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May 21, 2013

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Amen!

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. -- Isaiah 45:7

What a horrible God this Old Testament nightmare is.

No Brian, just a horrible interpretation ;-) What if Isaiah was simply expressing the very same Buddhist or Taoist notion of the cosmos that you prefer? I happen to think he was. Read Isaiah 45 as an expression of love of the Tao (Substitute Tao/Cosmos for I/God/Lord), and see if your opinion changes.

"In the middle of difficulty, the one thing we know is that God is good..."

Actually you don't know that, Pastor Danielson.

But you *can* love Tao, even though it brings destruction and death, and in my book that means it is 'good'.

If you object to my substitution of the words Tao and God, I ask you how do you think religious bigotry and argumentation ever comes about?! Words are deeply ambiguous and imprecise tools, particularly when they relate to cosmos and the limits of knowledge.

My feeling is we need more people who understand that, more poets and more people who appreciate poetry. The literal numbskulls have sown nothing but confusion from day one. They never grow up.

And man needs to grow up, to be a man of the Tao, a small man of perception and love in a big world of cynicism and confusion. Isaiah wrote a poem about that too - Isaiah 53. Christians coopted it as prophecy for their own immaculate example, but I think it strikes a chord with anyone who treads the straight and narrow.

Tom, what do you mean by "the straight and narrow"? Are you using the phrase in the Christian sense or interpreting it according to your Tao approach?

cc, I mean an honest and simple path, not following any narrow religious formula.

I think Isaiah 53 (not the chapter Brian is quoting BTW) is talking about those qualities of simplicity and honesty. They have no allure and so most of us undervalue them immensely. And yet they are basic to the Tao.

But why identify with any path at all? If your life has an object, a destination, then yes, set your sights, direct your course, and measure your progress. But if all you want to do is enjoy life, staying on a path is pathological.

cc, I don't identify with a path. And yet I'm walking over stones, earth, grass, whatever is under my feet, all the time. For me the most enjoyable, practical and profitable thing in life is looking at what's under my feet, so to speak. And I couldn't do that if I was overly concerned with destinations, divisions and personal matters.

BTW, is Tao a path?

Tom, I'd say, no, Tao isn't a path. It is way-making (a common way of translating "Dao" or "Tao").

There is a Tao of typing this comment, a Tao of making tea, a Tao of doing everything.

Tao is much more a verb, than a noun. A process, than a thing. It is the way things change and move, not a path in any particular direction.

Tom, I'd say, no, Tao isn't a path. It is way-making (a common way of translating "Dao" or "Tao").

Yes, that sounds like the essence? I was assuming Tao could be used like the word Zen to refer to practice as well. So I think I meant 'Taoism'.

If one has a practice with a goal, to return to the Tao or whatever it is, that implies a path doesn't it? Even if the path turns out to be an expression of the goal.

Anyway, these are just words. I'm trying to get to the reality of our actual experience. I don't think it's nearly as clearcut as the words imply.

My path is where I'm pointed and what points me isn't always known, so I can't say there's a path until I can look back and see it.

"I'm trying to get to the reality of our actual experience."

---This is a good statement. However, what would be the actual definition for reality? In addition, please give the absolute definition of what "actual experience" means.

The only way to "get to the reality of our actual experience" is to watch videos taken by surveillance cameras. We may be conscious of what we're thinking and how we feel but we're too biased to observe clearly what's actually happening.

However, what would be the actual definition for reality? In addition, please give the absolute definition of what "actual experience" means.

Roger, I don't think we can pin things down with mathematical precision, nor do I think it's necessary.

I'm simply talking about our honest experience in the moment. Would you like to explore the nature of experience with someone else who is similarly motivated, or do you want to get stuck in words and a vague technical commentary that amounts to forever kicking the can down the road? I have spent a lifetime doing the latter and no longer see any value in it.

The only way to "get to the reality of our actual experience" is to watch videos taken by surveillance cameras. We may be conscious of what we're thinking and how we feel but we're too biased to observe clearly what's actually happening.

I don't think the video would help much! The biases are internal.

But there is a much less biased kind of reflection that comes about once we realise how much our experience is consumed by these internal distractions. In fact the nature of these distractions is exactly what we ought to be looking into if we are interested in 'actual' experience. That's where the simplicity and the honesty come in.

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