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About plebeian

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  1. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    38. Degeneration The man of superior character is not (conscious of his) character. Hence he has character. The man of inferior character (is intent on) not losing character. Hence he is devoid of character. The man of superior character never acts, Nor ever (does so) with an ulterior motive. The man of inferior character acts, And (does so) with an ulterior motive. The man of superior kindness acts, But (does so) without an ulterior motive. The man of superior justice acts, And (does so) with an ulterior motive. (But when) the man of superior li acts and finds no response, He rolls up his sleeves to force it on others. Therefore: After Tao is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) humanity. After humanity is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) justice. After justice is lost, then (arises the doctrine of) li. Now li is the thinning out of loyalty and honesty of heart. And the beginning of chaos. The prophets are the flowering of Tao And the origin of folly. Therefore the noble man dwells in the heavy (base), And not in the thinning (end). He dwells in the fruit, And not in the flowering (expression). Therefore he rejects the one and accepts the other. This is my favorite chapter in the Tao Te Ching. I believe it sums up the state of affairs and how many of us are living in today and the type of individuals with whom we find ourselves dealing more and more. Holden Caufield called them “phonies” in Cather in the Rye. When you open your third eye you can smell the stench of the phony from across the room. They fool many, including themselves but the Taoist is trained to spot them and combat their bullshit. The men of inferior character tries too hard. They calculate their every move convincing themselves that if they say the right things, act the right way, wear the right fashion, and repeat what’s popular in the day, they will advance. Sadly it works for many of them. The men of superior character act naturally, live by their convictions and prove themselves not through words but through actions. In the end it boils down to who is left with self respect, the men of superior character or the men of inferior character? The poets and novelists of our generation are artist and musicians. They are the Dickens, Updike’s, Steinbecks and Hemmingways. Roger Water’s is what of those modern day poets. He wrote about the man of superior character in his song Dogs. "Dogs" You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking. And after a while, you can work on points for style Like the club tie, and the firm handshake A certain look in the eye, and an easy smile You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to So that when they turn their backs on you You'll get the chance to put the knife in. You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder You know it's going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older And in the end you'll pack up, fly down south Hide your head in the sand Just another sad old man All alone and dying of cancer. And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone And it's too late to loose the weight you used to need to throw around So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone Dragged down by the stone. I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze? Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending That everyone's expendable and no-one has a real friend And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner And everythings done under the sun And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer. Who was born in a house full of pain Who was trained not to spit in the fan Who was told what to do by the man Who was broken by trained personnel Who was fitted with collar and chain Who was given a pat on the back Who was breaking away from the pack Who was only a stranger at home Who was ground down in the end Who was found dead on the phone Who was dragged down by the stone. There are a lot of management books written trying to teach people how to rise to the top, to be the CEO, the Zuckerberg, Jobs and Gates of the world, how to be the Dogs. Well, I’ve never seen a book, other than The Tao Te Ching, written about how to thrive in the middle. Not so close to the top where you are the subject of all of the hate, scorn and envy and live in fear of losing it all; and not at the bottom where you are stepped on by every other living being; but in the middle where you can sort of live a content life, fairly anonymous and hopefully secretly somewhat in control of your own contentment. In the middle you can pull a few strings, manipulate a few of the ambitious ones into being the heroes who stick their necks out to draw the attention away from ourselves. Make others be the heroes. Let them draw the fire away from you. You can use the man of inferior character to your own advantage. They love to volunteer to take the credit. It seems counter-intuitive but give it to them! Give them their sense of false confidence and eventually it will all collapse around them. They will be dragged down by the stone.
  2. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Wu Wei (noninterference) Wu Wei, translated literally into English, is “doing, not doing.” Some call this the principle of inaction. The meaning of inaction is really noninterference. Noninterference does not mean taking a passive stance. Noninterference means taking action only when it is absolutely necessary. What dictates when action (interference) is necessary and when it is not? The answer is simple. Action is required when we encounter an obstacle that threatens to take us from our individual path. There is a great beauty in the silent universe. There are manifest laws governing the four seasons without words. There is an intrinsic principle in the created things which is not expressed. The Sage looks back to the beauty of the universe and penetrates into the intrinsic principle of created things. Therefore the perfect man does nothing, the great Sage takes no action. In doing this, he follows the pattern of the universe. The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 68 The seasons need no help from us to change. Similarly, we should not waste our time in toiling with affairs that do not directly impact us. In knowing when not to act, we preserve our energy and have the reserve required when we must spring into action.
  3. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Reversion The rotation cycle between Yin and Yang is never-ending. To make it easier for us to comprehend things, we give the stages of this rotation various different names. When the sun rises, we call it dawn; when it sets, we call it dusk. Dusk and dawn are but snapshots of a stage in a cycle that is in perpetual motion. Dusk reverts endlessly to dawn and vice-versa. “To take the phenomena of rise and fall, growth and decay, it (Tao) does not regard rise and fall as rise and fall, and it does not regard growth and decay as growth and decay. It does not regard beginning and end as beginning and end. It does not regard formation and dispersion as formation and dispersion,” “These are all leveled together by Tao. Division is the same as creation, and creation is the same as destruction. There is no such thing as creation and destruction, for these conditions are again leveled together into One.” The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 192 Taoists expect change, because this reversion cycle of Yin and Yang dictates that change simply must happen. There are advantages to understanding and accepting this principle. The first advantage is that openly accepting change makes one more adaptive. Adaptation is the single best method of surviving. The second advantage is derived from gaining the ability to view phenomena from an opposite viewpoint. For example, when asked what we specifically want for ourselves in life, we sometimes have difficulty answering this question. And yet it is very easy to answer the opposite question, which is: What do we not want out of life? The answers to that question are simple. We don’t want to be sick, we don’t want to be unhappy, and we don’t want to be poor. Knowing what we don’t want helps us answer the question of what we do want. We want to be healthy, happy, and not poor. Next time you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer, try this technique. If asked what you should do about something and you don’t know the answer, start by thinking about what you should not do. When we pop out into the world we witness a train that is already in motion. We take a snap shot of that train and we judge from our subjective viewpoint of good and bad. Good and bad for the most part are artificial values taught to us by the instruments of the social structure, education systems, religious institutions, the media, our social networks, our parents who themselves were poisoned by the same process. Enlightment is the process of wiping that slate as clean as we possibly can understanding that we will never be pure as long as we inhabit this human vessel. Anyway....that snapshot we take of events and hold to be good or bad is just that, it's a snapshot and it will change. We try to hold onto things that we "like" but the Taoist knows that abundance turns to sparcity and vice versa and that cycle never ends. Having the expecation that things will change is a huge step toward achieving some sort of a sense of contentment. After awhile almost nothing suprises you, expecially human behavior!! "Can you believe that guy in the midwest captured those women and enslaved them for years?" To that I respond, "Of course I can believe it and I know there are many more things going on in the world that would make that guy look like a schoolboy." The media appeals to our our need to to feel outrage and to take action! We declare "war on those things." The war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on terrorism. Is the 20th century the wizards in charge figured out that common people have an apprehension to declaring war on other people so now they declare war on ideas. Wars against undefined enemies last longer because it's impossible to physically measure defeat or victory. By the way I don't condone what that guy in the midwest did, in fact it disgusts me, I'm just not shocked by it. How do I respond to it? I warn the women around me that it could very well happen to them and warn them and they should be leary of others, especially those who are offering "free candy". I don't know where the master borrowed this quote but I think of it often, "If you want to live in peace then prepare for war." It would be so easy to rant about the naivity of the American public at this point but why bother? The master said there is no such thing as naivity, there is only stupidity and furthermore there are no victims in the world. There are only volunteers. It's hard to argue that children aren't victims in many cases but for we adults...we are responsible for our own actions. We might not volunteer to be "naive" or stupid, but we certainly volunteer to to remain that way. When we look at world events today, expecially those in the Middle East, it's easy to look down on places like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iran, and Iraq and say those people are uncivilized savages. Well, that's what the snapshot is showing right now, back up a 1,000 years or so and those civilizations were the most advanced, progressive and tolerant in the world. Even Germany was one of the most diverse, liberal and tolerant societies in Europe before the Fascism became appealing. For all of us today, the snapshot of what we see going on in the MIddle East is not a shapshot of a past we have permanently overcome. It is a snapshot of the future of our civilization. Reversion!! Don't be shocked.
  4. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    No worries at all.Keep me honest!
  5. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Great point! Poor choice of words on my part. Confusion is fatal.
  6. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Expectations To achieve contentment, your expectations in life must be realistic and reflective of reality. Those who dream of the banquet wake to lamentation and sorrow. Those who dream of lamentation and sorrow wake to join the hunt. The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 11 Tao is the mysterious source of the universe. Teh is the word used to represent the manifestations of Tao. The greatest manifestation of Tao is nature. Therefore you can appreciate the values of the source, Tao, by observing and studying its manifestation, nature. Look around and you will see that in nature everything is a struggle. Animals feed on one another. Germs, viruses and bacteria prey on all of us. Businesses take delight in “killing” their competition. Nature functions through the cycles of Yin and Yang, predator and prey, growth and decay. Life therefore is a struggle. It’s a war. Taoists embrace this reality and cultivate within themselves a warrior spirit. Their attitudes and expectations are therefore correct. When expectations are correct, you will not be disappointed or discontent. Consequently, Taoists do not expect life to be a bed of roses, a “banquet;” instead, they know that life is a difficult war, “lamentation and sorrow,” so they embrace it and “join the hunt.” The greatest sin in Taoism is confusion – not having a clear picture of reality. Taoists seek to keep themselves free of confusion so that their expectations of life’s harshness are correct. Their spirits thrive on this reality.
  7. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Yin and Yang (Opposites)Every phenomenon consists of a pairing of relative opposites (Yin and Yang) tethered together in a single continuum. This single continuum, this oneness, is Tao. The forces of Yin and Yang are interdependent. The rotation between these forces is continuous. Change is therefore constant. The lesson is: Don’t hold too firmly to anything, because by nature you are destined to lose it. Also, don’t get too excited or too distraught over events; the reality is that just as something is reaching its peak, it begins the downward decline. Accept change as it comes – and adapt. All things take their rise, but he does not turn away from them; He gives them life, but does not take possession of them; He acts, but does not appropriate; Accomplishes but claims no credit. It is because he lays claim to no credit That the credit cannot be taken away from him. -The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 47 There is a natural observable rhythm to the universe. Seasons come and go – then come again. Creatures are born and then they die. Our own emotions fluctuate from sadness to happiness, from anger to delight. This is the natural order of things. Our personal desires and biases make us less adaptable and more resistant to change. We have a tendency to want to hold on to things, to be controlling and to interfere with the natural progression of events. For example, a famous Chinese parable tells the story of Chinese farmers who grew frustrated by a flock of birds that was feeding on the seeds the farmers had sown in the fields. The farmers spread nets to keep the birds from landing. The birds, unable to land, eventually died from exhaustion. With no birds left, the worm population grew out of control and destroyed the crop anyway. Had the farmers accepted the fact that the birds were going to take a percentage of the crop, they would have at least have benefited from what the birds left alone. The farmers’ personal desires, their greed, caused them to lose everything.
  8. Everyone post some favorite quotes!

    "Those who dream of the banquet wake to lamentation and sorrow. Those who dream of lamentation and sorrow wake to join the hunt." - Chuangtse
  9. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    The Tall Tree The lumberjack cuts down the tallest tree first. This practice – which is also a Taoist principle – warns us against the dangers of standing out. The message is to try not to stand out like a tall tree, because people will naturally envy you and will attempt to do you harm. Germans have a word for it. They call it Schadenfreude. They will try to take you down, just as the lumberjack drops the tallest tree first. A Group of Confucians were digging up a grave in the hope of finding old manuscripts. The leaders among them said, “It is already dawn, Have we finished?” No replied the little Confucians, “we haven’t yet stripped the dead man’s clothes, and we know that he keeps a pearl in his mouth. There is an old verse which says, ‘How green is the wheat! It grows on the hillsides. He did not give money to the poor when he was living, why did he carry a pearl in is mouth when he died?’” The group of Confucians therefore smashed in the dead man’s temples, pulled his whiskers and, taking a metal hammer to knock open his jaw, they gradually tore open his cheek. But they were careful not to hurt the pearl in the dead man’s mouth. The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 313 It is simply not possible for everyone to like us all the time. However, we often bring dislike needlessly upon ourselves by doing things that irritate those around us. We make ourselves stand out, like a tall tree, by carrying an allegorical pearl in our mouth. People in their jealousy naturally want to rip it from us. It’s tempting to dislike the grave robbers in this parable. Taoists look at it from a different perspective. They ask, “What did the dead man do to bring such hatred upon himself?” Contradictory to conventional beliefs, the fault is not with the grave robbers who are ripping the pearl from the dead man’s mouth. The fault is with the man who asked for the pearl to be placed there. He had to know that someone would naturally take it from him. We can’t change how people react to us; we can, however, manage our own behavior. Conflict in life is unavoidable; it will come to you one way or another. Why provoke people by doing things that obviously annoy them?
  10. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    If a tree falls in the woods who gives a shit? It's all sophism.
  11. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    There are generally two schools of thoughts. Enlightment is a process and it takes time ot achieve it. The second school of thought is that is that it comes in the form of an epiphany. Poof, you are enlightened. I believe it's a process with platueas of deep insight. We've all had the experience where we've stared at a problem for a very long time and then suddenly it all seems to make sense. If feels like the undertanding was instantaneous but in reality it was the staring at the problem that brought you to the epiphany. It's the reflection. The bullet train is reaching the spiritual realm by using subtances such as DMT, ayahuaska, LSD, etc. I"ve never done any of it myself but have watched with great interest, the people who relate their experiences. I especially love watching people flip out on salvia. I could watch those videos all day. I asked my local red neck sage what the fun of salvia was. He said, "The fun is not doing it, the fun is getting other people to do it then watching what happens to them." The people on these chemically induced trips describe experiences very similar to what I personally experience when doing a specific kind of Taoist meditation. You need a teacher to learn how to do it. You wont' read about it in a book. The dissimilaries in the exsperience however are that while during the Taoist meditation I never threw up, freaked out or shit myself like those brave souls who travel to Peru. I don't discount the ayahuasca experience. In fact I'm very curious about it. I just think that there is probably a lot more to the experience then just taking the drug. The locals probably spend years with the Shaman in prepaparing to do it and in interpreting what they saw.
  12. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Faith is used to keep the herd in line. When the sages have explained everything to the point where they don't even understand what they are trying to explain anymore, they use faith to fill the chasm between reality and the shit they just made up. I used to ask the master sometimes, "Would it be better to just be unaware and happy as a clam like the herd or is it better to have the vision to see what's really going on?" It was usually over a few drinks when he was completely unreserved. He'd get really annoyed with me. For one thing what is seen can never be unseen. Once you become truly aware you are stuck I'm that state of awareness. Ask yourself, would you choose to spiritually handicap yourself so you could live like the other lambs to the slaughter? Happy, but unaware of an unable to avoid the impending horror to come. Sometimes I still wonder even though I know it's an asinine thought. He used to quote someone he heard say once, "America is a well run labor camp....with double rations." Give them their bread and circus and don't stick your hands in the cages constructed of conventional social values. We've optimized human productivity because the slaves now whip themselves. It's very cost effective and better yet we no longer have to pay homage to the organized religion, that's been replaced by the media. Eventually all churches, synagogues, temples and the like will be converted to trendy bars and condos and in rural areas, warehouses. The master asked me once, "Do you know the difference between ants and humans?" His answer....."Television."
  13. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    Humanity and Justice Humanity and Justice is the term that Laotse and Chuangtse use to describe artificial social values. To understand the original nature of humanity, watch children at play. Inevitably one of the first words they utter is the word “mine!” This is because self-interest is what governs all human behavior, and this trait is not yet tainted in children. Through formal education and training, and the administration of rewards and punishments, children are eventually taught to be “good.” Good is a relative term defined by the social norms of the day. Taoism is the philosophy of the individual. Humanity and Justice places the needs of strangers before the needs of the self. Doctrines of humanity and justice therefore run contrary to human nature. They create confusion, discontent and obscure the vision of the spiritual eye. They cause misery. In the days of Ho Hsu, the people did nothing in particular at their homes and went nowhere in particular in their walks. Having food, they rejoiced; tapping their bellies, they wandered about. Thus far the natural capacities of the people carried them. The Sages came then to make them bow and bend with ceremonies and music, in order to regulate the external forms of intercourse, and dangled humanity and justice before them, in order to keep their minds in submission. Then the people began to labor and develop a taste for knowledge, and to struggle with one another in their desire for gain, to which there is no end. This is the error of the Sages. The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 288 Humanity and Justice is perhaps one of the most difficult Taoist principles to grasp. Distrusting conventional Judeo-Christian values is something that runs contrary to what most of us have been taught from birth. Because these values are so ingrained in us, it will initially feel uncomfortable to question them. That’s normal. So if Taoists do not subscribe to the doctrines of Humanity and Justice, what do they believe? They believe in cultivating their individual paths. They have no desire to interfere with or change the way society thinks. Instead, they seek to understand themselves and to limit the pressures that external sources place upon them. They seek to understand the difference between their needs and their desires, which are fueled by contemporary messages encouraging people to sacrifice themselves by striving to achieve a higher social status, work harder, make more money, and consume more.
  14. Enlightenment Is An Exclusive Destination

    The Futility of Words Words are useful in conveying meaning. However, actions are more important than words. Where can I find a man who forgets about words? A bait is used to catch fish. When you have gotten the fish, you can forget about the bait. A rabbit trap is used to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, you can forget about the trap. Words are used to express meaning, when you understand the meaning, you can forget about the words. Where can I find a man who forgets about words to talk with him? The Wisdom of Laotse, Lin Yutang, 313 No one can say it any more clearly than Laotse. Words express meaning. Once the meaning is understood, the words may be discarded. Too often we fixate on the complexity of language. We allow ourselves to be seduced by the ideas of a good talker – by promises. The good talker uses words as a means to deceive and lead us from our individual paths. Taoists use a simple two-word method to check the validity of what a good talker is saying. It’s called “show me!” Words not supported by proof, by action, fall short of the objective. They are useless.