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2 精誠 Jingcheng The sincerity of the essence


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#1 Taoist Texts

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 09:44 PM

2 精誠 Jingcheng The sincerity of the essence

 

精誠:     2

老子曰:天設日月,列星辰,張四時,調陰陽。日以暴之,夜以息之,風以乾之,雨露以濡之。其生物也,莫見其所養而萬物長;其殺物也,莫見其所喪而萬物亡。此謂神明。是故聖人象之,其起福也,不見其所以而福起;其除禍也,不見其所由而禍除。稽之不得,察之不虛,日計不足,歲計有餘,寂然無聲,一言而大動天下,是以天心動化者也。故精誠內形,氣動於天,景星見,黃龍下,鳳皇至,醴泉出,嘉穀生,河不滿溢,海不波涌;逆天暴物,即日月薄蝕,五星失行,四時相乘,晝明宵光,山崩川涸,冬雷夏霜。天之與人,有以相通,故國之沮亡也,天文變,世或亂,虹蜺見,萬物有以相連,精氣有以相薄,故神明之事,不可以智巧為也,不可以強力致也。故大人與天地合德,與日月合明,與鬼神合靈,與四時合信,懷天心,抱地氣,執沖含和,不下堂而行四海,變易習俗,民化遷善,若生諸己,能以神化者也。

 

Lao-zi said: the Heaven sets up sun and moon, puts in order the constellations, extends the 4 seasons, regulates the yin-yang. The day is for exposure, the night is for rest, wind is for dryness, rain is for wetness.

       Thus things are born, nobody sees how they are being nourished yet they grow’; thus things are killed, nobody sees how they are being ruined yet they perish. All of it is done by the bright spirits.

That is imitated by the sages, who raise blessings, nobody sees how yet blessings arise; who remove calamities, nobody sees how yet calamities are removed.

Not based on observation of the omens or signs, nor by calendrical calculation, but rather by preserving silence – one word (of the sages at the right moment) greatly moves the Under Heaven, because it comes out of Heavenly heart.

Because the sages have fine sincerity inside, their qi moves in sync with Heaven, auspicious stars are seen, yellow dragons descend, phoenixes arrive, sweet springs well up, bountiful crops grow, rivers do not overflow, sea-storms do not surge. If not so, then Heaven will harm things, the sun and moon will eclipse, 5 stars will lose way, four seasons will overlap, the daylight will shine at night, mountains will fall and rivers will dry, there will be thunder in winter and frost in summer.

For Heaven and people are in communication: (for, example) when an established kingdom is about to fall, there are Heavenly omens, the world comes to disorder, rainbows are seen, all things are in strife, the fine qi depletes – all of these are doings of bright spirits. These changes can not be caused by human cunning nor force.

Therefore (the only optimal way) is for the great men to join the De of Heaven and Earth, to join brightness of sun and moon, to join the numinosity of ghosts and spirits, to join the regularity of 4 seasons, to have the Heavenly heart in their bosoms, to embrace the earthly qi, to hold to the middle and to contain harmony, not exiting the palace travel between the 4 seas, to change the customs, to convert people onto the good ways, if so, when the allotted life span is over – they can become spirits themselves.


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#2 ChiDragon

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 01:59 AM

其生物也,莫見其所養而萬物長;
其殺物也,莫見其所喪而萬物亡。
此謂神明。

Thus things are born, nobody sees how they are being nourished yet they grow’;
thus things are killed, nobody sees how they are being ruined yet they perish.
All of it is done by the bright spirits.

You know, the meaning of the term 神明(shen ming) had been bothering me for sometime. Finally, I have discovered a best translation which is "the gods/deities."


The contextual translation of the phase, ...... 此謂神明, is
This is called the will of the god/deity.

I think this is a closest translation for 精誠:
精誠(Jingcheng): absolute sincerity


Ref: The images of 神明(shen ming)
 


Edited by ChiDragon, 05 December 2014 - 02:33 AM.

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#3 Taoist Texts

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 02:43 AM

 

You know, the meaning of the term 神明(shen ming) had been bothering me for sometime. Finally, I have discovered a best translation which is "the gods/deities."

 

 

Yes naturally  they are gods but of a special kind. The author is creating an ideological foundation for teh centralised empire that was formed under Han again after the initial but failed try of Qin.

 

So these bright gods are the imperial depersonalised and centralised gods as opposed to local tangible gods of grain altars, rivers and mountains of folk religion.


世人个个学长年,不悟年年在目前,我得宛丘平易法,只将食粥致神仙。


#4 dust

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:08 AM

I don't like this... <_<

 

I mean, scanning it I'm fairly sure I agree with your translation, but I don't care for what it's saying. Sounds nothing like the Laozi of the TTC, does it?


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#5 Taoist Texts

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:28 AM

It depends on what you believe LZ is: is it a unique stand-alone book, or part and parcel of the contemporary cultural multiverse. If its the former then nothing is provable and LZ could be about anything that pleases the gentle reader; if its the latter then LZ is a pragmatic theist as was everybody till maybe 100 years ago.


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#6 dust

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:41 AM

Almost everyone 'practiced' some kind of theism until fairly recently, but that doesn't mean that everyone believed in deities until fairly recently.

 

Whilst attending a Protestant school and singing hymns and saying the Lord's Prayer every day, I decided that God didn't exist when I was around 7 years old.. what was to stop anyone from having a similar realization even two or three thousand years ago? We know that a number of Greek and Roman philosophers were either atheist or agnostic.

 

Anyway, it surely does depend on one's perception of the LZ as a part of this 'cultural multiverse', but from our linguistic study of the LZ thus far, I'm pretty sure that LZ himself took an agnostic position in his writing.

 

Can you point me towards rectifying or aligning this passage with any passage of the TTC?


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#7 Taoist Texts

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 05:47 AM

  We know that a number of Greek and Roman philosophers were either atheist or agnostic.

 This is interesting, not to argue but who?


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#8 dust

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 06:48 AM

One can find a multitude of quotes on the internet and it becomes difficult to distinguish the real from the entirely false or misattributed. Here are just a couple of things that suggest, at the least, a great deal of scepticism regarding gods...

 

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Epicureanism

From Lactantius:

"But if this account is true, which the Stoics were in no manner able to see, that argument also of Epicurus is done away. God, he says, either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and is unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able. If He is willing and is unable, He is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God; if He is able and unwilling, He is envious, which is equally at variance with God; if He is neither willing nor able, He is both envious and feeble, and therefore not God; if He is both willing and able, which alone is suitable to God, from what source then are evils? Or why does He not remove them? I know that many of the philosophers, who defend providence, are accustomed to be disturbed by this argument, and are almost driven against their will to admit that God takes no interest in anything, which Epicurus especially aims at; but having examined the matter, we easily do away with this formidable argument. For God is able to do whatever He wishes, and there is no weakness or envy in God."

 

http://en.wikipedia....genes_of_Sinope

"When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man."
 
"Man is the measure of all things: of the things that are, that they are, of the things that are not, that they are not."
 

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#9 dawei

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 09:01 AM

Yes naturally  they are gods but of a special kind. The author is creating an ideological foundation for teh centralised empire that was formed under Han again after the initial but failed try of Qin.

 

So these bright gods are the imperial depersonalised and centralised gods as opposed to local tangible gods of grain altars, rivers and mountains of folk religion.

 

The translations I have seen of this word, of course in context, seem to be:

- the spiritual and numinous

- the spirits and the illuminated

- the spirits and Luminaries

 

One very interesting approach is they are opposites and thus serve as a Yin-Yang archtype...  There is good support for this but again... in context.


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#10 ChiDragon

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 10:05 AM

I don't like this... <_<

 

I mean, scanning it I'm fairly sure I agree with your translation, but I don't care for what it's saying. Sounds nothing like the Laozi of the TTC, does it?


Yes, you are right. The message was from a Taoist religious group rather than came from the TTC. As far as I know, LZ is an atheist. He only recognize Tao. Tao is not a deity/god but existed before any god had ever known by human.


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#11 Taoist Texts

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 10:27 AM

Can you point me towards rectifying or aligning this passage with any passage of the TTC?

Sure,

 

here is your god

 

道沖而用之或不盈。淵兮似萬物之宗。挫其銳,解其紛,和其光,同其塵。湛兮似或存。吾不知誰之子,象之先 4

 

here is your ghosts and spirits

 

昔之得一者:天得一以清;地得一以寧;神得一以靈;谷得一以盈;萬物得一以生;侯王得一以為天下貞。其致之,天無以清,將恐裂;地無以寧,將恐發;無以靈,將恐歇;谷無以盈,將恐竭;萬物無以生,將恐滅;侯王無以貴高將恐蹶。故貴以賤為本,高以下為基。是以侯王自稱孤、寡、不穀。此非以賤為本耶?非乎?故致數譽無譽。不欲琭琭如玉,珞珞如石。 39

 

 

治大國若烹小鮮。以道蒞天下,其鬼不神;非其鬼不神,其神不傷人;非其神不傷人,聖人亦不傷人。夫兩不相傷,故德交歸焉。60

 

 

and most importantly Dao. Its ironic that materialists / atheists embrace Dao so eagerly, becouse it is the most prominently anti-materialist concept one can find. Kinda like evolution but even more so.


世人个个学长年,不悟年年在目前,我得宛丘平易法,只将食粥致神仙。


#12 ChiDragon

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 11:05 AM

吾不知誰之子,象帝之先
I don't know who's son it is, but it seems to be existed before god.

This 帝 has the ancient meaning as "god" which is the human's god. Lao Zi was addressing the humans in their terms.


Edited by ChiDragon, 06 December 2014 - 07:42 AM.

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#13 dust

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 11:14 AM

Ah...back to this again.

 

 

ch4 doesn't necessarily refer to God/god.

帝,君也。 《尔雅》

And if it does, it's saying no more than "Dao came before gods", which could easily be the same as me saying "nature came before religion"

 

 

ch60... we covered 60, didn't we? I personally concluded that it's not confirming the existence of gods..and possibly even denying them...though I'm not sure where you came down on that in the end.

 

I'll have a look at ch39.

 

 

As far as "materialism".. there are a few discussions on TTB about this, I'm fairly sure: many agree that many ideas expressed in Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu philosophy can be paralleled with modern science very easily. Interestingly, Epicurus's philosophy can be paralleled with both of these -- the Cynics and Epicureans were very much similar to Laozi and Zhuangzi in spirit. And basically atheist.

 

And I don't know what you mean about evolution... how is evolution not purely material?


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#14 Taoist Texts

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 11:51 AM

As far as "materialism".. there are a few discussions on TTB about this, I'm fairly sure: many agree that many ideas expressed in Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu philosophy can be paralleled with modern science very easily. 

That is very likely given that modern science is a religion. ;) But that's beside the point. The point is LZ's main subject - the Dao is easily understandable from the mystical POV. What is it from the materialist POV?

 

 

 

And I don't know what you mean about evolution... how is evolution not purely material?

 

i recommend this article, very witty.

 

 

 I wanted to see how serious proponents of evolutionary biology would respond to awkward questions.

It was like giving a bobcat a prostate exam. I got everything but answers. They told me I was a crank, implied over and over that I was a Creationist, said that I was an enemy of science (someone who asks for evidence is an enemy of science). They said that I was trying to pull down modern biology (if you ask questions about an aspect of biology, you want to pull down biology). They told me I didn’t know anything (that’s why I was asking questions), and that I was a mere journalist (the validity of a question depends on its source rather than its content).

But they didn’t answer the questions. They ducked and dodged and evaded. 

http://www.lewrockwe...c-of-darwinism/


Edited by Taoist Texts, 05 December 2014 - 11:55 AM.

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#15 ChiDragon

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 12:14 PM

Ah...back to this again.

 

 

ch4 doesn't necessarily refer to God/god.

帝,君也。 《尔雅》

And if it does, it's saying no more than "Dao came before gods", which could easily be the same as me saying "nature came before religion"


Exactly...!!! I couldn't agree more.

During the Warring States, 君 was only used as "ruler" in small countries and 帝(天子) was used for "emperor" in the Han Dynasty. 帝 means the supreme ruler of the land which rules all of the 君 under the feudal system.


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#16 dawei

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 12:46 PM

ch4 doesn't necessarily refer to God/god.

帝,君也。 《尔雅》

And if it does, it's saying no more than "Dao came before gods", which could easily be the same as me saying "nature came before religion"

 

Heshang Gong appears to take Di (帝) as short version of Tian Di (天帝).

 

That is not unreasonable given that  Di (帝) was prior to that short for Shang Di (上帝).

 

And LZ wrote prior to Han... so I don't take it as 'ruler' here.






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