Tao-te ching Comments. The Way of Heaven Quote It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness. When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe. When wealth and honors lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil on itself. When the work is done, and one's name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven. Commentary The final sentence of this chapter offers the explanation of its meaning. It is about the Way of Heaven we already talk about this concept in my Level 1 of the Taoism initiation course which consists in avoiding excess. In the phenomenal world, too much filling leads to our inability to carry the vessel. The same, a point which has been sharpened too much, will end in no sharpness, and so forth… In the human sphere, one should retreat when the work is done.
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It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness. What do you think it means? I think that second line about the sharpness of things is a great statement about moving on.
Stretch a bow to its very longest, And you will wish you had stopped in time. Temper a sword-edge to its very sharpest, And the edge will not last long. When gold and jade fill your hall, You will not be able to keep them safe. Translated by Yu Tang Lin. That is the way of the Tao. Never hold anything to its fullest because it will overflow, and then you lose more than you gain. If you keep showing off your ability; you will lose support from your colleagues and success will not last long. When gold and jade fill the halls, their possessor cannot keep them safe. Gold and jade are mere worldly possessions which come and go.