Dao De Jing
Headless on Youtube
Click here for workshops with Richard Lang
Click here for details on the American Gathering


Click here for information on online hangouts
Click here fora free e-course
The Youniverse Explorer is now available
Click here for our online shop
Click here to get the free Headless iPhone app
Click here for downloadable videos of Douglas Harding
Click here for the Latest News
Click here to Donate

Verse Thirty Eight (Book of Te)


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008

(Book of Te)
Verse Thirty Eight
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

The Master doesn't try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.

Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.

Verse Thirty Eight
Bradford Hatcher, 2005

The highest virtue is not virtuous
This is how to hold virtue
The inferior virtue will not let go of virtue
This is why virtue is lacking
The highest virtue takes no action and has no motive to act
The inferior virtue acts on things and then has motives to act
The highest benevolence acts on things
but has no motive for action
The highest righteousness acts on things
and also has motives for action
The highest propriety acts on things
and when nobody responds to it
Then rolls up the sleeves and throws things
And so, lose the way and then comes virtue
Lose virtue and then comes benevolence
Lose benevolence and then comes righteousness
Lose righteousness and then comes propriety
Now propriety is (but) the sham of loyalty & trust
And the beginning of confusion
Being ahead in knowledge (is but) the flower of the way
And the beginning of delusion
This is why those who are most mature
Keep to the substance
(And) do not dwell on the sham
Keep to the fruitful
(And) do not dwell on the flower
And so dismiss That to choose This


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008

This is the first verse of the Book of Te. This verse ends with the line "And so dismiss That to choose This."

Here's a quote from The Religions of the World by Douglas Harding. It begins on page 57 of my edition.

"Emptiness is a favourite synonym fo the Tao, which is like the space enclosed by a pot and without which it is useless, and like the still hub without which a wheel cannot turn. Taoists also describe it as the Void, the Valley, the inexhaustible and formless Origin of all forms, the Uncarved Block, the Always-so, the Primal Simplicity, the Quietness, Darker than any Mystery. Most significant of all, it is This and not That. In other words, it is right here. It is What one really is, one's own True Nature as well as the Nature of Things."

Simon called This "space for others." In choosing to identify with This, we get That in the bargain. Choose is not the right word. When we see we are space for others, space for the scene, space for That, we realize, rather than choose, the truth.

This is a great verse to begin our discussion the Book of Te€with what Douglas called "the most significant of all" the terms Taoism uses to talk about our True Nature.

Jim


From: Steve Palmer
Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008

Hi Jim

Life's been busy this end and no words have been forthcoming.

Feeling a bit worn out
I read in Douglas's book " Look For Yourself " page 93

" The fact is that total attention is surrender, and surrender is total attention........
This inseeing, this attention to what one always is,
this discovery of what is beyond all improvement or deterioration
(because there's nothing there to change or be changed) -
this alone is total surrender.

Then Richard's Reflection from his dvd interview with Douglas arrived in the email box
Quote:
the purpose of life is a simple one: it is conscious union with the source.....the place we never left

These two together sent energy back into the body (for now ! )

Maybe in terms of verse 38 you could say WITH union, surrender or total attention to the fruitful or your reality,
the relationship to your appearance / the world or flowering will be
self righting
or from the heart / intelligence / creativity,
rather than from tangled or old thought pattens.

Your thoughts.

Steve


From: Janet
Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008

jimclatfelter wrote:
to identify with This, we get That in the bargain.

hi jim and all,

its already the design, imo. we can either 'work hard' at what already is, or relax and let what already is BE what it already is.

sometimes i think its made out to be something to strive for. thats what interest me about tao. its more like relaxing into it. i mean, if you want to get wet, just dive in. submerse into Being. don't just keep testing it -endlessly. you'll never get more than your toe wet...

take the plunge.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008

Hi Steve and Janet,

It's good to hear from you both. I like Steve's idea about self righting and Janet's about relaxing into what already is. Both fit well with the text from this verse: The Seer does nothing, yet nothing is left undone. We try to manufacture reality, rather than discover it. It seems to me that Taoists and Seers are interested in discovery, not manipulation.

Jim


From: simon

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008

Hi all,
Back from treatment and "sheep shopping" (don't ask!)
There is a hard sounding line in this verse:
Quote:
He has no will of his own.

that I used to think meant one had to 'sacrifice' all "personal desire" - rabid asceticism or something difficult and confrontational...
Or is it a plain, honest statement of our actual condition?
What desires can I honestly call my own? They come & go as they will!
What "will" can simon honestly claim? Simon appears to be battered left & right by every passing wind...

But Seeing, being inclusive not exclusive, does fit this description... and is not exactly weak even though nothing is forced...
Surrender, yes, but also trust, trusting the "absence-of-known" - feels almost like spiritual tourism (!) enjoying the view without having to judge or live there!

Quote:
The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.

Not initiating action is not the same as not doing anything...!
I never noticed before, but there is a different feel to this (second half) part of the Tao te .

love to All
simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008

Simon wrote: "What desires can I honestly call my own? They come & go as they will! "

I find that true for me too. I don't invite desires; I discover them. Doesn't this fit with the "space for others" idea? I am space for my desires too. I'm even space for my actions. Isn't that doing nothing while seeing that all is done? I am space for all that happens. Desires and actions appear on their own, as part of what already is (to use Janet's words). All is done. All happens on its own. That's how I take the "Tao does nothing, and all is done."

Jim


Headless on Youtube
Click here for workshops with Richard Lang
Click here for details on the American Gathering


Click here for information on online hangouts
Click here fora free e-course
The Youniverse Explorer is now available
Click here for our online shop
Click here to get the free Headless iPhone app
Click here for downloadable videos of Douglas Harding
Click here for the Latest News
Click here to Donate