What is inaction in the TAO context?

Caimanson

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I am reading the TAO and I am bit intrigued by the concept of inaction (I am not very familiar with eastern thought).
My simplistic take is that one does not need to interfere or strive with its environment to live, if one somehow just "is" then things will naturally fall into place (somehow letting the TAO to take over??).

I am using the Addis/Lombardo translation which attempts to be very literal and to stick to the minimalism of the chinese language, for a begginer like me the meanings of this translation are a hit and miss. Are all the possible permutations of meanings valid or there is a "valid" context?

I quote a few Fragments that have a bit of paradox regarding inaction from two versions with diverging meanings:

2: "Therefore the Sage:
Manages affairs without action;
Preaches the doctrine without words"

10: In loving the people and governing the kingdom,
Can you rule without interference?
In opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven,
Can you play the part of the Female?
In comprehending all knowledge,
Can you renounce the mind?


Translated by Lin Yutang



2: "Therefore the Sage is devoted to non-action, moves without teaching, creates thousand things without instruction"

10:
"Can you love people and govern the country without knowledge?
Can you open and close the gate of heaven without clinging to earth?
Can you brighten the four directions without action?" Traslated by Addis/Lombardo (copyright 1993 Hackett)

Please let me know your opinion on this subject of inaction, what is your take.


Alvaro
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste Caimanson or do you prefer Alvaro?

thank you for the post.

this is a very interesting phrase, the phrase is "wei wu wei" and is quite dependent upon the context as to the precise nature of the meaning.

as you know, chinese is a pictographic language and, as such, one must view what the Chinese call "the eye of the work" to actually gain a valid cognition of the terms being employed.

wei wu wei is just such a term.

"inaction" though quite commonly used to transliterate this phrase seems rather unusual since this phrase, in English, is a bit more passive than what is being communicated here.

i have 5 seperate transliterations of this particular text and invariably each author has their own understanding of how this is meant.

by and large, what is being communicated is that one should act without contrivance, i.e. acts arise spontaneously in response to the present situation. most beings tend to make plans and plans within plans for how to react in certain situations and this teaching is essentially targeting this aspect of our consciousness.

"gate of heaven" and "Female" are Taoist Alchemical terms which we could go into in more depth if you'd like.

in any event, you have a good foundation in your original thought.. one of the Taoist ideals is what is called the Natural or True Human. this is a being that, amongst other things, is mindless and without contrivance.

metta,

~v
 

flowperson

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Hello All:

This is an excellent concept to explore. Thank you for starting this thread.

I am most familiar with Stephen Mitchell's translation, and now I think of wei wu wei as "doing-not-doing". I tend to view it as setting things in motion through thought or suggestion and then retiring to the background to let the forces of creation take their natural course through evolutional development.

I view the term as an essential description of G-d's activities in the world. I know that doesn't square with eastern thought, but that's the way I see it.

flow....;)
 

RubySera_Martin

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flowperson said:
I know that doesn't square with eastern thought, but that's the way I see it.

flow....;)

I am not familiar with the TAO, but I am familiar with appropriate methods by which one should approach a text. Two main thoughts:

1. What is your purpose for reading it?
2. What was the author most likely trying to say?

COMMENTS: Depending on your purpose for reading a text, it is possible that the author's intended meaning is not important. However, if one wants to know what the author actually wanted to say, one absolutely must take into consideration the author's context.

Flow, this brings us to your post above. I am not sure what you as the author are trying to say with it. Are you saying your meaning is the correct meaning?

If so, I think you need to change your attitude. If you know that your understanding does not square with the thought system of the millieu of the author you are very likely to have an erroneous understanding of the text.

In other words, if you know you are reading an Eastern author you should normally seek to understand the work in light of Eastern thought. Any other understanding is not likely to be correct.

If you are reading purely for the sake of personal edification, perhaps it is okay to disregard the author's setting. In that case, I think it is wrong to state that an author said such and such. I think one should say something like this: I believe.............. This idea grew out of something such-and-such [name of author] said. Here is what he/she said................

That way you are taking personal responsibility for your own thoughts and ideas and you are also crediting the work from which your idea evolved.
 

flowperson

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Ruby:

What I was citing was a translation written by an American author who wrote only one of several translations of the Tao Te Ching which originated in China in about 600 bce. Anything that old written in the east that long ago is bound to cause translation problems for whoever is tackling the concepts in the work. I like Mitchell's translation because it treats the thoughts of the mythical original author, Lao Tzu, almost as if it were a scientific treatise.

As a matter of fact many physicists have adopted the thematic concepts of the Tao Te Ching in their work because, much of the time, Lao Tzu seems to be describing the work of natural forces in the world and universe...very cosmic. I strongly suggest that you obtain a copy of Mitchell's translation and read it. Then I believe that you will understand why my post was written as it was. It would also be a good idea to read the original and other translations and choose your "way" to believe what is there...or not there.

flow....;)
 

Caimanson

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Vajradhara said:
Namaste Caimanson or do you prefer Alvaro?
by and large, what is being communicated is that one should act without contrivance, i.e. acts arise spontaneously in response to the present situation. most beings tend to make plans and plans within plans for how to react in certain situations and this teaching is essentially targeting this aspect of our consciousness.

Thanks, I understood the connotation of spontaneity, but I suppose is not the normal spontaneity that we normally refer to.
Though I feel that full spontaneity can in itself be therapeutic is not always well received, and some argue that it equates lawlessness, especially since you cannot cut yourself completely from your historical baggage and truly act in the here and now with a clean heart, as there is always some level of inner interference.

What I feel from reading the Tao, is that this inaction is a bit similar to the christian "to gain your life you need to lose it" idea.
I suppose what you mention as mindless is like being ego-less, devoid of yourself you are more in tune with your environment.
What do you think, and in practical terms what does it imply?


This alchemy you mention, is it a symbolic language for self exploration or something else?
Anyway, please explain gate of heaven and female concepts.

Alvaro
 

RubySera_Martin

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flowperson said:
Ruby:

What I was citing was a translation written by an American author who wrote only one of several translations of the Tao Te Ching which originated in China in about 600 bce. Anything that old written in the east that long ago is bound to cause translation problems for whoever is tackling the concepts in the work. I like Mitchell's translation because it treats the thoughts of the mythical original author, Lao Tzu, almost as if it were a scientific treatise.

As a matter of fact many physicists have adopted the thematic concepts of the Tao Te Ching in their work because, much of the time, Lao Tzu seems to be describing the work of natural forces in the world and universe...very cosmic. I strongly suggest that you obtain a copy of Mitchell's translation and read it. Then I believe that you will understand why my post was written as it was. It would also be a good idea to read the original and other translations and choose your "way" to believe what is there...or not there.

flow....;)

Flow, thank you for this information. Maybe I'm nitpicking. It looks like you have a handle on what you want to do. My concern was that you said your view is not eastern. I don't have time at this point in my life to study the Tao but I am taking a course that focuses on how to know what an author meant, esp. the biblical authors, some of whom were writing about the same time as your author.

One very important thing to keep in mind is the social and intellectual setting the author lived in and was writing in, and what the people he was writing to were thinking and would understand. I don't understand why, if you are reading an Eastern author, you are satisfied with an understanding very different from what the author obviously intended.

You said in about the third post from the top, which I copy here:

originally written by flowperson:
Hello All:

This is an excellent concept to explore. Thank you for starting this thread.

I am most familiar with Stephen Mitchell's translation, and now I think of wei wu wei as "doing-not-doing". I tend to view it as setting things in motion through thought or suggestion and then retiring to the background to let the forces of creation take their natural course through evolutional development.

I view the term as an essential description of G-d's activities in the world. I know that doesn't square with eastern thought, but that's the way I see it.

flow....;)

It seems you are fully aware that your understanding is not Eastern, and that the author was Eastern. This is something I don't understand and in my opinion it's unfair to the author, whether dead or alive.

In other words, what good does it do for us to write our views and opinions if posterity will twist it to mean something totally different from what we intend? This may not be a serious enough point to loose sleep over but I consider it an important point to consider when we discuss authors and what they are telling us. Like I say, I don't fully understand where you are coming from. Maybe it's not important.
 

seattlegal

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Caimanson said:
I am reading the TAO and I am bit intrigued by the concept of inaction (I am not very familiar with eastern thought).
My simplistic take is that one does not need to interfere or strive with its environment to live, if one somehow just "is" then things will naturally fall into place (somehow letting the TAO to take over??).

Hello, Alvaro. To me this "inaction" means not to interfere with the process of inspiration. When a problem arises, someone will be "inspired" with a simple solution. Individuals and authorities can be quite resistant to change, even the simple, beneficial ones. The Tao is all about change.

When looking at it from this perspective, the following mysterious, puzzling paradoxes are resolved into crystal clarity:

I quote a few Fragments that have a bit of paradox regarding inaction from two versions with diverging meanings:

2: "Therefore the Sage:
Manages affairs without action;
Preaches the doctrine without words"

10: In loving the people and governing the kingdom,
Can you rule without interference?
In opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven,
Can you play the part of the Female?
In comprehending all knowledge,
Can you renounce the mind?


Translated by Lin Yutang



2: "Therefore the Sage is devoted to non-action, moves without teaching, creates thousand things without instruction"

10:
"Can you love people and govern the country without knowledge?
Can you open and close the gate of heaven without clinging to earth?
Can you brighten the four directions without action?" Traslated by Addis/Lombardo (copyright 1993 Hackett)

That's my take on the matter. :)
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste Caimanson,

thank you for the post.

Caimanson said:
Thanks, I understood the connotation of spontaneity, but I suppose is not the normal spontaneity that we normally refer to.

agreed.

Though I feel that full spontaneity can in itself be therapeutic is not always well received, and some argue that it equates lawlessness, especially since you cannot cut yourself completely from your historical baggage and truly act in the here and now with a clean heart, as there is always some level of inner interference.

therein lies the motivation for training. it is possible to put an end to recrimination and prognostication though the Way is said to be low, not high, not designed to make you jump, rather, to trip you up.

What I feel from reading the Tao, is that this inaction is a bit similar to the christian "to gain your life you need to lose it" idea.
I suppose what you mention as mindless is like being ego-less, devoid of yourself you are more in tune with your environment.
What do you think, and in practical terms what does it imply?

i would tend to agree; the Tao Te Ching contains teachings which address a wide array of human situations and institutions from argriculture to proper methods of government and it does so from a variety of different perspectives.

This alchemy you mention, is it a symbolic language for self exploration or something else?
Anyway, please explain gate of heaven and female concepts.

Alvaro

well, yes and no. it is a twilight or secret language used in the process of spiritual alchemy, transforming from a mortal to True Human and finally to an Immortal, at least from the Complete Reality School of Taoist thought. there are other schools, however, which adhere to a more literal understanding of the text and subsequently do not attribute to it the same meaning.

many of the terms are references to terms in the I Ching and, as such, a firm understanding of the Trigrams and Hexagrams allows one to "break open the bones of dogma to expose the marrow of truth". there are several good transliterations available.

with regards to that sort of thing, i suspect that it really comes down to ones own inclinations as to which translator they feel best captures the essence of the text. as such, i would encourage to you read a few different ones and see which you feel resonates with you more.

through the process of Taoist Spiritual Alchemy a being does become more in harmony with its surroundings or, as they say "in the groove wherever you go."

metta,

~v
 

flowperson

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Ruby:

As I said, the author Lao Tzu is/was mythical. No one really knows whether or not he really existed in time. And in fact the Tao Te Ching may be a collection of oral proverbs that demonstrate the basic folk wisdom of the ancient Chinese civilization. And these folk wisdoms happen to deal with, or imply, novel understandings regarding cosmic principles and the forces of nature.

The translation I chose to study, by Stephen Mitchell an American, of course would connote a western slant to ancient eastern knowledge, around which one of the great world belief systems evolved. So I don't believe that you could trace such cause-and-effect threads of belief as you seem to imply should exist in literary works. Mythical works such as the Tao Te Ching, or even the books of the Old and New Testaments are largely proverbial in nature and are open to wide interpretation, IMHO. It is this openness of interpretation that makes such works ageless and ultimately most believable by the greatest number of people.

flow....;)
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

to look at this from a slightly different angle...

the ancient and relatively recent Chinese did not view literary works in the same manner as many other cultures do. it was and, in some cases, still is quite prevelant for a writer to attribute their own text to someone else.

generally speaking this is meant to be indicating to the reader that the text they are reading is inline with the claimed authors views not that the listed being was actually the author of the text. it makes it rather difficult to apply the standard Western document hypothesis theories to old Chinese writings, in my view.

in any case.. it is somewhat irrelevant if the Old Master was an historical figure or not.. we have the teachings and they are what is important, in my view.

metta,

~v
 

flowperson

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Namaste Vaj:

Wisdom is always the most effective teacher as you point out. The source of wisdom, IMHO, is eternal and is not usually identifiable. And if it is, ego dynamics too soon get in the way of understanding. Excellent post.

Peace...flow...:)
 

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To get back to wei wu wei, specifically, I think that there are some basic metaphors that can be used to hint at it's meaning. Some of these are certainly vague and general, I know, but examples are often the most effective means of communicating difficult ideas (or ideas that are so simple, that they are more difficult than difficult!).

Consider that a tree is perfectly a tree without any intentional effort at being a tree. Wei wu wei points at this simplicity of being within mankind. If someone is struggling to try to "be one's self", then this is not wei wu wei.

For instance, the way in which a baby understands the world has little or nothing to do with who he "believes" he is or who he ought to be. One that understands, or better yet, lives wei wu wei has something like this. Granted, as adults we are very self-conscious...this is often unavoidable, as such self-consciousness is often required for us to live in society. However, the man that practices wei wu wei is not so hung up upon his concept of himself, his "ego", as one might ordinarily expect. To a rather indefinable degree, he is able to act without referencing his idea of himself first. He does not so often feel moved to look over his shoulder and compare his results with others, as his actions exude from him in a markedly more spontaneous fashion.

When a child is playing all by itself and does not know others are watching and is not considering what others may be thinking of their behavior, this child is demonstrating a sense of wei wu wei. Their actions are emerging without that blockage of self-consciousness that affects so many adults in society. The child is not concerned with whether or not they are drawing attention (positive or negative), they are not thinking about what "someone like themself" should do, and they are not attempting to make themselves look a certain way to impress others. The child is playing because every ounce of it's being is ecstatically enjoying playtime...it is that simple. The child is doing, this is for sure, but it is not doing in the sense that it isn't seeking some other end besides the doing itself. Thus, it is doing-not-doing.

These examples should not be interpreted literally. It is not as if babies and children "possess" wei wu wei for some years, then lose it as they become adults. Wei wu wei, in it's most accurate, contextual sense, is something practiced by an adult that has a developed ego, and that is all too familiar with the problems this can cause.

Wei wu wei is relatively impossible to define, in the same way that the term "green" evades all definition. However, if we point at grass, we can usually agree that it is green, even if we can't pin-down just what "green" means. In the same way, I hope that these examples might illuminate that aspect of our consciousness toward which the term wei wu wei points.

 

Caimanson

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Hello V, thanks for the info. I did a bit of research on the topics you mentioned, and it is becoming clearer. My translation of the Tao also is becoming clearer, some of the things being said are so true like chapter 38, but the way it is explained is genius. In this context I am starting to see some parallels with christianity, for example the polarities of living/behaving under grace or under the law but I feel that the Tao is much more straightforward and clear in this, and also more universal as human nature is much more explicit in it.

One thing I am still at unease about is the whole ego business:
1) Psychological therapies vary, but in general their main aims are repairing the ego, increase self awareness, and to put the ego in a place of balance. Healing takes place more often than not through people (or indirectly by people), damage caused by human beings has to be repaired by other human beings.
When you are talking about becoming the ego-less one, do you repair the ego first or do you skip this process altogether?

2) The effort /striving part of the deal, which is present in all religions that I know of, and which is something that I personally dislike, especially when it is prescribed.
When you suggest that one should train towards this path of the ego-less, isn't that an effort of the ego? Yet this principle of inaction is the opposite of striving and effort, and how do you achieve anything without working for it, do you see the dilemma. People that have a genuine passion achieve great things without being burdened but they are still under the influence of the ego, and I feel that this principle of inaction is different and beyond that.

So in simple words, how do you achieve effortlessness effortlessly?

Something else, I just thought of the christian/western concept of love, there is nothing more freeing than love, it frees you from the fear of society/family/mankind/death/etc, could you argue that the effect of love has on people has some similarities with the way of the Tao, I'm not saying it is necessarily the same, just seems to have similar results. I am thinking that love reachs out, wei-wu-wei not necessarily. What do you think?

Alvaro
 

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Caimanson said:
Hello V, thanks for the info. I did a bit of research on the topics you mentioned, and it is becoming clearer. My translation of the Tao also is becoming clearer, some of the things being said are so true like chapter 38, but the way it is explained is genius. In this context I am starting to see some parallels with christianity, for example the polarities of living/behaving under grace or under the law but I feel that the Tao is much more straightforward and clear in this, and also more universal as human nature is much more explicit in it.

One thing I am still at unease about is the whole ego business:
1) Psychological therapies vary, but in general their main aims are repairing the ego, increase self awareness, and to put the ego in a place of balance. Healing takes place more often than not through people (or indirectly by people), damage caused by human beings has to be repaired by other human beings.
When you are talking about becoming the ego-less one, do you repair the ego first or do you skip this process altogether?

2) The effort /striving part of the deal, which is present in all religions that I know of, and which is something that I personally dislike, especially when it is prescribed.
When you suggest that one should train towards this path of the ego-less, isn't that an effort of the ego? Yet this principle of inaction is the opposite of striving and effort, and how do you achieve anything without working for it, do you see the dilemma. People that have a genuine passion achieve great things without being burdened but they are still under the influence of the ego, and I feel that this principle of inaction is different and beyond that.

So in simple words, how do you achieve effortlessness effortlessly?
Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.
-- Yoda

Something else, I just thought of the christian/western concept of love, there is nothing more freeing than love, it frees you from the fear of society/family/mankind/death/etc, could you argue that the effect of love has on people has some similarities with the way of the Tao, I'm not saying it is necessarily the same, just seems to have similar results. I am thinking that love reachs out, wei-wu-wei not necessarily. What do you think?

Alvaro
This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.
C. S. Lewis

Therefore it is said, 'In representing the Dao of Heaven one uses the terms Yin and Yang, and in representing the Dao of Earth one uses the terms Soft and Hard, while in representing the Dao of Man, one uses the terms Love and Righteousness'.--Zhou Dunyi

:)
 

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Namaste Caimanson,

thank you for the post.

Caimanson said:
Hello V, thanks for the info. I did a bit of research on the topics you mentioned, and it is becoming clearer. My translation of the Tao also is becoming clearer, some of the things being said are so true like chapter 38, but the way it is explained is genius.

i agree. i still recall the emotional experience of reading the Tao Te Ching for the first time. it was a paradigm changing experience as far as such things apply.

In this context I am starting to see some parallels with christianity, for example the polarities of living/behaving under grace or under the law but I feel that the Tao is much more straightforward and clear in this, and also more universal as human nature is much more explicit in it.

i, too, found some commonalities betwixt the two traditions. that said, i tend to find a great deal of commonality amongst the worlds religious paradigms. there are some exceptions, of course, and much of the doctrine is different between them so it is in the area of morality and ethics that i tend to find the parallels.

One thing I am still at unease about is the whole ego business:
1) Psychological therapies vary, but in general their main aims are repairing the ego, increase self awareness, and to put the ego in a place of balance. Healing takes place more often than not through people (or indirectly by people), damage caused by human beings has to be repaired by other human beings.
When you are talking about becoming the ego-less one, do you repair the ego first or do you skip this process altogether?

it really depends on if one is approaching this from a Western hemisphere psychological point of view or an Eastern Hemisphere psychological point of view. a being cannot become an 'ego-less one' for the whole notion of "one" is tied up with the ego to begin with.

with regards to Tao, the ego is a part of the conditioned physical form and, as such, one is often instructed to return to a "child-like" state which includes mental and physical flexibility and non-ego, as a baby would possess.

it is said that all the other religious paths teach the path of Leaving whereas the Tao is the path of Returning.

naturally, i should point out, that the views which i express are my views and mine alone. they are based on reading and practice and should not be considered to be correct unless you verify them for yourself.

beings can certainly help one with regards to healing psychological trauma however it is ones own being that must finally engage in the effort to effect the healing, in my view.

2) The effort /striving part of the deal, which is present in all religions that I know of, and which is something that I personally dislike, especially when it is prescribed.

many people do yet i always find it somewhat strange. would you dislike the idea of practice to become a more skilled football player? religious "practice" is precisely that and, like every skill, one becomes more skilled and adept through proper practice.

When you suggest that one should train towards this path of the ego-less, isn't that an effort of the ego?

in my view this would be dependent upon the motivation or intention that a being has to begin the practice. if one engages in the practice with, for instance, a hope that they will be able to make money and use others to gain political influence, i would suggest *that* is a practice which is motivated by ego.

Yet this principle of inaction is the opposite of striving and effort, and how do you achieve anything without working for it, do you see the dilemma.

hmm..

well, think of it in this manner.

when you first begin to learn to play the piano your skill is quite small and with practice and time, ones skill grows and blossoms. during this time it is quite possible to read a symphony and, though appreciating it, one is not able to play it yet. we can see how wonderful it will be once we have mastered the techniques to play the notes; until then we can only listen to others play them :)

this is similar to how both the Taoist wu wei and the Buddhist equanimity are presented. they are not teachings that one can simply "pick up" by reading a few texts on it and it is mostly due to the conditioning which our consciousness has undergone which prevents us from doing so. as such, we must engage in an active participation in our practice to achieve any sort of attainment. i suppose that it should be said that there are paths which are more quick or more slow and though we may all wish to take the quick path, we may not be able to do so. nevertheless, with determination and resolve we will arrive at the end of the path as well :)

both traditions assert that one can gain a valid congition of the teachings and, in Buddhist parlance, "enter the stream". in both traditions the emphasis is placed on the practice for that is the most direct and, in my view, effective means of gaining the Peach and crossing to the Other Shore.

generally speaking Taoist texts use the term "hard work" not to be indicative of physical effort, rather, that the work is difficult since it is an internal cleaning of the consiousness and acquired behavior.

People that have a genuine passion achieve great things without being burdened but they are still under the influence of the ego, and I feel that this principle of inaction is different and beyond that.

So in simple words, how do you achieve effortlessness effortlessly?

have you ever watched a skilled craftsman make something? when i watch a glass blower or blacksmith create from raw material it seems so effortless for them yet they were not born knowing how to do this. in many cases it takes years of practice and dedication to become skilled at ones craft though some take to it like ducks to water, as they say. we call these prodigies (sp?) and stand awestruck by their talent. nevertheless, for the rest of us, we can train and become talented and effortless in our endeavor should we so desire.

Something else, I just thought of the christian/western concept of love, there is nothing more freeing than love, it frees you from the fear of society/family/mankind/death/etc, could you argue that the effect of love has on people has some similarities with the way of the Tao, I'm not saying it is necessarily the same, just seems to have similar results. I am thinking that love reachs out, wei-wu-wei not necessarily. What do you think?

Alvaro

i think that i have a different understanding of the emotional response called "love" :) that's no worries though.. the way that love seem to me is that it is an emotional response that is shared between human beings and higher primates (google Koko the Gorilla for more) that is based on several factors, not least of which is the other beings response to you and so forth.

most often, when i hear people describe their feelings of love, what it seems that they are describing is the opening of the Heart Chakra but thats my own bias showing through there :)

metta,

~v
 

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Hi friend of Tao,

Non-Action is a very high level achievement. if one simply stays still for a long time without any movement, that is not Non-Action, because his heart is still jumping, his blood is still flowing, etc. even if one dies, he is not necessarily Actionless either, because his souls will move, think, etc.

The Scripture of Forty-nine Chapters says:
When one's six-roots are clean, and both his outer and inner part are thoroughly illuminated, and he is free from all defilements, then, he is able to practice the Non-Action (non-doing/Moe-Whai).

The Scripture of Forty-nine Chapters aslo says:
All beings are illusory created; they fall into various appearances because of their various causes. You should realize that enjoyments are equal to sufferings, and terminate all of them by One thought to reach the Non-action.
 

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Preface
This is an aspect of the Tao that, to my mind, is in need of constant review.
I offer my comments more in order to refresh this subject within these forums than to add anything to the existing good posts contained therein. - DrumR

I am reading the TAO and I am bit intrigued by the concept of inaction (I am not very familiar with eastern thought).
My simplistic take is that one does not need to interfere or strive with its environment to live, if one somehow just "is" then things will naturally fall into place (somehow letting the TAO to take over??).

The initial perception of non-interferance, IMHO, is very close to the mark as is that of non-contention. Yet the Tao is already there. Tao does not "Take Over." Its presence becomes more manifest to the observer that has fewer distractions and contentions.

I quote a few Fragments that have a bit of paradox regarding inaction from two versions with diverging meanings:

2: "Therefore the Sage:
Manages affairs without action;
Preaches the doctrine without words"
The latter is much the easier to see in every day life.

To explain the methodology to another takes words.
To show the methodology to another takes images.
To be the methodology requires neither.

The teaching/preaching without words is merely to show by example, or

Thus the sage, living his life in accord with the Tao, inadvertently sets the example for others.

to be continued....
 

DrumR

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Preface (continued from previous message)
This is an aspect of the Tao that, to my mind, is in need of constant review.
I offer my comments more in order to refresh this subject within these forums than to add anything to the existing good posts contained therein. - DrumR


I am reading the TAO and I am bit intrigued by the concept of inaction (I am not very familiar with eastern thought).
<snip>
I quote a few Fragments that have a bit of paradox regarding inaction from two versions with diverging meanings:
<snip>
10: In loving the people and governing the kingdom,
Can you rule without interference?
In opening and shutting the Gate of Heaven,
Can you play the part of the Female?
In comprehending all knowledge,
Can you renounce the mind?

Translated by Lin Yutang
<snip>
Please let me know your opinion on this subject of inaction, what is your take.



Using a bottom up approach...

The mind is but a container for knowledge much like an empty vessel, a cardboard box, or a waste bin, the mind is not the knowledge that it holds. The limits to its contents is defined by the container itself and, like an empty vessel, its usefulness is limited as it becomes closer to being full. Thus to encompass all knowledge the mind itself must expand to do so.

For the mind to expand it should have the characteristic of flexibility, this aspect may also be seen as suppleness, a quality of the feminine. Without this flexibility a rigid mindset in a ruler may be seen as detrimental to the people, which in turn may breed resentment and instability from within.

This is "penned" on-the-fly, as it were, and many other references are to be found with in both parts of the Tao Te Ching.
 
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