dao accountability

Chinese characters for accountability

unique beast tiger, dragon, lion?

Chinese characters for "mythical animal"

A father without a father
Has difficulty balancing.
A master without a master
Is dangerous.

We look up to our parents, our teachers, and our leaders with trust and expectation. Their responsibility is to guide us, educate us, and even make judgments on our behalf when circumstances are uncertain. Ultimately, they are to bring us to the point where we can make our own decisions, based on the wisdom that they have helped us develop.

But the potential for abuse and mistakes is very great. What person can be right all the time? A simple lapse at the wrong time can cause confusion, psychological scars, and even great disaster. Harsh words during a child’s impressionable moments can engender years of problems. That is why we need a parent for the parent, a master for the master, and leaders for the leaders. This prevents errors of power. In the past, even kings had wise advisers. Every person who would be a leader should have such assistance.

Eventually, someone has to be at the top. And who will that person turn to? Let us invoke not deities but pragmatism. It is experience that is the ultimate teacher. That is why wise people travel constantly and test themselves against the flux of circumstance. It is only in this way that they can truly confirm their thoughts and compensate for their shortcomings.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

for Susan and her path toward healing: may it be short and your days be long

Chinese characters for "mythical animal"
Mythical animal
Excavated in Luoyang, Henan Province
Eastern Han dynasty, 25 — 220 CE

; height 122 cm, length 165 cm
Burial grounds were approached through an avenue, a "spirit road," which was flanked by pairs of large stone figures of dignitaries, foreign envoys, and animals.

This vigorously striding animal was one of the first on the road to the tomb. It is a mythical creature, bixie, with the body of a tiger, two horns, and wings, and was meant to frighten away evil spirits. Excavated in the eastern suburbs of Beijing in 1955
Ming dynasty, Jiajing period, 1522 — 1566

National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing

The Yin Yang Symbol

newer style symbol

This is a well known Taoist symbol. It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. When they are equally present, all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is confusion and disarray. One source explains that it was derived from astronomical observations which recorded the shadow of the sun throughout a full year. The two swirling shapes inside the symbol give the impression of change — the only constant factor in the universe. One tradition states that Yin (or Ying; the dark side) represents the breath that formed the earth. Yang (the light side) symbolizes the breath that formed the heavens. “The most traditional view is that 'yin' represents aspects of the feminine: being soft, cool, calm, introspective, and healing... and “yang” the masculine: being hard, hot, energetic, moving, and sometimes aggressive. Another view has the 'yin' representing night and 'yang' day. However, since nothing in nature is purely black or purely white, the symbol includes a small black spot in the white swirl, and a corresponding white spot in the black swirl.

Ultimately, the 'yin' and 'yang' can symbolize any two opposing forces in nature. Taoists believe that humans intervene in nature and upset the balance of Yin and Yang.

Tai Chi:
There is a long history of involvement by Taoists in various exercise and movement techniques. Tai chi in particular works on all parts of the body. It stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and gently tones muscles without strain. It also enhances digestion, elimination of wastes and the circulation of blood. Moreover, tai chi's rhythmic movements massage the internal organs and improve their functionality. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that illness is caused by blockages or lack of balance in the body's “chi” (intrinsic energy). Tai Chi is believed to balance this energy flow.

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