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Verse Thirteen


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007

Verse Thirteen

from Witter Bynner's 1944 The Way of Life

Favor and disfavor have been called equal worries,
Success and failure have been called equal ailments.
How can favor and disfavor be called equal worries?
Because winning favor burdens a man
With the fear of losing it.
How can success and failure be called equal ailments?
Because a man thinks of the personal body as self.
When he no longer thinks of the personal body as self
Neither failure nor success can ail him.
One who knows his lot to be the lot of all other men
Is a safe man to guide them,
One who recognizes all men as members of his own body
Is a sound man to guard them.

If you would like to compare this with other versions, go to this web page: http://www.wayist.org/ttc%20compared/chap13.htm

Jim


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2007

Quote: When you're a lover of what is, it's obvious that the world is your own face in the mirror.

That is how Byron Katie starts her commentary on Verse Thirteen.

Quote: The essential message of this 13th verse of the Tao Te Ching seems to be that it's crucial to remain independent of both the positive and the negative opinions of other people.

And that is the first sentence of Wayne Dyer's commentary.

Quote: After "fewness of desires." the second part of Lao Tzu's prescription for getting hold of the Uncarved Block is the rejection of public opinion, or of "other-directedness" as some call it today. "Favour and disgrace drive men out of their minds."

Quoted from Holmes Welch's TAOISM, The Parting of the Way, 1957. In it, he quotes Arthur Wayley's opening lines for Verse Thirteen.

This verse seems to be talking about the hazards of outer-directedness or other-directedness or third-person living. First-person living is inner directed. Seers direct or hold attention inward. Seers take ther cue from their inner natures. Below is another quote from Holmes Welch on the matter.

Quote: ...they will never permit violence to be done to their inner natures and their inner natures will never cause them to do violence in return.

Praise and blame drive men mad, says Lao Tzu. Third-person living is a kind of madness. This is what I get from this verse. What do you think?

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007

Quote: Praise and blame drive men mad, says Lao Tzu. Third-person living is a kind of madness. This is what I get from this verse.

That sums it up nicely (nice in its old meaning of precise!)

I also enjoy the last idea, the clarity concerning how to care for others: as members of one's own body... reminds me of the 'tree of life' experiment...
Love is considered as a "Christian" concern, but I get a strong impression of love inherant here, too.

Happy stillness
simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007

Hi Simon,

I like that about others being members or extensions of one's own body being related to the Tree of Life experiment. That does seem to be the meaning of that experiment. I'm glad you saw the connection. I would have never thought of it, but I'm happy that I see it now.

Thanks,
Jim


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007

Let's give this verse another week. After the change of address for the forum, it's possible that some of the participants have not found their way back yet.

This seems like an important verse to me. The interplay between inner- and outer-direction makes a nice fit with two-way seeing.

Jim


From: Luc
Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007

Hi Jim,

Yes I temporarily lost track of the forum .. thank you for the extra time.

What this verse reminds me of is that what we consider as 'positive' : succes, favor always causes worries and anxiety. We want to hold on to these 'positive' aspects and this causes grieve, anxiety, fear. Because everyone knows that everything changes and we always have to let go.

Two-way seeing helps me to accept this, to see the beauty of it, even if it hurts ...
It reminds me of the experiment that I think is called the Cosmic Warehouse. There you can see things come out of the Void and disappearing into that Void again. You cannot stop them from appearing, even if you don't like them. But you can neither stop them from disappearing, even if you love them deeply.

Luc


From: Janet
Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2007

hi jim, simon and luc,

been in the shed untangling christmas lights. meanwhile, got tangled with them. a week passed before my family realized i was missing.

anyway, i see this verse from the individual perspective and the worldly perspective. both levels of interest. i'm not sure what may be necessary key to turn first. i'll try to wrap it up at the end with that thought in mind while writing.

the individual perspective:
letting go of the sense of self and seeing life as happening within you, rather than to you, can bring a sense of relief from struggles and a relief from the need to change what is happening. the trouble is that success and failure are perceptions of what is happening to you, or for you. i look at it like, 'its nothing personal, its just what is happening'. then i notice i look at it differently, and can feel joy or sadness freely without attachment. these feelings still arise, but for its sake and not 'mine'.

the worldy perspective:
i notice, as i keep track of news nationally and internationally that people, including world leaders, take life from a personal perspective (for their own gain of fortune and power) rather than the good of all people. they perceive from a very narrow view (their own personal one). those people keep getting richer and more powerful, as others get poorer and more powerless. its a broader perspective of successes and failures reflected in the world. the last four lines address what i mean, so you may wish to re-read those lines.

as i thought of which key must turn first, i have come to the conclusion that i must turn here first! it is necessary for everyone to realize and recognize who they really are, right where they are, before it will be for all -across the world. but, i do think the turn is occuring on both levels simultaneously. people are realizing and that transfers to others naturally.
plus we have richard to help share it too, and he will travel!

life and everything happening is within the same no-thing. and so it is -we are already one.

hmmm....i had some other stuff, but i forgot....

thank you for all your posts.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2007

Hi Luc,

I don't know the Cosmic Warehouse experiment. But it does sound like it applies here. Both favor and disfavor appear and disappear from nowhere€all on their own. Needing things to be a certain way is opposing what is. When things go our way, we worry that it won't always be so, and it won't.

Hi Janet,

I like that you divided your views between an individual perspective and a worldly perspective. Many of the verses of the Tao Te Ching can be read that way. Some of the verses seem to be directed at political leaders, yet they have meaning for individuals too. I don't know if the leaders of the various nations will ever act from a position of the common welfare. I suppose there will always be some who do and some who don't. The world seems so stuck right now, but of course it isn't. It just seems that way from the perspective of a single lifetime. Anyway, all I can do is see its relevance to my own life.

All for now,
Jim


Luc
Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2007

Hi Janet,

Janet wrote:
been in the shed untangling christmas lights. meanwhile, got tangled with them. a week passed before my family realized i was missing.

Glad you got out of this job, I still have to start it ...

Quote:
the trouble is that success and failure are perceptions of what is happening to you, or for you. i look at it like, 'its nothing personal, its just what is happening'.

That's very nice said, feels very right for me too.

It's also very nice the way you consider these two perspectives. And yes, I agree, the personal is first. You can't do anything for the world if you're not in the right Place, I believe. This Place keeps you from getting trapped in games of power, gratitude and so on. And allows you to see the whole and act in favor of the whole.

Thank you for sharing !
Luc


From: simon
Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007

Hi All,

How enriching each different viewpoint is!
Re-reading all this thread, it is like each point is my "own"...

Thank you all very much.

love
simon


From: Janet
Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007

Quote:
And yes, I agree, the personal is first. You can't do anything for the world if you're not in the right Place, I believe. Luc

hi luc and all,

yes, luc. i agree, the personal first. but, i wonder if, little by little, everyone begins at the personal level, and at some point we reach 'critical mass' (the turning point for all). my read at the moment is(opinion only), that its close. the elements of crisis before the point of turning are apparent to my senses. you may say its only speculation. i would agree. i have not received any postcard to the fact.....as yet. i can only watch and feel compassion for those experiencing discomfort with the shift, and feel joy for those who have long awaited, and welcome the shift.

imo, the world is at a critcal stage. its a little like when i'm driving in unfamiliar territory and i make a wrong turn.....i hear that inner voice say, 'wrong-way...you can TURN around NOW, OR you will HAVE TO LATER..... down the road'. (and that involves backtracking -covering the same road twice....needlessly!)

oh, the christmas lights, yes! well, detangled, true. put electric candles in the front windows, then i bought some sticky hooks to hang strings of colored lights in the windows too. just to add some more sparkle. well, the sticky hooks don't stick, and all the strings fell down! and they keep falling down after i try and fix them! arrrgggh! so, now i'm thinking, less is better (relating to this verse, perhaps). save the strings of lights for the tree only. they'll hang from the branches just fine!

so, back to -just the candles in the windows. reminds me of the song by C.C.R......'Candle in the Window'.

well, i don't know what i'm talking about. some of it relates to the tao verse. i trust all of you to figure it out for yourselves.

thank you all. and simon, i see the point you make!

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007

Hi Janet,

Well, for what it's worth, and it isn't much, I had that same feeling in the year 2000, when we left the 1900's. It was a turning point all right, but not in the direction I imagined. I wish I could see the shift you are talking about. I see changes happening, but I see enormous resistance as well. Who knows? It's certain I don't.

BTW, wash your hands after handling strings of Christmas lights. Many times the PVC in the cords contains lead. It's for fire protection and for flexibility. I saw it in the newspaper.

Anyway, I trust your feelings and intuition better that I do my own. I'm just going to trust that you are onto something.

Love,
Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007

hi jim,

trust your feelings and intuition before me. lets get that straight first.

what you are perceiving is right on track with what i'm referring to, anyway. the direction taken seems off-course. any change to that is resisted. it may even appear quite chaotic. it may be discomforting to see. i consider you a sensitive among many. compassion already appears to be functioning. this is all the right stuff before the turning point. like my analogy of taking a wrong turn in the previous post....'turn back now, or have to later'. the change will come of itself at some point of necessity. it may be very uncomfortable, and there will be a time of 'backtracking', a feeling like 'i thought we already went over this road'. we will again, but with a fresh perspective. i think we will have to experience simpler times again.

maybe, if you thought you were 'off' with what i was perceiving is because i'm looking beyond already, to what will come of it.

i've said, in the previos post, the shift is soon. what does that mean? time is a tricky thing to perceive. i don't know what to make of it. sometimes people say i act like i was born yesterday. but really, it was 1964. so, what is time? i can't say.

trust yourself, always.

thanks for sharing that about the christmas lights. i did hear about it, and washed-up every time i fought with them!

love,
janet


From jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007

Quote: the change will come of itself at some point of necessity

Yes, I see that too. I just jumped the gun a bit in my estimation of the time.

Jim


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