The five colors can blind, the five tones can deafen, the five tastes cloy. The race, the hunt, can drive men mad. And their booty leave them no peace. Therefore a sensible man prefers the inner to the outer eye". (Ch. 12) This passage obviously refers to the temptations of our senses.
When he refers to sight, the pleasing aesthetics of an object can lure people into traps. Everything around us is an enticement. From, the minor things, like what we want to eat for lunch, to the larger more expensive things, like buying a brand new car. Buddhism refers this all this as suffering. When your driving that new Mercedes, everywhere you go, you worry about it.
You worry if it is going to be scratched or if it is going to get stolen. This brand new car that is suppose to bring you pleasure, only brings you suffering. The author writes, "Therefore a sensible man prefers the inner to the outer eye", we could say this refers to the Taoist way of living life at a minimal level. If one does everything at to a minimal degree, one does not fall prey to addiction or temptation. "There is a globe, the foundation of my existence. It wears me out with work and duties, It gives me rest in old age, it gives me peace in death.
For the one who supplied me with what I needed in life, will also give me what I need in death". In today's society, there is a great deal of fear about the topic of death. Many people see it as morbid and connect it as a depressing experience to witness. Because of the influence of western civilization, we all tend to sway towards that belief. But, this passage shows the brighter more optimistic side of the Taoist. It illustrates death as of course a necessary part of life, not referring to it as a negative experience".
Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it. The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid. Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice". (Ch. 78.) In this passage, water is used as a metaphor for many different kinds of things.
First, it can be said that water is the skill to shape and mold into certain situations in life. You must learn to adapt to any environment you " re in. Living in America, many people can take for granted the way of life, but if one was to put themselves in a third world country with murderers, and thieves on every corner, one must adapt to that atmosphere. Secondly, water can be also said to be a way of dealing with issues that arise in one's lifetime. The author writes", Nothing in the world is soft and yielding as water, yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it". In this line, we can say water is calmness.
Dealing with problems with a certain degree of gentle calmness will dissolve the hard and inflexible. It can also be said that this passage stresses patience as a virtue to live your life. Examining a stream of water flowing along a river, over time it can melt the rocks, overcoming all its obstacles. Overall, I think this passage is the most complete and logically correct guide to life. In Taoism, it stresses the importance of Yin and Yang. When I imagine this passage in my mind, I think about the mobility and fluidity of water against the still solidarity of the rocks and mountains.
It is the perfect balance. I came to the conclusion that the water are people; ever changing, constantly moving, and the mountains is life; still and unmoving. What is important is the fact that both water and mountain is natural. Anyone who reads this passage can use it as a motivation tool to live calm and naturally..