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Everything posted by Rainy_Day

  1. On a previous thread, I said I wanted to try my hands at translating some Daoist texts: http://www.thetaobums.com/index.php?/topic/22412-anyone-need-translations-of-daoist-texts/. I'm going to start with "Questions and Answers on the Golden Elixir" (金丹问答), because it seems to present the least problems for translating, and because it seems quite useful. The Chinese original can be found here: http://www.danxin.net/jingdian/%E9%87%91%E4%B8%B9%E9%97%AE%E7%AD%94.htm. I'll do some translating every now and then, and post the results on this thread. Please correct or criticise as appropriate. (I'm not a neidan practitioner myself. I can only give what I believe to be an accurate translation according to my knowledge of Classical Chinese.) Also, feel free to make any suggestions. Also, please note that everything posted here is a work in progress. I'll edit the draft as I go along. Part 1 of Draft 金丹问答 萧廷之 Questions and Answers on the Golden Elixir By Xiao Tingzhi   问曰:“如何谓之金液还丹?”   答曰:“金液者,金水也。金为水母,母隐子胎。因有还丹之号也。前贤有曰,丹者,丹田也。液者,肺液也。以肺液还于丹田,故曰‘金液还丹。’” Question: What does "returning the metallic liquid to the elixir" mean? Answer: Metallic liquid means metallic water. Metal is the mother of water. The mother hides the fetus of her child. Hence, the name of "returning to the elixir". Prior generations of wise men have said, "Elixir refers to the elixir field. Liquid refers to the liquid of the lungs. One returns the liquid of the lungs to the elixir field. Therefore, we call this "returning the metallic liquid to the elixir".   问曰:“何谓铅汞?”   答曰:“非凡黑锡水银也。真一子曰:‘铅是天地之父母,阴阳之根基。’盖圣有采天地,父母之根,而为大药之基。采阴阳纯粹之精,而为大丹之质。且非常物造作也。汞性好飞,遇铅乃结,以其子母相恋也。” Question: What does one mean by "lead" and "mercury"? Answer: These do not refer to common metal, such as tin and mercury. The Master of True Unity says, "Lead is the parent of Heaven and Earth, and the foundation of yin and yang." For Sages collect the root of Heaven and Earth, and Father and Mother, in order to create the foundation of the great medicine. One collects the pure essence of yin and yang, in order to create the substance of the great elixir - This is different from the creation of common things. Mercury's nature is to like to fly, but it bonds with lead when they meet, due to the love between the son and the mother.   问曰:“何谓火?”   答曰:“火者,太阳真气,乃坎中之阳也。紫清真人曰:‘坎中起火’是也。” Question: What does "fire" mean? Answer: Fire is the true qi of greater yang - the yang in the middle of kan*. This is what the True Man of Purple Clarity meant by "start the fire in the middle of kan". *as in the trigram.   问曰:“何谓候?”   答曰:“五日为一候,是甲为一终也。日有十二时,五日六十时,终一甲子也。紫阳曰:‘一刻之工夫,自有一年之节候。’以起火之际,顷刻而一周天也。” Question: What does "hou" mean? Answer: One hou is five days...(not clear on this part)*...One day has twelve hours; five days have sixty hours - This completes one jiazi*. The Master of Purple Yang said, "The work of one quarter-hour contains the seasons and climate of a year." Starting from when one starts the fire, a microcosmic orbit is completed in a moment. *tentatively, "Its jia is the completion of one cycle." *A unit in Chinese calendrical calculations, which is subdivided into sixty parts.
  2. Hi everyone! I'm kind of curious - What do folks here think about the afterlife? I'll go first: I personally believe that each human contains several souls. These several souls travel to different places upon death. I believe this, because virtually all ancient cultures (before the rise of organised religion) said so. Daoism also says so, as does Mongolian shamanism (which I became deeply impressed with after reading Sarangerel's explanation of it).
  3. Wu "Witch Doctor"

    To expand on what ChiDragon said, the definition given in Shuowenjiezi, one of the earliest and most authoritative dictionaries in Classical Chinese, is: 祝也。女能事無形,以舞降神者也。象人兩褎舞形。與工同意。古者巫咸初作巫。凡巫之屬皆从巫。𠮎,古文巫。武扶切 A person who prays. A woman who can serve the formless, using dance to cause spirits to descend. The character shows the form of a person dancing with her two sleeves. This is synonymous with "gong" (worker).* In ancient times, Wu Xian (a person's name) is written as "Wu". Everything relating to "wu" has the radical for "wu"... *The dictionary uses this explanation, because the character "wu" contains the character "gong". But other dictionaries contradict this definition, especially by distinguishing the incantator (zhu, the person who prays) from the shaman (wu).
  4. Hi, everyone! I think Dawei is right in that this is really more of a terminology piece. When this is done, we can work on something more directly related to practice. There are only a few lines left to be translated anyway. The first literal draft can definitely be done before the end of the week. Then, next step would be for me to read Chen Yingning's commentary on the Cantongqi, so to understand what is actually going on with the terminologies. Maybe browse some modern language explanations of internal alchemy on the web. And then revise the draft along with annotations. 问:玉池:答曰:口也。黄庭经曰:玉池清水灌灵根是也。 Question: What is the jade pool? Answer: The mouth. The Yellow Court Sutra says, "Let clear water from the jade pool irrigate the spirit root.*" * ling3gen1 - zdic says this refers to the tongue: (8).道教指舌根。《黄庭内景经·上有章》:“灌溉五华植灵根。” 务成子 注:“灵根,舌本也。” 宋 陆游 《病中作》诗:“不忧竖子居肓上,已见真人出面门。力守谁能发底火?深潜自足美灵根。” ...... 问:橐龠:答曰:橐乃无底囊,龠乃三孔笛,又是铁匠手中所弄鼓风之物也。老子曰:天地之间,其犹橐龠乎。升降论曰:人能效天地橐龠之用,开则气出,阖则气入,出则如地气之上升,入则如天气之下降,一升一降,自可与天地齐长久矣。 Question: As for the sack and the flute? (E.g. A bellow.) Answer: The sack is a bottomless sack. The flute is a flute with three holes. These are also what a blacksmith holds in his hands to blow wind. Laozi said, "Between Heaven and Earth, is this not like a bellow?" The Treatise on Rising and Falling says, "If a person can imitate the function of the bellow of Heaven and Earth - Qi goes out when it opens, and comes in when it closes; and when qi goes out, it is as the qi of the Earth ascending, and when qi comes in, it is as the qi of Heaven descending, with each ascent followed by a descent - then this person can live as long as Heaven and Earth. 问:五芽?答曰:乃五脏之真气。中黄经曰:子能守之三虫弃,得见五芽九真气。 Question: The five sprouts? Answer: These are the zhen qi of the five organs. The Middle Yellow Sutra said, "If you can guard it, then you can get rid of the three worms and see the five sprouts and nine zhen qi." *I found a baidu and zdic explanation of this, which matches up with the explanation in the text: Baidu:   道教炼养术语。亦称五芽。指五行之生气。《黄庭内景经》:“存漱五牙不饥渴。”《悟真篇·自序》:“如炼五芽之气,服七曜之光。”道教认为服食五行真气,可炼养五脏,延年驻寿。 A jargon in Daoist cultivation...It refers to the qi of life (e.g. yuan qi, or original qi) of the five phases...Daoism believes that by taking the zhen qi of the five phases, one can refine and nourish the five organs, as well as extend one's life and slow down aging. zdic: (2).道教语。指木、火、土、金、水五行的初生之气。《云笈七籤》卷五八:“夫道者,或传服五牙。五牙者,五行之生气。” Daoist jargon, referring to the qi of the five phases when they are first generated. ...... 问:屯蒙?答曰:道枢曰:坎者,水也,一变为水泽之节,再变为水雷之屯,其爻居寅。离者,火也,一变为火山之旅,再变为火风之鼎,三变为山水之蒙,其爻居戌,抽添水火在于寅戌,十二卦气在于屯蒙运用。 Question: The hexagrams zhun and meng? Answer: The Pivot of Dao says, "Kan is water. With one changed line, it becomes the hexagram jie of water and swamp. With another changed line, it becomes the hexagram zhun of water and thunder. Its line resides in yin (of the earthly branches). Li is fire. With one changed line, it becomes the hexagram lv of fire and mountain. With another changed line, it becomes the hexagram ding of fire and wind. With a third changed line, it becomes the hexagram meng of mountain and water. Its line resides in xu (of the earthly branches). Draw and add water and fire at yin and xu. The twelve guaqi* should be used at zhun and meng." *A concept in traditional Chinese sciences. I'm not familiar with it, but I know where I can find the resources. 问:采日精月华?答曰:非外之日月也。采心中真液,肾中真气也。 Question: Collecting the essence of the sun and the splendour of the moon? Answer: Not the sun and moon of the outside world. What is meant here is to collect the true fluid in the heart and the zhen qi of the kidneys.
  5. Dear Taomeow, Thank you for your perspective. I cannot agree more with you. As a Chinese person who sometimes reads English explanations of Daoism, nothing is more frustrating than when I read a phrase which seems loosely based on the Chinese language, but I have no idea what the translator is talking about, and there is no way to find out the original Chinese word. (E.g. All of Thomas Cleary's translations. I really don't understand why the editor doesn't even bother to put in a glossary.) Livia Kohn is one of my heroes. If Livia Kohn translates this way, then I'll definitely give it serious consideration. Thank you everyone else, ChiDragon, Harmonious Emptiness, and Dawei for your comments, too.
  6. Dear Taomeow, Thank you for your suggestion. As you probably know, tianzhen in ordinary Chinese means innocence or naivete. I wonder, however, if there is a specific internal alchemy meaning to it. My considerations were as follow: (1) If the specific alchemical meaning is related to innocence, then how to translate in a way which draws out that connotation. (2) I tend to translate tian as heavenly rather than celestial, because it seems to me that "celestial" just adds a faux oriental flavour, where what is actually meant is the sky, Heaven, or nature. (3) How literal I should be in translating the characters. (Right now, I'm translating almost as literally as I can, especially the parts I don't understand.) This is why I've tentatively translated as "Heavenly reality", which is like the "celestial reality" you've suggested. I think "original reality" is probably better in conveying the meaning (if it means what I think it means), but that would be less literal. In any case, I think the best way is for me to read some of the resources suggested by the people above, so to figure out the standard translation for some of these phrases.
  7. 问:堤防:答曰:驱除杂念而专心不二也。 Question: What is the dike? Answer: To expel miscellaneous thoughts while focusing the mind in one-pointedness. 问:神庐者,何也?答曰:鼻也,乃神气出入之门,黄庭经曰:神庐之中当修治,呼吸庐间入丹田。 Question: What is the spirituous hut? Answer: The nose - This is door through which spirit and qi go out and come in. The Yellow Court Sutra says, "Cultivate and manage in the spirituous hut, while breathing through the hut into dantian." 问:太一含真?答曰:守真一于天谷,气入玄元,即达本来天真。答上曰:真道养神,若能守我在死气之关,令七祖枯骨皆有生气。生我者道,活我者神,将神守道,以道养神是也。 Question: What is "the great unity containing reality"? Answer: Guard real unity at the valley of Heaven, and let qi enter the mysterious origin, then you will arrive at the original heavenly reality. Mr. Dashang said, "The true way nourishes the spirit. If you can guard yourself at the gate of the dead qi, then you will cause the dry bones of seven ancestors to all have living qi. Dao gave birth to me, and spirit gave life to me. Take spirit to guard Dao is to use Dao to nourish spirit." 问:三尸?答曰:中黄经曰:一者上虫,居脑中;二者中虫,居名堂;三者下虫,居腹胃;名曰彭琚,彭质,彭矫也。恶人进道。善人退志,上田乃元神所居之宫,惟人不能开此关,被尸虫居之,生死轮回无有了期,若能握元神,栖于本宫,则尸虫自灭,真息自定,所谓一窍开而百窍齐开,大关通而百骸尽通,则天真降灵,不神之神所以神也。 Question: What are the "three corpses"? Answer: The Middle Yellow Sutra said, "First, the upper worm lives in the brain. Second, the middle worm lives in the Hall of Name. Third, the lower worm lives in the abdomen and the stomach. Their names are Pengju, Pengzhi, and Pengjiao. They hate it when people advance in the Dao. They love it when people lose their determination. The upper dantian is the palace where the original shen dwells, but humans cannot open this gate, because the corpse-worm lives here. As a result, there is no end to birth, death, and reincarnation. If you can take hold of the original spirit and dwell in the root palace, then the corpse-worm will die of its own accord, and the true breath will become still automatically. This is what is called "When one aperture opens, a hundred apertures will open together. When the great gate is unblocked, then one hundred bones will be unblocked." Then heavenly reality will display miracles. This is why the spirit of no spirit is spirituous.* *The last part is obscure to me. I'm also unclear as to how to translate tianzhen. 问:胎息:答曰:能守真一,则息不往来,如在母胞胎之中,谓之大定也。 Question: What is fetus breathing? Answer: If you can guard the real unity, then breath will not come and go, like in the fetus in the womb of a mother. This is called the great stillness.
  8. Dear ChiDragon, No problem. Thank you, btw, for all the commentary you made.
  9. 问:野战?答曰:龙虎经曰:文以怀柔,武以讨叛。紫阳曰:守城野战知凶吉,增得灵砂满鼎红。 Question: What is the "battle in the field"? Answer: The Dragon Tiger Sutra said, "Use culture to harbour softness, and use might to put down rebellion." Mr. Ziyang said, "If you know good and evil fortune while guarding the city and battling in the field, then you can get the spirituous sand to redden throughout the cauldron." 问:温养?答曰:杏林曰:温养象周星。毗陵曰:金鼎常留汤用暖,玉炉不要火教寒,是也。 Question: What is warm cultivation? Answer: Mr. Xinlin said, "Warm cultivation symbolises Jupiter*. Mr. Piling said, "Always leave warm soup in the golden cauldron, and don't let the fire get cold in the jade furnace."" *Zhouxing apparently means Jupiter or a year. Jupiter travels through one palace out of twelve of the ecliptic per year, completing one cycle every twelve years. 问:烹炼?答曰:烹金鼎,炼玉炉。口诀存焉。 Question: What are boiling and refining? Answer: Boil in the golden cauldron, and refine in the jade furnace. This is the mnemonic. 问:赏罚?答曰:春气发生谓之赏,乃巳前阳火之候也;秋气杀物谓之罚,乃午后阴符之候也。 Question: What are reward and punishment? Answer: The qi of Spring arising is called reward - This is the time of yang fire before si. The qi of Autumn killing things is called punishment - This is the time of yin fu after wu." 问:守城?答曰:抱元守一而凝神聚气也。 Question: what is "guarding the city"? Answer: Embracing the origin and guarding the one in order to condense spirit and gather qi.
  10. 问:金乌玉兔:答曰:日中乌,比心中之液也,月中兔,比肾中之气也。 Question: What are the "golden crow" and the "jade rabbit"? Answer: The crow in the sun symbolises the fluid in the heart. The rabbit in the moon symbolises the qi in the kidneys. 问:炼形?答曰:炼形化气,炼气化神,炼神合道也。金洞主曰:以精炼形非凡砂石。 Question: What is refining the form? Answer: Refine the form into qi, refine qi into spirit, refine spirit to combine with Dao. The Master of the Golden Cave said, "Use essence, rather than sand and rocks, to refine the form." 问:紫阳谓心肾非坎离,何也?答曰:心肾特坎离之体耳,有体有用。 Question: Mr. Ziyang said that the heart and the kidneys are not kan and li. Why? Answer: The heart and the kidneys are merely the substance of kan and li. Kan and li should include both substance and function. 问:所用者何也?答曰:天心乃心之用也。属离。形乃肾之用也,属坎,交媾之际,运用于此矣。 Question: What are their functions? Answer: The mind of Heaven is the function of the heart - It belongs to li. The form is the function of the kidneys - It belongs to the kidneys. When copulating, they are used here. 问:功夫?答曰:知时而交媾,进火而防危,阳生而野战,刑德而沐浴,以至温养成丹也。 Question: What is gongfu? Answer: To know the correct time for copulation, advance the fire and prevent danger, battle in the field when yang is generated, use punishment and virtue for bathing, until the elixir is cultivated by warmth.* *By warmth - e.g. It's a gentle, rather than forceful, process.
  11. Dear ChiDragon, My understanding is that huohou in a qigong or neidan context means the degree of concentration: 「火候」之說本出於外丹黃白術的煉制活動,指的是煉制過程中的用火技巧、程序、溫度變化等。從天人合一的立場出發,道門中人通過具體實踐和總結,形成了一套火候操作的流程,其大體精神就是效法日月交替、陰陽轉換的節律來掌控火候的進退。後來,這種理論也引入了內丹修煉活動之中。就內丹學的角度而言,所謂「火候」無非是一種形容,它指的是意念和呼吸的運用程度。在煉丹家的心目中,掌握火候,這是非常重要的事情,甚至可以說是金丹煉制能否成功的決定性一環。向來,在道門中,有「藥物易知,火候難準」的說法,因此必須謹慎從事。內丹家劉一明在《悟真直指》中指出,「火」指的是修持之功力,「候」指的是修持之次序。火候有幾種不同的情況,有文烹火候,有武煉火候,有下手火候,有止歇火候,有還丹火候,有大丹火候,有增減火候,有溫養火候,等等。火候的秘要,在於意念,所謂「念」就是雜亂的心思念頭;「意」指駕馭呼吸的自我之「神」。雜亂的念頭不可妄起;如果妄起了,那就會致使火躁;而神意則不能散失,如果散失了,那就會致使火冷。故而,應該明了其動靜,審察其寒溫,以象徵的法度來看,這就是必須效法天時之進退。例如以一日而言,有子午卯酉之轉換;以一年而言,有亥子之交替,唯有知曉陰陽變遷,才能與時共進退,煉成大丹。 The theory of "huohou" originally came from the operations of external alchemy, e.g. the technique of the yellow and the white. It refers to techniques, procedures, and changes in temperature during the alchemical operation...Later, this theory was brought into the cultivation of internal alchemy. From the perspective of internal alchemy, "huohou" functions as a descriptor: It refers to the degree of intent and breathing applied...The secret of "huohou" is intent (yinian). Nian refers to chaotic thoughts in the mind. Yi refers to the spirit which drives and controls breathing. Chaotic thoughts should not be allowed to arise without restraint. If they arise without restraint, then the fire will become overexcited. Furthermore, the yi of the spirit should not be allowed to dissipate. If it dissipates, then the fire will become cold... http://zh.daoinfo.org/wiki/%E7%81%AB%E5%80%99 What you're referring to, if I understand you correctly, is more the popular or slang meaning of the word. Btw, this site (道教文化中心資料庫) is really good (where I got the definition from): http://zh.daoinfo.org/wiki/%E9%A6%96%E9%A0%81 It's basically Wikipedia for Daoism. It has a Chinese and an English version. It even includes the definition and explanation of the major processes in internal alchemy, in both Chinese and English. (I'm definitely going to rely on this when we fix up the translation later.)
  12. Hi everyone. Don't worry about the "back and forth". I really appreciate the interest everyone has taken in this. I was just busy the last few days with school and job interviews. I'll get back to a steady translation routine as soon as possible. 问:防危?答曰:防火候之差失,忌梦寐之昏迷。翠虚曰:精生有时,时至神知,百刻之中,切忌昏迷。 Question: What is "preventing danger"? Answer: To prevent error in applying the fire (e.g. its degree and duration), one must avoid a dream-like stupor. Mr. Cuixu said, "The essence is generated at a specific time. When the time comes, the spirit knows. Throughout the hundred quarter-hours*, the most important point is to avoid stupor." *zdic says that "hundred quarter-hours" refers to one day and night. 问:交合?答曰:磁石吸铁,隔碍潜通。 Question: What is "copulation"? Answer: A lodestone attracts iron. It communicates secretly through obstacles. *I'm not sure if I translated this correctly. First, I'm not sure if copulation is the right translation for jiaohe. Second, I'm not sure how the two phrases in the answer relate to each other. 问:有无?答曰:金碧经曰:有无互相制,上有青龙居,两无宗一有,灵化妙难窥。 Question: What are being and non-being? Answer: The Golden Jade Sutra says, "Being and non-being control each other. The abode of the green dragon is above. The two non-beings are rooted in the one being. The spirituous transformation is marvelous and hard to glimpse at." 问:刑德?答曰:阳为德,德出则万物生,阴为刑,刑出则万物死。故二月阳中含阴而榆荚落,象金砂随阴气动静落在胎中,故曰归根也。八月阴中含阳而荞麦生象金,水随阳气滋液于鼎内,故卯酉乃刑德相负,阴阳两停,故息符火也。 Question: What are punishment and virtue? Answer: Yang is virtue - When virtue comes out, all things grow. Yin is punishment - When punishment comes out, all things die. Therefore, since yang contains yin in the second month, elm pods drop. This symbolises metal sand following the movement and stillness of yin qi, dropping into the fetus - Hence, this is called returning to the root. Since yin contains yang in the eighth month, buckwheat grows. This symbolises metal water following the juice of yang qi in the tripod. Therefore, mao and you* are the points where punishment and virtue carry each other, and yin and yang both stop. Therefore, here the fu fire ceases. *My understanding is that when applying the earthly branches to the months, the first month is always 寅(yin2). Therefore, mao is the second month, and you is the eighth month. From Baidu:   月:正月是由寅开始,每个月的地支固定不变,然后依次与天干组合;由第一年的正月丙寅月、二月是丁卯月、三月是戊辰。从甲子月到癸亥月,共六十甲子,刚好五年。 *榆荚 = yu2jia2 = elm pods ... 问:黑白?答曰:参同契曰:知白守黑,神明自来。白者,金也。黑者,水也。以金水之根而为药基矣。 Question: What are black and white? Answer: Cantongqi says, "If you know the white but guard the black, then spiritual clarity will come automatically. White refers to metal. Black refers to water. This means to use the root of metal and water to create the foundation of the medicine." 问:寒暑?答曰:真一子曰:不应刻漏,风雨不调,水旱相伐。或阳火过刻,或阴符失节。凝冬变为大暑;盛夏反作浓霜,火候过差,灵汞飞走,运火之士可不谨之! Question: What are coldness and heat? (e.g. of winter and summer) Answer: If things don't match up with the water clock, then wind and rain will not be regulated, and flood and drought will follow each other. In some cases, the yang fire is too much. In other cases, the yin fu is too much. Then, deep winter becomes great heat, and deep summer becomes thick frost. If the duration and degree of the fire is in error, then the spirituous mercury will fly away. A gentleman who operates the fire cannot afford to be careless in this!
  13. Spirituality and Religion

    It is impossible to "simply live life not harming others or yourself", because different cultures have different assumptions and rules to deal with things. These rules generally serve the needs of the majority of the people - It facilitates social interaction and a sense of community. A minority may be detrimentally placed with regard to these rules, but this happens in all societies. I don't believe that "so long as you're not harming anyone else or yourself" is sufficient, because a person has duty to his family and community. By virtue of having grown up in a family and a community, a person has obligations which he must fulfill. These family and community ties are what gives warmth to a place. Also, when a person is in need, there would be relatives and neighbours to take care of him. A place where everyone is simply "not harming anyone else" is a place where everyone is an atom - not a place I would want to live or be able to belong to. While people come in all shapes and forms (some more moral or upright than others), and in this sense have a place in the universe, a person should strive to improve himself over the course of his lifetime to live a life of uprightness and integrity.
  14. Spirituality and Religion

    With regard to sexual morality, I don't think any religion (apart from some streams of Buddhism) sees sex as inherently immoral. In fact, most religions, including Confucianism, Daoism*, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, see sex as something beautiful and to be celebrated. They just believe that sex should occur within the confines of marriage - a position I agree with. *The Quanzhen sect is against sex. I'm not sure about the exact positions of the other sects. The modern mentality sees sex as something purely biological. This is why it takes an utilitarian approach to sex, calculated in terms of pleasure and reproduction. The traditional understanding of sex is far deeper. It sees sex as the reenactment of the relationship between Heaven and Earth, the ultimate male and female principles. Once one accepts this deeper understanding, then the religious approach to sex will follow. Plus, I don't think I'm the only one who dislike the modern Western approach to sexual morality (e.g. anything goes). In fact, most of my friends (including both Chinese and White people) would agree with me. We see the crassness of modern Western pop-culture, the decreasing respect between the sexes, the death of chivalry and femininity. (Chinese pop-culture is in a better position right now, but maybe not for long.) Perhaps we're just a particularly conservative cluster, but there is something beautiful and innocent about the traditional world, which is not found today. This is aside from the fact that adultery often leads to serious repercussions. I don't mean to justify criminal acts on the part of the aggrieved husband or wife, but one can understand why in a traditional society, people would want to have clear and well-defined rules regarding male and female interaction. At its core, religion represents what a community views as true, good, and beautiful. This is why there will always be religious people. Now, as for the view that religion tells people that they are bad - Of course religion says this - None of us is really living our full moral potential, e.g. What we could be if we really applied ourselves. Self-satisfaction is not a virtue...If we don't know that we are wrong in the first place, how would we ever improve?
  15. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    Oh wait, I think I have another commentary on Daodejing at home, and it's a really early commentary. Let me look that up to compare with Heshanggong and Wang Bi.
  16. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    I feel that to continue participating in this discussion, I must first make a thorough study of both Heshanggong and Wang Bi's commentaries. Below is Chapter Four of Heshanggong's commentary. I translated as an exercise. Summary: The first part of the chapter describes the Way as being like a cup. Then, it gives practical instructions for imitating the Way. Lastly, it describes the Way as coming before Heaven and Earth - hence lasting longer than all things. *I'm going to get back to the "Questions and Answers" translation as soon as possible. 无源第四 Chapter Four: Without Origin 道冲而用之 The Way is like a cup and uses this. 冲,中也。 "Like a cup" should be understood as "middle". 道匿名藏誉,其用在中。 The Way hides Its name and stores up Its reputation. The part which functions is the middle. 或不盈, At times, it is not full. 或,常也。 "At times" should be understood as "always". 道常谦虚不盈满。 The Way is always humble and does not spill over. 渊乎似万物之宗。 It is deep, as though It is the source of ten thousand things. 道渊深不可知,似为万物知宗祖。 It is deep and unknowable, as though It were the ancestor of ten thousand things*. *There is quite clearly a typo ("zhi") in the Chinese original. 挫其锐, Dull your sharpness. 锐,进也。 Sharpness here means "to advance". 人欲锐精进取功名,当挫止之,法道不自见也。 When you have an acute desire to advance in achievement and reputation, you should dull and stop this desire, in order to imitate how the Way does not reveal Itself. 解其纷, Untangle your tangles. 纷,结恨也。 Tangle here means "hatred". 当念道无为以解释。 To untangle and let go of hatred, you should remember that the Way does nothing (e.g. non-action). 和其光, Let your light be gentle. 言虽有独见之明,当知闇昧,不当以擢乱人也。 This means, even though you are bright enough to have independent views, you should know dimness and should not pull them out to confuse people. 同其尘。 Make yourself the same as dust. 当与众庶同垢尘,不当自别殊。 You should be share in the dust of the crowd, rather than to distinguish yourself. 湛兮似若存。 Clear as though almost existing. 言当湛然安静,故能长存不亡。 This means, you should be peaceful and quiet like still water. This way you can live long and not perish. *The original meaning of "zhan" is clearness (e.g. of water). I believe that the commentary draws out the fact that still water is clear. 吾不知谁之子, I don't know whose son It is. 老子言:我不知,道所从生。 Laozi means, "I don't know from where the Way arises." 象帝之先。 It seems to have come before the Lord. 道自在天帝之前,此言道乃先天地之生也。 The Way of course existed before the Heavenly Lord. Here, this means that the Way existed before Heaven and Earth. 至今在者,以能安静湛然,不劳烦欲使人修身法道。 As for those who are still here - They are still here because they can be peaceful and quiet like still water, without exhausting themselves over frustrating desires, causing others to cultivate themselves and imitate the Way. *I wonder if there is a typo in the Chinese original with respect to punctuation.
  17. Hi everyone. I'll be brief. I want to start a new Chinese-English translation project, translating texts from either Daoism or general Chinese spirituality. My goals are: (1) I figure I would attain a deeper understanding of the texts if I translated. (2) Merit generated from propagating Daoism. (3) Foundation for eventual website or blog. (4) Meet friends; find like-minded people. (5) Improve peace and harmony between English-speaking and Chinese-speaking people through cultural exchange. My questions to everyone here: (1) Is there any particular text you would like to see translated? (Preferably one that has not been translated before.) (2) Anyone here want to cooperate with me on this project? Thank you for reading.
  18. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    "道生一" implies that Dao is the source of everything. If Wang Bi's division is correct, that means Wu and You are the source of everything, making them the same as Dao. But then Laozi just said that "The Name which can be spoken is not the true Name". Whereas with Heshanggong's division, Named and Nameless tie directly into the verse before them. Clearly, Nameless refers to the true Way and the true Name in the first couplet.
  19. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    I just thought of something. I believe Heshanggong's central claim to be reasonable, because it draws upon a common theme in the Confucian Classics: (1) A person must first rule himself before he can rule others. (2) The central symbolism of Confucianism is the Sage, who is seen to be the center of society and the universe. (This symbolism can be found everywhere in 礼记.) Therefore, the process of cultivation is no different from ruling a country. The only difference is the scale. This metaphor can also be seen everywhere in Chinese medicine. If we look at chapter 3 of Daodejing: 不尚賢,使民不爭;不貴難得之貨,使民不為盜;不見可欲,使心不亂。是以聖人之治,虛其心,實其腹,弱其志,強其骨。常使民無知無欲。使夫知者不敢為也。為無為,則無不治。 At first, we may think that this refers solely to politics. This would result in a shallow understanding of the text. In fact, the text refers to both politics and self-cultivation, because the principles of both are the same. Note: In fact, I have heard my martial arts teacher quote 虚其心,实其腹 with reference to 站桩. Heshanggong's commentary accords with this: 是以圣人之治, 说圣人治国与治身同也。 虚其心, 除嗜欲,去乱烦。 实其腹, 怀道抱一守,五神也。 弱其志, 和柔谦让,不处权也。 强其骨。 爱精重施,髓满骨坚。 If Heshanggong is correct, whenever Daodejing refers to politics, that can be taken as a reference to cultivation. Where Heshanggong refers to politics, that can also be taken as a reference to cultivation.
  20. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    Yes, but there are rhymes everywhere in Daodejing, which means that poetic conventions are a good heuristic for figuring the original intent.
  21. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    Well, I'm nowhere near fully comprehending Daodejing - This was why I was reluctant at first to give a translation. I'll offer an addition argument in favour of Heshanggong: Daodejing is a collection of rhymes and verses. This is because it is the written version of a previously oral tradition. Heshanggong's punctuation sounds natural to me. For instance, in 无名,天地之始, the two parts are two syllables and four syllables, which flows in Chinese. In the Wang Bi translation, the two parts are one syllable and five syllables, which sounds awkward in Chinese. I must add that everything I've said up to now are tentative arguments - e.g. the Devil's advocate. I'm not sufficiently familiar with Classical Daoism to decide one way or another, although I'm personally sympathetic toward the idea that Classical Daoism and later religious Daoism form an unbroken tradition, and that Heshanggong's commentary form a key link between the two.
  22. The Dao De Jhing is a shamanistic treatise

    I believe we run into the problem of 断句 here, because 河上公 punctuates the verse one way (e.g. 无名,天地之始;有名,万物之母), whereas 王弼 punctuates the verse another way (e.g. 无,名天地之始;有,名万物之母). You have to consider lineage, too. Here I speak from my background in Confucianism: Pre-Qin texts were not punctuated. They also contain difficult words (e.g. where the meaning is unclear). This is why in the early Han Dynasty, lineage is deeply important for Confucianism - The teacher imparts not only the text, but also the correct way to read and understand it. (In effect, an oral teaching component.) There is a rule: 注不驳经,疏不破注 - The commentary should not argue with the Classic, and the explanation of the commentary should not break the commentary. It seems to me that Wang Bi basically made stuff up. He came to the text for the first time, disregarded all previous commentaries, and then gave his own interpretation. I'm not sure where Heshanggong got his stuff from, but at least he is from early Han and so is closer to the original tradition.
  23. Spirituality and Religion

    I must say my point of view is somewhat different from others who have commented above. If we look back at all the great teachers who have come to our world, including Daoist teachers, the vast majority of them did not see religion and spirituality as being in conflict. In fact, most of them were deeply pious in their own right. There are some inner teachings which aren't appropriate for most believers, but it doesn't mean that people with access to inner teachings are somehow better. It's just that the two groups are at different stages in their development - and not necessarily that those with inner teachings are further along. In my view, exoteric teachings, e.g. moral codes, are required for building a solid foundation for esoteric practices. If a person doesn't have the discipline to follow basic moral codes, how can he be expected to attain the goals of esoteric practices? (This is quite different from when a master has already attained the goal and can dispense with common customs in order to enlighten his students.)