Chapter of the Week: #42 [Archive]

I see great perfection as being reality, how things actually are. Being chipped is when I see reality through my desires. The more I can step back and see how transitory all these desires are, the more I can see the true perfection of reality, and be content instead of chasing after desires and trying to change reality.

For me, restlessness and stillness has a connection with ?taking no action? from other chapters, in that it speaks to being in balance. It?s not that I should literally take no action, but that the more I?m centered and balanced within, the more I just naturally will move from restlessness to stillness, back to restlessness, as my life progresses.

Great eloquence seems tongue-tied reminds me of the illusion of fulfillment of desire. The more I pay attention to the true nature of this illusion, and I use the uncarved block to press down on desire, the less inclined I am to want to say something about whatever situation is happening. I?m more likely to recognize the play of desires with the people involved in the situation, and don?t feel a need to try to ?explain or enlighten? the others. I recognize that each of us is most likely to see the reality of a situation, to see beyond the illusions of desire, when we?re ready within ourselves, not when someone tries to use words, which just cannot convey the experience.


  • edited May 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 42 was originally featured on the 5th week in October.

    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 42
    The way begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets the myriad creatures.

    The myriad creatures carry on their backs the yin and embrace in their arms the yang and are the blending of the generative forces of the two.

    There are no words which men detest more than 'solitary', 'desolate', and 'hapless', yet lords and princes use these to refer to themselves.

    Thus a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished and diminished by being added to.

    What others teach I also teach. 'The violent will not come to a natural end.' I shall take this as my precept.
  • edited December 1969
    By embracing the solitary, desolate and hapless nature of my 'bio-prison', my life is thus added to by being diminished. Ironically, I feel more deeply connected than when I thought I was in charge (i.e., free will / choice). Knowing that self, will, choice, etc. are figments of imagination frees me from much of the emotional chaos I used to get caught up in. Let me explain...

    :idea: Animals, our species included, are never naturally content. This insatiable state of rising desire is a biological imperative. Natural circumstances provide a counter balancing pull which maintains the natural balance in wild animals (by and large). Our hominid cleverness has steadily enabled us to manipulate nature ? to insulate ourselves from its harsher aspects ? so that we can increase our level of comfort and security to match our ever rising expectations. We've succeeded beyond our cave dwelling ancestors' wildest dreams. Heck, we've succeeded beyond the 19th century's wildest dreams. This has, over the millennia, had deep unintended consequences. It is this, and not some devil, that is the source of humanities 'original sin' / 'evil' side :twisted:

    Can I (we) resolve this quandary? No... and... yes. Biologically no..., but continually realizing this 'prison reality' helps me pace my expectations and to [chref=64]desire not to desire[/chref] This pulls me back to greater balance. Knowing I'm a prisoner of my biology liberates me to a large extent. A similar peace come from deeply accepting Buddha's First Noble Truth (and the three other truths also, of course).
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I think for the first time, the part about ?the violent? speaks to me about the pursuit of desires. Or rather, how much emotional ?charge? I put into following my desires. As Carl said, being biological creatures, we can?t totally escape from having desires. However, I find that the more I?m able to recognize the true nature of desires, which is what Buddha?s Truths are about, the more I?m able to be a ?passive observer? of them, rather than an ?active, (or even violent) pursuer? of filling desire.

    By violent, I don?t mean being abusive, or decadent. But I know I have times where I think a situation should happen a certain way, (i.e. My Way!) and it seems that another person is in the way of me getting what I want. I may get very upset, and keep hammering away at the other person?s perspective, trying to get exactly what I want. Then later, when all the energy has gone out of my desire, I?ll look back and wonder why I was so adamant about something that 99 out of 100 times is just plain trivial. I certainly feel in those times that I and my desire didn?t come to a natural end.

    The verse about a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished, seems a corollary to the chapter about setting something aside by first setting it up. They both speak to me about our biology pulling us in one direction (i.e. fulfilling desires), while the way works to turn me back in the opposite direction. And usually I have to spend years going both ways, until it finally starts sinking in that this is happening, and that the illusion of fulfilling whatever desire is a dead-end, in and of itself. But, I can only let go of them by first going through them over and over. Maybe a sign of true maturity is that I may recognize the dead-end sooner. I hope.
Sign In or Register to comment.