Friday, December 26, 2014

A study of the ancient Way (Tao) – Accumulate virtue, increase merits

In Tao Te Ching Chapter 79, Laozi said:

The Way of Heaven is impartial; it is always on the side of the good.

Having Heaven on your side indicates that you are a right person for Tao and will receive its blessings. With Heaven on your side, you count amongst the central, correct, and the blessed. (Refer to the Book of Changes.)

If students of the Way ever wondered how to become good persons and to have Heaven on their side, they would need to read the T’ai-Shang Kan-Ying P’ien and thereafter practise the numerous moral injunctions prescribed therein. Apparently, this Treatise of the Exalted One on Response and Retribution has had more copies in circulation than the Bible and Shakespeare and that millions of devout Chinese down the ages have had practised its moral injunctions and/or had it published.

Amongst the moral injunctions for practice and blessings are:

To accumulate virtue, increase merits. Take pity on orphans, assist widows, respect the old, be kind to children. Assist those in need, and rescue those in danger. Stay evil and promote goodness. Extend help without seeking reward.

Blessings of the Good

Those who are thus (practised the moral injunctions), are good: people honor them; Heaven's Reason gives them grace; blessings and abundance follow them; all ill luck keeps away; angel spirits guard them. Whatever they undertake will surely succeed, and even to spiritual saintliness they may aspire.

Those who wish to attain heavenly saintliness should perform one thousand three hundred good deeds, and those who wish to attain to earthly saintliness should perform three hundred good deeds.

[T’ai-Shang Kan-Ying P’ien as translated by Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus – Terebess Asia Online]

When students have had practised the moral injunctions for a while, they may realized that they are becoming good and virtuous. This could also signify the return of a prodigal son.

Where possible students should also learn palmistry and physiognomy since there may come a time when these arts could prove useful to determine if someone’s life is in real danger and in need of saving.

Remember, the saving of innocent lives is of the highest merit; since life is precious to Heaven. This could probably help explain why Daoists down the ages practise Chinese herbal medicine and/or acupuncture to help heal people.

If students have had practised the moral injunctions and have happened to save some people from impending deaths, Heaven will most likely be on their side. (Read the various blogged articles on how to tell that Heaven is on your side.)

It is a requisite for those who practise the dual cultivation of human nature (Xing) and fate (Ming) to have Heaven on their side otherwise they would not be the right persons for Tao. Remember that Heaven governs fate and Laozi had had indicated that Heaven is on the side of the good. Otherwise it would be unlikely they can become Daoist immortals. Therefore they too have to study and practise what is taught in the T’ai-Shang Kan-Ying P’ien. To practise the moral injunctions would also help to change fate for the better.

By studying this treatise, disciples of Daoist celestial immortals would understand better why their ancestor master(s) often remind them to accumulate virtue and to increase merits. And according to the treatise, the number of merits obtained count towards the level of attainment of immortality.

By reading this treatise, evil doers and students of masters who malign renowned Daoist celestial immortals, paragons of virtue, and things of Heaven (respectively Lu Dongbin, Guan Gong, and the Book of Changes for example) may come to realize why they and/or their masters have so much suffering and why some have had their lives unexpectedly shortened. Hopefully after reading the treatise, they would desist in doing further evil and/or stop perpetuating falsehoods on Daoist divinities and on things of Heaven for their own good. That is if they know what is good for them. (There is a long description of evil doers and the consequential punishments in the treatise.)

By reading through the series of articles on this study of the ancient Way, serious neidan students and fellow travelers would probably acknowledge that it would take decades to study and practise what is taught in the four books and five classics together with the practice of the Circulation of the Light for the internal alchemical transformations; and to accumulate virtues and increase merits.

Therefore their masters are either pulling their legs or are misleading them when they lightly promise enlightenment just by following their lineage’s secret neidan formulae. Sad to say, there are no such complete formulae for enlightenment. (Think of the four Confucian books and five ancient Chinese classics, numerous Daoist texts and the Tao Te Ching, several Buddhist sutras and texts for students to study.)

Only real masters know how to teach students to attain the Way (Tao). But even then, whether or not the diligent student can attain Tao will by and large depend on his or her success in the dual cultivation of nature and fate.

Reverting to original nature and to change or master fate could be the key to the return to destiny – Heaven.

P.S. Advising readers how to get Heaven on their side with this article has not brought forth any warnings from Heaven! No sudden thunderstorms, unlike previous drafts on how to get Heaven on their side.

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