(from Ursula le Guin rendition of the Tao Te Ching Chapter 8)
A conundrum in most spiritual, philosophical and religious traditions, is the question of whether being good for reward, is goodness.
If one’s good deeds and practices are said to lead to heaven, paradise, blessings, good health, release of happy hormones in the brain, enlightenment, good luck, good karma, fortunate reincarnations, becoming a respected ancestor and suchlike…….. are those deeds and practices not their own reward, both now and in the bigger scheme of things.
It (water) goes right
to the loathsome places,
and so finds the way.
Is it possible to be good? Is it possible to follow the Way . . . .