Finding Clouds of Virtue

Note… This completed manuscript was done in 2011 while I was teaching in Qufu. It is a compilation of writing both of myself and others.  When added to this website in September 2016 a few minor changes were done. Additional corrections will be done as time permits. The purpose is to create an ongoing dialog with myself and my peers to further my own transformation and enlightenment. This is the first installment of a Book Series in an on-going effort to do so.

Daniel C DeCarlo,  Foreign Language Dept.,                                                                                                   Jining University, Qufu, Shandong Province  China 

Prologue                                                                                           

Traveling on the wind once again the sage proceeds as if at home. Remaining above the clouds he looks down, unconcerned… waiting to see if anything of importance lies beneath him. Following dragons again and clouds beyond the horizon you reflect on mirror images of yourself and seeing that your destiny lies below.  As always when traveling with dragons, you remain irrelevant to time.

Comforted in knowing that your journey and today’s path continues to find peace and harmony and a clearer understanding of your place in the universe, as your destiny remains assured. Events only occurring to move you ever-forward as you meander as if unknowingly through time. Your destiny tied to endeavors forever remaining a paradox. As you remain an enigma that others come to depend on for clarity and wisdom taking them to places they otherwise would never go. As you remain a magnet for others simply showing the way. Returning briefly home again, if only irreverently above the clouds.

      Table of Contents – Finding Yourself with Virtue

  1. In everything there is Tao   (2) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  2. The Paradox    (10) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  3. Prologue to finding my own Tortoise  Shell     (34) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  4. Cloud Dancing  (38) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  5. Filling in the details   (48) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  6. Finding Confucius     (49) from My Travels with Tzu
  7. Changing Clothes      (8) from My Travels with Tzu
  8. Beginnings    (2) from My Travels with Tzu
  9. Coming Forward    (322) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond
  10. Chapter 1         Returning Home Again and Again…  

  11.  The Magic of Lao Tzu or Rediscovering the Magic as you become the Bridge to Destiny’s Future   (39) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu. 
  12. Your Destiny coming Together   (188) from An American Journey through the I Ching and beyond.
  13. Re-discovering the virtue you always knew/Chapter 38 (98) of Magwangdui text of Te Tao Te Ching.
  14. Analects of Confucius Chapter 1 – 1 through 4.
  15. Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius    Chapter 1, 1-4).
  16. Learning to see beyond Oneself    (98) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  17. Learning to see beyond Oneself commentary.
  18. Chasing the Daylights   (76) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  19. Background on Chasing the Daylights and Kuafu the Giant.

Chapter 2

  1. The Awakening Spirit   (40) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  2. Exposing Wise Counsel from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond.
  3. Attaining the One/Chapter 39  (100) of Magwangdui text of Te Tao Ching.  
  4. Analects of Confucius – Chapter 1 5 through 8.
  5. Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius   (Chapter 1, 5-8).
  6. Moving from the Way to living in Virtue   (100) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  7. Moving from the Way to living in Virtue c
  8. Coming Home with Virtue     (16) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  9. Sagely Understand    (77) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.

Chapter 3

  1. Streams of Thought like a strand of Pearls   A Listing of the Five Classics of Chinese Literature.

— I Ching              

— The Book of History or Shu Ching                                                                                

— The Book of Odes or Shih Ching   

— The Book of Rituals                                           

— Spring and Annals or Chun Chiu                 .

  1. Reversal and Weakness/Chapter 40    (100) of Magwangdui text of the Te Tao Ching.
  2. Keeping an Account of Things to Come   (196) from An American Journey through the Ching and Beyond.
  3. The Guardian Angel  (102) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  4. The Guardian Angel commentary.
  5. Maintaining Universal Appeal  (32) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  6. Showing Your Strength  (62) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  7. Analects of ConfuciusChapter 1 9 through 15.
  8. Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius (Chapter 1 9-15).
  9. Past and Present becoming One

Chapter 4

  1. The True Way of Nature  (40) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu
  2. Staying at an Ever moving Standstill  (141) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond.
  3. Contending for the Middle (106) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  4. Contending for the Middle commentary
  5. Chapter 41(102)of Magwangdui text of Te Tao Ching
  6. Analects of Confucius Chapter 2 1 through 8  
  7. Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius  (Chapter 2 1 – 8)
  8. History of Filial  Piety with references to:  — The Book of Rewards and Punishments                                                                               — The Mangalasutta                                                                                                                      — Precepts of the Perfect Taoist Sect
  9. That Which Does Nothing   (14) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  10. May 2011 Visit to Baoding and Emperor Wu.
  11. My Grandmother’s Garden   (42) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond.

Chapter 5

  1. Lessons to be learned along the Way.
  2. Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you (42) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  3. Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you commentary (42) from Thoughts on becoming a Sage.
  4. The Way gives birth/Chapter 42   (106) of Magwangdui Text of Te Tao Ching.
  5. Analects of Confucius Chapter 2  9 through 15  from Analects of Confucius.
  6. Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius  (Chapter 2 9-15).
  7. On Becoming a Sage    (51) from My Travels with Lieh Tzu In depth discussion about Beginnings of Taoism.
  8. What is this seeming Paradox?
  9. Oncoming (Flooding) Decisions (204) from An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond.
  10. In depth discussion about beginnings of Taoism.
  11. Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly Dream.
  12. Yang Hsing
  13. Wang Ch’ung
  14. Huai-nan Tzu
  15. Lieh Tzu and Yang Chu
  16. Yang Chu – Yang Chu’s Place in Chinese Intellectual History
  17. The Principles of Yang Tzu’s Thought
  18. The Central Argument   (109) My Travels with Lieh Tzu.
  19. Hui-nan Tzu
  20. Learning to see beyond Oneself
  21. Moving from finding the Way
  22. The Guardian Angel

Finding Yourself with Virtue

1.                          In Everything there is Tao

It is through you, Dan  we speak.  You have far to go but you can find the way.  Stay within yourself and it will come.  Tea is a part of the ritual that brings you to us

Lack of coordination, lack of memory and  lack of patience are but weaknesses we gave you to overcome.  For you to find the way you must find all three.

To find balance you must seek coordination.  To find benefits you must learn to remember,and To find boundaries you must first find patience.  Your power is in your vision.   When you have mastered  all three that vision, or oneness, is within you now  to find the way of virtue.   In everything there is Tao.

As the crane is to longevity  as a strong wind you should be. In following the Tao the rest will come. You must repeat the above liturgy prior to any  proceeding to find the way. We are here now  come with us.

(Written Christmas Day 1993 finished January 9, 1994)

          Yet even earlier when I began reading the book Elements of Taoism I had purchased in early December 1993 at the bookstore at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. Reading this book led to what could be referred to as “the great swoosh” as I was found by the dragons or those who were to become my mentors for the rest of my life… and this…

It is as if all I needed to write came to greet me between December 1993 and May 2000 with the final book Thoughts on Becoming a Sage…. All I needed to know was now in front of me penned by my own hand as if a matrix or road map just waiting for me to follow. But it was to be what I wrote in the beginning that was to presuppose whatever was to follow…. this was to serve as my introduction to the dragons and Lieh, Chuang and Lao Tzu who I follow to this day.  What could this have meant?  What was this writing style that was the natural way my writing was to come forth to greet me. Was this to be my point of entry each day… Then less than a week later on January 15th, 1994 this…

2.                                      The Paradox

Some people go through their entire lives not knowing who they are, where they have been, or where they are going.

You are fortunate. You have a chance to see to know to understand where you are from, why you are here, and where you are going. To know who you are,  who you have been, and you will be along the way. However, you must know that to know is not to know, and to have is not to have.

To see is not to be, and who you will be is not to see. For whatever is useful by the world’s standards cannot be useful in finding the Tao. It is the eternal nature of the Tao and Te (the way of virtue) that is to be found. Reality becomes, is and will be the chance endeavor to find the Tao.   1/15/94

At this point the beginning of my personal transformation way fully underway, having written my own interpretation of the I Ching, The Book of Change I was to go through a personal trauma that was to change who I thought I was and who I was yet to become. My real life’s journey was about to begin. I was to lose my job as the City Planner for Fall River, Massachusetts. A place about fifteen miles from my families original homestead in South Dartmouth where my grandparents had settled in about 1912 when my father was only 5 or 6 years old. I had not grown up there, I had grown up, went to college and got married in southwest Missouri where my father had bought a farm to move my mothers family for when he retired from the military in the late 1940’s early 1950’s.  It was on this farm as a young boy that I first caught the attention of dragons… as described above. It was from here in southeastern Massachusetts that I was to move to South Florida and Boynton Beach to be a city planner again… fifteen and a half years ago.

It was from this point I would see myself as Ram Das said… “The person I am from 9 to 5 is not who I am from 5 to 9”… and how do I reconcile the two… For the next ten years from May 1995 through May 2005 I attempted to follow my path which would lead ultimately to China, Qufu and Confucius and work as a city planner for the City of Boynton Beach. Combining the two even sometimes unknowingly until their roles could not be reconciled and they became one to the point I had to make the choice to follow who I was yet to become…

It was at this point I knew I must really go back to the beginning… just as Lao Tzu told Confucius to start with I Ching so was I… after completing my book An  American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond in one hundred days on March 31st, 1994 I wrote this:

3.        Prologue to Finding My Own Tortoise Shell

Thoughts and ideas crystallizing over time. Standing only as symbols for all to follow. Ancient traditions of the shaman who brought forth the proper way long before those present could begin to  comprehend their true meaning. Oracle bones of tortoise shells to be collected and cherished as telling the wave of the future of the things to come and knowing all that will be.

Finding patterns and rendering judgments to be followed. Knowing the way of dragons and keeping them abreast of my progress as the everlasting goal. The ultimate objective simply to follow the signposts along the way to immortality.  Each situation ultimately chasing beginnings and endings  with the elements ultimately in charge. Their task simply to take turns coming to the forefront.

The I Ching following the true course of events. Establishing  patterns and finding appropriate endings that must be followed. Reminding all that everything has origins and endings only to be repeated again and again. Understanding the true paradox found only in yang and yin.

The sixty-four stories that follow represent my own oracle. Each my own representation of  the true meaning of the I Ching. As with when I was a small child growing up on the farm finding and keeping tortoise shells simply because they were there to be found.

In retrospect, I now know my purpose was simply to keep them safe and to honor them for a cause I could not then appreciate or understand.  Except possibly to begin to  know dragons even then.

(An original composition written upon the completion of the Chinese  classic the I Ching to be used as the beginning or “Prologue” prior to the sixty-four entries to follow  3/31/94).

Coming full circle and looking back at where I started this morning… what have I been doing  but… Irreverently Meandering through Time just as I wrote midway through that period in May 2000.  At that point we had adopted Katie in May 1997 and she was four years old. And we had adopted Emily in November 1999 when she was six. Emily was now seven. With this my feet seems tied firmly to the terra firma, ie., ground. But back at the beginning of February, 1994 I was just beginning my journey through the I Ching where it all was to begin. I had opened the door of the universe to my innermost thoughts as to who my identity really was… and those memories came forth to greet me in the form of the Taoist sages of ancient China, Lieh, Chuang, Lao Tzu and Confucius.. They felt I needed a name or point of reference in the story that was to follow… That name was to be Cloud Dancing.

I had purchased the book written by Rosemary and Kerson Huong entitled I Ching, A New Translation restores the authentic spirit to the Ancient Text and began studying the I Ching in earnest. From this Cloud Dancing came to life…

4.       1 HEAVEN / Heaven over Heaven    Cloud Dancing

From the clouds dragons appear to those who have prepared. To the I Ching, heaven is to found residing with dwellings of dragons  who roam the sky resting in the clouds.

Do not look for me where you have found me before.  You will not see me where you have seen me before. Dancing in the clouds with the immortals  is where I am  to be found.

To be seen with dragons. Cavorting above it all. Beyond earthly endeavors.  A strong personality who with compassion and caring  succeeds by seeing his destiny in the clouds.

Finding the Tao, finding oneness and finding myself floating across the ski with chi. Cloud Dancing across the sky is easy  living with dragons is not. A group of dragons are  seen riding the clouds disappearing through the sky. As we disappear, I look back and see dragons resting on clouds dwelling in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                                  (1 HEAVEN / Heaven over Heaven). 2/3/94

             What was obvious was that my destiny was calling but I was too busy filling in the details of what living brought to teach me each day. Unfortunately, in trying to do both I did neither very well. Now it seems appropriate to be reminded of something I first wrote on March 11, 1995 from an entry midway through my yet to be published third book.  (actually 2nd book in the series)  I seem to continually be just filling in the details of what living brings each day. So in a span of a little over a year (Feb 94 to Mar 95) I went from the initial entry of the I Ching as Cloud Dancing, recognized by my mentors… the dragons as someone who they expected to begin a great journey as to what should be expected of me… gives me a detailed accounting of the surrounding I need to create for my writing to flourish.

5.                               Filling in the Details

Delight in knowing that you have always been on the edge and will remain there. Finding comfort in what would otherwise be considered chaos by others who will never travel to find their true destiny. If you have found true peace of mind, how can hardship enter the picture?

What comfort can be found in everyday events seen by others as needed to have some fleeting sense of contentment? Remain as the first word to be written on the next blank page waiting to be filled with what must come forth in truth, sincerity and compassion.

Appreciating nature, both your own inner nature and that that surrounds you. Your garden being wherever you are. Where trees grow leaves, where flowers attract bees and butterflies. Where wisps of clouds float between heaven and earth. Coming forward to know the happiness of all things nature provides and knowing where you fit in will always be present.

As all things change from instant to instant, is not remaining on the edge prepared to capture the new rays of each day’s sun, the ultimate that can ever be –  now and forever. Not found to be clinging to life’s fortunes. Knowing happiness can only be followed by sadness. That everything ebbs and flows in the balance of all things.

The ultimate that can be. Simply to be blown along with the winds of one’s life. Never knowing the outcome, only savoring the details found along the wayside. Find a place of quiet solitude where there can be no contention present. With everything around you at peace and harmony with its environment. As you come forward through your writing to fill the blank page with little or no concern for the time of your ultimate arrival.

Remaining free to continue on your way with Lieh Tzu and your old friends. Ready to begin anew the journey that you must begin again and again. 3/11/95

Then during the same month… March 1995 the dragons introduce me to Confucius. Someone who I had barely heard of who was an ancient Chinese philosopher… whose hometown of Qufu I would visit four years later in October 1999 and now after more than forty visits reside in Qufu as a member of the I Ching/Confucius Society. How could western Shandong and Qufu not be my home? I feel attached to this place as if I am dust on the street or a tree on Confucius Hill overlooking the river crossed by Confucius himself. As a teacher and scholar here in Qufu I now am prepared to follow my mentors on the path I am here to pursue. This endeavor seems to be bring me to the place where I am meant to fulfill my ultimate destiny.

This idea of finding a place of quiet solitude where there can be no contention present has always been a central theme to my writing and now that I am in Qufu with my daughter Katie I am busy trying to get this almost fifteen year old teenager acclimated to a new environment and new school so she is ready to live here with me in Qufu. We now live in an apartment provided by Jining University that is a few short blocks from the Confucius Mansion and Temple. We are within the wall of the old city of Qufu and I am where I cam study and  learn Mandarin easily with my daughter Katie. I’m always filling the blank page every day in my daily log I’ve kept now for over ten years… I’m up to volume seventy two….

Remaining free to continue on my way with Lieh Tzu and both old friends and new friends as well. Living here next to the Confucius Mansion with new friends ready to guide my way. Always the Taoist. Unconcerned about things that may come as I continue on my journey. Can there be a moral relevance to all things considered practical as found in the analytical comfort of knowing the results lie in the search for truth and knowledge? Can one following such a course of action be taken seriously? Who can know? Is not the ultimate to  be born a Taoist, to live as a Confucian and lie a Buddhist? Where can all this possibly lead? Who can possibly say? All the while knowing that Confucius is forever weighing benefit and  harm and distinguishing between right and wrong.

More than anything I have written, the above paragraph delineates the beginning and ending points of reference between what would be considered the difference between Taoism and Confucianism. Here’s to 1) Giving of the virtue found in my truest self… 2) Listening to what others say before speaking myself… 3)  Sparing time for what is truly important… 4)  Not interrupting… 5)  Holding that thought and an email that may be or sound hurtful… 6)  Leaving the last drop, in other word practicing moderation in all things…  7) Staying home wherever that is…      8) Turning it off, whatever it is… 9) Making eye contact… 10)  Picking it up… 11) Taking the room’s temperature… 12) Paying attention and… 13) Waiting. Patience… Patience…. Patience….  The below entry I wrote back in 1995. Four years before coming to Qufu the first time in October 1999. Now a “foreign expert” and considered a scholar, eleven years later I remain committed to fulfilling my ultimate endeavor and destiny.

6.                             Finding Confucius

Just who is this man known as Confucius and what of  his obsession with knowledge?  Can he possibly equal the things brought forth by Chuang Tzu who can see through all to its true origin.

While Confucius may help guide those responsible for maintaining the overall scheme of things in their dealings with others, can he possibly know the true underpinnings of all there is to know that lead to logical conclusions?  Can thoughts and ideas  expressed outside the true essence of the Tao have any real significance? Looking for differences to trap unseemly paradox and analogies that can confuse those not serious about finding   and true way of virtue.

Who can be true to his own thoughts? Swaying this way and that by the Confucian suspicion  of speculation without practical or moral relevance or by the comfort found in the seeming irrationality of the Tao.

The three tenants of higher consciousness, Buddhism, Confucius and Taoism always present. Ultimately pushing everything to higher ground. Moving all to places they               would otherwise miss. Just as the seasoned traveler who breaks the mountain’s ridge to see the vast panorama spread before him. Every direction simply leading to destinations previously seen and known, but forgotten.

Everything crystallizing over time. Can one move forward knowing the paradox found in all things that are allowed to advance in their own way? Knowing that Confucius is forever weighing benefit and harm and distinguishing between right and wrong.

Can there be a moral relevance to all things considered practical as found in the analytical comfort of knowing the results lie in the  search for truth and knowledge? Can one following such a course of action be taken seriously? Who can know? Is not the ultimate to be born a Taoist, to live as a Confucian and die a Buddhist? Where can all this possibly lead? Who can possibly say?    3/5/95

The ideas expressed above plus living as the ultimate I can now do as a university professor… living in virtue. To be born a Taoist, live as a Confucian and die a Buddhist. The seeming irrationality of living within what the Tao brings each day. Keeping an accounting everyday is like a new year’s resolution… it is good for a few days or a week or so then you stumble back to the old routine. My meditation and contemplation comes through the thoughts I manifest each day. It is said that our thoughts are like the clothes we put on each day.

7.                             Changing Clothes        

Forever reaching for the next rung on the ladder that must be followed. Beyond earthly endeavors. Attachments strewn about like dirty clothes waiting for their place in the right laundry basket.

One’s life simply the process of cleaning the clothes previously worn that must be recycled over and over again. To be constantly reborn. Anything seen of paramount importance only a test to be mailed in after you have found and corrected your own mistakes.

Outcomes only determined by lessons learned with only  yourself checking and knowing the right answers. Mistakes although constantly repeated. Leading only to an eternity of self-fulfilling prophecies of our own unwillingness to follow the ultimate path we know must be taken. Finding the courage to change. Leaving behind patterns filled with adversity we have come to know as a life support. Forever keeping us down as a one thousand pound weight around our shoulders.

Continually given the eternal chance to change. To keep living until we get it right. Living and dying simply by letting go. Finally finding the ladder. Cautious steps of optimism leading to places previously unheard of and unseen. Knowing that eternal truth lies only in the steps that must be followed. Never looking back, thereby losing our balance the constant order of the day.

Be forever the agent of change. Knowing that the content found by others with everything as it remains is not the way things ultimately will be. Remaining forever unattached, letting go and finding yourself in clothes that are eternally clean.

Another entry written as a prelude to a new year where my writing was to expand greatly when I found myself in new surroundings in Florida in May, 1995 after accepting the planning position with the City of Boynton Beach. My writing simply exploded with my new found environment.  The above was written to help set the tone for what was to be my number two book My Travels with Lieh Tzu and other Sages from Ancient China… that still remains unpublished.  This entry followed shortly after the initial entry of that book that was simply entitled Beginnings….  The initial line says it all… that each of us are granted two lives. The one we learn with and the one we live with after that…. written in January 1995.

8.                                  Beginnings

It is said that each of us  are granted two lives, the life we learn with and the life we live after that. To perchance awaken midstream in our lives, as if we have been  re‑born; given an opportunity to find and follow our true destiny and endeavor. That our ultimate task is not only to discover who we are, but where we belong in history. Is not this the ultimate challenge? To simply rise up, traveling as one with the prevailing winds. Becoming one with the angels, or dragons, as they manifest before us.Letting our spirit soar. Freeing our mind, heart and soul to go where few dare to wonder.

I know my task as a writer will be complete when my writing is as indefinable as my subject. Just as I know my task as an individual, as I exist in the here and now, will be to simply tell the stories that I have learned along the way. That we each have a story to tell. As we free ourselves of attachments and ego and baggage we have clung to as we try to find our way. That the ultimate travel is the travel of our spirit. That the ultimate giving is to share our gift with others.

To become one with the ages. To bring forth the stories, myths and legends that tell the way. To stay interested in life, as I am in reality here only for an instant before moving on.

My task only to look for  constant renewal. Finally true expression of self is  in losing myself through expressing the voices of the past. That I am here to relay that the fears and hopes of humanity rest not in where we find ourselves in the here and now, but in reality to find and reflect our inner nature waiting to be re‑discovered and built upon again and again.

That all true learning is self learning of who we ultimately are to become. That once we have awakened so that we can see beyond ourselves, then have not we found our spirits traveling the winds through eternity. This being so, could there be a more ultimate way of travel than to be found traveling with Lieh Tzu?    1/21/96

            After writing the above I felt drawn to what I had written earlier from the I Ching and the dragons who were obviously directing my path who were continually pushing me to higher ground… or clouds… Just who was this Lieh Tzu and his friends Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu, what was this Taoism and what was this story I have to tell.  Traveling on the wind with dragons was an experience I had experienced through my meditation but what could it mean and for what purpose.   Going back to An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond I found the following four entries I had written after completing my study and my own interpretation of the I Ching. All were written over a two day period of meditation and contemplation on April 12 and 13, 1994 over what I had just written, yet I seemingly remained frozen in time.

It was always my innate skills as a visionary that could help others plan the future had led me to this vocation.  This was simply a way to support myself and family, although I was to move to Florida in May 1995 and be a city planner/neighborhood specialist for another ten years. Slowly losing attachments along the way was to be foretelling for years to come. However this need for change in my environment in Fall River led to my moving to Florida a year later… Step by step I was losing attachments and images of who I thought I was verses who I was to become. The completion of the I Ching written over a one hundred day period in January, February and March or 1994 led to the following entries:

9.                            Coming Forward

Heavy clouds and rain signal that the immortals are close by. The sage into his writings off to himself and his reflections of times spent with Lao Tzu,  Lieh Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

Know and keep to humble beginnings and rest assured that all things will  follow. Be guided simply by observation, reflection  and development.Keep totally within yourself and remain patient.

Again be patient as we know  your journey is straight as an arrow with  quiver and bow ready to strike its mark. There can  be no rush. Simply remember what you have written. The dragons are counting on you to lead and show the way to virtue and reflect their   values in your writings. Your new found  friends always at your side waiting to see if you are ready to move forward. The challenge is severe. However, the rewards are forever eternal.Listen to Lieh Tzu as his stories convey the next step to follow along the way after the unity found in these  One Hundred Flowers.

Keep  to the path as Lieh Tzu requests and all will flow as the salmon having hatched it’s  eggs then dying as it has completed its mission and been fulfilled. The salmon’s death only a  signal that the cycle continues. The Tao forever intact and in control as your mentors reflect.   Lieh Tzu forever remaining the symbol of the true sage abandoning all forever seemingly unnecessary to the true way. Keeping only to the Tao and bringing the  connectedness of Lao Tzu and  Chuang Tzu into its eternal understanding for all to know and follow. Asking no questions you simply come forward to know the way.       4/ 12/94

10.         Returning Home Again and Again

This is the starting point… much was written before this and certainly afterwards, but this encapsulates the essence of the journey of the true sage. Remaining irrelevant and irreverent to time spent in the here and now. Remaining still but yet in-tune to the realities life brings to greet us each day.   Learning that there are do overs as you continually re-define your path.  With destiny assured what can paradoxes constantly met each day mean? Except to slow us down from keeping to the reality we are here to find. The p’s…. patience, persistence, and paradox… With destiny assured how can today’s entries really matter?  Once found can the sweetness of doing nothing equate with the stillness of the sage he has found as nothing can enter that is foreign to or from the path he is on that he must follow. As he flows with the Tao bringing all he meets and touches along with him. Is not that why he is here for… to teach and learn. What though can possibly be added to the entry written all those years ago as the starting point?  And why did it take me so long?

The paradox has been my “returning home again”. In the physical sense is that here with my family in Florida or in China and Qufu when I am comforted by knowing that is where I truly belong. After over almost fifty trips over the past thirteen years traveling hundreds of thousands of miles to China and Qufu the answer is clear. Ultimately it is where my writing flows freely from my heart and soul… That I have learned that it is not where I am but who I am that matters. That lingering in one place or another simply adds to the richness of life I am here to experience…That the paradox is external to my own inner reality. That it does not matter… may guan zi… That it is what comes from my heart and soul and actions that illustrate my place in the universe and how far I have traveled and have yet to go. As I said in the beginning… events only occurring to move you ever-forward as you meander as if unknowingly through as time.

This traveling on the wind first with the dragons as Cloud Dancing… then with all three Lieh, Chuang and Lao Tzu at the end of my first book on the I Ching…. then book two remaining to be published detailing my travels with Lieh Tzu, Chuang, Lao, Confucius and other great sages of ancient China… then finally from  book number three the now published Thoughts on becoming a Sage. This irreverently traveling through time over the past several years has finally led me to today the beginning of a new year when I can finally say the journey begins in earnest… What my one hundred days last fall (2010) in Qufu taught me was that I need to be there to capture the true essence of the sage in his natural surroundings. Finding this in South Florida almost 14,000 miles away is quite a stretch… literally and figuratively.

Next I want to bring forward the first of three of my earliest entries that started it all that let to writing about my take on the I Ching and my first book An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond.

Chapter 1 –   The Magic of Lao Tzu

11.    The Magic of Lao Tzu or Rediscovering the                Magic as you become the bridge to Destiny’s future

Traveling with Lieh Tzu, you are reminded to remember the magic of Lao Tzu. As he rode westward into eternity to become one with the wind and discover the highest clouds where only dragons fly.

Is not this my highest endeavor and ultimate destiny. to return to where I have been and lived for eons of time. To forgo the nuances found in the here and now. Knowing my mentor and good  friend Lieh Tzu is always close by keeping tabs on my progress. Always remembering the ways of Lao Tzu and what he represents as the ultimate as we are reminded that it is only our virtue that we carry with us in our universal endeavors.                                                             

Lao Tzu tells us:  “The breath of all that lives, the appearance of all that has taken shape, is illusion”.  What is begun by the creative process, and changed by yin and yang, is said to be born and to die; things  which, already shaped, are displaced and replaced by a comprehension of numbers and understanding of change are said to be transformed, to be illusions of magic. The skill of the Creator is inscrutable, his achievement profound, so that it is long before his work completes its term and comes to an end. The skill of the magician working on the shapes of things is obvious but his achievement shallow, so that his work is extinguished as soon as it is conjured up. It is when you realize that the illusions and transformations of magic are no different from birth and death that it becomes  worthwhile to study magic. If you and I are also illusion, what can there be to study?”

Keeping company with dragons to reflect and rediscover the magic found in all things is difficult and arduous at best. If you and I and all we see and do are simply illusion, then why go to the trouble. As all outcomes can only come out as the same. As you travel home and begin to ponder at great length, you start by putting into practice what you have now learned. You are soon able to appear and disappear at will, exchange the four seasons, call up thunder in winter, create ice in summer, make flying things run and running things fly. However, you soon discover that it is better to put aside conjuring tools and concentrate solely on the magic found in what is created by nature.

Is not Lao Tzu simply reminding us to identify what is real and unreal? That all there is to know is the magic waiting within you to come forward to find. Find a place of quiet solitude and listen to what comes forth. If all is the same yet an illusion, then are not we all the creation of magic? From My Travels with Lieh Tzu 2/6/95   

12.      38 ABANDONED / Fire and Lake                                                                 Your Destiny Coming Together

Keeping to the high road to catch the prevailing wind you are pushed forward continually to new heights. The dragons incessantly pushing from behind to see if you are truly up to the challenge. Scoffing all the way. Destiny to be determined solely by the perception we set for ourselves. All the time searching for character knowing and trusting our own judgment and sticking to it to the end.

Having the courage and wherewithal to see and know the truth hitting you again and again as a gale force wind like an unexpected slap in the face as you turn a sharp corner with little or no real harm done.

Somehow though remaining blinded to all that would lead to feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. Clearly seeing deception and being set free because of it. Self-fulfilling prophesies come streaming forward like ants uninvited to the picnic table.  Anxious to gobble up anything left out in the open.

Support coming from all sides only to be pulled back for lack of attention. Reality only for you to find. All the time being constantly aware of others unworthy of the value that you have  placed on trust and honesty. Whose only goal is deception and unfair advantage. So many peaks and valleys along one’s travels everything seemingly beginning to run together. Clarity becoming unfocused with any understanding of events difficult to follow or simply even comprehend. The dragons still scoffing at your feeble attempts all the way.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                                (38 ABANDONED / Fire and Lake). 3/5/94

              This being continually tied to what traveling the high road in Qufu takes courage,  perseverance and application of what we have learned. It is the application of these  attributes you’ve come briefly to know then unknowingly left behind that are constantly reminding you of why you are here. These mentors… these colleagues who have been with me as “forever friends” in eternity. Happy now to sit back and watch and observe my progress in the here and now. Always pushing me to attain new heights as if I am only practicing for what I must do when the time comes.  By knowing who we were coming in and to where we will return at our ending we can focus maintaining our virtue while we are here.  Depending on nothing not in keeping with the way and the Tao and staying totally within ourselves. Ultimately, knowing we are here for a purpose as we anxiously await our return/ 

13.      Re-discovering the virtue you always knew/                         Chapter 38 of Magwangdui text of Te Tao Ching

The highest virtue is not virtuous; therefore it truly has virtue. The lowest virtue never loses sight of its virtue; therefore it has no true virtue.

The highest virtue takes no action, yet it has no reason for acting this way; the highest humanity takes action, yet it has no reason for acting this way; the highest righteousness takes action, and it has its reason for acting this way; the highest propriety takes action, and when no one responds to it, then it angrily rolls up its sleeves and forces people to comply.

Therefore, when the Way is lost, only then do we have virtue; when virtue is lost, only then do we have humanity; when humanity is lost, only then do we have righteousness; and when righteousness is lost, only then do we have propriety. As for propriety, it’s but the thin edge of loyalty and sincerity, and the beginning of disorder.  And foreknowledge is but the flower of the Way, and the beginning of stupidity.

Therefore the great man dwells in the thick and doesn’t dwell in the thin; dwells in the fruit and doesn’t dwell in the flower. Therefore, he rejects that and takes this.

14.      Analects of Confucius /Chapter 1, 1-4

1-1. The Master said, “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?

“Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?

“Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?”

1-2. The philosopher Yu said, “They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion.

“The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission, are they not the root of all benevolent actions?”

1.3  The Master said, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.”

1-4. The philosopher Tsang said, “I daily examine myself on three points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;-whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;-whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my teacher.”

The Master “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? “Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?” The philosopher Yu said, “They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion. “The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission,-are they not the root of all benevolent actions?”

The Master said, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue”. The philosopher Tsang said, “I daily examine myself on three points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful; whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere; whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my teacher.”

15.     Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius/                                                     Chapter 1, 1-4

Confucius said, “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application; secondly, is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar;  and third, is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?”

The philosopher Yu said, “They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion. That the superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission, are they not the root of all benevolent actions?”

Ah yes Confucius adds, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.”

The philosopher Tsang said, “I daily examine myself on three points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;-whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere;-whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my teacher.”

Confucius adds “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?” The philosopher Yu said, “They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion. “The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission, are they not the root of all benevolent actions?”

Finally Confucius said, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue”. The philosopher Tsang said, “I daily examine myself on three points:-whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful; whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere; whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my teacher.”

16.    Thoughts on Becoming a Sage – the Tao Te Ching –              My own Verse 38 – Learning to see beyond Oneself

Instilling virtue within oneself requires neither thought nor effort or action if you are truly in sync with the way of virtue.

The Tao but a natural extension of who you have been, are now, and yet to become. Virtue simply the embodiment of an essence that embraces the way.  Your role is to remain empty with your every action an effortless dialog leading others along the Way.  As you look inward to insure you are ready to proceed with kindness and compassion to all you meet.  Yet the kindness of the sage cannot go beyond fulfilling his own nature.  Since his every action remains effortless he does not think about it.

Seeing beyond what his senses tell him, he simply does what is the natural extension of himself. His endeavors focusing on embodying the highest images of who he is yet to become and seeing beyond himself.  Seeing beyond himself, he embodies the way and comes full face with his destiny.

Seeing his future, his vision matches things and names with reality.  He remains humble and reveres harmony. Seeming beyond himself he becomes the connecting point between all that should be between all that should be between heaven and earth. As the sage he becomes the way.

17.      Learning to see beyond Oneself commentary          

1.   Instilling virtue within oneself requires neither thought nor effort or action if you are truly in sync with the way of virtue.  When you can do without thinking and your actions mirror the way of virtue you can begin to come forward as one who knows the Tao. As your   actions come to mirror the way of the Tao you come to know of your essential essence , or virtue, that is what attracts your highest  angels or dragons to your doorstep and encourages then to stay.                                             

2.   The Tao but a natural extension of who you have been, are now, and yet to become. When we can acknowledge our true selves and why we are here, we can    begin to chart the path for our ultimate return. Is not the ultimate to re-discover who we have been and will be again?  As simply an extension of pure energy that has taken on the embodiment of the persona in which you now reside. If you can acknowledge that you are here but for an instant in time, what can the events you encounter now matter in the long run. 

3.   Virtue simply the embodiment of an essence that embraces the way. It is when our own virtue comes forward from within to embrace the way that  we can begin to become universal. Our virtue, in reality our inner nature, is ll that remains as we come and go from one lifetime to the next. In effect, it is what we discover we lack in virtue that we come back to find and refine time         and time again.

4.   Your role is to remain empty with your every action an effortless dialog leading others along the way. As you look inward to insure you are ready to proceed with kindness and compassion to all you meet.  Once we learn how to become universal we can remain empty with our every action in tune with the eternal nature of the Tao. As we learn to match every action with a dialog with those around us that compels them to greatness as well. Remaining empty, the only attributes you employ are kindness and compassion as you illustrate how virtue is found, kept and given away at little at a time to all you meet.   

5.   Yet the kindness of the sage cannot go beyond fulfilling his own nature. Since his every action remains effortless he does not think about it. The paradox that confronts the sage in his encounters with the world around him. What is to be the nature of the sage and should it matter to the world around him. Remaining empty and still the sage’s kindness is what he displays and employs as him own natural rhythm in keeping with his own actions. His actions simply the natural extension of his place he  will one day  return to find again and again and again. Knowing this he can appear to be absent-minded as if he were not really present. As such, the kindness of the sage comes natural as he does what he does without thinking…   

6.   Seeing beyond what his senses tell him, he simply does what is the natural extension of himself. Once in tune with the Tao, the sage simply stays out in front of himself. Knowing what is yet to come by simply knowing what has come to be in the past, as he has seen and done it all before.                                                      

7.   His endeavors focusing on embodying the highest images of who he is yet to become and seeing beyond himself. Seeing beyond himself, he embodies the way and comes full face with his destiny. What is left for the sage to do except only to do those things that propel him onward to his highest endeavor and eventual destiny.   

8.   Seeing his future, his vision matches things and names with reality. He remains humble and reveres harmony. Seeming beyond himself he becomes the connecting point between all that should be between heaven and earth. Remaining humble and revering harmony the sage remains content to let the  world come to his doorstep. He turns a deaf ear to what has become unnatural  to the way of the Tao. While nothing escapes him, he lets everything run through him as it he is the embodiment if a spring rain bringing life to all he meets.

9.   As the sage he becomes the way. Remaining still he now embodies the Tao. Remaining humble he brings no attention to himself. Revering harmony, he brings joy and peace to those around him as he becomes the way. With virtue intact he looks forward to his ending so that he may begin again.

 18.                        Chasing the Daylights

Kua Fu was boastful of strengths he perceived as more than all other things. Chasing the daylights to the brink of Yu Yuan where the setting sun rests each night.

Holding to an unquestionable thirst he drank the Yellow River and the Wei. Still wanting more, he ran northward intending to drink the Great Marsh. But died of thirst before reaching it. The staff he was carrying soaking up what was left of him and growing into the great Tang forest that eventually covered several thousand miles.

What could this thirst have been? Why was it to consume him and be all consuming. Could it have been that this man saw more in himself than was really there? Or that he failed to see all that he already possessed. 4/19/95

19.           Another take on this timeless story…    

A long time ago, a giant called Kuafu, a descendant of the God of Earth, was living on a high mountain in the north. Kuafu was very tall and extremely strong. He always dangled two yellow snakes on his ears to make himself look menacing. But actually he was a kindhearted and diligent creature. One day he saw people living at the foot of the mountain crying in their parched fields because the scorching sun had brought a serious drought that destroyed all the crops. So Kuafu decided to chase and capture the sun and force it to behave in a way that would bring good crop harvests for people every year. The next day as the sun was emerging out of the East Sea, Kuafu, armed with a walking stick, began to run after the star. He ran very fast and his long legs could cross a wide river with a single stride. Meanwhile the sun, sitting in a chariot drawn by six dragons, was also moving very quickly across the sky. After running thousands of kilometers, Kuafu was very close to the sun as it began to sink in the west. Kuafu was very excited and opened his arms in an attempt to embrace the sun. But he could not reach it.

Kuafu felt excruciatingly hot at that moment and his body was burning with thirst. When he could no longer stand it anymore, he ran to the Yellow River and began to drink the water. After just a few swigs, he drank dry one of the longest rivers on the planet. But it was far from enough to quench his thirst so he ran to the Weihe River and also drank it dry. Still not satisfied, Kuafu rushed toward a large lake. But before reaching it he collapsed and fell to the ground with a huge, deafening thud. He died of extreme heat and exhaustion. After his death, his giant body turned into a high mountain called “Kuafu Mountain” which, as the legend goes, is now the Qin Mountain between today’s Henan and Shaanxi provinces in China. And the walking stick that Kuafu threw away when he fell later grew into a large forest of beautiful peach trees.
The forest flourishes all year round and provides shade and juicy fruit to quench the thirst of passers-by and working people. Obviously Kuafu overextended himself and as a result he failed to reach his goal. But his good intention, unyielding endeavor and personal sacrifice had moved the God of Earth. The God later chastised the sun for its willful behavior and ordered it to bring favorable climates to people on earth. After that, those living at the foot of the high mountain in the north where Kuafu once lived have enjoyed centuries of mild and favorable weather, bringing them warmth in the winter and bumper harvests in autumn.    [From Shanghai Daily]

Chapter 2  

20.                      The Awakening Spirit

What proof does one have of being awake or lost in a dream, and is it our rightful place to find comfort in either?  Is it everyday situations that confirm we are awake? Should we be forever tied to our life’s events and actions, gain and loss, sorrow and joy and ultimately our birth and death? All simply allowed to occur when we involve ourselves in the here and now. Does not encountering something bring conflict to one’s true spirit?

How can we know if we are dreaming? Can there be a test or are we just searching for something we have yet to find? Are not they but illustrations of normal dreams, dreams due to alarm, thinking memory, rejoicing, and fear that are allowed to occur when the spirit or one’s inner chi connects with something.

Does not connecting with something direct our attention from the journey that we know that we must follow?  Is it not when we leave ourselves open to the outside world when we are awake that our energies fill and empty and diminish and grow? Are we not simply becoming acquainted with all that surrounds us? In reality, by following this course, are we not allowing our yin and yang energies to become open to all sorts of confusion not true to our life force and our spirit as it travels through time?

Remember what Lieh Tzu has told you: “Our spirit chances on something and we dream and when our body encounters something it happens. Are not everyday occurrences but our imagination and dreams that our spirit and body chance upon along the Way. Should not the purpose and focus of one’s life energies be concentrated on what is known as the Tao?”

Forgetting oneself when awake and knowing no dreams while asleep. In so doing, our spirit becomes one with the immortals as we prepare to fly away. 2/8/95

Stepping outside once the middle of winter has arrived one catches the frigid cold and icy snow that should be keeping all inside.

The same as exposure, integrity coupled with bad news could bring peril. As with the cold, advise not asked for yet given can fall on cold shoulders and die there. Gale warnings abound for those who insist on coming forward with bad tidings. Best intentions are fraught with anguish and frustration for things needing to be said being said then having the consequences falling squarely where they do not belong.

Once discovered, actions that cannot be justified by the light of day are often excused only to find the cover of darkness again at sincerity’s expense. Taking the heat for another’s misstep often leads to the wrong person taking the fall. While the true villain goes on his merry way only to repeat his evil deed another day.

Stay simply within yourself and what the Tao teaches. Be comforted by your own virtue and wisdom and a true sense of understanding in the meaning of all things. Accept and give wise counsel at face value as the final act to be played before a full house. Taking a bow at the appropriate interlude for appreciation of your ultimate unveiling. Teaching others truth often requires taking risks. Just know enough to be able to give advice another day.

21.                    Exposing Wise Counsel

Stepping outside once the middle of winter has arrived one catches the frigid cold and icy snow that should be keeping all inside.

The same as exposure, integrity coupled with bad news could bring peril. As with the cold, advise not asked for yet given can fall on cold shoulders and die there. Gale warnings abound for those who insist on coming forward with bad tidings. Best intentions are fraught with anguish and frustration for things needing to be said being said then having the consequences falling squarely where they do not belong.

Once discovered, actions that cannot be justified by the light of day are often excused only to find the cover of darkness again at sincerity’s expense. Taking the heat for another’s misstep often leads to the wrong person taking the fall. While the true villain goes on his merry way only to repeat his evil deed another day.

Stay simply within yourself and what the Tao teaches. Be comforted by your own virtue and wisdom and a true sense of understanding in the meaning of all things. Accept and give wise counsel at face value as the final act to be played before a full house. Taking a bow at the appropriate interlude for appreciation of your ultimate unveiling. Teaching others truth often requires taking risks. Just know enough to be able to give advice another day.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                   (39 ADMONISHMENT / Water over Mountain). 3/ 7/94

               The Mawangdui Silk Texts were buried in Tomb number 3 at Mawangdui, dating from 168 BC and lay hidden in Changsha, Hunan for over 2000 years. Some texts were only previously known by title; some are previously unknown commentaries on the I Ching attributed to Confucius. In general, they follow theame sequence as the various received versions – versions that have been passed down by copying and recopying from generation to generation from texts collected and collated during the 5th century. However, they are, in some important respects, notably different from the sundry received texts known before their discovery.

22.          Attaining the One/Chapter 39 of Mawangdui text                                                   of Tao Te Ching

            Of those in the past that attained the One— Heaven, by attaining the One became clear;  Earth, by attaining the One became stable; Gods, by attaining the One became divine; Valley, by attaining the One became full. Marquises and kings, by attaining the One made the whole land ordered and secure.

Taking this to its logical conclusion we would say— If Heaven were not by means of it clear, it would, I’m afraid, shatter; If the Earth were not by means of it stable, it would, I’m afraid, let go. If the gods were not by means of it divine, they would, I’m afraid, be powerless. If valley were not by means of it full, they would, [I’m afraid,] dry up. And if marquises and kings were not by means of it noble and high, they would, I’m afraid, topple and fall.

Therefore, it  must be the case that the noble has the base as its root; and it must be the case that the high has the low for its foundation. Thus, for this reason, marquises and kings call themselves “The Orphan,” “The Widower,” and “The One Without Grain.” This is taking the base as one’s root, is it not?! Therefore, they regard their large numbers of carriages as having no carriage. And because of this, they desire not to dazzle and glitter like jade, but to remain firm and strong like stone.

23.      Analects of Confucius (Chapter 1, 5 through 8)

1-5. The Master said, “To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons.”

1-6. The Master said, “A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies.”

1-7. Tzu Hsia said, “If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:-although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.

1-8. The Master said, “If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. “Have no friends not equal to yourself. “When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”

24.    Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius/                                                         Chapter 1, 5-8

Confucius said, “To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons. He added  that a youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies.”

Tzu Hsia said, “If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:-although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.

Then Confucius said, “If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid. That he should hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Have no friends not equal to himself and when he has faults have no fear in abandoning them.” It is in following these precepts he finds himself the sage.

25.       Moving from finding the Way to living in Virtue

The sage takes no action, but leaves nothing undone or behind as the Tao remains forever nameless. Left alone to themselves, the ten thousand things find their own way and become transformed on their own.

Once awakened, the sage moves them with nameless simplicity. Remaining true to themselves they become quiet and tranquil. As if a single oneness, or purpose, has found each one with everything finding its place.

Finding himself alone to his liking, the sage becomes as one with heaven and earth as everyone finds him on the path to virtue.

Knowing he has now found the way, the sage clings only to his virtue ultimately showing the way for everything he has left behind.

26.        Moving from finding the Way to living in Virtue                                                   commentary                    

1.   The sage takes no action, but leaves nothing undone or behind as the Tao remains forever nameless. Left alone to themselves, the ten thousand things find their own way and become transformed on their own.  To those unfamiliar with the way of the sage the above seeming paradox defies   However, it fit with the traditional sense that if something can be explained and understood it cannot be in keeping with the Tao. Living within this basic tenet, the sage takes no action but leaves nothing undone makes perfect sense. Leaving things to find             their own place in the scheme of things has always been the challenge as the ten thousand things are transformed on their own.        

2.   Once awakened, the sage moves them with nameless simplicity. Remaining still the ten thousand things come forward to be transformed by   the sage as by all appearances he remains still and unmoved. What has no     name can remain nameless.  As such with nothing standing in his way, the outcome becomes easy for the sage to see as he lets the natural course of events simply occur.   

3.   Remaining true to themselves they become quiet and tranquil. As if a single         oneness, or purpose, has found each one with everything finding its place.  Setting the example others follow the sage with his asking. Recognizing his innate virtue as far beyond their own, the ten thousand things look for their   own place in the Tao. Once done so the universe comes rushing forth to greet them.

4.   Finding himself alone to his liking, the sage becomes as one with heaven and earth as everyone finds him on the path to virtue.  Ultimately to be seen in his true environment as the teacher. Having many friends, associates, and in particular students who are overwhelmed my his    modesty and humility. Setting the standard for how to  live in virtue he simply continues on his way.       

5.   Knowing he has now found the way, the sage clings only to his virtue ultimately showing the way for everything he has left behind. How can someone on the enlightened path of the sage, who harbors and clings to only his virtue, remain attuned to those around him who have not found their own light as yet. as he is assured of his own destiny.

           Below are two entries from My Travels with Lieh Tzu that relay the travails of the sage in facing both his own ultimate endeavor to return once again to live with the dragons, his peers.  As well as the difficulties that bringing change to places beyond understanding. To know when a thing is what it is and is meant to remain so – for now.

The below story is dedicated to my good friend John Yeend who died last year (2015), He was my accountant in south Florida for many years and traveled twice with me to China. He was the purest definition of a virtuous man I have ever met in this life. He lived in spontaneity and in the moment. He was always there for his friends and family and anxious to become a friend for all he met and reminded me of times spent with Chuang Tzu all those years ago… We shared some great times together and is missed, however as with most people we touch and who touch us as well,  I am certain we will meet again and again in the future.

27.                    Coming Home With Virtue

In death we are simply  travelers going home. Our virtue looking for shelter from the elements. Forever seeking final destinations to come. Yet somehow getting lost and forgetting our way back home.

Everyone forgetting his way. With no one knowing a better way. Leading only to universal stories of emptiness and disbelief.  Finally coming forth to cherish the emptiness.                 Knowing not to value what remains simply to be made full again.

Value never given in the final equation. Only stillness and a vacuum finding comfort only in the details. In the give and take we become distracted and lose our place. Finding innocence, we make our way back once again.

An understanding of death interpreted from Yen Tzu – My Travels with Lieh Tzu, Heavens Gift written by DCD 1/9/95.      

28.                          Sagely Understanding

What can remain within the knowledge of the sage? One says only the sage can understand the ways of the The Great Yu Says:

“Within the six directions, inside the four seas, everything is lit by the sun and moon, traversed by the stars, ordered by the four seasons, presided over by the year star. The things which divine intelligence begets differ in shape and in length of life; only the sage can understand their way.”

However, Chi of Hsia says:

“But there are also those which do not need the divine intelligence to beget them,  nor the yin and yang to shape them, nor sun and moon to light them; which die young without needing an executioner to kill them, live long without needing anyone to welcome them or see them off; which do not need the five grains for food, nor floss silk for clothing, nor boat and car for travel. Their way is to be  as they are of themselves, it is beyond the sage’s understanding”.

Which can be correct?

One says that only the sage can understand the ways of the universe. The other says that there are those who do not need direction, as their way is to be as they are without any intervention. Beyond the reach of understanding.

Could it be that both are correct? That the ways of the world are not to consume the time of the great sages of the day. That the sage is to remain in quiet contemplation and refrain from earthly endeavors so that he may keep to a clear path to true understanding. Is not the way  of the Tao to let everything find its own place without contention? To let everything continue as it should knowing that both good and bad will occur in the world and that all will one day find their true way.

If something is to remain above the understanding of the sage, then should not the sage simply understand this, remain within himself, and continue on his way.  4/20/95

Has this not always been the paradox faced by the sage as some things have always remained above his understanding. The quandary always being how to lift the virtue of those around the sage while remaining still. As argued above is not the way of the Tao to let everything find its own level of understanding?  Knowing that both good and bad will occur, does not the sage simply rise above the fray, remain still, and be aloof to what he sees around him… What if however, he is here to put an end to contention and be a positive influence bringing the wisdom of the Tao forward so that others may catch glimpses of themselves beyond the horizon?

Chapter 3 

29.    Streams of Thought like a strand of Pearls

         Staying with the theme of streaming together a strand of pearls. Beginning each chapter with a dialog  amongst and between the sages of the day with Lao, Chuang, Lieh Tzu and Confucius leading the way.

I open this philological and spiritual vision to divine order within and around me. When I think of divine order, I am reminded of the exquisite order in nature. From the smallest atom to the tallest mountain, order is evident in nature, creating and supporting life, providing nourishment and shelter, and blessing all people with beauty. The divine order evident in nature is also at work in my life. It presents opportunities for growth and renewal, introduces ideas and inspiration, and provides guidance and protection. Divine order blesses me with all I need for a healthy, happy, productive life.

Right now, I open my spiritual vision to see divine order. I give thanks for the opportunities available to me. I know that the spirit of God and the universe is at work in me and all of nature. Within this fundamental truth is life and the light of all ten ten thousand things.

            With this as my inspiration and guiding mantra I re-dedicate my journey with and to Divine Order… may the Tao and God’s divine presence guide and direct my every thought action and deed in the coming years as I transform my inner reality to reflect the Tao and where I should be moving each day.I move this afternoon to Lao Tzu – Te Tao Ching, A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Mawangdui Texts continuing to put Te or virtue first.  No one is really sure which came first Tao or Te. But for now we continue to follow the Mawangdui Texts.

Looking to what is constant in the universe. The sage through non-action practices the art of wordless teaching by living in virtue. As the ten thousand things, or world, rises and takes form around him he nurtures them but does not begin them… they begin unto themselves. He acts on their behalf but keeps his distance just the same. Through his inner virtue he nurtures the world by transforming opposites to their true selves thereby ending distinction, name and form taking all things back to their beginnings. As they now remain constant all things look to the sage.

As I continue approaching Confucius he does say something in Book XII of the Analects of Confucius that I think is appropriate here; Once you have restrained you personal desires and made your words and deeds conform to decorum, you will be universally acknowledged as bearing the virtue of humanity”.  This concept is at the root of self-cultivation that epitomizes the teaching of Confucius over the past 2500 years. Restraining your personal desires and making your words and deeds conform to decorum. While Confucius was at heart a Taoist… although the term was undefined at the time, his claim to authenticity was his call for structure so that decorum in all situations would prevail. Thereby virtuous living by everyone would/could be assured.  By rewriting and bringing forward the five classics, he was able to put himself out front as the conveyor of the past that everyone must follow.

The I Ching — Out of early divination practices from the earliest shaman and the Xia and Shang dynasties comes the first classic, or what is traditionally considered the first classic, the I Ching , or The Book of Changes . Divination utilized strips of tortoise shell laid out on the ground as what was to become known as the I Ching. Collections of these tortoise shells and later yarrow sticks became the manual on reading the various diagrams resulting from laying out these strips. Much laterThe most important aspect of the work are the “wings,” a set of additional texts that explain the metaphysical aspects of these diagrams. Although traditionally regarded as the work of Confucius, these wings were probably written down in the Han period. The I Ching throughout Chinese history has been regarded as the fullest description of the metaphysical structure and dynamics of the universe.

 The second Classic is The Book of History ; or Shu ching — A set of documents (speeches, laws, etc.) from the Hsia to the Chou dynasties. In China, this book is regarded as a relatively infallible collection of documents; in the West, the book is considered mainly a collection from the middle or late Chou period and so relatively unreliable as a source for the earlier dynasties. Confucius, according to tradition, had a hand in this book as well, assembling, editing, and commenting on the documents. The Book of History has served throughout Chinese history as a repository of political wisdom, as the source book of exemplary models of government.

The Classic traditionally ascribed the third position is the Shih ching , the Book of Odes — This book is a collection of three hundred poems from the Chou dynasty. Confucius, again, is traditionally regarded as the editor and compiler of the book.

Fourth comes the Book of Rituals — This is actually several books on philosophy, rituals, and even table manners. The most important of these books is the Li chi , or The Book of Rites , which catalogs the many rituals that make up ancient Chinese life.

Finally comes the Ch’un ch’iu , or The Spring and Autumn Annals — A history of a single Chinese province from about 700 to 500 B.C. Confucius, again, lived in this province and supposedly assembled these annals himself.

What were the salient features of early Chinese thought? First, the Chinese believed that heaven, t’ien , governed the world in its entirety, including human affairs; in fact, heaven was especially and scrupulously attentive to all things human, especially government. As a result of this interest, heaven frequently intervened in governmental affairs: when a dynasty grew corrupt, heaven intervened and overthrew that dynasty and replaced it with a new one. This concept was called the “mandate of heaven,” t’ien ming ; rulers were put in place by heaven and could continue to rule as long as they did so with justice and wisdom. When they ceased to rule in the best interests of their subjects, the mandate of heaven required that they be overthrown by someone else. Finally, the ancient Chinese believed that their ancestors continued to live among them and so needed to be consulted, prayed to, appeased, and placated.

Tradition says that Confucius made a visit to Lao Tzu and asked his advise prior to embarking on bringing the above ancient texts forward… It is said Lao Tzu told Confucius to begin his study with the I Ching… and so he did. If such a conversation between Lao Tzu and Confucius actually occurred, it was Confucius going to see the old master… I have a stone rubbing that I have framed of the supposed meeting between the two. Confucius certainly saw Lao Tzu as his better… not his equal. Confucius knew about his peers, the then what would be considered as modern day Taoists and it is said he himself considered himself a Taoist as well.  Chuang Tzu was probably as influential on Confucius as was Lao Tzu. Chuang Tzu loved to challenge authority and convention. Something Confucius represented to the utmost. However, Confucius had the task of updating the old rituals that the state used to maintain order. He therefore, had the ear of the powers that be much more than his contemporaries. However, knowing when to advance and when to stay inside and wait for to right time was paramount. The above could have been a synopsis for Lao Tzu as he prepared for his meeting with Confucius.  Lao Tzu knew that to get the essential Taoist principals moved forward that making the right impression was critical. To wait until the time is right… Keeping your vision of the Tao and to be protected. Do not rush to judgment. Wait until you know what is not real and what is.  Be careful the dragons are not watching. Stay inside or in other words choose OUR words and actions carefully…

There is a modern day very nicely done expansive park along the riverfront in Qufu. At one end of the park is a small area known as Confucius Hill where he is said to have met with his disciples. I could see him returning from his fateful meeting with Lao Tzu and reporting back what their next step should be in gathering documents and begin piecing them together making sense of it all… and in doing so he met his destiny and  immortality…

I continued this afternoon to Lao Tzu – Te Tao Ching, A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Mawangdui Texts... continuing to put Te or virtue first.  No one is really sure which came first Tao or Te. Number 40 of the texts is very short but has great meaning in knowing your strengths are your weaknesses and your weaknesses your strengths…

30.          Reversal and Weakness/Chapter 40 of Mawangdui Text of Tao Te Ching   

“Reversal” is the movement of the Tao and “weakness” is the function of the Tao.

The things of the world originate in being and being originates in non being.

The “Reversal” is the movement of the Tao and “weakness” is the function of the Tao. The things of the world originate in being, and being originates in non being. Living in apparent paradox, saying weakness will het you further than strength appears to be a contradiction of terms as expressed by the .Mawangdui Text  of the Te Tao Ching          

31.     Keeping An Account of Things To Come

Keeping an account or journal helps to monitor our success and failure along the way reminding us that both are the same. Events unplanned for will spring forward into something unplanned for so be prepared regardless. While your path is ultimately  a solitary one to find, the clearer the road ahead is to success the more people will be seen who may want to join a caravan.

Prepare for the worst, but always plan for the best. Setting high standards for yourself and others. Expect only the best from others and bring them up to your expectations. Keeping an account of all those you are responsible to and responsible for and knowing  what to expect from each.

Keep a close reign on your own thoughts and actions and find the clarity and focus of appropriate action. Preparing Master Plans and setting lofty goals both easy and difficult to achieve is critical to success and failure.  Do your best, expect the best and know how the best must be accomplished and carried out to the fullest.

Understanding the consequences for all. Goals that are not to be fulfilled are bothersome, may soon be forgotten and should not have been established to begin with. Winning the day may bring hard-fought accolades and acclaim. However, success can lead to envy from those who would steal another’s thunder rather than finding their own. The Tao teaches to do the right thing, but to be ever mindful of things to come.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching                                                       (40 LETTING LOOSE / Thunder over Water). 3/8/94

32.                        The Guardian Angel

If an angel came down from heaven to relay that what you thought were your weaknesses were actually your strengths and your strengths your weaknesses, would you have the courage to reach out and change the way you live each day.

If an angel came down from heaven to relay that your only limitations were self-imposed and you could accomplish whatever you wanted as long as the beneficiary was not yourself, what would you do first?

If an angel came down from heaven and stood right here – and said that people only know the work of working and that the greatest work of all is the work of not working Caught up thinking that everything comes from something.  If they knew that something comes from nothing, they would not work so hard and enslave themselves to things.  They would instead turn to God and the Tao and concentrate on cultivating spirit.

Finally it is when knowing that everything has its limit.  That when their something gets way out here…. It has no choice but to come back the other way.  Ultimately when we do become balanced we become centered. When we become centered we can see beyond ourselves and we can discover why we are here.  God’s grace and his hand come forth to guide our way.

Those who cultivate the Tao act with humility and harmony.  Those who cultivate virtue look to themselves for the truth, not to the words of others. For those who understand that what moves them is also the source of their life, they can begin to understand the gift of heaven and live forever.

33.                     The Guardian Angel  commentary

1.   If an angel came down from heaven to relay that what you thought were your weaknesses were actually your strengths and your strengths your weaknesses, would you have the courage to reach out and change the way you live each day. What was to be the purpose and meaning of the appearance of dragons initially in my writing?  Throughout history the dragon in Chinese history has represented a celestial connection between man and God, heaven or even the universe.  Could it have been the ancient shaman who needed a mystical being “out of this world” that could be representative of man making the ultimate connection with the universe… beyond what would later be defined as  “God”. To be called be them and ultimately guided through your actions and writings seems hard to imagine. Suppose for lack of knowledge of the tern “angel”, the dragon became symbolic of the same entity whose role was/is to help you to find your way home once again.  But if this can occur… why use whatever means that will get your attention.                                                                                                                                                                             The term used in defining this phenomenon is called an allegory. By definition it means a    representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning  through concrete or material forms;   figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. It is best illustrated as a symbolical narrative,   or as an emblem. For me, the use of the dragon in my writing fits perfectly in my  own story I am here to tell.  I am a dragon according to my birth year 1952 and there can be no mistaking of the “dragons” influence on my life since picking up that fateful book in December 1993, The elements of Taoism at the bookstore in Providence Rhode Island. . For me the angels being referred to are the dragons, the ancient philosophers Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu… and much later Confucius.                   The underlying question remains… if an angel, or in my case dragon, came down from heaven to relay that what you thought were your weaknesses were actually your strengths   and  your strengths your weaknesses, would you have the strength to reach out and change the way you live each day…  Having written the above several years  ago, I can say incrementally yes.. but discipline is required to continue…                                                                                                                                    2.  If an angel came down from heaven to relay that your only limitations were self-imposed and you could accomplish whatever you wanted as long as the beneficiary was not yourself, what would you do first?  So acknowledging that the angels.. or dragons, have been present for over ten years patiently waiting… actually they have always been patiently waiting for my moving past my self-imposed earthly limitations, to accept the  role I am here to play. AND THAT ROLE WAS/IS TO BE A TEACHER. Even  though it has taken from 1993 to 2011, a period of eighteen years for be to work through my human nature and frailties, I now know that the beneficiaries are my students. And my students are not only those in the classroom but every person I meet… Asked the question now my accomplishment would be to be a great teacher.              3.   If an angel came down from heaven and stood right here – and said that people only know the work of working and that the greatest work of all is the work of not working. .Caught up thinking that everything comes from something.  When we can acknowledge who we are yet to become and that it is our virtue we are here to nurture, fine tune, and simply convey to others, then how can accumulating attachments and working define who we are and why we are here? That if people only know work how can  they know themselves? When we discover who we are, we can begin to define work as only the extension of  our virtue we use in assisting those around us., That when we do what becomes us it can no longer be known as work. The key to remembering who we once were and to where we return is knowing that whatever we define as something, an attachment we have come to cling to, that both it and we will eventually return to nothing ourselves before taking stock and returning from nothing only to become something once again..As the universe only knows of  our virtue, everything else falling to dust so why could it matter.                                                                                                                                                                 4.   If they knew that something comes from nothing, they would not work so hard  and enslave themselves to things. They would instead turn to God and the Tao and concentrate on cultivating spirit. Finding that little or nothing from the here and now that is found outside of ourselves  can help us in our ultimate journey to find the Tao. We soon discover that the something we have for a  moment can be lost, found, and lost again and again while we are here. Finding and staying in tune with our internal rhythm we find that the universe is calling. Staying in tune the the universe we find that what is here and now simply comes and  goes. Once found we can see beyond ourselves and our spirit can soar with the  angels or dragons.                                                        5.   Finally it is when knowing that everything has its limit. That when something gets way out here.. that it has no choice but to come back the other way. That the ten thousand things all must find there own place and balance within the scheme of things. The natural order dictates that everything has   its limits and once found returns to its source.                                             6.      Ultimately when we do become balanced we become centered. When we become  centered we can see beyond ourselves and we can discover why we are here. God’s grace and his hand come forth to guide our way. Just as we are shown the way we must show the way for others through our virtue.  Remaining centered we focus on the Tao and what we have learned along the way.                                                                                                                                                     7.       Those who cultivate the Tao act with humility and harmony. Those who cultivate virtue look to themselves for the truth, not to the words of others. For those who understand that what moves them is also the source of their life,  they can begin to understand the gift of heaven and live forever. Keeping to heaven’s gift and acknowledging our divine role and always present attributes we remain still and let our virtue lead the way.

What is it that has remained unchanged for thousands of years as people have lived with what they see as strengths and weaknesses that they encounter in themselves and others? Or how we choose to approach our   perception of success and  failure. Is this not the central argument that scholars and philosophers .have grappled with over the centuries. Naturally, if something is strong it will eventually become weak and break. If it is soft and bends it can withstand the strongest wind.                                          

34.              Maintaining Universal Appeal 

Is it not the way we discover  within ourselves to succeed or fail that controls our ultimate fate as we travel  throughout the universe?

That there is something inside everyone that is destined to be defeated, better known as our weaknesses. Just as there is something within us destined never to be defeated. That which is known as our strengths. So that it must be as the ancients beyond time have always told us.That the strong surpass the weak, while the weak surpass those stronger than themselves.The man who surpasses weaker  men than himself is in danger when  he meets someone as strong as himself. However, the man who surpasses men stronger than himself will never find danger.

Learning to control your own will and making it responsible to and for your inner chi and the Tao is the ultimate test and challenge. Are not they telling us that you cannot conquer or control others, but must simply learn to control yourself.

Yu Hsiung tells us:

“If your aim is to be hard,  you must guard it by being soft. If your aim is to be strong, you must maintain it by being weak. What begins soft and accumulates must become strong.  Watch them accumulate, and you will  know where blessings and disaster comes from. The strong conquer those weaker than themselves and when they meet an equal have no advantage. When the weak conquer those stronger than themselves, their force is immeasurable.”

Lieh Tzu says that Lao Tzu has even more to say on the matter. Lao tells us that if a weapon is strong it will perish. If a tree is strong it will snap. Softness and weakness belong  to life, hardness and strength belong to death.  Understand the two parallels of what hangs in the balance of yin and yang. Knowing the  paradox that exists in coming  to know all things and finding indifference to the ever changing events swirling around you. The sage knows that defeating another through strength defeats ones own. As he follows the traditions of the ages and remains forever in tune with the Tao and in style. 1/25/95

            The story below illustrates a great example of the difference between having strength and showing your strength. It fits a basic tenet of Taoist thought in remaining still. By using a story once told by Confucius, Lieh Tzu gives credence to  his point or moral he is telling by illustrating how using your strengths is not as important as developing them to so that there is no reason to use them.

35.                           Showing Your Strengths

What is strength, but looking at things which others ignore and doing what others will not do? Confucius says there was a man referred to as the Earl of Kung Yi who was renowned for his strength. Although upon sight of him, he appeared to be weak and puny. When asked to appear before the King of Chou with great honors he was questioned closely and asked:   “Just how strong are you?” The Earl of Kung Yi responded that he could snap the leg of a grasshopper in Spring and pierce the wing of a cicada in Autumn.

The King clearly displeased responded that he had men who could rip the hide off a rhinoceros, drag nine oxen by the tail and was still displeased they were too weak. How are you known far and wide for your strength? Ah! What a great question. My renowned teacher Shang Ch’iu Tzu’s strength was unrivaled throughout the world. But those close to him knew nothing of it because he never used his strength.

The Earl of Kung Yi continued by saying that he had braved death to serve Shang who had once confided to him:  “When other men wish to see the invisible; look at the things others ignore. When other men wish to see the unattainable, be expert in things which others will not do. So that a man who is learning to use his eyes should begin by seeing a cartload of wood; a man who is learning to use his ears should begin by hearing the clanging of bells.Whenever there is ease from  within there are no difficulties from outside. The strong man meets no outside adversity or dilemma so that none but his own family hear of him.

Now if my name is famous among the rulers of the state, it is because I have disobeyed my master’s teachings and disclosed my ability. However, I am famous, not because I am proud of my strength, but because I am able to use my strength. Is this not better than being proud of  my strength?”

The King could now understand the difference between having and using strength and showing strength and was greatly relieved.      3/19/95

36.      Analects of Confucius / Chapter 1, 9 through 15

1-9. The philosopher Tsang said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.”                                 1-10. Tsze-ch’in asked Tsze-kung saying, “When our master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his information? or is it given to him?”Tsze-kung said, “Our master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant and thus he gets his information. The master’s mode of asking information, is it not different from that of other men?”                                                                                           1-11. The Master said, “While a man’s father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.”                                                                                                                     1-12. The philosopher Yu said, “In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them. “Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.”                                                                                            1-13. The philosopher Yu said, “When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.”                                1-14. The Master said, “He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:-such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.”                                                                                                                                                                   1-15. Tsze-kung said, “What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?” The Master replied, “They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of propriety.”Tsze-kung replied, “It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish.’-The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.”

The Master said, “With one like Ts’ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence.”                                                                                           The Master said, “I will not be afflicted at men not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.”

37.    Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius  /                                                   Chapter 2, 9-15

The philosopher Tsang said, “Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites to parents and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice; then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence.”                                                       Tsze ch’in asked Tsze-kung saying, “When Confucius comes to any country he does not fail to learn all about its government. Does he ask his information or is it given to him?” Tsze-kung said, “He is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant and thus he gets his information. His mode of asking information, is it not different from that of other men?”

Confucius said, “While a man’s father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.”                                                                                                                              The philosopher Yu said, “In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and great we follow them. “Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized, manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.”                                                                                             The philosopher Yu said, “When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace. When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.”

Confucius said, “He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified:such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.”  Tsze-kung said, “What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter and the rich man who is not proud?” Confucius replied, “They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of propriety.”Tsze-kung replied, “It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘As you cut and then file, as you carve and then polish.’The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just expressed.”

Confucius said, “With one like Ts’ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one point, and he knew its proper sequence and I will not be afflicted at men not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.”

38.               Past and Present becoming One

The Tao Te Ching marked the development of change within ancient Chinese philosophy in that it served to join or link together isolated pieces of wisdom that assisted in scholars gaining a far deeper understanding within the text than would could be gained from the I Ching or the Ch’un Ch’iu. It is with that thought in mind I refer the a portion of verse (chapter) 25 from Thoughts on Becoming a Sage, returning to where you begin you find nothing, yet remain complete and indivisible. No true beginning or end, pure and impure seem unimportant , past and present become one. And earlier in the chapter above from The Guardian Angel…Those who cultivate the Tao act with humility and harmony. Those who cultivate virtue look to themselves for the truth, not to the words of others.                      For those who understand that what moves them is also the source of their life, they can begin to understand the gift of heaven and live forever.

Chapter 4           

39.                       The True Way of Nature

 In what place can truth lie?  With habits found in what can we grow unaccustomed to?  In one place yin and yang  do not meet so there is no distinction between hot and cold. The light of  the sun and moon cannot find a place to shine, so that the people know no difference between night and day. People do not eat or wear clothes. They find themselves asleep almost always thinking what they in dreams is real and what they see while awake unreal.

In another place yin and  yang find constant balance.  So that hot and cold and day and night find their place. Some people are  wise and some foolish. People possess great skill and talent, rulers rule successfully with manners and laws supporting them. What they do and say needs no explanation. They think what they do waking  is real, and what they see in dreams is unreal.

In a third place, the climate is always hot as there is an excess of light from the sun and the moon. The soil will grow no crops. The people eat herbs and  roots. By nature they have become hard and fierce.  The strong oppress the weak. The only honor found is victory with no respect for right or wrong. They travel fast and never rest. They are always awake and never sleep.

Of the three, which can be right or wrong? Have not all simply grown accustomed to what natural forces have provided?  Is not following one’s true course finding the destiny provided by nature?  If, as the Masters say that living is simply an illusion,  then is not adapting to the nature that surrounds us the same as discovering the true nature within ourselves? Who can know? In what place can truth lie, if not within ourselves?  2/9/95

Finding one’s true course provided by nature. Is that not the gist of it? Remaining quiet and still doesn’t our true nature simply arrive and begin to be accounted for. I wrote the above more than twenty years ago. Are we just dreaming or are our everyday actions and events that surround us nothing more than what we become accustomed to? How can we not fulfill our destiny if we live by what nature teaches us along the way and simply come to remember what we have always known. In what place can truth lie except totally and only within ourselves and what the Tao and out mentors who are here to teach and remind us of what we have always known along the way.                                                                              The problem today in trying to follow the bits and pieces of oral wisdom which have been strung together like strings of pearls on a chord is that each is distinct, rounded and polished by time and telling, yet together they give a sense of unity of purpose.                                   Reflecting the wisdom of the ancients… the shaman, the great thinkers and philosophers is difficult at best. Over time, and intervening centuries we have lost the context and even most of the characters they used is write down their thoughts and meanings have changed. It has been and remains the driving force behind my efforts to find and make this connection my life’s work. It is what brings me to China and Qufu. Keeping to the format I am using I continue using the Mawangdui texts of the Te Tao Ching as my guide and move to an original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching that I wrote on March 10th, 1994.

40.            Staying at an Ever-moving Standstill  

Slowing your pace to an ever-moving standstill, the Tao teaches one to appreciate the direction and values of our activities and their net results. Keep thoroughly quiet and calm staying again only to the back roads as before and let the overwhelming situation at hand play itself out.

Do not contribute to misunderstandings that can not be controlled. Know only what must be done and do only that but well. Keep others at arm’s length and keep to your own inner destiny maintaining a constant sense of goodwill in your dealings with everyone.

Show a quiet solitude and confidence in dealings with others and stay within the inner peace that is within you only to be found for yourself. Fade back and simply find everything there is to know.

Once well rested, continue forward refreshed and renewed. Each step with a confidence not known before, but now ingrained with alternatives to follow. Trouble will always be lurking around the corner. Stay alert and be prepared to brush it aside like gnats and mosquitoes that in reality can do no real harm but to only delay your real progress. New beginnings and help are on the way. Stay at an ever-moving standstill and they cannot pass you by.

            I want to continue by focusing again on the Tao Te Ching then continuing elements with elements of each of the three books An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond, My Travels with Lieh Tzu and other great Sages of ancient China and Thoughts on Becoming a Sage. What can be the common component that teaches us to live a life happy with just where we find ourselves each moment? And once we are sure we have found the path that will lead us there, how do we stay attached to our journey and find the inner discipline to stay on it once found?   Just who and what is it that shows us the way. Just who are these dragons? Finding the true way we are to travel as we remain free of desire thereby seeing where things begin while if we remain the subject of our desire we see the end.

41.                      Contending for the Middle

How is it that some can hear of the correct way and follow it with devotion, while others when hearing of it are content to argue whether it is real or not?  And still others cannot seem to      keep from laughing at such folly. However, if the latter did not laugh it wouldn’t be the way.

For contentment to find its middle both extremes must be shown.  The brightest path to some seems dark, the quickest path seems slow.

The smoothest path remains rough. The highest virtue low.  The whitest white seems pitch black.  The greatest virtue wanting while the staunchest virtue timid.  The truest truth remains uncertain.  The perfect square will seem to lack corners as the perfect tool remains idle and does nothing.  The perfect sound is hushed and quiet, as the perfect form remains shapeless. It is through these opposites that the two sides of everything become clear.

Once clear, the Tao remains hidden from view, except to those who can truly see. Remaining hidden from view himself, the sage can easily find beginnings and endings and know when to start and how to finish as he already knows having seen both sides many times before.

42.          Contending for the Middle commentary    

1.   How is it that some can hear of the correct way and follow it with devotion, while others when hearing of it are content to argue whether it is real or not?  Why is it that only certain people are given an opportunity to sense their antiquity and  then decide to go back to retrieve who they once were before making a meaningful effort to move forward?  Once sensing the correct action to be taken why would only a few decide to pursue the correct way… while others seem content to debate the path that they are here to follow?                                                                       2.   And still others cannot seem to keep from laughing at such folly. However, if the latter did not laugh it wouldn’t be the way. What would become of the Tao and the universe if those ill-suited to find and know the Tao were to come forward before their time? And would it matter?  When others are lost in their own attachments and know not of the correct way to be followed, is it not better to just let them come to their senses on their own. If the Tao is invisible, cannot be seen, smelled or touched, how could those not knowing of their own innate nature know of where or how to find it.                                                                                                                                                              3.   For contentment to find its middle both extremes must be shown. What could it mean for contentment to find its middle? And what would it take to find it? Could this not be a reason the sage spends his time in the here and now exploring human nature? To experience and come to know every angle of man’s success and failures knowing intuitively that neither can matter in the      end. Success and failure only taking turns coming to the forefront with either present at the end. Isn’t the height of virtue when the ten thousand things have wet their appetites gone wanting?     4.   The brightest path to some seems dark, the quickest path seems slow. How could this be and why should it matter? How could the brightest path not be one’s first choice unless it appears to be dark or we have chosen one less desirable? How could the quickest way to points ahead seem slow  except for attachments we are afraid to leave behind. This is why following  the Tao and the universe that is calling us falls of deaf ears. Just because a person knows of the correct path does not mean he is prepared to take it.                                                                                                                         5.  The smoothest path remains rough. The highest virtue low. The whitest white seems pitch black. The greatest virtue wanting while the staunchest  virtue timid.The truest truth remains uncertain  Is not the true path of the sage to stay above what living brings each day.  As he sees to his own and others take on events at hand? As such, to see clearly he often sees the smoothest path an rough and the highest virtue low. Is this not the sage’s way of both seeing sides in their extremes before finding their  middle as nature dictates.                                                                     6.  The perfect square will seem to lack corners as the perfect tool remains idle and does nothing. The perfect sound is hush ed and quiet, as the perfect form remains shapeless.       Does not everything eventually follow the ebb and flow of the Tao? Does not  the universe keep things in balance as the ten thousand things return to their maker only to return again and again? As such, does not the perfect square lack corners having already smoothed  out rough edges , the perfect tool finds nothing to do, the perfect sound having no need to make noise, and the perfect form can finding no shapes thereby remain shapeless.                                                                              7.  It is through these opposites that the two sides of everything become clear. Once clear, the Tao remains hidden from view, except to those who can truly see. Is this not simply the origin of the yin and yang of all things recognized first by the shaman and making notes on animal bones that eventually become the I Ching. These opposites attracting each other keeping the universe in unison with its maker. Knowing this the sage can see in advance what is coming by what has gone before. To others who cannot see, how could they know.                                                  8.  Remaining hidden from view himself, the sage can easily find beginnings and      endings and know when to start and how to finish as he already knows the  outcome having seen both sides many times before.  Observing others through the lenses of his inner virtue, the sage, know in advance what will come out by seeing what went in.  Remaining still, he     attracts those around him who can see his wisdom is something they can only aspire to for themselves.  The ultimate paradox of the sage. To remain still and hidden from view while changing the world. 

43.          Chapter 41 of the Mawangdui texts                                                                   of the Tao Te Ching

When the highest type of men hear the Way of Virtue, with diligence they’re able to practice it; when the average men hear the Way, some things they retain and others they lose; when the lowest type of men hear the Way, they laugh out loud at it. If they didn’t laugh at it, it couldn’t be regarded as the Way.

Therefore, there is a set saying about this that goes: The bright Way appears to be dark; the Way that goes forward appears to retreat. The smooth Way appears to be uneven; the highest virtue [is empty] like a valley; the purest white appears to be soiled. Vast virtue appears to be insufficient; firm virtue appears thin and weak; and the simplest reality appears to change. The Great Square has no corners; the Great Vessel takes long to complete; the Great Tone makes little sound; The Great Image has no shape. The Way is Great but has no name. Only the Way is good at beginning things and also good at bringing things to completion.

44.       The Analects of Confucius / Chapter 2, 1-8

2-1. The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”   2-2. The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence ‘Having no depraved thoughts.'”                              2-3. The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. “If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”                                         2-4. The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. “At thirty, I stood firm.  “At forty, I had no doubts. “At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. “At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. “At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”                                                                                  2-5. Mang I asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “It is not being “disobedient”. Soon after, as Fan Ch’ih was driving him, the Master told him, saying, “Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him,-‘not being disobedient.'” Fan Ch’ih said, “What did you mean?” The Master replied, “That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.”                                                                                     2-6. Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.”                                                                                                                             2-7. Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety nowadays means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;-without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”                                                                                                                                2-8. Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?”

45.    Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius /                                                    Chapter 2, 1-8

Confucius said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”. He continues. “In the Book of Poetry there are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence ‘Having no depraved thoughts. Also that the people should be led by laws and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments. If the laws are equally given, they will try to avoid the punishment but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”

Confucius confided  “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”

Mang asked what filial piety was. Confucius said, “It is not being disobedient”. Soon after, as Fan Ch’ih was driving him home, Confucius told him, Mang Sun asked me what filial piety was and I answered that it was not being disobedient. Fan Ch’ih said, “What did you mean?” Again Confucius replied, that parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to propriety.”

Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. Confucius told him “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick. Tsze yu then asked what filial piety was. And Confucius continued, “The filial piety nowadays means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support;-without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”  Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The difficulty is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?”

46.      A Brief Discussion about origins of Filial Piety

Filial piety is an integral part of Chinese culture and therefore was embraced by three of China’s main religions: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Among the three, Confucianism, with its well documented social hierarchy, supported the ideals of filial piety the most. Buddhism and Taoism also supported filial piety in some of their texts, but had monastic systems that prevented monks and nuns from being filial children. The term filial piety refers to the extreme respect that Chinese children are supposed to show their parents. It involves many different things including taking care of the parents, burying them properly after death, bringing honor to the family, and having a male heir to carry on the family name. Practicing these ideals is a very important part of Chinese culture. Therefore, one would expect that filial piety would be incorporated into the major religions of China as it has been. The ideal of respecting and behaving properly towards one’s parents fits perfectly with Confucianism’s ideal of respecting and behaving properly towards all elders. Confucius himself addressed the subject in the Analects: When your father is alive observe his intentions. When he is deceased, model yourself on the memory of his behavior. If in three years after his death you have not deviated from your father’s ways, then you may be considered a filial child. According to Confucius, respect to one’s father while he is alive is a given — something that even animals do. But, to be a filial child, one must respect his parents even after their death. Confucius goes on to cite further specific examples of what a filial son should do for his parents. Among them, children should never offend their parents, never speak badly of them, not travel far away without purpose, always be conscious of their parents age, and protect them whenever necessary. These things were not all that was required of a filial child. Rather, they were an just a few rules that Confucius’ disciples felt were important enough to be included in the Analects.

The concept of filial piety was exhibited in other Confucian texts as well, such as the Book of Rewards and Punishments. Although this text was technically a popular religious text, rather than a Confucian one, it highlighted many Confucian ideals, such as filial piety. It describes good, virtuous people seeking immortality as those who “exhibit loyalty to their ruler, filial piety to their parents, true friendship to their older brothers” Contrarily, those who are evil “insult their ruler and their parents behind their backs” According to this text, it is impossible to be a good, virtuous person without showing respect for one’s parents. The inclusion of filial piety in this popular religious work also helps to show how widespread the belief in filial piety was in China. Although it received a great deal of support and promotion from Confucianism, filial piety was not limited to Confucians — it was a widespread part of Chinese culture.

Filial piety is also mentioned in Buddhist texts. In the Mangalasutta, it is said that the love of the parents “can never be compensated even if one were to carry one’s parents on the shoulder without putting them down for a hundred or a thousand years”. Here, it is explained that the reason for filial piety is to show gratitude and attempt to repay one’s parents for the tremendous amount of love and caring that they devoted. The text also mentions more specific examples of how a child can show respect for his or her parents, such as bathing them and providing them with food and drink. Although many Buddhist and Taoist texts support the idea of filial piety, their monastic intuitions lie in direct opposition to one of the main responsibilities of a filial child — having a male heir in order to carry on the family name. Precepts of the Perfect Truth Taoist Sect says that “All those who choose to leave their families and homes should join a Taoist monastery, for it is a place where the body may find rest” . Both Taoist and Buddhist monks were required to leave their parents behind to live a cloistered life, an action that certainly does not concur with the concept of filial piety.

 47.  My travels with Lieh Tzu…  That Which Does Nothing

Hence there are the begotten and the begetter of the begotten. (The creator and that which is  created.) Shapes and the shaper of shapes.  (That which is molded and he who molds it.)   Sounds and the sounder of sounds. (That which is heard and the thing or person that made the noise.)  Color and the colorer of colors.(The shade or tint of things he who gives it a specific hue.)  Flavors and the flavorer of all flavors. (The character or all things and that which gives it.)

What begetting begets dies, but the begetter of the begotten never ends (What is created ends, but the creator goes on forever).   What shaping shapes is real, but the shapes have never existed. (What is molded is authentic and original, but he who molds it is never really present.)   What sounding sounds is heard, but the sounder of sounds has never issued forth. (The noise is made, however, that which made the noise did not make it.)    What coloring colors is visible, but the colorer of colors never appears. (What is given a specific tint is never seen.) What favoring flavors is tasted, but the flavorer of flavors is never discovered. (That which is given and  character is known, but that which  gives character is never known.)

All are the offices of ‘That Which Does Nothing’. It is able to make yin and yang, soften or harden, shorten or lengthen. Round off or square, kill or give birth, warm or cool. Float or sink, sound the kung note or the shang. Bring forth or submerge. Blacken or yellow,  make sweet or bitter, make foul or sweet. It knows nothing and is capable of nothing.

Yet there is nothing which it does not know, nothing of which it is incapable.  1/8/95

48.          May 2011 Visit to Baoding and Emperor Wu.

        On May 3, 2011 I went with Katie to Baoding to visit Dr. Wang and Song, while we were there we went to the tomb of Emperor Wu, or Liu Che, (156 BC-87 BC), who was one of the greatest emperors of the Han Dynasty. As the tenth son of Emperor Jing, he was chosen as prince at the age of seven and was enthroned when he was sixteen years old. At the age of 70, he died on the throne, ending his 54-year rule. Emperor Wu was an extraordinary emperor with great talent and bold vision.

Specifically, he was a super master of military strategy which made him a combative monarch. This accounts for his title Wu which means ‘Martial’ – military force. Under his reign, the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220) became the most powerful regime in the world. The times of Emperor Wu were among the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. At the beginning of Emperor Wu’s accession to the throne, a stable political situation and favorable national economy paved the way for splendid achievements in politics, economy, foreign affairs and culture. As an innovative monarch, Emperor Wu took some effective measures in politics. He set up a special system for selecting, appointing, and assessing governmental officials. During that period, talented figures emerged in all occupations. Li Guang, as well as Wei Qing and Huo Qubing, were all generals in that period, famous throughout the history of China. In addition, certain measures were carried out to strengthen the centralization of authority to weaken the power of small kingdoms.

Emperor Wu adopted many economic reform policies. First, the currency system was changed, establishing the wuzhu coin as the national legal currency. Second, industries such as manufacturing and the selling of salt and iron were monopolized by the national government. All these measures strengthened the financial power of central government and restrained the power of businessmen. In addition, Emperor Wu paid close attention to building water conservancy projects and treating the Yellow River. As for foreign affairs, a prolonged battle was launched by Emperor Wu to drive out the Huns, an ancient tribe who trespassed on Han territory. With a powerful economy and strong military force, Emperor Wu defeated the Huns and safeguarded northern territory including the Hosi Corridor. At that time, China’s territory was vaster than that of any previous dynasties. Meanwhile, Emperor Wu sent the envoy Zhang Qian to the western regions. As a result, an ancient Silk Road was opened up and the economic and cultural exchanges between the central plains and western regions were greatly enhanced.

Confucianism became the mainstream Western Han ideology under Emperor Wu’s reign. Emperor Wu required that all chancellors in the court learn the Confucian classics before they got a promotion. He also set up an educational system of Confucian classics. With ‘unification’ as its core, Confucianism helped form an important cultural spirit which joined Chinese people’s hearts. In that period, China’s first historical record – The Records of the Grand Historian — was written by Sima Qian (a famous historian in Western Han). Although Emperor Wu was a warlike emperor, great achievements were accomplished in almost all aspects of society during his reign. The above analogy is critical as a turning point in ancient China. Emperor Wu deified Confucius and the study of his “Analects” became the precursor of what was to follow for the next two thousand years in China.  It was this step that minimized the Taoist traditions that were taking hold and pushed Confucius to the forefront and thereby established Qufu as the “religious” center of China as the home of Confucius…                                                       

Everything we do in life must be viewed in context and juxtaposed against the images on who and how we we ourselves in the reality of the situation in which we find ourselves. We create our world by and through the decisions we make and how we react and respond to those decisions. Our next step we take is predetermined by the step preceding it. How could a person from a small town in southwestern Missouri in the middle of America find himself attached to endeavored and a destiny that would bring him to China and Qufu and the connection to the ancient sages and philosophies of halfway around the world.

When I was a small boy growing up on the farm in Lamar my earliest memories are of times spent with my grandmother who had a small farm over the hill from our place. I would walk over to visit her (this was when I was 8 9 10 years old) and help her in her garden. She was as natural a phenomenon as could be. She was one with the earth and loved her garden and the things she could grow there. She was as grounded a person I could know and in many ways my first mentor. She introduced me to tortoises… We would go in her car to my uncle Louie and aunt June’s and stop and pick up turtles we saw on the road. We would later let them go. We just wanted to protect them from getting run over. It was alongside this road that I first started finding and picking up tortoise shells…     

49.                 My Grandmother’s Garden

She comes in peace knowing utmost harmony. Nurturing. Receptive and forgiving, restrained yet uncomplicated. The dragons flying through the sky disappear into the clouds retiring, once strong and assertive now retreating and finding a secure place.

Looking down  Mother Earth comes into focus with new growth and new beginnings. Differences occur but a connectedness  of all things with the seasons begins. Yang becomes yin. Strong becomes weak hard becomes soft male becomes female in the oneness of Tao.

Leaving the clouds behind and finding the earth beneath my feet I discover that I am here to find clarity, to focus to listen and most importantly to learn. To find the ways  of my garden. To know the earth as my grandmother taught me. To know beginnings and endings. Simply to know  and remember what my grandmother taught me.

Chapter 5

50.       Lessons to Be Learned Along the Way

There is no reason to leave, just as there is no reason to  stay. Only your own footsteps to be found along the way. Finding yourself is like keeping time to the ever changing music of life that only you can hear.

Forever losing attachments.found in finding your inner chi. Forever creating tests only for yourself that must be followed to the end.  To remain simply as one with the universe. Following the way of  dragons and the cosmos the only thing forever present.

Taking the path that leads the way. All outcomes and things  possible. With nothing ever really lost or gained, in the end ultimately the same.  The journey never-ending. With change the only order of the day. As situations come to  the forefront, they arrive only to teach today’s lesson.

The wheel of life constantly turning. It’s only purpose to bring us closer to true understanding. Coming in together and going out together. Keeping only to your eternal rhythm and the oneness found in finding your inner chi.

Remaining simply as a clear pool and seeing the reflection as yourself. In the end rather you go or rather you stay is not as important as the lessons you have learned along the way. Keep your head in the clouds as Cloud Dancing and your feet firmly on the ground as one tending to nature and your garden.  Stay only on the road to greater understanding and the decisions to come will follow as only they can. Remaining unattached as you begin again by finding your own footsteps along the way.   12/30/94

           Everything here seemingly flashbacks to my youth and what made me so different from the others kids in school. Yes my eyes were crossed and I wore glasses. Even a patch over one eye for awhile because one was crossed and always wearing glasses from my earliest memory. Always moving never staying in one place for long but there was something else. Some innate sense of vulnerability that others could sense and a physical weakness and being uncoordinated… I remember not being able to jump from a standing position or skip or ever learning to ride a bike… the latter two still with me today. However my weaknesses made me strong as the other kids were always picking on and making fun of me because of what I couldn’t do as even then I was experiencing lessons simply to be learned along the way.  I guess I was different from others even then as well. What is my role and why am I here in this place? Why are things that should be easy so difficult and things others see as difficult so easy for me?

With all that said… where is the context of how I proceed from here. Establishing a firm foundation and platform is the key. Taking care of Katie is number one. I have done that with her being in school and establishing network with Maria and students from Qufu Normal University. What is the context of my being here. I am teaching at Jining University which gives me an income and apartment to live in here in Qufu. Why interject all this with my “pearls of wisdom”? Because in many ways I am the story as much as being the storyteller.  I need to repeat that and let it soak in… I am the story as well as the storyteller.

Remaining unattached as you begin again finding your own footsteps along the way….  Now I go back to the last line of Chapter 1 of Thoughts on Becoming a Sage of the Tao Te Ching… That when we are free of desire we can see where things begin and when we are subject of desire we can see where things end. When we are free of desire we can see where things truly or actually begin with no concern for the outcome that may follow, simply flowing with the events of one’s life and where the Tao leads or takes you… Being free of desire means having no attachments that bind you to a particular way things must occur and that you can see where things begin. This is what Lao Tzu was trying to emphasize at the beginning… Conversely, when we are subject of our desire then an ending becomes plain to see. We can see where clinging to attachments leads us being subject to our desires… We lose our freedom to see where things should begin when we are free of desires… hens we should have little or no desire or attachments that will keep us from the path or way we are to follow.

51.   Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you

The Tao gives birth to one.  One gives birth to two. Two gives birth to three and three give birth to ten thousand things. When I as one embrace the Tao and open my heart and mind to the universe I become complete as my focus remains on the horizon.

When I show another person the way, we walk in unison guided by what we have been taught.  When we two brighten the path of the third all things become possible and in unison we give birth to a thousand things. As we too become the world’s teachers.

With yin at our backs and yang in our embrace we look for harmony. What the world hates we love. Just by what some gain in losing others will lose by gaining keeping the world forever in balance. Remaining fully enmeshed in the Tao, the sage simply follows his mentor, Lao Tzu, the ultimate teacher of the way.  As such, we are reminded to reduce our desires, remain humble and practice the virtue of harmony. Letting these three be our guide we quietly give birth to all around us.

52.    Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you commentary

1.  The Tao gives birth to one. One gives birth to two. Two gives birth to three and three give birth to ten thousand things.  In what is probably the most famous lines of the Tao Te Ching, the Tao  gives birth to one. One gives birth to two and two gives birth to three and   three give birth to three and three give birth to the ten thousand things.  From the beginning when the shaman made the connection between what  known and unknown, there has been the desire to make the connection with all things in the universe.  Who created everything… they could only name it Tao. How to define the undefinable encompassing everything in the universe except as the Tao? Once given definition, between what was known as the ten thousand things… and the unknown – once thing that will remain forever unseen all becoming the Tao.. Finding definition to what appears universal gives birth to all.  Once becoming known as God, for lack of another name,  the Tao could remain mysterious and unknowable.  Just as it should be. Once there is one it can multiply into two… Once two emerge three occurs and the three   can give birth to the ten thousand things. The Tao acting as if unseen, creating that which all other thing will emerge.  As such with everything following its course knowing eternal beginnings and endings all thing can exist not knowing good or bad, right from wrong keeping within the steady flow of events as they naturally occur.                                                                                                                                                                                 2.   When I as one embrace the Tao and open my heart and mind to the universe I become complete as my focus remains on the horizon.  Embracing the Tao I remain focused on why I am here this time… As I  continue to open myself to the ten thousand things I have come here to experience and come to know, I open my heart and mind to the universal calling my spirit craves to  return as I listen to the still small voice within that keeps my focus on the horizon.  As I have seen the other side many times before, I know it is only a matter of time before my return.                          3.  When I show another person the way, we walk in unison guided by what we have been taught. When we two brighten the path of the third all things come possible and in unison we give birth to a thousand things. As we too become the world’s teachers. What can it mean but to live as the Tao? So that every moment, every  thought, every action, become nothing more than an extension of the Tao.   To be so conscious of who you are and why you are hear, that you need not do   anything outside the realm of becoming the sage. If your are attuned to and with your highest endeavor and ultimate destiny what can it matter?  How could I emulate the Tao more than as a teacher here in Qufu? As I brighten the path of children who represent the ultimate offspring of the   legacy the ancients left behind. As their teacher I show them the way to   express themselves in English, thereby helping them gain their voice. As a  teacher, I am teaching others who will also become teachers…As such each of us have found our role.                                                    4.   With yin at our backs and yang in our embrace we look for harmony. And so we proceed. The universe fully expecting us to fulfill our own legacy. Embracing the Tao as both our anchor as yin and yang as our talisman, or good luck as we are seen riding the wind with dragons…  unconcerned with whatever outcome that may follow us as we ride ahead of whatever change that have occurred due to our passing or what may come.                                                                                    5.  What the world hates we love. Just by what some gain in losing others will lose by gaining keeping the world forever in balance. What is it that keeps mankind looking for things outside himself for what was always simply within himself from the start. Simply harmony and the eternal balance that the universe knows must occur. As what comes around once must return again, can’t we from mistakes in the past and forgo what was once hated and be unconcerned about what may be gained. As second chances are as inevitable as the change that must occur. What could be the difference when what is loved by one is abhorred, or hated by another. As the opposites must remain true to each other so must we be to the Tao and ourselves.                                 6.   Remaining fully enmeshed in the Tao, the sage simply follows his mentor, Lao Tzu, the ultimate teacher of the way. As such, we are reminded to reduce our desires, remain humble and practice the virtue of harmony. Ah to find and secure the eternal stillness that resides in each of us. What could be a greater endeavor than to follow the dragons into immortality.  As Lieh Tzu’s common man I began my journey though the I Ching and beyond, then catching the attention of my dear friend Chuang Tzu and his admonitions about living as his “perfected man”. A task and challenge I find ever daunting. Then there is Confucius, as I reside now just a stone’s throw from the temple built in his honor and teach in its shadow. And then  there is Lao Tzu… my ultimate mentor who knew how to make it all work.   How what was to become Taoism and was to come together when it truly was nameless, i.e., before it had a name.  Loo Tzu knew what it was and how to get there. It was this that was his greatest gift to Confucius. Compiling everything that preceded him and providing context that could be followed by all…. ah Lao Tzu we are indebted to you the most.  For me all that is left is to simply become who I am as I reduce all my desires except to be as one with my mentors again, remain humble, and embrace and become emblematic of simple harmony.                                                                                                                                                               7.   Letting these three be our guide we quietly give birth to all around us. As the knowing sage you have now become, what more is there to do?  Except reducing my desires as the world comes forward to find me, remain humble, and embrace simple harmony and the Tao… and to be a teacher…                                                                                                                                                                          I continue to be overwhelmed by what I wrote all those years ago and now contemplate what it would truly take to live the life I have written. I seem to be held back by non existent limitations that are only self imposed. Nothing I have read, studied, contemplated or examined is as good as what I have written myself. Its as if I live a life of unfulfilled prophesy that only I can see and know as if I am to remain hidden from view from all I encounter… as the sage.

53.      The Way gives birth… Chapter 42 of Mawangdui Text of Tao Te Ching 

The Way gave birth to the One. The One gave birth to the Two. The Two gave birth to the Three. And the Three gave birth to the ten thousand things.
The ten thousand things carry Yin on their backs and wrap their arms around Yang. Through the blending of the qi they arrive at a state of harmony.

The things that are hated by the whole world are to be orphaned, widowed, and have no grain. Yet kings and dukes take these as their names.
Thus with all things—some are increased by taking away; while some are diminished by adding on. Therefore, what other men teach, I will also consider and then teach to others.
Thus, “The strong and violent do not come to a natural end.” I will take this as the father of my studies.

We are back to the basic premise that the strong cannot hold its position for long. This fits the classic concept of yin and yang and everything in the universe seeking balance. That the strong and violent cannot come to a natural end epitomizes what is continually restored in the natural order of things. The Tao gives everything its birth and it is up to the sage to teach and reform thereby giving structure to all around him in the image God would have things to be.

54.    The Analects of Confucius / Chapter 2, 9-16)

2-9. The Master said, “I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said;-as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He is not stupid.”                                                                                                                                                2-10. The Master said, “See what a man does.”Mark his motives.”Examine in what things he rests. “How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his character?”     2-11. The Master said, “If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.”                                                                             2-12. The Master said, “The accomplished scholar is not a utensil.”                                           2-13. Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, “He acts before he speaks, and after wards speaks according to his actions.”                                           2-14. The Master said, “The superior man is catholic and not partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic.”                                                                                                                         2-15. The Master said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.”                                                                                                                                                           2-16. The Master said, “To attack a task from the wrong end can do nothing but harm.”

55.       Kongdan’s version The Analects of Confucius / Chapter 2, 9-16

Confucius said, “I have talked with Hui for a whole day and he has not made any objection to anything I said as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct when away from me and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui!-He is not stupid.”

Continuing, Confucius said, “See what a man does and mark his motives. Examine in what things he rests. How can a man conceal his character?”                                                                  “If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others and the accomplished scholar is not a utensil.”                       Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man.                                                                     The Master said, “He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions and the superior man is catholic and not partisan. The mean man is partisan and not catholic.” Confucius added, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous, also to attack a task from the wrong end can do nothing but harm.”

56.                        On Becoming a Sage  

What is this thing about becoming a sage. That Confucius can discard his mind and use his body? Or this disciple of Lao Tzu, who can look with his ears and listen with his eyes. How can we be sure this can be done and what makes them special?

Asked to clarify his feats, Lao Tzu’s disciple responds by saying that he could look and listen eyes and ears, not exchange without using his the function of each one. How can this be done? He responds that: “My body is in accord with my mind, my mind with my energies, my energies with my spirit, my spirit with nothing.

When ever the minutest thing or the faintest sound effects me, whether it is far away beyond the eight borderlands, or close at hand between my eyebrows and eyelashes, I am bound to know it. However, I do not know whether I perceived it with the seven holes in my head and my four limbs, or know it through my heart and belly and internal organs. It is simply self knowledge.”

Is not becoming a sage simply remaining as one with all in the universe. Without conflict. With no contention between what could be considered as right and wrong.         To hear without hearing. To see without seeing. To be without being. To come without going. To stay without leaving. Finding comfort solely in the details, knowing all that comes forth to be known. What use is eyes and ears without knowing their true purpose? If one can discard either and still see and hear who needs them? If all is already known, simply waiting to come forth again and again then what difference can they possibly make. Close your eyes and ears, take a deep breath and everything suddenly becomes clear again.

57.       What is this seeming paradox…

that I seem to be here and not here at the same time. Not only experiencing this in Qufu but back in Florida I experienced and felt the same way… earlier in Fall River I certainly didn’t fit in… before that in Kansas City for a year, graduating from college in Springfield in May 1976 running for and serving a term in Missouri House of Representatives (1979-80) and afterwords living  in Springfield for seven years until September 1987.  This never fitting in with the status quo has always been with me. Never wanting to return to Joplin where I grew up… certainly not fitting in there. Something always pushing me forward to a new plateau, a new setting. I think I am most driven by wanting to be where there is no contention present. Where peace and harmony reign supreme. To become and be the sage and teacher my destiny keeps pulling me to become. It is as if I had a flourish of writing from the I Ching in 1993, My Travels with Lieh Tzu in 1994 and 1995 and then my own version of Lao Tzu’s Te Tao Ching in 2000… then I was done. As if all I needed to write was done. Now I simply needed to find a way to become what I had written. I am now where I am supposed to be living next door to the Confucius Mansion and Temple in Qufu. Acknowledging finally that I am the sage and doing it from where I am supposed to be. Coming to terms with the dragons… my ultimate mentors and following them just the same.

I am enmeshed in thinking of what could have been in Boynton Beach and mistakes I may have made not understanding the underlying contradictions to my living there for fifteen years (from May 1995 to September 2010). It is said that there are no do over’s but I disagree with that analogy and seeing things as a final synopsis… It was just to hard and forces of change you represented were too much for the powers that are present here… as exemplified by suit against my pavilion and hurricane knocking it over. There are many good people here and I am remembered for what I represented.  But that is over now as I prepare to leave again for China.

Amazingly it was my desire to do a friendship park that never materialized in Boynton Beach that took me to Qufu the first time in October 1999 that led to sister city program to begin with… so while park was never built its “discussion” help bring me to where I am today… And “Finding Confucius” as written four years earlier in My Travels with Lieh Tzu and other great Sages of ancient China. It’s as if it was just another piece of the puzzle that brought me to where I am now.  Is not becoming a sage simply remaining as one with all in the universe. Without conflict. With no contention between what could be considered as right and wrong. To hear without hearing. To see without seeing. To be without being. To come without going. To stay without leaving. Finding comfort solely in the details, knowing all that comes forth to be known.

58.            Oncoming (Flooding) Decisions

Heavy rains creating difficulty proceeding in the present direction. Following the well-worn path leads to the center of the seat of  power and authority. Shelter must be found. Much discussion transpires with the outpouring of events bringing danger to those staying in disregard to safety in low lying areas.

Assistance pouring in to replace valuables lost in the storm. Your own place in the overall scheme of things becomes unsettled as there is no way to anticipate the final outcome. The ultimate threat seems to subside. You are thankful for help, but recognize that your base of operations must be moved. Events lead to mutual agreements towards cooperation with others.  Always looking for good advise as trouble again appears once more on the horizon. Rain continues to fall soaking all and bringing the final flood of decision to move on.    

Those who have gathered look to you for direction. Trust moving to and fro like a pendulum not knowing that this chapter of events is over. Packing up, all things must go. Trying to salvage the present only delays what must ultimately be saved.

Endings push us to new beginnings and new  destinations. The Tao as the only anchor. The path ahead suddenly seems clear. The sun comes out from behind the clouds drying out mildew taking its turn and having its own way.         . 3/11/94

59.  In depth discussion about Beginnings of Taoism

The paradox seems to evolve wherever I am.  I represent change to existing structures that need to be broken… just as Chuang Tzu did over two thousand years ago. Although in truth and reality change that is needed never seems to occur as the powers that be like things just the way the are. There will always be powers in place that got the status quo just as it is who do not want change that they cannot control. Everything about my persona means I represent looking at the world differently. I am always the odd man out regardless of the situation or where I happen to find myself. I am always looking for new beginnings, but here in Qufu what makes me different and unique is recognized as my being here by choice and as a teacher. This fits the persona of the scholar and living sage that I am to fulfill as heaven’s promise to myself and ultimately everyone around me. There is no need to pack up and leave again as I now reside with my mentors in place here in China. Not just to be here in Qufu but in other places I have seen and been before. My home is wherever I am at the moment where my thoughts are free to roam the Tao and where there is no contention present…. only virtue, friendship and harmony.

The paradox being my ongoing dialog with Chuang Tzu who loved poking fun at what was considered the norm. What everyone else saw as what was real and therefore could not be challenged. In many ways my journey up to now has taken me to places where others want peace and harmony as well, but they have defined this in a way that always leads to disharmony, mistrust and ill feelings. Making approaching their highest good almost impossible due the hurtles that they themselves have put down in front of themselves.  Chuang Tzu was much more than that. His influence on the evolving role of what Taoism was later to become was immeasurable. While Lao Tzu gets most of the credit, it was Chuang Tzu who helped to take the true spirit of Taoism and help to define its actual meaning. He is my soul mate… one of many of the “dragons” I am eternally grateful for.

60.                                     Chuang Tzu

Chuang Tzu(399 – 295 B.C.) has always been an influential Chinese philosopher. His writing is at once transcendental while at the same time being deeply immersed within everyday life. He is at peace while at the same time moving through the world. There is a deep vein of mysticism within him which is illuminated by his very rational nature. His style of writing with its parables and conversations are both accessible while at the same time pointing to deeper issues.

Chuang Tzu took the Taoist position of Lao Tzu and developed it further. He took Lao Tzu’s mystical leanings and perspectives and made them transcendental. His understanding of virtue (te) as Tao individualized in the nature of things is much more developed and clearly stated. There is also a greater and more exact attention to nature and the human place within it which also leads to his greater emphasis on the individual. A very interesting and new notion which he brought into Chinese philosophy is that of self-transformation as a central precept in the Taoist process (an understanding that has also penetrated to the heart of Tai Chi Chuan). He believed in life as dynamic and ever changing, making him akin to both Heraclitus and Hegel in these regards. In general, our contemporary understanding of Taoist philosophy is deeply predicated on a very thorough intermingling of the ideas of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

Chuang Tzu believed that life is transitory and that the pursuit of wealth and personal aggrandizement were vain follies, which distracted from seeing and understanding the world and contemplating its meaning. He strove to see nature with new eyes. For instance:

“Do the heaven’s revolve? Does the earth stand still? Do the sun and the moon contend for their positions? Who has the time to keep them all moving? Is there some mechanical device that keeps them going automatically? Or do they merely continue to revolve, inevitably, of their own inertia?  “Do the clouds make rain? Or is it the rain that makes the clouds? What makes it descend so copiously? Who is it that has the leisure to devote himself, with such abandoned glee, to making these things happen?”

Chuang Tzu felt it was imperative that we transcend all the dualities of existence. Seeing nature at work and the way in which it reconciled these polar opposites pointed the way to the Tao where all dualities are resolved into unity.

“The universe is the unity of all things. If one recognizes his identity with this unity, then the parts of his body mean no more to him than so much dirt, and death and life, end and beginning, disturb his tranquility no more than the succession of day and night.”  And: “The sage has the sun and the moon by his side. He grasps the universe under his arm. He blends everything into a harmonious whole, casts aside whatever is confused or obscured, and regards the humble as honorable. While the multitude toil, he seems to be stupid and non-discriminative. He blends the disparities of ten thousand years into one complete purity. All things are blended like this and mutually involve each other.”             As to the nature of the Tao itself Chuang Tzu’s conception was remarkably similar to that of Lao Tzu.

“Tao has reality and evidence but no action or physical form. It may be transmitted but cannot be received. It may be obtained but cannot be seen. It is based in itself, rooted in itself. Before Heaven and Earth came into being, Tao existed by itself for all time. It gave spirits and rulers their spiritual powers. It created Heaven and Earth. It is above the zenith but is not high. It is beneath the nadir but is not low. It is prior to Heaven and Earth but is not old. It is more ancient than the highest antiquity but is not regarded as long ago.’

One of Chuang Tzu’s continuing interests was the issue of the inter changeability of appearance and reality. He sometimes asks (almost in a Cartesian way), ‘How can we be sure of what we are seeing?  “Those who dream of the banquet may weep the next morning, and those who dream of weeping may go out to hunt after dawn. When we dream we do not know that we are dreaming. In our dreams we may even interpret our dreams. Only after we are awake do we know that we have dreamed. But there comes a great awakening, and then we know that life is a great dream. But the stupid think they are awake all the time and believe they know it distinctly.

The meaning of the butterfly dream is that the things of our external world are in a state of continuous transformation, from one form to another. It is an analogy drawn from our own familiar inner life of what cognitive process is involved in the process of self transformation.                                             

Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there was I, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that he was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction. [But one may be the other.] This is called the transformation of things.”

By exploring such paradoxes Chuang Tzu reveals that much of the meaning of the world is bound up in apparent contradictions. Taoist philosophy exerted a great influence on the developing school of Chan (Zen) Buddhism in China. Many of the understandings of Taoists and Zen Buddhists are very similar. “The mind of the perfect man is like a mirror. It does not lean forward or backward in response to things. It responds to things but conceals nothing of its own. Therefore it is able to deal with things without injury to its reality.”

This is a very similar metaphor to that of Zen (and for that matter Confucianism). The difference is that for Zen Buddhists it indicates a reality which has to be transcended to attain enlightenment, whereas for Taoists and Confucians it is a metaphor for reality which needs to be responded to faithfully (like a mirror). Finally, of death: “The universe gives me my body so that I may be carried, my life so I may toil; my old age so I may repose, and my death so I may rest. To regard life as good is the way to regard death as good. A boat may be hidden in a creek or a mountain in a lake. These may be said to be safe. But at midnight a strong man may come and carry it away on his back. An ignorant person does not know that even when the hiding of things, large or small, is perfectly well done, still something will escape you. But if the universe is hidden in the universe itself, then there can be no escape from it. This is the great truth of things in general.

We posses our body by chance and we are already pleased with it. If our physical bodies went through ten thousand transformations without end, how incomparable would this joy be! Therefore the sage roams freely in the realm in which nothing can escape and all endures. Those who regard dying a premature death, getting old, and the beginning and the end of life as equally good are followed by others. How much more is that to which all things belong and on which the whole process of transformation depends (that is, Tao)?” It is worth noting that there is no sign in either Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu of a religious inclination (ascribing events and processes to a pantheon of deities, etc.) of the kind which later adherents beset Taoism with. Taoism evolved as a philosophy without the religious trappings that later followers felt they had to add to the movement. It is also free of any trace of divination, alchemy, searches for an elixir of life and all the other strains of occultism that later attached themselves to this philosophy.

After the death of Chuang Tzu (in 295 B.C.) Taoism continued to grow in popularity although as a philosophy it changed rather little for the next six hundred years or so. There were a few philosophers, however, who made a contribution to its development.

61.                                  Yang Hsiung

Yang Hsiung (53 B.C. to 18 A.D.) was an exponent of what he called Tai Hsuan (Great Mystery). This philosophy combined classical Taoism with elements of Confucian ethics. He is well known for his doctrine that human nature is a mixture of good and evil. He was also noteworthy in rejecting the notion of immortality. This was significant because at that time a large number of Taoist alchemists and the developing religious cult of Taoism, were deeply immersed in doctrines and practices seeking immortality and an ‘elixir of life.’ Yang Hsiung correctly pointed out that this practice was contrary to the Taoist philosophy of indifference to life and death and the acceptance of the natural course of things. Sounding like Lao Tzu, his classical Taoism emerges in formulations such as:

“The Supremely Profound Principal deeply permeates all species of things but its physical form cannot be seen. It takes nourishment from emptiness and nothingness and derives its life from nature. It penetrates the past and present and originates the various species. It operates yin and yang and starts the material force in motion. As yin and yang unite, all things are complete on Heaven and on Earth. The sky and sun rotate and the weak and strong interact. They return to their original position and thus the beginning and end are determined. Life and death succeed each other and thus the nature and the destiny are made clear. Looking up, we see the form of the heavens. Looking down, we see the condition of the earth. We examine our nature and understand our destiny. We trace our beginning and see our end. … Therefore the Profound Principle is the perfection of utility.

“To see and understand is wisdom. To look and love is humanity. To determine and decide is courage. To control things universally and to use them for all is impartiality. To be able to match all things is penetration. To have or not to have the proper circumstance is destiny. The way by which all things emerge from vacuity is the Way. To follow the principles of the world without altering them and to attain one’s end is virtue. To attend to life, to be in society, and to love universally is humanity. To follow order and to evaluate what is proper is righteousness. To get hold of the Way, virtue, humanity, and righteousness and put them into application is called the business of life. To make clear the achievement of nature and throw light on all things is called yang. To be hidden, without form, deep and unfathomable, is called yin. Yang knows yang but does not know yin. Yin knows yin but does not know yang. The Profound Principle alone knows both yin and yang, both going and stopping, and both darkness and light.” —Tai Hsuan Ching (Classic of the Supremely Profound Principle) (9)7: 5a-9b In this we can clearly see the application of Taoist metaphysics to a set of Confucian ethical concerns and how the two became merged into one as the guiding principle of Chinese everyday thought and action              .

62.                              Wang Ch’ung

Another important thinker of this era was Wang Ch’ung (27 to 100 A.D.). Like Yang Hsiung he was a Taoist in terms of his metaphysics which he combined with certain Confucian ideas. He was less interested in ethics and more concerned with human institutions, however. His chief contribution was to try and clear the air of atmosphere of superstition which was clouding both Taoism and Confucianism. He declared that Heaven takes no direct action; that natural events occur spontaneously; that there is no such thing as teleology; that fortune and misfortune come by chance; and that man does not become a ghost at death. In all these beliefs is stood against a prevailing current of superstition and divination.

“When material forces (chi) of Heaven and Earth come together, all things are spontaneously produced, just as when the vital forces (chi) of husband and wife unite, children are naturally born. Among the things thus produced, blood creatures are conscious of hunger and cold. Seeing that the five grains are edible, they obtain and eat them. And seeing that silk and hemp can be worn, they obtain and wear them. Some say that Heaven produces the five grains in order to feed man and produces silk and hemp in order to clothe man. This is to say that Heaven becomes a farmer or a mulberry girl for the sake of man. This is contrary to spontaneity. Therefore their ideas are suspect and should not be followed.”

63.                                Huai Nan Tzu

Huai Nan Tzu (died 122 B.C.) [born Liu An] was a prince of Huai-Nan and a fervent Taoist. He was not original in his writings but gave Taoism further prominence. He came to a tragic end as he plotted a rebellion, failed and committed suicide.

“Tao covers heaven and supports Earth. It is the extent of the four quarters of the universe and the dimensions of the eight points of firmament. There is no limit to its height , and its depth is unfathomable. It encloses Heaven and Earth and endows things [with their nature] before they have been formed. … Compressed, it can expand. Hidden, it can be manifest. Weak, it can be strong. Soft, it can be firm. “With it the mountain becomes high and the abyss becomes deep. Because of it, animals run and birds fly. Sun and moon shine and the planets revolve by it. The unicorn emerges and the phoenix soars. .”After having been polished and cut, it returns to simplicity. It acts without action and is in accord with the Tao. It does not speak and is identified with virtue. Perfectly without leisure and without pride, it is at home with harmony. The myriad things are all different but each suits its own nature. Its spirit may be set on the tip of an autumn hair, but its greatness combines the entire universe. Its virtue softens Heaven and Earth and harmonizes yin and yang. It regulates the four seasons and harmonizes the five Elements. …” Therefore those who understand the Tao return to tranquility and those who have investigated things ultimately rest with non-action. —Huai-nan Tzu (1): 1a-2a, 6b

64.                            Lieh Tzu & Yang Chu

One final chapter in the development of Taoism is the hedonism of Yang Chu (440 to 360 B.C.) and the pessimism of Lieh Tzu (5th century B.C.) there is some debate by scholars whether the texts attributed to these two philosophers were, in fact, written by them or compiled later by followers. This so called ‘Negative’ School of Taoism takes the Taoist idea of inaction and interprets it as complete abandon. Spontaneity was replaced with resignation, and hedonism took the place of selflessness.

Yang Chu says “One hundred years is the limit of a long life. Not one in a thousand ever attains it. Suppose there is one such person. Infancy and feeble old age take almost half of his time. Rest during sleep at night and what is wasted during the waking hours in the daytime take almost half of that. Pain and sickness, sorrow and suffering, death (of relatives) and worry and fear take almost half of the rest. In the ten and some years that is left, I reckon, there is not one moment in which we can be happy, at ease without worry. This being the case, what is life for? What pleasure is there?”. My own take on it from My Travels with Lieh Tzu.

This recurring theme of asking what can there be to live for when we are here only for an instant and what can it matter. The ultimate challenge of “free choice” and deciding for ourselves what we will do while we are here. Will we cultivate ourselves enmeshing the Tao with our every though, action and deed… or will we wait until come again to have a chance to ride the clouds as the dragons have for eons of time.     Yang Chu developed important ideas that influenced not only other Taoist philosophers, but the whole of Chinese thought and philosophy, and consequently all of China. Yang Chu is believed to be the earliest proponent and expounder of Taoist thought. Although none of his ideas are known to be first-hand accounts, either written or dialectically, he is the first thinker of ancient Chinese philosophy to be attributed with ideas that are Taoist in nature. His thoughts are the obvious formal roots of the later famous thinkers Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, who borrowed from Chu in order to develop their own distinct formulations of Taoist philosophy.

65.       Yang Chu’s Place in Chinese Intellectual History

The years of his life are not certain (370?-319? B.C.), but scholars believe he lived sometime between the lives of the philosophers Mo Tzu (479-381 B.C.) and Mencius (371-289 B.C.). The evidence for this hypothesis lies in the fact that in none of Mo Tzu’s writings is there commentary on either Yang Chu or his ideas,yet in the Mencius there is direct commentary that says: “The words of Yang Chu and Mo Ti fill the world.”What is quite certain, then, is that by the time of Mencius’ important writings there existed in the minds of Chinese philosophers the influential figure of Yang Chu.

66.        The Principles of Yang Chu’s Thought

Unfortunately, most if not all accounts of Yang Chu’s ideas are secondhand in nature and occasionally fail to present consistency. But, in a concise book A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, Fung Yu Lan deduces two core principles of Chu’s from the sources available: (1) Each one for himself; and (2) Despising things and valuing life.   Yu Lan quotes from the Mencius: “The principle of Yang Chu is: ‘Each one for himself.’                                               From the Lu-shih Ch’un-cu’iu, a third century B.C. text, Yu Lan also presents this quote: “Yang Sheng valued the self.” This ‘Yang Sheng’ figure, Yu Lan argues, is now almost universally agreed upon by Chinese scholars to be Yang Chu. So, from these two sources it is easy to deduce, as Yu Lan does, that Yang Chu was an exponent of valuing the self as an individual. But not just the self as an object or thing, but of the purity of the self, uninhibited by the “things” of typical human interactions. This idea is not entirely selfish in nature, though, as it represents Yang Chu’s insistence that life should be valued.

67.                      The Central Argument

What can reputation be but the pretense of showing some concern over how others will perceive our actions and deeds? In what place can reputation care to meet the reality each of us are given?

Yang Chu was traveling in Lu and lodged with Mr. Meng. Mr. Meng asked Yang Chu: “If we are simply the men we are, then why be concerned with reputation?”

Yang Chu responded that a reputation would help one to get rich. Mr. Meng then asked:   “Once you are rich, why not be done with it?” Yang Chu then added that with money we can obtain high rank.

Mr. Meng then asked: “Once you have obtained high rank, why not be done with it?” Yang Chu responded that rank will help my descendants when I die. Mr. Meng then asked: “What use our reputations could be to our descendants?”

Yang Chu then stated: “Caring about your reputation vexes the body and effects one’s heart; but the man who can take advantage of his reputation can prosper his whole family, not to speak of his descendants.” Mr. Meng then responded that: “If one cares about his reputation he must be honest and if he is honest he will remain poor. A man must remain humble, and if he remains humble he will not rise in rank.”

Yang Chu then argued: “Remember when Kuan Chung was released from his chains to become Chief Minister of Chi. He was lewd when his ruler was lewd, extravagant when his ruler was extravagant. He did the right thing in thought and deed and by following his way the state won hegemony. But after his death the Kuan family remained simply as the Kuan family. However, when Tien Heng became Minister of Chi, he behaved unassumably when the ruler was arrogant, behaved generously when the ruler was grasping. The people went over to him and he won possession of the State of Chi and his descendants have ruled to this day.”

Mr. Meng countered: “Therefore, can it be said that if you live up to your reputation you will be poor, but if your reputation is pretense you will become rich?”

Yang Chu continued:  “Reality has nothing to do with reputation and one’s reputation has nothing to do with reality. Reputation can only be pretense. Remember when Yao and Shun pretended to resign the empire to Hsu Yu and Shan Chuan but did not really give it up, and were blessed with its possession for one hundred years. When Po Yi and Shu Chi, who really resigned the fief of Ku‑Chu, did end up losing the State and died of starvation on Mount Shou‑yang because they would rather live as hermits after rejecting the Imperial throne because they refused to burden themselves with worldly cares.”

Where can reality truly lie when caring for one’s reputation gets in the way? Does not striving for acceptance end with our accepting who we are to become in the end? Does it not cloud our inner vision of who we are truly to become? How can we be concerned with reputation when those we seek to impress have no concept of the proper way? How can we seek the respect of those who care not for honesty and living in a humble way of life that brings no attention to ourselves or our actions? Is it not better to care not about who we become when reputation and ego are allowed to come forward as reputation and recognition?

Are not your new‑found friends or companions peering at you now through the clouds as you come to meet them?  Are not they scoffing at any sense of self acclaim you bring along the way? Is not the answer that you cannot care for a reputation in worldly affairs and any pretense that comes with it and keep to the reality of your journey? Are not the points and counterpoints made by Yang Chu and Mr. Meng the central argument that brings reality into focus? Letting the difference between reality and the worry that a reputation and its pretense becomes become you.

As the knowing sage you have now become in your travels with Lieh Tzu, you know that any concern for reputation and its pretense are now left far behind. 6/26/95

When viewed within the domain of his other principle of “despising things” it should be understood that Chu formulated a system of thought that encouraged individual freedom by separating the self from the “things” of the world. In reality this was nothing more than expressing the tangible effects of the reclusive life that he did in fact choose to live, ie, the reclusiveness that is often the life of the sage.

The main purpose in repeating so many thoughts is and ideas is being able to internalize, or to begin to become or emulate the Tao. Main sticking point in the present is remaining caught up in reputation and what others think of us.      

68.                           Huai Nan Tzu

Another important reference supplied by Yu Lan is from a second century B.C. text entitled Huai nan tzu, from which he borrows a simple and direct quote: “Preserving life and maintaining what is genuine in it, not allowing things to entangle one’s person: this is what Yang Chu established.” Thus, the importance of an individual relying on himself is again rooted in the fact that Yang Chu did not want the “things” of life to prevent people from obtaining a sense of liberation. It is not so much an act of disparagement, but a declaration that aims to convey that the “things” of the world are not necessarily the sole objects in which to consume ourselves with. That, free from the turmoil of our typical everyday lives, a life of calm and understanding can be had through the self and self-awareness.

Reference – Fung Yu Lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, pp. 61-67. (The Free Press: New York: 1948). The notion that Yang Chu is the first of the three classical Taoists (Chu, Lao Tzu, and Chuang Tzu) is directly attributed to the time line given in Yu Lan’s book.

Huai-Nan Tzu –  Heaven, earth, infinite space, and infinite time are the body of one person, and the space within the six cardinal points is the form of one man. Therefore he who understands his nature will not be threatened by Heaven and Earth, and he who comprehends evidences will not be fooled by strange phenomena. Therefore the sage knows the far from what is near, and to him all multiplicity is one. Men of old were one with the universe in the same material force, and were in harmony with the age…. (and so am I).

Quote from Huai nan Tzu, SPPY, 8:3a-b, in Wing tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 17

69.          Learning to see beyond Oneself

Instilling virtue within oneself requires neither thought nor effort or action if you are truly in sync with the way of virtue.

The Tao but a natural extension of who you have been, are now, and yet to become. Virtue simply the embodiment of an essence that embraces the way.  Your role is to remain empty with your every action an effortless dialog leading others along the Way.  As you look inward to insure you are ready to proceed with kindness and compassion to all you meet.  Yet the kindness of the sage cannot go beyond fulfilling his own nature.  Since his every action remains effortless he does not think about it.

Seeing beyond what his senses tell him, he simply does what is the natural extension of himself. His endeavors focusing on embodying the highest images of who he is yet to become and seeing beyond himself.  Seeing beyond himself, he embodies the way and comes full face with his destiny.

Seeing his future, his vision matches things and names with reality.  He remains humble and reveres harmony. Seeming beyond himself he becomes the connecting between all that should be between heaven and earth. As the sage he embodies the way.

  1. 学习超越自我

如果你真的与大德有缘,学习大德不需要思想或行动。

道是你过去和未来的自然延续。大德只是道的化身。你须在每一个行动中保持虚空和不费气力的对话,为众人引路。看看自己,确保你是否具备了足够的慈爱和激情。但是,圣人的慈爱只够开发他的天性。这是因为他的每个行动都是毫不费力,所以他没有考虑那么多。

透过他的感觉,他所做的只是他的自然延续。他把注意力集中在未来的最高影像和超越自我上。他变成了道的化身,前来面对他的命运。

展望将来,他的憧憬与万物和真名相符。他保持谦恭,崇敬和谐。超越自我,他成为了众人在天地之间的联络点。作为圣人,他就是道。

70.      Moving from finding the Way to living in Virtue

The sage takes no action, but leaves nothing undone or behind as the Tao remains forever nameless.  Left alone to themselves, the ten thousand things find their own way and become transformed on their own.

Once awakened, the sage moves them with nameless simplicity. Remaining true to themselves they become quiet and tranquil. As if a single oneness, or purpose, has found each one with everything finding its place.

Finding himself alone to his liking, the sage becomes as one with heaven and earth as everyone finds him on the path to virtue.

Knowing he has now found the way, the sage clings only to his virtue ultimately showing the way for everything he has left behind.

第39节       从寻道到与大德生活在一起

圣人无为,但没有未做完之事或留下事情不管,道永远恪守无名。万物自寻己道,自我改变。

一旦醒过来,圣人用无名的简朴携同万物一同前行。万物保持真诚,恪守宁静平和。如同一个个的合一已经找到每一个个体,万物找到自己的所在。

当人们发现圣人正在走向大德的途中,他独自寻找自己喜爱的东西,成为一个与天地共存的人。

圣人知道道已找到,他坚守大德,最终向后来的万物展示道。

71.                       The Guardian Angel

f an angel came down from heaven to relay that what you thought were your weaknesses were actually your strengths and your strengths your weaknesses, would you have the courage to reach out and change the way you live each day.

If an angel came down from heaven to relay that your only limitations were self-imposed and you could accomplish whatever you wanted as long as the beneficiary was not yourself, what would you do first?

If an angel came down from heaven and stood right here – and said that people only know the work of working and that the greatest work of all is the work of not working Caught up thinking that everything comes from something.  If they knew that something comes from nothing, they would not work so hard and enslave themselves to things.  They would instead turn to God and the Tao and concentrate on cultivating spirit.

Finally it is when knowing that everything has its limit.  That when their something gets way out here…. It has no choice but to come back the other way.  Ultimately when we do become balanced we become centered.

When we become centered we can see beyond ourselves and we can discover why we are here.  God’s grace and his hand come forth to guide our way.

Those who cultivate the Tao act with humility and harmony.  Those who cultivate virtue look to themselves for the truth, not to the words of others.        For those who understand that what moves them is also the source of their life, they can begin to understand the gift of heaven and live forever.

第40节       守护神

如果有一个天使从天上下来告诉你,你的缺点恰是你的优点,而你的优点恰是你的缺点。你是否有勇气去面对,去改变你每天的生活方式?

如果有一个天使从天上下来告诉你,你唯一的局限是你自己造成的。假如你不谋私利的话,你就能够完成你想做的每一件事情。如果这样,你想先做什么呢?

如果一个天使从天上下来就站在你的面前,对你说,众人光知道为工作而工作,而不知道最好的工作是不工作。人们常认为,事情皆出有因。如果他们知道有些事出于无因,他们就不会那么劳累,做工作的奴隶。他们就会信仰神和道,专心修炼。

最终明白万事皆有限度。当出了问题时,他们别无选择,只好从另外一条路回来。最后,当我们达到平衡时,我们就成为中心了。当我们成为中心时,我们就能够超越自我,明白我们为何在此。神用他的恩典和他的手为我们指路。

修道的人行为举止充满慈祥和谐。修德的人从自己身上,而不是从别人的言辞中找到真理。

那些懂得生命之源的人也开始理解上苍的礼物和长生不老。

The End