Taoist Passages: The Importance of Being Desireless and the Vanity of Thieves

1. Introduction:

In this essay, the author presents his understanding of the message and philosophy of two passages from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tszyu – Passage One and Passage Fifty-Three. The first passage speaks about the importance of being desireless while the second passage talks about how thieves and people of high classes are nothing but vanities.

2. Taoist Passages:

a. Passage One: The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name. (Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.
Always without desires, you see its mystery. Always with desires, you see only its manifestations. These two come forth from the same Source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.

In this passage, Lao Tzu speaks about how being desireless is key to understanding the Tao or ‘the way’. He states that when one is without desires, they can see the mystery while when they have desires; they can see only manifestations which ultimately leads to misunderstanding. This is because when one has desires, they focus on material things instead of what truly matters. Lao Tzu also speaks about how everything has a beginning but not an end and how there are two aspects to everything – light and darkness, good and evil. He concludes by saying that the key to understanding is through darkness or mystery.

b. Passage Fifty-Three: The thief knows only how to steal; he does not know how to use his stolen goods properly. Thefeels ashamed before honest men and would rather die than be found out; thus he does not steal from honest men nor does he steal from those who could make use of his stolen goods properly…
If granaries were full to bursting, thieves would not exist; if high classes were not extravagant, thieves would not exist; if vanities were not cultivated, thieves would not exist… Yet these three things do exist, so there must be someone who likes them! This is why I say that theft arises from poverty…
The sage manages affairs without action And teaches without words… He lets all things take their natural course And resides at the centre of emptiness… In dwelling, live close to the ground In thinking, keep to the simple In conflict, be fair and generous In governing, don’t try to control In work, do what you enjoy In family life, be completely present So the global community may regather around you As rivers and seas receive water back again.

In this passage, Lao Tzu talks about how thieves are created by poverty and how they are a result of people’s extravagance. He goes on to say that if people were not extravagant and if granaries were full, then there would be no need for thieves. Lao Tzu also speaks about how theft arises from poverty and how the sage manages affairs without action or words – letting all things take their natural course. He concludes by saying that if people regather around the sage, then rivers and seas will receive water back again in return.

3. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the author has presented his understanding of the message and philosophy of two passages from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tszyu – Passage One and Passage Fifty-Three. The first passage speaks about the importance of being desireless while the second passage talks about how thieves and people of high classes are nothing but vanities.

FAQ

The Taoist understanding of passages is that they are a way to connect with the natural world.

Taoists use passages to connect with the natural world by following the flow of energy or "qi".

To "live in harmony with the Tao" means to live in accordance with nature, and to be at peace with oneself and the world around them.

Simplicity is important in Taoism because it allows one to focus on what is truly important and find peace within themselves.

Some ways that you can apply the teachings of the Tao to your own life include: living simply, being mindful of your actions, and spending time in nature.

Some common misconceptions about Taoism include that it is a religion, that it is only for men, and that it advocates complete passivity.

If you are interested in learning more about this ancient Chinese philosophy, some good resources include books such as The Tao Te Ching or The Art of War, or websites such as http://www.taoism101.com/.