Dao De Jing Questions and Answers
by Laozi

Start Your Free Trial

What are the metaphors and key concepts in Tao Te Ching #60? What are some real-life examples that connect to the concepts?

Expert Answers info

Jessie Canales, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from University of Lancaster

calendarEducator since 2019

write327 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Tao Te Ching is a Chinese text that forms part of the foundation of Taoism. It is divided into 81 short chapters.

The main metaphor used in chapter 60 is the small fish: “Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.” Cooking a small fish is not easy, as the fish could burn if left too long in one position, likewise parts of it might remain uncooked if the cook does not pay careful attention to it. A burned fish, just like an undercooked fish, would not be pleasant to eat. Likewise, if one were to...

(The entire section contains 273 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

prof-9475 | Student

What are the metaphors and key concepts in Tao Te Ching #60?

There is a significant metaphor in Tao Te Ching #60. The translation by J.H. McDonald shows so.
The first three lines basically shows that there is no better way to govern than using the Tao. The analogy and explanation behind this can the traced in the succeeding lines which highlight that if “Tao is used to govern the world then evil will lose its power to harm the people.” This is a clear metaphor with added explanation. In fact, a closer look will reveal that the entire chapter 60 is solely showing the power and relevance of Tao in “governing a large country.” However, it must be understood that since the auxiliary verb IS was used along with the word AS, the metaphor looks more of a simile. Then again, this should not be confused since the entirety of the chapter is a metaphor as explained.

What are some real-life examples that connect to the concepts?

Almost every two or three consecutive lines show some real-life concepts. Take note of the following:
* ‘frying a small fish is really difficult’ therefore it should not be poked often or doing so will ‘spoil the meat.’ Similarly, frying a small fish would require the right amount of heat and oil plus the discipline to be patient while waiting for it to be cooked. This is would require skill and knowledge about fish frying. And the chapter suggests that the Tao (or the right method or path) must be used in order to achieve balance and perfection. Thus, Tao entails using discipline and patience, not violence or harm, so that the proper results will be achieved. In a perfectly running system where everything knows what it should do and performs it (like the Tao method), then there is no room for error or evil.

For reference, please read:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 60, http://tao-in-you.com/lao-tzu-tao-te-ching-chapter-60/