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I ching and Tao Te Ching

angel

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Hello everyone,

Last night I was reading chapter 38 and I got quite confusing. I have always thought that, since some ideas from Tao Te Ching are from the I Ching, his view about divination would be very positive.
Foreknowledge, that is knowledge though the art of divination is defined as the beginning of stupidity. This is perplexing since Taoism developed from the ancient diviners though I Ching. Your comments about this chapter would be appreciated. Here is the text.

?A person of high Li (ritual) acts,
Yet finding no response,
Proceeds to bare the arms and throw a rope.

Therefore when Tao is lost, then there is te(virtue).
When te is lost, them there is jen (humanity).
When jen is lost, them there is I (morality).
When I is lost, them there is li (rituals).

As to li, it is the thin edge of loyalty and faithfulness,
And the beginning of disorder;
As to foreknowledge, it is the flowering of Tao,
And the beginning of stupidity.
Thus a great person, abiding in the thick (Tao, nature),
Does not dwell in the thin (virtue, humanity, morality, rituals);
Abiding in the kernel,
Does not swell in the flower.
Therefore such a person leaves that and takes this.?


Note- To bare one´s arms and to throw a rope means act showing determination. Tao Te Ching translation by Ellen M. Chen.
 

binz

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Hmmm!?!

I think this may be a caution that divination can be both help and hindrance (depending on how it is used):

Flowering of the Tao, i.e. it is a positive thing, allowing us to experience Tao and helping us to follow the Way (live as a Chun Tzu). Let the answer come with the Way.

Beginning of stupidity (another translation gives this as "flowering of folly") i.e. it can also be non-positive. We may lead ourselves astray if we are not honest with ourselves and our interpretations of answers. The 'words' of the answer should be blended with an honest understanding of our Self to enable us to avoid 'forcing' meaning into an answer.

For a few (14) more translations, see www.edepot.com/taotext.html

Binz
 

louise

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Hi Angel, my only thought is that if we were enlightened we probably would't use divination. Its because I'm not, that I use it. If I were totally at one one with the Tao I guess I would never need to consult the I Ching.
 
C

candid

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Hi Angel and thank you for your thoughts on this interesting matter.

I have no conflict with the verse quoted. When the ritual and the object of ritual becomes the center theme of life, the Tao of that life does becomes thin. This is the trap of any religion ? including Taoism. Consulting Yi or any oracle is no more condemning than sleeping or eating. But when consulting becomes obsessive, as with any indulgence, or when Yi (for example) becomes the center of our truth, there the truth becomes thin, and in a sense we become ?stupid.? This is the beauty of Tao, but here too I have assigned an attribute of beauty to that which is not ? and so it is not thickness of Tao. Shall I then ask Yi what this means and be a fool?


Candid
 

angel

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Thank you Binz for your links. Multiple translations add different meanings but the core idea is still there in most of them. I like your thought Louise saying: ?if we were enlightened we probably would not use divination?. I wonder if the I Ching sage used divination?. It is supposed to be enlightened, isn?t it?.
I guess there is also Confucian criticism in the verse since all the chapter is quiet anti-Confucian . Thank you Candid !!!.
Anyway,
I feel Chinese language as Hexagram 29- Darkness, or quoting Tao Te Ching ? dark and even darker, the door to all hidden mysteries?.

Thank you so much everyone.
 

hilary

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Very, very often I get the feeling that the person who wrote the Tao Te Ching had been divining with Yi for many years. Does anyone else hear hints of Hexagram 4 here? (I wish some kind Chinese-reading person would look through the TTC for echoes of the Yi.)

Divining amounts - as some wise person said (*waving to Louise*) to acknowledging that we don't know, so we're asking questions. We're foolish, and we've noticed! (Something it's hard to miss after a few years of Yi...) Obsessive consulting, or questioning without stopping to hear the answers, muddies the waters and receives no response. It sounds like the beginning of serious stupidity. 'Flowering' seems to be a bad idea here - better to stay in the bud and be less ostentatious.

Our Taoist friend might well have thought that divination as ritual (or anything else observed for the sake of preserving the form) was the kind of questioning that Yi was being rude about.

(There's plant imagery in hexagram 4, too.)
 

bfireman

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Hello all!

In the Hua Hu Ching, "the unknown teachings of lao tzu", chapter 55 speaks directly about the various practices of the ancient masters. Lao Tzu goes on to list 17 such practices, which "integrate science, art, and personal spiritual development", which are:
yi yau, syang ming, fent shui, fu kua(I ching is the foundation for fu kua), (nei dan, wai dan, and fang jung), tai syi, chwun shi, shu-ser, bi gu, sau yi, tai chi chuan, fu chi, chuan se, dzai jing, fu jou, tsan syan, and (lyou yen and chi men).

He says, "Of these, the most important for beginners is the study of the I Ching, which enables one to perceive the hidden influences in every situation ad thus establish a balanced and spiritually evolved means of responding to them. All are instruments for attaining the Tao. To study them is to serve universal unity, harmony, and wisdom."

I have a translation by Brian Walker. Peace - Brian
 

anita

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Confucius and Lao Tzu, both contributors to the I Ching were enlightened souls. They are both masters of Sentendaido -- 'The Way of Heaven' which has so transformed my life. So I don't think that using the oracle has anything to do with enlightenment. Confucius wanting to devote more years to the study the I Ching, was I think, (my two bit!)placing emphasis on the very phiolosophy of the I Ching, the Tao or Dao which is the same as Sentendaido.

Regards

Anita
 
C

candid

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Anita,

I think that Confucius applied the principles of Lao Tzu to a social context, connecting the spiritual with the practical and applicable.

As for enlightenment: Its often viewed as the destination - some sort of finish line. I personally don't view it this way, but rather as a gradual process which is wonderfully modeled in I Ching. In this respect, I believe that the study of I Ching can and does lead to illumination or "enlightenment" of oneself and the world one lives within. Since illumination isn't a one time occurrence but proceeds gradually and steadily (with diligence), the secrets contained within "the changes" are illustrated repeatedly within Yi. Through repetition the student makes the work his/her own (29), that is, there becomes no difference or separation between the teacher, the lessons and the taught. Whoever understands transitory nature and its underlining principles is in a position to themselves become as Yi, leading to yet further illumination, which transcends change - Tao.

Namaste,
Candid
 

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