a man who boasts has no merit

person of tao

 

A man who

tiptoes can’t stand.

A man who straddles can’t

walk. A man who shows

off can’t shine.

 

A man

who justifies his

actions isn’t respected.

A man who boasts of his

achievements has no merit.

A man who brags will

not endure.

 

To a person

of tao, these things are

excess food and superfluous

behavior. Because nothing good

can come of them, he doesn’t

indulge in them.

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 24

 

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the one opening


 

The Spirit

of the Valley never dies:

it is called Mysterious-Female.

The gate of the Mysterious-Female

is called root of Heaven

and Earth.

 

This is the opening

that generates Heaven, Earth,

and humans; this is the hometown of Saints,

Buddhas, and Immortals. You arrange the furnace

and set up the tripod here; you collect the Medicine and

refine it here; you coagulate the Elixir here; and you

deliver it here. Being is here, Non-Being is here.

The beginning and the end of all

operation are here.

 

This Opening

is the place where the four

elements do not stick: it is in the realm

of Empty Non-Being, “silent and still.” Neither can

you find it by using your intention, nor can you guard it by

not using your mind. If those who cultivate themselves want to

find this One Opening, they must begin by looking for it.

Only when they truly know it and clearly see it, they

can begin to collect the treasure of Heaven.

Those who not know this Opening may

strive in one thousand different ways

and toil in ten thousand different

manners, but they will never

see any progress or

improvement.

 

How could students

not strive? How could they not

exert their minds to inquire

into the principles?

 

Liu Yiming

 

strong within, gentle without

shaun tan

 

True joy is

experienced by those who

are strong within and

gentle without.

 
The hexagram Tui teaches us how to come into possession of joy. In our search for success and happiness we are prone to think that we must take aggressive actions to achieve them. The instruction of the I Ching is just the opposite: only those who practice innocence, acceptance, and detachment inherit true joy in this world.

We often see around us how forcible effort brings about what appears to be progress. Our egos tempt us to believe that these gains are lasting and valuable, but the truth is otherwise. Whatever is won by the desirous, ambitious, demanding manipulations of the ego will soon be lost. Others can always be temporarily browbeaten into doing things our way, but only hearts won by friendliness and sincere goodwill are true over time.

The I Ching teaches us again and again that joy and success cannot be forced or stolen. They are achieved gradually—but steadily—by those who relate correctly to others and to the Higher Power. To relate correctly means to steadfastly practice innocence, detachment, acceptance, modesty, and gentleness. Life is full of shortcuts, but this is the only route that leads to true joy.

The image of the hexagram is that of two lakes joined together to keep from drying up. It is an encouragement to us to join with like-minded friends now in the discussion and contemplation of higher things. If we engage in an ongoing conversation about proper principles with our friends, our relationship to truth is steady and our ego cannot seduce us into the doubt, fear, and anxiety that lead away from joy.

In your heart, be firm in holding to what is good and honest and correct. In your thoughts and actions, be gentle and accepting. Those who persevere on this path will meet with true joy and lasting success.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 58, Tui / The Joyous

 

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the subtle universe appears


 

Calming

your mind, following

your breath, simplifying your life,

you reduce agitation and worry

with each passing

month.

 


When

genuine stillness

pervades your existence,

the subtle universe appears.

Then you can go anywhere you

like and give yourself

just what you

need.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 19

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wait in a state of patient inner strength


 
 

To wait with

a proper attitude invites

the assistance of the

Higher Power.

 

There is

a situation at hand that

cannot be corrected by force or

external effort. The Creative will provide

the solution to one who waits with a correct

attitude. This is a time for patience

and careful attention to

inner truth.

 

Do not

give in to doubt and

agitation now. You are not meant

to wait in a state of desperate longing but

in one of patient inner strength. Without certainty

in the power of the truth, success is impossible.

Attempts to force a change, rather than

allowing it to mature naturally,

will only cause

misfortune.

 

You would be

wise to strengthen and reaffirm

your reliance on the Creative. When you indulge in

fear and doubt, you flood the arena where the Higher Power

is attempting to work. Your principal responsibility in life

is to keep this arena—your own consciousness—

free of negative influences.

 

By accepting things

as they are and not making fruitless

comparisons to the situations of others or some

imagined ideal, one engages the power of the Creative.

If one then remains balanced, modest, and

independent, good fortune

will come to hand.

 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 5, Hsü / Waiting (Nourishment)

 

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