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Snowboarding
to Nirvana

Surfing the Himalayas

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Rama felt it was important to find good translations as he felt a poor translation did not convey meaning accurately or could be confusing. Rama strongly recommended

Buddhist Masters of Enchantment Witter Bynner's
translation of Lao Tzuís "
The Way of Life"

as an excellent one, one he felt conveyed the feeling of the Tao very well. He suggested some people might like to read one of the Taoist poems from it each morning as part of their practice before meditating, to help calm the mind.

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Tao of Water

A Rama student had given a copy of "Snowboarding to Nirvana" to a young man who taught history at an alternative high school. The young man was not only dealing with high energy teen-agers all day, but he was also working on completing a masterís degree at night. At the first meditation class he came to, he said he was interested in learning to meditate to help him deal with anger.

The Rama student thought inside, "No kidding". A lot of outraged anger was kicking through the local community at that moment due to an injustice that was in the news. Any psychic and sensitive young man would be feeling it especially strongly.

After reading the book, the young man asked the Rama student, "What can you tell me about this Tao stuff that was in the book?."

The Rama student knew Master Fwap discussed Tao in one chapter "as a word that signifies a way or a series of approaches to mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual situations that we encounter as we go through life." (p. 158), but didnít feel Fwapís definition was necessarily what the young man was responding to.

The Rama student said, "Well, the Taoist teachers worked a lot with nature imagery."

"You mean, like when Fwap is describing the power of water?" asked the young man, referring to the part in the book where Master Fwap cautions the young snowboarder, "But donít underestimate the power of water! Even though a rock may be very large and solid, while water is very liquid and soft, if the water flows around the rock long enough, it begins to wear the rock down, in spite of the waterís softness and the rockís apparent hardness." (p. 158)

"Yes, the flow of water, thatís a common example the Taoists will use to describe the principle of finding the way that flows instead of confronting head-on. Water doesnít waste energy getting angry at the rock", responded the Rama student, happy that the young man was responding to the gentle way of the Tao.

"The stillness from meditation is what the Taoist teachers were seeing as the way to inwardly connect with the deeper flows of life. Daily meditation will release inner energies that are naturally balancing", explained the Rama student.

"So the meditation is what helps you find this Tao?" asked the young man.

"Yes", said the Rama student, "meditation is what helps you choose following Tao."

In the book Master Fwap tells the young snowboarder, "As Buddhists, we believe that each human being has the ability to make a choice: to follow the indirect ways of Tao or to approach life in a head-on manner, as most people do." Master Fwap points out "if you wish to produce long-term or profound effects within or around yourself, the way of Tao is the supreme method for doing so." (p.158)

"One of the most famous Taoist teachers was Lao Tzu. He didnít write a lot down, but the story goes that he was riding an animal like a water buffalo or an ox, leaving the city to go wander in the wilderness . The gatekeeper recognized him as an enlightened teacher and begged him to write a few things down, so he wrote eighty-one little poems. These are in a book called ĎThe Way of Lifeí. Rama really liked the Witter Bynner translation. Iíll let you have this copy, and if you liked what Fwap had to say about the Tao, I think you will enjoy Lao Tzu, too. Number eight is one of the those that uses the water image", explained the Rama student.

[

Number 8 from "The Way of Life" by Lao Tzu, Witter Bynner translation:

Man at his best, like water,
Serves as he goes along:
Like water he seeks his own level,
The common level of life,
Loves living close to the earth,
Living clear down in his heart,
Loves kinship with his neighbors,
The pick of words that tell the truth,
The even tenor of a well-run state,
The fair profit of able dealing,
The right timing of useful deeds,
And for blocking no oneís way
No one blames him.

 

**Note: Rama felt it was important to find good translations as he felt a poor translation did not Buddhist Masters of Enchantmentconvey meaning accurately or could be confusing. Rama strongly recommended the Witter Bynner translation of Lao Tzuís "The Way of Life" as an excellent one, one he felt conveyed the feeling of the Tao very well. He suggested some people might like to read one of the Taoist poems from it each morning as part of their practice before meditating, to help calm the mind.

 

 

   
         

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