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Virtue is goodness.

Laozi, Dàodéjīng 49:



Those who are good I treat with goodness;
Those who are not good I also treat with goodness —
Virtue is goodness.

Those who are faithful I treat with faithfulness;
Those who are not faithful I also treat with faithfulness —
Virtue is faithfulness.

All right, I can’t really translate Chinese. But I heard this while I was going through a Librivox edition of Tao Te Ching, and it connected with similar statements I had floating about in my head at the time.

The translation I heard (Goddard’s) didn’t seem all that clean here, so I went and hunted down an original to see if I could tidy it up a bit. The idea I get is that if Teh is goodness, then one following Teh needs to show goodness, whether undergoing goodness or badness; likewise, if Teh is trust, then the one following Teh needs to show trust, whether he’s given trustworthiness or untrustworthiness. To do otherwise would be to stop following Teh.

The doctrine surely has an extreme flavor, but it’s not exclusively Chinese; even Christianity (in its best forms) teaches us to love our enemies and repeatedly forgive those who wrong us.

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