Reading The Tao Te Ching: Kenosis; or, Self-emptying

The Core Taoist Teaching in 5 Tenets

Tenet #4: Kenosis; or, Self-emptying

The core Taoist teaching, especially as it's found in The Tao Te Ching (alt.: The Daodejing) can be reduced to 5 tenets.

In this reading, which is, above all, a meditation, I select 6 seminal chapters from TTC (the Hinton translation) to illustrate Tenet #4: kenosis, or the emptying of self, self-emptying.

And what is always here when the illusion of self has fallen away?

In the spirit of Chan and Zen, I allow for a spontaneous question to emerge at the end of each chapter. The following poem (co-written with Daniel Doyon) below juxtaposes the grace of the Taoist teaching with the brittle sternness of the modern picture.



I, the Taoist sage, am nobody.

Therefore, I am Tao.


I, the ego-self, must be Somebody.

Therefore, I am suffering.