Dao De Jing
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Verse Seventy Seven


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon May 25, 2009

Verse Seventy Seven
Herrymon Maurer, 1985

Heaven's Tao is like a stretched bow:
The top goes down and the bottom goes up.
What has much is shortened;
What has little is increased.
Heaven's Tao takes from those with much
And gives to those with little.
Man's way is not so:
It takes from those with little
And gives to those with much.
Who uses muchness
To serve beneath heaven?
Only he who has Tao!
Therefore the sage
Does but does not claim,
Completes his work but takes no credit.
He does not want his merit seen.

Verse Seventy Seven
Brian Browne Walker, 1996

The way of heaven is like the bending of a bow.
What is high up gets pulled down.
What is low down gets pulled up.
Heaven takes from what has too much and
gives to what doesn't have enough.
Man is different:
he takes from those who have too little and
gives to those who have too much.
Who has a genuine abundance to give to the world?
Only a person of Tao.
He acts without expectation,
accomplishes without taking credit,
and has no desire to display his merit.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon May 25, 2009

I'm wondering how to reconcile this verse with verse five, which says that heaven and earth are not kind. This verse says that heaven's way is to take from those with much and give to those with little.

How is the human way separate from nature's way? Are humans natural beings? Were we natural beings at one time and are no longer? What happened?

Brian asked in Verse Three:

Quote:
The trouble has already begun, so what does Lao Tzu propose we do about it? Do we simply contemplate our One-ness while our brothers and sisters in the view out continue to suffer in ignorance of the Tao, or can we also serve the Tao (the Whole) through our mortal bodies and minds as well as being consciously awake to our True Indivisible Nature?

I'm more ready to respond to that question than I was when the question was asked. It's hard to believe that was October of 2007. We've been at this a long time! Brian's question and this verse seem even more relevant in these poor economic times.

What do you think?

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Tue May 26, 2009

Quote:
heaven's way is to take from those with much and give to those with little.

Sounds right to me: when "heady" I get tired, frustration can appear, basically an absence of energy - when small or "non-existant as an "individual" (Seeing for short!) everything is mine!
It is also the game of just about every child I've seen (or been): there is a natural sense of justice (how many kids cry "Its not fair!)?

Quote:
Heaven's Tao is like a stretched bow:
The top goes down and the bottom goes up.

Sounds like an experiment to me, nice description of seeing, anyway!
I like the
Quote:
Does but does not claim,

These fingers tap "by themselves"...
This is all just one slant, there are others...
Off to work, good day everyone!
Simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed May 27, 2009

The top goes down and the bottom goes up.

Hi Simon,

This is good! I didn't catch that one. I'm glad you mentioned it. Another example of headless and Taoist reversal. Our view of our own bodies goes upside-down.

Lao Tzu is talking about a bow that shoots an arrow. In the experiment we are talking about a bow before the evidence. We bow to see the bottom line. I always thought this upside-down view was a laugh. Not having a head (in view) is a good laugh too--the same laugh, really. I'll never read this verse the same again. Now I see what the image of the bow means for seers.

Thanks,
Jim


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri May 29, 2009

Quote:
heaven's way is to take from those with much and give to those with little.

Quote:
It is also the game of just about every child I've seen (or been): there is a natural sense of justice (how many kids cry "Its not fair!)?

Simon, I didn't see this one either. You seem to be saying 1) that our original nature has a natural sense of fairness (as we see in children) and 2) that when I'm aware of my original nature it really gives me everything.

It was so obvious I was missing it. Heaven isn't a word I use very much, but Douglas used it to refer to first person living. Heaven's Way must be our original nature.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Sat May 30, 2009

Hi Jim,
yes, that is what I was on about (when "I" as simon, am absent, everything is "mine")
I don't know if you play tennis, but every idea I serve comes back with a neat spin! I had'nt picked up the wordplay on 'bow' and 'bow' but its true!
"Experienced childlikeness" if I may invent a term; is as accurate and at the same time inexact description of seer ... every description being flawed (see first verse!) but I can LIVE with it!
Re
Quote:
heaven's way is to take from those with much and give to those with little.

Jesus said (according to traditional 'wisdom') something similar
"blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
this carries the same idea (imo)
Interestingly, this is the only 'beatitude' in the present tense, all the others use the future tense... !
As a spiritual groupie (ha!) I enjoy finding the same pointers in different traditions, so many roads lead to Home...
best to One and All
simon


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