Lao tsu, writing perhaps in the 5th century BC, established the foundation for Taoism — an inner way.
He writes in Chapter 2 of the Tao te Ching:
“When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.”
All things are connected — even being and nonbeing. A meditator has the chance to observe how thoughts arise, gaining insight into the interconnectedness of all things — but is is difficult to see the hidden relationships.
We are in Kuala Lumpur — in the Pacific Express Hotel. Our tiny room has no window and the WiFi does not work — but there is a swimming pool on the roof and I plan to do a study of the view from the roof.
You can see the skyline of Kuala Lumpur — the big and small, high and low.
I video the view again — and notice that smoke is coming out of a building. It is on fire!
A man tells us that the building on fire is the Malaysian Police Headquarters.
The fire grows — the man speculates that the fire is connected with the political crisis in Malaysia.
The fire burns. The Prime Minister has been caught taking huge bribes and it is unclear what will occur. He has fired cabinet members and refuses to give up his power. “The fire is probably related to this,” the man says.
After the sun sets, the fire ends.
Was the fire started in order to destroy evidence? A police spokesman later stated that only books and “unimportant papers” were destroyed — but, so far, the authorities have not said how the fire began.
Good and bad, powerful and the powerless, large and the small — Lao tsu points out the interconnectedness of all things — the good and bad can not exist without each other.
People struggle to gain wealth and power, and regard such things as valuable, but isn’t this struggle inherently connected with good and bad? Power corrupts — and it seems likely that someone started this fire on purpose.
What implications should we draw from this? Beautiful and ugly, good and bad, being and nonbeing, high and low, long and short — in the next blog, I will provide Lao tsu’s answer.