Ultimate reality is not bounded by any manifestation, yet actual practice embraces all of them.
– Zen Master
-> Abide in the source, one sees the whole world manifesting. Conflicts are self-based descriptions, when the self is transcended, there is no conflict.
-> our “self” is drawn to sensual pleasures, the truth of the Dao however, is beyond pleasure and non-pleasure.
-> beyond senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, feeling), therefore are not limited, and could not be exhausted.
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Chapter 35 Discussion:
When there is no “self”, how could there be conflict? The pathway to ultimate liberation starts with the transcendence of the “self”.
Senses are temporary: sight, sound, taste, smell, feeling are temporary; even thoughts and notion of “self” is temporary. Accept them as they are, and seek the reality beyond.
-> When the self does not arise, problem does not arise, and the world flows in perfect harmony.
-> Water and climate interchange in perfect harmony between heaven and earth, without the need for any human control/manipulation.
-> From non-form arises forms, which entails limitations (e.g. change of names of subjects). If we know our reality prior to the name arising, we can then last through the change of names.
-> Forms are limited, Dao has no limit.
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Chapter 32 Discussion:
Following Chapter 28, which recommends knowing the masculine and abiding in the feminine, this chapter calls for knowing the limits of name, and realizing the reality prior to names. Through knowing the limitations of names and forms and our reality underneath them, we can then accept and free from them.
When we surrender our attachments and aversions in our self, we will see harmony in the world, like water is always balanced between heaven and earth.
Bilingual test of Chapter 32: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj11-3/
-> When one has been to, and is everywhere, one cannot be traced or described by a particular trace.
-> They communicate perfectly and completely and therefore left no fault.
-> All is known and there is no need to count or record.
-> Job is done perfectly without extra and unnecessary measures.
-> When Sage embrace everything completely, there is nothing left out and unsaved.
-> Sage embrace and treasure all impartially, including the layman and those labelled undesirable.
-> When one still have bias in receiving certain people (whether sage or layman) or situation, one is still in the dualistic separation of a self and others, and therefore is away from the reality of oneness and nonduality.
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Chapter 27 Discussion:
Instead of labeling people as good or bad, sage or layman, Laozi recommended embracing all, and treasuring all without personal bias. When one does this, every people and situation can be seen as blessings to cultivate one self, is welcomed and treasured, for they provide opportunity to test what’s left in personal bias, and opportunity to cultivate awareness and compassion. Gradually ones acceptance and compassion will grow and eventually to encompass all. Gratitude (described as treasure by Laozi) therefore, is an useful attitude in cultivation and to face life.
Bilingual text of Chapter 27: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj11-3/
-> Dao is like a vast valley that is everlasting, Laozi called it the mysterious femininity. Why feminine? In Chinese culture, e.g. Book of Changes, Femininity is associated with giving birth, allowing, and embracing all things, with earth being the most “Yin” and feminine of all phenomena. Just as the earth carries all things without preference or limits, the Dao allows for the arising and disappearing of all things, impartially, without limit, and without ends.
-> When one arrives at the gateway of this mysterious femininity, such as during the moment transiting to or from deep sleep and meditation, one finds the root of heaven and earth within. i.e. when one enters into the door, self disappear and so is the perceived heaven and earth; as the self appears, so is the appearance of heaven and earth and all entails.
-> This source (the mysterious femininity) is everlasting, limitless, and without end.
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Chapter 6 Discussion:
People often associates themselves with the masculine: I am this, i want to do this, i seek this, i will this to happen. Laozi, being a enlightened master, found that the feminine is also useful in cultivating the Dao. Instead of driven by a strong and masculine “self”, he advocates for surrendering the attachment to, and identification of the “self”. Through laying down one’s bias, judgements, desires, one learns to live one’s life in harmony with the natural rhythm of the universe, and will eventually realizes the reality beyond the “self”. The acceptance of our more feminine side, therefore, facilitates the process.
DDJ Chapter 6 bilingual text: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj1-8/
-> Sun and moon rises and falls impartially, they do not shine over certain country or people just because they like them more. Similarly, enlightened sages who transcend the self has no bias and deal with all according to the natural rhythm of the universe
-> Multiple levels of interpretation are possible here. On breathing its describe the natural coming and going of air or energy in one’s body. On awareness, it describes the coming and going of consciousness in one’s life, on the universal level, it describes the coming and going of universe with one’s perception.
-> it is easy to get lost in words and thoughts. Seek and abide in the center, which is the underlying reality beneath speeches and reasons.
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Chapter 5 Discussion:
We have biases. We like certain people better, we don’t like others. We prefer certain situation (e.g. chocolate), we do not prefer others (bitterness). Yet, when we look around the nature, the sky (including the sun and moon and stars), does not have bias and shine only to certain people or country. The earth beneath and supporting us all, does not favor certain species other others. They treat us all equal like neutral grass dogs, and continue its role and jobs as sky and earth. Through this lack of bias, impartiality is achieved. A realized sage, similarly, also live ones life like heaven and earth, beyond the limitation of any bias, and therefore achieve impartiality. The way towards this impartiality and its effects (benefits) will be explained more in Chapter 16.
DDJ Chapter 5 bilingual text: https://www.lisiming.net/philosophy/chinese-philosophy/daoist/daoist-philosophy/dao-de-jing-core-33-chapters/ddj1-8/
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