Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dao De Jing #43: Overcoming

The Dao De Jing is one of the great treasures of world literature. It is also one of the foundations of philosophical Daoism. An online version of the Dao De Jing may be found here. Below is chapter 43: Overcoming.

43. Overcoming

Water overcomes the stone;
Without substance it requires no opening;
This is the benefit of taking no action.

Yet benefit without action,
And experience without abstraction,
Are practiced by very few.


The Strongest Karate said...


Regrettably, I dont understand. Going to have to apply more than just the usual 4 synapses to figure this out.


Rick Matz said...

There are many applications, but this one is close to home and will serve for now.

You've decided to study karate. Fine. I'm sure that like most of us, there is some tendency to intellectualize about your martial art and your training; making it a mental exercise. That's fine too.

Where you accrue any benefit though, is through your sincere, committed daily practice; not through your intellectual excursions or by going through the motions.

It is from out practice that we become healthy and strong, our coordination is refined and our minds calmed.

By your physical exercise the underlying philosophy of your art is assimilated into your body. Not by force. Not by thinking. It comes slowly over time, like running water wearing down a stone.

"Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning." - Thoreau

The Strongest Karate said...

I thought I should tell you... This quote, and your explanation, came at just the right time. On the ride home from work yesterday I was going through the list of household tasks that required immediate attention and believed I wouldn't have time for Monday's training.

Then, when I arrived home, I looked at my gym bag, thought of the lawnmower, and then thought about the quote and your explanation.

It was a simple choice, really.

Rick Matz said...

A month from now, six months from now, a year from now or 30 years from now starts right here and now.

Compass Architect said...

Understanding DDJ is about taking its content and connecting it to one's own experience. The reader either gets it or he/she doesn't. There are various hacks to connecting it to one's life. ... But, that is a different topic. In summary, it is the same way for understanding of Sunzi's the Art of War and the other strategy classics. If that reader does not have any conscious awareness of their past experience, then he/she needs to rethink their training process.

Rick Matz said...

I can't read the original myself, but I can read translations by sinologists and philosophers who are working with original material. I'm not so much interested in someone else's interpretations of interpretations.