If people lack knowledge and desire, then intellectuals will not try to interfere. If nothing is done, then all will be well. (Verse 3)
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment. Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change. (Verse 15)
Without desire there is tranquility. And in this way all things would be at peace. (Verse 37)
A man was being chased by a ravenous tiger. He came to the edge of a cliff and began to climb down a hanging vine. Then he looked and saw a second, equally ravenous tiger waiting at the bottom. At that moment, a mouse began to gnaw at the vine. Something caught the man’s eye - a luscious, red strawberry growing just within his reach. He plucked it and ate it and exclaimed, “How delicious this is!”
It is from understanding that power comes; and the power in the ceremony was in understanding what it meant; for nothing can live well except in a manner that is suited to the way the sacred Power of the World lives and moves.
In the March 1999 National Geographic, page 24, Nouhou Agah says:
I will tell you something about the Sahara. This desert is very simple to survive in. You must only admit there is something on Earth larger than you...the wind...the dryness...the distance...the Sahara. You accept that, and everything is fine. The desert will provide. Inshallah. If you do not, the desert will break you. Admit your weakness to the Sahara’s face, and all is fine.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount-
Matthew 6: 25-30
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
The state of being a Christian: A condition of complete simplicity (Costing nothing less than everything)
The Rolling Stones:
You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometime,
you just might find
you get what you need.
From Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein:
The Man from Mars sat down when Jill left. He did not pick up the picture book but simply waited in a fashion which may be described as ‘patient’ only because human language does not embrace Martian attitudes. He held still with quiet happiness because his brother had said that he would return. He was prepared to wait, without moving, without doing anything, for several years.
From Tony Hillerman’s Listening Woman:
The Hopis had held a rain dance Sunday, calling on the clouds - their ancestors - to restore the water blessing to the land. Perhaps the kachinas had listened to their Hopi children. Perhaps not. It was not a Navajo concept, this idea of adjusting nature to human needs. The Navajo adjusted himself to remain in harmony with the universe. When nature withheld the rain, the Navajo sought the pattern of this phenomenon - as he sought the pattern of all things - to find its beauty and live in harmony with it.
Rabbit, in Sing A Song With Pooh Bear:
Harvest what you grow
There’ll be so much to show
And you will have everything you need
(Like you need anything else)
Chapter 10 of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery, is a lesson in Taoism. He is obviously familiar with the Tao Te Ching. Very nice work.
From The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine:
To have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body know peace?
is similar to Verse 13 of the Tao Te Ching:
Misfortune comes from having a body. Without a body, how could there be misfortune?
This part of Chapter 8 of the Dhammapada:
One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand men on the battlefield. Be victorious over yourself and not over others. When you attain victory over yourself, not even the gods can turn it into defeat.
reflects this line from Verse 33 of the Tao Te Ching:
He who conquers men has force; he who conquers himself is truly strong.
In Conversations With God, by Neale Donald Walsch, God says:
Within the realm of sublime relationships nothing which exists has an opposite. All Is One, and everything progresses from one to the other in a never-ending circle.
This is very much like this passage from the Chuang Tsu:
When there is no more separation between "this" and "that," it is called the still-point of Tao. At the still-point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things. Right is infinite; wrong is also infinite. Therefore it is said, "Behold the light beyond right and wrong."
This passage is from Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel:
... the mind or spirit is present everywhere, because it is nowhere attached to any particular place.
It is very similar to Verse 7 of the Tao Te Ching, translated by Feng & English:
The sage is detached, thus at one with all.
The great Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, 3/10 says:
Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires.
This is very similar to the next line of Verse 7 from the Tao Te Ching:
Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.
In the introduction to his translation of the Upanishads, Eknath Easwaran explains the never-ending nature of desire like this, referring to the Hindu belief that our true Self, the Atman, is actually the Brahman, the ultimate reality, their conception of God:
The infinite – free, unbounded, full of joy – is our native state. We have fallen from that state and seek it everywhere: every human activity is an attempt to fill this void. But as long as we try to fill it from outside ourselves, we are making demands on life which life cannot fulfill. Finite things can never appease an infinite hunger. Nothing can satisfy us but reunion with our real Self, which the Upanishads say is sat-chit-ananda: absolute reality, pure awareness, unconditioned joy.
(3) I read it in a comic book, and the writer said that this was his favorite Zen story. Zen and Taoism have much in common, and this story works just as well for Taoism. For more on the similarity of Taoism and Zen, see the "Zen Buddhism" link just above.