dao perseverance

Chinese for "perseverance"

two men holding bamboo

Chinese characters for "Qianlong and Yongzheng standing, holding bamboo trees"

Invisible lines,
The fisherman repairs his net
And the fish are nearly caught.

If a fisherman does not have a properly repaired net, then his trip is useless. Preparation is the major part of his endeavor. Only when the fisherman keeps his nets intact, keeps his boat repaired, and studies the conditions of fish and water does going out to fish become a mere formality. Then fish fall into his hands as if guided by invisible lines.

When it seems as if nothing encouraging is happening to us, it is important to remember such perseverance. Work may be drudgery, maintaining a home may be routine, and we may find our goals quite distant. But we must persevere and prepare nevertheless. That will bring a steady pace toward our goals, and buoy our faith in rough and threatening times.

To task the fruit of perseverance requires maturity and experience. We need to cultivate patience, planning, and timing. We build our resources even when circumstances seem to be against us. We don’t neglect anything we have set in motion. If we nurse our plans through good times and bad, our plans will eventually succeed with the inevitability of fish caught in a net.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
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Chinese characters for "Qianlong and Yongzheng standing, holding bamboo trees"

Qianlong and Yongzheng standing, holding bamboo trees
Artist: Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766)
Color on silk
Length: 68.8 cm.
Height: 6’ 3 ¼”; Width: 2’ 4 ¼”

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. (continued from the Curator’s essay: about the exhibit and the art we will continue to see here:)

The Dallas Museum of Art has chosen to display this exhibition as a series of fine art works.Although the layout generally follows the themes of the exhibition as planned by the Palace Museum and the Field Museum, the flow of works in the sections has been slightly changed to highlight significant works for individual contemplation and appreciation. The rooms devoted to the exhibition are large and space is given to major works, and a palette of light, bright colors is used in the exhibition rooms, to echo the light, color and grandeur of the Forbidden City. (note: we have limited access to the exhibit — online resources only)

This section explores how Qianlong supported the various religions of his empire. This is a rich and fascinating section, ranging from an image of Sakyamuni Buddha to shamanic figures relating to native Manchu religion. Taoism, as one of the most popular religions in China, is represented by figures like the Thunder deity Zhang Jie and the Immortal Marshall Wang Lingguam.

While all these diverse religious traditions are represented here, the Tibetan Buddhism that Qianlong favored is the most prominent. There is a large cloisonné enamel stupa and a rare set of Tibetan Buddhist Buddha figures with Qianlong’s mark, exemplifying esoteric Buddhism. The prominence of this kind of Buddhism at court is indicated by the presence of several buildings devoted to Tantric Buddhism in the Forbidden City, as well as by the painting in the exhibition of Qianlong as the Bodhisattva Manjusri. (continued tomorrow)

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
t w e l v e
tao verse twelve

Too much colour blinds the eye,
Too much music deafens the ear,
Too much taste dulls the palate,
Too much play maddens the mind,
Too much desire tears the heart.

In this manner the sage cares for people:
She provides for the belly, not for the senses;
She ignores abstraction
and holds fast to substance.

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