dao images

Chinese for "images"

women and minhas picking lentils in june -- significance is childbirth

Sound, smell, taste, image, touch, sleep.

Can you think without clinging to these forms?
A thought without shape is rare,
Knowledge of Tao rarer still.

Our mind needs to cling to some object in order to function in its usual modes. If you look at your memories, you will find that most are tied to some sensory image. The thought of being in the country brings up a certain fragrance. You “see” relationships in a certain way. We may do math problems, or compose something to say to our companions, but we will still think in numbers and words.

Some people make the mistake of rejecting this type of thinking, but we need to use these modes in order to function in the everyday world. When it comes to knowing Tao, thought tied to sensory images is not enough to bring complete realization. Dualistic thinking cannot be used to know Tao. But don’t discard it as long as ordinary functioning in the world is necessary.

When one meditates, one must use an aspect of consciousness that does not cling to external forms. This type of consciousness is beyond the senses. Some call these states of mind super consciousness, smadhi, nirvana, or enlightenment. These are mere names. All that matters is getting to these states. Then all labels fall away.

365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

this painting is called Women and Minhas picking Lentils in June: It's theme is significant of childbirth

photo of artist Remni Mandalthe artist: Remni Mandal

I live in the household of my husband in the village of Deuri Parbaha. Our household of 20 people consists of my father-in-law, his four sons, their wives and ten children. My husband and our six children live in one room.

I am thirty years old and was married when I
was fifteen. In the village where I was born I saw the paintings my aunt made on mud walls of buffaloes and other animals. So for my wedding I painted all the walls myself from what I'd noticed from my aunt. At the time of the wedding people asked who had painted the walls, and then afterwards for weddings people would come to ask me to paint their walls and pay me with some rice or chapati.

I used to work with my husband in fields which belong to the big landlords. We would earn half of the harvest so in this way we had rice, corn, eggplants and other vegetables. Now in the rice harvest season my husband earns four kg. of rice per day.
I started painting at the center after a friend who worked there gave me three pieces of paper to paint some samples on. Typically my pictures show people doing farm work. You can tell my paintings because they often have parrots, crows and squirrels which you see in the mango groves nearby. My paintings usually show the activities of both people and animals: the birds are busy eating and the people are busy picking or taking care of goats, buffalo, cows, and chickens.

I show women as I think of them, some as they are now and some as they used to be. Women used to wear saris with silver coins attached and a nose ring called a "biluki" -- I still show them this way. Some of the old women you still see smoking a hookah.
text and images © JWDC

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao
f i f t y - e i g h t
Chinese characters for "daodejing verse fifty-eight"

When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.

Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.

When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.

Thus the Master is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose her will.
She is pointed, but doesn't pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at
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