Tao Te Ching Themes

Stephen Mitchell
This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Tao Te Ching.
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"Not-doing" is the mysterious way in which the Tao makes things fall into place. The Tao "does nothing but through it all things are done." The Tao is beyond value and no one can achieve it. Above all, trying to control the future is like an amateur using a master carpenter's tools and, inevitably, getting cut. Although people build wheels, craft pots, and construct houses, it is the space within that functions because people work with being, but use non-being.

The Master best illustrates not-doing. She neither seeks nor expects fulfillment but is always present and welcoming. By not displaying herself, by proving nothing, by not knowing herself, and by not setting goals, the Master shines, gains trust and recognition — and succeeds. By contrast, those who rush ahead, trying to shine, define themselves, take power over others, and cling to their work all defeat themselves. Tampering with...

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This section contains 1,015 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tao Te Ching Study Guide
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