Life Thoughts arising from Tao Te Ching

Yes, I took the liberty to take a “summer break” from the blog. I need my time to do some other things and work has been crazy. But, I’m back. And allow me to share a picture I took from my recent trip to Tahoe :)

Following is an email I wrote to a good friend, which I find makes a good post, though with some Chinese excerpts from Tao Te Ching. Here goes.

Life is really really very basic. The ultimate place (which is no where really) to be is just to understand Tao (not logically, but like we know how to breathe or beat our heart) — 道可道,非常道;名可名,非常名。 無,名天地之始;有,名萬物之母。– and in behaving, behave like water — 上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭.

And more significantly to your story. To be like water, is to behave in the manner of true love (in all forms of relationship). Does water ever need/demand things from organisms that it nourishes? True love has absolutely nothing to do with need as oppose to what our attitude of it is now. That to be truly compassionate, loving, and courageous, requires a non-attached perception. Be like water.

And not to say to that you must behave unselfishly. Because water is neither selfish, nor unselfish.

The curious thing to be cautious is, these are no “set rules” like those doctrines that people LOVE to hold on to and impose on each other with grandiose righteousness. To fully grasp all these mean to be free from all these — words and concepts. One is to be free to behave as such, yet also free to behave not as such. Words and concepts are always something to get past. That is to say, to be a master, one needs to move beyond the idea of wanting to be a master.

That is why, quote Hassan-i Sbbah, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

Nothing is true — Because words and concepts are never the “whole idea.” Because to name/explain Tao is to lose the essence of Tao. And we can also take the meaning of what Buddhism ultimately wants to convey… that nothing IS something [and something means nothing].

Everything is permitted — Does water ever get restricted/confined? As we are, in the name of good or evil, we forever restrain ourselves. As it is now, in the many names of “doing-good”, we are doing everything we can to foul our environment and in fact, also harm ourselves. In the age where goodness is proclaimed the loudest, we are probably doing the most evil ever in history, in the perspective of the whole earth eco-system (and also against each other). Hence, 智慧出,有大偽.

For me, the question is always, how much can “I” give up? If we realize this “I” in the first place, of course. And we don’t realize because death got swept under the carpet always, even though its the best and benevolent thing/help/tool we have, because in the face of death, nothing of “I” holds. We are scared shitless that this “I” is going to disappear, but we forget that this “I” will not be around to worry.

And this “I” is what keeps us from being like water — which destroys if the flow means for it to overwhelm, creates if the situation allows it to nourish.

Shed this “I”. 為學日益,為道日損。損之又損,以至於無為。

Originally posted 2010-08-17 22:30:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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