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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 7

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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? 
 
 
DC. Lau
 
Heaven and earth are enduring. 
The reason why heaven and earth can be enduring is that they do not give themselves life. 
Hence they are able to be long-lived.
 
Therefore the sage puts his person last and it comes first, 
Treats it as extraneous to himself and it is preserved.
 
Is it not because he is without thought of self that he is able to accomplish his private ends? 
 
 
Feng/English
 

7

Heaven and Earth last forever. 
Why do heaven and Earth last forever? 
They are unborn, 
So ever living. 
The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. 
He is detached, thus at one with all. 
Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.
 
 
Bill Porter (Red Pine)
 
7
Heaven is eternal and Earth is immortal 
the reason they're eternal and immortal 
is because they don't live for themselves 
hence they can live forever
sages therefore pull themselves back 
and end up in front
put themselves outside
and end up safe
is it not because of their selflessness 
whatever they seek they find
 
 

Jonathan Star

 

7
Heaven is ancient
Earth is long-lasting
Why is this so? ?
Because they have no claims to life
By having no claims to life they cannot be claimed by death
The Sage puts his own views behind so ends up ahead
He stays a witness to life so he endures
What could he grab for that he does not already have?
What could he do for himself that the universe itself has not already done?
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I don't remember if I have previously mentioned that I have a problem with this chapter so I will mention it here.

 

It is my opinion that the comparison is invalid.  The heavens (Universe) and earth don't need to do anything but be what they are.

 

The Sage must eat and drink, pee and poop.  Chop wood and carry water.  And rest when tired.

 

All living things have concern for their survival.  Plants and animals alike.  How can the Sage be different?

 

Now, sure, the Sage does not concern their self with many of the things the common people concern them selves with but surely the Sage must attend to the processes of living, staying alive and healthy.

 

In today's world, if you don't pay your rent you get kicked out on the street.  Don't pay your electric bill and your power gets turned off.  And from where will the Sage get food if they have no money to buy it?

 

There are times when we must put our self first.  It's simply a matter of survival.

 

But again, Jonathan Star did well with lines 6 and 7.  We accept the conditions of the environment we are in at the moment.  But the Sage must still chop wood and carry water, drink, eat, pee and poop.

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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.

( they are manifestations of the physical situation ,the forces which bring them about are in a sense eternal, 

rather than being things of individual consideration , with minds and intents of their own, that have plans,  pursuit , and , attainment. Each moment passing , we live in a situation of progressive now's , so attainment is a temporary aspect .. something which we once did , but cannot still be doing now.)

 

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? 

The person of the sage in this case is not his body , its that which has volition intent experience,, his 'soul' ,  His body is like that of the mountain, a confabulation of physical forces , in harmony with gravity and osmosis thermodynamics and so forth.

The idea here  imo , is that he is just trying to maintain himself rather than stand out for his individuality or novelty etc, ( those things that make him special and stand out from the inanimate or animal, animals still poop ,( but they aren't trying to invent I-phones , dominate the world , fight city hall ) so he may be good at taking care of himself because he isn't adding these problematic aspirations onto his own plate.

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Here is my take on chapter 7...

 
Heaven and Earth are at one with the Dao and hence do not die.
Why do heaven and earth not die?
Because they are unattached and so never really born (self aware).
The Sage drops his views and is detached, thus he/she becomes like heaven and earth.
Being like heaven and earth (and detached) the Sage is one with all.
Thus the Sage naturally performs selfless action, and so is fulfilled.
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A few more view points:

 

Ni:

Heaven is everlasting and Earth is perpetual.
Why so?
Because they live without holding onto any consciousness of self.
Therefore, they can endure forever.
One who does not separate his being from the nature of universal wholeness lives with the universal virtue of wholeness.
He, too, dissolves all consciousness of self and lives as the universe.
By putting himself behind others,
he finds himself foremost.
By not considering his own personal ends,
his personal life is accomplished.
He finds himself safe, secure and preserved.
Because he does not hold a narrow concept of self,
his true nature can fully merge with the one universal life.

 

 

FH:

 

Heaven and Earth are still.

Why are Heaven and Earth still?

Because they are detached.

The Sage is detached, so he is like Heaven and Earth; thus he is at one with all.

Being at one, he performs selfless actions and so he is fulfilled.

 

Master Liao:

 

The universe is everlasting.

why does the Universe last forever? Because it does not bear itself, therefore it is ever-existing.

Therefore, the saint stays behind his body as if his body goes ahead of himself.

And since he stays out of his body, his body last forever.

It is because he is rid of his consciousness of self that he gains his true self.

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This verse seems to come to an end of discussion :)

 

I was waiting for someone else to say something.

 

But really, your rendition is the most logical to my mind.  Detachment is a concept that can be over-employed though.  Sure, the Buddhist Monks are detached from most material things.  But for lay people like myself, I like having things.  Makes my life more comfortable.  But I can always get up from my chair any time I wish to do so.  I can be detached.

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I think the differences between most versions, mainly the first half make it difficult to come to any sort of conclusion;

 

Heaven and earth do not live for themselves / they do not give themselves life / being unborn, just one of many examples and comparisons.

 

Are we saying that they "just be" and therefore "just are"? I don't think we can say they are really "unborn", as that contradicts the idea of Dao being the supreme / source.

 

The poetry is wonderful, but the takeaway has to be how the sage acts. I wish @Marblehead could be here to read my comment on this: 

 

On 27/04/2017 at 12:41 PM, Marblehead said:

Now, sure, the Sage does not concern their self with many of the things the common people concern them selves with but surely the Sage must attend to the processes of living, staying alive and healthy.

 

In today's world, if you don't pay your rent you get kicked out on the street.  Don't pay your electric bill and your power gets turned off.  And from where will the Sage get food if they have no money to buy it?

 

There are times when we must put our self first.  It's simply a matter of survival.

 

But again, Jonathan Star did well with lines 6 and 7.  We accept the conditions of the environment we are in at the moment.  But the Sage must still chop wood and carry water, drink, eat, pee and poop.

 

Afterall, I don't feel that the other versions are particularly saying that the sage doesn't have to do things this way. The moral of the story here is simply to understand that by putting others first, this returns tenfold.

 

There is no particular reason to think that the sage wouldn't prioritise his own survival. But but we can assume is that Laozi sees the world as the place that should be given the most care, as his own survival is fairly straight forward and easier achieved.

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