Balance (from +quot;365 Tao+quot; by Deng Ming-Dao) Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Balance (from "365 Tao" by Deng Ming-Dao) Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow, Scorched leaves to brittle paper, Chill autumn brought little relief -- Only frosted the devastation. But with the early gentle rains, The earth's fissures softened And desiccated plants began to dissolve. Slowly, balance comes once again. Many cultures describe old people as having seen many winters. Those elder have seen many cycles come and go, and their wisdom comes from long observation of life's rising and falling. If we have a long-range view, the we realize that equilibrium comes in the course of nature's progression. Nature does not achieve balance by keeping to one level. Rather, elements and seasons alternate with one another in succession. Balance, as defined by the Tao, is not stasis but a dynamic process of many overlapping alternations; even if some phases seem wildly excessive, they are balanced by others. Everything has its place. Everything has a season. As events turn, balance is to know what is here, what is coming, and how to be in perfect harmony with it. Then one attains a state of sublimity that cannot be challenged. From "Zen" by Peter Pauper Press Joshu asked the teacher Nansen, "What is the true Way?" Nansen answered, "Everyday way is the true Way." Joshu asked, "Can I study it?" Nansen answered, "The more you study, the further from the Way." Joshu asked, "If I don't study it, how can I know it?" Nansen answered, "The Way does not belong to things seen: nor to things unseen. It does not belong to things known: nor to things unknown. Do not seek it, study it, or name it. To find yourself on it, open yourself wide as the sky." Background: Taoism the philosophy and the religion. The fifth to the third centuries B.C. was know in China as the "period of warring states" and the "period of the philosophers." In the fifth century the country was still divided into a large number of feudal states; in 221 B.C. the state of Chi'in won supremacy over its rival, and its leader became the first Emperor of a united China. Approximately 100 B.C. SSu-Ch'ien began work on the first written history of China. Even at this early date it became clear that while writing of Lao Tzu he had only uncertain and contradictory information. He wrote that he believed "Lao Tzu was a man from the village of Chu Jen, district of Lai, county of Hu in the kingdom of Ch'u. His surname was Li, his given name Erh, and his public name Tan." This corresponds to the modern town of Luyi where an imposing 12' statue of Lao Tzu was still standing at the start of Sino-Japanese war, and apparently was destroyed before it could have been carbon dated. The most popular legend is that in the sixth century B.C. Lao Tzu took up residence at court, but perceiving the moral decadence of the House of Chou, he left, heading westward toward the state of Ch'in. The way led through the Han-ku pass, whose gatekeeper, Yin Hsi begged Lao Tzu to compose a book for him. The philosopher wrote a book divided into two sections and containing more than five thousand characters in which he set forth his ideas concerning the Tao and Te; he then departed and nobody knows what became of him. The book attributed to Lao Tzu was originally titled "Lao Tzu" in keeping with the practice followed by almost all ancient philosophers. The title of "Tao Te Ching" (the sacred book of Tao and Te) was accorded to give it the same status as the Confucian classics. The character "Ching" means moral cannon. The "Lao Tzu" appears to be an anthology of proverbial sayings borrowed partly from the common stock of wisdom, and partly from various proto-Taoist schools. We cannot know by whom, where, and when the work as we now know it was compiled. The Taoist Religion became prevalent about the beginning of the Christian era, some sects of which still have temples in Taiwan. It is a salvation religion which included ritual, alchemy, talismans, dietary restrictions, and many gods. The ambition of the Taoist was to acquire a greatly extended life span and perhaps even immortality. Under Emperor Wu (424-451 A.D.) a Taoist, K'ou Ch'ien, had ambitions of establishing a holy empire on earth under the auspices of Taoism, with himself as the grand Taoist pope. His influence at court led to the anti-buddhist persecutions of 446 A.D. In an effort to make Buddha inferior in position and posterior in time to Lao Tzu a paper was forged (Hua-hu-ching by Wang Fu) claiming that when Lao Tzu left China, he went to India to become the Buddha. As late as 1258 A.D. this controversy continued, until Kublai Khan called a grand assembly of 300 Buddhist, 200 Taoists, and 200 Confucianists. Under sharp questioning the Taoists admitted that that the only work left by Lao Tzu was the Tao Te Ching. Kublai Khan ordered that all copies of the Hua-hu-ching (Sutra on the Conversion of Barbarians) be sent to the capital to be burned. The root meaning of Tao is path or way. When used as a verb, the same word means to direct, to guide or establish communication. The word Tao suggests a way to be followed and, by extension, moral guidance or a code of behavior. The Tao Te Ching contains no demonstrations of any kind. It gives only conclusions, not the steps by which they are reached; it is up to each person to take the steps on their own. Unlike religious Taoism, the Tao of philosophical Taoism is metaphysical; it is the natural law of the universe. There is nothing the Tao does not do because the Tao is the same thing as universal spontaneity. Every thing in nature comes about of itself, without any particular kind of intervention. "If we start from the principle that all things and creatures (man included) are fundamentally identical, i.e. are one, then we cannot legitimately pass judgment on them; we cannot approve of some and condemn others." Chan Tzu Sources: "Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey" by Kenneth Ch'en "The Essential Tao" by Thomas Cleary "Lao Tzu and Taoism" by Max Kaltenmark "Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching" by D. C. Lau "Tao Te Ching" translation by Stephen Mitchell "Taoism" a post by Albertus Magnus From "Zen" by Peter Pauper Press A master who lived as a hermit on a mountain was asked by a monk, "What is the Way"? "What a fine mountain this is," the master said in reply. "I am not asking you about the mountain, but the Way." "So long as you cannot go beyond the mountain, my son, you cannot reach the Way," replied the master. Absolute (from 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao) They say, "You are god". But everyone is. They say, "All is god". Then why are there differences? They say, "All is an illusion". But does that include god? Everything is god. We are also god. However, we fail to realize this. Why? Because we look for god outside of ourselves. We make the mistake of taking ourselves as the viewer and then seek god as the object of our examinations. Unfortunately, everything we perceive is tainted by our subjectivity, and anything that we define as god "out there" cannot be god because it is not absolute. All you've found is something that exists in relation to your perceptions. You are god. The only way to confirm this is to remove the barrier of subjectivity that prevents you from realizing your essential oneness with all things. Utopia Chant one million times for world peace, they told me. Pray three times a day to end all wars. Practice austerities to liberate all living beings. But the world's miseries have never diminished. Periodically, some religious group proclaims that if everyone would just do something like chant, some fundamental social problem would be solved. Claims have been made that spiritual devotion could affect wars, famine, disease, the economy, and overpopulation. Only personal endeavors can be spiritual. What you do with your daily devotions is purely for your own sake. Once you put ideals on a grand scale, they are compromised by the contradictions of life. There is no utopia. There never will be. There is only the valiant attempt of each person to live spiritually in a world where spirituality is almost impossible. Balance (from "365 Tao" by Deng Ming-Dao) Summer withered grass to flaxen yellow, Scorched leaves to brittle paper, Chill autumn brought little relief -- Only frosted the devastation. But with the early gentle rains, The earth's fissures softened And desiccated plants began to dissolve. Slowly, balance comes once again. Many cultures describe old people as having seen many winters. Those elder have seen many cycles come and go, and their wisdom comes from long observation of life's rising and falling. If we have a long-range view, the we realize that equilibrium comes in the course of nature's progression. Nature does not achieve balance by keeping to one level. Rather, elements and seasons alternate with one another in succession. Balance, as defined by the Tao, is not stasis but a dynamic process of many overlapping alternations; even if some phases seem wildly excessive, they are balanced by others. Everything has its place. Everything has a season. As events turn, balance is to know what is here, what is coming, and how to be in perfect harmony with it. Then one attains a state of sublimity that cannot be challenged. The following is a paraphrased and much condensed version of Victor H. Mair's hypotheses of the Indian influence on the Tao. It was long believed that China was cut off from the rest of civilization until the middle of the second century B.C., however recent archaeological discoveries and anthropological field work have proven this not to be the case. It is apparent that there was trade with India long before the Tao Te Ching was written. Both the Tao and the Bhagavad Gita evolved from oral traditions. The Bhagavad Gita was written between the fourth and second centuries B.C. There are many similarities between the two sacred books. Mair sights, among many other comparisons, non action, elaborate analysis of nature and purpose, created beings and eternal cosmic principle. Both contain references to free from desires, and not prizing rare and costly goods. The Bhagavad Gita book 3, stanza 38 is almost identical to chapter 54 (10) lines 6 & 7, and book 8 stanza 12 to the Tao chapter 19 (56) lines 4 & 5, which Mair believes is one of many similar description of Yogic practices. He is not suggesting that the Tao Te Ching was written in Indian and "borrowed" by China, but rather that there was mutual cultural exchange before the Tao Te Ching was written. He states that Taoism most certainly laid the foundation for the most genuinely Chinese of all Buddhist sects, Ch'an (zen). Pa Kua: soft internal school of martial arts. based upon the trigrams and hexagrams of the Yi Jing. are a few practitioners of that art stateside, but not many.<< most people who claim to practice it, are actually practicing some of the more essoteric forms of a slightly different internal school that is based upon the five elements of Daoism, and is mistakenly thought to be based upon the Yi Jing as well. I'll tell you the name, when i remember it --- its pretty common, and most people don't realize that it is a fighting art. >> The other is Tai Chi. T'AI CHI CH'UAN LUN by Wang Tsung-yeuh *T'ai Chi* comes from *Wu Chi* and is the mother of *Yin* and *Yang*. In motion it seperates; in stillness they fuse. It is not excessive or deficient; accordingly when it bends, it then straightens. When the opponent is hard and I am soft, it is called *tsou* (yielding). When I follow the opponent and be becomes backed up, it is called *nien* (adherence). If the opponent's movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly. Although the changes are numerous, the principal that pervades them is only one. From familiarity with the correct touch, one gradually comprehends *chin* (internal force); from the comprehension of *chin* one can reach wisdom. Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand it. Effortlessly the *chin* reaches the headtop. Let the *ch'i* (breath) sink to the *tan t'ien*. Don't lean in any direction; suddenly appear, suddenly disappear. Empty teh left wherever a pressure appears, and similarly the right. If the opponent raises up I seem taller; if he sinks down, then I seem lower; advancing, the distance seems incredibly longer; retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short. (So light an object as) a feather cannot be placed, and (so small an insect as) a fly cannot alight on any part of the body. The opponent doesn't know me; I alone know him. To become a peerless boxer results from this. There are many boxing arts. Although they use different forms, for the most part they don't go beyond the strong oppressing the weak, and the slow resigning to the swift. The strong defeating the weak and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands are all results of the physical instnctive capacity and not of well trained techniques. From the sentence "A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds" we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength. The specticle of an old person defeating a group of young people, how can it be due to swiftness? Stand like a balance and rotate actively like a wheel. Sinking to one side is responsive; being double-weighted is sluggish (stagnant). Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize, adn is always controlled by his opponent, has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness. To avoid this fault one must know *yin* and *yang*. *Yin* and *yang* mutually aid and change each other. Then you can say you understand *chin* (internal strength). After you understand *chin*, the more practice, the more skill. Silently treasure up knowledge and turn it over in the mind. Gradually you can do as you like. Originally it is giving up yourself to follow oters. Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far. It is said, "Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray." The practitioner must carefully study. This is the *Lun*. /*\/*\/*/\/\*/*\\*/\*/\*\/\* well, alittle more Martial artist-ish, but still has some pearls in it... The next chapter is "expostions of insights into the practice of the thirteen postures" by Wu Yu-hsiang. I read it, it talks much of Ch'i and how it is created/relates to the body/mind. I can stop if one tells me..... these may seem on the top to be unrelated, but as I've said, I'm seeking correlations between Tao and MA, and since T'ai Chi is (supposedly) predicated on the Tao, it seems to fit. I'm not a T'ai Chi Ch'uan practioner (as yet). ... WARNING: Reading this label may cause eyestrain. --- Blue Wave/Max v2.12 [NR] * Origin: The Funny Papers * Lodi, NJ * (201)478-8476 (93:9010/0)

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank