To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
Workbook for Spiritual Development of All People: Revised Edition Paperback – January 1, 1983
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
For me however, I found it too much like a Catholic approach to Taoism... in other words, overly ritualistic, lots of rules (from how to properly light incense, what you can and can not smell, to how many days to do some invocation... etc.) Below I mentioned several important topics for this book:
Lots of Exercises
This is great. It's called a workbook and that's exactly what it is. Lots of exercises to follow.
I can't attest to the effectiveness of the exercises, as they are so overly complex and complicated. I start on them and then put them down. I think they just aren't something one can pick up from a book.
Immortality: I think I agree with him, but it's a confusing topic (immortality.) He first mentions immortality on page 58 - and refers to it as "Divine immortality," yet he never defines it... to a Westerner, immortality is usually a concept of the body living forever. If he's talking about our spirit... that's already eternal. In my world view, I have a goal of loosing the "ego" and identifying with the Universal Source (i.e. becoming one with 'God' or Divine Source.) I think he's talking the same thing, because later on page 124, he talks about the "Shien." The process of which is recognizing the divine eternal nature within us and letting the physical body go to subtler and subtler realms until this is realized. That I get and understand. But if one reads the work early on it comes off like he is trying to live forever in an immortal body, rather then become one with the Tao, or eternal essence. I think he's saying the goal is unifying the "self" with the Eternal Nature (Tao)... which I agree with.
What I didn't care for
Anti-gay comments.... on page 48 he talks about some orders that practice enforced celibacy... and how some of those members become homosexual... he defines that activity as "wrong," and further says that forcing someone to be celibate makes them unnatural. While I agree that force is never good on a spiritual path - the idea that being gay is wrong or unnatural just isn't my world view and I could see this bother many people in the modern spiritual movements.
Rules: I thought there were a lot of rules in other religions... he takes it to the extreme... he has a rule for everything... how you burn incense, exact days to do a ritual (since when do universal energies abide by our concept of a 'day'? Take on page 99 where the ritual defined is done exactly 49 days. So... what's a day to God? An Angel? The Universe? Does all of creation use the same 24 hour clock of our hunk of rock rotating on it's axis as their universal time clock?).... certain smells are forbidden from smelling... the list goes on and on.
Does it fit with the Tao Teh Ching?
This is a question for each of us to resolve within ourselves.
The Tao Teh Ching opens with, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name." Throughout the Tao Teh Ching this idea of the eternal not being relegated, harmed or manipulated by the physical world comes up again and again.
As such, how can one believe their "Chi" (eternal energy) can be "harmed" if one looks at a corpse as he mentions on page 78. Perhaps he could say that one's chi would be stagnant, blocked or otherwise diverted... but harmed?
Further Hua-Ching Ni's invocations make use of duality concepts like "good" and "evil" which the Tao Teh Ching speaks about:
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
Which to me, states that the Master (our personal goal to be) see's beyond duality and there would avoid concepts like "evil" and "good."
It would seem to me, if one was following the Tao Teh Ching as source material, one would make invocations from the vantage point of one's highest potential (the potential master) and not say "I am given power over all evil forces" as is said on page 109... Such a statement seems to me, to put the speaker at the realm of ego (the self identified with the body and the troubles of the world), a self that see's evil and good and struggles to overcome one with the other. Which is contrary to the teachings of the Tao Teh Ching.
Too much Ritual and Superstition
Throughout his works he constantly talks about his superstitious background. I have another of his books where he warns people having sexual intercourse on a new moon - as it will make the child mentally ill. This is easily investigated, as there is no scientific evidence to show that mentally handicapped children are the product of new moon pregnancies.
Superstition in this book comes in the form of the belief of looking at a corpse harming your chi... and menstruation being a nasty act of the body (i.e. not to practice invocations when that nasty business is going on) as mentioned on page 91. He puts the act of menstruation up there with pooping on a toilet.
After all my criticisms, I do find some great passages in the book. I think there is some great reading in Chapter 9. I think the invocations when read would be useful. I'm not against them, I just find them overly ritualistic.
While I think his goals and and exercises are quite useful to a believer, I find his practice to be so overly complicated and wordy... unlike the Tao Teh Ching (which is simple and to the point), it's more akin to Catholic rituals... long paragraphs read, then incense burned... more paragraphs read... then some action taken... etc.
Yet he sums it up on page 116, "The eternal Tao is our inherent nature. The Way is within us all. The way to achieve immortality is first to pacify your own mind. If you succeed in quieting the mind, then everything will follow the great order of universal Nature..."
I agree, and would find Mindfulness as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh or Bhante Guruanante to be an easier approach. Hua-Ching Ni does give respect to Zen and other traditions. Which I admired.
I guess if Hua-Ching Ni's book works for you -that's great.. but if you aren't coming from his paradigm, you may have issues with his world view and may perhaps find it superstitious.
That is not the only goal of this practice, however. You will also be prepared for death in the most conscious of ways, as death, a necessary end (Julius Caesar, WS) will come to all of us. Why fear death? Why fear anything? Fear is one of the few things that will destroy all your cultivation. Learn to let it go. Embrace the ever changing situation of being alive. Cultivate patience with your self and others. Develop an evolved way of living. Don't then just following the rules and rituals of a politicized religion of any sort that takes your money and your spirit in exchange for empty promises and false security.
Most recent customer reviews
thank you Master Ni