Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Compassion and Forgiveness

By Lao Tzu

Compassion and Forgiveness

The Tao Te Ching teaches that being super judge-y of everybody else is a terrible way to go through life. The great Tao nurtures everything there is, whether it's a bad thing or a good thing. So we all ought take a cue from the Tao on this one.

Some rude dude might call you a dirty name. The TTC would tell you to learn from his mistakes rather than insult him back. And if you see him on the side of the road with smoke coming out from under his hood, you're going to do way more good for yourself and the world if you give him a ride to the gas station than if you roll down the window and yell, "See ya, sucker!" as you drive past.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. How are the Tao Te Ching's views on compassion similar and different from the ones found in the Christian Bible?
  2. How does the TTC think we can learn from our enemies?
  3. How does the idea of forgiveness fit into a philosophy that's based on selflessness and humility? If we're all supposed to lower ourselves, are we ever in a position to forgive? Why or why not?
  4. What does the TTC mean when it says that we have to get rid of righteousness?

Chew on This

The Tao Te Ching advises that being generous with others is the ultimate gain.

By not judging everyone we meet, we can understand more about humanity as a whole and learn new ways to help others.

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