'The highest good is like water, nourishing life effortlessly, flowing without prejudice to the lowliest places.'
I wonder if it is actually the same verse? This is one of the fascinating and infuriating things about the Tao. Its verses are deliberately obtuse and open to interpretation. Add to that the fact that they were written a couple of thousand years ago in ancient Chinese pictograms and you can see why our current ideas of what the verses actually say can vary quite widely. Wouldn't it have been great if Lao Tzu had thought ahead and had given us a thematic index!!! But he didn't, and so scholars can happily chew over the finer points for hours.
I went to our current great oracle (Google) and came up with a page showing numerous translations and interpretations. You can check it out for yourself.
My thoughts on water are that it is both lowly or 'common' and the most precious substance on earth. We could not exist without it and yet it is given freely by the sky (all too freely at the moment in Christchurch!) Water is good and is a fitting metaphor for the Tao. Another fact about water is that given enough time it can wear away stone. And this thought gives me great hope. The gentle and persistent action of goodness can alter the hardest of substances.
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