Discussing Chapter 81 of Dao De Jing - The Virtue of Generosity and Selflessness

Chapter 81 of the Dao De Jing, attributed to Lao Zi (Lao Tzu), offers profound insights into the nature of generosity, selflessness, and the interconnectedness of giving and receiving. In this discussion, we delve into the wisdom contained in this chapter, exploring the virtues of not hoarding, selfless actions, and the reciprocal relationship between giving and receiving.

Original Verse

"A sage does not hoard. The more one does for others, the more one has. The more one gives to others, the more one receives." (Chapter 81 of Dao De Jing)


Lao Zi's words emphasize the transformative power of selflessness and generosity. The verse encapsulates the principles that guide a sage's actions and mindset.

The sage, who embodies wisdom and virtue, does not hoard resources, possessions, or knowledge. This lack of attachment to material accumulation reflects a profound understanding of the impermanence of worldly things.

The paradoxical truth is revealed: the more one does for others, the more one's own well-being and abundance grow. Acts of kindness and service create a ripple effect of positivity that returns to enrich the giver's life.

Likewise, the more one gives to others without expecting anything in return, the more one is open to receiving. This principle of reciprocity highlights the interconnectedness of human interactions and the flow of energy between individuals.

Key Points

  1. Non-Hoarding: The sage's refusal to hoard reflects a detachment from material possessions, emphasizing the transitory nature of worldly goods.
  2. Generosity and Abundance: By selflessly helping others, individuals experience an increase in their own well-being and abundance, reflecting the positive impact of their actions.
  3. Reciprocity of Giving and Receiving: The verse underscores the reciprocal relationship between giving and receiving, illustrating the interconnected nature of human interactions.


The teachings of Chapter 81 of Dao De Jing offer practical guidance for leading a life of virtue and fulfillment.

Embracing selflessness and generosity can enhance our own well-being while positively impacting the lives of others. The more we extend kindness and help to those around us, the more we contribute to a cycle of positivity and abundance.

Furthermore, understanding the dynamic of giving and receiving reminds us to approach interactions with an open heart and a spirit of reciprocity. By freely giving without expecting immediate returns, we create an atmosphere of mutual support and connection.

In essence, this chapter invites us to cultivate a mindset of selflessness and generosity, recognizing that by enriching the lives of others, we ultimately enrich our own. This profound wisdom has the potential to shape a more compassionate and harmonious world.

Bridge of Faiths

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