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what would be the most important teaching of the Tao Te Ching to learn?

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  1. I can’t find my Tao Te Ching now. Books migrate around our house and we have a lot of them. So from my memory I think the most important teaching would be something like this:
    “Don’t force things. When the time is right the correct answer, solution or the right teacher will appear. The more you struggle against this natural order, the deeper will be the hole you dig for yourself to fall into.”

  2. the hardest but most important thing is as zelda says ,except I call it (flowing) living in the now, letting go of my control .and accepting that what and who is before me right here right now is my teacher /teachers,my lesson.
    and when this lesson is learned ,I will be pulled into another current to know another teacher/teachers, lesson.
    to struggle is to drown.
    one of my favorite lines———
    Things arise and she lets them come;
    things disappear and she lets them go.
    She has but doesn’t possess,
    acts but doesn’t expect.
    peace ><>

  3. No master has ever written except Lao Tzu — and that too under imperial pressure.
    His whole life he refused to write, and in the end he was going to leave China and go towards the Himalayas for his ultimate rest. The emperor of China ordered the armies on the boundary, “If Lao Tzu passes through that area” — because that was the only gate towards the Himalayas, he was bound to pass by there — “imprison him. Take good care of him, but make it clear to him he cannot go out of China unless he writes his experiences. This is an order from the emperor.”
    Poor Lao Tzu was not aware what was going on. He simply went to the place where it was easiest to move out of China. There was an army waiting, and he was caught immediately. Respectfully, with great honor, they told him, “This is the imperial order. Forgive us, we don’t want to hinder you, but just to fulfill the order — otherwise we will not be able to allow you to go out of China. And we have made a special guesthouse for you with every comfort, luxury, according to the orders from the emperor. You stay and you write whatever you have experienced, what the truth is that you have realized which has attracted so many people.”
    Because he wanted to reach quickly to the Himalayas — his death was coming closer and he wanted to die in the Himalayas… The Himalayas have an eternal silence, a peace that you cannot find anywhere else. Under such circumstances he wrote TAO TE CHING, a small booklet.
    That is the only exception in the whole history when an enlightened man has written anything. But the beginning of the book says, “Truth cannot be written. So remember, whatever I am writing is not truth. I will try my best to be as close to truth as possible, but approximate truth is not truth.” So he has begun his book with the statement, “Whatever is written goes far away from the living experience.” That is the reason why all the awakened people have been against scriptures.
    Lao Tzu never wrote a single word in his whole life. He declined again and again the invitation to write anything. He conveyed to his disciples what he had come to know, but he was not ready to write, because he said, ‘The Tao which can be said is not the true Tao.’ The Tao which can be expressed is already falsified. It can be learned only in intimate contact with the Master. There is no other way of communicating it. It can only be learned in a deep communion where the disciple and the Master meet, where the disciple holds nothing back, where the disciple and the Master overlap, where their consciousnesses merge into each other. Only in such a meeting, communion, can Tao be conveyed. So he refused again and again.
    He lived a long life. But when he was going to die he left China on a water buffalo. Why on a water buffalo? His whole teach-ing had been the teaching of the watercourse way. He said: One should be like water — flowing, fluid, fresh, always moving towards the ocean. And one should be like water — soft, femi-nine, receptive, loving, non-violent. One should not be like a rock. The rock appears to be very strong but is not, and water appears to be very weak but is not.
    Never be deceived by appearances. Finally the water wins over the rock and the rock is destroyed and becomes sand and is taken to the sea. The rock disappears finally — against the soft water.
    The rock is masculine; it is the male mind, the aggressive mind. Water is feminine, soft, loving, not aggressive at all. But the non-aggressive wins. The water is always ready to surrender, but through surrender it conquers — that is the way of the woman. The woman always surrenders and conquers through it. And the man wants to conquer and the ultimate result is just a surrender and nothing else. Hence, he chose a water buffalo when he left the country.
    Where was he going? He was going to the Himalayas to die into that eternal beauty.
    A real man knows how to live and how to die. A real man lives totally, dies totally. A real man lives in benediction and dies in benediction.
    He was going into absolute aloneness in the Himalayas. But he was caught on the border. And the man who caught him on the border was Master Kuan Yiu-hsi. He was a guard at the last post of the Chinese border. Lao Tzu had to pass that post; there was no other way to get out of the country. And Kuan Yiu-hsi persuaded him: ‘You are going to die, you are leaving the country forever, and soon you will be leaving the body. Please write just a few words. And I won’t allow you to get out of the land if you don’t write them. This price you have to pay.’
    And Lao Tzu had to sit in Kuan Yiu-hsi’s hut for three days, and there he wrote the TAO TE CHING.
    But it didn’t start with Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu himself says that whatsoever he is saying has been said before, again and again, down the centuries. He is not bringing a new truth in the world but only a new expression. It is always so. Truth is the same, only expressions differ. What Lao Tzu said is the same as what Krishna had said before him. What Krishna said is the same as what Buddha said later on. What Buddha has said is the same as Mohammed, as Jesus, as Zarathustra have said although their expressions are so different that you will need great intel-ligence to see to the very core. The structure is different, the language is different, their ways of saying it are different; naturally, because they are different persons, different indi-viduals, with their own uniqueness. But truth is neither new nor old; and wherever truth is, it is eternal.
    It is a well known fact that Lao Tzu never wrote anything other than TAO TE CHING, and that too he wrote under pressure, at the last moment, when he was leaving China to die in the Himalayas.
    He had decided to die in the mountains, and one cannot find a more beautiful place to die than the Himalayas — the silence of the Himalayas, the virgin silence, the beauty, nature in its most profound splendor. So when he became very old he said to his disciples, “I am going to the Himalayas to find a place where I can disappear into nature, where nobody will know about me, where no monument will be made in honor of me, no temple, not even a grave. I simply want to disappear as if I had never existed.”

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