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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.

             第 二十

Line 1  希言自然飄風不終朝

Line 2  暴雨不終日

Line 3  孰為此天地

Line 4  而弗能久有況於人乎

​​Line 5  故從事而道者同於道



Line 6  德者同於德

Line 7  失者同於失   

Line 8  同德者道亦德之

Line 9 同於失者道亦失之 


The Authentic






     This lesson follows nicely on the previous one, where Lao Tzu notes that the sage does not show off, boast, or contend with others. These are not natural to us. 

    Our natural or authentic self is what Lao Tzu calls our  自zì 然rán  “self-so-ness,” who we naturally are.

    Obeying our 自zì 然rán  natural self is effortless to us. But, “effortless” does not mean “easy.” “Effortless” means that we do not have to work hard to like it, because it already is us. It “fits.”  It is our own very personal way.

    "Our own very personal way" is not the job or occupation we have in the world. Rather "our personal way" refers to how we do whatever it is we do whether it be our job, our life as a family member, how we take our leisure, and everything else in our life. Again, "our own very personal way" is a "how," not a "what." 

     And, when we oppose our own personal way, and choose another way, it is like forcing ourselves to smile naturally. We can do it. Perhaps even do it well. But it is not us.

Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary


It is natural

to say little.

A gusty wind

doesn't last long.







A violent downpour

won't last long either.












Why not?

Because it is the way

of heaven and earth.











If heaven and earth

can't make these last long,

how can any of us?








Therefore, when what

we do is in accord

with the Way,

we are One with

the Way itself.














When we abide

in the Power

of the Way,

we are One

with that Power.









And when we

lose our personal way,

we are one with that loss.









But when we are One

with the power of the Way,

it is the Way
that is empowering us.




And to be sure,

when we lose the Way,

the Way is lost to us




​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. . . . . . .



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