Posts filed under ‘Witter Bynner’

Tao Te Ching (Chapter 14, An Extract)

Lao Tzu

Listen (to Viral read)

What we look for beyond seeing
And call the unseen,
Listen for beyond hearing
And call the unheard,
Grasp for beyond reaching
And call the witheld,
Merge beyond understanding
In a oneness
Which does not merely give rise and give light,
Does not merely set and leave darkness,
But forever sends forth a succession of living things as mysterious
As the unbegotten existence to which they return.
That is why men have called them empty phenomena,
Meaningless images,
In a mirage
With no face to meet,
No back to follow.
Yet one who is anciently aware of existence
Is master of every moment,
Feels no break since beyond time
In the way life flows.

(Tr. by Witter Bynner)

When I asked Viral to read something for pō’ĭ-trē, he first pulled out The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems by Billy Collins. :) After reading a bit from inside the book and the cover sleeves, he decided to record two excerpts from the Tao Te Ching, before (hopefully) recording some Collins for us.

The Tao, commonly referred to as The Way, is a collection of seemingly simple passages, that explain life and its various intricacies. It can be compared, loosely, with  Kabir’s Dohas and Thiruvaluvar’s kurals.

I was however reminded of Eliot when I heard these lines, ‘But forever sends forth a succession of living things as mysterious/As the unbegotten existence to which they return.’

     "We shall not cease from exploration
     And the end of all our exploring
     Will be to arrive where we started
     And know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot

The unseen, unheard, withheld, all disappear when one goes with the flow.

[blackmamba]

October 19, 2006 at 1:04 am 1 comment

Tao Te Ching (Chapter 1, An Extract)

Lao Tzu

Listen (to Viral read)

Existence is beyond the power of words
To define:
Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,
Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees to the core of life
Or passionately
Sees the surface,
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them seem different
Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
From wonder into wonder
Existence opens.

(Tr. by Witter Bynner)

“The Tao Te Ching (also known simply as The Laozi), roughly translated as The Book of the Way and its Virtue (see below on translating the title) is an ancient Chinese scripture. Tradition has it that the book was written around 600 BCE by a sage called Laozi (WG: Lao Tzu, “Old Master”), a record-keeper in the Emperor’s Court of the Zhou Dynasty. A careful reading of the text, however, suggests that it is a compilation of maxims sharing similar themes. The authenticity of the date of composition/compilation and the authorship are still debated.

This short work is one of the most important in Chinese philosophy and religion, especially in Taoism, but also in Buddhism, because the latter was interpreted by Chinese scholars upon its introduction to China largely through the use of many Taoist words and concepts before developing into Chinese Buddhism.” – wiki

[blackmamba]

September 30, 2006 at 8:59 am Leave a comment


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