Monday, August 8, 2016

A Minute Meditation

Wish I had learned this long ago, and now I wish I could remember this in time.

Wisdom is knowing when to stop speaking .  .  .

-- Chuang Tzu --
from Taoist Wisdom:  Daily Teachings from the Taoist Sages


  1. This is lesson that would greatly benefit me :)

    1. Brian Joseph,

      One of these days I may learn it.

  2. i haven't learned it yet... exercising the mouth muscles is addictive in some cases(mine)...

    1. Mudpuddle,

      And if I ever learn this lesson, then it will be time to start on the next one: when to remain silent in the first place.

  3. Replies
    1. Di,

      I doubt if he would listen, or could listen.

  4. Chang Tzu and Trump are uttered in the same breath: breath-taking! But who shall be qualified to speak out and be the judge of anyone else's utterances and wisdom; the ironies are too rich for further comment.

    1. R.T.,

      Are you suggesting, therefore, that no one can say anything about anyone else's statements? That people should be free to say anything they want and not be held accountable for what they say?

  5. R.T.,

    And who shall be qualified to judge who shall be qualified to judge anyone else's utterances and wisdom?

    1. Fred, yes, with my tongue in cheek, I spoke without precision and too much feigned seriousness. I'm reminded by your last question of the Native American tale about the origins on the earth (which I abbreviate, amend, and mangle here): someone asked about the origins of the earth, and someone answered that the world when created was set upon the back of a turtle; then someone asked about what supported the turtle, and the response was another turtle, etc. (i.e., you see, it's turtles all the way down). Now, somewhere in all of that is my understanding of your question about who will judge whom. Hey, don't be too impatient with my banter. It has been a tough day. Whew!

    2. R.T.,

      Chuckle . . .

      Love those infinite series.

      I hope you're feeling a bit better now. Have you started going back home yet?

      I was sorry to hear that illness interrupted what looked to be a great trip.

  6. Fred: I'm sure you have thought of this, but the first two lines of Chapter 56 of Lao Tzu's Tao te Ching come to mind: "He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know." (Translated by Arthur Waley.) Waley also translated this humorous poem by Po Chü-i:

    Lao Tzu

    "Those who speak know nothing;
    Those who know are silent."
    These words, I am told,
    Were spoken by Lao Tzu.
    If we are to believe that Lao Tzu
    Was himself one who knew,
    How comes it that he wrote a book
    Of five thousand words?

    Here is something from another part of the ancient world. It was written by Palladas, and appears in The Greek Anthology (the translation is by the Earl of Cromer):

    Thou talkest much, O man, but spare thy breath,
    Keep silence here on earth, and think on Death.

    Finally, there is this: "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." This is Proposition 7 (the final, one sentence Proposition) in Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I've long thought that Wittgenstein was a Taoist or a Buddhist, though he didn't know it.

    These are all pieces of advice that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics, and we all ought to pay heed to them, in my humble opinion.

    Thank you for posting the wise statement from Chuang Tzu.

    1. Stephen,

      Thanks for posting the poem by Po Chu-i. I had never read it, but it expressed the first thought that came to me after reading Lao Tzu's oft quoted couplet from Tao Te Ching.

      Can't remember where I read it, but someone said that most Taoists don't know that they are Taoists.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.