The Seeker – Pt 2

December 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

The Seeker is taken from the writings of Chuang Tzu and appears in my book The Spiritual Teachings of The Tao. Nan Jung Chu was an older student who wanted to become a Real Person. His teacher suggested he visit Lao Tzu:

4. First Teaching: Close The Gates

Nan Jung Chu entered Lao Tzu’s school and the Master suggested he try to develop the things he liked, and dismiss all unpleasant thoughts.

For ten days he meditated and fasted, and went again to Lao Tzu, who said to him, “Even though you’re purifying yourself, you still seem anguished. You’re still clinging to things you dislike.

When external influences trouble you, you may try to control them, but you’ll find that very difficult. Better to stop their invasion by protecting your inner core. Likewise, when internal impulses bother you, it’s difficult to hold them in check. Better to close the gates of your self against their leaving. A master of the Tao and its power wouldn’t be able to control these two influences acting together, and how much less can one who is only a student!”

5. Second Teaching: Thaw The Ice

Nan Jung Chu said, “A villager fell ill, and when his neighbours asked about it, he was able to describe the symptoms, even though it was an illness he hadn’t had before. When I ask you about Grand Tao, it’s like taking medicine which only increases my sickness. It will be enough for me if you can just explain the Tao of keeping good health.“

Lao Tzu replied, “You ask about keeping good health.

Can you embrace the One?
Can you keep from losing it?
Can you know good and bad fortune without consulting the oracle?
Can you rest where you ought to rest?
Can you stop when you have enough?

Can you leave others alone and seek it in yourself alone?
Can you flee from desire?
Can you be sincere?

Can you become like a little child? A child can cry all day without becoming hoarse- so perfect is its harmony. It can clench its fists all day without relaxing its grip – such is the concentration of its power. It can stare all day without moving its eyes -so unconcerned is it by the outside world. It walks but doesn’t know where. It rests where it’s placed, but it doesn’t know why. It unconsciously mingles with things, and just follows their flow. This is how to guard life.

Nan Jung Chu said, “And are these the characteristics of a Real Person?”

Lao Tzu replied, “No. This is called thawing the ice, and melting the frost.

Can you do it?

The Real Person, along with others, shares food from Earth, and happiness from Heaven. But unlike others, he doesn’t relate to considerations of profit and loss. Unlike others, he doesn’t do strange things, form plans, or have projects. He flees the allure of desire, and pursues his way with a complete simplicity.

This is the way he guards his life.”

“And does this constitute perfection?”, asked Nan Jung Chu.

“Not quite,“ said Lao Tzu. “I will ask again whether you can become like a little child, a newborn who acts without knowing what it’s doing, and walks without knowing where it’s going. Its body is like dried out wood, and its mind like cold wet ashes. Because of this, good and bad fortune don’t affect it. Experiencing neither good nor bad fortune, how can it suffer human calamities?”

When your mind reaches such spontaneity, its emits a Heavenly light, and in this light everything is revealed: humans reveal their humanity and things their substance. When a person has cultivated himself to this point, he becomes constant. When he is constant, others will seek refuge with him, and Heaven will help him. Those in whom others take refuge we call the People of Heaven. Those whom Heaven helps we call the Children of Heaven.

Those who seek this by study look for something that can’t be learned. Those who seek it by effort, attempt what effort can never achieve. Those who seek it by reason, use reason where reason has no place. Knowledge of when to stop when you can’t arrive by knowledge is perfection. Those who can’t grasp this will be destroyed by Heaven.”

6. Third Teaching: Maintain Inner Sincerity

Lao Tzu continued, “When everything is done to maintain the body; when the mind is aware of possible dangers; when inner reverence is cherished and given freely to others; if all this is done, and bad fortune still arrives, it’s due to Heaven, and not to humanity.

These misfortunes aren’t enough to disturb your serenity, or to invade the Spirit Tower of your heart and mind. This Tower has a Guardian but unless you know this Guardian he won’t recognize you.

If you try to accomplish anything without this inner sincerity, every attempt will fail. Malign influences will enter, and you will be unable to free yourself from them. Then with every fresh attempt there will be still greater failure. If you do evil in daylight, people will punish you. If evil is done in darkness and secrecy, then spirits will inflict punishment. Understand your relations both to people and spirits, and then you’ll know what to do in the solitude of yourself.”

Part 3 to follow.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Seeker – Pt 1 The Seeker – Pt 3

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Reflections on an age of anxiety.


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