Tuesday, February 19, 2013

selections from liu i-ming

the tao is no longer appreciated there are an endless number of side doors and byways constituting what may be called in modern lingo variations of a few basic themes those who are fixated on nothingness and those who are obsessed with individual forms and events and those who wander off on their own and undertake bizarre psychosomatic experiments seventy-two schools of material alchemy three thousand six hundred schools of pure aberration the gateway to the tao is wide open anyone can come in if you know how to change directions the goal is already attained if you can act with a straightforward mind this itself is massive and unshakable treasure by knowing the one you extend the life of pure essence when you perceive what is sometimes referred to as the two you congeal the embryo there has been a decline in the conditions of taoism how many know the true self how many believe that the word self even has a tangible referent I could undertake a sort of survey but it would be too exhausting they sometimes take fish eyes for pearls many have abandoned the mundane everyday and taken a liking for what is known as the strange many of them seek happiness but instead they gradually bring on disaster the fundamental mystery that concerns us most intimately is treated like child's play the principles of anonymous sages are essentially laughed at students do weird things bizarre things unaccountable things the tao is natural the tao could be referred to as nature itself all forced manipulations and fancy concoctions are vain and ridiculous there is nothing strange in the tao whatsoever it is the simplest thing that ever existed people with a preference for the bizarre have already missed the bus so to speak the colorful symbolism of ancient texts is just that pure symbolism the tao has never had too many authentic affiliates so many practitioners are merely skipping rope in the alleyway with one or two cryptic phrases they pretend to be inscrutable hermits having done a little meditation they refer to the great secret like it was something over and done with not to sound too judgmental but such types are insubstantial shifty and vacuous they open their mouths primarily to delude others but it is themselves they delude even more the true tradition is forgotten the very notion of studying the classics is openly mocked unfortunately the basic teaching is not immediately apparent to all and sundry how many for example understand that it is permeated with unity this one lectures on mixing with wizards and internalizing secret elixirs that one actually talks about flying sincerity is important in regards to the tao why do students not just relax and bring forth their true feelings there is some blockage there trembling indeed unclear from the outset yet the tao is simple plain convenient and obvious no need to seek afar or undertake mysterious vision quests the only reason the so-called treasure does not appear on the scene is that seekers themselves will not allow it they refuse to believe it could manifest as something so everyday or mundane hence it is utterly missed and they proceed with their arcane and serious practices the tao is subtle indeed it is based on nonreification formless imageless impossible to lay out or diagram listen for it and you only hear noise in the background look for it and you just see the same old everyday sights try to zero in on the essence and notice yourself walking in circles and mumbling nonsense analyzing it tends not to be the most fruitful activity the tao is noble not necessarily subject to a person's private feelings about it private feelings are all good and well in their limited way they just aren't necessarily aligned with the tao they aren't not aligned either it's a paradoxical state of affairs first recognize the crescent moon in the southwest the hexagram return then investigate the overturned bowl in the northeast the hexagram stripping away the tao is completely impartial not a question of status attainment or talent and yet even the slightest bit of falsehood or pretense lands one far out in barren wasteland isolated and without clear direction the parting of the roads between immortals and ordinary buffoons is a hairsbreadth the tao has no beginning no middle no ending no blatant road signs or guideposts there is something careless about it something a little too casual maybe it is different from what a lot of the people around here imagine and yet when you align with it it helps all people regardless of their prior intention reversing yin and yang at the main door of the mysterious pass picking up the luminous pearl under the red dragon's jaw the tao is real awake or sleeping it is the original sanity.