Keep Things Simple

The new disciple embarks on a journey to the mountain, yearning to uncover the hidden secrets of Tao. However, he finds himself unable to engage in a personal conversation with the revered Master.

After much anticipation, the day finally arrives when he is granted this coveted opportunity. Overflowing with excitement, he summons the courage to articulate a question brimming with curiosity, “Sir, could you enlighten me on the ways of practicing Tao?”

The Master, seemingly unaffected by the disciple’s enthusiasm, nonchalantly responds, “When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re tire, sleep.”

The disciple is taken aback, caught off guard by the unexpectedly simplistic answer. Yearning for deeper wisdom, he gathers his courage and presses on, “But Sir, aren’t those actions already commonplace among everyone?”

In a matter-of-fact tone, the Master firmly asserts, “No. Most people feed themselves with thousands of desires when they eat; and dream of thousands of designs when they sleep.”

Deep in thought, the disciple ponders these words, his mind gradually grasping the profound meaning concealed within. A silent nod of acknowledgement follows, his heart now content with the profound understanding bestowed upon him.

"Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity.
Put others first.
Desire little."

Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching 19

Note: ‘Simplicity’ here is the translation of the character Pu (朴or樸), which is also translated as ‘uncarved wood” or ‘inherent quality’.  It is a metaphor for the natural state of humanity or the Tao.

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you for these postings. They are very beneficial to read and I shared this site with my 21- year old son who struggles with schizophrenia.

    Helen (Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *