Taoist philosophy, yin and yang, the five elements; and their relationships to tai chi
The Earth is overrun by investigators and engineers
and wilderness has been made vulgar with noise.
The country would survive without tractors and saws.
It does not need bridges, and certainly does not need
the pollution and poisons generally produced nowadays
as byproduct of 'cultivation'. The country could do
without monuments that mark such progress.
In the context of Tao, we violate the Earth with human
If left alone , the earth would provide us with everything
It seeks no reward; only respect.
We should simply walk through this mysterious world
without being a burden to it.
There were once four learned and accomplished men.
One day they said to themselves, "Of what use is all
our learning if we do not seek the employment of some
great king?". Accordingly, they set out for the capital,
Among these four, three were particularly brilliant.
The fourth was inferior to the others in intellect,
but was the one with the most common sense.
On the road they came upon a skeleton of a lion."Let
us prove our power and bring this lion back to life"
proposed the first." Yes, this will bring us great fame"
said the second." And fortune" added the third. "Be
careful" said the fourth."Don't interrupt!" cried the
first, who had already used his superior knowledge to
put flesh on the bones. The second quickly introduced
blood, and the third was about to breathe life into
the lion."Quiet!" said the third from the depths of
his labour, to the fourth who repeated "be careful,
be care." Finally the forth did say "If you are
not interested in my advice, then I shall go sit in
this tree." Soon, the lion did come back to life - and
killed three learned and accomplished men.
The fourth was the only one to arrive at he throne
and was generously rewarded by the king and his successors.
We have many words that we use to mock country people:
Yokel, bumpkin, nick, peasant, hillbilly,village idiot.
Compare these to those often used to describe city dwellers:
Neurotic, stressed, compulsive, ambitious, devious,
obsessive, hard-nut, money grabbers. While we cannot
all return to country life, it is beneficial to consider
the ideal. City living is a mental construct that we
create for ourselves. As soon as our effort ceases,
it collapses. Strive in the city if you must; but don't
forget, there is little ultimate value in the city.
Before city there was country. Before death - life.
Why were the people of old so integrated with their
surroundings? Because all that they used, the food they
ate and the activities that they engaged in, were straight
from their surroundings. They made their own tools and
eating implements, grew their own food, domesticated
animals and caught fish and game. Today our food is
imported from distant places and elaborately processed.
We have no idea where the objects and items that we
purchase come from. Their presence and convenience is
all that is necessary. We abuse our wealth, and use
it to insulate ourselves from our environment. The closer
we can be to the Earth and to nature, the more integrated
to life we will be. Followers of Tao never claim to
feel alienated from life. They have no choice. Their
every action keeps them synchronized with the movement
Being poor is not necessarily bad. When one is of modest
means, one is forced to use what is at hand. Tao brings
us these things. Tao is always enough.
In olden times, the devout carried portable tabernacles
and shrines so that they could give devotions even when
far from homes. Their gods were inside these boxes,
protected and treasured.
Followers of Tao believe that the gods are within themselves.
Even while sojourning, they remain oriented to their
inner sacredness. Perhaps they may even breakthrough
more quickly, for the preoccupation's of the mind are
no longer present to interfere with the flow of the
Once people connect to their strengths, there is no
end to the wonders of travel.
We are all familiar with prejudice. It comes in many
forms : Nationalism, chauvinism, provincialism, racism.
Many of us cry out against these injustices. As long
as there is prejudice, we can never fairly know one
another. And yet it is exactly a type of prejudice that
keeps us from knowing ourselves. We cater for all our
own needs, our indulgences, intellectual curiosities
No one feels our own pain more than ourselves and we
feel no greater joy than our own satisfaction.
Only when on the verge of death ourselves do we value
life fully. This could be the first time that we truly
For as long as we value comfort over effort we shall
never have the fortitude for the spiritual quest. As
long as we adhere to intellectual ideas over experience,
then we shall never have a genuine perception of Tao.
As long as we insist that we are separate, individual
entities apart from the rest of the universe, we shall
not realize Oneness.
We create ourselves. If we are to reach realization,
we must confront and resolve this prejudice.
|Gary in an email to
Mark: You have
urged me in the past to do something on Taoism. [this]
contains my own calligraphy, however this was copied (by
hand/and altered a little) from a book that was called
... I think "365 Tao". I do not have a copy nowadays.
It contained that number of daily "meditations". The text
is not verbatim, but its not far off. I copied this text
also by hand - with a brush - in red ink. I shortened/condensed
the text as I went along. In making this final draft I
have done that again, so I expect that it is not much
like the original anymore; and this is only 'my favorite
6 out of 365. So, its a bit like the ten bulls thing.
Close but no cigar! Gary
Robinson December 2001
No one feels our own pain more than ourselves and we feel
no greater joy than our own satisfaction. Only when on the verge of death ourselves do we value life
fully. This could be the first time that we truly appreciate