The Tao that Can be Told

On the first full day I was in Pune, India in 1975 with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, he began a series dharma talks on Lao Tzu‘s Tao Te Ching. These talks resulted in a series of four volumes call Tao: The Three Treasures. The narrator, a long-time disciple of his, reads this as an introduction to the dharma talk:

On the Absolute Tao

The tao that can be told of
is not the absolute tao

On the Rise of Relative Opposites

When the people of the earth all know beauty as beauty,
there arises (the recognition of) ugliness.
When the people of the earth all know good as good,
there arises (the recognition of) evil.
being and non-being interdepend in growth;
difficult and easy interdepend in completion;
long and short interdepend in contrast;
high and low interdepend in position;
tones and voice interdepend in harmony;
front and behind interdepend in company.
Therefore the sage:
manages affairs without action;
preaches the doctrine without words;
all things take their rise,
but he does not turn away from them;
he gives them life, but does not take possession of them;
he acts, but does not appropriate;
accomplishes, but claims no credit.
It is because he lays claim to no credit
that the credit cannot be taken away from him.

Lao Tzu

This is a follow up on the previous three articles on Words of Wisdom from Lao Tzu. You’ll find part 3 here, and be able to get back to parts 1 and 2. I included this because of my reverence for Bhagwan and love of the teachings of Lao Tzu.

My experience on that day in Pune was very agitated. On the one hand, I listened with rapped attention to Bhagwan and loved his narrative about how, when he speaks on Lao Tzu, he speaks on himself. On the other hand, I had a restless night before the dharma talk because of 28 hours of travel, sleeping on a table because my room wasn’t ready, and the sound of the rats scurrying around the kitchen. Add to this was the anticipation of darshan with Bhagwan that evening in the courtyard of his residence. I submitted a question which Bhagwan handled the very next day wondering whether I had come to the right place.

Rajneesh may be a controversial figure in most people’s minds, but in my mind, he spoke with great wisdom and great understanding. I really don’t know what happened in the years after 1980.

What are your thoughts about Rajneesh, if you have any?

Tao Te Ching: A New English Version

In eighty-one brief chapters, Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao-the basic principle of the univ… [Read More…]

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