know the masculine, worship the feminine


 

To know

the masculine and yet

cleave to the feminine is to be the

womb for the world. Being the womb for

the world, never departing from the

eternal power of tao, you

become like an infant

once again:

 immortal. 

 

To know

the bright and yet

hold to the dull is to be

an example for the world. 

Being the example for the world, 

not deviating from the everlasting

power of tao, you return to

the infinite once again: 

limitless. 

 

To know

honor and yet keep

to humility is to be the valley

for the world. Being the valley for

the world, rich with the primal power

of tao, you return once again to simplicity, 

like uncarved wood. Allow tao to carve

you into a vessel for tao. Then you

can serve the world without

mutilating

it. 

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 28

 

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paths which ought not be taken

 

There are 

paths which ought not be

taken, forces who shouldn’t be struck,

cities to which siege should not be laid,

positions better left uncontested.

When the sovereign’s orders

fly in the face of this, it is

wiser not to carry

them out.

 

from The Art of War, Chapter VIII

 

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mêng / youthful folly

Even the foolish can attain wisdom by modestly following the Sage.

Folly is a characteristic of youth: those who have had little experience generally exhibit little wisdom. This is true of us in a spiritual way as well; in comparison to the Sage we are “babes in the woods.” The hexagram Mêng counsels us to utilize the I Ching as a lantern so that we may survive our youthful folly and travel safely through the woods of life.

There is no shame in seeking guidance in life. A child is eager to be shown the way by his parents and teachers, and we are wise to recognize that in spiritual terms we are akin to children. Our success will come quicker if we find and follow a wise teacher. The Sage is available to serve in this way for those who approach the I Ching with a sincere desire to learn and grow.

To study the I Ching is to gain the perspective of the Deity, to learn the cosmic lesson inherent in every situation that faces us. If we truly look for and strive to comprehend these larger lessons, we gain mastery over fear, doubt, and anxiety. We can learn from study of the I Ching to live in a state of understanding, contentment, and acceptance, but several things are required of us.

The first is that we suspend our mistrust of the Unknown and allow the Sage to lead us. It is tempting to think that the I Ching might be just a book, merely words on paper, but there is more to it that this. To accept this is to recognize the Sage and become receptive to his assistance.

The second thing required of us is that we quiet the demands of our egos for comprehensive answers to our questions about life. The I Ching teaches us not how to get from A to Z but how to get from A to B, then from B to C, then from C to D. The sage travels step by step, dealing always with what is immediately at hand and bringing complete focus and concentration to the moment. By doing the same we fall into step with, and receive the help of, the Creative power of the universe.

Lastly, we are required to unstructure our attitude. By abandoning strategies about people and situations, we let the past and future go and meet the present with an open mind. To be unstructured and open is to allow the Sage to guide us safely and joyfully through life.

The image of Mêng is that of a stream beginning to flow down a mountainside, filing each ravine and hollow place as it goes. If we persevere in following the Sage, seeking the counsel of the I Ching and filling in the gaps in our character as they are revealed, we will be led to lasting success in life.

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 4, Mêng / Youthful Folly

☯️

Further guidance from the
Wei Wu Wei Ching

 

Do you find 

your spiritual practice 

pitiful and wanting? If buddha 

were before you, would you 

be ashamed, afraid, 

shy, small?

 

Wake up! 

The truth too large 

for words is that the buddha 

is closer to you than that: 

you are the buddha

now. 

 

This entire world 

is just for you. All the teaching in 

this world is only for you. Accept this without 

further thought of whether you are good 

or bad and be responsible to it. 

This is the spirit you must 

bring to everything that

you do. Be the

buddha

now.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 4

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