Dan’s thoughts for Sunday, October 30th, 2016
This past week I have been reading a great book that focuses on Taoist practice entitled The Jade Emperor’s Mind Seal Classic, by Stuart Alves Olsen. One of the underlying messages is that within each of us lies the medicine to cure the affliction of mortality. We possess the seeds of primal forces, which when cultivated properly will confer great spiritual benefits. The open secret to nourishing these seeds is none other than our own stillness and tranquility – to let the dust settle so that we may see the utmost clarity the seeds of immortality.
With the Taoist there are two opposing views. First being an outer expression of religious practice and the second a self-empowered, internal expression of spirituality devoid of religious tenets. The underlying doctrine of Taoism is that humans and heaven are but reflections of each other and are one, for in each human lies both a heavenly spirit (Hun) and an earthly spirit (P’o). Therefore, there is no contradiction in the religious practice of worshiping a God, yet to the Taoist this would be better termed as paying reverence to, because to the Taoist it is more like paying reverence to God not worshiping him/her. Taoists, like Buddhists, view gods and spiritual beings as engaging in the process of cultivating their spiritual growth and being subject to retribution for their actions. While Chuang Tzu focuses his beliefs on Nature (Tao) as creation itself, not on a Creator in the personal sense. Ko Hung, the author of the Pao P’o Tzu, commenting on Chuang Tzu’s statement about a true God, denies the existence of a supreme god, stating that “everything creates itself through nature”. The purpose of the text was to transmit wisdom that could lead to spiritual transformation through a sacred positioning of the mind..
A translation of The Jade Emperor’s Mind Seal Classic
- The Supreme Medicine has three distinction: Ching (essence), Qi (vitality), and Shen (spirit), which are elusive and obscure.
- Keep to non-being, yet hold onto being and perfection is yours in an instant.
- When distant winds blend together, in one hundred days of spiritual work and morning recitation to the Shang Ti, then in one year you will soar as an immortal.
- The sages awaken through self-cultivation; deep and profound, their practices require great effort.
- Fulfilling vows illuminates the Heavens.
- Breathing nourishes youthfulness.
- Departing from the Mysteries, entering the female. It appears to have perished, yet appears to exist. Unmovable, its origin is mysterious.
- Each person has Ching. The Shen unites with the Ching, The Shen unites with the Qi. The breath then unites with the true nature. Before you have attained this true nature, these terms appears to be fanciful exaggerations.
- The Shen is capable of entering stone; the Shen is capable of physical flight. Entering water it does not drown. Entering fire it is not burned.
- The Shen depends on life forms; the Ching depends on sufficient Qi. If these are neither depleted nor injured the results will be youthfulness and longevity.
- These three distinctions have one principle, yet so subtle it cannot be heard.
- Their meeting results in existence. Their parting results in non-existence.
- The seven apertures interpenetrate and each emits wisdom light.
- The sacred sun and sacred moon illuminate the Golden Court. One attainment is eternal attainment.
- The body will naturally become weightless. When the supreme harmony is replete, the bone fragments become like winter jade.
- Acquiring the Elixir results in immortality, not acquiring it results in extinction.
- The Elixir is within yourself, it is not white and not green.
- Recite and hold ten thousand times. These are the subtle principles of self-illumination. Lu Szu-hsing’s Appended Verses are are follows:
- The two images of the dragon and tiger are unified through Qi; Chaos blending as One.
- It is not possible to attain the eternal just through invocation.
- The Elixir is called Green Dragon and White Tiger. The Elixir is the nature of no-nature. Emptiness of nonemptiness.
- Even if you are unable to make use of the substance, you can certainly make use of the function.
- Frequently both the substance and conditions for the substance appear together. Although these are not always perceived as identical.
- The ancients said, “The term emptiness embraces the entire teaching.”
You must be able to distinguish the profound from the shallow. Through purity the ching is treasured, through tranquility the qi is circulated, and through emptiness the shen is awakened. All three reside in one’s mind. There is much more to this excellent book. When I have completed my study, I will add a tab for The Jade Emperor’s Mind Seal Classic.
Dan’s thoughts for Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
I am celebrating the completion of edited all 159 short stories here on my website in the My Travels with Lieh Tzu tab. Working since June adding three or four a day. Something I wrote all those years ago in 1995 that is just as relevant if not more so now. As if I am in constant transition always spontaneous to the moment. My recent trip to China but a reminder of my ultimate destination. As if my writing foretelling the future with me just filling in the details of something that’s already been decided. The only thing in question the timing of my departure and ultimate arrival.
I wrote the below entry twenty one years ago in October 1995 upon completing my own version of “The Book of Lieh Tzu”, by A.C. Graham. When I was in Anhui Province a few weeks ago and traveled to the top of Huangshan Mountain… above the clouds, I thought of this moniker “Cloud Dancing” that the dragons, .my peers, gave me all those years ago.
Eternity’s Log or Searching for Dan Tzu
Where have you been Cloud Dancing? Why haven’t you been with us every morning so we can continue our on‑going dialog or conversation? I have been typing and editing our book, My Travels with Lieh Tzu that we have just finished together.
Consolidating your thoughts is important, putting them on paper essential. However, you must spend time alone each day in meditation as the ever knowing sage you hope to become if you are to continue on your journey. Decisions that you must make will be more difficult without the direction we are here to provide. Especially now that the road you must follow has been laid out and been made clear. Your thoughts of traveling back to Lamar were close to the mark, but you now know that you must create your own place. A place where there is a common interest where you can get back to nature and your garden and where you can begin to learn to tell the stories you have written.
Your coming to Florida was for a reason. You had to complete the work that you and Lieh Tzu had started in a place where there would be no contention present. As you become well‑versed in what you have written, remember that what you write is who you are to become. Just as you know there can be no rush to where the next rung on the ladder may lead. When it is time to go home, the way will be made clear. For now, just continue to lose the attachments that have accumulated over time, work to become unencumbered and continue fine‑tuning our message through your writing.
We have much to tell and you have much to learn. Great things are expected from you Cloud Dancing. Much is riding on your ability to bring forth the words of the shaman and sage from long ago. We want to be kept abreast of your progress in your writing. Coming forward to spend a little time each day with us will help to make the meaning of what you write more clearly understood. We want you to tell others our story and in time you will. 10/30/95
It is as if we each have endeavors to follow if we are to discover who we are meant to become along the way. Climbing the mountain to see where this all might lead only reinforces Chuang Tzu’s vision of the pivot we make when we awaken to our destiny as we can then begin see reflections of ourselves on the other side.
Dan’s thoughts for Sunday, October 16th, 2016
I am here in Qufu once again visiting with old friends. It is as if I have never left. I am reminded of times past with Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou, thousands of years ago when it was friendships and trust in final outcomes that ruled the day here in the city of Lu (Qufu). Walking the streets again following the path of all the others I am reminded of those who have passed this way before along the river —. Spending the past week here in Qufu visiting with friends, students and past acquaintances I am reminded that this will always be home. But mostly it is times to be spent with old friends again.
Over the past seventeen years since October 1999, I have made almost fifty trips… too many to count to Qufu. Now with countless friends I am humbled by our remembering of times we have spent together. Traditions here are easily made and much harder to break. Last night, my last night again here in Qufu, Chris and I were honored with a “farewell banquet”. Something we have done many times before. Something we will always do until there are no more farewells, and I return to Qufu to stay as I have always done in the past.
How is one to express gratitude and expressions of eternal kinship with those you are closest to and share such deep affection? Sharing toasts and a meal of friendship but an easy way to express what is in reality beyond words. My oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Li, Kong Tao, Ben (Pei and Sally), Andy and Mr. Zhang and (Amy). Along with Kong Tao’s wife and daughter, and Andy’s wife Cao and (Cindy). Discussions ranging far and wide to visits by Mr. Li, Kong Tao and Ben to Florida, to Taoism, Chuang Tzu, and the I Ching. To sister city visits and wheelchairs Chris and I brought to Qufu many years ago. To ancient Chinese construction and Kong Tao’s designs for the new City of Qufu. To old friends in Jining, Carol, Mr. Guo, Mr. Han and Minister Guo Min. Eva in the travel agency in Qufu. The Executive Counselor of the Confucius/I Ching Society Jian Hua Lu and his wife and many others too numerous to mention who I have come to know over the years. Coming to Qufu with Chris, one of my closest and dearest friends, but a reminder of how we are to truly share what is in our hearts in friendship. Seeing the above I think someone could see my “attachment” to Qufu.
Yesterday visiting the hutong of Jenny and Kevin’s family with their lovely daughter Vivian and conducting the Young Artist program at Jenny’s school on Thursday. Touring the new developments in Qufu yesterday with Maria one can only wonder how someone could be so fortunate to have made such dear and wonderful friends here in the home of Confucius. All the outcome of an email asking me to visit Qufu from Kong Tao all those years ago.
As I celebrate my 64th birthday on this trip over this past week in Qufu, I am reminded that wherever I happen to be… Qufu will forever be my home and my friendships will always begin and end here. Later Sunday morning I went to the conference here in Qufu of the National Confucius/I Ching Society. I have been a member of the prestigious group of scholars for many years. I was honored to have been elected as Vice Chairman for the coming year.
Dan’s thoughts for Sunday, October 9th, 2016
I’ve been spending time with Chuang Tzu and thoughts of wu wei. His idea that “perfect joy is to be without joy, perfect praise is to be without praise” rings true and is a good beginning point in meditation and “living in the moment”. For myself this means not to be driven by the need to be happy outside oneself. Pure joy comes from within with your inner spirit attuned to heights you have always known but perhaps simply forgotten. Being connected to nature and the universe the ultimate place to come to reside. In the stillness you discover that this place is without either joy or sadness. Once there you find comfort and decide to stay. With what can be considered as finding your bliss but a foregone conclusion. The second idea is knowing that perfect praise is to be without praise. For the Taoist and Chuang Tzu this is an essential element to coming to terms with what we find the paradox between our inner and outer selves. Release of the ego becomes the foremost and paramount elixir to freedom.Knowing there is no right or wrong if in the end all is the same. Free from outer concern for how others may view you is the first step on your journey. As you open yourself to the universe and just listen.
Who is it that we spend our time with? Do our friends meet a similar sense of looking to enlightenment. This was what I enjoyed the most about Unity of Delray Beach in Florida where I was a member for almost twenty years. (1997-2015). The Unity Coffee on Thursdays included over seventy five people who were attuned to looking for their highest selves. While our journey is ultimately a solitary one, finding others who are on a similar path is comforting. I miss them… But the ultimate question remain – who do we spend our time with and how does that enhance or deter us in how we define ourselves?