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Subject: Reading Through the Tao Te Ching: Ch. 1 rss

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non sequitur
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http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.h...

I've always loved the Tao Te Ching. (I wish we didn't use the Wade-Giles transliteration and instead just spelled it "Dao De Jing," but I'll try not to whine incessantly about that in this thread.)

I think there's a lot of practical wisdom in the book, including for traditional Christians. I like Mitchell's translation -- this is a modern poetic translation.

Quote:
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.


"Tao" translates to ~"the path," but I've also heard it described as a river that underlays reality -- that reality flows along the tao.

(And perhaps you'll see the similarity to the four noble truths of Buddhism above -- "free from desire," and all.)

Anyway, if you're interested in talking about it, post away!
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Chris Binkowski
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Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.


It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.
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I think I would really enjoy this. I've often felt that there is wisdom in all faiths, seeing them as observations of the same truth through different cultural filters. I also appreciate the poetry of it. There is a curry place I love that has a prayer from the Q'ran on the wall about how Allah doth not sleep nor does he slumber as he watches over those who are his. I love reading that every time I go in there. While I may disagree with the tenets of the faith, the poetry and sentiment is moving.


More to your point, I guess I would address this point:

Quote:
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.


To me, this speaks of the difference between directing religion, faith and spirituality inward or outward. If it gets directed outward, you get things like cake wars, where you are projecting your morality onto others. But if you direct it inward and let it change you, then you "realize the mystery" and what comes outward from you after that would be comparable to "judging by their fruits."
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Sarxis wrote:
Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.


It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.


Knowing what you do not know. You are within a darkness but until you understand that there is more outside the darkness, you will never know anything else.
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Sarxis wrote:
Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.


It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.


Truthfully I'm uncertain -- here's a more literal translation (from 1891) that's a bit more straightforward.

Quote:
The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and
unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and
unchanging name.

(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven
and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all
things.

Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.

Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development
takes place, it receives the different names. Together we call them
the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that
is subtle and wonderful.


Essentially, I read "darkness" as poetic about the unknowableness of the divine, but I'm probably introjecting that.
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Here's Legge's translation:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm
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GameCrossing wrote:
I think I would really enjoy this. I've often felt that there is wisdom in all faiths, seeing them as observations of the same truth through different cultural filters. I also appreciate the poetry of it. There is a curry place I love that has a prayer from the Q'ran on the wall about how Allah doth not sleep nor does he slumber as he watches over those who are his. I love reading that every time I go in there. While I may disagree with the tenets of the faith, the poetry and sentiment is moving.


I agree, but I'm a filthy universalist anyway, so I literally have to agree.

Quote:
More to your point, I guess I would address this point:

Quote:
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.


To me, this speaks of the difference between directing religion, faith and spirituality inward or outward. If it gets directed outward, you get things like cake wars, where you are projecting your morality onto others. But if you direct it inward and let it change you, then you "realize the mystery" and what comes outward from you after that would be comparable to "judging by their fruits."


Perhaps! My personal read is more of a focus on quest religiosity rather than intrinsic or extrinsic religiosity. Said another way, I think taoism focuses a bit more on how to live practically in the face of an unknowable divine, which resonates with me quite a bit.

Your read is interesting, though!
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You can turn to the left, but the left is not your left.
You can turn to their left, but their left is not your right.
Look again and turn to the left for to the left is understanding.
Seek the answer behind the third left to reach enlightenment.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn left three times and see where that gets you?
Right back where you started


 
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Terwox wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
I think I would really enjoy this. I've often felt that there is wisdom in all faiths, seeing them as observations of the same truth through different cultural filters. I also appreciate the poetry of it. There is a curry place I love that has a prayer from the Q'ran on the wall about how Allah doth not sleep nor does he slumber as he watches over those who are his. I love reading that every time I go in there. While I may disagree with the tenets of the faith, the poetry and sentiment is moving.


I agree, but I'm a filthy universalist anyway, so I literally have to agree.

Quote:
More to your point, I guess I would address this point:

Quote:
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.


To me, this speaks of the difference between directing religion, faith and spirituality inward or outward. If it gets directed outward, you get things like cake wars, where you are projecting your morality onto others. But if you direct it inward and let it change you, then you "realize the mystery" and what comes outward from you after that would be comparable to "judging by their fruits."


Perhaps! My personal read is more of a focus on quest religiosity rather than intrinsic or extrinsic religiosity. Said another way, I think taoism focuses a bit more on how to live practically in the face of an unknowable divine, which resonates with me quite a bit.

Your read is interesting, though!


But for me, my faith allows me both to live practically AND come to better understand the divine. Can I truly fully comprehend the divine? No. But by living according to what the divine directs, I come to understand the divine better.

And for the record, referring to "the divine" feels like having a gender-neutral pronoun forced on me. It's the "shim" of theology.
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J.D. Hall
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Interesting. I hope you post more of the Jing.
 
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galad2003 wrote:
While stuff like this is interesting, I don't have the time it patience to rear poetry - I wish I did.


You can read the entire thing in less than an hour.

(The Tao Te Ching is incredibly short compared to, say, the Bible.)
 
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GameCrossing wrote:
Terwox wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
I think I would really enjoy this. I've often felt that there is wisdom in all faiths, seeing them as observations of the same truth through different cultural filters. I also appreciate the poetry of it. There is a curry place I love that has a prayer from the Q'ran on the wall about how Allah doth not sleep nor does he slumber as he watches over those who are his. I love reading that every time I go in there. While I may disagree with the tenets of the faith, the poetry and sentiment is moving.


I agree, but I'm a filthy universalist anyway, so I literally have to agree.

Quote:
More to your point, I guess I would address this point:

Quote:
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.


To me, this speaks of the difference between directing religion, faith and spirituality inward or outward. If it gets directed outward, you get things like cake wars, where you are projecting your morality onto others. But if you direct it inward and let it change you, then you "realize the mystery" and what comes outward from you after that would be comparable to "judging by their fruits."


Perhaps! My personal read is more of a focus on quest religiosity rather than intrinsic or extrinsic religiosity. Said another way, I think taoism focuses a bit more on how to live practically in the face of an unknowable divine, which resonates with me quite a bit.

Your read is interesting, though!


But for me, my faith allows me both to live practically AND come to better understand the divine. Can I truly fully comprehend the divine? No. But by living according to what the divine directs, I come to understand the divine better.

And for the record, referring to "the divine" feels like having a gender-neutral pronoun forced on me. It's the "shim" of theology.


Oh goodness, for a while I thought about the divine as "an Absolute" as in an absolute being that exists in and of itself, as that's how we talked about it in school sometimes.

Calling the Tao "God" is a huge misnomer though, in my thinking -- I've rarely seen the Tao anthropomorphized. The Tao is not an old bearded guy, the Tao is going with the flow, or is the flow.

And for me -- understanding faith and understanding religion only leads to being aware of how little we can possibly comprehend. (But I grow more agnostic over time, so it's a very different experience.)
 
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galad2003 wrote:
Terwox wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
While stuff like this is interesting, I don't have the time it patience to rear poetry - I wish I did.


You can read the entire thing in less than an hour.

(The Tao Te Ching is incredibly short compared to, say, the Bible.)


No I can't. I mean Maybe I could physical loom at all the words in an hour but I wouldn't understand it. I would have to think much longer on each verse. However that is moot because I would get distracted, bored or fall asleep long before then. I read the first verse of that thing and got bored.


Aha, nevermind, I retract my statement.
 
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rcbevco wrote:
You can turn to the left, but the left is not your left.
You can turn to their left, but their left is not your right.
Look again and turn to the left for to the left is understanding.
Seek the answer behind the third left to reach enlightenment.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn left three times and see where that gets you?
Right back where you started


I fully understand that a lot of people use Eastern religion as a way to put on airs and sound fancy while spouting a bunch of empty bullshit.

Hell, Deepak Chopra made a career out of it. (May he burn for it.)

That doesn't mean that there's nothing there if you look for yourself, though!

(Later, the Tao Te Ching becomes political, although just a bit. Perhaps I'll do Ch. 60 next.)
 
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hyperbolus wrote:
This translation made a lot more sense to me. But who knows if it was the intended message of the author, I guess I am not supposed to care.


I assume it was Mitchell reading his own translation? I'd love to hear him read his Book of Job. I'll have to check that out.

And yeah, the website you linked does a good job.
 
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Terwox wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
Terwox wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
I think I would really enjoy this. I've often felt that there is wisdom in all faiths, seeing them as observations of the same truth through different cultural filters. I also appreciate the poetry of it. There is a curry place I love that has a prayer from the Q'ran on the wall about how Allah doth not sleep nor does he slumber as he watches over those who are his. I love reading that every time I go in there. While I may disagree with the tenets of the faith, the poetry and sentiment is moving.


I agree, but I'm a filthy universalist anyway, so I literally have to agree.

Quote:
More to your point, I guess I would address this point:

Quote:
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.


To me, this speaks of the difference between directing religion, faith and spirituality inward or outward. If it gets directed outward, you get things like cake wars, where you are projecting your morality onto others. But if you direct it inward and let it change you, then you "realize the mystery" and what comes outward from you after that would be comparable to "judging by their fruits."


Perhaps! My personal read is more of a focus on quest religiosity rather than intrinsic or extrinsic religiosity. Said another way, I think taoism focuses a bit more on how to live practically in the face of an unknowable divine, which resonates with me quite a bit.

Your read is interesting, though!


But for me, my faith allows me both to live practically AND come to better understand the divine. Can I truly fully comprehend the divine? No. But by living according to what the divine directs, I come to understand the divine better.

And for the record, referring to "the divine" feels like having a gender-neutral pronoun forced on me. It's the "shim" of theology.


Oh goodness, for a while I thought about the divine as "an Absolute" as in an absolute being that exists in and of itself, as that's how we talked about it in school sometimes.

Calling the Tao "God" is a huge misnomer though, in my thinking -- I've rarely seen the Tao anthropomorphized. The Tao is not an old bearded guy, the Tao is going with the flow, or is the flow.

And for me -- understanding faith and understanding religion only leads to being aware of how little we can possibly comprehend. (But I grow more agnostic over time, so it's a very different experience.)


I am mixing my own understanding into it, looking at it through my own lens. I know that in this philosophy there is no omnipotent being, no central celestial authority with a long beard before overbearding became cool. So I know what is being said, but I look at it from the philosophy that I live.
 
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Terwox wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
You can turn to the left, but the left is not your left.
You can turn to their left, but their left is not your right.
Look again and turn to the left for to the left is understanding.
Seek the answer behind the third left to reach enlightenment.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn left three times and see where that gets you?
Right back where you started


I fully understand that a lot of people use Eastern religion as a way to put on airs and sound fancy while spouting a bunch of empty bullshit.

Hell, Deepak Chopra made a career out of it. (May he burn for it.)

That doesn't mean that there's nothing there if you look for yourself, though!

(Later, the Tao Te Ching becomes political, although just a bit. Perhaps I'll do Ch. 60 next.)


I read it and if time allows I will continue to read what you're posting. So far it sounds like prattle. If I were still a stoned undergrad I'm sure my opinion would be different. PLEASE tell me it gets better.
 
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A lot of talk about the mystery and the gate and the way. Entities outside time, space and understanding... Is this a Yog-Sothoth cult?
 
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Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

Sarxis wrote:

It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.
/cool WHY should you 'surmise' there were few, if A-N-Y 'blind' "nudists"? shake
 
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rcbevco wrote:
Terwox wrote:
rcbevco wrote:
You can turn to the left, but the left is not your left.
You can turn to their left, but their left is not your right.
Look again and turn to the left for to the left is understanding.
Seek the answer behind the third left to reach enlightenment.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn left three times and see where that gets you?
Right back where you started


I fully understand that a lot of people use Eastern religion as a way to put on airs and sound fancy while spouting a bunch of empty bullshit.

Hell, Deepak Chopra made a career out of it. (May he burn for it.)

That doesn't mean that there's nothing there if you look for yourself, though!

(Later, the Tao Te Ching becomes political, although just a bit. Perhaps I'll do Ch. 60 next.)


I read it and if time allows I will continue to read what you're posting. So far it sounds like prattle. If I were still a stoned undergrad I'm sure my opinion would be different. PLEASE tell me it gets better.


There's a bit of an emphasis on mystery throughout, although there's more emphasis on how a person should act and live moving forward.

I would guess you won't be a fan of it, but I'm not sure!
 
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rcbevco wrote:
A lot of talk about the mystery and the gate and the way. Entities outside time, space and understanding... Is this a Yog-Sothoth cult?


There is, perhaps, some echoes of Yog-Sothoth -- the Tao is both the path itself and following the path.

That's not really that removed from being the key and the gate, is it not?
 
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GROGnads wrote:
Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

Sarxis wrote:

It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.
/cool WHY should you 'surmise' there were few, if A-N-Y 'blind' "nudists"? shake


wut
 
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The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao So we can't be told Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name. So we can't know the true name of Tao

The unnamable is the eternally real. So the thing we can't know the true name of is eternal
Naming is the origin
of all particular things. So something originates when it has a name and we can't know the true name of Tao

Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Which is? The true name of Tao?
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Which are?

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source. Both of which are?
This source is called darkness. Unenlightenment?

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding. So not knowing what we can't know because it has no name is the way to understanding?

Now do you understand my posts? There either needs to be a whole lot of context or it just circular philosophy. The way to truth is knowing that which can't be know. I see where Chopra gets it from.

 
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Terwox wrote:
GROGnads wrote:
Quote:
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

Sarxis wrote:

It is light that brings understanding, not darkness. Light is what makes things visible.

You may have to explain that part to me.
/cool WHY should you 'surmise' there were few, if A-N-Y 'blind' "nudists"? shake


wut


 
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rcbevco wrote:
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao So we can't be told Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name. So we can't know the true name of Tao

The unnamable is the eternally real. So the thing we can't know the true name of is eternal
Naming is the origin
of all particular things. So something originates when it has a name and we can't know the true name of Tao

Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Which is? The true name of Tao?
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Which are?

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source. Both of which are?
This source is called darkness. Unenlightenment?

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding. So not knowing what we can't know because it has no name is the way to understanding?

Now do you understand my posts? There either needs to be a whole lot of context or it just circular philosophy. The way to truth is knowing that which can't be know. I see where Chopra gets it from.



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