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Comparative Analysis between Traditions

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Posted (edited)

I would like to have a discussion on the similarities between traditions as well as some of the differences.

 

To start off I will use Taoism and the terms Tao and Nature.

 

Quote

For Laotze 'there was but one religion, the Way of Heaven (Tao Tien), and its expression was spontaneous as between the individual and Nature, like "the prattle of a child in the arms of its mother." Before touching upon controversial points contained in the present work, it will be expedient to review some of the leading tenets of the doctrine of the Tao Teh, as revealed in the writings of Chuang-Tze.1

 

"Tao," a term which is said to be equivalent to the Sanskrit Bodh (wisdom or enlightenment), and used by the Chinese Buddhists to express that state, is among the Taotze a mystical term having a twofold significance. It is at once the Supreme Reason, the Logos, and Nature the subject of reason; the Alpha and Omega of all things, representing the " diversity in unity of nature, and the unity in diversity of God."

 

Here, at the outset, we are faced with the antinomial and paradoxical element common to all mystical systems, and more than usually prevalent in pantheistic conceptions such as Taoism is said to be. Yet this unity and diversity are one, and that One is Tao, and Tao is greater than God and greater than Nature, for in Tao both God and Nature are as one.

 

"Before Heaven was, Tao was. Spiritual things draw their spirituality therefrom, while the universe became (by it) what we behold it now. To Tao the zenith is not high nor the nadir low. No point in time is long ago, nor by lapse of ages has It grown old."

 

Laotze makes a distinction between the Supreme Source of all things-Tao the ineffable, and Nature the mother of all things. Tao, the essence of the Universal Spirit, selfexistent, uncreate and eternal, the source of all creations and of all worlds, as of the gods who made and govern them, "is by nature One," says Laotze.

 

"One and universal is Tao, but the first has produced a second and the second a third, and these three are all things. In vain may your senses enquire concerning all these ; your reason alone can frame anything respecting them, and this will tell you that they are only One." 1

 

https://holybooks-lichtenbergpress.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Book-of-the-Simple-Way.pdf

 

Edited by Tom

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So, my first question is, is the Tao emptiness or more a Universal Consciousness?

 

"Before Heaven was, Tao was. Spiritual things draw their spirituality therefrom, while the universe became (by it) what we behold it now. To Tao the zenith is not high nor the nadir low. No point in time is long ago, nor by lapse of ages has It grown old."

 

"One and universal is Tao, but the first has produced a second and the second a third, and these three are all things. In vain may your senses enquire concerning all these ; your reason alone can frame anything respecting them, and this will tell you that they are only One." 1

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I lean towards emptiness.  Dao is nameless (except in the realm of names) which would be, empty of a name. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/15/2019 at 6:54 AM, david said:

I lean towards emptiness.  Dao is nameless (except in the realm of names) which would be, empty of a name. 

 

I would agree, in Dzogchen emptiness is often referred to as infinite potential. 

 

This is from the Lankavatara Sutra.

 

Quote

Further, besides understanding the emptiness of all things both in regard to substance and self-nature, it is necessary for Bodhisattvas to clearly understand that all things are un-born. It is not asserted that things are not born in a superficial sense, but that in a deep sense they are not born of themselves. All that can be said, is this, that relatively speaking, there is a constant stream of becoming, a momentary and uninterrupted change from one state of appearance to another. When it is recognized that the world as it presents itself is no more than a manifestation of mind, then birth is seen as no-birth, and all existing objects, concerning which discrimination asserts that they are and are not, are non-existent and, therefore, un-born; being devoid of agent and action things are un-born.

http://buddhasutra.com/files/lankavatara_sutra.htm

 

I really like this definition myself. Light teaching.

 

Quote

Primordial emptiness is like a bubbling sea of nothingness, brimming with potential. It can be most easily described in the realization of three components, but each of the component is inseparable. These components are Void, motion (or energy) and potential.

 

The void is empty with no activity at all. Nothing to perceive and nothing to sense. Like a totally dead sea with no motion. The nature of void can be found going deeper and deeper into meditation. The is a common goal in many traditions. But, it is beyond senses, lights or astral visions. All activity in mind (or universal mind) is dropped such that nothing is left. All perception is gone, such that the mind is still and for all practical purposes, one and everything "ceases".

 

When the nothingness of void "moves" or changes state, one has "energy". Energy has no true substance as it is only the motion of void, but it gives rise to something to be "perceived". In it's emergence, energy can be guided by "intent". First energy is noticed on a subconscious level, but with greater realization, it can be guided and affected. First in one's body, and later as greater mental obstructions are cleared on a universal level.

 

When one has fully realized the void and one experiences energy 24/7 in a conscious (controlled) manner, one integrates the two and can notice the "potential". The potential is the pristine clarity (or light) of the void. Or in more modern terms, it is the structure or raw building stuff of mind/universal mind. All that exists or potentially can exist is a transmission of this pristine clarity/light.

 

When one fully realizes these three components as integrated and inseparable, they have realized ultimate emptiness. One "sees behind" the curtain (of mind) and becomes stabilized in the primordial sea.

 

 

Ultimately, void is nothingness, energy is the motion of nothingness, clarity (or light) is the realization of the potential of it all that can be guided by intent.

 

https://community.livingunbound.net/index.php?/topic/265-primordial-emptiness-what-is-it/&tab=comments#comment-601

 

 

Edited by Tom

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Posted (edited)

From the above book.

Quote

"Tao," a term which is said to be equivalent to the Sanskrit Bodh (wisdom or enlightenment), and used by the Chinese Buddhists to express that state, is among the Taotze a mystical term having a twofold significance. It is at once the Supreme Reason, the Logos, and Nature the subject of reason; the Alpha and Omega of all things, representing the " diversity in unity of nature, and the unity in diversity of God."

....

Yet this unity and diversity are one, and that One is Tao, and Tao is greater than God and greater than Nature, for in Tao both God and Nature are as one.

 

"Before Heaven was, Tao was. Spiritual things draw their spirituality therefrom, while the universe became (by it) what we behold it now. To Tao the zenith is not high nor the nadir low. No point in time is long ago, nor by lapse of ages has It grown old."

 

Laotze makes a distinction between the Supreme Source of all things-Tao the ineffable, and Nature the mother of all things. Tao, the essence of the Universal Spirit, selfexistent, uncreate and eternal, the source of all creations and of all worlds, as of the gods who made and govern them, "is by nature One," says Laotze.

 

"One and universal is Tao, but the first has produced a second and the second a third, and these three are all things. In vain may your senses enquire concerning all these ; your reason alone can frame anything respecting them, and this will tell you that they are only One." 1

.....

Tao is not God, nor Nature, but comprehends both God and Nature, being the Supreme Essence of both Spirit and Substance. The idea of this universal and unchangeable Essence is not better conveyed, perhaps, than in the lines of Swinburne :-

 

" I am that which began ; Out of me the years roll, Out of me God and Man, I am equal and whole; God changes and man, and the form of them bodily ; I am the Soul."

 

1 Thus says Laotze :-

 

" There is an Infinite Being which was before Heaven and Earth. How calm it is, how free! It lives alone and changes not. It moves everywhere, but is not affected. We may regard it as the universal Mother. I know not its name. I call it Tao."

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by Tom

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On 8/20/2019 at 9:26 AM, Tom said:

I really like this definition myself. Light teaching.

 

Generally agree... won't get nit-picky on some usage :)

 

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On 8/20/2019 at 11:09 AM, Tom said:

From the above book.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Such a mis-mash of ideas... some I agree with and some I don't.  

 

Here it says, "One is Tao".   I wrote elsewhere, Tao is not One. 

 

Some of it makes sense but in general, Tao sounds like a 'thing'...  I would disagree with that too. 

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Just now, david said:

 

Such a mis-mash of ideas... some I agree with and some I don't.  

 

Here it says, "One is Tao".   I wrote elsewhere, Tao is not One. 

 

Some of it makes sense but in general, Tao sounds like a 'thing'...  I would disagree with that too. 

 

I would agree,

 

The only way I can make sense of it is that emptiness is a part of all of it. So it is laying out a Oneness aspect to ones realization and the emptiness of it as well.

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I used to teach soccer and taught about ripples in a pond... that the first ripple was really all the ripples, despite we see many of them.  My assistance coach said, 'you teach such zen in soccer'... I asked him, 'what is zen'?  I really had no idea at that time.   That comment has rippled in research as to what he meant and has brought me even here :)

 

Sometimes I think emptiness is this way. The first ripple, yet it is all the ripples but they have grown and spread out... ten thousand ways.  But the origin is yet within it all... but we tend to have no idea of it.

 

I can't really compare this across traditions so would welcome how other traditions view it.

 

 

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I think this part is much easier to discuss.

 

Quote

Nature the mother of all things.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THINGS

 

LIKE the river in the valley, the spirit is never dried up.

I call it the Mother-Deep.

The motion of the Mother-Deep I regard as the origin of the Heaven and the Earth.

Forever it endures and moves without design.

 

The Mother-Deep is, as already shown, regarded by Laotze as a substantial Essence continually in a state of activity. Its modifications have produced every celestial and terrestrial object and creature.

 

Any thoughts?

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Posted (edited)

 

Lots of thoughts...but you might not like them. :lol:

 

I read the whole thread... and (for me) the difficulty is revealed in this part of your quote in the OP - 

 

On 8/14/2019 at 8:21 AM, Tom said:

Before touching upon controversial points contained in the present work, it will be expedient to review some of the leading tenets of the doctrine of the Tao Teh, as revealed in the writings of Chuang-Tze.1

 

You see, ChuangTze altered and obfuscated everything in The Laozi (original name for the TTC, before it was changed for political purposes) so using material based on Chuang-Tze's ideas to discuss LaoTsu's ideas (let alone Taoism's ideas) is problematic. The remaining posts in the thread confirm that. 

 

Otherwise, I'd love to engage. ^_^ 

 

Edited by rene

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, rene said:

 

Lots of thoughts...but you might not like them. :lol:

 

I read the whole thread... and (for me) the difficulty is revealed in this part of your quote in the OP - 

 

 

You see, ChuangTze altered and obfuscated everything in The Laozi (original name for the TTC, before it was changed for political purposes) so using material based on Chuang-Tze's ideas to discuss LaoTsu's ideas (let alone Taoism's ideas) is problematic. The remaining posts in the thread confirm that. 

 

Otherwise, I'd love to engage. ^_^ 

 

 

How did he do that?

 

Also, if you have any other texts we could use for a comparison please feel free to add them.. That Not Two was very, very interesting.

Edited by Tom

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8 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

How did he do that?

 

Through a preference for complexity over the simple clarity of the TTC.

 

The stories in ZZ are wonderful and can stand on their own merits, imo! And, IF one is already familiar with Laozi's ideas, they can be found buried very deep in ZZ's stories... BUT if one is unfamiliar, LZ's ideas will either be missed or misunderstood.

The author of the text quoted in the OP is a good example... of close, no cigar. You can thank ZZ for that. B)

 

(ZZ=ZhuangZi, Zhuangzi, ChuangTzu,etc;  LZ=Laozi, LaoTze, etc...)

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, rene said:

 

Through a preference for complexity over the simple clarity of the TTC.

 

The stories in ZZ are wonderful and can stand on their own merits, imo! And, IF one is already familiar with Laozi's ideas, they can be found buried very deep in ZZ's stories... BUT if one is unfamiliar, LZ's ideas will either be missed or misunderstood.

The author of the text quoted in the OP is a good example... of close, no cigar. You can thank ZZ for that. B)

 

(ZZ=ZhuangZi, Zhuangzi, ChuangTzu,etc;  LZ=Laozi, LaoTze, etc...)

 

 

Okay, but are they both pointing to the same thing? Does ZZ say that Mother is something different than LZ for instance?

 

Edited by Tom

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35 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

Also, if you have any other texts we could use for a comparison please feel free to add them.. That Not Two was very, very interesting.

 

All I have is the TaoTeChing; and I use the Feng/English translation - which can be found here. 

We'd need someone that enjoys ZZ to do any LZ-ZZ comparison justice. 

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11 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

Okay, but are they both pointing to the same thing? Does ZZ say that Mother is something different than LZ for instance?

 

 

Hard to tell, there may be something in ZZ that points to LZ's reference to the valley spirit.

 

Maybe this will illustrate  my point...

 

LZ: "There is food in the brick building."

 

ZZ: "I see that you have a car with strong wheels that's good because the roads are rough and in your journeys you'll need some nourishment so if you don't divert too far off the road or stop for too long to visit with strangers on the way you may come across a brick building which is better than a wooden building especially because there's been lots of wildfires lately which is actually a good thing because it clears off windfall naturally and you can drive around the fire in your car with strong wheels and the strangers you may meet on the way can help!"

(Leaving it for the reader to deduce he can get nourishment in the brick building)

 

And - my made up example is actually much clearer (in revealing LZ's point) than most of the ZZ chapters. LOL

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1 hour ago, rene said:

 

Hard to tell, there may be something in ZZ that points to LZ's reference to the valley spirit.

 

Maybe this will illustrate  my point...

 

LZ: "There is food in the brick building."

 

ZZ: "I see that you have a car with strong wheels that's good because the roads are rough and in your journeys you'll need some nourishment so if you don't divert too far off the road or stop for too long to visit with strangers on the way you may come across a brick building which is better than a wooden building especially because there's been lots of wildfires lately which is actually a good thing because it clears off windfall naturally and you can drive around the fire in your car with strong wheels and the strangers you may meet on the way can help!"

(Leaving it for the reader to deduce he can get nourishment in the brick building)

 

And - my made up example is actually much clearer (in revealing LZ's point) than most of the ZZ chapters. LOL

 

I get you but more what I am trying to do is compare the underlying definitions and some of the meanings.

 

For instance Mother being the creator aspect of all things.

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1 hour ago, Tom said:

 

I get you but more what I am trying to do is compare the underlying definitions and some of the meanings.

 

I understand that, yes. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Tom said:

 

For instance Mother being the creator aspect of all things.

 

That ^^ is not in the TaoTeChing... so it would be difficult to use it to compare (as an underlying definition in the TTC)

"Mother being the creator aspect" <-- is someone's idea, or someone's (mis)understanding, of the TTC - based on something they read, or a biased TTC translation. Similar examples would be Tao=God; and Te=(moral)Virtue.

 

Kindly allow me to expand on something. Chuang Tsu's Inner and Outer Chapters - is a stand alone body of work. It's not, and never intended to be (imo) an interpretation, re-write or commentary on the LZ. If anything - it's a poke at Confucianism...but David may be able to speak more to this.  Oh...MH...we do miss you!

(MarbleHead, rip, was an amazing man, the resident Zhuangist over at TDB for decades, died last Feb.)

 

Frankly, I may not be the best one for the manner of comparisons between traditions you'd like to explore. I'm not Taoist. And - I disagree with the most of the forum Taoists' (both religious and philosophical) ideas as to Laozi's intentions, i.e., what he was trying to say. And that's fine, and one of the best things about the TTC imo - there's something for everyone! 

 

@david? Give me a hand here, will ya? ^_^

 

 

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15 hours ago, rene said:

 

I understand that, yes. 

 

 

 

That ^^ is not in the TaoTeChing... so it would be difficult to use it to compare (as an underlying definition in the TTC)

"Mother being the creator aspect" <-- is someone's idea, or someone's (mis)understanding, of the TTC - based on something they read, or a biased TTC translation. Similar examples would be Tao=God; and Te=(moral)Virtue.

 

Kindly allow me to expand on something. Chuang Tsu's Inner and Outer Chapters - is a stand alone body of work. It's not, and never intended to be (imo) an interpretation, re-write or commentary on the LZ. If anything - it's a poke at Confucianism...but David may be able to speak more to this.  Oh...MH...we do miss you!

(MarbleHead, rip, was an amazing man, the resident Zhuangist over at TDB for decades, died last Feb.)

 

Frankly, I may not be the best one for the manner of comparisons between traditions you'd like to explore. I'm not Taoist. And - I disagree with the most of the forum Taoists' (both religious and philosophical) ideas as to Laozi's intentions, i.e., what he was trying to say. And that's fine, and one of the best things about the TTC imo - there's something for everyone! 

 

@david? Give me a hand here, will ya? ^_^

 

 

 

The Mother is used all through the TTC. It is more a reference to the female aspect or energy.

 

Here are examples in some other traditions.

 

 

Quote

DZOGCHEN
THE SELF-PERFECTED STATE
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

 

The third of the three primordial wisdoms is energy. Its
characteristic is that it manifests without interruption.4 The
explanation of energy in Dzogchen is fundamental to understanding
the base. All dimensions, whether pure or impure,
material or subtle, are manifestations of one aspect or
another of energy.

 

https://community.livingunbound.net/index.php?/topic/600-primordial-state/&tab=comments#comment-5207

 

 

Quote

The Heart of Siva

 

The silence of the Supreme is shot through with a creative tension,

a primordial urge, an impelling force. This force is the sakti, the power

of the Ultimate, which sets up an agitation (ghurnana), even a disturbance

(ksobha), which is responsible for the wave motion within the absolute.

Thus, the absolute is continually arising into waves which create the slight

and imperceptible movement or vibration that characterizes consciousness,

and which allows consciousness to be the foundation and essence of all

manifest reality.

 

https://community.livingunbound.net/index.php?/topic/610-the-triadic-heart-of-siva/

 

 

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Yea, we need MH for this for sure :)

 

the 'mother' aspect in the DDJ seems suggestive of Dao as the source of all things (ie: mother -- ch. 1, 25, 52).  This is slightly problematic to talk of Dao as a thing... so likely it is more a metaphor of the creativity that we say occurred:  Being from Non-Being (Ch. 40)... or that the 'Being' aspect is 'mothering' in that "the myriad things of the world are born of being" (ch.40).

 

This  begins to sound more like mother is the creative One more than the nameless, formless Dao black box idea.  And maybe it is better to say Mother is the creative aspect (not creator).

 

 

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ZZ is certainly interesting to read and comparing him to LZ reminds me of the Zen 3 stages of mountains... like ZZ talks from stage 2 (not this and not that--more of a Not-Two view of Oneness ) and LZ talks from stage 3 (This and that - more like Two comes from One).   

 

not sure this is fair but if someone wants to better understand Oneness in LZ then ZZ helps. If someone wants to better Twoness in ZZ then LZ helps.

 

I think ZZ is closer to Yang Zhu who some have called an egoist but I think naturalist is better. 

 

D.T. Suzuki (1926)

 

According to Seigen Ishin (Ch'ing-yüan Wei-hsin):

"Before a man studies Zen, to him mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after he gets an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, mountains to him are not mountains and waters are not waters; but after this when he really attains to the abode of rest, mountains are once more mountains and waters are waters."

(D. T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, 1926, London; New York: Published for the Buddhist Society, London by Rider, p. 24.)

 

 

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On 8/27/2019 at 6:10 AM, Tom said:

 

The Mother is used all through the TTC. It is more a reference to the female aspect or energy.

 

Here are examples in some other traditions.

 

 

Starting with DDJ Ch6, the Primal mother is reference to the female aspect, yes.

 

***

 

Not as the creator aspect as you said earlier (below) ...which I said wasn't in the TTC, and it's not. Some traditions like to think that it is - so it better lines up with their own ideas.

 

On 8/26/2019 at 1:08 PM, Tom said:

 

I get you but more what I am trying to do is compare the underlying definitions and some of the meanings.

 

For instance Mother being the creator aspect of all things.

 

It's only a matter of semantics if and when base concepts are understood. Until then, words choices matter, yes? In this instance there's a big difference between 'female aspect' and 'creator aspect'.

 

Warm regards. 

 

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20 hours ago, david said:

Yea, we need MH for this for sure :)

 

the 'mother' aspect in the DDJ seems suggestive of Dao as the source of all things (ie: mother -- ch. 1, 25, 52).  This is slightly problematic to talk of Dao as a thing... so likely it is more a metaphor of the creativity that we say occurred:  Being from Non-Being (Ch. 40)... or that the 'Being' aspect is 'mothering' in that "the myriad things of the world are born of being" (ch.40).

 

This  begins to sound more like mother is the creative One more than the nameless, formless Dao black box idea.  And maybe it is better to say Mother is the creative aspect (not creator).

 

 

 

Maybe it's better to say Mother is one half of the creative aspect (not creator). ;)

Or, maybe it's better to say nothing at all. :lol:

 

20 hours ago, david said:

ZZ is certainly interesting to read and comparing him to LZ reminds me of the Zen 3 stages of mountains... like ZZ talks from stage 2 (not this and not that--more of a Not-Two view of Oneness ) and LZ talks from stage 3 (This and that - more like Two comes from One).   

 

not sure this is fair but if someone wants to better understand Oneness in LZ then ZZ helps. If someone wants to better Twoness in ZZ then LZ helps.

...

 

Sans MH, I yield to you as the authority on ZZ; primarily as my (limited) read of ZZ obfuscates LZ's perspective.

Wonderful analogy btw, of the Zen 3 mountain stages!

Thanks for the hand :) 

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16 minutes ago, rene said:

 

 

Starting with DDJ Ch6, the Primal mother is reference to the female aspect, yes.

 

***

 

Not as the creator aspect as you said earlier (below) ...which I said wasn't in the TTC, and it's not. Some traditions like to think that it is - so it better lines up with their own ideas.

 

 

It's only a matter of semantics if and when base concepts are understood. Until then, words choices matter, yes? In this instance there's a big difference between 'female aspect' and 'creator aspect'.

 

Warm regards. 

 

 

My mistake in the creator.. creative aspect is what I was meaning.

 

Sorry for the confusion.

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6 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

My mistake in the creator.. creative aspect is what I was meaning.

 

Sorry for the confusion.

 

No worries :)

And, I disagree with 'creative aspect' as well...unless its stated (or assumed) that the feminine aspect is one -half of the creative aspect.  LOL

 

That's the trouble with all these words/labels/names; very limited.

 

To me, all of the feminine/mother occurrences in the DDJ (valley spirit, mother, etc) are metaphoric pointers to Ch1's 'Mystery'... which arises unboundaried with the Manifest in full support. Always there. Supportive. Like a mother. 

 

Ch6

The valley spirit never dies; 
It is the woman, primal mother. 
Her gateway is the root of heaven and Earth. 
It is like a veil barely seen. 
Use it; it will never fail.

 

All this later ties in with the reverting nature of Dao; the symbolic return to the source in every moment;  and that's 'symbolic' only because it's not possible to return to where you've never been away from! But, I digress. 

We're good. ^_^

 

 

 

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