Archive for February, 2018

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 26

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重為輕根,靜為躁君。
是以聖人終日行不離輜重。
雖有榮觀,燕處超然。
奈何萬乘之主,而以身輕天下?
輕則失本,躁則失君。
Movement is the root of light;
Inactivity is the master of the hasty.

Therefore the Sage travels all day
But never leaves his provision-cart.
In the midst of honor and glory,
He lives leisurely, undisturbed.

How can the ruler of a great country
Make light of his role in the empire (by rushing about)?
In foolishness, the Center is lost;
In hastiness, self-mastery is lost.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)

There are many types of people’s daily behavior. Of prudence and frivolity, which is better? Lao Tzu thinks prudence is better.

Of calmness and a quick temper, which is better? Lao Tzu thinks calmness is better.

A virtuous saint must behave steadily in his daily life. Even if he has attained high ground and is rich and wealthy, he will still have to be able to detach from materialism and not be trapped in it.

Lao Tzu saw that the power of a monarch, which governs the people with frivolous impatience rather than prudence, and wages war without considering the lives of others, he believes the king is not a man of virtue, and he cannot detach from the materialistic world.

You cannot be prudent and frivolous at the same time, and you cannot keep quiet while impatient. In hasty conduct, nothing will go smoothly, and it is impossible to accomplish anything.

Therefore, being prudent and calm instead of being hasty and impatient will help us not to lose our roots and our self-control.

Applying Tao to My Life

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I was so excited to book a commercial for the first time in a while. The night before one, I usually try to go to bed early to be able to wake up early and to be at the site at least an hour early. This time, someone called me to talk, and by the time I had finished meeting with them and went home, I realized I had forgotten my key, so I had to get the key from my son. As a result, I had to wait for my son to get back to open the door for me. I still set the alarm and went to bed at an unusually late time.

I was also a part a lot of group chats, and one of them was with my college friends. Since they were in Taiwan, the time difference made it so that they would sometimes send out messages while we in the US were sleeping. I put my phone in the bathroom, so I wouldn’t be awakened by it but I would still be able to hear my alarm the next morning.

But I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear anything, and by the time I woke up, it was already one hour later than the alarm I had set. I quickly rushed out to get onto the road, and only had a half hour to reach the site for my call time. Unexpectedly, the traffic was incredibly bad. It usually took about a half hour to get from my house to that site, but I knew because of the traffic I wouldn’t be able to make it in time. All I could do was call the person in charge and apologize. As I drove, the traffic just got worse and worse, and I didn’t know what to do because I was full of anxiety.

 

I started to think; “everything happens for a reason.” Maybe this was a time for me to put Lao Tzu’s theory into practice. Without going far, I could still gain knowledge of the Tao. I kept telling myself that there must have been a reason for me not to hear my alarm. I just needed to accept it, no matter how anxious I was. I had to let nature take its course. I started to calm down and figured out that I should take local roads if the freeway traffic was this bad. The local streets still had some traffic, but it was a bit better. Any minutes that I saved at this point would be a big help.

I started to get calls from the camera crew, who were very nice and just wanted to know where I was. All I could do was apologize, and finally, I reached my destination. Someone picked me up from the parking lot, and I tried to cover my face as I entered because I was ashamed that I had made at least 30 people wait for me.

But that wasn’t the end of my embarrassment. I went in to have my makeup done, and the makeup artist began to shout at me because I had red nail polish on and it was not professional. I could not help but feel it was my fault because my delay had shifted her schedule and made her very impatient. Again, I just apologized. This was the first time I had ever made people wait for me in my acting career. I wished there was a hole for me to hide in, but there wasn’t.

Afterwards, I just rushed onto the set to start to film. I didn’t get why this happened at this point or the essence of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, but there was much to learn. Since I was moved to study his works, I don’t think I can just study his theory, but I have to apply it to my life as well. I am sure I will encounter more experiences like this, but I will be able to use my experience to live this Tao. I am thankful that the crew had the patience for me.

I think I am being trained not to do anything because, in that situation, I really couldn’t do anything. I had to let go and let things happen. What a lesson I learned, because I also led those 30 other people to learn the same lesson as me!

While I was trying to think about the lesson I had on this unusual day, the person who was in charge the release of the actor told me to stay for a print job for another company. Wow, what a surprise! I did not even have to audition. I just sat tight and went with the flow and another opportunity just appeared before me. Who would imagine that I thought my worst day with non-stop apologizing would make a 360 degree turn to become my happiest day. Wow, what a journey of Tao.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 25

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有物混成,先天地生。
寂兮寥兮,獨立不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。
吾不知其名,字之曰道,強為之名曰大。
大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反。
故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。
域中有四大,而王居其一焉。
人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。

Before the Heaven and Earth existed
There was something nebulous:
Silent, isolated,
Standing alone, changing not,
Eternally revolving without fail,
Worthy to be the Mother of All Things.
I do not know its name
And address it as Tao.
If forced to give it a name, I shall call it “Great.”
Being great implies reaching out in space,
Reaching out into space suggests it is far-reaching,
Far-reaching implies a reversion to the original point.

Therefore:
The Tao is Great,
The Heaven is great,
The Earth is great,
The King is also great.
There are a Great Four in the universe,
And the King is one of them.

Man models himself after the Earth;
The Earth models itself after Heaven;
The Heavens models itself after Tao;
Tao models itself after nature.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)

This chapter came to me in May of this year, almost six months before I started to read and write about the Tao Te Ching and post it on my blog. Here is the story.

I’ve been going to an audition site in Glendale, California for a long time, and there has always been a long picture hanging on the wall. I would stand there and stare at it, trying to figure out what the meaning of the picture was. I don’t know which artist painted it, but it is an interesting piece. You can clearly see a human face, and a hand is touching its lip. Recently, I happened to have an audition there, and I went there twice in one week. The second time was a callback. It was a large project; so many different people were waiting to go in for an audition. I had more than an hour to wait. I went back and looked at the picture again, and I got it. Just like what Lao Tzu said,

“Man follows the earth.
Earth follows the universe.
The universe follows the Tao.
The Tao follows nature.”

Now I know why this painter used clay to make a human face and hands. The face seems like a basket or pot. On top of the head, it looked as if roots were growing. Indeed, we are derived from the earth and are brought up by the earth. Of course, harvests are produced by the earth. We need the sun to give us light. The earth needs the sun to keep producing crops. It is all interrelated. With that, we can develop the Tao by following nature and the universe.

Eventually, man will go back to dust. We are buried, and decompose, and become part of the soil.

Before those four lines, Tao Te Ching also mentions the greatness of four things as they are referred.

“The Tao is Great,
The Heaven is great,
The Earth is great,
The King is also great.
These are the four great powers.”

Now I understand why humans can be great and powerful because we follow Tao, the universe, and the earth. Without them, we are nothing. Then there will be no greatness in us.

We are made in the image of God, but we cannot see him among humans. Just like that picture, from the eyes we can see wisdom, and that it is definitely in the shape of the human. And yet, the head was made of earth – made of clay. We are not superior to heaven, earth, or Tao. We are all part of each other. That is why, with this understanding, man, earth, the universe, and Tao can all be great together.

The best religion – A dialog between Dalai Lama and Leonardo Boff

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This is a transcription of the following article from the blog Just for Sharing Ideas. I found enlightenment in the message in this article.

The Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff wrote:

In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which Dalai Lama and myself were participating at recess, I maliciously and also with interest, asked him: “Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

I thought he would say: “The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity.” The Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes…which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.


He answered: “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.”

To relieve my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked: “What is it that makes me better?”

He responded:
“Whatever makes you
more compassionate,
more sensible,
more detached,
more loving,
more humanitarian,
more responsible,
more ethical.
The religion that will do that for you is the best religion.”

I was silent for a moment, marveling and even today thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion or if you are religious or not.
What really is important to me is your behavior in front of your peers, family, work, community, and in front of the world.
Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our thoughts.
The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics. It is also of human relations. If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness. If I act with evil, I will get evil.
What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. You will always have what you desire for others. Being happy is not a matter of destiny. It is a matter of options.”

Finally he said:
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
…and…
There is no religion higher than the Truth.”

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 24

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企者不立;
跨者不行;
自見者不明;
自是者不彰;
自伐者無功;
自矜者不長。
其在道也,曰:餘食贅行。
物或惡之,故有道者不處。
He who stands on tiptoe does not stand (firm);
He who strains his strides does not walk (well);
He who reveals himself is not luminous;
He who justifies himself is not far-famed;
He who boasts of himself is not given credit;
He who prides himself is not chief among men.
These in the eyes of Tao
Are called “the dregs and tumors of Virtue,”
Which are things of disgust.
Therefore the man of Tao spurns them.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)

Mount Qingyua
Laozi 002.jpg
Image is from aboluowang.com

If you stand on your toes and want to stand tall, you can’t stand.
If you want to move fast by stretching your stride, you can’t walk far.
He who shows off will not shine.
He who is self -righteous will not be respected
He who is self-boasting will not gain merit.
He who is self-conceited cannot be a leader.

By the perception of the Tao, those four actions are superfluous.
They are things of disgust, and the people of the Tao are less likely to do so.

Lao Tzu has mentioned these “four noes principle ” in Chapter 22, and from his repetition of it, we can tell how much Lao Tzu dislikes such people. Indeed, we can find people with these characteristics everywhere, so all the more we should recognize them. Otherwise, we will be walking further away from the Tao.

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