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    The Way of Tao, Volume 2




    The Way of Tao, Volume 2


    CHAPTER 1


    The dangers of success, the agony of the ego, and the gate of
    heaven
    29 January 1972 pm in Immortal Study Circle


    IT IS BETTER TO LEAVE A VESSEL UNFILLED, THAN TO ATTEMPT TO CARRY IT WHEN IT IS FULL. IF YOU KEEP FEELING A POINT THAT HAS BEEN SHARPENED, THE POINT CANNOT LONG PRESERVE ITS SHARPNESS. WHEN GOLD AND JADE FILL THE HALL, THEIR POSSESSOR CANNOT KEEP THEM SAFE. WHEN WEALTH AND HONOUR LEAD TO ARROGANCE, THIS BRINGS EVIL ON ITSELF. WHEN THE WORK IS DONE, AND ONE’S NAME IS BECOMING DISTINGUISHED, TO WITHDRAW INTO OBSCURITY IS THE WAY TO HEAVEN.

    Life is not plain mathematics. Rather, life is an enigma. It is also not a logical arrangement. Rather
    it is a mystery. The path of mathematics is straight and clear; riddles are never straight and clear.
    The solution of logic lies hidden in its seed. Logic never leads to anything new. Mystery always goes
    beyond itself.

    Lao Tzu is investigating this mystery in these sutras. We can understand it in two ways. If we were
    to imagine a person traversing a path which is absolutely straight, we can see that he will never
    return to the starting point of his journey. But if his path is circular, he is bound to return to the point
    from where he began. A circular path leads back to the beginning of the journeyLogic believes life to be linear. Mystery contends that life is circular. The logic of the West which has
    influenced the consciousness of man so deeply, does not view existence as circular. In the East,
    where efforts have been made to understand the mystery of life, whether it was Lao Tzu or Buddha
    or Krishna, existence has always been viewed in the form of a circle. ”Circle” means we return to
    the starting point.

    Therefore, the mundane world has been described as a wheel. Samsara means wheel. It means a
    circle. Nothing in this world is straight, whether it be the seasons of the year or life itself. Life ends
    in death at the very point from where it started at birth. When a child is born, his very first step
    into life begins with his first breath. A child begins to breathe only after he is born and a man stops
    breathing only when he dies. Life ends with the out-going breath. The point from which life’s journey
    begins is the very point where death takes its place. Life is a circle. If we understand this in the right
    perspective, we shall be able to follow Lao Tzu.

    Lao Tzu says: ”Do not take success to its ultimate end or else it will become failure.” If you carry
    your success to its last point, you will have turned it into failure with your own hands. If you draw
    the circle of fame, it can only be completed in infamy. If life flows in a straight line then Lao Tzu is
    wrong, but if its course is circular, then he is right.

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