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Taoist Philosophy

To: alt.philosophy.taoism,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.consciousness,alt.magick.chaos,talk.religion.misc
From: (Xiwangmu)
Subject: Re: Taoist Philosophy
Date: 23 Sep 1995 04:04:56 -0700

49950923 [cc'd to soc.religion.eastern (] (MillerJew) writes:

[re: Chapter 48 of some versions of _Tao Te Ching_]

|I believe Chuang Tzu offered a remark that could be useful here for
|cracking its veiled message. "The One who thinks he does not know is
|profound, and the one who thinks he knows is shallow. The former deals
|with the inner reality, the later with appearances." 

Lovely elaboration.

|My suggestion on breaking this paradox is clearly stated in his last

I'm not aware that it is truly a paradox.

|Overall, it is not that we should lose learning "day by day" (which would
|be foolish) but to know that there does exist an inner reality that we
|should look into. 

There is a sense where 'learning' becomes a concatenation of 
facts, of knowledge, of information.  It is this which I think both Lao
and Chuang are seen to warn against in their writings.  That is, day by day
I find that 'learning' is not very important at all.  Day by day I find
that not knowing (i.e. remaining in uncertainty) is quite important.  It
points to an 'inner reality' which perhaps you intended: uncertain presence.

|CT... [:]"For a fireman to feed the fire by adding one log to another 
|by hand, there is a limit. But for the fire to spread beyond itself, 
|the process is continuous" (1:11). See the limitation of empirical 
|learning here (which is not being tossed out, but does suggest

Not to throw it out, but to leave it behind, little by little, day by
day, finding the joy of UNlearning which is beyond empirical methods;
UNfettering ourselves from knowledge and certainty.

|But to rise above (comprehend beyond) this limitation, he suggests we 
|look into our "continuous" inner processes...

I don't see this suggestion and wonder if you inferred it.  I agree that
the continuous inner process is what makes the limited empirical fire-
making (knowledge-acquisition) pale by comparison, but I'm not sure that
merely 'looking into' this process will do anything of itself.  I.e I'm
not sure that we will 'rise above' it simply by looking at it.

Instead I think that looking at it more and more I am able to see 
its depth and value, making the empirical approach pale by comparison,
revealing the significance of the texts.  Some Taoist mystics would
no doubt contend that Chuang (and possibly Lao) were implying some
sort of mystical disciplines (breathwork, sitting, whatever you mystics
take to be your 'true taoist path').  However, I think that the process
of which we are speaking may not be catalyzable by the conscious mind.

It may be the case that it is a hidden path, this UNlearning, and we
may have to proceed entirely by intuition, seeing how the inner process
changes as we move along.


The Path is like a slow-moving river.
It winds, lazily, through the forest of knowledge.
It does not care what course is proper.
It does not concern itself with restriction.
The river simply follows the path of least resistance.
It knows that its place is pure and perfect.
Know this and the 8-Fold Path is before you.
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