To live our lives as if fullfilling our ultimate aspiration / Chapter 12

The continuum of the slowly bending “arc of the moral universe”, as President-elect Joe Biden put in DSCI0071his recent speech, quoting Martin Luther King Jr… that each of us are to do our part.

Living life, leaving all things seen as unnecessary as if simply a continuation – to live within what takes us there. As if our dreams are fulfilled in eternity. If we are in pursuit of freedom and a profound relationship to reality, then all experiences of life must become meditation. To what is meant by living in the moment. To take a path to realize the open heart of true meditation. dsci0386.jpgThat what we find is not perfect. That we must first move beyond a sense of helplessness.

I find this in inspiration from a recent book I’ve been reading by Phakchok Rinpoche called, In the Footsteps of Bodhisattvasin which he teaches how the intangible essence of meditation naturally arises when we properly line-up the conditions within our lives. Going beyond a simple, one-dimensional training, the exercises and meditation methods outlined and the words of the Buddha, sourced from the King of Samadhi Sutra, that create a clear path of training according to the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. DSCI0420Ultimately, as I read it, it becomes living our lives as our ultimate aspiration.

** The Bodhisattva vow is the vow taken by Mahayana Buddhists to liberate all sentient beings. One who has taken the vow is nominally known as a Bodhisattva. This can be done by venerating all Buddhas and by cultivating supreme moral and spiritual perfection, to be placed in the service of others. In particular, Bodhisattvas promise to practice the six perfections of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom in order to fulfill their bodhicitta aim of attaining enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

With this I think about what we are here to do. How the intangible essence of how we are to move naturally with the right conditions within who we are yet to become aligning with who we have always DSCI0430been. An innate compassion that seems beyond our reach but is always nearby. Over the centuries many have felt the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism is the best path that takes us there. It is what takes us there that counts. It is this coming into alignment that we find so difficult in our lives and resorting to discipline and guidance from within ourselves that turns the page. Finding our authenticity and embracing the structure that help us to focus and to model ourselves accordingly.

Many years ago, back in a high school journalism class, I had an assignment in writing poetry. One of the lines I wrote that I recall so well was – “sorrowful feelings mean nothing if there is no compassion felt”.  This idea of compassion is a common theme DSCI0402that runs throughout the core of Buddhist thought and philosophy. It seems as though liberation from suffering and emptiness to be found in ourselves and all phenomena (the universe – and what we find in it), must begin with a sense of compassion for all sentient beings. But then, just what is it we are awakening to? To this end it is when clarity arrives awareness beckons. For many a sense of empathy for others can serve as the beginning of our understanding and wisdom. It’s this contemplation and conjecture of what happens to us after we die and what could be the universal connection between ourselves, our spirit, i.e., soul and everything else, that historically takes us into the unknown that leads us to wonder. What is it that makes us immortal and are we?

It becomes easy to see how Buddhism and Taoism became so enmeshed in Eastern culture and philosophy. When viewing this as a sage, one would begin by being supple and pliable. Not seeing things as rigid with the tendency to resist change. Seeing change and not being tied to the status quo as essential to our growth. Verses 76 and 78 of the Tao Te Ching are illustrative of this:

Verse 76 – In death the Tao acknowledges the Sage

Before there was considered to be a force in the universe that would be known as God there was the Tao.

Entrance to Confucius Temple in Qufu

Before there existed the myriad of shamans, saints, priests and holy men considered to be here to lead the way, there was the Tao.

As the ten thousand things came forth from antiquity to manifest and begin the cycle of being born, dying and being born again continually as the natural extension of the way, the sage ultimately came forth as one protected by dragons.  The dragons, but those who have been chosen to impart simple virtue as those who follow the correct path or way of heaven.

Stele of Confucius  Confucius Temple

The sage coming forward to find that the reason there is suffering or hunger for life is that others impose too many restrictions on how we should live, therefore people remain unfulfilled.  That the reason people are hard to get along with is that those who would lead the way have forgotten the path in which all should follow.  However, when death follows as the natural course of events after everything has passed through him and acknowledges his ultimate place in the universe, the loving life becomes secondary as eternal life comes forth to greet the great sage.

Loving God, and what She and the Tao teaches, he simply lets his enthusiasm come naturally as the centuries have shown him the proper way.

76节 死后道向圣人致谢


The Ten Thousand Things  Confucius Temple





Achieving clarity as to our path seems to be the eternal quest. It seems unchanging as everything continually changes in the present, or where we find ourselves at the moment as if a paradox. Clarity referring to what the ancient shaman would call celestial, or what is star driven, that would guide or determine the outcome of things. As a never-ending fixture in the night sky. Change would always return to its beginnings. What they learned was to have patience, follow the nature of things, and that most things would take care of themselves without our interference. How we transformed our thoughts guided by virtue would determine our own success or failure. The old axiom – time will tell – was always the precursor or harbinger of things to come.

The ancient dragon always depicted as representing the knowing sage. The protector of virtue. What connected us to universal truths and the stars from where we came…

The dragon shown here is thousands of years old from the Shaanxi History Museum in Xian

This fits with the Buddhist thought of – letting your mud settle. Having patience to let things occur as they may while knowing that impermanence will have the final say. While acknowledging what was known was that the stars above created a sense of permanence that we could connect to through our own innate nature. The stars would always show the way forward to universal understanding. Our role simply to find the virtue that resides within us to move in the same direction.

Verse 78 – Following the way of Heaven

The sage endeavors to follow the way of heaven while only revealing everything for its true and natural place.

The Balancing Act Confucius Temple Qingdao

Pulling down the high while lifting the low he stays on an even keel finding the natural balance of all around him.

Continually moving forward unsure or unconcerned if what he does is ultimately good or bad as long as the natural order of things are followed and are allowed to take their places. Moving without presumption or staking claim to what may be perceived as personal achievement.  Choosing to remain in the background and not displaying his skills, nothing can deter or get in his way.  His burden to keep his virtue to himself and not revealed to those who continually come running to his doorstep.

Modeling his actions after the way of heaven, the sage takes from the long and gives to the short so that the ten thousand things naturally find their places.  For all things under heaven to find their place, it is best for heaven to sit back and do nothing allowing the nature of all things to come forward unimpeded fulfilling its ultimate endeavor and finding its true identity and destiny.

78节 遵循天





The Rites    Confucius Temple Qingdao



Throughout history there was never a sense of either or between Buddhism and Taoism with what was already ingrained by centuries of understanding in what was to be known as the I Ching. That complimentary opposites would add to what was known as the strength of each.

The arrival of Buddhist sutras to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian

When the Buddhist sutras (scriptures) came to China to Xian, they were interpreted into Chinese by Taoists. As they spread, Confucian rites also added to their influence. Accommodating the status quo became the norm with change occurring continually over the centuries going forward.

With Taoism always seeming to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters twenty-three and twenty four of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


For all the Way of eating is that:
overfilling yourself with food will impair your vital energy

Harmonious Completion      Wuhan Temple  Chengdu

and cause your body to deteriorate.
Over-restricting your consumption causes the bones to wither
and the blood to congeal.
The mean between overfilling and over-restricting:
this is called “harmonious completion.”
It is where the vital essence lodges
and knowledge is generated.
When hunger and fullness lose their proper balance,
you make a plan to correct this.
When full, move quickly;
when hungry, neglect your thoughts;
when old, forget worry.
If when full you don’t move quickly,
vital energy will not circulate to your limbs.
If when hungry you don’t neglect your thoughts of food,
when you finally eat you will not stop.
If when old you don’t forget your worries,
the fount of your vital energy will rapidly drain out.


When you enlarge your mind and let go of it,

when you relax your vital breath and expand it,
when your body is calm and unmoving:
And you maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances,
you will see profit and not be enticed by it,
you will see harm and not be frightened by it.
Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,
in solitude you delight in your own person.
This is called “revolving the vital breath”:
your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly.

Finally, what remains important to note, is that there is nothing new expressed above that has been observed by western writers and philosophers over the centuries. The continuum of thought was transparent and became transcendent. Tolstoy, Emerson, and more recently Watt, stand out as examples of illustrating what would become the key to should pieces of a puzzle that all fit into a pattern of universal philosophy or thought. This connection becomes even more real through scientific evidence recently a quantum physics. To what the shaman knew from the beginning that there is nothing new under the sun. Only new ways to express nothing as the continuum of the slowly bending “arc of the moral universe”. The ultimate more perfect union we are here to manifest and build upon.


By 1dandecarlo

Daily reminders of lasting abundance / Volume 11

I often have the feeling that the world is busy catching up with me, or is it me catching up with the world? Not from ego or that my path seems brighter or more direct that others, but purposeful. That my circle of thought and energy always returns to origins again. My origins. Standing apart from others with impermanence and change ever-present with the status quo never appealing or sufficient.

Looking for balance in catching my breath – I am carried away with the wind to re-join old friends again. Always to be found in the present as if traveling two inches off the ground. An unevenness and your cane found again to be simply seen as a reminder.

I keep thinking about traveling in China and not having a traveling companion, except as what others may call imagination. In meditation, I often find myself rising out of my seat a hundred feet in the air and going there. Traveling to places I’ve been and seen before. As I write from thoughts that seem to come from vibrations only waiting to be heard again.

Your traveling companions often not intended as someone in the present. You travel as if unattended through time, but resting assured that you are being upheld. Living the life, as referred to before that you are meant to become – natural and unafraid.

Gentle with never a harsh word letting patience be your guide as both your virtue and voice. As if you are in no rush because you have already arrived. Again, letting patience have its way with your virtue. Letting acts of patience be illustrated by your kindness towards others. Always nudged and reminded that there can be no rush found inside yourself that you already possess. Not allowing weakness or strength to cloud your virtue. Finding what makes you happy wholly within yourself. Become the companion you want to be and this person will always be present. Letting your own happiness be the sunshine that brightens every day.

You find yourself again in the cosmos of thought, an awareness that fits the flow of innate life destiny. You look to words like suchness that will define life’s meaning and want to go there. To what stabilizes us inwardly so that we can match what others may view outwardly that defines us. A seeming transformation befitting who we have always been becomes illuminated. Self-worth becomes self-apparent as we too come to mirror the Tao as if sages.

With this we can turn the page looking again to the Tao Te Ching and Taoism and our mentor Lao Tzu looking to thoughts that those who follow the Tao do not strive, tamper, or seek to control their own lives.

Verse 64 – Finding everything too Easy

The sage knows that doing what comes naturally is not work. Therefore, he works without really working.

It’s not Working   Qingdao  TianHou Palace Temple

He acts without really acting, thereby not exhausting himself and tastes without really tasting the true meaning of the Tao through meditation. He goes forth knowing that rather we are great or small, many or few it is important to repay any slight or wrong with virtue. What the world considers hard the sage considers easy. Just as what the world considers easy the sage considers hard. How can that be so?

If one can plan for the hard when it is easy and work on the great when it is small, the hardest task in the world becomes easy. The greatest goal in the world begins, or becomes small.

Because the sage never acts, he achieves great things. He responds to others knowing instinctively that he who quickly agrees is seldom trusted and those who make it all look easy finds the way hard. Therefore, the sage travels in virtue making everything appear hard, while he himself finds nothing hard.



Achieving great things   TianHou Palace Temple




The sage thrives by staying beyond description. Standing clear of antagonism – to be the first to leave when contention appears and the first to stay when love arrives. Make your own perceived weaknesses your greatest strengths. Become the person others are looking to that soothes away fear and anger. Perhaps this Buddhist inclination is a signal to let go of self and that you are to stay within the light of your own higher consciousness or enlightenment.

Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu

To become a Buddha as they say, change yourself first – then change the world as Gandhi tells us. Become or emulate the world the universe is counting on or looking to. Surround yourself with love and be happy with what you already have. Exemplify the person that you want the world to become by acknowledging the lasting abundance you already possess.

Bring others to their highest endeavors, or selves – without judgment becoming the mentor they need. Be the companion they should have knowing selflessness, not one’s ego is what survives. Live solely within the virtue that defines you. Enlightenment is the process of self-change leaving behind traits not in keeping with who you are ultimately to become.  If you come back to experience them – then use them to lose them.

Let virtue define you. It is not an either/or…You know the path you are to follow. Just do it, leaving no one behind. Leave no one behind – not your family – not your students – not your friends – and not those waiting to be your friends. Become the road map for others to find the way for and within themselves. There is no choice to make. Live the choice you have become regardless of where you are. There is no paradox, only the paradigm you have chosen to follow.

If we want others to see beyond what they see as weaknesses in us – then we must first be able to see beyond what we perceive as the weakness we see in others. As we grow and mature, gaining wisdom and insight along the way – we must bring them along with us.  Remember your own virtue is tied to having patience for others while the world is catching up with you. (written June 2017 in Shanghai before returning to USA).

Another chapter (verse), of the Tao Te Ching I find intriguing is Verse 55 just as  with the ancient Wang P’ang stressing in 1070AD that “The nature of virtue is lasting abundance”. In my own version I would add:

Verse 55 – Gaining a firm Grip on lasting Abundance

What does it mean to have lasting abundance when we leave our virtue behind?

The Extension    Chongqing Museum

How can we be full of breath, yet not know how to make our breath endure? If our essence remains within us, why does our virility stand in the way? When you become simply an extension of the Tao, you go as if mindless through your endeavors.

Without a mind, you have no thoughts or desires. You proceed fearless unaware of what may harm you or that you could possibly harm another.

Once you become aware that you are a part of something bigger than yourself and have a firm grip on the direction you must take, only then can you begin to focus your mind and cultivate the Tao. When your mind does not stray and a certain serenity surrounds you, then your breath can become balanced.

Endurance   Chongqing Museum

The sage focuses on his breath because when it becomes balanced his essence is stable, his spirit serene and his true nature is restored.

Controlling his breath he endures and finds his true nature. Understanding his true nature he is able to impart wisdom to others. He becomes unconcerned and extending his life as his spirit is uncluttered and has already rediscovered its place in what has been what may occur now and where he will spend eternity.  The sage has no fear of death because he knows his essence, or spirit, remains eternal.



With no thoughts or desires    Images of the Han      Confucius Mansion   Qufu





It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self.

With Taoism always seeming to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters twenty-one and twenty two of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


As for the life of all human beings:
the heavens bring forth their vital essence,
the earth brings forth their bodies.

Ringing the bell – Buddhist Temple in Chongching

These two combine to make a person.
When they are in harmony there is vitality;
when they are not in harmony there is no vitality. If we examine the Way of harmonizing them, its essentials are not visible,
its signs are not numerous.
Just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest
and it will swirl and blend with your mind,
this confers longevity.
When joy and anger are not limited,
you should make a plan to limit them.
Restrict the five sense-desires;
cast away these dual misfortunes.
Be not joyous, be not angry,
just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest.


As for the vitality of all human beings:

It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned breathing.
The reason for its loss is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety.

Tortoise and Rites   Qingyang Temple  Chengdu

Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry;
to cast off worry there is nothing better than music;
to limit music there is nothing better than rites;
to hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence;
to hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.
When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent
you are able to return to your innate nature
and this nature will become greatly stable.

One of the greatest Buddhist writers I like to celebrate who lived during the Ming dynasty was Te Ch’ing. While a follower of Pure Land Buddhism, he exemplified how Buddhism and Taoism fit so well together with his commentaries on Lao and Chuang Tzu. His commentary on Verse 55 described above of the Tao Te Ching is as follows:

Te Ch’ing told us “Those who cultivate the Tao should first focus their minds. When the mind doesn’t stray it becomes calm, breath becomes balanced. When breath becomes balanced, essence becomes stable, spirit becomes serene, and our true nature is restored. Once we know how to breathe, we know how to endure. And once we know how to endure, we know our true nature. If we don’t know our true nature but only know how to nourish our body and lengthen our lives, we end up harming or body and destroying our lives. A restless mind disturbs the breath. When the breath is disturbed, the essence weakens. And when the essence weakens, the body withers.”   

By 1dandecarlo

Living within the consciousness of who we are yet to become / Volume 10

We are here to listen, to learn, and to lead. As we become like the sea everything will come to us. As our heart becomes big enough to embrace the entire world, we in turn become an adherent of the light. To live within the consciousness of who we are yet to become. When a person dies his virtue, his work and his joy, continues and remains as shown by his love of nature. Be the one destined for the road that others may follow with the Tao firmly in tow. Knowing this we will thrive.  

 The sage preserves the female (yin), meaning they know how to be receptive to Tao and its power (de) and are not unbalanced favoring assertion and action (yang) as illustrated in Verse 28 of the Tao Te Ching:

Verse 28 – Maintaining Ancient Virtue

Showing the way can be likened to being the world’s maid.  A job on the surface seeming too menial too even consider that success may follow.

Finding innate virtue     Nanjing Museum

Once you’ve recognized your task, the way becomes even more difficult.  But it is only by experiencing the tediousness can you begin to advance and rule the day.

Advance as if you have the heart of a child without fear, without knowledge that the task is too big. Thereby always keeping your ancient virtue intact.  Simply recognizing that which lies without you while holding onto the oneness within you.  Acknowledging what is at its beginning always becomes something else at its end.

That once was hard must become soft. That if we are constantly referring to what appears to be black or white, we are in reality seeing them as dark or light and if we see things as pure verses defiled, we are acknowledging it as either noble or humble.

Recognizing the above, the task of the sage becomes easy. By adhering to what is soft, humble and dark the essence of the Tao is always close at hand.

Advance as if you were an uncarved piece of wood waiting to be molded into what is needed with no pre-conceived outcome of what may occur. Always guided by what comes forth without limits, with the Tao always in charge.

While acting as a master tailor, sewing without seams, the job of the maid suddenly comes forth with ease and grace. The job becoming second nature as you have mastered it fully with your virtue leading the way.



The Heart of a Child    Shaanxi Museum   Xian





With our virtue leading the Way     Wuhan Museum

Learning from past events and previous encounters, we go forward as if buffeted by the wind. Keeping to what we have learned with a pragmatism that overshadows our actions. What we are here to do belies our presence, as we are guided by the innate qualities that are always with us. Resting easy as we acknowledge that we have already arrived as we let events simply play out until their eventual end. Found doing nothing while leaving nothing undone.

Much has been made of the verse below of the Tao Te Ching as being the synthesis of universal understanding of what our role should be. Ho-Shang Kung, who lived in a hut next to the Yellow River in the first century AD relays it best for us I think:

“The Tao gives birth to the beginning. One gives birth to yin and yang. Yin and yang give birth to the breath between, the mixture of clear and turbid. These three breaths divide themselves into Heaven, Earth, and Man and together give birth to the ten thousand things. These elemental breaths are what keep the ten thousand things relaxed and balanced. The organs in our chest, the marrow in our bones, the spaces into plants allow these breaths passage and make long life possible.”

Heaven’s Gate on top of Huashan Mountain

As we in turn, acknowledge this divine presence from within ourselves. Opening our heart and mind to virtue it comes rushing through us as our eternal essence and presence that define both us and all other things. Bringing the thoughts of the ancients forward as they instill some sense of understanding and wisdom in line with today’s thinking enabling us to find our own highest endeavor. This Verse 42 became the underlying concept over the centuries of Taoism that was to play the central role of how everything meshes and comes back into one. Having a sense of it, what can our own role be going forward.

The sage shoulders yin and embraces yang, blends internal energies we call qi, and thereby attains harmony called he; Verse 42 of Tao Te Ching:

Verse 42 – Emulating the Tao as you give birth to all around you

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

Huangshan Mountain in Anhui

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

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

Letting these three be our guide we quietly give birth to all around us.



Dragons above the clouds reminding us to reduce our desires, remain humble and practice the virtue of harmony.    Sichuan Museum





It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self. Taoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters nineteen and twenty of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


By concentrating your vital breath as if numinous,
the myriad things will all be contained within you.
Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them?

Dujianyan Waterworks  Chengdu

Can you not resort to divining by tortoise or milfoil
yet know bad and good fortune?*
Can you stop? Can you cease?
Can you not seek it in others,
yet attain it within yourself?
You think and think about it
and think still further about it.
You think, yet still cannot penetrate it.
While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it,
it is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,
but to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.
When the four limbs are aligned
and the blood and vital breath are tranquil,
unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
then your eyes and ears will not be over-stimulated.
And even the far-off will seem close at hand.                                                                                                        *Note: This was written between 200-300BC


Deep thinking generates knowledge.

Idleness and carelessness generate worry.
Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.
Worry and grief generate illness.
When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die.
When you think about something and don’t let go of it,
internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak.
Do not plan things out in advance
or else your vitality will cede its dwelling.
In eating, it is best not to fill up;
in thinking, it is best not to overdo.

Limit these to the appropriate degree
and you will naturally reach your vitality.

Finally, continuing with thoughts of Verse 42 of the Tao Te Ching as Te Ch’ing tells us

“What we all share is the Tao, but we don’t know it except through instruction. What others teach, Lao Tzu also teaches. But Lao Tzu excels others in teaching us to reduce our desires and to be humble, to practice the virtue of harmony, and to let this be our teacher.”

To simply become aligned with who we are becoming.


By 1dandecarlo

Opening doors while staying behind / Volume 9

The people of the world do not comprehend the way of the sage. Standing apart from others, he is often seen as an enigma, a person of puzzling or contradictory character. Always present, yet at times appearing as if the harvest moon in autumn fading away in the brightness of the coming winter sun. An equilibrium of yin and yang seemingly indifferent to events found in the mundane world.

Often alone with his thoughts, the sage appears to be studying the ways of virtue, almost translucent beyond reach. For a presence felt internally – to be found present looking to transformation while having compassion for sentient life. He speaks and acts as virtue as if the pivot, as the Tao.

It seems that everything in nature must go through a seemingly endless pivot – including us. Only constant as birth, finding our way as living intended, then death. As if our spirit has been given a chance to take stock of whatever progress we have made this time before given a chance to try again. Changing to meet the pull of the sun, moon, and stars as nature intended that define and guide our way. With impermanence and alternation, one step always leading to the next comforted by the change that we know must occur.

The “Blast Furnace” atop Fillial Son Peak on Huashan Mountain where Lao Tzu is said to have created the pill of immortality. Huashan was also an important place for immortality seekers, as many herbal Chinese medicines are grown and powerful drugs were reputed to be found there. Kou Qianzhi (365–448), the founder of the Northern Celestial Master School of Taoism received revelations there, as did Chen Tuan (920–989), who spent the last part of his life in hermitage here on the west peak. Ultimately, what Lao Tzu taught us was that the “pill of immortality resides within us”. The “blast furnace” is our internal nature acknowledging our eternal role we are to play.

As we will forever be in the process of becoming something else. The Taoist believes that the innate nature of heaven is best seen as ourselves, our humanity. We’re not going someplace that already resides as grace within us now. That our heart-mind becomes the pivot through and by our wisdom.

I think this idea of “eternal wisdom” is how Taoism and Buddhism came together as Zen as Alan Watts taught us.

That all things found in nature – all sentient beings everywhere (the ten thousand things) originally, from their beginning, possess the buddha nature. That nature exists eternally and is without change, meaning you cannot lose it, only not recognize as innate nature you have always possessed. The Buddha died just as Lao Tzu. However, both continue to this day as the flow of eternal life (as reflected in a never-ending circle) as the source of wisdom relayed through us continues. This “flow” is what sustains our spirit from one generation to another. Moving forward as a life well lived.

It is by stabilizing ourselves with nature we move beyond the mundane to become who we are meant to be in the present. Every day we go through a transformation defining who we are yet to become. It is why accepting the status quo is never an option for the sage, because nothing seen as done ever is meant to be finished. The continuum of life and nature is never-ending and changes as everything else is changing as well. There is nothing to agree or disagree with… only our acknowledgement of what role we are here or hope to play.

It is as Elton John sings in “The Circle of Life”.

In the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
‘Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life

Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars.

It is said that the Tao is not hard to know, but difficult to follow. For many who would follow Confucius, they would say, “The Tao is what we can never leave. If we can leave it, it isn’t the Tao”. Disney had another hit on their hands the following year with the movie Pocahontas, and once again, they made reference to the circle of life in the movie’s theme song, “Colors Of The Wind”, as the heroine sings, “we are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.” The song was inspired by Native American poetry, music and folklore, as well as a famous letter sent to the United States Congress by Chief Seattle, a Suquamish and Duwamish chief, regarding humanity’s relationship with nature.

Part of the letter reads: “The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So, if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.”

This idea runs through all native Indigenous people, that everything is connected with and to us through its inherent nature. It is the circle of life coming to us as the immortal Way taking care of the spirit without effort that brings peace to the world as virtue. Often appearing as our highest good like water not necessarily to compete, but to transform.

A famous writer in Chinese history, Wang Pi, once said “From the infinitesimal all things develop. From nothing all things are born. When we are free of desire, we can see the infinitesimal where things begin. When we are subject to desire, we can see where things end.”

As philosophy goes, I like to follow Wang Pi’s idea of Confucian ethics and Taoist metaphysics. Looking at the Taoist absolute, or ontological substratum of the universe (the tao), as the metaphysical basis of Confucian social organization, with a single ruler and a hierarchical society harmoniously cooperating according to ritual and the traditional Confucian virtues. This idea was re-enforced on numerous occasions as I traveled around Shandong Province visiting the villages of my students where they lived in the countryside while teaching at Jining University in Qufu in 2011 – 2013.

An underlying premise of Taoism is that “Those who practice the Way put an end to distinctions, get rid of both name and form, and make for themselves a home for the Way and virtue.” To what remains constant as the heart-mind and connects us with all things. As with what is known as Zen, it becomes the naturalization of our spontaneous, original self.

The Tao Te Ching makes use of some very famous analogies to drive home its point. Sages know the value of emptiness as illustrated by how it is used in a bowl, door, window, valley or canyon, as seen in Verses 11 and 41:

 Verse 11 – Opening Doors while Staying Behind

 Remaining empty to become full.  Knowing your place is to put all the cards on the table so that the proper path becomes obvious for all to see. Becoming simply the vessel from which all that represents virtue is known, endured and followed as the way by all.

The Calling    Buddhist Temple in Chongqing

Reminded as our breath ebbs and flows we become full by remaining empty as our mind and thoughts remain the catalyst for change and enlightenment. Our usefulness only determined by the emptiness that fills us. Employing nothing to gain advantage that would allow ego to stand in the way.

As you seek only virtue and leave only vestiges of yourself behind. Your role is to open doors for others as you nurture and prepare them to walk through.

Giving birth to virtue and letting it grow. Nourishing what comes forth without claiming to own them. Remaining as the hub of a wheel… constant, reliable and still, yet ever-present and nonexistent. ##

Bianzhong Bells – Zengzi Temple in Jiaxiang, Shandong. Zengzi was said to have composed and/or edited the Classic of Filial Piety under the direction of Confucius. He was also associated with transmission of the Great Learning. My daughter Katie and I visited the Zengzi Temple in 2012 with some of my students. I also taught and lived next to the Qufu Normal School in Qufu. The school was originally for the descendants of the “four families” who were responsible for continuing Confucian traditions and legacy. One of those families was Zengzi’s. The other three families were the descendants of Confucius, Yan Hui (Zhu Xi), and Mencius.

To the left is the Temple of Yan Hui. It was a few blocks down the street on Gulou Street where I lived past the drum tower.  

This idea of remaining like a hub on a wheel empty while the spokes all converge on it is as if they cannot do what is intended without the hub’s direction. Seeing beyond oneself, as if non-existent, becomes emblematic of stabilizing the way forward. Realizing the principles of the universal Tao are the same as the Way of Heaven both steadies and sustains all in nature.  Practicing the Tao, finding the middle way, we become one with the presence we are here to build on.

Tao Te Ching      Verse 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?

Luohan Buddhist Temple  Chongqing

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.

Luohan Buddhist Temple  Chongqing

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.

Taoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters seventeen and eighteen of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


For all [to practice] this Way:

Becoming Translucent

you must coil, you must contract,
you must uncoil, you must expand,
you must be firm, you must be regular [in this practice].
Hold fast to this excellent [practice]; do not let go of it.
Chase away the excessive; abandon the trivial.
And when you reach its ultimate limit
you will return to the Way and the inner power.


When there is a mind that is unimpaired within you,
it cannot be hidden.
It will be known in your countenance,
and seen in your skin color.

The Procession – Sichuan Museum

If with this good flow of vital energy you encounter others,
they will be kinder to you than your own brethren.
But if with a bad flow of vital energy you encounter others,
they will harm you with their weapons.
This is because the wordless pronouncement is more rapid than the drumming of thunder.
The perceptible form of the mind’s vital energy
is brighter than the sun and moon,
and more apparent than the concern of parents.
Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good;
punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad.
Yet once this flow of vital energy is achieved,
all under heaven will submit.
And once the mind is made stable,
all under heaven will listen.

All this becomes transcending the world of nature and society, what we see and hear, to combining intuitive wisdom and practical knowledge with contemplation and social action. The role of the sage has always been to affect and influence the listener. To bring them to a universal understanding often as the storyteller with suggestive images so that you can see things for yourself as well. Often writing and speaking as the storyteller bringing others to an indefinable reality, they must look to their own “blast furnace” – to within themselves to find.  

By 1dandecarlo

Passing the baton and test / Volume 8

Sharing the process of discovery. Putting your hand out and asking others to come on the journey with you. Allowing others to cross over the line and come into what you are writing.

Garden of the Tàipíng Heavenly Kingdom Historical Museum in Nanjing

 Making what you write more available, so that others may follow. Sharing your vision and letting another’s eyes see it. Giving the reader space to see themselves, thereby creating their own.

Becoming universal and making others say: “Yes ‑ me too!”    1/7/1995

Mindfulness –How are we to meditate so that our silence is but a true mirror of ourselves? Begin by letting thoughts and the writings of others pass directly through us without thinking about our previous thoughts and emotional attachments. See yourself as the conduit for/of universal teachings and spirit as time becomes irrelevant as connecting with these vibrations are what define us in eternity. It’s identifying with how and who we are, and yet to become.

 “I teach because you and all beings want to have happiness and want to avoid suffering. I teach the way things are and that you should be your own guiding light.” The Buddha

 It’s what Plato, Emerson, Buddha, Confucius, etc., knew connecting us through nature with our essential selves knowing that the atoms that define us have always been present. As we become the continuum, or conduit, for who we have always been. Meditate on that… and what will be our own highest endeavor going forward. Loving ourselves as we are merely a reflection of the sun, moon, and stars as our own guiding light that mirrors and brings us into harmony with the universe.

For myself, it’s just to think as Lieh as if at home with simplicity, to speak with insight and freedom as Chuang, and to act with universal wisdom as Lao Tzu. What more could there ever be as my writing continues their story.

From the Tao Te Ching – The sage settles himself, and knows how to be content.

Verse 46   Prevailing Contentment

How can we live within what the Tao teaches us, if we are never content with what the world brings to our doorstep and why should it matter? If we are busy cultivating things instead of ourselves, how can we find our true place in the ten thousand things? What can the seeds of contentment bring unless controlling our desires comes to the forefront and contentment decides to stay?  If we do not remain still, how will we know when the way comes to find us?

Cultivating the Tao through meditation, thought, appearance, action and deed is the key to the sage’s security. By not seeking things outside himself, he becomes an extension of the Tao. He is internally guided by the knowledge that no crime is worse than yielding to our desire, no wrong is greater than discontent and no curse greater than getting what you want when you are unprepared for the consequences.

Before showing the way, the sage must truly know contentment and remain confident with what the Tao teaches and exude that confidence by showing the contentment of being content.  When he can do this, others can see the folly of what external desires bring and can begin to find contentment for themselves.

Finding that the Tao has come full circle and begun to prevail in the world, the sage can be on his way. ##

The three above landscapes are from the Chongqing Museum. If I become published in the future, appropriate credits will be given. If only for my enjoyment just acknowledging where all photographs originate is enough.

It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self.

The Bodhi Tree or Bodhi Fig Tree (“tree of awakening”) was a large and ancient sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi circa 500 BCE. 

While Buddhism and Taoism always seems inseparatable (for me anyway), Taoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters fifteen and sixteen of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


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

Pre-historic Dragon / Wuhan Temple

Stored inside, we take it to be the well-spring.
Flood like, it harmonizes and equalizes and we take it to be the fount of the vital energy.
When the fount is not dried up,
the four limbs are firm.
When the spring is not drained,
Vital energy freely circulates through the nine apertures.
You can then exhaust the heavens and the earth
and spread over the four seas.
When you have no delusions within you,
externally there will be no disasters.
Those who keep their minds unimpaired within,
externally keep their bodies unimpaired.
Who do not encounter heavenly disasters
or meet with harm at the hands of others,
call them Sages.


The Winding Path

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

They will mirror things with great purity
and they will perceive things with great clarity.
Reverently be aware [of the Way] and do not waver,
and you will daily renew your inner power.
Thoroughly understand all under the heavens,
and exhaust everything within the Four Directions.
To reverently bring forth the effulgence [of the Way]:
This is called “inward attainment.”
If you do this but fail to return to it,
this will cause a wavering in your vitality.

What does it mean to see beyond oneself knowing time is best spent with old friends made in eternity? Moving beyond what may be considered or seen as superficial – to great purity and great clarity as described above.

Life becomes a transformative process as you proceed assisting others in having compassion for all sentient beings as illustrated by your everyday thoughts and actions. You try not to take yourself too seriously. But at some point, you must acknowledge that there is something to all this. To what others may see as simply a vivid imagination. Or even as The Buddha tells us that with life as simply a continuum… there is never a last word.

Perhaps it is to awaken others through your writing from worldly dreams and perceptions by resonating with the way of nature and virtue, while internally following the Tao and Buddha.

For myself, this transformation becomes my own highest endeavor. To be blessed with finding comfort now in doing so moving all further to new heights. When I first began writing it seems I was admonished to “Keep to the lower clouds”.

Now twenty-five years later – after much study, and almost fifty trips to China and living there the equivalent of over eight years… I sense that I have earned my keep. Chuang Tzu laughs at the thought I would feel the need to do so and reminds me of something I wrote years ago from my book in April 1994, “An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond”, as I wrote of things yet to come.

As Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man

As Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man begins by abandoning the ways of the world, you begin by simply letting go of that which is not significant to the Tao. As you are now seen traveling with old friends who guide you along an unknowable path or way.

Xian Old City

Just as the dragons would have it, they are pleased.

Eternal sacrifice made to capture the moment knowing everything rests on your finding and staying on the road yet to be traveled.  Searching for immortality and freedom to go where few have gone before.  Just as a sage would find the true reality of all things. Always leading the way. Knowing that the Tao is everywhere to be found by simply looking and understanding what is and finding one’s own standard within the oneness of virtue.

Eternity existing forever both before, now and yet to come. As you continually search for your place in the overall scheme of things. With a comfort known as something done repetitively over and over again. A great sense of satisfaction that all becomes and is second nature.

    Xian Old City

Remain simply within the oneness of everything and pursue nothing ethereal as the reclusive sage. Complete with the knowledge of the Tao and understanding what it means. Remember from where you have come. As we are here to remind you of where you will return with us. Everything is here within yourself to rediscover and relearn. Keep to the open road as the Perfected Man and know immortality can only follow. 4/12/1994

Then something the following year from “My travels with Lieh Tzu”…

Chapter One – Heaven’s Gift

Introduction…    Becoming Sanctified

Traveling as one with the wind you become sanctified as one with Lieh Tzu. Coming out of the security you have found as the sage forever only concerned about images and things always to remain translucent. Keeping always to new heights found only in the mountain retreat where nothing is to be found but stillness.

Everything following its natural course as heaven and earth dictates. Simply coming to know the seasons and continuity found in following day and night.

The inn at the mountain pass  Qingcheng Mountain north of Chengdu

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, growth and decay, birth and death. Man alone in knowing his true path. With only the sage knowing the proper sequence of events of the path that must be followed.

Man occupying the small unseemly place on the mountain’s trail as shown in the paintings of antiquity. Living only to come forward to find the true way to be found only by following the Tao. Without thought or purpose. Without choosing to be born or to die. Yet following the Way. Basing our every action on instinct and spontaneity. To distinguish between benefit and harm, understand alternative courses of action and form moral and practical courses of conduct without the need to do so.

Appropriate rituals Qingyang Taoist Temple Chengdu 

To discard knowledge unfamiliar with the Way, cease to make distinctions, refuse to impose your will on nature. To return to the innocence found in a newborn child and allow your actions to come naturally as a part of nature itself. To reflect things like a mirror and respond as an echo without intervening thought.

Perfectly concentrated and perfectly relaxed as one who finds his second nature on hands and knees pulling weeds from his garden. Cleansing one’s soul of unwanted intrusions.

Remaining fully attentive to the external situation. Responding naturally to events as they occur. Not analyzing, as if spontaneously allowing your response to just take the unified action that comes forth simply to occur.   1/10/1995

Finally, from the Book of Chuang Tzu:

Section 3                The Secret of Caring for Life

Follow the middle staying with what is constant. Use your limitless power to rediscover your latent talents and abilities.  Come forth to use the power and knowledge you have always possessed unconcerned with how others see or perceive you in their limited vision of the way.  Travel in complete sincerity and wu wei. What you need will always be present at that moment without need to worry about the past or some sense of time wasted as you have lived your life. As a student of Chuang Tzu, you are safe from harm. Just live and rest in the moment and all will be made clear.

Resting in the moment with sincerity… the key to learning wu wei. What comes naturally without hesitation with pure joy, as you have become a transformative influence. How you will live will show others how to live. It’s as the Tao tells us we establish the Way of Heaven from within. For those with doubts, let your actions show the way.

By 1dandecarlo

Our ultimate aspiration as we look to pivot and embody transcendence / Volume 7

Unfortunately, our lives often mirror the luminescence of fireflies thinking our light, our eternal connection can come and go at will… until the mirror becomes us as we set or live our intention.

I often think we are here to attend to the activities of the universe. To do our part. What is it we are doing that is beneficial to everything we find in nature? What does our own “inner nature” tell us as we live in the present moment?

I Ching at Taoist Cave adjacent to Buddhist Temple and Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu

What are the elements of both Eastern and Western thought and philosophy that serve to pull us to a common place? Why don’t we spend more time modeling our universal similarities with who we are and will become in the future? Yes, I embrace Taoism, but following my own innate inclination and nature serves to take me there. But there are many paths to follow and have relevance. All are divine when tied to nature and indiscriminate virtue. It is entering the flow of universal vibrations that are present for everyone as we wake up to what’s essential.

Within the tradition of Western Civilization, the Acropolis in Athens Greece, has often been invoked as a key symbol of classical Greek legacy invoking Plato, Socrates, and so much emblematic of what was to become “Western Thought and Philosophy”. What we know and continue originates and flows from them.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s understanding of the connection between Eastern and Western thought that helped to invoke the wisdom of our “inner nature” with all that drives us. He saw the nature of transcendence through and by our connection with nature. Understood the essence of Taoism, as well as the teachings of both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, had read Lao Tzu, Plato, the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, Kant, and much more.  He is credited with the term “transcendentalism”. That the One… the universal presence is all inclusive, cosmos (quantum) driven, and essential element of “the ten thousand things, i.e., the inner nature found in all things”. Emerson served as a pivot for what came before him and what was to follow, becoming what can be called a “timeless sage”.

What does it mean to embrace the One? Importantly, what does our power of observation along with cause and affect tell us about our environment in which we choose to live? How do we illuminate our world with common vision towards a celestial one for all and all for one? To be infused with the heaven of pure qi… for who we have always been. Beyond thoughts of religion and philosophy to seeing the universe as it has always been as well.

For those studying the meaning of Taoism to better understand what was meant in the works of the early shaman, the I Ching and Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu; following historical commentaries has always been essential. The stories and references to actual historical figures juxtaposed, i.e., placed side-by-side especially for comparison or contrast, is what was done to see what flows, is inclusive, and what fits over time… think of Emerson.

Moving all to their ultimate endeavor and destiny. Always looking to our connection to the stars has always been the role of the shaman, sage, and the philosophers over the centuries. In directing us, they developed their own commentary or “take” on what was really meant through their own writing or thoughts streaming to the forefront. As stressed below, it is an awareness that precedes words, i.e., letting the universe tell you – then proceed.

One of twenty-four stone tablets depicting the sage riding the dragon at the Qingyang Taoist Temple in Chengdu. The star chart on the bottom giving directions home.

Having or letting events flow naturally, as if finding divine order. To what is the essence of heaven, nature, and the Tao with underlying contradictions coming forth of and by themselves.

It is the forever quintessential, as attempts at gaining the pure meaning and essence or embodiment of what was said, that would lead to adapting to complimentary opposites and a sense of pragmatism as seen in nature. It is this that writers have tried to replicate through their own thoughts, writing, and commentaries over the centuries.

In other words, you don’t simply think, write, or say something about it you come to embody it. As it becomes you – you become the story as well as the translator of your own life’s events. While hoping the true meaning isn’t lost in translation through your actions. What is universally understood as following your own ticket home.

It always comes back to what we are doing to emulate “the Virtue of Heaven” and acknowledging that there is no separate self. Taoism always seems to come back to someone referred to as Master Lao, the author of the Tao Te Ching. In my earlier entries here, I make reference to a second book attributed to Lao Tzu entitled the Nei-yeh – Inward Training. It’s contribution to Taoism has been as great or greater for those who see the Taoist path as essential to living a good life. It was written more than two thousand years ago. It can be found here on my website. The next two chapters, chapters thirteen and fourteen of twenty-six are as follows:

Nei-yeh – Inward Training


There is a numinous [mind] naturally residing within;
one moment it goes, the next it comes,
and no one is able to conceive of it.
If you lose it you are inevitably disordered;
if you attain it you are inevitably well ordered.
Diligently clean out its lodging place
and its vital essence will naturally arrive.
Still your attempts to imagine and conceive of it.
Relax your efforts to reflect on and control it.
Be reverent and diligent
and its vital essence will naturally stabilize.
Grasp it and don’t let go
then the eyes and ears won’t overflow
And the mind will have nothing else to seek.
When a properly aligned mind resides within you,
the myriad things will be seen in their proper perspective.


The Way fills the entire world.

Reaching the Top   Mount Taishan

It is everywhere that people are,
but people are unable to understand this.
When you are released by this one word:
you reach up to the heavens above;
you stretch down to the earth below;
you pervade the nine inhabited regions.
What does it mean to be released by it?
The answer resides in the calmness of the mind.
When your mind is well-ordered, your senses are well-ordered.

When your mind is calm, your senses are calmed.
What makes them well-ordered is the mind;
what makes them calm is the mind.
By means of the mind you store the mind:
within the mind there is yet another mind.
That mind within the mind: it is an awareness that precedes words.
Only after there is awareness does it take shape;
only after it takes shape is there a word.

Only after there is a word is it implemented;
only after it is implemented is there order.
Without order, you will always be chaotic.
If chaotic, you die.

In between the two books I often refer to, the first being on the I Ching, and second my version of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, I wrote a third much longer manuscript/book that appears here on my website that is my own take on “The Book of Lieh Tzu”. It’s entitled, “My travels with Lieh Tzu – Interpolations along the Way”. Of course, the meaning of the Way here, is meant as the Tao.


It is said that each of us is granted two lives, the life we learn with and the life we life after that. To perchance awaken midstream in our lives. As if we have been reborn; given an opportunity to find and follow our true destiny and endeavor.

The phoenix and dragon are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, dragon and phoenix were regarded as the most sacred animals and used to be emblems of emperor and empress. The Chinese dragon is traditionally the embodiment of the concept of yang (male), while phoenix was paired (yin, female) with dragon.

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 and to share our gift with others.

The Ding, a bronze vessel from the Zhou Dynasty in Luoyang the capital of ancient China location on Wangcheng, the site of the Capital City of Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-221BC).

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?      1/21/1996

A second entry from the manuscript of “My travels with Lieh Tzu – Interpolations along the Way” is as follows:

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.

The sage knocking on the door and finding benevolence / Qufu

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 that is 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.

Letting go of ego…  student and the sage Qingcheng Mtn Chengdu

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 as we live and die 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 your 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.     12/30/94

It seems like I have been traveling the winds with dragons for as long as I can remember. Its like what I knew from the beginning hasn’t changed so much except to be built upon. Only the speed of my journey that always returns to places and to what I have always known. Reminding me over and over again, its not where you are – its who you are and what are you gaining in the present moment.

By 1dandecarlo