The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love and intelligence has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive – it has nothing to do with time. It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.
– Toni Packer

From the Upaya newsletter

The Present

I rejoice to live in such a splendidly disturbing time.
– Helen Keller

Having vs Being

I am comparing translations of the Tao Te Ching. Here is the last paragraph from Chapter 11.

From this translation of the Tao Te Ching:

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

From this translation of the Tao Te Ching:

Having leads to profit,
Not having leads to use.

Those are two translations of the same paragraph! Makes me want to learn mandarin, just to discover the subtleties the chinese language is capable of. Anyway, it is interesting that one of the translators got hung up on being while the other got hung up on having. Maybe it should read like this:

Having leads to profit,
Being is what we can use.


I noticed that Shambhala published a new translation of the Tao To Ching and the following caught my eye:

Of the many translations I have read in English, this is unquestionably the best.
– Gary Snyder

Since I love Gary Snyder’s poetry, those words worked on me and I ordered the book. When it came I opened it at random, as I always do, and arrived at this:

Mind opening leads to compassion,
Compassion leads to nobility,
Nobility leads to heavenliness,
Heavenliness leads to Tao.

Tao endures.
Your body dies.

There is no danger.

If it was up to me it would read like this:
Tao endures.
You die.

Ends and Means

Gaia Community | jhalifax’s Blog
Once we have reached the desired end, we think, we will turn back to purify and consecrate the means. Once the war that we are fighting for peace is won, then the generals will become saints, the burned children will proclaim in the heaven that their suffering is well repaid, the poisoned forests will turn green again. Once we have peace, we say, or abundance or justice or truth, or comfort, everything will be right. Its an old dream.

It’s a vicious illusion. For the discipline of ends is no discipline at all. The end is preserved in the means; a desirable end may forever perish in the wrong means. Hope lives in the means, not in the end. Art does not survive in its revelations, or agriculture in its products, or craftsmanship in its artifacts, or civilization in its monuments, or faith in its relics.
– Wendell Berry

Deep insight.

Amor Fati

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate” (Amor fati). Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
– Joseph Campbell
(Via the Upaya newsletter)