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A pictorial introduction with images from kinabaloo.com
The wisdom of the ancients - part 1 - Lao Zi
In our view, one of the reasons why the Dao De Ching (credited to Lao Zi) is such a great work of philosophy lies in the very first words : 'The Dao that can be spoken is not the real Dao'.
The most fundamental of standing on the shoulders of anyone is to understand that the concept, the simplification, the model, is not the reality; the words are but a pointing finger, not the moon to which they are pointed.
The Dao, (Tao in older PinYin) is often translated as 'the way', which is not too far off, but it means also reality, how things are, as much as how to live the right way - that the essence of enlightenment is true sight of reality. The answer lies in seeing 'what is' rather than in a concept of what 'should be'.
A map is useful, but you need to travel that terrain yourself, with open eyes, and see the truth that cannot adequately be put into words.
Onto Daoism itself - if one thinks of life as a river, then we are not swimming in that river; we are that river.
βWhen I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.β
β Lao Zi
The wisdom of the ancients - part 2 - the Buddha
Suffering comes from attachments. Attachments include beliefs and all the identifications that make up so much of our sense of self. In other words, suffering comes from the rebirth of the past, moment to moment (reincarnation / karma).
Being free of the past is to reach nirvana.
More from the Buddha soon, but that's the essence ...
The wisdom of the ancients - part 3 - Confucius (Kong Zi)
Aside from promoting meritocracy, Confucius stressed the idea that while society may be stratified (long predating Confucius, and not what he promoted, despite what one hears) is that 'rulers' are just as obligated to serve their 'subjects'.
He also had wise words on education, and more ...
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."