道明 Tao Enlightenment Part Two #24

道明 Tao Enlightenment Part Two #24

Tao Enlightenment

© Tao Enlightenment - bone structure of Daodejing #36 (English commas added).

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2019 June 19, 2019

Within previous articles on this site, it was included that some of the sections within Daodejing appeared to have been much older of origin than what is popularly claimed. The author of the sections, of whom the articles gave the name of 'Laozi', his mental patterns, mindful... thoughtful... aware... soft... gentle... slow guqin... the patterns being very dissimilar to the other authors' patterns. Also, the differences of patterns suggested a much different culture, of a much different era... an older era, estimated at hundreds, perhaps a thousand years or more before the Confucian era.

The estimations of the age of the 'Laozi' words within Daodejing, were solely judged upon the patterns of written words... words, translated from an unspoken foreign language.

An interesting recent discovery is of Lionel Giles' several translations of ancient Chinese texts... Lionel Giles (son of Herbert Giles, who was also a translator), wrote:

"'In the Book of the Yellow Emperor it is written: "The Spirit of the Valley dies not; it may be called the Mysterious Feminine. The issuing-point of the Mysterious Feminine must be regarded as the Root of the Universe. Subsisting to all eternity, it uses its force without effort."

[footnote] "The Book of the Yellow Emperor is no longer extant, but the above passage is now incorporated in the Tao Te Ching, and attributed to Lao Tzu." (Book of Lieh-Tzu, Lionel Giles, 1912)

The era of the (mythical?) Yellow Emperor is unknown... some estimates place the era at around 2600-2700 B.C., while other estimates believe the era may have been around 1600 B.C.. Also unknown is when The Book of the Yellow Emperor was written, but it is estimated that the book may have existed about a thousand years before Confucius, and, so, the quote within Daodejing does lend support to the idea that 'Laozi's' writings were much older than the other authors' words.

Patterns of words... patterns of how words are applied... patterns of how words are inferred of meaning... the patterns describe the author's thoughts, life, and understanding of the words written. 'Laozi', his pattern was of firsthand understanding, which was, and still is, extraordinarily uncommon.

Within the notes given within Lionel Giles' translations, and from his translation of The Book of Lieh, Giles' view was:

"The history of Taoist philosophy may be conveniently divided into three stages: the primitive stage, the stage of development, and the stage of degeneration. The first of these stages is only known to us through the medium of a single semi-historical figure, the philosopher Lao Tzu, whose birth is traditionally assigned to the year 604 B.C. Some would place the beginnings of Taoism much earlier than this, and consequently regard Lao Tzu rather as an expounder than as the actual founder of the system... The teachings of Lao Tzu, as preserved in the Tao Te Ching, are not such as one can easily imagine being handed down from generation to generation among the people at large. The principle on which they are based is simple enough, but their application to everyday life is surrounded by difficulties. It is hazardous to assert that any great system of philosophy has sprung from the brain of one man; but the assertion is probably as true of Taoism as of any other body of speculation.

Lionel Giles' opinions appear to be valid... the earlier 'Laozi' words, firsthand sincere... the later authors' words, imagined... the latter authors' words, decaying...

Condensed into a single phrase, the injunction of Lao Tzu to mankind is, 'Follow Nature.'...

With a smile, yes, agreed...

Lao Tzu's teaching has reached us, if not in its original form, yet in much of its native purity, in the Tao Te Ching. One of the most potent arguments for the high antiquity of this marvellous little treatise is that it shows no decided trace of the corruption which is discernible in the second of our periods, represented for us by the writings of Lieh Tzu and Chuang Tzu. I have called it the period of development because of the extraordinary quickening and blossoming of the buds of Lao Tzu's thought in the supple and imaginative minds of these two philosophers. ...Very little is known of our author beyond what he tells us himself. His full name was Lieh Yu-k'ou, and it appears that he was living in the Cheng State not long before the year 398 B.C.... He figures prominently in the pages of Chuang Tzu...

Although Lieh Tzu's work has evidently passed through the hands of many editors and gathered numerous accretions, there remains a considerable nucleus which in all probability was committed to writing by Lieh Tzu's immediate disciples, and is therefore older than the genuine parts of Chuang Tzu. ...Perhaps the best solution of the problem is the theory I have already mentioned: that the 'Lieh Tzu' which we possess now, while containing a solid and authentic core of the Master's own teaching, has been overlaid with much of the decadent Taoism of the age that followed.

Similar to the stories of Wonhyo, and of others, it is a fact of life that unless the master writes his own words, future storytellers will embellish the master's teachings, and invent fanciful stories that are not true. No story of any master can be trusted to be correct... all stories, are just stories...

The stories of Chuang Tzu, also cannot be trusted to be factual, but if the stories possess any accuracy of underlying concepts, then the stories ought to at least offer a glimpse at Chuang Tzu's degree of 'enlightenment'.

The following are abbreviated portions of Musings of a Chinese Mystic - Selections From the Philosophy of Chuang Tzu, by Lionel Giles (©1906).

"...replied Tzu Ch'i... Joy and anger, sorrow and happiness, caution and remorse, come upon us by turns, with ever-changing mood. They come like music from hollowness, like mushrooms from damp. Daily and nightly they alternate within us, but we cannot tell whence they spring. Can we then hope in a moment to lay our finger upon their very cause?

"But for these emotions, I should not be. But for me, they would have no scope. So far we can go; but we do not know what it is that brings them into play. ’Twould seem to be a soul; but the clue to its existence is wanting. That such a power operates is credible enough, though we cannot see its form. It has functions without form.

Lionel Giles' smoothened English interpretation of the words, may not be ideal for individuals who prefer bluntness of translations, but the underlying concepts remain stable... Tzu Ch'i could not observe his own emotions... Tzu Ch'i, allegedly an 'enlightened' master, was not so much as able to self-observe his own mind and body...

A quick and anxious rush to look at the original Chinese text resulted in a similar concept as Giles': 'preceding similar cannot know it location sprout'. And there, major fail... end of story... no excuses... no second-chances... the words put a full and permanent end to all things allegedly said of Tzu Ch'i. Any individual who cannot observe and intimately describe their own thoughts, senses, emotions, and body, the individual cannot possibly be 'enlightened', and, all that the individual believes must therefore be imaginary and false.

There is no reason to read more of the book beyond Giles' excellent comments, but, it is worthwhile to see how Lionel Giles interpreted a few interesting statements:

A man does not seek to see himself in running water, but in still water. For only what is itself still can instil stillness into others.

The little saying has a lot of potential, but the 'stillness' apparently implies the 'empty unthinking mind and callously cold heart' as taught within the book's other teachings, not an 'aware mind with warm heart'. Parallel are the Confucian ideas of filial piety... an external behavior is dishonest if the internal self is not what the external behavior pretends. Outside behavior means nothing... what does have meaning is why the outside behavior exists.

"Therefore it is that, viewed from the standpoint of Tao, a beam and a pillar are identical. So are ugliness and beauty, greatness, wickedness, perverseness, and strangeness. Separation is the same as construction: construction is the same as destruction. Nothing is subject either to construction or to destruction, for these conditions are brought together into One.

When young, the first time that an individual recognizes that the construction of a material thing also requires the destruction of another material thing, the realization can be inwardly troubling if the individual is mindful and caring of his behavior. However, in time, if the individual continues self-thinking and self-observation, the individual may discover that the 'construction-destruction' cycle only relates to things that have boundaries, while the act of creativty has no boundaries... creativty, like, root of Source way, does not include destruction. Root of Source way, creates... nothing is harmed, and nothing is lost. It is unknown from which text Lionel Giles derived his translation, but the words' underlying concepts have valid points flowing simultaneously with invalid points. No self-thinking individual would deem a beam and pillar to be 'identical'... nothing is 'same'... and the idea of 'construction/destruction brought together into One' contradicts itself. If the original Chinese words had indeed been spoken, then it is plausible that whoever wrote the speaker's words either misunderstood, or purposefully wrote the words wrong. Also, Lionel Giles often inserted learned ideas of the philosophy of Tao without regard of the original words themselves, which left some of his translations to not be translations at all, but rather to simply be his own personal ideas of what Tao meant to him himself.

Nevertheless, the book's story speaks of a similar thing as Wonhyo's belief in enlightenment, that of the enlightened individual allegedly possessing no mental discernment between right and wrong, ugly and beauty, good and bad...

The more important point is to give attention to how the individuals within the stories, who did not know what emotions are, claimed to know everything about emotions. The teachings also claimed that the senses are unimportant and ought to be ignored... but, the sense of smell, all by itself, is very descriptive of the nature of Nature, and any individual who cannot verb-describe the act of sensing aromas, is unworthy of listening to on the topic of senses, regardless if he be an ideologist or a scientist.

Parallel idea: 'Master say: Scholar ambition to way, and humiliation bad clothes, bad food, person not-yet worthy-of take-part discussion.' (Li Ren section #9) Rephrased relative to the current topic... 'Student ambition to way, and humiliation emotions, senses, person not-yet worthy-of take-part discussion.'

All of the 'teachings' within the Chuang Tzu book are contradictory, absurd, harmful to all living beings, and unworthy of respect.

Lionel Giles' Introduction comment:

Thus, were it feasible, Chuang Tzu would transport mankind back into the golden age which existed before the distinction between right and wrong arose.

The ideas within Musings of a Chinese Mystic appear to parallel some of the ideas within the Garden of Eden... no clothes, no self-reflecting sense of shame, no modesty, no sense of caring about other people, no caring about other people's feelings, merely living for one's unconscious desires, no creativity, no harmony with Nature, no striving to further evolve man, no self-value, no kindness, no love, no warmth, no happiness, no compassion, not so much as cooking a fine meal, nothing beyond instinctive selfishness... just dumb animals...

The stories of Wonhyo's ideals were similar... putting an end to conscious thinking of right and wrong, no longer thinking about anything, but while also fully expecting someone else to make his clothes, build his shelter, grow his food, provide him with language, provide him with a culture to live in, provide him an army to protect him from invaders, provide him with life... all selfishness, with no fairness... no mental ability to consciously discern what fairness is... Wonhyo's only desire was to gain something for himself (enlightenment), not to become a better person for other people (inner virtue)... again, dumb animal behavior.

If an individual is able to walk, or talk, or eat, or so much as breathe, then their minds will be within the act of deciding right from wrong... even if their minds are only 'thinking' subconsciously, there will always exist judgments of right and wrong, up and down, left and right, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical, good and bad, want and not want... all acts of the body rely upon the mind making judgments of right and wrong... it is quite ignorant to believe otherwise, but, many people have been convinced to believe in teachings that a person will be 'enlightened' when all thoughts of right and wrong no longer exist.

And, so, here, numerous examples of 'enlightenment' were written within the books, each example claiming 'enlightenment', but all examples only illustrated delusions of mind.

Perhaps the very core problem with the stories' claims, is that the stories portrayed the 'enlightened masters' to be preaching teachings about the very emotions and sensory perceptions that the 'enlightened masters' knew nothing about. This is a major problem that cannot be overcome nor excused-away... until an individual can describe with verb-words what an emotion is within his own self, the individual can never know what an emotion is, and the person should never teach teachings related to emotions. According to the stories, all of the 'enlightened masters' were unworthy of discourse.