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April 30, 2022


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Wisdom is ignoring nothing but learning from it.

Avoidance and attachment are two opposing extreme approaches to life that will perpetuate the worrying mind.
It’s unhelpful to ignore any unpleasant experience or try and suppress it. It’s also unhelpful to pursue or become attached to pleasant experiences.
The most helpful way to develop and maintain peace of mind is to accept all experiences as they are, respond as is appropriate to the experience and learn from them.

All human experience is causal and transitory and its quality will be dependent on how you relate to it in now-ness.

Leih-tzu is new to me. I like the story of King Shun. I may even buy this book as I enjoy hearing how different people explain 'this'.

Here is the online version:

Lovely collection of stories. Just browsed through a few random ones, and each turned out to be both entertaining and carrying a moral/philosophy that one can gain from understanding (if not necessarily cultivating). Bookmarked for dipping into at leisure later on.

Thanks for writing about Lieh-tzu, Brian. (First time I've even heard of this guy!) And thanks, um, for the pdf.

"Life is but the coming together of the energies of heaven and earth, and the source of these energies has no beginning and no end. How can one ever possess the way of heaven and earth?"

To live this beautiful teaching is to apprehend life rather than label it or limit it.

Go beyond mind. Practice.

@ AR

You are welcome.
I was searching for a story about crows ...I read 63, the first story in chapter 6 ... hahaha

Beautiful blog post, Brian! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to have to read more about Lieh-tzu.

"Hi-tzu said, 'You think you are different from other travelers, but actually you are not. Although they are amused by sights and sounds, and you are fascinated by things that always change, you are both occupied with what is out there rather than what you experience inside. People who are attracted to the external world are always looking for something new and wonderful that will satisfy their senses. However, only people who look into themselves will find true satisfaction. '

"After this conversation, Lieh-tzu stopped traveling because he thought he had thoroughly misunderstood what it means to travel. Seeing this, Hu-tzu said to him,' Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then, you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience even with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no distinction between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of travel. '"

Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living, p. 100

Look into yourself. Take the ultimate trip. Find the true satisfaction within. That is real travel, to be one with all of it. The way out is IN.

No one enjoys the company of a self-righteous, narrow minded, judgemental person. Perhaps that is what is so refreshing about Lieh-tzu.

Ever since my brother died I’ve been taken back to childhood memories and a childlike perspective of life. I’m very much at peace with his passing and so very grateful to have learned so much from him. But it’s the little things—it really is. It was sunny and breezy and just perfect out today. I watched my two year old niece play in the sand box we put out for her. Time stopped. There was no judgement or expectations—we just shared minutes of childlike innocence where nothing really mattered other than exploring and adventure.

It was joyful—a welcome distraction from the previous month’s grief.

I prefer the wisdom that comes from someone who has had similar experiences and is an example of how to “get through” or master the difficult times. They remind us that sunny, happy days will come again. There is nothing quite like the peaceful, loving humility of a true friend.

Sounds like Lieh-tzu falls into that category.

@ Sonya

>> Ever since my brother died I’ve been taken back to childhood memories and a childlike perspective of life. I’m very much at peace with his passing and so very grateful to have learned so much from him.<<


Enjoyed reading your description of your niece's "mindfulness meditation", Sonya, and your observation and understanding of such in those simple yet beautiful terms.

Truly, in some ways we are born wise, and "grow" into the obverse of wisdom with each passing year. So that, in a sense, wisdom obtains in seeking back to what was spontaneously contained within us. That is quite literally what the Buddha's realization amounted to, when after almost dying from his austerities he elected to try out the "middle path" instead, and specifically to recreate/revisit the experience/realization he'd spontaneously had when a child.

Of course, the million dollar question then becomes: Was it just the Buddha that came blest with that native, spontaneous wisdom, that spontaneous potential to see and experience and understand that deeper level of reality? Or are we all imbued with that kiss of godliness? (Not to forget the meta-question: Is the Buddha story, about the child in the tilling fields, even true? Or is it just that, a just-so story?)


If only our growing up did not comprise so much of a growing away, if only. Childhood is so precious, so utterly divine. If only we could make all of our life as precious, and as divine, if only.

"'Most people like to see what they have never seen before or do what has never been done before. They want to start tackling challenging conditions right away and do not have the patience to learn from scratch. However, I say if you want to train your powers of seeing, you should start out scrutinizing a stack of firewood. If you want to sharpen your sense of hearing, you should start out by listening to the sound of bells. In this way you will build your abilities gradually and not encounter a lot of obstacles while you learn. Once you have acquired the abilities, no condition will appear difficult. And if the conditions are not difficult, why would you need to call upon your abilities to deal with them? '
The earl continued,' If my reputation for strength is known around the country, then I have not followed my master's teachings well. However, I am not famous for my strength because I boast about what U can do, but because of the way I use it. '
The king was finally satisfied with the earl's explanation.
In strength the Earl of Kung-yi had not reached the level of mastery of his teacher Old Shang had. While the earl did not boast about his ability, he still needed to use it. Old Shang, however, had reached the point where there was nothing out there that proved difficult enough for him to need to call on his strength. So he never needed to use it."

Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living, p. 107

" Once you have acquired the abilities, no condition will appear difficult. And if the conditions are not difficult, why would you need to call upon your abilities to deal with them? '"

Acquire the abilities to see and hear and no condition will be difficult.

"He continued, 'Let me explain the meaning of these statements. First, a person with a mind is bound to be filled with conceptions. These conceptions prevent him from knowing things directly, so a person with a mind shall never really know."

Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living, p. 108

When you are familiar with things, they are no longer strange.

And strange things may not be wrong, just unfamiliar.

The natural mind accepts this simple truth.

If you find someone absolutely wrong, there is your mirror.

If you think they are completely evil, how will you become their brother?

Even they have their journey, even they have their small steps towards progress.

What you can accept in them, you will find in yourself.

What you cannot accept in them you have hid from yourself.

All that matters is in both of you.

On the topic of ongoing seeking for religious truth, I recently discovered the Ram Dass bio "Being Ram Dass." Extremely interesting reading, as it chronicles Dass' life with more brutal honesty than ever before - - which is saying something if you've kept up with Ram Dass' writings.

Many things to comment on, but one thing that was striking to me was Dass' accounts of the many gurus he'd know. Probably no one in the 60s-70s guru scene had intimate connections with more "major" gurus than Ram Dass did, and some of the details he gives about his encounters with these gurus make for enthralling reading.

One question that came to my mind about all those encounters is what ultimate good they did for Dass. He had some mind-blowing experiences that are hard to discount from mere projections. Despite that, he made colossal errors of trust, and in the end, despite many decades of practice and influence of the best gurus the East had to offer, he seems to be basically unchanged from the person he was when he started out. Not better, not worse, but hardly anything different than he was in his 20s before he'd take his first drug or met his 1st guru.


Yes, if only…

The innocence of childhood. The most formative years of one’s life. If we could all just go back in time and reprogram ourselves. 🙃

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