manitou

Colors blind the eye / Sounds deafen the ear

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I've probably read Mitchell's translation of the DDJ 20 times because it's so small and it carries well in my purse. I've never quite understood his Chapter 12; even his excellent footnotes at the back of the book never seemed to quite hit the mark for me.

 

Until today. For some reason, I saw things entirely opposite of how I had been interpreted them.

 

 

Ch. 12

 

Colors blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the ear.

Flavors numb the taste.

thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.

 

I had always taken this to mean that too many colors blind the eye, and Mitchell seems to bear this out in his comments (which I'll write at the end of my observations). But it occurred today that the colors we see are only those which are reflected, which are not absorbed by the object viewed. Black is black to us because the surface absorbs all other colors on the electromagnetic spectrum. Perhaps this does not refer to 'too many colors', or 'too many sounds'. Perhaps it refers more to the illusiveness of phenomena, in that it really isn't there anyway! When we realize that 99.99(9)% of an atom is void and the remaining .001% is infinitisimal particle (which may one day be proven not to be solid either; the Hadron collider actually shows that upon collision, some of the quarks actually go backward in time!), then it certainly all comes back to mind, doesn't it? I mean, we seem to think that we are 'hard shell' and various values in between, but we're predominately air. We are thought. Perhaps just all our communal perception. As I saw it today, color, sound, flavor, thoughts, and desires are an elimination of all other potential. Imagine the things we can't hear, see, taste - because our senses are so limited.

 

And desires withering the heart - how poignant this seems to me. To desire anything is certainly relative to all the other phenomena we are rejecting. To desire one particular person is to find all others not as desirable. It's a judgment call, a conclusion on our part. And with conclusion comes the closing of mind as to infinity and potential.

 

But the next part is the part that hit me the most.

 

The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.

 

I had always looked at this from the perspective of looking outward from the inside. But I realized the possibility today that it's just the opposite. What does trusting our inner vision really mean? I think it means that we know others if we know ourselves, and it is this that we can trust. If we know ourselves, truly know ourselves, then we know the macrocosm of other living beings. We have gotten down to the spaciousness within ourselves, the clarity of 'the sky', as Mitchell would put it. There are no clouds. His heart is not closed to any thing or any body; all is just phenomena that we realize is relative to the perception of every other being. There is no One Judgment, no One Truth. Just perception. Hopefully, if we are skilled, perception without coloration.

 

 

Mitchell's comments re: Ch. 12:

 

Colors blind the eye, etc.: We need space in order to see, silence in order to hear, sleep in order to carry on with our wakefulness. If the senses are too cluttered with objects, they lose their acuteness and will eventually decay.

 

Desires wither the heart: Once it has let go of desires the heart naturally overflows with love, like David's cup in Psalm 23.

 

His inner vision: There is no inside or outside for him. He reflects whatever appears, without judgment, whether it is a flower or a heap of garbage, a criminal or a saint. Whatever happens is all right. He treats his own anger or grief just as he would treat an angry child: with compassion. (I think he did an excellent job on this comment..)

 

Open as the sky: The sky holds sun, moon, stars, clouds, rain, snow, or pure azure. Because it doesn't care which of these appear, it has room for them all.

 

 

Any other interpretations?? I'd sure be interested to hear them...

Edited by manitou
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another translation, with more clear sense:

 

The five colors blind a person's eyes;
The five musical notes deafen a person's ears;
The five flavors ruin a person's taste buds.
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing,
Drive a person's mind (hsin) to madness.
Hard-to-get goods,
Hinder a person's actions.
Therefore the sage is for the belly, not for the eyes.
Therefore he leaves this and chooses that.

 

The meaning is that 5 sensations destroy people's Qi, while sage leaves usual entertainments and practice Dao to fill his belly.

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Dear Manitou,

   I will give it a go.

 

Colors blind the eye....

   

The eye is the faculty of apprehension (to use a Kantian turn of phrase) - it is that which enables you to see. When you "see" something, does not your attention attach to that object? Don't blame the object and its colours, it is the inability to control your sight which makes blind to that which you are not attending to. It is easily said (rather than practised) that one can remain in balance rather than ignoring the outside world or being captured by it.

 

You will notice that the verb changes for the Master. Masters observe, which is a balanced, neutral representation of the seeing implicit in the first line - respecting both the interior and exterior.

 

Similarly for the others.

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I read this chapter just this afternoon, and wrote this on another forum...

 

This to me is clearly speaking about our 5 senses and how we rely on them. Further, I find that this also is speaking of how relying on ones sense can impede us in the long run, and that it is better to look for answers within. Let go of what you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell, and take hold of and listen to your 6th sense, the energy within and its knowing. We will find a lot more in the clear and still nature of emptiness than all the stimuli of the world can offer.

 

 

I am not well versed in the Tao Te Ching, however, this is what it meant to me.

 

 

 

 

edit: typo

Edited by Kar3n
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Not sure if it¬īs relevant to the passage, but I¬īve noticed there are different ways of using my visual sense. ¬†Sometimes the sight goes out to meet the object; to me there¬īs a subtle aggression to this way of looking. But I¬īve also practiced keeping my eyes very soft and allowing the image to come to me. ¬†

 

In both cases I "see" but the experience is very different. 

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I read this chapter just this afternoon, and wrote this on another forum...

 

This to me is clearly speaking about our 5 senses and how we rely on them. Further, I find that this also is speaking of how relying on ones sense can impede us in the long run, and that it is better to look for answers within. Let go of what you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell, and take hold of and listen to your 6th sense, the energy within and its knowing. We will find a lot more in the clear and still nature of emptiness than all the stimuli of the world can offer.

 

 

I am not well versed in the Tao Te Ching, however, this is what it meant to me.

 

 

 

 

edit: typo

 

And how we see objects on the outside is totally contingent on our conditionings.  We can never see things the same way, so we must factor in our conditioning in the interpretation.  A terrorist to one is a martyr to another.

 

As to opendao's quoted translation, why do the 5 colors blind a person's eye?  Must the colors all be seen at once (in which case that would be 'white', as all colors are reflected, like snow blindness.)  Or is it merely the fact that our sensory perception is so limited and the colors we see, reflected light in the ultra-violet spectrum. are merely a small representation of all the colors that are out there that we cannot even imagine?  The illusiveness of it all!  I went to a zoo once where you could look through a scope of some sort and see how a bat sees the world - in neon green.  whose world is 'realer', the bats our ours?  and are there beings on a different or more subtle scale with more refined senses?

 

I still think that to place a definition on anything, call it a color, or middle C on a scale, or eating a pickle - can be looked at as the elimination of all other colors, sounds, tastes.  Limitation, to me, is the operative word. Just imagine how many other buddha-lands there must be!  I've always felt that the most beautiful sound in a concert is the sound of total silence and anticipation when the conductor raises his baton.  The potential is limitless.  Everything beyond that is limitation of potential, capturing any one tonal value.

 

Are any of our translators merely talking about balance here?  Or is there more involved?  Sure, too much of anything is not a good thing.  I just think it's going a lot deeper than that.

Edited by manitou
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My apologies to Stefan Stenud for plagiarizing his commentary, but I like his inward take on Chapter 12.  My emphasis is in bold, which is what I was getting at, I think.  A true quest begins and ends within ourselves.  As he says What the eyes show us may very well be illusions, but what we feel inside our bellies is for real.  And then at that, even what we feel inside our bellies is only real for us.  We may fear something that someone else may not fear. It all comes back to Mind, doesn't it?

 

His commentary:

 

 

This chapter obviously continues the reasoning of the previous one. The 11th chapter's theme of emptiness is followed by this chapter's praise of moderation.

     The five colors in the Chinese tradition are green, red, yellow, white, and black. The five tones of the Chinese musical scale are C, D, E, G, and A. The five flavors are sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and pungent.

     This division into five is likely to have come from the Chinese concept of the five elements: water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. In ancient China it was believed that everything in the world was made up of these five materials. This can be compared to the old Greek elements, which were four: fire, earth, air, and water.

     Lao Tzu warns against any form of excess. A multitude of colors is chaotic, straining for the eyes to watch, and not a pretty sight. Any artist would agree. Similarly, all the instruments in the orchestra playing at once should not go on for long. It works in a crescendo, but rarely elsewhere. A skilled chef limits the number of flavors on a dish, or none of them becomes delightful. Disciplined moderation is a key to great art of whatever genre. Less is more.

     This is not only true for art, but for life in general. If we stimulate ourselves with noise, excitement, and hurried action, then our minds start to boil and reason escapes them. There are moments when intensity is unavoidable, maybe also cherished, but they should be few, and there should be generous pauses between them.

     Not only does excess of this kind confuse the mind, but it dulls it, too. Adventures lose their appeal when they become routine. Nothing is so exhilarating that we can do it constantly without getting bored. Any thrill needs to be exotic. The more familiar it gets, the less of a thrill it becomes. That's the practical reason for avoiding gluttony of any kind.

     Precious objects, no matter how tempting, should not lead our steps. They are just things. If we allow them to control our lives, we are sure to choose paths that have the least to do with what we need. Of true and lasting value is what happens inside of us, so a step towards anything else can only take us farther away from it. A true quest both begins and ends within ourselves. Every other direction is a roundabout.

 

The Belly

The sage stays within, caring for the needs of his belly instead of striving for what his eyes can see. This refers not only to making sure of getting food, before searching for other delights. In the Eastern tradition, the stomach is regarded as far more than the location of one's intestines. It's the seat of personal resources, even awareness of sorts. The stomach is the center of the human body.

     Traditionally, the belly is also the center of personal power. Of course, this is quite accurate from a medical standpoint, since the stomach processes the food and extracts the nutrition and energy we need to survive. The old Chinese teaching also tells us that inside the belly is the major source of the vital breath, the life force ch'i (also spelled qi). See more about the vital breath in my comments on chapter 10.

     According to this tradition, the center of the stomach is tan t'ien (also spelled dantian), the red rice field, from which great energy emerges. To stimulate the flow of life force within yourself, you need to focus on this center and act according to its impulses.

     So, when Lao Tzu says that we should attend to our belly, instead of what our eyes can see, he also means that we should make sure to stay centered. Focusing on the belly keeps you grounded and collected. It's how to guard your integrity and get to know yourself properly. When our eyes trick us to forget what our bellies tell us, our minds get lost and our bodies are sure to suffer.

     Lao Tzu reminds us to get our priorities right. In doing so, we get to know ourselves and stay true to what we really are. What the eyes show us may very well be illusions, but what we feel inside our bellies is for real.

© Stefan Stenudd.


 
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I like the comment from Mostly_Empty about balance.  The five desires.  Yes, paid attention to in the excess does all those negative things.

 

Externals will never bring about inner peace and contentment.  But they do allow us to live a more comfortable life.

 

Our inner well being, as well as our physical health, are what allows peace and contentment to enter our life.

 

There is nothing wrong with the five desires - they are as much of the Ten Thousand Things as anything else.  But excesses will lead us away from what is really important - our inner self.

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I think this has a lot to do with balance or being centered in our practices.

 

I see chapter 12 as an instruction to look beyond what our minds tell us when the senses are activated by stimuli or outside sources, and to follow our gut (belly) and what the energy there is telling us. Our belly is the center of our being, holds a lot of powerful energy, it is there that truth beyond illusion and balance is found.

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The Ten Thousand Things are energy, they are all empty in nature.

When you strive for more of THAT be it with the senses, money, fame or internal energy like wind, fire, earth etc. it hinders a persons actions. It fevers the mind as another translation on this chapter mentions.

The TTC is always warning about desire and the need for more. Jesus put it this way in GOT.

110. Jesus said, "Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world."

Ka3en about talked moving beyond the senses:

 

Further, I find that this also is speaking of how relying on ones sense can impede us in the long run, and that it is better to look for answers within. Let go of what you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell, and take hold of and listen to your 6th sense, the energy within and its knowing. We will find a lot more in the clear and still nature of emptiness than all the stimuli of the world can offer


Residing in the empty nature of the flow.
 

 

 

CHAPTER 12

The five colours blind the eye.

The five tones deafen the ear.

The five flavours dull the taste.

For having in excess, dulls the senses.

When the senses are dulled, men look for more stimulation.

Racing and hunting fever the mind.

Precious things cause greed to arise in Men’s hearts.

Therefore the Sage is guided by what he feels, and

not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this
.

Edited by Jonesboy
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Eh. Sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich, lol.

 

Nicely put, Jonesboy, when you say that the Ten Thousand things are empty. My original point (I think?) was just that; previously when I had read and re-read this chapter from various translators, my assumption that the vision started with the inner and went to the outer. But I now read something more into it; that our manifestations are a litmus test for what our inner condition is. It's as though the lens can be turned around and the universe is viewed absolutely differently by everybody, we can't possibly see it the same way as each other. And that there is absolutely no reality at all, there's no decider (other than maybe 'W') of what reality is. To know the universe, to perceive the universe, is so entirely subjective; and for some reason during this reading of Mitchell's Chapter 12 it just sort of made me laugh.

 

Yes, striving for all of THAT is so ridiculous and merely serves to solidify something entirely subjective that isn't really there at all.

 

And I'm guessing the Truth Beyond Illusion that Kar3n speaks of is that Void, that Dao, that has always been and will always be that resides there within us; beyond words, beyond concept. We are the Void, and this Void is shared with how many other countless universes and buddha-lands? But even that is arbitrary. What makes one feel punched in the stomach, metaphorically, will make another feel smug, or victimized, or happy. So the Truth isn't even what we feel inside. It's only the Truth to that particular feeler at that particular moment in that feeler's state of awareness.

 

What does seem to be constant is change, adaptation, and having to learn this dream's lessons over and over until we finally get the message. That it just Is, that's all. And yet I can't help but feel that the template of the plant growing toward the light is in operation here too. And that the operative principle is truly Reversion to the Void. To drop the baloney, the B.S., the phoniness, the mask, the arrogance, the pursuit of power, of money, of prestige; because pursuit of all those things only serves to prove that something inside us is sorely lacking. Otherwise we needn't try so hard to succeed. Or win. Just ask Mr. Trump.

 

Perhaps we are to revert to the original human being; the metaphor being that Adam and Eve were given the choice of eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge (and I do mean metaphor here; please nobody take me seriously). We may be gods of sorts in our original state; and yet, as much as we think we've evolved, I look at all the needless junk I have around me in my house, all my needless clothing, or jewelry, or whatever. How very far we have devolved if looked at in this way; how very far from the earth we have come, how very layered we are in our houses (speaking of the Western world predominately); and perhaps things will really have to yang out before they can yin back; it would seem to be that way if we look at the current course of our upcoming political choices.

 

What a strange exercise this all is. Perhaps I'll shave my head and do a Buckminster.

Edited by manitou
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Daoism views the mind as having five major sensory functions, these are associated with specific organs and energy conduits in the body.

They are:

 

heart: shen/consciousness, tongue, ren mai meridian.

kidneys: jing/essence and zhi/will, ears, du mai meridian.

liver: hun/male soul, eyes, yin qiao meridian.

lungs: po/female soul, nose, lungs, , water channel

mouth: yi/mind/intention, stomach/spleen, chong mai meridian.

 

any time that you engage in excessive use of one or more of the sensory organs, you diminish the energy associated with that organ.

 

Five colours make the eyes blind doesn't mean that colour literally makes you blind, it means that if you spend too much time looking around at thing, or spend too much energy on the search for beautiful things, you will injure your ability to perceive things in a visual sense.  It also means that you will jade yourself to beauty, and also that you will confuse the Hun soul and the yinqiao will become closed off.

five sounds make people's ears deaf means that if you engage too much in the pursuit of listening to music, or enjoying loud talk and so on, then you will damage your jing, and make it difficult to enjoy the natural sounds of the world.  In effect, you will be deaf to nature's beauty.

five tastes make the mouth numb can relate both to the tongue and the mouth, the heart and the spleen, the ren mai and the chong mai.   the five tastes are sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and pungent, and if you engage in too much of any one of them, you will unbalance your organs.  people who eat too much sweet tend to get fat, people who eat too much spicy tend to injure their stomachs, people who eat too much salty get heart conditions and so on. 

galloping in the fields hunting makes your make a person's heart violent means that if you put too much of your intention on doing violent things, you will become evil and violent yourself.  

hard to obtain items hinder a person's actions is related to desire and can make it hard to settle the po spirit, meaning that you always get drawn away from reality in favour of scheming about how to obtain newer and better things.

 

The way to deal with all this is simply by getting what you need and not what you want.  Eating healthy tasty, natural food, engaging in normal and respectful behaviour, not chasing after riches and glory, and staying focused on practicality, happiness, and kindness are the basic method by which you can balance these things and stay healthy.

 

This is one of my favourite chapters of laozi, and one that I think most of us can learn a lot from.

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Thank you, SBHHE - very nicely put indeed, with much clarity.  I had alligator steak last night, but I don't think I'll be overdoing it on that one.   :o

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Aligator steak sounds wonderful!

The secret is knowing that you are allowed to engage in enjoyable behaviour, but at the same time, being able to control it.

Laozi never said you aren't allowed to have fun and do new things, he was just giving a word of caution that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

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Well, I guess I was just seeing too much in that passage.  Perhaps balance is all he was talking about.

 

The alligator steak was a bit like chicken fried abalone.  Had to try it once.

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Well, I guess I was just seeing too much in that passage.  Perhaps balance is all he was talking about.

 

The alligator steak was a bit like chicken fried abalone.  Had to try it once.

 

I do think you were onto something, and finding the mystery within the manifest can be pretty exciting. No need to choose one over the other as, in my understanding, it is both.

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I think its a hint on hearing without hearing, seeing without seeing, and tasting without out tasting...but i also think it can be understood on many levels.Pay attention on how things affect you but dont let them affect you.:)

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I do think you were onto something, and finding the mystery within the manifest can be pretty exciting. No need to choose one over the other as, in my understanding, it is both.

 

Yes, I know what you say is true.  But the inner eyes are needed.

Edited by manitou

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I think its a hint on hearing without hearing, seeing without seeing, and tasting without out tasting...but i also think it can be understood on many levels.Pay attention on how things affect you but dont let them affect you. :)

 

Yes, and to know that all things at every moment are exactly as they should be; that we are unrealized buddhas, at different levels of awareness, reaching metaphorically toward the sun.  That what appears as bad is not bad at all; it is necessary for the evolution and the reversion to the nothingness of the Dao.  That we are merely actors playing our part, and in actuality it has already played out and we're merely playing catch-up, as time is not really linear at all.  Very comforting, and it places my heart at rest any time I snap into awareness of these realizations.

 

Letting things affect us is part of our humanness, I guess - but we have the option of seeing through this and dwelling in the reality of the unreality of all this experience.  It can be done instantaneously if one is practiced, if one is skilled.  And to know that our outer manifestations are the evidence of what we truly desire on the inside.  If we've manifested undesirable things and events in our lives, then it is up to us to look at our inner mental projections, to make the corrections, to change the habit of our mental judgments and views.

 

I woke up this morning with my heart relaxed and open.  It was as though a knot had been there for years and I hadn't been aware of it until it released.  It was as a result of a dream I had last night, where I had a long conversation with another woman who too had been the victim of a real Romeo many years ago - he broke my heart and the heart of many other women who worked for the City of Los Angeles - an adept man at romancing women.  We lived together for a year.

 

In my dream, I hugged one of the other women who too was his victim.  We talked about his adeptness, how many of us were hanging around his neck on a necklace of sorts.  When we embraced, me and this other woman, it was so liberating.  We forgave him.  His name was Bayan, and he was born in China to American parents - but Bayan means A Thousand Eyes in Chinese (according to him) and we realized that he has looked into the eyes of a thousand women, or that he had a thousand eyes for women, and it wasn't his fault but his remnant karma that made him this way.

 

After 40 years, the knot is gone from my heart.  I didn't even know it was there.  My inner vision is greater today than it was yesterday.

 

I think that was the thing that struck me about the originally quoted passage - mention of the inner vision.  Vision into ourselves, as opposed to vision from the inside to the outside.

 

Thank you for getting it.

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I woke up this morning with my heart relaxed and open.  It was as though a knot had been there for years and I hadn't been aware of it until it released. 

 

I'm happy for you, a had a like experience some years ago and it felt so good, liberating. And, like you, i didn't even know it was closed until it opened. Now i find that through the years it is  opening more. For me it was the first step in an ongoing proces,

 

love BES

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I have found an interpretation of Ch 12 and 13 that I feel expresses what I have tried to say here.  It is the World Peace translation (?):

 

 

 

 

12.1 The oneness of the five colors blind the eyes. The oneness of the five tones deafens the ears. The oneness of the five flavors dull the tongue. 
12.2 Racing ahead of change and pursuing the illusion of reality promotes confusion. 
12.3 Therefore, the sage is in harmony with what she is and does not distinguish what she sees. She chooses oneness and distinguishes nothing.

#
13.1 Accept disgrace indifferently. Acknowledge misfortune as one of the human conditions. 
13.2 What does it mean to "accept disgrace indifferently"? Honor and disgrace are one in the Infinite. Only by making distinctions does one manifest disgrace. Refusing to make distinctions merges honor and disgrace into the oneness of circumstances which creates harmony. 
13.3 What is meant by "acknowledging misfortune as one of the human conditions"? The body is a manifestation of Infinity and the body is subject to being affected by the other manifestations of Infinity. Misfortune is one of those other manifestations. However, as with disgrace, refusing to distinguish misfortune and fortune creates indifference which keeps one focused on the oneness of Infinity and creates peace in the self. 
13.4 Stay centered in your oneness with Infinity and you can be entrusted with leadership. See the world as yourself and you will care for all things.

 

 

 

Edit:  I just googled John Worldpeace.  He's either a contemporary visionary, a basketball player, or what one has called a 'skunk with a yellow stripe down his back' who did some jail time for being a con artist.  Seems like the translation of the DDJ is contemporary if it is the contemporary visionary, as he was born in 1948 (I think I remember) and his home page appears to be written in Chinese characters.

 

Even if he's the con artist doing time, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I think, personally, that he's right on with this rendition of chapters 12 and 13.  But then again, I may only be right twice a day too.

 

Second edit:  Just found the right web page, I think http.//johnworldpeace.com .  He seems to be coming from a Christian perspective, although transcended to include one and all philosophies, ethnicities, etc. around the world.

Edited by manitou

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Here is my take using SFH translation. I will edit later for readability as I am doing this on my phone.

 

CHAPTER 13

 

Accept disgrace willingly.

 

Accept misfortune as the human condition.

 

What do I mean by "accept disgrace willingly?" Accept being unimportant.

 

Do not be concerned with wealth, titles, loss or gain.

 

If you are not concerned with these,

 

you can always "accept disgrace willingly".

 

This is about ego. When we think we need a position or put importance in being successful, we are caught up in thinking that we need some thing to be happy. "Do not be concerned with wealth, titles, loss or gain." They are all "things" of the mind.

 

What do I mean by "accept misfortune as the human condition?" Without a body, how could

 

there be misfortune!

 

For misfortune arises from having a body

 

Misfortune arises from being trapped in samsara. By thinking you are this body trapped in the local mind. When you are able to let go of the thought that you need a thing and realize that you are awareness and not the body you attach to nothing. You are free from obstructions, attachments, from misfortune.

 

Surrender yourself humbly, then you can be trusted to care for all things. Love the world as

 

your own self, then you can truly be trusted to care for all things.

 

Great wisdom we should all follow.

Edited by Jonesboy
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Really nice, Jonesboy. This originally started out as a rumination on Chapter 12, but sort of extended into 13 as well.

 

The operative phrase, for me, in Worldpeace's rendition, at the end of 12, is 'she chooses oneness and distinguishes nothing'. I've been practicing dream yoga lately, in that I remind myself daily, as many times as I can remember, to be aware that this is just a dream. Consequently, the optimal situation is that there is little separation between your nighttime dreams and your daily activities; they merge into one entity of sorts.

 

This is what I was thinking of when the original thought of Ch 12 is that the 5 colors blind the eye, etc; that it is all oneness, that it is all light, and that any specific color, or sound, is merely an elimination of all quantum possibilities of everything else. Sort of looking at all of life 'bass-ackwards', but making sense in a Daoistic or Buddhist sense. I think it does chapter 12 a disservice to see it merely as a question of balance - not too much, not too little, although this is certainly an important aspect of the 3 Treasures. However, I think these interesting chapters, 11, 12, and 13 are saying a bit more.

 

Yes, misfortune arises from being trapped in samsara, as you so eloquently say.

Edit: And how do we choose oneness and distinguish nothing, in our everyday given samsara? This is tricky. I believe it is to remain in consciousness that that is the way it is; naturally, sometimes you want to pick up a Hershey bar rather than a pickle, and picking up the wrong one would be an assault to our samsaric senses. Yet, the Enlightened One would know that these are one and the same, the Hershey bar and the pickle; it is only our sense capabilities and definitions that distinguish one from the other. This is illusion, but in the case of the Hershey bar a very tasty one. What an odd tightrope we must walk, for some unknown reason, in this thing called human experience.

 

I have a habit of 'seeing and knowing' that the black spot inside everyone's eyes is 'god'. This is my daily practice that I walk around with. The beggar on the street, the president of a country, a nun, a homicidal maniac. All just 'gods' playing out their part the best they know how. Even the homicidal maniac. Even knowing that if I had the same upbringing, the same conditioning, etc - that I may very well succumb to the same emotional motivation as the homicidal maniac and act out in the very same way. It certainly makes life easier to bear to think this way, and it is aligned with the Dao and the Sutras. It almost enables me to watch Fox News, although I'm not quite at that place of Enlightenment just yet. I've a bit more work to do before that hot stripe stops climbing up my back. But it's a good litmus test.

Edited by manitou
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I think it does chapter 12 a disservice to see it merely as a question of balance - not too much, not too little, although this is certainly an important aspect of the 3 Treasures. However, I think these interesting chapters, 11, 12, and 13 are saying a bit more.

 

Certainly the chapters have more to say.

I was concentrating on the "how colours blind the eye".... 

How does this happen? When we don't treasure what is important we live in the wrong relationship to the 10,000 things.

 

I will comment though, about a difference between daoist and buddhist "inspiration" that is larger or smaller depending on the interpretation and influences you hold dear. I do not think that archaic and classical daoists consider the 10,000 things as samsara for a variety of reasons. Buddhists consider this relationship of self to world as the origin of dubhka; through logic they argue that the emptiness of the world means that it cannot reflect other than yourself. Accordingly, short of enlightenment you will consider samsara in an unfortunately light. 

Some Daoists and those so inspired considered the 10,000 things simply to be empty. There is no reason to consider it in a negative way; problems arise when you stand in the wrong relation to it. So while the sage understands and deals appropriately with these things, there is no reason to aspire to indifference for us regular folk. Ask the I Ching about your relationship to the 10,000 things and you will receive a rainbow unfolding in your own time. Ask a buddhist and you will be tempted to find a cave...

 

Cheers.

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I will also comment about "misfortune". The DDJ and better yet Chuang Tzu are clear about the emptiness of "misfortune". I read the relevant Chpt 13 as referring, in a way, to the weight of consequence that comes with physicality. You cannot have "misfortune" without a body - it is such a blessing you cannot even believe it! So dwelling on it leads one, again, astray.

Disgrace, the social comparison disaster, needs no such attention - it is lovely! It speaks to the heart of almost everything you need to deal with in yourself. Accept this grace and you will feel better - guaranteed.

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