báo (薄)

means “thin, flimsy;” In contemporary Chinese, this character signifies three separate, but related, words: báo (薄), bó (薄), or bò (薄). Bó (薄) means “slight,” and bò (薄) means “weak.” In various contexts, this character (pronounced one way or another) can mean “poor, mean, ungenerous or stingy, or even contemptuous or careless.” In Sùwèn 3.4.3, báo (薄) appears to refer to a thinly spread out distribution of resources (such as yáng (陽) or wèi(衛)); however, this character’s use in Sùwèn 75.6.6 is rather more ambiguous, and I believe that ambiguity contains a ‘secret’ teaching. Who is to say? Reading Nèijīng is profoundly influenced by the experience and personal cultivation of the reader.

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