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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 25

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Legge

 

25 
There was something undefined and complete, coming into 
existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, 
standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in 
no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of 
all things.

I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao 
(the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I 
call it The Great.

Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes 
remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is 
great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also 
great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage) 
king is one of them.

Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from 
Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its 
being what it is. 


Lau 

 

25 
There is a thing confusedly formed, 
Born before heaven and earth. 
Silent and void 
It stands alone and does not change, 
Goes round and does not weary. 
It is capable of being the mother of the world. 
I know not its name 
So I style it 'the way'.

I give it the makeshift name of 'the great'. 
Being great, it is further described as receding, 
Receding, it is described as far away, 
Being far away, it is described as turning back.

Hence the way is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great. 
Within the realm there are four things that are great, 
And the king counts as one.

Man models himself on earth, 
Earth on heaven, 
Heaven on the way, 
And the way on that which is naturally so. 

 

Feng/English 

 

25
Something mysteriously formed, 
Born before heaven and Earth. 
In the silence and the void, 
Standing alone and unchanging, 
Ever present and in motion. 
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. 
I do not know its name 
Call it Tao. 
For lack of a better word, I call it great.

Being great, it flows 
I flows far away. 
Having gone far, it returns.

Therefore, "Tao is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great." 
These are the four great powers of the universe, 
And the king is one of them.

Man follows Earth. 
Earth follows heaven. 
Heaven follows the Tao. 
Tao follows what is natural.


Jonathan Star

 

25
Something formless, complete in itself
There before Heaven and Earth
Tranquil, vast, standing alone, unchanging
It provide for all things yet cannot be exhausted
It is the mother of the universe
I do not know its name so I call it ?Tao?
Forced to name it further
I call it ?The greatness of all things? ?The end of all endings?
I call it ?That which is beyond the beyond? ?That to which all things return?
From Tao comes all greatness ?
I makes Heaven great
It makes Earth great
It makes man great
Mankind depends on the laws of the Earth
Earth depends on the laws of Heaven
Heaven depends on the laws of Tao
But Tao depends on itself alone
Supremely free, self-so, it rests in its own nature


Flowing Hands

 

25
Something mysteriously formed, born before Heaven and Earth. 
In silence and from within the void. 
Alone and constant, ever present and flowing. 
It is the Mother of the Ten Thousand Things. 
I do not know its name, so I call it Dao. 
For lack of a better word I call it great.  
Being great it flows. 
It nourishes the Ten Thousand Things far and away. 
From whence it came I do not know.  
Therefore the Dao is great. 
Heaven is great. 
Earth is great. 
The Ten Thousand Things are great. 
These are the four great powers of the Universe, And one of them is the Ten Thousand Things. 
Man follows the Earth. 
Earth follows Heaven. 
Heaven follows the Dao. 
Dao is what is natural.  

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So here we are, suggesting that Dao is "some thing" when, IMO, it is "One" that is being spoken of.

 

"One", Singularity.  Singularity being the first manifestation.  

 

But then, the chapter speaks of Dao as well, doesn't it?

 

Dao gave birth to One.

 

Was it Dao manifesting itself?  I think that the concept of Tzujan speaks to this.

 

Only Dao is not dependent on something else.  (It would be so easy for anyone to replace the word "Dao" with the word "God" if they cared to do so.)

 

 

 

 

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Some additional thoughts on chapter 25...

 

Behind even the basis of heaven and earth, is the mother of all things.

It is not simply the void, but more like the motion of the void.

There is no need to try to name or conceptualize it, as it is beyond mind.

Hence, some label it Dao, and think it great.
Ever in motion, it flows like a river, creating all that we call the universe.

But such a flowing is also like a loop (of transmission and reception), 

and so always returns, so can be found inside ourselves.

There are four major levels of realization (and some would call them great).

The first is king or Sage.

The second is Sage who is one with earth.

The third is realiazation of Heaven (also known as immortal)

The fourth is the realization of the Dao (also known as realized immortal).

But all of this is really just flowing the natural path of the mother of all things.

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11 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Some additional thoughts on chapter 25...

 

It is not simply the void, but more like the motion of the void.

 

This is important, IMO.  Difficult for the mind to grasp.

 

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3 hours ago, Jonesboy said:

Could Jeff or anyone provide more insight into the 4 levels of realization described in the chapter?

 

The insight into the steps/stages of these levels are better described when we get to chapter 28. But, you can sort of break them into these groupings...

 

King/Sage - one has filled the three dantiens and the mind has quieted. In the TTC 28, this is called "knowing the strength of a man". One is like a king, as you have moved beyond fears and issues that can drag you down.

 

Earth - This is also called being the "stream of the universe" in chapter 28. This stage feels sort of like you cease and the universe flows through you. Like you (local) mind shutdown and can't handle/comprehend these new and higher flows.

 

Heaven - This is also known as the child (or golden child). In this stage, one is starting to increasing be one with all, but it is more like beings are felt inside of you (or your heart). Dwai touched on this point well in his recent ppf thread post.

 

Dao - This is also called "valley of the universe" in chapter 28. Beyond the conceptualization of the mind, at a perceptional level, it is sort of like you are the universe, but also know there really is no such thing as the universe.

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13 hours ago, Jeff said:

Some additional thoughts on chapter 25...

 

Behind even the basis of heaven and earth, is the mother of all things.

It is not simply the void, but more like the motion of the void.

There is no need to try to name or conceptualize it, as it is beyond mind.

Hence, some label it Dao, and think it great.
Ever in motion, it flows like a river, creating all that we call the universe.

But such a flowing is also like a loop (of transmission and reception), 

and so always returns, so can be found inside ourselves.

There are four major levels of realization (and some would call them great).

The first is king or Sage.

The second is Sage who is one with earth.

The third is realiazation of Heaven (also known as immortal)

The fourth is the realization of the Dao (also known as realized immortal).

But all of this is really just flowing the natural path of the mother of all things.

 

Being obsessive on daoist cosmology ... I actually like that  :) 

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On ‎03‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 1:46 AM, dawei said:

Legge

 

25 
There was something undefined and complete, coming into 
existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, 
standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in 
no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of 
all things.

I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao 
(the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I 
call it The Great.

Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes 
remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is 
great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also 
great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage) 
king is one of them.

Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from 
Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its 
being what it is. 


Lau 

 

25 
There is a thing confusedly formed, 
Born before heaven and earth. 
Silent and void 
It stands alone and does not change, 
Goes round and does not weary. 
It is capable of being the mother of the world. 
I know not its name 
So I style it 'the way'.

I give it the makeshift name of 'the great'. 
Being great, it is further described as receding, 
Receding, it is described as far away, 
Being far away, it is described as turning back.

Hence the way is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great. 
Within the realm there are four things that are great, 
And the king counts as one.

Man models himself on earth, 
Earth on heaven, 
Heaven on the way, 
And the way on that which is naturally so. 

 

Feng/English 

 

25
Something mysteriously formed, 
Born before heaven and Earth. 
In the silence and the void, 
Standing alone and unchanging, 
Ever present and in motion. 
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. 
I do not know its name 
Call it Tao. 
For lack of a better word, I call it great.

Being great, it flows 
I flows far away. 
Having gone far, it returns.

Therefore, "Tao is great; 
Heaven is great; 
Earth is great; 
The king is also great." 
These are the four great powers of the universe, 
And the king is one of them.

Man follows Earth. 
Earth follows heaven. 
Heaven follows the Tao. 
Tao follows what is natural.


Jonathan Star

 

25
Something formless, complete in itself
There before Heaven and Earth
Tranquil, vast, standing alone, unchanging
It provide for all things yet cannot be exhausted
It is the mother of the universe
I do not know its name so I call it ?Tao?
Forced to name it further
I call it ?The greatness of all things? ?The end of all endings?
I call it ?That which is beyond the beyond? ?That to which all things return?
From Tao comes all greatness ?
I makes Heaven great
It makes Earth great
It makes man great
Mankind depends on the laws of the Earth
Earth depends on the laws of Heaven
Heaven depends on the laws of Tao
But Tao depends on itself alone
Supremely free, self-so, it rests in its own nature


Flowing Hands

 

25
Something mysteriously formed, born before Heaven and Earth. 
In silence and from within the void. 
Alone and constant, ever present and flowing. 
It is the Mother of the Ten Thousand Things. 
I do not know its name, so I call it Dao. 
For lack of a better word I call it great.  
Being great it flows. 
It nourishes the Ten Thousand Things far and away. 
From whence it came I do not know.  
Therefore the Dao is great. 
Heaven is great. 
Earth is great. 
The Ten Thousand Things are great. 
These are the four great powers of the Universe, And one of them is the Ten Thousand Things. 
Man follows the Earth. 
Earth follows Heaven. 
Heaven follows the Dao. 
Dao is what is natural.  

this is one of the important chapters within the verses.

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By man following earth, does he also follow Tao, due to the sequence? And if so, is "man" interchangeable with "king"? I'm assuming so...as not all men are following Tao...

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4 hours ago, Rara said:

By man following earth, does he also follow Tao, due to the sequence? And if so, is "man" interchangeable with "king"? I'm assuming so...as not all men are following Tao...

 

I played with the last lines for a long time, once before, and I like 'model' (Lau uses it).  In this way, the 'sequence' would suggest as you say: by being modeled on earth we are modeled on Dao.  

 

Man vs King.  This has a history of debate but seems it is not required to be so distinct.   

 

Chan in his translation notes that there are versions with 'man' instead and writes in his notes: "the king here is representative of men. Moreover, in chapter 16 and 39, Heaven, Earth and Man are spoken of together. 

 

Wagner's translation of Wang Bi's notes are explained as his (WB) quoting a text that seems to appear to say man is the most exalted being and the king is highest of men... and thus WB supports the use of Man.  But Wagner says the entire section is trying to show that WB "intends to show why the king is not great but only 'also great' (see The King is also Great--Lau).  He is also great because Heaven and Earth have given the highest endowment to humans and he is their lord.  He is not intrinsically great but also great by this endownment."

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Wouldn’t the Heavens be disappointed in ourselves? In our selfishness towards nature and our lack of stewardship? We’ve always done so much harm. Wouldn’t the Heavens regret their choice of who would be King and the humans who are responsible to be kind and gentle to all things? Is that it, only a few are to stumble across what the Heavens have seeded and the framers are to share the harvest?

Edited by Diacarwyn

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On 31/05/2020 at 10:52 AM, Diacarwyn said:

Wouldn’t the Heavens be disappointed in ourselves? In our selfishness towards nature and our lack of stewardship? We’ve always done so much harm. Wouldn’t the Heavens regret their choice of who would be King and the humans who are responsible to be kind and gentle to all things? Is that it, only a few are to stumble across what the Heavens have seeded and the framers are to share the harvest?

 

I don't think the Heavens have this sort of opinion as I don't feel it is personified in the DDJ anyway. In the rankings, it appears 2nd to Dao, and if this is so, then it is the highest of what can be named. Imitating Dao and being almost an image of it (paradoxical, I know) our connection to Heaven as humans is what's important.

 

From this chapter, I don't believe the King is appointed by heaven. I would say your latter question is closer to the meaning....

 

Say, you, cultivate with commitment, you become one with Heaven. You become King in this context. Maybe this is Zhuangzi's "Perfect Man", or similar.

 

A Zhuangzi quote also comes to mind:

 

"If heaven and earth fall to ruin, the sage suffers no loss".

 

Alas, man will be destructive and man doesn't elect true Kings into power.

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