Thoughts From The Tao Te Ching

1470 words - 6 pages

Critical Analysis of The Thoughts from the Tao Te Ching " The Thoughts from the Tao Te Ching," by Lao Tzu addresses the early beginning of the religion of Taoism and how it can be applied to rulers. The age of the book is uncertain, but it is believed to have been written around 551-479 BC (19). This particular excerpt is just one of the chapters from the two part eighty-one short chapter book. This chapter was written as a handbook of sorts for rulers to follow both mentally and physically. The main focus of the chapter is to be "at one" with the Tao, and to follow the three main teachings, simplicity, patience and compassion (Lao Tzu). Throughout the whole piece each one of his poetic ...view middle of the document...

The third teaching is Patience. Lao Tzu feels that a person must have patience with themselves, friends, and enemies alike. One must also be willing to let the world go uninterrupted and let the natural world take its coarse.The structure of Lao Tzu's writing was essential is tying back to the main ideas in the chapter. The use of poetic verse, I feel, was very wise. The form of writing makes it very direct and appears to be very simplistic in structure. His words although, the may seem simple to the eye, to the mind they are very complex in thoughts and beliefs. The words may be short in length, but they are very long in meaning. One small verse such as, " Practice not doing, and everything will fall into place (22)," can carry much meaning. With just one simple sentence Lao Tzu can imply a great deal of ideas to the reader, such as not to interfere with things, and to let the world go on naturally and free of interruption, and the list could go on and on. The point is that no matter how small the words or the sentence may be, if precisely written it can have an unlimited amount of meaning to its readers.Aside from the structure of the writing the ideas were also very well organized and well stated. Throughout the whole piece every one of the verses can be referenced back to at least one of the three main teachings. By constantly referring back to the key teachings Lao Tzu strongly emphasizes the need for the rulers to apply them throughout all aspects of their lives. One such verse that represents this well is, "If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao.Stop trying to control.Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself ( 27)." That particular passage does a wonderful job of showing how anyone of the verses seeks to reinforces the main ideas in the piece. The previous verse implied that to be a ruler one must follow the Tao, which is to live simply. He must also be patient and let fixed plans go, just let the natural flow of life happen. By the ruler listening to the verse and applying it he in turn is following the three main teachings of the Tao.Personally, I feel that following these teachings would be a tremendously hard task. I cannot even comprehend living according to those standards. I would have to give up so many of the things that I have become so accustomed to in life, such as my car, television, my computer, and so many more materialistic things that I have in my life. I would also have to let go a some many beliefs that I have held throughout my life, such as the idea of going to college so that I can obtain a high paying job. In Taoism the idea of wealth is something that is to be forgotten, and I know that I certainty would have a hard time letting go of that belief....

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