Is consciousness separate from the Tao?

Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. 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 63
Do that which consists in taking no action; pursue that which is not meddlesome;
savor that which has no flavor.

Make the small big and the few many; do good to him who has done you an injury.

Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult;
make something big by starting with it when small.

Difficult things in the world must needs have their beginnings in the easy;
big things must needs have their beginnings in the small.

Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in
becoming great.

One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith;
one who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties.

Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult.
That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him.

Read commentary previously posted for this chapter.
Read notes on translations
Now, do it too at Wengu!


  • edited December 1969
    That's basically my question. I suspect it is--that is, consciousness is separate. Which is why we can detect the Tao. I look forward to hearing others' opinions. Thank you.
  • edited December 1969

    would you mind defining consciousness?
    Inate or experienced would be core discussion topic but I am hoping we don't go that far eh lol

  • edited December 1969
    Consciousness = awareness.
  • edited December 1969

    this gets really messy so Let me put it this way:

    1. Do we have inate awareness that we know there is nature?

    2. We have seen and experienced awareness of nature, is this its true form of nature?

    This gets real messy in a hurry so that's why I was asking^^

    Questions and comments are always welcome, kudos for everyone~
  • edited December 1969
    Hi MDahlen, This is a good question. Although, what isn’t? Perhaps there are only ‘bad’ answers, so I'll try to avoid doing that.
    [cite] MDahlen:[/cite]That's basically my question. I suspect it is--that is, consciousness is separate. Which is why we can detect the Tao. I look forward to hearing others' opinions. Thank you.
    If you mean an awareness of separateness, then I’d say you suspect correctly. If you mean an awareness of togetherness, I’d say you are off the mark. Divide versus unite, separate versus together.

    There are a few passages in the Tao Te Ching ("relax the focus, merge the differences, as though they are dust" and "[chref=56]mysterious sameness[/chref]" being two) that point to tao and consciousness being one and the same. However, when we refer to ‘it’ as ‘the Tao’, then we do indeed make a distinction – separate from the whole; alas, our biology [chref=65]hoodwinks[/chref] us at every turn! :roll:
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I've always thought of the Tao as all encompassing - including thoughts. When MDahlen says we can detect the Tao, I think of that as being our perspective/thoughts about the experience. I have had my moments of "feeling" the Tao, or being "one with the Tao" But these are my perceptions; they are only part of the Tao, they aren't separate.
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