Tag Archives: Tao Te Ching

TAOISM

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tangyin-taoistTaoism is not a religion, nor a philosophy. It is a “Way” of life. It is a River. The Tao is the natural order of things. It is a force that flows through every living and sentient object, as well as through the entire universe. When the Tao is in balance it is possible to find perfect happiness.

The text central to all expressions of the Taoist spirit is the Tao-te Ching (“Classic of the Way and Its Power”), previously known as Lao-tzu after the name of the mysterious master traditionally said to have been its author. The cardinal concept is that of the Tao, the ineffable, eternal, creative reality that is the source and end of all things.

Tao is the Absolute, the “Uncarved Block” experienced only in mystical ecstasy. Te is the manifestation of the Tao within all things. Thus, to possess the fullness of te means to be in perfect harmony with one’s original nature. According to Chuang-tzu (4th century BC), an individual in harmony with the Tao comprehends the course of Nature’s constant change and fears not the rhythm of life and death.

As the Tao operates impartially in the universe, so should mankind disavow assertive, purposive action. The Taoist life is not, however, a life of total inactivity. It is rather a life of nonpurposive action (wu-wei). Stated positively, it is a life expressing the essence of spontaneity (tzu-jan, “self-so”).

Free-from-desireTaoism has been attributed to three sources, the oldest being the legendary ‘Yellow Emperor‘, (2,704 BCE) but the most famous is Lao Tse’s Tao Teh Ching.   (5th century B.C.)   The “Yellow Emperor”,  Huangdi,  third of ancient China’s mythological emperors, is a Chinese culture hero and patron saint of Daoism or Taoism. Huangdi is reputed to have been born about 2,704 BCE.  His legendary reign is credited with the introduction of wooden houses, carts, boats, the bow and arrow, and writing.

Huangdi himself is credited with defeating “barbarians” in a great battle somewhere in what is now Shanxi—the victory winning him the leadership of tribes throughout the Huang He (Yellow River) plain. Some traditions also credit him with the introduction of governmental institutions and the use of coined money. Huangdi’s wife was reputed to have discovered sericulture (silk production) and to have taught women how to breed silkworms and weave fabrics of silk.

Huangdi is held up in some ancient sources as a paragon of wisdom whose reign was a golden age. He is said to have dreamed of an ideal kingdom whose tranquil inhabitants lived in harmonious accord with the natural law and possessed virtues remarkably like those espoused by early Taoism. On waking from his dream, Huangdi sought to inculcate these virtues in his own kingdom, to ensure order and prosperity among the inhabitants. Upon his death he was said to have become an immortal.  (source: Encyclopedia Britannica)

Read more about Taoism at http://www.crystalinks.com/taoism.html

AFFLICTIONS

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WALLS OF SPIRIT“604 BCE —

Laozi, a philosopher who wrote a small book called “The Way”, [i] (Footnote) was an IS-BE of great wisdom, who overcame the effects of the “Old Empire” amnesia / hypnosis machinery and escaped from Earth. His understanding of the nature of an IS-BE must have been very good to accomplish this.

According to the common legend, his last lifetime as a human was lived in a small village in China. He contemplated the essence of his own life. Like Guatama Siddhartha, he confronted his own thoughts, and past lives. In so doing, he recovered some of his own memory, ability and immortality.

As an old man, he decided to leave the village and go to the forest to depart the body. The village gatekeeper stopped him and begged him to write down his personal philosophy before leaving. Here is a small piece of advice he gave about “the way” he rediscovered his own spirit:

“He who looks will not see it;

He who listens will not hear it;

He who gropes will not grasp it.

The formless nonentity, the motionless source of motion.

The infinite essence of the spirit is the source of life.

Spirit is self.

Walls form and support a room,

yet the space between them is most important.

A pot is formed of clay,

yet the space formed therein is most useful.

Action is caused by the force of nothing on something,

just as the nothing of spirit is the source of all form.

One suffers great afflictions because one has a body.

Without a body what afflictions could one suffer?

When one cares more for the body than for his own spirit,

One becomes the body and looses the way of the spirit.

The self, the spirit, creates illusion.

The delusion of Man is that reality is not an illusion.

One who creates illusions and makes them more real than reality, follows the path of the spirit and finds the way of heaven”.

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Excerpt from the book ALIEN INTERVIEW

[i] “Laozi, a philosopher who wrote a small book called “The Way”…”

“According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the Taoist sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, “Old Master”), a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text. Its name comes from the opening words of its two sections: dào “way,” and dé “virtue“.

 ALIEN INTERVIEW, edited by Lawrence R. SpencerThis ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism (Dàojiāo 道教) but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.”

 Tao is nameless. (Tao) goes beyond distinctions, and transcends language.

Laozi describes a state of existence before time or space:

 “The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way;

The names that can be named are not unvarying names.

It was from the Nameless that heaven and Earth sprang;

The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures.

Each after its kind.”

 “The Spirit never dies.

It is the Mysterious Female.

The doorway of the Mysterious Female

Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.

It is there within us, all the while;

Draw upon it as you will.

It never runs dry.

 We put spokes together and call it a wheel;

But it is on the space where there is nothing that the value of the wheel depends.

We turn clay to make a vessel;

But it is on the space where there is nothing that the value of the vessel depends.

We pierce doors and windows to make a house;

And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the value of the house depends.

Therefore just as we take advantage of what is,

we should recognize the value of what is not.

 Knowing others is wisdom;

Knowing the self is enlightenment.

Mastering others requires force;

Mastering the self requires strength;

He who knows he has enough is rich.

Perseverance is a sign of will power.

He who stays where he is, endures.

To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.”

Many believe the Tao Te Ching contains universal truths that have been independently recognized in other philosophies, both religious and secular.”

— Reference: Wikipedia.org

THE WAY or NO WAY?

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THE TAO

Tao or Dao is a concept signifying ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’, or sometimes more loosely, ‘doctrine’ or ‘principle’, or as a verb, speak.  Within these contexts Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of existence. Tao is thus “eternally nameless”, or Immortal Spiritual Being, and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations, as the space, energy and forms of, and within, the physical universe, and other universes.

The Tao Te ChingDaodejing, or Dao De Jing (道德經: 道 dào “way”; 德  “virtue”; 經 jīng “classic” or “text”) is simply referred to as the Laozi. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, “Old Master”), a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text’s true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated, although the oldest excavated text dates back to the late 4th century BC.

Many different translations, versions and interpretations of The Tao have been produced through the past 2,500 years, or so, since the original appearance.  Like any “religion”, the “opinions” and “interpretations” of “priests” MODIFY and INTRODUCE FALSE IDEAS into the original.  Therefore, I suggest that anyone who wishes to sincerely study The Tao as a body of wisdom, study many difference translations before you decide whether or not any of the many versions of this book point to “the way” or “no way”.  

Here is a link to a website containing many different translations, and COMPARISONS between translations

THE TAO

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Although ascetics and hermits first wrote of the ‘Tao  it is with the sixth century B.C. philosopher Lao Tzu (or ‘Old Sage’ — born Li Erh) that the philosophy of Taoism really began. Some scholars believe was a slightly older contemporary of Confucius (Kung-Fu Tzu, born Chiu Chung-Ni). Other scholars feel that the Tao Te Ching, is really a compilation of paradoxical poems written by several Taoists using the pen-name, Lao Tzu.

According to legend Lao Tzu was keeper of the archives at the imperial court. When he was eighty years old he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet, saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. At the border (Hank Pass), a guard, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), asked Lao Tsu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).