Tao Te Ching PDF Summary


Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/tao-te-ching-pdf-summary/

Tao Te Ching is a religious text composed of 81 brief sections targeting the core of Taoism.

There are many speculations regarding the authenticity of this masterpiece, and we must give the benefit of the doubt in this regard.

Without further ado, let’s distill the key message into this summary.

Who Should Read “Tao Te Ching”? And Why?

One cannot say for certain what led Lao-Tse into writing this remarkable religious text, but it sure wasn’t commercial interest. All joking aside, the thought-provoking parables are not fitting for the simple-minded.

Don’t get this the wrong way because not everyone has a neck for religious interpretations while staying away from its biases. Therefore, we recommend “Tao Te Ching” to spiritual fanatics and those in pursuit of higher meaning.

Lao TzuAbout Laozi or Lao Tzu

Laozi or Lao-Tse was an ancient philosopher born somewhere between 6th and 4th century BC in China.

As the founder of Taoism and other religious factions, he has received a lot of attention over the centuries.

His work has become the backbone for various political movements and demands for reforms.

"Tao Te Ching PDF Summary"

In the first 10 Brief Sections, Laozi places emphasis on the world, and the absolute nature of the Tao. The name itself is not nameable, or the concept which can be put into words is subjected to alteration.

This existence or non-existence or the contrast introduced by Lao-Tse is the actual bottleneck. A candle can lighten the burden of a blind person; having the relatedness of all life-elements is the core of one’s beingness.

Lagging behind or forging ahead gives birth to the idea of permanence:

All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself; they grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership; they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).
Heaven and earth don’t take action to be recognized as humane, neither the sages are concerned with being labeled as benevolent. They pray for the rain and deal with the mud amidst the uncertainty of today and tomorrow.

Cluttering up your mind with thoughts is like paddling along the cost on a crowded ship. You start to be losing your sharpness when you veer off course.

Why can’t we act for the sake of being, or can we abandon the thought of looking for purpose in everything – is it okay to be free of conceptual indoctrination?

11-20 Sections:

Color’s five hues from th' eyes their sight will take; Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make; The flavors five deprive the mouth of taste; The chariot course and the wild hunting waste Make mad the mind; and objects rare and strange, Sought for, men's conduct will to evil change.
Henceforth, the sage aspires to please the belly instead of embracing the insatiable look of the eyes. His looks are attached to the former, which to some extent brings into life the question of disgrace and favor.

A temporary slump to a lower position signifies the disgrace which comes along after a thing is obtained and the very perseverance to keep it leads to sickness.

The magic of Tao is beyond one’s notion of conceptual knowledge. They penetrate one’s inner aura and tame the sage’s thirst for trivial pleasures. Those who wholeheartedly endorse the Truth of Taoism can afford to loosen the mental strain upon getting the big picture.

Such movement can help the sage to punctuate the changing indoctrinations, and dispel the evil urges. When harmony is at stake, even stable organizations fall into chaotic functionality.

This cast doubts on the questions – Why all men want to be feared? You can add multiple variations and get the same outcome.

21-30 Sections

What to do with all the beauty, how to define it so that it accurately depicts the existence of things? You might need to flesh it out, to get the glass full. Don’t stray off course led by the restless mind brimming with pointless cravings.

A sage understands the power emerging from humility; he protects it, he loves it and shares it with the world. A purified heart shines and looms out of the darkness; he doesn’t subdue to self-evaluation, therefore his efforts are based on merit.

Tao is center in this endeavor, and as the axis around which all manifestation spins, it urges you to stretch your empathy.

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.
A man looks up to find a law, and accepts the needs of the Earth; The Earth leans on the Heaven for directions, while Heaven enacts its ideas based on the Tao principle. And Tao just is!

Those who realize that white can captivate your attention but to prefer to recline and relax in a black shade, are triggering the aspect of humility. Beneath the clear blue sky, one can find shelter if he unravels the cause for mediocrity.

31-40 Sections

The superhuman has a preference for the left hand in good and reputable locations, while it believes in the mightiness of the right hand in the event of war and conflict. One can easily discern that these instruments are merely used out of urgency.

As far as The Tao is concerned, Laozi labels it as consistent and permanent in nature; indescribable and unseeable.

Heaven and Earth (under its guidance) unite together and send down the sweet dew, which, without the directions of men, reaches equally everywhere as of its own accord. He who does not fail in the requirements of his position continues long; he who dies and yet does not perish, has longevity.
Under those circumstances, the sage is able to pursue its lust for achievements in the material and intangible realm and make its way through life. One is not required to uphold tradition because feeling upbraided cannot be subsided with the notion of acceptance.

A person or sage whose life pivots around the Tao principle can lift the veil on The Great Image. The world keeps plugging away as of that moment; no unrest is bestowed upon its wings; no crime is committed at the behest of men.

The fragrance of heaven steams from the essence of Tao; it springs from the existence of life, and the non-existence of superficial concepts.

41-50 Sections

The rugged terrain of finding Tao looms in the distance, even in daylight. The Tao has no name, so it’s unperceivable for the likes of narrowness. Tao imparts wisdom to those having the wits to accept it, and those able to fend the enemy off.

The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. All trace through the essentialism of Tao and tackle the darkness of life.

Not many have been able to absorb the meaning without submitting to written concepts, and they can capitalize on this non-actionable action!

Who is content Needs fear no shame. Who knows to stop Incurs no blame. From danger free Long live shall he.
Tao presides over the world, prevails in the world, rules the world. When Tao doesn’t get the respect is due, or when Tao is neglected to its full, the war-horses show their backs and flee to enemy lines. There’s no greater sin than enforcing a thought-police, no greater guilt than banning aspirations.

He who finds purity in the mud, he exerts himself in learnings the ropes of each day. He is the one whose knowledge and expertise allow him to distinguish Tao from words and actions. The sage strives hard to not to form a mindset, but embodies the one of its people.

51-60 Sections

All things are under Tao’s wings, created by it, nurtured by it, and impugned by it. Not following this law can take a toll on your spiritual and emotional condition. People who don’t pay tribute to Tao, don’t even know Tao; honoring it is the sum and substance to all that exists.

Are you entitled to its yields? It’s like harvesting the crops and picking up the fruits as a result of your labor. It sidesteps from wielding power with relish and exerting influence on one’s essence, but it introduces maturity and destroys obscurity – mysteriousness at its finest.

The great Tao (or way) is very level and easy, but people love the by-ways. He who has in himself abundantly the attributes (of the Tao) is like an infant. Poisonous insects will not sting him; fierce beasts will not seize him; birds of prey will not strike him.
He who can’t discern the essence of (the Tao) is not required to interpret its meaning. A state may enforce its laws based on its agenda, but a real kingdom can emerge only as a consequence of one’s inner freedom of thought and action.

61-70 Sections

A powerful state strives for confluence between classes and people, while a weaker one only wishes to exercise its dominance over its inhabitants and serve others. Under Tao, you get what you long for; whatsoever is the main trigger for lust will be your prayer at night.

The method of Tao gets things rolling by acting without the thought of action, and doing business without feeling the burden of it; to perceive the small things as powerful, and every uttered word to be repaid with decency.

Therefore, the sage desires what (other men) do not desire, and does not prize things difficult to get; he learns what (other men) do not learn, and turns back to what the multitude of men have passed by. Thus he helps the natural development of all things and does not dare to act (with an ulterior purpose of his own).
In its path, and those who cherish its truths will find safe harbor without the weight attached to their shoulders. An act of mercy and tenderness ought to be the battle-cry for war; the road to victory. Heaven will never turn its back on its possessor because his humility will come to its aid.

Those who know the words of Tao see the meaning of life.

71-80 Sections

Being able to think, calculate and observe is a good starting point. Not being able to discern the critical values of life and continue to think is a disease. When fear is not instigated in the minds of people, they inflame this disease even further. It’s dreadful not knowing where the ignorance is coming from.

To circumvent this predicament, the sage tries to dive deep into itself, and set its intangible values. He neglects the urges to show off and tries to unravel the cause of deep cultural malaise. As a result, you can pick one of the alternatives presented.

The people do not fear death; to what purpose is it to (try to) frighten them with death? If the people were always in awe of death, and I could always seize those who do wrong and put them to death, who would dare to do wrong?
The process of bending a bow can be put on the equal footing with the Way (or Tao) of Heaven are understood. If you pull the string to the upper part, it might break, not doing it, you’ll have a useless tool.

Whatever you do, stay away from deficiency.

81st – Section

Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.

Those who plunge into the depths of Tao don’t dispute it, those that understand Tao are not prone to conceptual learning; those that love superficial prowess follow practicality.

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"Tao Te Ching Quotes"

[bctt tweet="Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know." username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.” username=“get12min”]

Our Critical Review

We don’t have much to say other than – it was truly thought-provoking experience that left us breathless.

Did we get the idea? You be the judge!