Dao De Jing 8 – Dao is like water
The highest virtue is like that of water.
Water benefits everything and does not fight, it positions itself at place everyone dislike, and therefore is close to the Dao.
-> As we already discussed, the Dao is everywhere, impartial, and limitless. It represents the source and context of all, and therefore allows for and benefits all thing. Look at water, it consists of 70% of our physical body and exists in different forms in every parts of the planet. There is no fighting in water (it does not struggle), it merely is what it is.
It is excellent at: positioning itself, rooting its mind, giving out benevolence, maintaining its integrity, governing things, manifesting its abilities, and moving at the appropriate time.
-> Here Laozi describes what water is like, and what happens when one align with the Dao: One finds the right place to abode, knows ones root (of the mind), gives out right benevolence, accomplishes what one said, manages affairs properly, manifests one’s ability perfectly, and moves at the right time.
It does not fight with/for anything, and therefore draw no grudge.
-> As one flows with the natural rhythm of the universe, of the Dao, there is peace within; no matter what the external conditions are, even in mist of wars and conficts, there is peace. Such is the teaching of the Sutra of Everlasting Peace – Qingjingjing.
* * *
Chapter 8 Discussion:
Virtue is the common value advocated by all religions and spiritual disciplines. What is the purest Virtue that we can seek and become? Instead of religious and moralistic right and wrong, Laozi describes the highest Virtue is like that of water. Seek the virtue that embraces and allows for all, even to the lowest, darkness, and beyond all men-defined preferences. When we align ourselves with this natural rhythm of the universe, we flow perfectly in the world, and is at peace no matter what happens in the phenomenal world.
DDJ Chapter 8 bilingual text: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj1-8/