The “Hua Hu Ching” is a collection of the oral teachings of Laozi, an ancient Daoist master and considered the founder of Daoism. The teachings in this book are laid out in chapter format, similar to the “Dao De Jing”. While the Dao De Jing is more poetic in nature, the Hua Hu Ching is somewhat more straightforward and to the point.
Consider Chapter 39 of the Hua Hu Ching:
Why scurry about looking for the truth?
It vibrates in every thing and every not-thing, right off the tip of your nose
Can you be still and see it in the mountain? the pine tree? yourself?
Don’t imagine that you’ll discover it by accumulating more knowledge.
Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge.
You can’t get the full eating this way.
The wise person dines on something more subtle.
He eats the understanding that the named was born from the unnamed, that all being flows fro non-being, that the describable world emanates from an indescribable source.
He finds this subtle truth inside his own self, and becomes completely content.
So who can be still and watch the chess game of the world?
The foolish are always making impulsive moves, but the wise know that victory and defeat are decided by something more subtle.
They see that something perfect exists before any move is made.
This subtle perfection deteriorates when artificial actions are taken, so be content not to disturb the peace.
Discover the harmony in your own being.
If you can do this, you will gain everything, and the world will become healthy again.
If you can’t, you will be lost in the shadows forever.
It’s important to note that the teachings hidden in passages such as the above are so deep that you cannot possibly pick it all up at once. When reading Daoist scriptures and poetry, you must remember to extract those elements that are relevant to you right now. Down the road, when you re-read the passage, you’ll find a deeper meaning hidden inside. And most importantly, absorb the passage and feel it resonate within you, try not to dissect the teaching in an purely intellectual way.
Some simple things to look for in the above passage:
..the named was born from the unnamed refers to the Daoist teaching that the all that exists (the named) was born from the unnamed (The Dao). When you understand that everything that exist is born from the Dao (or the great eternal source), it puts everything into context as being one or originating from the Dao.
This subtle perfection deteriorates when artificial actions are taken… refers to going against the flow of the Dao or the true Way. In your spiritual path, you will discover what the true path or way is, and you will be able to sense when you are straying from this path. Judgments of ourselves or other people and dualistic thinking (example of dualistic thinking = this one thing is good, but this other thing is bad) are just two ways that humans stray from the Dao.
Some people thinking going with the Dao is “going with the flow”, but what is “the flow”? Going with the flow might mean going along with whatever other people are doing or thinking, but that is not going along with the Dao. If others are not going with the Dao, then they are actually going against the flow. You must find the flow of the Dao, which penetrates far deeper than normal everyday human situations, and go with that flow.
Remain quiet is a very simple way to start practicing. Understand that all Daoist poetry should not be taken literally, so “remaining quiet” does not mean to simply not speak. It means to quiet the mind and quiet the emotions. Stop judging yourself and others, and simply observe yourself and others for what they truly are, not based on their status in society or your own personal feelings. It is in this quiet that you’ll find a new perspective that will allow you to find inner peace at any time, no matter what the circumstances.
In the beginning, it might be easier to practice “remaining quiet” while practicing Qigong or meditating on your own. Or maybe before you go to bed, you simple sit at the edge of your bed for 20 seconds and practice “remaining quiet”. Ultimately, you can get the point where you are able to “remain quiet” at any time, any place. What freedom!
There are many other hidden teachings in the above passage too numerous to mention in one newsletter. We will explore them further next month.