Wisdom of TAO Te Ching

THEME of TAO : “The emptiness of the circle ⭕️ is the fullness of its expression.”

 Use of languages,
a lexicon artifact,
with syntactic rules,
and with semantic structures,
is a study by itself.

I was a teacher.
Professor of linguistics.
How mind processes language.
How we interpret the world.

I was a teacher.
Student of word usages.
How language is used
with both noun and verb phrases,
in composing sentences.

Steeped in languages,
I developed a passion.
Became word punster,
making language my folk art;
a reservoir of wisdom.

How words have meaning;
many quite ambiguous,
and multilayered,
context interdependent,
that cannot be overlooked.

TAO teaches us
how life seems multilayered;
itself a puzzle,
full of ambiguities
that we are tasked to decide.

In this decoding,
in which life is like a maze,
we will find contrasts.
But the search must continue,
until we find unity.

There are many paths,
some conducted quite alone,
that lead to TAO.
Life offers many pathways.
Some crooked and, yes, some straight.

Some choose singleness,
the singleness of purpose.
An inward turning,
that’s ‘set apart’ from others;
as the life of a hermit.

Some choose company,
to live this life with others;
in life partnerships.
To learn from one another;
forging pathways together.

Life as a hermit
can produce enlightenment,
can provide wisdom;
but not without the TAO;
not without the Inner SELF.

TAO looks at both,
while seeking the impartial;
path of non-action.
By actingwithout acting;
following path of Wu-Wei.

Language as hindrance,
is made of divergences;
of oppositions.
Based on what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’
On what is ‘good’ or is ‘bad.’

Language and contrasts
was something that I studied,
long before TAO;
becoming a professor
in this noble discipline.

I was a teacher
with bare knowledge of TAO.
Not yet a student.
Discussing art of language
without aid of the TAO.

I was a teacher.
In my retirement years,
I am a student.
A student of the TAO.
And the role of opposites.

That they are contrasts
which together make wholeness.
One needs The Other
for us to understand SELF
and our sense of Existence.

The SELF and TAO,
made of the same warp and woof,
are lifetime partners.
They are master artisans;
and we are all their subjects.

TAO informs us
about the relationship
of SELF to the world.
TAO is teaching
about our own true natures.

The TAO discerns
that the natural order
of the universe
is about knowledge of Self.
That is The Truth we all seek.

Such an arcane Truth
comes from teaching and learning.
The two in concert:
The Teacher as ‘The Father.’
Child as ‘Father-of-the-Man.’

Teaching is learning.
How else can one know TAO
except as student
sitting at the very feet
of one who is The Master.

From humility,
by humbling our outer selves,
we turn to TAO,
sitting as a disciple,
and thus turning inwardly.

The inward turning
is that of a disciple;
is that of student,
turning to embrace Psyche,
and in sync with the TAO.

I was a teacher.
In my retirement years,
I am a student.
A student of the TAO.
And the role of the opposites.

Consider this, friend.
TAO knows that The Teacher,
in order to grow,
must also be The Student.
One is linked to The Other.

So as a teacher,
having become a student,
and a disciple
of the Wisdom of TAO,
I have a different outlook.

Opposites as pairs,
are much more than antonyms.
They work together
to explain how the world works:
In Harmony as Oneness.

TAO is Teacher.
TAO is Master Teacher.
Teacher of Wisdom.
And we are its disciples.
Some compliant — and some not.

The path to knowledge
of ourselves and of the world,
is by TAO’s path.
A path that leads to ‘The Way’
of opposites united.

This, Life desires:
Relationship to the Self;
to the Inner Self;
residence of the TAO,
and of finding unity.

As a living soul,
who do you say that you are?
Do you KNOW your SELF;
that you are a child of TAO;
of Godly circumstances?

Consider this, friend:
The truth of knowing thy SELF,
is by NOT judging.
The beginning of Wisdom;
of Alpha and Omega.

Not judging others.
An existential wisdom
that can be discerned
by focusing on Spirit,
the source of all unity.

TAO has Wisdom.
TAO is non-judgmental;
seeking harmony.
The harmony and balance,
opposing oppositions.

Consider TAO.
It teaches us deepest truths:
Truth of Yin and Yang.
Beyond language and contrasts.
Wisdom of TAO TE CHING.

About this poem

A STATEMENT OF OUR MORAL FORTITUDE: “To thine own [core Taoist] self be true, and it must follow , as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” A monologue by Polonius, adviser to King Claudius, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3, line 84. The TAO Te Ching , as an ancient philosophy of non-judgmental impartial principles, is constructed of eighty one poems, each poem being traditionally called a chapter. To explain this poem I shall cite Chapter Two of TAO Te Ching, which is a reading of the poem entitled “Language and Contrasts. ” In this poem, translated from Classical Chinese into modern English by Chad Hansen, in the illustrated text, “Laozi TAO Te Ching on The Art of Harmony,” the underlying message is that language and its lexicon of extensive dimensions are of such nature that when we employ vocabulary in ordinary and in everyday conversations and usages, we of sheer necessity invoke our awareness and knowledge of a world inhabited by contrasts and opposition. This by itself does not provide as much wisdom as we would like to believe. Rather, it provides very little in-depth insight or wisdom. Instead, and in retrospect, it moves us away from TAO which dwells on the Wu Wei principle of the underlying balance and harmony in nature. What TAO demonstrates most profoundly is that language is essentially a sophisticated semiotic system that is embedded with permutations of syntactic parsing and semantic contrasts designed for human communication, but not offering much wisdom concerning the deep structural nature of reality, ongoing scientific research and philosophical argumentations notwithstanding. Here now is a rendering of the poem in nineteen lines from Chapter Two of TAO Te Ching. LANGUAGE AND CONTRASTS: When all the social world regards beauty as “beauty”,/ Here already is “ugly”./ If all treat mastery as “being good at” things./ Here already is “not being good at” things./ Thus “presence” and “absence” mutually sprout./ “Hard” and “easy” mutually inform./ “Long” and “short” are mutually gauged./ “High” and “low” mutually incline./ “Sound” and “tone” mutually blend./ “Before” and “after” mutually follow on./ Using this: sages don’t act on constructs in addressing affairs;/ They practice a “don’t use-language” teaching./ 10,000 natural kinds are made by it/ Yet don’t express anything./ Sprouting, you don’t treat them as “existing”./ Acting on constructs, you don’t rely on anything./ Success taking form, you don’t dwell on it./ In general, they simply don’t dwell on it,/ And in that, they don’t lose it. A closing message: Recognize and acknowledge contrasts for what they are. But pray, don’t dwell on contrasts; don’t preoccupy yourselves by assigning moral or ethical values to them. Accept them in their own natures without impositions, as demonstrations of The Way, of the uncarved block, of the Wu Wei of TAO in harmony and balance. Reality has its own wisdom, its own internal system of “fuzzy” logic, its own internal truths and arrangements, its own laws and its governance that will forever befuddle humanity. 

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Written on February 18, 2023

Submitted by karlcfolkes on February 18, 2023

Modified by karlcfolkes on February 24, 2023

4:47 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme a bxxcd Exbfg Ebxbb baexh ijklx jkmxx inoxp xxqnx bjicr pcxee rlhqd xmais txuxx oxqea Eqlfq EVLQw oxedt qxcux jxgic xexdx xixex iqlxe pxqmp imlpq EVLQw Xexle elmqx xbexj eehxx fgxsx cddqp xxdqb Xdihx chxrp hmptu qxxoi
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 4,434
Words 957
Stanzas 37
Stanza Lengths 1, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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