opening doors and shutters

awakening to the tao

When the doors are open, the air passes through. When the shutters are open, the light shines in. If the doors are closed, there is no circulation between the inside and outside. If the shutters are closed, the energy of the light is kept outside.

What I realize as I observe this is the tao of great use of great potential.

People in the world today who practice taoism go into the twisted byways of sidetracks, some closing their eyes and gazing into emptiness, some staying inactive in isolated and quiet places, some deliberately sitting and thinking of the spirit.

They think they have the tao, but they have not realized that the tao is the tao of creative evolution of yin and yang of heaven and earth. This tao, this Way, fans out everywhere in the universe, but this does not multiply it; it is concentrated in one energy, but this does not make it less.

All beings in the universe, animate and inanimate, the myriads of different beings, all live and develop on the basis of this. Everything and everyone has it. It is just that while people are in the midst of the tao they are not conscious of the tao, as while fish are in water they are not conscious of the water.

If you want to practice this Way, you must do it in the creative evolution of yin and yang of heaven and earth, realize its experience in the midst of all things and all events, and practice and hold it in the presence of all people.

This is work that is alive, effervescent, free, liberated, gloriously enlightened, true, and great. Do you think it can be attained by people who shut the door and sit quietly with blank minds?

If you want to attain the Way by shutting the door and sitting quietly with a blank mind, that is like shutting the doors and shutters and hoping to see the sun. What “way” does that accomplish? It must be the way of dark rooms, I guess. 

Understanding Reality says, “Practice, mixing in with the ordinary people and integrating hyour illumination. When it is time to be round, be round; when it is time to be square, be square. As you appear and disappear, now reversing, now going along, no one can fathom you, since you make people unable to know what you are doing.”

It also says, “You should know that the great recluses live in the cities and towns; why stay still and alone deep in the mountains?”

Only when you mix with the ordinary people, integrating illumination, living in the cities and towns, are you activating great use of great potential. This is the real function of practicing ahd holding the Great Way.

Liu I-Ming



stay true to what is pure and innocent

pham huy trung


Flow like pure water

through difficult situations.


The image of the hexagram K’an is that of water: water falling from the heavens, water coursing over the earth in streams, water collecting itself in pure and silent pools. This image is meant to teach us how to conduct ourselves in trying situations. If we flow through them, staying true to what is pure and innocent in ourselves, we escape danger and reach a place of quiet refuge and good fortune beyond.

K’an often appears to warn of a troubling time either drawing near or already at hand, and to counsel you not to fall into longing for an immediate and effortless solution to the trouble. When you become “emotionally ambitious” – when you cling to comfort and desire to be free of the currents of change in life – you block the Creative from resolving difficulties in your favor. What is necessary now is to accept the situation, to flow with it like water, to remain innocent and pure and sincere while the Higher Power works out a solution.

It is not that you should not act now; it is that you should not act out of frustration, anxiety, despair, or a desire to escape the situation. Instead, still yourself and look for the lesson hidden inside the difficulty. Correct your attitude until it is open, detached, and unstructured. Abandon your goals and stay on the path, where you proceed step by step, arm in arm, with the Sage.

Those whose hearts and minds are kept pure and innocent relate properly to all events, understand their cosmic meaning, and flow through them with the strength, clarity, and brilliance of pure water.


from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 29, K’an / The Abysmal (Water)


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accept three precepts

the paws of the buddha smelled like popcorn


Even if

you know how to recite

the texts, you still have to discern reality

from artificiality. Why? Sound and form dim the mind,

falsehoods fool the ears; personality and ego become second

nature, the disease of self-affirmation is deep-seated.

When the mind is separated from the

Way,  the principle is hard to



If you wish

to return to the supreme

Way, have deep faith and first accept

three precepts. If you practice in accord with

these three precepts consistently from

beginning to end, then you will

attain the true Way. The

three precepts



simplifying involvements 

not craving anything 

quieting the mind


…A scripture says,

“If people can empty their minds

and not contrive anything, it is not that

they want the Way, but the Way

spontaneously reverts

to them.”


Treatise on Sitting Forgetting


concentrate on the higher laws

benoit courti


By concentrating on the higher laws,

you acquire the power that

underlies them.


This hexagram teaches us to set an example for others through our own contemplation of proper principles.

A fundamental fact of consciousness is that we take on the attributes and energy of that upon which we focus our attention. In studying and meditating on the I Ching, we are concentrating on the underlying principles that govern the universe. Through contemplation of the wisdom of such principles as independence, detachment, modesty, acceptance, and tolerance, we begin to embody them in our own lives. Their power informs our actions and practices and we begin to have great influence as a result.

This hexagram comes to indicate that you need to make a self-correction and return to contemplation of proper principles. By sacrificing the harsh judgements of your ego and asking the Sage for guidance, you free yourself from hindering influences and increase your merit—and thereby your ability to have an influence.

It is in the quiet contemplation of what is correct that we become detached from anxious emotions about the situations that face us. This detachment gives us the balance and calm to choose solutions which are in accordance with the higher laws. In so doing we gain the aid of the Creative in everything we do, and others are drawn to this strength. Truly, we gain the ability to lead through contemplation of the principles of our own leader, the Sage.

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 20, Kuan / Contemplation


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happiness without sorrow

free from concerns


Just let your

mind be free; don’t

do contemplative exercises,

and don’t think of sorrow or worry.

Clear and unobstructed, free as you will,

not contriving virtues, not perpetrating evils,

walking, standing still, sitting, lying down, whatever

meets the eye, in any circumstance, is all the subtle

function of Buddha. It is called Buddahood

because of happiness without



Dayi Daoxin

treasury of the eye of true teaching