Tao Te Ching Verse Twenty Two Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1243 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Tao Te Ching was written in China about 2,500 years ago at approximately the same time when Buddha spoke on the Dharma in India and Pythagoras taught in Greece. It is probably the most influential Chinese book of all times. Its 81 chapters have been translated into English more times than any other Chinese document. The Tao Te Ching provides the basis for the philosophical school of Taoism, an essential pillar of Chinese thought. It teaches there is one undivided truth at the root of all things. It literally means:

= tao

(the way)

= te


= ching


Both the poetic form and the message portrayed in The Tao Te Ching verses are still very applicable. Although it was written so long ago, it still has considerable meaning for humanity today, if not even more than in the past, due to the growing complexity of a technological world.

As an example is verse 22. Twenty-Two translated by Lao Tsu, Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

Yield and overcome;

Bend and be straight;

Empty and be full;

Wear out and be new;

Have little and gain;

Have much and be confused.

Therefore wise men embrace the one

And set an example to all.

Not putting on a display,Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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They shine forth.

Not justifying themselves,

They are distinguished.

Not boasting,

They receive recognition.

Not bragging,

They never falter.

They do not quarrel,

So no one quarrels with them.

Therefore the ancients say, "Yield and overcome."

Is that an empty saying?

Be really whole,

And all things will come to you.

Term Paper on Tao Te Ching Verse Twenty Two Assignment

Stylistically, the verse uses a number of figures of speech. At the beginning is a series of antithesis or contrasting constructions as well as repetition of the word "be": "Yield and overcome"; "Bend and be straight"; "Empty and be full"; "Wear out and be new"; "Have little and gain." This whole part of the verse is also a tautology, saying the same thing with different words. The words also evoke images: The bending tree or plant, the full bucket of water, the warn out clothes.

These words in the beginning of the verse are also similar to "ying" and "yang." Yin originally meant "shady, secret, dark, mysterious, cold." Yang in turn meant "clear, bright, the sun, heat," the opposite of yin. From these basic opposites, a complete system of opposites was elaborated. Yin represents everything about the world that is dark, hidden, passive, receptive, yielding, cool, soft, and feminine. Yang represents everything about the world that is illuminated, evident, active, aggressive, controlling, hot, hard, and masculine. Taoism takes the doctrine of yin and yang, and includes it in its own theory of change. It sees all change as one opposite replacing the other

The verse continues with more repetitions of the word "not." Next are three words that mean the same, "put on a display," "boast," and brag." Then a few of the same words are used in two rows: "quarrel, quarrels"; "says, saying." Once again, it is back to the opposites "yield and overcome" and a play on words "Is that an empty saying? Be really whole."

Finally comes the surprising climax or paradox. If one yields, bends, is empty, wears out, has little, does not put on a display, does not boast, does not brag, and does not he/she will be whole and things will come to her/him.

For most of all, the verse is a prime example of the Tao Te Ching paradox. How can a person overcome by yielding? How can someone bend and be straight? How can something become full when it is empty? Be new when worn? Gain when having little? How can a person be confused when having much?

This is a concept that is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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