chapter 6: the primal female spirit

May 28, 2010

Surely the power of the Great Mother is something more than emptiness! In many commentaries and translations of this chapter, what’s emphasized is the emptiness of the valley, and its lowness. It’s even been said that the Valley Spirit is immortal because in its emptiness it doesn’t really quite exist!  I protest.  Even though I [...]

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chapter 5: giving the straw dog a real bone

May 21, 2010

It’s said that the sage treats all nature as straw dogs. This sounds at first as though the sage treats nature with contempt. Not so. A straw dog in ancient China was a sacrificial object. It was treated with utmost reverence before its sacrifice. But once it was sacrificed its time was over. It was [...]

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words don’t work!

May 18, 2010

I just read a delicious bit of translation–David Hinton’s chapter 5–and had to share this, from it: “Words go on failing and failing” (It’s his translation for the line about ‘words soon reach their limit’ or ‘talking soon exhausts itself’)

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chapter 4: a breath that revitalizes the world

May 14, 2010

What is it to stand at the edge? –The gateway opens, and something new emerges: something really really new. This breath, right now, for instance: Not this breath as a ‘breath’. But this breath. This breath revitalizes the world. When I follow this breath down down down I find something that has no bottom no [...]

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chapter 3 : strengthening the bones

April 30, 2010

This has always been a more difficult chapter for me, so I’m going slow in reading it, looking at several translations, and paying close attention to my experience of the words as I read. “A sound leader helps the populace to be open minded and self aware.” The shy me, reading the word ‘leader’ here, [...]

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chapter 2 : I’m late! I’m late!

April 26, 2010

Technically, I’m late to write about chapter 2.  That was the chapter for last week. How interesting!  How did that happen? …wondering what happened, I’m not wondering about the story of my week: how first this happened and then that happened, so that only now can I sit down and write this post.  What I’m [...]

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chapter 1 : on knowing (and not knowing) our path

April 25, 2010

So what is tao anyway? The thing is… we both can and can’t say what it is.  Because among other things, tao is where we are, who we are, and where we’re going. It’s about our path. And at the same time as we know that path… we also don’t know it. As soon as we think we’ve got it down, [...]

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