Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
form
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by form » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:06 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:08 am
The essence of that chapter, however it's translated, reminds me strongly of Zen - which doesn't surprise me at all, since Chan/Zen, of all the schools, is the one which sits closest to the meeting of Taoism and Indian Buddhism.

Comparing those different translations (thanks for posting them all, btw) makes me think that some translators didn't have a very firm grasp of what the original was saying. I'm sure that the original makes sense, however poetic or mystical that sense may be, and not all the translations manage even that much, let alone achieving any reasonable correspondence with each other.

In my next life I will learn Chinese just so that I can read the original. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim
U dun have to know Chinese to understand it. If you meditate enough, reading and comparing a few English versions can already give you good insight.

It is the way your mind assimilate the stuff and correct timing that decide if it rings a bell.

James Tan
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by James Tan » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:11 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:39 pm



Compare this with the rendering by James Legge, where a one-to-one correspondence can be drawn between clauses in the English and Chinese:
有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。
There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things.

吾不知其名,字之曰道,強為之名曰大。
I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Dao. Making an effort to give it a name I call it The Great.

大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反。故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。域中有四大,而王居其一焉。
Great, it passes on. Passing on, it becomes remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Dao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the sage is also great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the sage is one of them.

人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。
Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Dao. The law of the Dao is its being what it is.

Hi coemgenu ,

IMO ,

周行而不殆,
reaching everywhere and in no danger!

It supposed to be translated as ,

It circulates unceaselessly .

mal4mac
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by mal4mac » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:46 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:13 am
"wu wei" ... "non-doing" ... often associated with water and its yielding nature... it can assume any form or shape it inhabits.

The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control"... "action without action" or "effortless doing"... One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It manifests as a result of cultivation. The Tao is a guide.

There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort". In this instance, wu means "without" and Wei means "effort".

The Tao Te Ching ... alludes to "diminishing doing" or "diminishing will" as the key aspect of the sage's success. Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world they disrupt the harmony that already exists...

There are deep similarities between Taoism and ... Zen.
This "non doing" seems superficially attractive, as few like working hard in their day job; laying back and doing nothing seems good. This is what made it central to hippy lifestyles in the sixties. "Don't stress man, go with the, flow let it all hang out, man". It's pure taoism! The problem with ii is that the "form of shape it [the tao] inhabits" may be a malign form - a drunken hippy, and a drug addled hippy, and there is no motivation to change because "whatever's happening man, is all good man don't stress it man, don't work hard to change it man, working hard is uncool, Tao says don't make any effort, getting off drugs is an effort, so just keep taking them, man." Think of Alan Watts, a drink addled alcoholic hippy who was deeply into Taoism, and a bit of Zen, but not real Buddhism.
- Mal

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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:46 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:13 am
"wu wei" ... "non-doing" ... often associated with water and its yielding nature... it can assume any form or shape it inhabits.

The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control"... "action without action" or "effortless doing"... One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It manifests as a result of cultivation. The Tao is a guide.

There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort". In this instance, wu means "without" and Wei means "effort".

The Tao Te Ching ... alludes to "diminishing doing" or "diminishing will" as the key aspect of the sage's success. Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world they disrupt the harmony that already exists...

There are deep similarities between Taoism and ... Zen.
This "non doing" seems superficially attractive, as few like working hard in their day job; laying back and doing nothing seems good. This is what made it central to hippy lifestyles in the sixties. "Don't stress man, go with the, flow let it all hang out, man". It's pure taoism! The problem with ii is that the "form of shape it [the tao] inhabits" may be a malign form - a drunken hippy, and a drug addled hippy, and there is no motivation to change because "whatever's happening man, is all good man don't stress it man, don't work hard to change it man, working hard is uncool, Tao says don't make any effort, getting off drugs is an effort, so just keep taking them, man." Think of Alan Watts, a drink addled alcoholic hippy who was deeply into Taoism, and a bit of Zen, but not real Buddhism.
You could apply the same critique you apply to the no-work hippy-dippy Daoist to the vinaya-observing monastic. Perhaps something is wrong with the critique? IMO, at least.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:55 am

The Stephen Mitchell translation is the one i have read the most (have worn out two copies and my current one has dog eared pages and is missing the back and front covers) but i recently started reading the Red Pine translation. Comparing them sheds more light on the spirit of the thing.

Red Pine:

1
The way that becomes a way is not the Immortal Way
th e name that becomes a name is not the Immortal Name
the maiden of Heaven and Earth has no name
the mother of all things has a name
thus in innocence we see the beginning
in passion we see the end
two different names for one and the same
the one we ca
ll dark the dark beyond dark the door to all beginnings

2
All the world knows beauty but if that becomes beautiful this becomes ugly
all the word knows good but if that becomes good this becomes bad
the coexistence of have and have not the coproduction of hard and easy the
correlation of long and short
the codependence of high and low the correspondence of note and noise the
coordination of first and last is endless
thus the sage performs effortless
deeds and teaches wordless lessons
he doesn't start all things he begins he doesn't presume on what he does he doesn't
claim what he achieves
and because he makes no claim he suffers no loss

3
Bestowing no honours keeps people from fighting
prizing no treasures keeps people from stealing
displaying no attractions keeps people from making trouble
thus the rule of the sage empties the mind but fills the stomach weakens the will but
strengthens the bones
by keeping the people from knowing or wanting and those who know from daring
to act
he thus governs them all

Stephen Mitchell:

1
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
2
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
3
If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.

The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.



I dont have a printed copy of the Red Pine translation, but copied the above from a PDF, i suspect there are some punctuation errors in it.


A part of one of my favorite verses, from the Mitchell translation:

41
When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by mal4mac » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:49 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 pm
You could apply the same critique you apply to the no-work hippy-dippy Daoist to the vinaya-observing monastic.
Hardly ... alcohol is banned to the monastic, and following the path is hard work!

The taoist license to act with "wu wei", to act without "without effort" and "without control", seems a license to do just what you feel like in the moment. For an alcoholic that would be "have another one", repeat ad infinitum, which perhaps explains Alan Watts, and many hippies.

The other sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort" seems a license to continue being an alcoholic, as getting off alcohol is a struggle for most.

No doubt there is some wisdom in Tao Te Ching ... "diminishing doing" and "diminishing will" would be useful in many contexts... but not in others, so it is a limited wisdom, hence we need the dhamma (or some other more comprehensive system...)
- Mal

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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by chownah » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:27 pm

Any teaching can be wrongly grasped.
chownah

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:17 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:49 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 pm
You could apply the same critique you apply to the no-work hippy-dippy Daoist to the vinaya-observing monastic.
Hardly ... alcohol is banned to the monastic, and following the path is hard work!

The taoist license to act with "wu wei", to act without "without effort" and "without control", seems a license to do just what you feel like in the moment. For an alcoholic that would be "have another one", repeat ad infinitum, which perhaps explains Alan Watts, and many hippies.

The other sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort" seems a license to continue being an alcoholic, as getting off alcohol is a struggle for most.

No doubt there is some wisdom in Tao Te Ching ... "diminishing doing" and "diminishing will" would be useful in many contexts... but not in others, so it is a limited wisdom, hence we need the dhamma (or some other more comprehensive system...)
I am an alcoholic, sober since 91. I have read the ttc completely through at least 10 times. Quite often its in my pocket on the way to work or im reading it on public transportation, the PDF of the Red Pine translation is open on my desktop now.
The ttc is an important part of my spiritual program and you have completely mis interpreted an important taoist touchstone.

I suggest that after you have some more practice under your belt you give the ttc another look, it is a map of the relationship of humanity to mind (in the sense that huang po used the concept of heart-mind in the cleary translation of The Zen Teachings of Huang Po) and self to Self. (for various meanings of Self including but not limited to: emptiness, the deathless, rigpa, the One, etc, etc, ad infinitium.)



Oh and btw i am probably what you would call a hippie :) i dont use drugs or alcohol now, but took lots of LSD, smoked lots of pot and drank lots of alcohol in my youth and just to reiterate:

41
When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao.
~from the mitchell translation
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Kim OHara
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:03 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:49 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 pm
You could apply the same critique you apply to the no-work hippy-dippy Daoist to the vinaya-observing monastic.
Hardly ... alcohol is banned to the monastic, and following the path is hard work!

The taoist license to act with "wu wei", to act without "without effort" and "without control", seems a license to do just what you feel like in the moment. For an alcoholic that would be "have another one", repeat ad infinitum, which perhaps explains Alan Watts, and many hippies.

The other sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort" seems a license to continue being an alcoholic, as getting off alcohol is a struggle for most.

No doubt there is some wisdom in Tao Te Ching ... "diminishing doing" and "diminishing will" would be useful in many contexts... but not in others, so it is a limited wisdom, hence we need the dhamma (or some other more comprehensive system...)
Just to back up Morlock ...
Properly understood, "wu wei" is not permission - much less a commandment - to take the easy way. Rather, it is a directive, a precept if you like, to be mindful and to act in accordance with the Tao - which you can articulate as the Will of Heaven or the flow of natural forces or even the dharma, as you prefer. Acting in this way is easy and unobtrusive, un-obvious, almost not acting. (I was going to say 'natural' but it isn't quite that because the guiding insight is crucial.)
Doing what needs doing - and only what needs doing, and not what ego dictates - is another way of expressing it. I have just been re-reading (don't laugh!) the Wizard of Earthsea series. Like all of Le Guin's books, it is firmly underpinned by Taoism and this sense of acting as economically as possible to guide events and restore the balance of nature gets clearer and stronger as the series progresses.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by Pseudobabble » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 am

form wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 am

An expert is not an expert. A not expert is an expert. :mrgreen:
That's some Daoism right there folks.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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Kim OHara
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:14 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 am
form wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 am

An expert is not an expert. A not expert is an expert. :mrgreen:
That's some Daoism right there folks.
Nope. Pseudo-Zen.

:toilet:
Kim

form
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Re: Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching - Book of the way

Post by form » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:00 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:14 am
Pseudobabble wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 am
form wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 am

An expert is not an expert. A not expert is an expert. :mrgreen:
That's some Daoism right there folks.
Nope. Pseudo-Zen.

:toilet:
Kim
A taoist keep it balanced.

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