December 3, 2005 at 10:05 pm #9062
“the realized remain selfless,
the sacred remain meritless
the enlightned remain nameless” (10, wandering)
“just then I’d lost myself completely.
Do you understand such things?
Perhaps you’ve heard the music of humans,
but you haven’t heard the music of the earth.
Or if you’ve heard the music of the earth,
You haven’t heard the music of heaven…
Sounding the ten thousand things differently,
so each becomes itself according to itself alone-
Who could make such music?” (1, a little talk)
“Gaze into that cloistered calm,
that chamber of emptiness where light is born.
To rest in stillness is great good fortune. (preparatory)
If we don’t rest there,
we keep racing around even when we’re sitting quietly.
FOLLOW SIGHT AND SOUND DEEP INSIDE, (alchemy)
and keep the knowing mind outside.” (1, the human realm)
Note: the last quote was supposedly the words of confucius, wha was known as enlightened but not necessary an alchemist or immortal.
Lao Zi (Guodian Version, 300 BC):
“Heaven and earth come together and send forth sweet dew.
No one causes this to be so; of itself it falls equally on them”
(A:10, Chapter 32)
“The space between heaven and earth-
Is it not like a bellows?
Though it is empty it does not collapse;
When put into motion it sends forth all the more.”
(A:12, Chapter 5)
Note: these first two quotes bear great resemblance to Kan and Li practice! 🙂
“There is a form that developed from primordial chaos
that was born before heaven and earth
Silent and still, it stands on its own and does not change.
It can be regarded as the mother of all under heaven.
Not yet knowing its name,
we refer to it as the Dao.
Were I forced to give it a name, I’d call it the great.
The great means overflowing
Overflowing means going far
Going far means to return…
Humanity takes as its model the earth;
The earth takes as its model heaven
heaven takes as its model the way;
And the way takes as its model that which is so on its own.”
(A:11, Chapter 25)
Note: This last verse reflects the microcosmic to macrocosmic approach of Daoist alchemy)
“One who embraces the fullness of virtue
May be compared to a newborn babe…
He can scream all day without getting hoarse;
This is because his inner harmony is at its height.
That inner harmony we call the constant.
To know that harmny we call being wise.
Trying to increase your life is known as bad fortune.
And when the mind controls the qi- this we call using force…”
(A:17, Chapter 53)
Note: Inner harmony of microcosmic to macrocosmic pure virtue qualities is another key aspect of Daoist alchemy.
“What is firmly implanted cannot be pulled out,
What is firmly embraced cannot be lost.
As a result, the sacrifices of your descendants will never end.
If you cultivate it in your self, your virtue will be pure;
If you cultivate it in your family, your virtue will be overflowing;
If you cultivate it in your village, your virtue will be longlasting;
If you cultivate it in your state, your virtue will be rich and full;
If you cultivate it throughout the world, your virtue will be widespread.
Look at the family from the point of view of the family
Look at the village from the point of view of the village
Look at the state from the point of view of the state
Look at the world from the point of view of the world
How do I know the condition of the whole world?
(B:8, Chapter 54)December 4, 2005 at 6:03 am #9063
Thanks Chris for that lovely collection of Taoit wisdom.
I think these passagess highlight the difference between taoism and other religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Most religions assume their followers are spiritually ignorant and tell them how to live righteously; this eventually becomes dogma, i.e. your ticket to heaven is doing what we tell you is Good.
The early Taoists, and the later Tao alchemical schools, don’t let the follower be so lazy, and don’t promise anyone heaven by simply following external rules. They make them work internally to unfold and cultivate their te, (de), their personal essence and spiritual power to act on behalf of the Tao.
Taoism has many branches, and some of the later temple branches liek Complete Perfection are no different – they published long lists of how to behave, hundreds of items long. They mgiht even say something like, Don’t ride your horse too fast as a minor sin. Some of them, like the Celestial Masters, introduced various methods of achieving repentance by confession of sins. Very catholic.
This was mostly due to competing for imperial favor and competition with and/or integration of buddhist teachings.
Merit is the religious dogmatic concept, te/spiritual power is a little more organic and intuitive and requires you to decide what is ethical in any given moment. This is called Situational Ethics by philosophy types, where there is no fixed way to determine what is Meritorious by outside standards.
some of this is just language differences – both are trying to achieve the same end, i.e. get people to help each other and realize we are all one.
But I have noticed on my trips to India, and in various buddhist countries I ahve visited – that Merit Teachings tend to arise in the context of religious teachings that focus on the Other World. When the divine good and prayers are mostly focused on divinities that are in heavens or more pure dimensions, they need to ground themselves with physical action and accumulatin of merit here on Earth. It serves as a counter balance to to all that out-of-body focus, the split they have going on between Heaven and Earth. Chrisitanity is not really any different. Its the standard big religion dogma split.
This split arises from denial of the spiritual nature of the physical body, and the divine nature of the earth itself. Once you let go of that,, all the virtue spontaneously arises within your body in the moment, the Life Force guides you as to what serves the greater Balance and Harmony.
Does the ME generation need to be reminded here in the West of their WE natare? Yes, undeniably. Is focus on accumulating Merit as your ticket to Enlightenment the best way to achieve that? If you want to work from the outside in, rather than from the inside out, its a start, much better than focusing on hurting others.
But it doesn’t have an enlightened end, you are going to have to let go of the core idea of doing something for somebody else’s idea of Merit. And let go of your fears of a Judgement Day as to whether you are meritorious and deserve to enter the Heaven of Enlightened Bodisattvas or whatever.
That is all religouis projection, it is not spiritual reality. The reality is you Judge Yourself at the moment of death/transition. You are forced to take responsibilty for all you have denied or accepted about your life. There is only the Day of Self -Judgement. If you can give up judging yourself and let that natural self unfold, there will be no self jdugement at Death, just a natural easy transition to your next phase of life.
mDecember 4, 2005 at 7:17 am #9065
Just seems to me a true Bodhisattva would want to help others out of wanting to ease others suffering. Not out of some goal to accumulate merit.
I was listening to my Thich Nhat Han CD’s tonight and really got the impression he is here to help others. He talked about how the Kuan Yin statues in China or pictures with dozens or hundreds of arms expressed how much love Kuan Yin has to ease the suffering of people.
I don’t imagine a Bodhisattva like Kuan Yin(Avalotishvara) as having so much love for sentient beings and wanting to ease their suffering out of a sense of personal merit accumulation to herself/himself.
And I think it is the spiritual experience(realizing oneness with the universe to one degree or another) that is the basis for this type of compassion .Or atleast some kind of feeling of conenction.
Though I do like Bodri’s point that bug world religions serve the purpouse of teaching people to do good deeds so they can prevent being sent to hell. Obviously it would be ebtter if everyone studied Tao, Zen and the like and leaenred about there true nature directly but most arent up for it or it doesn’t seem appealing for one reason or another.
Challeninging questions.December 4, 2005 at 2:39 pm #9067
The title of the Daoist classic by Lao Zi (Lao Tzu), the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Jing) roughly translated is as follows: “way virtue classic”. In some early versions these words are inverted to read “Virtue way classic”.
Dao = Way
De = Virtue
This highlights the importance of cultivating the pure inner virtue qualities that manifest on an individual level, and also on the different collective dimensional levels of the Dao.
The following quote by Michael Winn sums up my feelings on the discussion about merit (and virtue):
“Does the ME generation need to be reminded here in the West of their WE nature? Yes, undeniably. Is focus on accumulating Merit as your ticket to Enlightenment the best way to achieve that? If you want to work from the outside in, rather than from the inside out, its a start, much better than focusing on hurting others.
But it doesn’t have an enlightened end, you are going to have to let go of the core idea of doing something for somebody else’s idea of Merit…”
The point being that cultivation of merit through outward actions may produce some inner results, but it is much more effective to cultivate inner virtue and let that express itself through the inner dimensions to the outer physical plane. By acting as a pathway that harmonizes the virtue qualities on a personal, earthly, planetary and stellar level, are we not cultivating a deep level of virtue that will also express itself in outward life according to the spontaneous situation rather than a foreordained set of dogmatic actions?December 4, 2005 at 3:12 pm #9069
< <<Is focus on accumulating Merit as your ticket to Enlightenment the best way to achieve that? If you want to work from the outside in, rather than from the inside out, its a start, much better than focusing on hurting others.>>>
This statement is totally misleading. Merit has to do with Prajna wisdom, or True Form Wisdom. You can’t reach it through common knowledge or ideas, reading texts or doing visualizations, or through thinking about it, discussing it or researching it.
Merit has nothing to do with ‘outside’ either, as it’s your inner calling that drives you to help your fellow humans. Is giving a hand to a homeless man considered a ‘work from the outside in’? Maybe, if your heart is blind and doesn’t see the truth.
It is true that word ‘merit’ brings some religious dogma with it- mostly to those who keep talking about it without lifting a finger. Once you actually act, your whole world will change, your cultivation will change, you will change.
Merit is the reason you can see the Path. Without it, you are just the blind following the blind.December 4, 2005 at 4:16 pm #9071
“working from the outside in” is not misleading. Its merely descriptive. It is not a judgment. The outside merely refers to action in the outer physical world, using it to experience yourself and thus know the self more deeply.
This is essential in fulfilling one’s worldly destiny – but not with a goal towards accumulating merit. One’s merit (de) is abundantly accumulated in the pre-natal realm, and just needs to be released/expressed in the post-natal realm. The merit arises from expression of free will, making a choice, which only your manifest self can do.
>Merit has to do with Prajna wisdom, or True Form Wisdom. You can’t reach it through common knowledge or ideas, reading texts or doing visualizations, or through thinking about it, discussing it or researching it.
You make merit sound very esoteric, very distant from ordinary life. People read about spiritual things and get inspired, it can certainly awaken it.
If it is impossible to open up a space within one self with conscious intention to allow one’s virtuous nature to emerge, what Taoists call cultivating their inner nature (xing), then your view of Merit sounds extremely deterministic, i.e. it is caused by factors totally outside of the self.
Also, If discussing merit doesn’t lead to accumulating more merit or inspiring others to become more meritorious, I am totally confused as to why you keep mentioning it.
mDecember 4, 2005 at 5:05 pm #9073
< <<This is essential in fulfilling one’s worldly destiny – but not with a goal towards accumulating merit.>>>
Doing good deeds will accululate merit – that’s all what I was trying to say. This statement is twisted into as assumption that I said you have to do meritorious deeds with a purpouse to accumulate merit. You do it because you have a calling to do it. If you don’t have desire, my advice is to force yourself to do good deeds until the merit from doing them will open your heart and then you will be doing it from your inner calling.
< <<One’s merit (de) is abundantly accumulated in the pre-natal realm, and just needs to be released/expressed in the post-natal realm. The merit arises from expression of free will, making a choice, which only your manifest self can do.>>>
Is it merit you are reffering to or karma?
< <<If discussing merit doesn’t lead to accumulating more merit or inspiring others to become more meritorious, I am totally confused as to why you keep mentioning it.>>>
I’m raising it here because noone else did.December 4, 2005 at 6:36 pm #9075
Doing good deeds:
1.My grandmother gave money for the poor, donated for every organization who claimed to help others. She was very religious and believed that a true Christian had to help others. One could say she was a good woman and did many good deeds.
2.My mother is doing good deeds, she is helping others as much as she can but underlying she wants appreciation for what she is doing for others.
She can’t stop doing it because she is driven to do good deeds and be a good woman.
I saw both my grandmother and mother doing good deeds, giving the best of themselves.
I observed this behavior and I believe many people act from these angles:
1. because their religion/believe is telling them to do so
2. because they hunger for appreciation, attention and love
It is coming from outside in or using their good deeds to fill the gap within…
When coming from inside out…it is an act in that present moment, not because one is told to do so, not because one is hungry for love but because one is totally honest within.December 4, 2005 at 6:53 pm #9077
>1. because their religion/believe is telling them to do so
2. because they hunger for appreciation, attention and love
It is coming from outside in or using their good deeds to fill the gap within…< That's a really amazing insight, wendy. I've noticed that being 'the helper' is a big character trait, and I've also noticed that with people that are 'the helpers' their deepest issues generaly stem from 'wanting to be loved and appreciated' - although outwardly many 'helpers' appear to be very humble.December 4, 2005 at 7:18 pm #9079
Heya .f –
dual-thread monstrosities on this “merit” business!
Just wanted to say that the use of the word “virtue” reminded me of herbal healing practices and I find the analogy helpful.
Every plant that has a medicinal use has exactly that – a virtue. It is the plant’s own. Its way of singing. It doesn’t need rules. It has a certain thing that it does and, when activated, it does it.
The same is true of us all. What people have forgotten, I would venture to suggest, in the centuries and centuries of being told what to do by authorities that should have known better, is precisely that – at their best, people naturally have virtue and it is a joy to make use of it. It is far more the case that some natural song has to be unstopped to make a virtuous person, I feel, than that some new and alien song has to be learned to “correct” the person. Worrying about how one looks to others cannot produce virtue as I understand – only a kind of paranoid and guilt-ridden simulation thereof.
I really think the natural world – not only plants but animals too of course – repays diligent study here, especially the wild. “No animal falters but knows what it must do” – Denise Levertov
best NNDecember 4, 2005 at 7:20 pm #9081
>”If you don’t have desire, my advice is to force yourself to do good deeds until the merit from doing them will open your heart and then you will be doing it from your inner calling.”< (Max) Someone can do "good deeds" but still have ego problems, abuse children etc. Why not practice inner cultivation in the energy body and early heaven self until it manifests as good deeds in the outer physical plane? If someone harmonizes their inner virtues in the (formless) self which eventually manifests in "good deeds" in the outer (physical) life, isn't that a deeper achievement in the sense that the person will be virtuous towards all other beings (including themselves) they interact with, rather than just the ones they are doing "good deeds" towards? My point is that if a person has the free will and motivation to cultivate inner virtue qualities that may be expressed inwardly or outwardly, doesn't that cover the same ground (and more) that is accomplished by "doing good deeds" for merit? I think it goes without saying that once a person harmoizes their inner life, their profession, occupation, actions toward family friends, lovers and colleagues are all affected in a more harmonious way. Cultivation and fusion of the five inner virtue wualities in Heaven, Earth and (Wo)man serves to harmonize the whole of the dao in all its interdimensional manifestations. Isn't there a proverb that says "if you want to change the world, start with yourself." By the way Max, instead of spending so much time on this forum, shouldn't you be out doing good deeds to accumulate more merit?December 4, 2005 at 7:26 pm #9083
>>>”If you don’t have desire, my advice is to force yourself to do good deeds until the merit from doing them will open your heart and then you will be doing it from your inner calling.”< (Max)<< Boy, did he really say that? In my opinion that is a very bad idea indeed. If you are "forcing yourself" how can you possibly see the good? You are hating doing it. You are hating it because you "have to". It can only build up resentment. No, firstly comes the impulse, then the courage to follow through. Otherwise you are twisting yourself and losing balance, and you may feel you are "doing good" but the act has no meaning. NNDecember 4, 2005 at 7:32 pm #9085
I am disturbed at the implication that my eyes are closed, am I being accused or judged?
Is it being said that I am “walking in darkness”?
This does not sound like a virtuous statement, but maybe one that will gain merit from the ones who are “walking in the light”.
Anyway, I enjoy the dark and formless realms.December 4, 2005 at 7:49 pm #9087
<'although outwardly many 'helpers' appear to be very humble. '< As my mother I was hungry for appreciation, I became a good nurse, they called my an angel and I felt good, appreciated. But I gave so much my heart became tired, heavy. Whatever I put into those patients it was never enough to heal or to comfort their pain and suffering. I became numb to suffering and dead. So I changed path, started the daoist practice and started a private practice to help others. I gave so much, did my very very best to heal the suffering I faced and realised it was endless, exhausting myself and I would never be able to heal the suffering in this world. Somehow somewhere I realised that whatever I put into the world it would not take away the suffering... it was NOT a humble goal but it made me humble along the way. Realising that those clients were mirroring my inner stories and inner fights made me humble. Today I still have my practice, I still teach but I know that I don't have to be 'superwoman' to be appreciated, the inner pressure to be 'good' is more balanced. If a client is not served as s/he hoped it is ok, if a student is not coming back for a next class it is ok. I don't feel any personal judgment, I tried as honest as I could be in that moment. Sometimes I give to a beggar, and sometimes I don't. I don't try to judge myself why I do for one and not for the other. I do or I don't because that is what I feel in that present moment. I try to be me as a human in process...sometimes I radiate and sometimes I digest, sometimes I give and sometimes I don't.December 4, 2005 at 8:45 pm #9089
>Is it merit you are reffering to or karma?
I was speaking loosely, equating virtue with merit. To be clear, one’s innate virtue exists in the pre-natal, it is there before we are born. When we express it in the post-natal, it is called merit.
Karma is different – it is the shape of your soul pattern, expressed through your astrology and stepped down into the shape of your body-mind patterns and lived out as your destiny.
There is merit in completing the karmic imbalances, impulses and desires that are implanted intentionally by the Greater Self in that soul pattern. It appears you are doing something out of your own personal desire, but you are completing something for the collective. So being selfish can also be virtuous, if in the process of completing that soul pattern you call upon your innate virtues.
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