Archive for January, 2018
Legend has it that Lao Tzu lived to be more than one hundred sixty years old. Neighbors and friends came to pay their condolences. Everyone was overcome with grief as they remembered Lao Tzu for his natural, non-combative, kind, and merciful personality.
Chin Shih came and cried out loud without kneeling and worshipping. He simply used his hand to salute; then he came out.
People stopped him and asked: “Are you not the Master’s friend?”
He replied: “Yes.”
“But is it not disrespectful for you to mourn him like that?”
He replied: “Yes.”
People were angry and questioned him, “What is your reason for acting so indifferent?”
He replied: “Lao Tzu told us that birth is not happy, and death is not sad. His birth is simply none becoming existence and following the flow of nature, so there is no reason to be happy. Whereas his death illustrates the beingness become nothingness again, so similarly there is no reason to be sad.”
He continued, “When I see those mourners, I see that there are the elderly who cry for him as if he was their son and younger people who cry for him as if he was their father. When they gather together like this, there must be those who don’t want to come but come anyhow and those who don’t want to cry but cry anyway. This is going against one’s feelings and forgetting one’s given nature. The ancients would call this the punishment for denying the true nature.
When it was suitable to come into the world, the Master came at the right time. When it was suitable to depart the world, the Master left naturally. If one can calmly wait for the right moment and go with the natural flow, sadness and joy cannot enter the heart. The ancients would call that being released by the Emperor from hanging upside down.”
After listening to his words, the neighbors seemed to understand more, and then asked: “Since you are not sad, why did you cry out three times?” He laughed: “I cry three times, not because of sadness, but instead to bid a farewell to my friend Lao Tzu. The first cry was to tell him his birth suited the natural time and the second cry is also telling him that his death is in line with the natural reason. The third is because he taught the natural inaction of the truth is also in line with the nature of the other.”
After listening to him, the neighbors and friends all agreed that he was a true friend of Lao Tzu, so they wanted him to in charge the burial.
Here is the eulogy he wrote:
“Lao Tze-a distinguish sage, practice Tao for heaven, focus on great harmony, his works is imperishable.”
Banish wisdom, discard knowledge,
And the people shall profit a hundredfold;
Banish humanity, discard justice,
And the people shall recover love of their kin;
Banish cunning, discard utility,
And the thieves and brigands shall disappear.
As these three focus on the external and are inadequate,
And the people need what they can depend upon:
Reveal thy simple self,
Embrace thy original nature,
Check thy selfishness,
Curtail thy desires.
(Translated by Yu Tang Lin)
Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.
If these three aren’t enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course.
Here, Lao Tzu tells us that everything that exists is impermanent, The Dao is emptiness, void, and nothingness. Why do we insist on continually arguing?
Just see the essence and grab the root. Don’t be tired of foreign things, nor become trapped by chaos. Yes, come back to the origin and search within, not without, and all things will take their course, naturally.
I found a story told by Osho (Tao: The Three Treasures) that illustrates this well.
There is a beautiful Jewish parable: It happened in a certain village where whenever there was some difficulty, the rabbi would go to the forest and perform a magic ritual and pray to God, and
always then the village was helped.
Then the rabbi died. Another rabbi succeeded him. There was some difficulty, so the next rabbi went to the forest. He didn’t know the exact place so he said to God: “I don’t know where the old rabbi performed his ritual, so I will do it anywhere – you are everywhere, so you can listen from everywhere.” He performed the ritual where he was, and the village was helped.
Then he died, and another young man followed. Again there was some difficulty. The man went to the forest, and he said to God: “I don’t know the place or the ritual, but you know all, so
what is the point of doing it? I simply pray to you: Save my village from this difficulty.” And the village was helped.
Then that man died. Then another young man took his place, and the village was again in difficulty. The young man never went to the forest. He sat in his chair, and he said, “Listen! I don’t know the place
where the old rabbis used to go, I don’t know the ritual, I don’t know the prayer that they used to say, but I will tell you a story – and I know you love stories – please help my village.” And he told a
story, and the village was helped.
Last Monday was the annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California. As usual, there were many floats but only a few receive awards for their design and presentation.
The Tournament of Roses awarded Singpoli American BD Monday the 2018 Rose Parade Sweepstakes trophy for their float “Rising Above,” as the “most beautiful entry encompassing float design, floral presentation and entertainment.”
“According to Chinese mythology, the Dragon’s Gate is located at the top of a waterfall cascading from a legendary mountain. Many carp swim upstream against the river’s strong current, but few are capable or brave enough for the final leap over the waterfall. If a carp successfully makes the jump, it is transformed into a powerful dragon. A Chinese dragon’s large, conspicuous scales indicate its origin from a carp. The Chinese dragon has long been an auspicious symbol of great and benevolent, magical power. The image of a carp jumping over Dragon’s Gate is an old and enduring Chinese cultural symbol for courage, perseverance, and accomplishment. Historically, the dragon was also the exclusive symbol of the emperor of China and the five-character expression, Liyu Tiao Long Men, was originally used as a metaphor for a person’s success in passing very difficult imperial examinations, required for entry into imperial administrative service. To this day, when a student from a remote country village passes the rigorous national university examination in China, friends and family proudly refer to the “Liyu Tiao Long Men.” More generally, the expression is used to communicate that if a person works hard and diligently, success will one day be achieved.”
As the great Tao declined,
The principles of “humanity” and “justice” arose.
When knowledge and cleverness appeared,
Great hypocrisy followed in its wake.
When the six relationships no longer lived in peace,
There was (praise of) “kind parents” and “filial sons.”
When a country fell into chaos and misrule,
There was (praise of) “loyal ministers.”
Again and again, Lao Tzu reminded us that life is a balance. It is everywhere. Just as he mentioned in Chapter 2:
Being and non-being depend on growth;
Difficult and easy depend on completion;
Long and short depend on contrast;
High and low depend on position;
Tones and voice depend on harmony;
Front and behind depend on company.
He explains the principle of opposition and symbiosis. All contradictions are two sides of a coin, and they are both dependent and part of the whole. Only when we understand this, will we avoid putting weight on one side. There is no right and wrong, neither good or bad then we enter the Dao, follow the flow of nature and reach tranquility.