Lao Tzu 76: The Elasticity and Adaptability are the Stigmata of Emptiness and Life

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    76. The Elasticity and Adaptability are the Stigmata of Emptiness and Life
    Rigidity and Hardness are the Stigmata of Fullness and Death
    When a man is born , he is tender, soft and supple.
    When he is dead, he becomes rigid , stiff and hard
    (It is the same for) all leaves of grass and trees
    When are alive they are flexible,tender,soft and supple .
    At death they are dried,friable, hard and withered.(1)
    Therefore those who are stiff and rigid are the folowers who worship death
    Those who are tender , supple, soft and yielding are the the folowers who worship life. (1)
    Thus if an army puts forth strength and rigidity is doomed to lose
    Just as dry a tree is stiff it will break (ready for the axe)
    The hard and strong will fall. The tender and supple will rise.
    Therefore the place of what is hard ,rigid and stiff lie beneath the ground.
    While the tender ,soft and supple dance on the breeze above. (2)
    Notes:
    (1) “So the rigidity and hardness are the stigmata of fullness and death; The elasticity and adaptability are the stigmata of emptiness and life”.In life, man is supple and tender; in death, he becomes rigid and stark. Myriad things such as grass and trees are supple and frail in life, and shrivelled and dry in death. Therefore, the rigid and stark are disciples of death, while the supple and weak are disciples of life. Therefore the army that uses strength cannot win, the tree that stands firm will break. The strong and large are subordinate, the soft and weak are superior.
    (2) “While the tender ,soft and supple dance on the breeze above”. These qualities are applied in social and individual management but also in the chinese art of war and in the martial arts.Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Taoist Internal Alchemy (Nei Tan) use the same principles of maintaining the tender ,soft and supple in the profilaxy of aging and psychosomatic disorders.
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    1. Maya's Mother 89 months ago | reply

      beautiful poetry....wonderful words...
      I wish more people would read this...
      p.e.a.c.e.
      Caelleigh
      sacredpulse101@gmail.com

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