Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Tao of Understanding and Mystery

"The ways that can be walked are not the eternal Way;
The names that can be named are not the eternal name.
The nameless is the origin of the myriad creatures;
The named is the mother of the myriad creatures."

      Always be without desire
          in order to observe its wondrous subtleties:
      Always have desire
         so that you may observe its manifestations."

"Both of these derive from the same source;
They have different names but the same designation."

"Mystery of mysteries,
The gate of all wonders!"

-- Tao Te Ching, Verse 45 --

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 "The one who understands Heaven and understands the ways of humanity has perfection," writes Chuang Tzu. "Understanding Heaven, he grows with Heaven. Understanding humanity, he takes the understanding of what he understands to help him understand what he doesn't understand, and so fulfills the years Heaven decrees without being cut off in his prime. This is known as perfection."

"However, it is true that there are problems," he notes. "Real understanding has to have something to which it is applied and this something is itself uncertain. So how can I know that what I term Heaven is not human? Or that what I call human is not Heaven?"

"Only the true man has understanding," Chuang Tzu points out. "So what is a true man? The true man of old did not fight against poverty, nor did he look for fulfillment through riches - for he had no grand plans. Therefore, he never regretted any failure, nor exulted in success. He could scale the heights without fear, plumb the depths without difficulties, and go through fire without pain. This is the kind of person whose understanding has lifted him up towards the Tao."
-- Chuang Tzu, "The Tao of Nature, p. 27 --

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