Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Tao of Wholeness

Of all the wisdom metaphors in the Tao Te Ching, perhaps none captures the essence of non-duality like that of the "unhewn log." The log that is unhewn is an inseparable entity of nature. Combined with the analogy of our being to the whole of life as the stream is to the ocean - an image used in wisdom traditions the world over - the "unhewn log" makes the following one of the most poetic and insightful passages in the Taoist masterpiece.

The Way is eternally nameless.

Though the unhewn log is small,
No one in the world dares subjugate it.
If feudal lords and kings could maintain it,
The myriad creatures would submit of themselves.

As soon as one begins to divide things up,
   there are names:
Once there are names,
   one should also know when to stop;
Knowing when to stop,
   one thereby avoids peril.

In metaphorical terms,
      The relationship of all under heaven in the way
            is like that of the valley streams
                 to the river and the sea.

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