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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cease and desist and do not seek


 
If you want to attain Intimacy, the first thing is, don’t seek it. If you attain through seeking, you have already fallen into interpretive understanding.

This is especially true because this great treasury extends through all times, clearly evident, empty and bright. Since time without beginning it has been your own basic root: you depend on its power entirely in all your actions.

You will only pass through to freedom when you cease and desist to the point that not even a single thought is born. Then you penetrate through without falling into sense and matter and without dwelling in conceptualizations and mental images.

When you absolutely transcend these, then the whole world does not hide it. Everywhere everything becomes its Great Function, and every single thing flows forth from your own breast. The ancients called this bringing out the family treasure. Once this is attained, it is attained forever. How could it ever be used up?

Just be wary that your investigation does not rest on a firm footing, and that you will not be able to penetrate through to realization. You must bravely cut off all entanglements, so there is not the slightest dependence or reliance. Relinquish your body and give up your life and directly accept the suchness that faces you; there is no other. Then if if the thousand sages came forth it wouldn’t change you at all. Leaving it to the flow at all times, eating food and wearing clothes, you nurture the embryo of sagehood to maturity, not keeping to intellectual understanding. Isn’t this an especially excellent teaching and a most essential shortcut?
 

Yuanwu