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The Tao Te Ching

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10 replies to this topic

#1
Ungodly

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It was a very bad time in my life.

A lover had asked me to move out, then killed himself in our home. A county coroner treated me like a criminal at the suicide scene. The very next day I was diagnosed with Grave's disease, an autoimmune disorder that is possibly triggered sometimes by stress.

I was forced to make a whole lot of changes in my life in a very short period of time.

And that was when I came across the Tao Te Ching. I don't consider this to be a religious text so much as a philosophical one. For whatever reason, I found reading the Tao was extremely comforting at a time when I was desperately in need of comfort. This all took place many years ago, so the wounds are no longer fresh.

More recently I subscribed to an email mailing list that sends a chapter of the Tao every day. This is an excerpt from Chapter 41, received today:

The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems long,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest art seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.



#2
Axiom

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Ungodly - let me pluck these little phrases apart.

>>> The path into the light seems dark,

#3
Ungodly

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[quote="Axiom"]Ungodly - let me pluck these little phrases apart.

>>> The path into the light seems dark,

#4
Axiom

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You know, Ungodly - I reject all mysticism, I do not hate, that is a self-destructive emotion. The thing is that all religions and beliefs take things that are true and intertwine them with their own version of guidelines to live by. The food can be fantastic, but the food has been there before it was lassoed in for religion. Do not forget that religions highjack behavior that is fundamentally human and decent and claim it as their own as a law to behave by.

To my little notes on the statements of Tao, they are just plain logic. And yes, I know about all the different versions of it. Look at those statements independently, ask yourself if your mother would teach you such a thing, would you not scratch your head and question her sanity?

One must always separate statements like that out and find out how they stand up by themselves.

But the Zen concept that less is nearly everything has a powerful irony going for it.


Yes, an irony it is - Axiom

#5
lady

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What am I looking for to replace religious belief? As stated in my introduction I don't think I
ever had strong belief. As a Methodist I only had to sing in the choir, say the creed, go to
Sunday and Bible School etc. I remember doing more giggling at the antics of the preacher
than anything else. So it wasn't hard for me to not continue participation when I became an adult.
It wasn't until I read so many things on the internet that I really became aware of the foolishness.

What I think I am looking for or wanting is to define myself or life or whatever in positive terms. I
am not opposed to all the negative comments of religion I read. I think that is necessary too and often sooo funny.
It helps to expose the utter ridiculous things that are believed. But I think it would be nice to belong
somewhere where anti-religion doesn't have to be mentioned in every post.

When I started reading atheist material on the internet I was always finding little phrases that were catchy
or memorable. I started keeping a little notebook of sayings and would reread them. They helped me realize that
I was not alone in my disbelief.
Perhaps I may share some of them with you. Sorry to say I did not note their source.

Without a willingness to change one's belief or ideas or thoughts, new information is useless.


One of the benefits of growing OLD is that I can easily say.."I am wrong." I am not so defensive or afraid to admit I don't know something.
Sometimes we criticize people for changing their mind on issues. I think it is called flip flopping. I love flip flopping.

I may even do a flip flop in my next post. But a flip flop or
new conclusion should be reached not by superstition, fanaticism, miracles, bloodshed terrorism or compulsion but by my calm reasoning faculties.

I hope I will read some things in this forum that I can add to my little notebook of sayings. Posted Image

#6
Ungodly

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What am I looking for to replace religious belief?


Well, the Tao Te Ching was discussed earlier in this thread. I would never suggest it as a replacement for religion anymore than I would suggest diabetes as a replacement for cancer.

The Tao should not be believed so much as, perhaps, read for possible insight. It is not a religious text, it is much more of a philosophical treatise. It's almost like an ancient How To book, sort of a How To Relax or How To Not Take Everything So Seriously.

I find it to be consistent with my limited understanding of Zen Buddhism, which is also just barely religious and much more focused on mental health and a proper way to view the world.

I guess the reason that Eastern mysticism first appealed to me is because it places little or no emphasis on Imaginary Bearded Sky Daddies. it is that authoritarian hierarchical do as I say or else component of western religions that leads to all of the wars, rapes, pillages and torture done in the name of His Mercy. I reject all of that crap totally, utterly and irrevocably.

But the idea that there is something underlying all that we see, and that we ought to have a reverent attitude to that, even if we do not know what it might be - well, that appeals to me. It is not based on physics, I can offer no science to document it, but it gives me comfort sometimes.

Thank you for stimulating conversation, Lady.

#7
lady

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Flip Flopping here :lol: :lol: Didn't mean to replace anything. Just had to have an introduction.

I tried to post my comments in a new post. It really didn't have anything to do with your previous posts. :lol: But I didn't know how to do the posting I guess.

Anyway I am going to read more about the Tao Te Ching now.
Ever looking for new things to read.

#8
Ungodly

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Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

#9
The Force

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[quote name='"Ungodly"]But the idea that there is something underlying all that we see' date=' and that we ought to have a reverent attitude to that, even if we do not know what it might be - well, that appeals to me. It is not based on physics, I can offer no science to document it, but it gives me comfort sometimes[/quote']

Have you ever read the novel Contact by Carl Sagan? In it, he postulates that there are hidden messages embedded within the constants of the universe, like pi. Your feeling you get from Tao Te Ching reminds me of how I felt after I finished the book.

#10
Ungodly

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Yes! Contact was a wonderful book.

#11
lady

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Anyway I am going to read more about the Tao Te Ching now.
Ever looking for new things to read.


I have been reading from this site TAO.

Lots of good things to ponder and practice.  I liked this one:

We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.




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