November 10, 2017

Bringing our Heart into Coherence

Following up from my last entry I want to talk about the Tao Te Ching, embracing change and that who we show up as is paramount. How is it we begin to be an authentic connection with who we are meant to be, to be present, and to live from the inside out? While there is much talk about mental health and anger today, what is the root cause? Is it because there is a lack of coherence, or meaning in our lives. How do we become true to ourselves? How do we learn to speak from our heart?

What does it mean to connect with and become our authentic selves? The Tao Te Ching is one of the most published books along with the Bible and Bhagavad Gita, and probably the most widely read and studied book in China along with the teachings of Confucius.

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Dragon Seal entrance at Qingcheng Mountain

 It has been interpreted hundreds of times in efforts to further reach an understanding of its meaning. Lao Tzu, it’s author, is recognized as one the greatest philosophers in history and is considered to be the founder of Taoism in China. It has deep roots in shamanism that go back to 3,500 B.C. and even earlier. It is as if time is giving us a chance or allowing us to be able to make sense of it all for ourselves. Bringing what we find in our thoughts and head, down into the actions spurred by our heart. To connect wholly within our consciousness and base our actions through them.

Instead of just posting from my own thoughts, references to others who over the centuries can better express the sentiments of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching are here.  Helping me to do this, is a book of commentaries compiled by Red Pine entitled, Lao tzu’s Taoteching. You can find the book online at Amazon.com. The commentaries are meant to be read as a discussion between Lao Tzu and those interested who have thought deeply about the text itself. The quotes below and references to their authors are from Red Pine’s, Lao tzu’s Taoteching.

As mentioned before, I wrote my own version in May/June 2000 and my book, Thoughts on Becoming a Sage, The Guidebook for leading a virtuous Life, was published in China in 2006. There are eighty-one verses in the Tao Te Ching, the prelude and first three verses follow here. Ultimately, it is what the sages have learned along the way that what guides us.

Prelude

Begin approaching the Te Tao Ching and your mentor Lao Tzu by seeing beyond life’s transparencies as if sorting through the clutter clouding your mind and your way.

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Qingyang Taoist Temple in Chengdu

Coming to understand that your final destination lies with the angels, or dragons, you have come to know over eons of time and space as you begin to contemplate returning home once again.

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Two Dragons Qingyang Taoist Temple in Chengdu

Not in the physical sense as if in the here and now, but taking steps to become the sage that belies your destiny. Knowing that true destiny can only be revealed by endeavoring to get it right this time.

It is in this spirit that I come forth to pursue my final unveiling.

Confucius says, “The Tao is what we can never leave. If we can leave it,  it isn’t the Tao” (Chungyang:1).

Ho-Shang Kung says, “What we call a way is a moral or political code, while the Immortal Way takes care of the spirit without effort and bring peace to the world without struggle. It conceals its light and hides its tracks and can’t be called a way. As for the Immortal Name, it’s like a pearl inside an oyster, a piece of jade inside a rock: shiny on the inside and dull on the outside.”

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Confucius as the Teacher

Ch’eng Chu say, A sage doesn’t reveal the Way, not because he keeps it secret, but because it can’t be revealed. Hence his words are like footsteps that leaves no tracks.”

 

Verse 1 – Just one big la ti da after another

Encountering constant renewal.

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Wuhan Temple in Chendu

Understanding the paradox living brings each day. That once we find comfort in the way or direction we pursue today, we become aware that this is not the true way we are here to travel.

That when we are free of desire we can see where things begin and when we are subject of desire we can see where things end. ##

Li His-Chai says, “Things change but not the Tao. The Tao is immortal. It arrives without moving and comes without being called.”

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The Winding Path Qingcheng Mountain

Su Ch’e says, “The ways of kindness and justice change but not the Tao. No name is its body. Name is its function. The sage embodies the Tao and uses it in the world. But while entering the myriad states of being, he remains in non-being.”

Wang Pi says, “From the infinitesimal all things develop. From nothing all things are born. When we free of desire, we can see the infinitesimal where things begin. When we are subject of desire. we can see where things end.

The Shuowen says,” In Shensi province, where this text was written, doors are still painted black with a thin line of red trim. And every road begins with a door”.

Verse 2 – Transforming Realities

 The sage transforms his feelings and returns to his true nature thus becoming one with the universe once again.

What displays beauty cannot be beautiful. What is hard must become soft.

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The Sage in Linyi

He focuses on ending distinction, getting rid of name and form and making of himself a home for virtue.  ##

Lu His-Sheng says,” What we call beautiful or ugly depends on our feelings. Nothing is necessarily beautiful or ugly until feelings make it so. But while feelings differ, they all come from our nature, and we all have the same nature. Hence the sage transforms his feelings and returns to his nature and thus becomes one again.”

Wang An-Shih says, “The sage creates but does not possess what he creates. He acts but does not presume on what he does.  He succeeds but does not claim success. These three all result from selflessness. Because the sage is selfless, he does not lose his self. Because he does not lose himself, he does not lose others.”

Sung Ch’ang-Hsing says, “Those who practice the Way put an end to distinctions, get rid of name and form, and make for themselves a home for the Way of Virtue.”

Verse 3 – Preparing the Way

The sage must begin again by daily ritual and purification. You must prepare an area for optimum meditation and reflection.

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The Mountaintop in the Clouds  Huangshen Mountain in Anhui

You must set aside all other activities and thoughts so as to be quiet, still, able to listen and be prepared to learn.

You must instill determination, release all desires, and come to find discipline. When you are ready all will flow unimpeded through you.

You are to become the vessel when and if you remain worthy of the mantle placed upon you.  All is within you – everything you need is already here. We have been waiting for you to be fully prepared for the journey.

Clear your mind, cleanse your heart and open your mind and be prepared for the great and auspicious journey to come.

Use every moment to seek clarity. Paying attention to detail brings focus necessary for true learning. Come forward to know thyself and all will become clear.

Now go. But remain vigilant and dedicated to who you are to become. Your endeavors will bring forth your ultimate destiny. ##

Wang Chen says, “The sage empties the mind of reasoning and delusion, he fills the stomach with loyalty and honesty, he weakens the will with humility and compliance, and he strengthens the bones with what people already have within themselves.”

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The Dragon

Yen Tsun says, “He empties his mind and calms his breath. He concentrates his essence and strengthens his spirit.”

Finally, Huang Yan-Chi says, “The sage purifies his ears and eyes, puts an end to dissipation and selfishness, embraces the one, and empties his mind.

And Liu Ching says, “This verse describes how the sage cultivates himself in order to transform others.”

For over two thousand years the words of Lao Tzu guided the Emperor and those who orchestrated dynasty to dynasty… Wang Pi in the Han dynasty did an interpretation that became required study for the Imperial Examination System. It was in the final sentence above… how the sage cultivates himself in order to transform others that became the order of the day. With all moving in the same direction the heart finds peace with relationships that brings the coherence that the Taoist understood and the sage found unifying…

 

By 1dandecarlo

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