Archive for December, 2017
The wise ones of old had subtle wisdom and depth of understanding,
So profound that they could not be understood.
And because they could not be understood,
So must they be thus described:
Cautious, like when one crosses an icy stream,
Vigilant, like one fearing danger all around,
Serious, like one acting as a guest,
Unassuming, like ice beginning to melt,
Genuine, like a piece of undressed wood,
Open-minded, like a valley,
And mixing freely, like murky water.
Who can find repose in a muddy world?
By lying still, it becomes clear.
Who can maintain his calm for long?
By activity, it comes back to life.
He who embraces this Tao
Guards against being over-filled.
Because he guards against being over-filled,
He is beyond wearing out and renewal.
(Translation by Lin Yutang)
Here, Lao Tzu tells us the seven characteristics of the wise and old, or those who were monks. He is visionary and unfathomable. He is mysterious; we can barely describe him. However, Lao Tzu uses the following seven images to describe him-
1) Cautious, as if wading through an icy river in winter.
2) Alert, as if sensing the encroachment of an enemy.
3) Solemn, as if attending a grand feast.
4) Modest, as if he is slowly melting ice.
5) Genuine, as if he is a piece of undressed wood,
6) Open-minded, as if he is a valley,
7) Mixing freely, as if he is murky water.
Then Lao Tzu concludes that if muddy water settles and become clear after waiting patiently, therefore the wise will also remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself. In other words, he will stay calm and clear in chaotic times and seek change when it arrives.
Again, Lao Tzu tells those who observe the Tao to not seek fulfillment. Like a valley, always keep yourself empty and humble, so you are beyond wearing out and are open to renewal.
In the past, there was a prodigy; he believed he was brilliant and very knowledgeable. One day, he heard that there was a wise Zen Master who lived on Nanshan Mountain, so he decided to go to the Zen Master, to see what wisdom he had, and to know whether the master was more intelligent than him.
On the way, the prodigy was thinking of what question he should ask. At that moment, he saw a cow with a rope around its neck, with the other end of the rope tied to a nearby tree. The cow was anxious to get relief, so it circled the tree, wrapping the rope tighter and tighter around the tree, until its nose almost touched the tree, unable to go any further. So, the cow started to walk back, and as the rope gradually unwound, it loosened again. But it kept turning, so the rope was then wrapped around the tree in the other direction. It continued to turn around the tree, loosening and tightening the rope, again and again, unable to ever feel free of it. The prodigy saw this and thought that this would be a good riddle to give to the master.
The prodigy met with the Zen Master, and asked, “A cow circles a tree over and over again, clockwise then counterclockwise, and then repeats it. Why does it do this?”
The Master replied, “It is because the rope is not broken.”
The prodigy was shocked and asked the master how he knew that the cow had been tied to the tree when he had never mentioned it.
The Zen Master smiled and said, “I do not know, but anything that circles an object must be tied down by a “rope,” like fame or fortune. The consequence of being tied down like this is inevitable; it applies to both man and cattle. The obsession causes the binding; the deeper the obsession, the stronger one pulls, and longer one continues to circle. If this trend continues, a cow will become a mad cow, and a man will become a mad man.”
The prodigy quickly asked the master for a solution. He replied, “Quiet down your heart, do good things, and make yourself pure and spotless. Moreover, when you enter a state of absolute nothingness, you will be able to let go. Nothing can bind you; you will gain total freedom as a result.” The prodigy then finally realized that the Zen Master was truly a wise man.
He asked about the riddle and how the Zen Master had answered, and he said, “All answers are correct if you think about it the right way. Enlightenment does not depend on what you see, but on the essence of the lesson it teaches you.”
A sage man can elevate his energy and spirit through understanding the nature, or the essence, of the phenomenon.
Note: For the Chinese version, please refer to the following link-
|The Essence of the Lesson 團團轉|
Look, it cannot be seen – it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard – it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held – it is intangible.
These three are indefinable;
Therefore they are joined in one.
From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
An unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
The form of the formless,
The image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.
Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.
Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.)
This is my true story, on how I experienced the Dao through the Voice I heard.
“On days when everything seems like it’s over, remember my voice…remember my voice…remember my voice.” And just like that, I remembered. My mind took me back to an extraordinary occurrence that took place in my life many years ago. It was from an unforgettable instance that forever changed the course of my life. It was the first and most precious conversation I ever had with “the Voice.”
After the passing of my beloved husband, I left the field of science and went into the insurance industry. I thought it would be a change for the better, but right from the get-go, this new career did not seem to fit me. I decided to take a break for a year to give myself some time to figure out what I should do next with my life. So, in the summer of 1999, I traveled to Houston for a week. I figured a change in my surroundings would help quiet my mind and provide me with some much-needed direction. When I returned home, my neighbors delivered the horrible news to me that they had lost their daughter in a car accident. I was so taken aback by it all that all I could do was cry with them.
That night at about half past two in the morning, I suddenly woke up. I sensed I was not alone in my bedroom, yet I wasn’t scared. Instead, this otherworldly presence felt very peaceful. For some reason, and without hesitation, I immediately picked up my pen and journal and began writing all that was transpiring.
“Who are you? Are you the Lord?” I heard myself asking.
“Yes,” He answered. And this was the beginning of my very first conversation with The Voice. I had heard The Voice before, but never had the awareness nor the courage to try to engage it in conversation before. Our discussion did not unfold in the traditional vocal and auditory sense, but almost telepathically. I did not hear an actual voice with my ears, but with my head and my heart. I did not respond with my voice, but with my head and my heart.
“Where are you?” I asked. It was dark in the room, and I could not see anything, so I asked again.
“In your heart,” The Voice responded.
“Where?” I asked again, a bit confused by the previous answer.
“In your heart.”
“In my heart,” I tried to confirm his answer.
“Whenever you seek me, I am always here.”
What came next surprised even me: “Why did you take my husband?” I asked.
Shocked by my question, I realized I had not let go of my deceased husband, even after all these years.
“You would not understand now, but I will replace him with myself.”
He was right. I didn’t understand. The conversation went on like this for a while until I abruptly asked again: “Why did you take my husband away from me?”
“As I said, you will not understand, but my love is boundless. “
There was something in The Voice that provided me with the most reassuring feeling and knowing that He is not just by my side, but in my heart as well. Wherever I am, He is always with me.
The voiceless, imageless, and formless surpass the world of the voice, the image, and the form. Our eyes will not be able to see, nor can our ears be able to hear, because it goes beyond the physical presence. It seemed to be nonexistent and yet it is there. We can only use our hearts to listen to it and use our hearts to see the invisible.
Now, I know it is the “Dao.”
My daughter was out with her family on a ski trip, so I was trying to help her out. Whenever she needed something or needed me to do anything, I would just put down everything and do it for her. Then she texted me and said, “You are the best, mom, you give me unconditional love.” As I was sitting there looking at the words, I suddenly burst into tears. I started to question, where is my unconditional love?
Where is it? Because my parents are no longer with me – they passed away many years ago. And I guessed that I did not get unconditional love anymore. For me, unconditional love was from parents to children. It was a one-way street. I understood that, but that was what made me even sadder.
I sat there and started to talk to myself, “Who can help me find this unconditional love? Help me find it and receive it. Please, please, please. I always wanted to give unconditional love, but I hardly receive it. I beg you; please let me have it. Please let me receive it.”
I started to immerse myself into this understanding of “unconditional love.” The person who gives this unconditional love must be in a higher position, in the spiritual sense. They must be selfless and able to sacrifice. They must be able to give without any thought of getting back anything.
It is so hard to find people who can give someone unconditional love, to find someone who has the character of divinity to be able to do all of this.
I shook my head, thinking, “Oh well, this is not possible. I don’t think I will ever receive unconditional love anymore.” Exhausted and tired, I started to fall asleep.
While I was sleeping, I heard a voice:
“You do have unconditional love.
The sun shines forth light, and so does the moon. They give light to the world freely, unconditionally.
Look at the Earth; trees grow on it, producing flowers. The fruit trees bear fruit and never ask for anything in return.
Look at the river, the ocean, and the beach. They supply you with water and enjoyment. Do they ever ask for anything in return? They do not.
Look at God: how He sacrificed His son. He did not ask for anything in return.
You don’t need to look at human beings for unconditional love; you need to look at your surroundings, as unconditional love is everywhere.”
Unconditional love is not just limited to interaction between humans. It is unlimited and unrestricted. It is applied to the whole universe.
Now I understand why I am moved to bow my head to the heaven and earth, the to the sun and moon before I pray every time. Indeed we need to be grateful for their supplying what we need unconditionally.