Dao De Jing
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Verse Two


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:28 am

Verse Two

from Arthur Waley's 1958 The Way and It's Power

It is because every one under Heaven recognizes beauty as beauty, that the idea of ugliness exists.
And equally if every one recognized virtue as virtue, this would merely create fresh conceptions of wickedness.
For truly Being and Not-being grow out of one another;
Difficult and easy complete one another.
Long and short test one another;
High and low determine one another.
Pitch and mode give harmony to one another.
Therefore the Sage relies on actionless activity,
Carries on wordless teaching,
But the myriad creatures are worked upon by him; he does not disown them.
He rears them, but does not lay claim to them,
Controls them, but does not lean upon them,
Achieves his aim, but does not call attention to what he does;
And for the very reason that he does not call attention to what he does
He is not ejected from fruition of what he has done.

Jim Clatfelter


From: Kwan Haeng
Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007

Hi Jim,

I have no doubt that many translations will vary a bit here. "Work is done, then forgotten, therefore, it lasts forever." (No mention of ejecting the poor sage from the fruition of what he has done!) (ghasp). "Creating, yet not possessing, vs. "he does not disown them" , working, yet not taking credit" "Carries on wordless teaching" vs. "teaches no talking".. Mention or no mention of controlling the ten thousand things, These all carry potential nuances of meaning created by word interpretation. The jist seems to point to a range of state, behavior and expression perhaps, and the existential experience of the Sage.

"Put it all down." "Pick it up, and carry it away." "Try try try." "Only don't know", and "Everything no problem." all come to mind.

Two way Seeing is actionless activity, also wordless teaching, neither possessing, nor rejecting what is experienced as one event.

Love,
Chris


From: Steve Palmer
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007

Hi Jim

Part of this verse talks of how the opposites are born dependent on each other and like the Tao sign the black and white blend in to each other.
Never completely black, never completely white.
All conditions are relative and moving like the cloudy autumn skies in England.

The clear space of Headlessness embraces all in the Universe we can see and the thoughts and feelings within.

All the opposites arise and fade in the space which lays no claim to them
.
Thoughts and feelings relax, in there own time, when you realize the obvious beingness/space which underlies all opposites.

Even the opposites of seeing and igorance of seeing are underlined by natural seeing.

Douglas use to say" we are built open for love" whether or not we realize it.
Maybe Lao Tzu was pointing to this.

Yours Space to PC

Steve , Bournville, UK


From: simon
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007

Non-attachement' can sound very barren, dry, "sacrifical"...
But here (and in the second part of this verse!), it appears more natural, not "something one has to do or aim for".

Janet (Hello dear) posted a wonderful poem that links perfectly imo
Sunstitute 'the Tao' for 'you'...

"You can't be spoken, though you listen to all sound. You can't be written, but you read everything."

Yes, I agree with the "Wonder" that has been mentioned
Wonder and Love!


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007

hi everyone,

to me, the theme is 'complimenting'. things compliment one another continually. it always working. like its said in the recent LFY post, its like The Workings, without work.

something like that.

love,
janet


From: janwbol
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007

Janet wrote:
hi everyone,

to me, the theme is 'complimenting'. things compliment one another continually. it always working. like its said in the recent LFY post, its like The Workings, without work.

something like that.

love,
janet

Janet, do you mean compliment or complement?


From: bdbdg
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:03 pm

'Under Heaven' requires perception; we've entered the human race and the world of duality.

Apperception precludes duality, so that beauty/ugliness, difficult/easy, and virtue/wickedness, though on oppsite ends of the spectrum in 'our world of perception', are meaningless in themselves (in Reality). These opposites require the dualistic mind to even 'exist'.

The Ground of Being contains Everything, unlabelled, not separate - as Douglas said: seeing (Seeing) as a baby does ... apperception.

The other point is the absence of a separate self. Nothing is done by an 'I, so there cannot be ownership or (self-serving) control or rejection 'from the fruition'.

I love this stuff ...

Danielle
Back to top


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:48 pm

Quote: Janet, do you mean compliment or complement?

hi janwbol,

my apology. i think i was confused. the meaning i had intended was complement: to make whole.

thank you.
love,
janet


From: janwbol
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007

Janet wrote:

Janet, do you mean compliment or complement?

hi janwbol,

my apology. i think i was confused. the meaning i had intended was complement: to make whole.

thank you.
love,
janet

That's what I thought although we could make a case that It compliments everything, too. JW


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:25 pm

That's what I thought although we could make a case that It compliments everything, too. JW

hi JW,
i think you're right.
now, my thoughts are spinning. compliment and complement appear to spin around here while looking and thinking. strange to describe.

thank you.
love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:27 pm

Janet, I love that definition of complements as making whole. Seeing the core is seeing the complement of this old world. Seeing it makes me whole, because I now see both of the primary complements. Verse Two is about secondary complements, those that define the manifest world. It must be a great help to make good and bad a single judgment, high and low a single space, before and after a single time, and happy and sad a single feeling. I can't say I have much experience doing this, but I do think Lao Tzu is asking us to see it this way.

The second part of this verse is about wu wei. Wu wei means doing nothing, or nothing doing, or actionless activity, effortless activity. Lao Tzu says the Seer, like the Tao, gives life but claims no merit and needs no thanks for what s/he does. It's just expressing its own nature, engaging in natural action, and making life whole. It seems that claiming credit or expecting thanks would separate us from the whole, from life as it is.

Jim Clatfelter


From: Bill
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:05 pm

jimclatfelter wrote:
It must be a great help to make good and bad a single judgment, high and low a single space, before and after a single time, and happy and sad a single feeling. I can't say I have much experience doing this, but I do think Lao Tzu is asking us to see it this way.

Hi Jim. There is the world as it is and the world as we conceive it through our concepts. Lao Tzu is dismantling the world we conceive by pointing out the relative nature of our concepts. By doing so, Lao Tzu is simply directing us back to Seeing the world as it is.

At this point the Seer or Sage carries on with actionless activity etc.


From: headexchange
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:34 am

'actionless activity' - everything happening and developing in this Absence here, this place of non-activity. And experimenting being aware of this in everyday life. Experimenting trusting that what is now is just right...

Richard


From: Janet
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:18 pm

hi everyone,

i really enjoy everyone's input on verse two. actually, most of what i got out of this verse was the complementing theme. but, as pointed out, actionless activity was part of the message. to me, non-action and action are also complementing.

its always working for that (making whole), it seems. its pleasurable and satisfying to take notice.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:33 pm

Richard, I like your definition of actionless activity (wu wei). It brings it to the present. It's not a special way of acting. It's what's happening always. It brings us right to Seeing.

Janet, in the light of Richard's definition, actionless activity is itself made whole and real by the two complementary terms of action and actionless. And we know how to point to each of the terms.

Therefore the Sage relies on actionless activity,
Carries on wordless teaching,

I also like that it says "carries on a wordless teaching." We don't need words to teach Seeing. We just need the experiments, which require little in the way of material or words. Just a pointing finger will do.

Achieves his aim, but does not call attention to what he does;

I like this line too. Seeing can be done anywhere, and it doesn't call attention to itself. It's absolutely ordinary.

And for the very reason that he does not call attention to what he does
He is not ejected from fruition of what he has done.

Seeing doesn't interfere with the life of the world. No one even knows we are doing it, so no one can object or interfere.

Bill, I like that you said Sage or Seer. I find it very helpful to substitute the word Seer for Sage or Master or whatever other term the various translators use. It makes the Seeing meanings more obvious.

Jim Clatfelter


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