Friday, October 30, 2009

Wen Tzu - Verse 2

from Verse Two
Great people are peaceful and have no longings, they are calm and have no worries. They make the sky their canopy and the earth their car, they make the four seasons their horses and make dark and light their drivers. They travel where there is no road, roam where there is no weariness, depart through no gate.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
What beautiful imagery! For me, it illustrates a person who is in touch with the naturally occurring flow of one day to the next, one season to the next and one year to the next.

In many ways, this is what the Taoist perspective boils down to. Existence is predominated by cycles. Everything in this world is born, lives and dies. In death, life is reborn.

Much of our anxiety, stress and angst comes from fighting against these circular patterns. It's like we convince ourselves that we can burst beyond this cyclical nature and, when it becomes apparent that we cannot, we become frustrated and angry. We blame God, nature, fate or the luck of the draw.

But, if there is to be any blame, we must bear it ourselves because we're the ones creating all the illusions that bedevil us. In many ways, we become our own worst enemy!

It's only when we dispel our illusions and come to understand that the laws of the universe apply to everything equally -- including each of us -- that we can find peace of mind. Of course, few of us seem able to attain that!

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

5 comments:

  1. Please pardon me for asking what might seem a dumb question to someone more versed in Tao but does it teach reincarnation? I have read Lao Tzu, certain other books where the philosophy of letting it be or feeling it works for art, but i guess I have never understood it beyond that. Is there an underlying philosophy that has an opinion on reincarnating as individual spirits? I have read that Buddhism teaches a collective reincarnating where pieces of each person might go into a new life as part of someone else along with others. But what about the cohesive soul and its continuing to live new lifetimes until it 'gets it right' for wont of a better phrasing? Is that part of life's cyclical nature or not?

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  2. More recirculation than reincarnation. The Taoists never make reference to a unique personal soul but tell you over and over so see the unity.

    You came from it, are it, and will return to it - and all this time never be separate or anything other than it.

    But they don't get too hung up on that either.

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  3. rain, i looked it up for you and found this succinctly put on the "a personal tao" website:

    "I love my friend Donna's answer from Changing Places when she said to me:

    "The Tao is simply logical. There's no mysticism or need for invisible sky gods or some weird belief that you're important enough to be reincarnated - you simply return to the Tao when you die. And you're already there anyway, so what's the big deal? "

    And that's a great Taoist answer about Afterlife.

    To quote from the Chuang-Tzu again:

    "The true men of old did not know what it was to love life or to hate death. They did not rejoice in birth, nor strive to put off dissolution. Unconcerned they came and unconcerned they went. That was all. They did not forget whence it was they had sprung, neither did they seek to inquire their return thither. Cheerfully they accepted life, waiting patiently for their restoration (the end). This is what is called not to lead the heart astray from Tao, and not to supplement the natural by human means. Such a one may be called a true man. Such men are free in mind and calm in demeanor."

    Or more simply: Live and be yourself. Afterlife is not even a concern to a true Taoist in the Chuang-Tzu. "

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  4. Gee, Tao & Iktomi answered Rain's question very, very well.

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  5. Thank you for the answers. So passion is not a part of Tao?

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