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  1. Great Learning 4-5

    [4] 古之欲明明德於天下者、先治其國。 The ancients who wanted to manifest their bright virtue to all in the world first governed well their own states. 欲治其國者先齊其家。 Wanting to govern well their states, they first harmonized their own clans. 欲齊其家者先脩其身。 Wanting to harmonize their own clan, they first cultivated themselves. 欲脩其身者先正其心。 Wanting to cultivate themselves, they first corrected their minds. 欲正奇心者先誠其意。 Wanting to correct their minds, they first made their wills sincere. 欲誠其意者先致其知。 Wanting to make their wills sincere, they first extended their knowledge. 致知在格物。 Extension of knowledge consists of the investigation of things. [5] 物格而后知至。 When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. 知至而后意誠。 When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. 意誠而后心正。 When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. 心正而后身脩。 When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated. 身脩而后家齊。 When the self is cultivated, the clan is harmonized. 家齊而后國治。 When the clan is harmonized, the country is well governed. 國治而后天下平。 When the country is well governed, there will be peace throughout the land. (Muller translation: http://www.acmuller.net/con-dao/greatlearning.html) Note: Legge's translation (http://nothingistic.org/library/confucius/learning/learning01.html) uses "heart" in place of "mind" and "thought" in place of "will."
  2. Christian Qi Gong Masters !?

    I think he gravitated more to the Zen side of things, but Thomas Merton's name probably belongs in this thread. He even published a translation of the Zhuangzi: http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Chuang-Second-Edition/dp/0811218511
  3. Analect Two - Respect the Elders

    I like Legge's translation of the first portion: "The philosopher Yû said, "They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion." (http://nothingistic.org/library/confucius/analects/analects01.html) So, if you start with a group of 100 kids. Some of them (let's say 60) respect their parents and their siblings, and some (40) don't. Then, let's toss out the 40 who don't. Of the 60 kids who are respectful, very few of them (let's say 5) will go on to disrespect their superiors. We'll throw those ones out, too. And now, we have 55 left. The passage would suggest that these 55 are guaranteed not to "stir up confusion" (or "rebel" [above] or become "troublemakers" [Muller]). Or, basically, they're kind people. I like how this gives a tremendous amount of gravity to the simplest of things. If you can't learn to be nice to your brother, you're going to have a hard time respecting your boss; and if you can't respect your boss, you're going to have a hard time... (fill in the blank). It's a negative domino effect. But if you fix it early with your brother, then you build the dominoes in a different direction and become insusceptible to hatred, confusion, and trouble, and perhaps incapable of contributing to them. Now looking to Muller for the second portion... "The noble man concerns himself with the fundamentals. Once the fundamentals are established, the proper way appears. Are not filial piety and obedience to elders fundamental to the actualization of fundamental human goodness?" (http://www.acmuller.net/con-dao/analects.html#div-2) Focus on the fundamentals. I think this is one of the reasons that Confucianism lacks some of the "glamour" of other traditions. There's not much allure in talking about being a nice brother or a respectful daughter. But this is the fundamental. It's the root that leads to the branch (see Great Learning 3). If you can get these things down, then you are on the path to the actualization of fundamental human goodness. Now, it's a little more glamorous. This is borderline mystical language. Ren is just something else... totally within us and unique to us, but almost out of this world. A quote from later in the Analects on this point: "Yanyuan sighed in admiration saying: “Looking up to it, it gets higher. Boring into it, it gets harder. I see it in front, and suddenly it is behind me. My master skillfully guides his students a step at a time. He has broadened me with literature, disciplined me with propriety. I want to give up, but I can't. I have exhausted my ability, yet it seems as if there is something rising up in front of me. I want to follow it, but there is no way.”" (9:11, Muller translation: http://www.acmuller.net/con-dao/analects.html#div-10)
  4. Great Learning 3

    Here is a note of commentary by Robert Eno on this verse: "“Roots and branches” points towards causes and consequences; “ends and beginnings” points towards continuity in the flow of apparently sequential events. Effective action in the midst of life requires the identification of priorities and a vision of receding consequences." (http://www.indiana.edu/~p374/Daxue.pdf - emphasis added) He seems to be hitting at two types of priority: chronological and logical (for lack of a better term). Chronological priority would mean knowing what should come first in order: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...", right? We shouldn't strive too hard or get ahead of ourselves, but we should focus on those first steps. Or simply the next step, according to wherever we might be at a given moment. I get a lot of this from his comment on "consequences" as well as the natural reading of the text ("beginning" and "end," etc.). Logical priority--maybe essential priority is a better way of describing it?--would mean making sure we know that which is first, not in order or time, but in importance. So, when you look at it this way, branches are secondary. Not just because they come after the roots, but because the roots are more essential to the process as a whole. The roots can survive branches getting blown off in a storm, but the branches cannot survive the roots being dug up and removed. I get this from looking at his comments on identifying priorities. If this is a recipe for nearness to the Dao, then perhaps we come near to the Dao when we realize what is (reverse order) most essential and what our next step should be. Thoughts?
  5. Analect Ten

    Indeed it is. Some of these courtly contexts are more than just a bit removed from anything I've ever experienced. That being said, this is the thread in which I should have posted the wu wei video I posted in another. It fits here so perfectly: he's in a place where he knows no one, lives a simple and respectable life among them, and is inevitably granted very intimate details about the inner workings of their government. I'm wondering if there could be an allegorical reading to this? Since I'm not too concerned about government, I'd substitute something else. But I really like his approach. And I agree, it works with anything.
  6. Analect Four - Daily Introspection

    Don't worry, I didn't mean that as a reproof. I was just trying to reference the verse because it does paint a fairly scrupulous picture of Confucius.
  7. Analect Four - Daily Introspection

    Thanks woodcarver. I definitely think one needs a balance. You can either be the person who thinks ten times before even saying "hello" to someone, or the one who never thinks about anything at all and lives the entirely unexamined life. Of course the mean lies somewhere between those two extremes. But if we look at the verse this thread is devoted to, we can see that even that mean is a pretty demanding one: "I introspect myself many times a day..."
  8. Confucian Qi gong

    This is a gold mine of information. Thank you for the very thorough response!
  9. Confucian Qi gong

    Zhongyongdaoist, do you know if any of the Guodian texts shed light on these matters as well? I feel like the little I've read of them suggests that they might be a helpful place to look for this TCM, Daoism, Confucianism intersection. Then again, I think they're hard to find too (probably not as hard as Csikszentmihalyi but still...). Also, don't some people consider the Nie Yeh at least partially "Confucian"? I wonder if that text could also be a helpful place to look for more on this.
  10. Analect Four - Daily Introspection

    I love the objectivity of your approach, and I totally agree. When it comes to apologies, I'm not sure if the other person's offense or recollection are even important. That might be putting it a bit too strongly, but if I do/say something that is objectively offensive or hurtful to someone, then I should apologize whether or not they are subjectively offended or hurt, or whether they remember being offended or hurt. I'm sure we've all had experiences where apologies are given and the other person says (or maybe we're the one saying) that it's no big deal and no apology is needed. I like that and I think it's a thoughtful response, or maybe just an accurate expression of that person's lack of offense. But I don't think it matters: if I've objectively done wrong, then I ought to repent or apologize. Example: a guy is rude to his girlfriend, but she doesn't mind it. Should he still apologize? Clear answer is yes, I think. Even if for no one else but himself. And like you said, manitou, that's the only side of the street he can control or should worry about maintaining. And yes, I do think that the girlfriend (or boyfriend) who "doesn't mind" probably does mind in some way or manner, even if they're not fully aware of it--that's a whole different discussion though. But I was thinking of the (however unlikely) hypothetical where the significant other truly doesn't mind at all. Maybe in instances such as those, a case could be made that we ought to apologize to ourselves and/or something Higher. But I think if we do wrong to another, they do deserve an apology too. Even if it's ancient history.
  11. Great Learning 3

    [3] 物有本末、事有終始。知所先後則近道矣。 Things have their roots and branches, affairs have their end and beginning. When you know what comes first and what comes last, then you are near the Way. (A.C. Muller translation: http://www.acmuller.net/con-dao/greatlearning.html) 3. Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning. (James Legge translation: http://nothingistic.org/library/confucius/learning/learning01.html) I thought about whether this should be included with the first two verses already posted, or with verses 4-5 which follow it. It seems to be conceptually related to both pairs of verses, so I've just posted it here in isolation.
  12. The Great Learning 1-2

    That's a very helpful reminder. Thank you for that, and for posting the links to the source material from Kalton's page. Very good stuff! Thanks TT. The textual analysis is way beyond me but I did enjoy Harmonious Emptiness' thoughts on it. The contentment he mentions helps to make sense of the "stopping" and shows why it might be a proper "resting" or "dwelling" space. Also, the diagram shows how the steps of stability-tranquility-ease-deliberation-attainment are parts or elements of this "stopping in perfect goodness" process (or "abiding in the highest good" process, as its called in the diagram itself).
  13. The Great Learning 1-2

    You bet Taoist Texts. I also found this diagram that might help with verses 1-2, as well as verses 3-5 which follow.
  14. Analect Four - Daily Introspection

    Outstanding suggestions. I love the "negative" starting point or assumption, a sort of radical skepticism with regard to either character traits (manitou's suggestion) or beliefs (Zhongyongdaoist's). Seems like quite an unnerving, but potentially humbling and transformative, process. Reminds me of a passage in Mencius, which alludes to the removal of these defects but also the addition of virtue. He mentions that the notice of vitue will bring joy, which seems like an especially natural response when one starts by assuming the worst as suggested here. It also has some interesting suggestions about the connection between proper intention and natural advancement or cultivation/growth. 孟子曰、「求則得之。舍則失之、是求有益於得也、求在我者也。求之有道、得之有命、是求無益於得也、求在外者也。」 [7A:3] Mencius said: “Search for it and you gain it. Ignore it and you lose it: this is the searching that has increase in its attainment, the seeking that adds to the self.” “Search for it, keeping the Way, attain it, keeping with destiny. In this searching, there is no increase upon attainment. This is the searching through which you get rid of things.” (13.4) 孟子曰、「萬物皆備於我矣。反身而誠、樂莫大焉。彊恕而行、求仁莫近焉。」 [7A:4] Mencius said: “All things are prepared within me. If I reflect on myself and find that I am sincere, shouldn't I be overjoyed? If I strive to conduct myself on the principle of reciprocity, will the Humaneness I seek not be close at hand?” (13.5) 孟子曰、「行之而不著焉、習矣而不察焉、終身由之而不知其道者、衆也。」 [7A:5] Mencius said: “Acting without being clear, practicing without close observation: doing this to the end of their lives without ever understanding their own course. This is the way most people are.”