Many people who have shown interests in learning the Way invariably ask what Tao can do for them. Yet they often tend to forget to ask themselves what they have done or could do for Heaven and Tao in return for a fair exchange.
From decades old studies and observations and similar to ancient times, Heaven and Tao would just as mysteriously take back what they have granted.
Therefore if we have ever achieved supreme success through the help of Heaven and Tao, we would need to repay the favor via the Way of Man by practising benevolence (Ren) and righteousness (Yi). Failure to do so has brought on untold hardships to arrogant dragons with cause to repent (refer nine at the top of Hexagram Qian) – since in a way, these particular dragons have offended Heaven.
For those who wish to make achievements in attaining immortality as indicated in the Tao Te Ching by Laozi, they first have to become the right persons for Tao. Even if they happened to be disciples of celestial immortals, it does not necessary mean that they are the right persons for Tao since they still need to study and cultivate (siu hang) just like everyone else including the self-taught to become one.
To be a right person for Tao is not difficult. Just do not expect instant gratification, since it will take much time and real efforts to become the right person for Tao – the trails and tribulations of the Buddha before his enlightenment provide a good example.
If earnest students do not study the ancient books and classics and cultivate themselves according to what is taught therein, they would not become cultivated, learned and/or wise. If they are not learned and wise they would be unable to comprehend, let alone penetrate (Tong), the profound Book of Changes and the Tao Te Ching.
Without being cultivated, learned and wise, they will not be the right persons for Tao.
To know more about the qualifications of the right person for Tao, we turn to the definition given by Liu Huayang in his Hui Ming Ching and later to Lu Dongbin in the Secret of the Golden Flower [both texts translated by Wilhelm / Baynes]:
“He who lacks the right virtue may well find something in it, but heaven will not grant him his Tao. Why not? The right virtue belongs to the Tao as does one wing of a bird to the other: if one is lacking, the other is of no use. Therefore there is needed loyalty and reverence, humaneness and justice and strict adherence to the five (Buddhist) commandments; then only does one have the prospect of attaining something.”
What Liu Huayang has indicated is that even if the meditation is correct, those without the right virtue(s) will not attain immortality or Buddha hood. While others may have reservations, Daoists in the East would agree that Liu Huayang’s indications (which include the requisite meditation) about the right person for Tao are apt. Since these personal qualities are taught in the Book of Changes and in the Tao Te Ching, in the four Confucian books, and in the Buddhist sutras – the three doctrines.
“The Golden Flower is the Elixir of Life (Jindan). All changes of spiritual consciousness depend on the heart (Xin). There is a secret charm which, although it works very accurately, is yet so fluid that it needs extreme intelligence and clarity, and the most complete absorption and tranquility. People without this highest degree of intelligence and understanding do not find the way to apply the charm; people without this utmost capacity for absorption and tranquility cannot keep fast hold of it.”
Even if we have the right virtue(s), but are not sufficiently learned and wise – according to Lu Dongbin-, we would not find the way to apply the secret charm since the highest degree of intelligence and understanding is required to practise the backward flow method for the Circulation of the Light. If we cannot empty our mind (Xin) and still our heart (Xin) we would not have the utmost capacity for absorption and tranquility to keep fast hold of the charm.
Therefore without the right virtue(s) and the requisite meditation how could Heaven (Tian) grant Man (Ren) his Tao?
With what had been discussed over the years, regular readers and others should know the numerous benefits of studying the ancient books and classics, and of cultivation. With this definition of right persons for Tao, they would also be able to discern real neidan masters from the fakes.
So there you go. This little, I would know.