Tao Te Ching Commentary: Not Disturbing the Heart

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“Do not display what arouses desire

And people’s hearts will not be disturbed.”

Forget about monkey see, monkey do. The human mentality is very much monkey see, monkey want! Wanting is deleterious to the spirit, because it makes tsunamis out of a placid pool. If we keep away from temptations, then we will have nothing to tempt us, and our placid pool will have no need to generate waves.

But, it is not just enough to keep ourselves away from things that arouse selfish desires. We must uproot the very delusions that allow such desires to keep arising within us. The most basic of these delusions is the unspoken belief that sensual gratification is the greatest pleasure or happiness that one can experience. Once we experience the untold delights that spiritual practice has to offer, however, such feeble desires are unable to take root. They taste sickly and unsatisfying when compared to drinking the universal nectar of formless experience. So, we eradicate attachment to base pleasure by whetting our appetite for higher pleasures. Though, in the long-run, if we want to attain the ultimate, we must liberate ourselves of our perception of the duality of pleasure and pain altogether.

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