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ren/humanity仁 refers to conformism


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#33 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 10:50 AM

I think this:

 

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


summarizes the fundamental issues admirably. It's about people liking and not liking words and what they imply. That's understandable, without words we have nothing, but those words are in a context and that context helps to define them. Part of the context is the structure of the passages and also how they fit into the overall structure of the DDJ and its doctrines and style. When I first read the Tao Te Ching in D. C. Lau's translation be when I was sixteen in the mid sixties, I was not particularly troubled by chapter five, I can't remember how Lau translated it, and I don't feel like digging out that copy, but one reason I was not troubled was because I looked at its structure and even then saw part of the way out of the dilemma in this very aspect of structure, this of course is part of my proof, which I will get to today. Really I will, but first I want to summarize a little more what is at issue.

Two things bother people about this passage, first the implication that the sage is not a "sugar daddy" and second, well those straw dogs. If only Laozi had said "The sage is a sugar daddy, he treats the people like precious puppies", everyone would love this passage, well maybe not everyone. The thought makes me nauseous. I hate cute, but a lot of people would have just loved it and thought Laozi a fine fellow.

 

Being told, as some do, that really “Straw Dogs” are, like Zhuangzi says, part of a religious rite:

 

天運:
孔子西遊於衛。顏淵問師金,曰:「以夫子之行為奚如?」師金曰:「惜乎,而夫子其窮哉!」顏淵曰: 「何也?」師金曰:「夫芻狗之未陳也,盛以篋衍,巾以文繡,尸祝齊戒以將之;及其已陳也,行者踐其首脊,蘇者取而爨之而已。將復取而盛以篋衍,巾以文繡, 遊居寢臥其下,彼不得夢,必且數眯焉。今而夫子,亦取先王已陳芻狗,聚弟子游居寢臥其下。故伐樹於宋,削跡於衛,窮於商、周,是非其夢邪?圍於陳、蔡之 間,七日不火食,死生相與鄰,是非其眯邪?

When Confucius was travelling in the west in Wei, Yan Yuan asked the music-master Jin, saying, 'How is it, do you think, with the course of the Master?' The music-master replied, 'Alas! it is all over with your Master!' 'How so?' asked Yan Yuan; and the other said, 'Before the grass-dogs are set forth (at the sacrifice), they are deposited in a box or basket, and wrapt up with elegantly embroidered cloths, while the representative of the dead and the officer of prayer prepare themselves by fasting to present them. After they have been set forth, however, passers-by trample on their heads and backs, and the grass-cutters take and burn them in cooking. That is all they are good for. If one should again take them, replace them in the box or basket, wrap them up with embroidered cloths, and then in rambling, or abiding at the spot, should go to sleep under them, if he do not get (evil) dreams, he is sure to be often troubled with the nightmare. Now here is your Master in the same way taking the grass-dogs, presented by the ancient kings, and leading his disciples to wander or abide and sleep under them. Owing to this, the tree (beneath which they were practising ceremonies) in Sung was cut down; he was obliged to leave Wei; he was reduced to extremities in Shang and Zhou: were not those experiences like having (evil) dreams? He was kept in a state of siege between Chen and Cai, so that for seven days he had no cooked food to eat, and was in a situation between life and death: were not those experiences like the nightmare? (Zhuangzi, Outer Chapters: The Revolution of Heaven, Four at the Chinese Text Project, Emphasis mine, ZYD)


doesn't help much either, because it still has the people being “sacrificed” for the sages purposes.

As I collected and read many different translations of the Dao De Jing in the late 60s and early 70s, Chapter 5 become something of a touchstone for evaluating these translations. I would always turn to it and a couple of others to see how that author handled it and I noticed that it was more troublesome to some translators than others. The more a person was involved in “Taoism” the more they hemmed and hawed about it, but an “impartial” scholar like Waley could simple say that “the sage is ruthless” and be done with it.

 

As I went along I began to wonder if a look at the original Chinese would be helpful, something that was not easy in the mid 70s. When I finally could look at the original Chinese it didn't help at all and at best showed that a simple literal translation was misleading and a complex one full of the ideological commitments of the author, but none of these people paid much attention to the structure of the passages, nor asked the question, “if neither “Heaven and Earth” nor the Sage are Ren, what are they?” and further is that question answered in a way that expands understanding, in the text of the Dao De Jing? The only useful thing that the Chinese text did was show that the text involved a “not” statement rather than an identity statement, actually for proof purposes, more useful then it sounds.

Having brought up Waley I want to examine his commentary Chapter 5 and his comments on Ren in particular, which are very interesting and I would like to look closer at that commentary because it brings up important aspects of what I said earlier about my “proof”:

 

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. (Emphasis added, ZYD)


especially about Confucian terminology, but this post has already been long enough and so that discussion will have to wait. Since I have kept promising it for so long, my next post will be my “proof”, because of all that has been said from its present form needs slight revision in exposition, in particular I have wondered how formal to make it, but probably for most people keeping it less formal will be better than putting it in a formal logical framework.

 

So, sometime in the next eight to twelve hours, its proof time, right now I have to go out and do "stuff".

 


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

#34 ChiDragon

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:36 AM

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


Well, the thing is not what one likes it or not. If you said you do understand what "Wu Wei" meant, then you would not be so bias with your own thoughts.


天地不仁

Direct translation: Nature has no mercy
Interpretation: Nature is impartial

This is the way as you had indicated and understood as "impartial". Your mind just cant get over that. I can understand that from an English speaker because everything has to be exact and precise in English. Other than that, anything will not be acceptable if the words were written metaphorically.

Sorry, MH....
For the interpretation of the Chinese classics, one need to know some basic rules in order to proceed for a better comprehension. 


Edited by ChiDragon, 07 November 2014 - 11:38 AM.

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#35 Marblehead

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 12:21 PM

Sorry, MH....
For the interpretation of the Chinese classics, one need to know some basic rules in order to proceed for a better comprehension. 

Well, that's okay.  I am partial and never have stated otherwise.  I like "impartial" but don't like "mercy".  That's just the way life is, Chinese or American. :P


Edited by Marblehead, 07 November 2014 - 12:22 PM.

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#36 dust

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 01:01 PM

天地不仁

Direct translation: Nature has no mercy

 

Well, now you're just making things up...


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#37 ChiDragon

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 01:11 PM

Well, now you're just making things up...


Only if I don't read Chinese.


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#38 Marblehead

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:12 PM

I've said enough already.

 

Shall we continue with the discussion of "ren"?


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#39 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 08:03 PM

Ok, the day was busier than I thought and this is not quite as refined and elegant as I might wish, but here it is:

 

Proof that given Daoist terminology and basic cosmology, neither Heaven and Earth or the Sage could be ren, and they both the Ten Thousand Things and humanity would be worse off if they were.

 

As I have said the trouble is in the first four lines and in particular the second and fourth lines. just a quick fairly literal translation:

 

Heaven, Earth, not benevolent

take the 10,000 things like straw dogs

Sage, not benevolent

takes the people like straw dogs.

 

These four lines set up a formal analogy between the subjects and objects of the first and second lines and the third and four lines. The sage is related to heaven and earth, both are characterized as not benevolent and treating certain things in certain ways. An similarity between Heaven and Earth and the sage is strongly implied. This can be supported by citations from other Chapters such Chapter 2 in which the sage is given attributes that are like those attributed to the “Great Tao” in Chapter 34, thus:


Chapter 2:

 

All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is. So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other; that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other; that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; that the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another. Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his instructions without the use of speech. All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself; they grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership; they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).
The work is done, but how no one can see;

'Tis this that makes the power not cease to be. (Dao De Jing, Chapter 2, at the Chinese Text Project, Emphasis mine, ZYD)

 

and Chapter 34:

 

All-pervading is the Great Dao! It may be found on the left hand and on the right.
All things depend on it for their production, which it gives to them, not one refusing obedience to it. When its work is accomplished, it does not claim the name of having done it. It clothes all things as with a garment, and makes no assumption of being their lord; - it may be named in the smallest things. All things return (to their root and disappear), and do not know that it is it which presides over their doing so; - it may be named in the greatest things.

Hence the sage is able (in the same way) to accomplish his great achievements. It is through his not making himself great that he can accomplish them. (Dao De Jing, Chapter 34, at the Chinese Text Project, Emphasis mine, ZYD)

 

The similarity of Heaven and Earth and the Sage implied by the structure of Chapter 5 can also be supported by further citations from the text. So let's look at some other chapters and see what else they tell us about Heaven and Earth and the Sage and see why not only are they not benevolent it would be bad if they were, to start let's take a quick look at Chapter 18:

 

When the Great Dao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed, benevolence and righteousness came into vogue. (Then) appeared wisdom and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy. When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships, filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell into disorder, loyal ministers. (Dao De Jing, Chapter 18, at the Chinese Text Project, Emphasis mine, ZYD)

 

That this is a process of degeneration in which each succeeding term is worse then its predecessor can be represented in the following way allowing this “>” to represent “better than”:

 

Great Way>benevolence and righteousness>wisdom and shrewdness>great hypocrisy.

 

Apparently this degeneration can only happen among people, but if it could affect Heaven and Earth, the Ten thousand things would also suffer.  For the purposes of this discussion I am going to invoke Chapter 38 in which benevolence and righteousness are separated and dealt with in two different lines and amend to above to:

 

Great Way>benevolence>righteousness>wisdom and shrewdness>great hypocrisy.

 

And it may even be said that “wisdom” is better than “shredness”, but I don't wish to push further comparisons that far.

 

All we need is the first section, but the rest kind of adds emphasis. It can be assumed that Heaven and Earth have not degenerated in this way, but still embody the Dao. Only humanity can manifest benevolence and righteousness, so when the Dao was lost among humans, benevolence and righteousness appeared, and after that even worse things happened, this means that benevolence and righteousness are a degeneration from Dao.

 

So it can be assumed that Heaven and Earth embody the Dao and that the sage having returned to the source also embodies the Dao. If this is granted then neither can, or should either be benevolent because they are better then benevolent and since benevolence is a degeneration from the Dao, it would be worse both for the the 10,000 things and for the people, if Heaven and Earth or the sage was benevolent. Thus no matter how odd the image of treating things like straw dogs may strike us, it is better than a benevolent Heaven and Earth or sage treating things or people like precious puppies.

 

On a purely speculative note, I suspect that straw dogs was used for its humor and shock value and should be seen as part of the the Dao De Jing's tendency to employ paradox and the inversion of “common sense”.

 

In regard to rulership we can compare this to Chapter 17 where:

 

In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that there were (their rulers). In the next age they loved them and praised them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them. Thus it was that when faith (in the Dao) was deficient (in the rulers) a want of faith in them ensued (in the people). How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by their reticence) the importance which they set upon their words! Their work was done and their undertakings were successful, while the people all said, 'We are as we are, of ourselves! (Dao De Jing, Chapter 17, at the Chinese Text Project)

 

Where following our early convention:

 

Hidden Ruler>loved and praised ruler>feared ruler>despised ruler

 

and create the following equivalences:

 

Dao = Hidden Ruler

Benevlolence = loved and praised ruler

Righteousness = feared ruler

etc.

 

I won't pursue exact details because of differences between Chapter 18's and Chapter 38's description of the degeneration process.

 

The Dao and the sage are both like the first Hidden Ruler and the benevolent like the second whom the people loved and praised. The one they feared may have been the righteous ruler and on down the line.

 

So you see, call them what you want straw dogs or whatever, both people and the 10,000 things are better off not being in a benevolent world, or with a benevolent ruler, as long as both truly embody Dao.  It should be noted that they could be worse off then then being ruled by a benevolent ruler, as rulership styles go, it is not the bottom of the heap.

 

Q.E.D.

 

I will remind everyone that this proof assumes Daoist terminology, Confucian terminology is different and Ren in particular does not have a meaning exactly like Daoist.  As I said in an earlier post I hope to examine that later.


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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

#40 Marblehead

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 03:02 AM

Excellent argument and a valid one, I might add.

 

But this only gives support for my not accepting "benevolent" in Lines 1 & 3 but feel more comfortable with "impartial".  (Of course, I have no idea if "impartial" is an acceptable translation of the Chinese character.)

 

(And, afterall, being impartial is one of the positive traits of a good leader.)


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#41 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 10:20 AM

Excellent argument and a valid one, I might add.

 

But this only gives support for my not accepting "benevolent" in Lines 1 & 3 but feel more comfortable with "impartial".  (Of course, I have no idea if "impartial" is an acceptable translation of the Chinese character.)

 

(And, afterall, being impartial is one of the positive traits of a good leader.) (Emphasis mine, ZYD)

 

Excellent argument and a valid one: Gosh, thanks for the Marblehead seal of approval.

 

But this only gives support for my not accepting "benevolent": I wouldn't put benevolent there either, at least not without a discussion like that which I have given.  My whole point in putting these passages within the wider context of the Dao De Jing is to point out that we really don't even need to worry about what ren may have meant beyond the fact that it is at best, looking at Chapter 18, only second best and that with absolute confidence, no matter what "ren" may have meant to the author, translate lines one and three as:

 

Heaven and Earth are not second best

 

The Sage is not second best either

 

Why are they not second best? Because, at least in the cosmology of the Dao De Jing, they "embody" Dao, which is the best and so no matter what may have been meant by the phrase literally translated as, "uses the people like straw dogs", it really implied that:

 

The Sage is the best ruler,

He/she uses the people to their best end

 

This is how I understood the text when I was seventeen and which is why I never worried about it, and yes, even at seventeen I was very good at seeing the formal structure and logical implications of a text.

 

Now, the most important aspect of this is that following Chapter 17, the "Hidden Ruler" accomplishes this "best end" through "wordless teaching" and "non-action", whatever these may mean in practice, in such a way that all the people say, "we did this of our own accord".

 

This is why I loved the "Tao Te Ching" as a kid and why I still respect the Dao De Jing as an adult, though as an adult I have far more questions about textual history, which is why I mentioned "Legalist interpolations", and the real practicality of its teachings then I did then.  This is also why I emphasized Daoist terminology and cosmology in contradistinction to Confucian, because they do have differences and I believe that most "Taoists" have no real idea of what these differences are and how they provide what I consider to be a generally more useful worldview, one that can be reconciled with important aspects of Daoism, and is certainly not merely some form of "social control" that stifles individuality, but a system of self-realization that centers around the concept of Ren as it is understood in Confucian terms and not Daoist terms, and why I have taken such extreme exception to the proposed notion that Ren means conformism.

 

This is all I have time for now, but when I have time I will post here why benevolent is not a bad meaning for ren as "second best", but not the fullest meaning that a Confucian would give it.


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

#42 dawei

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 11:48 AM

Heaven and Earth are not second best

 

The Sage is not second best either

 

Why are they not second best? Because, at least in the cosmology of the Dao De Jing, they "embody" Dao, which is the best and so no matter what may have been meant by the phrase literally translated as, "uses the people like straw dogs", it really implied that:

 

The Sage is the best ruler,

He/she uses the people to their best end

 

I like your idea about this as it reminds me of an easy-out I once made by not translating REN... since any meaning we want to apply to it, in the end:

 

Heaven and Earth are not REN

The Sage is not REN


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#43 Marblehead

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 01:26 PM

This is all I have time for now,

But still a nice post.

 

I will hold my tongue for now as I feel I am beginning to beat a dead horse.


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#44 ChiDragon

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Posted 08 November 2014 - 02:23 PM


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


Okay! We have the translated definitions for 仁(ren). But one needs to know where does has the actual meaning by application. Let's look at each definition.

The character must be compounded with another character or put in a phrase to get its contextual meaning.
1. benevolence: normally it was related with governing a country like:
仁治: rule with benevolence

2. humanity: 仁愛; 仁慈; 人道
3. mercy: 仁慈
4. kindness: 善良; 仁慈 
5. charity: 慈善
6. kernel: 杏仁(almond)

In the case of 不仁, "no mercy" is the best fit for it.

Unfortunately, the ancient Chinese classic has no grammar like the modern language. If one does a direct translation, then it would read like this and makes no sense.
天地不仁: heaven earth no mercy

In order to a better grammar, thus one would rephrase it as:
"Heaven and earth have no mercy."

Since heaven and earth maybe considered to be Nature, one can even reduce to say:
"Nature has no mercy"


Unfortunately, interpreting classic is like a guessing game. One has to phrase it to make the most sense out of it by trail and error.

1. Heaven and earth have no benevolence
2. Heaven and earth have no humanity
3. Heaven and earth have no mercy
4. Heaven and earth have no kindness
5. Heaven and earth have no charity
6. Heaven and earth have no kernel

It seems to me that line 3 makes most sense.

@MH....
"I will hold my tongue for now as I feel I am beginning to beat a dead horse."
Yes, we are indeed.


Edited by ChiDragon, 08 November 2014 - 02:39 PM.

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#45 dust

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 02:05 AM

Are we sure that he wasn't saying, "Heaven and Earth are not almonds" ?

 

 

 

Okay CD, you're not "making things up". Sorry, that was harsh. But I do have a problem with "mercy" and its connotations.

 

To "have no mercy" is to be "merciless". This goes beyond a mere lack of interest:

 

ruthless, remorseless, pitiless, unforgiving, unsparing, implacable, inexorable, relentless, unremitting, inflexible, inhumane, inhuman, unsympathetic, unfeeling, intolerant, rigid, severe, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, stony-hearted, heartless, harsh, callous, cruel, brutal, barbarous, cutthroat

 

Nature can be seen, from a human (subjective!) perspective, to be all these things -- unfeeling, implacable and relentless, certainly -- but it's actually none of them. More objectively, it's just doing what it's doing, and has no thoughts one way or the other. It has no heart to begin with, and so cannot be heartless. It has no pity, and so cannot be pitiless.

 

I would suggest that, as 仁 is usually translated as "benevolent", we should simply be able to translate 不仁 as "not benevolent" and leave it at that. What one decides "benevolence" is in the context of the DDJ should be informed by their understanding of the rest of the text.


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#46 Marblehead

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 03:00 AM

 What one decides "benevolence" is in the context of the DDJ should be informed by their understanding of the rest of the text.

Yes, that is important.


I reserve the right to be wrong.

YIN-YANG.jpg I reserve the right to change my mind. Anarchy4.jpg



Peace & Contentment!


#47 ChiDragon

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    Interested in finding and demystify ancient ambiguous ineffable concepts in correlation with modern scientific knowledge.

Posted 09 November 2014 - 09:58 AM

Why did Lao Tze says:
天地不仁
聖人不仁

What he was actually saying:
Nature is 不仁(bu ren). Humans such as scholar and ruler should follow Nature as model. Why is Nature 不仁(bu ren)? It is because Nature is emotionless and couldn't careless. When lightning strikes and sets a fire where ever it wants. It doesn't pick a spot in its favor. Its fire burns down any house regardless who owns it; hence, it could be a saint or a criminal. Its flood will destroy anything in its path. Nature acts all things in a natural way without any favoritism. That's why Nature is bu ren. Does anyone think that Nature has any mercy for its actions....???

Humans do have emotions and prejudice sometimes. In the TTC, Lao Tze was suggesting that human should following Nature to do away with the prejudice and become impartial when justice has to be served.

 

Edited by ChiDragon, 09 November 2014 - 09:58 AM.

靜觀其變 以靜制動
Beware of the unexpected silently
Handle adversity with calmness

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#48 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 10:35 AM

If any chapter cries out for an unliteral translation it is this one.  Because of the difficulty of translating Ren, If I were translating the Dao De Jing, I would probably side with dawei here:
 

I like your idea about this as it reminds me of an easy-out I once made by not translating REN... since any meaning we want to apply to it, in the end:
 
Heaven and Earth are not REN
The Sage is not REN

 
and combine it with a commentary like Waley's here:
 

 Jén, which I have here translated ruth' and elsewhere 'gentle's kind', etc., is cognate to jén 'man'. I believe that jeAn did not originally mean mankind in general, but the members of one's own tribe or group, for whom one has feelings of 'nearness'. (The Shuo Wen defines fin as Win, 'akin', 'near'.)
 
Compare the origin of 'kind' from 'kin' and 'gentle' from gens Latin for a clan. Hence (because members of one's own ethnic group are better than members of other groups) 'good' in the most general sense. In the Book of Odes, j2n only occurs coupled with mei—'handsome and good', i.e. true member of the tribe both in appearance and character. In early Confucianism jén acquires a mystic sense, 'The Highest Good', and comes near to playing the part that the term Tao plays in Quietist terminology.
 
It is to be noted that in the earliest literature (e.g. Odes Nos. 249, 256, 257; Book of History, Hung Fan) jén, 'men of rank', 'men of the tribe' are contrasted with mm, 'subjects', 'the common people'. (Waley, Arthur, The Way and its Power,  p. 147-48 Emphasis mine, ZYD)

 
In early Confucianism jén acquires a mystic sense, 'The Highest Good': I would also expand on this section and point out that the reference to Highest Good, was from the Daxue, or Great Learning attributed to Zhengzi, one of Confucius direct disciples, and then I might point out this passage in Mencius, which is part of the reason why I believe that the most profound meaning of Ren in a Confucian sense is Human Potential:
 

7B:25
浩生不害問曰、樂正子、何人也。孟子曰、善人也、信人也。何謂善、何謂信。曰、可欲之謂善。有諸己之謂信。充實之爲美。充實而光輝之謂大。大而化之之謂聖。聖而不可知之之謂神。樂正子、二之中、四之下也。
 
Haoshang Buhai asked, “What kind of man is Yo Zheng Zi?”
Mencius said, “He is good, and he is trustworthy.”
“What do you mean by ‘good,’ and what do you mean by ‘trustworthy’?”
“A man that people like to be with is good.
A man who keeps this goodness in himself is trustworthy.
One who fully develops his goodness is called ‘excellent.’
One whose full development of goodness shines forth is called ‘great.’
One whose greatness transforms others is called a sage.
A sage who is unfathomable is called ‘transcendent.’ (神, Shén )
Yo Zheng fits in the first two levels, but is not up to the last four.”
(A. Charles Muller, Mencius 7B:25, I have kept Muller's translation in this case, emphasis mine and added (神, Shén ) for clarity, ZYD)
 
I posted this as part of a thread on Confucian Qigong that can be found here: Confucian Qi gong


Which comes back to why I had to disagree so much with the original proposition of this thread.  I hope to expand on this ideas and also address the reductionism inherent in some of the interpretations of Dao and Sage that are being put forward here.


  • dawei said thanks for this
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




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