dao attraction

Chinese characters for "attraction"


Peacock iridenscence in veridical shadows,
Violet blooms spread to noonday sun.
The world’s beauty is a swirl of color,
But in the flower’s center is bright stillness.

This world is movement. Its nature is constant change, infinite variation. Without infinite variation, there would be stasis, for we would reach limits. But all limits are actually arbitrary,. Life is one endless equation of darkness, brilliance, color, sound, fragrance, and sensation.

The peacock attracts his mate through his plumage; the flower attracts the bee with its color and fragrance. Beauty is moved to madness, is urged toward more beauty, is lost in the dance of seduction. We cover around the petals of the flower, drunk in the thrill of color. Enthralled with the fragrance of some haunting perfume, we are moved to act, to touch, to fill our shallow vessels with the fullness of promised joy.

Yet in the center of the flower, all is stillness. When the dance of beauty is finished, culmination is at hand. In life, attractions are endless. We should do no more than we need to satisfy ourselves. To plunge further is foolhardy. We must remember to withdraw and look within. Lingering on the outside of our souls,, there is shimmering beauty and fantastic movement. It is only when we go to the center of our souls that we are in the eye of the storm, the still-point of existence. Then all is brightness, energy condensed, unbearable strong and powerful, yet absorbed in supreme quietude.


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

A Goddess
India (Uttar Pradesh, Mathura) ca. 100
Spotted red sandstone
22 5/8 in (57.5 cm)

Despite its fragmentary condition, the figure's divine nature is confirmed by her frontal and hieratic posture and the attribute in her left hand. The mottled stone and the style are typical of the Kushan-period (ca. 75 - 225) sculptures of Mathura. She would have stood originally in a shrine, either structural or hypaethral (open to the sky), and received homage from devotees. Most deities at this period were represented without additional limbs, depending on their larger-than-life proportions and sheer physical presence to convey their divinity. The circular object the goddess holds with her left hand is very likely a small water pot, which appears to have been a ubiquitous emblem of divinities n Mathura at this time. A precise identification, however, is not possible. She may represent a goddess (devi) or a yakshi, a nature deity that enjoyed great popularity in both rural and urban communities before the appearance of more cosmic divinities.

The plastic qualities of the statue indicate that she was a goddess of abundance and prosperity. Her all-assertive, swelling form with its luxuriant curves exudes plenitude. Characteristic of Kushan-period art of Mathura, the figure is monumental and informed with both robust vitality and overt sensuality. The fluent contours, the discreet volumes of her diagonally placed scarf, and the diaphanous garment hugging her shapely, swelling thigh accentuate the organic abundance of her physical form. This goddess is still natural and earthbound, an Amazonian presence. She is freestanding and could be circumambulated; this was an essential feature of cult images of the Kushan period at Mathura. Although the anatomical details are less articulated than in contemporary Gandharan sculpture, the figural forms in Mathura have a spontaneous and easy naturalism that is particularly pleasing.

Chuang Tzu: A Happy Excursion

(Chapter 3" and 4)
It was on this very subject that the Emperor T’ang (1783 B.C.) spoke to Chi, as follows: “At the north of Ch’iungta, there is a Dark Sea, the Celestial Lake. In it there is a fish several thousand li in breadth, and I know not how many in length. It is called the kun. There is also a bird, called the p’eng, with a back like Mount T’ai, and wings like clouds across the sky. It soars up upon a whirlwind to a height of ninety thousand li, far above the region of the clouds, with only the clear sky above it. And then it directs its flight towards the Southern Ocean.

“And a lake sparrow laughed, and said: Pray, what may that creature be going to do? I rise but a few yards in the air and settle down again, after flying around among the reeds. That is as much as any one would want to fly. Now, wherever can this creature be going to?” Such, indeed, is the difference between small and great.

Take, for instance, a man who creditably fills some small office, or whose influence spreads over a village, or whose character pleases a certain prince. His opinion of himself will be much the same as that lake sparrow’s. The philosopher Yung of Sung would laugh at such a one. If the whole world flattered him, he would not be affected thereby, nor if the whole world blamed him would he be dissuaded from what he was doing. For Yung can distinguish between essence and superficialities, and understand what is true honor and shame. Such men are rare in their generation. But even he has not established himself.

Now Liehtse3 could ride upon the wind. Sailing happily in the cool breeze, he would go on for fifteen days before his return. Among mortals who attain happiness, such a man is rare. Yet although Liehtse could dispense with walking, he would still have to depend upon something4.

As for one who is charioted upon the eternal fitness of Heaven and Earth, driving before him the changing elements as his team to roam through the realms of the Infinite, upon what, then, would such a one have need to depend? Thus it is said, “The perfect man ignores self; the divine man ignores achievement; the true Sage ignores reputation.”

(3) - Philosopher about whose life nothing is known. The book Liehtse is considered a later compilation.
(4) - The wind.
(Translated by Yutang Lin)

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