September 16, 2009

DIVISION 16 (第十六)

Reach the pole of emptiness.
Maintain tranquility in the center:
The myriad creatures all rise together,
And by this, I see their return.
Things (come forth) in great numbers;
Each one returns to its root.

Returning to the root is called tranquility.
Tranquility is called the inevitable unfolding of things.
Returning to the inevitable unfolding of things is called cháng,
And to understand cháng is called Enlightenment.
To not know cháng is to be reckless and wild.
If you are reckless and wild, your actions will lead to misfortune.
To know cháng, one becomes all-embracing.
To be all-embracing is to be impartial.
To be impartial is to be kingly.
To be kingly is to be (like) Heaven.
To be (like) Heaven is to be (one with) the Dào.
If you are one with the Dào, to the end of your days you will suffer no harm.

COMMENTARY by Koeng S. Wan:
Enlightenment is to know the nature of all things, which when attained enables one to abide by the
Dào, achieve tranquility, satisfy physical needs (Division 32), live long (Division 33), and make peaceable society possible (Division 39). One can achieve enlightenment through quiet contemplation by "reaching the pole of emptiness" whereby one can become one with the Dào (Divisions 14 and 15) by gaining an understanding of cháng (常), the "returning to the inevitable unfolding of things".

Enlightenment is the understanding of cháng, the "returning to the inevitable unfolding of things", which is the understanding of the nature of the existence of all things (e.g. being all-embracing) -- essentially the understanding of how all things change: i.e., how things emerge from their roots (living things being born); how things relate to other things; how things transform throughout their existence; and how they return to their root (living things dying). Importantly, understanding of cháng is not limited only to things in nature but to every thing in existence, including people. Division 49 of the Lǎo Zǐ says:
The shèng rén's (sage's) mind is not his own.
He takes as his own the mind of the people.
Cháng is understood by one reaching a state of mind called the "pole of emptiness" which is an emulation of the emptiness that characterizes the Dào as an abyss that is the origin of all creation (Division 4 and 25). This mental emptiness is useful (Division 11) as it allows one to come to know how creation emerged from the Dào (Division 42), including the birth of Heaven and Earth, and the emergence of all things. To grow and develop closely to one's roots leads one to be firmly rooted (Division 54), which is the fulfillment of one's own nature, i.e. abiding by the Dào. Consequently, to not understand cháng is recklessness because it places things, including oneself (Division 33), into an imbalanced contention with other things (Divisions 29, 34, and 39).

Life and death are linked as things "unfold" from their physical as well as their emotive or spiritual natures (Division 39) which are their roots. For example, the Xuán Pìn Gate is the root of Heaven and Earth (Division 6); heavy is the root of the light (Division 26); and the humble is root of the exalted (Division 39). The unfolding, however, is neither deterministic or fatalistic, as Division 51 explains that while the Dào and rears and nurtures life, respectively, "Matter shapes them and conditions complete them."

Finally, when one becomes all-embracing, one becomes impartial which emulates Heaven and Earth (Division 5), including their long lives (Division 7).