Dao De Jing
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Verse Fifty Eight


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008

Verse Fifty Eight
Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English, 1972

When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.
Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.

Verse Fifty Eight
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.

When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.

Thus the Master is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose her will.
She is pointed, but doesn't pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.

Verse Fifty Eight
Walter Gorn-Old, 1904

A free and generous government gives the people a chance to develop.
When a government is rigid and exacting the people are cramped and miserable.
Misery is but the shadow of happiness.
Happiness is but the cloak of misery.
When will there be an end to them?
If we dispense with rectitude, distortion will assert itself; and what was good in its way will give place to what is evil.
Verily the people have been under a cloud for a long time.
Therefore the wise man is full of rectitude, but he does not chirp and carve at others.
He is just, but he does not admonish others.
He is upright, but he does not straighten others.
He is enlightened, but he does not offend with his brightness.


From: simon
Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2008

Now while this verse is clearly directed towards governing and what might be called "social" or "public" affairs, what you call the camera experiment tempts me to remark that the same principle applies equally to one's (or 'my', if you prefer!) attitude to that persona that goes under the name of "myself"...
What use all the criticism, hopeing, judging etc, bref all the imagined 'seperate self' 3rd person situated somewhere around these shoulders... 'mind' for want of a better term...
Simple appreciation of all that presents itself gives natural rise to - well, words become tricky! - and yet this clarity
Quote:
does not offend with his brightness

Happy Holy or whole i days, one and all
Simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2008

Hi Simon,

I like what you say about the "political" verses speaking about the personal as well. There are occaisions in life where each of us rules, takes the lead. Maybe we are parents, teachers, or supervisors. We can rule, as these translators say, with a light hand, with tolerance, with freedon and gererosity. We can take the same attitude toward our own thoughts and desires too. We don't have to be, again as the translators say, repressive, rigid, exacting, and severe. We don't have to rule with rigid rules. We don't have to rule at all. Our attitude can be generous, tolerant, and free. Other translators will use similar words. The idea is always the less government (rule) the better.

What entity is here to rule anyway? Don't we see that we are essentially empty? Don't we trust our own natural and spontaneous inclinations? Must we be guided by external rules, by the words of others? When we stand and spread our arms 160 degrees to embrace the world, isn't that the offering of tolerance, freedom, and gererosity to our world that this verse recommends?

You quote this line: "does not offend with his brightness." Douglas didn't quote Lao Tzu very much, but I remember several occasions where he mentioned verse 20, where Lao Tzu says that he alone is dull. Dull! My inner essence is dull! But what power ther is in dullness.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2008

Hi Jim and All,
Yes, I find the same.
One might think that an absence of "rule" is an open door to anarchy and chaos, yet it doesn't turn out that way in practice, quite the opposite in fact!
And that is rather wondeful!
Ah! wonder raising its "head" again...!
But is it really surprising?
What can florish if it is "cut off from its root"?

Dull, well, yes but are there any limits there?
I raise a glass to "dull-power"


From: headexchange
Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2008

Yes, what power in dullness!

Opening my arms, all the world is here between my hands. This void has room for everyone.


From: Janet
Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2008

to me, its living the 'example'.
taking care of whats right in front of you
and not getting caught up in judging
or preaching how others take care.

there is nothing more comfortable
than to see one who lives graciously
yet is open, without judgment or interference
toward others that are learning their way.

judgment and interference cause friction
out of a superior/inferior relationship

whatever is necessary to learn
happens in just Being
BEcause, afterall, we are One.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008

Hi Simon, Janet, Richard, and all,

Simon says: One might think that an absence of "rule" is an open door to anarchy and chaos, yet it doesn't turn out that way in practice, quite the opposite in fact!

I know just what you mean. That's exactly what most people think€that without external rules there would be chaos. Even children learn more by example than by rule and commandment. Just look at what the void (nature, Tao) comes up with on its own. It's very orderly most of the time, though it has surprises in store for us too.

Janet says: judgment and interference cause friction out of a superior/inferior relationship. Isn't it wondeerful that there is no judgment here in the void? I could just as well say in nature or in the Tao.

Jim


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