As I entered the kitchen this morning I was greeted by Dale who was reading the Tao Te Ching.

I asked, 'What does the Tao Te Ching have to say to us today?' so she started reading from the page she was up to.

--------------- 80 ---------------

If a country is governed wisely,
its inhabitants will be content.
They enjoy the labour of their hands
and don't waste time inventing
labour-saving machines.
Since they dearly love their homes,
they aren't interested in travel.
There may be a few wagons and boats,
but these don't go anywhere.
There may be an arsenal of weapons,
but nobody ever uses them.
People enjoy their food,
take pleasure in being with their families,
spend weekends working in their gardens,
delight in the doings of the neighbourhood.
And even though the next country is so close
that people can hear its roosters crowing and
its dogs barking,
they are content to die of old age
without ever having gone to see it.

This was written by Lao-tzu who is thought to have been an older contemporary of Confucius (551 - 479 B.C.E)
That is over 2500 years ago!

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comment by Pete Russell on February 1, 2010 at 12:28pm
Thank you Earl.
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 1, 2010 at 11:31am
I like a lot about the Tao, especially the bit that says, "the Tao you can see is not the true Tao", it reminds us that for every surface there is a vast support system that is usually invisible but without it there is nothing to see. We have become so easily distracted by shiny baubles that we have ceased to understand what it takes to even feed ourselves.

Its been a huge lesson of the last 2.5 years for us; that we can "learn" how to do something, but until you have climbed out of bed every day for a couple of years and, every day,
* opened the greenhiouse and tended the seedlings,
* watered the key plants like tomatoes, celery and cucumbers by hand,
* fed the chooks,
* weeded and
* composted and
* built raised beds and
* sown green mulch crops and
* remembered succession planting and
* watched for diseases and predators and
*saved seed and
* on and
* on and
* on,

Until we have done that for a couple of years, we really have no idea what it TAKES to feed ourselves.

But in the midst of all that, being able to spend half an hour with a cup of chamomile tea and a home-made biscuit, sitting among the humming, buzzing, swishing productivity of a garden in full flight and just listening to it be alive; then, maybe, we start to get something like the scent of the true Tao.

OK, back to the stove and 5.6KG of delicious, homegrown, organic tomatoes turning into passata for us to enjoy.
Comment by Glen Kirkby on February 1, 2010 at 8:38am
Thats prety cool.
To me it is the mentality of this philosophy that is important rather than the literal translation. While being content with what you have and where you are is very conducive to peacefull living, I think that just "being content" is the opperative part of the equation. Technology and travel, diversity and global integration or sharing can be a part of a very peacefull society, we just need to replace the priority of materialism and segregation with caring and union.
Comment by Stillcookin on January 31, 2010 at 7:59pm
The only difference between me and that excerpt form Lao-tzu is as follows:
I don't have a boat.
Comment by Pete Russell on January 29, 2010 at 4:52pm
This is a blog from September last year but I feel it is a very key message behind what can create a social philosophy for these times.
Comment by Pete Russell on October 16, 2009 at 4:48pm
Yes, seeing the world does open our minds up and makes us more tolerant of other ways of life. In the time of Lao-Tzu I suppose the lure of travel was more to seek a better place to live or to invade and conquer rather than for mental stimulation and entertainment. To realise that quality of life can be honed and mastered in our own back yards is the key... perhaps.
Comment by Lynda Wood on October 16, 2009 at 4:29pm
i love this, all we need is put right in front of us, if we choose to see it!
Comment by Katharine on September 22, 2009 at 2:00pm
An interesting quote but I'm sure all the gardeners out there would have to agree that if we all lived this way our gardens would be pretty boring places and our diets a lot less diverse. It is only thanks to those wanderers in the past that ventured to foreign lands that we have the amazing diversity of fruit, vegetables and herbs that we grow in our gardens today.


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