Approximately more than 2500 years have passed since Tao Te Ching was put on paper. The writing of Tao Te Ching took place roughly in the same period of time when the Dharma was expounded by Buddha in Pythagoras and India. This particular Chinese book is perhaps the most influential written work in the entire history of the Chinese people. It has eighty one chapters which have over the years been translated into other languages and mostly in English, more times compared to any other written document of the Chinese people. The book provides the foundation for Taoism school of philosophy, which is a significant Chinese thought pillar. The teaching of Taoism school of thought teaches that there is only one truth which at the origin of everything remains undivided. Each of the three words constituting the title of the book has its own meaning Tao means the way Te represents virtue or strength and Ching means scripture.

Emptiness theme
The Tao Te Ching is a major source of philosophical Taoism as well as a perplexing religious Chinese literature. Emptiness which is the major theme of the Tao Te Ching text is contained in its eleventh chapter. The emptiness theme enables the reader to comprehend the core claim of this great Chinese literature. The claim of the Tao Te Ching text is that we should acknowledge and appreciate the importance of emptiness due to the fact that while the existing fullness can bring about profit, emptiness leads to its usefulness. Through this theme, the Tao Te Ching book thus expresses emptiness as potentially everything and anything. The real emptiness contained in something is not only functional, but can also be utilized. An individual have to pursue the emptiness path in order to obtain usefulness as claimed by Tao Te Ching.

The emptiness theme as brought out in the Tao Te Ching is compared to the desires and wishes of people. Individuals should be able to accept what they have and what is available without looking forward for the situation to become different in any way. There is need to cooperate with nature as well as its natural process which are unfathomable as opposed to working against it. There is simply a need for allowing things to happen without exerting any resistance. The emptiness theme can thus be compared to inaction, virtue and detachment. In all these comparisons, one is expected to abide by the requirements of the Tao through discarding his ego and thus receiving the real meaning of the Tao Te Ching. The theme of emptiness compares the minds of human beings to battle fields, but unlike the normal battle fields, the main battles that take place in the minds are related to ones egos and attachments. Therefore, people are more likely to treat their fellow human beings with patience of compassionate and also forgive others once they have detached themselves from ego.

The theme of emptiness is however contrasted by lifes weakness and deaths rigidity. The example of birth and death is used it states that when one is born, he or she is weak and soft but when he dies, he becomes hard and stiff. The usefulness of the emptiness possessed by a young child when he is born is thus not reflected upon its death. The Tao Te Ching text focuses on the society beginnings by describing a past of golden age. It is the emptiness that existed in the past that led to inventions and thus became useful.

The emptiness that existed in the minds of great scientists was responsible for their efforts to fill it by making several inventions which eventually brought about usefulness. If there was no emptiness, less or no inventions could have been made by these scientists. Furthermore, the greater the inventions they made, the greater the emptiness in them increased and thus the increase in the desire of knowing and making more inventions.

According to me, emptiness is as important as fullness, and the usefulness of something cannot be realized in the absence of emptiness. It is the emptiness in ones mind that compels him or her to look for ways and means of filling it and thus make the emptiness useful. If there was no emptiness in the first place, no one could have seen the need of making new inventions since such a desire could have been no n existent.

The Tao Te Ching text is a great book whose significance has stood the test of time for the last two millenniums. Even though it has other themes, the emptiness theme is the most significant and remarkable. This theme attempts to show the importance of emptiness since it is the one that brings about fullness. It therefore indicates that if there was no emptiness in the first place, usefulness could have never been realized and therefore emptiness is as useful as fullness and both of them complement each other as none can exist in the absence of the other.


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