ONE OF TAO

“ONE OF TAO,” adapted from Thomas Merton’s translation of Chuang Tzu’s original poem “The Man of Tao.”

 

One in whom Tao
Acts without impediment
Harms no other being
Yet they do not know themselves
To be “kind,” to be “gentle.”

One in whom Tao
Acts without impediment
Does not bother with their own interests
And does not despise
Others who do.
They do not struggle to make money
And do not make a virtue of poverty.
They go their way
Without relying on others
And do not pride themselves
On walking alone.
While they do not follow the crowd
They will not complain of those who do.
Rank and reward
Make no appeal to them;
Disgrace and shame
Do not deter them.
They are not always looking for right and wrong
Always deciding “Yes” or “No.”
The ancients said, therefore:

“One of Tao
Remains unknown
Perfect virtue
Produces nothing
‘No-self’
Is ‘True-Self.’
And the greatest one
Is No one.”

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