Chapter of the Week: #34 [Archive]

[cite] Luke Abbott:[/cite]If you would have a thing laid aside,
You must first set it up;
Hmm . . . This chapter appears to have a loophole or catch. Here's an example. It's understandable to believe that if you want to set up a saltshaker, it first needs to have fallen over. but for it to have fallen over, it firsts needs to have been set up. but to have been set up, it must fall over (or laid aside or whatever you want to call it). And the prossess continues. Well, what's it's original state?

Let's take the big bang (or the horrible space kaplooee! if you want to call it that). For the big bang (active) to occur, there would have to nothing (passive) which there was. (That could hint that the original state of the salt shaker was in it's passive state. In other words, it fell over) but, for there to be nothing, there need to be something and vise versa.

Does anybody have a theory or hypothisis (or hypothithith as I call it) for this confusing quandry :roll:?


  • edited April 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 34 was originally featured on the 1st week in September. (We took a break last week since it was the 5th Sunday.)

    Note: The Tao Te Ching can be obscure, especially if you think you're supposed to understand what it's saying! We find it easier and more instructive to simply contemplate how the chapter resonates with your personal experience. Becoming more aware at this fundamental level simplifies life. This approach conforms to the view that true knowing lies within ourselves. Thus, when a passage in the scripture resonates, you've found your inner truth. The same applies for when it evokes a question; questions are the grist for self realization.

    Chapter 34
    The way is broad, reaching left as well as right.
    The myriad creatures depend on it for life yet it claims no aurthority.
    It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
    It clothes and feeds the myriad creatures
    yet lays no claim to being their master.

    For ever free of desire, it can be called small; yet, as it lays no claim to
    being master when all things turn to it, it can be called great.

    It is because it never attempts itself to be great that it succeeds in
    becoming great.
  • edited December 1969
    The last line of this chapter portrays a curious and deeply important life process (to me anyway): Only by letting go of what I desire (want) can I succeed in becoming content with what I have. In truth, the only reason I desire something and/or attempt to succeed at something is because I'm not content with what I have in the moment. Only when I engage in life's activities with [chref=19]few desires as possible[/chref] am I able to feel content and [chref=33]lives out my days.[/chref]

    Of course, Desire and attempting to be by themselves is not a problem per se. This is the life force that moves all earth's creatures. Our (human) problem with desire lies how it plays out in our minds... the dwelling, fretting, wishing, regretting, longing (living, not in the moment, but in an idealized 'tomorrow' where the [chref=46]desires[/chref] we imagine today will be satiated).

    This chapter, as a whole, reflects a balancing process. I only claim merit, greatness and authority when I feel inwardly deficient in merit, greatness, and authority. It's not that I feel deficient in these specifically, however. These feelings boil down to a general sense of insecurity and lack of self-integrity. As I become inwardly secure, I don't need to attempt to be great. Knowing this process, i.e., the forces that move others to do what they do, gives me compassion for the nature of things as they are.
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