06/30/2022

Today’s words of wisdom are from Liu I-Ming discussing when one is like dead wood and cold ashes.

“If one can master oneself and exercise restraint, turn back
from inflex ibility and become yielding, sweep away all anger,
resentment, and annoyance, get rid of all contentiousness ,
change the aggress ive and violent nature back into a gentle
taciturn na ture, concentrate the energy and make it flexible,
empty the mind and nurture the spirit, be selfless and impersonal,
not discriminate between self and others, view one’s own body as
having no such body, view one’s mind as having no such mind,
have no discrimination and no knowledge, and
be empty and open, this is like dead wood not flaming when
burnt, like cold ashes yielding no warmth “‘hen sti rred .
One can thereby be in the midst of Creation without
being influenced by Creation, be in the midst of yin and yang
without being constrained by yin and yang.”
– Liu I-Ming, Awakening to the Tao, translation by Thomas Cleary

Kind of hard to put into practice? Keep trying and enjoy your work nevertheless.

06/29/2022

Yesterday Wang Mu gave us the meaning of “following the course” as it relates to Laozi’s quote from Chapter 42 of the Tao Te Ching: “The One generates the Two, the Two generate the Three, the Three generate the ten thousand things.” Today we learn the meaning of “inverting the course” as it applies to the Laozi quote

“What is the meaning of “inverting the course?” The ten thousand things hold the Three, the Three return to the Two, the Two return to the One. Those who know this Way look after their Spirit and guard their corporeal form. They nourish the corporeal form to refine the Essence, accumulate the Essence to transmute it into Breath, refine the Breath to merge it with Spirit, and refine the Spirit to revert to Emptiness. Then the Golden Elixir is achieved.” – Wang Mu, Foundations of Internal Alchemy, translation by Thomas Cleary

Easy enough to understand “inverting the course,” but rather difficult to do. Nevertheless, keep practicing, folks, and you will get there some day.

06/28/2022

Today we have a quote from the “Foundations of Internal Alchemy” by Wang Mu.

“Essence, Breath, and Spirit affect one another. When they follow the course, they form the human being; when they invert the course, they generate the Elixir.
What is the meaning of “following the course” ( shun )? “The One generates the Two, the Two generate the Three, the Three generate the ten thousand things.” Therefore Emptiness transmutes itself into Spirit, Spirit transmutes itself into Breath, Breath transmutes itself into Essence, Essence transmutes itself into form, and form becomes the human being.” – Wang Mu, Foundations of Internal Alchemy, translation by Thomas Cleary

What is the meaning of “Inverting the course?” Find out tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy your practice, folks.

06/27/2022

The ancient wisdom of Wen-Tzu starts off the week.

“When the spirit is not focused externally, that is called spiritualty; to keep the spirit intact is called integrity.” – Wen-Tzu

Or, as we say in English – Keep it together. And how do we keep it together? Practice, folks, practice and enjoy.

06/25/2022

To end the week, we have a quote from Chapter 2 of the “Tao Te Ching.”

“When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and nonbeing produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other 1
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other.”
– Translation by Derek Lin

Hopefully no ugliness will arise in your life. Just keep up your practice and enjoy the weekend, everyone.

06/24/2022

Today we look at the teaching Chang Po-Tuan from the “Inner Teachings of Taoism” on “true intent.”

“Earth is that whereby origin and completion are effected. The true earth referred to here is not material earth; it is the true intent of the human body, which has no location. True intent is the director of myriad affairs; it controls the vital spirit, sustains essence and life, occupies and guards the centre of the being. Because it has functions similar to earth, it is called true earth . Insofar as it is truthful and whole, without fragmentation, it is also called true faith. Because it contains the impulse of life within it, it is also called the centre. Because it encloses everything, it is also called the yellow court. Because it is one in action and repose, it is also called the medicinal spoon. Because it can harmonise yin and yang, it is also called the yellow woman. Because it holds the pattern of the noumenon, it is also called the crossroads. There are many different names, all describing one thing, this is true intent.” – Chang Po-Tuan, “Inner Teaching of Taoism,” translated by Thomas Cleary

As we practice today, let us focus on our true intent and enjoy, everyone.

/23/2022

Today’s quote is about the great orb that lights our way through the darkness from author, artist, philosopher and martial artist, Deng Ming-Dao

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” — Deng Ming-Dao

Be a light unto yourself and Light your way through the darkness of the acquired mind by practicing Self-Cultivation.

06/22/2022

Today’s quote is from “Understanding Reality,” the classic written by Chang Po-tuan and translated by Thomas Cleary.

THOUGH HUMAN LIFE HAS A LIMIT OF A HUNDRED YEARS ,
THE LENGTH OF LIFE, AND WHETHER IT WILL BE DIFFICULT
OR SMOOTH, CANNOT BE KNOWN BEFOREHAND. YESTERDAY
RIDING A HORSE THROUGH TOWN, TODAY A SLEEPING
CORPSE IN A COFFIN: FAMILY AND WEALTH CAST OFF, THEY
ARE NOT YOUR OWN POSSESSIONS ; WITH EVIL DEEDS COMING ON ,
YOU CANNOT FOOL YOURSELF. IF YOU COME UPON THE GREAT ELIXIR
WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING FOR IT, HAVING COME UPON IT,
YOU ARE A FOOL IF YOU DO NOT REFINE IT.
– Chang Po-tuan (Tzu-yang) “Understanding Reality (“Wuzhen Pian”), translated by Thomas Cleary

The Golden Elixir is the means or method of transcending Death and the cycle of reincarnation. But hearing about it is not enough. One must devote oneself to its Cultivation. That means practice, folks. Enjoy!

06/21/2022

An ancient Daoist saying:

“Balance is the mainstay of the world, harmony is the way the world
arrives on the Tao. Achieving balance and harmony, heaven and earth
are in their places therein, myriad beings grow up therein.”

So, our practice this week is to work on achieving balance and harmony. Great practicing, everyone, and enjoy!

06/20/2022

Today, Liu Yi MIng tell us how we can eventually realize the Tao

“If people can be firm in decision and flexible in gradual
practice, neither hurrying nor lagging, neither aggressive nor
weak, with hardness and softness balancing each other,
achieving balance and harmony, then they will benefit wherever
they go. If they study the Tao in this way , eventually they
will surely understand the Tao. If they practice the Tao in this
way, eventually they will surely realize the Tao. ”
– Liu YiMing, “Awakening to the Tao”

If you truly want to achieve balance and harmony, quit the hustle and bustle of the Western lifestyle and practice being firm but not aggressive or overbearing and flexible and adaptable without being weak or flaccid and, above all, enjoy your practice.

06/18/2022

In today’s quote, we return again to Liu I-Ming’s book of Contemplations: “Awakening to the Tao.” His thoughts on “Grafting Peaches and Grafting Plums,” tell us how we can experience true rejuvenation at any age.

“When a peach tree is old, graft on a young branch and it will again bear peaches. When a plum tree is old, graft on a young branch and it will again bear plums. This is because even when a tree is old it still has energy in its roots…People age because they indulge in emotions and passions-a hundred worries affect their minds, myriad affairs weary their bodies. Expending their vitality, exhausting their spirit, they take the false to be real and take misery for happiness.” He suggests this kind of living makes their (physical and spiritual) roots unstable and so people grow old and die. “Concentrating the energy like a baby, being abstemious, storing the vitality and nurturing the spirit, getting rid of illusion and returning to reality , fostering the growth of the root at all times , walking every step on the right path, increasing true thought and diminishing false thought, truly sincere within and without, integrated with the design of nature, they can thereby be rejuvenated. This is like the way of grafting a young branch onto an old tree.”

So, don’t indulge in emotions, passions and hundreds of worries. Concentrate your energy like a baby, store the vitality and nurture your spirit and graft a rejuvenating branch onto your daily practice. Have a terrific 3-day weekend folks and a Happy Juneteenth.

06/17/2022

Today’s quote is from Lisa Kemmerer’s “Animals and World Religions.”

“Daoism also encourages people to love deeply and live compassionately (ci), to exercise restraint and frugality (jian), to seek harmony, and to practice wuwei (action as nonaction). Daoist precepts speak often and strongly against harming any creature, whether by disturbing their homes or eating their bodies. Guanyin, the most popular Chinese deity, exemplifies deep compassion for all beings. The Zhuangzi highlights basic similarities between humans and animals, and encourages people to treat all beings with care and respect.”
― Lisa Kemmerer, Animals and World Religions

06/16/2022

Today’s quote is from the opening paragraph of a Neidan (Daoist Alchemy) work from the 11th century, “Awakening to Reality” by Zhang Boduan, also known as True Man of Purple Yang (Ziyang zhenren). It is divided into three main parts, all of which consist of
poems written in different meters. This first part contains sixteen poems written in “regulated verses” (eight-line heptasyllabic poems, known as liishi).

“If you do not search for the Great Dao
and do not leave the delusive paths,
you may be endowed with worthiness and talent,
but would you be a great man?”

Let seeking the Dao be part of your everyday practice. Enjoy your practice, enjoy the flow of the Dao.

06/15/2022

Today, a little swordplay. Well, a swordplay on words, that is, by Doc Pruyne.

“The sword is a handle onto the Way of the world that is offering itself to you. If you are willful it will weigh a ton and wear you out. If you lose focus it will cut open your hand. Mindfulness keeps your mind on the blade; and if you are mindful you will not think about the future or past, there will be no blocks to the flow of Tao, and the Way of the world will flow through the sword and through you. You will become the sword of the world.”― Doc Pruyne, Persimmon

You won’t need a sword to enjoy the flow of Tao if you practice with patience and dedication. Enjoy it while you can, people.

06/14/2022

Today we have a quote by Liu YiMing on Hexagram 61 of the Yijing and faithfulness to the Tao

“If you want yin not to trap yang but to accord with yang, so that yin and yang can conjoin, this is impossible unless you are seriously faithful to the Tao; without faithfulness to the Tao practice is insubstantial and lacks power, inevitably leading to failure to complete what has been started.” – Liu YiMIng, on Hexagram 61 of the Yijing, translation by Thomas Cleary

Thus, if you feel your practice has become insubstantial, realign with the Tao and keep practicing, folks.

06/13/2022

A classic conundrum quote from Alan Watts to start off our week

“It is fundamental to both Taoist and Confucian thought that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the Western mistrust of human nature-whether theological or technological-is a kind of schizophrenia. It would be impossible, in their view, to believe oneself innately evil without discrediting the very belief, since all the notions of a perverted mind would be perverted notions.” ― Alan Wilson Watts, The Way of Zen

Your mind may or may not be perverted, but I certainly hope your practice isn’t. Enjoy, everyone.

06/11/2022

Today we have a quote by Liu YiMing from one of the contemplations in his book “Awakening to the Tao” to get us through the weekend.

“With the nobility of Heaven and the humility of Eath, one joins in the attributes of heaven and earth and extends to eternity with them.” – Liu YiMing, “Awakening to the Tao.”

Heaven is boundlessly vast. It covers everything and contains everything. It produces myriad beings without presuming on the virtue of such. It provides for them. It bestows blessings on them, not expecting any rewards or asking for anything in return. Whether people are good or bad, respectful or insincere doesn’t matter. Heaven allows them to be themselves. This is considered noble.

Earth is thick and lowly, below all else. Despite being tread on or paved in asphalt and concrete, it bears all and nurtures everything. This is considered humble.

So, see how noble and yet humble you can be, and enjoy your practice. Have a great weekend, everyone!

06/10/2022

Today an interpretation of Chapter 36 of the Tao Te Ching by James Frey

“Thirty-six. If you want to shrink something, you must first expand it. If you want to get rid of something, you must allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must allow it to be given. The soft will overcome the hard. The slow will beat the fast. Don’t tell people the way, just show them the results.” ― James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Don’t tell us; Show us – the results of your practice. Keep on keeping on, folks.

06/09/2022

Today we have an appropriate quote from a great American poet, Carl Sandburg.

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” – Carl Sandburg.

People are complex, with multiple layers that each provide something unique to the universe. In the Dao Field, the idea isn’t to look at each layer as an individualized trait or part of life, but to examine how each layer fits perfectly to create the onion/the Dao in the first place.
Peeling away the layers of your practice one at a time, folks. Enjoy!

06/08/2022

The next Zhuangzi quote is sort of reminds us of a Laozi quote: “To know that you do not know is the best. To think you know when you do not is a disease.”

“Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.”
― Chuang Tzu

We need to depend on our practice and what it is teaching us about ourselves. Enjoy everyone.

06/07/2022

Today, Chuang Tzu tries his best to give us a comforting thought. Does it work for you?

“We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening” ― Chuang Tzu

Hope one and all calmly awaken to your practice. Enjoy!

06/06/2022

Today, Chuang Tzu builds a case for emptiness.

“If a man, having lashed two hulls together, is crossing a river, and an empty boat happens along and bumps into him, no matter how hot-tempered the man may be, he will not get angry. But if there should be someone in the other boat, then he will shout out to haul this way or veer that. If his first shout is unheeded, he will shout again, and if that is not heard, he will shout a third time, this time with a torrent of curses following. In the first instance, he wasn’t angry; now in the second he is. Earlier he faced emptiness, now he faces occupancy. If a man could succeed in making himself empty, and in that way wander through the world, then who could do him harm?”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

Don’t let the world and all its distractions capsize your boat. Keep practicing to make your self empty so you can wander through the world, a free and easy wanderer.

06/04/2022

Humans are always chasing after one kind of success or another. But even if we achieve success, still it brings suffering. Why? According to Chuang Tzu and other Daoist sages, it is due to the ever-changing movement of Yin and Yang in the world.

“In all affairs, whether large or small, there are few men who reach a happy conclusion except through the Way. If you do not succeed, you are bound to suffer from the judgment of men. If you do succeed, you are bound to suffer from the yin and yang. To suffer no harm whether or not you succeed – only the man who has virtue can do that.” ― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

So, as we practice this coming week, let us focus on finding the virtue deep within us, instilled prior to our birth as a manifestation of the mystical Te. Have an enjoyable weekend, everyone. And don’t forget the victims of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

06/03/2022

Many of us imperfect beings have such difficulty remaining joyful and carefree not only throughout life or even throughout the day or hour to hour. Chuang Tzu tells us why this is.

“You should find the same joy in one condition as in the other and thereby be free of care, that is all. But now, when the things that happened along take their leave, you cease to be joyful. From this point of view, though you have joy, it will always be fated for destruction.” ― Zhuangzi

So enjoy practicing and enjoy working on remaining joyful throughout this day. And let’s put our heartfelt energies together to bring some degree of pure joy into the disreuptive lives of the Ukrainian people.

06/02/2022

Expanding on John Blofield’s quote yesterday on the East Asian idea of a Supreme State of Being as opposed to the Western concept of a Supreme Being, Zhuangzi gives the most complete version yet in this conversation with Master Dongguo.

Master Dongguo asked Zhuangzi, “This thing called the Way – where does it exist?”

Zhuangzi said, “There’s no place it doesn’t exist.”

“Come,” said Master Dongguo, “you must be more specific!”

“It is in the ant.”

“As low a thing as that?”

“It is in the panic grass.”

“But that’s lower still!”

“It is in the tiles and shards.”

“How can it be so low?”

“It is in the piss and shit!”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Zhuangzi, Burton Watson translation, section 22

Well, I guess you cannot top that, or, I should say, you cannot bottom that. Both are pretty low. But we need to stay on top of our practice. So, enjoy and don’t let your spirits sink.

06/01/2022

We start off the month of June with a quote by John Blofield on the major difference between Western and Eastern religions.

“In East Asia generally, the notion of a Supreme Being, so essential to Western religions, is replaced by that of a Supreme State of Being, an impersonal perfection from which beings including man are separated only by delusion.” ― John Blofeld, Taoism

We will have Chuang Tzu’s take on it tomorrow. Meanwhile enjoy your practice, and enjoy Nature as well.

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