Selections from Jesus and Lao Tzu, by Martin Aronson: See larger selection here
Commentary is my own by Jesus Lightworker
Respond to anger with virtue Tao Te Ching 63
Matthew 5:38 Do not resist and evil doer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him the other also.
Commentary: The vicious circle of sin, in Christian terms — or the deviation from the Tao, according to Lao Tzu’s philosophy — consists in a dynamic of retribution. Anger is repaid by anger, evil by evil. This cycle can occur on larger levels, as in warfare or global strife, or in smaller ways, whenever we hold a grudge or we are motivated by ill-will. If, instead, we respond to evil with goodness and to anger with virtue, then we demonstrate that goodness and virtue are actually more powerful than their opposites.
By offering the one who strikes us the “other cheek,” we do what martial artists do when they use another’s strength against him. An evil doer comes rushing, with aggression, toward us. We simply put out our hand — or offer the “other cheek” — at once to submit to the assault and to block it. Because we have cultivated our own inner power, and integrity of virtue, the force of the aggressor is visited back upon him by our own slightest move. Our act, without any motive of resistance or retribution, nevertheless overcomes the adversary.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
The sage is good to people who are good. He is also good to people who are not good. This is true goodness. The sage trusts people who are trustworthy. He also trusts people who are not trustworthy. This is true trust. Tao Te Ching 49
Commentary: If the sage trusts even people who are not trustworthy, who is he or she trusting? She or he trusts the Tao. It is the Tao that brings about the interaction or relationship itself (between the sage and the trustworthy or untrustworthy person). The Tao, the principle of Life itself, is trustworthy. Similarly, by repaying people who are not good with goodness, the sage trusts the Tao itself, which is good.
If I lose money in a business deal, for instance, because I’ve trusted somebody untrustworthy, I have exhibited my trust in the Tao (or, in Christian terms, in the Spirit and in God), which will repay my good intentions even if I lose one particular deal, or some amount of money, along the way. Similarly, if I forgive somebody who has stolen from me, slandered me, exploded unfairly at me, or otherwise caused me harm, I am asserting through my forgiveness that the Spirit (or God) will honor my good intentions by setting me free from these very same sins or their equivalent.
That I do not judge the wrongdoer means that I refrain from drawing inferences, globally, about his or her character. I do not enlarge the misdeed by elaborating a drama about the violation (in my own mind or verbally by rumors), nor do I nurse grievances or inflict penalties. Instead, although I may come to some harm, in this particular matter, I open myself to non-judgment and forgiveness from Spirit (or God), in the bigger horizon of my life. Spirit and God are the ground and foundation of my being. Thus, I am liberated to live life fully and abundantly, since my own generous intention is mirrored back by reality.
Why are you afraid, you of little faith ? Matthew 8:26
He who has not enough faith will not be able to command faith from others. Tao Te Ching 23
Commentary: By giving faith, we command faith from others. This principle from the Tao Te Ching suggests that people are naturally drawn toward faith, even if on the surface they may seem to be manipulated by inferior motives (such as the desire for selfish gain, approval, or material profits by dishonest tactics).
Let’s say that you have faith in a humanitarian project. You speak about the project with people who are cautious and who disbelieve that generous intentions may prevail successfully. You make a case, exhibiting faith, regarding the success of the endeavor. Citing examples of humanitarian projects that have been successful, you describe the victories of Mohammad Yunas in micro-financing, of Susan B. Anthony in the women’s suffrage movement, and of Bill Gates in starting Microsoft. All of these benevolent projects began with faith. Your associates, even if they are by nature less trusting or well-intentioned than you are, come around to your opinion, thanks to the attractive force of your faith.
Most people would like to believe that goodness and generosity will prevail, because they worry (secretly) that they may some day be in need as potential recipients of another’s good will. Jesus also counsels that we put our faith in God, the source of goodness and generosity, for anything that we might fear will dissolve at the urging of faith.
With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
If there is a good store of virtue, then nothing is impossible. Tao Te Ching 59
How can nothing be impossible? With God or given a good store of virtue? Can the sun drop from the sky? Is that the kind of impossible thing that will become possible with God? No, or probably not, because for the sun to drop from the sky would be contrary to God’s laws of nature which uphold the universe for the preservation of life; since God is good and principled, the author of life, God will not allow the sun to fall from the sky for that would extinguish life.
That all things are possible with God means that all things are possible, so long as they are in accord with God’s nature, which is generous, life-giving, creative, truthful, free, and radiantly attractive and satisfying. So consider something “impossible”. Ask yourself whether this “impossible” thing would display generosity, virtue, truth and creativity, freedom or peace, joy, abundance, justice–and other qualities or benefits in accord with God’s nature. If so, then move toward this impossible thing. It will unfold, step by step. The impossible will become possible.
Confucius, Lao-tzu, and a buddhist Arhat