Chapter 12

五色令人目盲,

五音令人耳聋,

五味令人口爽,

驰骋畋猎令人心发狂,

难得之货令人行妨。

是以圣人,

為腹不為目,

故去彼取此

The eyes of the person gone wild on the five sights, are blind.

The ears of the person driven wild by the five cries, are deaf.

The taste of the person driven wild by the five savours is intoxicated.

The mind of the person driven wild by the chase is crazy.

The practice of a person driven wild by rare goods is hindered

Therefore the sage acts from the belly, not from the eye;

Dying to the one, he chooses the other.

COMMENTARY

The text favours a simple, down to earth life. When hungry, eat. When cold, chop wood and make a fire. When tired, sleep. This is to act from the belly. The basic instincts perform their task and we should attend to them. They are a reliable guide.

There is a tendency in translating texts into modern languages to introduce our scientific bias, but in doing so we lose some of the flavour and animation of the original text. For instance, the first three lines mention sight, sound and taste, but we should take this as referring to all the senses. The first line literally says “Five colour compelled man eyes blind”. Colour, however, has the same double sense as it does in English, as when we say, for instance, that a person led a colourful life and the characters 色令 taken as a unit mean “to lose one's head” over something.

It may well be that there is no intention here to make reference to a list of five sounds or a list of five tastes; the five may simply be an abbreviation for five senses. In any case, the general meaning is clear enough, that there are innumerable things that can lead to us getting carried away into states in which we lose all sense of proportion and cease to experience things as they actually are. The sage is one who lets these intoxications die away so as to return to a more sane and sober life.

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Events

ITZI Conference 2017

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Study Group.

Posted by Adam Dunsby on July 18, 2017 at 22:41 1 Comment

We just had a study group meeting at Amida Mandala Temple. Only three of us but a very rich hour. Predictably we came round to the issue of ‘is one Nembutsu enough?’ My understanding: In a sense it is, because when we call Amida we become one with his vow and the Pure Land and thus we are saved. In another sense we have to keep calling him so that he can keep saving us. As if we’re all lost in a thick fog and Amida is a few steps ahead of us illuminating the way, we have to keep him in sight…

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SIMPOSIUM AT OASIS

Posted by David Brazier on July 11, 2017 at 15:30 0 Comments

On 8th July we had a meeting of six teachers at Oasis together with many visitors.

Pictures: Here

Each of the teachers gave a presentation on what they considered most significant in their practice. Then there was an extended lunch period for socialising and, finally a sessions of questions and answers.…

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Feeding the Wolves of Desire.

Posted by Adam Dunsby on July 10, 2017 at 11:30 1 Comment

 

I remembered a teaching from Dharmavidya…

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Wasted

Posted by Andrew on July 10, 2017 at 0:00 7 Comments

My sons childhood friend was brutally murdered on Friday night. It is hard to believe that it happened. As he left a Birmingham pub a number of young people surrounded him. One of them stabbed him in the heart and he bled to death. He was twenty six years old. I can't get it out of my thoughts, why would any one be that cruel. Why as humans do we do this to each other. I've spent most of the weekend comforting my son, he went on Holliday with Daniel the friend that lost his life, two weeks…

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