Monday, February 12, 2007

An Appropriate Coincidence

I've been slowly reading Huston Smith's The World Religions (Harper San Francisco, 1991) for several weeks now and I just finished the section on Taoism last night, which resonated rather strongly with me. After writing the beaver post, I sheepishly remembered several quotes from the Tao Te Ching that Smith had included in the section. They seemed appropriate, so I am including them here.

From Chapter 15 of the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell's renderings, New York: Harper & Row, 1988; quoted on page 209 of Smith's The World Religions):

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

And from Chapter 29 of Witter Bynner's The Way of Life According to Laotzu (New York: Putnam, 1986 reprint of 1944 edition; quoted on page 212 of Smith's The World Religions):

Those who would take over the earth
And shape it to their will
Never, I notice, succeed.
The earth is like a vessel so sacred
That at the mere approach of the profane
It is marred
And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.

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