the use of subtle insight

shunryu suzuki

 

In ancient times

those who practiced Tao

didn’t want to enlighten people,

but to keep them natural

and simple.

 

When cleverness

and intellect abound, people

don’t do well. A leader who governs

with cleverness cheats his people.

A leader who governs with

simplicity is a blessing

to his people.

 

These are

the two alternatives.

Understanding them is

subtle insight. The use of

subtle insight brings all

things back into

oneness.

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 65


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do not even do non-doing


 

Do not

do anything (good or bad)

and do not even do this not-doing;

then straightaway one reaches that place where

there is no concern for external affairs, that

vast and peaceful place where there

are absolutely no obstructing

thoughts.

 

There,

all thoughts of the past

are extinguished, all thoughts of

the future do not arise, and

all present thoughts

are void.

 

Nevertheless,

this void-ness is also not

to be maintained. This non-maintenance

(of the void) is also to be forgotten, and this forgetting

is also not to be legitimized; further, free your­self from this

non-legitimizing. At the time when even the idea of

getting free is not preserved, only the alert

yet calm light from the spirit will

appear prominently before

oneself.

 

Taego Pou

 

those who persevere make continuous progress


 
The image of this hexagram is that of a tree growing high on a mountain top. If this tree grows too fast, without first properly rooting itself, it becomes susceptible to being torn up and destroyed by the winds. If, however, it establishes a proper foundation and is content to grow gradually, it will enjoy a long life and a lofty view.

Human beings are no different. While we often desire rapid progress – we want to change someone’s mind today, obtain an apology now, achieve all our goals immediately – sooner or later we must come to understand that the only lasting progress is gradual progress. Chien comes to urge you to accept that fact and base your thoughts, attitudes, and actions upon it.

When we have allowed ourselves to be pulled off balance by another or by some event, the ego tempts us to believe that we can influence the situation through forceful behavior. This is incorrect; the actions of the ego inevitably complicate our difficulties. The greatest influence possible always comes through the patient and steady refinement of one’s inner self. If you will devote yourself to the path of the Sage, with every step along that path you will be strengthened, and progress will come automatically. It will be gradual, but it will last.

Be patient, modest, and accepting now. Life often demands that we wait longer than we might like for some change, and the only true comfort available during these times is the knowledge that we are steadfastly developing ourselves into superior people. In time, every honor comes to those who are persevering and correct.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 53, Chien / Development (Gradual Progress)

 

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wholly without ambition

navesh chitrakar

 

Looking for 

nothing in particular, 

wholly without ambition, 

good-naturedly doing not doing, 

you arrive at the center of yourself

and find the whole universe  

waiting there.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 52

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release the concerns of the ego

Kawase Hasui

 

You serve

as an example to others by

sacrificing your ego and accepting 

the guidance of the Higher

Power.

 

The hexagram

Ting concerns the nourishment

and guidance one must have in order to fully

succeed. While the culture around us often encourages

us to “take charge” and make aggressive demands on life, the

I Ching offers far wiser counsel. Here we are encouraged

to give up the incessant demands of our ego —  

to deepen our humility and acceptance

and to listen carefully to the

instructions of the

Sage.

 

The image

of the caldron concerns

your inner thoughts: whatever you hold

in the “caldron” of your mind is your offering

to the Higher Power. The quality of assistance you can

receive from the universe is governed by the quality of your

offering. If you constantly indulge in the concerns of the ego —

fears, desires, strategies to control, harshness toward others —

you repel the Higher Power and block your own nourishment.

If, on the other hand, you consciously let go of your

resistance to life and hold quiet and correct

thoughts, you become receptive to the

Creative and your continual

nourishment is

assured.

 

Ting comes

to suggest that the wisest

thing that you can do now is to still

your ego and conscientiously enter into 

conversation with the Sage. To influence others, or to

achieve a proper goal, follow the same path. By cultivating

humility and acceptance, purifying your inner thoughts,

and concentrating on that which is good and innocent

and true, you summon the power of the Creative

and meet with good fortune in

the outer world.

 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 50, Ting / The Caldron

 

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