Marlies Taljard: Alle moontlikhede buite dualisme: Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching

Lao Tsu, skrywer van die Tao Te Ching was ‘n tydgenoot van Confucius in die sesde eeu vC. Hy was die hoof van die koninklike argiewe in Loyang. Volgens die bekende legende was hy op pad na die woestyn om daar om te kom, omdat hy tot in sy siel gewalg was deur die mens en sy weë, toe hy deur ‘n poortwagter in die noord-weste van China oorreed is om eers sy leerstellinge op skrif te stel voordat hy verder gaan. Die resultaat is die Tao Te Ching, ‘n poëties-filosofiese werk van ongeveer 5,000 woorde wat die afgelope 2,500 jaar reeds ‘n belangrike invloed op Chinese denke uitoefen. Taoisme is in wese die kuns om op ‘n spirituele vlak te funksioneer. Om te probeer om die Tao Te Ching uit te lê, druis direk in teen die aard van die filosofie wat daaruit spreek: woorde kan die ewige waarheid nie bevat nie:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.

The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.

These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness.

The gate to all mystery.

(Ek gebruik deurgaans die vertaling van Gia-Fu Feng en Jane English).

Ondanks die feit dat die Tao Te Ching dikwels as heilige boek beskryf word, bevat dit geen teologiese waarheid nie en verkondig dit geen religie nie:

I let go of religion,

and people become serene.

(…)

When they lose their sense of awe,

people turn to religion.

Die volgende vers lewer verdere kommentaar op die voorafgaande:

When the great Tao is forgotten,

Kindness and morality arise.

When wisdom and intelligence are born,

The great pretense begins.

When there is no peace within the family,

Filial piety and devotion arise.

When the country is confused and in chaos,

Loyal ministers appear.

Dit lê klem op die mens se eie verantwoordlikheid om ‘n etiese lewe te lei:

Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,

And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Give up kindness, renounce morality,

And men will rediscover filial piety and love.

Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,

And bandits and thieves will disappear.

These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.

It is more important

To see the simplicity,

To realize one’s true nature,

To cast off selfishness

And temper desire.

Leegheid is die ideale toestand van die gees: hoewel ‘n pot ‘n bevredigende vorm mag hê en mooi versieringe daarop aangebring is, sou dit nie ‘n pot wees as dit nie hol was van binne nie – die leegte binne die pot is wat dit ‘n nuttige houer maak:

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;

It is the center hole that makes it useful.

Shape clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Cut doors and windows for a room;

It is the holes which make it useful.

Therefore benefit comes from what is there;

Usefulness from what is not there.

Die doel van die Tao te Ching is nie om waarhede uiteen te sit nie, maar om te verwar, om mense bewus te maak van hulle verwarring. Elke mens put uit hierdie uitsonderlike werk unieke waarhede, kom in kontak met unieke insigte – dit is nog ‘n rede waarom geen agterhaalbare waarheid aan dié antieke tekste gekoppel kan word nie. Alles wat interpreteerders daaroor sê, is niks meer as wegwysers nie. “Tao” beteken “weg” of “pad”, en elke mens se weg deur die wêreld verskil. Intellektuele diskoers kan dit nie verklaar nie. Tereg sê Chuang Tzu: “It only blossoms through personal experience – not through analytical and intellectual nit picking … in reading it we simply see our own minds”:

Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling.

Not collecting treasures prevents stealing.

Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.

If men lack knowledge and desire, then clever people will not try to interfere.

If nothing is done, then all will be well.

In sy wese is die Tao Te Ching ‘n simboliese teks met simbole wat wyd kan wissel in hulle betekenisse. So word die term “koninkryk” deur sommige geïnterpreteer as ‘n politieke staatkundige eenheid, deur ander as die interne koninkryk van die gees en deur ‘n verdere groep as buite-wêreldse sfere. Meestal word die eksterne betekenis egter gekoppel aan innerlike belewenis of persepsie, want die persepsie en die gewig wat mens aan daardie persepsies toeken, bepaal immers sy belewing van die ‘werklikheid”:

Rule a nation with justice.

Wage war with surprise moves.

Become master of the universe without striving.

How do I know that this is so?

Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,

The poorer people become.

The sharper men’s weapons,

The more trouble in the land.

The more ingenious and clever men are,

The more strange things happen.

The more rules and regulations,

The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:

I take no action and people are reformed.

I enjoy peace and people become honest.

I do nothing and people become rich.

I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

Yin-Yang

Yin-Yang

Vloeibaarheid en nie-dualistiese denke is die basis van die Tao. Soos Ta Wan, ‘n kommentator, dit stel: “Tao is only a name, it is a name outside of duality, it is the one thing with no anti, no, or opposite. The name Tao was given to the ‘unnamable’ unwillingly by the firste person to use the term, Lao Tzu.” Geen beskrywing kan die Tao vasvang nie, maar tog is daar niks wat sonder die Tao kan wees nie: die Tao is beide dit wat alles omvat as dit wat deur niks gerepresenteer word nie, sowel hier en nêrens:

Look, it cannot be seen – it is beyond form.

Listen, it cannot be heard – it is beyond sound.

Grasp, it cannot be held – it is intangible.

These three are indefinable;

Therefore they are joined in one.

From above it is not bright;

From below it is not dark:

An unbroken thread beyond description.

It returns to nothingness.

The form of the formless,


The image of the imageless,

It is called indefinable and beyond imagination. Stand before it and there is no beginning.

Follow it and there is no end.

Stay with the ancient Tao,

Move with the present.

Tao is ‘n manier van sien vanuit die sentrum en die bewuswees daarvan dat alle moontlikhede bestaan en in balans gehou word nié deur middel van dualisme of opposisie nie, maar as gevolg van polariteit waar die een punt die teenoorgestelde pool van ‘n ander punt verteenwoordig, waar die een die ander moontlik maak, onderhou en veronderstel: “Things exist due to the notion of an opposite yet are complementary, mutually arising, in total interdependence of each other” (Ta Wan).

The heavy is the root of the light.

The still is the master of unrest.

Therefore the sage, traveling all day,

Does not lose sight of his baggage.

Though there are beautiful things to be seen,

He remains unattached and calm.

Why should the lord of ten thousand chariots act lightly in public?

To be light is to lose one’s root.

To be restless is to lose one’s control.

 

 

 

 

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3 Kommentare op “Marlies Taljard: Alle moontlikhede buite dualisme: Tao Te Ching”

  1. Gisela Ullyatt :

    Dankie Marlies, hierdie artikel is uiters insiggewend. Ek eksploreer dieselfde konsepte – leegheid en nie-dualistiese denke -vanuit n Boeddhistiese invalshoek. Hier veral kan mens sien hoe die Zen Boeddhisme, wat o.a. spruit uit die Tao, aansluiting vind by Taoistiese denkwyses. Veral “verwarringsaspek” van die Tao is een van die hoofuitvloeisels van Zen, gesien deur die gebruik van koans of raaisels. Baie dankie vir n insiggewende stuk!

  2. marlies taljard :

    Dankie vir jou kommentaar, Gisela. Die TTC is elke keer vars as mens dit lees … inderdaad amper een lang koan. En vir ons wat so westers-georieënteerd is, is die begrippe leegheid en nie-dualisme byna ongrypbaar!

  3. Sjoe, Marlies, inderdaad uitdagende begrippe. Dankie vir jou verruiming van ons denke.

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