Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 1

道德經 第一章

道可道,非常道。名可名,非常名。無名天地之始;有名萬物之母。故常無, 欲以觀其妙;常有, 欲以觀其徼。此兩者,同出而異名,同謂之玄。玄之又玄,衆妙之 門。

My translation of chapter 1 of Tao Te Ching:

Tao that can be explained is not Tao
A name can be given is not the unnameable
Emptiness is the father of everything
while fullness is the mother of all
That’s why I often experience Emptiness to see Tao’s inner subtlety
and I often experience Fullness to see where Tao can lead me
Emptiness and Fullness are one and the same
Both are profound
This profundity opens door to all inner subtleties

Paul's inspiration:

A contemporary interpretation of Tao is like "anything goes" sometimes with the caveat "as long as we know what we are doing", or is Tao really "anything goes"?  Or is Tao devoid of morality.  I find it interesting to note that the word Te in the phrase Tao Te Ching actually means morality (Ching meaning Classic).  It seems that what Laozi meant is that Tao should be devoid from morality, yet his teaching in Tao Te Ching is not just Tao but Tao combining with morality as a totality, an important point missing in English translations of the Classic.

Tao that can be explained is not Tao. In Christianity, it begins with "Thou shalt not....".  Morality statements.  "Tao cannot be explained" means Tao cannot be expressed through any moral statement.  Tao is nature, morality is culture.  The teaching of Tao Te Ching is a way to work with our human nature and our human culture.

In meditative practice, a Taoist seeks Emptiness, a popular belief.  Or is Tao really so?  Any meditator worth his salt will tell you that it is an Emptiness with Fullness, a non-attachment with the fullest attachment.  And it is exactly what is being taught in the Classic.

Fullness is the mother of all.  Without any understanding of the human culture, one knows little, contrary to popular belief that Tao means "Worldly problems don't concern me".  The Classic teaches us to take (worldly) fullness to its fullest extend.

Emptiness is the father of everything.  Fullness without Emptiness is not Tao.  We love and we let go, at the same time.  Anyone who have experience raising a kid knows what I am talking about.  And it is also the healing effect for a person who is overburdened with psychological disturbance.

Without Fullness one has nothing to put down, and his emptiness is emptiness without the capital letter E.  He has nothing though he thinks he has Tao.  Are you him?

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