Thoughts on Tao Te Ching 8 (Cleary Version)

Higher good is like water: the good in water benefits all, and does so without contention. It rests where people dislike to be, so it is close to the Way.

Where it dwells becomes good ground; profound is the good in its heart, benevolent the good it bestows.

Goodness in words is trustworthiness, goodness in government is order; goodness in work is ability, goodness in action is timeliness. But only by non-contention is there nothing extreme


The general topic at hand is goodness.  Goodness is compared to water, which does nature good with no contention.  The goodness that water does to the ground is by merely being there.  Water is not loud or active, but it is very effective and productive in the goodness that it performs.

Goodness is known by its effect and its consequential outcome.  Though not all goodness produces a desirable outcome, the effect is always known.  Goodness in words builds relationships, goodness in government stabilizes and provides.  Goodness is always timely, for now is always the time for goodness.

Like water, which does it work quietly and in a seeminly inactive state, goodness performs its work in a state of non-contention.  Goodness for goodness sake is a quiet yet effective activity which operates within the natural rhythms of the Tao.

These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 8.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s