What is it that ultimately connects us back to our origins or source, or to that which brings clarity to our own vision going forward? What is it that can ignite the “spark” that exists in each of us – that with courage and foresight we come to find as our highest endeavor and destiny? As we have now traced the path following “Inward Training” through a dozen chapters – what if anything, have we learned at the midway point? How Divine Mind (our own we come to find from within) and how the unifying spirit with everything else found in nature (the universe) is connected to us and why should it matter? If it is as Carl Sagan taught us that we are all made of “star stuff”, then the ultimate question becomes what have we contributed to the “knowing, or wisdom of the ages” that adds to the transcendental, the ultimate continuum unifying force of nature. When it is our own eternal spirit and our own growth that matters. When the only one we have to answer to or for is ourselves because immortality, the universe and eternity are already here… residing within us as we are reminded of our role as stewards of the world.
From the earliest bygone era of the shaman whose goal was to help others to connect to the sun, moon, and stars above and to nature below, and to what was to become known as feng shui and kung fu. What is it that connects us and relays our ultimate purpose? What innate talents do we each possess waiting for the moment to be exposed and built upon? What is it we are here to contribute, to build on what has come before us? It is through feng shui and the geomancy of how we define the outside world in such a way – that once we find our inner most talents, our niche (kung fu), we can match both to fit the inherent qualities of each through simply coming to know ourselves.
When we endeavor to do this, then the universe comes forth to expand and convey our next step and ultimate role.
A central aspect of understanding Buddhism is that the life that flows through each of us and through everything around us is actually all connected. This means that who I am cannot be separated from all things that surround me. Or, to put it another way, all sentient beings have their existence and live within my life. So needless to say, that includes even the fate of all mankind – that, too, lies within me. Therefore, just how mankind might truly live out its life becomes what I aim for as the direction and flow of my own endeavors and ultimate destiny with a sense of expressing my absolute gratitude. Perhaps even as Cicero declared, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” For the Buddhist it becomes something conveyed as the bodhisattva vow…
Nei-yeh — Inward Training / The ultimate continuum of Mind and Spirit
There is a numinous (surpassing comprehension or understanding) mind naturally residing within; one moment it goes, the next it comes, and no one is able to conceive of it.
If you lose it you are inevitably disordered;
if you attain it you are inevitably well ordered.
Diligently clean out its lodging place and its vital essence will naturally arrive. Still your attempts to imagine and conceive of it. Relax your efforts to reflect on and control it. Be reverent and diligent and its vital essence will naturally stabilize. Grasp it and don’t let go then the eyes and ears won’t overflow and the mind will have nothing else to seek.
When a properly aligned mind resides within you,
the myriad things will be seen in their proper perspective.
The Way fills the entire world. It is everywhere that people are, but people are unable to understand this.
When you are released by this one word: you reach up to the heavens above; you stretch down to the earth below; you pervade the nine inhabited regions.
What does it mean to be released by it? The answer resides in the calmness of the mind. When your mind is well-ordered, your senses are well-ordered. When your mind is calm, your senses are calmed.
What makes them well-ordered is the mind; what makes them calm is the mind. By means of the mind you store the mind: within the mind there is yet another mind. That mind within the mind: it is an awareness that precedes words.
Only after there is awareness does it take shape; only after it takes shape there is a word. Only after there is a word is it implemented; only after it is implemented is there order. Without order, you will always be chaotic. If chaotic, you die.
The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.
By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:
“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).
The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Te Tao Ching and the 4th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism.”
Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular. Helpful for me, is comparing these thoughts of Buddhism from the East and the bodhisattva vow above with the development of the Unity Church of Practical Christianity and the Fillmore’s and how thoughts of becoming transcendental become universal for each of us. How thought transcends time and space, as we connect again everything we feel, see, and touch with what we have always known, perhaps seen before, but mostly forgotten that helps us, as well as others, in going there.
Going from Earnest Holmes of Science of Mind in my previous entry, to Charles and Myrtle Fillmore founders of Unity becomes a natural progression of seeing the world and ourselves in it. Holmes, who talks about universal spirit and the conscious, or Divine Mind of God and our sense of self-determination, while the Fillmore’s founded a church within the New Thought movement in 1889.
Charles Fillmore became known as an American mystic for his contributions to spiritualist interpretations of biblical Scripture. Whereas, for Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the founders of the Unity Church, their beliefs were centered on two basic propositions: (1) God is good. (2) God is available; in fact, God is in you. That all people have sacred worth. For myself, it is at the Unity Church of Practical Christianity where I am most comfortable here in USA. There is a certain pragmatism and acceptance present in Christ teaching here that I find appealing where all paths to God are not only tolerated and respected, but encouraged.
In looking at Unity, I like to use as a reference the book by James Dillet Freeman, entitled “The Story of Unity”. For Charles Fillmore, it was as if everything he needed to know was shown to him through his dreams after nightly prayers trying to communicate with this superior spirit within known as God. For him it was practical, an exact science coming to terms with the one true source. Sitting in the silence, was his way of connecting to the omnipresent. For Fillmore, this idea of “practical Christianity” presented a scientific view of life. He felt that his wife Myrtle’s healing from illness, as well as, his own healing was aided by prayer and faith. He began a magazine in 1889 called “Modern Thought”, with the motto “Devoted to the Spiritualization of Humanity from an Independent Standpoint”. Fillmore was sure that there was a divine Principle and science of Being, and that he had gained an insight as to the nature of Truth. That the secret was within himself and that the Bible should be used as a guidebook for this Principal. He used his magazine “Modern Thought”, later to be called “Christian Science Thought”, that was for him, and me looking back, as a way of connecting with others who saw the fundamental truth of what was historically referred to as “transcendentalism”. That it is the spirit, rather than the letter of the text, that those who worship (or follow), who have within them the true Christ principle. Unity uses the term “Christ” to mean the divinity in all people.
In effect, Charles Fillmore wanted his magazine to resemble the magazine from fifty years earlier called The Dial, a publication of the New England Transcendentalists headlined by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
To him, the Modern Thought Publishing Company was to publish articles about Buddhism and other spiritual paths while promoting advertisements of periodicals and books written by all schools of metaphysical thought. In effect, taking the next logical step from those who were like-minded that preceded him. He wrote for his magazine, “we want the address of very lecturer and healer working on the spiritual plane. We want to spread all over this great West the good which we know lies in wait for those who are willing to receive it. We are not wedded to any school of metaphysics, hence shall be strictly impartial in our efforts.” Fillmore later refined his efforts to focus only on what he believed to be “practical Christianity” that would become the focus of the Unity school, Pure Mind Healing, and power taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ. This was to become a very big deal as to how “Unity” was to be looked as in more traditional and fundamental churches. It was the universal spirit of God that resides in each of us that was to resonate in how the “Unity Church of Practical Christianity” would proceed. It would be our personal relationship with God that was to empower us. As if taking an oath in the way we live that would serve as our own transformation into the Christ consciousness and open the door for us.
It was at this time, in about 1890, that what was known as metaphysics and thoughts of Christian Science were widely debated and discussed. The Fillmore’s thought of Truth as something that each individual must finally discover for himself in himself.
This idea is paramount in what we see as the interpretation of what can be described as the “eternal spirit, or soul” that resides in each of us. It is universal and timeless. The earliest shaman in China, and spiritual leaders throughout history saw that this spirit resides in each of us. In many cultures this sacredness carried over to the earth we walked and nature, that is here to physically support us. That we respond by giving thanks to the stars and heaven above. In China, this response was to become known as Taoism through Mind Action. We see this in Inward Training as continually outlined above. If we don’t respect our own inherent nature and the world around us – all will die. As relayed many times here, man’s connection to and with nature and the universe is what ultimately defines him.
I have always felt Unity represented the universal power of God, rather defined as the Christ, Tao, Buddha, or otherwise and was compatible with spiritual awakening regardless of the path one chooses. That we are here to assist ourselves and others in “taking the next step”. Like a teacher who must know his subject before teaching it to others. For myself, perhaps it’s taking the thoughts and words of those who came before me through my writing and demonstrating we are all the same, all one. How I, i.e., we are to express the practical application of it all. That the “oneness” of God is within all things and we are here to honor and expand universal love of nature, ours and all that surrounds us. My experiences in China confirmed this as seen below. Or maybe better said with something I wrote entitled… Staying in tune with Destiny, or Danny’s song. Perhaps simply expressing what was to become my own bodhisattva vow…all those years ago.
It was the book by James Dillet Freeman, entitled “The Story of Unity”, along with a suitcase full of many other Unity publications that helped to define the Unity Church for the Christian Church Association of Western Shandong Province that I took and shared with many church leaders in 2004 that led to my ability to publish the Daily Word in China. Over several subsequent trips I took copies of The Story of Unity for them to be distributed to church leaders and government officials.
The China Daily Word was published as a joint-venture by The Kongdan Foundation, in both English and Chinese, monthly with five thousand copies every month for two years (2006-07). It was distributed to churches and small hotels in cities throughout western Shandong Province. I have been told that those sixty thousand copies have now been seen by more than three million people. In many villages they are kept as a “keepsake” by families and some communities check them out like a library. Many years after they were published, I was staying in a small hotel in Jining when the proprietor found out that I was Kongdan… and the publisher of the China Daily Word, she would not at first let me pay. The next morning when I went downstairs there were a half dozen people in the lobby with personal copies wanting me to sign for them. Years later when I was teaching at Jining University (2011-13) in Qufu several of my students were familiar with the China Daily Word because it had helped them to learn English in high school and encouraged them to become teachers as well. When they learned that I was to be their English teacher in college it was like a re-union of spirit, although we had never actually met. The China Daily Word was funded by a contribution from Unity of Delray Beach, Florida where my family and I were members for almost twenty years. In 2015 we returned to Missouri where we were from and became members of Unity of Springfield.
The Unity Church was welcome in Qufu and western Shandong Province in China. A good friend’s daughter Sally was to become the first Unity minister in China and had planned to come to Unity Village to continue her studies. Sally began a correspondence course with the assistance of Glenn Mosley, who was the head of the Unity Minister’s Association, but due to personal circumstances was unable to go to Unity Village. For many years her mother Pei had spent every day at the Christian Family Church in Qufu as the church secretary. Sally had gone so far as to get a VISA to come to USA with Jenny, who had done the Chinese translation for the China Daily Word. Jenny came though and visited Unity Village with my family in July 2012. She is pictured here with my mother, Faye Kleeman. Sally is now married, has a little girl, and is a kindergarten teacher in Beijing.
Another Unity publication that was very popular in China that I took and distributed was the pamphlet – Unity: A Positive Path for Spiritual Living. The very first page reads “Unity is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the power of prayer. Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual’s right to choose a spiritual path.” You must understand that where I was in Qufu has been considered an integral part of Chinese cultural and spiritual history for thousands of years. The public buses that ran from the airport to the bus station in Qufu had the slogan on the sides of the bus that read “Qufu – the spiritual center of China for a thousand years.” They were being modest…
The central tenet of religious and philosophical thought in Chinese history, is that there is no separation of an individual between the universe that resides within each of us, and the path one chooses to follow that connects all and we back to nature. When I briefly mentioned the bodhisattva vow above and will describe next, I could just as easily be focusing on this pamphlet – Unity: A Positive Path for Spiritual Living.
In short, living from or in a spiritual context, they see no separation between themselves and their ultimate source… God. Buddhist influence over thousands of years has taught us to put others before ourselves, Confucius taught that we act through an innate sense of benevolence, and Taoism stressed that we are one with the nature of who and where we are.
The Christian Family Church in China reflects this understanding as it says Jesus Christ is another way through baptism… just as in the West to connect with your source from within while appreciating the path of your neighbor. If Unity could assist them in becoming more universal (in seeing beyond themselves), then they were ready for the transformation it might bring in better understanding what their own ultimate role should be. This idea resonates universally just as it did with Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Unity’s founders. In his early years, despite little formal education, he studied Shakespeare, Tennyson, Emerson, as well as works on spiritualism, Eastern religions, and metaphysics.
That Truth is something that each individual must finally discover for himself in himself. Perhaps similar to better defining for us what it means in becoming a bodhisattva in our own more practical terms. And that Buddhism is more of a “practice we adhere to”, not simply a religion. It’s universality is that you can follow other paths that assist you in taking you there… and that nothing can separate us from our intuition, our eternal inner spirit as our ultimate source. It was this inspiration that guided Lao Tzu, Confucius, Emerson, Thoreau, the Fillmore’s, and so many others.
The bodhisattva vow mentioned in the beginning, is the commitment to put others before oneself. It is a statement of willingness to give up one’s own well-being, even one’s own enlightenment, for the sake of others. It is as if we live in two world which an observer would see as a struggle between letting go of the past and seeing a future of many possibilities, between looking backwards or to progress, to belief verses science and knowledge.
In Mahayana Buddhism, Manjusri is the bodhisattva of wisdom and is one of the most important iconic figures in art and literature. He represents the wisdom of prajna, which is not confined by knowledge or concepts. Images of Manjusri, as with images of other bodhisattvas, are used for meditation, contemplation, and supplication by Mahayana Buddhists.
And as we look out to the world today and see the struggle between spiritual freedom and material power, between the wisdom of the heart and the knowledge of the brain. Or even as the outlier or maybe even seen as an enigma as someone concerned more about the dignity of the individual verses following a herd mentality often epitomized by today’s popular culture. What the transcendental movement over the centuries has always shown in that having faith in a higher destiny of man through inner development verses the belief in material prosperity through possession of material goods will equate with our highest achievement as our own moral compass. As if refining how it all fits together and continues, but for now this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.
Staying in tune with Destiny, or Danny’s song
Striving only to make everything you write better than what you have written before. Bringing forth the words of the ancients to expose them to today’s images and realities.
Living only to become enmeshed in life’s true meaning. As you prepare to die and be reborn again. Your writings and their analogies, paradox and symbolism showing the true way to eternal freedom and peace of mind. Coming forward with no agenda of self, with no agenda representing ego. Losing your identity in your writing and any sense of age as to time spent in your current life span. With no sense of rather you are one thousand years old, one hundred years old, or a day. With no sense of concern for self or showing one’s age to space or time.
Life’s everyday events simply the path to show that you are free of attachments, free of clinging to any earthly endeavors that would get in the way of your ultimate destination. Always creating free time so that it can be spent with your newly found old friends. As they come and go as spirits or metaphors. Known as the dragons that lead you to higher clouds and your true destiny.
Remaining out of the contention life leads to with others present. Striving only to become and remain invisible to all you encounter. With no sense of self seen or need for self-esteem that could possibly become or remain apparent. Not as arrogant or to be seen as better than others. But simply remaining out of harm’s way or conflict. With a loving heart and clear mind fully focused on your one and only true endeavor. Your destiny to remain focused on the task at hand.
To remain as one with the dragons. Creating your own Island of the Blest as your friends come forward to spend time telling their story through your writing. 7/7/1995