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ren/humanity仁 refers to conformism


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#17 dawei

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:39 AM

I did a search for 仁 in "Book of Changes" but it only showed up in Confucian commentary.

 

like this:

 

http://ctext.org/boo...anges?searchu=仁



#18 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:54 AM

I did see those, but those are also Confucian commentaries on the lines, no?



#19 dawei

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 11:37 AM

Some are commentaries... part of the Ten Wings:

 

http://www.iching123...rief_a_text.htm



#20 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 12:01 PM

So I don't think that says so much of what ren meant to Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu then.



#21 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 12:35 PM

Some more thoughts on benevolence from the Chuang Tzu (Watson trans.).  Note the quotation from Dao De Jing chapter four in section II:

 

from Section II

 

"The Great Way is not named; Great Discriminations are not spoken; Great Benevolence is not benevolent; Great Modesty is not humble; Great Daring does not attack. If the Way is made clear, it is not the Way. If discriminations are put into words, they do not suffice. If benevolence has a constant object, it cannot be universal.17 If modesty is fastidious, it cannot be trusted. If daring attacks, it cannot be complete. These five are all round, but they tend toward the square.18

Therefore understanding that rests in what it does not understand is the finest. Who can understand discriminations that are not spoken, the Way that is not a way? If he can understand this, he may be called the Reservoir of Heaven. Pour into it and it is never full, dip from it and it never runs dry, and yet it does not know where the supply, comes from. This is called the Shaded  [concealed] Light.19

[....]

Men claim that Mao-ch'iang and Lady Li were beautiful, but if fish saw them they would dive to the bottom of the stream, if birds saw them they would fly away, and if deer saw them they would break into a run. Of these four, which knows how to fix the standard of beauty for the world? The way I see it, the rules of benevolence and righteousness and the paths of right and wrong are all hopelessly snarled and jumbled. How could I know anything about such discriminations?"

 

 

from Section VI (Legge trans.)

 

The True men of old knew nothing of the love of life or of the hatred of death. Entrance into life occasioned them no joy; the exit from it awakened no resistance. Composedly they went and came. They did not forget what their beginning bad been, and they did not inquire into what their end would be. They accepted (their life) and rejoiced in it; they forgot (all fear of death), and returned (to their state before life). Thus there was in them what is called the want of any mind to resist the Dao [ie., they had to no mind which resists the Dao], and of all attempts by means of the Human to assist the Heavenly. Such were they who are called the True men. Being such, their minds were free from all thought; their demeanour was still and unmoved; their foreheads beamed simplicity. Whatever coldness came from them was like that of autumn; whatever warmth came from them was like that of spring. Their joy and anger assimilated to what we see in the four seasons. They did in regard to all things what was suitable, and no one could know how far their action would go. Therefore the sagely man might, in his conduct of war, destroy a state without losing the hearts of the people; his benefits and favours might extend to a myriad generations without his being a lover of men. Hence he who tries to share his joys with others is not a sagely man; he who manifests affection [有親 you qin] is not benevolent; he who observes times and seasons (to regulate his conduct) is not a man of wisdom; he to whom profit and injury are not the same is not a superior man; he who acts for the sake of the name of doing so, and loses his (proper) self is not the (right) scholar; and he who throws away his person in a way which is not the true (way) cannot command the service of others.

 

 

from Section VIII (Legge trans.)

 

A duck's legs, for instance, are short, but if we try to lengthen them, it occasions pain; and a crane's legs are long, but if we try to cut off a portion of them, it produces grief. Where a part is by nature long, we are not to amputate, or where it is by nature short, we are not to lengthen it. There is no occasion to try to remove any trouble that it may cause. The presumption is that benevolence and righteousness are not constituents of humanity; for to how much anxiety does the exercise of them give rise! Moreover when another toe is united to the great toe, to divide the membrane makes you weep; and when there is an extra finger, to gnaw it off makes you cry out. In the one case there is a member too many, and in the other a member too few; but the anxiety and pain which they cause is the same. The benevolent men of the present age look at the evils of the world, as with eyes full of dust, and are filled with sorrow by them, while those who are not benevolent, having violently altered the character of their proper nature, greedily pursue after riches and honours. The presumption therefore is that benevolence and righteousness are contrary to the nature of man - how full of trouble and contention has the world been ever since the three dynasties began!

[....]

Why then should benevolence and righteousness be employed as connecting (links), or as glue and varnish, strings and bands, and the enjoyment arising from the Dao and its characteristics be attributed to them? It is a deception practised upon the world. Where the deception is small, there will be a change in the direction (of the objects pursued); where it is great, there will be a change of the nature itself. How do I know that it is so? Since he of the line of Yu called in his benevolence and righteousness to distort and vex the world, the world has not ceased to hurry about to execute their commands - has not this been by means of benevolence and righteousness to change (men's views) of their nature?

[....]

When I pronounce men to be good, I am not speaking of their benevolence and righteousness; the goodness is simply (their possession of) the qualities (of the Dao). When I pronounce them to be good, I am not speaking of what are called benevolence and righteousness; but simply of their allowing the nature with which they are endowed to have its free course. When I pronounce men to be quick of hearing, I do not mean that they hearken to anything else, but that they hearken to themselves; when I pronounce them to be clear of vision, I do not mean that they look to anything else, but that they look to themselves. Now those who do not see themselves but see other things, who do not get possession of themselves but get possession of other things, get possession of what belongs to others, and not of what is their own; and they reach forth to what attracts others, and not to that in themselves which should attract them. But thus reaching forth to what attracts others and not to what should attract them in themselves, be they like the robber Zhi or like Bo-yi, they equally err in the way of excess or of perversity. What I am ashamed of is erring in the characteristics of the Dao, and therefore, in the higher sphere, I do not dare to insist on the practice of benevolence and righteousness, and, in the lower, I do not dare to allow myself either in the exercise of excess or perversity.



#22 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 12:50 PM

Now, having read this (post #16 above) does the meaning of chapter five of the Dao De Jing not seem to be more connected from beginning to end?

 


5
1. Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;
2. They regard the the thousand things as straw dogs.
3. The Sage is not benevolent;
4. He regards the common people as straw dogs.

5. The space between Heaven and Earth—is it not like a bellow?
6. It is empty and yet not depleted;
7. Move it and more [always] comes out.
8. Much learning means frequent exhaustions.
9. That's not so good as holding on to the mean.

 

I would suggest here that "straw dogs" here could refer to their simplicity, or otherwise that they are formed and shaped by these ideas of benevolence and righteousness just like we are formed and shaped by the Heavens.

 

Rather than have all of these ideas of benevolence, Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu suggest freeing the mind of thoughts and strictures.  Know your nature and thus not be so easily molded and twisted. Your goodness is in your true nature, not in conforming yourself to the teachings of others.

 

"Thus there was in them what is called the want of any mind to resist the Dao [ie., they had to no mind which resists the Dao], and of all attempts by means of the Human to assist the Heavenly. Such were they who are called the True men. Being such, their minds were free from all thought; their demeanour was still and unmoved; their foreheads beamed simplicity." - Chuang Tzu

 

Now, remember that thought was said to be located in the heart.  Now read again the second part of chapter five:

 

5. The space between Heaven and Earth—is it not like a bellow?
6. It is empty and yet not depleted;
7. Move it and more [always] comes out.
8. Much learning means frequent exhaustions.
9. That's not so good as holding on to the mean.

 

We can be without all of these strictures and thoughts, rules of benevolence and righteousness, yet our heart-minds (between the head/Heaven and stomach/earth) will still be inexhaustibly full - even more so.

 

"When I pronounce men to be good, I am not speaking of their benevolence and righteousness; the goodness is simply (their possession of) the qualities (of the Dao). When I pronounce them to be good, I am not speaking of what are called benevolence and righteousness; but simply of their allowing the nature with which they are endowed to have its free course." - Chuang Tzu

 

 

I think that all of this shows, at least, what Chuang Tzu understood chapter five to mean.


Edited by Harmonious Emptiness, 04 November 2014 - 12:54 PM.

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#23 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 01:33 PM

it is important to note that  words like

仁 ren: morality/correct action

and

慈 ci: fraternity/kindness

 

are not bad words in Daoism - in fact, they are frequently used in positive ways.

phrases like

天地不仁,以萬物為芻狗

heaven and earth are not moral, because all things are like grass dogs (or however you want to translate it),

 

and

六親不和,有孝慈

six family members out of harmony is when fraternal love occurs (or however you want to translate it... seems like i like to say that recently lol)

 

although looking negatively on false compassion and love (also 仁's modern meaning is basically compassion),

it does not mean that compassion and love are bad things,

have a look at

絕仁棄義,民復孝慈

discard morality and abandon observances, the people will return to fraternal love

 

these things occur in chapters 18 and 19 - so you can see how the characters 孝慈 change so much in colour in a short time.

benevolance and love are huge concepts in Daoism - but much like Jesus said in the sermon on the mount and Buddha said to his disciples in the diamond sutra - if you don't do it honestly and from your heart, in the end it has no positive effect.

I think that is what Laozi and Zhuangzi were getting at.


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#24 ChiDragon

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 02:44 PM

it is important to note that  words like

仁 ren: morality/correct action


Here are some good definitions for 仁(ren) that one should be referred to.
benevolence / humanity / mercy / kindness / charity / kernel


This is a very good and reliable source to look up the definitions of the characters.
http://www.chineseet...haracterInput=仁


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#25 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 06:26 PM

it is important to note that  words like
仁 ren: morality/correct action
and
慈 ci: fraternity/kindness
 
are not bad words in Daoism - in fact, they are frequently used in positive ways.
phrases like
天地不仁,以萬物為芻狗
heaven and earth are not moral, because all things are like grass dogs (or however you want to translate it),
 
and
六親不和,有孝慈
six family members out of harmony is when fraternal love occurs (or however you want to translate it... seems like i like to say that recently lol)
 
although looking negatively on false compassion and love (also 仁's modern meaning is basically compassion),
it does not mean that compassion and love are bad things,
have a look at
絕仁棄義,民復孝慈
discard morality and abandon observances, the people will return to fraternal love
 
these things occur in chapters 18 and 19 - so you can see how the characters 孝慈 change so much in colour in a short time.
benevolance and love are huge concepts in Daoism - but much like Jesus said in the sermon on the mount and Buddha said to his disciples in the diamond sutra - if you don't do it honestly and from your heart, in the end it has no positive effect.
I think that is what Laozi and Zhuangzi were getting at.

 
All good points, but this is more about Harmonious Emptiness's problems with Chapter 5 of the Dao De Jing than anything else.  He's been trying to come up with a solution for sometime as these threads indicate:
 
Straw Dogs One
 
and here:
 
Straw Dogs Two

 

Where he explored a different avenue then attempting to demonize Ren and blame all the ills of Chinese society on Confucius.  All of which is completely unnecessary because understanding Chapter Five and why neither Heaven and Earth nor the Sage can be Ren is not that hard if you pay attention to the structure of the passages and the teachings of a few other chapters.  I wrote out a short proof of it yesterday and was going to post it today, but I decided to post my warning about the dangers of quoting Zhuangzi to condemn Confucius first.  If anyone is interested they can find it here:

 

Confucius was Sage: Testimony of a Hostile Witness

 

Since, including the above, I have done a lot of posting here today, the proof will have to wait until tomorrow.  Among its highlights will be that using Daoist definitions, both the Ten Thousand Things and The People would be worse off if Heaven and Earth and the Sage were Ren.  Not as bad as they could be, but not as good off.  That is of course using Daoist terminology which is not exactly the same as Confucian terminology, though comparisons can be made once the terms are looked at a little closer.  So until tomorrow, or thereabouts, if tomorrow proves to be as busy a day as it looks like.


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aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3

#26 Marblehead

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 03:33 AM

1. Heaven and Earth are not benevolent;

2. They regard the the thousand things as straw dogs.
3. The Sage is not benevolent;
4. He regards the common people as straw dogs.

Well, if you changed the word "benevolent" to "partial" your problems would be solved, wouldn't they?


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#27 ChiDragon

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 07:52 AM

Well, if you changed the word "benevolent" to "partial" your problems would be solved, wouldn't they?


Yes, I think so.

1. Heaven and Earth are not benevolent partial;
3. The Sage is not benevolent partial;

However, I still would like to translate them as:
1. Nature has no mercy;
3. The Sage has no mercy;


Edited by ChiDragon, 06 November 2014 - 08:43 AM.

靜觀其變 以靜制動
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#28 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 09:18 AM

Well, if you changed the word "benevolent" to "partial" your problems would be solved, wouldn't they?

 
Yes, I think so.

1. Heaven and Earth are not benevolent partial;
3. The Sage is not benevolent partial;

However, I still would like to translate them as:
1. Nature has no mercy;
3. The Sage has no mercy;


I would have to disagree with both of you because none of this addresses the fundamental issues of the text, it merely shifts around words without adding understanding.

Nor would putting in Harmonious Emptiness' "conformism" help either:

"Heaven and Earth are not conformists"

"The Sage is not a conformist either."

While the idea of a non-conformist Sage may sound appealing, it is ridiculous applied to Heaven and Earth.

Marblehead as a materialist, would have to say that Heaven and Earth "can't care", but he is unwilling to say that about the Sage, so he settles for "impartial".

 

Unfortunately ChiDragon's preferred translation leaves the text open to the charge that the four lines are a Legalist interpolation, a criticism that actually has some historical possibility, but would not satisfy those who want to see the Dao De Jing as a coherent text.

My solution solves the problem, but today is shaping up to be a busy day and my posting may have to wait until tomorrow (about 9:00 am where I live).

 

 

 

Edit: Corrected Spelling of ChiDragon's name, added "help either" after "conformism" above.


Edited by Zhongyongdaoist, 06 November 2014 - 09:48 AM.

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Donald
aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3

#29 Marblehead

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 03:13 PM

However, I still would like to translate them as:
1. Nature has no mercy;
3. The Sage has no mercy;

Oh, I just don't like "no mercy" very much at all.

 

I think it would be hard to have compassion without mercy.

 

Granted, we could say that Tao has no mercy, but the Sage?


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#30 Marblehead

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 03:16 PM


Marblehead as a materialist, would have to say that Heaven and Earth "can't care", but he is unwilling to say that about the Sage, so he settles for "impartial".

Funny.  I just said about the same thing replying to ChiDragon's post before reading this one of yours.


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#31 ChiDragon

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:39 PM

Oh, I just don't like "no mercy" very much at all.

 

I think it would be hard to have compassion without mercy.

 

Granted, we could say that Tao has no mercy, but the Sage?


The interpretation for this classic throughout the TTC:
A sage was not meant to be a "sage" per se. A sage was classified as a gentman, scholar, or a ruler of a country. Thus it is someone has to make an impartial judgement. I thought I had made it very clear during the discussion in Chapter 5 that "no mercy" has an implication of impatiality.


 


Edited by ChiDragon, 06 November 2014 - 11:49 PM.

靜觀其變 以靜制動
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Handle adversity with calmness

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#32 Marblehead

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:47 AM


The interpretation for this classic throughout the TTC:
A sage was not meant to be a "sage" per se. A sage was classified as a gentman, scholar, or a ruler of a country. Thus it is someone has to make an impartial judgement. I thought I had made it very clear during the discussion in Chapter 5 that "no mercy" has an implication of impatiality.


 

Say what you want - I still don't like the word.


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