Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thomas Merton: On the 'Tao'

"The Tao, in the broadest sense, is the way the universe functions, characterized by spontaneous creativity or by regular alterations of phenomena (such as day followed by night) that proceed without effort."

"Effortless action can be seen in the conduct of water, which unresistingly accepts the lowest level yet wears away the hardest substance. Human beings following the Tao, must abjure all struggle  and learn the value of wu-wei (non-striving) through which one approaches a stage of creative possibility sometimes symbolized as a child or infant in Taoist writings."

"In a rough sense, what sin is to the Christian, cosmic disorder (or, at the local level, personal anxiety) is to the Taoist. The ideal state of being, fully attainable only by mystical contemplation, is simplicity and freedom from desire, comparable to that of "an uncarved block.""
[Thomas Merton ,"Thoughts On The East," p. 10.]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Know the masculine,
Keep to the feminine,
And be the Brook of the World.
To be the Brook of the World is
To move constantly in the path of Virtue
Without swerving from it,
And to return again to infancy.

Know the white,
Keep to the black,
And be the Pattern of the World.
To be the Pattern of the World is
to move constantly in the path of Virtue
Without erring in a single step,
And to return again to the Infinite.

Know the glorious,
Keep to the lowly,
And be the Fountain of the World.
To be the Fountain of the World is
To live the abundant life of Virtue,
And to return again to Primal Simplicity.

When Primal Simplicity diversifies,
It becomes useful vessels.
Hence the greatest cutting
Does not sever.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The highest form of goodness is like water.
Water knows how to benefit all things without striving with them.
It stays in places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it comes from the Tao.

In choosing your dwelling, know how to keep to the ground.
In cultivating your mind, know how to dive in the hidden depths.
In dealing with others, know how to be gentle and kind.
In speaking, know how to keep your words.
In governing, know how to maintain order.
In transacting business, know how to be efficient.
In making a move, know how to choose the right moment.

If you do not strive with others,
You will be free from blame.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
[Lao Tzu, "Tao Teh Ching," Nos. XXVIII and VIII.]

No comments:

Post a Comment