Friday, February 1, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 10



My translation of Chapter 10 of Tao Te Ching

On merging my Logos (Hun魂/營) with my Anima (Po魄)
Can I keep them from separated?
On softening my internal breath
Can I become a new-born?
On cleaning my body with profundity
Can I leave no traces?
On ruling my people with love,
Can I refrain from overt acts?
On making things happen in the Universe,
Can I hold on my feminine (Po魄) side?
On comprehending everything,
Can I not heeding to worldly demands?

Paul's inspiration: The words Hun and Po have become part of modern Chinese language usage. Their combined popular meaning is the inner self, soul or personality. Unknown to many contemporary Chinese, Hun is the masculine, rational side of a person's personality whereas Po is the feminine, affective side of a person's personality. I used Carl Jung's translation, Logos and Anima, for these two words. It is interesting to note that for common people, as mentioned in Taoist classics, that when a person dies his Hun will leave his head and join the Universal being (Shen 神) whereas Po will leave his anus and join the lower spirits. In modern popular Chinese language usage, when a person is frightened, his Hun can't find his Po (i.e. he is going to die!). The gist of Taoist yoga is to merge our Hun and Po during meditation, so that they can leave together from one's head when the time comes. And the person will become an Immortal.

The process of Taoist yoga, as explained in this chapter, is humility, non-action and become a new born again (when we were born, as said, our Hun and Po were joined together. They became separated by our Po that succumbed to all kinds of outside attractions and demands. Moreover in Taoist yoga, the breathing is called embryo breathing. The subjective feeling of this breathing is that ordinary breathing has stopped and is replaced by an internal respiration, as if breathing of a distinct personality within the meditator other than his physical body.

Laozi's teaching is that in our daily human interactions and behavior (including running a country/organization/family if he is in a leading position), we should do likewise.  We should be humble, we should refrain from overt actions (probably motivated by Po towards power, money, fame, sex etc), and we should become a new born again (with a new and enlightened personality). It makes good sense in our contemporary society when we have so many attractions that tend to distract our good attention towards our inner self as well as towards the well being of other sentient beings

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