We need to practice meditation gently

The most stable posture for meditation is sitting cross-legged on a cushion. Choose a cushion that is the right thickness to support you. The half-lotus and full-lotus positions are excellent for establishing stability of body and mind. To sit in the lotus position, gently cross your legs by placing one foot (for the half-lotus) or both feet (for the full-lotus) on the opposite thighs. If the lotus position is difficult, it is fine just to sit cross-legged or in any comfortable position. Allow your back to be straight, keep your eyes half closed, and fold your hands comfortably on your lap. If you prefer, you can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your lap. Or you can lie on the floor, on your back, with your legs straight out, a few inches apart, and your arms at your sides, preferably palms up.
If your legs or feet fall asleep or begin to hurt during sitting meditation so that your concentration becomes disturbed, feel free to adjust your position. If you do this slowly and attentively, following your breathing and each movement of your body, you will not lose a single moment of concentration. If the pain is severe, stand up, walk slowly and mindfully, and when you are ready, sit down again.
In some meditation centers, practitioners are not permitted to move during periods of sitting meditation. They often have to endure great discomfort. To me, this seems unnatural. When a part of our body is numb or in pain, it is telling us something, and we should listen to it. We sit in meditation to help us cultivate peace, joy, and nonviolence, not to endure physical strain or to injure our bodies. To change the position of our feet or do a little walking meditation will not disturb others very much, and it can help us a lot.
Sometimes, we can use meditation as a way of hiding from ourselves and from life, like a rabbit going back to his hole. Doing this, we may be able to avoid some problems for a while, but when we leave our “hole,” we will have to confront them again. For example, if we practice our meditation very intensely, we may feel a kind of relief as we exhaust ourselves and divert our energy from confronting our difficulties. But when our energy returns, our problems will return with them.
We need to practice meditation gently, but steadily, throughout daily life, not wasting a single opportunity or event to see deeply into the true nature of life, including our everyday problems. Practicing in this way, we dwell in profound communion with life.
Thich Nhat Hanh on Sitting Meditation “Peace is every step”

The Ten Chan Pictures

(1) In the Wild(1) In the Wild

Troubled by all kinds of thoughts and desires, people are liable to get nervous anal disturbed in daily life and with their natural character con-fused and the ability to sustain themselves lost, they are quite ill with vari-ous worries and diseases. The poem reads:
Displaying its horns, the buffalo bellows aloud,
Running along the mountain path into the distance.
A patch of black clouds overhangs the valley,
The buffalo tramples wheat seedlings wherever it goes.

(2) Initial Training(2) Initial Training

When you start qigong practice, place your mind under control and set strict demands on yourself, as if fastening the buffalo with a rope. Af-ter persistent practice, you will become disciplined and avoid unnecessary losses. The poem reads:
Controlled by a rope through its nose,
The buffalo runs swiftly under the whip.
It is no easy thing to overcome a willful temper,
As the boy struggles hard to lead the buffalo.

(3) Under Control(3) Under Control

After some practice, you will find yourself calm and stable gradually. But you cannot slacken your efforts at this moment, anyway. Be sure to forget fatigue and feel at home. The poem reads:
Under constant training the buffalo stops dashing,
Following the boy across streams and through clouds.
Not daring to loosen the rope in his hand,
The boy tends the buffalo all day in spite of his fatigue.

(4) Turning Back(4) Turning Back

When you reach a certain stage in practice, a turn for the better will take place and the destination of your life’s voyage will appear before you. In so doing, you can grow out of recklessness and act in conformity with nature. At this juncture, keep your mind steady and consolidate the origi-nal ring and strengthen the original qi. The poem reads:
A long time has passed before the buffalo turns back,
Its reckless temper has gradually grown gentle.
Not trusting the buffalo completely to itself,
The boy has not yet unfastened the rope.

(5) Tamed(5) Tamed

When you return to the true nature, you will enter a state of freedom; and when you combine the inside with the outside, you will not find yourself shrouded in dust any longer but see the light. Now that you have found your true character, you can do away with those strict demands. The poem reads:
Under the green poplar, by the ancient stream,
The buffalo moves in harmony with nature.
Returning at sunset over the fragrant meadow,
The buffalo follows the boy, who has dropped his rope.

(6) Getting Free of Hindrance(6) Getting Free of Hindrance

Getting free of hindrance is a state of penetration and evenness, and real control of both the body and the mind. Then try to enter a state of void through qi and shen practice and you will feel the inherent rhythm of life. The poem reads:
Sleeping contentedly under the sky,
The buffalo needs the whip nevermore.
The boy, sitting under the pine tree,
Starts to play a peaceful, happy tune.

(7) In Control(7) In Control

A man’s potential is boundless, and exploiting and making use of it will lay groundwork for the distillation of life. As the “buffalo” has been tamed and is free from worldly hindrance, it is time for you to enjoy the power of freedom and stroll in the realm of life. The poem reads:
Bathed in sunset, the river floats past the willow tree
Under the fragrant meadow in light mist.’
Totally at ease, the buffalo drinks when thirsty, eat when hungry,
And the boy is lying on a rock, deep in sleep.

(8) False Reality(8) False Reality

What is above everything is the true reality and observing various things in the world with a tranquil mind. Attaining the “union of man and heaven,” an advanced state in qigong practice, you will be in harmony with yourself and with nature. The poem reads:
The white buffalo stays in the white clouds;
The boy is free of concern, and so is the buffalo.
Penetrated by moonlight, the white clouds grow whiter;
The moon goes its way, and the clouds drift by.

Single Light(9) Single Light

With the buffalo and its master in perfect harmony, there is not any difference between the outside and the inside. Shen merges with the body and willpower with qi. Whenever illumination comes, you will feel at ease and full of go and vigor. The poem reads:
After the buffalo has vanished, the boy enjoys leisure;
A solitary cloud drifts across the hill.
Clapping his hands, the boy sings under the moon,
Though he has another portal to cross before reaching home.

(10) Rest in Sleep(10) Rest in Sleep

The mother of nature is formless, and everything may be back to the original purity and simplicity. The circle in the diagram shows a state of purity and perfection so that existence is non-existence and vice versa. Re-maining quiet and still, you will gain ultimate wisdom and enlightenment and the purification of your life will draw to an end. The poem reads:
Both the boy and the buffalo are nowhere to be found,
The moon illuminates the vast void.
If in search of the meaning of all this,
Look at the wild flowers and fragrant grass.

Chan (meditation) is a state in which you gain wisdom and enlight-enment through self-cultivation. There are many methods of achieving this state, including zuochan, xingchan (walking quietly)and wuchan (con-templation). Self-cultivation is an advanced skill in Buddhist qigong. Bojo Guksa, a Buddhist monk living in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), wrote ten poems and drew ten pictures to describe the steps to enlightenment through contemplation. The buffalo in the pictures stands for the natural character of man or the source of life.

The Ten Chan Pictures ( 十禅图 , shí chán tú ) also known as The Ox Herding Pictures originally comes from China.

Reference: Chinese Qigong Illustrated by Yu Gongbao

Links:
Ten Bulls – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Books:
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Sensaki

Hsin Hsin Ming

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.

As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.

To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.

Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.

At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.

The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state — avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.

Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.

When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).

Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.

In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.

If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.

Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.

When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.

What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.

Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.

The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.

There is one Dharma, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.

To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.

Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.

If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements.

When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached.

No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.

Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear.

When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.

To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.

Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.

With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.

All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power.

Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.

In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.

To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, ‘Not two.’

In this ‘not two’ nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.

No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth.

And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.

So too with Being and Non-Being.

Don’t waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction.

To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.

Words!

The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.

Reference: Verses on the Faith Mind by The 3rd Zen Patriarch, Sengstau

100 Chinese and Buddhist Health Rules 51-100

No. 51 – Quiet Sitting
To nourish yourself in quietude: lie on your bed, completely relax body and mind, let your whole body melt without using even a tiny bit of effort, so that you feel as if there was no body. Breathe naturally and exert not even a trace of effort in the mind-and-heart— when a thought arises, this is already the use of effort. Place your mind calmly on the soles of your feet and from there guide fire down and water up, so that the qi and blood in the entire body flow vibrantly.

No. 52 – Cultivation Formula
The essential formula of cultivation practice:

Serene and radiant, radiant and serene—I am utterly effortless.
To become enlightened, turn into a patriarch: there is no other secret.

Essential requirements for healing the body: Do not allow any part to use even a bit of effort. Fully control your thoughts, breath, and limbs. The eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, the tongue does not taste, the mouth does not ingest, the mind does not think. This is the only thing.

As soon as there is anything you think, hear, or feel—this is effort. Even a slight movement of arms or fingers—this is effort. Making the breath softer or harder—this is effort. Practicing like this, soon your breath will be naturally calm and it will feel as if it is not moving at all through nose and mouth. Then the 84,000 pores of the whole body will work actively, expanding and contracting. At this point there is no I, no self, no qi, no mind. The mind of heaven has returned to its original position. This is what we call the fire returning to the prime, or fire and water in complete balance. It is the key mode for curing the hundred diseases.

Please rethink the above rule, maybe you forgot it since you read rule no. 20 🙂

No. 53 – Attachment and Fear
Among people who nourish life, thirty percent die anyway. Why is this? It is because they are overly attached to their bodies. On behalf of this stinking bag of skin, they fear being embarrassed, they fear being imprisoned; they fear being defeated, they fear reaching the top. They scan in all directions, looking forward and turning back, looking left and turning right, nervous and terrified of fear itself, troubled by success, troubled by failure. . . .

In this state their pure mind and heavenly connection shrivel to the size of a plum pit and they look like they have been bitten repeatedly by nasty dogs—how can they not end up dying? The more you fear death, the faster death comes. If you want to nourish life, you cannot ever feel fear of death. If you just don’t fear death, you can easily get farther away from it.

No. 54 – Awarness
When people are sick but think they are fine, this is the worst kind of sickness. How many people really are there who know they are sick?

People who truly have no fear of death will never encounter wild tigers on the road or, if they do get close to one, it won’t devour them; they will not encounter knives and guns when in a fight or, if they are attacked by those, won’t suffer harm. Why is this? It is because they do not make death their reference point. Not fearing death, death has no power over them. In nourishing life, what could be more important? Thus people who practice cultivation attain long life with ease. They don’t think about long life, and paradoxically they can live long. Thinking constantly about long life, on the other hand, only makes death come that much faster. Long life is not the goal of cultivation; it is only a secondary phenomenon on the way.

No. 55 – Disconnection
People who surf the web in the middle of the night day after day do great harm to their bodies and chances for long life. The so-called famous great doctors are just like this. Their mind-and-hearts are totally involved in measurements and comparisons of all sorts and trying to ask them to connect to their selves for life-preservation is impossible. What kind of doctors are they?

No. 56 – Bargaining
Don’t crave for anything to be a bit cheaper or even a lot cheaper. Even a bit of craving holds the evil of attachment. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss until one gets a serious heart disease. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss: this means one has no clue about nature or the ways of Dao.

No. 57 – Food
Don’t spend your days thinking about what you could eat to supplement yin or what you could take to enhance yang. Just remember in all activities you give rise to yang; in all quietude you give rise to yin. Yin is the mother of yang; yang is the son of yin.

No. 58 – Precedence
When your qi is deficient, don’t enhance it blindly. This may have a negative impact on the whole body. If it is because blood is deficient, then you should first enhance the blood. This is because blood is the mother of qi, and if you don’t treat it first, you run the danger of drying and overheating the blood vessels and burning up the inner organs. If it is because there is an obstruction and the qi cannot flow freely, enhance both blood and qi by working on them equally. This way you will succeed in enhancing qi.

No. 59 – Environment
The importance of the environment for people’s health cannot be overemphasized. This is why people who live in deep mountains and ancient forests with clean air and fresh qi heal so much more easily. The subtle particles and high oxygen content of the air in these places get into the deep breath when people are in a relaxed state. They thus are absorbed by the body, where they moisturize and nurture the five organs and six intestines and give people new life energy. Another point people are not usually aware of is that even if they do not breathe deeply through nose and mouth, every pore of their bodies breathes in and out all the time—a feature that is essential in our connection to nature and heaven.

No. 60 – Heaven and Earth
When people are relaxed and breathe slow and deep, their body achieves a state of subtle energetic exchange with heaven and earth. Upon inhalation, they in fact expel the inhaled breath in the lungs and the whole body moves to push internal qi out. This is how the qi of humanity moves toward heaven and earth. During exhalation, they in fact absorb the subtle energy of heaven and earth through every pore of the body. This is what Laozi refers to when he speaks of “Between heaven and earth, it is like a bellows.”

No. 61 – Avoid in Exercising
Two things to avoid in exercising:

Do not exercise when blood and qi are deficient.
Do not exercise in a dirty or defiled environment.

No. 62 – Do in Exercising
Two things to do in exercising:

Increase the speed of blood and qi circulation, so the toxins inside the body can come to the surface.
Open the body’s pores wide and breathe in deeply, so you absorb the essence and qi of heaven and earth.

No. 63 – Simplicity
What is “awakening to inner nature”? What is “wisdom”? Both mean to regard all beings from a position of greatest simplicity. However, most people and especially those who are frustrated with themselves tend to take even the simplest thing and see it as highly complex, thus creating complexity. Intricate and straightforward are really the same thing; they are just different sides of the same coin. Smart and perceptive people choose to look at things from the simple side; stupid and ignorant people tend to see them from the complex side.

No. 64 – Incurable Diseases
If people have a incurable disease, they have to rely on the spirit for a cure. If the disease does not respond to reliance on the spirit, they have to rely on the Buddha. What is the Buddha? The Buddha is the mind-and-heart.

No. 65 – Hospitals
In the modern world hospitals and prisons have a lot in common, especially when we think of patients as having received a death sentence. Also, in both situations, many people who do not deserve a death sentence receive one anyway. Why am I saying this?

Let’s think of cancer for a moment. Cancer for many people today equals a death sentence. That is to say, as long as we don’t actually call it “cancer,” we give the patients a sense of hope and a new chance at life. So what I am saying is that the vast majority of cancer patients today are dying of their fear, of the ill treatment of their spirit, of the harsh treatment in the hospital. You may be diagnosed with cancer one day, but you should immediately assume a position of no fear, because if you get well and don’t die, it is your destiny to do so, and if you don’t get well and in fact die, it is because you are the cancer.

In actual reality, there is no disease that cannot be cured, there is only your mind-and-heart that can or cannot let go. All diseases arise from the mind-and-heart, all diseases heal from the mind-and-heart. You only need to return to active living and you will soon have your chance at life. Finding this chance at life means the cure of cancer and your return to full health.

No. 66 – Competition
Any form of competition will turn order into disturbance and lead people into evil [immorality]. What is competition? Competition is anything that pulls people into the world of craving and desire.

No. 67 – Pure and Turbid
From the perspective of the mutual interchange of yin and yang, pure and turbid attract each other. Therefore, any pure and fresh things people eat inevitably get mixed with the turbid juices inside the body and are expelled accordingly.

No. 68 – Overeating
A dominance of turbid juices arises because people eat unclean things, but more importantly because they overeat. The body cannot digest all this matter and it accumulates inside, creating barriers.

No. 69 – Spontaneity
Smoothly following one’s natural course (inherent so-being, spontaneity) is the highest level of nourishing life. Each human being from birth has a set pattern that forms the foundation of his or her destiny. What he or she should or should not do, should or should not eat—as long as he or she follows this inherent pattern of destiny, he will encounter peace and be free from trouble.

Some people are very much aware of their inherent nature. They can specify the details and know exactly what their pattern of destiny is. They will be very clear about what they should and should not do. For this reason, nourishing life definitely has no simple one-fits-all system to follow—people are as different and as fluid as the clouds. Never go after what you admire in others, but always from the depth of your own mind-and-heart look for realizing your own inner nature.

How, then, do people know whether or not they are actually following their own natural course? If in actual life, you find dead-simple things that don’t work out, you get sick a lot, you are not comfortable, and you cannot be at rest with yourself—these are signs that your are going against your natural course. You need to start moving along with the great course of nature on the outside and follow the natural course of your destiny on the inside. Don’t miss out on either one!

No. 70 – Sensitivity Levels
A lot of people, when they hear that a doctor can help with their serious health issues, often assume an attitude of innocence and expect him to eliminate their disease by cutting, excising, poisoning, or otherwise killing it. But after that, does the disease really not have a place from where to resurface? There really is no such thing in the world as a “suddenly arising disease.”

Let me take the common cold as an example. If a patient really came to examine himself carefully, he would find that the various symptom all first gave some subtle indication and that he could have, before actually getting the cold, dispersed its building blocks in the different parts of the body. Thus, some people will find that they were recently exposed to some cold wind or drenched in a rainstorm. Others will discover that they had a great deal of stress at work, suffered from headaches and could not sleep. In reality, all these phenomena are elements that eventually lead to the common cold. In conclusion, if patients’ personal sensitivity and inner awareness were increased to a sufficient level, one could easily reach the goal of “blocking afflictions before they arise.”

No. 71 – True Science
What is true science? It is the law of cause and effect. If it does not work with cause and effect, it is not true science.

No. 72 – Failures
Do not fear failure [defeat, loss] in your mind. Do not take advantage of others in your mind. In other words, only you can suffer failure. Other people are part and parcel of your destiny, so you should give to them and never develop a craving to take advantage of them. You cannot get your mind to stay stable? Who in the world can get it there? Only the Buddha has that power.

No. 73 – Self-Assurance
Once people have taken charge of their health-related thoughts and practices, they develop perfect self-confidence in their entire being that eliminates any need of worrying about disease. This kind of feeling is fabulous. I wish we could all have this kind of powerful self-assurance.

No. 74 – Examination
In intense study, intention and qi are balanced. When the mind is stable, qi is balanced. Thus, for anyone who has attained Dao, examining another person is not a terribly difficult task but just the effect of yet another turning of the mind.

No. 75 – Five desires
Among the five desires, fame [feeling important] is hardest to overcome. Next comes sex [sensual pleasure, having fun], third is wealth [material stability], then food [eating and drinking], and finally sleep [rest and recreation]. As long as the mind-and-heart for fame is not dead, there is no way one can enter Dao.

No. 76 – Disease Inception
The hundred diseases begin when wind and heteropathy enter the body. If the body’s qi is vacuous and weak, the defensive and constructive energies lose their balance. Then worry and speculation, fright and anxiety arise, and wine [intoxication] and sex [distracting sensory pleasures] exhaust one’s strength. Perfect qi is minimal, and outside heteropathy comes in.

No. 77 – Rule 29
This is a circular rule, go and remember rule no. 29

No. 78 – Rule 30
This is another circular rule, go and see again rule no. 30

No. 79 – Side Attack
In the past, when hearing about how Hitler resolved breaching the extremely well defended and highly armed Maginot Line in France, I understood the following: when faced with strong and resistant diseases, you cannot overcome them with a frontal attack. Rather, to destroy it, you must get at it from a variety of angles. Kidney and liver problems, for example, tend to be highly resistant. You get best results when you approach them by balancing the lungs or spleen.

No. 80 – Centering
Being well centered is the root source of nourishing life. Qi and blood in people’s bodies form a pair of yin and yang. Blood is yin and substance; qi is yang and function. Blood is the mother of qi; qi is the master of blood. If qi is insufficient, one easily gets accumulation disease, such as swellings, tumors, blood clots, and the like. If qi is excessive, one easily gets diseases where blood flows too fast from the brain. Thus, as long as you keep blood and qi in even balance, you can stay very healthy.

No. 81 – First Steps
When people just have awakened to some kind of feeling for their “natural course” [inner spontaneity], they already reckon that they have attained Dao. But knowing the natural course is only the first step; going on and following it is what makes people spirit men. Understanding and matching yin and yang, understanding and following one’s natural course, this is the great inner power needed to be a good healer.

No. 82 – Natural Course
What is this “natural course”? It is the fact that each and every thing has the two sides of yin and yang, that each and every being undergoes the same life process of birth, growth, decline, and death. Following this process, you can use the production and conquest cycles of the five phases to enhance someone’s inner balance. Then what disease could not be cured?

No. 83 – Simple and Complex, Hard and Soft
Simple and complex form a pair just like yin and yang. The more an affair is complex, the more often it can be resolved by the simplest means. In the same way, if you look at what seems to be a simple issue, you often find that the solution is not easy at all and you cannot resolve it even by exerting utmost efforts.

The same also holds true for hard and soft. Extreme softness can overcome the hardest substance; against extreme hardness softness stands no chance. For this reason, whenever we are faced with solving an issue we should use this kind of thinking: when encountering a complex problem, look for the simplest way of resolving it; when meeting with a simple question, do not disregard it, but make sure to give it sufficient importance. It is just like Chairman Mao used to say: The strategy of war take lightly, the art of war take seriously. In other words, the state of the issue take lightly, the process of resolution take seriously.

No. 84 – Today
Let us see whether the following is true in the world today: people follow their natural patterns of eating and sleeping; people honor their natural course of life. Not really. If they can’t do so, why? Because that is way too simple. So they don’t just rest at ease and honor their course. Such is the honest truth.

No. 85 – Balance
What does “balance “mean? Balance is the state when yin and yang depend on each other and control each other in equal measure. Any form of excess or sufficiency means a loss of balance. All sorts of things may harm primordial qi, loss of balance certainly injures it. Always resting in a state of balance, primordial qi is well preserved and people age and decline only very slowly.

No. 86 – Yin and Yang
The way of yin and yang means two opposing forces depending upon, and changing into, one another. Thus, in any kind of oppositional situation, if one side distances itself from the other, it will never be controlled by it. Thus if one lets go of all loss, destruction cannot reach one.

You see, the leaders in modern society do not like constraints; they want to come and go as they please, following their whims, their own modes, greedy to obtain more goods. The result of this is that there are more rules than one can possibly think of.

Yin and yang are like that. In the great course of life, when one being arises, it becomes the cause of the birth of other beings, but at the same time some other being comes into existence that starts to limit them. This in essence is how the production and conquest cycles of the five phases work, the way yin and yang depend upon and check each other.

For this reason, the way of nourishing life also works like this. If you get sick, there is always one cause that brings it forth. At the same time there is also always a factor that controls it and makes it go away. Just like in the natural world, in any place that has poisonous snakes, there will be plants that cure snake bite.

No. 87 – Body Oblivion
What is self-realization through body oblivion? It means giving up control, giving up secret schemes.

Note: we are unsure of at least some part of the translation. If anybody has a better insight please relay it to us.

什麽叫人得意忘形?他失去控制了,失去陰的制約了,所以其下場畢竟是……,同樣人也不能一味消沈下去,這就是失去陽對他的制約了

No. 88 – Great Wisdom
Any so-called great wisdom, if it is without heartfelt feelings, what great wisdom is that?

No. 89 – Learning
Ordinary people talk about living to old age and learning to old age. But learning also has its time and what you learn in each phase of life needs to match what need most at that time. Otherwise you are not in harmony with the flow of life and fail to follow your natural course. However, looking at education in the world today, from kindergarten to university, how many things do the children learn that they actually need at their age?

What do you need to learn as a child? Most importantly, you need basic ethics and a sense of reverence for your parents. Only learning to read and write, what good does that do after you leave school? Once you get to adolescence, you need to learn how to be good at living in harmony and raising children, focusing on family happiness. In middle age, you need to work on nourishing life. Eventually, when you get to be old, you need to learn how to relax your mental disposition and be at peace in your last years. Whatever else you choose to study, these are the essentials of learning.

No. 90 – Emotions
Emotions and sickness are closely interrelated: all diseases come from emotions. You may use medications for a cure, but whether you do in fact remove the symptoms or not, underneath you are still not well. When you deal with this kind of disease, after you deal with the outer signs you still have to deal with the person inside. The five emotions can bring about disease; the five emotions can also cure them.

No. 91 – Courage
Nourishing life centers on one thing only: do not fear death! As long as you fear death, your yang-qi is insufficient, and when that happens, the power of death can defeat you. That’s what the Daoists keep talking about: the heroic energy found in people who practice cultivation and refinement. Kindness, wisdom, and courage: you must have all three!

No. 92 – Samadhi
Take any subject of study or practice and work on it until it becomes utterly easy and simple: this is the point where you reach an essential state of samadhi. As long as you still feel that the subject has some parts that are great and profound, sections that you cannot fathom, you still have not fully mastered its ultimate essence. You are still only seeing its outer leaves and branches and have not yet reached the root.

At this point you are still in the stage of “being” and have not yet attained the stage of “nonbeing.” All things for you still are enmeshed in the realm of yin and yang, all the myriad affairs and myriad things are still part of yin and yang. You need to find the root is of yin and yang: “Know the one and the myriad affairs are done!”

No. 93 – Nourishing Life
Concentrate your spirit and stabilize your qi, forget both yourself and all beings. This is the ultimate core of nourishing life.

No. 94 – The Center
The center bright and clear, peace will result. Nourish life this way and you will live long, die and not perish, and become a great light in the greater universe. The center not bright and clear, the twelve organs are endangered; they block the Dao and prevent it from flowing freely, so that the body is greatly harmed. Nourish life this way and you will endanger the powers of the greater universe. Be very, very careful!

No. 95 – Proper Cycles
How to apply the five phases’ cycles of production and conquest: if a disease is due to an excess in the five organs, use the conquest cycle to remedy it; if it is due to a depletion, use the production cycle. This is the fundamental principle of using the five phases.

No. 96 – Materialism
People nowadays often pursue an expensive material life-style and put all their efforts toward that. But the result of this kind of pursuit is really scary. What you need to realize is that people’s desire for material goods is inexhaustible. Once this desire can no longer be controlled, it does nothing but create inexhaustible suffering.

In fact, material goods can bring happiness but so can the spirit. Medications can cure diseases, but so can psychological healing. For this reason, spending all our life in the pursuit of material wealth is no where near as good as using our entire life to nurture a good mental disposition, which alone will allow our spirit to attain transcendence.

No. 97 – Rule 73
This is the fourth and the last (re)cycled rule, please read again the rule no. 73

No. 98 – The Sentinels
Our bodies are mechanisms full of wisdom: they have excellent sentinels that guard over our health: the teeth, the appendix, the tonsils, and so on. Originally, any time our bodies enter an exceptional situation (such as, most commonly, “fire rising”), these various sentinels immediately react and communicate the disturbance to the brain. Smart people at this point harmonize their minds-and-hearts and inspect themselves, making sure to restore inner balance.

However, what do Western-trained physicians do these days? “You hurt?” they say. “I will make your pain go away.” Even worse, they have developed some kind of scientific instrument, so they say: “You have a serious nasal infection and sneeze a lot? Let me cauterize the nerves inside your nose, so that you won’t be able to sneeze, no matter how strong the provocation.” The result of these treatments by Western doctors is that, if we ever fall ill, we won’t know until the disease affects our five organs and six intestines.

No. 99 – Benign Symptoms
Just remember: if we have sudden diarrhea, sneezes, coughs, or fever, these are signs of our bodies working at comprehensive recovery. There is no need to take medicines for these symptoms.

No. 100 – Terminal Diseases
Most serious diseases and terminal growths have only one cause: resentment [hatred, discontent]. Once resentment is gone, all ailments dissolve. What is hardest to resolve in this world is continuous and unstoppable resentment. As long as there is such unresolved resentment, there will always be incurable diseases.

Reference: http://yijinjing.ro/health-rules/

The Prestigious Man

There was a prestigious man in a community who seemingly had all material desires satisfied. He had a loving family, a large house and many servants. Not content with his good fortune, he chose to seek enlightenment.

He first refused responsibility for his estate, believing it would interfere with his spiritual pursuits. He then relinquished all material wealth and gave away even his dearest possessions. Finally, he decided that he must abandon his home. Leaving everything behind except for a small bag in which he carried a few necessities, he traveled through the country seeking teachers and wisdom.

For twenty years he carried his little bag as he walked through the countryside, studying and searching for enlightenment without success. One day he sat near a clear pond and thought how nice it would be to refresh himself in the water. He took off his clothes and laid his bag by the tree. As he laid his bag down he felt a sense of relief and immediately understood why he had searched for enlightenment for twenty years without success. He thought, “I gave up my estate, my personal wealth, my home, my family, yet, for twenty years I could not give up this bag.” At that moment he attained the enlightenment for which he searched.

Reference:
Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment
by Jou, Tsung Hwa
ISBN 0804814651