Chapter 8 is one of the most commonly quoted chapter of Tao Te Ching, and everyone just take the words partially and think that we should “all” be like water. However, it is totally not the case. Most people think that we should be going with the flow, being adaptive and adopting to new environments, or avoiding conflicts and just flow around things etc. That’s not true all the time. As you can see in reality today, sometimes if you don’t give people a hard punch, they will just keep on bullying you because you don’t fight back. The true meaning of this chapter connects with the previous ones, which is all about why the sects or schools are there, why they are good, what now talking about the benefits of what’s coming from these schools.
If you have not read the previous ones, please do so before you move onto this!
As said in “what is Taoism”, there are many sects and lineages of Taoism, and they all connects to a different higher power which they call their Tao. This higher power teaches them and passes on its wisdom to them, and that is why things you see from all the sects are not the same. Just like right now, this version of Tao Te Ching might be very different from the others, because we inherit the wisdom from our Tao, the Tao of Saam Law. If you think it looks good to you, and it feels good to you, you might consider ordaining to become a Taoist of this path, and start learning for real!
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 8
The benefits from above is like water, and water benefits everything and won’t complete with things.
The “above” here means that when you ordain into a lineage, or sect, the benefits you get from the Tao above, is like water. It “chings” (delivers) to you and benefit you, yet it won’t argue with you. In another word, just like how a school works. You go into a school, and you get taught by the teachers. The teachers will teach you things in class, pouring knowledge over you like rain, and they are not there to argue or debate with you, hence the “won’t compete” section of this sentence.
Sometimes, there is one kid out of the crowd who just likes to be the smartass in class and he want to overpower the teacher, debate with the teacher, and even be the teacher. Do you think this kind of disciple or student is good for the environment?
Here in this passage, you clearly sees that it is talking about the benefits from the Tao is good for everything, and if you like it, just stay and absorb.
It stays in everyone’s most hated side.
This is still talking about the water. It is actually saying that the water flows into the places that hates water. Just like the teachers will flow its wisdom to you and nourish the places that lacks these wisdoms. Do you know that we hate it when people point out our flaws and wrongs?
That’s right, water, the wisdom and energy from the Tao above, flows into you and it finds its ways to where you lack them and hate them. Just like in the “struggling” article of Tao Te Ching, chapter 3, you will see yourself getting into conflicts, and trying to fight back. Remember to shut the hell up and keep listening to the teachings.
Therefore, because you get from the Tao (the water source), you are staying inside a beneficial ground, your heart should be set to beneficial to the origin, the more it blossoms, the more it will benefit the people, the speeches will benefit people to believe, and the more organized the place will become, and work will be done better, with things moving on the right timing.
Put this in a modern school example? Well, you are inside a nice school at this moment, which benefits you so much. Therefore, please put your heart to where it should be. It will help everyone, and it will make the teachings more believable, and so the place will not turn into a mess, and so everyone can do their job better, and things can be done according to schedule.
It’s because you don’t debate and argue, and there for there is no problem and worry.
So as a disciple, you should know that the Tao’s teaching from the above is something that benefits you in all ways, but it actually digs into your weak spots first, and so you will get all worked up and you will struggle or fight back. To ensure you learn well, please be patience and put your heart into where it should be, back to the school and lineage, and it will help everyone learn. Don’t make a mess and turn the class into a chaos please, shut the hell up and so we can get the things done. Do you recall the time when the class in school get into a big mess and people don’t shut up? Then the class need to extend 15 minutes because the teachings cannot be done. Detention!
In the modern society now, not everyone takes learning Taoism seriously. In our lineage, once you ordained, you are off to learn from us through the internet, and we can’t really control “the class” like how a real school does. Therefore, this theory in the chapter will translates to saying that the disciple should really just be proactive in learning, even it might first pinch into your weak spot and make you feel like crap.
Yes, Jee sifu here is very blunt, and he will tell you that what you knew before is wrong, this is BS, and that is garbage. It’s true, the teachings are blunt, but they are good for you. Sit still and keep absorbing, stay and hold on tight, you will benefit from it when you keep learning and let it polish you up. At the same time, please do not cause troubles and stir up BS in our internal chatroom. The others also need to learn too. Be humane, think for others! Thank you!
Oh, you aren’t ordained yet? It’s time to do so!