8) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Living from within the rarefied air of higher Truths

I often like to read from the works of the writer George Santayana. One of his most 8asantyanafamous lines is “It is not wisdom to be only wise – and on the inner vision close the eyes – but it is wisdom to believe the heart.” It’s like finding the pattern of our life and following its hidden roots. A more famous quote of his that I think most people know is – Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Except that some things in the past are worth repeating. Some feel it is only in our ability to remember can we make amends and become present as our ultimate selves. I’ve thought a lot recently about the transformation of consciousness. For many, it is felt that meditation and yoga can assist in taking us there. Quantum physics today tells us that our consciousness never dies – that consciousness exists in our mind and continues beyond the constraints of our body, space, and time. That nothing that is observed is unaffected by the observer – that everyone sees a different truth 8aquantumbecause everyone is creating what they see. I would add, based on where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and what we’ve done before.

For myself for now, meditation is best when I picture me being in the rarefied air of high altitudes and catching the prevailing jet-stream or wind. Seeing where it may take me today almost as if I am contemplating or dreaming of times spent with old friends again. As if I am entering an even higher reality, born from visions and inner experience with only my thoughts brought along to take mental notes along the way.  For many it is yoga. Yoga is based on the interaction of physical, spiritual, and psychic phenomena. That controlling our breath and body postures can be combined with mental concentration, spiritual awareness, and emotional equanimity (mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper). As if with the two, bringing ourselves into alignment with a tranqilling and energizing effect that equates us with perfect harmony. Like listening to John Lennon’s Instant Karma again, as if for the first time, as we all shine on like the moon, the stars and the sun… on and on and on.

How to ignite the spark, that sense of enlightenment/consciousness, that eternal presence that is already present within us? It’s what the I Ching and Great Treatise has taught for millennia. Something I will discuss later here. That to know what is to come out of something, we must first know what entered as in defining the nature of things. 

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The Great Treatise Qingyang Taoist Temple

Not as popular culture might define as fortune-telling, but as nature telling the way of things based on their beginnings and propensity, or natural  inclination, for probable outcomes and endings based on cause and effect. To an affinity towards what comforts us as we find ourselves in exactly the life that we deserve in the cosmos of our own creation.

Perhaps it is that our dreams are more real than the plans of our brains, provided our dreams are a mirror of the deepest yearnings of our soul who knows us as the very center of our being – not only our deepest desires and ambitions that hide behind the reasons provided by our intellect. Where is it our intuition and consciousness take us when we let go of who we thought we were and become the extension of the transcendental universal we are here to add to, emulate, equal and/or surpass? That all roads lead to where I now stand.

Inward Training

Fifteen

For those who preserve and naturally generate vital essence on the outside a calmness will flourish.

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Phoenix and Dragon / Wuhan Temple

Stored inside, we take it to be the well-spring.
Flood like, it harmonizes and equalizes and we take it to be the fountain of the vital energy.
When the fountain is not dried up, the four limbs are firm. When the spring is not drained, vital energy freely circulates through the nine apertures.
You can then exhaust the heavens and the earth and spread over the four seas.

When you have no delusions within you, externally there will be no disasters. Those who keep their minds unimpaired within, externally keep their bodies unimpaired. Who do not encounter heavenly disasters or meet with harm at the hands of others, call them sages.

Sixteen

If people can be aligned and tranquil, their skin will be ample and smooth. Their eyes and ears will be acute and clear, their muscles will be supple and their bones will be strong, they will then be able to hold up the Great Circle of the heavens and tread firmly over the Great Square of the earth.

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The Winding Path

They will mirror things with great purity and they will perceive things with great clarity.

Reverently be aware of the Way and do not waver, and you will daily renew your inner power. Thoroughly understand all under the heavens and exhaust everything within the Four Directions. To reverently bring forth the effulgence of the Way:

This is called “inward attainment.” If you do this but fail to return to it, this will cause a wavering in your vitality.

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 Lao Tzu 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 8a3than 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. This connection between the mind, space, and time is evident in old ways, traditions, and cultures that are shown and epitomized as if by replicating history as we build on the past if only to learn from it. It’s what we do by example if seemingly only for the first time.

Regardless of time or place, it is as if grace provides the framework by which a meaningful life is lived. To live a spiritual life, then, is essentially to do things spontaneously “for the love of it” — to do things without attachment to a result or reward. For myself, it comes back to this idea of wu wei, and Chinese thoughts of endeavoring to live by identifying with your highest endeavor. In China, Confucianism would become just another layer (geared to virtue and benevolence) to be added to pre-existing thought. Becoming a way to structure religious and practical everyday thought in such a way that it both shaped, mirrored, and becomes the status quo. To what we would call becoming transcendental and simply not interfering with governing, as those governing were to be seen as only reflecting the same unity you were also 8a8attached to as well. With the thought that all would simply flow through time following an ever-prevailing wind. Traditions continuing to be followed today where the Moon Festival and “moon cakes” are celebrated in the fall, and Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and “dumplings” are considered as ageless, or beyond time, signifying this connection to ancient China. In 2019, Chinese New Year in February 5 and is the Year of the Pig. As if traditions aligning with higher truths keep us centered within the realm of consciousness that best serve our next step, define us and our world.

Respecting our ancestors includes honoring what has come before us found in nature as well i.e., in the spirit of the Great Unity… This respect of nature and our a89simply being a part of it all is also found with indigenous people everywhere. Examples would be Indian populations in North America. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, would exemplify this unity and oneness through his own words and deeds. The Nez Perce are a Native American tribe of the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States. He understood that concentration will bring stability, stillness, and spaciousness; inquiry will bring alertness, vividness, brightness, and clarity. Combined, they will help you to develop creative awareness, and an ability to bring a meditative mind to all aspects of your daily life and it was one’s connection with nature that takes you there.

You find the connection to nature with the Lakota Sioux and in Black Hills in what is now South Dakota.

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Lakota Star Map

According to Oglala Lakota cosmology, their ancestors descend from the spirits of the sky – the star people. Their fundamental spiritual and cultural self-understanding stems from recognizing the connection between the stars and the land. (Heaven and earth) This connection to the stars is similar to that found in ancient China and teachings of the shaman and what one finds on top of mountains when you go directly to your source.

The stories of the landscape of the Black Hills are best told by the people who interpret its sacredness. In her article Mirror of Heaven: Cross-Cultural Transference of the Sacred Geography of the Black Hills, Linea Sundstrom traces the indigenous history of the land with regard to various tribes’ spiritual connection to it. She writes, “Recorded history suggests a complicated series of movements into and out of the Black Hills by various peoples”, but, she argues, the landscape maintained its sacred character since incumbent tribes adopted traditions from their predecessors: “As one group replaced another over the last several centuries, these locations in the Black Hills continued to be recognized as sacred locales and to operate within a system of ethno-astronomical and mythological beliefs”.

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The Black Hills, showing principle sacred sites

The Lakota, the last native people to inhabit the Black Hills, were thus the recipients of the stories of the land, which they incorporated into their own cultural and spiritual identity.

According to Oglala Lakota cosmology, their ancestors descend from the spirits of the sky – the star people. Their fundamental spiritual and cultural self-understanding stems from recognizing the connection between the stars and the land. As Sundstrom explains, “the falling star myth cycle clearly illustrates a belief in a dual universe, wherein star people in the sky and humans on earth occupied analogous and sometimes interchangeable roles”.

Their intimate relationship with astrology drew the Lakota to the sacred landscape of the Black Hills, where they identified several natural features with corresponding constellations. Manifestly, the Lakota people and the Black Hills are deeply connected through stories that demonstrate the sacredness of the land. It is inherent in Lakota spiritual and cultural understanding that this land holds infinite significance, and it is thus the obligation of the people of the earth to protect and preserve its sanctity. The Lakota appeal to the Hills’ sacredness through ritual and ceremony.

There is a certain symmetry, reciprocal, as if corresponding reaction to the universe that is inherent, i.e., existing in everything, including us. You can see that in what was to become central to Chinese thought and philosophy in what was to become known as Chinese cosmology and the Ten Wings.

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The Dunhuang map  from the Tang Dynasty  (North Polar region). This map is thought to date from the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang  (705–710). Found in Dunhuang, Gansu.

The Ten Wings were composed during the Warring States and Early Han Periods of China in about 500 to 200 BC. The Ten Wings were “commentaries” attempting to convey the “true meaning” of the I Ching that were to direct the way we lived our lives. The Fifth and Sixth Wings were of great interest to me and you can find my version of them here on my website at the tab The Dazhuan – The Meaning of the I Ching.

 

Part 1 of the Dazhuan   1.1     The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part 1 Number 1

 A cosmic analogy – How Heaven and Earth define Change

There is a symbolic reality of what lies between figures formed in Heaven and are shapes on Earth as high and low places are spread about as both movement and stillness. Just as with in the face of Heaven each person stands alone, there are limits to what is knowable. Just as there are gates in which things come and go always transforming into being something new. The energies that are at work in Heaven and Earth also drive the symbols of change as we observe that events never happen alone and that all changes and the transformation of Heaven and Earth reside in the Yijing, or I Ching.

Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate, from the Compendium of Diagrams (detail), 1623
8a7Zhang Huang (1527-1608)
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
26.3 x 15.5 cm (each page)
© The University of Chicago Library, East Asian Collection

The Taiji diagram (taiji tu) first appeared in a Taoist context at the beginning of the Song dynasty (960-1279). … Prior to this, yin and yang were symbolized by the tiger and the dragon, and this symbolism has continued throughout the history of later Taoism [Daoism]. The diagram symbolizes the unity of the forces of yin and yang within the Tao. Taiji means “supreme ultimate,” and as such the diagram symbolizes the fundamental Taoist view of the structure of reality, namely that beyond the duality of phenomenal existence, created through the interaction of yin and yang, is the unity of the Tao [Dao], which exists beyond time and space. … The Compendium of Diagrams (Tushubian) is a 127-chapter encyclopedia on cosmology, geography, and human life compiled in the early Wanli reign (1573-1620) by the scholar Zhang Huang.

* Text above excerpted from Stephen Little, et al. Taoism and the Arts of China. (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, in association with University of California Press, 2000), p. 131.

The symbols of change found in the I Ching contain the formative power of both Heaven and Earth as whole and broken lines that distinguish that events are both different and the same and can be interpreted and understood.

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I Ching from The Temple  of the Eight Immortals in Xian

These transformations can be seen in the movement found in the Eight Diagrams, the bagua. These three-line figures contain the energy of natural processes: as thunder and lightning stimulate, wind and rain fertilize, sun and moon move on their prescribed courses and after cold comes heat.

The fundamental symbols of change are chien and kun. They contain the power of Heaven and Earth and serve to connect us directly with change.

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The Bagua

Chien (Heaven) helps us to change spontaneously letting us know change in our hearts. Kun (Earth) makes and completes everything. This gives us the ability to act without complications or pride (ego) and lets us follow change in life with simplicity and spontaneity. When we open ourselves to the influence of change, we acquire the ability to gain both the deep affection of others and ability to lead our own life as an independent person.

The Great Treatise (the 5th and 6th Wings described above) tells us, “What is readily recognized is accepted.  What is readily followed brings success. What dsci0447is accepted can endure and what brings success can grow great. Endurance is the wise man’s power; greatness is the wise man’s task. Being spontaneous and simple means grasping the principles of all under Heaven; grasping the principles of all under chien, or Heaven, means finding one’s place in the midst of kun, or earth”. How we do this is called the “Great Enterprise”.  The key to initiating a sense of understanding change is becoming aware of what is known as symbolic reality that teaches you to see the pattern of things. It is this symbolic reality that becomes our own reflection. Staying in the middle is a step towards freedom from compulsive emotion, the fear of anticipation, and sorrow over the unexpected. The I Ching gives you direct access to the symbolic world behind appearances and with practice the ability to know that lies ahead. (2014)

The parallels between east and west are amazing as reflected above by the Nez Perce and Oglala Sioux of North America and the I Ching and yin/yang cosmology from China, but for now this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

Simply to remain Indifferent

Remaining indifferent to time and space. If the universe is infinite, then where can heaven and earth begin and end. Can human intelligence and perception possibly begin to know all there is to become?  What can possibly remain outside the realm of human reasoning?

What is truth but a prolonged assault on the limitations of everyday knowledge? img_0276 (2)Questioning myths and legends and customs ingrained over time. Questioning authority ‑ even Confucius. What can one make of something called common sense?   While all the while, Confucius attempts to end for all time the time-honored mythology enjoyed and known to all. As in the Tao, we attempt to recover an inner vision or a reversion to what may appear as childlike or a simple return to innocence.

What could possibly be known as an end all to any discussion when the universe is immeasurable?  When the cosmos serves as a place for the extraordinary, how can anything be seen but possible and likely to occur? What can this relativity of judgment be when everything is bigger than some things and smaller than others? What are reasonable differences if they are held good by some standards and bad by img_0268 (2)others? Is not this precisely the point?

As Chuang Tzu continually reminds us that it is useless to conceive alternatives because neither can be right or wrong. What can be big or small? In the eyes of who and what can be made of common sense?  In the end the Tao delights in the extraordinary as it challenges the lack of imagination and the adherence to order and structure demanded by the Confucians.

If everything has no beginning and no ending and simply changes in form according to space and time, then remaining indifferent is the only true path to understanding. If it is useless as Chuang says to seek alternatives because neither can be right or wrong, where can differences lie?      4/13/1995

 

By 1dandecarlo

7) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / The ultimate continuum of Mind and Spirit

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” 71that 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.

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Buddha and bodhisattva

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

Thirteen

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.

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Qingyang Taoist Temple Chengdu

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.

Fourteen

The Way fills the entire world. It is everywhere that people are, but people are unable to understand this.

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       Azure Cloud Temple          Mount Taishan

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 75power 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.

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The Tower at Unity Village

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.

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Charles and Myrtle Fillmore

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.

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Qingyang Taoist Temple Chengdu

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.

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Dan with Unity ministers Cathy and Nancy Norman in Qufu in 2004

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.

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Reverend Kong of Western Shandong Christian Association with Dan in 2002

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 710I 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.

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Sally, Pei and Ben

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 711Unity 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 713was 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.

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Watchfulness  Sichuan Museum  Chengdu

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.

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 Connecting with spirit           Buddhist Big Wild Goose Pagoda     Xian

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 716many 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 717before. 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.

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Lao Tzu’s Blast Furnace  Huashan Mountain

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

By 1dandecarlo

6) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Setting sail into the Infinite

Assisting others in finding the meaning, or bliss of their own achievement. Or even having no greater endeavor than taking the next step that better explains the intent, or universal understanding today of what was said before we arrived on the scene. As we live to tell our own story by following our heart.       

Four of my friends came by today.

Did they leave feeling better than they did when the came?

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Ancient wise men singing out to the universe / Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Did I say things to enlighten their spirits?

Did I acknowledge their pain and frustration?

Did I impart a sense of well-being, compassion and true concern?

Living the Tao leads one to safe refuge in knowing the way and helping others to find theirs. 

Four of my friends came by today.  

1/28/94 (From the Introduction of my first book published in China in 2004).

I think we sometimes lose focus on the true meaning of divine mind, our connection with spirit and the past. I like to carry forward the thought about an ancient idea that seems to have originated in Mexico where the majority of Hispanics are Roman Catholics. The Church teaches that the soul is eternal and continues on after the physical body has died. This religious faith also treats all human life as sacred and that each of us die three times. First, when we actually die a physical death. Second, when we are buried, and third, when nobody remembers our name.

The premise being what have we left behind that contributes to understanding of our role and ongoing, or continuing, spiritual nature. In effect knowing that we are here to connect with the past in the present and paving the way for others – going forward. It’s not really a matter of attempting to achieve something outside ourselves, as much as, looking within and expanding the notion of who we are and taking the next step. As if we breathe in an atmosphere of peace and beauty the natural outflow of a mind to whom AI2harmony is not just an aesthetic pleasure, but the expression of a life (our own) devoted to the realm of the spirit.

Instead of stopping where we find comfort with where we are at the moment, we look beyond what is known as we contribute to eternal wisdom that brings us to enlightenment. As if our ultimate role is in furthering the philosophy and thoughts of those who preceded us through our actions… as we look forward. As if one’s destiny is measured and becomes ensured as you add to the wisdom of the ages. Finally, the greatest thing we have to give is to love the journey. My New Year’s resolution – becoming more authentic to my true self.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Setting sail into the Infinite / or maybe just our transforming reflections

Eleven

When your body is not aligned, the inner power will not come.

AI3

The steps – Huangshan

When you are not tranquil within,
your mind will not be ordered.
Align your body, assist the inner power,
then it will gradually come on its own.

Twelve

The numinous [mind]: no one knows its limit;
it intuitively knows the myriad things.

AI4

Heaven’s Gate / Huashan Mountain

Hold it within you, do not let it waver.

To not disrupt your senses with external things,
to not disrupt your mind with your senses:
this is called “grasping it within you.”

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 AI20century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu 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. Divine mind is not singular to any one spiritual expression or connection. As I’ve said many times here, it is simply the path AI6that takes us there.

An image of Mencius in the sanctuary of the Mencius Temple, Zoucheng

Two people come readily to mind that epitomized this sense of Divine Mind. In the East an example would be Mencius, and the West… Earnest Holmes. Continuing the process of becoming transcendental (the process we use to see beyond ourselves) and who is it we choose to follow. Mencius was considered to be a descendant of the Duke of Zhou (Ji Dan), who was credited with elaborating the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven that was used to justify the rule of the emperor and codifying the Book of Rites. The Duke of Zhou was from Qufu and lived five hundred years before Confucius.

For Western thought, it’s about transcendentalism, transformation and taking the next step. For Eastern thought and philosophy and looking to Mencius it’s best to consider ideas of human nature, and how thought and philosophy were solidified and transitioned over time. Mencius lived in China in about 350 BC, about the same time as Plato and Aristotle did in ancient Greece.

While Confucius himself did not explicitly focus on the subject of human nature, Mencius asserted the innate goodness of the individual.

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Entrance to Mencius Temple in Zoucheng

Believing that it was society’s influence – its lack of a positive cultivating influence – that caused bad moral character saying “He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature” and “the way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind.”  Something Emerson would have said as well referring to one’s intuition.

For Mencius this was exemplified with expressions of love…what would later be called “Divine Mind”. That this moral character has Four Beginnings:

1)The feeling of commiseration (to feel sorrow or compassion) is the beginning of humanity; 2) the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; 3) the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and 4) the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom.

To show innate goodness, Mencius used the example of a child falling down a well. Witnesses of this event immediately feel alarmed or distress, not to gain friendship with the child’s parents, nor to seek the praise of their neighbors and friends, nor AI8because they dislike the reputation of lack of humanity if they did not rescue the child…

A Yuan Dynasty turtle with a stele honoring Mencius

Men have these Four Beginnings just as they have their four limbs. Having these Four Beginnings, but saying that they cannot develop them is to destroy themselves. This idea is the same as that proposed in the Taoist Inward Training we have been following and illustrative of how it all ties together with early Chinese popular culture.

Human nature has an innate tendency towards goodness, but moral rightness cannot be instructed down to the last detail. This is why merely external controls always fail in improving society. True improvement results from educational cultivation in favorable environments. Likewise, bad environments tend to corrupt the human will. This, however, is not proof of innate evil because a clear-thinking person would avoid causing harm to others.

AI9

Stele honoring Mencius

This position of Mencius puts him between Confucians and others such as Xunzi who thought people were innately bad, and Taoists who believed humans did not need cultivation, they just needed to accept their innate, natural, and effortless goodness. The four beginnings could grow and develop, or they could fail. In this way Mencius synthesized integral parts of Taoism into Confucianism. Individual effort was needed to cultivate oneself, but one’s natural tendencies were good to begin with. The object of education is the cultivation of benevolence, otherwise known as Ren as we acknowledge that the mind and spirit are one.

I have been to what is called the Mencius Temple a half dozen times in Zoucheng, a city about twenty miles south of Qufu. References in the beginning here as to dying when nobody remembers your name… well, the Mencius Temple was built during AT14the Song Dynasty, more than a thousand years after his AI11death.

Dan at the Mencius School at the Mencius Temple in Zoucheng

His primary claim to fame was the codifying, or as an interpreter of the teachings of Confucius with Confucius’ grandson Zisi. His interpretations of Confucius caught the attention of the emperor and became a central tenet of the examination system required for advancement in Chinese society. Mencius descendants became known as one of the “Four Families” (Confucius, Mencius, Zeng Zi, and Yan Hui) who were dedicated to keeping the teachings and spirit alive of Confucius in China AI12for more than two thousand years.

The school for their descendants in Qufu, adjacent to the Confucius Mansion and Temple, now a high school, is where I taught and lived for more than two years (2011 – 13). In many ways it was like returning home. It was Mencius focus on love and benevolence that was to be the foundation of Confucius teachings and a factor in it becoming a lasting philosophy. His contribution with others is what made Confucius immortal, while his own family’s lineage today can be traced back for more than three thousand years. For myself, this pull of returning to Qufu and western Shandong for almost twenty years seems much more connected to Mencius than Confucius himself.

According to Mencius, education must awaken the innate abilities of the human mind. He denounced memorization and advocated active interrogation of the text, saying, “One who believes all of a book would be better off without books”. One should check for internal consistency by comparing sections and debate the probability of factual accounts by comparing them with experience. Mencius also believed in the power of destiny in shaping the roles of human beings in society. What is destined cannot be contrived by the human intellect or foreseen. Destiny is shown when a path arises that is both unforeseen and constructive. Destiny should not be confused with Fate. Mencius denied that Heaven would protect a person regardless of his actions, saying, “One who understands Destiny will not stand beneath a tottering wall”. The proper path is one which is natural and unforced. This path must also be maintained because, “Unused pathways are covered with weeds”. One who follows Destiny will live a long and successful life. One who rebels against Destiny will die before his time. I would add that our fate lies within us, we only have to be brave enough to see it.

Reflecting on this, it becomes easier to see how others over time saw “the innate abilities of the human mind” as Divine Mind and could/would manifest these AI13ideals into their own consciousness and become transcendental themselves regardless of where they were. For Earnest Holmes, the idea of universal wisdom focused on the Oneness of God and man. The enlightened in every age have taught that in back of all things there is One Unseen Cause, as if a spark just waiting for the right moment to be ignited. You can tell he was inspired by the likes of Henry David Thoreau and his thoughts on how all things are connected, just as in Eastern thought, we would call this cause and effect. That which ties things back to their Original nature – their source. That the word unity signifies the union of parts, the result of many drawn together into one perfect harmonious whole, oneness. One life, of which we are a part, One intelligence in which we use, and One substance which is brought into manifold manifestation.

The Church of Religious Science is fundamentally in accord with other New AI14Thought churches in its beliefs that there is a Divine Universal Force of Goodness, and we as human individuals can improve our conditions by aligning and harmonizing with this universal force.

From Science of Mind Archives: “Our time should be devoted to knowing the Truth that sets humanity free from the problem of ignorance; that Truth which alone can bring enlightenment to the world, that war should cease, that people should live together in harmony because they have recognized the Divinity in each other.”

An introduction to Earnest Holmes… Who was Earnest Holmes? Where did he come from? And how is it that a man who had a distaste for organized religion become the founder of the Science of Mind movement? In studying his life, our goal is not to just learn about the life of this man but to attempt to capture his consciousness knowing that that consciousness is the vitality of our teaching.

Earnest Holmes founded the International Religious Science movement and wrote The Science of Mind and numerous other books on metaphysics. He also founded the international monthly periodical, Science of Mind Magazine, which has been in continuous monthly publication since 1927 and has influenced millions of people. His Science of Mind teaching, recognized today as one of the leading viewpoints in modern metaphysics, is a spiritual philosophy that people throughout the world have come to know as a positive, supportive approach to life.

Earnest Holmes said, “Out there in the vast reaches of outer space and here in the equally vast reaches of inner space, everything is in order. Our task is to begin to understand that the Universal Mind is resident everywhere, and also, of necessity within us. Our prayer is that the Truth be made known, that it cannot fail to be revealed.”

The General Summary in Earnest Holmes excellent book, The Science of Mind, A Philosophy, A Faith, a way of life, begins with the premise that “The Mind of man is some part of the Mind of God; therefore, it contains within itself unlimited possibility of expansion and self-expression. The conscious mind of man is self-knowing, self-assertive; it has volition (the faculty or power of using one’s will), will, choice and may accept or reject. It is the only part of man’s mind which can think independently of conditions. The sub-conscious mind of man is simply the Law of Mind in action. It is not a thing of itself but is the medium for all thought action. It is the medium by which man may call into temporary being whatever he needs or enjoys on the pathway of his experience.” For myself I think, Holmes had to be looking back to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideas of our intuition that ties us back to universal thought action, to God.

Holmes continues, “The Mind of God is Infinite. The mind of man is some part of this AI16Infinite, Creative Mind of God. Therefore, the mind of man is as Infinite as is man’s capacity to understand his true relationship to God or Spirit. The mind of man is continuously unfolding into a greater recognition of its real plan in the creative order of the Universe. It does not yet comprehend its own power or scope but it does know how, in some measure, to consciously co-operate with the Infinite.

Spirit is really the only Mind there is. It is Eternal. It never began nor will It ever cease to be. It is complete and perfect, happy and whole, satisfied and at peace with Itself. The spirit is the only Conscious Intelligence in the Universe. Therefore, It is the only Divine Intelligence in the Universe, Because the mind of man is the Mind of God in man, the mind of man is conscious and directive. It is to man what God is to the Universe”.

The book describing “Science of Mind” above is a great source of inspiration, and is 100_4948a must (for me anyway), in seeing how the thoughts of transcendentalism and “New Thought” took the next step in connecting everything together and understanding how we are a part of it all, immediately following Emerson and Thoreau. How we think and act is about context. How we piece together what we think we know and understand, with the reality of how things got to where they are now. How we piece together thoughts and our actions with eternal knowledge with eternal wisdom we have always known but forgotten, or maybe just left along the wayside as we travel in the here and now. Or maybe just as important acknowledging the path others have gone before us as teachers of how we are to take the next step and where it might lead.

Maybe it is as Thoreau taught us… “If a man does not keep pace with his AI21companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” With thoughts of our own immortality and what we might be here to add to the discussion for others who might see “our take on things”, and with this, see the spark of their own Infinite possibilities that carry them forward to find their authentic self as well. As if we are each taking the next step into the Infinite… or as Van Morrison sang we were born before the wind in Into the Mystic. For now, this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

Transforming Reflections       

Refreshing one’s memory, the world becomes more real than the nothingness 100_4943from where we come and will return. However, can life be but a dream or are we dreaming, therefore we have come alive?

Traveling through time from one lifetime to the next, can our dreams be 100_4951 (1)more than illusions we cling to along the way. When we awoke this morning from a blissful sleep did we have any sense that what we have dreamed is less than the reality we lived yesterday or the day before or will come to know today, tomorrow or the next?

When dreaming, are we aware that we are dreaming? When awake are we truly 100_4975aware that we are awake?  Or are we simply living our dreams? If both are the same, then the question becomes what can we be awakening into? 

Dreaming that we are but a butterfly darting from flower to flower are we not as Chuang Tzu in his dream, or are we but the butterfly dreaming that he is Chuang Tzu? Are not our dreams living out the reality of who we are? Is not life but a dream which lasts until death, when we find our ultimate unveiling? 

Is not awakening midstream in one’s life the opportunity to come closer to one’s true reality beyond the Tao? Is not all that breathes and becomes lifelike or has appearance therefore taking shape simply illusion? Where can reality and dreaming differ?  Is not the ultimate truth only the reflection found in mirror images of ourselves? 

100_4979 (1)If our experiences while we are awake are the same as when we sleep, then are not experiences found while we sleep the same as when we are awake? Is not true living to abolish any division between illusion and reality?  Thereby becoming indifferent to the world around us. All things being equal, do we not become transformed and continue onward to vistas we have known and seen before?      2/5/95

 

By 1dandecarlo

5) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Emerson and the pull of nature

Awakening to the universal Christ presence – and the love within…

Something that got my attention at a young age when I was 16 – 17, was when I listened to shortwave radio (in the late 60’s and early 70’s) and received regular mailings from over  twenty countries because I was a regular listener to their broadcast in English to America.

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The Tower of London

 I often listened to the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Prague, Radio Moscow, Radio Peking, Radio South Africa, Havana, Kiev, Budapest, Bucharest, Lisbon, Quito, the Vatican, etc., etc.  

Every year I would get Christmas cards that would express “Merry Christmas” in ten or twelve languages from many of them that infused a guiding principle in me. The message was always that love is expressed as spirit and is universal. That the presence of God’s love, however defined, begins with each of us. AE2

Vydubychi Monastery is an historic monastery in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

That in aligning with divine mind, we become the hope of the world as we awaken to the consciousness, the “Christ presence” found within ourselves. This divine love is the expression of our spirit and knows no boundaries, skin color, language, or other thing that might serve to separate us. It is through this “light and love” we “enlighten” our world and come forth as who we truly are. It is the expression AE3of our innate wisdom acknowledging our connection to the heavens and grounds us to the present, to earth. It is at this time we accept our own spiritual nature and the peace found in this Christ presence. It is nothing more than the true potential of ourselves and the divine simplicity acting within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson did as much as anyone to convey that this oneness permeates all and that we should be open to what our world has to teach us.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Emerson and the pull of nature

Nine

Those who can transform even a single thing, call them “numinous”; those who can alter even a single situation, call them “wise.”

AE5

Huashan Mtn  in Shaanxi province

But to transform without expending vital energy; to alter without expending wisdom:
only exemplary persons who hold fast to the One are able to do this.
Hold fast to the One; do not lose it,
and you will be able to master the myriad things.
Exemplary persons act upon things,
and are not acted upon by them.
Because they grasp the guiding principle of the One.

Ten

With a well-ordered mind within you, well-ordered words issue forth from your mouth, and well-ordered tasks are imposed on others.

AE6

Distant horizons Huashan Mountain

Then all under heaven will be well-ordered.
“When one word is grasped,
all under the heavens will submit.
When one word is fixed,
all under heavens will listen.”
It is this word “Way or Tao”

to which the saying refers.

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.

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Teacher and student   Qingyang Mtn  Chengdu

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. This along with our understanding that any spiritual culture based on a living tradition with a conscious connection to one’s origins and freedom of thought is what really matters.

AE8

Above the Clouds on Huashan Mountain

Beyond any sense of impermanency, or lack, to a place where only immortality dwells as we touch the clouds with our innate wisdom intact and fulfill the purpose for which we are created. It is from here we begin to re-discover who we really are. If we are to follow the “Christ” presence, or spirit within, then for me this is the first step in celebrating our own nature and the nature of others that surrounds us with Christmas and/or other celebratory traditions that help to take us there.

It is as if we each, as with all things found in nature, have a certain permanence or an inseparable element, an attribute that connects everything, including us in continuity with eternity. With no real beginning or ending, only progress towards our own enlightenment. As if there is an unknowable attachment, we cling to like a magnet – if only innately or unconsciously.

AE9

Nature’s Bounty Taoist Temple in Luoyang

It was this truism that people like Aristotle, Plato, Meister Ekhart, Emmanuel Kant, and others were speaking to… that moved the sense of God to the place that fit with the practical application for how people were to first find the spirit within, then replicate that spirit through their actions and how to live their lives. In Eastern thought, as demonstrated here in Inward Training, a similar response to the universe was to also first recognize that the greatness outside of oneself (nature) is only a mirror of our inner selves. Looking to the West, as I seem to go back and forth, the next great leap of faith from Emmanuel Kant and extension of transcendentalism was Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and the “New Thought” movement. Hundreds of books and writers have attempted to emulate, and convey their impact on what was to become known as the transcendental movement. For myself, I will try to convey their importance both in a personal sense, and looking outwardly as to their impact on others. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Gandhi, MLK, Bobby Kennedy and others come readily to mind. As if finding, or looking for, the purpose for which we are created and not dying before we have delivered the great message that is paramount above all else which is embodied in each of us. Or conveying the thread for others to find and follow. As we attune to the vibrations and voices of those who have imparted the wisdom that guides us on our way.

But first is to focus on Emerson. Everything seems to begin with his influence and wisdom that directs so many others.

AE10

Taoist Meditation Qingyang Mtn

In this short synopsis, I will try to relay how the universe as we know it changed with him. Thoreau’s work will follow shortly after. Emerson’s work on Nature could have just as easily been written by Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and others who directed what was to become Taoism in China for over a thousand years prior to Emerson’s time in early America. The similarities are astounding. No one before or since bridged the gap or space between Eastern and Western philosophy and thought more than Ralph Waldo Emerson. Many in Asian studies feel Emerson was a true Taoist as heart.

In his essay “Nature”, Emerson lays out and attempts to solve an abstract problem: that humans do not fully accept nature’s beauty. He writes that people are distracted by the demands of the world, whereas nature gives but humans fail to reciprocate. The essay consists of eight sections: Nature, Commodity, Beauty, Language, Discipline, Idealism, Spirit and Prospects. Each section takes a different perspective on the relationship between humans and nature.

In the essay Emerson explains that to experience the “wholeness” with nature for which we are naturally suited, we must be separate from the flaws and distractions imposed on us by society. Emerson believed that solitude is the single mechanism through which we can be fully engaged in the world of nature, writing “To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not AE11solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.”

Illustration of Emerson’s transparent eyeball metaphor in “Nature” by Christopher Pearse Cranch, ca. 1836-1838

When a person experiences true solitude, in nature, it “takes him away”. Society, he says, destroys wholeness, whereas “Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus, the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man.”

Emerson defines a spiritual relationship in nature as when a person finds it’s spirit and accepts it as the Universal Being as if simply an extension of himself.  He writes: “Nature is not fixed but fluid; to a pure spirit, nature is everything.”

AE19

The Needles, Black Hills, South Dakota

It’s almost like he is channeling all those who came before him. As if his own awakening spirit could not only see the connection, but become one with it. The sacredness of the Black Hills to the Lakota Sioux Indians come to mind. That with nature comes constant renewal. For my own indulgence, I can’t seem to get enough of trying to understand how he reached the conclusions he did. It was as though he was the Chuang Tzu of his day. Challenging the status quo, i.e., what others had decided what were givens as pre-determined thought and philosophy. He wasn’t having it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, AE12lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and had a prescient knowledge of things or events before they existed or happened. He had foresight as to where things were headed and did not like the direction of what was considered as common knowledge of the day. With this, he became a critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. What most interests me now is that Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism expressed in his 1836 essay “Nature”. Nature is an essay written by Emerson, and published by James Munroe and Company in 1836. In the essay Emerson put forth the foundation of transcendentalism, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Transcendentalism suggests that the divine, or God, suffuses nature, and suggests that reality can be understood by studying nature.

There was also a direct correlation and connection to transcendentalism from the AE13East by Indian religions and Thoreau in his book Walden where he spoke of the transcendentalists’ debt to Indian religions directly through the universal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta and the first English translation of the Lotus Sutra that was included in The Dial, a publication of the New England Transcendentalists that had been translated from French by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody.

The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy, and Religion, AE15Volume 1, 1841

So, the connection was clear from the 1840’s going forward between what was the become “New Thought” and the East. Although, this connection was primarily from the Hindu Bhagavat Geeta and Buddhist Lotus Sutra. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching had been translated by this time and was available as well.

The Bhagavad Gita was written at some point between 400 BC and 200 AD. Like the Vedas and the Upanishads, the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita is unclear. However, the credit for this text is traditionally given to a man named Vyasa, who is more of a legend than an actual historical figure; because of this, Vyasa has been compared to Homer, the great figure of ancient Greek epic poetry.

Within the “Nature” essay, Emerson divides nature into four usages: Commodity, Beauty, Language and Discipline. These distinctions define the ways by which AE16humans use nature for their basic needs, their desire for delight, their communication with one another and their understanding of the world. Emerson followed the success of “Nature” with a speech,  The American Scholar, which together with his previous lectures laid the foundation for transcendentalism and his literary career. In his lecture, Emerson suggests that it is time to create a new American cultural identity. Something we certainly could use today. Also, for myself, as someone immersed in Eastern thought and philosophy I was especially struck by portions in the speech, after the introduction. The first part of his lecture discusses the importance and influence of nature on our minds. A person should be educated by observing the natural world. In doing so, we will eventually discover the similarities between our minds and nature. Both nature and the human spirit have a circular power with no beginning or end. One can find order in both nature and in the mind. In studying nature, a scholar will realize that as knowledge of nature increases, so too does knowledge of the self. The reverse is also true. As with the I Ching… and the essence of Taoism and self-cultivation, as we structure knowledge, practice, and experience our attitude determines our altitude.

Emerson uses spirituality as a major theme in the essay. He believed in re-imagining the divine as something large and visible, which he referred to as nature; such an idea is known as transcendentalism as mentioned above, in which one perceives AE17God and their body (their innate nature), and becomes one with their surroundings. Emerson confidently exemplifies transcendentalism, stating, “From the earth, as a shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to partake its rapid transformations: the active enchantment reaches my dust, and I dilate and conspire with the morning wind”, postulating that humans and wind are one. (I love this) Becoming one with the wind is commonplace in Eastern philosophy and Taoist belief as you immerse yourself in nature. Emerson referred to nature as the “Universal Being”; he believed that there was a spiritual sense of the natural world around him. Depicting this sense of “Universal Being”, Emerson states, “The aspect of nature is devout. Like the figure of Jesus, she stands with bended head, and hands folded upon the breast. The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship”.

According to Emerson, there were three spiritual problems addressed about nature for humans to solve: “What is matter? Whence is it? And Where to?” What is matter? Matter is a phenomenon, not a substance; rather, nature is something that is experienced by humans, and grows with humans’ emotions. Whence is it and Where to? Such questions can be answered with a single answer, nature’s spirit is expressed through humans, Therefore, that spirit, that is, the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us”, states Emerson. Emerson clearly depicts that everything must be spiritual and moral, in which there should be goodness between nature and humans.

“Nature” was controversial to some. One review published in January 1837 criticized the philosophies in “Nature” and disparagingly referred to beliefs as “Transcendentalist”, coining the term by which the group would become known. Henry David Thoreau had read “Nature” while at Harvard and took it to heart.

AE18

Walden Pond

It eventually became an essential influence for Thoreau’s later writings, including his seminal Walden. Thoreau wrote Walden after living in a cabin on land that Emerson owned. Their longstanding acquaintance offered Thoreau great encouragement in pursuing his desire to be a published author. My next entry here will focus on Thoreau because of his influence on what was to become the “transcendental movement” in America. But a little more here… and this sense of unity of spirit that connects all. Two of my most favorite quotes by Thoreau are “It’s not important what you look at, it’s important what you see”. A second quote would be, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away”.

In philosophical terms, I like to think of Henry David Thoreau as more the “common man” mirroring Lieh Tzu in Chinese history. Back to nature, living a simple life exploring man’s connection with his environment. Whereas, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was more in keeping with Chuang Tzu’s “perfected man”. Questioning the folly of following accepted norms and looking to the rights of the individual over the need to conform with society. For now though, this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

The sway of Nature

Knowing and not knowing. In accord with all things, with all things remaining forever equal.

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All things remaining forever equal

The final sway of nature never a concern in the end. To be as Kuan yin says: “If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond as an echo.”                                                                                                                                               One asks, how can this be so?  The answer is simple. The Way is in constant accord with all other things. To be as a droplet of water flowing down life’s current unconcerned with the events around you, only going along for the ride.

Following life’s current, not swimming upstream against things as they should be. Unconcerned with using eyes and ears or the mind to find the way to follow.

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Providing for the ultimate way of nature   Qingyang Taoist Temple   Chengdu 

Always letting events determine whatever outcome that may come. Seeing without sight. Hearing without ears. Knowing without knowledge. Where then, can be the way?

The gatekeeper Kuan yin reminds us: “Peer at it in front of you suddenly it is behind you. Use it, and it will fill every quarter of the void; neglect it, and you will never know where it is. It is not something that the presence of the mind can dismiss and can bring nearer. It is grasped only by one who grasps it in silence and lets it mature naturally. To know without passion, be able but not do is truly knowing and truly being able. Discard ignorance, and how can you feel passion? Discard inability, and what can you do?”

To remain as the dirt beneath your feet as you walk. Yet doing nothing, just doing by being. Knowing that without the dirt or earth there could be no flowers to beautify your surroundings nor food to sustain you. Remaining forever constant, simply in nature’s sway.    3/26/95

 

 

By 1dandecarlo

4) Nei-yeh — Inward Training and transcendentalism

What is it we are looking for when we find ourselves literally above or AYou are herebeyond what we know with our source? As if we are creating, or in the flow of our highest selves. Not waiting for the world as we find our natural rhythm or spirit that takes us there. It’s like that mountain top experience – where time and space dissolve and you become one with it all again, if only for a moment. What the presence within yearns to return AW2to… as if going within we find ourselves coming home to a place we’ve been a thousand times before. It is in acknowledging this transcendence, we re-discover what nurtures us through eternity. As if we are here only to refine the spirit within. Coming out of the darkness and finding the light that takes us there.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training and transcendentalism / Wisdom to be shared by All

Seven

For the heavens, the ruling principle is to be aligned.

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The Listener Shaanxi Museum

For the earth, the ruling principle is to be level.
For human beings the ruling principle is to be tranquil.
Spring, autumn, winter and summer are the seasons of the heavens.
Mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys are the resources of the earth.
Pleasure and anger, accepting and rejecting are the devices of human beings.

Therefore, the sage:
Alters with the seasons but doesn’t transform,
shifts with things but doesn’t change places with them.

Eight

If you can be aligned and be tranquil, only then can you be stable.

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The Decanter Urn Sichuan Museum

With a stable mind at your core,
with the eyes and ears acute and clear,
and with the four limbs firm and fixed,
you can thereby make a lodging place for the vital essence.
The vital essence: it is the essence of the vital energy.
When the vital energy is guided, it [the vital essence] is generated,
but when it is generated, there is thought,
when there is thought, there is knowledge,
but when there is knowledge, then you must stop.
Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge,
you lose your vitality.

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 AW5BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu 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.

It is when this spirit of oneness encompasses us, that a sense of prevailing gratitude becomes pervasive in our heart, mind, and actions. This sense of “grace and gratitude” of spiritual awareness begins to occur through us as we rely on the divine presence from within. It is from this acknowledgement our individual spiritual expression finds its home. This connection to the universe through observation of nature, cause and effect, and ancient wisdom is the benchmark of individual spiritual expression.

Henry David Thoreau once said about the practice of yoga, “Free in this world as the birds in the air, disengaged from every kind of chains, those who practice yoga gather in Brahma (as in to preserve) the certain fruits of their works.

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Thoreau’s famous quotation, near his cabin site at Walden Pond

Depend upon it that, rude and careless as I am, I would fain practice the yoga faithfully. The yogi, absorbed in contemplation, contributes in his degree to creation; he breathes a divine perfume, he hears wonderful things. Divine forms traverse him without tearing him, and united to the nature which is proper to him, he goes, he acts as animating original matter. To some extent, and at rare intervals, even I am a yogi”. For myself, it is living in a state of constant wonder… of transcendence.

Ultimately conveying that it matters who we are, what we think, and what we do. Are we here to just find comfort in where we find ourselves, or discover a sense of purpose as we learn inwardly who we are and perhaps teach what we come to know? Or as Thoreau would say, “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. So, live the life you imagined”.

What I am attempting to do here is exploration of the central meaning of Inward Training, this twenty-six chapter/thirteen-part series, by recognizing a few of the key people who developed ways of thought, that added to philosophy and religion over the centuries that brings us to where we are now. Not just simply East verses AW12West, but to explore commonalities and how people came to conclusions that expanded their own vision of the universe, consciousness, and their own role, but to what should be our role in general. Quite a task I know. By comparison, one can look to the teachings of Jesus Christ as if we live two lives. With Jesus representing how we look and act towards the outside world, and to the Christ, as we cultivate our spirit in our own inner world. It is in combining the two, we too can become transcendent.

Looking at key individuals who contributed to thoughts of how we came to be where we are today and trying not to favor one path over another. Who is it we follow? And where is it we’re going and can it matter using this premise of Inward Training as the highest point of empowerment that serves to take us there.

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Shakyamuni

Kind of like the Herman Hesse story of Siddhartha and his journey searching for his own enlightenment not through the eyes of another (his father), but through self-discovery and eventually finding it for himself. Ultimately following a path similar to that of Shakyamuni, the Buddha and in seeing beyond ourselves and where that may lead.

Transcendentalism is considered to be any system of philosophy, including that of Emanuel Kant, holding that the key to knowledge of the nature of reality lies in the critical examination of the process on which depends of the nature of existence… and where does that come from. In that philosophy leads to what we call philosophical speculation to the point of finding yourself in the state of being transcendental, such as thought or language, that is in and of itself considered transcendental that can take you there. It would be Emerson who later suggested emphasizing intuition as a means to knowledge in the search for the divine.

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Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

What’s interesting is our popular culture thinks of transcendental meditation and Eastern philosophy and religion starting from the 1960’s when the Beatles went to India and “re-discovered” being transcendental for America. Western philosophical thought also has its roots in transcendentalism. It seems to have always been here, forgotten, and serves to simply re-enforce our universal presence.

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In 1781, Emmanuel Kant published the Critique of Pure Reason, an enormous work and one of the most important on Western thought. He attempted to explain how reason and experiences interact with thought and understanding. This revolutionary proposal explained how an individual’s mind organizes experiences into understanding the way the world works. Kant focused on ethics, the philosophical study of moral actions. He proposed a moral law called the “categorical imperative”, stating that morality is derived from rationality and all moral judgments are rationally supported. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong; there is no grey area. Human beings are obligated to follow this imperative unconditionally if they are to claim to be moral.

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Confucius

One could argue that the teachings of Confucius in the updating of the five ancient classics of Chinese history, his version of the I Ching, and first chapters of the Ten Wings, i.e., commentaries, had a similar long-standing influence of what was to be followed in Eastern philosophy and thought based on virtue. Just as what Kant did in the west having a similar result on attitudes, customs and culture. More on Confucius another time. Each created a benchmark for others to follow.

Kant drew a parallel between the Copernican revolution and the epistemology, or branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge with his idea of transcendental philosophy.

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Copernicus

He never used the “Copernican revolution” phrase about himself, but it has often been applied to his work by others. Kant’s Copernican revolution involved two interconnected foundations of his “critical philosophy.”

  1. the epistemology of transcendental idealism, and
  2. the moral philosophy of the autonomy of practical reason.

For Kant, and his Critique of Pure Reason, it was the idea of the soul as a mental entity, with intellectual and moral qualities, interacting with a physical organism but capable of continuing after its dissolution, derives in Western thought from Plato and entered into Judaism during approximately the last century before the Common Era. (Common Era refers to the beginning of year 1 without referencing Christianity). He reached a similar conclusion as Meister Eckhard had centuries earlier. That our soul is a mental entity that connects with the universe on an on-going basis. As if there is a “universal consciousness” that connects all in nature, including man himself.  This is also a fundamental aspect of Taoism.

Perhaps the central and most controversial thesis of the Critique of Pure Reason is that human beings experience only appearances, not things in themselves; and that space and time are only subjective forms of human intuition that would not subsist in themselves if one were to abstract from all subjective conditions of human intuition. Kant calls this thesis transcendental idealism, i.e., moving beyond your physical self to enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time and causation are mere sensibilities; that “things in themselves exist, but their nature is unknowable” leaving us to try to make sense of it all.

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I Ching at the Giant Buddha in Sichuan

I think this is why I am so passionate about the history of the shaman, I Ching, and Taoism. How does one make sense out of what can’t be known? You first look to others who share this passion for attempting to know the unknowable… where it led them… and their conclusions? How did they get from here to there? What is it a philosopher does, and why should it so important for the rest of us? As in asking “what is the underpinning of our own conscious thought and what becomes of our natural inclination to follow this once it gets our attention?”

The meaning of the European word consciousness as we understand it today is often attributed to René Descartes (1596-1650), who used the word “conscientia.”

AWLocke

John Locke

Others attribute the current notion of consciousness to John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” published in 1690. Locke defined consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind.” An 18th-century encyclopedia defined consciousness as “the opinion or internal feeling that we ourselves have from what we do.” More on this later in a future entry.

What is important for me, as a historian in Eastern philosophy, is connections over time. How everything fits together that leads one to rational conclusions based on understanding underlying contradictions coupled with cause and effect. As if connecting again with eternity’s wisdom, i.e., with that synergy, the flow of our energy and intuition, as well as, what we have come to know, as if we are transcending time. How it all fits together and continues, but for now this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

Wisdom to be shared by All

The sage prefers conversing with those who share his wisdom. While the DSCI0153ordinary man finds comfort in those who looks as he does and avoids anything that does not fit the patterns he has accepted or that may be different from himself. Anything without a skeleton, hands or feet that do not fit the pattern, the beasts and birds of the world have been set apart from man.

Why is this so? The ordinary man who seeks knowledge and wisdom only among those with certain looks, cannot find it as they are as the racehorse with blinders running down the track. Aware only of what lies ahead.  Unaware of what may be from side to side that may divert his attention from the finish. He may win DSCI0155the race, but he has missed what is important. And that is what he sees and learns along the way. As with the Tao, it is not the speed in which one finds his final destination. But what is learned in the process and learning to appreciate that which may be different from ourselves.

What is it that separates the others from man? They may differ in shape and voice. However, are they really so different? They wish to preserve their lives as we do and only follow their own instincts in doing so. Male and female mate together, mother and child keep close together.They avoid harm and seek shelter, avoid cold and seek DSCI0217out warmth, they travel together keeping their young protected. They lead each other to water and call out to each other when they find food. Are these things so different from man?

In the beginning, they were man’s equal. It is only when man found advantage could be gained by controlling the others, did he separate himself from all other things. That from ancient times man has been able to converse with animals is not lost upon the sage. The sage shares his wisdom with all those that will listen, man beast and bird. With no advantage given except that which nature provides. How else could it be?  1/27/95

By 1dandecarlo

3) Nei-yeh — Inward Training and everything as it should be.

Finding our purpose is discovering within ourselves how to express universal love to all things, to all people, in every situation. We are to become that expression from within ourselves, understanding that there is no separation between ourselves and Five7all other things. We are them – and they are us as we learn to see beyond ourselves. The universe begins from within and ends with us as we are eternal. It is as John Lennon and so many before and after have said… “All you need is love”. Love is grace. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is being grateful for our own presence from which we are here to express. We become what we think, say, and write. It is the ability to have whatever we do that appears on the outside ONLY be the reflection from inside as we express love. It is the ultimate kung fu, of wu wei, the art of becoming our true selves. It is learning to express this in the moment as who we are – that defines the only reason we are here and knowing that all you (we) need is love. It is the essence of Inward Training…

Nei-yeh — Inward Training and everything as it should be.

 Five

The Way has no fixed position;
it abides within the excellent mind.
When the mind is tranquil and the vital breath is regular, the Way can thereby be halted.

IChing69

Following the right footsteps 

The Way is not distant from us;
when people attain it they are sustained
as it is not separated from us.
When people accord with it they are harmonious.
Therefore, it becomes concentrated! As though you could be roped together with it.
Indiscernible! As though beyond all locations.
The true state of the Way –
how could it be conceived of and pronounced upon?

Cultivate your mind, make your thoughts tranquil, and the Way can thereby be attained.

Six

As for the Way –
it is what the mouth cannot speak of, the eyes cannot see, and the ears cannot hear.

It is that with which we cultivate the mind and align the body.

Five2

The Sage at home – Qingyang Mountain

When people lose it they die;
when people gain it they flourish.
When endeavors lose it they fail;
when they gain it they succeed.
The Way never has a root or trunk,
it never has leaves or flowers.
The myriad things are generated by it;
the myriad things are completed by it.
We designate it “the Way.”

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 Five3BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu 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.

It is when this spirit of oneness encompasses us, that a sense of prevailing gratitude becomes pervasive in our heart, mind, and actions. This sense of “grace and gratitude”, or spiritual attainment, begins to occur through us as we come to rely on the divine presence from within. It is from this acknowledgement our individual spiritual expression find it’s home. This connection to the universe through observation of nature, cause and effect, and ancient wisdom is the benchmark of our character. Ultimately conveying that it matters who we are and what we do. It help us to find mindfulness and know the way to becoming transcendent ourselves.

Continuing from my last entry with the notion of the “Great Unity”. It  appeared in Five4the Lǐyùn chapter of the Book of Rites, one of the Confucian Chinese classics. It’s origins actually predate Confucius by almost five hundred years to Ji Dan, the Duke of Chou who also was from the city of Lu (Qufu), Five6considered to be in about 900 to 1000 BC.

According to it, the society in Great Unity was ruled by the public where the people chose men of virtue and ability and valued trust and harmony. People did not only love their own parents and children, but also secured the living of the elderly until their ends, let the adults be of use to the society and helped the young grow. Those who were widowed, orphaned, childless, handicapped and diseased were all taken care of. Men took their responsibilities and women had their homes. People disliked seeing resources being wasted, but did not seek to possess them; they wanted to exert their strength, but did not do it for their own benefit. Therefore, selfish thoughts were dismissed, people refrained from stealing and robbery, and the outer doors remained open.

In China, various opinions came forward as “commentaries” to previously accepted Five7doctrine. However, the I Ching would dictate change is inevitable and that nothing remains the same or stagnate over time, and the Great Unity would show Five8how to live one’s life within this prevailing structure. That a certain pragmatism exists in the universe with all things being equal. That when things get to far out in one direction or another, they must swing back in the opposite direction. As if there is a ridgepole defining left and right making decisions for all in the middle. If the stars above moved from day to day, and nature, i.e., cause and effect, and the seasons changed, then how Five9could we be different and not change as well? The nature of man, and more importantly the universe was always changing. Man would change inwardly, so that outwardly he could survive. Hence, new commentaries as to what was meant by this reality would always be changing. But even then, when Confucianism was mandated by the state, the old shrines to shamanism were discarded. But the innate sense of confluence, of unity between difference philosophies and religions endured.

Because of thousands of years of being connected to the sun, moon, stars, and nature DSCI0113in the East, man did not need a God separate from himself. God was everywhere, even inside himself. How could he be a part of it all and what could be found outside of himself, not be the same as inside? The universal spirit was already present inside everything. Man was “one of ten thousand things”. There was nothing to be separated from. The goal would always be to transcend yourself into your highest endeavor to fulfill your ultimate destiny. Following the path that fits who you are yet to become. There would be heaven and hell, in Taoism this would be known as “upper heaven and lower heaven”, and in Eastern religions there DSCI0104would be hell. But you could return to make up for evil, or bad things you may have done this time. (karma) If man’s spirit was eternal, then how could there not be a connecting “universal spirit” as something we innately just follow along from within and why would there be separation between man and all other things? These questions, and attempting to know the unknowable have been with us from the beginning of time only to be answered from within ourselves. All things being equal in an ever-changing universe meant nothing could remain the same over time, as DSCI0019everything in its own time coming forward. (the essence of the I Ching) It is how man has tried to answer the mysteries of the universe that has defined him and his relations with others and his environment.

Over the centuries, a unifying spirit that connected all under heaven with the sense of confluence, of unity between difference philosophies and religions endures. Despite some who try to say otherwise for their own self aggrandizement. One’s place in the DSCI0021universe is beyond questions of relevance of what is to be known or unknown, or that we might express as philosophy or religion. Connections to what we would consider as “universal” should be beyond question, even sacrosanct, considered as extremely sacred, not to be trespassed upon, or interfered with that matches our own vital essence and mirrors this truth. What’s important is identifying and nurturing what we would call our “niche” in life. What it is we are here to do. This is the true definition of what we call tai chi.

For myself, it is questions relating to how we unify ourselves with others who have DSCI0003had both similar and different life experiences that is key. What can it be that separates us from others, if anything, and how and why does that become important? When we can acknowledge what connects us is so much more important than what separates us. Who and what is it that takes our thoughts to where they now reside? Its easy to sing the praises, or give accolades to those in the distance or from the past, but it is how we re-act to those in the present whose reputation we look to that become our mentors today. Who do they look to for guidance?

Thoughts of Inward Training are universal, not just to China or Taoism, or Lao Tzu, but in identifying with spirit, where our own internal spirit can find and rest in DSCI0073the place we call our eternal source. The power and energy of our spirit and consciousness lies in our understanding of love and unity and what that means. That we are not here to judge or separate ourselves from others who may have a different take on things. We are here to grow our own sense of universal awareness through love.  I am not a theologian, a person versed in theology, especially Christian theology; but only an individual trying to make sense and bring connections to it all for myself and perhaps others. If anything, I see myself as a historian focusing on Chinese and Eastern philosophy and religion. But that changes with entries to be seen here regarding this “unity of spirit”,  and Western thought and transformation with the likes of Meister Ekhart, Kant, Emerson, Thoreau, the Fillmore’s and many others. This idea of unity of thought and convergence has DSCI0127always intrigued me and is of great interest. That we are all universal, all one, and that it is in this unity we will prevail with our nature intact.

If man’s spirit was eternal, then how could there not be “a universal spirit” to be found in all things? How and why would there be separation between man and all other things? These questions, and attempting to know the unknowable have been with us from the Five11beginning of time. Its how man has tried to answer the mysteries of the universe that has defined him and his relations with others.

From my own maybe unique perspective, and interest in China, I am drawn to what makes the “Family Christian Church” work in China. The Christian faith, or religion, in China is accepted and certainly allowed in China, but within a different perspective. From a historical standpoint there is even something called the Great Unity, as mentioned above. It is a Chinese utopian vision of the world in which everyone and everything is at peace. It is found in classical Chinese philosophy, which has been invoked many times in the modern history of China. What is important to note here, is that this concept is not based on a “religious pretext”. Except for the notion found empowering in all religions… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I hope to expand on this idea here at another time, but for now this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

Everything as it should be 

Nothing escaping change within the oneness of Tao. Looking you do not see DSCI0111it, listening you cannot hear it, groping you cannot touch it.  Lieh Tzu says heaven and earth cannot achieve everything. The sage is not capable of everything and none of the myriad things can be used for everything.

It is the responsibility of heaven to give birth and to shelter, the responsibility of earth to shape and to support; the sage to teach and reform and for each thing to perform its function. As a result, there are ways in which earth excels heaven and ways in which each thing is smarter than the sage. Why is this?

Heaven which brings birth and shelters cannot shape and support, earth which DSCI0116shapes and supports cannot teach and reform. The sage who teaches and reforms cannot make things act counter to their functions, things with set functions cannot leave their places.

Therefore, the way of heaven and earth must be either yin or yang. The teaching of the sage must be kindness or justice and the myriad things, whatever their function must be, either hard or soft. All these observe their functions and cannot lose their places.

Everything acting together in harmony. Everything the same and nothing the same all at the same time. Shape coming from the shapeless, form from the formless. Everything finding its essence in the way of the Tao. Everything only as it should be.    1/15/95

By 1dandecarlo