dawei

Five Important Themes of the DDJ

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I talked to FH about moving the 'DDJ themes' discussion into a new thread so we could focus on that. The general Q&A can be used to bring up any DDJ topic and others are welcome to just start a thread to FH on something very specific as they want.

 

Here are the five themes this thread will be about.

 

1 the self

2 the female principle

3 the spirit/ energy

4 politics and human wisdom

5 enlightenment and spiritual cultivation

 

I have pasted some relevant past posts but I know I may not of gotten eveything but this seems enough background to continue on.

 

----

 

FH:

"This leads me nicely in to 'self' for here lies the problem with the modern world. There are so many aspects of what is so wrong with who we are and who the self is, controlling our behavior and our perspectives. These things decide how we treat other living things and how we run our world. We are no better than any other life form, but we use and abuse other life forms like they belong to us to do this. We entrap them, we have no respect for them, they are simply food in a burger, or the object of our testing of chemicals or drugs. We no longer go out and hunt our food, make good use of all its body and give it respect that it deserves. The self no longer understands this fundamental equality of life. So this is understanding the self in relation to the Tao. Relate yourself to life and its course and walk along with it but remembering the fundamental equality and value of life. This is the first understanding. From this we go further. 2 & 3 I will answer later. Remember wu wei is active intent not non action."

 

"So we start off with the view of equality and value of life, this is sacred. Now from this understanding we have a lifetimes practice of understanding ourselves, which is a very difficult process and can be done with a teacher who is going to be with you for your entire life, who is perfect. An Immortal. They will begin to show you what you have to change within yourself that prevents you from acting and being a perfect person. They will teach you to have insight and control, when to act and when not to. The more powerful one becomes the softer one becomes also, until one cannot recognize or know how powerful one has become, because the power doesn't matter. So if one is greedy and not of a good heart, one may have ambitions to have great power and wield it. The Immortals have great power, enough to create the sun and all the planets in our universe and yet they do not interfere, or do they use their power. So the self must begin to know where lies the weaknesses and where are the strengths. This is called 'self cultivation'. Along with this comes other practices to help the mind and body overcome physical and mental blocks. I am still on this process and will be till I die, it never stops."

 

"Ok lets remain with the theme of the 'self' in relation to Li Erh Xian Shi's transmission to me.

 

The first stanza that really talks of the the 'self' although in lots of ways many of the stanzas hint or have undercurrents about the 'self'"

 

4

The Dao is forever like an unfathomable empty space.

If used, it can never be used up.

It is the source of the Ten Thousand Things.

Look with your heart, see its form in the glare,

be at one with the dust of the Earth, simplify your nature.

For it is ever present, hidden in the depths of the myriad things.

I don't know from whence it came, but it is great.

 

"I do beleive that in this stanza Li Erh is talking 'double', he is eluding to self cultivation and spiritual practices of self cultivation and the origin of all things. How life can come to recognize and perceive the great mystery, by being at one with the dust of the earth etc. Desire is mentioned many times in the DDJ which is obviously linked with the self. Ie if one wants to be at one with the dust of the earth, desire is one aspect that one has to be truly rid of. So it goes on......."

 

"Self is not spirit, self is the layers that are put upon the spirit that we need to survive, but also prevent us from seeing and feeling and being at one with the Tao."

 

"Spirit is the pure untainted energy that exists in all things, it is creator of the ten thousand things, it is both male and female."

 

 

We have still not finished exploring the 'self'. Before we move on to the female principle.

 

The 'way' and the 'self'

 

There seems to there are some great contradictions in self cultivation of the 'self', any ideas???

 

Some clues; we may cultivate emptiness but we need to be full.

 

 

Does the true self in Tao experience "pride"?

 

>Some clues; we may cultivate emptiness but we need to be full.

 

Would you say that emptiness leads to oneness (being full)?

 

 

For me, it is not about ego, it is about value and worth in the light of the very reason why I am here on this site. It is far beyond my ego the importance of giving people the information of the future of the world to come. I value what my masters have taught me, those that would try their best to defame me do not help themselves or others. A Holyman does not tell lies, I am not here to tell you lies or to get something from you. Not only is this deeply insulting to a man of the Taoist cloth so to speak, but it puts the Immortal Masters in the same position. One might as well go to their Temples and spit on the Temple floor! Which reminds me of a very good illustration of a similar thing in Malaysia when I was there.

 

The person of Dao experiences all things therefore they are whole.

 

Emptiness is not necessarily full. Fullness can be empty. The state of the 'self' is all important and having understanding. When I say understanding I mean of all things, including that 2+2=4.

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I talked to FH about moving the 'DDJ themes' discussion into a new thread so we could focus on that. The general Q&A can be used to bring up any DDJ topic and others are welcome to just start a thread to FH on something very specific as they want.

 

Here are the five themes this thread will be about.

 

1 the self

2 the female principle

3 the spirit/ energy

4 politics and human wisdom

5 enlightenment and spiritual cultivation

 

...

 

 

Hello Dawei,

 

I thought I might weigh in on this topic and my own specific views, although they may differ a bit from Flowing Hands.

 

In regards to self, the Tao Teh Ching and even the Chuang Tzu do not go into any great detail about self, or how we should view self, rather I think this obsession came later with the introduction of Buddhism into Chinese culture, as a result it became very important to adherents of Taoism to come up with a concrete description of self, when in my own opinion, I don't think Lao Tzu (or Chaung Tzu) felt it was necessary.

 

Chaung Tzu does have his famous Butterfly revelation, but even that isn't so much contemplating what we are, but rather our place within society, so in essence what is essential for a Taoist is understanding his place within the world as a whole, not just the "natural" world, but the "unnatural" aspects as well, such as culture, morality, and society in general. So the question for me isn't so much "what is self", but rather how do we as individuals relate to the world around us.

 

The female principle in my mind is very important, especially since we live in a very macho culture, we tend to forget the importance of the feminine. Remember that unless we can keep to the feminine, we cannot be the brook of the world. Now achieving an understanding of the feminine requires that we also remember the importance of virtue, for the feminine cannot be attained with virtue, for it's very nature is that of creation and the sustenance from which all life is born. The virtues of compassion, non-competition, and frugality seem to be interwoven with this idea, in fact these principles are the same ones we associate with the ideal mother, she is loving to her children, teaches her children to get along with others, and also scrimps and saves in order to provide for her children. By practicing these virtues in our life, we can be the brook of the world. It does not require a lifetime of teaching by anyone, for these virtues exist within each of us, we just need to learn to act upon them. There is much more I could say about the feminine, but for the sake of brevity, if one remembers the three jewels, then they really don't need to know anything else in order to hold to the feminine.

 

Much ado is made about spirit and energy, but I think there is a reason that it is only alluded to in the Tao Teh Ching and Chuang Tzu rather than overtly expressed, because spirit and energy are secondary to Te and Tao. If one has not achieved an understanding of Te and Tao, then understanding spirit and energy is useless, for one can achieve great skill in these practices, but never understand the source from which they come, ultimately failing to understand the purpose of cultivating energy in the first place. So my recommendation for those interested in Qi is to also study the Tao Teh Ching, understand the Te and virtue, both High Virtue and Low Virtue, and from this understanding you will find your own practice elevated to higher levels.

 

Now if we want to talk about the nature of spirit and energy in the Tao Teh Ching, that could be very enigmatic, because the notion of these things is intricately related to the mystery of mysteries, so again, discussing these things is sort of like trying to discuss the color red with someone who is blind, you can describe it to them, even hand them something that is red, but unless they are able to see it, they will never understand fully what you are talking about.

 

In regards to politics and human wisdom, only a very ignorant or self absorbed person can read the Tao Teh Ching and not see that it was intended to be used as a political handbook. We like to apply it to our daily lives and there is nothing wrong with that, but the intention was for it to be read by the rulers of the day so that they could apply its teaching and learn to rule in a just and compassionate manner. Again, that doesn't mean we can't apply these virtues in our own lives, but I don't believe that Lao Tzu intended the Tao Teh Ching to be used in that manner. The fact that it has become such a powerful and influential manuscript is a testament to the truth that resides within the manuscript. One need not be the ruler of a kingdom to see the wisdom of it's teachings, nor does one need to be a Sage to practice the virtues expressed within and benefit those around them.

 

In regards to enlightenment and cultivation, so much has been said and is said regarding this topic, that rather than rehash those old debates, I would rather express what I feel is significant regarding Taoist enlightenment, and that is that its root is firmly placed in the ideas of dualism. This is how it differentiates from Buddhism, in that in Taoism the world is not transient in nature, nor is it an illusion, rather it is very real and it is part of who we are. In many regards Taoism is more closely related to Advaita Vedanta than it is to Buddhism. We are encouraged, not to detach ourselves from desire, but to diminish them. We are not told that light and dark do not exist, but rather that they are linked to each other. We are encouraged, not to distinguish the truth from a lie, but to realize both are the same thing. In Taoist enlightenment we do not come to a realization that nothing exists, but that everything exists and it comes from a single source. It is understanding that source that brings us enlightenment, and this enlightenment may free us from the fear of death, but it does not erase our sins or karmic debt (because they don't exist in Taoism), rather it allows us an understanding of how the universe works and in understanding this, we can become beneficial to all things. It is only through this understanding that we can truly put the world before ourselves, sacrifice our own comfort for others, and understand how calamity can be a blessing.

 

Anyways it's late and I don't have much more time to type, so I'll leave it there. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask, though I have a feeling most people aren't interested in these answers.

 

Aaron

Edited by Twinner
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4

The Dao is forever like an unfathomable empty space.

If used, it can never be used up.

It is the source of the Ten Thousand Things.

Look with your heart, see its form in the glare,

be at one with the dust of the Earth, simplify your nature.

For it is ever present, hidden in the depths of the myriad things.

I don't know from whence it came, but it is great.

 

I am interested in discussing the inner meaning of the TTC. I also think a topic on comparing Taoist enlightenment to Buddhist enlightenment would be interesting, but I think that should be a different and separate thread.

 

For me, the line "Look with your heart, see its form in the glare, be at one with the dust of the Earth, simplify your nature." has deep mystical meaning pointing to the Self.

 

Flowing Hands - Could you describe the deep meaning of "look with your heart" and "see its form in the glare"? I believe these two statements tell us much.

 

:)

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I am interested in discussing the inner meaning of the TTC. I also think a topic on comparing Taoist enlightenment to Buddhist enlightenment would be interesting, but I think that should be a different and separate thread.

 

For me, the line "Look with your heart, see its form in the glare, be at one with the dust of the Earth, simplify your nature." has deep mystical meaning pointing to the Self.

 

Flowing Hands - Could you describe the deep meaning of "look with your heart" and "see its form in the glare"? I believe these two statements tell us much.

 

:)

When one is in a mental state that is at one with everything, one sees with the heart, not with the eyes. One feels the energy and oneness of the world and what connects all things. One cannot see the essence of the Dao but one can feel it through the passage of heart cultivation. The most important words of the DDJ are 'Dao Xin.'

Getting to this state is part of the process of self cultivation. It is a very difficult path that really needs an Immortal to teach properly as it can be dangerous.

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I am interested in discussing the inner meaning of the TTC. I also think a topic on comparing Taoist enlightenment to Buddhist enlightenment would be interesting, but I think that should be a different and separate thread.

:)

 

You could compare the paths / ways to enlightenment.

Enlightenment is enlightenment there is no difference :)

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You could compare the paths / ways to enlightenment.

Enlightenment is enlightenment there is no difference :)

 

Completely agree... But, that discussion would be better for a different thread. :)

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When one is in a mental state that is at one with everything, one sees with the heart, not with the eyes. One feels the energy and oneness of the world and what connects all things. One cannot see the essence of the Dao but one can feel it through the passage of heart cultivation. The most important words of the DDJ are 'Dao Xin.'

Getting to this state is part of the process of self cultivation. It is a very difficult path that really needs an Immortal to teach properly as it can be dangerous.

 

Why would it be dangerous or require an immortal? Is not the energy available to all, but most just don't quiet the mind enough to notice it?

 

Could you also go into "see its form in the glare"? What does he mean by "glare"?

 

:)

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Why would it be dangerous or require an immortal? Is not the energy available to all, but most just don't quiet the mind enough to notice it?

 

Could you also go into "see its form in the glare"? What does he mean by "glare"?

 

:)

It is not the quietening of the mind that is dangerous, it is when the mind is at one with all things, it is almost trance like state, the mind no longer knows it has a body as well! In this state, one has to be brought out and back to the body and back to consciousness by someone who really understands what they are doing. One can get stuck, one can damage the mind etc.

 

When looking at objects or other life, one can see the life force vibrating in certain lights and conditions. One can sense the Dao and its source from the energy in the glare coming through say a misty pine forest. Being slightly out of focus we can begin to sense the presence of energy and the Dao. I compare this to whenever I beg the Immortal master to come, when I concentrate, whatever I am looking at begins to loose focus and starts to glare and change light. I sometimes see a golden light cast upon the Holy Table and a blue/white light emanate from the brush I am holding and from my hand. I am beginning to see the Dao's form in the glare of light. Glare I think meaning to use light to soften objects by a background light that alters the objects edges and helps us to feel and see the energy form.

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Thank you.

 

As you said, all form is energy (glare). It is something that we can feel with our heart.

 

:)

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For me three main themes or memes (topics, metaphors) of the DDJ are

the root,

the wheel (w spokes and the empty hub in the center)

and the eternal female/water.

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In regards to self, the Tao Teh Ching and even the Chuang Tzu do not go into any great detail about self, or how we should view self, rather I think this obsession came later with the introduction of Buddhism into Chinese culture, as a result it became very important to adherents of Taoism to come up with a concrete description of self, when in my own opinion, I don't think Lao Tzu (or Chaung Tzu) felt it was necessary.

 

We know the self exists in the sense that we live in terms of the self from having a passport to feeling the brunt of an insult. So, why do you think Lao Tzu felt it was not necessary to deal with self the way the Buddha did?

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We know the self exists in the sense that we live in terms of the self from having a passport to feeling the brunt of an insult. So, why do you think Lao Tzu felt it was not necessary to deal with self the way the Buddha did?

 

Maybe because Laozi wasn't buddhist.

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Maybe because Laozi wasn't buddhist.

 

The 'self' is the most important theme of the DDJ, it is what limits us in our understanding of the world around us and a huge obstacle to the awakening of realization. Li Erh talks about the self very often and it is referred to multiple times by default. It is the underlying understanding that runs all the way through and it has nothing to do with Buddhism, it has everything to do with realization based on a shamanistic culture of understanding of the world around us. Connecting.

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Maybe because Laozi wasn't buddhist.

 

Maybe?

 

Guess what? Maybe Laozi was a clueless American liberal.

 

How's that?

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The 'self' is the most important theme of the DDJ, it is what limits us in our understanding of the world around us and a huge obstacle to the awakening of realization. Li Erh talks about the self very often and it is referred to multiple times by default. It is the underlying understanding that runs all the way through and it has nothing to do with Buddhism, it has everything to do with realization based on a shamanistic culture of understanding of the world around us. Connecting.

 

:-)

 

Also, the importance the "water" in the connecting beyond the "self".

 

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:-)

 

Also, the importance the "water" in the connecting beyond the "self".

 

Ha Ha! now we are coming to the second most important theme: the female principle and water is one of its symbols.

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Maybe?

 

Guess what? Maybe Laozi was a clueless American liberal.

 

How's that?

 

As I'm neither liberal, American nor clueless - I'll yield to you as the expert on that.

 

warm regards

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The 'self' is the most important theme of the DDJ, it is what limits us in our understanding of the world around us and a huge obstacle to the awakening of realization. Li Erh talks about the self very often and it is referred to multiple times by default. It is the underlying understanding that runs all the way through and it has nothing to do with Buddhism, it has everything to do with realization based on a shamanistic culture of understanding of the world around us. Connecting.

 

Perhaps your read of The Laozi finds the 'self' to be a 'huge obstacle to the awakening of realization'; my take is one of suggested integration, a more natural connection without exclusion. We each have our own ways, yes? It's natural our perspectives would be different. (-:

 

warm regards

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We know the self exists in the sense that we live in terms of the self from having a passport to feeling the brunt of an insult. So, why do you think Lao Tzu felt it was not necessary to deal with self the way the Buddha did?

 

See Chapter Seven as one example:

 

(Legge translation)

 

7

 

 

Heaven is long-enduring and earth continues long. The reason

why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is

because they do not live of, or for, themselves. This is how they are

able to continue and endure.

 

Therefore the sage puts his own person last, and yet it is found in

the foremost place; he treats his person as if it were foreign to him,

and yet that person is preserved. Is it not because he has no

personal and private ends, that therefore such ends are realised?

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Perhaps your read of The Laozi finds the 'self' to be a 'huge obstacle to the awakening of realization'; my take is one of suggested integration, a more natural connection without exclusion. We each have our own ways, yes? It's natural our perspectives would be different. (-:

 

warm regards

Regardless of your denial, you do quack like a duck. Maybe you are a different mutant, a Canadian or European strain of the same virus?

Look at you: A natural connection without exclusion; suggested integration; and yet, natural for our perspectives to be different and we each have our own ways.

“Natural” means which is the absolute absence of human artifice including goody-two shoes big-hearted liberalism.

You can't have your way. It's either or the highway.

 

Sorry, rene. You can't fiddle with the Tao Te Ching. It's not democracy, a western idea.

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Regardless of your denial, you do quack like a duck. Maybe you are a different mutant, a Canadian or European strain of the same virus?

 

Look at you: A natural connection without exclusion; suggested integration; and yet, natural for our perspectives to be different and we each have our own ways.

 

“Natural” means 無 為 which is the absolute absence of human artifice including goody-two shoes big-hearted liberalism.

You can't have your way. It's either 無 為 or the highway.

 

Sorry, rene. You can't fiddle with the Tao Te Ching. It's not democracy, a western idea.

 

My goodness you seem to have much antipathy for anyone non-Cantonese! The integration spoken of was one of the spiritual and physical, the simultaneous and unboundaried arising of (you) and (wu) addressed in Chapter 1. Beginning practitioners of some paths suggest a reduction or elimination of "self" and interpret (or first learn) much of the DDJ to that end - only to discover, later in the depths of their practice, that a natural re-integration spontaneously occurs! I'm just a lazy girl who enjoys suggesting overcoming 'either/or' thinking in the first place... even though getting past that mindset from the go seems to be a difficult thing to do, as your post illustrates. I doubt there will be anything I say that might be of any use to you, and so I wish you well on your path. (-:

 

warm regards

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Ha Ha! now we are coming to the second most important theme: the female principle and water is one of its symbols.

 

Then, let us discuss it. Even if no one else pays attention.

 

 

 

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My goodness you seem to have much antipathy for anyone non-Cantonese!

 

There you go again, ducky. Antipathy is a politically-correct word for racism. You pulled my pigtail. And when I pull yours, you call me a racist?

 

The integration spoken of was one of the spiritual and physical, the simultaneous and unboundaried arising of (you) and (wu) addressed in Chapter 1.

 

Oh, you weren't talking about integrating people? Sorry, my mistake and I slap my face for that. But how do you associate "spiritual and physical" with " (you) and (wu)" addressed in Chapter 1? That is one hell of a giant leap even for Sun WuKong (孫悟空) let alone a Cantonese.

 

Beginning practitioners of some paths suggest a reduction or elimination of "self" and interpret (or first learn) much of the DDJ to that end - only to discover, later in the depths of their practice, that a natural re-integration spontaneously occurs! I'm just a lazy girl who enjoys suggesting overcoming 'either/or' thinking in the first place... even though getting past that mindset from the go seems to be a difficult thing to do, as your post illustrates. I doubt there will be anything I say that might be of any use to you, and so I wish you well on your path. (-:

 

My path runs right through you for I have much use for any non-Cantonese who professes to know the .

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But how do you associate "spiritual and physical" with " (you) and (wu)" addressed in Chapter 1? That is one hell of a giant leap even for Sun WuKong (孫悟空) let alone a Cantonese.

 

Please take this to Rene's Thread, The Two States of Tao:

 

http://thetaobums.com/topic/24462-the-states-of-tao/

 

 

Let us get back to the main themes defined by the thread.... Thanks.

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