Aa No Bhadrah Krtavo Yantu Vishwatah

Taoism, Gita, Buddhism and Western philosophy*


Gala Navarathri celebrations are over on 8th. Again Chennai wears a serious festive look with so much of Bandobhasth due to the Chinese President's participation is a summit in mahabalipuram,near Chennai.As I was browsing some Chinese websites I came across Taoism.Definition - What does Taoism mean?
Taoism is a philosophical and religious tradition of Chinese origin.
 Also called  Daoism, this belief system is based on living the Tao, 
 a concept that is difficult to describe and has different meanings 
 but is typically translated as the “way” or “path.”
Taoism is living a life of service in harmony with nature.
Taoism is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago in 
China.

Taoists accept contradictions 
because they are part of the nature of life. 
Even though Taoism includes many deities, the Tao is not a deity 
and not worshiped as such. It is the ultimate principle in all creation,
 and everything that exists and happens is unified in the Tao. 
Taoism also promotes the quest for spiritual immortality and living 
an egoless virtuous life.


  Taoists also practice feng shui 

(harmonized with the environment) and fortune telling.
 1.Having, yet not possessing; 
2.working, yet not taking credit; 
3.leading without controlling or dominating. 
One who follows these three prime needs,   brings the Tao to this
 very earth.
 This is the primal virtue.

This is actually what  Gita preaches too.

You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are 

not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to 

be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to 

inaction. – Bhagavad Gita – Verse 47 of Chapter 2

 Buddhism speaks of deeds,from which one can never be 
separated.
Deeds are the womb from which they sprang; 

 with their deeds they are bound up; 
  their deeds are their refuge. 
 Whatever deeds they do-good or evil-of such they
 will be the heirs. 
And wherever the beings spring into existence, there their
 deeds will ripen; 
and wherever their deeds ripen, there they will earn the 
fruits of those deeds, be it in this life, or
 be it in the next life, or be it in any other future life. - Buddha

The western philosophy suggests that one should focus their 
attention constantly to the present moment. What is the objective? 
It gives the human beings the ability to do all their actions skillfully,
 lovingly and selflessly accepting the outcome as is, without any 
expectations of the fruits of the actions. 

More or less we have a similar tone everywhere.Conclusion 
is the same.

Let us inquire what  nourishes the buddhi (intellect), manas (mind), 
hridaya (heart), sthula (body) and atma (spirit), the five important
 parts that are responsible for human existence. 
The knowledge strengthens the intellect;
courage strengthens the mind making it calm  when it 
oscillates between pleasure and pain (without excessive celebration
 or sadness);
 love strengthens the heart (true love is unconditional feeling 
the oneness of all beings),;
samarpanam (surrender/humility) strengthens the body and
 set free the body from its aggressiveness ;
and finally the righteousness strengthens atma.
***. ***  ***
 Part II

"Have, but don't possess'----Is this possible?
It   is very difficult to 
achieve though not impossible.

"“having, yet not possessing; 
   working, yet not taking credit; 

    leading yet not taking credit or controlling”.

     Three valuable principles  are preached in all philosophies,all religions all the countries 

    throughout the globe.
    
    Well said.

In a practical world of mundane existence,where a clear 

distinction is made between hard work and smart work,

how can the above quote apply in a real life situation.?

Take the instruction '"have and don't possess."It means a lot 

in all the professions and jobs including teaching, medicine 

and child bringing up. The sense of possession leads one to

 being more responsible ,more caring leading to taking great

 efforts since the work relates to you. It is your child. It is your

 house. It is your project. Once you are a leader of a project 

  team, you have to own or possess it to have a thorough 
  
  over see.

 In the same way, if you extract work and don't give credit, 

 the quality will suffer.
 
 These quotes and philosophies are academically interesting 
  
  and may not lead to success-that is normal success as 
 
  defined by people at large and not the success as defined
  
  by philosophers.

Our children stay with us for nearly 17 to 18 years from 

infanthood and then leave for University and slowly start their life.

18 years in one's longevity is not a short period.It is roughly 25%.Upto 60 years we work , in Govt service or private business.Whether you have or possess, the possession will leave you or you will leave the possession.You do neither have nor possess anything.No doubt, situation starts possessing you, as we seniors 
know,which , which we call destiny .Even if you are not in
 the habit of acceptance, you are compelled by force of
 circumstance and you have to manage somehow.

The principle of Taoism and Gita preachings  seem to suggest

 that if we cultivate a practice of'having' and 'not possessing' 
that will pave a way for easy acceptance.

Many pragmatists argue, when we are going to somehow accept,
 by practice or by force, what is the necessity of having a 'having' feeling that may lead to irresponsibility and care free attitude?

We may very well have and have a sense of possession, take 
care in every possible way of our possessions-parents, life partners,children,business and properties .
Won't that sense of possession give them a maturity of thought that their life will be transcient and some one will take care of the 
situation after their life time?

Though it is true that sense of possession leads to MIL DIL 
conflict, the trend is slowly but definitely disappearing in
 middle class families since the opportunity of DIL-MIL 
staying together itself is rare.

One of the 16 samskaras is vivaha-that is initiation into Gruhasthashrma seems to induce a sense of possession and make the man/ woman bear the responsibility together as evidenced by a ritual in Hindu weddings.

As the bride with her wedding saree comes to ceremony hall,a 
grass ring is placed on her head, over which the yoke of a 
plough is placed and a belt made of reed grass is placed around
 her waist. Water is poured over the yoke. This ritual is symbolic 
reminder of the fact that the bride and the groom together have
 to overcome the challenges of life.

 They seem to feel  that only a sense of possession as 
 evidenced by the ceremony will make a more meaningful life 
  for the benefit of society at large.
  There may be a few instances where possession leads to ego and       destruction.In most of the cases sense of possession and     responsibility are inseparable twins.

Possession can make you worried and anxious and at the same time make you more responsible and wise to deal with any situation-.That may not be possible if you just have a 'have' feeling.
The difference is that of being a parent or a guardian.
 vathsala Jayaraman
*Excerpted from mails received from Vathsala Jayaraman, Chennai (Ex-RBI)

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