Tag Archives: Tao

Laoshan Taoist

Laoshan Taoist

(Chinese Classic Revised by BoSt)

 

01

Once upon a time there was a young scholar named Wang Ch’i who was fervent about Taoism and so read every available book and practiced daily to be an ardent Taoist. Somewhere along the way he’d learned that there were many immortals living on Mount Laoshan, so he undertook the long arduous journey there. When he reached the summit of the mountain, true enough he spotted a secluded monastery nestled in the woods.  He raced towards it as fast as his feet could carry him and pounded on the large door.  As no one responded, he tried the latch and found the door was not locked. He hesitantly let himself in and when his eyes adjusted to the dim light he saw some ways  in a distinguished Taoist priest with white hair hanging down to his shoulders who appeared to be in a deep contemplation sitting on a rush mat.  Approaching tentatively, Wang kowtowed to show his respect and knelt before the priest in silence in order to compose his thoughts and allow the priest to respond to his presence. As the latter seemed impervious to Wang’s presence and no response was forthcoming, Wang cleared his throat then again kowtowing begged forgiveness for his intrusion then voiced his innermost desire to learn more of Taoism and asked the priest to be his teacher.

 The priest’s eyelids slowly lifted and his pupils gazed straight at Wang for a seemingly endless time.  His astute observation revealed that Wang, however sincere, was still too pampered to endure all the required hardships to be a proper Taoist.  This simply put, failed to deter Wang. He was adamant and emphatically argued that he could adapt and learn new ways, being most willing to endure any hardship to do so. Therefore he was provided with meager living accommodations and was allowed to remain in the monastery for a time, depending on his progress.

02

Early the next morning, the priest sent for Wang. He was given an ax and told to go with the other disciples to cut firewood in the forest. Wang happily obeyed. After more than a month of cutting wood however, Wang’s hands and feet were covered with thick calluses. The sparse living conditions and the rigid schedule, the enforced quiet, to say nothing of the simple rations eventually took its toll on Wang. Unable to stand the suffering any longer, he began entertaining the idea of returning home.

03

One evening, when he returned from his assigned task, he discovered two guests drinking wine with his master. It was already dark, so the priest cut a piece of white paper in the shape of a round mirror and stuck it on the wall. Instantly, it turned into a brilliant white moon which lit up the room.

04

The few other disciples streamed in order to wait upon their master and the guests; however one of the guests, not standing on ceremony went forth, took a jug of wine and offered it to the disciples to drink. The jug was passed around accordingly, but the disciples were astonished to see that the wine in the jar did not diminish even after several rounds of consumption.

The other guest said:”It is rather dull drinking by ourselves. Why not ask the moon goddess to join us?”  The priest nodded, then he threw a chopstick at the moon on the wall and a beautiful girl appeared. Less than a foot tall at first, she stepped down from the wall and grew to human size. She then proceeded to sing and dance gracefully.

05

 

When she finished singing, she jumped onto the table and turned back into a chopstick. The three quests laughed heartily. They talked, joked around and drunk some more, enjoying a truly pleasurable time.  Afterwards one of the guests said:”It has been a very pleasant evening. Will you all drink another glass with me in the Moon Palace?”The three guests ascended and in a flash they disappeared, seeming having moved their table up into the moon.

06

 

Wang rubbed his eyes in disbelief at these phantasmal events. He looked up and strangely enough actually spotted the three figures drinking on the moon, their images completely vivid as though reflected in a mirror.

07

 

After a while, the moon slowly dimmed. One of the disciples brought a lit candle and they saw the priest, once more manifest in the room sitting alone and the two guests gone. The remains of the meal were still on the table and the mirror like paper was still on the wall.

“Have you all had enough to drink?”The priest asked his disciples.”Yes.” they answered. The priest told them to go to bed early, so they wouldn’t be late for their wood-cutting the next day. Full of wonder, Wang thought no more of leaving.

08

 

Another month passed.  Once again Wang found it hard to endure the daily grind and all that hardship, but he stubbornly refused to relent, for the priest still hadn’t taught him any magic. One day Wang again approached the priest with his request:”I have been here for several months already. All I do is get up at daybreak to cut firewood and return at sunset. I never bore such hardship when I was at home.”

“I predicted you wouldn’t be able to stand it,” interjected the priest smiling, “You may as well go home tomorrow morning.”

09

 

Wang had a stubborn streak and would not give up so easily however, so he pleaded with the priest to teach him some small trick, any trick, to make it all worthwhile.

“Which one then?” asked the priest; nodding.

Wang had noticed that the priest could walk through walls and said that he would be content to know how to do that. The priest smiled and agreed. He taught Wang the spell and bade him to repeat it so he could walk through the wall. At first, Wang was hesitant; he dared not to make the bold move. “What if he got stuck inside the wall?”  He envisioned horrifying images, with his head stuck outside or a foot while the torso was trapped within. The priest anticipating his fear smiled reassuringly and voiced his encouragement anew for him to try anyhow. Refusing to be a coward, Wang did as he was told and lo and, behold, passed through the wall unhindered. “Ye!!!!” Elated he turned around but he found himself outside the wall.

10

Overjoyed, Wang raced around and went back in to thank the priest. The priest told him to be serious and not misuse the spell when he got home; otherwise, it wouldn’t work. Wang promised to remain vigilant and thanked the priest for his instructions. Shortly after he took his leave and descended the mountain.

11

When he got home, Wang boasted that he had met an immortal and learnt the art of passing through walls. His wife refused to believe him, so Wang repeated the spell the priest had taught him, backed away a few feet from the wall and ran straight at it.

Thugg!!!  He hit his head hard at the wall!

12

To Wang’s surprise, the spell had lost its magic. He banged his head against the wall again and again, failing each time, and collapsed disoriented and almost unconscious, flat on the ground. When he got up a big bump, the size of an egg, started to swell up on his forehead.

His wife could not help herself and was doubled over with laughter. Wang’s face fell then grew dark, as he was consumed by shame and rage. Gnashing his teeth he inwardly cursed the old priest for his ingratitude and for the perceived betrayal.

Days and month’s passed with Wang incensed at the priest. Eventually reason took hold and he understood what had happened. With humility and longing he anew undertook the journey to visit the monastery.  He followed the same paths and searched every corner of the mountain summit, all however without avail; for there was no trace of either the monastery, or the priest or the many novices.

Eventually he gave up and went back home but he was never the same. Often he would be seen as sitting outside in the garden, silent and staring at the moon. On occasion he would raise a cup to the moon and utter a silent prayer or a wish.

Looking-at-the-moon-800

The End

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The Way of Water

The Way of Water

 

01-Niagara Falls

 

Click to see video :   The Way of Water

Highest good is like water.

Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way.

 

02-Sunnyside, Toronto

The weak and the supple overcome the hard and the strong.

To yield is to be preserved whole.

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To be bent is to become straight.

To be empty is to be full . . .

To have little is to possess.

The stiff and the hard are companions of death,

The supple and the weak are companions of life.

There is nothing softer and weaker than water,

And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.

04-Sunnyside, Toronto (13)

The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly;

 The whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad.

Thus something and nothing produce each other;

The difficult and the easy complement each other;

The long and the short off-set each other;

The high and the low incline towards each other;

Note and sound harmonize with each other;

Before and after follow each other

05-Sunnyside, Toronto (12)

In a home it is the site that matters;

06-Sunnyside, Toronto (8)

In quality of mind it is depth that matters;

In an ally it is benevolence that matters;

In speech it is good faith that matters;

In government it is order that matters;

 In affairs it is ability that matters;

 In action it is timeliness that matters.

It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault.

Of old he who was well versed in the way

Was minutely subtle,

Mysteriously comprehending,

And too profound to be known.

09-Sunnyside, Toronto (4)

It is because he could not be known

That he can only be given a makeshift description:

Tentative, as if fording a river in winter,

Hesitant, as if in fear of his neighbors;

Formal like a guest;

Falling apart like the thawing ice;

Thick like the uncarved block;

Vacant like a valley;

Murky like muddy water.

10-Sunnyside, Toronto (7)

Who can be muddy and yet, settling, slowly become limpid?

Who can be at rest and yet, stirring, slowly come to life?

 He who holds fast to this way desires not to be full.

 It is because he is not full that he can be worn and yet newly made.

11-Sunnyside, Toronto (2)

If people do not revere the Law of Nature,

It will inexorably and adversely affect them.

If they accept it with knowledge and reverence,

It will accommodate them with balance and harmony

12-Sunnyside, Toronto (6)

Attain complete emptiness,

Maintain steadfast quietude.

All things flourish

But each one returns to its root.

This return to its root means tranquility.

13-Sunnyside, Toronto (3)

To hold and fill to overflowing,

Is not as good as it is to stop in time.

Sharpen a sword-edge to its very sharpest,

And the edge will not last long.

Withdraw as soon as your work is done.

Such is Heaven’s Way.

 

 (Lao Tzu)

Fin

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat

 

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (1)

 

The highest perfection is like imperfection,

And its use is never impaired.

The greatest abundance seems meager,

And its use will never fail.

What is most straight appears devious,

The greatest skill appears as clumsiness;

The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering.

Movement overcomes cold,

(But) keeping still overcomes heat.

Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.

Tao

 

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (2)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (3)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (4)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (5)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (8)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (7)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (9)

Keeping Still Overcomes Heat (6)

Have a lovely Summer

Another Dabbling in Zen

Another Dabbling in Zen

 

01

A monk asked Fa-yen: “As for the finger I will not ask about it. But what is the moon?”

02

 The Master said: “Where is the finger that you don’t ask about?”

03

 So the monk asked: “As for the moon, I will not ask about it. But what is the finger?”

04

The Master said: “The moon!”

05

  The monk challenged him: “I asked about the finger. Why did you answer, ‘the moon’?”

06

 The Master replied: “Because you asked about the finger.”

 ZEN MONDO

07

  Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay  centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the  ultimate.

  CHUANG-TZU

08

 

“What is the Tao?” a monk asked.

  “It is right in front of your nose!” the Master answered.

09

 “So why can’t I see it?” the monk continued.

  “Your Me is in the way,” the Master answered.

   ZEN MONDO

10

 

Fini

Spring Thaw

Spring Thaw

01

After the long drawn out winter where the endless snowy days at times tried our patience, who wouldn’t welcome the hopeful signs of spring thaw? 

02

Everything begins anew in spring after the thaw. 

03

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“Bowed down then preserved;

Bent then straight;

Hollow then full;

Worn then new;

A little then benefited;

A lot then perplexed.”

05

06

“The way is empty, yet use will not drain it.

Deep, it is like the ancestor of the myriad creatures.

Blunt the sharpness;

Untangle the knots;

Soften the glare;

Let your wheels move only along old ruts.”

07

08

“As a thing the way is

Shadowy and indistinct.

Indistinct and shadowy,

Yet within it is an image;

Shadowy and indistinct,

Yet within it is a substance.

Dim and dark,

Yet within it is an essence.

This essence is quite genuine

And within it is something that can be tested.

From the present back to antiquity,

Its name never deserted it.”

09

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12

 

“Highest good is like water.

Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without

contending with them and settles  where none would like to be, it

comes close to the way.”

13

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15

“Tentative, as if fording a river in winter,

Hesitant, as if in fear of his neighbors;

Formal like a guest;

Falling apart like the thawing ice;

Thick like the uncarved block;

Vacant like a valley;

Murky like muddy water.

Who can be muddy and yet, settling, slowly become limpid?

Who can be at rest and yet, stirring, slowly come to life?

He who holds fast to this way

Desires not to be full.

It is because he is not full

That he can be worn and yet newly made.”

Tao

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With baited breath we await the arrival of warmth, sunshine and fun.

 

Fun

The End

 

Taming the Mighty Dragon

Taming the Mighty Dragon

Many cultures viewed the Dragon as a benevolent being, especially in the East where they held the belief that mighty Dragons once ruled the rivers, lakes, seas and skies. Dragons were well respected and even worshipped, especially in the agrarian settlements, for the welfare of men depended on the kindness of these supreme entities. The quantity of folklore that was spanned from their rich imagination has delighted generations of adults and children.

In ancient times it was the province of the immortals to intercede on behalf of humanity with the raw power of nature symbolized by the Water Dragon.

A folk tale: The Dragon Taming Lohan

Once upon a time in ancient India the people of a small kingdom, being incited by a demon, went on a rampage against the Buddhists and their monasteries. In the mayhem of destruction, some even stooped to steal the Buddhist sutras.

The Dragon King of the undersea, outraged by the unruly behaviour of these humans, punished them all, the innocent as well as the guilty, by flooding their entire kingdom. As he deemed them most unworthy of benefiting from the wisdom within the holy writings, he took custody of the sutras and stored them in his palace.

In time the repentant people, having suffered so long, wanted the sutras back but nothing would sway the Dragon King’s resolve.  It took an extraordinary being, Nantimitolo, to subdue the dragon guard and restore the sutras back to earth. Hence he is became a Buddhist immortal: the Dragon Taming Lohan.

(Here’s an interesting fact: In China at the end of the ninth century the Buddhist faith had suffered greatly, being subjugated to great persecution under the reign of Emperor Tang Wuzhong who preferred Taosm. A cult was born, out of this staunch resistance which incorporated the Lohan as the powerful guardians of the Buddhist faith.  The last two additions, the Taming Dragon and Taming Tiger Lohan were, in fact, thinly disguised swipes against the thriving Taoism of the time.   

The Taming Dragon Lohan’s Sanskrit name is Nantimitolo. Nanti stands for happy and mitolo, a friend. Together the name means happy friend.  He is called the Taming Dragon Lohan for his brave act of vanquishing the ferocious dragon.  There is a charming verse describes him thus:

“In the hands are the spiritual pearl and the holy bowl,

Endowed with power that knows no bounds,

Full of valour, vigour and awe-inspiring dignity,

He succeeds in vanquishing the ferocious dragon.”)

In modern times we are still entertained by accounts of Dragons through varied visual and literary means but we have also learned to harness falling water, the most powerful of the dwelling places of Dragons, to benefit mankind in yet another way: for what would man do today without the use of electricity?

These pictures tell the story of one such mighty waterfall, its might and how it has been tamed to benefit men:

 

The End.

Structures- 4

Structures- 4

“ To yield is to be preserved whole.
To be bent is to become straight.
To be empty is to be full . . .
To have little is to possess. ”

Tao