dao sailing

Chinese for "sailing"

beautiful Indian artwork fish brown, beige, continuing pattern

Infinite, expanse, sleek ocean teeming with life,
Turbulent, virile, ever-moving spread,
Seamlessly laid to the brilliant sky,
I float on you in my fashioned womb,
Sustained against your green-black depths.

Those on land never understand maritime life.
Those of the sea are intimate with your moods;
They navigate but are ultimately helpless.
Destinations become useless, drifting the sole reality:
A sailor’s fears dissolve into acceptance.

Tao is sometimes compared to the ocean. Its depth is immeasurable, its power rules all who enter it. We seek to sail it with our knowledge of knots, direction, mathematics, and charts, yet our understanding is incomparable to its vastness. The young have great ambitions about exploring both above and below the surface, while the old have given in: They know that there is no other alternative than to accept the ocean nd float upon it. One who accepts is sustained. Those who go beyond its terms meet death. Thus the wise say that they float here and there without care; they trust in the overwhelming power of Tao.

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

Artists associated with the Janakpur Women's Development Center are earning recognition as some of the finest contemporary artists in Nepal. This exhibit celebrates the life and work of these village artists, a number of whom joined the JWDC when it was initiated in 1989. To date, their work has been exhibited in the U.S.A., U.K., the Federal Republic of Germany and Belgium. The artists' pleasure in the development of a profession, and in the new-found freedom to express themselves through painting, is reflected in the stories they tell in these pages.

The paintings are rooted in traditions which Maithil women have passed down through generations. On the occasion of marriage or for festivals such as Deepawali, Maithil women paint lively designs on the mud walls of their houses. During Deepawali, in order to attract Laxmi the goddess of wealth, they paint designs of elephants and peacocks which symbolize prosperity, as well as images of tigers, birds, and other animals. In monsoon season the paintings fade or wash away.
photo of artist Mithleshwari_Karna
the artist: Mithleshwari Karna
I am forty years old. I was born in a Kayastha family, which means only men work outside and women stay veiled inside. My village was remote and so we didn't have contact with outsiders. My neighbors were all Kayastha, and I was not allowed to go to school. What I did learn, besides housework, was how to make rice paste designs and pictures with dung.

My husband didn't want to marry, but in one year his mother, father, grandmother and brother all died and his aunt who was from my village said, "You can't keep eating your food in hotels. I'll help you get a wife."

I married him when I was sixteen, and when he found out I couldn't read and write and I knew nothing about anything, my husband was so angry. He didn't want to stay with me but my mother chided him saying, "Why do you want my daughter to read--does she work? You wear her sari and do her housework if you want her to go outside."

I stayed at my mother's house for five years. He was teaching Monday through Thursday, and every weekend he'd come to our house and then we stayed in our marriage chamber but not joking and chatting like couples usually do. People who looked in the windows at us made fun of us because we only studied.

By the time I came to live with him in his hut he was at peace about me. He had seen that I knew how to sew and make traditional paintings and I could cook and do rituals properly, and for these things he gave me some respect.

Our first son died when he was five. I thought I'd go mad but a doctor told me I'd have more. I had three more children, and meanwhile I did a lot of housework and sewing. Then I was invited to join the art center.

At first my husband didn't want me to join there, and he chaperoned me there and back when I started. Then he let me work freely, and now working with my sisters there all my worries have gone away.

I most like to paint the designs we Kayasthals make on marriage Chambers -- bamboo, parrots, "kobar" and god designs. If I could only make one more painting, I would paint Shiva. He is the one I give all my wishes to, but people tell me he doesn't sell as well as some of my other images.
all 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
Chinese characters for "daodejing verse fifty"

All things arise from Tao.
They are nourished by Virtue.
They are formed from matter.
They are shaped by environment.
Thus the ten thousand things all respect Tao and honor Virtue.
Respect of Tao and honor of Virtue are not demanded,
But they are in the nature of things.

Therefore all things arise from Tao.
By Virtue they are nourished,
Developed, cared for,
Sheltered, comforted,
Grown, and protected.
Creating without claiming,
Doing without taking credit,
Guiding without interfering,
This is Primal Virtue.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
It springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.

The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL
a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at http://wwww.duckdaotsu.org/dao_books.html
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’subscribe tao’ in the subject line and send to lisbeth at duckdaotsu

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