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17 November 2005 @ 05:42 pm
Tao of the Day  
Act without doing; work without effort.
Think of the small as large and the few as many.
Confront the difficult while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.
The Master never reaches for the great; thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty, she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn't cling to her own comfort; thus problems are no problem for her.

-Lao Tzu (trans. Stephen Mitchell #63 Tao Te Ching).
jackal_childjackal_child on November 18th, 2005 07:34 am (UTC)
I think if I read that before this quarter, I would've gone cross eyed. But this quarter, I'm doing Chado/Chanoyu, which holds some Tao as its base, especially with the "Act without doing; work without effort" and the continuous practice of tea til the kata run smoothly and without effort. My sensei has also emphasized the whole "The Master never reaches for the great; thus she achieves greatness" but in the form of, once you get to the top, there's nowhere else to go but down. The teamaster Rikyu, seems to sit with that pretty well. He died while people where still practicing his teachings in tea and thus, his teachings were preserved and he more or less has become a tea deity.
Kburgunder on November 19th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)

The act without doing took me forever to grasp. In fact, I'd been studying the Tao for about a year, and was really at home with some of it, and just kind of skipped over other parts of it because they completely baffled me - when I went to Bath, England. Of all the places in the world to have Taoist revelation after Taoist revelation ... but they have a East Asian Art Museum there from a private collection. The original collector had an amazing eye - I only left the museum because they were closing and very politely asked me to leave. The collection that particularly fascinated me was ancient bamboo-carved jade. There was jade where the artisan just plowed through and carved what they wanted, and then there were the artisans who really brought a lot home for me... they'd begin with an idea but encounter flaws in the jade, and these artists would let the flaws tell them what to do with the piece of jade - so instead of a lion badly carved on a beetle, they'd carve the beetle that was already there. Kind of like Rodin and the whole carving quote about simply taking away what wasn't supposed to be in the piece.

Hmm, I seem to have entirely left a point that I think I was going to make, but here we are :) Thank you for sharing your story. I'd love to hear more about your classes and what you learn. I don't have a teacher, so I look to Lao Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Ursula K. LeGuin (Always Coming Home in particular) and even Chuang Tzu for most of my guidance and reminders to myself. I also have a very nice tattoo on my arm from the Tao Te Ching which constantly gets mistranslated as "music lover", heh. It's actually the "yield and then whole" bit. Either way, it's all good!