Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tao of Today

What a great morning it is today. Two translations of the same poem follow.

Tao Te Ching
Trans. Hua-Ching Ni

The universal subtle essence gave birth to One,
One gave birth to Two.
Two gave birth to Three.
Three gave birth to the Myriad Things.
All lives have thier backs to the Yin and embrace the Yang.

There is nothing more loathed by people than to be orphaned, desolate, and hapless.
Yet the wise ancient kings, princes, and barons used such titles to refer to themselves.
A thing is sometimes benefitted by being humbled,
and diminished by being expanded.
What the ancients have taught, I also shall teach:
"A man of force and violence will come to a violent end."
Whoever said this can be my teacher and my father.

Trans. Peter A. Merel


The Way bears sensation,
Sensation bears memory,
Sensation and memory bear abstraction,
And abstraction bears all the world;
Each thing in the world bears feeling and doing,
And, imbued with mind, harmony with the Way.

As others have taught, so do I teach,
"Who loses harmony opposes nature";
This is the root of my teaching.

-The "universal subtle essence" and the "Way" are two different translations of simply "Tao". I think a lot about words I don't like when describing the nature of things. It seems unnatural to me to refer to the spiritual origin as "the lord" or even "God". I like the word Tao, because it's larger than a being, but it's essence lacks complicity. It's perfectly balanced as a word that could describe a myriad of things involving how to live, what life is, where life comes from, the laws of nature, the purpose of nature, The cosmos, the cause and the effect... I could go on and on. The word Tao has so many literal translations, but the Taoists chose it just for that reason. Tao is the name for the nameless because it can describe almost anything. Tao simply just means Tao.

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