Dao De Jing 34 – The smallness and bigness of the Dao
The great Dao is everywhere, it can be here and there.
-> Beyond boundary and separation, omnipresence.
All things rely on It to manifest, but It does not interfere and does not claim credit.
-> Everyone has its own course, in accordance to its tendencies and choices.
–> If “our source” would interfere “us”, there would be a dualistic separation between the “source” and “us”, which could not happen when the source is beyond separation. The notion of something higher than us and manipulating us stem from the believe that we are separated from our source.
–> Furthermore, the Dao does not claim credit, like the sea doesn’t claim the fishes to be its own. There is no need for claim credit to be the Sea.
It is small, as It nurture all things, but It does not control, and has no desire;
-> In the human world, we weight people by how much things one owns and controls, i.e. how much money, assets, relationships, power, control, yet the Dao declares none. Therefore people see Dao to be small.
It is big, as all things belong to It, even though It does not control.
-> We also weight people by how many things one creates, e.g. things, theories, systems, organizations, offsprings, etc. To this end, the Dao is the biggest of all, as from it arises all things.
The never proclamation of bigness, therefore constitute to Its bigness.
-> When something can be described, its bigness is defined and limited. As Dao is beyond description, it bigness is infinite.
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Chapter 34 Discussion:
Besides describing the quality of the Dao, and the theory behind its bigness, this chapter uses Dao to illustrate the power of smallness, i.e. it is from smallness that manifests the biggest. In the human society, great leaders are most often humble, and see themselves as the servant of their group or all. Dao is the ultimate leader, it nurtures all unconditionally, does not interfere, and claims no credit. Its smallness beyond taking credit leads to its bigness beyond description.
We can learn from this quality by following the Dao in our lives. Stay humble, serve unconditionally, and do our part diligently without the constant manipulations and taking credit by the “self”. Allow life to flow, welcome it, and accept it with gratitude. By doing so, we get closer to the Dao and can flow with it. When this occurs, we are small, and we are big.
Bilingual text of Ch34: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj34-52/