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Laozi's warning! The 5 Thieves...

Chapter 12 of the Daode Jing by Laozi: 

"The five colors blind the eye.

The five tones deafen the ear.

The five flavors dull the taste.

Racing and hunting madden the mind.

Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this."


- Translation by Gia-fu Feng & Jane English -


It is certainly an ominous set of lines contained in this verse which state that colours blind the eyes, sounds deafen the ears and essentially the senses are degenerated by their very own stimulus! How is this so?!


This verse contains a warning: "The sage is guided by what he feels". This means that the sage (a wise person) listens to their internal state to avoid being "Lead astray".

It's a bit like being at a carnival: There's an innumerable amount of stimuli to look at, to listen to, to smell, to taste and to yearn for/desire. Being at this carnival you become completely distracted and enchanted by all of the colourful lights, joyful melodies and delicious flavours swirling around the air. And then a colourful parade suddenly bursts onto the scene adding a storm of glitter to the flurry of activity.While you stop in your tracks and become mesmerised by the spectacle, pick-pockets silently slither through the enchanted crowds, skillfully dipping their fangs into your pockets and dissapearing like clouds. In the midst of the show, you may not know you've been robbed of something (something very precious) until much later or until it's too late!


Being "Lead astray" is not understanding that there are an innumerable things that will drain your life-force. Of course, this is not saying that one cannot enjoy things in life, the point is that one needs to be aware of this and know how to use and nurture one's life-force or personal power to live a happy life. Living a life of excess and imbalance is the warning made by Laozi! This is why "The sage is guided by what he feels and not what he sees"!


Remember to not have excessive things in your life. It will drain your life-force! This why Daoism and Daoist teachings/txercises ARE the cultivation of LIFE (literally!)

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