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 Fifty Five


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Nov 30, 2008

Verse Fifty Five
Daodejingle

One who reaches emptiness
Is like a child just born
Muscles weak and bones so soft
Yet with a grip that's strong

The newborn has no power
Its nature is pure space
Vacancy and nothingness
Without a human face

Screaming, crying all the day
And never getting hoarse
It only does what naturally
Arises from the source

To see this inner nature
Is seeing brave and bold
Into the only place there is
That never can grow old

Verse Fifty Five
Ha Poong Kim

He who possesses Te in abundance
May be likened to a newborn baby.
Bees, scorpions and vipers do not sting it;
Ferocious beasts do not seize it;
Birds of prey do not attack it.
Its bones are weak and its sinews soft, yet its grip is firm.
It doesn't yet know the union of male and female, yet its organ is erect.
Its vital energy is perfect.
It screams all day yet never becomes hoarse.
Its harmony is perfect.
To know harmony is called [to know the] constant.
To know the constant is called enlightenment.
To improve upon one's life is called ill omen.
When the mind dictates the vital breath, it is called forcing.
When a thing reaches its prime, it becomes old.
Forcing is called contrary to Tao.
What is contrary to Tao expires early.

Verse Fifty Five
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn't know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.

The Master's power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.


From: Steve Palmer
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008

Hi Jim

Thanks for the Daodejingle. Douglas's way and the Tao te Ching seem to merge with humour and insight in readable bite size.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008

Hi Steve,

I've been working on the Daodejingle again, trying to make it shorter and smoother. The Dao De Jing seems as grounded as Douglas's headless seeing. It's fun to blend the two.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2008

Jim,
any precision possible on this, please?
Ha Poong Kim says

Quote: He who possesses Te in abundance

Stephen Mitchell, says

Quote: He who is in harmony with the Tao

Which is the original?
While not wishing to start a nitpickers convention, this detail intregues me somewhat...
I know this verse sounds like the basis for many "anti-martial" arts and seems to me to argue for sustained practice...
Anyway, best to all, and hoping you all avoid the flu thats running round here!
Simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Dec 07, 2008

Hi Simon,

Ha Poong Kim's translation is more literal.

han = possess, contain, hold
te = virtue, power, character, efficacy
chih = it, in, its
hou = fullness, abundance

One who is steeped in Te!

Stephen Mitchell's translation is more poetic. I think he uses TAO where the Chinese uses TE because it's a more familiar term, and the meaning in this context is similar or at least compatible.

There isn't much agreement on how to translate the word TE or on just what it means.

I like your expression "anti-martial" arts. Practice and persistence are needed to advance. Seeing requires a sticking-with-it just as the martial arts do. We may get Seeing all at once, but if it's not important enough to stick with it, it won't bring many benefits. If we do stick with it, we will be protected in some way -- immune to stings and bites. I wonder in what sense any of you reading this think this idea of immunity is true. In what ways does living from the truth (true seeing) protect you?

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008

Thank you, Jim,
That clears things for me!
Quote:
There isn't much agreement on how to translate the word TE or on just what it means.

Well, quite! And that leaves space for a non-verbal appreciation that seems quite in keeping with the subject!
I enjoy the difference between Tao and Te: Te seems linked with deliberate ( tho. without "trying") practice rather than the "glimpse" of seeing ...
"Every-minute zen" as I recall from zen flesh, zen bones - sustained seeing-in-space, or however one wants to call it...
Until last week and a vicious flu attack, I could have waxed eloquent about immunity, but, of course, the 'little' one is ever dependant, never immune.!
However, there have been several examples in my life of being protected by seeing - Ki-Aikido (non-contact) is based on this and has worked in several situations.
Even when the body is "suffering" illness, there is an almost magical response to bring health back to the fore... the temperature rising to kill off the microbes, all happening by itself...
I feel sure that something else is hinted at here, as violence breeds violence, so non-violence is contageous, too...

Seeing certainly economises all the energy wasted in trying to create on these shoulders what appears to be there at a distance!

Quote: To know the constant is called enlightenment.

Ahh! On one end (so to speak) of the tube is change and inconstancy...
Best to All
Simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008

Hi Simon,

I know what you mean by the energy lost in trying to keep up the fiction of being just like everyone else. We all fall into that trap, yet all along we sense that something is wrong. Verse 40 begins with this line (in three different versions):

Reversal is the movement of the way
"Returning" is the way the Way moves
Reversal: that is Dao's movement.

Reversing the arrow of attention! Returning to our original nature! That is the movement of the Way, the Tao. Instantly discovering our original nature, which had been hidden in plain sight all along. Instantly finding our long overlooked ground. Instantly becoming whole! This has to add energy to one's life. We have found the place of peace, freedom, and potential. We're bound to feel some joy and exuberance to have finally seen the obvious, which was never really hidden, just overlooked. And to think how simple this truth is! It has to add vitality (te?) to one's life.

In this verse (55) it's stated in a different way:

To know harmony is called [to know the] constant.
To know the constant is called enlightenment.

We have found the constant where we had imagined a head. We have found the constant ground of all being. So maybe the lines in this verse about potency and immunity refer to the discovery of the constant and steady half of our being which we make when we return to our original nature by reversing the direction of our attention. We're not completely immune to all the insults of living, but we're no longer deluded by our own thoughts and imagination. What an improvement that is! Something is set free. Maybe that something is Te.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008

Hi Jim and All,
Very yes!
You said: We have found the constant where we had imagined a head. ... Something is set free. Maybe that something is Te.

Now I have to agree: Te (correct me if off line) is sometimes 'translated' as 'virtue'... and headlessness allows a certain detachement - at least fron knee-jerk, controntational reaction and great caring (as in caring for rather than about), creativity and acceptance. Non of these would 'usually' be considered virtues, but they are!
Generosity ( after all, as sole heir to all the world, one can afford to be generous!) vitality, peace and joy... all the fruit - if you like - of seeing... As Te is the fruit of Tao?

happy everything
Simon


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