Sunday, August 9, 2015

We have mail on tong Ren Lu!
My pal in Oregon sent me a copy of the Tao Te Ching, translated by Ursula K. LeGuin.

This morning I will share Chapter One with you:

The way you can go
isn't the real way.
The name you can say
isn't the real name.

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
names's the mother of ten thousdand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what's huidden,
and the ever-wanting soul sees only want it wants.

Two things, one oriogin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Myatery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.


Here is want she says in the comments:  A satisfactory translation of the chapter is, I believe, perfectly impossible. It contains the book. I think of it as the Aleph, in Borge's story: If you see it rightly, it contains everything.


Of course, that is not a very original thing to say. It's in most commentaries. But it is true not just for the book, but for us readers as well. The more you think you see and know of the Tao, the faster it slips away. it's like smoke. You can see it, but once you reach out to possess... Nothing.

I don't know about Borge's story, but I do know about the Aleph, the hidden Aleph. You probably know that the first letter of the first word of Torah is NOT an Aleph, as you might expect. It's a Bet! The second letter of the Aleph Bet. So that tells us that something -- the Aleph -- has come before. That's right. "In the beginning..." was not THE beginning. It was a beginning again. God, the story goes, was not happy with previous creations. His subsequent attempts show that God had mercy and compassion on himself. God gave Godself second, and third chances. So we can say that the very first creation was self-compassion. And God knows other people have said other things. The sages warn against looking into this hidden period too deeply. It is not for us to know. Some things aren't. I think that's hard for our western, always expanding, and oh-so curious minds. But, really, some things are beyond us.

There is actually a lot more to tell about Aleph, but now I am off to work.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

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