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Dao that can be delimited is not the Dao that we find in everyday life

The first chapter of Dao De Jing states that Dao that can be delimited is not the Dao that we find in everyday life. DDJ is an instrument.
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We can take one chapter of the Dao De Jing the first chapter, and we can say an awful lot about this text. The first chapter Dao Ke Dao Fei Chang Dao Ming Ke Ming Fei Chang Ming
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What is Dao? Dao is a term like life. It’s a term like experience. It’s a term like culture, where there’s not a subject and an object distinction, that it’s something that we participate in. De is the individual particularity. It’s the Wan Wu, the myriad things. Each one of them has its own insistent particularity. Each one of them is unique, one of a kind, and so the Dao De Jing is all about how do how does the insistent particular, how does you as a person, get the most out of the human life, out of the human culture?
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Now what is really interesting about it is that Dao, we translate Dao into English as “The Way” but what we do when we do that is we associate it with the concept of God. So a lot of Western people, when they read the Dao De Jing, they see Dao as doing the work of God. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” is a passage that we have in the bible, but the Chinese way, the Chinese Dao is Dao Ke Dao Fei Chang Dao. That the Dao that can be spoken, the Dao that can be delimited is not the Dao that we find in everyday life.
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That the human experience, what is so exciting, what is so poignant, what is so delicious about the human experience is that it is open-ended. That every moment of our life, you have You but you also have Wu You have what is determinant, what is already happened but you have novelty in every moment. In every moment we encounter something new, something different, and this newness that we encounter is our opportunity to be creative as human beings. And so the Dao De Jing is really a way of thinking that celebrates the human capacity, the human responsibility to live a life where we take creative possibilities of the human being and we make the most of them.
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And so when you think of the Dao De Jing in the Chinese tradition, Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, that the Dao De Jing is always associated with art. It’s always associated with painting. It’s always associated with music, with the artistic pursuits of the human being, because of this idea of the relationship between what is already determined and what we have available to us as a resource for reshaping the human world. In the analogues, we have Ren Neng Hong Dao,Fei Dao Hong Ren that it’s the human being that broadens the way, not the way that broadens the human being. In the Chinese, we have Chinese that Dao Xing Zhi Er Cheng Dao is made in the walking.
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That the character for Dao that we find on the oracle bones
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on the bronzes on the bamboo strips is not a Dao is not a way that is external to the human being. The human eye, the human foot is part of the character for Dao. That Dao is not “The Way.” Dao is our way together. How can we cooperate? How can we collaborate in our relationships in such a way that we can get the most out of a human life, out of the human experience, out of human culture.

The first chapter of Dao De Jing states that Dao that can be delimited is not the Dao that we find in everyday life. Different from the Christian concept “The Way”, which is external to human beings, Dao is closely associated with our everyday lives and it constantly inspires human creativity.

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Taoism and Western Culture

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