For every act of evil, there is an act of beauty. You Can't Change the World, Only Your Attitude Towards It.

New Tao Te Ching Explained

I began this blog a year ago by posting a "poem" on Tao. Over the last year I have posted on various subjects related to Tao, Zen and Vedanta plus science, days in the park and more. Many were my own findings, many were other peoples that rang true to me or wanted expansion or clarification.

What I am doing now, one year after the birth of the blog TAO WOW, is closing it, I will start a new blog and carry on there. For now I wish to do a running commentary on my first post 'New Tao Te Ching'

It is outside of knowing,
and is simply right there;
so obvious it is,
too simple to bear.

The Truth can not be known by intellect or reason. It is simply 'that which is', in your empty hand, in the freshness of air, in life. This fact is so simple that it proves hard to grasp. Many philosophies and explanations become so entangled in attempting explanation that they cause more problems than they fix.

Know by not knowing, Wu know,
See by not seeing, Wu see;
Only in admitting knowing is dual,
can you be without trying to be.

"Wu" or "Mu" is the Chinese word of negation, emptiness, absence, non. To truly know, you need to be absent of what we deem to be knowing. With knowing we have a knower and this is a duality impossible to escape by effort. It is really when you stop trying, sit by a lake, take 5 and chill, that truth just appears. As soon as you grasp it, it is gone.

It is all that is and is not,
no concept or attempt to be got;
We can only grasp nothing is there,
as a clock can not tick on a tock.

To instill a kind of Zen Koan dysfunction of rational in the readers mind and to make the previous point more so, I point out how two sides of a duality are nothing alone. This is an extension of the point made in the previous verse but with a goal to snap the neck of the reasoning mind.

Right there when you are within,
unapparent when you try to hold on;
Do not let another attempt to explain,
their moving lips are admission its gone.

As said, knowing is not possible but the truth occurs when you are 'not looking'. Further if you try to hold on to the truth it disappears just at the very moment that the "holder" appears and turns the experience from bliss to dualism.
Further if someone attempts explanation, guru, book, any other person, (me), it should be apparent that they have already attempted to 'hold on', so what they attempt to pass on is dirt.

Though we are part of Tao,
we can act as the worst kind of fake;
Seeing your breath does not help the wind,
let a swamp in your mind be a lake.

Even though we are this very thing we seek, we always tend to act as "Bob" or "Janet". We act the fake, we act as one separate to the world and so form the separation that we then have so much effort in shaking.
If we allow ourselves to realize how 'life just happens' and 'the fake' is done and not doing, then we can, rather than live in a cloud of illusion, live in bliss.

Our viewpoints are relative see?
Tao has no intention just play;
Extremes in our mind are waves on the lake,
and just our nature sway.

This magic of life is not the dualist idea we alone apply to it, it is a majestic show that we are, and are part of. This is incredible, and no moment should be anything but bliss in light of that truth. Pointing how our ideas are mere ripples, and nature herself acts with waves of harmony, the poem asks you to sway (your body) to feel how nature works.

Should you be high or low,
you will always remain in Tao;
There is no need to hold on either way,
as if going up hill and not down.

Life as we know it is dualistic and involves these complementary good-bad, high-low ideas. No one should ever hold on to either of these aspects as one will build ego and the other depression. Instead see the flow and accept it. Accept that good times can't last and neither too will the bad. Ideally though, escape the dualism entirely by seeing how it is an idea only.

Where there is nothing in mind,
the greatest power is there to see;
Where we find nothing we are truly at one,
one and nothing have equality.

This emptiness that is so disliked by Western people and by eduction "hey stop daydreaming" is actually where we find that truth emanates from in those times of no effort. This emptiness, nothingness, is exactly the same as oneness.

Like a ripe fruit decays,
to continue new life;
We see a seed is not birth,
and no one ever really dies.

Absent of the idea of separateness then there is only this show a-happening. It changes and nothing that has ever been will ever not be. Separate ideas of tree, fruit of the tree; Person, child of the person; are mind shapes taken as concrete, but no boundary truly exists. Nature herself, the true self, the one, alters - takes new form: like smoke swirling around or clouds in the sky, even like the "water cycle" she just changes.

Here we sit with not one idea,
no-thought and your life are one kind;
The solid reality that you can touch,
is one with the ungraspable mind.

Back to the emptiness that is truth we often get tied to the idea that it is something separate to the life we see through our eyes, but they are the same. The ungraspable mind is form and form is mind. Void is form is void. The world seen is the projection and experience and the body of the true self, and that is all you are, and have ever been.

Nothing has to go,
just give everything up;
Bound to nothing,
you have a full cup.

The apparent contradiction here is clearly apparent truth to those who see the unity. Once you are free of bondage, self-other, like-dislike, have-have not, then you are full to burst, lacking nothing.

To have destination,
makes the journey too tough;
Be going nowhere,
here is more than enough.

This is looking at the spiritual journey as it is natural to assume that there is one, there is somewhere to go, something to achieve, and there is not. As if you "do" anything you reaffirm the idea of separateness. Simply sit. "Why seek happiness, when that clearly defines sadness; breathe deep and sit, for this is it!" (a line that did not go in the poem, but is in my note pad).

Free people require no leader,
and Tao has nothing to lose;
A leader makes fear to interfere with here,
people you know what to choose.

Leaders as we know, leaders of men, countries, marketing people who lead the minds of shoppers, anyone taking this position at all, they make fear, and they make people feel inadequate. They amplify the very same false self that is the barrier to enlightenment. Tao and no good teacher will do this, they will teach the opposite and the perfection of who you truly are. Nothing to make, nothing to lose.

Now just simplify your mind and self,
that's all there is so just sit;
Be balance and unknowing flow,
Natures truth is here that's it.

There you go, I won't explain that final verse.

Read the full poem here.


Thanks to all the visitors to TAO WOW, see you on the new blog 'Daily Cup of Tao'.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao


Rizal Affif said...

Somehow I have this feeling of losing when you said, you're closing this blog. But I guess that's a great warning that I am, to some extent, still attached to things, including this blog.

The old falls, the new arises...

Looking for your new blog. See u :)

The Rambling Taoist said...

Yes, I'm anxious too to see your new incarnation!

Leon Basin said...

I cannot wait for the new and the evolving!:)

Kitty Parmley Cunningham said...

When I first read the Tao Te Ching, more than 20 years ago, a poem came out of my brain.


I am water.
I move over and around obstacles.
Troubles pass through me like a stone in a pond.
Joy rests on my heart like a leaf on a stream.
I embrace the darkness.
I reflect the light.

There has been a shift in perspective and it doesn't quite fit any more, but
it still feels like a well made poem and it seemed good to share with you.

Ta-Wan said...

It means a lot here, thanks Kitty.

Doug McMillan said...

This is without doubt an outstanding piece of work Ta-Wan . . .

. . and I love Kitty's poem as well :)

Liara Covert said...

Thank you for inviting visitors to explore deeper realms of their true & authentic self. Nemaste!