Friday, October 28, 2005

tao teh ching 7

Heaven and earth last for ever.
Why do heaven and earth last for ever?
They are unborn,
So ever living[1].
The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead.
He is detached, thus he is one with all.
Through selfless action he attains fulfilment[2].


[1] The Ma wang tui text and several others read this as being because they do not live for themselves.
[2] Most texts read this as a rhetorical question alon the lines of 'Is it not because of selfless action that he attains fulfilment?'

Of course, the idea of being unborn and therefore ever-living is is an important one, and a fair description of the nature of mind and of emptiness, but these ideas are more Buddhist than they are Taoist, especialy early Taoist.

Wang Pi says: If one exists for oneself one will contend with others, whereas others come and submit themselves to those who do not exist for themselves... To be utterly free of self-interest means to make no conscious effort for one's own sake. Such persons will always find themselves pushed to the fore and their selves preserved will-nilly...
Cheng says that - basing himself in non-action - the sage considers himself an 'outsider' and left behind., whereas those who act consciously will always only fail.

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