Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Tuesdays with Tao: Two - Two to Tango

A Doorway to the Way of Tao?

:: Every Tuesday, I'll be publishing one more chapter of my personal re-interpretation of Lao-tzu's awesomely inspiring and quietly wise Tao Te Ching. Despite being written down some 25 centuries ago, it is a marvel of contemporary insight. The opening chapter, The Essence of Tao, is here.

John Chalmers created the first known complete english translation in 1868 and famous ones followed by James Legge in 1891, Paul Carus in 1913 and Aleister Crowley in 1918. Since then, famous and infamous, scholars and poets, ministers and aetheists alike have tackled their own Taos. If you hunt online, you'll find at least 35 current translations/interpolations/re-interpretations, including, soon, one by SensualPoet!

Tao Te Ching means "The Book (or sacred texts) of the Way and Virtue" where "way" is something like all-encompassing Nature and "virtue" is a way of being which attempts to harmonize with Tao. Much of the first book concerns itself with trying to describe the indescribable. Lao-tzu uses about 5000 characters (these are rich chinese characters, each equivalent to a word or a paragraph densely contained within) for the entire 81 chapters; my first 37 already stretch to 4300 words. But then, I am using english. ;-)

Two - Two to Tango

When your mind tingles aha! as it digests a morsel profoundly beautiful, don’t be dismayed that you must also have swallowed ugliness.

When your heart soars, alive and gleeful, because you have just experienced goodness, rejoice, too, that you have given your innocence to evil.

Day is unknowable without night; this is the bound-together inside-and-outside Truth of Tao.

Difficult and easy complement one another.

Long and short measure against one another.

High and low rest upon one another.

Sound and silence create music from each other.

Before and after are meaningless without one another.

The Sage teaches wordlessly, by example, allowing Nature to flow unimpeded, presenting its lessons according to Nature's own time.

He welcomes the coming, he accepts the going, of things;

neither restraining nor invoking, he nurtures them impartially as they appear.

By declining to take credit for his effortless efforts, nothing can be taken from him.

Comments welcome!

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