Taoism

"FORCE" by Deng Ming Dao

wandering_swordsman_by_Elagune
—“Wandering Swordsman” by Elagune


A sword is never sheathed
Until it has tasted blood.
A good swordsman
Is seldom seen with a sword.

Many centuries ago, there was a wanderer who was constantly chased by assassins. He was the best swordsman in the country. His challengers wanted to overcome him and thereby establish their own fame. Although the swordsman had long ago repented his killing and had renounced his status, he was still considered the best.
Over and over, his enemies came for him, and just as many times he defeated them using things at hand -- umbrella, fan, sticks. He did not draw a real sword for he knew he was far too lethal when armed.

So it is that the wise remain humble so that others are not aroused against them. They avoid conflict whenever possible. If trouble comes to seek them, they use only the bare amount of force in return. To go further is to fall into excess.

365-tao meditations
365 Tao By Deng Ming Dao
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"Man Of Tao" — Author Unknown

Zen-Catherine Thriver-Forestier
---“ZEN” by Catherine Thriver-Forestier

A student once asked, "What is the difference between a Man of Tao and a little man?"

The Zen Master replied, "It is simple. When the little man becomes a student, he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone.
Upon hearing the words of the master, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will parade through town telling one and all about his new knowledge”.

The Zen Master continues, "When the Man of Tao becomes a student, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon hearing the words of the master, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will bow to the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him".

~ Unknown
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“A CELEBRATION OF DEATH” — Chuang Tzu

Upon hearing of the death of Chuang Tzu's wife, his good friend Hui Tzu went over to comfort him and found the sage sitting on the ground banging on an overturned pot and singing a song at the top of his lungs. Read More...
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"Putting It All Together" from The Sage's Tao Te Ching — William Martin

Many in our culture
regard youth as good
and old age as bad.
But is this true?…   Read More...
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"Environment" from 365 Tao by Deng Ming Dao

How can you live
With the constant noise of traffic?
The stench of garbage?
The sight of buildings instead of mountains?
The movement of streets instead of rivers?
The feel of pavement instead of earth? Read More...
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"Muteness" — Deng Ming Dao (from 365 Tao Meditations)


If you spend a long period of time in study and self-cultivation, you will enter Tao. By doing so, you also enter a world of extraordinary perceptions. You experience unimaginable things, receive thoughts and learning as if from nowhere, perceive things that could be classified as prescient. Read More...
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"BEGINNING" by Deng Ming Dao (excerpt from 365 Tao)

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In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.

Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.

—BUY the BOOK:
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"When the Shoe Fits" by Chuang Tzu

Zhuangzi

Chu’i the draftsman
could draw more perfect circles freehand
than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
spontaneous forms from nowhere.
His mind was meanwhile free and without concern
with what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
the foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
the belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right.
Begin right
and you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
is to forget the right way,
and forget that the going is easy.
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"The Empty Boat" by Chuang Tzu

stock-footage-empty-little-boat-in-the-lake-at-sunset-loopable-animation

Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.



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"Where is the Tao?" by Derek Lin in Chuang Tzu Stories

TRADITIONAL - zhuangzi
One day, a scholar by the name of Donguozi asked Chuang Tzu: “That which we call the Tao — where is it?”
The two of them were outside, and Chuang Tzu said: “Everywhere. There is no place where the Tao isn’t.”
Donguozi didn’t quite understand this, so he asked: “Can you be more specific and point it out for me?”
Chuang Tzu looked around and saw ants crawling underfoot, so he pointed to them: “The Tao is among these ants.”
This surprised Donguozi. He asked: “Why such a lowly place?”
Chuang Tzu pointed to a blade of grass: “The Tao is in the weeds.”
This puzzled Donguozi. The ants at least could move around. You couldn’t say that about the grass! He asked: “Aren’t the weeds even more lowly than the ants?”
Chuang Tzu pointed to some discarded construction material: “See that clay tile? The Tao is in it.”
This puzzled Donguozi even more. He asked: “Why do you keep going lower and lower? At least the ants and weeds are alive. The clay tile is a dead thing!”
Chuang Tzu pointed to a pile of manure: “The Tao is in urine and defecation.”
Donguozi’s puzzlement turned into frustration. He closed his mouth and said nothing more.


The Tao
This story inspires deeper thinking. On the surface, it seems like the Tao is nothing special, since it is everywhere, even in places that appear to be worthless or insignificant. Beneath the surface, what Chuang Tzu is really saying is that the Tao is all the more incredible precisely because it is everywhere. The Tao is not limited in where it can be. We can find it not only in the holiest places, but also the lowliest — and everywhere in between.

Most people divide up the world into categories and rank them against one another. To them, it makes sense that some places and things should be set aside for special treatment, while others should be cast aside to be ignored or ridiculed. Therefore, the Tao should be reserved for temples and sites of religious significance, and if the Tao is to be represented in a statue or sculpture, then it should be made of the most precious material available.

The thinking of the sage is the complete opposite. To a sage, the entire world is one sacred creation, and everything in it comes from the same sacred source. Places and things may appear different in human perception, but all partake in the essential oneness of the totality. Everything is connected with everything else — birth is connected to death, survival is connected to elimination, living organisms are connected to inorganic objects, and so on. A flower cannot live on by itself, separate from its roots that dig deeply into the mud. Thus, when Tao cultivators appreciate the beauty of the flower, they recognize also the goodness inherent in all other parts of the plant, and the soil that gives it life. Everything about the flower, not just its petals, has its own special beauty.

Today, the sage’s way of perceiving the world is still not widely understood. We may be far more technically advanced than the people of ancient China, but we haven’t advanced much at all in terms of our essential nature. Thus, it is very common that when people refer to the divine, they look up or point up to the sky, or they talk about “the man upstairs.”

Tao cultivators know the truth that transcends the mundane mind. The divine is not just up in the sky; it is also all around us and below us. It is inside and outside of us; it extends in every direction. God is not a man, and lives not just upstairs, but also downstairs and in every room simultaneously. The divine manifests not just in every nook and cranny inside the house, but also everywhere outside the house. To look only to the heavens is to limit that which cannot be limited in the first place.

The end of the story depicted the dramatic difference that the Tao can make in one’s life. People who do not understand the Tao fail to see anything special in everyday things, unless they are highly valued in terms of material wealth. The focus and pursuit of such values never leads to happiness, and that is why they are often beset with annoyance and frustration.

You do not need to think as they do. When you understand the Tao, you become more like Chuang Tzu. You see the Tao everywhere, so you can experience the exquisite essence of existence. You do not need to search anywhere for the Tao, since it is right in front of you no matter where you turn. You live each day surrounded by the mystery and miracle of life itself. This is why you are often smiling — your smile comes from the joy within, and from your appreciation for the incredible beauty of it all.

SOURCE:
http://taoism.net/tao/where-is-the-tao/
Derek Lin-screenshot_679
Chuang Tzu Stories

Derek Lin is an award-winning, bestselling author in the Tao genre. He was born in Taiwan and grew up with native fluency in both Chinese and English. His background lets him convey Eastern teachings to Western readers in a way that is clear, simple and authentic.
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THE TAO IS SILENT — Preface (excerpt) p. xi by Raymond M. Smullyan

777Smullyan

When I first came across the Taoist writings, I was infinitely delighted. I did not feel that I was reading something strange or exotic, but that I was reading the very thoughts I have had all my life, only expressed far better than I have ever been able to express them. To me, Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined with an intense aesthetic awareness. Neither alone is adequate; a purely passive serenity is kind of dull, and an anxiety-ridden awareness is not very appealing. A Chinese friend of mine (of the modern school) recently criticized Taoism as a philosophy of “having one’s cake and eating it too.” I replied, “What could be better?” He responded, “But one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too!” This is precisely where we disagree! All my life I have believed that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. Hence I am a Taoist.

Actually, I came to Taoism first through Zen-Buddhism. It took me quite a while to realize to what extent Zen has combined Taoism and Buddhism, and that it was primarily the Taoistic elements which appealed to me. The curious thing about Zen is that it first makes one’s mouth water for this thing called Satori (enlightenment) and then straightaway informs us that our desire for Satori is the very thing which is preventing us from getting it! By contrast, the Taoist strikes me as one who is not so much in search of something he hasn’t, but who is enjoying what he has.

BUY the BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Silent-Raymond-M-Smullyan/dp/0060674695
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“The Great Way” by Wu Men

20090925_luoping_pressinviterev-
-----Painting by Luo Ping


The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.

(Wumen Huikai (1183–1260) was a Zen Master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan).




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"The Taoist Sage" (excerpt) THE SILENT TAO by Raymond M. Smullyan

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“At all costs, the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away at each other.

Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tao to his hearts content, without ever worrying whether or not Tao exists. The Sage has no need to affirm the Tao; he is far too busy enjoying it!”


BUY the BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Silent-Raymond-M-Smullyan/dp/0060674695





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"Insight" from Personal.tao.com

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---Painting by Isabelle Bryer


Heaven and Hell are not after life
Heaven and Hell are within life.
It’s in movement we create joy
It’s in despair we cement walls.

Step over limitation.
      Openly reveal, peel apart & feel poetry
      moving around every barrier
             Overflowing to your own nature.

Never regret action
     as the past lies
     in fleeting memories.
To Live, eternally, now
      within the way  
      of exploring possibility.

The secret to life is…
     Simply being true to yourself and smiling
     Looking upon each day,
           with the new wonder it deserves.



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Yin & Yang — Feminine & Masculine

Yin_and_Yang_by_NadavDov
Yin and Yang form completion and are complementary
Within Yin and Yang are the seeds of the other
Through intersection and connection each accentuates the other.
Nothing is exclusively Yin, nothing is exclusively Yang.
Together both natures are transformative.
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“Every Ordinary Moment” by William Martin

“Every Ordinary Moment”

We are learning to distinguish
between true and false power.
We see the clamoring of the young
for wealth and position
and we sadly smile and shake our heads.
We are less attached to our possessions and no longer dominated by great ambition. We are not enslaved by our desires and therefore not as vulnerable to the schemes of others.
Our thoughts are becoming clearer,
and our needs are becoming more simple.
Enough to eat,
a comfortable bed,
and the glow of friendship
suffice to delight us.

Isn't it wonderful to have friends visit
and to talk of gentle, hopeful things?
How pleasant to enjoy the aroma of morning coffee
and a sip of sherry before bed.
We have earned the right
to enjoy every ordinary moment.

SOURCE:
http://www.taoistliving.com/
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"Beginnings" — Deng Ming Dao

365tao
---Deng Ming-Dao’s Book

This is the very first writing I encountered by Den Ming-Dao. My spirit soared!
----------------------------------------------------------------------__________

This is the moment of embarking. All auspicious signs are in place.
In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.
In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.
Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.

SOURCE:
http://www.dengmingdao.com/
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"REALIZATION-WAY SONG " — Cheng-tao Ke, translated by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen

The Concept of The Power Beyond You

Like the empty sky
it has no boundaries,
Yet it is right in this place,
ever profound and clear.

When you seek to know it,
you cannot see it.

You cannot take hold of it,
But you cannot lose it.
In not being able to get it,
you get it.

When you are silent,
it speaks;
When you speak,
it is silent.

The great gate is wide open
to bestow alms,
And no crowd is blocking the way.


—From Cheng-tao Ke, translated by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen



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"The Active Life" by Chuang Tzu

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If an expert does not have some problem to vex him, he is unhappy.
If a philosopher's teaching is never attacked, he pines away.
If critics have no one on whom to exercise their spite, they are miserable.
All such people are prisoners in a world of objects.

Whoever wants followers seeks political power.
Whoever wants reputation holds an office.
The strong man looks for weights to lift.
The brave man looks for an emergency in which he can show his courage.

The swordsman wants a battle in which he can swing his sword.
Men past their prime prefer a dignified retirement, in which they can seem profound.
Experienced lawyers seek difficult cases to extend the application of laws.
Poets, writers and musicians like festivals in which they can parade their talents.
The benevolent, the dutiful, are always looking for chances to display virtue.

Where would the gardener be if there were no more weeds?
What would become of business without a market of fools?
Where would the masses be if there were no pretext for getting jammed together and making noise?
What would become of labour if there were no superfluous objects to be made?

Produce! Get results! Make money! Make friends! Make changes!
Or you will die of despair!

Those who are caught in the machinery of power take no joy except in activity and change.
The whirring of the machine!

Whenever an occasion for action presents itself, they are compelled to act: they cannot help themselves.
They are inexorably moved, like the machine of which they are a part.
Prisoners in the world of objects, they have no choice, but to submit to the demands of the matter.
They are pressed down and crushed by external forces, fashion, the market, events, public opinion.
Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind!

The active life!
What a pity!

(Chuang Tzu - translated by Thomas Merton)
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"The Need to Win" by Chuang Tzu


The Need to Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing,
he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle,
he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold,
he goes blind or sees two targets.
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
but the prize divides him.

He cares.

He thinks more of winning than of shooting.
And the need to win drains him of power.

—Chuang Tzu
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"Prayer" (excerpt) THE LUNAR TAO by Deng Ming Dao

do-so-in-prayer-samantha-rochard
—“Do So In Prayer” by Samantha Rochard

PRAYER
by Deng Ming Dao

Prayer is simple.

Pressing your palms together is a universal gesture of prayer, benediction, gratitude, and humility. It signals that you are unifying all aspects of yourself and that you are completely present. No one can pick up a weapon or form a fist with palms pressed together. In prayer, there can be no aggression.

Some people doubt prayer. They declare that there are no gods to listen. Prayer works—because that higher part of ourselves is listening—and it works instantly: the very act of prayer is its own truth and its own reward.

We have to free ourselves of childish expectations; we must not pray like children whining to our parents. We must also reject any latent feudalism in our hearts: we still call our gods “lords” and act like serfs begging for consideration. Neither infantile wailing nor medieval supplication is the prayer we need.

Without a doubt, we all have problems. We all have misfortunes. We all face times that try us to our souls. Nevertheless, we cannot go to a temple and order up a solution by bargaining on our knees. In all of history there has never been a single person that the gods raised to float above the earth. Every person has had to walk on the ground, experiencing both good and bad.

We say “I need to pull myself together” when we’re frazzled. If we look at that statement literally, we can see how helpful it is to put our hands together. Press palm to palm, breathe deeply.

When you pray, there is no brand on you that says “Taoist," “Buddhist,” or “Confucianist.” Don’t worry about what kind of prayer you’re making. A sincere prayer is far more important than a crafted or dictated one.

You’re you, a whole person. Give yourself some time to be quiet at the end of each day. If you’re faced with a big decision, take refuge in silence. Put your hands together. Trust yourself to do the right thing. You’ll know instantly.

The gods will instantly appear because we came from One and
remain part of One.

lunar_tao.png
Click Here for Deng Ming Dao’s Website
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THE EMPTY BOAT by Chuang Tzu

colorful_wooden_cape_cod_boat_by_provincetown_arti_seascapes__landscapes__a462a7eee67397606ca521714fb706b6
”Colorful Wooden Cape Cod Boat by Provincetown Artist”
by Nancy Poucher


 
Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.


Comments