Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simply Bad

Scott Bradley


"...travelers have a saying / too much food and a tiring pace / some things are simply bad / those who possess the Way thus shun them." (Tao Te Ching, Verse 24; Red Pine)

Now that we have established that there is no right and wrong, let us now consider what is right and what is wrong. Now that we have established that we can know nothing, let us consider what we do know. Now that we have determined that all is well, let us see what we can do to make things better. Now let us "walk two roads." Free from the boundaries, let us make the most of life within them. Transcendent, let's let transcendence transform the mundane.

Lu Huiqing (1031-1111) commentates: "Why should Taoists avoid things? Doesn't the Tao dwell in what others avoid? Taoists don't avoid what others hate, namely humility and weakness. They only avoid what others fight over, namely flattery and ostentation. Hence, they avoid some things and not others. But they never fight."

They never fight because they live outside the boundaries which require defending. When one possesses all the world, what difference do shifting borders make? How does one possess the world? By possessing nothing, of course.

Tao doesn't dwell in flattery and ostentation, but to the extent they are expressed they are Tao. Tao is as much in the disharmonious as in the harmonious, only the harmonious are more in Tao. Such is the human potential. We can over-eat and strive till we drop, or we can live healthier lives. Some things are simply bad for you. And the need to be someone is among them.

But wait, this dust over here has something to say: "I am Xowag, died 2011 BC, and take it from me, it don't mean a thing." There you have it.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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