Tag Archives: Daoism

Nothing softer than water

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Much water imagery lately, in journeying as well as meditation; in dreams as well as in synchronicities of everyday life. What does it all mean? In the wise words of an old man by the fire, “It doesn’t mean anything.” Reading the Teachings from the Huainanzi today, this was the message:

“Of all the things in the world, nothing is softer than water. Water is accommodating and yielding, but its depth cannot be plumbed and its boundaries cannot be measured. Rising to the sky, it becomes rain and mist. Falling to the earth, it becomes springs and underground lakes. Life cannot exist without water, and crops cannot be cultivated without it. Water benefits all and has no favorites. It nourishes the smallest insect and the largest mammal and does not expect gratitude. It enriches the world and does not begrudge those who use it.

“Water is soft yet strong. Strike it, and it cannot be injured. Pierce it, and it cannot be punctured. Grasp it, and it cannot be held. Its strength can wear down stone and metal. Its sustenance can nourish the whole world. It can float in the sky as clouds, squeeze through narrow valleys as streams, and spread across wide-open plains as lakes. It takes from the earth and gives back to the earth. Unbiased and nonjudgmental, it does not have notions of first and last and does not distinguish between us and them. Everything is equal in its eyes. Separating and merging, it blends with its surroundings and is at one with the sky and the earth. Not conforming to the left or the right, it can be straight or meandering. Not restrained by space and time, it can be present at the beginning and the end of all things.”

-teachings from the Huainanzi, The Natural Way, translated by Eva Wong

It means nothing. It means everything. Such is the Dao.

–Cheolshim Prajna

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In search of hermit teachers

A seeker  crossed Chuanchen Cliff in search of hermit-teachers. On the steps of Hsienku Temple he posed with Master Hsieh who told him many things, among them:

Hsieh and porter

“Q [Porter]:  Aren’t they [the hermits] interested in teaching others?

“Hsieh:  Yes. But before you can teach others, you have to cultivate yourself.  You have to know something before you can teach something. You can’t explain inner cultivation just because you know words in books.  You have to discover what they mean first.”

—from Bill Porter’s Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits