dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 50

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David Hinton 2002

50

People born into life enter death.
Constant companion in life
and in death,
this body is the kill-site animating their lives.
And isn't that because
they think life is the fullness of life?
I've heard those who encompass the whole of life
could walk on and on without meeting rhinoceros or tiger,
could charge into armies without feeling shield or sword.
A rhinoceros would find nowhere to gore them,
a tiger nowhere to claw them,
a sword nowhere to slice them.
And isn't that because
for them there's no kill-site?

 

Chad Hansen 2009

50
We emerge into life and enter into death. 
Of life's associates, ten have three. 
Of death's associates, ten have three. 
People's being alive, death ground's activities 
also ten have three. 
Now, why is this? 
Because they 'life' the thickness of life. 
In general, when we hear about those worthy to abet life: 
They walk the earth without encountering rhinoceros or tiger. 
They enter the army and don't bear armor or weapons. 
The rhinoceros has no place to thrust its horn. 
The tiger has no place to wield its claws. 
Arms have no place to accommodate their points. 
Now, why is this? 
Because they lack death's ground. 


Moss Roberts 2001
50
They come forth into life and they go to the dead:
The gateways of life are thirteen in all,
And the gateways of death the same thirteen.
But people in pursuit of life
Drive themselves to where death waits
At any of the thirteen mortal points.
And why is this?
A way of life too rich.
Men say those who secret themselves well
Will meet no gaur or tiger on the land,
Nor suffer weapon’s wound in war:
Present the gaur no place to gore them,
Nor the tiger place to claw them,
Nor the foe a place to stab them.
And why is this so?
Their mortal points are not exposed.

 

Lok Sang Ho 2002

50
Anyone who is born dies.
If 13 people are born
All 13 people will eventually die.
From birth to life,
From life to death,
The great earth will afford the places to live and to die
for exactly 13.
Why is this so?
It is because the mind cherishes the belief
that living is a privilege and not a natural right89.
I have heard that those who are good at conserving and preserving life
Seldom meet tigers and horned animals when they move around.
If they should join the military forces,
They would not have the need to combat.
Horned animals will have no way to cast their horns on their bodies,
Nor will tigers find a place to lay their claws.
Even soldiers’ swords will not hurt them.
Why is this so?
Because such people will never die. 


Gu Zhengku 1993

50

Men live when given to birth
And die when being buried.
One third of them are long-lived;
One third of them are short-lived;
One third of them die from their own choices though they could have lived longer;
Why in such cases?
Because they are too eager to live longer.
It is heard that he who is good at preserving his life
Does not meet with the rhinoceros or tiger when traveling on land,
Nor is he wounded in war,
For the rhinoceros has no use for its horns
And the tiger has no use for its claws;
The weapons have no use for their blades.
Why in such cases?
Because there is no realm of death for him to enter.


Lin Yutang 1948

50
Out of life, death enters. 
The companions (organs) of life are thirteen; 
The companions (organs) of death are (also) thirteen. 
What send man to death in this life are also (these) thirteen. 
   How is it so? 
Because of the intense activity of multiplying life.

It has been said that the who is a good preserver of hi life 
   Meets no tigers or wild buffaloes on land, 
   Is not vulnerable to weapons in the field of battle. 
The horns of the wild buffalo are powerless against him. 
   How is it so? 
Because he is beyond death. 


Flowing Hands 1987

50
Between birth and death, men live their lives in different ways.
Some are followers of the Dao.
Some are followers of the ways of mankind.
Some are followers of greed and lust.
Some are followers of evil.
Why is this?
Because man has sought to change things and interfere; so he has upset the balance within
himself and others.
The Sage knows this and rejects that.
He knows of the ways of the Ten Thousand Things as well as man.
Thus he can live in harmony with all things and all men.
The tiger will not attack him, men will not seek to wound him and so he makes no room for
death to enter.
 

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Yeah, if we have attained the state of being beyond death (we have given up all attachments to the physical) all we have left to do is live.

 

I really don't accept the concept of immortality because the physical body will, for sure, one day die.  But what becomes of the energy that once was who/what we were?  This is where we could talk about death being unable to enter.

 

 

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Yeah, I have struggled with the idea of immortality, as well. Taking it literally does not make sense. I often wonder if what is meant is not more like transcending mortality ... but that does not sound quite right either.

 

Then there is the notion of what I call supramortality ... if that is even a word. (No claim to coinage .. may have heard it somewhere) Something like what Marblehead is getting at. The idea of conservation of energy has always appealed to me. So that after the physical body returns to the earth, where does the energy go? Does it retain any of the distinctness or individuality of the physical instance that once was? Or, does it just merge with the energy pool of the universe ... ready to be drawn in the next instantiation of life?

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On 9/6/2018 at 5:29 PM, dawei said:

... this body is the kill-site animating their lives.

 

What the heck does this mean? Kill-site?

 

Far as I can see none of the other translations mention anything that could resemble this. Is Hinton drawing from some obscure interpretation of the original source material?

 

Thoughts?

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Don't think that "what we are" is a thing but rather a process, and a process can simply stop without having to go anywhere. The burning candle comes to mind, or a tornado. When the conditions for their existence are taken away the flame or tornado will simply stop or die out.

 

However there is a "trick" to become immortal and that is identifying with Tao itself. Identifying not in the sense of somehow becoming Tao, but of considering our "real self" to be (part of) Tao. Because everything is what it is because of Tao, considering our "real self" to be Tao is even logically correct. I think the main reason why we don't draw that obvious conclusion is our evolutionary acquired concern for our (bodily) survival. That's why philosophical analysis alone is not enough to become enlightened.

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1 hour ago, wandelaar said:

Don't think that "what we are" is a thing but rather a process ...

 

That makes sense to me. I am a strong adherent to the cyclic nature of Dao ... day/night, seasons, etc ... why not life. We are born, we develop and mature, we go into decline and we pass away. Our bodies return to earth, our energy/spirit goes elsewhere. That we are human is just one expression of the possibilities in Dao.

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On 9/8/2018 at 9:49 AM, OldDog said:

 

What the heck does this mean? Kill-site?

 

Far as I can see none of the other translations mention anything that could resemble this. Is Hinton drawing from some obscure interpretation of the original source material?

 

Thoughts?

 

here are comments on Hinton's usage:

 

http://uselesstree.typepad.com/useless_tree/2010/08/its-not-zen-its-taoism.html

 

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Nice explanation of the term no "Kill-site".  "No place for death."

 

My take on this is more at the Sage does not put him/her self in situations whereby the rhino, tiger, or sword can do them harm.  Being constantly aware they avoid such situations.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Marblehead said:

Nice explanation of the term no "Kill-site".  "No place for death."

 

My take on this is more at the Sage does not put him/her self in situations whereby the rhino, tiger, or sword can do them harm.  Being constantly aware they avoid such situations.

 

 

 

I find the explanation on kill-site is an explanation of what Laozi has been encouraging throughout the book.  The comments show that the kill-site is that part of us that is constantly killing us through worrying about distinctions like life and death... but once we simply live and flow in the moment, give yourself to the natural unfolding..  "for them there is no kill-site". 

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But I still wouldn't want a tiger to be eating me from the legs up while I'm still alive.  I will leave the tigers alone.

 

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From the Ho-Shang Kung Commentary, Dan Reid translates as ...

 

To depart from life is to enter death 
The companions of life are thirteen
The companions of death are thirteen 
In their way of living, people approach death-traps 
By way of (these) thirteen
Why is it so?
Because they live lives to excess 

 

I have heard that those who are good at absorbing life
Travel the land without encountering rhinoceros or tigers
That they walk into groups of soldiers 
Without requiring armor, or soldiers, for protection 
The rhinoceros has no place to trust its horn 
The tiger has no place to grab with its claw 
And the soldier has nowhere to place his weapon
Why is this so? 
Because these people are without any death-traps

 

Thirteen is cited to mean the 9 apertures, the 2 hands and 2 feet.

 

Death-traps are taken to mean that death enters through the thirteen by way of excess indulgence in the pursuit of life pleasures and experiences ... by the way people live.

 

Living a life of naturalness and spontaneity protects one by not exposing one to risks in pursuit of excess.

 

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Derek Lin has some interesting things to say here:  https://terebess.hu/english/tao/DerekLin.html#Kap50

 

Particularly this part:

Quote

Nine persons out of ten fit in one of the three categories above: fearful living, dangerous living, or excessive living. The rare exception, the one-in-ten minority, is the type of person who can transcend the predictable patterns that most people fall into.
We've heard of people like this, who are good at cultivating life. They enjoy living in moderation; they do not shrink from the unfamiliar; at the same time, they are also not foolhardy. They are the skillful players - not spectators - in the game of life. They are fully engaged and fully committed in their interactions with others and the world.
Because of the way they live, they do not encounter dangerous beasts representing the hazards of daily existence as they travel the road of life. When they wade into the battlefield of social competition, they are not harmed by the many weapons wielded by soldiers, representing personal attacks.
Their impeccable conduct leaves no room for others to hurt them with vicious rumors, innuendoes or insinuations. It is as if the wild rhinocerous of underhanded, back-stabbing tactics cannot find a place to thrust its deadly horn.
They feel no need to defend their point of view, nor to convince or persuade others of the correctness of their perspective. Thus, the tigers of blame, criticism and petty bickering have no target upon which to use their lethal claws.
When destructive force comes their way, they do not attempt to counter it head-on with equal or greater force. Instead, they expend minimal energy and redirect it away from themselves. Thus, the swords of negativity are deflected and cannot touch them.
How can they deal with life with such ease? It isn't so much that they possess toughness, so that slings and arrows bounce off them and outrageous fortune cannot hurt them. Rather, theirs is the ability to transcend fear, risk, and excess in their approach to life. Their mastery of living simply leaves no room for anything that is negative or destructive.

 

But how probable is his allegorical interpretation of the dangerous beasts and soldiers? Are there other chapters where Lao tzu is clearly using that kind of allegory?

Edited by wandelaar
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21 hours ago, wandelaar said:

Derek Lin has some interesting things to say here:  https://terebess.hu/english/tao/DerekLin.html#Kap50

 

Particularly this part:

 

But how probable is his allegorical interpretation of the dangerous beasts and soldiers? Are there other chapters where Lao tzu is clearly using that kind of allegory?

 

The entire book...  or as Derek says, "living simply". 

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