tui shou
hours on end
expending energy
using up qi
progressing, regressing,
start again,
practice more, harder,
but none so exhausting
as fighting the phantom,
the opponent we cannot see,
but we fight every day.
does this creature really exist?
Have any sightings been verified?
Where is this phantom?

Today we continue with Damo Mitchell Week, and maybe this quote from Damo will help you begin to reveal his phantom that you have been fighting most of your life…

“The Shen develops attachments to polarities, the Hun attachment to position, the Po attachment to material gain, the Yi attachment to subjective individuality and the Zhi attachment to need. These are mental vices indeed.” – Damo Mitchell

We have more from Damo in today’s video so stay tune…

Today’s Video: “The Mind in Tai Chi”



To the extent we identify
with the body-mind,
we prevent the body-mind
from living to its fullest.
To the extent we identify
with being a human,
our humanity will be hidden.
our human qualities
won’t actualize.
Like all the other creatures,
some can fly, some can run fast,
some can swim long distances.
We can do Tai Chi and Baguazhang.

We continue with Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo’s quote and his video feature the most important basis of Qigong and Nei Gong – the Breath.

“For beginners, inhalation draws the Qi in, exhalation sends the Qi out. For advanced, inhalation pressurises the Qi, exhalation absorbs the Qi into the body.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “Anchoring the Breath – Part 1”



Bu Du
Bu Ding
Too little
Too Much
Both bring about loss
Nervousness and impatience
a desire to win
a desire not to lose
calamity in the making

As we get ready to close out the month, today we start Damo Mitchell Week. Who is Damo Mitchell? Well, he is one of my teachers for one thing. But that isn’t very important. What’s important is the level of expertise in the Internal Arts that Damo has attained. From age four, Damo had been thrown into the martial arts, a scary place of sweaty, shouting men and stamping feet as both parents were into teaching the Japanese fighting styles.

Martial arts training continued in this fashion with Damo’s developmental years spent in Karate, Kendo, Laido, Aikido, Northern Shaolin systems, Wing Chun and others. The martial arts became an obsession and this obsession took him to many of the greatest masters in Europe, South East Asia and China. Damo’s travels took him across the planet for many years; sacrificing a normal life-path, his friends, a marriage and more, Damo continued to travel extensively and study with both well-known and more ‘underground’ masters of various styles.

Alongside the more obviously combative arts, Damo was drawn towards the internal arts of China; a fascinating merger of Gong Fu, spirituality and medicine, arts like Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan perfectly suited his nature. The external systems started to fall away with regards to their importance and the internal arts came to the fore. A number of chance encounters with great masters helped to dissolve that last part of his nature that liked destruction and conflict and, for the first time, Damo experienced the fully transformative potential of classical training. All of the things he had read about for so many years finally became a reality and the door of internal training was finally unlocked. Damo recalls falling to his knees and weeping in gratitude back in his small hotel room after one particularly transformative session where the final tethers of his rage dropped away. The weight of personal entrapment had been lifted and there was no going back on this path now.

Currently having relocated to Bali, Indonesia, Damo has established two facilities there, one for Tai Chi the other for Nei Gong and Daoist Nei Dan. He also teaches Baguazhang, Xingyi and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“The separation between Yin and Yang stabilises the illusion of form from the original light. The shifting between Yin and Yang stabilises the illusion of time. The greater the shift, the faster the perception of time.”

Today’s Video: “Damo Mitchell – Taijiquan”



Circular in its straightness
straight in its circling,
moving in circles,
issuing in lines,
the mind leads,
the energy follows.

Today we closed out the week and our feature on Chen Tai Chi with one of Chen’s most respected and reputed master of all time, Chen Fake (Fa-Kay). Chen was born in Chenjiagou when his father was in his sixties, and both of his older brothers had already passed away. Thus, he lived a relatively privileged life. During his youth, Chen frequently fell ill and was occasionally confined to bed. Due to his health issues, he did not engage in the practice of his family’s martial art.

However, everything changed when Chen was fourteen and his father went to Shandong province to teach martial arts and entrusted the care of his family to relatives. One evening, Chen Fake overheard his relatives criticizing his weakness and suggesting that he had failed to live up to the expectations of his ancestors.This greatly disturbed Chen. He yearned to prove his relatives wrong but feared it might be too late. In comparison to others within Chen village, he considered himself lacking in martial arts ability. This question haunted him until he realized that by dedicating himself to the practice of his family’s art, he could enhance his skills. Over the next three years, while others rested or relaxed after their daily chores, Chen diligently practiced the various forms of Chen’s family tai chi chuan. Whenever he had questions, he sought help from everyone around him. His unwavering determination made him one of the most accomplished practitioners in Chen village. When his father returned for a visit, he was pleasantly surprised with Fake’s achievements.

Chen Fake not only gained an unparalleled martial arts reputation but earned the public’s respect for his morality and integrity. According to his student, Hong Junsheng, Chen Fake never criticized other martial artists either publicly or privately and would admonish his students for criticizing others as well. This quote shows the kind of person Chen Fake was.

“The pillar of socialization is loyalty and the method of dealing with people should be based on modesty and cooperation. Loyalty fosters trust; modesty encourages progress; and cooperation befriends people. Modesty and cooperation should be based on loyalty not on hypocrisy.” – Chen Fake

Today’s Video: “”



The body fully extended,
the energy cannot return;
the energy fully extended,
the body cannot return.
Neither is correct.
The body and energy balanced,
Heaven and Earth are in harmony.

Today we feature the last of the four Chen Dragons or Buddha’s Warrior Attendants, Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai. Grandmaster Zhu is the oldest among the Chen Style Tai Chi (Taiji) Four Warriors. Grandmaster Zhu is well respected worldwide. He has retired from regular teaching at home for a few years; however, he is still busy with visitors, media, and projects as well as traveling domestically and internationally to give lectures and workshops

“After practicing for two months, we (the five disciples) through our practice and the explanation of our master (Chen Zhaokui) had really understood how the New Form (83 Postures) took shape and was created…The key to flexibility of the hands is the wrist. The key to turning is the shoulder. Big turning depends on flexibility of the hands. The key is wrists. Wrists and shoulders must be flexible.”

You can see the flexibility, Grandmaster Zhu is speaking of in the second part of today’s video where he demonstrates the “Chan Si Gong” or Silk Reeling.

Today’s Video:Visible Qi – Master Zhu Tiancai



Oh lovely flower
as I gaze upon you
though never seen before
you are but a memory
crossing before my mind.
If I could be present,
I would know you
as you truly are,
much more than a memory
of thousands of flowers
gazed upon
but never really seen.

Today we feature another of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants of Chen Tai Chi, Wang Xian. He is a 19th generation lineage holder of the Chen family style of Taijiquan and an outstanding qinna and tui shou practitioner. He is also a disciple of Chen Zhao Kui and a professor at Henan Teacher University and LuoYang Teacher University.

“The external arts, which was the first Chinese Kung Gu, start with hardness. The internal arts start with softness. The goal is to combine both for success. The goal of each is that softness and hardness will combine for success.” – Wang Xian

Today’s Video: “Grand Master Wang Xi’An Taijiquan applications in Wenxian (Chenjiagou).”



is not an object,
neither outside nor inside,
free from time and space,
the Great Vastness
in which all appears,
never perceived.
Perceiving cannot perceive itself.
The eye cannot see itself.
Only the Ultimate knows itself
by itself.

Today we feature another of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants a.k.a. the four Chen Dragons, Chen Xiaowang. Chen who is now teaching in Australia, was born and raised in Chen Family Village (Chenjiagou) and is the 19th generation lineage holder of Chen-style taijiquan. His grandfather was the famous taijiquan grandmaster Chen Fake.

Chen Xiaowang began his study of Chen-style taijiquan in 1952 at the age of seven under his father, Chen Zhaoxu, and later with his uncles Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui. He was awarded the Chinese National Wushu Tournament Taijiquan gold medal three consecutive years beginning in 1980. In 1985, he was crowned Taijiquan Champion at the First International Wushu Competition in Xi’an.

Chen created two condensed forms of the laojia and xinjia forms; a 38-posture form and a 19-posture form. He told inside Kung-Fu Magazine in 1991, “I have tried to do away with all the repetitions and simplify the exceedingly difficult moves without destroying the characteristics of Chen Style Taijiquan, with special emphasis to attack/defense and the chansi technique.”

“The core (of tai chi chuan) is the Dan Tian. How to form the core? It is formed through your whole body movement. Make all your body parts move accurately. Your chi will then move freely through your Dan Tian.” – Chen Xiaowang

Watch the video below to learn how to properly use the eight tai chi energies: peng, lu. jik an, cai, lie, zhou, kow.

Today’s Video:”Chen Xiaowang showing eight taijiquan energies”



He who knows himself
as awareness, not the psyche,
is knowingly aware.
He is present, perceiving,
a living witness,
both audience and actor alike.
One who doesn’t know himself
is not aware, not present,
conceptualizing, not perceiving;
lost in the sensation,
he has forgotten himself.

Today we take a look at Chen Style Tai Chi, and no one is better suited to start us off than Chen Zhenglei, one of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants or sometimes known as the four Chen Dragons, the outstanding exponents of the 19th generation in Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Wen County, Henan Province.

Chen Zhenglei was born and raised in Chenjiagou. He began studying taijiquaj in 1957 at age of 8 with his uncle Chen Zhaopi, focusing not just in hands form and weapons but also Taiji theories. In 1972, after Chen Zhaopi death, Chen Zhenglei continued the studies from his uncles, Chen Zhaokui, another famous Taijiquan teacher who was the son of Chen Fake.

Chen Zhenglei specializes in the theories and skills of Taijiquan and push-hands, directly by his grandfather’s brother Chen Fake.

“If you practice for one day you get one day’s benefit, with daily practice you can steadily improve. If you don’t practice for one day you lose ten days of development. So practice everyday without stopping! Western students must understand this clearly. Practice everyday!”
– Chen Zhenglei, 19th generation of the Chen Family

Today’s Video: “Chen Zhenglei – The Belt and Road China Tai Chi Culture World Tour”



He who knows himself
as awareness, not the psyche,
is knowingly aware.
He is present, perceiving,
a living witness,
both audience and actor alike.
One who doesn’t know himself
is not aware, not present,
conceptualizing, not perceiving;
lost in the sensation,
he has forgotten himself.

Today we take a look at Chen Style Tai Chi, and no one is better suited to start us off than Chen Zhenglei, one of the four Buddha’s Warrior Attendants or sometimes known as the four Chen Dragons, the outstanding exponents of the 19th generation in Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Wen County, Henan Province.

Chen Zhenglei was born and raised in Chenjiagou. He began studying taijiquaj in 1957 at age of 8 with his uncle Chen Zhaopi, focusing not just in hands form and weapons but also Taiji theories. In 1972, after Chen Zhaopi death, Chen Zhenglei continued the studies from his uncles, Chen Zhaokui, another famous Taijiquan teacher who was the son of Chen Fake.

Chen Zhenglei specializes in the theories and skills of Taijiquan and push-hands, directly by his grandfather’s brother Chen Fake.

“If you practice for one day you get one day’s benefit, with daily practice you can steadily improve. If you don’t practice for one day you lose ten days of development. So practice everyday without stopping! Western students must understand this clearly. Practice everyday!”
– Chen Zhenglei, 19th generation of the Chen Family

Today’s Video: “Chen Zhenglei – The Belt and Road China Tai Chi Culture World Tour”



always present, immediate.
Conceptualization is memory;
it’s mostly where we live,
conceptualizing through life,
functioning through memory,
not allowing perception
to fully unfold,
never welcoming our surroundings.
Cut off from the universe,
we live in isolation,
the root of all suffering.

We ended last week with the legendary foundary of Tai Chi, Zhang Sanfeng. However, he may not have been the actual founder for he had a teacher. Xu Xuanping was a Taoist hermit and poet of the Chinese Tang dynasty. He was said to have lived south of the Yangtze River in Huizhou. His legend relates that he left the city of Yangshan to become a recluse and build a home in Nan Mountain.

According to some schools of T’ai chi ch’uan, Xu is considered to be the Tao Yin teacher of Zhang Sanfeng, whom they say later created the martial art of T’ai chi ch’uan. Other schools hold that Xu himself was a T’ai chi ch’uan practitioner, and that the style Xu Xuanping passed down was simply called “37”, because it consisted of 37 named styles or techniques. During this time it was also known as Chang Quan or Long Boxing as a reference to the flowing power of the Yangtze River (which is also known as the Chang Jiang or Long River).

When Xu carried firewood down from his mountain home to sell in the town below, he would sing this verse.

“At dawn I carry the firewood to sell
To buy wine today, at dusk I will return
Please tell me the way to get home?
Just follow the mountain track up into the clouds”
– Xu Xuanping

For more than 30 years, he had sometimes saved people in distress, and sometimes helped them out of the misery of disease. Many people living in the city went to visit him, but never saw him. They only saw the verses he left on the wall of his thatched hut:

“I have lived in seclusion for thirty years,
on the top of the stone room south of the mountain.
Playing with the bright moon in the quiet night,
drinking the blue spring in the Ming Dynasty.
Forget the year of Jiazi.”
– Xu Xuanping

During the Tianbao period of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty (the seventh emperor of the Tang Dynasty), a wildfire burned Xu Xuanping’s thatched hut. Since then, there was no trace of Xu Xuanping.

Then more than a hundred years later, in the seventh year of Emperor Yizong of Tang Dynasty (the eighteenth emperor of the Tang Dynasty), an old woman in Xu Mingnu’s house from Xin’an County, who often accompanied others to chop wood in the mountains. Once she saw a man in Nanshan. Sitting on a big rock, he was eating peaches. The man asked the old lady, “Are you from Xu Mingnu’s family? I am Xu Xuanping, the ancestor of Xu Mingnu!” The old lady told Xu Xuanping that she had heard that Xu Xuanping had become a fairy. Xu Xuanping said: “When you go back, tell Xu Mingnu that I am in this mountain.”

While there are no videos about Xu Xuanping, there are a few on the mountain range where he dwelled.

Today’s Video: “NanLing, Guangdong, China”



Truth cannot be perceived;
it can only be lived;
free from agitation,
not by will or discipline,
without grasping to attain
or effort to become
or planning to achieve.
When energy settles peacefully,
the equilibrium returns.
Allow yourself to be taken
by that freedom, that rhythm
to where the Truth lives.

We close out the week with the Ultimate Tai Chi Master, the legendary character Zhang Sanfeng. Was he historic or purely legendary? No one knows for certain. Many believe Zhang invented T’ai chi ch’üan while others point to early versions of Tai Chi predating Zhang.

In any case Zhang is purported as having created the concept of neijia in Chinese martial arts, specifically taijiquan, a Neo-Confucian syncretism of Shaolin martial arts with his mastery of daoyin (or neigong) principles. Legrend has it, on one occasion, he observed a bird attacking a snake and was greatly inspired by the snake’s defensive tactics. It remained still and alert in the face of the bird’s onslaught until it made a lunge and fatally bit its attacker. This incident inspired him to create a set of 72 taijiquan movements. He is also associated with the Taoist monasteries in the Wudang Mountains, where he supposedly lived in his latter years.

Some legends have made Chang San Feng into a Xian (Hsien). A Xian is a Taoist term for an enlightened person, an immortal, an alchemist, a wizard, a spirit, an inspired sage, a person with super powers, a magician, or a transcendent being. A Xian is similar in function to a Rishi who is an inspired sage in the Indian Vedas.

“What is essential to practice the Tao is to get rid of cravings and vexations. If these afflictions are not removed, it is impossible to attain stability. This is like the case of the fertile field, which cannot produce good crops as long as the weeds are not cleared away. Cravings and ruminations are the weeds of the mind; if you do not clear them away, concentration and wisdom do not develop.” – Zhang Sanfeng

Today’s Video: “The history of kung fu zhang sanfeng legendary founder of tai chi chuan”



I drive around in my car,
but I am not my car.
I walk around in my body,
but I am not my body.
I think thoughts in my mind,
but I’m not my mind.
All are very useful,
but I am not any of them.
I am that which uses them
to perceive and marvel
at the grandeur of all Creation.

Today we have another quote from Wee Kee Jin, director of the School of Central Equilbrium and disciple of Huang Shengxian. This is an important quote regarding the form and its relation to push hands.

“When you practice the Taijiquan form, don’t forget to feel and experience the changes in the form, the synchronisation of your movements and be aware of your relaxation and sinking. You must bring all this into your partner work. In free partner work (push hand exercises) it is best to practise slow. When you practice slow you are able to feel whether you are synchronising with your partner’s movements and relax force. With continuous practice it becomes natural and in relation to your partner’s changes the speed of your changes is natural. The speed is not initiated by you. There’s no need to be excited or agitated in the practice of free partner work, it’s only a practice session, not a competition. You must practise until you achieve the relaxation of your “heart”. When the heart is relaxed your spirit will be relaxed, when the spirit is relaxed then your mind will be relaxed and when your mind is relaxed then your body will be relaxed…

“In all push hands you must have relaxation and sinking. If you move forward with only relaxation and without sinking then your following will not have sticking jing (force). If you move backward with only relaxation and without sinking you would only have yielding but no neutralisation (Moving backwards needs to contain yielding and neutralisation. Yielding is to extend the incoming force to weaken it, neutralisation is totally nullifying the force through sinking)” – Wee Kee Jin

There’s a special tripple split screen video today showing grandmaster, master and student doing the Tai Chi 37 Form with Cheng Man Ching, his disciple, Huang Shengxian, and Huang’s disciple Wee Kee Jin.

Today’s Video: Wee Kee Jin, Cheng Man-Ching and Huang Sheng-Shyan side by side Tai Chi 37 Step Form



feeling not whole,
something is missing,
something is lacking.
Who feels one is lacking?
Uncover that person.
The false disappears
once seen as false
and what remains is wholeness.

One of Huang Shengxian’s 10,000 students who stood out from the others is Wee Kee Jin. Now the director of the School of Central Equilibrium in New Zealand, Jin has become a prominent teacher in his own right not only in New Zealand but having established branches throughout Europe and having many international students attending his workshops and summer camps.

“The commonly understood concepts in martial arts and generally in human thinking are that: the strong overcomes the weak, the fast overcomes the slow, the hard overcomes the soft, and we use brute force and resistance against an incoming force. In the practice of taijiquan, the emphasis is on the weak overcoming the strong, the slow overcoming the fast, the soft overcoming the hard, using the mind and not brute force when there is an incoming force, then yielding to it. Because in taijiquan the emphasis is totally the opposite of what one would normally (habitually) do, the practitioners and would-be practitioners of taijiquan must not use a conventional mind-set and methods to understand and train it.” – Wee Kee Jin, “Taijiquan – True Art”

Today’s Video: “Tai Chi Chuan Principles – Wee Kee Jin”



Be alert, be ready,
the uninvolved witness,
watch them as they pass,
the succession of thoughts
across the mind,
no longer sticking,
no longer binding.
They burn away
under the watchful alertness
leaving only silence.

Continuing with more on Huang Shengxian from Singapore, Malaysia. Huang opened 40 schools and taught 10,000 students throughout Southeast Asia. Although he was well known for his push hands proficiency, Huang taught his students that the tai chi form was everything.

When teaching, Huang had three important pet phrases or principles: “the essence of Taiji is in the Form” and “Slow is fast and fast is slow.” and “Seek the quality not the quantity” He often reminded his students to take their time and pay attention to the principles in their form. They will progress much further then someone who rushes through the form hoping to get on with push hand practice.

“The way that you do the form will result in the way that you push hands. By understanding yourself and understanding your opponent, you will excel in pushing-hands.” – Huang Shengxian

“If you have a foundation deep enough for three stories, you can only build a three story building. For a twenty story building you need to have laid a foundation to support twenty stories.” – Huang Shengxian

Listening begins in the Form and allows you to cultivate a better understanding of yourself and how your body moves, balances and connects. Thus how you move your body and sychronise your yi (intent) in pushing hands must be the same as in the Taiji Form.

Today’s Video: “Huang Xing Xian — Sheng Shyan — Yang Short Form”



The desire to Be,
the Self searching for Itself.
No need to accumulate,
grasp, accomplish or have.
This understanding
bring one home.
Grace draws one to Itself.

Today we move from China to Southeast Asia to look at prominent Tai Chi masters. One of the most notable masters in Singapore, Malaysia was Huang Sheng Shyan (Huang Xingxian). Originally, Master Huang was from Fujian, China, where he studied White Crane in his youth and became very proficient at it. But in 1947 he relocated to Taiwan, where he soon met Cheng Man Ching and became one of the Professor’s most famous students. Then in 1956, he emigrated to Singapore where he set up shop and remained there until his death in 1992.

During his time in Singapore, Master Huang integrated principles from his White Crane practice into Cheng Man Ching’s Yang 37 short form and became well known for his push hand abilities throughout Southeast Asia. One of his guiding principles centered around loosening and softness in order to capture an opponent’s center.

“‘If there is an object, then it should have a center of gravity. If there is a weight then it must have a center of gravity. No weight then no center of gravity. But if I don’t have the center of gravity, how can I control people’s center of gravity. You yourself (must be) Song. Then you realize it (the center of gravity). If our hand is soft, then we can feel the pulse. If my hand is hard, then my sensitivity is no more. Without perception, there is no sensitivity. Then I can’t feel when your hand is loose.” – Huang Xingxian

Besides his push hand abilities, Master Huang was also known for his five loosening or “songing” exercises.

Today’s Video: “Master Huang Xingxiang Five Loosening Exercises”



The Etheric Body
it’s not the physical body,
nor is it the Ultimate.
It’s not what I am
nor is it what I am not.
It’s in between.
A ladder is not the ground,
nor is it the rooftop.
It’s in between,
helping one to ascend.

More on the fascinating Southern Wu Style Tai Chi Grandmaster, Ma Yueliang, from last week. Not only did Master Ma become a great martial artist, but he Ma was also a medical doctor who graduated from the Beijing Medical College in 1929 and specialized in Hematology. Trained in Western science and medical practices He established the First Medical Examination and Experiment Office and ran the blood clinics at Zhong Shan Hospital in Shanghai.

Ma studied a number of martial arts in his youth including shaolinquan, bauguazhang and tongbeiquan. However, Wu Jianquan, the founder of the Wu style, insisted that Ma give up the other martial arts and concentrate on Wu Tai Chi. Not only did Ma agree but he eventually married Wu Jianquan’s daughter, Ying-hua, who was also an accomplished Tai Chi practitioner. Both went on to teach many students well up into their nineties.

“Five of my students are over 90 years old. The oldest one is 97. Many of the students are in their eighties. We have a saying: ‘Diligent practice of Tai chi will restore your youthful vigor.’ The old can recapture the vitality of youth.” – Ma Yueliang

Is it push hands or ballroom dancing???

Today’s Video: “Ma Yue Liang push hands”



I AM the morning mist
that covers the mountain ridge.
I AM the dark, heavy clouds
that press against the horizon.
I AM the cold air that chills the flesh
and pierces the bones, which IAM NOT.
I AM the swirling wind
that whistles through the cavities,
which I AM NOT,
I AM thankful to all I AM
perceived through these senses,
which I AM NOT,
yet appreciated nonetheless.

Another famous Wu Tai Chi practitioner was Ma YueLiang, a Grandmaster of Southern style Wu Tai Chi from Shanghai, China. Grandmaster Ma was well-known throughout China as he was especially proficient at Tui Shou (Push Hands).

“There is no mystique to Tai Chi Chuan. What is difficult is the perseverance. It took me ten years to discover my chi, but thirty years to learn how to use it. Once you see the benefit, you won’t want to stop.” – Ma Yueliang

There you have it! No mystique just perseverance. Keep at it, folks, and have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day.

Today’s Video: “Ma Yueh Liang Push Hands (Rare Footage)”



Encountering the guru
unlike meeting an acquaintance,
no aggressions or defenses,
no pursuit of goals,
accepting yourself,
surrendering, receptive.
deeply attentive,
free from preconceptions,
you find yourself on the threshold
of your true nature,
ready to be taken through.

Yang Tai Chi has a close cousin, Wu style Tai Chi, derived from the Yang form. Wu Quanyou learned his tai chi from Yang LuChan and his eldest son, Yang Ban-Huo, while in the military. Eventually Wu Quanyou’s son Wu Jianquan (吴鉴泉1870–1942) made the majority of the modifications and refinements in his father’s Yang style form and promoted this new form of tai chi as Wu style. And, it is Wu Jianquan who is credited as the founder of Wu style tai chi. Here is a poem he wrote about this new art.

“Two hands rise, separating into yīn and yáng
Left and right like a yīn and yáng fish
Movement springs from extreme stillness, opening then closing
Relax the shoulders and sit on the leg as if embracing the moon

Two hands form into yīn and yáng palms
Two palms crossed over for locking joints

Wait for opportunity before moving, watch for changes
Create opportunity by following the opponent’s force”

– Wu Jianquan – from a didactic poem quoted by his son Wu Gongzao in Wu Family T’ai Chi Ch’uan (吳家太極拳), Hong Kong, 1980 (originally published in Changsha, 1935)

Today’s Video: “History of Wu Style – Ma Hai Long Interview 1 of 6”



Letting go,
actively passive,
totally present, clear-sighted,
uninvolved, alert.
The ego reabsorbed
into pure awareness
that shines forth
like a flash of lightning
taking root
in an unencumbered mind.

Another one of Yang Chengfu’s famous students was Fu Zhongwen, who, like his grandmaster, Chengfu’s father, Yang LuChan, had a two word motto to describe how he one must practiceTai Chi: “Hard Work.” How hard is it? Here’s his quote…

“Practicing Tai Chi until you sit down and don’t want to get up, you don’t want to sit down when you get up. The whole body is as uncomfortable as torture. You must practice to this level”.

Today’s Video: “Fu Zhong Wen 16min FORM”



warm-cold, heavy-light, tense-relaxed,
habits to which we are accustomed,
memories embedded in our tissues,
on the primal natural body.
The idea ‘I am this body’
reassures the ego that it exists.

Yesterday, we looked at Cheng Man Ching, one of Yang Chengfu’s foremost students who popularized Tai Chi in America. Today we have a quote from Wolfe Lowenthal, one of Cheng Man Ching’s senior students from his school in New York City back in the 1960s and early1970s.

“As the practitioner incorporates the quality of tai chi movement into his life, he finds that he stops banging into things. The result of not falling into each step provides the opportunity to instantaneously ease back from unexpected barriers.” — Wolfe Lowenthal, “There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His Tai Chi Chuan,” 1991

Today’s Video: “Cheng Man Ching PUSH HANDS and FAJING”



The Truth is the Truth,
Dogma is Dogma.
They are not the same.
Which Dogma does not matter,
one is no more true than another.
While there are many Dogmas,
there is only one Truth,
one Reality.
Be open to it
by rising above the Dogmas.

The most prevalent tai chi form being practiced today was originally formulated by Yang Chengfu, the youngest son of Yang Luchan who originated the Yang family tai chi form. One of Yang Chengfu’s more famous students was Professor Cheng Man-ching, who is noted for establishing and popularizing taichi in America. He moved from Taiwan to New York City, where he established his school in the early 1960s. Cheng was also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a calligrapher, painter and poet. Here’s a short sample of his poetry.

“Pity! The southerly trees have shed their leaves. Nobody comes to appreciate the mountain’s beauty. Tomorrow I too will float away. My reflection gone from cool streams.”
– Cheng Man-ch’ing

And one simply called TaiChi…

Today’s Video: “THE PROFESSOR: Tai Chi’s Journey West – Official Trailer”



Be the witness,
not the doer, the actor.
Be aware,
see the natural flow of life,
your actions, their motives, results.
See the walls
you have built around yourself.

Today we are starting to view the quotes of Taichi Masters and other Martial Artists on enlightenment and their particular art. We begin with a tribute to a famous artist andTaichi player, Ju Ming. Ju who recently passed away began studying tai chi some 40 years ago and had become one of Asia’s foremost sculptors through his Taichi Series, which he started in the late 1970s. The Series features large, angular, bronze sculptures frozen in Tai Chi postures, capturing the principles of this highly meditative internal art.

‘When I first started practising tai chi I practised by myself, so all the forms of the earlier series are mostly single, But as you practise more you need to learn ‘pushing hands’ and you need a partner to practise with, which is why you see, later on, two sculptures ‘pushing hands’ in more abstract form.

‘As you go further and further you become more skilful and the energy is floating with your partner. The (Taichi) Arches evolved from the representation of two tai chi masters in the pushing hands position. This is the final step, when the two bodies connect. They are more abstract than earlier works in the series, and they also impart a stronger sense of motion. In the older pushing hands works there’s still a gap between the two bodies. Now, I have connected the two sides so that the energy and tension of musculature flows between them as one body that evolved into the shape of an arch.” – Ju Ming

Ju Ming’s story is reminiscent of that famous Taichi principle “Stillness in motion, and motion in stillness,” but at the same time reflects upon a principle of art: “Art imitates Life as well as Life imitates Art.” So, when doing your Taichi form find the art – the beauty, the truth – of each posture. Enjoy your practice.

Today’s Video: “Ju Ming, who created world-famous ‘T’ai chi’ sculptures, dies at 85”



We cannot find the Light
since we are the light
underlying all our senses.
all our thoughts, sensations.
We cannot perceive
that which perceives

We end the week of looking at contemporary Tibetan Buddhist masters with the first woman to become a Tibetan geshe.

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo is a German-born Buddhist nun, scholar, and teacher. She is the first woman to be awarded a Geshe title, considered equivalent to a Ph.D. in Buddhist philosophy. She was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Lohmar, Germany. After completing high school in 1989, she went on a backpacking trip. Travelling through Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan, she reached India. After visiting Kolkata, Varanasi, and Manali, she landed in Dharamshala. She had planned to stay for a couple of weeks before returning to start university, studying medicine. But eventually, she stayed on.

She took ordination as a nun in April 1991. She later enrolled in the traditional geshe curriculum (a 17-year course) at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamshala. In April 2011, the IBD conferred the degree of geshe, a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monastics, on her, thus making her the world’s first female geshe.

“I don’t like the word ignorance. It implies that we’re stupid. We’re not stupid. I prefer the word misperception.That is the cause for all our troubles…The problem is, we misperceive how the ‘I’ exists. From the Buddhist perspective, every problem comes back to that: misperceiving reality. Because of this misperception, there is anger and attachment. Buddha says we can get rid of all these problems if we get rid of misperception.”
– Geshe Kelsang Wangmo

Could it be that we misperceive reality because we are ignorant? Thank about that and enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Today’s Video: “Geshe Kelsang Wangmo Self Cherish Vs Self Confidence”



Beauty is the same in all.
Live in beauty,
Look from beauty.
It is our wholeness,
our awakenedness.
No longerdivided, separate,
we live in our fullness,
our global oneness.

Thubten Chodron, born Cheryl Greene, is an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington, the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Western nuns and monks in the United States. Chodron is a central figure in the reinstatement of the Bhikshuni (Tib. Gelongma) ordination of women. She is a student of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and other Tibetan masters. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is co-authoring with the Dalai Lama a multi-volume series of teachings on the Buddhist path, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion.

““When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.”
― Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

If you are one who longs for enlightenment, I cannot think of any better advice than be patient and be content creating the causes for goodness. That all we need to do.

Today’s Video: “Introduction | Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron”




Being stillness,
without someone
trying to be still.
No controller, no doer,
no chooser making choices.
living choicelessly,
the situation to unfold,
to RESOLVE itself.

Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown, July 14, 1936, is an American Tibetan-Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chödrön has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia.

Chödrön began studying with Lama Chime Rinpoche during frequent trips to London over a period of several years. While in the United States she studied with Trungpa Rinpoche in San Francisco. In 1974, she became a novice Buddhist nun under Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. In Hong Kong in 1981 she became the first American in the Vajrayana tradition to become a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī.

Trungpa appointed Chödrön director of the Boulder Shambhala Center (Boulder Dharmadhatu) in Colorado in the early 1980s. Chödrön moved to Gampo Abbey in 1984, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in North America for Western men and women, and became its first director in 1986.

“But as we let go of our repetitive stories and fixed ideas about ourselves–particularly deep-seated feelings of “I’m not okay”–the armor starts to fall apart, and we open into the spaciousness of our true nature, into who we really are beyond the transitory thoughts and emotions. We see that our armor is made up of nothing more than habits and fears, and we begin to feel that we can let those go.”
― Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

We have put on the armor to protect ourselves from that which is most fearful to us – deep-seated change. Yes, the armor does protect us and at the same restricts us and restricts our movement from doing what really need to be done – change!

Today’s Video: “Pema Chödrön – Why I Became a Buddhist”



suffering and pleasure,
sadness and joy,
one follows the other,
reciprocating, oscillating,
one after the other.
no peace in one’s bosom,
no stillness in one’s heart,
chasing after one,
trying to escape the other.
never living,
dying day by day.
what fools these mortals be!

Continuing with contemporary Tibetan Masters, today we meet Serme Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering, abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. He was born in Purang, Tibet in 1958, and his family escaped to India in 1959. He entered Sera Mey Monastic University in South India when he was 13 years old, and graduated with a Lharampa Geshe degree 16 years later. From 1994 to 2018, he was the resident Tibetan Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London.

In the west, Tsering teaches in English and is renowned for his warmth, clarity and humour. Besides Jamyang, he has been a regular guest teacher at other Buddhist centres in the UK and around the world. He is also the creator and original teacher of the Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course, a two-year course which gives an overview of Tibetan Buddhist study and practice. In March 2018 the Dalai Lama asked Geshe Tashi to become abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. He was enthroned as abbot on 17 June 2018.

“The first training, ethics (also called ethical conduct or moral discipline) is crucial in developing the second and the third, concentration and wisdom, and as such is really the foundation for the other two.”

“So ethical conduct, practicing a moral life, is not something that can effectively be enforced from the outside but must grow out of a subjective understanding of what helps and what harms others.”
― Tashi Tsering, The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1

Today’s Video: “Developing Compassion Without Attachment | Geshe Tashi Tsering”



The flame may be gone,
but the embers never die.
They remain embedded
in the hearts of all
whom he touched.

Continuing our look at contemporary Tibetan Master, we honor one who just passed away a few weeks ago on April 13th. Thubten Zopa Rinpoche was a Tibetan Buddhist lama in the Gelug school. He is known for founding the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition and Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon.

Born in Thangme, Nepal, in 1946,vhe was recognized early in life as the reincarnation of the Lawudo Lama Kunzang Yeshe, from the same region (hence the title “Rinpoche”). At the age of ten, he went to Tibet and studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s monastery near Pagri. He took his monastic vows at Dungkar Monastery in Tibet. Lama Zopa Rinpoche left Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and went to the Tibetan refugee camp at Buxa Duar, West Bengal, India, where he met Lama Yeshe, who became his closest teacher.

“The real miracle is when someone is able to stop the cause of suffering and create the cause of happiness by learning that their own mind is the source of their suffering and happiness. The real miracle is to transform our mind, because this will take care of us for many lifetimes. Our positive attitude will stop us from creating the cause of problems, thus ensuring our happiness not only in this life but in hundreds, or even thousands, of future lives up to enlightenment. This is the greatest success. (p. 30)”
― Thubten Zopa, Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion

Today’s Video: Our Beloved Lama Zopa Rinpoche



our jailer,
listen to it,
listen closely,
but don’t act upon it.
listen in stillness
and to your reactions.
see how deeply rooted.
see how much you desire
to be free of your jailer.
desiring to be desireless
is still a desire.

Happy Merry Month of May to everyone!

We ended April with ancient Tibetan Masters and lineage founders. Today we begin May with contemporary Tibetan Masters, and our first one happens to be a co-founder of a Tibetan foundation and dharma center and an American. Jeffrey Miller is an American lama born in 1950 in Long Island, New York. Miller’s Dharma name, Surya Das, meaning “Servant of the Sun, was given to him in 1972 by the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. Miller is a poet, chantmaster, spiritual activist, author of many popular works on Buddhism, and spokesperson for Buddhism in the West. He has long been involved in charitable relief projects in the developing world and in interfaith dialogue.

He is a Dharma heir of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche, a Nyingma master of the non-sectarian Rime movement, with whom he founded the Dzogchen Foundation and Center in 1991. He received Nyoshul Khenpo’s authorization to teach in 1993.

“Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness.

Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease.”
― Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World

Today’s Video: Lama Surya Das – Natural Meditation



determindness, resoluteness,
but to what purpose?
to make money?
to gain status?
to raise a family?
a purpose that comes with Life?
Where to find it?
In Himalayan caves, cathedrals,
gambling halls, brothels,
or within us, in life, itself?

We close out the week and the month with one of Tilopa’s most important teachings: “The Six Precepts or Words of Advice” that he gave to Naropa.

“The Six Precepts or Words of Advice”
Don’t recall Let go of what has passed
Don’t imagine Let go of what may come
Don’t think Let go of what is happening now
Don’t examine Don’t try to figure anything out
Don’t control Don’t try to make anything happen
Rest Relax, right now, and rest
– Tilopa

So, try those out this weekend and see how you do. In that case then, there’s no senses in asking you to have a wonderful weekend.

Today’s Video: :Tilopa’s Six Essential Points of Meditation – Mahamudra – Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism”



without borders
without patterns
keep the energy feeling alive,
spaciousness, vibrations,
the body participates
in that deepened sense,
understanding awareness.

Staying with the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, today we look at a legendary character and master, Tilopa. He practiced Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. He ground sesame seeds during the day and at night he was a solicitor and bouncer for Dharima, a prostitute. . After receiving the transmission in a vision of Vajradhara, Tilopa meditated in two caves, and bound himself with heavy chains to hold the correct meditation posture. He practiced for many years and then met the mind of all buddhas in the form of Diamond Holder Vajradhara. Tilopa is considered the grandfather of today’s Kagyu Lineage. Naropa, his most important student, became his successor and carried and passed on the teachings.

This quote is in the form of a song with which Tilopa instructed the Mahamudra to Naropa:

“The fool in his ignorance, disdaining Mahamudra,
Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety!
Sick of unrelenting pain and desiring release, adhere to a master,
For when his blessing touches your heart, the mind is liberated”
– Tilopa, from the song “The Ganges Mahamudra”

Today’s Video: “The short biography of Mahasidda Tilopa”



Listen, listen closely.
We listen to things,
but real listening is not
listening to.
It is not listening to anything,
just the feeling of being
without conceptualizing,
without characterizing or judging.
Be available to the presence.
Let it unfold within you.
Allow the moment to come to you.

The last two sessions we looked at Milarepa. Today we look at one of his foremost teachers, Marpa Lotsawa. Known commonly as Marpa the Translator, Marpa Lotsāwa was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour. This lineage was my first encounter with Tibetan Buddhism.

Upon Marpa’s athird journey to India, he eventually found Mahasiddha Naropa and received the full transmission from him, after which Naropa formally declared Marpa to be his successor. After Marpa’s second visit to India Milarepa became his disciple. After the death of Marpa’s son, Darma Dode, Milarepa inherited Marpa’s lineage in full.

Having made the mistake of chosing his personal meditational Buddha-form, Hevajra, over his teacher, Naropa, Marpa fell ill. His dharma brothers and sisters came to visit him, hoping to find a cure. Marpa tod them:

“Dear Vajra brothers and sisters! Whether I live or die depends purely on the karma of Tibetans. If they have the good karma to receive the teachings I am about to bring them, I will survive anyway, whether I get proper medicine or not. And if they do not have this karma, I will die anyway, however well you try to cure me. So, let us not spend money of the sangha and rely on the nature of phenomena!” – Marpa Lotsawa

Marpa soon got well. Therefore the Tibetans who were to receive his teaching must have had good karma. The statement by Marpa and his subsequent cure have not been approved by the FDA.

Today’s Video:



simplicity comes through understanding,
stillness comes through understanding,
peace comes through understanding,
beauty and love come through understanding,
and what does understanding come through?
not through objects,
not through the mind,
but through grace,
the grace of being understanding.

Today, let’s do one more quote from Milarepa. This one is a rather lengthy, controversial quote.

“When ye look at me I am an idle, idle man; when I look at myself I am a busy, busy man. Since upon the plain of uncreated infinity I am building, building the tower of ecstasy, I have no time for building houses. Since upon the steppe of the void of truth I am breaking, breaking the savage fetter of suffering, I have no time for ploughing family land. Since at the bourn of unity ineffable I am subduing, subduing the demon-foe of self, I have no time for subduing angry foe-men. Since in the palace of mind which transcends duality I am waiting, waiting for spiritual experience as my bride, I have no time for setting up house. Since in the circle of the Buddhas of my body I am fostering, fostering the child of wisdom, I have no time for fostering snivelling children. Since in the frame of the body, the seat of all delight, I am saving, saving precious instruction and reflection, I have no time for saving wordly wealth.” ― Milarepa, Songs of Milarepa

Here Milarepa seems like he is scoffing at some rather noble pursuits like raising a family, fostering children, building a business, farming. What he is actually telling us is no matter how noble a pursuit, if it is external, in other words dealing with objects, phenomena, don’t waist your time on it. Instead turn your attention inward to reflect upon your true nature, “fostering the child of wisdom.”

Today’s Video: “Milarepa (1) – Selected Pointers and Teachings for Meditation – Tibetan Buddhism – Kagyu”



When life asks for thinking, think.
When life asks for acting, act
When life asks for stillness, be still.
When life asks for rest, rest.
When life asks for forgiveness, forgive.
When life asks for thanksgiving, give thanks.
Not through discipline, but understanding.

Last week we looked at quotes from Chan Buddhist masters in China. Today we move to Tibet and a famous Tibetan master from the 11th Century, Milarepa. In his younger years, he studied black magic in an attempt to gain revenge on a wicked uncle who had stripped his mother and sister of all their property. This led him to mass murder and destruction through the occult. Some time later with a heavy conscience, he sought out various Tibetan Buddhist masters, finally gaining acceptance as a full-fledged disciple under the guidance of the Tibetan master Marpa. After his years of study with Marpa were completed, Milarepa sought out remote, isolated mountain retreats in which he practiced rigorous meditation and was eventually enlightened. He went on to teach and convert many disciples.

“Life is short and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourself to meditation. Avoid doing evil, and acquire merit, to the best of your ability, even at the cost of life itself. In short: Act so that you have no cause to be ashamed of yourselves and hold fast to this rule.” – Milarepa

Today’s Video: Milarepa: The Great Tibetan Tantric & His Enlightenment – Sadhguru



Happy Earth Day, Everyone!

Don’t seek the purpose of Life.
Life has no purpose.
There is no one who lives,
there is no one who dies.
No liver and no dier.
There is only living,
only life.
Isn’t that enough?
Why do you want more?

Today we look at Bodhidharma’s main disciple, the monk who became heir to Bodhidharma and the Second Patriarch of Chan buddhism, Dazu Huike. Huike studied with Bodhidharma at Shaolin for six years. Then Bodhidharma gave Huike his robe and bowl, a sign that Huike was now Bodhidharma’s dharma heir and ready to begin teaching.

Bodhidharma also gave Huike a copy of the Lankavatara Sutra, which Huike is said to have studied diligently for the next few years. The Lankavatara is a Mahayana sutra chiefly known for its teaching of Yogacara and Buddha-Nature.

“Originally deluded, one calls the mani-pearl a potsherd
Suddenly one is awakened—and it is [recognized] as a pearl
Ignorance and wisdom are identical, not different.” – Dazu Huike

Enjoy Earth Day, everyone! And have an enjoyable weekend.

Today’s Video: “Zen Will Change Your Life – Bodhidharma & Huike”



Reactions, deeply rooted,
can we let go?
Live grounded in our being,
completely harmonious
and appropriate
to our actions?
See the tension in our reactions.
See it without trying to change it.
Pure seeing, being aware.
Then the ground becomes the body.
The organic body memory,
natural, original.
A sensitive body is the real body.

We have been following two major Chan masters of the Tang dynasty, Lin-Chi and his mentor. Huangbo. So today we go all the way back to the start of the Chan Buddhist period in China with the arrival of Bodhidharma from India in the sixth century.

“To find Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory, keeping precepts results in good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings—but no Buddha.” – Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma is telling us that the purpose of our life is not to gain good karma or have a good memory or a good rebirth or future blessings. It has nothing to do with the future or future lives. The purpose of life is to realize our true nature here and now.

Today’s Video: “Why do monks always greet with one hand? – The Story of Bodhidharma”



A corpse is still.
A corpse has no thoughts.
A corpse has no conflicts.
A corpse has no desires.
A corpse has no anxiety, no stress.
Why do many spiritual teachers
encourage students to be corpses?

Today we continue with quotes from Huangbo “Chan Master Without Limits” and mentor to Lin-Chi

“Awakening occurs as the nature of the mind, it doesn’t involve the six perfections and myriad practices. These are all merely marginal activities for teaching and helping liberate others in various states and according to circumstances. “Enlightenment,” “suchness,” “ultimate reality,” “liberation”… all of these are expedient, temporary expressions, unnecessary to the awakened mind.” – Huangbo

So now that we see all these practices that spiritual advisors over the years have encouraged us to do, when are we going to stop chasing our tails and make ourselves available to our true nature?

Today’s video: “Zen Teaching of Huang Po”


A sense of lack
deep and engrossing,
the price we pay
for the enjoyment
of feeling separate.

Like most realized masters, Lin-chi had a spiritual teacher who guided him to the threshold. Huangbo, was the head of a monastery that he named Huangpo after the mountain where he grew up. He was given the posthumus title of “Chan Master Without Limits.

“As to cultivating the six perfections (of character) and all the other self-improvement practices, and performing all sorts of virtuous activities to accumulate merit – since you are already complete, you cannot add to that perfection through practice. You should perform practices when there is an appropriate occasion, and return to stillness when the occasion has ended. If you do not clearly see that this mind itself is awakening, but instead want to practice by attaching to forms and seeking rewards, then it is all delusion apart from the Way.” -Huangbo

Self-improvement, self-cultivation, seeking enlightenment, none of it has anything to do with becoming realized. The Self is already realized. One merely needs to see it, not as a concept but as the Truth.

Today’s Video: “Huang Po – Be a Buddha”



Identifying with the body-mind
prevents it from living
to its fullest.
To be a perfect human being
we mustn’t believe
we are a human being.
To the extent we believe,
our humanity will remain hidden,
our best qualities won’t actualize.
So then, what are we?

Today we hear more from Linji, one of the most highly regarded of the T’ang period masters and founder of the Linji school of Chinese Zen (Chan) Buddhism.

“If you want to be free, get to know your real self. It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant. It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located. Therefore when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more.” – Lin-chi

Today’s Video: “Rinzai – Zen Master Lin chi- Linji Yixuan Quotes – Taoism and Iconoclast”



Trusting is our nature.
without trust
we are something else,
not human.
Trusting is not calculation,
not plotting,
no hesitation.
It is beauty, love,
When one does not trust,
one does not love,
an expression of the heart,
not of the mind.

This week we move from Europe in the Middle Ages to the same period in the Far East, starting with the great ninth century Chinese Zen master Lin-chi, one of the most highly regarded of the T’ang period masters and founder of the Linji school of Chinese Zen (Chan) Buddhism.

“When it’s time to get dressed, put on your clothes.
When you must walk, then walk.
When you must sit, then sit.
Just be your ordinary self in ordinary life,
unconcerned in seeking for Buddhahood.
When you’re tired, lie down.
The fool will laugh at you
but the wise man will understand.” – Lin-chi

Any questions or do you understand? Ordinary self living an ordinary life, can anything be more clear?

Today’s Video: “Words of Lin-Chi | Zen Buddhism”



Truth can only be understood
by Truth.
Truth can only be transmitted
by Truth.
One who criticizes, compares, judges
is not privy to the Truth,
Only when there is listening
without a listener,
without an observer
does Truth reveal itself.

Yesterday we looked at Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Italian theologian and philosopher. Today, we move further back in history to the Dark Ages and two quotes from another Christian saint. Augustine of Hippo born in 354 A.D. spent his early life as a heretic until Saint Ambrose converted him. Eventually Augustine became an important “Father of the Early Church” and influence the development of Western Christianity.

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” – Saint Augustine

“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.” – Saint Augustine

Today’s Video: “Saint You Should Know: Augustine of Hippo”



not knowing.
always new,
always the same,
eternally young,
eternally new.

For today’s quote (actually two short ones), we turn back to the middle ages and the 13th-century Italian theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas.

“Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.” – Thomas Aquinas.
And one more…
“One aspect of neighbourly love is that we must not merely will our neighbours good, but actually work to bring it about.”
– Thomas Aquinas

Today’s video: “Five Ways to Prove God Exists (Aquinas 101)”


There is nothing to take,
yet we cannot give up trying.
See there is nothing there,
and the desire to take fades.

Over the past two days, I have been including a couple of Sadguru’s video lectures in conjunction with Dhyan Giten’s 3 stages of satori. So, today I thought I would post a quote from Sadguru.

“If you ask a tree how he feels to know that he’s spreading his fragrance and making people happy, I don’t think a tree looks at it that way. I am just like that, and it is just my nature to be like this.”
― Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Today’s Video: “The Secret Language of Trees”



Would you like
to live in peace,
to be free from
a stressful life,
draining relationships
petty foibles?
defending your self-image
brings nothing but trouble.
Let go!

Today we have Part 3 of Swami Dhyan Giten’s three stages of enlightenment.

“The third stage of enlightenment:
Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being

At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean.
At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole.
It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky.
The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality.
You can find the gap whenever you want.
This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God.
You have found the door to God.
You have come home.”
― Swami Dhyan Giten

There’s nothing much I can add. This is the third and final stage in which you return to your true nature. Though you still function in the world, you are not of the world. You are not in it; the world is in you.

Today’s Video: “The Simplest Way to Enlightenment – Sadhguru Spot of 10”



bodily sensations,
by not accepting them,
trying to change them,
taking pills to escape them
robs us of intimacy.

Today is Part 2 of Swami Dhyan Giten’s three stages of enlightenment.

“2. The second stage of enlightenment:
Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being

The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom.
The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen.
Your own wisdom from within has arisen.
A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment.
The Hindus has three names for the ego:
1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego.
2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego.
3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha calls no-self, pure being.
In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness.
For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God.
Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear.
Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God.
Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you know the direction.”
– Swami Dhyan Giten

Needless to say, it is quite a leap from Stage 1 to Stage 2. Perhaps the good Swami should have included a few intermediate steps to get us to Stage 2 such as bodywork, attending satsang and dialogues with a spiritual teacher, guided meditations, reading scriptures and books by noted teachers to name a few.

Today’s Video: “Sadhguru – what is enlightenment and how to get there”



transcends the body.
true to the glimpse,
beyond the mind.
we are everything
without borders,
in not knowing.
yet we know
through intimacy

This week we begin our quotes on Enlightenment with a Swedish spiritual teacher and author, Swami Dhyan Giten with the three stages of enlightenment. Today is Stage 1 – A Glimpse.

“These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori.

1. The first stage enlightenment:
A Glimpse of the Whole

The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being.
The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego.
There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence.
You and existence meet and merge for a moment.
And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart.”
– Swami Dhyan Giten

This is a stage that many gurus and spiritual teachers point out as a sudden breakthrough. Over the course of time, if one is sincere in their cultivation, these glimpses become more frequent and longer and for some can eventually lead to satori.

Today’s Video: “Swami Dhyan Giten intuition, the inner source of love truth & wisdom.”


Taking a cup of tea,
there is no one
who takes tea.
Making some toast,
there is no one
who makes toast.
No taker of tea,
no maker of toast,
only tea-taking,
only toast-making.

One last Carl Jung quote to close out the week, and it’s a profound one indeed.

“A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

We can see this recurring theme in Jung’s quotes of going within and facing one’s dark side as the path he believes will free us from ourselves. Here he gives us an additional clue as to what to look for within – those behaviors we see in others that irritate us.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Today’s Video: “How to Integrate Your Shadow – The Dark Side is Unrealized Potential”



Flowing through us,
it is our beingness.
the Oneness,
there are not two.
There is no other.
only the One.

We continue today with more from Carl Jung who speaks to us about enlightenment and the darkness that sets us free.

“When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer.” – Carl Jung

Our true nature is always hidden by the darkness that lies within the depths of our unconscious. So, Jung had said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” He is restating that insight in the quote above. There are no two ways about it – if one seeks enlightnment, one must face the darkness of the unknown and, as Jung states, venture into it.

Today’s Video: “Jordan Peterson: Carl Jung’s Intelligence was “bloody terrifying”



presence is the absence
of what you are not.
neither this nor that.
it does not come by will,
only by waiting,
waiting and being open.

Today’s quote on enlightenment is from the world of psychology. Carl Jung is considered the father of analytical psychology, but he was a an insightful philosopher as well. If you remember, Jung’s commentary served as the preface fro Richard Wilhelm’s German translation of “The Secret of the Golden Flower, an eighth-century Chinese text on Taoist alchemy.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
― C.G. Jung

According to Jung, and I believe he is correct, you can chuck all those visualizations your meditation and yoga teachers have given you. Instead start on the level of the body and work your way inside, peeling away one layer at a time.

Today’s Video: “Becoming Your True Self – The Psychology of Carl Jung”



leads to clarity.
A clear mind
leads to openness.
An open mind
leads to availability.
Grace will seek out
one who is available.

Two similar quotes today but from two different spiritual sects. The first one is from Dogen Zenji, a Japanese Buddhist priest, writer and philosopher and founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism. The second one is from Jean Klein, a French author, spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita Vedanta.

“Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.” – Dogen Zenji

“You know yourself only in relation to objects, in relation to the image that yu have created. You believe that you can see what really are the same way that you cam see an object.”

Both of these quotes are telling us that the Reality which we are – our true nature – is not an object. Therefore, we cannot use our minds to realize our true nature. The mind is just another object the same as the body, and we know ourselves in relation to our body-mind. Thus, we need to cultivate silent observation, observing our body-minds and other worldly objects without conceptualization. To do that we must first see that we do not observe free from any conclusion.

Today’s Video: Zen Master Dōgen Zenji: Four Lessons About Genuine Enlightenment



beyond the mind,
beyond our thoughts,
our true nature awaits.
nothing to find,
nothing to obtain,
it is in waiting
that we are waiting,
waiting in stillness.

Again another insightful quote from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, a spiritual teacher in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

“But beyond the mind, beyond our thoughts, there is something we call the ‘nature of the mind’, the mind’s true condition, which is beyond all limits. If it is beyond the mind, though, how can we approach an understanding of it?

Let’s take the example of a mirror. When we look into a mirror we see in it the reflected images of any objects that are in front of it; we don’t see the nature of the mirror. But what do we mean by this ‘nature of the mirror’? We mean its capacity to reflect, definable as its clarity, its purity, and its limpidity, which are indispensable conditions for the manifestation of reflections. This ‘nature of the mirror’ is not something visible, and the only way we can conceive of it is through the images reflected in the mirror. In the same way, we only know and have concrete experience of that which is relative to our condition of body, voice, and mind. But this itself is the way to understand their true nature.”
― Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State

Here Namkhai Norbu is telling us to use the entire body-mind to sense, to feel our true nature. Use your entire body and mind to patiently wait with a welcoming openness.

Today’s Video: “Chögyal Namkhai Norbu – Margarita – January 2nd 2012”



The body is in you,
but you are not the body.
This room is in you,
but you are not this room.
The world is in you,
but you are not the world.
You are the Reality
in which all things dwell.

Continuing with Tibetan Buddhist master, today we look at Namkhai Norbu (8 December 1938 – 27 September 2018). He was a Tibetan Buddhist master of Dzogchen and a professor of Tibetan and Mongolian language and literature at Naples Eastern University. He was a leading authority on Tibetan culture, particularly in the fields of history, literature, traditional religions (Tibetan Buddhism and Bon), and Traditional Tibetan medicine. Below is a rather long but important quote on his teachings of Dzogchen and the trap we get ourselves into as we try to discover our true nature intellectually.

“All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. In the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy’s validity. Because of this, any intellectual way of seeing whatever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to seek or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism.

“Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’, and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.”
― Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State

We need to see how our dualistic minds have trapped us into an intellectual way of seeing reality, which can only be reached experientually not intellectually. Thus, as Namkhai Norbu tells us, we need to drop our various conditioned thinking and abandon such intellectual concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’,




Can you hear them?
The plants, the trees
talking to one another.
Can you feel them?
Their openness and love
for one another.

We begin April with another Tibetan Buddhist teacher and scholar. Chögyam Trungpa was a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the 11th of the Trungpa tülkus and supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries. He was considered a radical of sorts in that he merged Tibetan Buddhism with the myth of Shambhala and originated an enlightened society that became known as Shambhala Buddhism. Both his controversial teaching methods and behavior particularly his heavy drinking, womanizing, and the physical assault of students were considered provocative. The quote below is an example of his provocation.

“Dharma literally means ‘truth’ or ‘norm.’ It is a particular way of thinking, a way of viewing the world, which is not a concept but experience. This particular truth is very painful truth—usually truths are. It rings with the sound of reality, which comes too close to home. We become completely embarrassed when we begin to hear the truth. It is wrong to think that the truth is going to sound fantastic and beautiful, like a flute solo. The truth is actually like a thunderbolt. It wakes you up and makes you think twice whether you should stay in the rain or move into the house. Provocative.”
― Chögyam Trungpa

Hopefully everyone will stay out of the rain this weekend. See you on Monday.

Today’s Video: “Surrendering Your Aggression -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche –Shambhala”



not a man,
not a woman,
not a race,
not an ethnicity.
not even a person,
merely roles to put on
like a hat or a coat
or a body-mind identity,
confusing life by day
with society’s roles.
But in deep sleep,
one’s true nature arises.

Moving on from India, we travel North to Tibet where we find the land of Tibetan Buddhism and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a Vajrayana master, scholar, and poet and recognized as one of the greatest realized masters. He was head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism from 1988 to 1991.

“It is always beneficial to be near a spiritual teacher. These masters are like gardens or medicinal plants, sanctuaries of wisdom. In the presence of a realized master, you will rapidly attain enlightenment. In the presence of an erudite scholar, you will acquire great knowledge. In the presence of a great meditator, spiritual experience will dawn in your mind. In the presence of a bodhisattva, your compassion will expand, just as an ordinary log placed next to a log of sandalwood becomes saturated, little by little, with its fragrance.”
― Dilgo Khyentse, “The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most”

It would be difficult to argue with Dilgo Khyentse’s point. The benefits of having a spiritual teacher and being in the presence of a realized master, regardless of sect or lineage, cannot be overstated.

Today’s Video: “Glimpses of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche”



don’t look left or right,
don’t look up or down,
don’t look ahead or behind,
look within,
for you are what you are
looking for.

Let’s have one more quote from Paramahansa Yogananda because I really like this one. It’s something most of us are missing…

“Make up your mind that you will be happy whether you are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, happily married or unhappily married, young or old, smiling or crying. Don’t wait for yourself, your family, or your surroundings to change before you can be happy within yourself. Make up your mind to be happy within yourself, right now, whatever you are, or wherever you are.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

Why is it so hard for most of us to be happy? Because we are too busy looking for happiness. Where? In objects, of course. What we don’t realizze is the fact that we are happiness. It’s our natural birthright. So give up the notion of finding it out there in objects of all kinds, including people. They cannot bring you happiness because happiness is what you are – your true nature.

Today’s Video: What Happens When You Die Unenlightened? | Sri Paramahansa Yogananda



to be…or not to be?
Observe closely.
Not a question of being…
or not being.
Both must vanish,
leaving the double absence,
the absence of absence.
Thus arises being the being,
a being beyond being and non-being.

Today we look at another Hindu guru and mystic, who not only brought meditation to America but kriya yoga as well. Paramahansa Yogananda introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization the Self-Realization Fellowship and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

“Every day try to help uplift physically, mentally, or spiritually suffering people, as you would help yourself or your family. If, instead of living in the misery-making selfish way, you live according to the laws of God, then, no matter what small part you may be playing on the stage of life, you will know that you have been playing your part correctly, as directed by the Stage Manager of all our destinies. Your part, however small, is just as important as the biggest parts in contributing to the success of the Drama of Souls on the Stage of Life. Make a little money and be satisfied with it by living a simple life and expressing your ideals, rather than make lots of money and have worries without end.”
– Yogananda

Simple advice: live simply and do simple things to help others. If all of us followed this simple advice what a remarkable place this world would be.

Today’s Video: “Solve all your Problems Easily by Developing your Intuition”




nothing to attain,
nothing to achieve,
nothing to become,
nothing to know,
no knower to know it.
nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
no doer to do it.

More from Vivekananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission. In fact, we have two quotes, both insightfully powerful.

“All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do any thing and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.”
― Swami Vivekananda, Lectures from Colombo to Almora

“All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live.”
― Swami Vivekananda , Letters of Swami Vivekananda

If you put both quotes together, you get…”the power of love is within you. It is expansive and can do anything and everything. Believe in love, the only law of life and then you can do anything and everything just as you breathe to live. Stand up and express the divinity within you that is Love, pure love.”

Today’s Video: TRY THIS Simple Mind Control Method if You Cannot Control Your Mind Directly | Swami Vivekananda



never free,
never still,
never available,
always seeking,
always choosing,
always grasping,
never content, always stressed,
the mind without a clue.

Last week we looked at the Zen monks who brought Zen Buddhism to the West and specifically to America.Today we look at the the Hindu monk who brought Advaita Vedanta to America – Swami Vivekananda.

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, no one can make you spiritual.
There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
― Swami Vivekananda

A disciple of the Indian mystic, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda founded the spiritual order named after his teacher, Ramakrishna Mission.

Today’s Video: Enlightenment Experience – How Swami Vivekananda Attained Enlightenment? (As Explained by Himself)



is there any other reason
for just sitting?
does it have to matter?
become another goal?
can I just enjoy
the quiet peace
it brings?
enjoy the peace,
enjoy the joy.

I want to conclude our look at Zen Buddhist quotes on aspects of enlightenment with a quote from my former Zen teacher and visual artist, John Daido Loori.

“Serene illumination, or just sitting, is not a technique, or a means to some resulting higher state of consciousness, or any particular state of being. Just sitting, one simply meets the immediate present. Desiring some flashy experience, or anything more or other than ‘this’ is mere worldly vanity and craving.”
– John Daido Loori, “The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza”

The idea of sitting meditation as something we do that has been taught across many traditions promoted by unqualified or lower level teachers is undeniably incorrect. This fact has also been stated across many traditions by qualified spiritual teachers like Daido, who tell us to sit just for the pure joy of it. Don’t turn sitting into another object or goal to achieve.

Today’s Video: “Zen Buddhism: The Nature of the Self”



silence is waiting.
don’t try to grasp it.
just leave the door open
and put out a welcome mat.
it will come when it’s ready.

Maezumi Roshi was another prominent Japanese Zen Buddhist who help to establish Zen Buddhism in America, especially on the West Coast. He was the founding teacher of Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center and the Zen Center of Los Angeles.

“We do not make harmony. We do not achieve it or gain it. It is there all the time. Here we are, in the midst of this perfect way, and our practice is simply to realize it and then to actualize it in our everyday life.”
― Maezumi Roshi

Like most aspects that pertain to enlightenment – silence, stilling the mind, non-doing, non-thinking – harmony is something we seek or try to obtain because we look at enlightenement and all of its aspects and modalities – love, beauty, truth – as objects because the mind can only recognize objects. Harmony like all these the other modalities of our True Nature cannot be sought, gained or achieved because they are who we really are, and, as Maezumi Roshi tells us, they are here all the time – we are it!

Today’s Video: Lineage: Hakuyū Taizan Maezumi



without absence,
there is no presence.
when I am absent
there is presence.
in the absence of myself,
comes spontaneity.

Shunryu Suzuki, the monk that brought Japanese Zen Buddhism to America, is such an interesting spiritual teacher with tremendous insights that we can gain much from looking at more of his quotes. Today he has very practicial advice on trying to control others.

“Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good. That is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.”
— Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice)

Most of us do just the opposite.

Today’s Video: “Breathing (ZEN: Right Practice) by Shunryu Suzuki”



doing without a doer,
no reference to the I.
potentiality waits urgently
for actualization.
Let it come up
by getting out of the way.
your true nature rises.

We started the week with a quote from the ancient Zen Master Dogen. Today we celebrate the contemporary monk who brought Zen to America, Shunryu Suzuki. He established the first Zen Buddhist monastary outside of Asia at the San Francisco Zen Center and one of th emost popular books on Zen Buddhism is a collection of his sayings entitled “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.”

“If enlightenment comes first, before thinking, before practice, your thinking and your practice will not be self-centered. By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing, believing in something which has no form or no color, which is ready to take form or color. This enlightenment is the immutable truth. It is on this orginal truth that our activity, our thinking, and our practice should be based.” – Shunryu Suzuki

There you have it. All you need to know about enlightenment. Actually, it is all we can know. Quite different, indeed, from the idea of Heaven, conditioned in many of us from early childhood, with God sitting on a throne surrounded by adoring angels, an idea profusely propagated by many of our politicians today trying to striaght-jacket the population into accepting their extremist values.

Today’s Video: ♡ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi ♡ Zen Buddhism ♡ Meditation Instruction ♡ Sound and Noise ♡



emerald green rows
winding up circular slopes,
piercing the morning clouds
misting the young tender leaves
at the top of each plant,
that will nourish
not only one’s body,
but warm the soul.

We start off the week in Japan and an enlightening quote from the great Zen master, Dogen the founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism. Even thought this is an ancient quote from the 13th-Century, it points to the very nature of our divisiveness and hostility to those with differing political, social or spiritual ideologies.

“Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others’ faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others’ faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others’ faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited unwholesome actions, but did not tell us to hate those who practice unwholesome actions.”
― Zen Master Dogen

Why then did the Buddha prohibit these unwholesom actions but did not tell us to hate those who propagated them? A true enlightened master realizes that evil does not exist just as good does not exist. These are both human thought-concepts based on faulty thinking. What exists are wisdom or clarity and ignorance. We need to see that those world leaders and politicians that so often aggravate us are not evil but ignorant. Berate their ignorant actions but not the person

Today’s Video: Zen Master Dōgen Zenji: Four Lessons About Genuine Enlightenment



the sound that vibrates each organ
and energizes the body-mind
is the same sound that vibrates
the cosmos,
energizes the stars,
and orbits their planets.
Can you hear it, not with your ears
but your whole body?
your whole silent body?

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we look at not one but three quotes from an Irishj guru and spiritual teacher of sorts, actually he is a literary genius, Janes Joyce.

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

“You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.”
― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Today’s Viceo: LITERATURE – James Joyce



streaming from the beauty, peace and love
of the Self,
the Life Force empowers and uses
the body-mind
to perceive the beauty, peace and love
in the grandeur of the cosmos.

There’s a quote from Black Elk, the Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, that reminds one of quotes from the Tao de Ching with regards to innocence and returning to the purity of a young child. Here is a comparison.

“He who possesses Virtue in abundance is like a newly born infant.
Poisonous insects will not sting him;
Wild beasts will not seize him;
Birds of prey will not attack him.
His bones are soft, his muscles weak, but his grasp is strong.” – Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching, Ch. 55

“Be like a channel for the world’s waters;
Open and flowing, like the mind of a child.
Full of virtue, harmony and excellence.” – Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching, Ch. 28

“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”― Black Elk

And the Great Spirit or the Dao or Reality and its Grace will show us many things if we can return to the early state of innocence.

Today’s Video: “Black Elk (Heȟáka Sápa) – Selected Wisdoms for Meditation ”



In the beginning is stillness.
In the ending is stillness.
Its beginning is its ending,
its ending the beginning.
It moves in circles
and returns in circles.
In its movement there is stillness.
In its stillness there is movement.
In its fullness there is emptiness,
in its emptiness fullness.

Continuing with Native American spiritual leaders, today we focus on Black Elk, the Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Black Elk is best known for his interviews with poet John Neihardt, where he discussed his religious views, visions, and events from his life published in Neihardt’s book Black Elk Speaks in 1932. Years later he was interviewed by American ethnologist Joseph Epes Brown for his 1947 book The Sacred Pipe. Black Elk eventually converted to Catholicism, becoming a catechist, but he also continued to practice Lakota ceremonies and care for his people, especially the children and the elderly.

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
― Black Elk

“The Holy Land is everywhere”
― Black Elk

I don’t think any spiritual leader from any tradition, ancient or modern, could have said it any better: “… at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

Today’s Video: “Dakota Life: Black Elk Speaks”



the trees are silent,
their leaves motionless
the air is still,
not stirring the branches
or rustling the leaves.
nature is in meditation
as the mourning doves
recite their mantra.

Today we cross the Great Pond as many of our ancestors did back in the 17th and 18th centuries to build what we now call the United States. Our quote today comes from a true American, a native of this land, Tenskwatawa, (Open Door) the younger brother of the famous Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. Known as the Prophet, Tenskwatawa was the spiritual leader of the Shawnee people, who after a vision he had, urged his people not to follow the ways of the white man but to return to their ancient ways. Here is an excerpt of his plea to his people.

“Our Creator put us on this wide, rich land, and told us we were free to go where the game was, where the soil was good for planting. That was our state of true happiness. We did not have to beg for anything. Our Creator had taught us how to find and make everything we needed, from trees and plants and animals and stone. We lived in bark, and we wore only the skins of animals. Our Creator taught us how to use fire, in living, and in sacred ceremonies. She taught us how to heal with barks and roots, and how to make sweet foods with berries and fruits, with papaws and the water of the maple tree. Our Creator gave us tobacco, and said, Send your prayers up to me on its fragrant smoke. Our Creator taught us how to enjoy loving our mates, and gave us laws to live by, so that we would not bother each other, but help each other. Our Creator sang to us in the wind and the running water, in the bird songs, in children’s laughter, and taught us music. And we listened, and our stomachs were never dirty and never troubled us. Thus were we created. Thus we lived for a long time, proud and happy.” – Tenskwatawa (Open Door)

The Open Door, isn’t that what a guru, a true spiritual teacher is? An Open Door to Enlightenment. Furthermore, was Tenskwatawa’s message any different from the likes of Laozi, Zhuangzi, Atmananda, Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi ma, and others who remind us to give up worldly desires and their addictive behaviors and follow the Dao, the way of Nature and thus return to your true nature?

Today’s Video: Sacred Vision of Tenskwatawa, the Open Door & Tacumseh



so gentle is the mist
enshrouding the hillside,
lush green foliage
peeking through the grey mantle,
narrow rivulets snake downhill,
refreshing, nourishing.
precious droplets soaking into the soil
renewing the roots below.
so too the divine current
misting the world with its grace,
refreshing the body,
renewing the spirit.
can you feel it awakening within?

Today we start off the new week by crossing the Channel, leaving our French spiritual teachers and authors for an English spiritual teacher, poet and yogi, an Advaita disciple of Jean Klein and a teacher of Yoga in the Kashmir Tradition, Billy Doyle. He has a couple of poetry books in the spirit of nonduality, “Mirage of Separation” and “Ocean of Silence.” Here are two selections from the latter.

“look out at the open landscape
or imagine one spreading endlessly in front of you
enter into it
touch it, embrace it with your whole being
let it absorb you
there are not two” – Billy Doyle, “Ocean of Silence”

“this very moment
have you ever dived into its depth
or are you forever taken by the waves of your mind
here, now, the whole universe is open to you
singing its song
but if you’re not quiet
all you will hear is your own echo” – Billy Doyle, “Ocean of Silence”

I picked these two verses not only for their imagery but because they are also instructive. Here Doyle shows us how to sit quietly and contemplate are true nature. The first is a visual method, looking out at an open landscape or imagining one. The second is an auditory method, diving into the depth of silence, listening for the song of the universe.

Today’s Video: “Relaxation and the Energetic Body – Guided Meditation – Billy Doyle (Part 1)”



Mantras are not to be
interpreted nor understood
verbally or conceptually.
Their virtue is in the sound.
Each organ, each cell
responds to certain frequencies.
Thus the sound, not the words,
harmonizes the body and soul.

Today we have two French spiritual teachers tell us about – what else that the French are famous for besides wine and cheese but – love. Here is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Jean Klein on love…

“Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.” – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

“If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level — indeed in the molecule itself — it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form…. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.” – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

“You want me to talk about love, to give you a hold, something to feel, to admire or obtain. I will not give you a straw to grasp, and in this emptiness you will be taken by yourself. You are love so don’t try to be a lover.” – Jean Klein

Before loving your surroundings you must first love yourself. Not, of course, the image you have of yourself, but your real self. When you look at things from this higher principle we call love, all things become lovable. Things appear constantly according to hour point of view. Love must become your nearest. It is your nearest and your dearest. Be in identity with it. In love, there is no place for somebody. Love is not a state which you go in and out of. It is the principle which is our permanence. – Jean Klein, “Beyond Knowledge”

Have a loving weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Today’s Video: “Phenomenon of Man and the Evolution of LOVE – Teilhard de Chardin”



Openness is Life, itself.
One cannot understand Life.
Only Life can understand Life.
Receive Life
by being open to Life.

Jean Klein has so many instructive quotes on Self-Cultivation that I wanted us to review one more vital one.

“In silent surrender there is bliss and prayer without request or demand. There is no doer, experiencer, lover or beloved. There is only a divine current. You see that the very act of welcoming is itself the solution to the problem and the action which follows your comprehension is very straightforward. When you become familiar with the act of surrender, truth will solicit you unsought.” – Jean Klein

This is so important. Silent surrender is pure prayer, itself, without any requests or supplications. And there is no doer who prays or a beloved that one prays to. There is only a divine current, like the flow of Life, rthe flow of the Dao. Thus we completely surrender to that current and remain open and welcome whatever it might bring, trusting that absolute presence of the moment.

Today’s Video: “Jean Klein on courage, being a Truth Seeker, and apathy towards work (3/3)”



This body-mind,
this unique instrument
that we are not,
but that which gives it life
and empowers it
to perceive
the grandeur of creation.

Today we have a most vital quote as we continue with the words of Jean Klein, a French author, doctor, musicologist and a teacher of Advaita-Vedanta. For some of us this may be a life-changing advice that will save us both time and effort on our quest for Self-Cultivation and Fulfillment.

“Discipline is of no use whatsoever, since things are naturally eliminated by discernment without it being necessary for us to treat them brutally. Even in the course of the technique known as “letting-go”, a faint shadow of discipline is implied, for letting-go of an object implies a certain discipline. Only an effortless and choiceless, I repeat choiceless reaction, is the hallmark of liberation.” – Jean Klein

Got that? If you don’t understand, read it several times. Make it your own as if those are your very words. Not as a mantra – God no! But as a very deep understanding, a natural discernment.

Today’s Video: “Silence Beyond a Quiet Mind: The First Time Francis (Lucille) Met his Teacher, Jean Klein”



Seek not,
Want not,
Fear not,
You are the Life Force.

Unlike Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Klein was not a French esoteric Christian author and spiritual teachcer. Instead he followed the Hindu teachings of Advaita Vedanta in the tradition of Ramana Maharshi and Atmananda Krishna Menon. He was trained as a medical doctor and a musicologist before traveling to India where he met his guru. As it turned out, Jean Klein was my teacher’s teacher.

“When you become responsive to the solicitations of silence, you may be called to explore the invitation. This exploration is a kind of laboratory. You may sit and observe the coming and going of perceptions. You remain present to them but do not follow them. Following a thought is what maintains it. If you remain present without becoming an accomplice, agitation slows down through lack of fuel. In the absence of agitation you are taken by the resonance of stillness.” – Jean Klein

Like my teacher, Jean Klein often mentioned invitations and being invited. It’s Life, itself, that invites you to discover your true nature. You need to be open and welcome the invitation in order to receive a glimpse of what you truly are.

Today’s Video: “Our True Nature – Jean Klein (Advaita Vedanta)”



Insight happens.
One cannot force it.
It is a gift from Heaven
in communion
with the Universe.

As it would happen, Teilhard de Chardin was in communion with the Universe, a Wholly Communion. In his “Hymn to the Universe,” it begins with “The Mass on the World,” where he actually performs an entire mass as a meditation that celebrates the Eucharist of Christ in the Ordos Desert of Inner Mongolia, China, where Teilhard found himself on the feast day of the Transfiguration. Here is an excerpt from the “Offering” of that mass.

“—I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who surround me and support me though I do not know them; those
who come, and those who go; above all, those
who in office, laboratory and factory, through their
vision of truth or despite their error, truly believe
in the progress of earthly reality and who today
will take up again their impassioned pursuit of the
This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the
immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity
whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble
the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it
is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibers of my
being should respond. All the things in the world to
which this day will bring increase; all those that
will diminish; all those too that will die: all of
them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to
hold them out to you in offering. This is the material
of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.”

And so we see Teihard’s deep connection with all of humanity as he does not feel himself, like many of us do, as a separate and distinct entity with little or no connection to the multitudes. Regardless of one’s religious or spiritual background this is a major hurdle that must be cleared in the process of Self-Cultivation and Realization.

Today’s Video: “Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World”



Live with your questions.
Seek not to understand.
There is no one there,
No one to find understanding.
Be open, be available.
Let understanding find you.

We ended last week with a quote from Pierre Teihard de Chardin, whom I find most interesting. So, continuing with quotes on enlightenment from the esoteric Christian tradition, here is a special one that refers to you and I and most of humanity and our relation to the Cosmos.

“Humanity has been sleeping-and still sleeps-lulled within the narrowly confining joys of its little closed loves. In the depths of the human multitude there slumbers an immense spiritual power which will manifest itself only when we have learnt how to break through the dividing walls of our egoism and raise ourselves up to an entirely new perspective, so that habitually and in a practical fashion we fix our gaze on the universal realities.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Those dividing walls are the fictitious boundaries of our bodies engendered by our egoism and acquired conditioning that hide us from the universal reality that we are not separate entities but are that spiritual power that unities us all – the Life Force – call it Dao or God or Brahman or Buddhahood.

Today’s Video:



Like breathing,
like the heart beating,
Understanding is effortless.
No need to seek it.
Like the rain that comes and goes,
washing away the dust of ignorance.
Seek not,
Want not,
Worry not,
And there is understanding.

Continuing our view of Enlightenment in the Christian esoteric tradition, today we have a quote from Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit paleontologist, scientist, philosopher and theologian. Yesterday we looked at the American Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. Whereas Merton’s work is suggestive of Bhakti, Enlightenment through love for God or the Divine Spirit, Teilhard de Chardin’s work had more of a Jnana approach, that is Enlightenment through observation and knowledge of ourselves as it relates to the Ultimate.

“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”
― Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

That convergence later in de Chardin’s work became known as the Omega Point and the emergence of the Noosphere (the thinking or mind sphere which transcended the Biosphere and in turn the Physiosphere).

Today’s Video: “Why Humanity is Special – de Chardin and the Birth of the Noosphere”



When the mind and the body
are happening in me
and not me in them,
that is tai chi.

Today we are viewing Enlightenment from the Christian esoteric tradition with one of the 20th-Century’s famous Christian mystics, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, author of over 50 books and a leader in exploring the Interfaith movement with prominent spiritual leaders of Eastern religions.

“What is “grace”? It is God’s own life, shared by us. God’s life is love. Deus caritas est. By grace we are able to share in the infinitely selfless love of Him Who is such pure actuality that He needs nothing and therefore cannot conceivably exploit anything for selfish ends. Indeed, outside of Him there is nothing, and whatever exists exists by His free gift of its being, so that one of the notions that is absolutely contradictory to the perfection of God is selfishness.”

One will notice from this quote and others that, unlike many of the prominent Eastern spiritual teachers that Merton had spoken with, he still maintained his Christian vision of a personal God, an omniscient, omnipresent Supreme Being. In Eastern religions like socme sects of Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism, the idea of a Supreme Being or God is of a more nebulous mature.

Today’s Video:



When we expect without expecting
all that arises is available to us.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the author of “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha,” and the first American translator of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” was the most popular poet in 19th-Century America. As for Enlightenment, the one thing we can deduce from his work is that he definitely believed in an afterlife. Here are a few examples.

“Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, and things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art; to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.” – Henry Wadsorth Longfellow

“Death is the chillness that precedes the dawn; We shudder for a moment, then awake In the broad sunshine of the other life.” – Henry Wadworth Longfellow

“The grave itself is but a covered bridge, Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!” – Henry Wadworth Longfellow

Today’s Video: “The life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow”


The peace that knows itself
emerges without seeking it.
A cloud unfolding above
allowing sunlight to shine through.

We ended February with Verse #32 from “Song of Myself” from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and we shall kick off March with Whitman’s tribute to the Hindu concept of Maya…

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning – I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

At least consider the possibility that all you perceive is Maya, an illusion, whether it be a person, an object or even a thought, consider that on the phenominal level all is an illusion.

Before Whitman there was Longfellow. We shall take a look at some Longfellow’s enlightened work tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “O Me! O Life! – Walt Whitman”




The peace that knows itself
emerges without seeking it.
A cloud unfolding above
allowing sunlight to shine through.

We ended February with Verse #32 from “Song of Myself” from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and we shall kick off March with Whitman’s tribute to the Hindu concept of Maya…

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning – I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

At least consider the possibility that all you perceive is Maya, an illusion, whether it be a person, an object or even a thought, consider that on the phenominal level all is an illusion.

Before Whitman there was Longfellow. We shall take a look at some Longfellow’s enlightened work tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “O Me! O Life! – Walt Whitman”



The amused laughter of a child,
an innocent sense of awe,
the piqued gaze of wonderment,
forgotten long ago, burried
by the ponderous task of mindfulness.

We close out February with an excerpt of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” from his epic work “Leaves of Grass.” How do you feel about animals? Do you think they may be enlightened? Here’s how Whitman felt…

“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition

Today’s Video: “Whitman, from Song of Myself, #6



How can you find emptiness
when you are full of the Self?

As I mentioned this past weekend, we will spend a few days reading what one of America’s greatest poets, essayists and philosophers, the Father of Free Verse, Walt Whitman, has to say about leading an enlightened life. Here’s what he feels we should do…

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
― Walt Whitman

You may not agree with every one of Whitman’s points, but certainly there are a few that are worthy of your cultivation, especially those that encourage service and taking an active role with regards to our fellow beings whether they be wealthy, poor, educated or not, and human or not. More from Uncle Walt tomorrow.

Today’s Video: “Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman | Song of Myself”



You will find the Truth
of your Reality
when you stop seeking it.

Today we venture to America and its first truly great poet and, I dare say, saint, the Father of Free Verse, Walt Whitman. His work combined both Transcendentalism and Realism, and there are so many rays of spiritual light emanating throughout his works that we will spend the better part of next week looking at a few major ones. Here’s an example from his epic work “Leaves of Grass.”

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Here Whitman is true on both accounts: no one else can travel that road for you and you have been on it since birth but, like most of us, did not realize it.

We will return to Whitman next week. Enjoy your weekend and keep practicing.

Today’s Video: Song of the Open Road – Walt Whitman (Powerful Life Poetry)



Trying to become or be
what you already are is futile.
Allow it to arise
in the openness of your heart.

Today’s quote is from Atmananda Krishna Menon, whose spiritual teachings set the foundation for what has been called the Direct Path. Sri Atmananda was known as the Sage of Higher Reasoning. Today’s quote is Note #120 from “Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda,” taken by NITYA TRIPTA, entitled “TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE WITNESS’ AND ‘TO BE A WITNESS.” It is of such importance to anyone wishing to study the Direct Path that I have included the Note in its entirety.

“TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE WITNESS’ AND ‘TO BE A WITNESS.’ These are entirely different things. But you should not try to know that you are the knower. Both together are impossible. Your knowership is objectless and can never be objectified.

You are always the witness. But you need not attempt deliberately to take the role of a witness. Only take note of the fact that you are always the witness.

You are asked to strengthen the conviction that you are the knower, in order to counteract the old samskaras that you are the doer, enjoyer etc. Though the substance of doership and enjoyership is effaced, the samskaras might still remain as shadows.

You are only to argue in your mind how you are always the real knower, and repeat the arguments over and over again. The time will come when the arguments will become unnecessary, and a mere thought will take you to the conclusion. Gradually, you will find that even when you do not think about the Truth, and whether you are engaged or not engaged in activities, you will feel without feeling that you are always the witness and that you are not affected by any activity or inactivity of the mind and senses in the relative sphere.

Witnessing is silent awareness. Do not try to make it active in any way. Consciousness never takes any responsibility for proving the existence or the non-existence of an object.” – Atmananda Krishna Menon, (NOTE 120, 6th April 1951, from “Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda,” taken by NITYA TRIPTA

The point of Note 120 is simply what I have stated in my opening verse at the top of this page: For one to try to become or be the witness is futile because one is already the witness. And as Sri Atmananda states: “You are alway the witness. But you need not attempt deliberately to take the role of a witness. Only take note of the fact that you are always the witness.” I would add that since witnessing is silent awareness, it is not an object and therefore cannot be objectified.

Today’s Video: Atmananda Krishnamenon – Spiritual Discourse on Traffic Noise & Pure Consciousness



What is it that I am?
A human, a man,
or a child
dreaming he is a man?
Am I in this world
or is this world in me?
To know what I know
makes little difference.
But to know that I don’t know
brings absolute freedom.

Today’s quote is from the Ceylonese-born pioneer historian of Indian art and foremost interpreter of Indian culture to the West, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

“All that is best for us comes of itself into our hands-but if we strive to overtake it, it perpetually eludes us.”
― Ananda Coomaraswamy

This meaning here is much like that of the famous Chuang Tzu quote: “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” To Coomaraswamy, ignorance is thinking that you can actually force outcomes when the wise sage knows that only the flow of grace or nature can bring them into our lives.

Today’s Video: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Reading List



The gentle child-like innocence of not knowing
shines with a warm presence
that reliance on one’s acquired knowledge
can never attain.

Yesterday we posted a quote from Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Today we look at a verse from a close friend of Goethe, Friedrich Von Schiller.

“There are three lessons I would write-
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the heart of men.

Have hope! though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow,
No night but hath its morn.

Have love! not love alone for one,
But man as man thy brother call,
And scatter like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.”
― Friedrich Von Schiller

Here Schiller is calling on us to have hope though gladness hides her face in scorn and not to fret and worry over our problems but to remember disappointments cannot last forever as suredly as a new day will dawn. Most importantly, we must express charity to all not just a select few for all are our brothers and sisters. For Schiller these were the keys to leading an enlightened life. It would do us good as well to heed Schiller’s advice.

Today’s Video: “Do you Know Friedrich Schiller?”



the new frontier, really?
and the old frontier,
the one we live in,
walk in, drive in, fly in,
the one we pile on
with concrete, steel, cement,
the one we pollute,
fill with trash, garbage, toxins
and greenhouse gases?
Humans fill Space with artificiality;
Nature fills it with Life.

Today we journey back to Europe as the Industrial Era was plodding along, and one Johann Wolfgang Goethe emerged as one of Germany’s foremost poets, authors, and philosophers.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Of all the myriad quotes of Goethe, I chose this short, simple one because of its prime importance. When you truly commit to the Path, the Universe in the form of grace truly conspires to assist you in every way possible.
But committment, though extremely vital, it is also confusing and frightening. Which path is the right path? Which one should I take? What will happen to me if I choose the wrong path? It’s doubts like these that have prevented so many from discovering their true nature.

Today’s Video: LITERATURE – Goethe



sensations run freely,
spilling everywhere
bursting from this bag of skin
split open by a Cosmic Breath.
Perceptions no longer matter,
only the intimacy between
inside and outside,
unbinding one
from this self-made prison.

To all my U.S. friends, Happy President’s Day. And a special Happy President’s day to my friend, President Joe Biden.

As we begin this new week, we turn again to another English author, William Wordsworth. and his enlightened poem “It is a Beauteous Evening.”

” It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the Sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year;
And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.”
– by William Wordsworth

“A Beauteous Evening” is indeed a beauteous poem and, even more so, an enlightened poem. Wordsworth is telling us that even if we are not praying (“solemn thought”), the Divine is still with us, and we are with the Divine, lying “in Abraham’s bosom all the year.” When we are in solemn thought (prayer), we are worshipping “at the Temple’s inner shrine (our heart). He concludes by affirming that God is with us even if we don’t realize it.

Today’s Video: “Introduction to William Wordsworth”



Be like the Earth
that nurtures us as we grow,
that sustains us throughout life,
that supports and grounds us
in all we do.
Be the Earth to all beings.

Rounding out this week’s quotations on Music and Enlightenment, we return to William Shakespeare and the closing lines from his play, “The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene 1.

“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus;
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.”
– The Merchant of Venice; Act V, Scene 1
by Willliam Shakespeare

So, get some music in your life and have a great weekend. If you’re in the U.S., it’s a 3-day weekend. Keep practicing and I’ll see you Monday.

Today’s Video: “The Enlightenment of William Shakespeare”



Trust your body.
It is your friend.
Relating intimately
as though a close friend.
Trust it,
Be intimate,
But don’t identify with it.
The body is not who your are.

Again we look at the harmony between Music and Enlightenment, today with the Indian musicologist, singer, philosopher and spiritual teacher who established Sufism in the West. Hazrat Inayat Khan.

“Sound is the force of creation, the true whole. Music then, becomes the voice of the great cosmic oneness and therefore the optimal way to reach this final state of healing.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

This one short quote out of hundreds, epitomizes Hazrat Inayat Khan’s main philosophy and approach to reaching enlightenment – it is in the music – the voice of the great cosmic oneness.

Today’s Video: Hazrat Inayat Khan



Suspended in stillness,
one waits uncertainly,
while Life strips away
the molting layers
of separateness until
Stark naked,
one is enwrapped
in an envirobody of sentience,
a chrysalis of borderless vibration,
an ever-expanding metamorphosis
evolving in an Holistic Communion.

Continuing with our study of the relationship between Enlightenment and Music, today the focus is on a contemporary artists from Sicily, Laura Inserra, a sound alchemist. What is a sound alchemist? An artists who works with and blends all sorts of vibrations. Check out more on her website.

“The essence of the Universe is vibration,
quenchless energy in motion, e-motion.
My work is about experiencing the Source and its manifestation
through sound, emotions, and body awareness.” ~ Laura Inserra

Laura believes that her work with sound and vibration can heal as well as lead one to a higher source.

Today’s Video: Lullabies for the Soul



In Meditating, there’s
no breathing,
Only breath,
no stilling thoughts,
Only mind,
no perceiving,
Only perceptions
no Meditator,
only Meditation

Today we continue with our study of the relationship between Enlightenment and Music with yet another German author, this one a theoretic physicist by the name of Albert Einstein.

“We are slowed down sound and light waves,
a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos.
We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.” ~ Albert Einstein

Yes, even Einstein had something to say about Music and Enlightenment addressing us as “souls dressed up in sacred bochemical garments and our bodies ar ethe instruments through which our souls play their music.”
Notice that Einstein addressed us as “souls” not “bodies.” He did not consider the body as a part of us but as tools or instruments which we as souls use to play our music, namely our experiences and reactions to them.

Today’s Video: Albert Einstein “Quotes you should know before you get old.”



In true surrender,
No one surrenders.
In ending the effort
of seeming to be separate,
we are surrendered
by Life, itself, into
the arms of Infinite Oneness.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. My Love to each of you. Today’s quote is a follow up to yesterday’s quote on the power of music by Schopenhaur. This one is from a fellow German philosopher,

“God has given us music so that above all it can lead us upwards. Music unites all qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer us up, or break the hardest of hearts with the softest of its melancholy tones. But its principal task is to lead our thoughts to higher things, to elevate, even to make us tremble… The musical art often speaks in sounds more penetrating than the words of poetry, and takes hold of the most hidden crevices of the heart… Song elevates our being and leads us to the good and the true. If, however, music serves only as a diversion or as a kind of vain ostentation it is sinful and harmful.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

As I mentioned yesterday, and Nietzsche reaffirms today that music has an uplifting quality and leads our thoughts to higher things. Thus, we can understand why it is an integral part of religious worship, spanning many cultures and many religions.

Today’s Video: PHILOSOPHY – Nietzsche



Sweet Surrender,
Sweet Giving Up,
The Fear and Resistance vanished
like the ghosts they are;
leaving an openness
infused with the nectar of freedom.

Today’s quote on Enlightenment or Noumenality comes from the 19th-Century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhaur, whose book, “The World as Will and Representation,” characterizes the phenominal world as a product of a blind noumenal Will and music as the one art that seemed to Schopenhaur as an embodiment of that Will, that is, besides Buddhism and Schopenhaur’s beloved Buddha.

“Music … stands quite apart from all the [other arts]. In it we do not recognize the copy, the repetition, of any Idea of the inner nature of the world. Yet it is such a great and exceedingly fine art, its effect on man’s innermost nature is so powerful, and it is so completely and profoundly understood by him in his innermost being as an entirely universal language, whose distinctness surpasses even that of the world of perception itself, that in it we certainly have to look for more than that exercitium arithmeticae occultum nescientis se numerare animi [“an unconscious exercise in arithmetic in which the mind does not know it is counting”] which Leibniz took it to be… We must attribute to music a far more serious and profound significance that refers to the innermost being of the world and of our own self.” – Arthur Schopenhaur, “The World as Will and Representation”

This would seem to explain why so many of the world’s religions incorporate music into their ritual worship with chorals, hymns and chants, thus bringing us away from the phenominal objects of our outerworld into the noumenal world of our innermost being and our true self.

Today’s Video: PHILOSOPHY – Schopenhauer



Opening of the heart
Welcoming whatever Grace brings,
be it good or not.
Allowing life to decide
how it will flow,
not the limited knowledge
of the conditioned mind.
Opening, Welcoming, Allowing,
this is meditation.

A few days ago, we posted a quote from the 20th-Century Indian guru and mystic, Nasargadatta Maharaj. Today’s quote on approaching Enlightenment is from Nasargadatta’s disciple, H. W. L. Poonja, affectionately called “Papaji.”

“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace!” – H.W.L. Poonja Poonjaji or Papaji

So how do we find this peace? We don’t. No, it’s the other way around. Peace must find us. So, how does that happen? By Opening the heart. By welcoming whatever Grace brings, whether positive or negative. Accept it. Allow it to flow on its own accord. Allow it to change you without interference. In other words, just be open, welcoming and allowing, and Grace will one day bring you to the Peace that you are.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And keep Practicing!

Today’s Video: “PAPAJI – Neither Inside or Outside”



to slow the breath
to ease bodily sensations
to calm the mind
and stop thoughts
is not meditation.
to stop striving
is still Striving, not meditation

We remain in England but move forward in time from Shakespeare’s England to the Romantic Era and a poem by William Wordsworth that illustrates the A-ha! moment.

“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.” – The Rainbow, William Wordsworth

While true realization happens in a flash, it is usually built upon these little break-throughs, these A-ha moments of grace over the years that connect to one another growing deeper and deeper until finally one realizes one’s true nature. It may be a startling, explosive moment or one quietly sensitive and evoking. But it is the connected of these moments, like beholding a rainbow, over time that, should that connection not exist, Wordsworth cries out “let me die!”

Today’s Video: Wordsworth Documentary



Enlightenment doesn’t have a calendar.
It happens when it happens.
Grace doesn’t run on a timetable.
A Guru cannot say
when the next measure will be through.

Today we return to Western ideas on Enlightenment and journey back to the Renaissance and Stratford-upon-Avon, England, the home of the Bard, William Shakespeare, and his Sonnet #62.

“Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
And all my soul, and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed
Beated and chopp’d with tanned antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
‘Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
Painting my age with beauty of thy days.”
– Sonnet #62, William Shakespeare

The sonnet starts with Shakespeare seemingly chastizing himself for the sin of self-love. If it were truly himself, William Shakespeare,the man, that he loved so deeply, it would be a sin of the highest magnitude. But then he informs us that it is not the “self,” which he actually holds far less than dearly, “Beated and chopp’d with tanned antiquity,” Instead it is the Self, his true nature, the “beloved,” as rumi often calls it, that he holds so near and dear. The Sonnet can be construed as a Western Renaissance model of Bhakti.

Today’s Video: “Shakespeare’s Sonnet 62”



Breath in, It is full.
Breath out, It is empty.
In fullness, it is empty.
In emptiness, it is full.

Twentieith-Century India was a prime time and place for spirituality and mystics like Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi Ma, Atmananda Krishna Menon and many more. Nisargadatta Maharaj, a contemporary of Ramana Maharshi, was one of the most prominent.

“Do not be afraid of freedom from desire and fear. It enables you to live a life so different from all you know, so much more intense and interesting that, truly, by losing all you gain all.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Here, in this quote, Nisargadatta hit the realization nail squarely on the head. It is fear of our total freedom that keeps us from realizing our true nature. It is our egoic mind that clings to desires for the fear that it will be lost forever by giving up worldly objects and ambitions. It would rather be bound to objects and desires rather than be lost in freedom.

Today’s Video: “I am only the Self – Nisargadatta Maharaj”



Allowed to Be
I am thankful,
Allowed to Breathe,
I am thankful,
Allowed to thank

Today’s word on Enlightenment comes from one of the strongest yet gentlest voices ever heard in the search for realization and Self-Cultivation, the Bengali saint and prominent mystic of the last century, Sri Anandamayi Ma.

“Enquire: ‘Who am I?’ and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same Atman everywhere.
All creation is that. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.” – Sri Anandamayi Ma

Anything I could add to the words of Sri Anandamayi Ma would only detract from them.

Today’s Video: Guru Ganesh Singh – Snatam Kaur – Ma – Anandamayi Ma



The individual sees himself
as a separate entity interacting
with other separate entities;
Sages see themselves
interacting with their self.

We ended last week’s quotes on Enlightenment with Chuang-Tzu, and we will start this week with another of his quotes. Although not a famous one, it is nonetheless, one of Cjuang-Tzu’s most important…

“The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.” – Chuang-Tzu

This is called ignorance. Society has conditioned us to turn away or ignore the most important aspect of our life – our inner spiritual cultivation – while teaching us to accept what should be igonored, namely, phenominal worldly objects and ambitions, all of which lead to bondage.

Today’s Video: Serenity – Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)



The Beholder that beholds
is not Itself a beholding
The Beholder and not the beheld
is that which is the Beloved.

Yesterday we looked at a quote on Enlightenment from Confucius. Today it is Confucius’ best known critic and my favorite Daoist sage, Chaung-Tzu, who gives us his thought on Enlightenment.

“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.” – Chuang-Tzu (Zhuangzi)

Simple, huh? Then why can’t we do it? Because we think we are the self, which we have been told over and over again from our earliest days. But if we realize that we have no actual proof that we are a separate entity like we have been told and we can drop this idea altogether, then Grace in time will reveal our True Nature.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and keep up the practice!

Today’s Video: Chuang-Tzu – The Great Awakening



Grace like a steady rain
that washes the dust from the air
washes away the ignorance
that clouds the mind.

Today we return to China for our next quote on Enlightenment. This is a short but important quote from one of the most influential of all ancient Chinese philosophers, Kungfuzi (Confucius).

“The superior man is universally minded and no partisan. The inferior man is a partisan and not universal.” – Confucius.

In this brief two-short sentence quote, Confucius illumines a vital point in striving for Self-Cultivation. Our attitude toward life must be one of openness. To be universally-minded means to feel that everything is connected and that we are not separate entities. The inferior man, on the other hand, feels that he has a separate human existence and thus will have partisan biases, prejudices, likes and dislikes, even outright hatred toward other humans, both individuals and groups.

Today’s Video: Who was Confucius? – Bryan W. Van Norden



The space within and the space without
are not different.
Dissolve the borders
and there is oneness.

Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the Lebanese-American poet and author, Kahlil Gibran, author of “The Prophet.”

“And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fullfilment. you should be free indeed when your days are not without care nor your nights without a word and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked unbound.”

Gibran’s lesson here is two-fold. First, you cannot seek freedom or Self-realization. That desire will bind you rather than free you. It cannot be your goal or something you are trying to achieve. This alludes to the Daoist principal of wu-wei, uncontrived, ungoverned action. The attitude must be one of openness to whatever life brings. Welcome it into your life. This, in turn, leads to Gibran’s second point. What life brings may seem painful, obstructive. Life has brought it so you can “Rise Above” it, naked and unbound.

Today’s Video: “Defeat – Kahlil Gibran”



The Reality that perceives
is not a perception.
The flame that sautes
is not the meal.

Keeping with Indian poets and mystics on Enlightenment, today we feature a quote from Rabindranath Tagore

“Only those of tranquil minds, and none else, can attain abiding joy, by realizing within their souls the Being who manifests one essence in a multiplicity of forms.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Here Tagore points to the Universal Truth, that within and throughout the multiplicity of forms that we see, there is but one essence, known by a multiplicity of names: Reality, Consciousness, Awareness, Truth, Love, Brahman, God, Dao, Oneness.

Today’s Video: No Fear – Rabindranath Tagore



With today’s quote on Enlightenment, we honor the 15th-Century Indian mystic, poet and saint, Kabir Das. Kabir has been spiritually significant to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike.

“Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath.”

When you really look for God, you will find him in the tiniest house – the house of your spiritual heart which is in the breath inside your breath, far beyond the physical heart.

Today’s Video: Kabir ~ In Silence (With Each Out Breath) ~ A Meditation



We start off this week’s quotes on Enlightenment with a most unusual subject and video conversation on Ottoman Archery with a superb and no doubt enlightened Turkish archer, Ahmet Karat, now living in Australia.

You may want to play the video at .75x as Karat speaks rather quickly, and I wouldn’t want you to miss any of his inspiring philosophy with quotes like…
“Archery is the art of the empty mind”
“Talent pulls the bow, destiny releases the arrow”
“Pride creeps in like an ant.”
– Ahmet Karat

Today’s Video: “Ahmed Karat, on Ottoman Archery”



We complete the week with one more quote on Enlightenment from one of the foremost philosophers from Europe’s Age of Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant.

“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! ‘Have courage to use your own reason!’- that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant

As simple as that. You have the ability to reason, so use it. Don’t let others, especially today with social media and email generators like Constant Contact, lead you around by making you chase after the self-improvement carrot. In the Age of Enlightenment, the world “enlightenment” did not mean what it does today. Instead, it simply meant to use your power of reasoning. In the spiritual traditions of India, this ability is called “jnana.” It is not enlightenment in itself, but a process or path to enlightenment.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and enjoy your practice.

Today’s Video: “Beginner’s Guide to Kant’s Moral Philosophy



Today we remain with a Western philosophical slant on Enlightenment from the Age of Enlightenment in Europe . Today’s quote is from another one of the famous German philosophers from that era, Immanuel Kant.

“The main point of enlightenment is man’s release from his self-caused immaturity, primarily in matters of religion.” – Immanuel Kant

What Kant is telling us here is that often there is a vast difference between reason and religion. His quote assumes that the duty of the scriptures, pastors, bishops and the like is to tell their followers what to think. Whereas, the truly mature mind can think for itself unlike those immature minds that blindly follow religious teachings unable to reason whether those teachings are actually valid or not. We see this in our own society today as religion and politics join together in a fatal embrace of following the word of scripture to the letter without deviation.

Today’s Video: “Begginger’s Guide to Kant’s Metaphysics & Epistemology”



For today’s perspective on Enlightenment, we have a combined Eastern/Western take with a quote from Francis Lucille, a disciple of Jean Klein and a Western spiritual teacher of Nondual Advaita, which arose from the spiritual traditions of India.

“It [realization of Oneness] means being constantly open to the possibility that we are like two flowers looking at each other from two different branches of the same tree, so that if we were to go deep enough inside to the trunk, we would realize that we are one. Just being open to this possibility will have a profound effect on your relationships and on your experience of the world.”

Like the trunk of a tree, the One Consciousness branches out, flowing through all of its manesfestations, like the sap of a tree, with the gift of Life and Awareness.

Today’s Video: Francis Lucille, “Love is the Clearest Demonstration of Oneness”



Today is the last quote on Enlightenment from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. This one is from Verses 14-15.

“14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. ”

This quote is important because it contains all we really know about God or Brahman or Dao or the Truth or whatever you like to call the Creator. It is Eternal, Everlasting; it is now and always was and always will be, without beginning or end. Nothing can be added to it nor taken away. In other words, It is infinite. It is Timeless, “That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been.” And finally, the key secret:” God seeks what has been driven away.” What is that? You…and Me…Us! We are what has been driven away – by worldly phenomena and our desire for them, which has turned us away, through our own ignorance, from our Creator. And the wonderful fact is that it is God, Brahman, the Dao, the Creator that seeks us.

And the magnet that draws God to us is our Awareness. We need to be Aware of our ignorance, Aware of our clutter of desires for worldly objects, Aware that we need to be open and welcome whatever God’s Grace brings, good or not so good, into our lives.

Today’s Video: A different view of Ecclesiastes.



Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the next section of Ecclesiastes 3:11-12.This is a follow up to the ‘Everything is good time’ or ‘Go with the Flow’ verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I mentioned there was a secret hidden within Here it is..

“11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live…”

So, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” is summary of verses 1 through 8. Then, in Verse 11, the source of the “I AM,” which is what you are (Self-Realization) is in the heart. But it’s not the physical heart. It’s the spiritual heart or “Shen” in Daoism. But you cannot find it because it is noumenal not phenominal. Neither is it some form of energy as many Daoist Alchemists believe as well as both Eastern and Western energy practitioners. So, stop looking for it. Instead, Verse 12 tells us to simply be joyful and do good as long as you live basically out of gratitude for the opportunity to know life and experience the greatness of the Majesty of God (the Dao, Brahman, Life, Eternity). Then in good time, grace will find you.

Today’s Video: more on Ecclesiastes



First of all, to all my Asian friends, Gongxi Facai, Xinnian Hao! I hope you enjoyed your Lunar New Year’s weekend. Of course my heart and deepest sympathy goes out to the victims and families of the senseles shooting in Monterey Park, California. And to all those politicians who believe the Constitution of the United States begins and ends with the Second Amendment, wake the hell up! There is a Preamble, Seven Articles, and 26 other Amendments beside the Second. You need to defend and support the entire Constitution, not just the Second Amendment.

To start this week off with quotes on Enlightenment, we turn back to the Ancient Middle East and the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes, purportedly written by King Solomon in his old age, and some modern support from the Byrd’s to honor their founder, the late David Crosby.

“1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to reap
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Why is this a quote about obtaining Enlightenment? You have to look no further than Laozi and Chuangzi and other Daoist sages, who point out that one must follow the Dao or flow with the Dao, which is exactly what King Solomon is telling us in these verses – Go with the Flow, my friends. Realize that everything has its time. Be grateful for whatever Life brings you. Though you may not see the reason for it, be open and accept it as something you need for your Cultivation at this very moment. The purpose will become clear as your practice of Self-Cultivation deepens.

The next two sections of Ecclesiastes 3 hold two more secrets for obtaining Enlightenment. We will present them Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here is our Video on Ecclesiastes from the late David Crosby and his group, the Byrds. Follow the Music; Follow the Dao…




Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve. So, to all my Asian friends, Xīn nián kuài lè (“Happy New Year.”).

And my wish for you in this coming Year of the Rabbit: Fú shòu shuāng quán (“May you enjoy both longevity and blessing.”)

Enjoy this special weekend with family and friends. See you next week.

New Year Video: Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession from Disney California Adventure, 2023

New Year Music: “Melody of China”



Today’s quote again turns to the West. It is by Marshall Vian Summers, not a guru or mystic, but a Messenger.

“Your purpose is to discover your Knowledge (the immortal aspect of yourself, your Spirit or Higher Self), follow knowledge and let Knowledge shape and redirect your life. Your Calling is what Knowledge asks you specifically to do once you are ready to move in a specific direction. It is here that your relationships must become connected to your calling, and not just to your purpose.” – Marshall Vian Summers

A messenger is one who is given a message to carry, for a purpose, from those who sent him or her. Messengers have a much more significant role to play than teachers and enlightened masters. They are sent to alter the course of human history.

Today’s Video is from the Messenger, Marshall Vian Summers: “Take the Journey of the Power of Spirit | A Prophet of God Speaks”



Today we turn Eastward once again and the great saint of 20th Century India, Ramana Maharshi, for one of his many quotes on finding Enlightenment or Realization.

“The srutis and the sages say that the objects are only mental creations. They have no substantive being. Investigate the matter and ascertain the truth of this statement. The result will be the conclusion that the objective world is in the subjective consciousness. The Self is thus the only Reality that permeates and also envelops the world. Since there is no duality, no thoughts will arise to disturb your peace. This is Realization of the Self.” – Ramana Maharshi

Today’s Video: “Talks With Ramana Maharshi” Talk #146



We continue with the Western view of Enlightenment. This quote is from the 13th century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart.

“God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” – Meister Eckhart

Although rather short, the quote is right to the point. Compare it with its companion quote from the East and Laozi: “The scholar gains every day; the man of Tao loses every day.” – Tao Te Ching

Today’s Video: Meister Eckhart – Selected Verses and Teachings for Meditation



Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from the famous Greek and Armenian philosopher and mystic, George Gurdjieff. Here’s his basic philosophy on obtaining enlightenment in a nutshell.

“LIBERATION LEADS TO LIBERATION. These are the first words of truth — not truth in quotation marks but truth in the real meaning of the word; truth which is not merely theoretical, not simply a word, but truth that can be realized in practice. The meaning behind these words may be explained as follows: By liberation is meant the liberation which is the aim of all schools, all religions, at all times. This liberation can indeed be very great. All men desire it and strive after it. But it cannot be attained without the first liberation, a lesser liberation. The great liberation is liberation from influences outside us. The lesser liberation is liberation from influences within us.” – George Gurdjieff

While Gurdjieff calls it the lesser liberation, it is by no means the easiest. To reach that stage, that condition of being free from our internal influences – our acquired mind – is the most difficult challenge of all. So, no use just hanging around, reading blogs and such, get to work on your practice – now! No time like the present. Afterall, the present is the only time there is.

Today’s Video: “Gurdjieff’s Mission



I hope everyone everywhere had a wonderful weekend. And to those in America, Happy Martin Luther King Day. Let us celebrate the brotherhood of all humanity which the Dr. King was all about. In keep with that thought, today’s quote on Enlightenment is from Francis Lucille, an Advaita teacher and close disciple of Jean Klein.

“It [realization of Oneness] means being constantly open to the possibility that we are like two flowers looking at each other from two different branches of the same tree, so that if we were to go deep enough inside to the trunk, we would realize that we are one. Just being open to this possibility will have a profound effect on your relationships and on your experience of the world.” – Francis Lucille

The great thing about Francis Lucille’s teachings, I feel, are his analogies. They are direct and to the point and always draw us toward the True Reality that is hearing or reading his words, in this case, the trunk of the tree.

Here’s today’s video with Francis in a Dialogue with his followers “How Do I stop Believing I Am Separate?”



We close out the week with a quote from Lao-Tzu on Enlightenment.

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.” – Laozi, “The Tao Te Ching”

Thus, darkness within darkness is the darkening of desires until one becomes desireless. This is the darkness that is the gate to all mystery. In other words, Enlightenment. Have a great weekend, everyone. And enjoy your practice.

This weekend’s video: “Taoism – The Philosophy of Flow”



Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Today’s quote on Enlightenment is from Rumi’s, guru and mentor, the Sufi Sage, Shams Tabrizi.

“The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead, time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.”
– Shams Tabrizi

We have heard it many times and many ways, if one wants to be illumined, be in the present moment – the here and now. One could say the path to Enlightenment is a “broken record.” But Shams Tabrizi makes two very important points. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line. Time moves in endless spirals, through and within us. The other important point, Eternity is timelessness not infinite time. Thus, there is no past and no future, only the present moment.

Today’s video: “A Phenomenal Meeting,” a story of Shams and Rumi.



Today’s quote is from Rumi, the great Sufi poet and mystic, with his slant on one aspect of enlightenment.

“You are a volume in the divine book, a mirror to the power that created the universe. Whatever you want, ask it of yourself. Whatever you’re looking for can only be found inside of you.” – Rumi

In other words Rumi is telling us that whatever you are looking for, you are looking with. That is precisely why he states that whatever you’re looking for can only be found inside of you. So, therefore, open the book that you are and begin reading.

Today’s Video contains more of Rumi’s teachings.



Today I would like to add to have a further explanation from Jean Klein on his concept of enlightenment. In yesterday’s quote, he stated that when you find yourself in the absence of objects, there comes a moment when objects appear in you. He went on to suggest that presence is then constant, based in the timeless.

So, is there a moment when in living in the seeing, in the hearing, in consciousness without objects, suddenly objects appear in our being, in consciousness?

“Yes, it is a switch over. But first you abide in beauty, you are attracted by beauty because you are beauty and beauty looks for beauty. So live in it, dwell in it, take it to yourself and then there comes a moment when you are it. It is a total expansion…

“It is very difficult for people to be presence without any object at all. They always need some subtle object, a vibration, a body sensation, a light, a feeling of transcendence or expansion. But when the senses are accepted totally, welcomed, they open and there’s a deep relaxation. In this deep relaxation they are integrated into our being. If, on the other hand, they are refused, as happens with introversion, their grasping reflex remains because the sense organs automatically look for existence. So there is no deep expansion and no integration.”
– Jean Klein, “Bringing the Perceived Back to Perceiving”

Would you say, then, that the practical essence of enlightenment is integration? How say you?

In case you missed yesterday’s video with more teachings from Jean Klein, here it is once more…



Today a look at Enlightenment from the Advaita point of view by Jean Klein.

“The moment when the seen brings you back to the seeing is a timeless moment when you live in your glory. At first the reflex will be there to go again to the object, but after the moment of glory you now have a feeling, an echo, that the object is in you. After several of these moments, you will feel clearly that there is no separation, that time is in the timeless.

“Find yourself in the absence of objects and there comes a moment when objects appear in you. You will feel activity is in you but you are not in it. The activity is constantly purified; it is sacred at every moment. This is enlightenment: where presence is constant, based in the timeless, presence in all activity.” – Jean Klein, “THe Book of Listening”

This one may be a little difficult to understand. Ask yourself, can you have perception without any objects? Can you be present in the absence of objects? Are you truly limited to the objects you perceive? Ponder this.

Today’s video: more teachings from Jean Klein…



This week we begin to take a look at “Enlightenment” through the wisdom of the greatest Sages through the ages. We start off with the 13th century Sufi philosopher, Ibn Arabi.

“It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.” – al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya (The Meccan Revelations) of Ibn Arabi.

It was Ibn Arabi to wrote the famous quote: “Wheresoever you turn, there is the face of God.” The above quote is an extension of that Truth in that He is in each one of us and is our very primordial and original nature.

Today’s Video: “Alone with the Alone” – More of Ibn Arabi’s teachings



Yesterday, Zhungzi told us what Happiness isn’t. Today he tells us what Happiness is.

“To be constant is to be useful. To be useful is to realize one’s true nature. Realization of one’s true nature is happiness. When one reaches happiness, one is close to perfection.” – Zhuangzi

In other words, when one realizes one’s true nature, there is no sense of lack. Without a sense of lack, one is eternally happy. Thus, one realizes that Happiness is one’s true nature.

Have a great weekend, everyone. And here’s our Zhuangzi video with more of the Sage’s views on Happiness.



No discussion of what happiness is or – in this case, what it isn’t – would be complete without a quote or two from Zhuanzi.

“When I look at what the world does and where people nowadays believe they can find happiness, I am not sure that that is true happiness. The happiness of these ordinary people seems to consist in slavishly imitating the majority, as if this were their only choice. And yet they all believe they are happy. I cannot decide whether that is happiness or not. Is there such a thing as happiness?” – Zhuangzi

Tomorrow Zhuangzi will tell us what he believes happiness truly is. And now for our Video…



Today a quote on happiness from Rumi’s mentor and guru, Shams Tabrizi.

“Happy is the one whose eyes sleep,
but whose heart does not sleep!
Woe on the one whose eyes do not sleep,
but whose heart does sleep!”
– Shams Tabrizi, from My Path to God

Video: My Path to God- Shams Tabrizi (See also, Forty Rules of Love)




Rumi, the Sufi poet and mystic, has many quotes on Joy and Happiness. Here are just a few.

“When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near the truth.” – Rumi
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi
“The soul is here for its own joy.” -Rumi
– And my personal favorite –
“Get yourself out of the way, and let joy have more space.” – Rumi

Video: “Lose Yourself” – Rumi



Today we have another ‘Bliss’ quote. This one from a close disciple of John Klein’s, Francis Lucille, who trained as a mathematician and is also a Nondual Advaita teacher. He lives in Temecula, CA.

“When we are happy, we don’t know that we are happy, because happiness requires childlike innocence. When a child is happy, he doesn’t know that he is happy. He doesn’t formulate it, he simply enjoys it.”
– Francis Lucille

Video: Francis Lucille, “The Mission of Life is to Discover Happiness”




Happy New Year to all! It’s a new year and a new slant on our daily quotes and videos. They are no longer related solely to Daoism and Daoist philosophy but to all Nondual practices, philosophies and teachers.

Since this is a happy time of year, we are going to start off with a blissful quote from Jean Klein, the French author and nondualist philosopher and teacher of Advaita Vedanta, who originally trained as both a musicologist and a physician and worked in the French underground during World War II.

“In silent surrender there is bliss and prayer without request or demand. There is no doer, experiencer, lover or beloved. There is only a divine current. You see that the very act of welcoming is itself the solution to the problem and the action which follows your comprehension is very straightforward. When you become familiar with the act of surrender, truth will solicit you unsought.”

Video: Interview with Jean Klein – Discovering the Current of Love





HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! RELAX – You made through another year. Be thankful – and Joyful! See you January 2, 2023


I am doing a retreat over the next five days with Francis Lucille, an Advaita teacher and disciple of Jean Klein. So, I will wish you a Merry Christmas now and leave you with this thoughtful quote from Rumi…

“What a Joy, to follow the way of the heart.” – Rumi

Merry Christmas and Joy to All from the depths of my heart.

A special video for Christmas, a time of true giving.



Today’s quote regarding the Daoist view on Joy and Happiness comes once again from Chuang-tzu. Sometimes he uses Confucius and his disciples to get his point across.

Chuang-Tzu writes…

Confucius said to Yen Hui:

“Oh, come on, Hui. Your family is poor and your house is dilapidated. Why don’t you get a job?” — “I don’t want a job. I have eight acres of fields outside the city wall, enough for vegetables and grain. I also have an acre and a half of farm land nearby, which gives me enough silk and hemp. Strumming my zithers is enough to give me pleasure, studying Tao with you is enough to make me happy. I don’t want a job”

Whether you are strumming your zithers or dragging your tail in the mud like a turtle, studying the Tao and practicing self-cultivation, should be enough to make you happy. Enjoy your practice, enjoy Life, everyone.

Today’s video features Baguazhang and Li Wei Dong showing specific exercises and their applications.



One more plain and simple quote from the I Ching on Joy and Happiness for the Jolly month of December.

“No plain not followed by a slope. No going not followed by a return. He who remains persevering in danger is without blame. Do not complain about this truth; Enjoy the good fortune you still possess.”
—I Ching

Much like yesterday’s I Ching quote this is the I Ching insisting that you enjoy your good fortune while it’s here because you never know how long before it’s gone. Enjoy your practice, folks.

Here’s Part 2 of the Martial Man’s interview with Prana Dynamics founder and martial artist, Master Huai Hsiang (Howard) Wang.



Here’s another plain and simple quote from the I Ching on Joy and Happiness for the Jolly month of December.

“Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.”
—I Ching

The I Ching is simply saying: “Enjoy life while you can.” We know joyful moments don’t last. Life always intrudes with disturbances of one kind or another. So what? Enjoy the present moment while you can. As long as there are no disturbances right now, why worry and fret? That goes for your practice as well. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video continues with Part 1 of the Martial Man’s interview with Prana Dynamics founder and martial artist, Master Huai Hsiang (Howard) Wang.


We concluded last week with a quote from the I Ching, and we will start off Christmas Week in the Jolly month of December with another quote on Joy and Happiness from the ever-wise I Ching.

“On average, an infant laughs nearly two hundred times a day; an adult, only twelve. Maybe they are laughing so much because they are looking at us. To be able to preserve joyousness of heart and yet to be concerned in thought: in this way we can determine good fortune and misfortune on earth, and bring to perfection everything on earth.”
—I Ching

So is this what Lao-Tzu meant when he said we need to become like a newborn baby? Go ahead and laugh your head off! It’s all a part of practicing self-cultivation. Enjoy, folks.

Two more weeks to New Year’s Day and to the deadline for registering in Master Huai Hsiang Wang’s six-month online master class in Prana Dynamics running from January – June, 2023. You will learn key aspects such as Confluence to Permeation for Fascia Activation, Linear vs Spatial Alignment, Simultaneous mind-body modulation, Tensegrity, Synchronization vs. Flow, From Flexibility to Conductivity and so much more. Master Wang, the son of Grandmaster Wang Chieh, is the originator of Prana Dynamics, and this is the only place where you can learn Prana Dynamics. Learn more at

Here’s a video clip of Prana Dynamics in action from The 2020 Martial Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand.



We conclude the week with another quote on the importance of music in achieving Joy from the I Ching for this Jolly month of December.

When thunder comes it relieves the tension and promotes positive action. Music can do the same by making people enthusiastic and united together. When used to promote good it brings them closer to heaven.
—I Ching

Did you find that special music yet that stops the inner turmoil of thought, relieves tension and promotes positive action? If not, keep searching and enjoy the weekend, everyone. See you on Monday.

In today’s video Grandmast Zhong Yunlong presents the other classic Wudang form, Wudang Tai Chi 28.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness with a Daoist perspective is from author Wu Wei.

“Great music stops the inner turmoil of thought and allows the mind to seek its natural state of joy. Music frees our minds and allows us to soar to heights where we can experience the celestial. Music opens our minds to allow the perception of new thoughts of a higher nature, which gives us a spiritual lift, which produces yet more joy.”
― Wu Wei, I Ching Wisdom: More Guidance from the Book of Answers, Volume Two

The Key phrase here is “great music,” not necessarily pop music or dance music or rap or country & western or even classical Mozart. It may refer to classical Chinese or classical Indian or Sufi. That is up to you to sort out. I would say whatever resonates with your inner spirit. Listen and enjoy, everyone.

In today’s video we look at Wudang Tai Chi, which has two classic form – the 13 and the 28. Today, we viewing the Wudang Tai Chi 13 present by Grandmaster Zhong Yunlong.



The next few Joy and Happiness quotes come from India. Today’s quote is from ancient India from a contemporary of Lao-Tzu, Gautama Buddha…

“There is no path to Happiness; happiness is the path.”
– Gautama Buddha

I don’t know if Lao-Tzu would agree, but I’m certain Chuang-Tzu would. The problem is how does one find this path. My Advaita teacher had the solution: Just think you’re happy. Or, as the song goes, “Don’t worry. Be Happy.” Enjoy, everyone.

Today’s video is another view of The Martial Camp. This one from Adam Mizner’s training partner, Sifu Liang DeHua, demonstrating “Connection.”



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness comes from a French author and one of the most influential writers of the last century, Marcel Proust.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
– Marcel Proust

Proust may have been far from Daoist, but it is a wonderful play upon Nature that any Daoist can appreciate and a gracious thought to put into practice. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video is a demonstration of Yang style Peng, Liu , Ji, An with Adam Mizner at his 2020 Martial Camp.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December as we focus on Joy and Happiness with a Daoist perspective is from the great German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer.

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer

I don’t think there is a Daoist anywhere, living or dead, who would disagree with that. Go to it, folks, and enjoy your practice.

Today we also have a Joyful video courtesy of world-famous qigong master Wong Kiew Kit entitled, “The Joy of the Three Circle Stance.” Follow along, folks.



We start off another week of Jolly December with my favorite Daoist sage, Chuang-Tzu (Zhuangzi), with one of my favorite Daoist stories that best exemplifies the Daoist concept of Joy and Happiness.

Chuang Tzu with his bamboo pole was fishing in the Pu river. The prince of Chu sent two vice-chancellors with a formal document: “We hereby appoint you prime minister.” Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole still. Watching the Pu river he said, “I am told there is a sacred tortoise offered and canonized three thousand years ago, venerated by the prince, wrapped in silk, in a precious shrine on an altar in the temple. What do you think? Is it better to give up one’s life and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult in a cloud of incense for three thousand years, or to live as a plain turtle dragging its tail in the mud?”

“For the turtle,” said the vice-chancellor, “better to live and drag its tail in the mud!”
“Go home!” said Chuang Tzu. “Leave me here to drag my tail in the mud.”

Ahh, what better expression of Joy than to fish in the Pu river and decline the opportunity to become a prime minister! So, your practice to start the week is to drag your tail in the mud. Well, not literally. But take the time to look at all the things you are doing and see if any or maybe most of them are blocking you from doing what will surely bring you joy. Enjoy your practice, folks!

We heard Mark Rasmus’ opinion on combining tai chi and a weight lifting practice. Now here’s a second opinion.



Today’s quote for the Jolly month of December focusing on Joy and Happiness is from another Buddhist, this one being Tibetan – none other than the Dalai Lama XIV.

“Genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others happiness.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

Good advice even if the Dalai Lama is not Daoist. Certainly these are Daoist qualities as well. Practice them daily if you can and have a great weekend, everyone.

Today’s video presents the first of two views on the controversial practice of doing both tai chi and lifting weights. The first view is from Marc Rasmus.



Today’s happiness quote for this Jolly month of December is from a well-known Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

“The present moment is filled with Joy and Happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The quote is from a Buddhist, but I’m sure it will resonate with many Daoists. So, make that your practice for today. Be attentive to those moments to day that can bring Joy and Happiness. And I am sure you will enjoy your practice, everyone.

Today’s video feature Mark Rasmus once more explaining using elastic for to cut a partner’s root.



Our quote today is from Darrell Calkins, author of a collection of letters entitled “RE:” Calkins, a mentor, consultant and educator, focuses on the deeper aspects of wellbeing with an emphasis on bridging perspectives across disciplines, cultures, and traditions.

“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.”
― Darrell Calkins, Re:

Not only would you be healthier but much happier as well. So, laugh more and especially laugh at yourself. Wll of us take ourselves way too seriously. Enjoy your practice, folks.

More from Mark Rasmus on developing Elastic Force in today’s video selection. This one focuses on developing the fascia.



Today’s look at Happiness during the Jolly month of December is not from the Daoist perspective, although I am sure many Taoist sages would most likely concur. It is by Jean Klein, an Advaita sage, from his “Dialogue at the Day of Listening,” in Fairfax, CA: May 22, 1991, and published in his “Book of Listening,”

“You may for some time live with the desire for a certain object, then one day this object is attained. You will then see that at the moment of attainment the object is not present, and you are not present. There is only a non-dual state: happiness. Then you can see that the cause is not in the object and you no longer project any object. Then you are free from the desire for objects and a profound maturity arises: you are free from all projection, because you have clearly understood that the cause is not an object, that happiness is causeless. You must come to this experience.
When you become restless it is because you have identified happiness with an object. But happiness is not in an object. It is causeless. It comes when you are open. It is not in a red car, a beautiful house, a second marriage.
You must live completely in openness, and this openness is the happiness.”
– Jean Klein, “Dialogue at the Day of Listening”

We think happiness is acquiring objects whether it be a new job, a new car or iphone, a new lover. But in truth – and self-dultivation is about realizing Truth – objects are not the cause of happiness. No person, place or thing can cause one to be happy. As Jean Klein has said – happiness is causeless. It comes when you are open. Openness is the happiness. So, for today, let’s see if we can practice being open. Open to your environment, open to your family, open to your friends, open to your emotions, open to yourself. And, above all, enjoy your practice, people.

In today’s video we are going to learn about Elastic Force with Sifu Mark Rasmus and the Martial Man.



Today we have a not-so-jolly quote on happiness from Chuang-Tzu in this jolly season of December. Nevertheless, it is how a true Daoist sage look at happiness as it relates to our lives.

“I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.”
― Chuang-Tzu, from the Zhuangzi

Abiding by Chuang-Tzu’s directive, your practice for today is to see how many times you can stop yourself from a negative thought or action and change direction. Enjoy your practice, folks.

Today’s video is on advanced tai chi sparring demonstrated by Victor Shim.



Sheila Burke starts us off this week with a quote from “Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul” as welook at the Daoist perspective on Happiness and Joy for December.

“You have the power to change the happiness level in someone’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.”
― Sheila M. Burke, Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul

In essence, Burke is giving us the #1 rule for Happiness. If you want to be happy, then make someone else happy. That sounds like a great practice to start off the your week. Enjoy, folks.

Today’s video shows tui shou (push hands) basic concepts for new students rom Grandmaster Victor Shim.



Another blissful quote on Taoism during this blissful, jolly season. This one from Leland Lewis…

““The Eternal Tao

Like the softness
of water we flow…
through gentleness
of love we grow…
and through blissful
Oneness we know…
Forever is now.”
― Leland Lewis, Random Molecular Mirroring

Wishing you and yours blissful Oneness this weekend, and practice making your practice blissful and let blissfulness be your practice.

Today’s video is the first of several with Victor Shim on push hands and using qi. In this one, Master Shim demonstrates push hands self-practice.



It’s December, ‘Tis the season to be Jolly. So, we look at Joy and Happiness from the Daoist perspective – fa la la la la! Today’s quote is from Lieh-Tzu and is nearly the mirror image of yesterday’s quote from Chuang-Tzu.

“To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of the idea of what it means to be truly happy or content. ” — Liezi, the Book of Lieh-Tzu

From both Chuang-Tzu and now Lieh-Tzu, one can surmise that the Daoist concept of happiness is based on their principle of wu-wei (non-action or no action). This means without intention, with no thought of pursuing happiness or joy but as my Advaita teacher once said, “Think that you are happy.” Do that and enjoy your practice, folks.

In today’s video, we will practice how to deepen and anchor the breath with my teacher, Damo Mitchell, in Part 2 of Anchoring the Breath…



December is the month of Joy, Happiness and Merriment. So, we will look at Joy and Happiness from the Daoist perspective as well as that of other spiritual traditions. And who better to start us off than my favorite Daoist philosopher – Guess who – none other than Chuang-Tzu.

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” — Zhuangzi

There you have it, short but sweet, the whole month in a nutshell. Tomorrow we will hear from Lieh-Tzu. Enjoy your practice, my friends.

In today’s video, we are going to step away from tai chi and bagua and start to look at the Qi specifically and Qigong practice. Of course much of qigong can be applied to the other internal arts, which is especially the case with breathing. Today, we will hear how to deepen and anchor the breath from my teacher, Damo Mitchell, in a 2-part video lesson. Here’s Part 1…




We close out November and our theme of Life and Living according to Daoism with this quote from Hexagram 52 of the I Ching, Ken – the Mountain…

“Learn inner silence. Bring a meditative mind into all activity or non activity. Achieve total stillness and be a mountain. Such is Wu Wei…
When the mind is highly active it will not accommodate vision or inspiration. It is the cup already full. Mountain over Mountain is the opening of the infinite mind through the silencing of the mind conceptual.”
– Hexagram 52, Ken. Keeping Still. Mountain over Mountain.

Pretty good advice on how to live life with the least effort and the most insightfulness. Enjoy your practice, folks.

In today’s video, Sifu Liang De Hua continues with some tips on Peng both the hand shape or posture and the inner Peng, the energy within the body.



Today is the conclusion of Chuang-Tzu’s “The Great and Most Honored Master” from Book 6 of The Zhuangzi.

“In this way they were one and the same in all their likings and dislikings. Where they liked, they were the same; where they did not like, they were the same. In the former case where they liked, they were fellow-workers with the Heavenly (in them); in the latter where they disliked, they were co-workers with the Human in them. The one of these elements (in their nature) did not overcome the other. Such were those who are called the True men.”
– Chuang-Tzu from The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

Such were the True Men of Old, but what about the True Men and Women of Today? Are you one of them? Keep practicing your Cultivation and enjoy.

In today’s video, Sifu Liang De Hua discusses the all important quality of Peng Jin.



I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and you’re ready to resume your Self-Cultivation practice after the holiday respite. We will continue with Chuang-Tzu’s view of the ideal way of life and living as exemplified by the True Man of Old and thus the True Man of Dao and end the series this week.

“They (the True Men of Old) considered punishments to be the substance (of government, and they never incurred it); ceremonies to be its supporting wings (and they always observed them); wisdom (to indicate) the time (for action, and they always selected it); and virtue to be accordance (with others), and they were all-accordant. Considering punishments to be the substance (of government), yet their generosity appeared in the (manner of their) infliction of death. Considering ceremonies to be its supporting wings, they pursued by means of them their course in the world. Considering wisdom to indicate the time (for action), they felt it necessary to employ it in (the direction of) affairs. Considering virtue to be accordance (with others), they sought to ascend its height along with all who had feet (to climb it). (Such were they), and yet men really thought that they did what they did by earnest effort.

The gist of what Chuang-Tzu is saying in this paragraph is that the Men of Old rendered to Caesar what was Caesar’s and the Nature (the Dao) what was Nature’s and thereby led an effortless life. See if you can start to work that concept into your daily practice and enjoy, folks.

In today’s video, Liang De Hua is teaching another very important aspect of tui shou (taiji partner work) – sticking energy.



I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are all geared up for Black Friday. We continue now with another excerpt from The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

“The True men of old presented the aspect of judging others aright, but without being partisans; of feeling their own insufficiency, but being without flattery or cringing. Their peculiarities were natural to them, but they were not obstinately attached to them; their humility was evident, but there was nothing of unreality or display about it. Their placidity and satisfaction had the appearance of joy; their every movement seemed to be a necessity to them. Their accumulated attractiveness drew men’s looks to them; their blandness fixed men’s attachment to their virtue. They seemed to accommodate themselves to the (manners of their age), but with a certain severity; their haughty indifference was beyond its control. Unceasing seemed their endeavours to keep (their mouths) shut; when they looked down, they had forgotten what they wished to say.”
– Chuang-Tzu from The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend and don’t go too overboard on Black Friday. See everyone Monday.

Here’s Part 2 of the Taii Jin video with Sifu Liang De Hua



I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Of course, according to Chuang-Tzu below, if you try to share your joy at Thanksgiving or manifest affection or observe times and seasons, you are not very wise or sagely. But who cares? If you are enjoying yourself, go right ahead. But read the paragraph anyway.

Being such, their minds (the True Men of Old) were free from all thought; their demeanor was still and unmoved; their foreheads beamed simplicity. Whatever coldness came from them was like that of autumn; whatever warmth came from them was like that of spring. Their joy and anger assimilated to what we see in the four seasons. They did in regard to all things what was suitable, and no one could know how far their action would go. Therefore the sagely man might, in his conduct of war, destroy a state without losing the hearts of the people; his benefits and favours might extend to a myriad generations without his being a lover of men. Hence he who tries to share his joys with others is not a sagely man; he who manifests affection is not benevolent; he who observes times and seasons (to regulate his conduct) is not a man of wisdom; he to whom profit and injury are not the same is not a superior man; he who acts for the sake of the name of doing so, and loses his (proper) self is not the (right) scholar; and he who throws away his person in a way which is not the true (way) cannot command the service of others. Such men as Hû Pû-kieh, Wû Kwang, Po-î, Shû-khî, the count of Kî, Hsü-yü, Kî Thâ, and Shan-thû Tî, all did service for other men, and sought to secure for them what they desired, not seeking their own pleasure.

In essence, Chuang-Tzu is not being as abrupt as this translation sounds. The key is “to regulate his conduct.” If you only act thankful or affectionate or benevolent at certain times in certain situations, then you are being manipulated by a conditioned mind that is attuned to societal norms rather than the Dao. Those sages who follow the Dao have a conduct and demeanor that is consistent all the time, no matter what the occasion is. That’s the point. So, we shouldn’t require a certain day in the year to be Thankful, but should live gratitude and live thankfulness every day of the year without regard to situations and circumstances.

Enjoy the rest of your day and the video with Sifu Liang De Hua on Jin in Tai Chi Part 1…



More on the True Men of Old from Chuang-Tzu as we approach Thanksgiving and draw nearer to concluding our November theme of Life and Living according to Daoism.

“The True men of old knew nothing of the love of life or of the hatred of death. Entrance into life occasioned them no joy; the exit from it awakened no resistance. Composedly they went and came. They did not forget what their beginning bad been, and they did not inquire into what their end would be. They accepted (their life) and rejoiced in it; they forgot (all fear of death), and returned (to their state before life). Thus there was in them what is called the want of any mind to resist the Tâo, and of all attempts by means of the Human to assist the Heavenly. Such were they who are called the True men.”
– The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

There are three main aspects of tai chi that confound many practitioners, even long time students – song, jin, and peng. Today’s video is from the Martial Man series and features Sifu Liang De Hua, the training partner of the master featured in yesterday’s video, Sifu Adam Misner, demonstrating “song.”

Enjoy the video and enjoy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hope each of you has a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.



More on the True Men of old from Chuang-Tzu as we continue his description of “The Great and Most Honored Master” from Book 6 of the Zhuangzi during our November Life and Living theme from a Daoist perspective.

“The True men of old did not dream when they slept, had no anxiety when they awoke, and did not care that their food should be pleasant. Their breathing came deep and silently. The breathing of the true man comes (even) from his heels, while men generally breathe (only) from their throats. When men are defeated in argument, their words come from their gullets as if they were vomiting. Where lusts and desires are deep, the springs of the Heavenly are shallow.”

Maybe you can’t breathe from your feet but you should make sure your breath is anchored to the belly or dantian. That is vital for progressing in the Internal Arts. Also, remember “Where lusts and desires are deep, the springs of the Heavenly are shallow.” Isn’t that a beautiful thought? Enjoy your practice, folks.

Yesterday’s video featured Huang Xing Xian’s loosening exercises. Today’s video features Adam Misner presenting detailed instructions for his Grand Master Huang Xing Xian’s loosening drill. Follow along and enjoy.



More from the Zhuangzi, (the Book of Chuang-Tzu), Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master” in our November series on Life and Living according to Daoism. On Saturday, we concluded the week asking what is this True man and what is this True Knowledge of which Chuang-Tzu speaks. Today he gives us his answer…

“What is meant by ‘the True Man?’ The True men of old did not reject (the views of) the few; they did not seek to accomplish (their ends) like heroes (before others); they did not lay plans to attain those ends. Being such, though they might make mistakes, they had no occasion for repentance; though they might succeed, they had no self-complacency. Being such, they could ascend the loftiest heights without fear; they could pass through water without being made wet by it; they could go into fire without being burnt; so it was that by their knowledge they ascended to and reached the Tâo.”
– The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

Not only does the True Man’s stature seem powerful, his knowledge that allowed him to ascend and reach the Tao seems even more powerful, We can see by Chuang-Tzu’s description that the True Man was adept at living by “wu-wei.” He was also humble and not emotionally swept up by either failure or success. We will have more from Chung-Tzu and the True Man tomorrow.

In today’s video we return to Tai Chi – well, sort of. Tai Chi requires much different physical conditioning than other forms of martial arts or typical Western bodybuilding. So, to accomplish this transforming the body into a tai chi conditioned body we use various sets of stretches and exercises. Here is the creator of one such set Grand Master Huang Xing Xiang.



We conclude this week and will conclude our November series on Life and Living from the Daoist perspective with excerpts from the Zhuangzi, Book 6 entitled “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

“To complete one’s natural term of years and not come to an untimely end in the middle of his course is the fulness of knowledge. Although it be so, there is an evil (attending this condition). Such knowledge still awaits the confirmation of it as correct; it does so because it is not yet determined. How do we know that what we call the Heavenly (in us) is not the Human? and that what we call the Human is not the Heavenly? There must be the True man, and then there is the True knowledge.”
– The Zhuangzi, Book 6, “The Great and Most Honored Master.”

So. what is this True man? What is he like and what is this True knowledge? Check back on Monday to find out.

Today we have a 2008 video with Sun Zhi Jun and his students demonstrating further appociations from Cheng style Baguazhang.



We conclude today with our fifth and final excerpt from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the founders of modern Western philosophy, on his perspective of Daoist thought and philosophy in our November series on Life and Living according to Daoism.

“This is immortality, that the soul subsisting in presence to self is both essential and existing at the same time. Essence without existence is a mere abstraction; essentiality or the concept must be thought as existing. Therefore realization also belongs to essentiality. But here the form of this realization is still sensible existence, sensible immediacy.”
– Georg W. F. Hegel, On Daoism

Unlike Buddhism that focuses on the Great Void, Daoism and. to Hegel’s point, professes that the soul is both essential and existing at the same time. Essence without existence, as in the Great Void, is indeed a mere abstraction, although some Daoist sects do indeed expound the theory that existence came from non-existence and being from non-being.

In today’s video, Hans Menck demonstrates some baguazhang footwork and basic palm applications with a partner.



We continue today with our fourth excerpt from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the founders of modern Western philosophy, on his perspective of Daoist thought and philosophy in our November series on Life and Living according to Daoism.

“This essential character also pertains directly to the subject or the soul; it is known that the soul is immortal, that it has within itself the power of existing purely, or being purely inward, though not yet of existing properly as this purity, i.e. not yet as spirituality. But still bound up with this essentiality is the fact that the mode of existence is yet a sensible immediacy, though only an accidental one.”
– Georg W. F. Hegel, On Daoism

Hegel seems to have arbitrarily separated the soul from the self as being within self and has the power or potential of existing purely as spirituality but is still dealing with the accidental immediacy of being bound to essentiality.

It is most difficult for someone coming from an entirely different culture, in Hegel’s case, the idealism of Western philosophy in that era, to understand the underlying philosophy of Daoism especially as it pertains to the soul and immortality. Unlike Hegel’s Christian culture, which basically focused on a singular soul, Daoism proposed that man had at least two souls, a yang and a yin, and these were further subdivided into ten aspects. In addition there were subdivision upon subdivision with regards to the various aspects of immortality. We will conclude with Hegel’s thesis on Daoism tomorrow.

Our video today focuses on the 16 palm changes within the Cheng style of Baguazhang as demonstrated by Hans Menck.



We continue today with our third excerpt from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the founders of modern Western philosophy, on his perspective of Daoist thought and philosophy in our November series on Life and Living according to Daoism.

“…The I is not lifeless tranquility but movement, though a movement that is not change; instead it is eternal tranquility, eternal clarity within oneself. Inasmuch as it is first in Buddhism that God is known as the essential, and is thought in his essentiality – that being within self, or presence to self is the authentic determination – this being within self or this essentiality is therefore known in connection with the subject, is known as the nature of the subject, and the spiritual is self-contained…”
– Georg W. F. Hegel, On Daoism

That’s a real mouthful. If you can follow Hegel’s compound, complex sentence structure then you are definitely enlightened. I do believe that the eternal tranquility or eternal clarity within oneself is a valid description of the I or, as Hegel puts it, “this essentiality,” the nature of the subject.

In today’s video, let’s step away from tai chi for now and take in a more obscure but nevertheless skillful internal art called Baguazhang. Today’s practitioner is Suijen Chen from the 15th World Wushu Championships in Shanghai, China.



We continue today with our second excerpt from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the fathers of modern Western philosophy, on his perspective of Daoist thought and philosophy in our November series on Life and Living according to Daoism.

“The thought of immortality lies precisely in the fact that, in thinking, human beings are present to themselves in their freedom. In thinking, one is utterly independent, nothing else can intrude upon one’s freedom – one relates only to oneself, and nothing else can have a power upon one. This equivalence with myself, the I, this subsisting with self, is what is genuinely immortal and subject to no alteration; it is the unchangeable itself, what has actual being only within itself and moves only within itself.”
– Georg W. F. Hegel, On Daoism

Hegel’s theory of immortality would be true except for one very important factor that he omits – not from philosophy but from psychology – and that is the subconscious. Our subconscious and ultimately our unconscious mind is built upon conditioning, which in turn is built upon the influences and our experiences with family, teachers, friends and society at large. And it is these ideas and concepts of what life is and how it should be led that influences our thoughts. So, to say that in thinking one is utterly independent and nothing else can intrude upon one’s freedom is completely false. Some part of society, no matter how miniscule, is with us within every thought. More from Hegel tomorrow. Enjoy your practice, folks.

You have no doubt heard it said of tai chi that “four ounces defeats a thousand pounds.” Well, in today’s Internal Arts video, Sifu Adam Misner sets the record straight as he explains jin power and how it is generated and used in tai chi.



Today’s commentary on our November theme of Life and Living according to Daoism comes from a most unusual source – Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel, one of the founding figures of modern Western philosophy. In his dissertation on Daoism, Hegel interprets Daoist wisdom and philosophy through his perspective of German idealism. A rather lengthy and yet absorbing interpretation that requires breaking it down into a number of excerpts that may take up a better part of our November theme. Here is the beginning…

“While Daoism presents the attaining of immortality through the meditation and withdrawl into oneself as the highest destination of human beings, it does not in that connection declare that the soul persists intrinsically as such and essentially, that the spirit is immortal, but only that human beings can make themselves immortal through the process of abstract thinking in immediate consciousness, and that every man should do so…”

Unlike many Western and some Eastern religions, I would have to agree with Hegel that immortality is not a given. In both Daoism and its offshoot, Zen Buddhism, immortality must be worked at. Whereas Christianity, and some sects of Islam and Hinduism have always taught that humans have an immortal soul that lives on after the physical body dies. So, give that some thought, and we will continue with Hegel tomorrow. Enjoy your practice, folks.

Today’s video feature Adam Hsu from the “Martial Man” series demonstrating applications of some of the moves featured in Saturday’s Chen Tai Chi video with Chen Zheng Lei.



We continue our November theme of Life and Living in the flow of the Dao with a famous quote from the Dao De Ching…

“If you want to become straight, first let yourself become twisted. If you want to become full, first let yourself become empty. If you want to become new, first let yourself become old. Those who desires are few get them, those whose desires are great go astray.”
― Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching

So, if you have only a few desires, you may actually have one or two fulfilled. But if you are never satisfied and desire more and more in daily life, then you wil lonly succeed in corrupting your life. Practice referring to the reversion of opposites that Lao-Tzu points out in the beginning and enjoy your weekend.

This weekend’s video features Chen style Tai chi with Grand Master Chen Zheng Lei from a 2015 demonstration at a Wushu tournament. Check out his soft, subtle movements contrasted with his sudden explosiveness.


On this Veterans’ Day, I want to thank all veterans reading this post for your service. Continuing our November theme of the Daoist perspective on Life and Living with another quote by Chuang-Tzu. It’s not one of his famous quotes but an important one nevertheless as he discusses a particularly significant virtue of a sage, his bearing or demeanor.

“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.”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, translated by Burton Watson

This is the demeanor we hope to accomplish ,when our self-cultivation practice has substantially progressed. See how often your demeanor changes in a day in reaction to changing situations. Enjoy your practice, everyone.

Today’s video looks at one of the more famous students of Yeung Chen Fu, the Professor, Cheng Man Ching. After leaving China and relocating in Taiwan and later in New York City, he took the 108 postures of his teacher’s form and condensed them into a form with 37 postures. On this coprehensive video, there are two versions of the Professor performing the 37 postures as well as tui shou (push hands) sequences and the Yang sword form.


We continue with our November theme of the Daoist perspective on Life and Living with a memorable quote from Lao-Tzu and the Dao De Ching.

“Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Magnify the small;
increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.”
― Lao Tzu

Again we are reminded of wu-wei and humility. Add both to your practice and enjoy, folks.

Today’s video focuses on Wu Tai Chi in one of the oldest surviving Tai Chi films from the 1930’s. Here not only does Chu Minyi demonstrate his Wu style Taijiquan form but also his solo training equipment. If the music is too intrusive, mute the audio.



We continue our November theme of the Daoist perspective on Life and Living with a quote from Chuang-Tzu.

“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.”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

Chaung-Tzu’s language as translated by Burton Watson is overly colorful not to mention dramatic, but I think you get the idea. Don’t interfere and let things transform themselves. Enjoy your practice, everyone, and be sure to study our inaugural video

We begin our inaugural presentation of Internal Arts videos with the only known video of Yeung Chen Fu’s eldest son, Yeung Sau Chung. The quality of the recording is very poor since it was taken from an old 8mm film that the British authorities in Hong Kong required Master Yeung to provide in order to assuage officials from Mainland China that Yeung’s family tai chi was not dangerous. Therefore, Master Yeung hid, sped up or eliminated moves that involved internal energies and explosiveness. Nevertheless, his correct posture and fluidity are evident if you watch closely and rerun it a few times.



PLEASE NOTE: We are changing our Diary format slightly. Beginning Wednesday, November 9, along with our Daoist Daily Diary quotes, we will also be including videos of past and present Internal Arts Masters in Taichi, Baguazhang, Xingyi and Nei Gong. The videos will include forms, tui shou (push hands), and applications.

Continuing our November theme of Life and Living from the Daoist perspective, today we hear once more from Lieh-tzu This time he reveals the Daoist way to travel.

““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.”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

Not only has Lieh-tzu reveal how to travel on a trip but also how to travel through Life and follow the Dao. Enjoy your practice, everyone. And make sure you get out to vote, if you haven’t already. Taylor Swift tell us how…



We continue our November theme of Life and Living from the Daoist perspective with the man known as the Sage of Tea, Lu Yu, (733-804), an ancient Tea Master and writer, best known for his monumental work, “The Classic of Tea.” The verse below is his way of telling us to “Chill out!”

“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?”
― Lu Yu

Go ahead and brew a cup of tea, then relax and celebrate how much you enjoy your practice, everyone. But don’t get too relaxed that you forget to vote. Only today and tomorrow left, so follow Taylor Swift’s advice…



A short one to live by from Chuang-Tzu…

“Don’t go in and hide; don’t come out and shine; stand stock-still in the middle.”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

So, you got it. That’s it. Stand stock-still in the middle, and enjoy your weekend, folks.



Today’s quote on the Daoist perspective toward Life and Living is actually from one of the earliest Chan Buddhist poems and is attributed to Seng Tsan, the third patriarch of Chan, which combined aspects of Daoism and Buddhism and later became known as Zen when it was brought to Japan.

“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.”
― Hsin Hsin Ming

Is it possible as we near the hotly-contested mid-term elections not to hold any opinion for or against anything? Just asking? Okay, go ahead and enjoy your practice, folks.



Continuing our November theme of Life and Living from a Daoist perspective, today Chuang Tzu gives us a conversation between himself and his friend. Hui-tse.

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.”

Chung-txe replied, “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.”
– Chuang-tzu, Zhungzi (the Book of Chuang-tzu) translated by Burton Watson.

So practice everyday making yourself useless and enjoy your practice.



Continuing our November theme of Life and Living from a Daoist perspective, we have a profoundly insightful thought from Liezi on how not to live our lives:

“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?”
― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

If you don’t want to be a prisoner or a slave of life, then follow Liezi’s advice. Don’t chase after fulfillment and achievement. You are already fulfilled. You really have nothing to gain, nor should you have. Instead practice self-cultivation and by all means enjoy life, everyone.



Yesterday we ended our October Halloween theme on Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective with a final quote from Zhuangzi. Today we begin our November theme of Life from a Daoist perspective with a very short but immensely profound quote from none other than Zhuangzi…

“Do not use life to give life to death. Do not use death to bring death to life.” — Zhuangzi

Beautiful and wise, reflect on it, meditate, see how you are going against Zhuangzi’s advice by letting your subconscious fears bring death to your life. Then give life to Life by enjoying your practice, folks.



Today, Halloween, we conclude our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from the Taoist perspective with three of the most revered Daoist sages of



Today, Halloween, we conclude our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from the Taoist perspective with three of the most revered Daoist sages of ancient times: Laozi, Liezi and Zhuangzi.

“We go from birth to death. Three out of ten follow life. Three out of ten follow death. People who rush from birth to death are also three out of ten. Why is that so? Because they want to make too much of life.” — Laozi

“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.” — Liezi

“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.” — Zhuangzi

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone. And don’t stuff yourself with goodies, so you can still enjoy your practice.



Today we have another Chinese poem on Death and Dying in the form of a dream, but a very unusual dream, in the way the poet’s lover comes into the dream.

Yuan Zhen: Tonight my love who died long ago came into my dream

“I dreamt I climbed to a high, high plain;
and on the plain I found a deep well.
My throat was dry with climbing and I longed to drink,
and my eyes were eager to look into the cool shaft.
I walked round it, I looked right down;
I saw my image mirrored on the face of the pool.
An earthen pitcher was sinking into the black depths;
there was no rope to pull it to the well-head.
I was strangely troubled lest the pitcher should be lost,
and started wildly running to look for help.
From village to village I scoured that high plain;
The men were gone; fierce dogs snarled.
I came back and walked weeping round the well;
faster and faster the blinding tears flowed–
till my own sobbing woke me up;
my room was silent, no one in the house stirred.
The flame of my candle flickered with a green smoke;
the tears I shed glittered in the candle-light.
A bell sounded; I knew it was the midnight chime;
I sat up in bed and tried to arrange my thoughts:
The plain in my dream was the graveyard at Ch’ang-an,
Those hundred acres of untilled land.
The soil heavy and the mounds heaped high;
and the dead below them laid in deep troughs.
Deep are the troughs, yet sometimes dead men
find their way to the world above the grave.
And tonight my love who died long ago
came into my dream as the pitcher sunk in the well.
That was why the tears suddenly streamed from my eyes,
streamed from my eyes and fell on the collar of my dress.

–Yuan Zhen 元稹 (779-831) Translated by Arthur Waley, Chinese Poems (pub. 1946)

Yes, indeed, sometimes dead men find their way to the world above the grave. That’s why we have Halloween. So, enjoy Mischief Night without getting into miuch mischief and see you Monday on Halloween



Today we have another poem on Death and Dying by the famous Chinese poet Bai Juyi. This one is a remembrance to his departed friends.

Separation. Bai Juyi remembers his friends

“Yesterday I heard that such-a-one was gone;
this morning they tell me that so-and-so is dead.
Of friends and acquaintance more than two-thirds
have suffered change and passed to the Land of Ghosts.
Those that are gone I shall not see again;
they, alas, are for ever finished and done.
Those that are left, — where are they now?
They are all scattered, –a thousand miles away.
Those I have known and loved through all my life,
on the fingers of my hand– how many do I count?
Only the prefects of T’ung, Kuo and Li
and Feng Province– just those four.
Longing for each other we are all grown gray;
through the Fleeting World rolled like a wave in the stream.
Alas that the feasts and frolics of old days
have withered and vanished, bringing us to this!
When shall we meet and drink a cup of wine
and laughing gaze into each other’s eyes?

–Bai Juyi [白居易] (772-846), translated by Arthur Waley (1889-1966)

So these will be the good old days down the road. Enjoy them now while you can and enjoy your practice, everyone.



Continuing with our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective, here is a short but nevertheless bittersweet poem from Zang Zhi (aka Tsang Chih)…

Zang Zhi: Dreaming of a Dead Lady

“I heard at night your long sighs
and knew that you were thinking of me.”
As she spoke, the doors of Heaven opened
and our souls conversed and I saw her face.
She set me a pillow to rest on
and she brought me meat and drink.

I stood beside her where she lay,
and suddenly woke and she was not there:
and none knew how my soul was torn,
how the tears fell surging over my breast.”
– Zhang Zhi (died 454) translated by Arthur Waley

What is so significant about the poem is the way our subconscious works to recreate such detailed images in dreams that they seem so real that, in the case of loved ones as this, the images bring us to tears when we awaken and realize the loved one has vanished with the dream. Enjoy your practice, everyone.



In keeping with this October Halloween theme of Death and Dying with a Taoist perspective, one of the saddest moments in life is when a young person dies. Bai Juyi, one of China’s greatest poets, wrote this poem about a young daughter’s death.

Bai Juyi: This parting is for all time

“Who knew that when I was sick,
you would be the one who suffered?
Lying in bed, suddenly I was startled from my pillow,
Leaning on the others, I wept in front of your lamp.
It turns out to be hard to have a daughter–
I have no son, how can I avoid grief?
The sickness came, took only ten days,
even though we’d raised you for three years.
Miserable tears, crying voices, everything hurt painfully.
Your old clothes lonely on the hanger, the medicine at your bedside.
I sent you through the deep village lanes,
I saw the tiny grave in the field.
Don’t tell me it’s three li away–
this separation is till the end of days.”
–Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846)

On that note, I hope you take extra good care of yourselves and your families, particularly your children. Take care and enjoy your practice, everyone.



Today’s selection on Death and Dying from the Daoist perspective is from a woman poet of anciet China. Li Qingzhao (1084- about 1151) wrote this famous poem when she lost her beloved husband. It’s entitled “Seeking, seeking.”

Li Qingzhao: Seeking, seeking

“Seeking and seeking, searching and searching,
cold, cold, clear, clear,
dismal, dismal, wretched, wretched, mourning, mourning.
Suddenly hot, then cold at times,
so hard to bear.
Two or three cups of watery wine–
how can that help me bear the rushing evening wind?
The wild geese are passing
my heart is breaking
we were so close since long ago.

All over the ground, heaps of yellow flowers
wan, withered, outworn
as they are now who will pick them?
Watching at the window
alone how was I born so unlucky?
The wutong trees shed even more fine rain
at twilight, drip drip drop drop
This time
how can there be only that one word– “anguish”?”
– Li Qinghao

The heaps of “yellow flowers” at the top of the second stanza are yellow chrysanthemums, used only at funerals. Her use of repetition is mindful of a funeral drum with its mournful beat over and over again as the procession moves solemnly toward the gravesite.

Enjoy your practice, everyone.



Continuing with our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective, here is an elegy that Tao Qian wrote for himself.

Tao Qian: Preparing my elegy

“If there is life there must be death,
early or late there is no hurrying fate.
Yesterday evening we were people together,
today at dawn we are listed among the ghosts.
The breath of the soul– where has it gone?
A dried-up shape is left in hollow wood.
My beloved children snivel, looking for their father,
my best friends mourn by the coffin, weeping.
Winning, losing– I won’t come back to know them.
Being, nothingness– how can I tell them apart?
In a thousand autumns, in ten thousand years,
who will know our glory and shame?
But I do regret that during my time in this world
I did not drink all the wine I wanted.”
–Tao Qian (Tao Yuanming) (365-427)

You don’t need to drink all the wine you want or write your own elegy. Just practice self-cultivation and enjoy, folks.



Closing out this week in the Taoist Month of the Dead with one more from Chuang Tzu. In this one, he shows some remorse for his departed friend, well, kind of.

“Zhuangzi was in a funeral procession and walked by Huizi’s gravemound. Turning his head to speak to his followers, he said, “There was a man from Ying who got some plaster on the tip of his nose, thin like a fly’s wing. He got a workman named Shi to chop it off for him. The workman Shi moved his axe so that a wind was made. He obeyed and chopped it. The plaster was taken off and the nose was unharmed, while the man from Ying did not change countenance.

“Prince Yuan of Song heard about this. He summoned workman Shi and said, ‘Try that on the orphaned one.’* Workman Shi said, ‘Your servant once could chop like that. However, your servant’s [working] material is long dead.’

“Since Master Hui has died, I have no material [to work with]. I have no one to talk to any more.”

Make sure your material is working – Practice, my friends, practice and enjoy. See you Monday.



Walking around the neighborhood last evening, I noticed the lawns decorated with Halloween gravestones and skulls, which reminded me of this wonderful Chuang Tzu story, fitting for our October theme of Death and Dying from the Daoist perspective.

Chuang Tzu and the Skull

When Chuang Tzu went to Ch’u, he saw an old skull, all dry and parched. He poked it with his carriage whip and then asked, “Sir, were you greedy for life and forgetful of reason, and so came to this? Was your state overthrown and did you bow beneath the ax, and so came to this? Did you do some evil deed and were you ashamed to bring disgrace upon your parents and family, and so came to this? Was it through the pangs of cold and hunger that you came to this? Or did your springs and autumns pile up until they brought you to this?”

When he had finished speaking, he dragged the skull over and, using it for a pillow, lay down to sleep.

In the middle of the night, the skull came to him in a dream and said, “You chatter like a rhetorician and all your words betray the entanglements of a living man. The dead know nothing of these! Would you like to hear a lecture on the dead?”

“Indeed,” said Chuang Tzu.

The skull said, “Among the dead there are no rulers above, no subjects below, and no chores of the four seasons. With nothing to do, our springs and autumns are as endless as heaven and earth. A king facing south on his throne could have no more happiness than this!”

Chuang Tzu couldn’t believe this and said, “If I got the Arbiter of Fate to give you a body again, make you some bones and flesh, return you to your parents and family and your old home and friends, you would want that, wouldn’t you?”

The skull frowned severely, wrinkling up its brow. “Why would I throw away more happiness than that of a king on a throne and take on the troubles of a human being again?” it said.
– Chuang Tzu, from the Zhuangzi translated by Burton Watson

I didn’t think skulls could wrinkle their brows. Doesn’t one need skin for that? In any case, wonderful story. What makes it so appealing is the fact that it isn’t about how Chuang Tzu views the afterlife, but rather how he views life, specifically about the stressful way we live our lives. Contained in the questions he puts to the skull is a littany of those troublesome situations we engage in. In his dream, the skull ppoints out that Chuang Tzu’s chatter and all of his questions “betray the entanglements of a living man.” Life, in Chuang Tzu’s opinion, needs to be lived carefree and natural, avoiding all those entanglements.

So, in your practice of cultivation see how many entanglements engross your life and look for ways to eliminate them. Enjoy your practive, folks.



Yesterday we finished Pan Yue’s poem for his deceased wife in which the final line refers to the story of Zhuangzi losing his wife. Here is that famous story:

“When Zhuangzi’s wife died, Huizi came to the house to join in the rites of mourning. To his surprise he found Zhuangzi sitting with an inverted bowl on his knees, drumming upon it and singing a song.

“After all,” said Huizi, “she lived with you, brought up your children, grew old with you. That you should not mourn for her is bad enough, but to let your friends find you drumming and singing–that is going too far!”

“You misjudge me,” said Zhuangzi. “When she died, I was in despair, as any man well might be. But soon, pondering on what had happened, I told myself that in death no strange new fate befalls us. In the beginning, we lack not life only, but form. Not form only, but spirit. We are blended in one great featureless indistinguishable mass. Then a time came when the mass evolved spirit, spirit evolved form, form evolved life. And now life in its turn has evolved death. For not nature only but man’s being has its seasons, its sequence of spring and autumn, summer and winter. If someone is tired and has gone to lie down, we do not pursue him with shouting and bawling. She whom I have lost has lain down to sleep for a while in the Great Inner Room. To break in upon her rest with the noise of lamentation would but show that I knew nothing of nature’s Sovereign Law. That is why I ceased to mourn.”

Contrast between Zhuangzi’s carefree and, dare I say, joyful reaction to his wife’s death and the traditional Chinese grief-stricken reaction as exemplified by Pan Yue and the Confucians, neo-Daoists and many Daoists is quite obvious. What Zhuangzi’s reaction does is show the deep understanding of life and death as only an enlightened, self-realized sage can have.

There are two other Zhuangzi stories that show his disregard for the sentiments we attach to death. They will finish out the week as we continue our October Halloween theme of Death and Dying in the Daoist tradition.
Enjoy your practice, folks.



Here’s the last stanza in Pan Yue’s poem on his drowning grief for his deceased wife as we continue our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from the Daoist perspective.

My Drowning Grief Overflows My Days (Part 3)

“The spring wind comes bringing a fissure of fate
At dawn the water drips off the eaves
In my bedroom– how can I forget those times?
My drowning grief overflows my days.

How much time will there be like this?
I could bang on a pot, like Zhuangzi.”

That final line with reference to Zhuangzi refers to the story of Zhuangzi losing his wife. When Huizi came to the house to join in the rites of mourning,to his surprise he found Zhuangzi sitting with an inverted bowl on his knees, drumming upon it and singing a song. We will have that story for you tomorrow, so you can see the differences in temperment and beliefs between Daoists even in ancient times.

Take care, everyone. See you tomorrow and enjoy your practice.



Here’s Part 2 of Chinese poet Pan Yue writing about his wife’s death…

My Drowning Grief Overflows My Days (Part 2)

“When I look at our cottage, I think of her in it.
The women’s rooms are empty of her.
Pen and ink still hold her traces.
The floating fragrance is not yet gone,
her portrait still hangs on the screen
almost as if she is still there.
I come back uneasy, startled, sad.
It’s like birds in the northern forest,
settled as a pair, one early left alone.
It’s like flatfish roaming the river,
one eye gone on the way.”

Pan Yue paints such a beautiful picture of not only his grief but his deep love for his departed wife and the sensual remembrances of her all about their cottage.

Tomorrow we will have the concluding stanza that bears a referance to Zhuangzi.



We continue our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective with Chinese poet Pan Yue (247-300) writing about his wife’s death, Here’s Part 1…

My Drowning Grief Overflows My Days (Part 1)

“Time passes, winter and spring fade;
cold and heat suddenly flow and change.
My bride has returned to the sad underworld,
a heavy place, forever shut off by gloom.
Private wishes– who can follow them?
Staying on here– how can that help me?
I should respect the court orders,
turn my heart back to my early service.”
– Pan Yue

Pan Yue was one of the first poets to write about his wife’s death. We will have Part 2 tomorrow.



I hope you haven’t been spoked by some of Chuang-Tzu’s remarks on Death and Dying. Here’s one with a little humor in it.

“Tzu Li went to see Tzu Lai who was dying. Leaning against the door, he said, “Great is the Creator. What will he make of you now? Will he make you into a rat’s liver Will he make you into an insect’s leg?” Tzu-Lai replied, “The universe gave me my body so I may be carried, my life so I may work, my old age so I may repose, and my death so I may rest. To regard life as good is the way to regard death as good…. If I regard the universe as a great furnace and creation as a master foundryman, why should anywhere I go not be all right.”
—Chuang Tzu

A rat’s liver or an insect’s leg may not be a very appealing idea of an afterlife, but Tzu Lai nevertheless expounds the true Daoist view of complete faith in the Dao, the master foundryman. Have a great weekend, everyone, and I hope anywhere you go is all right. Enjoy!



Friday’s quote is again from Chuang-Tzu with a story of transcendence that relates to life and death.

“Nu Yu was teaching P-liang Yi to be a sage. It was three days before he was able to transcend this world. After he transcended this world Yi waited for seven days more, and then he was able to transcend all material things. After he transcended all material things, Yi waited for nine days more and he was able to transcend all life. Having transcended all life, he became as clear and bright as the morning. Having become as clear and bright as the morning, he was able to see the One. Having seen the One, he was then able to abolish the distinction of past and present. Having abolished the past and present, he was then able to enter the realm of neither life nor death. Then, to him, the destruction of life did not mean death and the production of life did not mean life …
—Chuang Tzu

So, that’s what one needs to do to become a sage? And all in less than 3 weeks, 19 days to be exact. Good luck with that. Enjoy your practice, folks.



We continue our Halloween theme on Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective with more from Chuang-Tzu. As I said yesterday, no other Daoist sage is more prolific when it comes to this topic. In fact, he writes about death and dying and its contrast with life more than any other subject to the point that I feel he is obsessed with it. Here’s one that teaches a most profound lesson:

“The true men of old were not afraid when they stood alone in their views. No great exploits. No plans. If they failed, no sorrow. No self-congratulation in success…. The true men of old knew no lust for life, no dread of death. Their entrance was without gladness, their exit, yonder, without resistance. Easy come, easy go. They did not forget where from, nor ask where to, nor drive grimly forward fighting their way through life. They took life as it came, gladly took death as it came, without care and went away, yonder. Yonder They had no mind to fight Tao. They did not try by their own contriving, to help Tao along. These are the ones we call true men. Minds free, thoughts gone. Brows clear, faces serene.”
—Chuang Tzu

“No lust for life, no dread of death,” the true men of old did not drive grimly forward fighting their way through life, and you should not either. Take life as it comes and gladly take death when it’s time, without car, without concern, with no mind to fight Tao. That’s your practice for this week and hopefully throughout the rest of your days. Enjoy, my friends!



As we continue on our Halloween theme of Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective, we come to none other than Chuang-Tzu. No other Daoist sage is more prolific when it comes to this topic, and perhaps no other sage is so revealing either. In today’s quote, Chuang-tzu is discussing the Sage, the true man of Tao…

“Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes. He stays far from wealth and honor. Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. Success is not for him to be pround of, failure is no shame. Had he all the world’s power he would not hold it as his own. If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself. His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One and life and death are equal.”
—Chuang Tzu

Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. When all is said and done, “life and death are equal.” Let that be your practice to include in Self-Cultivation. We will have more from Chuang-Tzu on this topic tomorrow. Enjoy life, everyone.


Continuing our Halloween topic of Death and Dying from a Daoist perspective, today we look at the Daoist counterpart – Confucism with two quotes by Confucius.

“Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.” —Confucius

“If we don’t know life, how can we know death?” —Confucius

Not one prone to be wordy, these two quotes follow Confucius’ pert style of aphorisms that have little concern for Self-Cultivation in the spiritual sense like Laozi and Zhuangzi. Instead he was more concerned with moral or ethical cultivation. For example:

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” —Confucius

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.” —Confucius

Tomorrow we will see what Zhuangzi has to say about Death and Dying. Quite a bit, I believe. So, for now, enjoy your practice, folks.



Since October is the month of Ghosts and Goblins. in the true Halloween Spirit, this week we are looking at aspects of Death and Dying with a Daoist flavor. First up are two quotes from Lao-Tzu and the Tao Te Ching.

“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao-Tzu

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”

So, in the first one, we are told that Life and Death are two sides of the same coin just seen from different perspectives.On the one side, we look at life with a consciousness believed to be limited, and we perceive all the myriad externals of this world. On the other side, when we realize that consciousness is not limited or dependent on the body-mind, we more or less die to all of our false beliefs and opinions.

In the second quote, Lao-Tzu states the three greatest gifts that Life can give us: Health, Contentment or Satis-faction and Confidence. But it is death or Non-being (No longer being) that is the greatest joy.

Tomorrow, we will see what Confucous has to say about the topic. Enjoy your practice, everyone!



We had Part 1 of the Chuang-Tzu Story entitled “Wholeness” yesterday. Here’s Part 2…

“So a drunken man who falls out of a wagon
Is bruised, but not destroyed,
His bones are like the bones of other men,
But his fall is different.
His spirit is entire.
He is not aware of getting into the wagon,
Or falling out of it.
Life and death are nothing to him.
He knows no alarm,
He meets obstacles without thought,
without care,
And takes them without knowing they are there.

If there is such sincerity in wine,
How much more in Tao?
The wise man is hidden in Tao,
Nothing can touch him.”

This is not a suggestion to buy wine and get inebriated but to approach life and its obstacles with a carefree attitude confident that you are secure in the Tao. So, enjoy your practice and enjoy the weekend, everyone.



Today we have Part 1 of the Chuang-Tzu Story entitled “Wholeness.” It points to the ultimate human experience that Chuang-Tzu refers to as the “true man (person) of Tao.”

“How does the true man of Tao
Walk through walls without obstruction
And stand in fire without being burnt?

Not because of cunning or daring,
Not because he has learned –
But because he has unlearned.

His nature sinks to his root in the one.
His vitality, his power,
Hide in secret Tao.

When he is all one,
There is no flaw in him
By which a wedge can enter.”

Chuang-Tzu here agrees with his teacher Lao-Tzu who pointed out in the Chapter 48 of Tao Te Ching that one seeking knowledge learns something new everyday, but the true person of Tao unlearns something everyday.

There is also a message here for those involved in the internal arts: it is not the qi sinking to one’s root that matters, but one’s nature must sink to one’s root in the Tao.

We will close out the week tomorrow with the Part Two of “Wholeness.”



Today is a Chuang-Tzu story entitled “The Tower of the Spirit,” which highlights the concept of “wu wei,” non-contrived actions.

“The Spirit has an impregnable tower
which no danger can disturb
as long as the tower is guarded by the invisible Protector
who acts unconsciously and
whose actions go astray when they become deliberate
reflexive and intentional.

The unconscious and entire sincerity of Tao
are disturbed by any effort at self-conscious demonstration.
All such demonstrations are lies.
When one displays himself in this ambiguous way
the world storms in and imprisons him.
He is no longer protected by the sincerity of Tao.

Each new act is a new failure.
If his acts are done in public, in broad daylight,
he will be punished by men.
If they are done in private and in secret,
he will be punished by spirits.

Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity
and guard against display.

He will be at peace with men and spirits
and will act rightly, unseen, in his own solitude,
in the tower of his spirit.”
– Chuang-Tzu, from the “Zhuangzi (The Book of Chuang-Tzu)

Thus right action is simply “wu wei,” egoless actions done without contrivance, deliberation or display but as a spontaneous response rather than a reaction to a particular situation. Enjoy your practice, everyone.



We are taking a look at Chuang-Tzu stories this week from the Zhuangzi (The Book of Chuang-Tzu). This one is entitled “Apologies.”

“If a man steps on a stranger’s foot
In the marketplace,
He makes a polite apology
And offers an explanation:
“This place is so crowded.”

If an elder brother
Steps on his younger brother’s foot
He says, “Sorry.”
And that is that.

If a parent steps on his child’s foot
Nothing is said at all.

The greatest politeness
Is free from all formality.
Perfect conduct is free of concern.
Perfect wisdom is unplanned.
Perfect love is without demonstrations.
Perfect sincerity offers no guarantee.”

Thus it is that when one approaches perfection, one need not explain oneself as one’s speech and actions are beyond reproach. Such is the nature of perfection.

While you may be far from perfection, enjoy your practice anyway as there is no need to regret mistakes.



We continue this week with more from Chuang-Tzu and the Empty Boat…

“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 … has no reputation.
Since he judges no one
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.”

So judge no one, lest you be judged, and enjoy your practice, folks, and the video below…



We start off October and the week with a quote from Chuang-tzu…

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 you.
-Chuang-tzu from the Chuangzi (The Book of Chuang-Tzu)

So, empty your boat and enjoy your practice, everyone. There’s no one to oppose or harm you.



On the last day of September, we have our last look at the concept of Freedom from Daoist sages. Although not very ancient, Liu I-ming, an 18th century adept, imparts his concept of bare freedom in the following quote:

“If one walks with every step on the ground of reality in the furnace of Creation, experiencing everything that comes along, being in the doorway of life and death without wavering, like gold that becomes brighter the more it is fired, like a mirror that becomes clearer the more it is polished, fired and polished to a state of round brightness, clean nakedness, bare freedom, where there is neither being nor nonbeing, where others and self all become empty, then one will be mentally and physically sublimated, and will merge with the Tao in reality.”
– Liu I-ming, Awakening to the Dao, translated by Thomas Cleary

As usual, Liu’s idea of bare freedom is an esoteric one – a state of neither being nor nonbeing where others and self all become empty. He uses the Daoist alchemy analogy of firing and polishing to reach that particular state of rouhd brightness. If this works for you, fine. Keep it. If not, then listen to this short video.



We continue our look this week at the concept of Freedom and Free Will from the perspective of Daoist sages. Next up is Mingzi, better known in the West as Mencius.

Mencius said: “To fathom the mind is to understand your nature. And when you understand your nature, you understand Heaven. Foster your mind, nurture your nature – then you are serving Heaven.
“Don’t worry about dying young or living long. What will come will come. Cultivate yourself well – and patient in that perfection, let it come. Then you will stand firm in your fate.”

Mencius said: “What you seek you will find, and what you ignore you will lose. Where this saying is right, and to seek means to find, we’re seeking something within ourselves.
“To seek is a question of the Way, and to find is a question of destiny. Where this is right, and to seek doesn’t necessarily mean to find, we’re seeking something outside ourselves.”

Both of these sayings come very close to the concept of a personal freedom. Now compare them to the idea on this video…



We continue our look this week at the concept of Freedom and Free Will from the perspective of Daoist sages. Not exactly a Daoist and perhaps, one might say, an anti-Daoist, Confucius is next up with a couple quotes.

“When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom.”- Confucius

“”The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” – Confucius

“Tis that I am sick of men’s immovableness and deafness to reason.” – Confucius

“When the ‘superior man’ regards righteousness as the thing material, gives operation to it according to the Rules of Propriety, lets it issue in humility, and become complete in sincerity there indeed is your superior man!” – Confucius

In all of these quotes by Confucius, we can see that he bases the concept of Freedom upon the ability to think and reason and one other very important factor – a strong will to attain the desired result. But do you think he has hit the mark as far as Freedom and Free Will are concerned? Or has Confucius missed it entirely? Take a look at this video and then decide for yourself…



This week we are looking at the concept of Freedom and Free Will from the perspective of Daoist sages. Chuang-Tzu is next up with a familiar story that illustrates his idea of Freedom.

“Chuang Tzu was one day fishing, when the Prince of Ch’u sent two high officials to interview him, saying that his Highness would be glad of Chuang Tzu’s assistance in the administration of his government. The latter quietly fished on, and without looking round, replied, “I have heard that in the State of Ch’u there is a sacred tortoise, which has been dead three thousand years, and which the prince keeps packed up in a box on the altar in his ancestral shrine. Now do you think that tortoise would rather be dead and have its remains thus honoured, or be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?” The two officials answered that no doubt it would rather be alive and wagging its tail in the mud; whereupon Chuang Tzu cried out “Begone! I too elect to remain wagging my tail in the mud.”

It is obvious that Chuang-Tzu feels that protocol and following the dictates of society and the government greatly restricts personal freedom. He equates the idea of Freedom as being able to do what you want when you want.

Now compare Chuang-Tzu’s concept of Freedom with the following video…



This week we are taking a look at Freedom through the words and stories of Daoist sages and others. First up is Lao-Tzu with his idea of Freedom from Chapter 57 in the Tao Te Ching.

“Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.”
– Chapter 57, Tao Te Ching, translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

Now compare Lao-Tzu’s concept of wu wei and the good and simple life with the following video…



Yesterday we looked at the first part of Chapter 28 from the Tao Te Ching. Here is the second and final part.

“Know the honour, but keep to the disgraced, be a valley to the world.
Being the valley to the world, the constant virtue will be sufficient.
Return to plainness.
When the plainness shatters, it becomes vessels.
The sage makes use of the plainness, and becomes the lord over the officials.
Thus the greatest ideal for ruling the world is
to maintain its plainness as its own nature.”
– Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 28

“Know the honour, but keep to the disgraced, be a valley to the world.
Being the valley to the world, the constant virtue will be sufficient.
Return to plainness.”

For many honor brings the recognition and praise they relish. But when honor is lost, others will disgrace them, looking down on them as unimportant or, worse, disrespected. Since change is the only constant in life, Lao-Tzu advises us not to concern ourselves with honor or disgrace as they will come and go. When honored, we accept it with humility. When disgraced, we remain humble as the Truth within keeps us free.

Like the ravine in the opening sentance, being a valley to the world we retain the flow of the Tao within. Then our virtue will be sufficient. We need nothing more than the plainness inside us. “Plainness” means to be natural and simple like an uncarved block, which symbolizes our True Nature – humble, honest and unassuming.
Then Lao Tzu says:

““When the plainness shatters, it becomes vessels.
The sage makes use of the plainness and becomes the lord over the officials.”

Once the rock is cut it shatters into pieces, all different vessels for different purposes. In other words, the ten thousand things or myriads. But the sage who is abiding in the Truth always keeps that plainness, which brings with it that natural attraction of others, who would welcome the sage to Lord over his them.

Here Lao Tzu tells us how a government should function. The head must keep the plainness for his officials to serve the country without crookedness. Although people are divided into different roles and positions, they should be abiding by the plainness of the Truth without cheating or cunning. This is Lao-Tzu’s greatest ideal for ruling. Let everyone be simple and honest to do his or her duties in the way that is most natural for them to do so, thus Lao Tzu ends with the following:

“Thus, the greatest ideal for ruling the world is
to maintain its plainness as its own nature.”



There are several chapters in Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching that put forth humility as an important virtue. In fact, without
acquiring it, achieving enlightenment would be next to impossible. In Chapter 28, Lao-tzu elaborates on humility and its importance in detail.

“Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine, be a ravine to the world.
Being the ravine to the world, the constant virtue does not depart.
Return to be pure and innocent as an infant.
Know the white, but keep to the black, be a model to the world.
Being the model to the world, the constant virtue does not deviate.
Return to the infinite.”

“Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine, be a ravine to the world.
Being the ravine to the world, the constant virtue does not depart.
Return to be pure and innocent as an infant.”

The masculine is our Yang energy which gives us our strength, endurance and will power. But we also need to be humble, resilient and receptive like the femine Yin energy. The “ravine to the world” is an analogy for that humble, receptive part of us that allows the Tao to flow within like water through a stream or ravine. The virtue or Te then becomes a constant part of us, enabling us to return to that innocence we had as a newborn.

“Know the white, but keep to the black, be a model to the world.
Being the model to the world, the constant virtue does not deviate.
Return to the infinite.”

“Know the white” indicates righteousness, which is also a virtue of the Truth that compliments our humility we are right, and people also know that we are rightful. To be righteous is also the virtue of the Truth. However, at times we may encounter people who misunderstand us or treat us with disdain. In those times, Lao Tzu urges us to “Keep to the black,” which means we should be able to bear the temporary suffering of unhelpful encounters and return to the righteousness and abide in the Truth.

So let us contemplate these two short stanzas and see if we can add them to our practice. We will finish Chapter 28 tomorrow. Enjoy your practice, folks.



With the political turmoil and mud-slinging heating up as the midterm elections approach, we take a look at the “Yin and Yang” of American politics via Taoist master Kari Hohne of in this excerpt from hr blog entitled “There Is No Adversary.”

Kari writes:
“We recognize projection happening for the individual, but we can also see it happening among groups.

Like Yin and Yang, a two-party democratic system is needed to find balance. It promotes stability at the same time that it allows for the introduction of new ideas. The two parties were never meant to agree.

They may fear the outcome of their disagreement as a loss of control. Voting tends to balance out their differences.

Studies show that conservatives have traditionally preferred order, while liberals appeared more open to uncertainty. The right accuses the left of threatening their freedoms with government structures that appear too ordered. In the meantime, the left is accusing the right of overthrowing democracy and rejecting what worked in the past.

Liberals seem to be promoting order, while Conservatives are giving free reign to uncertainty. This is the natural way opposites transform each other.

Both view the Other as close-minded, dishonest and immoral. How did this transfer of ideologies become the face of the Other? Projection is how we accuse the Other of possessing our own flaws.

We have to examine what is being repressed.

Conservatives tend to appreciate Christian values, but they don’t seem to extend compassion to serving the needy with any type of social assistance.

Liberals believe they are tolerant, but they don’t extend this tolerance to the idea that people naturally think differently.

The right thinks they are defending liberty, while they enact laws that restrict individual freedoms. The left thinks they are defending democracy, while they demonize those with opposing views.

In the meantime, nobody is being truthful, taking responsibility for their hypocrisies, or willing to examine their own inconsistencies.

If each examined their own motives and founding principles, they just might find consensus.”

I thank Kari for the brilliant analysis and responsible advice, which I hope all of us can put into practice.



Over the past two days we read how the Greek philosopher Plato might relate this idea of the Dao or the Absolute. Like Consciousness, Truth and Love are modalities of the Absolute, and so is Absolute Beauty, which is how Plato chose to relate the idea that Oneness that cannot be named.

In the Navajo tradition, that same idea of Beauty as the defining quality of existence is expressed in the Beauty Way Chant.

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful…

What can one say except, “Beautiful!” Thus, may you practice this day with beauty before you, with beauty behind you, with beauty below you, with beauty above you, with beauty all around you may you LIVE. Enjoy, everyone.



How might non-Chinese sages from antiquity think of this Absolute Reality that Daoist refer to as the Dao? Today we have Part 2 of how a certain Greek philosopher relates this idea to Socrates, his guru or teacher. See yesterday’s post for Part 1.

“Whenever a man, ascending on the return journey from these mortal things, by a right feeling of love for youths, begins to catch sight of that beauty, he is not far from his goal. This is the correct way of approaching or being led by another to the realm of love, beginning with beautiful things in this world and using them as steps, returning ever on and upwards for the sake of that absolute beauty, from one to two and from two to all beautiful embodiments, then from beautiful embodiment to beautiful practices, and from practices to the beauty of knowledge of many things, and from these branches of knowledge one comes finally to the absolute knowledge, which is none other than knowledge of that absolute beauty and rests finally in the realization of what the absolute beauty is.”
– Part 2 of “Plato’s Journey Through Unknowing”

So, we begin with beautiful things in this world and step-by-step ever on and ever upwards we follow them, from beautiful embodiments to beautiful practices to the beauty of knowledge of many things, and from these branches of knowledge we finally come to rest in the realization of Absolute Beauty, a pure modality of Absolute Reality, the Dao.

Tomorrow we will look at a Native American interpretation of the Dao that aligns perfectly with “Plato’s Journey Through Unknowing.

Enjoy your contemplation and keep practicing, everyone.




Ever wonder how non-Chinese might translate the term “Dao?” Some Westerners may call it God. Some Buddhists might call it Buddhahood or others might call it the Void. Hindus may think it refers to Brahman. Many Western philosophers and spiritual teachers call it Awareness or Consciousness. Some may simply refer to it as the Absolute. As Lao-tzu told us, the Dao that can be named is not the Dao or God or the Void or Brahman.

Many of these terms for the Dao may actually refer to modalities of the Absolute, for instance Consciousness, Awareness, Truth. But how might non-Chinese sages from antiquity think of this Absolute called the Dao. Here is how a certain Greek philosopher relates this idea to Socrates, his guru or teacher.

“He who has been led by his teacher in the matters of love to this point, correctly observing step by step the objects of beauty, when approaching his final goal will, of a sudden, catch sight of a nature of amazing beauty, and this, Socrates, is indeed the cause of all his former efforts. This nature is, in the first place, for all time, neither coming into being nor passing into dissolution, neither growing nor decaying; secondly, it is not beautiful in one part or at one time, but ugly in another part or at another time, nor beautiful towards one thing, but ugly towards another, nor beautiful here and ugly there, as if beautiful to some, but ugly to others; again, this beauty will not appear to him as partaking of the level of beauty of the human face or hands or any other part of the body, neither of any kind of reason nor any branch of science, nor existing in any other being, such as in a living creature, or in earth, or in heaven or in anything else, but only in the ever present unity of Beauty Itself, in Itself, with Itself, from which all other beautiful things are derived, but in such a manner that these others come into being and pass into dissolution, but it experiences no expansion nor contraction nor suffers any change.”

That was Part 1 of “Plato’s Journey through Unknowing.” It certainly sounds like descriptions that Daoist sages have prescribed to the Dao down through the ages. Wouldn’t you agree? In any case, I will let you contemplate this deeply intense paragraph for now and reveal the final part tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy your contemplation and your practice, folks.



Just one stanza from the early Chan poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen. It is longer than the other stanzas and contains several wonderful concept to contemplate.

“To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult.
But those with limited views are fearful and irresolute:
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
And clinging (attachment) cannot be limited:
Even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray. Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.
Obey the nature of things (your own nature)
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.”

Third line “the faster they hurry, the slower they go” in another translation reads: “Conceived in haste, they only detain us.” Here the line is pointing to our limited views and opinions rather than ourselves, the ones with the limited views.

The fourth line “And clinging (attachment) cannot be limited in the other translation it reads: “Attachments know no bounds.” In other words, there seem to be endless objects, both physical and mental, that we can attach to.

With those two comparisons, you can spend your weekend contemplating this stanza and putting the concepts into practice. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.



Today we cover 3 more stanzas from the early Chan poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen. The poem is a blending of Buddhist and Taoist teachings and is highly contemplative. I hope you have been following along. So, here are your three stanzas to contemplate today.

“Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend.
And when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes:
As when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject (mind):
the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

Terms are slightly misrepresented. There is only one subject and that is the Absolute or Dao which has the modalities such as Consciousness, the Perceiver, Truth, Love, Beauty. So, any of these terms can represent the Absolute or Dao, which the only subject there is. All others are objects. This includes the thinking or acquired or conditioned mind or ego. None of these terms for the thinking mind can be considered truly subjective. They are all objects perceived by Consciousness, the true Subject. With that understanding, go ahead and contemplate today’s three stanzas. Enjoy your contemplation and the rest of your practice, everyone.



Continuing to cover excerpts from the early Chan poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen, today we will contemplate three stanzas instead of the usual two that we have been posting. This is due to a seeming contradiction between the first and third stanzas.

“The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment,
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.
do not remain in the dualistic state.
Avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that,
of right and wrong,
the mind-essence will be lost in confusion.”
– “Hsin Hsin Ming” by Seng T’san, translated by Richard B. Clarke

The first stanza states that the more you think and talk about it, the more you stray from the Truth. Then the third stanza states: “Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.” The first stanza is correct in that thinking and talking about the Truth will never lead to the Truth of who we are because thinking and talking are actions generated by the acquired (conditioned) mind – the ego. Furthermore, they are actually “objects” perceived by Consciousness, which is the objectless presance, and itself, the one and only “Subject.”

Understanding that, we now can see why the third stanza actually agrees with the first. In other words, searching for the truth using the acquired mind keeps us locked into the dualistic state and, therefore, it is best that we drop all of our dualistic opinions about the Truth. However, this does not preclude us from having a burning enthusiasm for the Truth, not by seeking or searching for it but by just being open to it. If we are able to establish our openness, the Truth will find us. In fact, that Shadow which proceeds the Truth will pull us in to the Truth. But we must be open to it.

So, open up and let it all hang out as they say, and enjoy your practice, folks.



Today we are continuing to cover excerpts from the early Chan poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen. The poem is a blending of Buddhist and Taoist teachings and is highly contemplative. Here are the next two stanzas:

“When you try to stop activity by passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity,
assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things
is to miss their reality;
To assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.”
– “Hsin Hsin Ming” by Seng T’san, translated by Richard B. Clarke

When contrived or forced, both activity and passivity are forms of ignorance as are assertion and denial. See through to the falsity of both as you continue to practice Self-Cultivation.


Today we are continue to contemplate the early Chan poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen. The poem is a blending of Buddhist and Taoist teachings and is highly contemplative. Here are the next two stanzas:

“The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such
erroneous views will disappear by themselves.”
– “Hsin Hsin Ming” by Seng T’san, translated by Richard B. Clarke

See the way our erroneous concept of free will and freedom of choice as we pursue worldly objects in search of happiness actually bring us the direct opposite – more needs, more choice to make, and more insatiable desires that only bring us misery not happiness.

So free yourself of the entanglements of pursuing worldly objects, ambitions, and creature comforts and they will disappear on their own. Enjoy your practice, everyone.



We are going to contemplate an early Chan poem that later became one of the most influential Zen writings. The poem “Hsin Hsin Ming,” is attributed to Seng T’san, who lived in the sixth century and was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen. The poem is a blending of Buddhist and Taoist teachings. We won’t view the whole poem since it’s rather legthy. But I will post a couple of stanzas at a time, any one of which is deeply contemplative.

“The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest 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.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood,
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.”
– Opening stanzas of “Hsin Hsin Ming” by Seng T’san, translated by Richard B. Clarke

Stay wtih these two stanzas and see where they take you – the inner You. Enjoy your contemplation.



We will close out the week with another quote from Huang Po:

“Suppose a warrior, forgetting that he was already wearing his pearl on his forehead, were to seek for it elsewhere, he could travel the whole world without finding it.”

What does this Pearl of Great Wisdom refer to? None other than your own true nature. And to quote Huang Po once more : “There is only the one reality, neither to be realized nor attained.”

Enjoy your practice, everyone. And enjoy your weekend.

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Today’s quote is from Huang Po describing the true Nature of all things.

“Consider the sunlight. You may see it is near, yet if you follow it from world to world you will never catch it in your hands. Then you may describe it as far away and, lo, you will see it just before your eyes. Follow it and, behold, it escapes you; run from it and it follows you close. You can neither possess it nor have done with it. From this example you can understand how it is with the true Nature of all things and, henceforth, there will be no need to grieve or to worry about such things.”
― Huang Po, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind

In other words what Huang Po is telling us is that there’s no need to worry or grieve over not being about to grasp the Dao, the true Nature of all things because you can neither change it nor control it. So return to your practice and quit struggling with such things. Just enjoy, folks!



There’s a Chuang-tzu story that isn’t necessarily associated with internal martial arts but nevertheless carries a remarkable message for all cultivators regardless of their philosophical or spiritual affiliations.

Chuang Tzu – The Tower of the Spirit

“The Spirit
has an impregnable tower
which no danger can disturb
as long as the tower is guarded
by the invisible Protector
who acts unconsciously
and whose actions go astray
when they become deliberate
reflexive and intentional.

The unconscious
and entire sincerity of Tao
are disturbed by any effort
at self-conscious demonstration.
All such demonstrations are lies.
When one displays himself
in this amibiguous way
the world storms in
and imprisons him.
He is no longer protected
by the sincerity of Tao.

Each new act is a new failure.
If his acts are done in public,
in broad daylight,
he will be punished by men.
If they are done in private and in secret,
he will be punished by spirits.

Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity
and guard against display.

He will be at peace
with men and spirits
and will act rightly, unseen,
in his own solitude,
in the tower of his spirit.”

My you in your practice understand the meaning of sincerity and guard against display. Enjoy your practice, everyone.



Our final Chuang-tzu story that relates to the Internal Martial Art’s is entitled “Prince Hui’s Cook.”

Prince Hui’s cook was cutting up an oxen. Every blow of his hand, every heave of his shoulders, every step of his foot, every thrust of his knee, every whshh of the oxen’s torn flesh, every chhk of the chopper, was in perfect harmony- in rhythm like the dance of the Mulberry Grove, simultaneous like the chords of the Ching Shou.

“Well done!” cried the Prince. “How did you ever achieve such skill?”

“Sire,” replied the cook, “I have always devoted myself to the Tao. It is better than skill. When I first began cutting up oxens, I saw before me simply whole oxens. After three years of practice, I saw no more whole animals. And now I work with my mind and not with my eye. When my senses bid me stop, but my mind urges me on, I fall back upon eternal principles. I follow such openings or cavities as there may be, according to the animal’s natural physique. I do not attempt to cut through the veins, arteries, and tendons, still less through large bones.”

“A good cook changes his chopper once a year- because he cuts. An ordinary cook, once a month- because he hacks. But I have had this chopper nineteen years, and although I have cut up many thousands oxens, its edge is as if fresh from the grindstone. For at the joints there are always crevices, and the edge of a chopper being without thickness, it remains only to insert that which is without thickness into such a crevice. By these means the crevice will be enlarged, and the blade will find plenty of room. It is thus that I have kept my chopper for nineteen years as though fresh from the grindstone.”

“Nevertheless, when I come upon a hard part where the blade meets with a difficult section, I proceed with caution. I fix my gaze and go slowly, gently applying my blade, until with a Hwah! the part yields like earth crumbling to the ground. Then I take out my chopper, and stand up, and look around, and pause, until with an air of triumph I wipe my chopper and put it carefully away.”

“Bravo!” cried the Prince. “From the words of this cook I have learnt how to take care of my life.”

By following the Dao all these years, the cook no longer is engaged in cutting up the physical body of the ox, its gross matter, but instead has reached the realm of subtle matter and follows the lines of energy within the ox, fully connected to his knife, which has become one with his hand, as the movment of qi pulses through his veins.

I sincerely hope this story can help you take care of your life by engaging in the subtle energy that pulses all around, in and through you. May your practice flow with the energy of the Dao. Enjoy, everyone!



Today we look at one of my favorite Chuang-tzu stories: “Monkey Mountain.” I think the meaning will be quite obvious and one should be able to see its implication to the internal martial arts.

Chuang Tzu Story – Monkey Mountain

The Prince of Wu took a boat
to Monkey Mountain.
As soon as the monkeys saw him
they all fled in panic and hid in the treetops.

One monkey, however, remained, completely unconcerned,
swinging from branch to branch –
an extraordinary display.

The prince shot an arrow at the monkey,
but the monkey dexterously
caught the arrow in midflight.

At this the prince ordered his attendants
to make a concerted attack.
In an instant the monkey was shot
full of arrows and fell dead.

Then the prince turned to his companion Yen Pu’i,
“You see what happened?
This animal advertised his cleverness.
He trusted his own skill.
He thought no one could touch him.
Remember that!
Do not rely on distinction and talent
when you deal with men!”

When they returned home,
Yen Pu’i became a disciple of a sage
to get rid of eveything that made him outstanding.
He renounced every pleasure.
He learned to hide every distinction.

Soon no one in the kingdom
knew what to make of him.
Thus they held him in awe.

Obviously the story is about the dangers of arrogance. The monkey was so full of himself that he thought he could handle almost anything. Therein lies the danger. The monkey wound up full of arrows and so will our engagements with others. if we don’t tame our haughty expectations. In the end, Yen Pu’i chose the path of humility rather than arrogance and by following Lao-tzu’ dictate: “Avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men”…”If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility. If he would lead them, he must follow behind.”

Thus, in our own practice, it is arrogance that gets us in trouble and causes all sorts of problems. So, practice humility until it becomes natural and helping others brings you the greatest joy. Bless you, folks.

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Last week we looked at three Chuang-tzu parables that applied to both internal and external martial arts. We begin this week with a fourth parable, “Flight from the Shadow.”

Flight from the Shadow

There was a man
who was so disturbed
by the sight of his own shadow
and so displeased
with his own footsteps,
that he determined to get rid of both.

The method he hit upon was
to run away from them.
So he got up and ran.

But everytime he put his foot down
there was another step,
while his shadow kept up with him
without the slightest difficulty.

He attributed his failure
to the fact
that he was not running fast enough.
So he ran faster and faster,
without stopping,
until he finally dropped dead.

He failed to realize
that if he merely stepped into the shade,
his shadow would vanish,
and if he sat down and stayed still,
there would be no more footsteps.

What this parable is telling us about the internal arts especially like tai chi and baguazhang is twofold. First, it is warning us against the use of force. Trying to force or intend certain processes to happen will only contract both the body and the mind and make success quite difficult if not altogether impossible.

Secondly, and most importantly, Chuang-tzu is warning us about our attitude or psycholgoical impediments. What caused this man’s sudden death? It was not his running away per se, but the reason he was running away. In the opening paragraph, Chuang-tzu tells us that he was disturbed and displeased. It was his extreme displeasure that stressed him out and caused him to act in a way that eventually caused his death.

As the Master tells us: “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.” – Lao-tzu.

I certainly hope you can practice contentment this week not only with your cultivation exercises but with your daily life. And, above all, rejoice in the way things are.

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Our next story from the Zhuangzi (the Book of Chuang-tzu) is one entitled “The Need to Win,” and definitely applies to internal and external martial arts contests like tui shou (push hands).

The Need To Win

When an archer is shooting for fun
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle-
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold-
He goes blind
Or sees two targets
He is out of his mind.

His skill has not changed,
But the prize divides him.
He cares
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting
And the need to win
Drains him of power.

This is why good teachers tell their students to step back and accept the loss when they feel they need to use force to overcome an opponent. Don’t struggle, don’t fight the opponent’s force or power, and above all don’t be afraid or ashamed of losing. Just step back and reset. That’s all a part of training. So, have a great practice this weekend, everyone. See you Monday.



Continuing our look at stories from the Zhuangzi (the Book of Chuang-tzu) and applying them to both tai chi and the internal arts, today we review “Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright.”

Duke Hwan of Khi, first in his dynasty,
sat under his canopy reading his philosophy.
And Phien the wheelwright was out in the yard
making a wheel.

Phien laid aside hammer and chisel,
climbed the steps
and said to Duke Hwan,
“May I ask you, Lord,
what is this you are reading?”

Said the duke: “The experts, the authorities.”
Phien asked: “Alive or dead?”
The duke said: “Dead, a long time.”
“Then,” said the wheelwright,
“you are only reading the dirt they left behind.”

The duke replied, “What do you know about it?
You are only a wheelwright.
You had better give me a good explanation
or else you must die.”

The wheelwright said,
“Let us look at the affair from my point of view.
When I make wheels, if I go easy they fall apart,
and if I am too rough they don’t fit.
But if I am neither too easy nor too violent
they come out right,
and the work is what I want it to be.

You cannot put this in words,
you just have to know how it is.
I cannot even tell my own son exactly how it is done,
and my own son cannot learn it from me.
Se here I am, seventy years old, still making wheels!

The men of old took all they really knew
with them to the grave.
And so, Lord, what you are reading there
is only the dirt they left behind them.”

There are a couple of very important lessons here which the Zhuangzi is putting across. The first is finding the Middle Way, both in the internal martial arts like tai chi and baguazhan. This is also pointed out in the famous Chinese saying: “Bu diu, bu ding.” Not too little, not too much. Or as the wheelwright points out: “If I go easy they fall apart, and if I am too rough they don’t fit.” So, what’s the solution? The Middle Way: “But if I am neither too easy nor too violent, they come out right.”

But how can one find the Middle Way, that perfect measure between Bu Diu and Bu Ding? Here the Wheelwright warns us not to trust the writings of the ancients. All those old tai chi books and even the newer ones can only point to a solution, but you will have to discover it on your own. Even teachers can demonstrate and perform movements, but unless you have some magic way of getting inside them so you could feel what they feel and move the way they move, then you are left on your own.

So, experiment. Work with a partner if you can and practice the different ways of releasing your energy until you feel that you have it right. Enjoy your practice, everyone!




We begin the month of September with a few Chuang-tzu stories from the Zhuangzi, but not just any stories. These are ones that especially apply to tai chi and tui shou (push hands) as well as other internal arts and martial arts. Our first one is perhaps Chuang-tzu’s most famous, the tale of the “Fighting Cock.”

“Chi Hsing Tzu was a trainer of
fighting cocks for King Hsuan.
He was training a fine bird.
The king kept asking
if the bird was ready for combat.

“Not yet”, said the trainer.
“He is full of fire.
He is ready to pick a fight
with every other bird.
He is vain and confident
of his own strength.”

After ten days he answered again,
“Not yet. He flares up
when he hears another bird crow.”

After ten more days,
“Not yet. He still gets that angry look
and ruffles his feathers.”

Again ten days.
The trainer said,
“Now he is nearly ready.
When another bird crows,
his eyes don’t even flicker.
He stands immobile like a block of wood.
He is a mature fighter.
Other birds will take one look at him and run.” – from Zhuangzi, the Book of Chuang-tzu

This story could easily be called the “Tale of Taming the Rambuncious Ego” for that is exactly what is happening here. In the beginning the bird wants to charge head-long into the ring and attack his opponent. That will probably work with a less experienced opponent, but should his opponent be prepared, it would easily thwart his attack and counter-attack the now defenseless bird.

As the taming continues, the trainer hopes to get the bird to “listen” within and gain empowerment over its previously learned habits. To understand this kind of “listening,” we can step away from Daoism for a moment and take a lesson from the erudite Advaita sage of the last century, Jean Klein, who often urged his disciples to listen to their bodies and continue listening until they were listening to listening, as is the case with the bird whisperer/trainer in Chuang-tzu’s parable. Eventually as the listening deepens there will no longer be a listener, just quiet, a stillness that nothing can touch.

So, as you can see, the story of the “Fighting Cock” applies to meditation as well as tai chi and tui shou. Thus as you practice this month, see if you can listen without judgment or qualifications to your body. Let that listening deepen each day and enjoy your practice, folks.




We end the month of August with the last part of Chapter 52 and perhaps the most important quote in the Tao Te Ching.

“To see the subtle is called enlightenment.
To hold fast to the gentle is called having strength.
Use the light.
Return to enlightenment.
Bring not misfortune upon yourself.
This is known as following the constant Truth.” – Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52, Part 3

How can we seek the Truth within us? Lao Tzu tells us:

“To see the subtle is called enlightenment.

We should see the subtlety in us. By being silent in meditation, we feel the subtlety within. Our mind will calm down, not agitated. To see the subtlety, which is the light within us, i.e., the Truth, the light is the wisdom, the clear mind with simplicity, like the sun. When the sun comes, all darkness disappears. All religions tell us that the Truth is the light. We all need the light for our survival. Without light, people will become blind in darkness. Then Lao Tzu says:

“To hold fast to the gentle is called having strength.”

This is the gentleness within us once our mind turns silent and our breath slows down. This is also the strength within us which can last long. To be gentle and mild all the time within us, even when we are doing work, we can maintain the silence in us. This silence is the long-lasting force for us to see the light, and to be careful and alert, thus Lao Tzu explains in another Chapter:

“Rare words are natural.
Strong wind cannot last all morning.
Sudden downpour cannot last all day.
Who makes this so?
The Heaven and the Earth.
Even the Heaven and the Earth cannot be long-lasting.
How can human be?
(Chapter 23)

Then Lao Tzu tells us in the concluding verses:

“Use the light.
Return to enlightenment.
Bring not misfortune upon yourself.
This is known as following the constant Truth.”

Lao Tzu tells us that the Truth is “constant” which is immutable and eternal. Keep the constancy in us which is the Truth. We will not move up and down, swaying left and right without stability. Our gravity is the constancy in our mind holding fast to the Truth. We only follow the one basic principle inherent within us. This basic principle is the light, the One, without second or many. We use our light to return to the Truth, then we will be enlightened. To be enlightened by the Truth, we will not have any misfortune in life. This is the marvel of the Truth.
– Commentary by Nirguna, Chor-lok Lam

So, there is no better way to conclude Chapter 52 and one’s practice by keeping the constancy in us which is the truth and following that one basic principle inherent within us, which the light. Enjoy your practice, folks.



Today we look at Part 2 of Chapter 52 in the Tao Te Ching with the Commentary by Chor-kok Lam.

“Block the openings.
Shut the doors.
We would live without toil all through life.
Unblock the openings.
Meddle in the affairs.
We cannot be saved all through life.” – Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52

The Truth is our pure nature inherent in us. Therefore, we should seek the Truth within us, not outside us, then naturally we will have the Virtue, thus Lao Tzu says:

“Block the openings.
Shut the doors.
We would live without toil all through life.”

Imagine how peaceful and calm a newborn baby is when he was born sleeping silently with the parental care. It does not know about pleasures and pains, joy and sorrow, love and hatred. It only keeps silent in emptiness, in nothingness, as he knows nothing around the world. This tranquility is effortless inherent inward us as the pure nature given by the Lord.

Why do people not know the Truth and become virtuous? It is because people turn away from the Truth. They go away far and far to encounter the outside world without looking back their inner self. They neglect their pure nature but chase to seek happiness and pleasure outside them. They think the sensual objects are their targets to pursue in their life as different aims and goals. The further they go outside to find their aims and goals, the further they will be away from the Truth. They will become the prey of the sensual objects around them, like tigers and wolves eating their prey. Their mind will be eaten up.

To seek the Truth, we must go back, not go away. How can we know what the Truth is when there are so many contradictions among people in the outside world? We should keep our mind always in the Truth by looking inward us, not meddling the outside affairs, thus Lao Tzu says:

“Unblock the openings.
Meddle in the affairs.
We cannot be saved all through life.”

The direction to get the Truth is to go back, not to go away. We are living in this world, but the centre of gravity is always within us, not any object outside us. If we rely on any object outside us, we will lose ourselves. We do not know the Truth is always with us but will be deluded by the changing world. In this way, Lao Tzu warns us that “we cannot be saved”, not for a certain period, but “all through life”.
– Commentary by Chor-lok Lam

This very thorough and profound commentary offers us a set method to practice in order to get the Truth, which is always within us but deluded by the changing world. So, your practice is to observe how the changing world deludes us. Find out. See it for your self. And enjoy your practice, everyone.



We start off this week with one of the most instructive chapter in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52 with the Commentary on the Tao Te Ching by Nirguna, Chor-kok Lam. Here’s Part 1:

“The world has a beginning.
This beginning is the Mother of the world.
When we know the Mother,
we can know her children.
After knowing her children,
go back and hold fast to the Mother.
Then we would live without danger all through life.” – Lao-tzu

In the First Chapter of the Tao Te Ching, it says:
“The Non-being is called the beginning of the Heaven and the Earth.
The Being is called the mother of the whole creation.”
(Chapter 1)

The non-being is formless, the pure intelligence or consciousness, i.e., the Truth. When the Truth manifests itself, it becomes the Virtue (Te) which creates different names, forms and shapes, therefore, in this Chapter, it starts saying:

“The world has a beginning.
This beginning is the mother of the world.”

Here Lao Tzu uses the image of mother to describe how all creatures are created by the Virtue like a mother gave birth to her offspring. This is an analogy to tell how the Truth becomes Virtue to generate all creatures by its creative power. Throughout the whole Tao Te Ching, the image of Motherhood is consistently used to describe how the Being, the manifestation of the Truth, i.e., the Virtue, creates all creatures:

(Chapter 6)
“The Gateway of the Mysterious Female is called
the Root of the Heaven and the Earth.”

Therefore, the mother is the manifestation of the Truth from Non-being to become Being, while her children are all the creatures created by the Being. This relationship is an analogy for our understanding. It can be naïve if people think that the eternal Truth is limited as a mother goddess like human beings. It is the motherhood principle, not mother goddess. As there are a lot of mothers in different worlds, there is only one motherhood principle. Basically, in the pure sense of nature, there is only one principle of motherhood among all different mothers in different worlds. The Truth in this sense is the basic one principle among all creatures. Then Lao Tzu tells us:

“When we know the mother, we can know her children.
After knowing her children, go back and hold fast to the mother.”

How can we know all creatures? We know all of them by knowing their basic principle. It is the simplest answer Lao Tzu gives us with the greatest wisdom. We should know the basic principle of all creatures, like a child knowing his mother very well. Then, we should go back to the principle, the Truth inherent within us. Here “hold fast to the mother” means hold fast to the Virtue, i.e., Te. Why should we hold fast to the Virtue? Lao Tzu tells us the answer:

“Then we would live without danger all through life.”

If we can live in accordance with the Virtue, we will have peace and harmony among us. There will be no conflicts and troubles because the Virtue (the manifestation of the Truth) is always beneficial to all beings. Calamities are resulted if the creatures do not abide by the Virtue. When people act against the Virtue, suffering and disharmony will come forth.

How can people attain the Virtue before we can hold fast to it? The answer is “to go back”. It is why Lao Tzu says we should first “go back”, then “hold fast to the mother”. Like a newborn baby, he should always be with the mother, then everything will be alright. The newborn baby will be looked after very well without effort and struggle once he returns to his mother when no one can separate him from his mother. In this stage, this newborn baby is completely safe.

We will look at Part 2 tomorrow. In the meantime, practice living in accordance with the Virtue (Te) and see if you can manifest peace and harmony in your life. Above all, enjoy what you practice, folks.



We close out the week with a quote attributed to Lao-tzu from the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers.

“The Way is infinitely high, unfathomably deep. Enclosing
heaven and earth, receiving from the formless, it produces
a stream running deep and wide without overflowing.
Opaque, it uses gradual clarification by stillness. When it is
applied, it is infinite and has no day or night; yet when it is
represented, it does not even fill the hand.
It is restrained but can expand; it is dark but can illumine;
it is flexible but can be firm. It absorbs the negative and
emits the positive, thus displaying the lights of the sun,
moon, and stars.” – Lao-tzu from the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary.

Practice being firm and yet flexible. Enjoy your weekend, folks.



As promised, today we look at the third part on this section of the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers. The verse below unveils the halcyon, an ideal society governed by wisdom.

“What the sky covers, what the earth supports, what the
sun and moon illuminate, is variegated in form and
nature, but everything has its place. What makes
enjoyment enjoyable can also create sadness, and what
makes security secure can also create danger.
Therefore when sages govern people, they see to it
that people suit their individual natures, be secure in
their homes, live where they are comfortable, work at
what they can do, manage what they can handle, and
give their best. In this way all people are equal, with no
way to overshadow each other”
– “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary

So, there you have it, neither Republican nor Democrat. the ideal society governed by Sage wisdom. I would join and vote for that Sage party any day.



Continuing in the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers, the Wen-tzu further speaks of four practices through which
“the way of government is comprehended,” meaning the way of individual self-government as well as the way of
government of nations:

“Find out destiny, govern mental functions, make
preferences orderly, and suit real nature; then the way
of government is comprehended. Find out destiny, and
you won’t be confused by calamity or fortune. Govern
mental functions, and you won’t be joyful or angry at
random. Make preferences orderly, and you won’t
crave what is useless. Suit real nature, and your
desires will not be immoderate.
When you are not confused by calamity or fortune,
then you accord with reason in action and repose.
When you are not joyful or angry at random, then you
do not flatter people in hopes of reward or in fear of
punishment. When you do not crave what is useless,
you do not hurt your nature by greed. When your
desires are not immoderate, then you nurture life and
know contentment.
These four things are not sought from without and
do not depend on another. They are attained by turning
back to oneself.”

Okay, as we practice, let’s turn inward to find our destiny, govern mental functions, makepreferences orderly, and suit real nature. Enjoy, everyone. And tomorrow we look at the halcyon of an ideal society governed by wisdom.



A couple months ago, we looked at the degradation of humanity and society in the ancient world through the eyes of the “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” based on the further teachings of Lao-tzu as expounded by his disciples, students and followers. Over the next three days, we are going to look at three more aspects of life from the “Wen-tzu:” the three types of death, the principles of governing nations as well as self-government, and the halcyon, an ideal society governed by wisdom.

Today, we start with the three types of unnatural death. The Wen-tzu’s description of these three kinds of unnatural death contains within itself the way to avoid them and live life to the full:

“There are three kinds of death that are not natural
passing away: If you drink and eat immoderately and
treat the body carelessly and cheaply, then illnesses
will kill you.
If you are endlessly greedy and ambitious, then
penalties will kill you. If you allow small groups to
infringe upon the rights of large masses, and allow the
weak to be oppressed by the strong, then weapons will
kill you.”
– “Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries,” translated by Thomas Cleary

Good advice, my friends, so practice eating and drinking moderately and keeping a check on greed and overly zealous ambitions, and the last part, not allowing small fringe groups to infringe upon the rights of the majority needs to be handle conscientiously at the polls.



A rather short verse today from the “Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-Tuan and a rather involved commentary by Liu I-Ming.


“The preceding section speaks of the work of refining the self; this one speaks of the secret of gathering the medicines. The solar yang soul and the gold raven symbolise the finest part of conscious knowledge; the jade rabbit and the lunar yin soul symbolise the light of wisdom of real knowledge. Without the light of real knowledge, conscious knowledge cannot perceive far; without the manifestation of conscious knowledge, real knowledge cannot convey its light.

Therefore the text says, “The solar yang soul, the fat of the jade rabbit; the lunar yin soul, the marrow of the gold raven,” indicating that those two true medicines are to be put into the metaphysical crucible and quickly refined by fierce cooking with the true fire of concentration, causing them to mix and combine so that they merge like a flood of water, without the slightest pollution. Only then is the work done. – Commentary by Liu I-Ming, translated by Thomas Cleary

So, as you practice, manifest your real knowledge with the true fire of concentration. Enjoy, my friends and be well.



We start off the new week with the famous creation quote from the Tao Te Ching with a commentary from a contemporary Taoist Master Kari Hohne.

“Tao is the One.
It produces the two: Yin and Yang.
The Two produce the three,
and the Three produce the ten thousand things.”
– Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

Tao is how the masculine (active) force and feminine (receptive) field move as Yin and Yang to create and dissolve manifestation. We see this in physics, and similar processes are described as the (trifold) three aspects of (1) creation, (2) sustenance and (3) destruction in our ancient texts. The One (Tao) is the totality of everything as it manifests to become the many.
– Kari Hohne from “Nature’s Alchemy”

Our Creation this week is to produce great practices. Enjoy the week and enjoy your practice, everyone.



Yesterday we looked at Chapter 41 Part 1 of the Tao Te Ching. Today we have Part 2

“Thus it is said:
The way that is bright seems dull.
The way forward seems to lead back.
The smooth way seems rough.
The highest virtue seems a valley.
The purest whiteness seems stained.
Excessive virtue seems defective.
Solid virtue seems inactive.
Simplicity appears sullied.
The great square has no corners.
The great vessel takes long to fashion.
The great note is soundless.
The great image has no form.
The Way hides in namelessness.
It is good at giving and perfecting.”
– Lao-tzu, Chapter 41 Part2, Tao Te Ching

The reason the Tao’s brightness seems dull is because it is not shinning outward but inward, and those who possess do not shine outward either but are outwardly humble and inwardly reserved. Since the Tao does not promote ambitions and success, it seems to lead back instead of forward, leading inward to that “I AM,” one’s true nature. By society’s standards that seems rough, and the highest, the solid, the excessive virtues seem lowly and stained as they are not deemed for outward, arrogant show 24/7.

Furthermore, righteousness and correct living are not square but rounded without corners. Like anything worthwhile the great vessel, in this case the one who follows the Tao, does not happen overnight but takes long to fashion. The great note is the Truth. It is heard in one’s inward silence and not outside through sense perceptions. The same with the great image. The Tao is formless as well as nameless. And that is where it is to be found in that soundless Silence and in the formless Image.

And so, my friends, practice following the Tao and its Truth will sustain and perfect you. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.



Today we look at the longest chapter in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 41. Part I is quoted below. We will have Part II tomorrow.

“When the best students hear of the Way,
They try zealously to put it into practice.
When average students hear of the Way,
It’s sometimes here and sometimes gone.
When the worst students hear of the Way,
They burst out laughing.
Not laughing would make it
Unworthy to be called the Way.”
– Lao-tzu, Chapter 41 Part1, Tao Te Ching

Here Lao-tzu illustrates the fall of Wisdom. If one is truly wise, they will zealously practice the Way as best as they can. The mediocre or average student will do as most of us do, and practice half-heartedly, only giving it partial attention now and then. The ignorant ones will think it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard, unable to comprehend its analogies and figuritive language.

So, so as we practice the Way, let’s do it zealously and maybe at some point, wisdom will favor us. Enjoy.



Today we return to the “Awakening to the Tao,” and the Contemplations of Liu I-Ming. In the one titled “Commerce,” Liu compares Self-Cultivation to building a profitable business. It is rather lengthy, so I have taken the liberty of

“People who cultivate reality build up virtues and carry out undertakings, accumulate vitality and nurture spirit, remain consistently firm and stable, growing stronger the longer, they persevere all their lives, working with a
sincere heart. This is like accumulating wealth (in a business).
“Seeking personal instruction from a guide to know the beginning and the end, understand when to proceed and when to withdraw, recognize when to hurry and when to relax, understand what bodes well and what bodes ill , and know when to stop at sufficiency…is having method .
“Having wealth and having method, using wealth to provide for the Way, using method to practice the Way, through the twin use of method and wealth you see the effects of your effort step by step, until you finally attain great fulfillment…”
– Liu I-Ming, “Awakening to the Tao,” translated by Thomas Cleary

Accumulate vitality and nurture spirit and remain consistently firm and stable in your practice and enjoy as you persevere, my friends.



Today we have a Taoist quote from a famous Sufi poet. Following Chuang-tzu’s quote yesterday, Rumi, although a Sufi, seems to have been cut from the same Philosopher’s Stone. Where Chuang-tzu criticized clinging to our opinions which have no permanence, Rumi encourages us to drop them as well whether right or wrong.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Rumi

I sincerely hope you can practice dropping your opinions, especially the toxic political ones. Enjoy the practice, folks.



Yesterday we reviewed Chapter 71 from Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Today we have two quotes from Lao-tzu’s greatest admirer, the philosopher Chuang-tzu. Together both quotes relate to Chapter 71 amd what we said about it.

“He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool. He who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion.” – Chuang-Tzu

Here Chuang-Tzu is implying what Lao-Tzu referred to as: “To not know that you do not know is a defect.”

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” – Chuang-Tzu

In this quote, Chuang-Tzu is making explicit what Lao-Tzu was implying that expressions based on opinions rather than actual facts are worthless, yet we cling to them anyway.

So, continue to watch your expression of ideas and whether they are mere opinions or factual, and enjoy your practice.



Today, we look at Chapter 71 of the Tao Te Ching, but we start off with a couple of mistaken translations of lines 3 and 4.

“Only he who recognizes this disease as a disease
Can cure himself of the disease.”

“Only one who recognizes this sickness as sickness
Will not have the sickness.”

Words like sick, sickness, disease, illness are not the correct translations of the traditional Chinese word “bing,” which actually means flaw, fault or defect. So below is an excellent translation by Patrick Moran.

“To know that you do not know is the best.
To not know that you do not know is a defect.
Now only by treating defect as defect can you be without defect.
The Sage is without defect because he treats all defects as defects and so is without defect.”
– Translated by Patrick E. Moran, Chapter 71

I chose this particular chapter due to recent political events in the news this past week. “To not know that you do not know” is definitely a defect especially when it comes to expressing yourself. Here, Lao-tzu is advising us to be certain that what we are saying is an actual fact and not just an opinion of ours or someone else’s. As you can gather from recent news events one political faction is spouting off opinion after opinion regarding the actions of the Justice Department and the FBI that have no factual basis and are thus inciting unwarranted and misdirected violence.

So, my friends, let your practice be just that. Before you speak or write that text, email or tweet, assess what you actually know for a fact and what is merely an opinion and state it that way. IMHO. Enjoy your practice.



Today’s quote is from Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. In his Introduction to Richard Wilhelm’s I Ching, Jung analyzed what the I Ching does.

“The I Ching does not offer itself with proofs and results; it does not vaunt itself, nor is it easy to approach. Like a part of nature, it waits until it is discovered.”

So don’t look for proofs and results, just practice and enjoy, everyone. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.



Today’s quote is from physicist David Bohm who often dialogued with J. Krishnamurti.

“The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts.” – David Bohm, quantum physicist.

Don’t let your practice be an abstraction. Remember, it’s play, not work, so enjoy, people.



Today’s quote comes from Kari Hohne of in her blog entitled “Strange Attractor.”

“So Tao embodies the unseen and perpetual movement of forces that we call the ‘uncarved block’. Through the interaction of hot, cold, positive, negative, and high and low, opposites are drawn together to maintain optimal conditions on the earth. Tao is the intangible, yet all-inclusive aspect of life.” – Kari Hohne, “Strange Attractor.”

When you practice, notice how your nature (xing) is drawing opposite together and as always enjoy, folks.



Today we are looking at desire and the extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true sense from Liu I-Ming’s commentary on Verse 4 in “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

“As for desire, when the discriminating spirit of the human
mentality sees objects and encounters things, it flies up; the senses
become active all at once, and the feelings and emotions arise, like a
gang of bandits stealing valuables, whom none can defend against.
If you do not exert effort to block it and cook it into something that
does not move or stir, it can easily thwart the process of the Tao.
“Liquid silver cooks into metal vitality” means taking the human
mentality and cooking it into the mindless consciousness of reality.
The extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true
sense are like red sand transmuting into positive energy, ever to be
warm, gentle essence. The death of the human mentality and the
presence of consciousness of reality are like liquid silver changing
into metal vitality, ever to be luminous mind.”

How about transmuting your volatile nature into positive energy as you practice daily? Enjoy it as you go, folks. See you tomorrow.



Today we have further commentary on Verse 4 from the standpoint of False body and mind vs Real body and mind 4 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

“Lu Tsu said, “The seven-reversion restored elixir is a matter of
people first refining themselves and awaiting the time.” The classic
Understanding Reality (Wu chen p’ien) says, “If you want to
successfully cultivate the nine-reversion, you must first refine
yourself and master your mind.” Shang Yang Tzu said, “Restoring
the elixir is very easy; refining the self is very hard.” These
statements all say that if you want to practise the great Tao, you
must first refine yourself.
The essential point in self-refinement starts with controlling anger
and desire. The energy of anger is the aberrant fire of the volatile
nature, which erupts upon confrontation and is indifferent to life,
like a conflagration burning up a mountain, which nothing can stop.
If you do not exert effort to quell it, refining it into something
without smoke or flame, it can easily obscure reality. “Red sand
refines to positive energy” means taking this volatility and refining
it into neutral true essence.”

Tomorrow we will look at desire and the extinction of the volatile nature and the appearance of true sense. As always, enjoy your practice, people.



We start the week off with Verse 4 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary


Followed by Liu I-Ming’s commentary:

“Red sand” (cinnabar) is associated with the turbulence of the
energy of fire and symbolises volatility in people. “Liquid silver”
(quicksilver) is associated with the movement natural to water and
symbolises the human mentality in people. Positive energy gives
birth to beings; this symbolises the real essence in people. The
vitality of metal is lustre; this symbolises the consciousness of
reality in people…”

A further commentary on this tomorrow. In the meantime, have a great practice and enjoy, everyone.



Yesterday we looked at Verse 3 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by Chang Po-tuan. Today we look at its meaning from the Commentary by Liu I-ming.


“The flower pond symbolises the openness of onsciousness; the spiritual water symbolises true essence; the lotuses symbolise the light of wisdom; the golden waves symbolise objects of sense.
When the spiritual sprouts have been warmly nurtured until their energy is complete, the flower of mind blooms and the light of wisdom arises. Therefore it says lotuses bloom in the flower pond.
Once the light of wisdom arises, inwardly thoughts do not sprout, so essence is calm; then external things are not taken in and feelings are forgotten. Therefore the text says that the golden waves are quiet on the spiritual water. When essence is calm and feelings are forgotten, even if one is in the midst of myriad things, one is not deceived by myriad things. Round and bright, the mind is like the full moon shining deep in the night,
its light pervading above and below, heaven and earth ; the gold elixir crystallises in the great void of space.”
– “Thw Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

Thus calm your essence and be aware of your feelings and don’t be deceived by myriad things. Enjoy your practice, folks, and have a great weekend.



Today’s quote is Verse 3 from “The Inner Teachings of Taoism,” an esoteric instruction on Taoist Alchemy by
Chang Po-tuan.

– “Thw Inner Teachings of Taoism” by Chang Po-tuan with Commentary by Liu I-ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

Do you understand what the verse refers to? No, it’s not the Flower Pound or Moon. Find out tomorrow when we learn Liu I-ming’s commentary. Until then practice diligently, everyone, and enjoy.



Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #7, the final step, Attaining Dao.

“Dao is a spiritual and wonderful thing. It is numinous and yet has inner nature; it is empty but without any symbol. Following or meeting it, it cannot be fathomed. Neither its shadow nor its echo can be pursued. Without
knowing why it just is, pervading all life. Yet it is never exhausted. This is what we call Dao.

“Utmost sages have attained it in antiquity, and thus the wondrous divine law has been transmitted to us today. Following descriptions, probing into principles, we find it completely real. Worthy knights of pure faith have overcome their selves and practiced it diligently. Once the mind is emptied and the “spirit like a valley,” Dao alone will come to assemble. Once Dao has become strong, it imperceptibly works changes in body-form and spirit. The body-form aligned with Dao and pervading spirit is what constitutes a “spirit person.”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

Be like the Worthy Knights of Pure Faith from ancient times and overcome your self and practice diligently, everyone.



Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #6, The Stability of Cosmic Peace…

“The stability of cosmic peace is the ultimate point of leaving worldly life and the first firm foothold of reaching Dao. It represents merit perfected in the practice of stillness and is the end to affairs through attainment of inner peace. The body-form like dried wood, the mind like dead ashes, there are no more impulses, no more searches. One has reached the perfect contemplative state of serenity. With no-mind one settles in stability, thus there is nothing that is not stable. The Zhuangzi says: “He whose inner being rests in the stability of cosmic peace will spread a heavenly radiance.” Here “resting” refers to the mind, whereas “heavenly radiance” means insight coming forth. The mind is the vessel of Dao. When this is utterly empty and still, Dao can reside there and insight arises. This insight comes from inner nature and does not depend onpresent circumstances. Thus we call it “heavenly radiance.”

Thus we practice resting our inner being in the stability of cosmic peace and enjoy. Great practicing, everyone.



Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #5, Perfect Observation…

“All human affairs, all food and clothing of people are merely a boat. If I want to cross an ocean, I need a boat. After the passage is completed, the reason for the boat is no longer there.16 But why should one abandon it before even having gone on the voyage? Food and clothing in themselves are empty illusion and without actual value. But as a means to free oneself from empty illusion, one must obtain provision with food and clothing. One should therefore never have any feelings of gain or loss about them. Whether involved in affairs or free from affairs, the mind should be constantly calm and at peace!17 Join oth- ers in seeking but not in coveting, in attaining but not in hoarding. No coveting means being free from worry; no hoarding means never experiencing loss. In deeds be like others, but in mind always remain aloof. This really is the most essential point of practice. Work on it very hard!”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

You heard him – work on it very hard – and enjoy.



Happy August, everyone! Bless you. Continuing with the steps involved in the “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”) by Sima Chengzhen, today’s quote focuses on Step #4, Detachment From Affairs…

“If one has no peace within oneself, how could one ever attain Dao?
Therefore, anyone who is cultivating Dao must gain detachment from affairs
and give up things. Knowing what is marginal and what essential about them,
he can measure their importance. Recognizing that one has to accept or reject
them, he finds no importance or necessity for himself and duly abandons them.
For instance, eating meat and drinking wine, dressing in gauzy cloth and fine
silk, having a high personal reputation and official position, or possessing fine
jades and money are totally superfluous gratifications of passions and desires.
These things are not at all good medicines to enhance life. The masses hanker
after them and bring death and defeat upon themselves. Coming to think of
them calmly, aren’t they terrible delusion?”
– Sima Chengzhen, “Zuowang” (“Sitting in Oblivion”), translated by Livia Kohn

Remember, your practice is essential not marginal, so accept it and enjoy it, everyone, not only is it yours, IT’S YOU!