The Hua Hu Ching
If you go searching for the Great Creator, you will come back empty-handed. The source of the universe is ultimately unknowable, a great invisible river flowing forever through a vast and fertile valley. Silent and uncreated, it creates all things.
The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to yin and yang.
Yin and yang give birth to all things...
But forget about understanding and harmonizing and making all things one.
The universe is already a harmonious oneness; just realize it.
This path is clearly defined and quite simple to follow, yet most lose themselves in ideological fogs of their own making.
Don't imagine that you'll discover the truth by accumulating more knowledge. Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge. You can't get full eating this way.
I confess that there is nothing to teach: no religion, no science, no body of information which will lead your mind back to the Tao. Today I speak in this fashion, tomorrow in another, but always the Integral Way is beyond words and beyond mind.
These are notions of the mind, which is like a knife,
always chipping away at the Tao,
trying to render it graspable and manageable.
But that which is beyond form is ungraspable,
and that which is beyond knowing is unmanageable.
There is, however, this consolation:
She who lets go of the knife will find the Tao at her fingertips.
Intellectual knowledge exists in and of the brain. Because the brain is part of the body, which must one day expire, this collection of facts, however large and impressive, will expire as well. But spiritual insight transcends death.
Intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom.
The sense organs, which are limited in scope and ability, randomly gather information.
This partial information is arranged into judgments,
which are based on previous judgments,
which are usually based on someone else's foolish ideas.
These false concepts and ideas are then stored in a highly selective memory system.
Distortion upon distortion: ... the more one uses the mind, the more confused one becomes.
Most of the world's religions serve only to strengthen attachments to false concepts such as self and other, life and death, heaven and earth, and so on. Those who become entangled in these false ideas are prevented from perceiving the Integral Oneness.
Greed for enlightenment and immortality is no different than greed for material wealth. It is self-centered and dualistic, and thus an obstacle to true attainment. Therefore these states are never achieved by those who covet them; rather, they are the reward of the virtuous.
There are two paths leading to oneness with the Tao.
The first in the path of acceptance.
Affirm everyone and everything.
Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances.
Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it.
The second path is that of denial.
Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth.
Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness.
Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness.
The first practice is the practice of undiscriminating virtue: take care of those who are deserving; also, and equally, take care of those who are not.
When you extend your virtue in all directions without discriminating, you feet are firmly planted on the path that returns to the Tao.
Does one scent appeal more than another?
Do you prefer this flavor, or that feeling?
Is your practice sacred and your work profane?
Then your mind is separated:
from itself, from oneness, from the Tao.
If you attach yourself to gross energies -- loving this person, hating that clan, rejecting one experience or habitually indulging in another -- then you will lead a series of heavy, attached lives. This can go on for a very long and tedious time.
The mature person pours himself out in service to others.
To practice virtue is to selflessly offer assistance to others, giving without limitation one's time, abilities, and possessions in service, whenever and wherever needed, without prejudice concerning the identity of those in need.
The fourth of the four cardinal virtues is supportiveness: this manifests as service to others without expectation of reward.
Some help others in order to receive blessings and admiration. This is simply meaningless. Some cultivate themselves in part to serve others, in part to serve their own pride. They will understand, at best, half of the truth. But those who improve themselves for the sake of the world -- to these, the whole truth of the universe will be revealed.
Simply see that you are at the center of the universe, and accept all things and beings as parts of your infinite body. When you perceive that an act done to another is done to yourself, you have understood the great truth.
Giving to others selflessly and anonymously, radiating light throughout the world and illuminating your own darkness, your virtue becomes a sanctuary for yourself and all beings. That is what is meant by embodying the Tao.
Why not simply honor your parents,
love your children,
help your brothers and sisters,
be faithful to your friends,
care for your mate with devotion,
complete your work cooperatively and joyfully,
assume responsibility for problems,
practice virtue without first demanding it of others,
understand the highest truths yet retain an ordinary manner?
That would be true clarity, true simplicity, true mastery.
The cleansing of spiritual contamination is accomplished by offering one's talent, resources, and life to the world.
Take time to listen to what is said without words,
to obey the law too subtle to be written,
to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed.
If you can let go of the Tao with your mind
and surround it with your heart,
it will live inside you forever.
Can you dissolve your ego?
Can you abandon the idea of self and other?
Can you relinquish the notions of male and female,
short and long, life and death?
Can you let go of all these dualities and embrace
the Tao without skepticism or panic?
If so, you can reach the heart of the Integral Oneness.
[The Hua Hu Ching is believed to have been written by Lao Tzu at some point in time after the Tao Te Ching]
Mysticism in World Religions
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