Monday, February 27, 2006

Special message from Lu Dongbin on Te

Daoist texts are often written for a specific purpose. Instead of the dual cultivation Laozi discussed in the Tao Te Ching, at times some teachings only concern meditation while others elaborated on the cultivation of virtues and/or rituals.

Readers familiar with ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’ will find that Lu Dongbin in this text only discussed meditation and taught how with the practice of the ‘Circulation of the Light’ one can work on human nature (Xing). However neidan adepts also need to cultivate virtues to rectify the heart and mind and to refine life (Ming). Only through the dual cultivation of Xing and Ming can an adept attain Tao. This dual cultivation is what Neo Daoists term as the cultivation of essence and bodily life.

During late 2004, one was requested to start a thread in the Tao Forum to discuss Te. Many members contributed their valuable ideas and opinions on the subject. More than a century of posts later, Lu Dongbin apparently also wanted to have a say. His planchette message on Te appeared in his Daoist temple in Hong Kong together with an instruction to send it to my Daoist friend. My friend who was following the Te discussions in earnest told me about this special message received in late November 2004.

This summarized message (also posted in the thread) was perhaps to clarify that he (Lu) did not place any emphasis on the cultivation of virtues in his ‘Secret of the Golden Flower’ text:

"Lu Dongbin exhorted the disciples to keep the cardinal virtues in their hearts; with an explanation that practicing the virtues can rectify and perfect their hearts/minds. He further clarified that only through meditation and the cultivation of virtues can one attain Tao."

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