Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 15



My translation of Chapter 15 of Tao Te Ching:

Time immemorial
expert in Tao
understand its subtlety and profundity
and its unexplainable depth.
Since it is unexplainable,
I can only try my best to explain
what it is like:

Concentrate, like wading across a running stream during winter
Cautious, like being afraid to arouse and anger one’s neighbours
Majestic, like embracing everything
Relax, like a heavy burden is going to be unloaded
Straightforward, like a simple man
Empty, like a big valley
Turbulent, as if nothing can be more chaotic
Use calmness to make things dissolve away slowly
Use the same calmness to make things grow slowly again
Tao will not reach a state of fullness
Because it is not full
there is always room for further growth.

Paul’s comment: Tao as life's ultimate truth is being manifested in different areas, like in our body, in human relationship, in being a leader and in understanding the world at large. At least that is what Laozi teaches. When it comes to actual manifestations of Tao, people differ in their opinions. But one thing that Taoists agree on Tao is the meditative experience of Tao. Laozi's poetic presentation here is a definitive classic.

And herein contains a vivid description of what happened inside the body of a Taoist doing meditation, in particular, the creation, growth, direction, and dissolution of chi. Classic scholars who wrote comments on Tao Te Ching but who did not meditate always failed to interpret the essence of this chapter correctly. Their scholastic achievements are quite irrelevant here.

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