The path of inner refinement is extremely simple and easy

Bai Yuzhan said, “The path of inner refinement is extremely simple and easy; just get the fire of the heart to descend into the elixir field. The elixir field is the chamber of water, while the heart is fire. When fire enters water, then water and fire mix and true yang is produced. Therefore people Call them heart and genitals, not water and fire.”

Reference: Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body translated by Thomas Cleary p. 115

The Intercourse of Water and Fire

Whenever you leak vital spirit, being stirred and interacting with beings, that is all fire. Whenever you gather back spirits consciousness and quiet it down to steep in the center, that is all water. When the senses run outward, that is fire; when the senses turn around  inward, that is water.

The one yin [ inside the fire trigram ] concentrates on pursuing sense experience, while the one yang [ inside the water trigram ] concentrates on reversing and withdrawing the senses themselves.

Water and fire are yin and yang, yin and yang are body and mind, body and mind are spirit and energy. Once you withdraw to rest your vital spirit and are not influenced by objects, then this is true intercourse, as of course when you sit in profound silence.

Reference:The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life new translation by Thomas Cleary XI p. 55

The Three Precepts

1. Simplifying involvements
2. Not craving anything
3. Queiting the mind

“If people can empty their minds and contrive nothing, it is not that they want the Way, but the Way spontaneously reverts to them”.

Reference: Treatise on sitting forgetting from Taoist Meditation by Thomas Cleary p. 102

The Lost Axe

Once upon a time there was a craftsman who lost his Axe. He thought hard, and finally suspected his neighbor of stealing it. When he saw his neighbor walking, he thought that he walked like an Axe thief. When he meet his neighbor, the others countenance was just like that of an Axe thief, and when he saw him in conversation with others, he even talked like an Axe thief.

Not long afterward, the craftsman found his Axe where he had mislaid it. Strangely enough, from that time on, his neighbor ceased to walk, look and talk like an Axe Thief.

Reference:A Taoist Miscellany p. 67

A real human being

I dwell in spiritual tipsiness, looking into the meaning of mellowness.

I do not know why there is a profound smile on my lips,
neither do I care to find out.

Lighting up me entire body,
filling it to the brim with nothing.

I die to my self.

Not knowing who I am,
or where I am.

Lost to the world,
entering Heaven.

Walking the earth,
returning from bliss.

The spark of tipsiness has lit my life.
How can anything be the same.

Learning how to die moment by moment. In an instant a real human being.

The Value of Boredom

Learn to enjoy boredom and monotony. When you feel bored, it means that it is a really good time and everything is in good condition. This is the most valuable time for you. Most people are unpleasant when things are boring, because they do not know the value of boredom and monotony. Monotony to them is too simple, and they cannot stand it. Those things you consider boring and monotonous can help you come back to yourself instead of pulling you away. By accepting them, you can nurture yourself.

Reference:
Entering the Tao: Master Ni’s Teachings on Self-cultivation
by Hua-Ching Ni
ISBN 9781570621611

Cutting Up An Ox

Cook Ting was cutting an ox after a sacrifice to be used as food for Lord Wen of Hui. At every touch of the hand, every heave of the shoulder, every move of the feet, every bend of the knee, he slipped the knife along effortlessly and all was in perfect rhythm as though he were performing the dance of the mulberry grove to the flow of the melody of Yao’s music.
“Ah, this is marvelous,” said Lord Wen of Hui. “Imagine skill reaching such heights!”
Cook Ting laid down his knife and replied, “What I care about is the natural path which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. Now I go at it through intuition. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and intuition moves where it wants. I go along with the natural construction, strike in the big hollow places, guide the knife through large openings, and follow things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less the main joints.
“A good cook changes knives once a year, because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his once a month, because he hacks. I’ve had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I’ve cut thousands of oxen with it, yet the blade is as good as new.
“There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of remain in peace. Undeveloped people cannot do this; there the knife is just as if it had no thickness really. If you insert what has no thickness into such spaces, then there’s plenty of room, more than enough for the blade to play about. And after nineteen years, the blade of my knife is still as good as when it first came from the grindstone.
“However, whenever I come to a complicated spot, I size up the difficulties, tell myself to watch out and be careful, keep my eyes on what I am doing, work very slowly and move the knife with the greatest subtlety until the whole thing comes apart like a clod of earth flopping to the ground. I stand there holding the knife and look all around me, my mind completely full with the satisfaction of accomplishing a perfect job, and then I wipe the knife and put it away.
“Excellent,” said Lord Wen of Hui. “I have heard the words of Cook Ting and learned how to solve the problems of life!”

Chuang Tzu or Zhuang Zi

Reference:
Entering the Tao: Master Ni’s Teachings on Self-cultivation
by Hua-Ching Ni
ISBN 9781570621611

Links:
Cutting Up An Ox about.com

The ego is a monkey

The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.

Hua Hu Ching X

Give up learning and put an end to your troubles

Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Others are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Others are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.

Laozi (Laotzu) XX

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