Friday, May 19, 2006


Heaven is eternal
Earth is enduring

How can they be like this?
Because they don't live for themselves;

That's why they can endure forever.

Therefore the wise person puts himself behind,
yet finds himself in front.
Treats himself lightly, and finds himself safe.

Is this not because he has no Self?
That's why his Self is complete.

This verse is very literal and easy to understand. Heaven and Earth, because they're not conscious, are held up as examples of things which aren't preoccupied with themselves. The authors then advise that if people don't worry so much about their status, that they will find peace and their situation will naturally improve. Certainly we can think of the kind of examples they might have had in mind: people who love their work so much, for instance, that they do it amazingly well, gaining the admiration of everyone. Their goal is not to achieve high status, but through forgetting about themselves, and forgetting about status, they've achieved it anyway.

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