Way & Virtue

Lao Tzu was said to be a contemporary of Confucius, although many years his senior, and the legend of their ideological rivalry is very popular. It is said that both their reputations traveled before them, so when they met face-to-face Lao Tzu was anything but impressed. He sternly rebuked Confucius for his arrogance, greed and ambition. When the audience was over, Confucius is recorded as saying: "I understand how birds can fly, how fishes can swim, and how four-footed beasts can run. Those that run can be snared, those that swim may be caught with hook and line, those that fly may be shot with arrows. But when it comes to the dragon, I am unable to conceive how he can soar into the sky riding upon the wind and clouds. Today I have seen Lao Tzu and can only liken him to a dragon."
In dwelling, live close to the Earth.
In thinking, be open to new ideas.
In relationships, be kind.
In speech, tell the truth and keep your word.
In leading people, demonstrate integrity.
In daily matters, be competent.
In acting, consider the appropriate timing.
Thirty spokes join together at one hub,
But it is the hole in the center that makes it operable.
Clay is molded into a pot,
But it is the emptiness inside that makes it useful.
Doors and windows are cut to make a room,
It is the empty spaces that we use.
Therefore, existence is what we have,
But non-existence is what we use.
Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.
Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.
Why do people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take life lightly.