Dao De Jing
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Verse Sixty


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009

Verse Sixty
Daodejingle, 2000

It's best to lead a large domain
As you would cook a little fish
Don't poke and prod or you are bound
To spoil the country and the dish

Just stay open and aware
And evil cannot get a hold
Cannot find a home in you
Even evil's not that bold

At center you harm no one
And no one's harming you
This kind of reciprocity
Creates the world anew

Verse Sixty
Paul Ferrini, 1999

Ruling the state is like cooking a small fish,
Stirring leads to disaster.

Being centered and quiet in himself,
the leader is not undermined

by his own desires
or thrown off track by the desires of others.

Because he joins with the Tao,
even the hungry ghosts cannot sway him.

In the end, they too revert to Tao.

Light a small fire under thee pan,
and the fish cooks easily.

Do the absolute minimum
and even a large state runs itself.

Verse Sixty
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Center your country in the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn't there,
but you'll be able to step out of its way.

Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009

Sometimes the verses with natural images€like a small fish€are easiest to remember. Cooking a small fish works best with a light touch. It seems to me that centering in the Tao (headless) space does too. It's not a difficult and heavy-handed process. It's lightness itself€the light (and lightness) of awareness.

The second part of the verse is about disabling evil. Is this possible? I don't know. I wouldn't want to make too many claims, but I think there is something to it. I don't think that centering in the headless space automatically puts an end to evil, and neither does this verse, but keeping life simple and unassuming sometimes lets one skirt around difficult situations. It seems to me that is the point of many of these verses.

"Do the absolute minimum
and even a large state runs itself."

This may seem like nonsense considering all the deregulation and hands-off free market approach of the last decade. But was that really the "absoulute minimum?" Or was it far less than the minimum. Maybe the hands-off approach is an action in itself€refusing to interfere in the selfish actions of some at the expense of others. When government stepped in to tear down regulations of business that were already in place, that's not a light touch. That's a heavy-handed approach to frying a small fish.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009

Isn't that a wonderful image,
Quote:
As you would cook a little fish

As to
Quote:
Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.

well, it certainly works with stress and this approach is the basis of Ki-Aikido... Not to be confused with 'having my wish for quiet realized as and when I want it'
I came across a quote in French the other day that rings true, it translates as "In truth, nobody wants paradise because its free"
Doing the absolute minimum requires no doer (if that is clear enough to understand, perhaps 'an absence of doer')
Here the snow is falling, transforming the countryside, all by itself!
Happy whatever
Simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009

Hi Simon,

I'm not so sure that stress is evil. It has its function. It's certainly negative. Maybe it's meant to steer us away from where we are headed€no pun intended.

I love your image of the falling snow transforming the landscape. Isn't that how life works? It just happens. Sometimes it swings one way, sometimes another. But it keeps going, and it finds a balance€if we're lucky. It doesn't need a doer to push it. The concept of a doer certainly goes far beyond the "absolute minimum." It's a superfluous complication. I always have the idea that Lao Tzu is telling us how life works rather than how to live it. Douglas did the same thing. He described the design of perception, of life itself. Both were saying that if we align with the true design of life, all is bound to go more smoothly. First we have to See the design, then all falls into place.

I also like the term "absolute minimum" as a description of what we see in the headless space.

Jim


From: headexchange
Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009

Absolute minimum - I've not heard that phrase before. I like that. Here, you couldn't get more minimal!

Minimalist Art!

And absolute fullness there!

Yes, see what the design is before we try to fix it.


From: Janet
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009

hi all,

this is so interesting to me, at the moment. i have been noticing how wonderfully things are taken care of. sometimes its seems that there are so many challenges that appear. my first response is how will i be able to handle all this? i've come to a point of 'overwhelmed'. then i gave up!
well, isn't that a blessing!! its not to say that i don't care for the things happening, but i don't have to answer it immediately. then, it seems it takes care of itself, or the answer appears of itself.

it takes the pressure off!

its all very very mysterious, its all very very 'don't know'.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009

Hi Janet,

It's all very "don't know." Ain't that the truth?

Wait and see, or€as Douglas used to say€"See and wait!"

Love,
Jim


Headless on Youtube
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