Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 38

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 38

  • All right, let's talk about virtue according to the TTC.
  • People who are truly virtuous just are; they don't force it.
  • People who are truly generous and kind don't go around announcing how generous and kind they are.
  • They don't do generous things just so people will think they're generous.
  • People who hide behind etiquette and rules to show that they're good are posers when it comes right down to it.
  • True virtue runs deeper than that.
  • Truly great people don't "dwell on the flower" (38.28).
  • Given what the rest of this chapter is saying, we figure a flower isn't necessarily a good thing in this context.
  • Maybe it's a symbol of surface-level beauty.
  • If we want to truly be beautiful and virtuous, then our beauty comes from within.

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