Thursday, 26 January 2012

Verse 60


Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Approach the universe with the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn’t there,
but you will be able to step out of its way.

Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.

Lao Tzu begins this verse with a humorous but pertinent metaphor, in which he again stresses that trying too hard to make things turn out right is likely to cause disaster and ruin. So don’t poke your fish too much! We need to relinquish our tendency to force things and to know when less is more.

This verse also speaks of evil. Another word for evil is ‘ignorance’, which is usually at the root of all acts of cruelty and harm and which begets other undesirable states such as hatred, prejudice and self-righteousness.

To be centred in the Tao is to bring a shining light into the darkness. The darkness is then either transformed by the light, or (as often happens with those that are deeply rooted in their ignorance) it is repelled by it. Either way, being centred in the Tao is the ultimate remedy for eradicating and transforming evil. It may not cease to exist, but it loses its power to harm.

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