Why the Tao Teh Ching?

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Why the Tao Teh Ching?

Postby Michaeljwjr » Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:18 pm

On certain aspects I can understand why the book is required reading for A.'.A.'. in it's discussion of nothingness.

However most of the book seems to act in direct contradiction to The Book of Law.

I once was told by a hindu priest that they study scripture for 2 years every day, because some passages will cause inspiration for some, whereas other passages will cause the same inspiration for others. Is this the same case in the Tao Teh Ching to understand the point of nothingness?

In general I think the Tao Teh Ching is a wonderful reading, but it does not seem to be a book practiced for the most part.
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Re: Why the Tao Teh Ching?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:18 pm

Michaeljwjr wrote:However most of the book seems to act in direct contradiction to The Book of Law.

Could you give an example? I ask because I've always considered it one of the best articulations of the doctrines of The Book of the Law, so I couldn't venture to answer your question without something specific.

BTW, agreeing with Liber L. isn't a requirement for being on that reading list. The purpose of the list is to give the broadest grounding in mystical abnd magical points of view.

I once was told by a hindu priest that they study scripture for 2 years every day, because some passages will cause inspiration for some, whereas other passages will cause the same inspiration for others. Is this the same case in the Tao Teh Ching to understand the point of nothingness? [/qjuote]
First of all, the Tao Teh Ching isn't about nothingness, except in the sense that it's about everything, which is the same as nothingness.

Second - yeah, I'd suggest about half a lifetime to understand that particular book. :twisted:

In general I think the Tao Teh Ching is a wonderful reading, but it does not seem to be a book practiced for the most part.

Perhaps it would be easier to understand the relationship if you compare it to "thou hast no right but to do thy will."
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Postby Michaeljwjr » Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:15 pm

(shambhala, translated john c. h. wu)Passage 3:

By not exalting talent you will cause the people to cease from rivalry and contention.
By not prizing goods hard to get, you will cause the people to cease from robbing and stealing.
By not displaying what is desirable, you will cause the people's hearts to remain undisturbed.
Therefore, the Sage's way of governing begins by
Emptying the heart of desires,
Filling the belly with food,
Weakening the ambitions,
Toughening the bones.
In this way he will cause the people to remain without knowledge and without desire, and prevent the knowing ones from any ado.
Practice Non-Ado, and everything will be in order.

Is the point of a passage like this only to be the way you treat others, or do you take upon these traits yourself? How can you refine your rapture, if you prize nothing, and strive for nothing? To me, a passage like this treats people more like animals, and encourages people to be nothing more than grazing cattle.

To reduce yourself to no need for physical and/or material desires why not just kill yourself(from the point of view of the average non-spiritual person)? There's nothing for you in this world, so why not see what's next?
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Postby Wilder » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:00 pm

Remember that the goal in doing this is to allow oneself to achieve union with Tao. Lao Tzu saw people fighting over money, power, and other transitory goals that only distracted them from their natural place within the universe. The idea isn't to become a dull, grazing beast, but to let go of things that inhibit a relaxed and peaceful life lived in union with Tao.

CCXX I,44 comes to mind:

"For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:21 pm

These instructions aren't necessarily clear with the usual kind of reasoning. There is a different mind space involved. Sometimes they are simply commonsense statements. Other times they are saying something more subtle.

I don't really like the translation you're using, but it's not too bad in this case. This particular chapter has always seemed to me to be mostly an instruction in political science (and the T.T.C. is my favorite book on political science). But underneath that is the idea that to be the master of all things you must be the slave of none.

I'll write more tomorrow if I have time, but that might be enough to get the thoughts going.
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Postby Techpriest » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:31 am

which translation would you recommend? I had one a while back that I liked it was black and white on the front. Most of the ones I find are horrid though, the one I had was really good I thought. I noticed in Crowley's he has some qabalistic correspondences mapped out, does it supplement the text much?
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:55 am

Techpriest wrote:which translation would you recommend? I had one a while back that I liked it was black and white on the front. Most of the ones I find are horrid though, the one I had was really good I thought. I noticed in Crowley's he has some qabalistic correspondences mapped out, does it supplement the text much?

I suspect you mean the translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English published by Vintage. I love that book - even though the translation is probably not so literally accurate, it does somehow seep into the soul more easily. The visuals combined with the style of language seem to make the soul permeable to it.

And Crowley's translation is surprisingly strong! A friend and I cross-compared a dozen translations years ago and found his standing strong with the most literal of the academic ones, then having its own spin. (Of course, that makes sense considering how to came up with it.)

For comparison, here is Chapter 3 as given in each of those translations.

Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English wrote:Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling.
Not collecting treasures prevents stealing.
Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies,
by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
If people lack knoweldge and desire,
then intellectuals will not try to interfere.
If nothing is done, then all will be well.


And,

Aleister Crowley wrote:1. To reward merit is to stir up emulation; to prize rarities is to encourage robbery; to display desirable things is to excite the disorder of covetousness.

2. Therefore, the sage governeth men by keeping their minds and their bodies at rest, contenting the one by emptiness, the other by fullness. He satisfieth their desires, thus fulfillng their wills, and making them frictionless; and he maketh them strong in body, to a similar end.

3. He delivereth them from the restlessness of knowledge ande the cravings of discontent. As to those who have knowledge already, he teacheth them the way of non-action. This being assured, there is no disorder in the world.


PS - Crowley annotated this chapter as being, "A lecture on the labor problem."
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Postby Heru » Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:36 am

A sentence by sentence comparison of 24 different translations of the Tao Te Ching, including Crowley's.

http://www.wayist.org/ttc%20compared/indexchp.htm
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Postby luxinhominefactum » Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:48 am

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

it's important to keep in mind, with Any holy book of the religions cursed in chapter thee of liber AL vel Legis, that the actual "point of view" of those religions is not to be carried into your practice.

yes, buddism, mosesism, krishnaism, lao-tzuism, these all have great things to offer thelemites, but you've got to be very careful not to confuse the planes. i've seen more thelemites turn themselves into unitarians that way...

Love is the law, love under will
"Ye are against the people, O my chosen!"
Liber AL vel Legis, II, 25
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Postby Chris Hanlon » Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:25 pm

yes, buddism, mosesism, krishnaism, lao-tzuism, these all have great things to offer thelemites, but you've got to be very careful not to confuse the planes. i've seen more thelemites turn themselves into unitarians that way...

Hi,
Enjoy your posts and your way of expressing yourself.
What planes? Each religion is a plane?
Unitarians = bad? Why is that?
How do you define being a Thelemite? I think you said, just the appreciation of the writings and the practice of the intense joy of being alive they represent?
In L.V.X.,
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Postby ThatNarrowFellow » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:11 pm

93,

So, take what I'm about to say with the following metaphorical grain of salt. I love the Dao De Jing perhaps even more than Liber L, although I call myself a Thelemite before a Taoist. Clearly I have a bias.

I also see very few if any contradictions between the DDJ and TBOTL. In terms of the section on governance, many scholars have classified Lao Zi's position as "Agrarianism," which basically posits that the state's sole responsibility is to regulate the price of grain - not a bad idea, in my mind.

Further, I don't think the point of view of Taoism is attacked in Liber L. I recall it is one of the religions whose practice, not POV, is attacked. My interpretation, of course.

Another thing I like and find in both religions is that in Thelema we have a list of gnostic saints who had no idea what Thelema was. Similarly, in Taoism, especially in the Lieh Tzu and Zhuang Zi, we have numerous stories of Taoist sages being put to pot by ordinary people who had never heard of Taoism.

Both the Dao De Jing and Liber L gave me the same feeling when I first read them - "Ah, this is what I've always believed, only now I have a name for it."

One more thing before I shut up - one of my favorite stories from the Zhuang Zi -

A man comes to a Taoist sage for instruction, but is turned away in a most odd way. The master says, "Why have you come with all these people around you?"

The man is old and gray before he realizes that the people he carries with him are the expectations of others.

If I was born Chinese and had no access to Liber L, I'm sure I'd be a Taoist.

Love=Law

- C
"[A]ll these enjoyments are dependent upon duality, so that their true name is Sorrow of Illusion, like that of the normal life of man, which you have set out to transcend."

-- LIBER CL De Lege Libellum
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Postby Michaeljwjr » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:41 pm

ThatNarrowFellow wrote:A man comes to a Taoist sage for instruction, but is turned away in a most odd way. The master says, "Why have you come with all these people around you?"

The man is old and gray before he realizes that the people he carries with him are the expectations of others.

Wonderful lesson there. Thank you for this.
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Postby Rey De Lupos » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:04 pm

yes, buddism, mosesism, krishnaism, lao-tzuism, these all have great things to offer thelemites, but you've got to be very careful not to confuse the planes. i've seen more thelemites turn themselves into unitarians that way...



HAHAHAHA! ....the humor in your statement is so great that a vast amount of energy is exiting this Star! Perhaps I shall now turn into a pulsar or white dwarf!?

Ah me.... you do realize that this statement is as accurate as suggesting that one might turn into a thelemite? The planes of confusion seem to lie in taking any definitive perspective of who and what one is that is not based in TRUTH. All these are labels or representatives of what one is aligned to in the realm of moral and spiritual 'contingencies'.

'Success is thy Proof...' How one get there is a diverse course with many paths leading to yon summit.

The statement of clustering all the gods before Horus in the Book of the Law -- suggests that all are pertinent and useful in worship [bhakti], but that the real fruit of any of them is in the act of Love under Will. We need the fruitful result for success to be evident -- any other task is a dance with a mask to the same and only GOD. :twisted:

Pax Templi
93, 93/93

Fraternally in L.V.X.,
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