The Tao te Ching, As It Is; Poem #3 with Commentary

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Note: The first five introductory paragraphs in this story are repeated from the previous Entries in this Series of 81Comentaries. Feel free to skip this introduction if you have already read it in the previous commentaries in this Series.

An Introduction to the Series

If you are not already familiar with The Tao Te Ching, it is one of the most influential texts of spiritual wisdom ever created. Also known as the Lao Tzu or Laozi, it is traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC Sage Lao Tzu.

The Book, consisting of 81 poems or entries is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism and is also a lifestyle guide to spiritual seekers of all stripes.

The book is also devoid of any discussion concerning the elements common to most formal religions. When I speak of these I refer to such elements as rites, rituals, ceremonies, the clergy, holy books, or houses of worship. The book can be studied by students of any faith or even agnostics and atheists without concern that they are somehow betraying their primary faith. To explore the Tao is to tap into your inner Soul Samarai.

Many ancient as well as modern Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and gardeners, have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has spread widely outside East Asia and it is among the most translated works in world literature.

When I became a monk, a life I chose to live for over 5 years, I spent much of my time exploring my own inner experiences with those proscribed and described in Lao Tzu’s profound book. At that time, in 1972, I began to create a meta-analysis of the text. I did this working with over 20 modern Mandarin to English translations. Since the original work was written in “old Mandarin”, a language that is no longer spoken, I believe my meta-analysis describes Taoist thought closely to what might have been originally intended.

Welcome to the Third Entry of the Tao te Ching with Commentary.

This entry is extracted from The-Course in Essential Taoism A-Z And-Beyond

You can find Entry #1 at

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Entry # 3: The Path to Harmony

By not celebrating achievers,

one will cease scheming to win.

By not desiring precious objects,

one will avoid theft.

By not showing off things of desire,

one prevents emotional confusion in others.

Therefore a wise leader guides:

by diminishing the ambitions of others,

by filling their bellies,

by keeping them innocent and without greed.

Where there are those who have intellectual knowledge,

the wise leader keeps them from scheming and interfering.

By practicing non-action, everything will fall into place

without struggle and in the best of ways.

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Entry # 3: Commentary on The Path to Harmony

In this entry, Lao makes a, not so subtle jab at envy and unnecessary competitiveness. He offers a number of examples of the type of trouble we can get into when we desire what others have and chase after material things. He is not just speaking here to anyone. He is directing his message to the common person. Yet, he also implores leaders and employers to be wise guides to their minions. He seems to say when stating “fill their bellies” that employers should offer their workers a living wage and make sure that those with intellectual knowledge also behave with wisdom. He points out that those with great intellects may be inclined to “scheme and interfere” with the affairs of others who, though less educated, are nonetheless competent. He suggests to these intellectuals that they practice inaction so things may naturally fall into place.

“By practicing non-action, everything will fall into place

without struggle and in the best of ways.”

This concept exists in Japanese business management kaizen. Here the manager allows the skilled workers to determine how best to do their jobs. Then if these suggestions make business sense the manager implements them.

In the world of commerce the skilled leader, who must deal with common thinkers must know how to leverage people’s natural desires. These desires are likely to include socializing, learning, seeking mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure.

Even if rewards are offered to community or staff members who accomplish desired tasks the Essential Taoist knows it is useful to make the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other employees or team members. The Essential Taoist also understands the importance of creating other formats to encourage individuals to collaborate and create win/win scenarios.

In work situations, common people are likely to be confronted with issues of influence, power, security, benefit, and risk. Whether a person is an executive or at the bottom of the capitalist ladder these are all relevant issues.

The person in possession of profound wisdom understands how the needs of common people have changed with the rise of the global economy. The wise Taoist thinker can help others effectively address the core issues in any business; maximize the talents as well as the social interaction skills of all employees or team members.

Read on to learn about my personalized, and customized course on Essential Taoism.

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The Course in Essential Taoism A-Z and Beyond…

Based on our translation, meta-analysis, and commentaries on the writings and teachings of Lao Tzu in the Tao te Ching…The Course in Essential Taoism A-Z and Beyond…

I’m the author: I am a game theorist and a teacher of essential Taoism. I am also a self-improvement coach offering advice for innovators of all levels who are dealing with obstacles and constraints in their work (and play).

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Most of my Medium stories, when related to natural healing. self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, and Eastern Philosophy are anchored into the concept of Applied Game Theory. This idea explores how and why people make certain choices, including decisions related to their health, well-being, and self-awareness.

Researchers into game theory have won over twenty Noble Prizes. The movie “A Beautiful Mind” is about the life of John Nash, one of the pioneers in game theory. Of course, the most sophisticated competitive and strategic game in existence is the Chinese game of Go. Learn more about the powerful tool, game theory, for self-improvement. I explain it in the article below.

The article was written so that a 12-year-old can easily understand and apply the simple 3 step system. The article also includes a short video interview of me with Jim Selman a pioneer and thought leader in leadership, business success, and innovation.

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If you want to read more of my stories on Taoism, self-improvement, creativity, and innovation, I recommend the following story next:

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I offer advice on the arts, innovation, self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, game theory strategies, and love.

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