Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wen Tzu - Verse 155, Part V

from Verse One Hundred Fifty-Five
Sages are comfortable in poverty, enjoying the Way. They do not harm life by craving and do not burden themselves by materialism. Therefore they do not deviate from justice by taking what they do not deserve.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
In this world, there are some people who make a great show of taking a vow of poverty. They eschew the resources that are available to them.

In my mind, this isn't the sort of person Lao Tzu is referring to. A person who takes a vow of poverty is contriving -- they are contriving to be poor! In many ways, it's not that different from someone who strives for wealth. Rather than taking life as it comes, both individuals are attempting to manipulate things to meet their own desires.

Still, my guess is that, by modern standards, most sages would not be considered financially well-off. Because they don't strive, they aren't the sort of people who put much value in our materialistic lifestyle. When they feel they have enough to survive, they don't try to accumulate more.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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