Tao by Matsumoto

Chapter 38

The highest attainment

Watch the whole chapter 38 without hustle!
Video Playlist @YouTube

  38-1 The highest attainment
  38-2 The lowest attainment
  38-3 No trace of act
  38-4 Mercy
  38-5 The highest righteousness
  38-6 Politeness
  38-7 Lost Tao
  38-8 Lost attainment
  38-9 Lost mercy
  38-10 Lost righteousness
  38-11 Disorder
  38-12 Foreknowledge
  38-13 Thick and Thin
  38-14 Tao's Flower
  38-15 Leave ithttp://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB40BACBE3D26740Ehttp://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB40BACBE3D26740Ehttp://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3801.html#G+_buttonhttp://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3801.html#widget11http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3801.html#widget7http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3801.html#widget12http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3801.html#widget13http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3806.html#G+_buttonhttp://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3806.html#widget11http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3806.html#widget7http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3806.html#widget12http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3806.html#widget13http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3811.html#G+_buttonhttp://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3811.html#widget10http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3811.html#widget6http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3811.html#widget11http://taotechingdecoded.com/31to40/3811.html#widget12shapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1shapeimage_5_link_2shapeimage_5_link_3shapeimage_5_link_4shapeimage_5_link_5shapeimage_5_link_6shapeimage_5_link_7shapeimage_5_link_8shapeimage_5_link_9shapeimage_5_link_10shapeimage_5_link_11shapeimage_5_link_12shapeimage_5_link_13shapeimage_5_link_14shapeimage_5_link_15shapeimage_5_link_16

  [Tao Te Ching Chapter 38] Highest attainment / English translation

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The highest attainment is not attaining. That's where there is attainment.

The lowest attainment is trying not to lose attainment. That's why there is no attainment.

The highest attainment is doing nothing and leaving no trace of act.

The highest mercy is doing it and leaving no trace of the act.

The highest righteousness is doing it and leaving the trace of the act.

The highest politeness is doing it and, if the other does not respond to it, rolling up your sleeves and pulling him.

Therefore, having lost Tao, there is attainment.

Having lost attainment, there is mercy.

Having lost mercy, there is righteousness.

Having lost righteousness, there is politeness.

What you call politeness is the thinness of loyalty and trust, and the neck of disorder.

What you call foreknowledge is the flower of Tao and the beginning of stupidity.

Therefore, a great man remains in its thickness and stays away from its thinness.

He remains in its fruit and stays away from the flower.

Therefore, he leaves that and takes this.



<POINT> No action > mercy > righteousness > politeness

Don't try to reach Tao, Satori, or enlightenment. If you don't try it, you will find out you are already there.

Don't try to stick to the state of Tao because you don't have to worry about losing it. You have always been one with Tao and will be forever. You have just forgot the fact. This defensive obsession not to lose it will create an unnecessary resistance.

If you trust Tao and its power, you don't have to do anything, and everything will be done. People will never see the relation between the cause and the effect.

Even if you do something merciful without letting other people know it, it is not natural at all because you judge. Whether it is merciful or merciless, if you do something, you are against Tao.

If you do something and show it off, it is far from an act according to Tao. It doesn't matter how righteous it is. Whether it is right or not, don't do it.

The furthest act from Tao's way could be being polite. It is absolutely unnatural and unnecessary. It is quite funny when one does something polite and the other doesn't respond to the act. The former may get upset and even force the latter to do correctly what has been expected.

Therefore, after having lost the trust in Tao, we came up with the idea of attaining it. In the state of genuine innocence, we don't have any doubt. Everything is perfect without our act or will.

After having lost the trust and started doubting we will ever get it back, we came up with the idea of mercy, the artificial act to control the others for "their well-being". A merciful person does not believe in Tao's perfection. Surely, it is a form of resistance, an act of refusing to accept the world as it is.

Merciful and discreet people have become rarer and rarer. Then, we have righteous people, people who want to show off their righteousness.

Eventually, even righteous people seem to get rare. Most people are still polite, but they impose their moral to the others.

If you have true loyalty and trust, you don't need something fake. If politeness and formality rule, certainly, it is the beginning of disorder.

Don't take Tao for some kind of foreknowledge or fortune-telling. "Flower" suggests superficiality and holography. In Buddhism, they use the metaphor of flowers, too. Time is part of your hologram and doesn't exist in Tao, so there is no fortune-telling. Don't let stupidity reign over your mind.

Therefore, you should remain in Tao. You had better remember that true You are Tao. You should stay away from your hologram (=the world). Don't get stuck there.

"Its fruit" means Tao, and "its flower" your hologram. Be one with Tao. Don't be attached to your hologram.

Therefore, leave your hologram and remember that you are Tao. You can even go a step further. Once in a while you can leave Tao and play in your hologram. While you are aware that the holographic world is a catalyst, you intentionally make yourself stuck in there and have fun. Great masters do.

  [Related Articles]


To you, what is happiness? Some people wait impatiently for a happy retirement, but it was not the case with Katsushika Hokusai. To him, happiness is painting. He just wanted to paint and didn't care about the rest. At the moment of his departure from this floating world, he wished he were able to live five, ten years more to be a perfect painter.  葛飾北斎

-Chapter 5 Hologram. "Heaven and earth have no mercy."

-Chapter 2 Do not judge. Nothing is wrong. Nothing is right, either.

-Chapter 40 Laughable. "When a low man hears about Tao, he laughs out loud", says Lao Tzu.

-Taoism videos / Chapter 38 1-5 Mercy

-Taoism videos / Chapter 38 6-10 Politeness

-Taoism videos / Chapter 38 11-15 Hokke

Quick guide > Tao Te Ching translation > Chapter 38 The highest attainment

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Let's talk about the definition of the word "Geisha"? In terms of etymology, "gei 芸" signifies "art"; "sha 者""a person"; therefore, it means "an artist or artisan". Since her merchandise is the service of the "art", it is inevitable that better ones and worse ones compete against each other. Who's good at this? Who doesn't know about that? Here comes their «Rivalry». A great writer Kafu Nagai took the pains of recording this art of flirtation.  芸者 永井荷風