AGAIN: Tao Te Ching

"com-passion" literally means "shared suffering"......it is a feeling observation. it is not pious or do goody goody, or pitying, or as though you are beter than. it is REAL as real can be. direct

that you are human and other one is, or if animal etc...that you share essences with all life
those who spout off about being compassionate are the biggest hypocrites. and those 'helped' can sniff em out
 
Compassion is a description of a natural feeling, but what is not natural is compassion as a principle. Principles are fixed, while reality is ever-changing. Even the rejection of principles as a principle is mistaken. Sometimes the principle is a good guide, we should allow ourselves to act spontaneously according to the situation.

Tao Te Ching Vs. 29
----------------------
Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.
 
what's funny is that every time I see stuff like what spidergoat posted (which I enjoyed), the more I realize I'm a tao'n futhermucker. it oozes from me with no label besides 'wes'. almost everything i've said on sciforums spews forth from my gut feeling of the perfection of the now.

indeed the tao can only be inferred.

maybe it's the space outside the circle containing the set "one's mind" or maybe just "one's perception".
 
Ok Up to this point there has been much talk of Ayn Rand. Nothing against her or anything, but i was just wondering how anyone can disregard a text as "stagnation" when it has founded one of the major religions of the world. On top of that in China, there is an entire field of study devoted to this text.
The tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao This one line says it all. The point of this philosophy is based on realizing the best way to get things is to not try to understand them, through conventional means. If you want to try and explain the Tao, then just forget about the text. You are not supposed to be able to explain it. Its almost like having a huge glob of jello in your hand, and then think that you will be able to keep it in your hand by squeezing it tight. The tighter you try to grasp the jello, the more bits and pieces will ooze out of your hand in between your hand. Thus the best way to approach taking hold of jello ( and thus understanding the Tao) is to place it on your open palm. if this sounds like its ridiculous, thats fine but understand that this texts throws absurdity in your face in order for you to get past your conventional attempts at learning anything and to truly try to understand the "truth" that it is trying to convey (I know truth is a loaded word but for lack of a better way of describing the book, for it cannot be named, i used it).

now in adressing Rand, I read the foutainhead and Atlas shrugged and i have to say at no point to i feel those books mock the Tao Te Ching. Rather they seems to be mocking all preconcieved notions which society instills upons its members (kind of like a cross between Kirkegard and Emerson). Howard Roark throws absurdity in the faces of New yorks elite and in doing so, struggles to show his ideas of architecture. In doing so he is acting very much in accordance with the Tao.

hope this may fuel some conversation.
 
I sometimes find it amusing and at other times sad when I see the western mind struggling with eastern concepts. The west took a wrong turn when it adopted aristotelian philosphy and abandoned plato, and now it seems to find a need for the truths that are so obviously lacking in our conceptualization of the universe. Just look at the term "universe". One song. Song of Oneness.
A good starting point, however, might be found in trying to recognize the field of activity available to dualistic consciousness. What is its nature and what are its limits? Self relegated to dualism exists in the world of things. Things come and go, are born and die, and the true nature of their being might not be any "solid eternal substance". You might find a trail of exciting logic and follow it to its "ultimate" end. Every step along the way real and true, etc. etc., only to find yourself as expressed by Bob Dylan - "alone I stand with nobody near when a trembling distant voice unclear STARTLES my SLEEPING ear to hear that someone thinks they really found me." Such is the nature of the truth hinted at in Taoism. Of course he probably popped a magic pill to open the door behind which we imprisoned poor ol' Plato so long long ago. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you CANNOT understand Taoism in the western "way". Try this: stick one finger out. Look at it. Its a finger, right. Truly really is. No doubting it. But can it touch itself?
 
Wess _morris wrote:
To you tao is everything that isn't you.

To someone else, you are part of the tao.

This smacks of dualism. I’ve never associated dualism with Taoism.
Did I miss something?
 
BeHereNow said:
Wess _morris wrote:


This smacks of dualism. I’ve never associated dualism with Taoism.
Did I miss something?

Maybe it was me. Since the tao is nameless, and for good reason... it's difficult to describe it clearly. I think of it as the inverse of self in a way, in that if it's unknowable, or beyond comprehension, it's part of the tao. The universe without consciousness, that's the tao. Bah, but maybe my wee little western mind can't compute. Water refers to it as "das ding en sich" or "the thing itself".

I don't necessarily understand what different people mean when they say dualism. Maybe you can tell me what you mean.
 
Wessmorris wrote
To you tao is everything that isn't you.
To someone else, you are part of the tao.

(Then later)

I don't necessarily understand what different people mean when they say dualism. Maybe you can tell me what you mean.

I come from Zen, first cousin of Taoism. Zen is Buddhism meets Taoism.
Duality is a lack of Oneness.
Enlightenment is experiencing Oneness.

Many of the problems I have with traditional Christianity is the duality of body and spirit. I don’t see this when I read the teachings of Jesus, but it has been infused by organized religion. There is not body and spirit, All is One.

Duality occurs when we see ourselves outside the world, separate or distinct from it. “I don’t care what happens in the ocean because I don’t live in the ocean” is an expression of duality. ‘I am here, it is there’ is not the Tao. A Zen saying is “I pluck a blade of grass in the meadow and the frog in the pond croaks.”

One might say “The Tao is all around us”, but that does not mean we are not part of the Tao. The Tao does not surround us, it engulfs us, it swallows us up.

You clearly expressed duality when you say that the Tao surrounds you from my perspective, and surrounds me from your perspective. You identified two Taos. Duality within the Tao can not be. When I fail to attain the Oneness I seek it is because I am thinking or living in duality. When I have duality I do not have the Tao, I am not experiencing the Tao.

My attempt to explain dualism is weak and leaves much ground uncovered. Others may want to add to it.

A special transmission outside the scriptures;
Depending not on words and letters;
Pointing directly to the human mind;
Seeing into one's nature, one becomes a Buddha.
 
I'm down with that...

Let me ask though, are you familiar with the concept of observational distance?

IMO, it necessitates lack of one-ness in a sense.

I'll just say that the notion of perspective has unavoidable consequences.

No matter how much or how clearly you can percieve, there are innate limits... whatever they be.

And you can never know if you're awake. In fact, that knowledge is meaningless. Wake a thousand times to live another dream.

In this way I am familiar that I am necessarily unfamiliar with the tao. It must escape me.

To me, in a sense, the oneness of which you speak necessitates dualism. Oneness and segmentation exist simultaneously.
 
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Wessmorris wrote
Let me ask though, are you familiar with the concept of observational distance?
Observational distance is an illusion. It is as if you say “My hand will not do as it should so I will go to the market without it” I would say you have an illusion.

Zen and the Art of Archery is an easy read by anyone’s standards and covers this quite nicely. A contemporary German marksman takes up archery to learn Zen. He mistakenly thinks that his skill and experience with a rifle will make the path easier. He must overcome this observational distance concept you mention before he can hit the mark. For many weeks he does not let go. The master tries to reveal to him that archer, arrow and target are one. During one discourse the frustrated student speaks his mind and says that if the master is correct he shouldn’t even need to see the target to hit it. The master tells him to return at midnight. The student arrives and there is a small candle below the target. The master has the student blindfold him. With no vision of the target the master puts an arrow dead center. The student understood.

And you can never know if you're awake. In fact, that knowledge is meaningless. Wake a thousand times to live another dream.
Knowledge of self is indispensable.
I can only know the self as it relates to the Tao. I can only relate to the Tao if I understand my role in it.
When I have full knowledge of the self (the nature of self before I was born) I have full knowledge of all things.
If existence is meaningless, knowledge is meaningless. If knowledge is meaningless, existence is meaningless. Because existence is everything, I have knowledge of existence.
Knowledge can be a veil that obscures reality. Such use of knowledge is not beneficial.

There are many paths up the mountain. Zen is not a path, but merely a finger pointing the way.
 
Careful there, BEHERENOW. I don´t remember the names, but there is a story in the book ZEN FLESH, ZEN BONES of a master who cut off the finger of a student who used the "pointing finger" to answer his question. It all turned out OK, I guess, ´cause the student experienced enlightenment upon loosing his finger. I would ask how can you point a direction on a path where there is no coming or going. Of course when we use language to communicate we are confined to the structure of the language, and english is so linear. Here, there, take a left at the fat Buddha, etc. etc. How can you "come from Zen"?????
 
I would ask how can you point a direction on a path where there is no coming or going?
We should of course ask Alan Watts and others whose writings I rely on:

When they curiously question thee, seeking to know what It is,
Do not affirm anything, and do not deny anything.
For whatsoever is affirmed is not true,
And whatsoever is denied is not true.
How shall anyone say truly what That may be
While he has not himself fully won to What Is?
And, after he has won, what word is to be sent from a Region
Where the chariot of speech finds no track on which to go?
Therefore, to their questionings offer them silence only,
Silence — and a finger pointing the Way.
Buddhist verse
(Alan Watts, "The Spirit of Zen", 1958)

"The common error of ordinary religious
practice is to mistake the symbol for the
reality, to look at the finger pointing
the way and then to suck it for comfort
rather than follow it." (Alan Watts)

But you did ask me, so here is my answer:
Before Zen there is coming and going. Only after Zen is there only Being. Those who have Zen do not need the finger. For those who have not arrived, Zen is a finger pointing the way. It may sound like I am saying those who are in Zen do not need Zen. If so, I have expressed my thoughts.
Does this help?

How can you "come from Zen"?????
If I am in Zen, and you are not, I must come to you to bring you back with me to Zen. When (if) we are both in Zen there is of course no need to come or go, only Be.
 
It just "dawned" on me that Zen´s whole point is to shatter our mind´s bondage to the aristotelean view of reality. Me, it, here, there, etc. Also, that we can think of "quantum" reality where being is not born into our three dimensional reality by the conscious action of our mind´s decision making process. Zen´s "no-thought" is somewhat a quantum state. As soon as we say this "thing" is "here", or "when", we create a new video game of reality. Ultimately as empty of reality as the video game.
 
As a self proclaimed Taoist, and as a man with reasonable Chinese heritage, I shall explain Taoism to the best of my abilities.

Before I do, I would like to point out that in my experience western scholars are mystifying Taoism more than they should and confusing it with Buddhism.

In essence, Taoism is quite simple. Taoism believes that the universe is comprised of opposing entities (fire and ice, light and darkness) and the fact that these entities mutually oppose each other justifies their existence. Tao is the force that governs the interaction between these opposing entities. By understanding the behaviour (flow) of Tao, one understands the behaviour of the world. Humans are like small boats in a large river. We are constantly affected by the flow of water. When traveling on the water, one can choose to do 3 things. Go toward the direction one seeks without worrying about the current (Hollywood philosophy). Give up and drift with the current. Or measure the current and sail with aid of the flow. (Taoist philosophy)
 
BeHereNow said:
Wess _morris wrote:


This smacks of dualism. I’ve never associated dualism with Taoism.
Did I miss something?

The Tao is simultaneously dual and single. This is impossible to convey in words, but here is a metaphor. Here is the typical view of duality: "High and Low are opposites." Here is the unified/Tao view of duality: "There is a single continuity that is High-Low."

Call into mind the famous Yin-Yang symbol. Many people focus on the Yin or the Yang. The only way to be "in" the Tao for this particular thing is to focus on the most important part of the image, which is the line between the two. That line is a metaphor for the line that runs between all things, which thus joins all things, which ultimately comprises all things. This is why I like to refer to Tao as the "vesselness" of things.
 
I think of it as "all" and/or "that which lies beyond observational distance".
 
BeHereNow said:
Wessmorris wrote

Observational distance is an illusion. It is as if you say “My hand will not do as it should so I will go to the market without it” I would say you have an illusion.

Zen and the Art of Archery is an easy read by anyone’s standards and covers this quite nicely. A contemporary German marksman takes up archery to learn Zen. He mistakenly thinks that his skill and experience with a rifle will make the path easier. He must overcome this observational distance concept you mention before he can hit the mark. For many weeks he does not let go. The master tries to reveal to him that archer, arrow and target are one. During one discourse the frustrated student speaks his mind and says that if the master is correct he shouldn’t even need to see the target to hit it. The master tells him to return at midnight. The student arrives and there is a small candle below the target. The master has the student blindfold him. With no vision of the target the master puts an arrow dead center. The student understood.


Knowledge of self is indispensable.
I can only know the self as it relates to the Tao. I can only relate to the Tao if I understand my role in it.
When I have full knowledge of the self (the nature of self before I was born) I have full knowledge of all things.
If existence is meaningless, knowledge is meaningless. If knowledge is meaningless, existence is meaningless. Because existence is everything, I have knowledge of existence.
Knowledge can be a veil that obscures reality. Such use of knowledge is not beneficial.

There are many paths up the mountain. Zen is not a path, but merely a finger pointing the way.


I would suggest that the statement "observational distance is an illusion" isn't quite complete. I would submit that the PERSPECTIVE that there is separation is quite real, because it constitutes a relationship (non-separation) that would otherwise not be permitted. However, I do agree with the idea that there is no separation.

I really find the notion of illusion to be lacking, because it overlooks the possibility that everything perceived and experienced is an interplay of relationships within a single unity that NEEDS those in order to exist.

I believe that a good metaphor for Tao as basic substance of the cosmos is MOVEMENT. And in order for movement to move, there must be flow, and in order for there to be flow, there must be difference, and in order for there to be difference, there must be relationship. So my "equation" is Difference = Relationship = Movement.

And so here is how I reconcile many of the age-old battles in philosophy: All is a single, undivided whole (monism) that is a unity of diversity (pluralism), continuously (re)creating itself (a better term is Ourself) through the constant creation of diversity AND (re)unity. We observers are not just unfortunate sufferers in illusion, as some suggest, but the living conversation of this oneness. All things that "happen" play a part in this grand adventure. What do you think?
 
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