Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 12
This Over That

Perceptions create the illusion
Of a solid world
And can blind, deafen, & dull
Non-duality and Egolessness.
Chasing fame, fortune, pleasure & power
Only drives us crazy
While the race for riches
Just creates more crime.

So the wise understand
The sense, not just the words
Choosing reality over illusion;
This over that.

Commentary

“Empty words are evil.”

Odysseus Ὀδυσσεύς c. 1100 BCE via Homer
(Ulysses)
Trickster lineage hero and symbol
from Odyssey, Ὀδύσσεια

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“Reality is now, all at once, one and continuous, not divisible, never any more or less of it and nothing that could stop it holding together but always alike and full of what is.”

Parmenides 540 – 450 BCE via Shan Dao
Grandfather of Western philosophy
from On Nature

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“Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

Themes: Power Beauty

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“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

Themes: Beauty

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“Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.”

Bodhidharma 菩提達磨 5th-6th C. CE
(Daruma)

Themes: Wisdom

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“My fair girl will be drunken soon with her blushed cheeks… it cheats us and steals away. Rise and dance! The sun is fading!”

Li Bai 李白 701 – 762 CE
(Li Bo)

Themes: Sex

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“Armed with the sword of undying awareness, I conquer my enemies, the demons of the 3 realms.”

Khaḍgapa ཁཌྒ་པ། 10th century CE via Keith Dowman
("The Fearless Thief")
Mahasiddha #15
from Masters of Mahamudra

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“become a child of illusion.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ 980 – 1054 CE via Chögyam Trungpa
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)
from Seven Points of Mind Training, Lojong བློ་སྦྱོངས་དོན་བདུན་མ;

Themes: Illusion

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“The unsurpassable protection of emptiness is to see the manisfestations of bewilderment as the four kayas.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ 980 – 1054 CE
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)

Themes: Emptiness

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“Desiring external things harms our bodies. Sages… choose internal reality over external illusion.”

Wu Cheng 吴澄 1249 – 1333 CE
"Mr. Grass Hut"
from Tao-te-chen-ching-chu

Themes: Illusion Reality

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“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.”

Teresa of Avila 1515 – 1582 CE
from Way of Perfection

Themes: Love

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“Better to be tentative than to be recklessly sure - to be an apprentice at sixty, than to present oneself as a doctor at ten.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE

Themes: Doubt

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“There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE

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“When the mind is given free rein in the realm of thought, it no longer knows what is real.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE
(Te-Ch’ing)

Themes: Reality

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“Love, built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.”

John Donne 1572 – 1631 CE
from Songs and Sonnets

Themes: Love Beauty

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“I have never found any who prayed so well as those who had never been taught how”

Madame Guyon Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon 1648 – 1717 CE via Thomas Taylor Allen
from Autobiography of Madame Guyon

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“Practice contemplation in action by combining flexibility with firmness, solidity with openness, and returning the nonexistent to existence.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 1734 – 1821 CE via Thomas Cleary, Shan Dao, #53 Gradual Progress
(Liu I-ming)
from Taoist I Ching, , Zhouyi chanzhen 周易闡真

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“All theory is gray, my friend. But forever green is the tree of life.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE
from Faust, part I

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“Everything great glitters, glitter begets ambition, and ambition can easily have caused the inspiration or what we thought to be inspiration.”

Karl Marx 1818 – 1883 CE

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“I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody too? Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell! They’d banish us, you know.”

Emily Dickinson 1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Egolessness

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“One frequently only finds out how really beautiful a women is, until after considerable acquaintance with her.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Themes: Beauty

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“Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination.”

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922 CE
Apostle of Ordinary Mind
from In Search of Lost Time

Themes: Imagination

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“Occasionally he stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”

Winston Churchill 1874 – 1965 CE

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“We are evolution.”

Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955 CE via Bernard Wall
from Phenomenon of Man

Themes: Evolution

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“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.”

A.A. Milne 1882 – 1956 CE
(Alan Alexander Milne)
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Love

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“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Beauty

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“Your thighs are apple trees. Your knees are a southern breeze.”

William Carlos Williams 1883 – 1963 CE
from In the American Grain

Themes: Beauty

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“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”

Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962 CE

Themes: Beauty Old Age

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“The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have…”

B.R. Ambedkar 1891 – 1956 CE
(Babasaheb)

Themes: Buddhism Change

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“Specialization is in fact only a fancy form of slavery wherein the ‘expert’ is fooled into accepting a slavery.”

Buckminster Fuller 1895 – 1983 CE

Themes: Slavery

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“Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market.”

Eric Fromm 1900 – 1980 CE
from Art of Loving

Themes: Love

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“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

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“This mind, unlike enlightened mind, is always being carried away by one delusion after another.”

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche དིལ་མགོ་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ། 1910 – 1991 CE via Matthieu Ricard
"Mind" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from Journey to Enlightenment

Themes: Mind Delusion

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“Our heads are round so thought can change direction.”

Allen Ginsberg 1926 – 1997 CE

Themes: Reason Change

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“he won’t admit it; he lies because he won’t look straight, he’s not interested in what’s true, in what is; he can’t see anything except his mind – his ideas of what ought to be.”

Ursula Le Guin 1929 – 2018 CE

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“and then there was the vast openness of open space and that vast openness was I , myself”

Gesshin Myoko Roshi 1931 – 1999 CE
Moon heart miraculous light

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“I think I am, therefore, I am. I think.”

George Carlin 1937 – 2008 CE
One of the most influential social commentators of his time

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Meditation in action is… awareness of how we... create our basic perceptions out of our preconceptions… and the games going on do not become big games but simply illusory games.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa

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“Whenever you need reassurance, that means you have a fixed idea of what ought to be.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

Themes: Anonymity

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“A pretty face may last a year or two; but pretty soon they’ll see what you can do.”

John Lennon 1940 – 1980 CE

Themes: Marriage Beauty

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“I would also add that ‘this’ also refers to what is within easy reach, while ‘that’ refers to what can be obtained only with effort.”

Red Pine 1943 CE –
( Bill Porter)
Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat

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“Clinging to the fallacy of the self is a ridiculous act of ignorance that… permeates everything we do, see, and experience… our whole existence is based on very flimsy premises.”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ། 1961 CE –
(Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche)
"Activity" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Themes: Egolessness

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“Humor allows us to see that ultimately things don’t make sense.”

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche ཛི་གར་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ། 1964 CE –

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