This essay is the start of a series of essays on my interpretation and understanding of the Tao Te Ching, using this translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. It is just my view of the writings from the 6th century BC. It's not extensive or indepth, just mine from my life, which is just another one of many ordinary lives.
Each essay will be devoted to each of the 81 verses in order in the Tao Te Ching. Each essay will cite the verse (their translation) and present my interpretation and understanding of it. Each essay will be revisted occasionally and updated or rewritten as I read and understand more. After all, it's an on-going adventure in throught and perspective, and life itself.
The Tao Te Ching is always there and always a part of ourselves and our life. For me anyway, as I've been more or less, and more often less, studying Taoism for well over 30 years when I found a copy of Alan Watts' books and more recently as part of my work and experience with Mt. Rainier NP. Many people will tell you of the spiritual nature of Mt. Rainier. Northwest Indian Tribes have long revered and celebrated the mountain for longer than the Tao Te Ching.
And since the first European and later American explorers and settlers who saw and later explored the mountain, first the area and its slopes and later the summit, a new group of people have grown to respect and value the mountain. I'm no different, having first visited the NP and the then disappearing ice caves in August 1977.
To me, however, Mt. Rainier and the NP has been a combination of admiration of its presence and beauty and the spiritual and philosophical sense of presence and beauty. While I like visiting the NP, hiking the many trails and photographing the mountain and the beauty of area and its many parts, I've grown to simply like standing there with a childhood wonder and spiritual awe for the mountain and the geologic forces which created it.
While the earth sciencists can describe and explain the how, what, where and when of Mt. Rainier's geologic history, it can't explain the who and why. And as much as any religion can try, they also can't explain the who and why. They can only cite some invisible god and some scripture or text. But it doesn't answer those two questions.
This is probably blasphemous to many people, but simply saying God created it because the Bible says so isn't an answer, just an unproven perspective about the grand order and scheme of things and life. But still doesn't provide anu answer of value. And, to me, it all leads to the question, is it all really just happenstance?
Is it all just the flow of the universe, and I'm lucky to be and stand there and wonder? In the Tao, does Mt. Rainier and myself just exist and just are, just moments in time? A snapshot in geologic and universe time and place and my life. And my spiritual view is just human nature, just me being me? And sitting in my office with a view of the mountain on the days the sky is clear is a necessity of my existence because I make it one and believe there is more to my life seen by the mountain?
In short, I need it while it just exists? And what of the Tao of our existence between the mountain and myself? Oh, worthy questions to wonder and ponder. Ok, for me anyway, which I'll do with essays on the verses in the Tao Te Ching, how I see and understand it, and how it relates to my life and Mt. Rainier.
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