Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Taoism: five into 5

Dmytro Didora, via Juxtapoz

chinese civilization would have been utterly different if the Tao Te Ching had never been written. even confucianism would not have been the same, for like buddhism, it did not escaped taoist influence. 

one cannot hope to understand chinese philosophy, religion, government, art, medicine –or even cooking- without a real appreciation of the profound philosophy taught in this little book. 

1- Tao (the Way) is the ONE.  

Natural, eternal, spontaneous, nameless and indescribable

ying yang represents the binary structure of the universe

this reflect the YING YANG principle. 

Yang is the cosmic energy of Heaven, male, aggression, firmness and brightness. Ying is the cosmic energy of earth, a female element that is receptive, yielding and dark. Harmony in nature is achieved through these two cosmic energies. They are both equally important. 

2- Being/Non-being, is a duck/ rabbit relationship. Ziran/Wuji meaning the dialectic aspect of the universe. Ziran is the irreducibility of Tao, which cannot be referred back to anything else. Wuji (limitless, infinite) is the ultimate nothingness. 
Know whiteness, maintain blackness, and be a model for all under heaven. By being a model for all under heaven, Eternal integrity will not err. If eternal integrity does not err. You will return to infinity. 

3- Tao moves in cycles Wu Xing. But the life cycle is an unchanging truth. While everything in nature and all sentient beings follow their respective cycles, so do worldly events. The main lesson here is that there is no rule by which one can foresee the future.

4- if one has Tao, then one becomes Te (virtue). The ideal life for the individual and the ideal order for society and government are based on and guided by it. 

Te = harmony with the natural environment.  
One who understand the the dominating character of the male yet keeps to the passive nature of the female, behaves properly. Te "produces but does not possess, cares but does not control; it leads but does not subjugate." 
5- Tao has a 5-point method: 

1- Simplicity"the ultimate good is like water"

& silence:

"Those who are quiet value the words." 
"Behave simply. Hold on to purity." 

2- Spontaneity"blaze the trail not often followed" 

"Even at the verge of erring, err honestly."  

3- Tranquility: "moon illumines the crystal blue water"

"The quiet horizon amidst the noise. Levelheadedness in crisis."  

4- Flexibility: "be a blade of grass" 

"Dare let the weather lead."  

5- Non-action (wu-wei): "when nothing is done, nothing is left undone"

Because of its importance, I intend to explain wu-wei in more detail in my next post.