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Taoist Texts

9 下德 Xiade The virtue of the people

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《下德》

 

老子曰:身處江海之上,心在魏闕之下,即重生,重生即輕利矣。猶不能自勝即從之,神無所害也,不能自勝而強不從,是謂重傷,重傷之人無壽類矣。故曰:{知和曰常,知常曰明,益生曰祥,心使氣曰強,}是謂玄同,用其光,復歸其明。

 

{Parallel to TTC 55}

 

Lao-zi said: “the body is by the rivers and the sea, the heart is at the court of Wei” means to lead a double life, and to lead a double life means to neglect your own profit. If you can not overcome your desire to go (to the court) – then go so your spirit is not harmed; but if you can not overcome your desire to go and yet would not go – that would be called a double injury, those who have double injury are not longevous. Therefore it is said: {capability of harmony is constancy, benefiting life is a good omen, command the qi with heart is strength} all of it is called the Dark Unity, its usable brightness comes from returning to the bright spirits.

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Chuang Tzu spoke to this concept numerous times. Yes, we must keep the heart in the body. That is where it belongs. And the mind should be in the heart. (Yes, I know I am speaking counter to things ir have previously said in other threads but I am being true to my understandings.)

 

Much like a person working a job their entire live that they must force themself to do. Yes, they had a life, but they did not live.

 

No matter where one would go during their lifetime, if they are not "home" wherever they are then they are in the wrong place.

 

 

 

Edit to add:

 

Home is where the heart is.

Edited by Marblehead
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《下德》

 

老子曰:身處江海之上,心在魏闕之下,即重生,重生即輕利矣。猶不能自勝即從之,神無所害也,不能自勝而強不從,是謂重傷,重傷之人無壽類矣。故曰:{知和曰常,知常曰明,益生曰祥,心使氣曰強,}是謂玄同,用其光,復歸其明。

 

{Parallel to TTC 55}

 

Lao-zi said: “the body is by the rivers and the sea, the heart is at the court of Wei” means to lead a double life, and to lead a double life means to neglect your own profit. If you can not overcome your desire to go (to the court) – then go so your spirit is not harmed; but if you can not overcome your desire to go and yet would not go – that would be called a double injury, those who have double injury are not longevous. Therefore it is said: {capability of harmony is constancy, benefiting life is a good omen, command the qi with heart is strength} all of it is called the Dark Unity, its usable brightness comes from returning to the bright spirits.

 

One of my all-time favorite ideas. In taoism, it is applied to many sciences. E.g. in medicine, the truly spectacular formulas which are appreciated by those in the know not just as treatment vehicles but as artful works of deep wisdom, are put together just so as to unify numerous ingredients into a whole that is internally harmonized, with no part pulling or pushing too much or not enough -- very complex properties of very different herbs are interlaced in such masterpieces so as to reach a common goal. In Chinese fortune telling, a skillful reader will likewise determine a unified goal for all phases of qi involved, with particular attention to situations where something is strong at the expense of something else, and either propose to weaken the strong but counterproductive drive, or, alternatively, to appoint it the leader and subordinate the rest of the phases to its strength, even if it's not the most balancing scenario. This approach is actually known as "follow the leader" in bazi (Four Pillars) readings and is resorted to when balancing things is not an option but neither is ignoring or resisting an inherent strong vector of a particular phase of qi (the source of what those NOT in the know dismiss as "desires," as though by giving this pull a name that suggests voluntary choice of having or not having this pull in one's makeup may provide such choice in reality -- which is not the case. The choice is to act or not act on the pull once it is consciously discovered and understood for what it really is. But to have or not have it... no, this is written in the stars, and is quite a bit trickier to overwrite.)

 

So, to continue with the bazi example, to be born with an unbalanced chart is exactly the situation described in Wenzi -- "the body by the rivers and the sea, the heart at the court of Wei." One must overcome the imbalance -- the pull of, say, inherently strong Fire to the court of Wei, because going there will increase the imbalance. But if one can't overcome it, "follow the leader" is the principle chosen -- if your Fire is leading you to the court of Wei, let the rivers and the sea dry up but go there, don't go for the double injury of neither extinguishing the excessive Fire nor nourishing it.

 

This, incidentally, was John Lennon's bazi situation. He went with the "follow the leader" scenario. "Going down in a blaze of glory" is what it does, whoever is after fame and fortune, upon choosing this route, would throw all he's got into the already excessive Fire so as to be rocket fueled to reach the court of Wei. Whoever is after a long peaceful life, on the other hand, would choose the opposite route, extinguish the Fire, and again avoid the double injury. But whoever does neither and is torn between the two drives is doubly injured. No fame, no fortune, no long peaceful life.

Edited by Taomeow
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下德

 

1 下德:

老子曰:治身,太上養神,其次養形,神清意平,百節皆寧,養生之本也,肥肌膚,充腹腸,供嗜欲,養生之末也。治國,太上養化,其次正法,民交讓爭處卑,財利爭受少,事力爭就勞,日化上而遷善,不知其所以然,治之本也,利賞而勸善,畏刑而不敢為非,法令正於上,百姓服於下,治之末也,上世養本,而下世事末。

 

Lao-zi said: to govern his body, the emperor nourishes his spirit first, then nourishes his body, if the spirit is pure and the intent calm – then the 100 joints will all be at peace, such is the root of nourishing life. But to fatten the flesh, to fill the belly and guts, to fulfill the desires – that is shallow nourishment of life.

 

To govern his state, the emperor nourishes converting the people first, then nourishes the righteous laws, if the people yield to each other and compete for the lowest place, then there will little strife for money and profit, the subjects will compete in service, and will convert to the better day by day, without even knowing that it is so, such is the root of the governing. But to use profit and motivate to be good with it, to scare with punishment so nobody dares to do evil, to produce the decrees from above to make obedient the 100 families below, that is shallow governing.

 

The ancients nourished the root, the descendants are busy with the shallow.

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What might the "court of Wei" represent in our lives, and when does one know to extinguish a "phase of Qi," versus following it? It's relatively easy for me to relinquish my attraction to the things that pull on me, and I feel that total and utter relinquishment of motivation and intention are the highest and most nourishing good for my spirit, but I sense that I am relatively alone in this perspective, so it's difficult to maintain it. As a result, opportunities come along, passions arise, interests build (for me it's graduate school to learn Chinese medicine, Naturopathic medicine, or both). In regards to the latter, my interest in medical science has created a stream of intention that leads into a convoluted, expensive and arduous path into naturopathy. I see how here my "body is by the river" and my heart is at the "court of Wei," and with this sagely advice I find it tremendously easy to let go of the desire to go to the court of Wei. But am I to relinquish all interest in developing a career, of learning new things? Would going to Chinese medicine school still be a case of going to the court of Wei? How do I tell the difference between a restless "phase of Qi" that can be overcome and let go of, versus one that is in the highest interest? Are all movements to be relinquished? I've had a very hard time understanding whether it's wise or not to abandon all relative pursuits and rest indolently with my head at the fountain of the infinite.

Edited by Yasjua

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I've had a very hard time understanding whether it's wise or not to abandon all relative pursuits and rest indolently with my head at the fountain of the infinite.

it is wise if you have the fountain. if you dont - that would be double injury. most people have no fountain. so being wise is first of all being realistic as to how unique you are.

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I've tried to reinterpret the "court of Wei" with wider eyes. Perhaps what keeps me coming back to the idea is not the pull of medicine per se, but the more general background hypnosis of society and economy, which I've tried to shake many times, but have never fully been able to discard outside of meditation. In samadhi all is profoundly well. The planet amounts to luscious, beautiful curvature and life force animation, and the presence of self-interest vanishes, but outside meditation, as the senses reactive the grooves of conditioning, I inevitably find myself trying to find a place in the world. Thus, I would conclude that the pull of society is still too strong to resist, and I should indeed move toward a career, if not a particular one. A couple of people have helped me shake this conditioning a few times in my life, but it comes back and has a subtle but highly influential background effect on my thought and perception processes.

Edited by Yasjua

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