Category Archives: Tao Te Ching

The Way of Water

The Way of Water

 

01-Niagara Falls

 

Click to see video :   The Way of Water

Highest good is like water.

Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way.

 

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The weak and the supple overcome the hard and the strong.

To yield is to be preserved whole.

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To be bent is to become straight.

To be empty is to be full . . .

To have little is to possess.

The stiff and the hard are companions of death,

The supple and the weak are companions of life.

There is nothing softer and weaker than water,

And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.

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The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly;

 The whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad.

Thus something and nothing produce each other;

The difficult and the easy complement each other;

The long and the short off-set each other;

The high and the low incline towards each other;

Note and sound harmonize with each other;

Before and after follow each other

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In a home it is the site that matters;

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In quality of mind it is depth that matters;

In an ally it is benevolence that matters;

In speech it is good faith that matters;

In government it is order that matters;

 In affairs it is ability that matters;

 In action it is timeliness that matters.

It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault.

Of old he who was well versed in the way

Was minutely subtle,

Mysteriously comprehending,

And too profound to be known.

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It is because he could not be known

That he can only be given a makeshift description:

Tentative, as if fording a river in winter,

Hesitant, as if in fear of his neighbors;

Formal like a guest;

Falling apart like the thawing ice;

Thick like the uncarved block;

Vacant like a valley;

Murky like muddy water.

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Who can be muddy and yet, settling, slowly become limpid?

Who can be at rest and yet, stirring, slowly come to life?

 He who holds fast to this way desires not to be full.

 It is because he is not full that he can be worn and yet newly made.

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If people do not revere the Law of Nature,

It will inexorably and adversely affect them.

If they accept it with knowledge and reverence,

It will accommodate them with balance and harmony

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Attain complete emptiness,

Maintain steadfast quietude.

All things flourish

But each one returns to its root.

This return to its root means tranquility.

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To hold and fill to overflowing,

Is not as good as it is to stop in time.

Sharpen a sword-edge to its very sharpest,

And the edge will not last long.

Withdraw as soon as your work is done.

Such is Heaven’s Way.

 

 (Lao Tzu)

Fin

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Delightful Chrysanthemums

Delightful Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums (1)

Late one night a thief wielding a big sword broke into Master Taigan’s hut. Taigan, who was reading a book, looked up and said: “What do you want? My money or my life?”

    “Your money,” demanded the thief.

    Taigan handed him his purse and went back to reading, as if nothing had happened. The thief crept out of the room, feeling ill at ease.

    “Wait!” yelled the master. The thief froze, terrified. “Don’t forget to shut the door!”

    Days later, when the thief was caught, he confessed that he’d never felt more afraid than when the Buddhist priest called after him.

ZEN STORY

Chrysanthemums (2)

Chrysanthemums (3)

Chrysanthemums (4)

Chrysanthemums (5)

Chrysanthemums (6)

Chrysanthemums (7)

Chrysanthemums (8)

Have a good Day.

Accurate Proportion

Accurate Proportion

Hanging Gardens

Sen no Rikyu, a tea-master, wished to hang a flower basket on a column. He asked a carpenter to help him, directing the man to place it a little higher or lower, to the right or left, until he had found exactly the right spot. “That’s the place,” said Sen no Rikyu finally.

The carpenter, to test the master, marked the spot and then pretended he had forgotten. Was this the place? “Was this the place, perhaps?” the carpenter kept asking, pointing to various places on the column.

But so accurate was the tea-master’s sense of proportion that it was not until the carpenter reached the identical spot again that its location was approved.

Fini

Thoughtful Reflections

Thoughtful Reflections

01

Be independent and cling to nothing.

I-Hsuan

02

The prior moment of thinking, in which there is attachment to things, is that of affliction. The next moment of thinking, in which there is separation from things, is that of Perfect Wisdom.

The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch

03

You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are the echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles after a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself.

Friedrich Nietzsche

04

If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.

Albert Camus

05

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.

Henry Van Dyke

06

Our entire life, with our fine moral code and our precious freedom, consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.

Jean Anouilh

07

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

James Joyce

08

The End.

Reflections in Water

Reflections in Water

To yield is to be preserved whole.

01

To be bent is to become straight.

02

To be empty is to be full . . .

03

To have little is to possess.

04

 No Water, No Moon

When the nun Chiyono studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time.

05

06

At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free!

07

In commemoration, she wrote a poem:

In this way and that I tried to save the old pail

Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about

   to break

Until at last the bottom fell out.

No more water in the pail!

No more moon in the water!

08

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10

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12

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14

THE COMPLETE ENLIGHTENMENT SUTRA

15

As this illusory body vanishes,

16

This illusory mind also vanishes.

17

As this illusory mind vanishes,

Illusory sense objects also vanish.

18

19

As illusory sense objects vanish,

This illusory vanishing vanishes.

20

21

As this illusory vanishing vanishes,

22

That which is not illusory does not vanish.

23

24

Peace!

The First Principle

The First Principle

01

When one goes to Obaku temple in Kyoto he sees carved over the gate the words “The First Principle”. The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a masterpiece. They were drawn by Kosen two hundred years ago.

02

When the master drew them he did so on paper, from which the workmen made the large carving in wood.  As Kosen sketched the letters a bold pupil was with him who had made several gallons of ink for the calligraphy and who never failed to criticize his master’s work.

03

“That is not good,” he told Kosen after his first effort.

“How is this one?”

04

“Poor.  Worse than before,” pronounced the pupil.

05

Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until eighty-four First Principles had accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.

06

Then when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: “Now this is my chance to escape his keen eye,” and he wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: “The First Principle.”

07

“A masterpiece,” pronounced the pupil.

08

Have a Good Day.

The Taste of Banzo’s Sword

The Taste of Banzo’s Sword

01

Matajuro Yagyu was the son of a famous swordsman. His father, believing that his son’s work was too mediocre to anticipate mastership, disowned him.

02

So Matajuro went to Mount Futara and there found the famous swordsman Banzo. But Banzo confirmed the father’s judgment. “You wish to learn swordsmanship under my guidance?” asked Banzo. “You cannot fulfill the requirements.”

03

“But if I work hard, how many years will it take me to become a master?” persisted the youth.

“The rest of your life,” replied Banzo.

04

“I cannot wait that long,” explained Matajuro. “I am willing to pass through any hardship if only you will teach me. If I become your devoted servant, how long might it be?”

“Oh, maybe ten years,” Banzo relented.

05

“My father is getting old, and soon I must take care of him,” continued Matajuro. “If I work far more intensively, how long would it take me?”

“Oh, maybe thirty years,” said Banzo.

06

“Why is that?” asked Matajuro. “First you say ten and now thirty years. I will undergo any hardship to master this art in the shortest time!”

“Well,” said Banzo, “in that case you will have to remain with me for seventy years. A man in such a hurry as you are to get results seldom learns quickly.”

07

“Very well,” declared the youth, understanding at last that he was being rebuked for impatience, “I agree.”

Matajuro was told never to speak of fencing and never to touch a sword. He cooked for his master, washed the dishes, made his bed, cleaned the yard, cared for the garden, all without a word of swordsmanship.

08

Three years passed. Still Matajuro labored on. Thinking of his future, he was sad. He had not even begun to learn the art to which he had devoted his life.

But one day Banzo crept up behind him and gave him a terrific blow with a wooden sword.

The following day, when Matajuro was cooking rice, Banzo again sprang upon him unexpectedly.

09

After that, day and night, Matajuro had to defend himself from unexpected thrusts. Not a moment passed in any day that he did not have to think of the taste of Banzo’s sword.

He learned so rapidly he brought smiles to the face of his master. Matajuro became the greatest swordsman in the land.

10

The End