Dao De Jing
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Verse Nineteen : See the Plain


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008

Verse Nineteen
Jonathan Star, 2001

Abandon holiness
Discard cleverness and the people will benefit a hundredfold
Abandon the rules of "kindness"
Discard "righteous" action and the people will return to their own natural affections
Abandon book learning
Discard the rules of behaviour and the people will have no worries
Abandon plots and schemes
Discard profit-seeking and the people will not become thieves
These lessons are mere elaborations
The essence of my teachings is this:
See with original purity
Embrace with original simplicity
Reduce what you have
Decrease what you want

Verse Nineteen
John Louis Albert Trottier, 1994

Drop wisdom,
abandon cleverness,
And the people will be
benefited a hundred fold.
Drop humanity,
abandon morality,
And the people will
return to their natural affections.
Drop cleverness,
abandon greed,
And robbers and thieves
will cease to be.
These three are a
pattern of Tao (the Laws of the Universe),
And are not sufficient in themselves
they are only symptoms.
They should be subordinated
to a Higher principle;
People need
personal remedies.
See the simple True Self
and embrace
your original nature.
Forget you habits and desires,
simplify you life.

Verse Nineteen
Aalar Fex, 2006

Get rid of sagacity, abandon wisdom:
The people benefit a hundred-fold.
Get rid of humanitarianism, abandon righteousness:
The people recover filial piety and motherly love.
Get rid of cleverness, abandon profit:
Robbers and thieves do not exist.

Those who [understand] these three things
Therefore take [mere] civility to be insufficient.

Therefore, this directive has a place it belongs to:

See the plain.
Embrace simplicity.
Diminish selfishness.
Desire little.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 6

This verse seems to be a continuation of the previous one. but it ends with a remarkable thought, the one that Simon and Luc related about Verse Eighteen:

Rely on this fact:
Seeing the plain, keeping the simple,
Self fades and desires diminish.

The results of Seeing are predictable. The more we live in the Presence, the more we are satisfied with the present. The more we see the wholeness, the more we realize there's nothing to add. You may use different words to talk about Seeing, but I think you know what I mean. First Person Living grows on its own, and at its own pace. Call it Presence or Seeing or Dao, it brings its own grace to our lives. Laozi says that self fades and desires diminish. Some people would think this is an odd kind of grace. They want fulfillment of self and desires. Laozi wants that too€up to a point. Desires and needs diminish. They don't disappear when we see that the present is already whole and complete. We just stop building a self around desires. We see we are whole, and everything added is an extra.

Well, that's how I think of it.

Jim


From: simon

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 141
Location: France
Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:45 am Post subject:
Yes, verses 18 and 19 read like one 'idea' to me too.

"knowing" and "doing" (in the separate - 'I know' or 'I do' sense) are not necessary... more an obstacle than a help.
Watching the precision of the hands as they work is a favourite example of this for me. Even driving a car, I don't have to push the pistons or ignite each cylinder or pump the oil, just watch and steer the thing!
However, perhaps the passage of time and our (possiblly) modern penchant for control make it sound rather drastic, the idea of abandoning wisdom, cleverness, kindness etc...
Yet this does not sound like "anything goes' or "do what you will..."

Watching or seeing, everything happens without extra effort and 'artifical' or 'imposed' rules are not needed.

Jonathan Star's verse reminds me of Douglas' "Dare to be your own authority!"

simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008

Hi Simon,

Actions seem like that to me too. They happen on their own€without a doer. I've spent the last two days cleaning and painting my bathroom, but I didn't have to put any thought or deliberation into it. Thoughts came up on their own and as they were needed. Sometimes I just went on to the next step in the process without even thinking about it. It seems to me that life is always like that. One action after another after another.

Jim


From: Luc
Location: Belgium
Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008

Simplify your life.

It sounds like a rule to follow. Does simplifying your life bring you closer to Seeing ? I guess it might ...
It certainly works the other way round: Seeing I'm not doing anything, I don't worry any more about things. And then I can simply look and enjoy. Life certainly is simplified in this way !

Yesterday I came home quite distressed, after a day of feeling useless and waisting my time. I was determined that something had to change.
Today I feel fine and satisfied. What happened ? I don't know.
LIfe is simple if I accept the changes that happen !
Let us see what tomorrow brings.

Luc


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008

hi all,

i really like the verse here.

well, i've plenty of time recently....seems to be right on exactly, what this verse is saying, imo.

simple life, yes. but, what does that mean to you? a lot of people may think its 'this way... or that way....' already appearing, thoughts of what to do, and how to be. imo, no. there is where ideas of righteousness, kindness, faults, come around. i see a great deal of religions posturing on the basis of 'this is what god intended', 'this is what god wants'. well, we can see two sides to that. i don't know if god/no-thing intended anything. yet, everything appears on its own, as it is. so i don't really know, but maybe so......just accept it all, and stop beating it to death!
me worry? nah...

i try not to think about trying to do anything right, good, or anything like that. i just observe everything unfold. i see interaction of this body/mind component. but that is also an observation. it feels great when everything works out. but, when i think that, already, i have an idea how things should be. then, disappointment appears. its actually kinda funny observing all this. i spend hours entertaining myself -just observing! maybe you see the same. ain't it funny?!

so, just letting go
not controlling
just observe
seeing what is
out of no-thing
clear mind
open heart
simplicity returns
out of itself

much love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008

Hi Janet,

I really like your poem. It has a very Zen flavor. Seeing what is, simplicity returns. That's an elegant summing up of first person living.

Thanks for that,
Jim


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