dao integration

Chinese for "integration"

two spotted elephants facing each other, wonderful look on their faces, cool trunks

Be still to know the absolute.
Be active to know the outer.
The two spring from the same source,
All of life is one whole.

In stillness, one seeks the absolute Tao. There is neither beauty nor ugliness in it. Because it has no opposites, it is called absolute. By contrast, nothing of this world is absolute, because all things that we experience are relative.

Seeking the absolute may be among the greatest goals, but you cannot remain on your meditation cushion forever. You must go out and explore life as well. This is the investigation of the outer Tao—that aspect of Tao that flows through all existence. You must not fail to explore anything that interests you. Any skill you want to master should be learned. Any subject that arouses curiosity should be examined. Every insecurity should be overcome. Every question should be answered. If you do not do this, then you cannot freely flow with the outer Tao: Every one of your uncertainties will be an obstacle.

Initially, it will seem as if there is no connection between your time meditating and the outer things in your life. After all, the masters themselves constantly stress the difference between the spiritual and the social. But eventually, you will reach a point where the quiescence of contemplation and the activeness of living are integrated. Then there is no anxiety about whether one is living a spiritual life or not. You realize that it is all part of the same seamless whole.


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

the artist:Monbati Yadev
photo of artist Monbati YadevI am 27. When I was little my father sold milk from our buffaloes and worked in other people's fields. He had to support five children and his parents. My father had studied up to third class and thought there was no reason to study if one could work. I never went to school. But with the help of my uncle, my youngest brother is now in college.

At home I gathered grass for animals, twigs for cooking, and cut rice in other people's fields. I would be so hungry sometimes I'd even take some uncooked rice, grind it and eat it quickly. I was married late, when I was 18, because we had no money. If there was a fair I had to borrow a sari from someone else. Only last year when I came to work at the center did I get my first pair of sandals.

After marriage I went to live with my husband and his three brothers and parents. There were 18 people in the house and I had more work than at my own house. But when I started painting at the center each day, the brothers said, "since you can't help with housework now, you should live separately." So now my three children and my husband live in a different hut in our compound and I cook only for us. My life has become much easier since working at the center. I have learned to read, and I have learned how to make art on paper because before I only painted on the walls of the house for Deepawali. I especially like making animal designs. At home we have a buffalo. Each day when I leave the center I cut grass and feed the buffalo before I cook for my family.

text and integration © JWDC

T A O t e C H I N G

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

In caring for others and serving heaven,
There is nothing like using restraint.
Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation,
The Tao of long life and eternal vision.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

For governing a country well
there is nothing better than moderation.

The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky,
all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.

Nothing is impossible for him.
Because he has let go,
he can care for the people's welfare
as a mother cares for her child.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

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