42 – My Greatest Teaching

Tao produces the one,
One produces two,
Two produces three,
And three produces Ten Thousand Things.

All things suffer the negative and embrace the positive.
The union of these is to achieve harmony.

People detest being alone and unworthy,
yet kings and leaders will describe themselves as such.

Sometimes we win when it appears we’ve lost,
and sometimes we lose when it appears we’ve won.

What others learn, I also learn.
Violent people die violently.

By understanding this, I receive my greatest teaching.

Read the essay on Chapter 42


  1. Lots of wisdom there, thank you for posting 🙂
    Kelly recently posted…Does your Focus need more Focus?? 3 ways to bring it back!!My Profile

  2. Wow, you are translating this? That is amazing. Wow, what an undertaking. It’s so poetic the Tao and I love reading others’ translations. I resonate very much with that winning and losing bit. Oh, this really spoke to me. I love your blog, by the way 🙂
    Lisa Marie recently posted…What Does Freedom Mean to You?My Profile

    • Yes, Lisa. I am translating it. Well, sort of! lol… I am not a Chinese scholar. What I have done here is I read about ten or so versions of each chapter and then I have one book called Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Guide that has each chapter broken down into its original Chinese characters listed in the back. I look through each character and write my own sentences from that. (Sometimes I have to look up the individual characters to gain a deeper understanding of what it means. I have a little app on my iPhone called Pleco for that.)

      It is cathartic, really. At first, I meant it just as a way to work through the meanings. But then I decided to blog it out so that I could keep a record of my journey. I do one new chapter every four to five days so that I will complete the entire book this year. I started in January and will end in December of this year. This week marks my halfway point, which is pretty exciting!

      What I find that I am enjoying even more than the translations is to write the essays for each chapter. For these, I read my version of the chapter to myself and then just turn on a recorder and talk about what it means to me. From those recordings, I type out what I have said. I don’t include all of it. There are actually pages and pages worth of stuff I talked about so once I am done doing essays on the entire book I may just start over and do them again. I find this work to be very helpful to me and my wish is that maybe it will be helpful to others as well!

  3. Hi Amy

    This is really interesting and such an important lesson. I had to read it through twice to get it’s full meaning and I guess the real meaning is that like attracts like.

    I look forward to reading more of your stuff. I am on the 31 day challenge too, so please check out my blog.
    David Verney recently posted…Build Huge Opt-in Lists From Your Own Email AccountsMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, David. I will check out your blog! I often have to read through the chapters multiple times before they click. They are both deep and simple at the same time. No wonder they have been popular for over 2500 years! To me, this chapter is saying that we should not be so focused on things to be good all the time. Wins can seem like losses and losses can really be wins in the end. Look for that dichotomy in the tougher lessons and it will help.

      I struggled with this one too. I think the last few lines are perhaps the most significant to me… Lao Tzu very rarely suggests going one certain way on anything but he seems to be very clear that violence is not the answer here. I took it that he meant that we can learn from the violence without participating in it. We can allow the lessons of others to be our teachers and look for those important lessons and let them guide us without joining in the mistakes.

  4. Peaceful zen post. Thank you for putting out this vibe.
    Allison Crow recently posted…What is it about Words of Affirmation & Why You Should Fall In Love With YourselfMy Profile

    • Thanks, Allison. I signed up for your 52 Week Journaling thing. Sounds pretty cool! I am excited to see what it is!

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