Lao Tzu was a sixth-century B.C. philosopher and founder of philosophical Taoism. His wise quotes are often used in memes sprinkled at times throughout social media.
Right now, for Great Lent, I’m reading an Orthodox Christian book by Hiermonk Damascene called Christ the Eternal Tao, and what I’ve read so far is both incredible and fascinating.
Lao Tzu had an extraordinary foresight into the Holy Trinity, the coming of Christ, and Christ’s life on earth. That He is the Word of God, as the Spirit is the Breath of God, that gives life to all beings.
How Lao Tzu knew of this without any communication with the Jewish people following God, or the incarnation of Christ and His life on Earth is both perplexing and amazing.
I wanted to share just one of his poems.
In the book, Hiermonk Damascene explains, “The poems that follow are not a translation of the Tao Teh Ching, but rather comprise an entirely new work, which is based on and quotes from the Tao Teh Ching.” He also says, “In quoting from the Tao Teh Ching, we have relied primarily on the heretofore-unpublished, partial translation of it by Gi-ming and Fr. Seraphim, which we have found to be the most penetrating; but we have also referred to numerous other translations and to the original Chinese text.”
One other piece of information I’d like to share from the book is this: Hiermonk Damascene says, “Here it should be noted that the ancient Chinese placed great significance on the number Three, seeing in it the primal principle of order; and in this way, their teachings foreshadowed Christ’s revelation of the mystical life of the Triadic Godhead (see p. 257). In chapter 42 of the Tao Teh Ching, Lao Tzu wrote: ‘The Three produced all things.'”
There are eighty-one chapters, and they’re all based on multiples of three (Damascene), and every one that has been written in this book is amazing, but I am going to post one that I ran into while reading last night.
He was condemned as a friend of harlots
And the harlots became virgins.
He was condemned as a friend of thieves
And the thieves restored their stolen goods fourfold.
He was condemned as a friend of poor fishermen
And the poor fishermen caught the universe in their nets.
He was condemned as a friend of outcasts
And the outcasts inherited His Kingdom.
He was condemned, and they were created anew.
He wept over what His creation had made of itself,
And by His tears was it remade,
Restored to its true nature, its primitive origin.
The first creation was of the dust of the ground;
The second, of Water and Spirit.
Beautiful poem full of wisdom. And I believe the law of God is written in every human being’s heart. I highly recommend this book, if it interests you at all.
Hiermonk Damascene, Christ the Eternal Tao. Valaam Books, 2012.