Lenten Observance: Day 27

Tao 53 and 54


When rich speculators prosper

while farmers lose their land;

when government officials spend money

on weapons instead of cures;

when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible

while the poor have nowhere to run —

all this is robbery and chaos.

It is not in keeping with the Tao.

This is most of 53 — it seems like a resounding critique of our current situation and a rebuke of rampant capitalism, which values the holders of capital over those who are workers.  I guess we won’t hear anything about the Tao from any of the political candidates.


Let the Tao be present in your life

and you will become genuine.

Let it be present in your country

and your country will be an example

to all the countries in the world.

Keep away from being all caught up in one slogan or another, and away from demonizing, and stay focused on the task at hand.  But if people use the rhetoric that suggests they are doing that (Republicans keep on saying they are focused on jobs, even if less than a quarter of what they’ve proposed in various state legislatures is really about economic recovery), what are we to do?  I guess we first don’t necessarily believe something because a politician has said it, or because it has been reported, but try to look beyond the rhetoric.  I wish I believed that people had the energy and interest to do that.  There’s too much “look at the shiny object” in the rhetoric of today.  Of course the bit about the country being an example resonates with me, as the founders of Boston spoke of their city as “a city on a hill,” citing the Bible — make your community an example, not by saying that you are an example, but by doing something, and doing something right and just.

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