1. Melbourne, Australia
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    24 Nov '12 13:33
    'A path that can be described
    Cannot be the Path with no lmiting.
    A way that can be named
    cannot be the Way whose name has no end.'

    Dao De Jing ("Classic of The Way and It's Nature"😉- Opening verses.

    Commentary:
    Tao or Dao (Pinyin Spelling) means, Path or Way, and includes the broader meaning of Way - the way things "go", happen, or are done.

    Sometimes the Chinese pictographs referring to "without limiting" are rendered as "constant" - ever there. Unlimited in time or space.
    Similarly, a way that can be named has an end, a finish, or the word never finishes.

    These words remind of the nature of the "Mystery" or the "Great" Other ways of referring to the Dao) - it is unable to be fully or finally encapsulated, or have imposed limits of any sort.

    The two verses give a picture of an open space where any place in that openeness is potent with the Way and its Nature. There is no inside or outside to the Great, no limit where it may be found and experienced. Yet, try to grasp it, point to it,you may as well try to grab space or point everywhere at once.

    These verses remind straight off before the rest of the 81 short chapters that to try and limit or contain the Mystery defeats the open experiencing of the Dao. You can talk about the way, that's why it has a name, but remember its a sort-of name, one that never finishes and thus it constantly surprises. This theme emerges a number of times through out the chapters.

    taoman.
  2. Melbourne, Australia
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    26 Nov '12 13:454 edits
    "Nameless is the Origin of Heaven and Earth.
    Naming is the Mother of a myriad things.
    Thus, while avoiding desire, one becomes aware of the essence;
    while pursuing desire, one becomes aware of its manifestation."

    **********
    Commentary:
    These next few verses of "Reflection 1" - ( I prefer to call these rather limited "Chapters", Refliection 1, 2 etc.)
    The origin or Source of existence is unable to be described. Things manifested are "named", brought to birth by the Mother of all things manifested from the fathering Source.
    People tend to equate the Chinese Principals "Yin" and "Yang" fairly statically, e.g. Yin is woman, Yang is man, Yin is open, Yang is solid, with a long list of polarities attached, each assigned Yang or Yin. However, Tao and it's Te are like a dance. The Yin Yang of polarities exist at varying levels from external manifestation to internal mental attitudes. A woman may be in a Yang state, and vise versa. A man sitting still and reflecting is Yang outwardly (as a man), but is merging with a yin state in meditation. Yin and Yang are dynamic, because the Tao and its Te are dynamic. We talk of them as two, but they hold as one.
    Desire here is not a "sin" (its far more subtle and inherent in life than just the desire of physical passion) - its but a pole of a polarity, necessary and fully a part of existence. One can equally avoid desire, as well as claim it. Quietening our active desiring we begin to see the essence from whence the power (Te) desire arises, and all its other active states.
    Pursuing desire does not just mean wild and uncontrolled, although that is part of its meaning. Where would we be without lust?
    But any focus on activity or goal or want is too desire. Your going to work and the whole of that production and profit, is all built around desire. This desire yearning on many levels is how things become manifested, including our lives.
    When When the "Nameless" dances with the "Named", the polarity of all existence is whirling. This is the Supreme emblem of the Mystery, the Great, embracing every polarity.
  3. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
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    26 Nov '12 18:54
    Originally posted by Taoman
    "Nameless is the Origin of Heaven and Earth.
    Naming is the Mother of a myriad things.
    Thus, while avoiding desire, one becomes aware of the essence;
    while pursuing desire, one becomes aware of its manifestation."

    **********
    Commentary:
    These next few verses of "Reflection 1" - ( I prefer to call these rather limited "Chapters", Refliection 1, 2 etc.) ...[text shortened]... is is the Supreme emblem of the Mystery, the Great, embracing every polarity.
    I find your posts to be interesting, and frequently read them. But as the whole Taoist thing is so far removed from my own experience, I seldom have the desire (or ability) to comment on them. Just sayin'.
  4. Melbourne, Australia
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    26 Nov '12 23:05
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I find your posts to be interesting, and frequently read them. But as the whole Taoist thing is so far removed from my own experience, I seldom have the desire (or ability) to comment on them. Just sayin'.
    Ok. It's one ancient but very different culture's 'way'. I like its avoidance of hard edges and too solid definitions. Chinese pictography is very suited to that way of communicating (almost poetical), and a counterfoil to Western hard-edged analysis. A polarity, again. A Taoist would say the Tao is in everything you experience, or is the experience itself. Just another way of reflecting on deeper meanings. Buddhist Zen and Philosophical Taoism are a close relationship.
  5. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
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    27 Nov '12 00:30
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Ok. It's one ancient but very different culture's 'way'. I like its avoidance of hard edges and too solid definitions. Chinese pictography is very suited to that way of communicating (almost poetical), and a counterfoil to Western hard-edged analysis. A polarity, again. A Taoist would say the Tao is in everything you experience, or is the experience itself. J ...[text shortened]... flecting on deeper meanings. Buddhist Zen and Philosophical Taoism are a close relationship.
    I agree with you. I agree with quite a bit of what you say. But for whatever reason, I lack the means to contribute to this discussion in a meaningful way. I prefer to just eavesdrop on these type of conversations. But since no one else was responding to this thread, I wanted to let you know that it wasn't being ignored (for what that's worth).
  6. Joined
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    27 Nov '12 00:50
    I am not ignoring it too.
  7. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
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    27 Nov '12 00:55
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I agree with you. I agree with quite a bit of what you say. But for whatever reason, I lack the means to contribute to this discussion in a meaningful way. I prefer to just eavesdrop on these type of conversations. But since no one else was responding to this thread, I wanted to let you know that it wasn't being ignored (for what that's worth).
    I am similar. With both of you. You political views are synonymous with mine a lot of the time,however when someone says it better than you it's better just to thumb it up.
    With Taoman's 'raves' sometimes I feel 'in the zone' to comment' other times, I feel like my comment would just confuse the average reader more.

    So Taoman, any practical implications of your OP here?
  8. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
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    27 Nov '12 00:58
    Originally posted by Taoman
    'A path that can be described
    Cannot be the Path with no lmiting.
    A way that can be named
    cannot be the Way whose name has no end.'

    Dao De Jing ("Classic of The Way and It's Nature"😉- Opening verses.

    Commentary:
    Tao or Dao (Pinyin Spelling) means, Path or Way, and includes the broader meaning of Way - the way things "go", happen, or are done.

    So ...[text shortened]... ises. This theme emerges a number of times through out the chapters.

    taoman.
    Is 'the way' in Taoism similar to the dharma (or 'life path'😉 in Buddhism, where everyone must find their own (path/way), and there is no one you can copy ,(maybe get inspiration from)?

    I haven't read nearly as much Taoism as I have Buddhism.
  9. Melbourne, Australia
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    27 Nov '12 08:16
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    I am similar. With both of you. You political views are synonymous with mine a lot of the time,however when someone says it better than you it's better just to thumb it up.
    With Taoman's 'raves' sometimes I feel 'in the zone' to comment' other times, I feel like my comment would just confuse the average reader more.

    So Taoman, any practical implications of your OP here?
    The first 'Reflection' of the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) is a favorite and basic reference for me. It would be a verse from it that I would have on my gravestone, if I had one. With the aid of Chinese resources and other "translations" - it is difficult to literally translate word for word with a pictographic multivalent language - I have translated it in the manner that makes clearer to me and hopefully others important nuances and connections.

    I am sure the original Chinese sage(s) involved in its compilation knew well of the multiple meanings of Chinese pictographs. Thus there are many and varied translations or transpositions, none are wrong, none are fully right.
    I offer it with my commentary to help others appreciate its deeper meanings.

    I know these offerings are at times out of step with the usual fare but there are those who may appreciate it when they are in the mood.
    Debates and arguments have their place I guess, but sometimes one just wants to share stuff, share reflections.
  10. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
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    27 Nov '12 10:02
    Originally posted by Taoman
    The first 'Reflection' of the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) is a favorite and basic reference for me. It would be a verse from it that I would have on my gravestone, if I had one. With the aid of Chinese resources and other "translations" - it is difficult to literally translate word for word with a pictographic multivalent language - I have translated it in the ...[text shortened]... ts have their place I guess, but sometimes one just wants to share stuff, share reflections.
    Aye. Carry on, dear fellow traveler! Your modus operandi is unique and interesting to me....without tripping over yourself. Good one 🙂
  11. Melbourne, Australia
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    27 Nov '12 23:031 edit
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    Aye. Carry on, dear fellow traveler! Your modus operandi is unique and interesting to me....without tripping over yourself. Good one 🙂
    The moon is full,
    the moon is empty.
    The light that shines the moon
    is not its own but it is no less the moon;
    its phases come and go
    even its darkness
    - (non-being) -
    is defined by the sun.

    So is it with our 'selves',
    coming into being
    by the light of awareness.
    Where is the sun of this light of awareness?
    Within you?
    Beyond you?
    Or both?
    Or perhaps you cannot say at all?

    Quiet, mind!
    Just enjoy the sun,
    go to sleep at nighttime.

    Be.
  12. Melbourne, Australia
    Joined
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    27 Nov '12 23:20
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    Is 'the way' in Taoism similar to the dharma (or 'life path'😉 in Buddhism, where everyone must find their own (path/way), and there is no one you can copy ,(maybe get inspiration from)?

    I haven't read nearly as much Taoism as I have Buddhism.
    To me, the Path appears as you walk. (Have you walked it, or is it walking you?) Inspiration is a part of that appearing. It is nevertheless your inspiration, your response, where you are now, not another's.
    The mystery of what you uniquely and finally are is a reflection of the "Mystery".
    Our potential 'selves' are yet to be.
  13. Melbourne, Australia
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    04 Dec '12 13:062 edits
    Some wonder how the Tao Te Ching statements have a practical grounding, perhaps seeing them as abstract philosophizing. So....

    It was Chinese Taoist encounter with Indian Buddhism that lead to the emergence of Chan Buddhism and the further development of Chan into minimalist Japanese Zen Buddhism. There is a strong influence of Taoism in the Zen development. Indian Buddhism was greatly influenced by the Hindu Way, with its precise, analytical, and logical sutric approach;Taoism was greatly influenced by Chinese nature shamanism and later interacted with Confucianism. The enigmatic utterances of Zen are often reflected and seen in Taoist stories and writings.

    "...Of the ten sects of Buddhism that developed in China the one that most closely came to reflect Taoist influence was the Ch'an variation of the Mahayana. Particularly after the reformation of Hui-neng (638-713), Ch'an set about to "spread the seed widely" as Hui-neng's mentor had advised him. Ch'an embraced Taoists and Confucians as well as Buddhists, and lower classes along with educated aristocrats.

    Whether it is history or mythology is open to debate by historians, but the story has that Hui-neng himself was an illiterate woodsman when he was enlightened. He overheard one line from the Diamond Sutra: "Let your mind function freely without abiding anywhere or in anything." (John Wu trans.) Note how easily this correlates with the "watercourse way" of Taoism's "go with the flow." In fact Hui-neng (supposedly - history is fuzzy) described himself as a "simple, mindless man of Tao," a phrase that recurs in the sermons of Huang-po and Lin-chi.

    Lin-chi began his sermons by addressing his monks as "followers of Tao." The phrase "to attain Tao" was synonymous with enlightenment. The common metaphor was that Buddhism was the father and Taoism the mother of the child Ch'an."

    http://www.taoism.net/articles/chantao.htm


    But what is the point of it all - this desiring by which we see the myriad manifestation and the state of not-desiring where we encounter a place of no form, no clear "entity", yet a place of mystery and power.

    The Chinese ancients saw the Origin as Wu Chi, or Wuji. Wu is a negative, Ji is the energy that arises wherever there is differentiation. This is connected to the "Chi" so well known and also known as Qi. The Wuji was the place of "Emptiness" - No "Thing", No Differentiation, the Formless. Without Form or Differentiation there was also no manifested Chi.

    Thus Wuji or Wu Chi is the Undifferentiated Source, the Non-dual, where there was no apparent movement of energies between differentiated forms. Some equate this Chinese "Emptiness" or "Indescribable" with the Buddhist "Emptiness", but they are really two slightly different views or takes on the Non-Dual Source. But both Taoism and Buddhsim have the idea of "dependent origination", where everything is dependent on everything else for its manifestation as a "thing". No thing or self or entity exists unto itself alone, separated from all else. The Tao flows through us, as we flow through it.

    The Tao comes into activity when the Wu Ji manisfests the "ten thousand things" that arise with desiring. With the Tao (the "Way", the "Great" the Yin and the Yang polarities emerge with manifestation.

    Now when desire is foremost (and that includes aversion - a desire to get away from something, to shun it), we see things individually and can only hold focus on a small piece of the "manifested" at a time. You desire change - you bring to focus and act in some way. It necessarily limits the view to one place of manifestation.

    When we quieten our desire and aversion, our focus begins to broaden and with practice awareness become more expanded, seeing more holistically.
    Both are needed, and part of living and each state complements the other, if we allow them both to function in a timely manner. This is much like the two hemispheres of our brain, one more holistic, intuitive, abstract, the other more analytical, with linear reasoning and exactness. (A very general description).
    The aim is to respond to life from the still aware center of Yin and Yang polarity, responding to both as needed.

    Chi arises with focussed awareness and desiring. It is either poorly flowing via a confused unfocussed mind, or it is clear and flowing with good effect in a centered person. Chi flows with mind. When the mind is alert but relaxed, open and lightly directing its focus and action (without intense desiring), personal energies flow more effectively.
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