dao funeral

Chinese for "funeral"

hen with little hen insider of her

Hearse of weathered black enamel,
Undertakers fingering cigarettes.
Family, some crying, some bored,
Some only thinking of themselves.
Hired marching band out of tune.
Even in death we find no accord.

If you look closely at a dead person, can you truly see a soul? Is there anything left of the person that you knew> No. There is only a corpse, one that doesn”t even look familiar; whatever animates people is gone. Have they flown to heaven? Have they gone into some cycle of transmigration? I don’t know. Theories about what happens after death can only be conjecture.

A funeral is for those left behind. It is a ritual for us to come to grips with what has happened. Sometimes, one wonders if the weeping is more out of fear for ourselves than it is sympathy for the deceased.

All of our lives, we seek union. We try to please our parents, we try to do well for our teachers and society, we try to make love and get married, we try to touch the universal through art, music, and meditation. Yet all our lives, our every attempt is flawed. Accord and harmony are transitory states. Their duration and quality comes only from our determination. Once our mind gives way, we can no longer hold the connections that we want.

Don’t wait for death to solve your difficulties. Do what you must while you are alive.

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

for my mother, whom I hope
to see before she dies.

there is no author bio for this painting
it is called "pregnant hen" and was made
by Revati Mandal

T A O t e C H I N G

hand drawn calligraphy of the word dao

S I X T Y - T H R E E

Chinese characters for "daodejing verse sixty-three"

Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.

See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And thus achieved greatness.

Easy promises make for little trust.
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.
— translation by GIA-FU FENG

Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.
— translation by STEVEN MITCHELL

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