dao fate

Chinese for "fate"

sculpture on person described below

Dispel time
And you will
Dispel fate.

Fate is the force that interferes with out lives, wrecking things at the worst moments. Yet what we call fate is nothing more than the consequence of our own actions. Each time we act, we generate a chain of events that is tied to us completely. The faster we run from these links, the faster they follow us. They cannot be severed; our every act binds us further.

The operative element here is time. The events of the past are the curse. Beginning followers of Tao learn to manipulate past, present, and future. They learn how circumstances operate and seek to take advantage of that. More advanced followers of Tao eschew this process of manipulation. They obliterate all regard to past, present, and future as definitions in order to negate the concept of fate.

In order to attain a state of being where there is no past to weigh upon the present and no future to be determined, followers of Tao must reach a profound merging with Tao. The follower then acts no differently than Tao would. There is no fate to oppose them, for they are existence, they are causality, they are Tao itself.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
Swat Valley, Pakistan c. 7th century
Copper alloy with silver h. 12.9 cm

Avalolkitesvara adopts one of his most intriguing contemplative poses as he extends his right index finger towards his right temple. Pal has noted the popularity of such imagery in Kashmir during the seventh to the ninth centuries. Avalolkitesvara holds the stem of a lotus in his other hand and assumes a relaxed seated posture (lalitasana) on a raised platform; a lotus supports his left foot, His long hair is gathered into a fan shape at the top of his head, while thick tresses are arranged in a horizontal band along the forehead, a hairstyle particular to Swat Valley. Amitabha Buddha, his spiritual sire, is portrayed near the front of his coiffure, at the centre of a two-panelled diadem. Avalolkitesvara wears an enormous hoop earring in his left ear and a rosette in the right. A necklace of thick beads is fastened around his neck and a richly pleated dhoti, fastened below the navel, falls to his knees.

Magisterial in pose, this figure conveys strength and masculinity, qualities reminiscent of Gandharan (c. first to mid-fifth centuries) sculpture which could still be seen in late fifth-and sixth-century images from the Gandharan region. Like these 'post-Gandharan' figures, this bodhisattva assumes a pose that is very different from the more gracious one assumed by c. eighth-century works from the same region; this feature may indicate an earlier, c. seventh-century date for this work. The somewhat unusual pierced throne design can also be seen in fifth-and sixth-century works from the northwest region of India.

A Swat Valley provenance may be ascribed to this image; the ascription is based on its close parallels with other works attributed to Swat, notably a bodhisattva excavated along the Helmand River in Swat Valley. The Helmand River bodhisattva and this Avalokitesvara both have narrow, silver-inlaid eyes, long noses and thin lips, necklaces of large beads, armlets of similar design and tapered, muscular torsos, Many of the features, as well as the coiffure, lotus bud and thickly pleated dhoti of this image are similar to those of a c. seventh-century Padmapani attributed to Swat Valley and now in The Cleveland Museum of Art.

images © Nyingjei Lam
text © D. Weldon, Jane C. Singer

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
f o r t y - s i x
Chinese characters for "daodejing verse forty-six"

Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window,
you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.

Thus the sage knows without traveling;
He sees without looking;
He works without doing.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

Without opening your door,
you can open your heart to the world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the essence of the Tao.

The more you know,
the less you understand.

The Master arrives without leaving,
sees the light without looking,
achieves without doing a thing.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

The Tao may be known and observed
without the need of travel;
the way of the heavens might be well seen
without looking through a window.

The further one travels,
the less one knows.
So, without looking, the sage sees all,
and by working without self-advancing thought,
he discovers the wholeness of the Tao.
— translation by S. ROSENTHAL

One can know the world without leaving the house.
One can see Tao without looking out the window.

The more you study the less you know.

Thus the truly wise know without traveling,
perceive without seeing, achieve without doing.
— translation by C. GANSON

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