinion.  This is by Jane English & Gia-fu Feng.

“Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.
What do you mean by “Accept disgrace willingly”?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called “accepting disgrace willingly.”

What do you mean by “Accept misfortune as the human condition”?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.”

It’s interesting, to me, that Lao Tzu over 2,500 years ago had a profound love and respect for the environment, including everyone on the planet.  We typically associate older civilizations as barbaric.    He was truly enlightened.

This verse addresses the ego.   It’s hard to use the word “disgrace” in a positive way.  What I think he means is do not obsess with fame or glory because it will only lead to disaster.  When you “accept being unimportant”, he’s not saying you’re not important.  He’s saying that we’re all part of the same continuum.  No one is better than the other.  We’re all important and the opposite.

Some people can not let go of the ego, although they’re aware of it.  They feel it’s the source of their power.  The ego can make you competitive and help you win some of the time,  and it can make you “better” than most of the people around you.  Use it long enough and you surrender your life to it.  Most tragic is that it cuts you off from the true source and the true meaning of life.  Only one at peace knows the true meaning of life, which is living and being in the present moment.  The present moment is timeless.

When you do not get caught up with being right or important, you become one with a source that is infinite.  You dis-identify with the physical world,  and a new world opens up and gives you what you need and what you want.   This is all your need, and you become peaceful.

by admin

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