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Friday, March 26, 2010

Bible Examples of Tao- The Strife of Cain (Genesis 4)

The act of sacrifice that is first mentioned in the Bible is a mysterious one. The written presentation does not account any commandments from the divine concerning the practice. In any event, we find both Cain and Abel offering a sacrifice to God.
Cain offers fruits and grains, Abel offers meats from animals.
God accepts Abel's offering and rejects Cain's.
Cain becomes angry with God and then questions as to why his offering was not pleasing to him. God responds with:
"Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."
One day the two brothers were in the field talking. Something happened that made Cain angry enough to kill Abel. For the sake of discussion I will work from the traditional presupposition that the two were fighting about why Cain's offering was not acceptable. Whatever was said was upsetting to Cain and sin was apparently crouching at the door.
When God comes back around he asks where Abel is and Cain responds by saying "Am I my brother's keeper?" [or we might say today "how should I know? Today wasn't my day to babysit him] But in the story God knows exactly what has happened and the response is interesting.
"What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mough to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
From the perspective of the Tao this could be put simply as:
"What have you done? Your action has caused a disturbance in the force [for the Star Wars fans] that will now echo into the very ground on which you work. Your working against this force, or the Tao, has caused you to now be at strife with everything."
Cain was then in the place of being half-sorry. His biggest fear was now death but God promised not to let anyone kill him. That would be a further disturbance to the balance of life.
Now, the parallels are not word for word, line by line, but there is enough there to see a principle. If actions do not have re-actions, they still at least have consequences...and there is no speaking here of atonement.
Cain in Hebrew means producer; Abel means breath.
Incidentally Cain, according to tradition, had to work at what he offered to make it grow. He created his own garden rather than just randomly picking from the wild growth. Abel didn't have to work at his offering. He took from the lesser species which was already prepared of itself.
The possible moral of this story is that the Tao is of itself. The Tao does not need direction. The Tao, in simple yet insufficient words, is the Force that gently guides but does not lord over anything. The principle means of living in harmony with the Tao is to live in a state of "non-action" or just naturally. When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.
Just as Cain killed Abel, forced production of something in life takes away the breath.....or more accurately, it suffocates life.
Just as God promised that anyone who would try to kill Cain would suffer seven times as much, the same is true when we try and purposely become passive. It is impossible to force passivity. The more we would try and force gentelness the more abrasive it becomes.
Jesus illustrated this when he said "he who seeks to save his life shall lose it; but he who loses his life shall find it."
Let go. The earth is going hoarse.


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