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Even in my almost total ignorance of East Asian culture, it was not hard to guess that the great teacher of the way will be nature, and the great lesson will be harmony.  In South Asia, the material world is a painful illusion and the purpose of life is to find the truth in worlds beyond this one.  In the West, the world is the arena for a cosmic struggle between good and evil.  These differences may have something to do with the geographies and climates in which the great world religions evolved; but I have always felt that East Asia, despite its ventures into oriental despotism, dialectical materialism, and totalitarianism. has managed to remain closer to our common heritage than the other "civilizations."

When the Chuang-tzu speaks of the "real people" of ancient times it sounds more like anthropology than mythology or depth psychology.  This is why I go to the Tao te Ching first for guidance on how to live.  I know that the eightfold path and the sermon on the mount and the twelve step programs are workable because they agree with the the basic taoist teachings.  I know that Sufis, yogas, and other mystics  (perhaps sub atomic physicists) see more than the rest of us see because they see basically what the taoist sees--which is also what primitive people see when they free of domination by civilizations.

"Real people" live in harmony with nature and, because of that, in harmony with each other.  They don't have egos; they don't have desires, they don't have "emotions."  Therefore they don't need what we call morality or character because they just naturally behave better than people who do have morality or character.

Here's a quote from Thomas Cleary's translation of chapter six:  "Those whose cravings and desires are deep-seated are shallow in their celestial potential."

Now, here's a quotation from the sixth chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew:   "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break in and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

In fact, you can go through taoist writing and find each of the teachings in the sermon on the mount.  And the more authentic the teaching of Jesus, the more likely it is that that same teaching will be in the Tao te Ching or the Chuang-tzu.  In fact many are in chapter six.

Blessed are tje poor/

Give when you are asked to give.

Judge not.

Follow the Way.

Be simple.

Don't scheme.

Don't fear death.

Detach from the world.

Chapter six is full of beautiful ideas beautifully expressed.  I especially commend Thomas Cleary's version.

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bobby1933
bobby1933

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