Thursday, December 29, 2005

A simple note on the Three Doctrines

Over the few thousands of years of Chinese civilization, there appeared many great thinkers and philosophers some of whom were acknowledged as sages. Choosing a simple easy and practical doctrine to follow is perhaps wise.

If millions of Chinese throughout the ages found that Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist doctrines practical for their lives and prove fruitful, it is easy to discern which doctrines work and which don’t. Since the wise down the millenniums say that these three doctrines lead to the same path to Tao, there are no reasons to doubt the ancient sages and those who went on to attain Tao.

While reading ancient texts and classics, we try to discern the main gist of what the ancients want to say at the time. And in an interesting way, most of the teachings in such texts and classics seem to all tie up. In case you do not follow what I mean, all three doctrines point to the Center (Zhong).

Of the ancients, Laozi, Confucius, Buddha and Mencius teach a similar path for cultivation. Later, Ge Hong (Bao Puzi) and Boddhidharma (Da Mo) discussed the twofold path to cultivate Tao. Renowned Chan Buddhists, Neo Daoists and Neo Confucians about a thousand years ago placed the same emphasis on the cultivation of essence and bodily life. Some eventually attained Tao to become Daoist immortals or Buddhas. Over the next thousand years to 2005 they returned time and again to teach the same twofold path of cultivation.

If the thoughts do not lead to practices, are we really cultivating Tao? If a lengthy practice does not produce what the sages and wise described in their books and texts did we practise the correct methods? Is it any wonder then that only the sincere and discerning can find the mysterious Way?

With this last entry for 2005 I take this opportunity to wish all readers, A Happy New Year!

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