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weather: cold & wet
outside: 7.8°C
mood: brooding
Excerpt from the Foreword of the Tao Teh Ching translated by John C. H. Wu:

Both Confucianism and Taoism complement each other, however incompatible they seem at first sight to be. The former places a man in his proper relation to his fellow-men, the latter in proper relation to nature. A third philosphy, Buddhism, though introduced from India, deals with the problem of human suffering and with man's ultimate destiny. These three inheritances ... have moulded the thinking not only of the Chinese people but of all Eastern Asia. There is truth, then, in the common saying that every Chinese wears a Confucian cap, a Taoist robe and Buddhist sandals.

Whereas Confucius counseled his people to labor untiringly for the welfare and dignity of man in society, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu on the other hand cautioned them against excessive interference. In their view, the urge to change what by nature is already good only increases the sum-total of human unhappiness. These two urges: on the one hand, to do something, and on the other hand, not to do too much, are forever contending in our natures. The man who can maintain a just balance between them is on the road to social and intellectual maturity.

Arthur W. Hummel,
Former Head, Division of Orientalia
Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
1962

I bought it because it has the 道德經 text in Traditional characters alongside Dr. Wu's English translation.


Comments

da_rosas
Nov. 9th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
Hello bride! Hope you've been well.

I'm a lurker from guangdong (you've given me a lot of incredibly great feedback in the past). This morning I just posted something there in reference to Kuan Yin etc. and then I realized you touched on the Chinese menage e trois here recently on your own blog. *grins* Would love your feedback, if any!, if you have the time and inclination?
http://www.livejournal.com/community/guangdong/29232.html

Thanks much!
bride
Nov. 9th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
Heya =) Wow, thanks for thinking of me =)

Unfortunately, I'm running around trying to get packed and ready to take off on vacation. I leave tomorrow morning, so I'm kinda going bananas =P XD

But, just very quickly:

I have the Guan Yin Sutra in Traditional Chinese here and [supposedly] an English translation here.

I don't think of the Guan Yin as a "goddess". I don't believe in deities. Rather, prominent Buddhist figures are souls, just like you and me, they have been human at one point, but they have attained a level of understanding or enlightenment that is much higher than ours.

Guan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Observer of the World's Cries. The Guan Yin is actually a Buddha and has attained the highest level of enlightenment, entitled to enter Heaven, but has refused it so as to stay behind and assist every soul to enlightenment.

I try not to use pronouns or attribute male or female characteristics to them. They're supposed to be able to take whatever form is most conveniently understandable by whomever they are trying to help (in some depictions, the Guan Yin appears as a dragon). I also think that enlightenment means transcending human-defined male/female gender definitions and restrictions.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is supposed to be the most recent incarnation of the Guan Yin - the Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara. I personally do not believe that he is, but I respect the beliefs of those who do. He has said on occasion in public that he was "considering not reincarnating after this death and being the last Dalai Lama".

I haven't seen or heard exactly what he said, in context, so I could be very much mistaken. And I understand his hardship from persecution, but those do not sound like the words of a Boddhisattva to me.
da_rosas
Nov. 9th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Appreciate your taking the time to respond and give me the links (I'll read them later) in your blog! Great reply and really appreciate your thoughts. One specific response to:
I try not to use pronouns or attribute male or female characteristics to them. They're supposed to be able to take whatever form is most conveniently understandable by whomever they are trying to help (in some depictions, the Guan Yin appears as a dragon). I also think that enlightenment means transcending human-defined male/female gender definitions and restrictions.

Fabulous point and what at least one other person (that I've had a *real life* conversation with) addressed the point of giving souls (and deities) or fundamentally human qualities, characteristics, and restrictions, including (but not exclusively) to gender. One thing I've heard notably about the Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara specifically is that in different human traditions, the presumed gender changed or was mutable.

Thanks tons at so many levels. At a later date, I'd love to ask for more of your thoughts.

For now, have a FABULOUS vacation!!!
bride
Nov. 9th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks so much!
Hey, no problem at all =)

Keep talking at me here or e-mail me random questions whenever you think of them to me (bride at livejournal dot com) if you like. I'll look at it when I get back or bored on the plane or something =) I'm looking for some writing prompts for further thought and journal entries too =D
da_rosas
Nov. 10th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
Just friended you :)
Hey bride, thanks much for your replies, info., etc., etc., etc.

Finally decided (after all these months!) to friend you. A good number of my posts are friends only. No need to friend me back; I hope you won't mind me friending you (though certainly let me know if you didn't want me to, I'll unfriend you if requested).


Also, if you've never perused my user etc., in short I consider myself a diehard liberal in most ways, though people infrequently also consider me unexpectedly conservative at times. I love intelligent, academic, and earnest folks with sensitivity and I consider you all of the above. Be forewarned, I sometimes rant and get stupidly silly on my blog, so if you can tolerate that... thanks. :) The major issues that might be intolerable, I can be a mumbler, grammatically incorrect, misquote, use big words I don't often understand adequately, and otherwise difficult (annoying) to read. I'm not a great writer by any means and I tend to be just one of those ramblers at times.

Best wishes, thanks oogles of noodles, et al.
bride
Nov. 10th, 2005 01:45 am (UTC)
Re: Just friended you :)
No worries. =)

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bride
The Bride of the First House

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