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IT IS THE WAY IT IS

IT IS THE WAY IT IS
A TAO TE CHING / LAO-TZU

INTERPRETATION BY JAY LAMB

a.k.a. Zenmaster Jay

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IT IS THE WAY IT IS
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PREFACE

The Tao Te Ching has a long and complex textual history. On
one hand, there are transmitted versions and commentaries
that date back two millennia; on the other, there are ancient
bamboo, silk, and paper manuscripts that archeologists
discovered in the last century.

"Tao Te Ching", Calligraphy by Gia-Fu Feng
There are many possible translations of the book's title,
owing to the polysemy of the component Chinese words:

• Dào/Tao 道 literally means "way", "road", "path", or
"route," but was extended to mean "path ahead", "way
forward", "method", "principle", "doctrine", or simply
"the Way". This term, which was variously used by
other Chinese philosophers (including Confucius,
Mencius, Mozi, and Hanfeizi), has special meaning
within the context of Taoism, where it implies the
essential, unnamable process of the universe.

• Dé/Te 德 basically means "virtue" in the sense of
"personal character", "inner strength", or "integrity",
but was used differently by Confucianists to mean
"morality". The semantics of this Chinese word
resemble English virtue, which developed from a (now
archaic) sense of "inner potency" or "divine power" (as
in "healing virtue of a drug") to the modern meaning of
"moral excellence" or "goodness". Compare the

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compound word dàodé (道德 "ethics", "ethical
principles", "morals," or "morality").

• Jīng/Ching 經 originally meant "norm", "rule", "plan",
"warp" (vs. "woof") and was semantically extended to
mean "scripture", "canon", "great book", or "classic".

Thus, Tao Te Ching can be translated as "The
Scripture/Classic/Canon of the Way/Path and the
Power/Virtue", etc.

Note that there is in fact no "its" in the title, either explicitly
or implicitly. Therefore, commonly accepted translations of
the title such as "The Book of the Way and Its Power" are in
fact adding an extra element that takes away from the
accuracy.

Besides Daode Jing, other titles include the eponymous
Laozi (老子 "Old Master[s]"), the amalgam Laozi Daode Jing
(老子道德經), the honorific Daode Zhen Jing (道德真經 "True
Classic of the Way and the Power"), and the Wuqian wen (五
千文 "Five thousand character [classic]"; see next).
Internal structure
The received Tao Te Ching is a short text of around 5,000
Chinese characters in 81 brief chapters or sections (章). It
has two parts, the Tao Ching (道經; chaps. 1–37) and the Te
Ching (德經; chaps. 38–81), which may have been edited
together into the received text, possibly reversed from an
original "Te Tao Ching" (see Mawangdui texts below). The
written style is laconic, with few grammatical particles,
frequently ambiguous, occasionally rhymed, and expressing
often difficult ideas poetically.

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The Chinese characters in the original versions were
probably written in zhuànshū (篆書 seal script), while later
versions were written in lìshū (隷書 clerical script) and kǎishū
(楷書 regular script) styles. Daoist Chinese Characters
contains a good summary of these different calligraphies.
Historical authenticity
The Tao Te Ching is universally ascribed to Laozi, who may,
or may not, have been a historical person ("Old Master"), or
people ("Old Masters"). No one can be certain; indeed, Laozi
"was a hidden sage" (Kaltenmark 1969:10).

Laozi
The first reliable reference to Laozi is his "biography" in the
circa 100 BCE Shiji (63, tr. Chan 1963:35-37), by Chinese
historian Sima Qian, which combines three stories. First,
Laozi was a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 BCE), his
surname was Li (李 "plum") and personal name was Er (耳
"ear") or Dan (聃 "long ear"). He was an official in the
imperial archives, and wrote a book in two parts before
departing to the West. Second, Laozi was Lao Laizi (老來子
"Old Come Master"), also a contemporary of Confucius, who
wrote a book in 15 parts. Third, Laozi was the Grand
Historian and astrologer Lao Dan (老聃 "Old Long-ears"), who
lived during the reign (384-362 BCE) of Duke Xian (獻公) of
Qin).

Legends that Laozi was born old, and that lived to 160 or 200
years, are seen by serious Chinese scholars as superstitious
tales. Although some Western scholars have expressed
doubts over Laozi's historical existence, much of this
skepticism is founded on a lack of cultural understanding -

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namely, that it would be inconceivable, indeed an
impossibility within the context of ancient Chinese culture,
for Sima Qian the historian to engage in confabulation.
Therefore, Chinese scholars by and large accept Laozi as a
historical figure, while dismissing superstitious legends as
mentioned.

Generations of scholars have debated the historicity of Laozi
and the dating of the Tao Te Ching. Linguistic studies of the
text's vocabulary and rhyme scheme point to a date of
composition after the Shi Jing yet before the Zhuangzi —
around the late 4th or early 3rd centuries BCE.

Some supporters of Taoism attribute this debate to the
folkloric age of Laozi of over 900 years old who had thirteen
incarnates starting around the time of the Three Sovereigns,
a view rejected by scholars.
Principal versions
Among the many transmitted editions of the Tao Te Ching
text, the three primary ones are named after early
commentaries. The "Yan Zun Version," which is only extant
for the Te Ching, derives from a commentary attributed to
Han Dynasty scholar Yan Zun (巖尊, fl. 80 BCE-10 CE). The
"Heshang Gong Version" is named after the legendary
Heshang Gong (河上公 "Riverside Sage") who supposedly
lived during the reign (202-157 BCE) of Emperor Wen of Han.
This commentary (tr. Erkes 1950) has a preface written by
Ge Xuan (葛玄, 164-244 CE), grand-uncle of Ge Hong, and
scholarship dates this version to around the 3rd century CE.
The "Wang Bi Version" has more verifiable origins than either
of the above. Wang Bi (王弼, 226 – 249 CE) was a famous
Three Kingdoms period philosopher and commentator on the
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Tao Te Ching (tr. Lin 1977, Rump and Chan 1979) and the Yi
Jing.

Tao Te Ching scholarship has lately advanced from
archeological discoveries of manuscripts, some of which are
older than any of the received texts. Beginning in the 1920s
and 1930s, Marc Aurel Stein and others found thousands of
scrolls in the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang. They included
over 50 partial and complete Tao Te Ching manuscripts. One
written by the scribe So/Su Dan (素統) is dated 270 CE, and
corresponds closely with the Heshang Gong version. Another
partial manuscript has the Xiang'er (想爾) commentary, which
had previously been lost. In 1973, archeologists discovered
copies of early Chinese books, known as the Mawangdui Silk
Texts, in a tomb dating from 168 BCE. They included two
nearly complete copies of the Laozi, referred to as Text A
(甲) and Text B (乙), both of which reverse the traditional
ordering and put the Te Ching section before the Tao Ching.
Based on calligraphic styles and imperial naming taboo
avoidances, scholars believe that A and B can be
respectively dated to about the first and third decades of the
2nd century BCE (Boltz 1993:284). In 1993, the oldest known
version of the text, written on bamboo tablets, was found in
a tomb near the town of Guodian (郭店) in Jingmen, Hubei,
and dated prior to 300 BCE. The Guodian Chu Slips comprise
about 800 slips of bamboo with a total of over 13,000
characters, about 2,000 of which correspond with the Tao
Te Ching, including 14 previously unknown verses. Both the
Mawangdui and Guodian versions are generally consistent
with the received texts, excepting differences in chapter
sequence and graphic variants. Several recent Tao Te Ching
translations (e.g., Lau 1989, Henricks 1989, Mair 1990,
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Henricks 2000, Allan and Williams 2000, and Roberts 2004)
utilize these two versions, sometimes with the verses
reordered to synthesize the new finds.
Interpretation and themes
Many believe the Tao Te Ching contains universal truths that
have been independently recognized in other philosophies,
both religious and secular. Depending on interpretation,
some ambiguous passages have multiple readings, ranging
from political advice for rulers to practical wisdom for
people. The following themes and concepts are central to
interpreting the text.
Ineffability
The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying
names.
It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth
sprang;
The named is but the mother that rears the ten
thousand creatures, each after its kind. (chap. 1, tr.
Waley[1])
These famous first lines of the Tao Te Ching state that the
Tao is ineffable. Tao is nameless, goes beyond distinctions,
and transcends language. Perhaps the Tao, like the Dharma,
is what physicist David Bohm means by "that which is",
perfectly being what is, both all and nothing. "My words are
very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice.
Yet no one under heaven understands them; no one puts
them into practice" (chap. 70, tr. Waley[2])
The Mysterious Female
The Valley Spirit never dies

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It is named the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
It is there within us all the while;
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry. (chap. 6, tr.
Waley[3])
Like the above description of the ineffable Tao as "the
mother that rears the ten thousand creatures", the Tao Te
Ching advocates "female" (or Yin) values, emphasizing the
passive, solid, and quiescent qualities of nature (which is
opposed to the active and energetic), and "having without
possessing". This theme challenges "male" (or Yang) values
such as movement, positive action, and domination of
nature. Yin and Yang should be balanced, "Know masculinity,
Maintain femininity, and be a ravine for all under heaven."
(chap. 28, tr. Mair)

Returning
In Tao the only motion is returning;
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products
of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being. " (chap. 40, tr.
Waley[4])
Another theme is the eternal return, or what Mair (1990:139)
calls "the continual return of the myriad creatures to the
cosmic principle from which they arose."

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There is a contrast between the rigidity of death and the
weakness of life: "When he is born, man is soft and weak; in
death he becomes stiff and hard. The ten thousand
creatures and all plants and trees while they are alive are
supple and soft, but when and dead they become brittle and
dry." (chap. 76, tr. Waley[5]). This is returning to the
beginning of things, or to one's own childhood.

The Tao Te Ching focuses upon the beginnings of society,
and describes a golden age in the past, comparable with the
ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Human problems arose
from the "invention" of culture and civilization. In this
idealized past, “the people should have no use for any form
of writing save knotted ropes, should be contented with their
food, pleased with their clothing, satisfied with their homes,
should take pleasure in their rustic tasks." (chap. 80, tr.
Waley[6])

However, "returning" is not a simplistic reactionary retreat.
Two illustrations are the anti-Confucianist saying that,
"Learning consists in adding to one's stock day by day; The
practice of Tao consists in 'subtracting day by day'." (chap.
48, tr. Waley[7]); and this strategic advice “If you doubt your
ability to advance an inch, then retreat a foot”. (chap. 69, tr.
Waley[8]) Diminishing one's ego, instead of "improving" it
through study, is the path to real wisdom. Letting the enemy
take the first step (thus reducing his range of possibilities) is
the way to gain the upper hand. This theme is similar to
psychological practices such as introspection or meditation,
but one returns not to oneself but to nothingness, to "that
which is".

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Emptiness
We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the
usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the
usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that
the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we
should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
Philosophical vacuity is a common theme among Asian
wisdom traditions including Taoism (especially Wu wei
"nonaction"), Buddhism, and some aspects of Confucianism.
One could interpret the Tao Te Ching as a suite of variations
on the "Powers of Nothingness". This resonates with the
Buddhist Shunyata philosophy of "form is emptiness,
emptiness is form."

Looking at a traditional Chinese landscape, one can
understand how emptiness (the unpainted) has the power of
animating the trees, mountains, and rivers it surrounds.
Emptiness can mean having no fixed preconceptions,
preferences, intentions, or agenda. Since "The Sage has no
heart of his own; He uses the heart of the people as his
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heart." (chap. 49, tr. Waley[10]). From a ruler's point of view,
it is a laissez-faire approach:
So a wise leader may say:
"I practice inaction, and the people look after
themselves."
But from the Sage it is so hard at any price to get a
single word
That when his task is accomplished, his work done,
Throughout the country every one says: “It happened
of its own accord”. (chap. 17, tr. Waley[11])
Knowledge
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self requires strength;
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.
The Tao Te Ching praises self knowledge but criticizes
rational understanding. For example: "Banish wisdom,
discard knowledge, And the people will be benefited a
hundredfold." (chap. 19, tr. Waley[12]) Knowledge, like
desire, should be diminished. "It was when intelligence and
knowledge appeared that the Great Artifice began." (chap.
18, tr. Waley[13]).
Christian Interpretations
Since Christian missionaries were among the first
Westerners to study the Tao Te Ching, it is not surprising
that they connected Taoism with Christianity. They drew

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many parallels between the New Testament and the Tao Te
Ching, for instance, "Do good to those who hate you" (Luke
6:27, tr. NASB) and "Requite injuries with good deeds" (chap.
63, tr. Waley[14]). Note that the Chinese Bible translates
logos as Tao.

Two particular Tao Te Ching chapters are perceived as
exemplifying Christian themes. Chapter 42 bears a
resemblance to the Trinity doctrine: "The Way gave birth to
unity, Unity gave birth to duality, Duality gave birth to trinity,
Trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures." (tr. Mair 1990:9).

Zhuangzi once stated in a passage from his famous work
Inner Chapters, that a great sage would come who would
bring knowledge and peace to all men; though he didn't know
if it would be in a thousand years or in a day.[citation needed]
Naturally, this was interpreted by missionaries as a
prediction or foreshadowing of Christ.

Going even further, in 1823 the French sinologist Jean-Pierre-
Abel Rémusat suggested that Yahweh was signified by three
words in Chapter 14; yi (夷 "calm; level; barbarian"), xi (希
"rare; indiscernible; hope"), and wei (微 "tiny, small;
obscure").

We look for it but do not see it; we name it "subtle." We listen for it
but do not hear it; we name it "rare." We grope for it but do not
grasp it; we name it "serene." These three cannot be fully
fathomed, Therefore, They are bound together to make unity."
(chap. 14, tr. Mair 1990:74)

James Legge (1891:57-58[15]) dismissed this hypothetical
yi-xi-wei and Yahweh connection as "a mere fancy or dream".
According to Holmes Welch:
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It is not hard to understand the readiness of early scholars to
assert that the doctrine of the Trinity was revealed in the Tao Te
Ching and that its fourteenth chapter contains the syllables of
"Yahveh." Even today, though these errors have been recognized
for more than a century, the general notion that Lao Tzu was
Christ's forerunner has lost none of its romantic appeal. (1965:7)

Present day researchers, such as Damascene et al. (1999),
continue to explore the similarities between Taoist and
Christian teachings.

Critics point out that these "similarities" consist of taking
select passages out of context of the text as a whole, and
out of the history of Chinese textual interpretation and
religious practice. Passages that are incompatible with
Christian doctrines, such as Chapter 5 "Heaven and Earth
are not Humane (ren)"(Wing-tsit Chan trans.) are ignored.
This approach was started by Christian missionaries, who
were actively working to supplant Chinese religions.
Other themes
• Force begets force.

• One whose needs are simple can fulfill them easily.

• Material wealth does not enrich the spirit.

• Self-absorption and self-importance are vain and self-
destructive.

• Victory in war is not glorious and not to be celebrated,
but stems from devastation, and is to be mourned.

• The harder one tries, the more resistance one creates
for oneself.

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• The more one acts in harmony with the universe (the
Mother of the ten thousand things), the more one will
achieve, with less effort.

• The truly wise make little of their own wisdom for the
more they know, the more they realize how little they
know.

• When we lose the fundamentals, we supplant them
with increasingly inferior values which we pretend are
the true values.

• Glorification of wealth, power and beauty beget crime,
envy and shame.

• The qualities of flexibility and suppleness are superior
to rigidity and strength.

• Everything is in its own time and place.

• Duality of nature that complements each other instead
of competing with each other — the two faces of the
same coin — one cannot exist without the other.

• The differences of opposite polarities — i.e. the
differences between male and female, light and dark,
strong and weak, etc. — helps us understand and
appreciate the universe.

• Humility is the highest virtue.

• Knowing oneself is a virtue.

• Envy is our calamity; overindulgence is our plight.

• The more you go in search of an answer, the less you

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will understand.

• Know when it's time to stop. If you don't know then
stop when you are done
Translations and interpretations

Tao T e Ching
The Tao Te Ching has been translated into over 250 Western
languages, mostly to English, German, and French.[2]
According to Holmes Welch, "It is a famous puzzle which
everyone would like to feel he had solved."[3] There are also
Tao Te Ching interpretations and poetic renderings by non-
Chinese speaking authors.
Translational difficulties
The Tao Te Ching is written in classical Chinese, which can
be difficult to understand completely even for well-educated
native speakers of modern Chinese. Classical Chinese relies
heavily on allusion to a corpus of standard literary works to
convey semantic meaning, nuance, and subtext. This corpus
was memorized by highly-educated people in Laozi's time,
and the allusions were reinforced through common use in
writing, but few people today have this type of deep
acquaintance with ancient Chinese literature. Thus, many
levels of subtext are potentially lost on modern translators.
Furthermore, many of the words that the Tao Te Ching uses
are deliberately vague and ambiguous.

Since there are no punctuation marks in classical Chinese, it
can be difficult to conclusively determine where one
sentence ends and the next begins. Moving a period a few

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words forward or back or inserting a comma can profoundly
alter the meaning of many passages, and such divisions and
meanings must be determined by the translator. Some
editors and translators argue that the received text is so
corrupted (from originally being written on one-line bamboo
tablets linked with silk threads) that it is impossible to
understand some chapters without moving sequences of
characters from one place to another.
Source: wikipedia.org

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The Tao Te Ching

The way called is not the
way it is.

Names can name nothing
lasting.
Nameless is the bearer of
the heavens.
Naming is the bearer of
the earth.

Desireless… be the
mystery.
Desiring… the world
manifests.

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The same in essence but
called different.

Both figures…
Unfigured and refigured.
Unsolved and resolved.

The way of the mystery.

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Hold beauty and behold
the wretched.
Hold the good and behold
evil.
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Is and isn’t are each other.

Hard relies on easy.
Long is measured by the
quick.
High depends upon the
low.
Sounds are accorded by
intent.
Before follows after.

So one is given to non
knowing.

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Goes without saying.
Creates without intention.
Lives without possessing.
Does without believing.
Finishes without credits.

Without credit things
settle themselves.

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Honorless virtue…
No contention.

Rarify objects…
People steal.

Displaying treasures
troubles hearts.

One lives by…
Clearing desires and
building hunger.
Clearing ambition and
building supports.

Leads away from doing
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desires.

Too much is too far.

Does non doing and then
nature is undetermined.

The way it empties…

It is never emptied.

Without foundation all
things are built.

Rounds corners,
loosens jams,
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shades the light.

Mixes with the mixed up
world.
Deeply engrained…

A mystery… the creation.

Older than the past.
Heaven and earth do not
appear in kind.
Everything is a charade to
them.

One is not a kind of
appearance.
Individuality a true
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charade to one.

Still heaven and earth and
all that walks freely
between…

Like an eye of a storm.
Empty but inexpendable.
Always making more.

Long speech is useless.

Hold fast to the center.

Shadows never die.
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This is called the subtle
female.
In the emptiness of the
shadow…
Is the essence of the light.

Endless flow of limitless
powers.

Heaven is long and earth
enduring.

Lasting and enduring…
Not selfish.

Leading by staying back.
Within by without.
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Without rights… the whole
is left.

Supreme is like water.
Benefiting all without
contending.

Pools wherever you want.

Lowers itself finding the
way.

Live with good place.
Keep well thoughts.
Treat others well.
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Keep your word.
Make fair shares.
Do good things.
Work when you want.

No contending… no wrong
doing.

Cling and keep full…
Better to have what you
can use.

Measure and grade…
It will change to your
dislike.
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When riches fill the
streets…
No one can keep them.

Riches and pride pass on
bad judgement.

Leaving good enough
alone…
The way of heaven.

Can you keep living and
live as one…
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Without the two?

Can you relax and breathe
easy…
Like children?

Can you see light in the
dark…
Without adjustment?

Can you love and lead…
Without knowing?

Can you hold the heavenly
gate…
Without your feet on the
ground?
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Can you have direction…
Without action?

Nature and nurture…
Nature does not possess.
Acts independently.
Opulence without
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oppression.

This is the dark power.

Spokes are joined at the
hub.
The empty hub the wheel
uses.

With the earth we make
bowls.
The empty bowl can be
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used.

Doorways make the room.
The emptiness makes the
room useful.

So being creates an
excess…
Being without creates
meanin

Many colors dull.
Many sounds drown.
Many tastes jade.
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Chasing goods maddens
the heart.
The excess wraps.

So one…

Fills the need.
Lets the ideal rest.

Chooses this.
By understanding that.

Love and hate are fear.
Pride and shame are
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name.

Say what?

Love defines us.
…Afraid to lose what we
have.

The self is information
embodied.
No self… no shame nor
pride.

Respect all as yourself.
Be home.

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Love all as yourself.
Be true
The seeking never find…
home.
The listening never hear…
music.
The grasping never hold…
the touch.

Since all things can not be
separated…
They remain as one.

Rises and sets without
minding.
Moving all things back
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home.

Meet the way with no
front.
Follow through and never
look back.

Live in this way.
Center now.
Find the source.

The way of play.
Descendants find our way.
A mysterious wonder of
profound depth.
Unknown depths.
Forever unknown is always
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described.
Timing… like facing a flow.
Prudent… like meeting the
neighbors.
Mannered… like a student.
Giving… like a mirror.
Blank… like a formable
mind.
Open… like the valley.
Freely… like the wind.
Calm the waters.
It is clearing.
Mix the still and it comes
to life.
Those who walk this way…
Shall not want.
Wanting not…
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Effortless.

Find absolutely no thing…
Remain there.

The multitudes create a
stir.
I see them going home.

Things go and grow…
Back to the roots.
Still in the root.
Returning to what really is.
This return is simple.

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Understand the ordinary
order.
Enlightening.
Not understanding…
delusion.
So let the mind open.

Compassion to nobility…
Leads the heavenly way.

Tao everlasting.
Bodies die.

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No danger.

Appearances disappear.

But people like believing.

They see and adore.
Soon they fear.
Then they hate.

Without faith… no trust.

Be wary of teachings.
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After all is said and done…
They say it just came
natural.

Easy Tao refused… pride
arises.

Skill claimed… liars rise.

Relativity lost… pity and
44 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

affection is found.

The people lost… saviors
are risen.

ZENMASTER JAY 45
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Ignore skill and do not
claim…
The people are well.

46 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Bar benevolence and
relinquish righteousness.

The people are
compassionate and
truthful.

Banish skill and spread the
wealth…
No more thieves.

One more step.
Look at the plain and see
wholesomeness.

The self rests… desireless.
ZENMASTER JAY 47
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

48 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Learning is grief.
Yes of no… what’s the
difference?

Good and evil… how much?
Pointless to fear what
others do.

People garnish smiles as if
at a carnival.
I give no sign.
Like the newborn…
As if I was more than at
ZENMASTER JAY 49
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

home.

Other’s keep excess. I
leave it out.
I liken the fool and don’t
know any better.

Others are so bright. I am
rounded.
Floating on circumstance…
Like a leaf in the wind.
50 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Others plan. I am
wayward.
I differ from others…

Like the unborn.

Great integrity appears as
the way.
Te.

ZENMASTER JAY 51
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Tao in action… mystical.

Images forming.
Entities becoming.

Obscure the shadows… life
within.
Life so real… it is the
trust.

Names reappear.
The origins?

Like this!

52 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Parts become the whole.

Bends straighten.
The hollow is full.
Worn by the new.
Little things grow.
Much is stupefied.

So one knows one and is
the world.

No display… play away.
No assertion… incredible.
No pride… success.
No complacency…
enduring.
ZENMASTER JAY 53
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

No contention… for one
has already…

The saying goes…

And the whole thing
returns.

Efficient in word is
nature’s way.
Violent winds are soon
calmed.
Downpours lighten up.
Why?
Heaven and earth.

54 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Be accordingly.

So in the way… on the way
becomes.
Gain and you must lose.

Lose and you must be
gaining.

All within Tao…
Wayfarer welcomed.
Gainers welcome gain.
The loose not lost.

Trust.
Or not at all.

ZENMASTER JAY 55
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Tiptoes… not good for
standing.
Clamber… clumsy.
Self display… shadows
showing.
Assertion… just ass.
Pride… never flourishing.
56 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

In accord with Tao…

Excess intake and
extraneous actions inspire
disgust.

So the wayfarer moves
on…

ZENMASTER JAY 57
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Nothing less than the
completely… unformed.
Stands before the heaven
and earth.
The silence shines.

Changing unchanged
before you infinitely… in
all.

The natural mother of
earth.

Must have nature.
Must be great.

58 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Great means giving.
Giving means going on.
Going on means going
back.

Therefore,
Heaven and earth and
humans…
are in a great way.

ZENMASTER JAY 59
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Four corners to the world.
Are not humans one?

Humans to earth.
Earth to heaven.
Heavenly… way.

Tao is your nature.

60 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Dark desire is the root of
joyous light.
The still rules the passing
passion.

One moves freely.
But not without now
remembering.

When beauty comes…

Remain calm

When the extremely
capable behave lightly in
this world…

ZENMASTER JAY 61
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Passions are set free…

Bliss.

Good movement… no drag.
Good words… no
impression.
Good counting… no marks.

The best doors are
62 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

insecurely secure.
The best knots remain…
no strings attached.

In this way one helps all…
in all ways.
By accepting them all.

Helping all beings by
rejecting none.
This becomes the
brightness.

So good directs bad and
bad is good’s resource.

ZENMASTER JAY 63
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Not to appreciate
direction…
Not to love your sources…

The bright fogs.

This is vital information.

Know light and remain
shadow.

Channel… the whole world.
Be this and te pervades.
Return to the opening.
Know white in the black.
Become the pattern.
Be the original paternity
64 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

and all is integral.
A
blank.

Honor hides disgrace.
Be…hold the world before
you…
And no one needs to hold
on…
Simple.
Simple segmentation is
useful.
The high official of one…
wise.
Uncarved.
Try to control the world?
No success.
ZENMASTER JAY 65
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The world is a spirit… one
and all.
Your will is ones own.
Control… control.
Grasp it and lose it.
Some lead and some are
led.
Some cry and some sing.
Some are supple and some
strengthen.
Some oppression destroys.

The wise…
Cast extremities and
excess.
Extravagance included.
66 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

What better way to lead
than to show the way?
Weapons soon turn back…
We have no need for them.
Armies ruin the earth.
People famished.
Fruitful outcomes are not
forced.
Arrogance does not
succeed.
Finds out pride.
Finds out hostility.
Finds out resistance… and
violence.

They grow and wither
ZENMASTER JAY 67
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

trying to get… in the way.

Put to an end… by the way
Fine weapons are the tools
with hate.
For them the easy way is
not yet found.
The home is left from…
The war of righteousness.
Tools become ill-omened
when not a proper
property.
If you must… be calm.
No one is better.
Unless you know this…
pleasure is ill.

68 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Fear blocks proper
purpose.
Tools build the home.
Weapons in the hands of
right.
Governor on the left.
President on the right.
Funeral ceremonies.
When many do not know
the Tao…
Grief is widespread.
Victories are funerals.
Tao is not effected by
names.
It simply can not be
mastered… here…
bring heaven to earth.
ZENMASTER JAY 69
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

We are the guest of the
one in possession.
Bliss distributed in all…
unconditionally.
Order and names arise.
Names lead to more of the
same.

Know when to stop.
Balance.

The way in this world is
like rivers flowing into the
sea.

70 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

ZENMASTER JAY 71
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Aware of others is
intelligent.
Aware of yourself is
enlightened.

Overcoming others is
forceful.
Overcoming yourself is
true power.

Content with enough is
wealth.
Getting ahead is unrest.
72 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Stand… last.
Let go… live.

The great way is
overflowing…
Left… right.

All beings owe their life to
it.
From it they never depart.
Action without names.
Clothing and feeding all.
ZENMASTER JAY 73
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Free mastery.

Forever selfless.
All simply return.
But the great way is not
controlling.

Greater than great.
By not making itself… so…
It can do great things.

74 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Hold great form.
The ideal image.
Making the world turn.
Turning fearlessly in
peace.

Chorus and candy…
Gatherings.

But Tao remains the origin
of flavor.

Look… never seen.

Listen… never heard.
ZENMASTER JAY 75
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Used… never used up.

To find… lose.
To concentrate… dilute.
To end… start.
To conclude… query.

This is the way of
76 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

reflecting.

The diluted rises above
the concentration.

Fish can not escape their
fathoms.
Peoples brightest tools
can not be seen.

Tao permanently
permeates.
No hesitation.
ZENMASTER JAY 77
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

If one could possess… all
would transform.

Transforming is of
creation’s desire.

I quiet in simplicity.
No desire.

No desire is serenity.

Things settle themselves.

78 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Te is not lacking.

Those who know it have no
need to act.
Those who don’t take
action.

The benevolent watch the
righteous.
The proprietor wants
reciprocation.
ZENMASTER JAY 79
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Therefore..
Lose Tao and te follows.
Lose te all sorts of
propriety follow.

Propriety dilutes truth and
delusion begins.
Foresight is glorified and
stupidity sets in.

So ideally… dwell in
clarity.
Not glory.

80 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Accept un-ity and reject
the other.
As the re-union became…

Heaven cleared.
Earth stabilized.
Spirits valued.
Valleys bloomed.
Myriad beings fertilized.
The best at this purified
others.

The clear splits.
The stable erupts.
The values fade.
The bounties wither.
The beings perish.
ZENMASTER JAY 81
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Nobles stumble.

So the noble is rooted in
humility.
The high needs a low
foundation.
Good rulers have humble
roots.

To the use of many…
owning none.
82 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Not wishing to outshine…
Rest like an anchor.

ZENMASTER JAY 83
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Turning around is the way
the way gets round.

Giving way is the ways way
of giving.

All in all… non acceptance.
84 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

All… accept this…
completely.

The learned try to practice
Tao.
The learning… sometimes.
The simple just laugh.
ZENMASTER JAY 85
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Laughter is close to Tao.

So we say…

The bright road is dark.
Progress withdraws.
The level is uneven.

Great te seems hollow.
Great purity seems soft.
Te is enough.
Simple truths seem to
change.

86 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

An edgeless square is a
great vessel.
An unheard sound is an
invisible image.

Tao observes all naming.

And by Tao alone things
are done.

ZENMASTER JAY 87
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Tao becomes one.
One becomes two.
Two become three.
Three becomes all.

All carry shade… and
embody light.
88 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Shade and light.
Yin and yang.

Breathing harmony.

Humans hate to be empty.
Yet the great one…
Gains by losing…and loses
by gaining.

The violent separate from
nature.

ZENMASTER JAY 89
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

90 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The soft water runs freely
and forms the hard stone.

That without enters that
within.

This shows me the good of
non knowing.

Saying without words.
ZENMASTER JAY 91
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Good without knowing.

The worldly find it hard.

Name or body… which
comes closer?

92 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Body or ideas… which
means more?

Gain or loss… which hurts
more?

Extreme love is greatly
exacting.
Owning entails loss.

Enough is enough.
Abuse not.

Know when to let go…
No harm done.

ZENMASTER JAY 93
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

This is lasting
Not finished is still useful.

Fully empty.
Inexhaustible.

Harmonious bends.
Clumsy grace.
Mute eloquence.

Exertion overcomes cold.
Calm overcomes heat.

Pure calm is heaven’s
beauty.

Tao on earth…
94 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Strays are beneficial.

Without this way…
Benefits are held.

No greater calamity than
not knowing… enough.

No greater fault than
ambition.

Therefore… knowing what
is… enough.

Always enough.
Without going… know.
Without looking… see.
ZENMASTER JAY 95
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The more you try… the
less you know.

So the wise…

Knows not going.

Understands not seeing.
96 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Does not try

Chase the past and
accumulate.
Chase the Tao… lose and
get loose.

Lose and again lose.
Arrive at effortless being.

Non doing and nothing not
done.
ZENMASTER JAY 97
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Take the world as one or
nothing at all.
Try even a little…

And the whole thing…

Slips away.

The way is not set.

The ordinary sets the
stage.
The good find the well.
The bad are led there.
Te as goodness.

98 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Trust only the
trustworthy?
Not te.
Te as trust.

Sages harmoniously blend
with the world.

People want to see and
hear their way…
But the sage is like a child.

ZENMASTER JAY 99
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Into life… into death.

100 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Life is part.
Death is part.

Human… part.

Why?
Because life points out.

Wayfarers live walking
through jungles…unarmed.

Why are they unharmed?

They cling not.
Tao bears.
Tao heals.
ZENMASTER JAY 101
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Behavior forms.
Energy completes.

So all review integrity and
honor Tao in their own
way.

Tao honored.
Te respected.

For they are the nature…
of nature.
Tao and te rear, raise, get
behind and protect.

Bears not owning.
Helps not coddles.
102 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Upholds not ruling.
Original te.
Original integrity.

Mother earth also has a
mother.

See the mother and know
the children.
Return to the mother.

Bodies die…
No harm done.
Block the pass…
Seal the seep.
No strife,
ZENMASTER JAY 103
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Until the other side.

Open the pass…
Take charge.
No relief,
Until the other side.
Small is bright.
Gentle is strong.
Use light to be bright.

Do not cling and you may
not have to endurE

Claiming knowledge of this
wonderful way…

Cultures fear.
104 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The wonderful way is very
easy
but people like to learn…
The hard way.

The people are divided by
amazing speakers hungry
for excess.

This passes for
confidence…

For those who wish to
ZENMASTER JAY 105
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

know.

Unplanted is not uprooted.
Unclinging is not lost.
The elders ways.
The generations will.
Center the self.
Self becomes real.
Center the family.
106 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Self abounds.
Center the people.
Self extends.
Center the world.
Self is profound.
Center the universe.
Self is realized.
By self… see self.
By family… see family.
By people… see people.
By world… see world.
By all… see all.
How do I know the
universe?

Like this!

ZENMASTER JAY 107
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Completed te, new… born.
None fear it.

Nearly spineless yet has
got the grip.
It’s path awaits.

Vitality present.
So hard yet so easy…
harmony.

Harmony is enduring.
Endurance illumines.
Appreciating fortune.
Power to clear the mind.

108 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Prospering in age… not
Tao.

Not Tao… ends.

ZENMASTER JAY 109
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

110 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Those who know don’t
talk.
Those who talk don’t
know.

No passage sealed… left
dull and loose.

Blended light like the dust.
ZENMASTER JAY 111
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Unity.

Careless… your cares.

Tao revered under heaven.
Lead people as expected.
Wage war unexpectedly.
Follow nothing and lead
everything.
How have I come to this?

More rules mean less
happy people.

Sharper weapons… more
ignorant people.
More skill… more kill.
112 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Complexity is
incriminating.
So the wise one says…

I relax and people change
and organize.

I empty and people fulfill.

I desire nothing and
people are simple.

When rulers are calm…
people cool.
When rulers pry… people
heat up and wear down.
ZENMASTER JAY 113
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Bad things rest upon the
good.
Good luck inside bad.
No one knows the ending.
Principles without priority.
Reverting to disorder.
Good becomes calamity.
Confusion hardens.
So the sage…
Molds…
Rounds…
Contours…

Shines… not dazzles.

114 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Guiding people by serving
heaven is like simple
living.

Efficient in response-
ability means great te.

Only no-thing is not
limited.
Not coming over you and
never overcome.

Be the country and the
nature.
Perpetuate the life of the
land.
ZENMASTER JAY 115
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Deep root… firm base.

The way of seeing long life
and farther than far.

Big things treat like little
ones.

Way harmonizing…

Ill will loses its reason.
Illness can not harm.
It has no power over you.

Power can harm but
116 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

energy is harmless.

Neither harming…

The harmony of te
flowing…

Going and coming.
Good nations lower
themselves to the world’s
pool.
A resource under heaven.

Still… the female rises
through the male.
Still… by taking the low
ZENMASTER JAY 117
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

road.

So the great one lowers
self winning over the small
one.
Small ones keep low and
win over great ones.
Be high by staying low.
Big nations desire
community.
Small nations desire to be
of service.

Both are fulfilled when no
one is lower.

118 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Tao is the infinite center.

Treasure and refuge for
all.
Compliments are traded.
Deeds make reputations.

Do not reject of
undervalue the clean
slate.
When reason rules with
three fold wisdom…
Presenting presents…
Cannot compare with
…presence…
ZENMASTER JAY 119
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Elders honor this way…
and they say…
In it seekers find and
remorse is freed.
Tao honored under
heaven.
Do without performance.
Give without serving.
Class without compare.
Large…small.
Much…little.
Know hard by easy.
Find great by narrow.

The hardest must be done
by the easy.
The greatest must be done
120 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

by the smallest.

Therefore the sage doesn’t
try great things.
And so does them.
Easy promise… little faith.
Easy means difficult.

Thus the sage says all is
difficult.
So in the end… nothing is

Resting holds easy.
Planning is possible.
Brittle breaks.
Fine scatters.
ZENMASTER JAY 121
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Create before it and lead.
The great is born small.
Towers rise from the earth.
All amount begin as one.

Acting ruins and grasping
loses.
The sage…
Non acting…
Not ruining.
No grasping and is never
lost.
People ruin near the end
by not finishing how they
started.
Wise… desire no prize.
The unlearned finds the
122 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

heaven they overlooked.
Helping all beings be
themselves by…
Not presuming.
The elders just let them
be… as they are.
People are hard to help…
stubborn and clever.
So… the clever rebel and
the simple bring good
fortune...
See the pattern?
The pattern of original te.

Te all pervading…
All things reverse…

ZENMASTER JAY 123
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Returning to the great
order.

Flows rule the valley.
They lay low.

Those who would rise
above…
Speak from below.

Those who would lead…
Speak from behind.

Sage…
124 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Unburdened… un-
hindering.

Finding the world un-
weary.

The sage does not contend
with one…

and so no one contends
with the sage.
All do call Tao great.
Unlike anything they have
ever known.

That is what makes it
ZENMASTER JAY 125
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

great.

I maintain three treasures.
Compassion.
Efficiency.
Humility.

Compassion is faithful.
Efficiency generates.

These days…
126 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

People want to be brave,
generous, and come first
without the three
treasures.

They die.

Compassion prevails.

Heaven works like this.

ZENMASTER JAY 127
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The extinguished are not
128 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

aggressive.
The warrior is composed.
The conqueror is not
engaged.
The leader is behind.

The integrity of non
contention.
The leaders power.

Mirroring heaven.

Confronted… I master by
being the guest.

Advance retreating.
Moving without moving.
ZENMASTER JAY 129
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Mirror.

In contempt all is lost.

Those who yield… rise..

130 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Easy… now… easy.

No one.

No one.

Words have priorities.

Understand this.
Understand me.

ZENMASTER JAY 131
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Rarity is valued.

The sage carries wealth
inside.

132 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Know not-knowing.
Whole.
ZENMASTER JAY 133
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Not know knowing.
Careful.

Only causing causes is
causeless.

The sage is causeless by
causing causes.

Without cause.

134 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The people not awed…
ZENMASTER JAY 135
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Power resides.

Unwearied by respecting
all.

The wise one…
Knows without show.
Loves without pride.

No one… accepts the
other.

136 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Courage kills. Serenity
saves.
Do not profit from harm.

Heaven hates what it
does…

Even so…

Heavenly way prevails by
not contending.

Speechless yet
ZENMASTER JAY 137
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

responding.
Uncalled yet arrives.
So still… orders.

Heavens net so wide and
loose…

138 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Once death is not a fear…

ZENMASTER JAY 139
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Who dares?

Officials are always trying
to take the executioner’s
place.

They are in too deep.

People hunger.
When leaders are taxing…
people hunger.

People rebel.
140 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

When leaders take action…
people rebel.

People are ignorant.
When only chasing life’s
richness… people are
ignorant.

Only those who don’t
chase life…

Truly respect life.

ZENMASTER JAY 141
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Born soft.
Die stiff.

Beings do this.

Stiff and strong…

Shadow.

Soft and supple…

Light.

And so the greatest one is
142 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

divided.

The strong sink.
The soft rise.

The way of heaven
pulls in the ends.
Brings down the high and
picks up the low.

Too much… cut.
Not enough… add.
Heaven’s way.

The way of the world
ZENMASTER JAY 143
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Is more like the poor get
poorer and the rich get
richer.
Who has too much and
gives it away?

Those with heaven inside.

So the wise… act and
expect no reaction.
Finish and do not boast.

Have no wish for
worthiness.

144 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Nothing is as gentle as
water.
Nothing is as powerful as
water.

Nothing dominates as
easily.

Supple overcomes
stiffness.
Soft overcomes hard.

All know this…
Who attains it?
Therefore…

Accept a country’s
ZENMASTER JAY 145
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

shadows and know its
sacred soil.
Accept a country’s fortune
and become the order.

True words have true
complimentary
contradictions.

146 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Entertain anger and anger
continues.
How is this useful?
So the sage…
Keeps score without
judgement.

Those with power… score.
Those without power… are
paid.
Heaven’s way hold no one
close

Lasting in productive
people.

ZENMASTER JAY 147
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Small town… simple
people.
Lots of things sit.

People wonder without
chasing all over.

They own vehicles but like
to walk.

Have protection but
unused.

They count on their hands.

Love in their food.
148 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

Durability in their clothing.
Peace in their homes.
Enjoyable their routine.

Honest words do not
dazzle.
Dazzling words are not
honest.

Useful people do not
argue.
Arguing people are not
useful.

The wise are not discipled.
ZENMASTER JAY 149
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

The discipled are not wise.

One does not want.

Has enough and helps
others.
Has more and gives.

Heaven’s way builds
without destroying.

One knows without
claiming.

150 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

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ZENMASTER JAY 151
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

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152 ZENMASTER JAY
IT IS THE WAY IT IS

ZENMASTER JAY 153