Tao Te Ching Chapter 38

38th Chapter
A truly good man doesn’t do good just to be recognized for it and is therefore good.
A foolish man tries to show goodness for people to see and is therefore not good.
One with virtues is truly doing things from his heart. He does it because of his selfless nature, so he doesn’t feel he is doing anything special.
A selfish man does things to be honored, he thinks he is doing something important.
A merciful man shows mercy from his heart and that is his nature, so he doesn’t feel he is being beneficent.
A man who claims to be just does things selfishly and justifies his selfish acts.
When a man tries to show his manners (but they are not from his heart), and he doesn’t get the response he expects, he will try to use force to get what he wants.

Therefore, when the Tao is forgotten, virtues are needed.
When virtues are forgotten, loving-kindness is needed.
When loving-kindness is forgotten, then justice is needed.
When justice is forgotten, manners are needed.

When manners are forgotten, it means faithfulness is fragile.
This is the beginning of chaos.
The one who imitates Tao instead of living Tao is vain.
Imitation is the beginning of foolishness.
Therefore, a great man strives to live with his whole heart, instead of living with a vain mind.
He eliminates vanity and lives in reality.

Implications from the Holy Books

Say: Let truthfulness and courtesy be your adorning. Suffer not yourselves to be deprived of the robe of forbearance and justice, that the sweet savors of holiness may be wafted from your hearts upon all created things. Say: Beware, O people of Bahá, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds. Strive that ye may be enabled to manifest to the peoples of the earth the signs of God, and to mirror forth His commandments. Let your acts be a guide unto all mankind, for the professions of most men, be they high or low, differ from their conduct. It is through your deeds that ye can distinguish yourselves from others. Through them the brightness of your light can be shed upon the whole earth. Happy is the man that heedeth My counsel, and keepeth the precepts prescribed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. ── Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 139

My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. ── Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, Arabic 1

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