The Tao is the wonder of wonders in the world. For those who are skillful in the art of living life, the Tao is their treasure. For those who are not so skillful, the Tao protects them and provides them with a way to keep going.
We can use the Tao and inspire people with positive words, or help them with good deeds. For the negative ones out there who are beyond help or inspiration, the Tao compels us to be compassionate, and not give up on them.
Consider the greatest spectacle, like the crowning of the Emperor — think of the three ministers, the ceremonial offering of jade, and the magnificent steeds. As amazing as all of that is, it still cannot compare to the simple pleasures of being immersed in the Tao.
Why is that? Why did the ancients value the Tao above all? They knew it was the way. Those who follow it will gain everything; those who fail to follow it will only make things more difficult for themselves. How about you? Will you follow the Tao? You have the power to choose — and that is why the Tao is the greatest wonder of all.
The audio recordings below are provided for your convenience. Please note that they are extracted from YouTube videos, with visual elements that cannot always be clearly conveyed through words alone.
- Part 1: download from Google Drive
- Part 2: download from Google Drive
- Paraphrase: download from Google Drive
This chapter is about the value of the Tao. It surpasses all manifestations of the material world, including the greatest wealth and the highest authority. The jade and steeds symbolize the wealth, while the emperor and his ministers represent the authority surpassed by the Tao.
One writer on the Tao Te Ching twists the above into “when a new leader is chosen, offer to teach him about the Tao.” This is not what the original says or even suggests, nor is it a practical notion that is likely to work for anyone.