dao impermanence

Chinese for "not permanent"

intricately adorned armor and helmet

Chinese characters for &quotImperial parade armor and helmet;"

Tidal windstorm
Splits trees and rock,
Yet cannot last a day.
so much less, man’s work.

When a storm hits, an entire ocean of wind and rain is spent upon the land. Leaves are turned inside out, branches are torn, and even hard granite is worn away. But such gales seldom last an entire day. In spite of the tremendous amount of force that is released, the storm cannot last.

If heaven’s works cannot last a day, human works must be even less lasting. Governments barely survive from year to year, the rules of society are constantly being challenged, the family erodes, personal relationships decay, and one’s career topples. Even the monuments of the world are now being destroyed by air pollution, neglect and war. Nothing lasts. It is simple fact that no event set in motion by human beings lasts forever.

All our efforts are temporary. They borrow from preexisting forces, ride the current of natural events, and disappear according to the dictates of the situation. It is best to realize the transitory nature of things and work with it. Understanding the world’s ephemeral nature can be the biggest advantage of all.

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

Chinese characters for &quotImperial parade armor and helmet;"

Imperial parade armor and helmet (c. 1761)
Steel with lining of silk and silk floss, glass beads,
leather, gilt bronze,
pearls, marten fur, lacquer, coral, cotton, gold, wood, jade
Jacket length: 73 cm. Artifact 31.1-12
Height: 7’ 20”; Width: 36”; Depth: 17”

Splendors of China’s Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong
Splendors of China’s Forbidden City is devoted to the long reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). The exhibition concentrates on Qianlong’s 18th-century period, the last grand era of the Chinese empire. During his long reign, Emperor Qianlong became the epitome of a great Chinese ruler, at once all-powerful and civilized. The Chinese empire reached its largest geographic spread under his rule, while life in China was both peaceful and prosperous. The exhibition investigates how Qianlong achieved this magnificent level. Politically adept, he recognized and supported all facets of Chinese civilization. Although he was a Manchu and remained proud of his nomad forebears, he cultivated the Han Chinese, who formed the majority of the Chinese people. Like his predecessors, the Kangxi and Yongzheng emperors, Qianlong carried out a balancing act between his Manchu heritage and the culture of Han China, which the Manchu Qing dynasty had conquered.
(we begin a new exhibit tomorrow)

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
s i x t e e n
tao verse 16

Empty the self completely;
Embrace perfect peace.
The world will rise and move;
Watch it return to rest.
All the flourishing things
Will return to their source.

This return is peaceful;
It is the flow of nature,
An eternal decay and renewal.
Accepting this brings enlightenment,
Ignoring this brings misery.

Who accepts nature’s flow become all-cherishing;
Being all-cherishing they become impartial;
Being impartial they become magnanimous;
Being magnanimous they become natural;
Being natural they become one with the Way;
Being one with the Way they become immortal:
Though the body will decay, the Way will not.
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