Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007
from Tao Te Ching by Derek Lin, 2006
Heaven and Earth are everlasting
The reason Heaven and Earth can last forever
Is that they do not exist for themselves
Thus the can last forever
Therefore the sages:
Place themselves last but end up in front
Are outside of themselves and yet survive
Is it not all due to their selflessness?
That is how they can achieve their own goals
from A Path and a Practice by William Martin, 2005
How can we find the eternal,
the lasting nature of the Tao, that seems so elusive amid the changes of life?
The Tao does not come and go
as do all formations.
It is the watcher of the comings
and the goings.
In our practice we find
that we are the watcher as well.
We watch our opinions and ideas,
our likes and dislikes,
our desires and fears,
our bodies and our minds,
but we do not identify with them.
Therefore, when they arise,
When they pass away,
Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:12 pm Post subject:
This appears to be a verse with many interpretations. Can I add mine ?
It is my translation of the Dutch text I have And that was a translation from an English text by Giu-fu Feng and Jane English (1972, Vintage books)
Tao is endless, everlasting.
Why, one wonders.
It is not born,
so it has eternal life.
It does not know any desire,
so it is there for everyone.
The Sage stays into the background
so he really is ahead.
He is ascetic, therefor united with everything.
Full of emptiness he is complete.
Risky translation, I admit. I especially like line three and four in this translation. It relates to Douglas, saying : all things perish, but This is No-thing ! Seeing, I am out of time, not born so free from death, endless, everlasting.
And full of this Void, this emptiness, I am complete.
Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2007
hi jim, luc, all,
my sense is, we see tao as the watcher of formations that come and go. there is no interference, judgements, or expectations. it does not exist for itself, but for all that arises. its everlasting and endures because it does not identify, but is just 'space' for all thing to be. without identification, it is not born and does not die. though all forms that arise in it, will come to pass.
in the practice of Seeing, it is the same. just being space for all things. it sorta relates to what i was saying to jerry in my last post in verse six. we watch. allowing for all things to arise and pass away. in that, we see what always remains.....who we really are! the space for everything to happen in. everything happening is not separate, but its not who we really are.
i hope this makes sense. it would be much easier to lend all that i sense for the day, for your perusal, and at your convenience.
in the meantime, its the best i can offer.
Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2007
First-personhood (is that the term used?) is what this reminds me of in headless terms:
Heaven and earth don't end because they don't exist as selves.
No self was / is ever birthed by them.
Self-lessness. No thing-like self to end.
And the sage / Seer does the same:
any such self-as-seen-from-1-meter-distance is left behind
so her/his true 1st-person-Self comes to the front.
(S)he doesn't live as if confined inside this body others see,
and so Lives truely.
And it's just this absence of self that makes the sage the Seer (s)he is.
Something like that.
Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007
Hello Luc, Janet, Orestes, and All,
I like the terms Jane English uses in your translation from Dutch. She uses Tao instead of Heaven and Earth. In her English version she says heaven and earth. Does it actually say Tao in the Dutch version? I like the change. She says the Tao is unborn, so it is ever living. Staying in the background is just right. All this fits headless seeing perfectly. I think we have gained a lot by the double translation. Just for comparison, here is the original English version.
Heaven and Earth last forever.
Why do heaven and earth last forever?
They are unborn,
So ever living.
The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead.
He is detached, thus at one with all.
Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.
I like your version of the last line better. One is complete when one is full of emptiness (Tao, void), and stays in the background (on the near side). Behind and ahead could easily mean background and foreground, the near side and far side of two-way seeing.
What you say really adds to the Taoist flavor. Tao exists nor for itself but for all that arises in it. It is space for all that happens. It's wonderful to me how easily the Taoist terms merge with the terms of headless seeing that Douglas and others came to use over many years of writing and conducting workshops. And the Taoist attitudes of allowing (making space?) for all thing to come and go as they will.
Luc used the word Tao for Heaven and Earth, and Tao can be translated as a way or a path. It is, as you say, the one meter path. I'm reminded that Lao Tzu uses the terms reversal and returning quite often in in the Tao Te Ching. Isn't this exactly what we do on the one meter path? The face we imagine out there one meter away heeds to be reversed from we see in the mirror, and then it needs to be returned over the distance of one meter to the void or Tao or Space. This certainly brings the card experiment to mind. We return the card one meter to see who we really are. We find that the image in the mirror doesn't fit. As Verse Seven says, this returns us to the background, the Ground of Being, the space that allows for it all.
Thanks for all the wonderful thoughts.
Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007
I must say, Jim, Jonathan Star€s verbatim translation is a great help when one cannot read ancient chinese! Lao Tzu's text appears to be composed using a small group of central characters, which are repeated again and again in different combinations, giving it a hypnotic, musical quality. Marvellous to get a sense of the rythmn of the text! For example, in this verse seven, 22 of the 49 characters are repeated twice or more. Often this repetitve aspect is not apparent in the translations.
I think Derek Lin€s translation is quite faithful to the original. I like the idea of heaven and earth not existing for themselves. In the original there is also an interesting progression of selflessness leading to survival of the self; lack of self-interest leading to fulfillment of the self. There is a sense of finding yourself only by giving yourself up.
This also reminds me of the tai chi (or yin-yang) diagram, which denotes progression through circular and spiral movement.
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007
I like the terms Jane English uses in your translation from Dutch. She uses Tao instead of Heaven and Earth. In her English version she says heaven and earth. Does it actually say Tao in the Dutch version?
Yes, the translation uses Tao instead of Heaven and Earth. I have another Dutch version from a Dutch engineer (!) who translated directly from Chinese. His translation dates from around 1910. He uses 'Heaven and Earth'.
I like your version of the last line better. One is complete when one is full of emptiness (Tao, void), and stays in the background (on the near side). Behind and ahead could easily mean background and foreground, the near side and far side of two-way seeing.?
In Dutch the word 'complete' is a combination of 'full' and 'empty', so it's a nice play upon words, but that doesn't survive translation. A bit like the word No-thing in English that can't be translated into Dutch and keep its double meaning.
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007
Jonathan Star's verbatim version always helpful. In Verse Seven he says (in a footnote) that Lao Tzu's saying that the sage (seer) "rejects himself" means that "the sage rejects the limited identification with his body and the small sense of self, and identifies himself with the universe. This is the state of unity, whereby the sage sees his own Self in everyone and everyone as his own Self" As in the card experiment, one identifies with the empty space and all that it contains € and not with the small and limited image in the mirror. I think William Martin's version captures some of this spirit when says in the last lines that the Seer watches what arises, and then watches as it passes away, while the watcher remains through it all.
That's nice about the word complete in Dutch. Full and empty together is really complete and whole. Full and empty are used over and over in the Tao Te Ching. These are the two of two-way seeing, the full and empty sides. This fits so neatly. How can you be full (fulfilled) if you have nothing empty to be filled in the first place? Seeing reveals that first place, the empty or near side, the original side.
In 2000, I wrote this as a commentary to Verse Seven:
Tao, awareness, nothingness has no limits, no boundaries in space, no boundaries in time. It has no beginning, no end. It has no divisions, no distinctions, no parts. It is forever one and forever alone. It cannot be divided between you and me. I am all of it. You are all of it. I am the one. You are the one. We are not separate, not two.
Can you stay with your true identity? Can you see it every day, each moment of every day? See it whenever it occurs to you to look. That's all you need to do. Become accustomed to seeing everyday. See your inner simplicity, and witness the dance of life. Look both ways! Look in at the simple awareness and out at the spontaneous rise and fall of events. You will see no separation. These are one, not separate, not two. You are whole and total!?
Full and empty together, whole and complete. What more do I need?