Yueya

The Daoist Sage - Childlike?

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I posted this video clip yesterday on the 'animals and chi/jing' thread.-

 

 

When I first watched it a couple of years ago I saw an amazing interaction of child and leopard - both beautiful and with an edge of danger. However when I re-watched it before posting I also saw it as an excellent allegory for Daoist practice along the lines on the Ox Herder poems from Chan.

 

The little girl - a symbol of the childlike spirit and De (virtue) of the Daoist sage.

The leopard - a symbol for the mind of Dao.

 

The clip opens with the child leaving conditioned reality (society's values - the road, car and family). She wanders alone in the wilderness without a destination but her heart seeks the leopard. Child and leopard meet. And then what happens? Comments welcome. 

 

 

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What happens?  A merging.  Tzujan.  The De of Dao.

 

Perhaps ultimately but look how the leopard tries to merge with the child by way of play. How dangerous it looks. The child at a loss as to how to respond to the leopard's massive size and hidden power.

Edited by Darkstar
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Perhaps ultimately but look how the leopard tries to merge with the child by way of play. How dangerous it looks. The child at a loss as to how to respond to the leopard's massive size and hidden power.

I have no idea how to respond to this.  Potentially dangerous?  Yes.

 

How do we act and react in situations that are unknown?  Carefully.

 

But the child displayed no fear.  That's important.

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I have no idea how to respond to this.  Potentially dangerous?  Yes.

 

How do we act and react in situations that are unknown?  Carefully.

 

But the child displayed no fear.  That's important.

Yea, fear can be a huge obstacle that is often unnecessary and perhaps the sole instigator of danger in the first place. I live in an area with a lot of raccoons, and these animals can be fiercely territorial. This is even worse when in large groups and in the presence of younglings, so for many of us, steering clear of the animals is considered a necessity. This might now sound so dangerous, but because of the scare of these animals possessing disease and a deceptive degree of strength, you would be warned to stay away if you can help it.

 

However, I was walking home just 2 days ago, and crossing the street were a group of 10 raccoons. Now normally I would be like, "Oh shit, time to head for the hills", but a profoundly powerful sense of calm came from nowhere, and I just chilled and let them come to where I was with no problem. There were at lest 5 younglings, and about 4-6 adults, including one leader who was ridiculously huge for a raccoon. This huge one walked up to me, nudged me with his head really light-like on my knee about 3 times, and then they left. The young ones kinda played with my shoes a bit, and they all scurried away.

 

I nearly laughed hysterically because the event was so surreal to me, not just with the raccoons and the sheer size of the group, but the act of my own emotional state that seemed to pop up instinctually. The leader almost seemed to be giving me a "What's up bro", and in any normal situation you would expect the raccoons to rather never intersect with a human, or to attack in defense. So yea, for me I felt that the lack of fear allowed the raccoons to not only be devoid of fear themselves, but to be welcoming even with younglings to protect.

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For me the images in this clip showing the meeting and interaction of the child and the leopard are far more symbolic of Daoist cultivation than the monk and the ox of the Ox Herder poem sequence. Like the mind of Dao, the leopard is soft and supple most of the time yet can also be powerfully fierce, dangerous. Unlike the ox its independence means it will never be domesticated and used as a farm work animal.  

 

Also the young girl is perfect as a symbol for the Daoist seeker. She spontaneously attracts the leopard through strong De, demonstrating the power of wu wei, rather than the mindful discipline the monk uses to rope the ox. Her bond with the leopard is one of love and respect - they ramble together with no destination so their bond can develop of itself (ziran).

 

Know the male,

yet keep to the female:
receive the world in your arms.
If you receive the world,
the Dao will never leave you

and you will be like a little child.  

 

(Daodejing: Chapter 28)

 

These are but a few of my thoughts on the Daoist symbolism of this short clip. I'm very interested in what other practitioners make of it.

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Nice story.  This caught my attention from a doucumentary I recently watched on TV.

 This huge one walked up to me, nudged me with his head really light-like on my knee about 3 times, and then they left. The young ones kinda played with my shoes a bit, and they all scurried away.

What really happened was you were marked by the alpha male as being an acceptable part of his territory.  This allowed the young ones to have no fear of you.

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Nice story.  This caught my attention from a doucumentary I recently watched on TV.

What really happened was you were marked by the alpha male as being an acceptable part of his territory.  This allowed the young ones to have no fear of you.

Yea, I figured that was what went on. Honestly, they usually just run from people, so to even be confronted by a raccoon is bizarre unless you start chasing them without showing any signs of backing off. For any raccoon to approach a person without a seeming survival-based necessity is rare, really rare. So I was like, "This was very cool, and very bizarre". It was very strange, because I would assume that they would wait for the big guy to approve before they crowded me, but he was actually one of the last ones to come in physical contact with me. This doesn't negate what you said, I agree with it 100%. I just find it bizarre, because in a marking situation, I would think that they would wait until after the approval before  coming to crowd me. But I was pretty much surrounded by them, and he was just so noticeable because those leader raccoons are something else. I mean it's hilarious, because the last word you would associate with a raccoon is "buff" or "jacked", but that one, and others I have seen, look like they bench-press 18-wheelers. When I first saw one of those a few years back, he didn't have to run. My ass turned right around and was like, "... SHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII', ain't got time for all that right there. Brother is too swole". So it was a cool experience, and I wonder if I'll see that group again.

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It's always nice, IMO, to have contact with other species.

 

Tippi Degre, the girl in the clip, said in an interview that she felt totally safe with animals because she could mentally communicate with them. Ah! to have the mind of a child - it's uncommon enough for children to have the mind of a child these days let alone Daoist practitioners. It something that requires long and careful cultivation for an adult. Truly, a Daoist child-like mind is an exceptional achievement.  

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Tippi Degre, the girl in the clip, said in an interview that she felt totally safe with animals because she could mentally communicate with them. Ah! to have the mind of a child - it's uncommon enough for children to have the mind of a child these days let alone Daoist practitioners. It something that requires long and careful cultivation for an adult. Truly, a Daoist child-like mind is an exceptional achievement.  

Hehehe.  I wish I could say that I'm there but if I did it would just be a lie.  But I do know how to let my inner child out now and then.

 

But you are are right, The more complicaed life becomes the less chance there is for us to return to the mind of the child.

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But you are are right, The more complicaed life becomes the less chance there is for us to return to the mind of the child.

 

More complicated, yes. We live in a world dominated by human mind, for sure. But conversely, dealing with difficulty in the midst of our hyper-complex contemporary world is what gives practice real strength. 

 

Using right-brain / left-brain terminology as analogous to 'child-like mind' and 'human mind', I like this.....

 

Iain McGilchrist in his brain hemisphere function thesis published as ‘The Master and His Emissary’ writes  "In one (right-brain), we experience - the live, complex, embodied, world of individual, always unique beings, forever in flux, a net of interdependencies, forming and reforming wholes, a world with which we are deeply connected. In the other (left-brain) we 'experience' our experience in a special way: a 're-presented' version of it, containing now static, separable, bounded, but essentially fragmented entities, grouped into classes on which predictions can be based......(Right-brain) is the way in which we all experience the world pre-reflectively, before we have had a chance to 'view' it at all.....These are not different ways of thinking about the world: they are different ways of being in the world."

 

Edit: To clarify "Using right-brain / left-brain terminology as analogous to 'child-like mind' and 'human mind'."....

 

Using this analogy, right-brain function is how we connect with mind of Dao. From a Daoist perspective McGilchrist's title could well be "The Mind of Dao and her Emissary the Human Mind".

 

A child's mind is innately in balance, working as it should with the right- brain function as master. But it's a balance that's easily disturbed. The childlike mind of a sage is likewise in balance - but the harmony has been hard won through long cultivation and is rock solid.   

Edited by Darkstar
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I am almost totally left-brain dead.

 

Hey! surely all these posts are a product of left-brain consciousness. We need our human minds to function well. It just shouldn't be the master. (I've added a little to my post above to clarify what I meant.)

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I am almost totally left-brain dead.

Bruh, you mentalize way too much to be considered left-brain dead hahaha. Ain't no problem with it, but anyone who reads and/or discusses as much philosophy as we do here has got to have their left-brain pretty active. Just because it was written by a spiritualist doesn't mean it's not heavy left-brain.

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Hey! surely all these posts are a product of left-brain consciousness. We need our human minds to function well. It just shouldn't be the master. (I've added a little to my post above to clarify what I meant.)

I read the edit but have nothing more to add in response to that post.

 

I rarely speak about left/right brain stuff because my knowledge is extremely little.

 

But I can talk about the child-mind.  Back before it was fed with so much BS.  Throw away knowledge and just live.  (We can't really do that but now and then when no one is watching maybe.)

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I rarely speak about left/right brain stuff because my knowledge is extremely little.

 

If you want some background on brain hemisphere theory I can recommend Iain McGilchrist’s book.  With so much pop psychology and popular misconceptions in this field his book is a worthwhile read.  However, with over 500 pages of detailed research findings and nuanced argument , you might wisely reflect that  “your life has a limit but knowledge has none. If you use what is limited to pursue what has no  limit, you will be in danger. If you understand this and still strive for knowledge, you will be in danger for certain! “

 

And conceptual knowledge must always be partial. .

 

 

Fold words into cranes. Knit sound into sequence

and hold its shadow up against tomorrow’s blank slate sky.

 

Watch how the dark flutter of notes makes meaning

seem bigger than it really is. Watch how night washes time clean.

 

Follow the words to their source

and emerge into a clearing of complete emptiness.

Become like a child.

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I can hardly believe what I've just seen. And your exceptional insight into the co-ordination of Dao and De was a delicious supplement (and night cap). Thank you.

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It is just so beautiful.

 

I accept her claims that she was in mental rapport with the beasties and that she walked and played with them

as an equal among equal. giving them the courtesy and respect as fellow sentients.

 

Idiotic Taoist

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I was reminded of this verse from the DDJ while watching that video (Johnathan Star translation):

 

 

 

Verse 50
 
Again and again
Men come in with birth and go out with death
One in three are followers of life
One in three are followers of death
And those just passing from life to death also number one in three
But they all die in the end
Why is this so?
Because they clutch to life and cling to this passing world
I hear that one who lives by his own truth is not like this
He walks without making footprints in this world
Going about, he does not fear the rhinoceros or tiger
Entering a battlefield, he does not fear sharp weapons
For in him the rhino can find no place to pitch its horn
The tiger no place to fix its claw
The soldier no place to thrust his blade
Why is this so?
Because he dwells in that place where death cannot enter

 

I think there is a childlike quality (or perhaps infant-like) quality to the Daoist sage, insofar as their minds are empty, pure, and immaculate like a newborn's, unconditioned and without judgement. Then again, the reality is children are mostly without self-control, emotional, demanding, lack independence, etc. whereas these qualities would be absent in a Daoist sage.

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I was listening to a guided meditation by Master Chen called Emotional Peace.  At one point he puts your age down to 6, before we get such a conditioned mind.  You just play around and relax there.  Its nice.  At 6 there's nothing to solve, we're much more in the moment.  The stresses of adulthood seem like a game thats no fun.  So why play it. 

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I saw a mind so unwavering and focused on innocently experiencing the present that the leopard was drawn to it as a role model.

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While I'm looking for the source of my own mind, it becomes so unwavering and focused on innocently experiencing the present that when the leopard approaches there's no fear, no repulsion, nor interest... just nature doing its things spontaneously.

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