08/31/2022

We end the month of August with the last part of Chapter 52 and perhaps the most important quote in the Tao Te Ching.

“To see the subtle is called enlightenment.
To hold fast to the gentle is called having strength.
Use the light.
Return to enlightenment.
Bring not misfortune upon yourself.
This is known as following the constant Truth.” – Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52, Part 3

Commentary
How can we seek the Truth within us? Lao Tzu tells us:

“To see the subtle is called enlightenment.

We should see the subtlety in us. By being silent in meditation, we feel the subtlety within. Our mind will calm down, not agitated. To see the subtlety, which is the light within us, i.e., the Truth, the light is the wisdom, the clear mind with simplicity, like the sun. When the sun comes, all darkness disappears. All religions tell us that the Truth is the light. We all need the light for our survival. Without light, people will become blind in darkness. Then Lao Tzu says:

“To hold fast to the gentle is called having strength.”

This is the gentleness within us once our mind turns silent and our breath slows down. This is also the strength within us which can last long. To be gentle and mild all the time within us, even when we are doing work, we can maintain the silence in us. This silence is the long-lasting force for us to see the light, and to be careful and alert, thus Lao Tzu explains in another Chapter:

“Rare words are natural.
Strong wind cannot last all morning.
Sudden downpour cannot last all day.
Who makes this so?
The Heaven and the Earth.
Even the Heaven and the Earth cannot be long-lasting.
How can human be?
(Chapter 23)

Then Lao Tzu tells us in the concluding verses:

“Use the light.
Return to enlightenment.
Bring not misfortune upon yourself.
This is known as following the constant Truth.”

Lao Tzu tells us that the Truth is “constant” which is immutable and eternal. Keep the constancy in us which is the Truth. We will not move up and down, swaying left and right without stability. Our gravity is the constancy in our mind holding fast to the Truth. We only follow the one basic principle inherent within us. This basic principle is the light, the One, without second or many. We use our light to return to the Truth, then we will be enlightened. To be enlightened by the Truth, we will not have any misfortune in life. This is the marvel of the Truth.
– Commentary by Nirguna, Chor-lok Lam

So, there is no better way to conclude Chapter 52 and one’s practice by keeping the constancy in us which is the truth and following that one basic principle inherent within us, which the light. Enjoy your practice, folks.

08/30/2022

Today we look at Part 2 of Chapter 52 in the Tao Te Ching with the Commentary by Chor-kok Lam.

“Block the openings.
Shut the doors.
We would live without toil all through life.
Unblock the openings.
Meddle in the affairs.
We cannot be saved all through life.” – Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52

Commentary:
The Truth is our pure nature inherent in us. Therefore, we should seek the Truth within us, not outside us, then naturally we will have the Virtue, thus Lao Tzu says:

“Block the openings.
Shut the doors.
We would live without toil all through life.”

Imagine how peaceful and calm a newborn baby is when he was born sleeping silently with the parental care. It does not know about pleasures and pains, joy and sorrow, love and hatred. It only keeps silent in emptiness, in nothingness, as he knows nothing around the world. This tranquility is effortless inherent inward us as the pure nature given by the Lord.

Why do people not know the Truth and become virtuous? It is because people turn away from the Truth. They go away far and far to encounter the outside world without looking back their inner self. They neglect their pure nature but chase to seek happiness and pleasure outside them. They think the sensual objects are their targets to pursue in their life as different aims and goals. The further they go outside to find their aims and goals, the further they will be away from the Truth. They will become the prey of the sensual objects around them, like tigers and wolves eating their prey. Their mind will be eaten up.

To seek the Truth, we must go back, not go away. How can we know what the Truth is when there are so many contradictions among people in the outside world? We should keep our mind always in the Truth by looking inward us, not meddling the outside affairs, thus Lao Tzu says:

“Unblock the openings.
Meddle in the affairs.
We cannot be saved all through life.”

The direction to get the Truth is to go back, not to go away. We are living in this world, but the centre of gravity is always within us, not any object outside us. If we rely on any object outside us, we will lose ourselves. We do not know the Truth is always with us but will be deluded by the changing world. In this way, Lao Tzu warns us that “we cannot be saved”, not for a certain period, but “all through life”.
– Commentary by Chor-lok Lam

This very thorough and profound commentary offers us a set method to practice in order to get the Truth, which is always within us but deluded by the changing world. So, your practice is to observe how the changing world deludes us. Find out. See it for your self. And enjoy your practice, everyone.

08/29/2022

We start off this week with one of the most instructive chapter in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52 with the Commentary on the Tao Te Ching by Nirguna, Chor-kok Lam. Here’s Part 1:

“The world has a beginning.
This beginning is the Mother of the world.
When we know the Mother,
we can know her children.
After knowing her children,
go back and hold fast to the Mother.
Then we would live without danger all through life.” – Lao-tzu

Commentary:
In the First Chapter of the Tao Te Ching, it says:
“The Non-being is called the beginning of the Heaven and the Earth.
The Being is called the mother of the whole creation.”
(Chapter 1)

The non-being is formless, the pure intelligence or consciousness, i.e., the Truth. When the Truth manifests itself, it becomes the Virtue (Te) which creates different names, forms and shapes, therefore, in this Chapter, it starts saying:

“The world has a beginning.
This beginning is the mother of the world.”

Here Lao Tzu uses the image of mother to describe how all creatures are created by the Virtue like a mother gave birth to her offspring. This is an analogy to tell how the Truth becomes Virtue to generate all creatures by its creative power. Throughout the whole Tao Te Ching, the image of Motherhood is consistently used to describe how the Being, the manifestation of the Truth, i.e., the Virtue, creates all creatures:

(Chapter 6)
“The Gateway of the Mysterious Female is called
the Root of the Heaven and the Earth.”

Therefore, the mother is the manifestation of the Truth from Non-being to become Being, while her children are all the creatures created by the Being. This relationship is an analogy for our understanding. It can be naïve if people think that the eternal Truth is limited as a mother goddess like human beings. It is the motherhood principle, not mother goddess. As there are a lot of mothers in different worlds, there is only one motherhood principle. Basically, in the pure sense of nature, there is only one principle of motherhood among all different mothers in different worlds. The Truth in this sense is the basic one principle among all creatures. Then Lao Tzu tells us:

“When we know the mother, we can know her children.
After knowing her children, go back and hold fast to the mother.”

How can we know all creatures? We know all of them by knowing their basic principle. It is the simplest answer Lao Tzu gives us with the greatest wisdom. We should know the basic principle of all creatures, like a child knowing his mother very well. Then, we should go back to the principle, the Truth inherent within us. Here “hold fast to the mother” means hold fast to the Virtue, i.e., Te. Why should we hold fast to the Virtue? Lao Tzu tells us the answer:

“Then we would live without danger all through life.”

If we can live in accordance with the Virtue, we will have peace and harmony among us. There will be no conflicts and troubles because the Virtue (the manifestation of the Truth) is always beneficial to all beings. Calamities are resulted if the creatures do not abide by the Virtue. When people act against the Virtue, suffering and disharmony will come forth.

How can people attain the Virtue before we can hold fast to it? The answer is “to go back”. It is why Lao Tzu says we should first “go back”, then “hold fast to the mother”. Like a newborn baby, he should always be with the mother, then everything will be alright. The newborn baby will be looked after very well without effort and struggle once he returns to his mother when no one can separate him from his mother. In this stage, this newborn baby is completely safe.

We will look at Part 2 tomorrow. In the meantime, practice living in accordance with the Virtue (Te) and see if you can manifest peace and harmony in your life. Above all, enjoy what you practice, folks.

08/27/2022

We close out the week with a quote attributed to Lao-tzu from the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers.

“The Way is infinitely high, unfathomably deep. Enclosing
heaven and earth, receiving from the formless, it produces
a stream running deep and wide without overflowing.
Opaque, it uses gradual clarification by stillness. When it is
applied, it is infinite and has no day or night; yet when it is
represented, it does not even fill the hand.
It is restrained but can expand; it is dark but can illumine;
it is flexible but can be firm. It absorbs the negative and
emits the positive, thus displaying the lights of the sun,
moon, and stars.” – Lao-tzu from the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary.

Practice being firm and yet flexible. Enjoy your weekend, folks.

08/26/2022

As promised, today we look at the third part on this section of the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers. The verse below unveils the halcyon, an ideal society governed by wisdom.

“What the sky covers, what the earth supports, what the
sun and moon illuminate, is variegated in form and
nature, but everything has its place. What makes
enjoyment enjoyable can also create sadness, and what
makes security secure can also create danger.
Therefore when sages govern people, they see to it
that people suit their individual natures, be secure in
their homes, live where they are comfortable, work at
what they can do, manage what they can handle, and
give their best. In this way all people are equal, with no
way to overshadow each other”
– “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary

So, there you have it, neither Republican nor Democrat. the ideal society governed by Sage wisdom. I would join and vote for that Sage party any day.

08/25/2022

Continuing in the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers, the Wen-tzu further speaks of four practices through which
“the way of government is comprehended,” meaning the way of individual self-government as well as the way of
government of nations:

“Find out destiny, govern mental functions, make
preferences orderly, and suit real nature; then the way
of government is comprehended. Find out destiny, and
you won’t be confused by calamity or fortune. Govern
mental functions, and you won’t be joyful or angry at
random. Make preferences orderly, and you won’t
crave what is useless. Suit real nature, and your
desires will not be immoderate.
When you are not confused by calamity or fortune,
then you accord with reason in action and repose.
When you are not joyful or angry at random, then you
do not flatter people in hopes of reward or in fear of
punishment. When you do not crave what is useless,
you do not hurt your nature by greed. When your
desires are not immoderate, then you nurture life and
know contentment.
These four things are not sought from without and
do not depend on another. They are attained by turning
back to oneself.”

Okay, as we practice, let’s turn inward to find our destiny, govern mental functions, makepreferences orderly, and suit real nature. Enjoy, everyone. And tomorrow we look at the halcyon of an ideal society governed by wisdom.

08/24/2022

A couple months ago, we looked at the degradation of humanity and society in the ancient world through the eyes of the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers. Over the next three days, we are going to look at three more aspects of life from the “Wen-tzu:” the three types of death, the principles of governing nations as well as self-government, and the halcyon, an ideal society governed by wisdom.

Today, we start with the three types of unnatural death. The Wen-tzu’s description of these three kinds of unnatural death contains within itself the way to avoid them and live life to the full:

“There are three kinds of death that are not natural
passing away: If you drink and eat immoderately and
treat the body carelessly and cheaply, then illnesses
will kill you.
If you are endlessly greedy and ambitious, then
penalties will kill you. If you allow small groups to
infringe upon the rights of large masses, and allow the
weak to be oppressed by the strong, then weapons will
kill you.”
– “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary

Good advice, my friends, so practice eating and drinking moderately and keeping a check on greed and overly zealous ambitions, and the last part, not allowing small fringe groups to infringe upon the rights of the majority needs to be handle conscientiously at the polls.

08/23/2022

A rather short verse today from the “Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-Tuan and a rather involved commentary by Liu I-Ming.

“THE SOLAR YANG SOUL, THE FAT OF THE JADE RABBIT; THE LUNAR YIN SOUL, THE MARROW OF THE GOLD RAVEN: PUT THEM IN THE CRUCIBLE AND TRANSMUTE THEM INTO A FLOOD OF WATER.” – Chang Po-Tuan, “Inner Teachings of Taoism”

“The preceding section speaks of the work of refining the self; this one speaks of the secret of gathering the medicines. The solar yang soul and the gold raven symbolise the finest part of conscious knowledge; the jade rabbit and the lunar yin soul symbolise the light of wisdom of real knowledge. Without the light of real knowledge, conscious knowledge cannot perceive far; without the manifestation of conscious knowledge, real knowledge cannot convey its light.

Therefore the text says, “The solar yang soul, the fat of the jade rabbit; the lunar yin soul, the marrow of the gold raven,” indicating that those two true medicines are to be put into the metaphysical crucible and quickly refined by fierce cooking with the true fire of concentration, causing them to mix and combine so that they merge like a flood of water, without the slightest pollution. Only then is the work done. – Commentary by Liu I-Ming, translated by Thomas Cleary

So, as you practice, manifest your real knowledge with the true fire of concentration. Enjoy, my friends and be well.

08/22/2022

We start off the new week with the famous creation quote from the Tao Te Ching with a commentary from a contemporary Taoist Master Kari Hohne.

“Tao is the One.
It produces the two: Yin and Yang.
The Two produce the three,
and the Three produce the ten thousand things.”
– Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

Tao is how the masculine (active) force and feminine (receptive) field move as Yin and Yang to create and dissolve manifestation. We see this in physics, and similar processes are described as the (trifold) three aspects of (1) creation, (2) sustenance and (3) destruction in our ancient texts. The One (Tao) is the totality of everything as it manifests to become the many.
– Kari Hohne from “Nature’s Alchemy”

Our Creation this week is to produce great practices. Enjoy the week and enjoy your practice, everyone.

08/20/2022

Yesterday we looked at Chapter 41 Part 1 of the Tao Te Ching. Today we have Part 2

“Thus it is said:
The way that is bright seems dull.
The way forward seems to lead back.
The smooth way seems rough.
The highest virtue seems a valley.
The purest whiteness seems stained.
Excessive virtue seems defective.
Solid virtue seems inactive.
Simplicity appears sullied.
The great square has no corners.
The great vessel takes long to fashion.
The great note is soundless.
The great image has no form.
The Way hides in namelessness.
It is good at giving and perfecting.”
– Lao-tzu, Chapter 41 Part2, Tao Te Ching

The reason the Tao’s brightness seems dull is because it is not shinning outward but inward, and those who possess do not shine outward either but are outwardly humble and inwardly reserved. Since the Tao does not promote ambitions and success, it seems to lead back instead of forward, leading inward to that “I AM,” one’s true nature. By society’s standards that seems rough, and the highest, the solid, the excessive virtues seem lowly and stained as they are not deemed for outward, arrogant show 24/7.

Furthermore, righteousness and correct living are not square but rounded without corners. Like anything worthwhile the great vessel, in this case the one who follows the Tao, does not happen overnight but takes long to fashion. The great note is the Truth. It is heard in one’s inward silence and not outside through sense perceptions. The same with the great image. The Tao is formless as well as nameless. And that is where it is to be found in that soundless Silence and in the formless Image.

And so, my friends, practice following the Tao and its Truth will sustain and perfect you. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

08/19/2022

Today we look at the longest chapter in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 41. Part I is quoted below. We will have Part II tomorrow.

“When the best students hear of the Way,
They try zealously to put it into practice.
When average students hear of the Way,
It’s sometimes here and sometimes gone.
When the worst students hear of the Way,
They burst out laughing.
Not laughing would make it
Unworthy to be called the Way.”
– Lao-tzu, Chapter 41 Part1, Tao Te Ching

Here Lao-tzu illustrates the fall of Wisdom. If one is truly wise, they will zealously practice the Way as best as they can. The mediocre or average student will do as most of us do, and practice half-heartedly, only giving it partial attention now and then. The ignorant ones will think it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard, unable to comprehend its analogies and figuritive language.

So, so as we practice the Way, let’s do it zealously and maybe at some point, wisdom will favor us. Enjoy.

08/18/2022

Today we return to the “Awakening to the Tao,” and the Contemplations of Liu I-Ming. In the one titled “Commerce,” Liu compares Self-Cultivation to building a profitable business. It is rather lengthy, so I have taken the liberty of

“People who cultivate reality build up virtues and carry out undertakings, accumulate vitality and nurture spirit, remain consistently firm and stable, growing stronger the longer, they persevere all their lives, working with a
sincere heart. This is like accumulating wealth (in a business).
“Seeking personal instruction from a guide to know the beginning and the end, understand when to proceed and when to withdraw, recognize when to hurry and when to relax, understand what bodes well and what bodes ill , and know when to stop at sufficiency…is having method .
“Having wealth and having method, using wealth to provide for the Way, using method to practice the Way, through the twin use of method and wealth you see the effects of your effort step by step, until you finally attain great fulfillment…”
– Liu I-Ming, “Awakening to the Tao,” translated by Thomas Cleary

Accumulate vitality and nurture spirit and remain consistently firm and stable in your practice and enjoy as you persevere, my friends.

08/17/2022

Today we have a Taoist quote from a famous Sufi poet. Following Chuang-tzu’s quote yesterday, Rumi, although a Sufi, seems to have been cut from the same Philosopher’s Stone. Where Chuang-tzu criticized clinging to our opinions which have no permanence, Rumi encourages us to drop them as well whether right or wrong.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Rumi

I sincerely hope you can practice dropping your opinions, especially the toxic political ones. Enjoy the practice, folks.

08/16/2022

Yesterday we reviewed Chapter 71 from Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Today we have two quotes from Lao-tzu’s greatest admirer, the philosopher Chuang-tzu. Together both quotes relate to Chapter 71 amd what we said about it.

“He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool. He who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion.” – Chuang-Tzu

Here Chuang-Tzu is implying what Lao-Tzu referred to as: “To not know that you do not know is a defect.”

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” – Chuang-Tzu

In this quote, Chuang-Tzu is making explicit what Lao-Tzu was implying that expressions based on opinions rather than actual facts are worthless, yet we cling to them anyway.

So, continue to watch your expression of ideas and whether they are mere opinions or factual, and enjoy your practice.

08/15/2022

Today, we look at Chapter 71 of the Tao Te Ching, but we start off with a couple of mistaken translations of lines 3 and 4.

“Only he who recognizes this disease as a disease
Can cure himself of the disease.”

“Only one who recognizes this sickness as sickness
Will not have the sickness.”

Words like sick, sickness, disease, illness are not the correct translations of the traditional Chinese word “bing,” which actually means flaw, fault or defect. So below is an excellent translation by Patrick Moran.

“To know that you do not know is the best.
To not know that you do not know is a defect.
Now only by treating defect as defect can you be without defect.
The Sage is without defect because he treats all defects as defects and so is without defect.”
– Translated by Patrick E. Moran, Chapter 71

I chose this particular chapter due to recent political events in the news this past week. “To not know that you do not know” is definitely a defect especially when it comes to expressing yourself. Here, Lao-tzu is advising us to be certain that what we are saying is an actual fact and not just an opinion of ours or someone else’s. As you can gather from recent news events one political faction is spouting off opinion after opinion regarding the actions of the Justice Department and the FBI that have no factual basis and are thus inciting unwarranted and misdirected violence.

So, my friends, let your practice be just that. Before you speak or write that text, email or tweet, assess what you actually know for a fact and what is merely an opinion and state it that way. IMHO. Enjoy your practice.

08/13/2022

Today’s quote is from Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. In his Introduction to Richard Wilhelm’s I Ching, Jung analyzed what the I Ching does.

“The I Ching does not offer itself with proofs and results; it does not vaunt itself, nor is it easy to approach. Like a part of nature, it waits until it is discovered.”

So don’t look for proofs and results, just practice and enjoy, everyone. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

08/12/2022

Today’s quote is from physicist David Bohm who often dialogued with J. Krishnamurti.

“The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts.” – David Bohm, quantum physicist.

Don’t let your practice be an abstraction. Remember, it’s play, not work, so enjoy, people.

08/11/2022

Today’s quote comes from Kari Hohne of CafeAuSoul.com in her blog entitled “Strange Attractor.”

“So Tao embodies the unseen and perpetual movement of forces that we call the ‘uncarved block’. Through the interaction of hot, cold, positive, negative, and high and low, opposites are drawn together to maintain optimal conditions on the earth. Tao is the intangible, yet all-inclusive aspect of life.” – Kari Hohne, “Strange Attractor.”

When you practice, notice how your nature (xing) is drawing opposite together and as always enjoy, folks.

08/10/2022

Today we are looking at desire and the extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true sense from Liu I-Ming’s commentary on Verse 4 in “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

“As for desire, when the discriminating spirit of the human
mentality sees objects and encounters things, it flies up; the senses
become active all at once, and the feelings and emotions arise, like a
gang of bandits stealing valuables, whom none can defend against.
If you do not exert effort to block it and cook it into something that
does not move or stir, it can easily thwart the process of the Tao.
“Liquid silver cooks into metal vitality” means taking the human
mentality and cooking it into the mindless consciousness of reality.
The extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true
sense are like red sand transmuting into positive energy, ever to be
warm, gentle essence. The death of the human mentality and the
presence of consciousness of reality are like liquid silver changing
into metal vitality, ever to be luminous mind.”

How about transmuting your volatile nature into positive energy as you practice daily? Enjoy it as you go, folks. See you tomorrow.

08/09/2022

Today we have further commentary on Verse 4 from the standpoint of False body and mind vs Real body and mind 4 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

“Lu Tsu said, “The seven-reversion restored elixir is a matter of
people first refining themselves and awaiting the time.” The classic
Understanding Reality (Wu chen p’ien) says, “If you want to
successfully cultivate the nine-reversion, you must first refine
yourself and master your mind.” Shang Yang Tzu said, “Restoring
the elixir is very easy; refining the self is very hard.” These
statements all say that if you want to practise the great Tao, you
must first refine yourself.
The essential point in self-refinement starts with controlling anger
and desire. The energy of anger is the aberrant fire of the volatile
nature, which erupts upon confrontation and is indifferent to life,
like a conflagration burning up a mountain, which nothing can stop.
If you do not exert effort to quell it, refining it into something
without smoke or flame, it can easily obscure reality. “Red sand
refines to positive energy” means taking this volatility and refining
it into neutral true essence.”

Tomorrow we will look at desire and the extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true sense. As always, enjoy your practice, people.

08/08/2022

We start the week off with Verse 4 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

“RED SAND REFINES TO POSITIVE ENERGY;
LIQUID SILVER COOKS INTO METAL VITALITY.
METAL VITALITY AND POSITIVE ENERGY,
RED SAND AND LIQUID SILVER.”

Followed by Liu I-Ming’s commentary:

“Red sand” (cinnabar) is associated with the turbulence of the
energy of fire and symbolises volatility in people. “Liquid silver”
(quicksilver) is associated with the movement natural to water and
symbolises the human mentality in people. Positive energy gives
birth to beings; this symbolises the real essence in people. The
vitality of metal is lustre; this symbolises the consciousness of
reality in people…”

A further commentary on this tomorrow. In the meantime, have a great practice and enjoy, everyone.

08/06/2022

Yesterday we looked at Verse 3 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan. Today we look at its meaning from the Commentary by Liu I-ming.

“LOTUSES BLOOM IN THE FLOWER POND;
GOLDEN WAVES ARE QUIET ON THE SPIRITUAL WATER.
DEEP IN THE NIGHT, THE MOON JUST BRIGHT,
HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE IN ONE ROUND MIRROR.”

Commentary:
“The flower pond symbolises the openness of onsciousness; the spiritual water symbolises true essence; the lotuses symbolise the light of wisdom; the golden waves symbolise objects of sense.
When the spiritual sprouts have been warmly nurtured until their energy is complete, the flower of mind blooms and the light of wisdom arises. Therefore it says lotuses bloom in the flower pond.
Once the light of wisdom arises, inwardly thoughts do not sprout, so essence is calm; then external things are not taken in and feelings are forgotten. Therefore the text says that the golden waves are quiet on the spiritual water. When essence is calm and feelings are forgotten, even if one is in the midst of myriad things, one is not deceived by myriad things. Round and bright, the mind is like the full moon shining deep in the night,
its light pervading above and below, heaven and earth ; the gold elixir crystallises in the great void of space.”
– “Thw Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

Thus calm your essence and be aware of your feelings and don’t be deceived by myriad things. Enjoy your practice, folks, and have a great weekend.

08/05/2022

Today’s quote is Verse 3 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by
Chang Po-tuan.

“LOTUSES BLOOM IN THE FLOWER POND;
GOLDEN WAVES ARE QUIET ON THE SPIRITUAL WATER.
DEEP IN THE NIGHT, THE MOON JUST BRIGHT,
HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE IN ONE ROUND MIRROR.”
– “Thw Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

Do you understand what the verse refers to? No, it’s not the Flower Pound or Moon. Find out tomorrow when we learn Liu I-ming’s commentary. Until then practice diligently, everyone, and enjoy.

08/04/2022

Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #7, the final step, Attaining Dao.

“Dao is a spiritual and wonderful thing. It is numinous and yet has inner nature; it is empty but without any symbol. Following or meeting it, it cannot be fathomed. Neither its shadow nor its echo can be pursued. Without
knowing why it just is, pervading all life. Yet it is never exhausted. This is what we call Dao.

“Utmost sages have attained it in antiquity, and thus the wondrous divine law has been transmitted to us today. Following descriptions, probing into principles, we find it completely real. Worthy knights of pure faith have overcome their selves and practiced it diligently. Once the mind is emptied and the “spirit like a valley,” Dao alone will come to assemble. Once Dao has become strong, it imperceptibly works changes in body-form and spirit. The body-form aligned with Dao and pervading spirit is what constitutes a “spirit person.”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

Be like the Worthy Knights of Pure Faith from ancient times and overcome your self and practice diligently, everyone.

08/03/2022

Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #6, The Stability of Cosmic Peace…

“The stability of cosmic peace is the ultimate point of leaving worldly life and the first firm foothold of reaching Dao. It represents merit perfected in the practice of stillness and is the end to affairs through attainment of inner peace. The body-form like dried wood, the mind like dead ashes, there are no more impulses, no more searches. One has reached the perfect contemplative state of serenity. With no-mind one settles in stability, thus there is nothing that is not stable. The Zhuangzi says: “He whose inner being rests in the stability of cosmic peace will spread a heavenly radiance.” Here “resting” refers to the mind, whereas “heavenly radiance” means insight coming forth. The mind is the vessel of Dao. When this is utterly empty and still, Dao can reside there and insight arises. This insight comes from inner nature and does not depend onpresent circumstances. Thus we call it “heavenly radiance.”

Thus we practice resting our inner being in the stability of cosmic peace and enjoy. Great practicing, everyone.

08/02/2022

Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #5, Perfect Observation…

“All human affairs, all food and clothing of people are merely a boat. If I want to cross an ocean, I need a boat. After the passage is completed, the reason for the boat is no longer there.16 But why should one abandon it before even having gone on the voyage? Food and clothing in themselves are empty illusion and without actual value. But as a means to free oneself from empty illusion, one must obtain provision with food and clothing. One should therefore never have any feelings of gain or loss about them. Whether involved in affairs or free from affairs, the mind should be constantly calm and at peace!17 Join oth- ers in seeking but not in coveting, in attaining but not in hoarding. No coveting means being free from worry; no hoarding means never experiencing loss. In deeds be like others, but in mind always remain aloof. This really is the most essential point of practice. Work on it very hard!”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

You heard him – work on it very hard – and enjoy.

08/01/2022

Happy August, everyone! Bless you. Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #4, Detachment From Affairs…

“If one has no peace within oneself, how could one ever attain Dao?
Therefore, anyone who is cultivating Dao must gain detachment from affairs
and give up things. Knowing what is marginal and what essential about them,
he can measure their importance. Recognizing that one has to accept or reject
them, he finds no importance or necessity for himself and duly abandons them.
For instance, eating meat and drinking wine, dressing in gauzy cloth and fine
silk, having a high personal reputation and official position, or possessing fine
jades and money are totally superfluous gratifications of passions and desires.
These things are not at all good medicines to enhance life. The masses hanker
after them and bring death and defeat upon themselves. Coming to think of
them calmly, aren’t they terrible delusion?”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

Remember, your practice is essential not marginal, so accept it and enjoy it, everyone, not only is it yours, IT’S YOU!

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