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The Tao Te Ching

Kerome

Kerome

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I came across this lovely audiobook I wanted to share. It's very restful and peaceful and I'm told it's an excellent translation of the source material.

It's basically ancient Chinese philosophy, which originated with a man named Lao Tzu (translated "Old Master") in around 550 BC. It is the most important text of Taoism. Tao literally means the Way, which indicates the movement of a dynamic existence that is composed of opposing forces. The goal of Taoism is to become one with the Way, to live in harmony with existence. Taoists do not believe in a personal God.

 
Kerome

Kerome

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I may post some quotes from it in here as I listen to the whole thing again, it's only very slowly seeping in...

The universe is perfect and cannot be improved, it is only man who fails to be in harmony with the Tao.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.
 
Kerome

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I also enjoyed this Alan Watts lecture, which puts it somewhat in context

 
Kerome

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The highest good is like water.
Water give life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In daily life, be competent.
In action, be aware of the time and the season.

No fight: No blame.
 
Kerome

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Did you know that the Tao Te Ching after the Bible is the most translated book on the planet? There are many versions even in English, going back quite a few centuries.
 
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arwen

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I find a lot of these spiritual and philosophical approaches to life can be even more stress inducing. Who do you believe? Who is right? Which way do you turn? I find it all very well living life through books and philosophy, but what does that actually translate to in real life terms? For me they mess with my head and my heart. I am who I am, and before any of my mental health issues manifested as disruptive and life threatening I feel I was better off just living my life and not having to think about myself constantly. This search for the inner self I think can be damaging, isolating and introverted to the point of selfishness.
I think that we could all spend a lifetime trying to go through different philosophies and ways of life seeking the answer to the meaning of life and all the while miss out on experiencing life's riches.
Maybe the way I think about it all is wrong, but I do believe that if there were some great answer to it all it would be apparent and available to all without having to spend a lifetime trying to find it.
 
Kerome

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Well, a lot of our suffering takes place in the mind, in the inner self. So if you ignore the internal completely, you just end up walking around with many sources of suffering that you are hardly aware of, let alone are coping well with.

I'm not saying all religions do a good job of helping you explore the inner self, but some of them do, and all of them at least encourage you to at least spend some time looking within. I don't think it's ever going to be damaging to do this, as long as you keep a reasonable balance of how you spend your time and do the essentials such as shopping, cleaning and personal hygiene.

I think it's not so much a question of finding a "great answer", there likely isn't one -- but like much in life gaining inner knowledge is a slow process, and you can spend time either carefully not thinking about philosophy and spirituality, or you can gradually inform yourself and explore your mind and inner being. Not everyone is the same inside, we have different tendencies and strengths and weaknesses, and all other people can do is give you rough guides and advice.
 
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I find a lot of these spiritual and philosophical approaches to life can be even more stress inducing. Who do you believe? Who is right? Which way do you turn? I find it all very well living life through books and philosophy, but what does that actually translate to in real life terms? For me they mess with my head and my heart. I am who I am, and before any of my mental health issues manifested as disruptive and life threatening I feel I was better off just living my life and not having to think about myself constantly. This search for the inner self I think can be damaging, isolating and introverted to the point of selfishness.
I think that we could all spend a lifetime trying to go through different philosophies and ways of life seeking the answer to the meaning of life and all the while miss out on experiencing life's riches.
Maybe the way I think about it all is wrong, but I do believe that if there were some great answer to it all it would be apparent and available to all without having to spend a lifetime trying to find it.
Who said it was meant to be easy? Like you have found it easy?

To know the sacred/divine nature of all life, to be in a state of humble compassionate Being & service to life/creation/humanity.

To separate the truth from the lies & BS in all this World's spiritual & religious teachings.

To work on genuine self realisation & individuation.

To live without judgement or attachment & suffer hardships & all kinds of difficulties while also being kind & working on a genuine spiritual realisation.

To remain true to ourselves & maintain our own Being, independent & critical thinking.

A genuine & discipled spiritual path/practice & 'attainment' is probably the hardest 'thing' anyone can do.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."

What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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I found this a particularly beautiful quote from the book because it basically asks the question, what is the highest goal in life? Many people follow the dreams society gives them - wealth and power - or some dream of their own - perhaps to play an instrument beautifully. But the Tao Te Ching says here, the highest duty is to care for all things.

And why? It is a natural extension of the biological urge to reproduce. Creating a baby sets you on the path to caring, and teaches you how to care for something precious. Later in life the elders of the tribe preserved knowledge and so might have the responsibility of caring for more than just a family. Sages in ancient China had the responsibility of governance, and quite a bit of the Tao Te Ching is about wise governance.

So the book says, if you can drop all pretence of personal gain or loss, and you can be aware of the misfortunes of the human condition, then you are suited to care for all things, i.e. be a good ruler.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.

He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of willpower.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.
 
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