03/31/2022

We finish out the month and the first quarter of 2022 (Time flies!) with another gem from Sheila Burke. This one still in an artisitc mode moving from Bob Ross to a smile of life and art.

“Life is an all-encompassing art gallery. From the seasons ushering in change to the way a body moves during dance; from the way one smile paints another to the waddle of a street rat – every facet of life is art in motion. Every time a bird takes flight from a branch the scene changes; each time the winds shift brings new perspective.”
― Sheila Burke

Enjoy practicing and cultivating, everyone. And remember the distressed people of Ukraine. Chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen is a great place to start. Check out their #Chefs for Ukraine.

https://wck.org/

03/30/2022

Would you believe the Tao and Bob Ross? I can see the analogy, sort of. Another gem from Sheila Burke….

“When I think of Tao,
I think of the artist
Bob Ross and his famous painting techniques.
I can hear him say,
“It’s your tree, you can make it
look any way you want to.”
― Sheila Burke

Enjoy practicing and cultivating, everyone. And remember the distressed people of Ukraine.

03/29/2022

A thoughtful analogy for today from Sheila Burke:

“Everything is in the root.
If you pick the weed without getting the root out of the soil, be assured, it is going to grow back.”
― Sheila M. Burke, Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul

03/28/2022

On Saturday, we began looking at quotes from Shiela Burke and her “Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul.” We will look at more gems from Shiela and “Enriched Heart” over the next few days.

“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

Enjoy practicing and cultivating, everyone. And remember the distressed people of Ukraine. Chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen is a great place to start. Check out their #Chefs for Ukraine.

https://wck.org

03/26/2022

“Taoism is simply the complete acceptance of yourself as you are right in this moment. It’s about rolling with the changes, whether they are perceived as good or bad. Tao reminds us to live life through good actions (important for past karma and karma you are presently creating); through practicing things that engage our mind, body, and spirit.”
― Sheila M. Burke, Enriched Heart: The Tao of Balancing Your Big, Beautiful, Badass Soul

Have a peaceful weekend, everyone. And remember the brave people of Ukraine.

03/25/2022

Today we look at the third sage in the painting to taste the vinegar, Lao-tzu, and his reaction, a smile, that reveals a great deal about his personal philosophy.

To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules of the Confucianists. As he stated in his Tao To Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the “Tao Virtue Book,” earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws – not by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or fight, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.

To Lao-tse, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go well. Rather than turn away from “the world of dust,” Lao-tse advised others to “join the dust of the world.” What he saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth he called Tao (DAO), “the Way.”

A basic principle of Lao-tse’s teaching was that this Way of the Universe could not be adequately described in words, and that it would be insulting both to its unlimited power and to the intelligent human mind to attempt to do so. Still, its nature could be understood, and those who cared the most about it, and the life from which it was inseparable, understood it best.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

03/24/2022

Today we look at the second sage in Benjamin Hoff’s story to taste the vinegar, Buddha, and his reaction that reveals a great deal about his personal philosophy.

“To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions, a revolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend “the world of dust” and reach Nirvana, literally a state of “no wind.” Although the essentially optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism considerably after it was brought in from its native India, the devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence.” – Benjamin Hoff, “The Tao of Pooh”

Tomorrow we look at the reaction of the third sage, Lao-tze, in the painting and his reaction to the taste of vinegar.

03/23/2022

Today we look at Kung Fu-tze or Confucius, the first of the three sages, to taste the vinegar and his reaction that tells us a great deal about his personal philosophy.

“To Kung Fu-tse (kung FOOdsuh), life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of, the universe. Therefore, he emphasized reverence for the Ancestors, as well as for the ancient rituals and ceremonies in which the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, acted as intermediary between limitless heaven and limited earth. Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time. A saying was recorded about K’ung Fu-tse: “If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit.” This ought to give an indication of the extent to which things were carried out under Confucianism.” – Benjamin Hoff, “The Tao of Pooh”

03/22/2022

Over the next few days our quotes will be from Benjamin Hoff, “The Tao of Pooh.” It concerns three of the most famous sages from ancient times and their reaction to sampling a taste of vinegar and what that tells us about their respective philosophies. Today’s quote sets the stage for each sage’s reaction.

“We see three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and has tasted it. The expression on each man’s face shows his individual reaction. Since the painting is allegorical, we are to understand that these are no ordinary vinegar tasters, but are instead representatives of the “Three Teachings” of China, and that the vinegar they are sampling represents the Essence of Life. The three masters are K’ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse, author of the oldest existing book of Taoism. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression, but the third man is smiling.”

03/21/2022

“So, he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

03/17/2022

Laozi again speaking on war and its destruction as today can be seen in Ukraine

““This world has no need for weapons,
Which soon turn on themselves.
Where armies camp, nettles grow;
After each war, years of famine.

The most fruitful outcome
Does not depend on force,
But succeeds without arrogance
Without hostility
Without pride
Without resistance
Without violence.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 30

Let us not forget the Ukrainian people and the refugees who continue to need our thoughts and support as well as those from surrounding countries that have reached out to give them sanctuary.

03/14/2022

It’s a shame Putin is an arrogant despot. He could have learned a lot from President Zelensky on how to govern a large country properly as pointed out by Laozi in Chapter 60 of the Tao Te Ching:

“Governing a large country is like frying small fish. Too much poking spoils the meat.” – Laozi, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 60

03/11/2022

Today we have a Zhuangzi excerpt from a passage entitled “The Inner Law” from Thomas Merton’s, “The Way of Chuang Tzu. This particular excerpt points to the character and ultimate destiny of Vladimir Putin…

“He who seeks to extend his control
Is nothing but an operator.
While he thinks he is
Surpassing others,
Others see him merely
Straining, stretching,
To stand on tiptoe.

“When he tries to extend his power
Over objects,
Those objects gain control
Of him.

“He who is controlled by objects
Loses possession of his inner self:
If he no longer values himself,
How can he value others?
If he no longer values others,
He is abandoned.
He has nothing left!

“There is no deadlier weapon than the will!
The sharpest sword
Is not equal to it!
There is no robber so dangerous
As Nature (Yang and Yin).
Yet it is not nature
That does the damage:
It is man’s own will!”
― Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

Let us not forget the Ukrainian people and the refugees who continue to need our thoughts and support as well as those from surrounding countries that have reached out to give them sanctuary.

03/10/2022

We turn from Sun Tzu and “The Art of War” to Laozi and the Tao Te Ching with a couple of quotes on kindness and compassion, which we have seen a great deal of during the war in Ukraine.

“The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of, or for, themselves.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“The heart that gives, gathers.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

03/09/2022

Continuing with quotes by Sun Tzu from his “The Art of War” as it applies to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, today Sun Tzu lists five important points that are the keys to victory.

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
1 He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
2 He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
3 He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
4 He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
5 He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Vladimir Putin, his generals and the Russian army have failed on all five essentials. In fact, a member of Russia’s intelligence agency has branded the invasion a “Total Failure.” Forced to try and bomb the Ukrainians into surrendering will make it impossible for the Russians to successfully occupy Ukraine – ever. Putin and his generals have only succeeded in getting themselves indicted as War Criminals. So, beware, Mr. Putin, the Ides of March are quickly approaching.

 

03/08/2022

While Ukrainian Resistance courageous hoods off the invading Russian forces, we hear once again from Sun Tzu…

“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It’s that very last part that gets me. When are these Russian soldiers going to realize Putin has duped them? When will they stand up and say, “No! Enough is enough?”

Let us not forget the Ukrainian people and the refugees who continue to need our thoughts and support.

03/07/2022

We start off our week with more quotes from Sun Tzu and “The Art of War” as Russian forces continue their clumsy advance against the outnumbered but superior-trained Ukrainian army.

“In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to capture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This is exactly what Putin and his generals thought they could do and would do. But, even though the Russians far outnumber the Ukrainians, they have failed. If they do managed to take Kyiv and ultimately Ukraine, it will be piecemeal and at a very high cost to the Russian Army in terms of massive casualties and destroyed equipment as they battle a smaller yet far better-trained army. Obviously, Putin did not think this one through, and in the long run, he will have greatly damaged Russia and her people.

At this point, we should give Kudos to the U.S. and NATO militaries that have trained and equiped the Ukrainian Army into one of the finest in all of Europe. But let us not forget the Ukrainian people and its refugee who continue to need our thought and support.

03/05/2022

Could this be happening to Putin among those who surround and protect him.

“If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Have a great weekend, everyone. And let us keep the courageous people of Ukraine in our minds and our hearts. Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes!

03/04/2022

The Daoist who is most noted for his knowledge of warfare is Sun Tzu who wrote the Taoist classic on war: “The Art of War.” He has direct warning for Vladimir Putin and ambitious and egotistical leaders like him…

“No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

We will have a few more of Sun Tzu’s gems as they apply to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. For now let us keep the courageous people of Ukraine in our minds and our hearts. Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes.

 

03/03/2022

Today we move from Laozi to the other noble ancient sage of Daoism, Zhuangzi, and a quote that subtly describes the mental condition of Vladimir Putin. It’s a quote that Western leaders should come to understand as Putin threatens the West with his nuclear arsenal.

“We can’t expect a blind man to appreciate beautiful patterns or a deaf man to listen to bells and drums. And blindness and deafness are not confined to the body alone – the understanding has them, too.” Zhuangzi

Let us keep the courageous people of Ukraine in our minds and our hearts. Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes.

03/02/2022

Today’s quote offers up a grave warning to Russian President Putin from Laozi and the Tao Te Ching…

“The world is a sacred vessel, which must not be tampered with or grabbed after. To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp it is to lose it.”

Let us keep the courageous people of Ukraine in our minds and our hearts. Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes.

03/01/2022

We will be returning to Alan Watts quotes, but for now during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I would like to keep the focus on Daoist ideas about war and those leaders who wage them as well a the heroes who must defend against the warmongers. So, today with that in mind we turn to Laozi and the Tao Te Ching to hear his thoughts about an irresponsible warmongering tyrant that Putin is.

“Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.

“Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?

He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.”
– Chapter 31, Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Obviously, Laozi doesn’t think that Vladimir Putin is a decent man. Neither do the leaders of NATO and most of the UN countries. With all the atrocities the Russians are committing, perhaps the Ukrainian peoples’ militia do indeed rejoice in any kind of victory.

I’m sure many of the non-military Ukrainians – the grandmothers, the teachers, the shop owners and grocery store clerks – can identify with the last part of Laozi’s chapter – as they take up arms for the first time in their lives to defend their homeland and enter that great task gravely. Maybe not with sorrow nor compassion but with immense determination and love for freedom.

Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes!

02/28/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have one from “The Way of Zen” that should be applied to Vladimir Putin as it absolutely fits his fanatical delusions.

“Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life.”
Alan Watts

Not only a War Criminal, Vladimir Putin and those who would praise and side with him are truly enemies of life. Let’s continue to keep our hearts focused on Vladimir Zelensky and the courageous people of Ukraine.

02/26/2022

There is no doubt that the invasion of Ukraine initiated by Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, can be construed as a war crime of immense proportions. Furthermore, not only Putin but those enablers that surround him and keep him in power should all be charged as well as the military commanders who planned this invasion and those responsible for deploying those plans in the field.

From Ukrinform.net, the media arm of the the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukraine Parliament): “The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has called on the international community to recognize Putin as war criminal and to strengthen sanctions not only against him but also against Russians who are fully responsible for their authorities.

“The Ukrainian parliament is convinced that the recent actions of the Russian Federation, which is continuing a full-scale war against Ukraine, can be regarded only as international terrorism.”

There is one problem with charging the Russians with war crimes, namely, it is impossible at this point for the Internation Criminal Court (ICC) to take any action.

ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the situation in Ukraine: “My Office has also received multiple queries on the amendments to the Rome Statute with respect to the crime of aggression, which came into force in 2018, and the application of those amendments to the present situation. Given that neither Ukraine nor the Russian Federation are State Parties to the Rome Statute, the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over this alleged crime in this situation.”

Khan went on to state: “My Office will continue to closely monitor the Situation in Ukraine. In the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, the Office remains fully committed to the prevention of atrocity crimes and to ensuring that anyone responsible for such crimes is held accountable.”

Since amendments to the Rome Statute are useless in this situation, hopefully NATO and the UN can find another way to take action and charge Putin and his Russian perpetrators with war crimes and offer a large reward (in the billions for their capture.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and center your thoughts and your hearts on peace for the Ukrainians.

https://www.unicef.org/stories/children-eastern-ukraine-fear-future

ENLIGHTEN YOUR DAYS

a daily diary of notes on Daoist Internal Arts practices

If you are a cultivator whose one burning desire is attaining the highest goal humanly possible – Enlightenment – then I hope my daily thoughts on my Daoism-based internal arts practices may be of some help. As a cultivator, myself, I try to use the Internal Arts of Daoism – taijiquan, nei gong, and baguazhang – to condition my body and mind through readings, teachings, internal exercises and meditation with an internal environment that allows me to follow the Path of the Dao.

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THE DAOIST DAILY DIARY

02/25/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have one of his most profound quotes from “Psychotherapy East and West.”

“The ways of liberation are of course concerned with making this so-called mystical consciousness the normal everyday consciousness. […]. It has nothing to do with a perception of something else than the physical world. On the contrary, it is the clear perception of this world as a field, a perception which is not just theoretical but which is also felt as clearly as we feel, say, that “I” am a thinker behind and apart from my thoughts, or that the stars are absolutely separate from space and from each other. In this view the differences of the world are not isolated objects encountering one another in conflict, but expressions of polarity. Opposites and differences have something between them, like the two faces of a coin; they do not meet as total strangers. When this relativity of things is seen very strongly, its appropriate affect is love rather than hate or fear.”
― Alan W. Watts, Psychotherapy East and West

If you understood the quote, you will realize that, although we live in different areas across the globe, we are not separate from the terrorized people of Ukraine and especially the children. Show your concern by helping UNICEF in any way you can.

https://www.unicef.org/emergencies/conflict-ukraine-pose-immediate-threat-children

02/24/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have the first of several of his quotes from “Psychotherapy East and West.”

“But what our social institutions repress is not just the sexual love, the mutuality, of man and woman, but also the still deeper love of organism and environment, of Yes and No, and of all those so-called opposites represented by the Taoist symbol of the yin-yang, the black and white fishes in eternal intercourse. It is hardly stretching a metaphor to use the word “love” for intimate relationships beyond those between human organisms.”
― Alan W. Watts, Psychotherapy East and West

A reminder: don’t forget to add “Providing Service” to your regular practice of personal cultivation and enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

 

02/23/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have our last one from “Nature, Man and Woman.”

“Thus contemplation or meditation which seeks a result is neither contemplation nor meditation, for the simple reason that contemplation (kuan) is consciousness without seeking. Naturally, such consciousness is concentrated, but it is not ‘practising concentration;’ it is concentrated in whatever happens to be its ‘eternal now.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

A reminder: don’t forget to add “Providing Service” to your regular practice of personal cultivation and enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

 

02/22/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts…

“Sexual yoga needs to be freed from a misunderstanding attached to all forms of yoga, of spiritual ‘practice’ or ‘exercise,’ since these ill-chosen words suggest that yoga is a method for the progressive achievement of certain results – and this is exactly what it’s not. Yoga means ‘union,’ that is, the realization of man’s inner identity with Brahman or Tao, and strictly speaking this is not an end to which there are methods or means since it cannot be made an object of desire. The attempt to achieve it invariably thrusts it away.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

 

02/21/2022

Resuming with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, we look at another quote from “Nature, Man and Woman.”

“It is true that in Taoism and Tantric Buddhism there are what appear to be techniques or ‘practices’ of sexual relationship[.] Their use is the consequence rather than the cause of a certain inner attitude, since they suggest themselves almost naturally to partners who take their love as it comes, contemplatively, and are in no hurry to grasp anything from it.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

02/20/2022

As long as there are human beings, there will be religion for the sufficient reason that the self is a theomorphic creature – one whose morphe (form) is theos – God encased within it. Having been created in the imago Dei, the image God, all human beings have a God-shaped vacuum built into their hearts. Since nature abhors a vacuum, people keep trying to fill the one inside them.” – Huston Smith

Another beautiful weekend in L. A., but look out – rain is on the way, beginning tomorrow.

2/19/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts…

“The rift between God and nature would vanish if we knew how to experience nature, because what keeps them apart is not a difference of substance but a split in the mind.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

Another beautiful weekend in Los Angeles. Sunny and mild, temperature in the 70s. Have a great weekend, everyone. And don’t forget to add “Providing Service to your regular practice.

02/18/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have two from “Nature, Man, and Woman.”

“Sexuality is not a separate compartment of human life; it is a radiance pervading every human relationship, but assuming a particular intensity at certain points.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

“The full splendor of sexual experience does not reveal itself without a new mode of attention to the world in general.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

02/17/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts, today we have two from “The Meaning of Happiness:”

“Trying to explain Zen is like trying to catch wind in a box; the moment you close the lid it ceases to be wind and in time becomes stagnant air.”
― Alan W. Watts, The Meaning of Happiness

“Zen concentrates on the importance of seeing into one’s own nature now at this moment – not in five minutes when you have had time to “accept” yourself, nor ten years ahead when you have had time to retire to the mountains and meditate.”
― Alan W. Watts, The Meaning of Happiness

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

02/16/2022

Continuing with quotes on the Tao from the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sage of the last century, Alan Watts…

“Great power is worry, and total power is boredom, such that even God renounces it and pretends, instead, that he is people and fish and insects and plants: the myth of the king who goes wandering among his subjects in disguise.”
― Alan W. Watts, Tao: The Watercourse Way

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

 

02/15/2022

Next up on The Daoist Daily Diary is one of the most prolific and enlightening philosopher-sages of the last century, Alan Watts, and a collection of his quotes on Taoism as well as comparisons with other spiritual philosophies of the time. We start off with this one from “The Way of Zen.”

“But spontaneity is not by any means a blind, disorderly urge, a mere power of caprice. A philosophy restricted to the alternatives of conventional language has no way of conceiving an intelligence which does not work according to plan, according to a one-at-a-time order of thought. Yet the concrete evidence of such an intelligence is right to hand in our own thoughtlessly ordered bodies. For the Tao does not ‘know’ how it produces the universe just as we do not ‘know’ how we construct our brains.”
― Alan Wilson Watts, The Way of Zen

A constant reminder to add “Providing Service” to your everyday practice. It will balance your internal focus on Self-Cultivation with an external practice of “goodwill” that not only provides benefits to others, whether through donations and/or volunteering your time and skills, but will deepen and stabilize your all-around awareness. As time goes on, you will discover that Self-Cultivation and Providing Service to others are one and the same. Thank you for stopping by.

02/14/2022

“The full splendor of sexual experience does not reveal itself without a new mode of attention to the world in general.”
― Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! We concluded our review of the precepts of Daoism last week, finishing up with compassion. So, today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I would like to touch briefly on the idea of “Service.” Providing service to others has always been intrinsic to the practice of Daoism. For one reason, it provides practitioners with much-need balance. Practicing self-cultivation as much as possible can leave one more than a bit self-centered. Of course, it is about self-improvement and enriching our personal lives. Nevertheless, we need to devote some time to the service of others, if for no other reason than to make sure that we are not becoming too unbalanced.

Also, serving others provides helps to enrich our lives from the “outside in. Providing service begins to change our lives and enrich our nature from the outside. Finally, what is the point of spiritual cultivation if it cannot be used for the benefit of others and to improve this world?

So, this week, begin to make serving others an integral part of your practice. And enjoy! Thanks for stopping by.

https://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/volunteer

02/13/2022

“My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it.”
― Solala Towler, Cha Dao: The Way of Tea, Tea as a Way of Life

Well, it’s finally over. The 2021-2022 Football season has at last ended, and we can all return to our normal lives. Although those who love to live vicariously may not enjoy that. Nevertheless, the Dao always put Natural ahead of Vicarious. Hope you had a Super weekend.

02/12/2022

“When the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way.”
― Taoist saying

Another Super Weekend in Los Angeles. warm and wonderful, a great day for a hike in the hills. Tale care, everyone, and enjoy another Super Weekend before things cool down during the week.

02/11/2022

“What is the difference between Zen and Tao? Roshi – “Look at this perfect peach. This must be Zen.” Sensei – “If so, then see this wondrous tree here who gave us our peach, it is the Tao.” Roshi – “Then look to the Earth from where the tree emerges. that is Zen. Sensei – “Then look to the sky whose wind blows through the leaves and whose clouds bring it the water of life.” it is the Tao. Roshi – “Then look to the silent witnessing stars spanning through infinity they are so very Zen” Sensei ~ “Yet look at the space between all these stars, that must be the Tao.” Then they smiled broadly and laughed hysterically “look at our many words they are like the dead leaves of this tree. What a bonfire we can now make.”
― Leland Lewis, Random Molecular Mirroring

Have a great Super Bowl Weekend, everyone. And enjoy your practice.

02/10/2022

“The Formless Way
We look at it, and do not see it; it is invisible.
We listen to it, and do not hear it; it is inaudible.
We touch it, and do not feel it; it is intangible.
These three elude our inquiries, and hence merge into one.

Not by its rising, is it bright,
nor by its sinking, is it dark.
Infinite and eternal, it cannot be defined.
It returns to nothingness.
This is the form of the formless, being in non-being.
It is nebulous and elusive.

Meet it, and you do not see its beginning.
Follow it, and you do not see its end.
Stay with the ancient Way
in order to master what is present.
Knowing the primeval beginning is the essence of the Way.”
― Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14 – Translated by S. Beck

So, stay with your practice as well in order to master what is present and enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

02/09/2022

“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

When Zhuangzi mentions “inaction,” he doesn’t mean no action at all but no contrived, premeditated or self-centered and self-serving (form and body) action. Instead he wants us to consider truly natural action not based on what we see and hear funnelled through our ego or our acquired, conditioned mind but through a humility that is independent of a separate self.

Enjoy your practicing, folks. And thanks for stopping by.

02/08/2022

Today we come to an end of our discussion on the 15 Daoist Precepts (10 Rule-type precepts and 5 quality precepts). We end with the fifth quality precept – Cultivate Compassion. I am sure most of us understand what compassion is. The question is, however, how do we develop it. Like we discussed yesterday, by practicing the first three quality precepts – humility, humor and simplicity – will lead you to being a compassionate person. But remember, as far as the rule-type precepts are concerned, “it is to cause as little change to others’ lives as possible. With little in the way of self-awareness or awareness of others, every action that one generates ripples outwards to change the life paths of those around around us.”

So, we don’t just want to hop outside and mindlessly assault people with kindness. There needs to be a balance between helping others and causing as little change to their lives as possible. This is where the fourth quality precept that we looked at last night comes in. By developing Wu Wei, our act of kindness and compassion will come from a place that is balance with the flow of the Dao. One’s energy will seamlessly flow through and within the community they find themselves in and not develop any breaks or divisions that will lead to separateness.

So, there you have it, all of the Daoist precepts. I do hope that all of you will seamlessly flow into enjoying your practice. While the Diary will be moving on to other topics, let’s keep practicing these five qualities every chance we get. Thanks for stopping by.

02/07/2022

Today we shall look closer at Daoism’s fourth and perhaps most confusing of the quality precept – Cultivate and Adhere to Wu Wei.

The reason it is rather confusing is the way it is translated. Wu Wei literally means ‘No Action’ or ‘Non-Doing.’ While there is nothing wrong with the translation, itself, it unfortunately gives us a false impression of the meaning. Wu Wei actually means take no contrived, premeditated, or intentional action, which most of our actions are. In other words, we mostly think about what we are going to do before doing it with conscious intention. This rumination and its resulting actions stem from our acquired or condition mind but are not in keeping with spontaneity that is the essence of being attuned to the Dao. Thus our actions are mostly self-serving rather than flowing naturally.

The problem is that we are always ‘intending,’ whether it is conscious, subconscious or unconscious intention. The term ‘Yi Nian’ is the balance that is required by the Yi (active mind) and Nian (passive mind). When the two are in balance, then our actions will begin to develop and adhere to the concept of Wu Wei. To balance Yi Nian, it requires development of the first three quality precepts. Once we diligently practice humility, humor and simplicity, over time our active and passive minds will properly balance and our actions will take on that spontaneous nature that is the essence of Wu Wei.

Enjoy practicing, people, and stop by tomorrow for our final quality precept.

02/06/2022

Another beautiful ‘Sun’ day in Los Angeles. Just finished a fascinating online Qigong workshop with my teacher Damo Mitchell, Internal Arts Academy and Lotus Neigong. Hope all of you will stop by tomorrow Monday as we finish up the Daoists Precepts.

02/05/2022

I am doing a 3-day online Qigong/Neigong workshop this weekend with my teacher Damo Mitchell, Lotus Neigong and Internal Arts Academy. So, we will resume our review of the last two quality precepts of Daoism on Monday. Until then I will leave you with this quote from our lineage at the Internal Arts Academy…

“Harmonious Qi, a quiet mind, a tranquil nature, ‘forgotten’ emotions and a harmonious Shen are the immortal medicines (Xian Yao) of Daoism.” – from the Internal Arts Academy.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

02/04/2022

Today we shall look closer at Daoism’s third quality precept – “Simplicity.”

In Daoism simplicity went by the term “Pu.” Perfection of this quality corresponds to Laozi’s concept of the “uncarved block.”

“Tao is eternal, but has no fame (name);
The Uncarved Block, though seemingly of small account,
Is greater than anything that is under heaven.
If kings and barons would but possess themselves of it,
The ten thousand creatures would flock to do them homage;
Heaven-and-earth would conspire
To send Sweet Dew,
Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.
Once the block is carved, there will be names,
And so soon as there are names,
Know that it is time to stop.
Only by knowing when it is time to stop can danger be avoided.
To Tao all under heaven will come
As streams and torrents flow into a great river or sea.”
– Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 32

Nothing has been chipped away from the block. Thus, like Laozi’s Dao, the uncarved block is nameless, but once it is carved in any way, there will be names, and as soon as there are names, there is imperfection. It is no longer simplicity nor is it aligned with the flow of Dao. So, to Laozi, Pu or Simplicity meant Wisdom, the ability to encounter universal information perceived in purity. To Zhuangzi, it meant humor, which pulses away the layers of negativity at one’s center as we saw yesterday.

The key is the simpler, the better. Enjoy practicing, and keep it simple, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

02/03/2022

Today we shall look closer at Daoism’s second quality precept – “Cultivate a sense of humor.”

Anyone who has read the “Zhuangzi” from Daoism’s long-standing comic, Zhuangzi or Chuang tzu, can understand the place humor has in the cultivation of the Dao. Humor is not used here to entertain but to instruct and emphasize the place the other precepts should have in one’s daily life. But even more than instructing and teaching, humor has energetic purpose – to create a pulse within one’s center that dissolve those layers of negativity piled onto one’s Ming that are suppressing one’s natural-born qualities. Zhuangzi’s tradition is based in allowing you to stay as natural and spontaneous as possible by using the energetic mechanism of humor to dissolve potential attachments before they fully form.

So, in short, humor and the dissolving nature of its energy can be used to strip away difficult emotional layers before they can anchor into one’s heart mind.

No, humor is not joy, but it can bring a certain degree of enjoyment to the difficult and sometimes exhausting practice of cultivation. So, enjoy your practicing, folks, and try to do it with a sense of humor. Thanks for stopping by.

02/02/2022

Today we shall look closer at Daoism’s first and most important as well as most difficult quality precept – “Cultivate humility.”

If you don’t think this is the hardest task you will ever attempt, think again. Why? Because you have something huge working against you, the very thing you will try to use to cultivate humility – your own mind. Sure, your heart mind will agree with the precept in its aim to connect with the Dao. However, your conditioned mind, your everyday mind, has been trying to keep itself head and shoulders above the crowd and ahead of the pack throughout most of your years. Do you think that now it is about to relent?

Although it is conflicted in that it wants to go one way while your heart mind wants to go in the opposite direction, it will appear to go along with your heart mind’s intention. However, it will have you go about it in a way that seems logical but will lead to outright failure by encouraging you to look humble and put forth a humble appearance in all you do. But without that true quality of humility at the very core of your being, you will only be creating false humility, which is often a mask for arrogance and which is sure to be recognized as such by those around you.

To become humble, you must first realize what humility truly is. Originally it referred to opening a space in the center of one’s heart mind to the wider nature of existence. But in time that space creates a vacuum within the center of your being for divine information to flood in and fill. Here in the center of your being you can access spontaneous teachings, in other words, Wisdom. In Daoism, Wisdom. like humility, itself, is very Yin, whose main quality is receptivity. In this case, one is receiving a pure perception of everything taking place around you.

However, you must strip away the layers of fear and pessimism that the conditioned mind will amass to prevent itself from being diminished in any way, which is exactly what humility does. Thus, one needs to free oneself from as many shackles to the conditioned mind as one can. By dissolving these emotional insecurities, one can then feel more secure and much less fearful around practicing humility in daily life.

We will look at the second quality precept in Daoism tomorrow. Until then, enjoy practicing humility without fear. Thank you for stopping by.

02/01/2022

Today we will look at the brief list of the five quality precepts of Daoism. Unlike the ten rule-type precepts, which focus on our relationship to others and the external would in general, the five quality precepts deal with our internal world and the cultivation of ourselves and the ‘personal qualities’ we possess.

1. Cultivate humility
2. Cultivate a sense of humor
3. Live with simplicity
4. Adhere to and develop Wu Wei
5 Cultivate compassion

You may think these are quite obvious, and they are. But there is more to each one as you shall see when we look at them in detail beginning tomorrow. Until then, keep practicing and enjoying it, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

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