23 November 2016

The Creative Process of Dao and the Secret to Abundance - DaoDeJing 42

Diversity is good because it brings forth abundance. What is needed is harmonious interactions. Lives go in cycles and so we must always follow the seasons and trends. Going against the trends will have bad consequences. DaoDeJing 42
DaoDeJing Chapter 42 Text and Translation:

1 道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物;
Dao gives birth to one, one gives birth to two [yin and yang], and the two interact to give birth to three [the third dimension, the new generation]. Such interactions create all things [in 3 dimensions].

2 万物负阴而抱阳,冲气以为和。
All things have yin on the backside/inside and yang as the frontal/external cover. The life energy interact harmoniously [for growth].

3 人之所恶,唯孤寡不谷,而王公以为称;
What people dislike are the lonely, neglected, and lack but the kings and dukes use such to address themselves. (The more honorable one becomes, the greater humility must be shown).

4 故物或损之而益,或益之而损;
Hence, for many things, we give first and then receive. (Sow first to reap later).
Or we could increase and then decline. [It is an unending cycle of yin and yang, give and receive]

5 人之所教,我亦教之。
What useful lessons people taught me, I also teach others. (Receive and Give)

6 强梁者不得其死,吾将以为教父。
The tyrant does not die peacefully. I will take this lesson as my teacher.

Harmonious Interactions bring forth Abundances - Verse 1 & 2
Most people misunderstand the concept of Yin-Yang. They think that they are two entirely separate opposite entities. Lao Zi tells us that it is not so. Yin-Yang comes from the same thing, the one. Yin and Yang are just two faces of the same one coin. One cannot exist without the other. When there is a head, there must also at the same time, a tail. The change in the world is like rotating a coin vertically. You may first see the head-face fully, but then, there will slowly be more and more of the tail-face as rotation occurs until there is a complete tail-face. Then there is another key concept of there is always yin in yang and yang in yin. Yin and Yang belong to the same One and they complement each other.
So two different attributes combine in different amounts to produce endless varieties of things.

We can also interpret verse 1 as male and female coming from the same species. Male and female interact to produce the next generations and the next without end. The lesson we learn from here is abundance comes from the harmonious interactions of diversities. Differences are good. It is to be appreciated rather than merely tolerated as in the case of human societies. We like to have many species in the animal kingdom so why can't we have that in the human species?
  • Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 
The secret of creativity is simple. Bring in diversities together and let the new connections be formed.

Life is a cycle - There is a time to give and a time to receive Verse 3 & 4
Many things in life follow the same principle of giving first to receive. In farming, we sow the seeds, water them, fertilize the fields, and then we reap the harvest. In business, we invest first to build the products and then get paid when customers buy them.  The sad part in human activities is when we have increased in wealth and honor, we then have the tendency to become proud and wasteful. Our increases eventually bring forth our decline.  Over-eating is bad for health. So, a strategy to defeat an enemy is to give in to him and let him become proud and then negligent.

Consider the following passage from the Bible:
Ecclesiastes 3New English Translation (NET Bible)

A Time for All Events in Life
3 For everything there is an appointed time,
and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 A time to rip, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Man is Ignorant of God’s Timing 
9 What benefit can a worker gain from his toil?
10 I have observed the burden
that God has given to people to keep them occupied.
11 God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time,
but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart
so that people cannot discover what God has ordained,
from the beginning to the end of their lives.

Never go by force, against the Dao - Verse 5 & 6
"The tyrant does not die peacefully" is such an important concept that it was taught and passed down through the generations. So, the use of force, forcing people to do things they don't like, or going against the trends of the time. is very dangerous. In the short term, you may think it is effective. But in the long term, it will never have a good ending. Ignorant of God's timing and doing the wrong things at the wrong time by force is also not excusable for men.

Lim Liat (c) 23 Nov 2016
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