What is Tao Wisdom?
Tao wisdom is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu (6th century B.C.), the ancient sage from China. Born with a head of white hair (an unusual sign of inborn wisdom), he was noted for his deep understanding of human wisdom.
Later in life, Lao Tzu wanted to leave the then warring state of China for Tibet, but he was stopped at the city gate, where he was told by the guard to put down his wisdom in words before he was free to leave. Reluctantly, he put down his wisdom in his book “Tao Te Ching.”
What is “Tao Te Ching”?
“Tao Te Ching” is the only book written by Lao Tzu.
First of all, according to Lao Tzu, true wisdom can never be expressed in words; like self-enlightenment, it has to come from the self, and has to be self-intuited. Much against his belief, he put down his profound wisdom in exactly 5,000 words without any punctuation mark.
Over the centuries, many scholars from all over
the world have translated the original text into many different languages, according to their own interpretations.
“Tao Te Ching” has become one of the most translated works in world literature, ranking with the Bible as one of the top ones in popularity.
“Tao Te Ching” has only 81 short chapters. The language is simple, but intriguing. The wisdom is plain, but controversial. However, it is a book that one would read over and over again throughout life.
Tao Wisdom Essentials
Tao wisdom is simple and easy to understand, but difficult to put into everyday living because it requires, ironically, profound human wisdom.
(1) Having an empty mind. Empty the mind of all preconceived concepts, ideas, opinions, and prejudices, which are usually based on one's past experiences, and which are often stumbling blocks to one's clear thinking, a prerequisite of attaining true human wisdom.
(2) Letting go. In modern life, there are many
Attachment to material things means buying things you don’t need, and refusing to give away the things you no longer need. It is hoarding and craving for more, and believing that more.is better.
Attachment to time means the mind is always on the past or the future, and seldom, if ever, on the now -- talking on the phone while driving; working on the computer while eating. It is forever time-press and always on the go.
Attachment to the past means holding on to
past glories, and neither forgetting nor forgiving past grudges. It is pride and an-eye-for-an-eye.
Attachment to the future is expectation and fulfillment of wishful desires of the mind. It is fear or lack of confidence of the unknown, which often leads to wrong life choices. It is refusal to embrace in life both success and failure, the desirable and the undesirable, as well as the good and the bad.
Attachment to the ego means wishing to be someone else, or refusing to accept one's true self. It is the byproduct of all attachments. Without the ego, there is no need for any attachment. Let
go of the ego-self.
(3) Never-overdoing. Do what is necessary, but never overdo it. Live in the present with no expectation of the future outcome of the present doing. Lance Armstrong, the once-famous cyclist, has become discredited and dishonored due to his "overdoing" by taking performance-enhancing drugs to win all his races.
(4) Living in the now. Only the present is real: the past was gone, and the future is yet to come.
Living in the now enables you to see who you really
are, as well as how and why things happen in your life. It is this mindfulness of the present that holds the key to attaining Tao wisdom.
(5) Following the laws of nature. Mindfulness lets you see all things as they are, not as what they are supposed to be, or what you wish they were. According to the natural laws, everything comes from the Creator, life always ends in death, what goes up must come down -- they all follow a natural cycle, just like the four seasons.
Enlightenment comes only when one dies while
alive -- that is, one has to be born again -- and, reawakens to the ultimate truth that one comes from where one started, and goes back to where one began. This is the essence of Tao wisdom.
The author's note: Tao is not a religion, and never intended by Lao Tzu to be one, although it subsequently evolved into a religion in ancient China. Tao is just a way of thinking -- the unique way of thinking by Lao Tzu.