We are here to listen, to learn, and to lead. As we become like the sea everything will come to us. As our heart becomes big enough to embrace the entire world, we in turn become an adherent of the light. To live within the consciousness of who we are yet to become. When a person dies his virtue, his work and his joy, continues and remains as shown by his love of nature. Be the one destined for the road that others may follow with the Tao firmly in tow. Knowing this we will thrive.
The sage preserves the female (yin), meaning they know how to be receptive to Tao and its power (de) and are not unbalanced favoring assertion and action (yang) as illustrated in Verse 28 of the Tao Te Ching:
Verse 28 – Maintaining Ancient Virtue
Finding innate virtue Nanjing Museum
Once you’ve recognized your task, the way becomes even more difficult. But it is only by experiencing the tediousness can you begin to advance and rule the day.
Advance as if you have the heart of a child without fear, without knowledge that the task is too big. Thereby always keeping your ancient virtue intact. Simply recognizing that which lies without you while holding onto the oneness within you. Acknowledging what is at its beginning always becomes something else at its end.
That once was hard must become soft. That if we are constantly referring to what appears to be black or white, we are in reality seeing them as dark or light and if we see things as pure verses defiled, we are acknowledging it as either noble or humble.
Recognizing the above, the task of the sage becomes easy. By adhering to what is soft, humble and dark the essence of the Tao is always close at hand.
Advance as if you were an uncarved piece of wood waiting to be molded into what is needed with no pre-conceived outcome of what may occur. Always guided by what comes forth without limits, with the Tao always in charge.
While acting as a master tailor, sewing without seams, the job of the maid suddenly comes forth with ease and grace. The job becoming second nature as you have mastered it fully with your virtue leading the way.
The Heart of a Child Shaanxi Museum Xian
With our virtue leading the Way Wuhan Museum
Learning from past events and previous encounters, we go forward as if buffeted by the wind. Keeping to what we have learned with a pragmatism that overshadows our actions. What we are here to do belies our presence, as we are guided by the innate qualities that are always with us. Resting easy as we acknowledge that we have already arrived as we let events simply play out until their eventual end. Found doing nothing while leaving nothing undone.
Much has been made of the verse below of the Tao Te Ching as being the synthesis of universal understanding of what our role should be. Ho-Shang Kung, who lived in a hut next to the Yellow River in the first century AD relays it best for us I think:
“The Tao gives birth to the beginning. One gives birth to yin and yang. Yin and yang give birth to the breath between, the mixture of clear and turbid. These three breaths divide themselves into Heaven, Earth, and Man and together give birth to the ten thousand things. These elemental breaths are what keep the ten thousand things relaxed and balanced. The organs in our chest, the marrow in our bones, the spaces into plants allow these breaths passage and make long life possible.”
Heaven’s Gate on top of Huashan Mountain
As we in turn, acknowledge this divine presence from within ourselves. Opening our heart and mind to virtue it comes rushing through us as our eternal essence and presence that define both us and all other things. Bringing the thoughts of the ancients forward as they instill some sense of understanding and wisdom in line with today’s thinking enabling us to find our own highest endeavor. This Verse 42 became the underlying concept over the centuries of Taoism that was to play the central role of how everything meshes and comes back into one. Having a sense of it, what can our own role be going forward.
The sage shoulders yin and embraces yang, blends internal energies we call qi, and thereby attains harmony called he; Verse 42 of Tao Te Ching:
Verse 42 – Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you
The Tao gives birth to one. One gives birth to two. Two gives birth to three and three give birth to ten thousand things. When I as one embrace the Tao and open my heart and mind to the universe, I become complete as my focus remains on the horizon.
Huangshan Mountain in Anhui
When I show another person the way, we walk in unison guided by what we have been taught. When we two brighten the path of the third all things become possible and in unison, we give birth to a thousand things. As we too become the world’s teachers.
With yin at our backs and yang in our embrace we look for harmony. What the world hates we love. Just by what some gain in losing others will lose by gaining keeping the world forever in balance. Remaining fully enmeshed in the Tao, the sage simply follows his mentor, Lao Tzu, the ultimate teacher of the way. As such, we are reminded to reduce our desires, remain humble and practice the virtue of harmony.
Letting these three be our guide we quietly give birth to all around us.
Dragons above the clouds reminding us to reduce our desires, remain humble and practice the virtue of harmony. Sichuan Museum
It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self. Taoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters nineteen and twenty of twenty-six are as follows:
Nei-yeh – Inward Training
Dujianyan Waterworks Chengdu
Can you not resort to divining by tortoise or milfoil
yet know bad and good fortune?*
Can you stop? Can you cease?
Can you not seek it in others,
yet attain it within yourself?
You think and think about it
and think still further about it.
You think, yet still cannot penetrate it.
While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it,
it is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,
but to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.
When the four limbs are aligned
and the blood and vital breath are tranquil,
unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
then your eyes and ears will not be over-stimulated.
And even the far-off will seem close at hand. *Note: This was written between 200-300BC
Deep thinking generates knowledge.
Idleness and carelessness generate worry.
Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.
Worry and grief generate illness.
When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die.
When you think about something and don’t let go of it,
internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak.
Do not plan things out in advance
or else your vitality will cede its dwelling.
In eating, it is best not to fill up;
in thinking, it is best not to overdo.
Limit these to the appropriate degree
and you will naturally reach your vitality.
Finally, continuing with thoughts of Verse 42 of the Tao Te Ching as Te Ch’ing tells us…
“What we all share is the Tao, but we don’t know it except through instruction. What others teach, Lao Tzu also teaches. But Lao Tzu excels others in teaching us to reduce our desires and to be humble, to practice the virtue of harmony, and to let this be our teacher.”
To simply become aligned with who we are becoming.