Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 59


In caring for others and serving heaven,
There is nothing like using restraint.
Restraint depends on giving up one’s own ideas.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation,
The Tao of long life and eternal vision.

Interpretation by Gabriel Raam:
How does it goes? First it begins with two important assets: caring for others and serving heaven, but then immediately he is going to point out that in both of them they are worth nothing if they are not executed with restrained. Restrained should be understood here as one of the most important ingredients, the first is: of being able to have some self-consciousness, self-control, having solid standards, what I call: strengthening the floor instead of just running towards the ceiling. Without restraining oneself the self-consciousness and being able to practice self-monitoring and self-control –caring for others and serving heaven -will not be complete.
Why? Because without restraint we have only mechanical responses, even the highest qualities should not be completely wild.
But restraint is not enough for him, he goes on to put condition upon it, upon restraint, he says that this in turn, depends on one reservation: giving up one’s ideas. By ideas he is referring to personal or collective opinions, one’s opinions reduce the clarity of one’s conscious restraint.
Having overcome the stumbling block of one’s opinions – he continues in putting another condition on self-consciousness (restraint) – by saying that it in turn must rest on virtues gathered from the past.
From now on it all leads to the subject of virtues. It becomes clear that he this verse mainly is dedicated to the subject of virtues, just like verses number 54 and 55 – in those verses he gives to virtues the uppermost importance, so, what is virtue or superior virtue in the Tao?
All that we know about it from the book itself is that The “virtue” of Daoism is a latent power that never lays claim to its achievements; it is the “mysterious power” of Dao present in the heart of the sage—in another verse he says: “persons of superior virtue never act and yet there is nothing they leave undone.”
His discussion of virtue he opens with an ultimate statement:
“If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits”.
Finally and exactly, The 8 virtue jewels are:
compassion, kindness, love. Moderation, simplicity, frugality. Humility, modesty. (Compassion is number one, is the height, the rarest and the most crying with hardly any compassion response.
Here are some sayings about it:
A world without compassion is hell, more so for the soul people.
Being a medical doctor either without compassion is bad, but being a psychotherapist without compassion is a waste of time at best or a sin against the client at worst.

  • There is one thing for which there should be no forgiveness – where there is a cry for compassion – and no one around is even thinking about the giving of compassion.
    * I understand him by a ruler – that he means a ruler of himself. And it all rests in the end on having restraint (self-consciousness) which must come together with high virtues. The combination of this two will have in him the Tao of long life and eternal vision.
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