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Many Paths, One Center: A Comprehensive Study of the Daodejing
Many Paths, One Center
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Product Code: B-350


This book considers important words used in the Dodjīng as terms that are inter-related with each other throughout the text as well as other important texts from the period in which the Dodjīng was written to bring out a more comprehensive perspective on what is being said as well as a deeper and more meaningful understanding. In doing so, over two hundred different terms were revealed. When viewed accordingly, they were then organized into five simple patterns: (1) a definition of Do, (2) the Manifestation of Do into the World, (3) Human Nature and ancient psychology, (4) how Do is lost and suffering begins, and (5) how we can restore Do and its accompanying peace and harmony into the world on the inner levels of the Body, Mind, and Spirit as well as on the outer levels of the social, political, and economic interactions we all have.

In approaching the translation of the Dodjīng from this perspective, a worldview is revealed that forms the basis for all the Body/Mind/Spirit healing that was discovered in ancient China and that still has the enormous potential for being applied today. This application exists on the lower symptomatic level, the middle preventive level, and the higher level of Fulfilling Inner Potential. According to the worldview of the Dodjīng, if we are able to Fulfill this Potential, we will never get sick and if we dont Fulfill this Potential, we will get sick no matter what else we do. Moreover, fulfilling this potential is also the foundation for world peace and sustainability. Therefore, this worldview connects individual healing with the healing of society as a whole. This unique perspective is desperately needed in the world today and this book provides the principles through which it can be attained.

Many Paths, One Center is a massive and impressive magnum opus on all things Dodjīng.There are over 800 commentaries on Laozi, but this one is truly unique a lifetime labor of love and brilliant research that sets a new standard in this field.

Its primary focus is how Lǎozis Great Do is embedded within acupuncture and Chinese medicine, but goes much further. It compares how other pathsConfucian classics, Tibetan and Chan Buddhism, Hindu Upanishads, Christianity, fields of philosophy, psychology, dietetics (macrobiotics), inner alchemy, Qgōng/Tij, Yjīng, and meditation deal with issues raised within the Dodjīng. This perspective gives a breathtaking overview of the historical and thematic context of Lǎozis classic that cannot be found elsewhere.

Of great strength in this work are detailed translations from other Chinese classics like the Zhuāngzǐ and obscure Daoist texts that Willmont juxtaposes with masterful ease. He peers under the hood of Daoist cosmology and shines his light into little or wholly misunderstood corners such as the true meaning of virtue ( D), how the ten eyes of its ideogram relate to medical and spiritual health, the difference between faith and belief, the root causes of suffering, and the drivers of good and evil.

Readers can expect to spend years browsing its breadth (divided into convenient short sections, with dozens of helpful diagrams), and probing its depths to find the pearls most useful on ones path. I own dozens of translations and commentaries on Lǎozi yet was surprised by how much I did not know despite my decades of study. Every lover of Do should give themselves this gift of re-discovering Lǎozi.

Michael Winn, author of ten courses on Daoist Inner Alchemy & Qgōng, editorial board member of the Journal of Daoist Studies, and founder of

Table of Contents
Introduction 13
Overview 13
Defining the Terms of the Thematic Context 14
Worldview as a Path towards Restoring Humanity 16
Defining Do and D 17
Manifestation of the World 18
Defining Human Nature 21
Fragmentation 23
Fragmentation through Human Action 23
Fragmentation through the Five Phases 24
Authority and Force 25
The Healing Aspect of Empowerment in the Dodjīng 26
Restoration: Healing Male and Female Imbalance 27
The Thematic Context 31
Do: A Definition 31
Do as Source 35
Source 35
Emptiness (Xū 虛) 39
Mystery (Xun 玄) 41
Subtle (Mio 妙) 42
Profound (Wēi 微) 43
Profoundly Subtle and Mysterious (Wēimio Xun 微妙玄) 43
Non-Being (W 無) 44
W 無: Non-Being 44
Wyǒu 無有: Non-Being 44
No-Thingness (Ww 無物) 45
Oneness (Yī 一) 46
Do as Path or Way 53
Definition 53
The Way of Heaven (Tiān Zhī Do 天之道) 53
The Way of Man (Rn Zhī Do 人之道) 55
Do as Path in Daoism 56
Do as Path in Buddhism 57
Other Japanese and Korean Expressions 59
Hub (Gǔ 轂) 59
Manifestation of Do into the World 63
Manifestation in the Thematic Context 63
Manifestation (Shēng 生) as an Individual Term 64
The Beginning 69
Great Beginning (Dshn 大順) 69
Beginning 70
Beginning of All Things 71
Pre-Polarized State (Wj 無極) 72
Primal Chaos (Hndn 渾沌) 73
Vague and Elusive (Hūhuǎng 惚恍) 77
Chaotic and Unformed (Dndn 沌沌) 78
Dark and Concealed (Hūnhūn 昏昏) 78
Pattern/Template or Image (Xing 象) 78
Images and Elephants 78
Yjīng 80
Number Symbolism 82
Model (Sh 式) 87
Four Stages 88
Prior Heaven Sequence of the Trigrams 90
Ancient Times (Gǔ 古, Xī 昔) 90
Former Heaven (Xiāntiān 先天)/Latter Heaven (Hutiān 後天) 91
Deities 92
Ancestors (Zōng 宗) 92
God (D 帝) 95
Motion 103
Non-Action (Wwi 無為) 103
Non-Action in the Human Realm 104
A Deeper Level of Understanding 107
Attainment 109
Methods 111
Cosmogony 112
Natural Spontaneity/That Which is So of Itself (Zrn 自然) 115
Action (Wi 爲) 119
Connection 120
Heaven and Earth (Tiānd 天地) 120
The Whirling Vortex (Chōng 沖) 121
The World (Chn 塵) 121
Below Heaven or World (Tiān xi 天下) 122
Frontier (Y 域) 123
Ten Thousand Things or All Things (Wnw 萬物) 123
Being (Yǒu 有) 124
D/Virtue and the Psycho-Spiritual Nature of Humanity 127
Heart/MIND (Xīn 心) 127
True Nature (Xng 性) 128
D/Virtue 德 130
Mysterious Virtue (Xund 玄德) 140
Virtue/Protection 142
Virtue as a Natural Aspect of Manifestation 142
The Polarization Cycle of Virtue 142
Transformation, Self-Reflection, and Unification 143
The Development of Virtue through Sacred Geometry 144
The Mystery of Mysterious Virtue 147
The Higher Virtues or Five Constant Virtues (Wǔchng 五常) 149
Definition 149
High and Low Virtue 153
Yin-Yang and the Five Constant Virtues 157
The Five Constant Virtues in Buddhism 158
Xn/Accountability (信) 161
Zh/Wisdom (智) 169
Y/Righteousness (義) 176
Rn/Humanity (仁) 179
The Lower Virtues: The Five Psycho-Emotional Reactions and Responses 184
Emotion 185
Mind: The Five Spirits 189
Summary 197
Psychological Perspectives 197
Acupuncture 197
Inner Alchemy 200
The Fragmentation of Do and the Division into the Sacred and Mundane 201
Confusion and Disorder (Lun 亂) 201
Being Uprooted From Do (B 拔) 212
Good and Evil 212
Loss 216
Misfortune 219
Calamities (Yu 尤) 220
Retribution 221
Sickness (Bng 病) 223
Suffering 227
A Buddhist Approach 227
A Daoist Approach 227
Suffering in the Dodjīng 227
Worldly Gain (Qǔ 取) 230
Sensuality 231
Desire (Y 欲) 231
Abundance (Fēng 豐) 237
Value and Prestige (Gu 貴) 240
Profit/Advantage and Personal Gain (L 利) 242
Selfishness 245
Cleverness 246
The Naming Process: Mng 名 247
Personal Agendas (Sh 事) 251
Contention 252
Arrogance 256
Harm (Shāng 傷) 257
Force 259
General Force 259
Military Force 263
Political or Governmental Force 273
Ideological Force 286
When the Lord/Emperor and the Lord/God are One 286
Authority Figures from a Classical Acupuncture Perspective 288
The Deification Myth and the Foundation of Authority 295
Gods, Goddesses, and the Fabrication of Worldview 303
Embracing Do 309
General Principles 309
Return 309
Primal Simplicity (Spǔ 素樸) 321
Smallness (Xiǎo 小) 334
Infant 335
The Feminine Principle 342
Yin Attributes 355
Water (Shuǐ 水) 355
Water/River (Jiāng 江) 358
Streams (Chuān 川) 358
River (S 汜) 359
Deep Whirlpool/Abyss (Yuān 淵) 359
Depths (Zhn 湛) 360
Ocean/Sea (Hǎi 海) 361
Water and the Ruling of the Nation 361
Action and Non-Action Revisited 364
Knowledge (Zhī 知) 364
Epistemology and the Knowledge of the West 367
Rational Knowledge 370
Emotional Knowledge 373
Wisdom Knowledge 374
Intuitive Knowledge 374
Yin-Yang Opposition and Balance 375
Self-Knowledge 377
Mystical Knowledge 378
Practical Use 380
Destiny (Mng 命) 382
An Historical Perspective 382
Separation 384
Restoration 385
Remaining Terms 389
Restoration and Healing 395
Healing 395
Regulate/Govern/Heal (Zh 治) 396
Nourish (Yǎng 養) 398
Preventive Medicine (Zǎof 早服) 398
Protection 399
Dependability/Orderliness/Constancy (Chng 常) 400
Interpretations from Other Traditions 403
Constancy 403
The Order of the Universe 406
Attainments 410
Violations 410
Yīnyng 陰陽 411
Yin-Yang Balance 411
Yin-Yang Polarity in Christianity 427
Meditation 428
The Introspection of the Inner Self 431
Peace, Clarity, and Purity (Qīng 清) 432
Quietude (Jng 靜) 433
Stillness (Qīngjng 清靜) 435
Embracing the One (Boyī 抱一) 437
Guarding the Center (Shǒuzhōng 守中) 437
Tijqun (太極拳) 438
History 438
General Principles 439
Softness and Yielding 441
Water 442
Investing in Loss 443
Invisibility 443
Silk Reeling 445
Alchemy 448
(Self) Realization (Chng 成) 451
Enlightenment (Mng 明) 452
The Sage (Shng Rn 聖人) 454
Longevity/Immortality 463
Long Life (Chngshēng 長生) 463
Old Age (Chng 長) 463
Longevity (Shu 壽) 464
Immortality 465
The Thematic Context and Worldview of the Dodjīng 472
Thematic Context 472
Do as Both Source and Path 472
The Manifestation of Do into the World 473
Human Nature and the Psycho-Spiritual Dimension of Humanity 473
The Fragmentation of Do and the Origin of Suffering 475
Embracing Do for the Restoration of Humanity 481
Worldview 492
A Definition 492
The Development of Worldview 492
The Hunter-Gatherer Age 494
The Agricultural Age 494
The Pre-Industrial Age 494
The Industrial Age 494
The Post-Industrial Age 494
Worldview in the Dodjīng 496
Inclusivity or Exclusivity 496
Normal and Abnormal Polarizations of the Five Phase Cycle 502
Ideological Judgment and Worldview 511
Final Summary 515
Appendix 521
Index 526
Bibliography 531
Endnotes 537

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