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Writings and Readings Blog

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Fifty-Fifth Chapter

Fifty-Fifth Chapter Tao-te Ching He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn. Poisonous insects will not sting him. Fierce beasts will not seize him. Birds of prey will not strike him. His bones are weak, his sinews tender, but his grasp is firm. He does not yet know the union of male and female, But is whole. His manhood is strong. He cries all day without becoming hoarse, This is perfect harmony. To know harmony is to know the eternal. To know the eternal is to be enlightened. Things in harmony with the Tao remain. Things that are forced, grow for a while, But then begin to wither away. This is not the Tao. Whatever is contrary to Tao perishes away # As I Understand It: Some people seem to be blessed by lady-luck. Others wonder why "poisonous insects," "fierce beasts" or "birds of prey" do not...

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Fifty-Fourth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Fifty-Fourth Chapter Tao-te Ching How do I know this is true? That he who is grounded in the Tao cannot be pulled out. He who has understanding of the Tao cannot be separated from it. Generations honor generations. When virtue is cultivated in the self, it is realized. When virtue is cultivated in the family, it overflows. When cultivated in the community, it increases. When in the country and the world, it abounds. The virtue of Tao is everywhere. It becomes everything. See it as a person. See it as a family. See it as a country. And see it as the world How do I know this is true? By seeing within. # As I Understand It: When we plant ourselves in the Tao we radiate joyful awareness. This consciousness is like a wave of energy that affects not only us but also what is around us. People...

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Fifty-Third Chapter

Fifty-Third Chapter Tao-te Ching If I have even just a little sense, I should walk in the Great Way, my only fear would be getting off the road. The Great Way is straight but people prefer devious bypaths. That is why the court is corrupt, the fields are weedy, the granaries are empty. Magnificent dresses are worn, sharp weapons are carried, Foods and drinks are consumed in excess, wealth and treasures are accumulated. This pomp and show is robbery at the expense of others. Is this the way of the Tao? # As I Understand It: The Great Way connects us all. But we continue to see ourselves as separate rather than one. The path of the Tao is straight and smooth but we walk paths that have painful ends. Half the world experiences opulence, the other half starves. Weapons of destruction receive funding while...

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Fifty-Second Chapter

Fifty-Second Chapter Tao-te Ching The source of the universe is the Mother. He who knows the source discovers the ten thousand things. He who discovers the ten thousand things and holds on to the Mother, He is free from danger. Close the mouth. Guard the senses. And life will be peaceful. Open the mouth. Meddle with people's affairs. And life will be hopeless. See small, see clearly. Be flexible, be strong. See the radiance and save yourself misfortune. This is called the practice of eternal light. # As I Understand It: Lao Tzu has symbolized the Tao as water, deep valley or, mother, as in this chapter. He says that human life, from birth to death, is not a straight line. What lies before our physical existence and after, is a mystery having maternal qualities. Like a mother, it sustains us throughout our lives. But unlike...

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Discovering Virginia Woolf

Several winters ago on a frigid January morning, I was at my lowest writing ebb. By habit, I sat in front of my computer screen staring at a blank document. I could not think of anything to write, not even a word. Where had my muses gone? I got out of the study, put on my coat, muffler and gloves and left home in search of my lost creativity. I tried to imagine June blossoms in January-a spring scene superimposed on the uncreative winter landscape-and felt dislocated, ending up at the local library. A book sale was on. The first book that caught my attention was A Room of My Own by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). I wondered what the book was about. The name of the author was familiar because...

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Fifty-First Chapter

Fifty-First Chapter Tao-te Ching Tao produces the ten thousand things. Te (Virtue) fosters them. Circumstances and tendencies complete them. Therefore the ten thousand things esteem Tao and honor te. Tao and te are free, spontaneous, perfect. Therefore all honor the way of Tao and value its te. Because the Tao gives them life, Te nourishes and nurtures them, Rears, protects and shelters them. The Tao produces them but does not take possession of them. It gives but does not expect. It leads but does not master. This is Tao's profound and hidden virtue. # As I Understand It: The Tao, our source of being, is not merely physical. We are born with a mystery, with spontaneity that sages call te. If I were merely material at birth with a predetermined role of who I am and how I should function in a family, in community, in...

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Fiftieth Chapter: Tao-te Ching

Fiftieth Chapter Tao-te Ching Man comes in to life and goes out to death. Three out of ten are companions of life. Three out of ten are companions of death. And three out of ten in their lives lead from activity to death. And for what reason? Because of man's intensive striving after life. I have heard that one who is a good preserver of his life will not meet tigers or wild buffaloes, And in fighting will not try to escape from weapons of war. The wild buffalo cannot butt its horns against him, The tiger cannot fasten its claws in him, And weapons of war cannot thrust their blades into him. And for what reason? Because in him there is no room for death. # As I Understand It The fear of death is at the top of the list of all our dreaded fears....

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Forty-Ninth Chapter

Forty-Ninth Chapter Tao-te Ching The sage has no fixed mind. He regards people's needs as his own. Those who are good he treats with goodness. Those who are bad he also treats with goodness. Those who are kind he treats with kindness, And he is also kind to those who are unkind. The sage lives in harmony with all. He sees everything as his own self. He loves everyone as his children. All people are drawn to him. He behaves like an infant. # As I Understand It The sage observes himself and others. He does not judge. Like the sage, observe without criticizing. Observe people's culture, religion, family relationships and politics. In time, divisions and categories "I" and "them" will become superfluous. When you stop judging yourself you will stop judging others and see yourself in "them." Extend the hand of friendship even...

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Forty-Eighth Chapter

Forty-Eighth Chapter Tao-te Ching The practice of learning consists of daily accumulation. The practice of Tao consists of daily diminishing. By continuous diminishing one reaches a point of no action. When nothing is done, nothing remains undone. Mastery is gained by letting things go their own way. Nothing is gained by interfering. # As I Understand It Increasing knowledge refines intellect. Wise do not accumulate knowledge, especially meaningless facts and purposeless details. Spirituality is cultivated by diminishing it. Accumulation gives us a different perspective-we collect, we gather, we hoard. Our ceaseless desire to possess things is never quenched. But when we decrease stuff-by giving, gifting, granting, we feel refreshed. A feeling of freedom takes over. Our link with inner self strengthens; that strength cannot be stolen, it does not die. Let's become aware of things that surround...

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First Things First

My growing years in India were spent in the company of some wonderful women—my mother, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces and aunts. But eternally present at the periphery were Hindu goddesses—Durga, Lakshmi, Parvati, Sita, Radha, Kali, Sarasvati and many others. Religious or not, we found ourselves dyed in the hues and tones of the goddesses, their colors unbleachable.  How did the full-fledged Hindu goddesses emerge? Why, about five thousand years ago, were thousands of female figurines modeled in clay? Why did Indian artisans start to sculpt voluptuous dryads and nymphs by 300 CE and distinct symbolic images of the goddesses by 500 CE? And finally why are these goddesses highly cherished deities of modern India?  # The earliest female figurines were unearthed on the banks of the Indus River during the early twentieth century. They...

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