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Verse Eight


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007

Verse Eight

from Tao Te Ching by Derek Lin, 2006

The highest goodness resembles water
Water greatly benefits myriad things without contention
It stays in places that people dislike
Therefore it is similar to the Tao
Dwelling at the right place
Heart with great depth
Giving with great kindness
Words with great integrity
Governing with great administration
Handling with great capability
Moving with great timing
Because it does not contend
It is therefore beyond reproach

Verse Eight

from Change Your Thoughts€Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer, 2007

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things,
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
Stand by your word.
Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007

What Lao Tzu says about water, it seems to me, can be said about headless seeing as well.

1. Water flows to low places. Seeing is about movement to and living from the lowest place of all, deep in the heart or center or void.

2. This benefits the Seer and all those around the Seer.

3. The Seer doesn't contend or oppose, but acts with kindness and honesty. Water does the same. Water goes where it must (to the lowest place of all), according to the nature of things. It "moves in harmony with the present moment." I suppose it could be called ruthless in a way. If there are obstacles in its path, it goes around them, while at the same time it wears them down. Honesty can look like ruthlessness to an onlooker who is seeking agreement rather than truth.

There's a quote I like from Holmes Welch's Taoism, The Parting of the Way: "...they will never permit violence to be done to their inner natures and their inner natures will never cause them to do violence in return." Water is honest, and it stands by its word. It doesn't deceive.

I like this verse. There are so many ways to look at it.

Jim

PS, I want to thank Luc for mentioning Byron Katie. I knew nothing about her, although I had heard the name. Her book on the Tao verses is really nice. She sees the perfection of what is in each moment, as Douglas did, and as Lao Tsu did too. What she says reminds me of Douglas's talking and writing about my will aligning with God's will€not just accepting but actively willing (or seeing) what is.


From: Luc
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007

I love this image of water for Tao or Seeing. Water is in a way empty, has no form by itself. It cannot be stopped, it keeps flowing, filling holes and deeps.

And yet it is strong, not by force but by softness and patience, perseverance.
It can't be hurt.

Reminds me of a situation we had on our last holiday. Someone we had hardly met reproached us of being impolite and insensitive. She wanted us to leave the site we were staying before noon. It was her property.
It really felt as if I was water : I could make trouble, feel hurt or mistreated, but I could also flow around it and continue. We chose the last, letting go. And we fully enjoyed the rest of our holiday. 'No struggle, no blame' is the last line of this verse in the translation I have. We are as free as water if we want to !

Luc


From: Steve Palmer
Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2007

When I read this verse I am reminded of an lecture give by John Blofeld.
He talked in a comical way of the Sage being like a muddy puddle.

People can step in it, jump in it , ignor it , do just what they want to it and the water just goes back to it's place
or around your foot standing in it, you can not harm it.
It goes on happily being a muddy puddle!

He laughed as he gave this explanation of Taoist contentment to be with what is. Not going against Nature.

Like Trusting the headless space, not relying on the Little One but That which is further up stream.

NOTE:
John Blofeld was one of the few western people to live in Taoist Monasteries before the cultural revolution in China and his books and a few talks available on cd from www.thebuddhistsociety.org are a joy to hear.

On reading Douglas Harding's "on Having No Head" years ago John Blofeld commented "I have no idea who this Harding man is he maybe a London cabbie for all I know.But he's got it just right."

Steve P


From: Jerry
Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2007

Thanks for your posts.
Yes, water is a beautiful and powerful image. As you say Luc, its lowly, flowing abilities are exactly that which makes it so strong. It does not collide head on nor try and get things done by force. The activity of water helps us understand what is meant by wu wei, to achieve things without doing anything.

Jim, I like your connection with honesty. Tao is likened to water, and we understand that if we can act like water, then we also act like the tao. Water can teach us to find our right place in life, to achieve heart and mind€s depth and stillness, life-giving generosity, sincerity and truth, just governance, timing and efficiency. Above all, by not contending, by compromising and moving round obstacles instead of attacking them head on, we remain free from blame, like water.

Jerry


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2007

Steve, I like hearing about John Blofeld. I love his writing about Taoism in China in the 1940s. I discovered his books just before I discovered On Having No Head. I know that because the books were published in 1973 and 1974. His writings are beautifully simple and clear. I'm glad to know he was humorous too. The muddy puddle story is great. It sounds like a story Chuang Tzu might have told. Great stuff. How wonderful to have heard him in person. Thanks for sharing the story.

Jim


From: Steve Palmer
Location: UK
Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2007

Hi Jim

I heard the muddy puddle story years ago on a Buddhist Society tape still available called Taoism.

( They have a few old talks of Douglas and John Blofeld tucked away in the www.thebuddhistsociety.org audio catologue and also in the archives)

I did write to John Blofeld in Bangkok, where he lived the last years of his life, and received a card back in his cheerful and courteous manner.

I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him !

regards

Steve


From: headexchange
Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007

Luc,
That's wonderful that you were able to act as you did on your holiday. Do you think the campsite owner softened because of your softness? Do you think your attitude had any affect on her?

Richard


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007

hi all,

i enjoyed all the posts. thank you so much.

not much to say, the verse says it all, already. spiritual 'messages', and 'dreams' i experience are mostly in the context of water. i don't know why. it was difficult to respond, as i felt i might be predjudicial.

though, maybe i might add in another way. there is mention of being like water for the highest good, nurishing, going around obstacles and such. well, water can be a pretty powerful beast too. need i mention the floods of hurricane katrina, asian tsunami, and countless others? it may leave no survivor in its wake. so, i don't know.

also, reminds me of a story. a master was teaching his deciples. he handed his deciples a sieve and told them to go to the lake and fill the sieve with water. the deciples tried and tried to fill the sieve, but the sieve leaked water thru the holes. the master came walking by the lake. the deciples ran to the master in desperation, saying it is impossible to fill a sieve with water. the master took the sieve and threw it into the lake, and said, 'now the sieve is filled with water'.

so, i suppose the sage that lives with seeing/tao must be immersed. and, i suppose in a way like the flooded waters, it leaves no survivor in its wake.

well, something like that. i don't know how else to explain it. everything is water for me. hopefully everything comes out in the wash, so to speak.

love,
janet


From: Luc
Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007

headexchange wrote:
Luc,
That's wonderful that you were able to act as you did on your holiday. Do you think the campsite owner softened because of your softness? Do you think your attitude had any affect on her?

Richard

If there is no resistance, there is no way you can apply force. That's the principle of pushing hands in Tai Ji. So here we gave no resistance, we changed like water would do if you put a stone in the stream. It must have changed her in a way, perhaps not softened but rather confronted her with her own anger or frustration. Maybe she would have felt better if we had put up a fight, a huge discussion. But I guess we left her with empty hands, no-one to blame. Actually it doesn't matter, does it ? There is love for everyone. She did what she had to do at that time and that place.

Luc


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007

maybe a little more clarity with what i'm trying to say:

with luc's response on his holiday, already we are saying that it was the right way. so, in that, we are saying a different response is NOT the right way. if he may have spoken up for whatever dispute the woman had, its still just a response. tao/seeing is not about right or wrong, just the space for it all to happen in.

when we get into deciding how the tao/seeing is, and how things should be, we are not immersed in allowing for whatever to be, as it is. i suppose that is just something subtle that appears with defining it, that i've been picking up in the tao verses and seeing in general. so, i have said it.

whatever will be, well, it will be. the water is still clear.

love,
janet
p.s. any disputes, take it up with my manager.


From: Jerry
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007

I feel that I am a sphere of awareness within a flow of information. I can only, finally, experience what I experience and reach the conclusions which I do based on those experiences. I interpret the information which flows around and within me in a rich variety of ways; some of those interpretations show themselves to be incorrect in the light of new information. This I can choose to adapt to, or ignore. The evolution is self-regulating: being elastic like a bubble, the sphere can take quite a buffeting. It can also disintegrate. It will eventually disintegrate.


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007

hi jerry,

thank you for expressing how it is for you.

i can see its the general thinking of the members from the responses to the verse so far. i also think luc responded to the situation well. if he would have had another response, it would have just been 'different', thats all.

i saw one side presented, i expressed another side of it. there are many sides to everything and there are differences that appear, but it does not make right/wrong.

anyway, maybe i'm not on the same track as everyone else. i don't know if thats right or wrong. but, clearly its 'different'.

well, thats all. best wishes!

love,
janet


From: orebor
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007

Tao - water - headlessness...

The way the headless experience has a water-like quality, to me, is the alive, deep, quietness of it. Like a lake on a windless day. So still. And yet, so aware...
Also in the way everything, all that happens, seems to flow, turbulently or not, like the water in rivers does, big and small. By itself!
Water in nature being so Tao-like, I'm sure that is why beholding it can be so calming for a lot of people.

Orestes


From: Luc
Location: Belgium
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007

Hi Janet,

I agree that there is no such thing as right or wrong, looking from this Void.
My 'holiday experience' felt good because it had something effortless, smooth, like the water flowing around anything that might seem an obstacle.

I always enjoy this effortlessness when I experience it - and as Seeing for me becomes more present in everyday life, I experience it more often.

Luc


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007

I agree, Janet, that this is not about right and wrong or about rules. Water goes where it must, sometimes gently and sometimes with frightful power. Isn't this true of us too. We go where we must. We act spontaneously even when it seems we are uncertain and don't know what to do. We are designed to be uncertain at times. Water has no self. It doesn't know it's obeying the rule of gravity. It just lives its own nature. We go where we must too. We follow our own way. We don't have to understand it. We can't understand it. It's too complicated. But we are it€spontaneously and automatically and by definition.

Douglas says in The Science of the Ist Person: "I find that, when I am seeing clearly Who I am, it is unnecessary€it is fatal to that seeing€to worry about what to say or do, to think or feel: the fitting expression of Ist-personhood occurs as a matter of course, spontaneously, according to circumstances.....If I'm observed to be living up to any 'principles', this is an incidental and external view, for the One here is innocent of principles€and everything else."

Like water, we go where we go, and we are never right or wrong. Water has only one way to go, and it doesn't 'know' that way until it goes there. We don't know the way to go either€until we find ourselves already there. All we can do is "see€and see what happens."

Jim


From: Jerry
Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007

Janet,

I'd like to add to Luc's reply that for me it's really valuable that each person shares their thoughts - that's what makes this a forum and not a monologue. Often you learn more from angles that differ from your own. These posts function like seeds - bearing fruit much later.

Jerry


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007

jerry, orestes, luc,

thank you for the responses. i appreciate your understanding, and acknowledgement. sometimes, there is just a feeling in the air, and its expressed. sometimes, maybe the words seem pushy or so. well, i don't know about that. probably a little bit of frustration on my part to express the feeling. i mean there are a lot of words to name the no-thing. god, void, space, whatever. i'm just saying when making anything of it, its gotta be 100%. everything/one included. thats the point i was trying to make.

jim,

your response rings true. its what i was trying to say. you've done it beautifully. just beautiful. thank you.

yes, its spontaneous, and we can't understand it. no way of saying what's right, and what's wrong. it just IS! and, i just don't know, really.

thank all of you. you've written lovely posts.

love,
janet


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
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Click here for the Latest News
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