The ancient sage says, “The Tao has no form. It gives life to heaven and earth. The Tao is void of emotions. It moves the sun and moon. The Tao is nameless. It nourishes all things.”
Commentary…. The Sage symbolizes the goodness inherent in all sentient beings. The origin of the ancient sage is difficult to fathom. He is the manifestation of the Tao and can appear in many forms. As the Elder Emperor of the Three Realms, he is called the Heavenly Teacher of the Ten Thousand Dharmas. As the Middle Emperor of the Three Realms he is called the Pan-ku. As the Later Emperor of the Three Realms, he is called Chuhua. During the time of the herbalist Shen-ming, he is the sage T’ai-hsing. In the era of the Yellow Emperor, he is the sage Kang-hsing. Since he takes many forms it is difficult to enumerate all his incarnations. Sometimes he appears as a Confucian sage. Sometimes he appears as a Buddha. Sometimes he appears as a Taoist immortal. His deeds are limitless. He is elusive and mysterious. He guides our intuition, instructs us in the virtues, and induces stillness in our hearts.
The Tao is supreme goodness. It has no form and is limitless. It is formless because there is no visible trace of its existence. The Tao is that energy that has existed from the beginning when there was neither structure nor differentiation. It is the source of life in heaven and on earth. It creates and nourishes all things. Yang vapor (energy) is symbolized by heaven and yin vapor by earth. The Tao is not affected by emotions. It belongs to the Realm of Earlier Heaven and is without sound or smell. The Tao is nameless and has no form. It has no beginning and has no end. When forced to give it a name, we call it the Tao. The Tao nourishes all things. Even insects and plants receive nourishment from the Tao. If human beings are willing to return to the Tao, they must find someone who can show them the heaven and earth, the sun and moon in their bodies. They must cultivate and follow the Tao that cannot be named. They must preserve and purify the precious ching (generative energy), ch’i (vital energy), and shen (spirit energy). Then they will be able to ascend to the High Pure, the Most Pure, and the Jade Pure Realms. They will recap the fruits of immortality; become heavenly immortals, golden immortals, or spirit immortals. They will live in peace, without being bound to earthly existence. They will live forever and not be subjected to reincarnation.
The sage says: — The Ancient Sage displays his esoteric wisdom in mysterious ways, he gives us the true meaning of this scripture. Ask your teacher to show you how to transcend life and death. When you have received the instructions practice diligently to cultivate the dragon and tiger. May everyone ascend to the pure still way, may everyone arise to the lotus of many-colored auras. After you are granted immortality in the palace of wu-chi, you will become as immortal living in happiness.
— This scripture is the boat that helps you cross the sea of earthly existence. Beware! You can circle the five lakes and four seas aimlessly. If the principles of the text are not revealed to you, you will waste much time and effort and not harvest any fruit. Miss one small part of the mystery, and several decades will pass. — The sage has now revealed his teachings, it is up to you to follow his instructions and arrive at the nine heavens.
From “Cultivating Stillness” by Eva Wong