Marblehead

Mair 19:1

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She who understands the attributes of life does not strive for what is not doable in life; she who understands the attributes of destiny does not strive for that which is not permitted by destiny.  For the nourishment of the physical form, material things are a necessary prerequisite, but sometimes there is a surplus of things yet the physical form goes unnourished.  For there to be life, a necessary prerequisite is that it not be separated from the physical form, but there are instances of nonseparation from the physical form yet life is lost.  When life comes, it cannot be refused; when life goes, it cannot be stopped.  How sad that the people of the world think that nourishing the physical form is sufficient to preserve life!  But when it turns out that nourishing the physical form is insufficient for the preservation of life, what in the world can be done that is sufficient?  Although doing things is insufficient, one cannot but do them unless one avoids doing altogether.

If one wishes to avoid doing things for the physical form, there is no better course than to abandon the world.  Once one abandons the world, there are no entanglements.  When there are no entanglements, there will be correct equanimity.  When there is correct equanimity, one will be born again with that.  {{There are countless speculations about the meaning of this simple word (e.g., the creator, physical form, nature, God [Deus], etc.).  I prefer to leave it as ambiguous as its Indic cognate tat in the well-known formulation tat tvam asi ("that thou art") from the Chandogya Upanisad (6,8,6) where tat ("that") represents the universal principle (brahman), tvam ("thou") the individual soul (atman), and asi is the verbal identification of the two.}}  Having been born again, one is close to it.  But why is it sufficient to abandon affairs and to be lax about life?  By abandoning affairs, the form is not toiled; by being lax about life, the essence is not diminished.  When the form is complete and the essence is restored, you become one with heaven.  Heaven and earth are the father and mother of the myriad things.  When they join, the body is complete; when they disperse, completion begins anew.  When the form and the essence are undiminished, this is called adaptability.  With the essence of the essence, you return to become the assistant of heaven.
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The urge to escape the trials and troubles of life is a strong one. Many trials and troubles are born of the physical world ... the world of ten thousand things. One may think that by abanonding the physical world and ones physical needs that they will end up in a better place. I think this is an illusion; neither can it be escaped. Daoism recognizes the body, mind and spirit and their essential unity ... complete with all the trials and tribulations that attend them. 

 

This is a problem that daoists struggle with and at the same time what draws people to the daoist way. The personal work that each person does is to engage in the struggle, to find a way to live in the physical world and at the same time approach the dao. In this effort there is waxing/waning, ebb/flow, times of fulfillment/times of dissatisfaction. It is this process that moves us forward incrementally along the way. 

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Posted (edited)

@ OldDog

 

Reminds me of the remark of Lao tzu that our troubles come from having a body.

Edited by wandelaar
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@wandelaar

 

Yes, that crossed my mind as well but by itself was not ringing true ... or rather complete. That is why I draw attention to the unity of the body, mind and spirit. Without a body ... no place for the mind to exist. Without a mind ... no place for the spirit reside. Care has to be given to all.

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5 hours ago, Marblehead said:
to abandon the world. 

 

Only small problem is that this doesn't work.
Other small problem is your approach is like this .... "God is an idiot, he did everything wrong by putting us here, I will fix it by killing myself".
Hmmm nice solution.
Ordinary people often think spiritual people are idiots.
They could be right.
Society employs anyone with a brain and motivation, and the rest are busy making religions.

Everything that is here is supposed to be here, more or less.
You are not put in a body for no reason.
You do not have a mind for no reason.

Also all these speculations that the author is making are rather vain.
Standing back from life you try to make some grand sounding pronouncement on life.
But that's not the way.

The problem with renunciation / asceiticism is that if you have a box full of garbage and you empty the box, all you have is an empty box.  Big deal.
In fact the garbage is like the grain of sand in the oyster, it's also meant to be there.
Renunciation has a place in the sense that the amount of contact with life needs to be moderated, especially at the beginning.
 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, wandelaar said:

... remark of Lao tzu that our troubles come from having a body.

 

Although I recalled it ... when I went searching for it, I could not find it. At this point, I'm not sure it wasn't Zhuangzi or somewhere else.

 

1 hour ago, wandelaar said:

... what is the "solution" given in the text?

 

No matter .... since I don't believe there would have been a perscriptive solution offered in those texts ... based on my readings of Laozi and Zhuangzi. I believe both would have stopped short of a full solution. In a sense, I do not view them as complete treatment od daoism ... they simply point the way. 

 

So, in my belief in the unity of body, mind and spirit, I would have to look toward some of the cultivation notions that are elucidated in the Nei Ye.

 

 

Edited by OldDog
Unintentional poor grammar

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41 minutes ago, rideforever said:

Only small problem is that this doesn't work.

Exactly.  That was one of the points being made in this section.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OldDog said:

Although I recalled it ... when I went searching for it, I could not find it. At this point, I'm not sure it wasn't Zhuangzi or somewhere else.

That's Lao Tzu, Chapter 13.

 

Lines 9 - 15:

 

9.  The reason why I have distress
10.  Is that I have a body.
11.  If I had no body, what distress would I have? 
12.  Therefore, to one who values acting for himself over acting on behalf of the world,
13.  You can entrust the world. 
14.  And to one who in being parsimonious regards his person as equal to the world,
15.  You can turn over the world.
 

 

I see lines 14 & 15 very important here.

 

Edited by Marblehead
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3 hours ago, Marblehead said:

That's Lao Tzu, Chapter 13.

 

That's it, thanks! Where I was looking it translated "body" as "self" ... which carries a slightly different meaning but the overall point of Ch 13 is the same.

 

@wandelaar cited this as ... that our troubles come from having a body. While this true in a strict sense ... no body, nothing to be concerned about ... I think the reading of body as self tells us something different. The manner in which we regard our body ... our physical being ... is our self. It is the self and not the body that is the source of trouble.

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Posted (edited)

Well - it all depends. I could imagine a world without physical objects, and in such a world we wouldn't have bodies either. When not having a body, our body naturally couldn't be hurt (because it wouldn't even exist). But when in such a world there would still be communication between minds/souls there also would still be the possibility of getting hurt mentally (by what others mentally communicate to us). Unless of course in such a non-physical world we would be completely isolated minds/souls unable to experience other minds/souls. But that would bring its own kind of suffering: ultimate loneliness.

 

So indeed - doing away with the body isn't the simple solution it looks like...

Edited by wandelaar

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2 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Well - it all depends. I could imagine a world without physical objects, and in such a world we wouldn't have bodies either. When not having a body, our body naturally couldn't be hurt (because it wouldn't even exist). But when in such a world there would still be communication between minds/souls there also would still be the possibility of getting hurt mentally (by what others mentally communicate to us). Unless of course in such a non-physical world we would be completely isolated minds/souls unable to experience other minds/souls. But that would bring its own kind of suffering: ultimate loneliness.

That sounds like Christian Heaven to me.  No bodies, only souls (self).

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

That sounds like Christian Heaven to me.  No bodies, only souls (self).

 

As a theoretical possibility that doesn't have to be heavenly at all! Imagine one would exist in complete isolation as if there were nothing else in the world but your own mind/soul left to its own thoughts and emotions with nothing else that you could possibly do. No space to live and move around in, no other things to interact with. Only endless time........... :blink:

Edited by wandelaar
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Nope, I can't imagine that.

 

However, my best friend, who is a Christian, believes in eternity after death.  And I remind him that Heaven would be Hell for me because there would be all those lovely women there and I would be unable to touch any of them as there would be no body.  Sad.

 

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There is an esoteric alternative where the dead have some kind of subtle body composed of a rarefied sort of matter. But I don't know whether the sense of touch would still work there... ;)

 

All this business about life after dead is probably based on wishful (or frightful) thinking. There has been a huge amount of research on spiritualist phenomena but nothing substantial in the sense of ways of communication with the dead has been developed. Of course we cannot absolutely rule out the possibility of survival after death, but on the basis of our current understanding it seems highly unlikely.

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21 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

There is an esoteric alternative where the dead have some kind of subtle body composed of a rarefied sort of matter. But I don't know whether the sense of touch would still work there... ;)

I've never studied that stuff so I'm without further thoughts.

 

21 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

 

All this business about life after dead is probably based on wishful (or frightful) thinking. There has been a huge amount of research on spiritualist phenomena but nothing substantial in the sense of ways of communication with the dead has been developed. Of course we cannot absolutely rule out the possibility of survival after death, but on the basis of our current understanding it seems highly unlikely.

True, no evidence.  But then, we still have the alternative that it is in a different dimension so we would never be able to detect it anyhow.

 

The Materialist side of me rejects any possibility.  I'm not much of a Spiritualist so I am limited with what I can say and still be honest with my words and thoughts.

 

 

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We ourselves are the means for detection.
Scientists make "instruments" because they are unable to grasp that they are the instrument.
It is like a child playing with toys of mother father child, to understand himself.
Objects : when we see things externally or think, we extend into objects.
But who inside us is the subjedt ?  The discovery of this is the main purpose of spirituality.   The discovery and merger / activation of the subject.
Then your identity is in a different "world".

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33 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I have no idea how to respond to this but in general I accept the concept.

 

Hey.   Why don't you try the summary guidance I wrote up on the Turning the Light around Thread.   I would be interested to hear your results.
Let's do stuff.

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Posted (edited)

The subject of survival after death can be endlessly debated, and there are countless ways of explaining away the apparent inability of the dead to communicate with us. As I said the possibility of survival after death cannot be absolutely ruled out. But the same is true for the possibility that we change into a kind of muppets after death in some other dimension, or that we are reborn on some planet far away as creatures with three eyes and seven arms who like playing in the mud. With a couple of beers to loosen our imagination almost anything can seem possible, as long as we take care to provide for an "explanation" why nothing of the kind can be demonstrated to be true in our present life.

 

So unless one wants to live in a world of fantasy the most healthy thing is to take a sceptical or agnostic attitude to those things that cannot be demonstrated to be (probably) true. And as I don't like to see this topic degenerate into another senseless debate I will leave it at that.

Edited by wandelaar

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16 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

So unless one wants to live in a world of fantasy the most healthy thing is to take a sceptical or agnostic attitude to those things that cannot be demonstrated to be (probably) true.

 

That is true, but along with "taking a view" (sitting on the ass), one can also try to investigate and participate in the growing knowledge of mankind.
Whether something lives or dies after death is one question; whether humans are really alive or just living in a "false self" whilst in the body is another question; whether this "false self" can be transformed into an eternal being that survives death; is a 3rd question.

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