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Nei-Yeh, Chapters 8 & 9


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#1 manitou

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:50 PM

CHAPTER 8

If you can be aligned and be tranquil,
Only then can you be stable.
With a stable mind at your core,
With the eyes and ears acute and clear,
And with the four limbs firm and fixed,
You can thereby make a lodging place for the vital essence.
The vital essence: it is the essence of the vital energy.
When the vital energy is guided, it (the vital essence) is generated,
But when it is generated, there is thought.
When there is thought, there is knowledge,
But when there is knowledge, then you must stop.
Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge,
You loose your vitality.


CHAPTER 9

Those who can transform even a single thing, call them "numinous";
Those who can alter even a single situation, call them "wise."
But to transform without expending vital energy; to alter without expending wisdom;
Only exemplary persons who hold fast to the One are able to do this.
Hold fast to the One; do not loose it,
And you will be able to master the myriad things.
Exemplary persons act upon things,
And are not acted upon by them,
Because they grasp the guiding principle of the One.


#2 manitou

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:17 PM

It seems that this is where the inner cultivation starts to take shape. The previous chapters were more a description of what the Tao is; this tells us more how to gain it and use it.

The translation that I posted does use the words 'loose' in both chapters 8 and 9. I don't guess it makes much different, but it does seem like semantically the word 'lose' might have been more appropriate; but maybe not. To 'loose' something would be an inference that something was possessed, but then allowed to cut loose. This doesn't necessarily connotate loss, as the word 'lose' would. Something that is loosed could theoretically be reattained. I think I'm indulging in hair-splitting.

When I think of being aligned and tranquil, as in chapter 8, it brings to mind Ram Dass and his Be Here Now mindset, which I use constantly. The more one practices this mindset, the deeper it becomes; ultimately it does lead to the One. Those who are aligned with the One see that we are not really separate individuals at all; we are connected at the hip by the vital essence, if we can but find it.

Very interesting when he says 'When there is thought, there is knowledge, But when there is knowledge, then you must stop.' This aligns with many discussions we've had on this forum regarding left brain vs. right brain knowledge. Left brain knowledge tends to get set in cement; our egos get involved in being very knowledgeable people, and once that happens, well....you know what happens. The essence is loosed. Or lost. Either way. Right brain knowledge, the knowledge we attain from knowing ourselves and our inner workings to the quick, is the quantum knowledge that doesn't follow what we think of as logic at all. It tends to come in the form of inspiration, hunch, intuition. A flash of brilliance, as it were. It seems to be the knowledge that is forming without our conscious thought; the knowledge that settles in somewhere in the back of our brains and figures stuff out as we sleep, as we dream, as we're distracted elsewhere. Then, one day if we're lucky, it all comes together in a flash of inspiration; you can almost hear the tumblers drop into place. There is no questioning this type of knowledge. It just Is, that's all. It resonates its assent in our souls and we Know. This is not a left brain function at all.

Regarding chapter 9, the Wise are the ones who do know themselves to the quick; realizing that we are all One, he sees that there is no Basic difference between thee and me. Man, woman, child, rich, poor, black, white, Muslim, Christian - it's all the One. When we find our vital essence, as in chapter 8, we have the basic building block, the keystone, of every human being. Yes, our separate experiences have produced what appear to be separate beings, but that is the illusion. Actions of the human are based on either Love or on Fear, one or the other, after it all breaks down. The Sage will base his actions on Love each and every time, if he is mindful and in constant awareness. No easy trick here.

Love and wu-wei are joined at the hip as well. When the Sage is in a do-nothing mode, this is not enough. The other part of the wu-wei dynamic involves Love or Compassion; when engaging in wu-wei in a particular situation, not only do we take ourselves out of the middle of the dynamic; not speaking here of physically; more of a 'wear the world like loose clothing' thing where we intentionally transcend the emotions for the purposes of effecting the perfect result (as per the will of the Tao). To just let it be and let the chips fall where they may. But the Love half of it requires us to perform the dictates of what Love would require in our responses, in our attitudes, in non-judgment. This must be walked during the wu-wei period. To do less is to interject a negative dynamic into the workings of the wu-wei and this will throw it off course each and every time.

Sometimes Love means to tell the truth, as you see it, to someone who needs to hear it. But never in anger; always with Love, with tenderness, with compassion. To be strong enough to tell the truth when we have to, when no one else has the fortitude to do it; this is a gift of the Tao as well. A mixed blessing, for sure....but the Sage understands that all things rise and fall at the appropriate times; the Sage can ride out the anger of another, and do it with an excess of love and kindness to boot.

What incredible chapters.

#3 Mr. T

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 03:54 PM

phew, thanks! that's a lot to chew on...

#4 manitou

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:50 AM

(From Sean's previous post; this translation will hereafter be included with the current Roth translation we're using)

zhang 8 "Alignment"

1 If able to be aligned, able to be calm,
2 Only then can you be stable.
3 With a stable heart within your bosom,
4 Eyes and ears acute and clear,
5 Four limbs firm and sure,
6 You can thereby make a dwelling-place for Essence.
7 As for Essence:
8 It is the Essence of Energy.
9 Energy's Dao is to flourish,
10 To flourish is to think
11 To think is to know
12 To know is where to stop.
13 All forms of the Heart
14 Crossing over to knowledge lose life.


zhang 9 "One"

1 Those able to transform One thing are called 'Spiritual';
2 Those able to change One affair are called 'wise'.
3 To transform without expending Energy;
4 To change without expending wisdom:
5 By grasping the One only the Master is able to do this!
6 Grasp the One; do not loose it,
7 And you will be able to master the myriad things.
8 The Master acts upon things,
9 And is not acted upon by things
10 Attain to the guiding principle of the One.


#5 Marblehead

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:25 AM

Wait a cotton-pickin' minute!!! Hehehe.

Can we do one chapter at a time?

I have a problem with Chapter 8:

Why all this thinking? Why the need for all this knowledge?

Seems to me we need stop thing "Before" we start believing we know. Hasn't it been said that to think you know is a flaw?

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#6 manitou

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:30 AM

Wait a cotton-pickin' minute!!! Hehehe.

Can we do one chapter at a time?

I have a problem with Chapter 8:

Why all this thinking? Why the need for all this knowledge?

Seems to me we need stop thing "Before" we start believing we know. Hasn't it been said that to think you know is a flaw?


You're right, green-thumbed one. I am guilty of posting two at a time because there was absolutely no response on nuthin, and I was thinking Jeezuz Christ this is going to take forever at this pace. But these two are too meaty to pass over, so we can dwell here until October.

#7 Marblehead

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:38 AM

You're right, green-thumbed one. I am guilty of posting two at a time because there was absolutely no response on nuthin, and I was thinking Jeezuz Christ this is going to take forever at this pace. But these two are too meaty to pass over, so we can dwell here until October.


Okay. So let's see if we can get a discussion going here. I missed the first seven chapters but If I remain active in this thread I can always go back and read them.

So any responses to my other questions in that post of mine?

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#8 Procurator

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:04 PM

Wait a cotton-pickin' minute!!! Hehehe.

Can we do one chapter at a time?

I have a problem with Chapter 8:

Why all this thinking? Why the need for all this knowledge?

Seems to me we need stop thing "Before" we start believing we know. Hasn't it been said that to think you know is a flaw?

no worrries Marblehead you did not miss anything.

its the translator who got lost in grammar and mistook "the knowledge" for worldly thinking and knowing.

the text in fact talks about the "the knowledge of the essence" and "stopping mundane thinking" as a way to preserve own life.

精也者,氣之精者也。this essence is the essence of qi
氣道乃生,when qi is inhaled the essence is born
生乃思,when born it gives rise to true intent
思乃知,true intent gives rise to a true knowledge
知乃止矣。true knowledge gives rise to stability
凡心之形,if the heart is snared in external shapes
過知失生。the true knowledge is gone and life is lost.

Edited by TianShi, 12 March 2011 - 07:05 PM.


#9 Marblehead

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 01:39 AM

Oh!, I like your translation so much better!!! Thanks!

(I have this problem that when we talk about Taoism I think it is important to remain true to Taoist concepts.)

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#10 cheya

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:07 AM

??????????this essence is the essence of qi
?????when qi is inhaled the essence is born
????when born it gives rise to true intent
????true intent gives rise to a true knowledge
?????true knowledge gives rise to stability
?????if the heart is snared in external shapes
?????the true knowledge is gone and life is lost.[/size]


TianShi,
Your translation seems more clear and coherent to me than the others, and made me feel like I understand much better. Thank you! I hope you'll offer your translations of the verses often.
Adeha

Submit to a daily practice
Your loyalty to that
is a ring in the door
-Rumi

"The Breath of the True Man Rose Up from his Heels." -Chuang Tzu


#11 manitou

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:30 AM

When there is thought, there is knowledge,
But when there is knowledge, then you must stop.
Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge,
You loose your vitality.



This part of chapter 8 has got to be good for a few pages of discussion. I so fully agree with TianShi's translation; it flows impeccably from one idea to the next.

But I still think I can see something in this translation as well. "When there is knowledge, we must stop". Maybe this means, keep being a student! Don't consider yourself a man of knowledge; if you do, your brain and ego will suddenly set in cement and you will egotistically become the man with the answers. Perhaps when we put a PhD or any other combination of initials behind our names, we must be very careful to not consider ourselves the know-all and be-all. Perhaps this is what is meant by excessive knowledge. It reminds me of once 'religion' sets in as a concept, all growth toward the sun stops. It becomes immediately caged.

This to me is the most Taoist concept of Taoist concepts.

#12 Marblehead

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:14 PM

This part of chapter 8 has got to be good for a few pages of discussion. I so fully agree with TianShi's translation; it flows impeccably from one idea to the next.


Actually, when I read the words "true knowledge" in Tianshi's translation I think of the word "wisdom" and I think I can support this thought with the words "external shapes" in the next line.

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#13 manitou

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 10:19 AM

1 Those able to transform One thing are called 'Spiritual';
2 Those able to change One affair are called 'wise'.
3 To transform without expending Energy;
4 To change without expending wisdom:
5 By grasping the One only the Master is able to do this!



My understanding of these particular lines is that the Sage is capable of nipping things off at the bud because his vision into the inner dynamics of things is so very acute. A small nip at the beginning of a problem will change the direction ever so slightly; this is called bending the light - and although it seems that the Sage has done absolutely nothing, the reality is that the change he affected was so subtle that he could see how it would play out, and as the situation plays out, the small tweak at the beginning takes more and more effect.

#14 Marblehead

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:07 PM

My understanding of these particular lines is that the Sage is capable of nipping things off at the bud because his vision into the inner dynamics of things is so very acute. A small nip at the beginning of a problem will change the direction ever so slightly; this is called bending the light - and although it seems that the Sage has done absolutely nothing, the reality is that the change he affected was so subtle that he could see how it would play out, and as the situation plays out, the small tweak at the beginning takes more and more effect.


Very Chuang Tzuist thinking.

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#15 Dagon

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 01:35 PM

This reminds meof how some say that it is not to be intellectualized, then go on and try to explain it :)
Jimi Hendrix - When the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power the World Will Know Peace.

#16 Marblehead

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 02:39 PM

This reminds meof how some say that it is not to be intellectualized, then go on and try to explain it :)


Hehehe. Perfect.

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