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Tao Te Ching: Fourth Chapter

Tao-te Ching Chapter Four Tao is empty (like a bowl). It may be used but its capacity is never exhausted. It is bottomless, perhaps the ancestor of all things. It blunts its sharpness, It unties its tangles. It softens its light. It becomes one with the dusty world. Deep and still, it appears to exist forever. I do not know whose son it is. It seems to have existed before the Lord. # As I understand it: Tao is invisible. Yet, it is deep within us and around us. It links us to what is "more than" us - infinite awareness. It untangles the knots and smoothens sharp edges of life. And it includes dust as well as diamonds. We must remain aware of Tao and make those we love and those less fortunate aware of it. Tao within us has limitless creative...

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Tao Te Ching: Third Chapter

Tao Te Ching: Third Chapter  Do not exalt the worthy, so that people shall not compete. Do not value rare treasures, so that the people shall not steal. Do not display the objects of desire, so that the people’s hearts shall not be disturbed. Therefore in the government of the sage, He keeps their hearts vacuous, Fills their bellies, Weakens their ambitions, And strengthens their bones, He always causes his people to be without knowledge (cunning) or desire, And the crafty to be afraid to act. By acting without action, all things will be in order. # As I understand it: In the Tao Te-Ching, the idea of personal achievements such as wealth, possessions, power and status is frowned upon because it promotes competition, jealousy, hate and anger. In an ideal state there is no need to award the worthy because all are award- worthy. But...

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Selective Verses From Dhammapada

42-43 More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well-disciplined mind does greater good. 50 Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; Give it to what you do or fail to do. 61 If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature. 62 "These are my sons. This is my wealth." In this way the fool (immature) troubles himself. He is not even the owner of himself, how much less of his sons and of his wealth. 64-65 ...

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Readings for January – February 2006

Keeping Quiet Pablo Neruda Now we will count to twelve And we will all keep still For once on the face of the earth, let's not speak in any language; let's stop for a second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together In a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would not look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers In the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused With total inactivity Life is what it is about. If we were not so single-minded about keeping...

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Readings from Tagore and Neruda

Tagore joyously sings about the inevitable but tender relationship of death with life. God finds himself by creating (46) The infant flower opens its bud and cries, "Dear World, please do not fade." (66) The night kisses the fading day whispering to his ear, "I am death, your mother. I am to give you fresh birth." (119) Death belongs to life as birth does. The walk is in the raising of the foot as in the laying of it down. (268) (Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore. Translated from Bengali to English by the author, The Macmillan Company, 1916) Neruda's imagination transports an ordinary bed from a resting place of the newborn, the sick, the dead, to a bed of lovers and dreamers. His vision depicts the surface of a sea -- "the intimidating bed" -- which...

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Common things and awareness

Depending upon the degree of our awareness common things can be beautiful. What sizzles in boiling oil is the world's pleasure: French fries go into the pan like the morning swan's snowy feathers and emerge half-golden from the olive's crackling amber. Garlic lends them its earthy aroma, its spice, its pollen that braved the reefs. Then, dressed anew in ivory suits, they fill our plates with repeated abundance, and the delicious simplicity of the soil. ("Ode to French Fries" in Odes to Common Things, a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda selected and illustrated by Ferris Cook. Translated by Ken Krabbenhoft. Bulfinch Press, AOL Time Warner Book Group. 2002) Nature inspires in us wise thoughts when observed with awareness: "How far are you from me, O Fruit?" "I am hidden in your heart, O Flower." (82) It is the little things that I leave behind for my loved ...

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