Taoism Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Taoism. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
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Alan W. Watts
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Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you've got.
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Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
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Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
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Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)
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Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
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Lao Tzu
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Nothing is lost. . .Everything is transformed.
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Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
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To light a candle is to cast a shadow...
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Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1))
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The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.
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Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
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1. Accept everything just the way it is. 2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake. 3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling. 4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. 5. Be detached from desire your whole life long. 6. Do not regret what you have done. 7. Never be jealous. 8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation. 9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others. 10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love. 11. In all things have no preferences. 12. Be indifferent to where you live. 13. Do not pursue the taste of good food. 14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need. 15. Do not act following customary beliefs. 16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful. 17. Do not fear death. 18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age. 19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help. 20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour. 21. Never stray from the Way.
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Miyamoto Musashi
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To bear and not to own; to act and not lay claim; to do the work and let it go: for just letting it go is what makes it stay.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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Those who don't know how to suffer are the worst off. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear out troubles until a better day.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Donโ€™t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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Doing nothing can sometimes be the most effective form of action.
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Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1))
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When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty, there arises the recognition of ugliness. When they all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil.
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Lao Tzu (The Tao Te Ching, Eighty-one Maxims from the Father of Taoism / Includes "The Gatekeeper's Tale")
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The doctrinal differences between Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.
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Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
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Shape clay into a vessel;โ€จ It is the space within that makes it useful. โ€จCut doors and windows for a room;โ€จ It is the holes which make it useful. โ€จTherefore benefit comes from what is there; โ€จUsefulness from what is not there.
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Lao Tzu
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We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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The hard and mighty lie beneath the ground While the tender and weak dance on the breeze above.
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Lao Tzu
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Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening
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Zhuangzi
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Those who know donโ€™t talk. Those who talk donโ€™t know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. Be like the Tao. It canโ€™t be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honored or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures.
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Lao Tzu
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Who you are is always right.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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A man who knows how little he knows is well, a man who knows how much he knows is sick. If, when you see the symptoms, you can tell, Your cure is quick. A sound man knows that sickness makes him sick and before he catches it his cure is quick.
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Lao Tzu (The Chinese Translations)
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If you have a good idea, use it so that you will not only accomplish something, but so that you can make room for new ones to flow into you.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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But the transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions. As Lao-tzu said, "The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.
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Alan W. Watts (The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness)
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Grappling with fate is like meeting an expert wrestler: to escape, you have to accept the fall when you are thrown. The only thing that counts is whether you get back up.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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The clouds above us join and separate, The breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns. Life is like that, so why not relax? Who can stop us from celebrating?
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Lu Yu
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Why can't we simply borrow what is useful to us from Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, especially Zen, as we borrow from Christianity, science, American Indian traditions and world literature in general, including philosophy, and let the rest go hang? Borrow what we need but rely principally upon our own senses, common sense and daily living experience.
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Edward Abbey (Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)
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The Perfect Man uses his mind like a mirror - going after nothing, welcoming nothing, responding but not storing.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak, but its grip is powerful. It doesn't know about the union of male and female, yet its penis can stand erect, so intense is its vital power. It can scream its head off all day, yet it never becomes hoarse, so complete is its harmony. The Master's power is like this. He lets all things come and go effortlessly, without desire. He never expects results; thus he is never disappointed. He is never disappointed; thus his spirit never grows old.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.
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Zhuangzi
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To Taoism that which is absolutely still or absolutely perfect is absolutely dead, for without the possibility of growth and change there can be no Tao. In reality there is nothing in the universe which is completely perfect or completely still; it is only in the minds of men that such concepts exist.
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Alan W. Watts
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If a man is crossing a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, even though he be a bad-tempered man he will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat, he will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because there is somebody in the boat. Yet if the boat were empty, he would not be shouting, and not angry. If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world, no one will oppose you, no one will seek to harm youโ€ฆ. Who can free himself from achievement, and from fame, descend and be lost amid the masses of men? He will flow like Tao, unseen, he will go about like Life itself with no name and no home. Simple is he, without distinction. To all appearances he is a fool. His steps leave no trace. He has no power. He achieves nothing, has no reputation. Since he judges no one, no one judges him. Such is the perfect man: His boat is empty.
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Osho
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It is too facile to say that the way to follow Tao is to simply go along with the flow of life. Sometimes, like the carp, we must know when to go it alone.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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Treat gain and loss the same.' Don't be Intimidated. Don't make a Big Deal of anything - just accept things as they come to you.
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Benjamin Hoff (The Te of Piglet)
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Expression is never helped by suppression.
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Ming-Dao Deng (Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony)
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The honey doesn't taste so good once it is being eaten; the goal doesn't mean so much once it is reached; the reward is no so rewarding once it has been given. If we add up all the rewards in our lives, we won't have very much. But if we add up the spaces *between* the rewards, we'll come up with quite a bit. And if we add up the rewards *and* the spaces, then we'll have everything - every minute of the time that we spent.
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Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
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When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the slightest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
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Hsin Hsin Ming
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You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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So it is said, for him who understands Heavenly joy, life is the working of Heaven; death is the transformation of things. In stillness, he and the yin share a single Virtue; in motion, he and the yang share a single flow.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes it law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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If practicality and morality are polarized and you must choose, you must do what you think is right, rather than what you think is practical.
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Philip K. Dick (Philip K. Dick: The Last Interview and Other Conversations)
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Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they've spent their lives following other people's demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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When you find yourself in one of those mystical/devotional frames of mind or in am emergency and you feel you want to pray, then pray. Donโ€™t ever be ashamed to pray or feel prevented by thinking yourself unworthy in any way. Fact is whatever terrible thing you may have done, praying will always turn your energy around for the better. Pray to whomever, whatever, and whenever you choose. Pray to the mountain, pray to the ancestors, pray to the Earth, pray to the Tao (but it wonโ€™t listen!), pray to the Great Mother, pray to Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, Lakshmi, Siva, pray to the Great Spirit, it makes no difference. Praying is merely a device for realigning the mind, energy, and passion of your local self with the mind, energy and passion of your universal self. When you pray, you are praying to the god or goddess within you. This has an effect on your energy field, which in turn translates into a positive charge that makes something good happen.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Resist, and you will perish. Know how to yield, and you will survive.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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The Taoists realized that no single concept or value could be considered absolute or superior. If being useful is beneficial, the being useless is also beneficial. The ease with which such opposites may change places is depicted in a Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away. His neighbor commiserated only to be told, "Who knows what's good or bad?" It was true. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses it had befriended in its wanderings. The neighbor came over again, this time to congratulate the farmer on his windfall. He was met with the same observation: "Who knows what is good or bad?" True this time too; the next day the farmer's son tried to mount one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. Back came the neighbor, this time with more commiserations, only to encounter for the third time the same response, "Who knows what is good or bad?" And once again the farmer's point was well taken, for the following day soldiers came by commandeering for the army and because of his injury, the son was not drafted. According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.
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Connie Zweig (Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature)
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All attempts to create something admirable are the weapons of evil. You may think you are practising benevolence and righteousness, but in effect you will be creating a kind of artificiality. Where a model exists, copies will be made of it; where success has been gained, boasting follows; where debate exists, there will be outbreaks of hostility.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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How can I know you if I don't know myself?
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Lujan Matus (Whisperings of the Dragon; Shamanic techniques to awaken your Primal Power)
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A person with a mind is bound to be filled with conceptions. These conceptions prevent him from knowing things directly, so a person with a mind shall never really know.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Taoism is the profoundest nonconformism that has ever been evolved anywhere in the world, at any time in history; essentially it is rebellion.
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Osho (Tao: The Pathless Path)
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Acceptance doesn't mean masochistic pessimism, but joyful support of and participation in the great cosmic drama.
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Nathan J. Johnson (Barefoot Zen: The Shaolin Roots of Kung Fu and Karate)
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The sage is still not because he takes stillness to be good and therefore is still. The ten thousand things are insufficient to distract his mind - that is the reason he is still.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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When you change the way you feel, it changes the way you think. When you change the way you think, you change the way you deal with everything in life.
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Sheila Burke
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Do not use life to give life to death. Do not use death to bring death to life.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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When we practice sacred sexuality we are working with cosmologically rooted principles, balancing the heavenly yang (male energy) of the universe with the all-knowing, life-giving yin (feminine energy) of the earth within ourselves.
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John Maxwell Taylor (Eros Ascending: The Life-Transforming Power of Sacred Sexuality)
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Great power is worry, and total power is boredom, such that even God renounces it and pretends, instead, that he is people and fish and insects and plants: the myth of the king who goes wandering among his subjects in disguise.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. It is not religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a โ€œway of liberation,โ€ and is similar in this respect to Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. As will soon be obvious, a way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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For a few moments, attune your mind to the idea of harmony and peaceful coexistence flowing among all peoples and nations. The source of this idea is deep within your heart. As you calmly breathe in and out, picture it radiating from you like a fine, colored vapor gradually covering the face of the earth. See it enter the hearts of everyone, especially those stuck in the mad zones. Feel it circulate everywhere until it comes all the way round and back to you. This is love in action. The source of this love is the Tao. Savor this.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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Let your mind wander in simplicity, blend your spirit with the vastness, follow along with things the way they are, and make no room for personal views - then the world will be governed.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Taoists do not look upon meditation as 'practice,' except in the sense that a doctor 'practices' medicine. They have no design to subjugate or alter the universe by force or willpower, for their art is entirely to go along with the flow of things in an intelligent way.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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Life is serious...but you cannot take it seriously.
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Peter Butterworth
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Life can be a process of observing what we are interfering with, rather than interfering with what we are observing.
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Lujan Matus (Whisperings of the Dragon; Shamanic techniques to awaken your Primal Power)
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Don't go in and hide; don't come out and shine; stand stock-still in the middle.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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But a gentleman may embrace a doctrine without necessarily wearing the garb that goes with it, and he may wear the garb without necessarily comprehending the doctrine.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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I have heard that he who knows what is enough will not let himself be entangled by thoughts of gain; that he who really understands how to find satisfaction will not be afraid of other kinds of loss; and that he who practices the cultivation of what is within him will not be ashamed because he holds no position in society.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt that i was a butterfly. flitting around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang Tzu. Then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang Tzu again. But I could not tell, had I been Chuang Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I was now Chuang Tzu? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang Tzu and a butterfly! We call this the transformation of things.
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Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters)
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Trust in human nature is acceptance of the good-and-bad of it, and it is hard to trust those who do not admit their own weakness.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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Dwelling on the past is like dragging a boat over dry land.
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Sheila Burke
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To solve a problem, you need to remove the cause, not the symptom.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Doing or not doing something - they are similar. Both involve an action and sincerity.
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CLAMP (xxxHolic, Vol. 1 (xxxHOLiC, #1))
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But spontaneity is not by any means a blind, disorderly urge, a mere power of caprice. A philosophy restricted to the alternatives of conventional language has no way of conceiving an intelligence which does not work according to plan, according to a one-at-a-time order of thought. Yet the concrete evidence of such an intelligence is right to hand in our own thoughtlessly ordered bodies. For the Tao does not 'know' how it produces the universe just as we do not 'know' how we construct our brains.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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The Formless Way We look at it, and do not see it; it is invisible. We listen to it, and do not hear it; it is inaudible. We touch it, and do not feel it; it is intangible. These three elude our inquiries, and hence merge into one. Not by its rising, is it bright, nor by its sinking, is it dark. Infinite and eternal, it cannot be defined. It returns to nothingness. This is the form of the formless, being in non-being. It is nebulous and elusive. Meet it, and you do not see its beginning. Follow it, and you do not see its end. Stay with the ancient Way in order to master what is present. Knowing the primeval beginning is the essence of the Way.
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Lao Tzu
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When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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...you'd be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same - useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them." ... "You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.
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Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
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In youth, our blood rises and becomes volatile. Desire, worry, and anxiety increase. External circumstances now direct the rise and fall of emotions. Will and intention become constrained by social conventions. Competition, conflict, and scheming are the norm in interactions with people. The approval and disapproval of others become important, and the honest and sincere expression of thoughts and feelings is lost.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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You can trust everyone to be human, with all the quirks and inconsistencies we humans display, including disloyalty, dishonesty and downright treachery. We are all capable of the entire range of human behavior, given the circumstances, from absolute saintliness to abject depravity. Trusting someone to limit their sphere of action to one narrow band on the spectrum is idealistic and will inevitably lead to disappointment. On the other hand, you can decide to trust that everyone is doing their best according to their particular stage of development, and to give everyone their appropriate berth. For this to work, you have to trust yourself to make and have made the right choices that will lead you on the path to your healthy growth. You have to trust yourself to come through every experience safely and enriched. But donโ€™t trust what I am saying. Listen and then decide for yourself. Does this information sit easily in your belly? You know when you trust yourself around someone because your belly feels settled and your heart feels warm.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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The little child learns to speak, though it has no learned teachers - because it lives with those who know how to speak.
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Zhuangzi
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If you can dispense with reputation, then you are free from care. Reputation is only a visitor, but reality is here to stay.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Things joined by profit, when pressed by misfortune and danger, will cast each other aside.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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It can be passed on, but not received. It can be obtained, but not seen. ๅฏๅ‚ณ่€Œไธๅฏๅ—๏ผŒๅฏๅพ—่€Œไธๅฏ่ฆ‹.
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Zhuangzi (The Book of Chuang Tzu)
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I wonder whether, perhaps without realizing it, we seek out the books we need to read. Or whether books themselves, which are intelligent entities, detect their readers and catch their eye. In the end, every book is the I Ching. You pick it up, open it, and there it is, there you are.
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Andrรฉs Neuman
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Thirty-six. If you want to shrink something, you must first expand it. If you want to get rid of something, you must allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must allow it to be given. The soft will overcome the hard. The slow will beat the fast. Don't tell people the way, just show them the results.
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James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)
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Who acts in stillness finds stillness in his life.
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Lao Tzu
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How can one know the eternal origin? By letting go of ideas and allowing it to reveal itself
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Lao Tzu
โ€œ
Emptiness appears barren yet is infinite fullness
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Lao Tzu
โ€œ
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
โ€œ
Strength should always be complimented by softness. If you resist too much, you will break. Thus, the strong person knows when to use strength and when to yield, and good fortune and disaster depend on whether you know how and when to yield.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
โ€œ
Situations produce vibrations. Negative, potentially harmful situations emit slow vibrations. Positive, potentially life-enhancing situations emit quick vibrations. As these vibrations impact on your energy field they produce either resonance or dissonance in your lower and middle tantiens (psychic power stations) depending on your own vibratory rate at the time. When you psychic field force is strong and your vibratory rate is fast, therefore, you will draw only positive situations to you. When you mind is quiet enough and your attention is on the moment, you will literally hear the dissonance in your belly and chest like an alarm bell going off, urging you from deep within your body to move in such and such a direction. Always follow it. At times these urges may come to you in the form of internally spoken dialogue with your higher self, spirit guide, guardian angel, alien intelligence, however you see the owner of the โ€œstill, small voice within.โ€ This form of dialogue can be entertaining and reassuring but is best not overindulged in as, in the extreme; it tends to lead to the loony bin. At times you may receive your messages from โ€œIndian signsโ€, such as slogans on passing trucks or cloud formations in the sky. This is also best kept in moderation, to avoid seeing signs in everything and becoming terribly confused. Just let it happen when it happens and donโ€™t try looking for it.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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In the midst of darkness, he alone sees the dawn; in the midst of the soundless, he alone hears harmony.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Men all pay homage to what understanding understands, but no one understands enough to rely upon what understanding does not understand and thereby come to understand.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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The man who has forgotten self may be said to have entered Heaven.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Sometimes youโ€™re going to shine like the sun; sometimes youโ€™re going to crumble to pieces. Either way, itโ€™s okay.
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Sheila Burke
โ€œ
Well-being, or wholeness, implies integrity and harmony between all existing elements, providing freedom for the whole.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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Dwelling on the past is like dragging a boat over dry land.
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Sheila M. Burke (Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul)
โ€œ
The expensive car you bought doesnโ€™t matter, but the way you treated the salesman did.
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Sheila M. Burke (Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul)
โ€œ
For the sage Heaven and Earth join in bestowing the greatest gifts
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Lao Tzu
โ€œ
Perfect tranquillity is the way of heaven and earth.
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Lao Tzu
โ€œ
Earth is a divine organism it cannot be successfully manipulated Who attempts manipulation will encounter defeat
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Lao Tzu
โ€œ
To be whole is to be part; true voyage is return.
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Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #6))
โ€œ
As long as some suffer The River Flows Forever As long as there is pain The River Flows Forever As strong as a smile can be The River will Flow Forever
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Tupac Shakur (The Rose That Grew from Concrete)
โ€œ
Though there are exceptions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism tend to stress desirable states of consciousness, escaping the fretful, self-aware state of mind that so often makes everyday living a burden. For mystics from the Abrahamic faiths, however, the inward odyssey is also an upward odyssey, a quest for personal and vital communion with an infinite Being.
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David C. Downing (Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C. S. Lewis)
โ€œ
The apprenticeship to passivityโ€”I know nothing more contrary to our habits. (The modern age begins with two hysterics: Don Quixote and Luther.) If we make time, produce and elaborate it, we do so out of our repugnance to the hegemony of essence and to the contemplative submission it presupposes. Taoism seems to me wisdomโ€™s first and last word: yet I resist it, my instincts reject it, as they refuse to endure anythingโ€”the heredity of revolt is too much for us. Our disease? Centuries of attention to time, the idolatry of becoming. What recourse to China or India will heal us?
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Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
โ€œ
Chuang-tzu once told a story about two persons who both lost a sheep. One person got very depressed and lost himself in drinking, sex, and gambling to try to forget this misfortune. The other person decided that this would be an excellent chance for him to study the classics and quietly observe the subtleties of nature. Both men experience the same misfortune, but one man lost himself because he was too attached to the experience of loss, while the other found himself because he was able to let go of gain and loss.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
โ€œ
The infinite possibilities that exist in any given moment cause infinite possibilities in response. The wording is correct here; the possibilities exist already, and have already caused the existing possibilities of response.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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[T]he art of life is more like navigation than warfare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one's actions may use them and not fight them.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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When a man does not dwell in self, then things will of themselves reveal their forms to him. His movement is like that of water, his stillness like that of a mirror, his responses like those of an echo.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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It is fundamental to both Taoist and Confucian thought that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the Western mistrust of human nature-whether theological or technological-is a kind of schizophrenia. It would be impossible, in their view, to believe oneself innately evil without discrediting the very belief, since all the notions of a perverted mind would be perverted notions.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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In the world everyone knows enough to pursue what he does not know, but no one knows enough to pursue what he already knows. Everyone knows enough to condemn what he takes to be no good, but no one knows enough to condemn what he has already taken to be good.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
โ€œ
Transcendence is more about the personal act of not engaging the enemy, finding a way out of the cage that is being designed for you at a particular moment by others, circumstance, or your own bad habits and ignorance.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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The law of non-interference with nature. โ€” The law of non-interference with nature is a basic principle of Taoism [stating] that one should be in harmony with, not rebellion against, the fundamental laws of the universe. Preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and donโ€™t interfere. Remember never to assert your self against nature; never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but to control it by swinging with it.
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Bruce Lee (Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living (Bruce Lee Library))
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No, free will is not an 'extra'; it is part and parcel of the very essence of consciousness. A conscious being without free will is simply a metaphysical absurdity.
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Raymond M. Smullyan (The Tao Is Silent)
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He who defines himself can't know who he really is. He who has power over others can't empower himself.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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The expensive car you bought doesnโ€™t matter, but the way you treated the sales man did.
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Sheila Burke
โ€œ
The more people have weapons, the more the state is in confusion.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching Taoism Ultimate Collection)
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Everything will resolve itself sooner or later. This is the way of the Tao. Walk through life without fear for the future or regret for the past.
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Qiguang Zhao (Do Nothing & Do Everything: An Illustrated New Taoism)
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He likes to use his wit and verbal finesse to confuse others and win arguments. Although he can argue successfully that white is black and straight is crooked, you walk away with the feeling that he's won the argument not because he is correct but because you can't outwit him.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Division and differentiation are the processes by which things are created. Since things are emerging and dissolving all the time, you cannot specify the point when this division will stop.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Let your eyes see what they see, not what others want you to see. Let your ears hear what they naturally hear, not what others want you to hear. Let your mouth speak your mind freely and not be constrained by other people's approval or disapproval. Let your mind think what it wants to think and not let other people's demands dictate your thoughts. If your senses and your mind are not allowed to do what they want to do naturally, you are denying them their rights. When you cannot think, sense, feel, or act freely, then your body and mind are injured. Break these oppressions, and you will cultivate life.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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You forget your feet when the shoes are comfortable. You forget your waist when the belt is comfortable. Understanding forgets right and wrong when the mind is comfortable. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. You begin with what is comfortable and never experience what is uncomfortable when you know the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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In the twentieth century, Buddhism and Taoism gained many adherents in Europe who banged gongs and breathed through their diaphragm and talked about yin and yang and wrote mystical books and said that the world was full of mysteries, but only apparently so, because in reality everything was harmonious. And when someone experienced a mystery, they wrote a book about it because the media era had arrived and everyone wanted to write a book.
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Patrik Ouล™ednรญk (Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century)
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Intellectual knowledge exists in and of the brain. Because the brain is part of the body, which must one day expire, this collection of facts, however large and impressive, will expire as well. Insight, however, is a function of the spirit. Because your spirit follows you through cycle after cycle of life, death, and rebirth, you have the opportunity of cultivating insight in an ongoing fashion. Refined over time, insight becomes pure, constant, and unwavering. This is the beginning of immortality.
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Lao Tzu
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The power-hungry wanter their followers to believe that heaven was a place to which some people - and only people - went after death, a place that could be reached by those who had the approval of their organizations. So not even the perfected spirits were able to restore the wholeness of truth, because of interference by the human ego.
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Benjamin Hoff
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As a soul, you have the freedom โ€“ and earned responsibility โ€“ to transpose your personal process of evolution, to manifest your greatest talents and vision, into the work that matters to you most as a means to personal redemption.
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Darrell Calkins
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Taoism is simply the complete acceptance of yourself as you are right in this moment. It's about rolling with the changes, whether they are perceived as good or bad. Tao reminds us to live life through good actions (important for past karma and karma you are presently creating); through practicing things that engage our mind, body, and spirit.
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Sheila M. Burke (Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul)
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Currently where you are is on a huge globe with a relatively thin crust of stone, containing fire in its bowels, rotating on its own slightly tilted axis at 1,000 miles per hour in an easterly direction while simultaneously traveling in orbit around an enormous ball of burning hydrogen, 93,000,000 miles away at 66,000 miles per hour. Thatโ€™s 66,000 miles per hour, or nineteen miles per second, which is much faster that youโ€™ve maybe ever imagined, and means that you will be traveling nearly 60,000,000 miles this coming year. Beauty is, you donโ€™t have to imagine it, you can feel it instead. And if you want to know what itโ€™s like, simply stop. Be still, and in that stillness, whatever you are feeling in your belly: thatโ€™s it. this is what it feels like to go 66,000 miles per hour while spinning at one thousand.
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Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
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Taoism as the "art of being in the world," for it deals with the presentโ€”ourselves. It is in us that God meets with Nature, and yesterday parts from to-morrow. The Present is the moving Infinity, the legitimate sphere of the Relative. Relativity seeks Adjustment; Adjustment is Art. The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
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Kakuzล Okakura (The Book of Tea)
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I N TAOISM thereโ€™s a famous saying that goes, โ€œThe Tao that can be spoken is not the ultimate Tao.โ€ Another way you could say that, although Iโ€™ve never seen it translated this way, is, โ€œAs soon as you begin to believe in something, then you can no longer see anything else.โ€ The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.
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Pema Chรถdrรถn (The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness)
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In Asia, we say that there are three sources of energy--sexual, breath, and spirit...You need to know how to reestablish the balance, or you may act irresponsibly. According to Taoism and buddhism, there are practices to help reestablish that balance, such as meditation or martial arts. You can learn the ways to channel your sexual energy into deep realizations in the domains of art and meditation. The second source of energy is khi, breath energy. Life can be described as a process of burning. In order to burn, every cell in our body needs nutrition and oxygen...Some people cultivate their khi by refraining from smoking and talking, or by practicing conscious breathing after talking a lot...The third soruce of energy is than, spirit energy. When you don't sleep at night, you lose some of this kind of energy. Your nervous system becomes exhausted and you cannot sutdy or practice meditation well, or make good decisions. You don't have a clear mind because of lack of sleep or from worrying too much. Worry and anxiety drain this source of energy. So don't worry. Don't stay up too late. Keep your nervous system healthy. Prevent anxiety. These kinds of practices cultivate the third source of energy. You need this source of energy to practice meditation well. A spritual breakthrough requires the power of your spirit energy, which comes about through concentration and knowing how to preserve this source of energy. When you have strong spirit energy, you only have to focus it on an object, and you will have a breakthrough. If you don't have than, the light of your concentration will not shine brightly, because the light emitted is very weak," (35-36).
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Thich Nhat Hanh
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Tezyeme," he said, which meant something on the order of "it is happening the way it is supposed to happen.
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Ursula K. Le Guin (A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (Hainish Cycle, #6.6))
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Insecure people seek answers in all the wrong places.
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Robert Black
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Sometimes I wonder how much of our suffering we allow or impose on ourselves simply in search of our worthiness to accept our own respect and appreciation.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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[T]o be forever looking beyond is to remain blind to what is here.
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Alan W. Watts (Nature, Man and Woman)
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Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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The organism of man does not confront the world but is in the world.
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Alan W. Watts (Psychotherapy East and West)
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Zen is the period of time during which a person has true clarity of vision.
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Dr. Ernst Arnold
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When the ego is in the driverโ€™s seat, we judge. When our spirit, our authentic self, is in control, we practice listening (without judging), compassion, and love.
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Sheila Burke
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You know that you wonโ€™t remain Centered all the time, and it is a normal part of human life to drift left or right of Center sometimes.
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Sheila Burke
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The only path wide for us all is love.
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Kamand Kojouri
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Itโ€™s about letting yourself feel, but not wallow; itโ€™s about leaning into love, not fear, as the preferred force in your life.
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Sheila Burke
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Sometimes youโ€™re going to shine like the sun; sometimes youโ€™re going to crumble to pieces. Either way, itโ€™s okay.
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Sheila M. Burke (Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul)
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Can you be a little baby? The baby howls all day, yet its throat never gets hoarse - harmony at its height! The baby makes fists all day, yet its fingers never get cramped - virtue is all it holds to. The baby stares all day without blinking its eyes - it has no preferences in the world of externals.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Stupidity and Madness The Tao is clear, yet this clarity requires you to sweep away all your clutter. At all times watch out for your own stupidity, be careful of how your mind jumps around. When nothing occurs to involve your mind, you return to true awareness. When unified mindfulness is purely real, you comprehend the great restoration. The ridiculous ones are those who try to cultivate quietude - as long as body and mind are unstable, it is madness to go into the mountains.
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Liu Yiming (Awakening to the Tao)
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Taoism has fostered both material and mental progress, both technological development and awareness of the potential dangers of that very development, always striving to encourage balance between the material and spiritual sides of humankind.
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Sun Tzu (The Art of War: Complete Texts and Commentaries)
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When reconciling great hatred there will some remain. How can it be made good? Therefore the wise man accepts the debit side of the account and does not have to enforce payment from others.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching Taoism Ultimate Collection)
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The sage does not become trapped in semantics, does not mistake map for territory, but rather "opens things up to the light of Heaven" by flowing with the words, by playing with the words. Once attuned to this flow, the sage need make no special effort to "illumine," for language does it by itself, spontaneously. Language spills over.
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Hakim Bey
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What is it like to feel Tao? It is an effortless flowing, a sweeping momentum. It is like bird song soaring and gliding over a vast landscape. You can feel this in your life: Events will take on a perfect momentum, a glorious cadence. You can feel it in your body: The energy will rise up in you in a thrilling crescendo, setting your very nerves aglow. You can feel it in your spirit: You will enter a state of such perfect grace that you will resound over the landscape of reality like ephemeral bird song. When Tao comes to you in this way, ride it for all that you are worth. Don't interfere. Don't stop - that brings failure, alienation, and regret. Don't try to direct it. Let it flow and follow it. When the Tao is with you, put aside all other concerns. As long as the song lasts, follow. Just follow.
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Ming-Dao Deng (365 Tao: Daily Meditations)
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If you play a game where scrap pieces of glass are at stake, you will play skillfully. If your expensive belt buckle is at stake, you'll start to get clumsy. If it's your money that's at stake, you'll fumble. It's not that you've lost your skill. It's because you are so flustered by things happening outside that you've lost your calmness inside. Lose your stillness and you will fail in everything you do.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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But Taoism must on no account be understood as a revolution against convention, although it has sometimes been used as a pretext for revolution. Taoism is a way of liberation, which never comes by means of revolution, since it is notorious that most revolutions establish worse tyrannies than they destroy. To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it. It is to be able to use it as an instrument instead of being used by it.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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Recovery through sleep isnโ€™t going to happen if the majority of the components of your being arenโ€™t getting enough stimulation or resistance to work against. Your brain may be tired after work, but if your body and emotions havenโ€™t been challenged through the day, theyโ€™re going to keep irritating you even if youโ€™re asleep. They donโ€™t need rest; they need work for real recovery to take place.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
โ€œ
Donโ€™t be confined by the self you have experienced, the self you know. Going beyond what you know and what you have experienced, challenge your brain with new questions and give it new tasksโ€”then it will begin to manifest infinite creativity.
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Ilchi Lee (Calligraphic Meditation for Everyday Happiness)
โ€œ
When I speak of good hearing, I do not mean listening to others; I mean simply listening to yourself. When I speak of good eyesight, I do not mean looking at others; I mean simply looking at yourself. He who does not look at himself but looks at others, who does not get hold of himself but gets hold of others, is getting what other men have got and failing to get what he himself has got. He finds joy in what brings joy to other men, but finds no joy in what would bring joy to himself.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
โ€œ
This implies that the art of life is more like navigation than warfare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one's actions may use them and not fight them.
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โ€
Allen Watts
โ€œ
Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience everything with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no division between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of traveling.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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Those who know that they have enough are wealthy.
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Solala Towler (Tales from the Tao: The Wisdom of the Taoist Masters)
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What is at the base of shame or guilt? It is the consciousness of an imbalance, or of an action in the past that has caused, and probably continues to cause, suffering.
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โ€
Darrell Calkins
โ€œ
He who steals a belt buckle pays with his life; he who steals a state gets to be a feudal lord.
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Zhuangzi
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Sometimes I'd yell questions at the rocks and trees, and across gorges, or yodel - "What is the meaning of the void?" The answer was perfect silence, so I knew.
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โ€
Jack Kerouac
โ€œ
The Spirit Tower has its guardian, but unless it understands who its guardian is, it cannot be guarded.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
โ€œ
The human organism has the same kind of innate intelligence as the ecosystems of nature, and the wisdom of the nerves and senses must be watched with patience and respect.
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โ€
Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
โ€œ
Is a long life such a good thing if it is lived in daily dread of death or in constant search for satisfaction in a tomorrow which never comes?
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โ€
Alan W. Watts
โ€œ
Everything is in the root. If you pick the weed without getting the root out of the soil, be assured, it is going to grow back.
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โ€
Sheila Burke
โ€œ
Murky Water, Dusty Mirror Murky water is turbid; let it settle and it clears. A dusty mirror is dim; clean it and it is bright. What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of clarifying the mind and perceiving its essence. The reason why people's minds are not clear and their natures are not stable is that they are full of craving and emotion. Add to this eons of mental habit, acquired influences deluding the mind, their outgrowths clogging up the opening of awareness - this is like water being murky, like a mirror being dusty. The original true mind and true essence are totally lost. The feelings and senses are unruly, subject to all kinds of influences, taking in all sorts of things, defiling the mind. If one can suddenly realize this and change directions, wash away pollution and contamination, gradually remove a lifetime of biased mental habits, wandering thoughts and perverse actions, increasing in strength with persistence, refining away the dross until there is nothing more to be refined away, when the slag is gone the gold is pure. The original mind and fundamental essence will spontaneously appear in full, the light of wisdom will suddenly arise, and one will clearly see the universe as though it were in the palm of the hand, with no obstruction. This is like murky water returning to clarity when settled, like a dusty mirror being restored to brightness when polished. That which is fundamental is as ever: without any lack.
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Liu Yiming (Awakening to the Tao)
โ€œ
[A] life full of goals and end-points is like trying to abate one's hunger by eating merely the two precise ends of a banana. The concrete reality of the banana is, on the contrary, all that lies between the two ends, the journey as it were[.] Furthermore, when the time and space between destinations are cut out, all destinations tend to become ever more similar.
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โ€
Alan W. Watts (Nature, Man and Woman)
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If one follows what is in oneโ€™s heart (letโ€™s leave out mind for the moment), one ends up with what one truly values and loves in lifeโ€”and one acts accordingly. Oneโ€™s own private indulgent cyclic habitual reactive subjective transitory feelings are, hopefully, not at the head of that list.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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The ancients said that for persons who cultivated body and mind, and who are virtuous and honorable, death is an experience of liberation, a long-awaited rest from a lifetime of labors. Death helps the unscrupulous person to put an end to the misery of desire. Death, then, for everyone is a kind of homecoming. That is why the ancient sages speak of a dying person as a person who is 'going home.
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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You have the power to change the happiness level in someoneโ€™s life and in the process you change your mind-set and the level of your own happiness. Practicing kindness and compassion will change your life, your environment, your outlook on your future, and how you view what has happened in your past.
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Sheila M. Burke (Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul)
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One of our favorite examples of the value of Nothing is an incident in the life of the Japanese emperor Hirohito. Now, being emperor in one of the most frantically Confucianist countries in the world is not necessarily all that relaxing. From early morning until late at night, practically every minute of the emperor's time is filled in with meetings, audiences, tours, inspections, and who-knows-what. And through a day so tightly scheduled that it would make a stone wall seem open by comparison, the emperor must glide, like a great ship sailing in a steady breeze. In the middle of a particularly busy day, the emperor was driven to a meeting hall for an appointment of some kind. But when he arrived, there was no one there. The emperor walked into the middle of the great hall, stood silently for a moment, then bowed to the empty space. He turned to his assistants, a large smile on his face. "We must schedule more appointments like this," he told them. "I haven't enjoyed myself so much in a long time.
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Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
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A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole - this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel - this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill - this refers to a difference in nature. Now do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously it is impossible.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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The sword is a handle onto the Way of the world that is offering itself to you. If you are willful it will weigh a ton and wear you out. If you lose focus it will cut open your hand. Mindfulness keeps your mind on the blade; and if you are mindful you will not think about the future or past, there will be no blocks to the flow of Tao, and the Way of the world will flow through the sword and through you. You will become the sword of the world.
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Doc Pruyne (Persimmon (Sword of the World #1))
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There is one element in Christianity which was not borrowed from Paganism -- religious intolerance. Referring to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, a writer on China says: 'Between the followers of the three national religions there is not only a total absence of persecution and bitter feeling, but a very great indifference as to which of them a man may belong.... Among the politer classes, when strangers meet, the question is asked: 'To what sublime religion do you belong,' and each one pronounces a eulogium, not on his own religion, but on that professed by the others, and concludes with the oft-repeated formula 'Religions are many; reason is one; we are all brothers.
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John E. Remsburg (The Christ)
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In East Asia generally, the notion of a Supreme Being, so essential to Western religions, is replaced by that of a Supreme State of Being, an impersonal perfection from which beings including man are separated only by delusion.
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John Blofeld (Taoism)
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[T]he natural universe is not a linear system. It involves an infinitude of variables interacting simultaneously, so that it would take incalculable aeons to translate even one moment of its operation into linear, alphabetic language.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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Life keeps moving on, and yet remains profoundly rooted in the present, seeking no result, for the present has spread out from its constriction in an elusive pin-point of strained consciousness to an all-embracing eternity. Feelings both positive and negative come and go without turmoil, for they seem to be simply observed, though there is no one observing. They pass trackless like birds in the sky, and build up no resistances which have to be dissipated in reckless action.
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Alan W. Watts (Nature, Man and Woman)
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Physical well-being necessitates listening to what you already know, and then taking it seriously enough to act accordingly. When you wake up and feel the impulse to arch your back, stretch and exhale with a loud sigh, for Godโ€™s sake, do it.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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I maintain that Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism all hold up love as an ideal, seek to benefit humanity through spiritual practice, and strive to make their followers better people. All religions teach moral precepts for the advancement of mind, body, speech, and action: do not lie or steal or take othersโ€™ lives, and so on. Unselfishness is the common foundation laid down by all great spiritual teachers.
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Dalai Lama XIV (How to See Yourself As You Really Are)
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Those who would take over the earth And shape it to their will Never, I notice, succeed. The earth is like a vessel so sacred That at the mere approach of the profane It is marred And when they reach out their fingers it is gone. For a time in the world some force themselves ahead And some are left behind, For a time in the world some make a great noise And some are held silent, For a time in the world some are puffed fat And some are kept hungry, For a time in the world some push aboard And some are tipped out: At no time in the world will a man who is sane Over-reach himself, Over-spend himself, Over-rate himself.
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Lao Tzu
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A man like this will not go where he has no will to go, will not do what he has no mind to do. Though the world might praise him and say he had really found something, he would look unconcerned and never turn his head; though the world might condemn him and say he had lost something, he would look serene and pay no heed. The praise and blame of the world are no loss or gain to him.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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The senses, feelings, and thoughts must be allowed to be spontaneous in the faith that they will then order themselves harmoniously. To try to control the mind forcefully is like trying to flatten out waves with a board, and can only result in more and more disturbance.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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According to tradition, the originator of Taoism, Lao-tzu, was an older contemporary of Kung Fu-tzu, or Confucius, who died in 479 B.C.1 Lao-tzu is said to have been the author of the Tao Te Ching, a short book of aphorisms, setting forth the principles of the Tao and its power or virtue (Te e). But traditional Chinese philosophy ascribes both Taoism and Confucianism to a still earlier source, to a work which lies at the very foundation of Chinese thought and culture, dating anywhere from 3000 to 1200 B.C. This is the I Ching, or Book of Changes.
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Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
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You should find the same joy in one condition as in the other and thereby be free of care, that is all. But now, when the things that happened along take their leave, you cease to be joyful. From this point of view, though you have joy, it will always be fated for destruction.
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Zhuangzi
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There was a man whose only son died of a sudden illness. He did not mourn for his son, nor was he sad about it. His friends were curious about his behavior, so they asked him, "Your only son is dead. You should be heartbroken. Why do you act as if nothing had happened?" The man replied, "Before my son came, I had no son. I was certainly not heartbroken back then. Now I have no son. Why should I be heartbroken now?
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Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
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This world has no need for weapons, Which soon turn on themselves. Where armies camp, nettles grow; After each war, years of famine. The most fruitful outcome Does not depend on force, But succeeds without arrogance Without hostility Without pride Without resistance Without violence.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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If the ego were to disappear, or rather, to be seen as a useful fiction, there would no longer be the duality of subject and object, experiencer and experience. There would simply be a continuous, self-moving stream of experiencing, without the sense either of an active subject who controls it or of a passive subject who suffers it. The thinker would be no more than the series of thoughts, and the feeler no more than the feelings.
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Alan W. Watts (Nature, Man and Woman)
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The yin-yang view of the world is serenely cyclic. Fortune and misfortune, life and death, whether on small scale or vast, come and go everlastingly without beginning or end, and the whole system is protected from monotony by the fact that, in just the same way, remembering alternates with forgetting.
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Alan W. Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way)
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Our difficulty is that human consciousness has not adjusted itself to a relational and integrated view of nature. We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible.
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Alan W. Watts (Nature, Man and Woman)
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The highest goodness is like water. Water is beneficial to all things but not contend. It stays in places which others despise. Therefore it is near Tao. The weakest things in the world can overmatch the strongest things in the world. Nothing in the world can be compared to water for its weak and yielding nature; yet in attacking the hard and strong nothing proves better than water. For there is no alternative to it. The weak can overcome and the yielding can overcame the hard. This all the world knows but does not practice. This again is the practice of โ€˜wu-welโ€™ and nonviolence. Water may be weak, pliable, fluid, but its action is not one of running away from an obstacle. On the contrary, it gives at the point of resistance, envelopes the object and passes beyond it. Ultimately it will wear down the hardest rock. Water is a more telling symbol than landโ€ฆ crossing the river to get to the other side is, again, attaining the state of enlightenment.
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J.C. Cooper
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The ability to remain constant, whole and playful, even while working technically, concentrating and upholding urgency, is essential to achieve a state of balance that will allow for this to happen. This has to come to life, and cannot stay just an idea or hope or intention or imitation, or ignored. The guarantee and proof that this balance and power is real is in its actualization. That is, that it manifests in functional reality. As in any intention, whether that be vague or specific, an ambition or desire, a goal or state of being, a question or hope, a curiosity or purpose, there exist natural and unnatural obstacles to its realization.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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The typical image of a depressed, lazy and tired person is someone hunched over and inert. Often, the assumption is that if one had more enthusiasm and inspiration, he would then stand up straight and move. In many cases, this equation is backward. But, as with everything related to oneโ€™s physicality, balance is the key. An overly erect and rigid posture may convey confidence and power to some, but it also causes a subtle accumulation of tension and rigidity on various levels, including psychological and emotional.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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Ironically, to โ€œinspireโ€ means to breathe, to infuse life by breathing. As with a lot of things that have the capacity to inspire, it takes some time to get past the apparent boredom and find the hidden secrets. I figure if I keep harping on it, maybe someone will eventually explore the possibility long enough to realize just how breathtaking it is.
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Darrell Calkins
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Master Dongguo asked Zhuangzi, "This thing called the Way - where does it exist?" Zhuangzi said, "There's no place it doesn't exist." "Come," said Master Dongguo, "you must be more specific!" "It is in the ant." "As low a thing as that?" "It is in the panic grass." "But that's lower still!" "It is in the tiles and shards." "How can it be so low?" "It is in the piss and shit!
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Zhuangzi
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Certainly we can say that the pace of modern life, increased and supported by our technology in general and our personal electronics in particular, has resulted in a short attention span and an addiction to the influx of information. A mind so conditioned has little opportunity to think critically, and even less chance to experience life deeply by being in the present moment. A complex life with complicated activities, relationships and commitments implies a reflexive busy-ness that supplants true thinking and feeling with knee-jerk reactions. It is a life high in stress and light on substance, at least in the spiritually meaningful dimensions of being.
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Arthur Rosenfeld
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The domestic dog is an ancient companion of humans, and it is possible that domestication was taking place as we ourselves were emerging as a separate species. This helps us understand the close and symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans. I think it is reasonable to say that our attitude to animals and to nature is part of what defines us as humans. When we are in harmony with nature and treat other species with respect, we elevate ourselves as human beings. I believe this is a spiritual and ethical matter. Of course, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and many indigenous and ancient religions endorse this attitude, but I think it applies whatever your personal belief system. Respect for nature and kindness to animals are, I believe, fundamental human values, just as respect for and kindness to other people should be. I hope that the stories which follow help to illustrate that belief as it is actually lived, and hopefully, does so in an entertaining way.
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Stewart McFarlane (Of Mice and Zen. Animal Encounters in the Life of a Wandering Buddhist)
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Bells Ring, Drums Resound When a bell is struck it rings, when a drum is beaten it resounds. This is because they are solid outside and empty within. It is because they have nothing inside that they are able to ring and resound. What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of true emptiness and ineffable existence. True emptiness is like the inner openness of a bell or a drum; ineffable existence is like the sounding of a bell or a drum when struck. If people can keep this true emptiness as their essence, and utilize this ineffable existence as their function, ever serene yet ever responsive, ever responsive yet ever serene, tranquil and unstirring yet sensitive and effective, sensitive and effective yet tranquil and unstirring, empty yet not empty, not empty yet empty, aware and efficient, lively and active, refining everything in the great furnace of Creation, then when the dirt is gone the mirror is clear, when the clouds disperse the moon appears; revealing the indestructible body of reality, they transcend yin and yang and Creation, and merge with the eternity of space.
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Liu Yiming (Awakening to the Tao)
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A child, obeying his father and mother, goes wherever he is told, east or west, south or north. And the yin and yang - how much more are they to a man than father or mother! Now that they have brought me to the verge of death, if I should refuse to obey them, how perverse I would be! What fault is it of theirs? The Great Clod burdens me with form, labors me with life, eases me in old age, and rests me in death. So if I think well of my life, for the same reason I must think well of my death. When a skilled smith is casting metal, if the metal should leap up and say, 'I insist upon being made into a Moye!' he would surely regard it as very inauspicious metal indeed. Now, having had the audacity to take on human form once, if I should say, 'I don't want to be anything but a man! Nothing but a man!', the Creator would surely regard me as a most inauspicious sort of person. So now I think of heaven and earth as a great furnace, and the Creator as a skilled smith. Where could he send me that would not be all right? I will go off to sleep peacefully, and then with a start I will wake up.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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It comes out from no source, it goes back in through no aperture. It has reality yet no place where it resides; it has duration yet no beginning or end. Something emerges, though through no aperture - this refers to the fact that it has reality. It has reality yet there is no place where it resides - this refers to the dimension of space. It has duration but no beginning or end - this refers to the dimension of time. There is life, there is death, there is a coming out, there is a going back in - yet in the coming out and going back its form is never seen. This is called the Heavenly Gate. The Heavenly Gate is nonbeing. The ten thousand things come forth from nonbeing. Being cannot create being out of being; inevitably it must come forth from nonbeing. Nonbeing is absolute nonbeing, and it is here that the sage hides himself.
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Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
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Sometimes I wonder how much of our suffering we allow or impose on ourselves simply in search of our worthiness to accept our own respect and appreciation. Iโ€™d written before some years ago that we often cause suffering in another so that we can then love them, as in, โ€œYou have suffered for me, so I can love you now.โ€ The eventual shock of realizing the sacrifice made for you destroys the walls of self-righteousness and protection. The suffering sacrifice of another creates the willingness and capacity to do the same. Finally, love and respect (respect is part of the body of love) come from the recognition of something else already given up for them. Within the individual, you or me, a similar process takes place toward oneself. It is as if we know some- where that we are not worthy of our own love or respect until we have earned the right to it, and that is mainly through some kind of suffering. That suffering may be generic, as in a life lived in which tragedy after tragedy accumulate, or it may be specific, as in the constant sacrifice of other easier things for a being or vision. Or, perhaps more correctly, it is either consciously chosen or not.
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Darrell Calkins (Re:)
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I have again been asked to explain how one can "become a Daoists..." with all of the sad things happening in our world today, Laozi and Zhuangzi give words of advice, tho not necessarily to become a Daoist priest or priestess... " So many foreigners who want to become โ€œReligious Daoistsโ€ ้“ๆ•™็š„้“ๅธˆ ๏ผˆ้“ๅฃซ๏ผ‰ do not realize that they must not only receive a transmission of a Lu ็ฑ™ register which identifies their Daoist school, and learn as well how to sing the ritual melodies, play the flute, stringed instruments, drums, and sacred dance steps, required to be an ordained and functioning Daoist priest or priestess. This process usually takes 10 years or more of daily discipleship and practice, to accomplish. There are 86 schools and genre of Daoist rituals listed in the Baiyun Guan Gazeteer, ็™ฝ้›ฒ่ง€ๅฟ—, which was edited by Oyanagi Sensei, in Tokyo, 1928, and again in 1934, and re-published by Baiyun Guan in Beijing, available in their book shop to purchase. Some of the schools, such as the Quanzhen Longmen ๅ…จ็œŸ้พ™้—จorders, allow their rituals and Lu registers to be learned by a number of worthy disciples or monks; others, such as the Zhengyi, Qingwei, Pole Star, and Shangqing ๆญฃไธ€๏ผŒๆธ…ๅพฎ๏ผŒๅŒ—ๆž๏ผŒไธŠ่ฏท registers may only be taught in their fullness to one son and/or one disciple, each generation. Each of the schools also have an identifying poem, from 20 or 40 character in length, or in the case of monastic orders (who pass on the registers to many disciples), longer poems up to 100 characters, which identify the generation of transmission from master to disciple. The Daoist who receives a Lu register (็ตฆ็ฑ™ๅ…ƒ็ง‘, pronounced "Ji Lu Yuanke"), must use the character from the poem given to him by his or her master, when composing biao ่กจ memorials, shuwen ๆขณๆ–‡ rescripts, and other documents, sent to the spirits of the 3 realms (heaven, earth, water /underworld). The rituals and documents are ineffective unless the correct characters and talismanic signature are used. The registers are not given to those who simply practice martial artists, Chinese medicine, and especially never shown to scholars. The punishment for revealing them to the unworthy is quite severe, for those who take payment for Lu transmission, or teaching how to perform the Jinlu Jiao and Huanglu Zhai ้‡‘็ฑ™้†ฎ๏ผŒ้ปƒ็ฑ™้ฝ‹ ็ง‘ๅ„€ keyi rituals, music, drum, sacred dance steps. Tang dynasty Tangwen ๅ”ๆ–‡ pronunciation must also be used when addressing the highest Daoist spirits, i.e., the 3 Pure Ones and 5 Emperors ไธ‰่ฏทไบ”ๅธ. In order to learn the rituals and receive a Lu transmission, it requires at least 10 years of daily practice with a master, by taking part in the Jiao and Zhai rituals, as an acolyte, cantor, or procession leader. Note that a proper use of Daoist ritual also includes learning Inner Alchemy, ie inner contemplative Daoist meditation, the visualization of spirits, where to implant them in the body, and how to summon them forth during ritual. The woman Daoist master Wei Huacunโ€™s Huangting Neijing, ้ปƒๅบญๅ…ง็ถ“ to learn the esoteric names of the internalized Daoist spirits. Readers must be warned never to go to Longhu Shan, where a huge sum is charged to foreigners ($5000 to $9000) to receive a falsified document, called a "license" to be a Daoist! The first steps to true Daoist practice, Daoist Master Zhuang insisted to his disciples, is to read and follow the Laozi Daode Jing and the Zhuangzi Neipian, on a daily basis. Laozi Ch 66, "the ocean is the greatest of all creatures because it is the lowest", and Ch 67, "my 3 most precious things: compassion for all, frugal living for myself, respect all others and never put anyone down" are the basis for all Daoist practice. The words of Zhuangzi, Ch 7, are also deeply meaningful: "Yin and Yang were 2 little children who loved to play inside Hundun (ie Taiji, gestating Dao). They felt sorry because Hundun did not have eyes, or eats, or other senses. So everyday they drilled one hole, ie 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, one mouth; and on the 7th day, Hundun died.
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Michael Saso