Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 9

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 9

  • The ever-wise TTC advises that it's a bad idea to overfill your cup.
  • If you've ever gotten soda all over your hand from an overfull Big Gulp, you know the TTC is right again.
  • Chances are the TTC is using this overfull cup as a metaphor for excess.
  • Too much of anything is bad, right?
  • We get the same kind of idea next with the metaphor of an over-sharpened knife.
  • Not sure if you're ever sharpened knives, but if you do it too much they get thin and break easily.
  • So again, too much of anything...
  • Now, we get some specific examples of the dangers of excess.
  • If you fill your house with valuable stuff like gold and jade, then no one can protect you from the big bad thieves who will come to take it all from you.
  • Wealth and power makes people arrogant, and disaster follows.
  • If you do happen to get famous, says the TTC, it's best to take a step back from it.
  • Getting all wrapped up in it is going to bring you down.

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