Tao Te Ching Intro
The book Tao Teh Ching originated in China at about 600 BC. It was written by the philosopher called Lao Tzu, whose name means ‘old man'. The church refers to the time in which Lao Tzu lived as the period of the Great Awakening in this race's history. During this century Socrates, Plato and Aristotle lived in Greece, Lao Tzu and Confucius lived in China, Zoroaster lived in Persia and Siddharta Gautama the Buddha lived in India. This was an age that would transform the future of humanity forever — preparing the soil for Yesu's mystical teaching of unification that was to come.
The word Tao
The ancient Chinese word Tao means the Way, which was also the name of the Yesu movement East and West. The concept of The Way Things Are is common in philosophy of religion. The religion which started from the Buddha's teaching is called the Fourfold Way and the Persian religion sometimes referred to as Zoroastrianism was called The Way, Krishna's Gita tradition is called the Threefold Way. Jesus' Wayist teachers and devotees may have helped Paul to start his reform movement, the Christians, but were not instrumental in writing or teaching for that Judaic reformation movement. Therefore, Christians are not Wayists.
The symbol道 is called Tao and was used as the symbol of heaven because of the horizontal bar on top, signifying that the foundation of all is in heaven. This is probably the reason why Lao Tzu chose the word Tao as a symbol for the Unnameable.
The title of the book Tao Teh Ching (Dao De Jing) is sometimes said to mean ‘The Way of the King'. Lao Tzu uses the word ‘king' or ‘ruler' here in the same way as Book of Wisdom does — it refers to the one who reigns. We are all called to reign over creation, of which our human natures are an integral part. The Way of the King is the Way which we must follow in order to become rulers, or masters. However, many scholars understand the title Dao De Jing to mean, The Book of The Way and its Virtues, or the Book of the Virtues of the Way.
The concept Tao
It is clearly stated in the first two lines of the book that Lao Tzu will not attempt to describe God. What he does set out to do in the book is to describe that which we can sense of God — the humanly sensible emanation which flows from God. For lack of a better word, says Lao Tzu, he calls the flow ‘The Way'. The Way is like a river which flows from God and return to God again. We, and all things manifest and unmanifest, exist in and depend upon the flow of The Way. Any attempt to interfere in the flow causes discomfort, and the way to mastery is to acquire the art of non-interference.
The way of least resistance is to imitate Tao — to become like Tao, to flow in the Tao. In this sense the process of deification, theosis or yoga is described as a becoming in Christ, to live in Christ, to be in Christ, to be in the world but not of the world.
Yin and Yang
The Yin and Yang symbol is one of the oldest symbols which stands for the understanding of God as the One Ultimate Being in which all exists.
To celebrate the realization that God is One, Church of the East uses the three most ancient symbols which stand for this truth. The three symbols are the Cross symbol, the Yin and Yang symbol and the Aum symbol. The Cross was in popular use among the African and Mediterranean people (about four thousand). The Aum symbol, which is a letter in the Sanskrit language, comes from India and probably originated about five thousand years ago in Northern Asia. The Yin and Yang symbol is at least four thousand years old and probably originated in China.
The Cross was probably first used as a sign for the sun as the symbol of all life. Later, as the race's understanding developed to realize that even the sun was but a product of the One Source, the symbol remained but the understanding evolved. During the first two hundred years of the Yesu movement's growth the cross was used as a symbol of the church. Later, during the 3rd and 4th centuries the Roman Christian authorities popularised the sacrificial cross, probably after the Roman emperor in Constantinople's wife embarked on a state-funded pilgrimage to find the cross upon which Yesu was crucified. Christians believe that she did find the cross in a miraculous manner and it was preserved in the Cathedral in Constantinople. The sacrificial cross was regarded as such a powerful symbol that the Persian army in fact kidnapped it and tried to hold the Roman Empire to ransom for it. After this date the sacrificial cross became a popular religious symbol, displacing the original symbol.
The Aum is a letter in the Sanskrit alphabet which is generally regarded as the symbol for the Word of God — the emanation which flows from God through which and in which all exists. This is probably the ancient source of the prayer affirmation we still use today when we say ‘Amen'. In this respect the Aum symbol stands for exactly that which is meant by the word Tao. Later Yesu was referred to as the Word (Logos) of God in which and through which all exist. Church of the East understands that Yesu became one with the Tao, that he thus became in the Aum, and so became one with God's emanation, the Logos which is the essence of Wisdom our Mother.
Yin and Yang are symbols within the symbol. Each depicts an opposite, the two makes the whole. This is where we see the clear indication of Male and Female type of qualities which are held in the Tao, the flow of emanation from God.
Yang is force, it is active, and thus masculine, symbolised by the sky, and he stands for Light, it is warm, and friendly, and an active outgoing force, it is directive and hard, it is penetrating, he is Holy Spirit, He is Father.
Yin is passive, she is female, she is secret and dark, and she is cool and shy, she is symbolised by earth and she is soft, nursing and receiving, and she is acquiescence, mind, she is Holy Wisdom, she is Mother.
But in the Yang there is a spot of Yin and in the Yin there is a spot of Yang — this is the paradox wherein the truth lies. There where Yang is most, delve deep and push hard, boil the issue down and you will find it has a Yin aspect. There where Yin is most, delve deep and push hard, boil the issue down and you will find it has a Yang aspect.
Are Yin and Yang related to good and evil?
This depends entirely on where you stand at the time. Would you have preferred a swift directive hard approach, thus Yang — which you thought would be good at the time, like when you're lying in trauma next to the road after an accident? Or would you have preferred a soft, passive, slow sympathetic attitude? Which would have been good (agreeable to you) or evil (not agreeable to you) at the time? When is good good, and bad bad, what is the difference between good and evil — these are the questions which Adam and Eve were to seek answers for, these are the questions which the Tao Te Ching addresses. One simple way to understand more about this is to look at the ‘s' line that weaves between the Yin and Yang — this seems to be the Way, the Middle Way which keeps to the middle of the flow of the river of Tao. Here, on this narrow road of no extremes, because it stands directly between the two extremes, there is no action, no interference, only peace in the flow. Yet, natural life is marked with extremes.
Tao emanates Male and Female Energies with whom we enter into relationship. Some of us will, in this life still, know these Energies intimately as God our Mother, and God our Father. Yin and Yang are the ‘persons' which make up the Tao.
Read Wayist translation of the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) with traditional footnotes as printed in the Eastern Bible 1994 Edition