Chapter 3: They Know Me Not
Lao Tzu says: They know me not.
My teachings are very easy to understand and very easy to practice,
but no one can understand them and no one can practice them.
In my words there is a principle.
In the affairs of men there is a system.
Because they know not these, they also know me not.
Since there are few that know me, therefore I am distinguished.
Therefore the sage wears a coarse cloth on top
and carries jade within his bosom.
The easy is not always easy, and the obvious not obvious.
This happens because of you. You are very difficult and puzzled, complicated, complex. Your whole being is topsy-turvy, fragmentary, divided in compartments.
To understand an easy thing as easy you have to be undivided, and to understand a thing which is obvious is to bring the mind to a certain quality of awareness. Otherwise the distant seems near and the near is forgotten.
Lao Tzu’s teachings are very easy, you cannot find more easy teachings than them. Buddha is a little complex, Jesus also, Krishna, very much, but Lao Tzu is absolutely simple, and because of that simplicity he is the most elusive.
People have not been able to comprehend him, not because he is difficult, but because he is so easy. There is nothing to comprehend in fact, there is nothing to solve. If the mind has something to solve, the mind tries to solve it. In the effort to solve it, it comes to a certain understanding. But if the thing is absolutely easy, the mind has no challenge. There is no question of solving it, it is already solved. The mind simply forgets about it. It is not a problem, so it is not of interest to the mind, not a curiosity for the mind. There is no challenge in it, the mind cannot overcome it, conquer it, there is no point - the victory is so easy that the mind thinks victory is useless.
That’s why Lao Tzu has been missed, and he is the most profound. But his teaching is very easy. This has to be understood.
Right now your mind can comprehend many complex things. You can understand Hegel: not very profound, but very complicated. You can understand Kant: not very deep, but very puzzling. You can understand philosophers, philosophies, systems, because they don’t require any different awareness than you have. As you are, a little effort is needed and you will be able to understand Hegel: Just a little more effort on your part - but no transformation in your being. They are just ahead of you, you have to walk a few miles more. Their quality is not different. But to understand Lao Tzu you have to pass through a deep mutation, a total revolution. You have to become like children - innocent.