dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 47

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David Hinton 2002

47

You can know all beneath heaven though you never step out the door,
and you can see the Way of heaven though you never look out the window.
The further you explore, the less you know.
So it is that a sage knows by going nowhere, names by seeing nothing, perfects by doing nothing.

 

 

Chad Hansen 2009

47

Don't step outside your door. Know the social world. 
Don't look out the window. See the natural guide. 
The farther you go 
the less you know what to do. 
Using this: Sages don't go anywhere and yet know what to do. 
Don't see and yet name things. 
Don't deem-act and yet accomplish. 

 


Moss Roberts 2001

47

No need to venture past the door
To know this world below the skies,
No peer outside the window frame
To see the heaven's works and ways:
‚ÄúDistant ventures, meager knowledge.‚ÄĚ
For this reason men of wisdom
Know the world not having walked it,
And name it true not having seen it,
And gain success not striving for it.
 

 

Lok Sang Ho 2002

47

Without stepping out of the door,
One can know the universal truth that pervades the universe.
Without peeping through the window,
One can see the Dao of Nature.
He who goes to a distant land
 in search of the Truth
Will only distant himself from the Truth.81
The Sage knows it all without traveling afar.
He is illuminated without seeing with his physical eyes.
He accomplishes without ever contriving to accomplish.

 

 

Gu Zhengku 1993

47

Without stirring out of the house,
One can know everything in the world;
Without looking out of the window,
One can see the Tao of heaven.
The further one travels,
The less one knows.
That is why the sage
Knows everything without going out;
Sees the Tao of heaven without looking out of the window;
Succeeds without resorting to action. 

 


Lin Yutang 1948

47

Without stepping outside one's doors, 
   One can know what is happening in the world, 
Without looking out of one's windows, 
   One can see the Tao of heaven.

The farther one pursues knowledge, 
   The less one knows. 
Therefore the Sage knows without running about, 
   Understands without seeing, 
   Accomplishes without doing. 

 

 

Flowing Hands 1987

47

The Sage is at one with the Dao, so he knows of the ways of creation.
And yet he has never been abroad.
He knows the ways of Heaven, yet he has never been to Heaven.
In seeking the Dao, its not necessary to know the
whole world to find it in your heart;
for the Dao is all around you.

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On 8/29/2018 at 8:44 PM, dawei said:

Without stepping out of the door,
One can know the universal truth that pervades the universe.

 

Most other translators render these opening lines rather mysteriously ... or should I say mystically ... know without knowing.

 

Lok tells you how this is done ... by way of comprehending the universal truth. Grasping the universal truth when you hear about things you see how things are as they are, how things came about. Sounds a lot like Ni Hua Ching.

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I still prefer the inclusion of looking out one's window because just looking at our inner essence we see only our own inner essence but looking out the window we will be able to observe the varying essence of Nature and the rest of the world.

 

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Plato with his allegory of  the cave story is being burned big time by Lao Tzu in chapter 47

 

Polar complete reality vs absolute fragment reality. Lao Tzu is undefeated with out any effort at all.

 

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I don't abide by 3 essences in one sentence. I get suspicious of essence.

 

I will go take a look at 47 though

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Wu Ming Jen said:

Plato with his allegory of  the cave story is being burned big time by Lao Tzu in chapter 47

 

Polar complete reality vs absolute fragment reality. Lao Tzu is undefeated with out any effort at all.

 

Can you explain what you think is wrong with the cave story?

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Lets pretend we have prisoners shackled and facing a wall with a fire burning behind them and I will tell you how they perceive reality and these shadows. Right

like this is a normal situation for someone to be born into with such limited perception by being in this cave.

 

Where the prisoners born in the cave or did their memory's have had been erased before getting into the cave. What was the life perception before they got into the cave to know nothing of the sun, they are blinded and when they get use to the sun and all the marvels then they are blind reentering the cave.

 

It is all make believe and nonsensical .  who is tending the fire so it does not go out. how are they eating and where do they pee. Being chained up in a cave what aspirations do they have. Will they be free one day.

 

If they know nothing of the outside world then Plato is describing people who are basically vegetables in a non natural situation.

This  is what makes the story work for Plato he gets the reader involved with a preconditioned thought that is not real to make his point. The point being a higher reality it is done very painfully and just dumb.

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@Wu Ming Jen

Plato's story makes sense. You just don't get it. It's obvious by your comments.

There is no use explaining what's wrong with your thoughts. You just don't get it.

The most obvious mistake is that DDJ and the allegory of Plato aren't talking about the same thing...

Edited by Zork
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2 hours ago, Wu Ming Jen said:

Lets pretend we have prisoners ...

Your imagination isn't any better than mine is.

 

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On 9/2/2018 at 3:58 PM, Zork said:

@Wu Ming Jen

Plato's story makes sense. You just don't get it. It's obvious by your comments.

There is no use explaining what's wrong with your thoughts. You just don't get it.

The most obvious mistake is that DDJ and the allegory of Plato aren't talking about the same thing...

Your right Zork I was joking around and derailed the thread a bit. I even made up my pretend standpoint of allegory of the cave. 

 

The Chinese Philosophy is a Philosophy of cosmos as well as philosophy of life. Since the Greek Philosophy is rather reflective, it more separates these areas of thoughts. Born as a thinking of nature, the Greek Philosophy only later reflected upon life ‚Äď beginning with Socrates.

 

Socrates inherited also wisdom, not concerned as Philosophy before him: he followed the inscription over the entrance to the Apollo Temple in Delphi, stating ‚ÄúKnow thyself‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúNot too much‚ÄĚ. Such wisdom is a part of Chinese philosophy from its very start ‚Äď since we have given a more broad definition of philosophy in China. But this wisdom becomes part of Greek Philosophy through Socrates. Socrates was provoked by the sophists, stating relativism and lack of obedience to the gods, the denial of the old values, the virtues belonging to the former aristocratic society. The sophists belonged to the new time, not based upon cultivating inherited land with the use of slaves, a land that originally was appropriated by warfare and courage; the sophist represented the new culture that was based upon trade and craft. Socrates wanted to restore the old values, to reformulate them in a way, where they could enter into the new time.¬†¬†¬†

 

The spiritual strength is general in Chinese tradition in combination with the training of the body. This is seen especially in the Chai Ch’i. It is the spiritual training itself that is the crucial dividing point. The Eros as such can exceptionally take the place even as the Tao itself: in Plato’s dialogue Symposium, Eros is the seek for ones lost other half-part[vii].¨ The theme of duality: the Chinese conception of Yin and Yang versus Pythagorean teaching. The theme of duality is expressed in the relation between Yin and Yang, where these are balanced in harmony. This is stressed in the Taoism, 

 

 

The real Tao is hidden for us. Itself it is the fundamental way and order of contrasts. But we can come to it through many ways; each of these ways is a little Tao-path leading to the Great Tao, and still, in the end somehow a part of it. The Greek philosophy gives us many such fine paths. We must seek harmony in the contrasts, and not reject the contrasts, but somehow take them in our-selves ‚Äď so that we find our own little path, our own Tao both to and in the Great Tao as such.

Maybe the Western way of thinking and action in general, and its philosophy in particular, must be considered more in the side of Yang. But even so, in its origin, in the Greek Philosophy, there was a search for harmony, for balance between oppositions; and several conceptions expressed this quest, as we have seen. Later on, in the Christianity Gods creation of man expressed the Yang: man was in a special condition for naming the animals and conquering land etc. But man‚Äôs position after the Fall, the demand for forgiving others, and for loving others not with Eros but with the sacrificing Agape, became the contend of Jesus‚Äô own preaching and expresses the Yin side of Christianity. It must, however, be said that, traditionally, the humility towards nature has not been so emphasized in Christianity, which in this regard especially must be seen as a Yang-religion. But recently, also in this respect attempts have been made in order to reinterpret Christianity in the direction of Yin: nature, too, is created and must be respected as such ‚Äď man is not the owner and master of it: we are part of nature, and must not destroy the balance of the environment.

The Western way of living and thinking must learn from the Eastern understanding of harmony and balance. But the modern Eastern way of living, on the other hand, must learn not to repeat the failures of the West. The West has, however, to reconsider its own Greek tradition in the light of the Eastern tradition.

 

 

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@Wu Ming Jen

Have you ever read Valis by Phillip K. Dick?

Your thoughtsphere is very interesting. I will not comment much as not to derail the thread.

One big difference between Greek and Chinese philosophers is the former appeal to logic/analysis and the latter appeal to intuition/understanding. In a way both systems are valid. I don't wish to expand further on this thread. :)

On Pythagoras (among others), since Greeks had contact with India some of his ideas seem to have been taken from there. Just an assumption. I cannot prove anything.

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On 2018-09-02 at 3:31 PM, Wu Ming Jen said:

Lets pretend we have prisoners shackled and facing a wall with a fire burning behind them and I will tell you how they perceive reality and these shadows. Right

like this is a normal situation for someone to be born into with such limited perception by being in this cave.

 

Where the prisoners born in the cave or did their memory's have had been erased before getting into the cave. What was the life perception before they got into the cave to know nothing of the sun, they are blinded and when they get use to the sun and all the marvels then they are blind reentering the cave.

 

It is all make believe and nonsensical .  who is tending the fire so it does not go out. how are they eating and where do they pee. Being chained up in a cave what aspirations do they have. Will they be free one day.

 

If they know nothing of the outside world then Plato is describing people who are basically vegetables in a non natural situation.

This  is what makes the story work for Plato he gets the reader involved with a preconditioned thought that is not real to make his point. The point being a higher reality it is done very painfully and just dumb.

If they know nothing of the outside world , THEY ARE vegetables in a non natural situation, metaphorically speaking.  As someone living in North America,  i can attest to this quite a bit. And I’m sure people from all around the world can too... 

 

The way I interpret the allegory of the cave is that these people are born into bondage, with a world that is pulled over their eyes. The architects of control are stationed behind them, playing with puppets and casting shadows to keep the people in the lurks. These people think that what they see is what they get, when there is a lot more to the equation in reality.  Their ignorance is their bliss though, albeit false. 

 

Now , if everybody can only see these shadows being casted by the puppet masters, and then one single person makes it out of this cave to realize there is much more to the world around them than they had ever believed,  and they see the real LIGHT, who do you think is going to believe him if he tries to communicate it all? Do you think that these people will believe one man? Do you think that these people will give up their lifelong emprisonment known as comfort, just to know the truth ? That the shadows casted isn’t all that there is ? Most people would not. This man would be ostracized , called a liar and not believed for a second. Men like this have been, and will be killed in the future for trying to express what you can only experience. And if they aren’t killed, they’ll at least get slapped with the label of loon or heretic.

 

But, realizing it is not the fault of those being manipulated, and feeling empathetic towards their situation, this man will most likely risk backlash to show them the truth. He might be able to show a few the way, and get people to consider it, but most people will not follow this man out of

their comfort zone, even if they begin to suspect that this comfort zone is built on lies.

 

This story has almost the same dynamic as the bodhisattva who reaches enlightenement, yet takes rebirth to help their brothers and sisters on their journey, even if it is not always well received.

 

Or that of Jesus Christ himself, who was put to death for his teachings and influence. 

 

The dynamic also underlies most most peoples relationship to our governments and media outlets. We see the shadows these people cast, but we don’t really who is behind any of it or why they do

it in the first place. We take what is in front of us at face value without much thought put into it ,  and the minute somebody tries to elevate our understanding to a point beyond what is the general uninformed consensus, this somebody will be treated by the confused / manipulated as if they are in the wrong for even THINKING such a thing..  even if what they have to say makes more logical sense than a government/media narrative that is easily falsifiable. Belief has nothing to do with truth, and since next to nobody wants to admit that  nearly everything they once held as true is complete bullshit, they stick to their beliefs while disregarding truth. 

The people that are certain about their false beliefs are often the people who put no time or thought into their belief system, but just verbally regurgitate  whatever the status quo is for that specific matrix/role/ideology they are caught in, and call it debate or conversation even though there is no reasoning with this type.

 

these people i have a lot of empathy for,¬†because I was one of those people for so damn long. but it isn‚Äôt our job to force people into seeing something they don‚Äôt want to. Force has never been a sustainable way of getting anything done, and I think inclusion is the true way to show people whatever your truth may be. Including them in your discussions, and life, and practices... and if they choose to join you for the ride then that is their prerogative. One thing I see often when people have made headway on their path and have some understandings of some deeper truths, the ego hijacks the truths and it becomes all about what I know, and what YOU don‚Äôt... ¬†I see it in ‚Äúwoke‚ÄĚ crowds all the time. There is no arguing with fools, and everyone should follow the buddhas advice not to.¬†

 

Anyways, kinda drifting off topic a bit, but I don’t see what is nonsensical about the allegory of the cave.... i have to agree with @Zork that you kind of misinterpreted the allegory. But I could be overthinking it and misinterpreting your thoughts about it also. Maybe we are both just singing for the sake of the song.. my friend. 

 

this is a very good story to contemplate I think, and the dynamic seems to speak to a lot of humanitys struggles as narrow sighted and extremely opinionated beings. Although it does seem to be the polar opposite of what laotzu says, I think both statements are relatively true. You don’t need to go outside your home to know the whole universe, but I’m sure its helpful to have BEEN outside

 

 

I think we are born with a relatively clear perception, but as time goes on it gets very clouded by external influences, and if we couldn‚Äôt¬†¬†move our head to understand these influences and how they affect us, then soon enough we will forget all about clear perception and be happy with a watered down version of what could be... I also think that if there wasn‚Äôt a problem of limited perception in our world ( which I think there is ) , then most of us wouldn‚Äôt be on this page coming togethere to cultivate and refine our perceptions... AND I doubt that anyone would have been inspired to write the allegory of the cave¬†¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į¬†

 

I really like this part of the conversation, and although it doesn’t apply so much to DDJ 47, if you’d like to continue this Dialogue we should start a different thread. 

 

Your brother in dao,

 

Kyoji

Edited by kyoji
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One thing about the media - in a country with freedom of the press one could read news papers (or visit other media) with fundamentally different perspectives. That takes away a lot of the misinformation. One of the first things a (potential) dictator does is attacking and finally destroying those media sources that dare to oppose him. When the people in democratic countries don't inform themselves from a plurality of media sources when there is the possibility to do so, then it's mainly their own fault.

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One thing about stories/parables/allegories is that we know ... or should know ... that they should not be taken too seriously. They are meant to allow room for interpretation. They suggest possibilities that should be considered and reflected on.

 

The cave story suggests that there may be limits to our knowledge and understanding that we are not aware of and do not fully appreciate. That we can become complacent in our "reality".  But conditions can change and when the time is right our world view can change and we can gain a different "reality". 

 

We need to be cautious of facts. Over-reliance on facts helps keep us locked into a view that keeps us from seeing a new reality and its possibilities. At one time it was a fact that the earth is flat, that the sun revolved around the earth.

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6 hours ago, wandelaar said:

One thing about the media - in a country with freedom of the press one could read news papers (or visit other media) with fundamentally different perspectives.

 

Everything you say is true ... but we are learning that everything that is published may not be worthy of our consideration.

 

We have to ask ourselves how credible/responsible are the news sources? Is the Inquirer/Tattler more reliable than the Times/Post? Are we getting any in depth analysis and understanding or just surface information in the form of "facts"?

 

What is their agenda? Are they left, right or balanced? Is it fostering a them vs us view?

 

What is the emotional content? Is the language inflamatory? Is it trying to appeal our sense of morality and rightiousness? Is it malicious and defamatory to a particular person or view?

 

How much of what we think we know is being shaped by social media where there are no controls over the content? A place where anything and everything is said without any verification?

 

How conscious are we of attempts to manipulate our opinions? Is there even any basis to our opinions?

 

What's the difference between no news and a glut of "news" where we can no longer tell who's who, what's what or what of it?

 

Ok, now I'll get down off my soap box. Sorry for the rant.

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@ OldDog

 

No news medium can possibly give a fully comprehensive overview of "the news of today", because there is simply too much happening in the world for that. Further one cannot possibly choose what is and what isn't relevant news without some sort of moral compass on what we should or shouldn't know. So the best one could hope for is a free press where a great number of perspectives are represented and where it is clear what perspective is represented by what news medium.

 

The way to go is personally choosing to watch or read those news media that one thinks are the most trustworthy and informative. I think attacking THE MEDIA as a whole as if it were some kind of alien force is very dangerous, and can easily create an atmosphere in which actual steps (whether legal or illegal) are taken to shut down those news media that don't please the government and/or parts of the general public.

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@wandelaar

 

Don't disagree with you at all. Freedom of the press is vital to a healthy open society. As consumers of information we just need to look at news sources with a critical eye ... ask questions ... and have civil discussions. 

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5 hours ago, OldDog said:

One thing about stories/parables/allegories is that we know ... or should know ... that they should not be taken too seriously. They are meant to allow room for interpretation. They suggest possibilities that should be considered and reflected on.

 

Do you think Lao tzu (or those who wrote in his name) deliberately used allegorical language so as to allow us room for interpretation? And if so - why would he (or they) have done so?

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22 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Do you think Lao tzu (or those who wrote in his name) deliberately used allegorical language so as to allow us room for interpretation? And if so - why would he (or they) have done so?

 

Oh, absolutely! There are probably several reasons.

 

1. Poetic license. Laozi (DDJ) has a poetic flow to it ... in spite of what various translators have done with it. Any good writer knows that you can express more with allegory and metaphor that with plain words. Some things are best left unsaid or incomplete to allow the reader to discover the meaning. Such discoveries stick in the mind better.

 

2. Cultural idiomatic symbolism. Every culture has idiomatic phrases that convey a meaning without actually referring explicitly to the meaning. No doubt some of these images were used in Laozi. For example: Straw dogs. If you were not familiar with the sacrificial context you would not understand what is meant by being treated as a straw dog.

 

3. Alchemical symbolism. Early taoist tradition included alchemy. Originally the language was quite literal. After the mixing of various elements and substances was given up, the terms took on symbolic meaning. Granted there is not a lot of this in Laozi but some interesting interpretations of Laozi can be uncovered if you compare to early Neidan texts. Writers like Cleary, Reid and Pregadio have done some pretty good comparative work along these line. Check out Reid's Ho-Shang Kung Commentary.

 

Thats why its important to know the translator ... his background, education and which veins of daoist traditions he/she follows or has interest it.

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8 minutes ago, OldDog said:

Thats why its important to know the translator ... his background, education and which veins of daoist traditions he/she follows or has interest it.

True that.

 

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