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3 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars most excellent, most worthy., January 24, 2008
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This review is from: The Taoist Classics Volume 2: Understanding Reality, the Inner Teachings of Taoism, The Book of Balance and Harmony, Practical Taoism (Hardcover)
Understanding Reality, the Inner Teachings of Taoism is an interesting book. as with any other religious philosophy, it has some good things to say about inner development. i found some of the books in this compendium to contain remarkable insight. once again, the things discussed in this book are sometimes most helpful, sometimes not. but each person to his own understanding.

i love the basic idea of alchemy that the human spiritual process is paralleled metaphorically by the refining of Gold. it requires mining, washing, firing, and collecting in a crucible. to me the whole thing has to be about the refining of character... thoughts and emotions and actions in order to become a spiritual immortal. there are close parallels with some schools of buddhism and hinduism. seeking of outer guides/spiritual masters both in this realm and in the celestial realms to teach and guide oneself, but ultimately its down to oneself.

i have had some interesting encounters thanks to the pointers in this book. the most dangerous and informative in some ways was 'death' himself. he who brings relief. suffering... he who eats the truth and fear... he who opens doors. this experience though i must say nearly killed me, but what i learnt from it was great. talking to 'true life' brought me back from the edge and the experience has taught me about 'life'. it must be said here that Jesus is True Life.

life (strength and freshness) can be know by his attributes (movement, attraction and function) . i had said that "true life is the true water of life", however though happy to agree with the term "living waters" i am happier to see life as more akin to flame, in that it needs to consume in order to spread and grow, and deprived of fuel/food etc it dies out. fire in the purest sense is love, from fire comes light and light is truth (purity), from truth comes colour and colour is being/life and beings, in all its multiversity. as well as being, life is also understood to be consciousness or mind, all of these things look back to truth (understanding) and truth looks back to love (kindness). And then finally love looks up to true love in order to sublimate the dualism... "loving kindness".

fuel -> fire -> light -> colour
goodness -> love -> truth/life -> being
service -> kindness -> understanding -> this

therefore the most important modifier of being is truth, which is directly linked to and generates being, but truth will not be possible without love. n.b. consciousness (being) should not be confused with perception (truth). nor should it be confused with self (I). it is possible to understand why pythagoras saw fire as the supreme element.

above i look at the mechanics of fire/love as the ultimate first principle in all spiritual transformation. however believe as a christian mystic that it is of great value to love the love, to love the truth and to love being, not only as practical realities in daily life but also in the person of "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is fire" (Blaise Pascal), in a personal way as a person. respect for the qualities representing God is of great value, but i believe of greater value to know 'him', in person.

deaths functions are weariness (extreme exhaustion) and lack of energy. a shadowy heaviness of spirit. life attracts, whilst death repels, any object so long as it retains a function retains life to some degree. for example a knife gains life through sharpening, but as it becomes blunt it looses its function... but can be resharpened.

true life, 'he who gives to those that come to him' can restore and preserve movement, function and attraction in our mortal bodies.

the gold is ourselves, we are purified, by the the fire of love, within our hearts and the spirit of truth. the spiritual journey has not begun until the heart becomes activated and blessed. the purpose of the mind is to guide, guard and protect the heart into its growth toward perfection. the mind is the beginning of the firing process, it regulates the fire in the furnace. positive and wholesome thoughts and blessings upon oneself and others, encounters with God and spiritual guides, activating ones organs and nerves brain etc (the body mind continuum) through focused concentration on them. all these things originate in the mind... but it is the heart/furnace that is affected. when you begin to feel regular changes and blessing in your heart (the furnace) then you will know that you are on the right track. buds begin to appear.

change, he who 'speaks fairly, without uttering a word', is the one who will bless you if your actions are pure, both of mind and heart. suffering is in what people do, suffering is in what you do. if you act fairly and loveingly, you will manage the change in your life for better and toward perfection. it must however be mentioned that "suffering is the ancient law of love" (Susa).

the elexir of the taoists is the potential within oneself, or the image of god/buddha nature. apparently everyone has this potential. the spiritual embryos formed by uniting the opposites and qualities within oneself, coming to a form of oneness in every aspect, and yet a twoness. the will and desire along with a focused mind that knows its potential can do all this. watch out for white tigers... a white tiger, then your on track.

notingness produces snow, as one immortal (yang po tuan) said, this comes about from exposure to nothingness, a seed is born. through vows one is able to annihilate ones self and attain emptiness. the emptiness becomes nothingness (this is a dangerous and uncomfortable state to be in) then a snow-flake is born, or i hope, many! patience.

i can only speculate about ultimate potential, having not attained it myself... it may be that one is what one desires to be and yet not yet what one desires to be. but not in the final conclusion (i speculate) "i have not arrived and yet i have" may not be sufficient... there is still work for me to do.

may whoever reads these words understand, and gain the inspiration to seek the ultimate potential hidden within themselves, having not realised it yet myself.

i bow before God, the father, the son and the holy spirit.

with lots and lots of love, from, snow-flake. xxx
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2009 7:57:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2009 7:57:44 PM PST
Mike says:
Could you review the translation and what's in the book next time? I find that reviewing things not in the book is not helpful. Enlighten us with that information first, Buddha.

Fwiw, it's Tao, not rocket science. You're trying waaaaay too hard.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2009 10:49:42 AM PST
Thank you mike, its not rocket science, but perhaps has an attachment to paradox. i have written on where i am at after reading this book. it is a good book, but not brilliant. Tao in my opinion serves the very simple and profound point of showing us our ego (not I), but our innate urge for power and to be in control we all have within us and as thus pointing to, is incredibly important. it also provides a means to accept what we are, but as i have said in an earlier post... too much water, too much bending, too much accepting. still, nonetheless a profoundly important movement.

this book had some important pointers, which still, a year after the reading of, am using from time to time in my practice... in the Way. if i try... trying too hard, is the way it is. sometimes trying, sometimes just accepting things, "whatever comes" is affected by whoever responds and how they respond.

thanks for the comment Mike. much appreciated.

in summary... Taoist Alchemy: "you have within yourself the potential to transcend... by your own means and your own searching. harmonise the male and the female within yourself." well Mike, i guess thats about it!

Snow-flake. xxx

ps. keep that beard trimmed! tc.
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