Taoteching 13

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Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.


What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure? Whether you go up the ladder or down it, you position is shaky. When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.


What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear? Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don't see the self as self, what do we have to fear?


See the world as your self. Have faith in the way things are. Love the world as your self; then you can care for all things.

"Xena, why are people never content?"

"Because they have let their ego grow to become so great, Gabhopper, that their capacity for enjoyment has largely been displaced. Diminish the self, like emptying a cup, and there will be room for joy to enter. Renounce your greater passions, and indulge your lesser passions, and you will be content."

"Why do people suffer so much?"

"Because they have let their ego grow to become so great, Gabhopper, and it is the ego that experiences pain and loss. Diminish the self, like emptying a cup, and your capacity to suffer will vanish."

"Will this attitude prevent tragedy and ensure good fortune, Xena?"

"No. But when you can accept gain and loss with equal poise, people naturally look to you as a leader, and they will judge you to be of good character."

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