Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 16
Returning to the Root, Meditation

Emptiness is the Way of Heaven,
Stillness is the Way of Earth.
Taking emptiness to the limit,
Resting the mind in stillness,
The perception of all things arise and fall together
And in their arising is their return.

Like flowers and leaves,
They grow, flourish, and then return to their root.
Returning to the root brings peace,
A peace that recognizes
No difference between self and other
And appreciates awareness
As completely perfect just as it is.

Without this recognition,
Perceptions are deluded and confusion rules.
With this complete realization of awareness,
Open-hearted compassion dawns
And brings life without limits.
The body comes to its ending
But nothing dies.

Commentary

“To accept destiny is to face life with open eyes; not to accept destiny is to face death blindfolded.”

Lao Tzu 老子 via Witter Bynner
(Lǎozǐ)
604 BCE -
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

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“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

Plato Πλάτων
428 – 348 BCE

Themes: Anger

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“Yielding is being free of self-interest. Being free of self-interest is ruling the world. Ruling the world is merging personal virtue with that of Heaven and doing this is being one with the Way.”

Heshang Gong 河上公
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)
202 – 157 BCE

Themes: Integrity

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“If you say that the abode of the Gods is in the sky, the birds will arrive there before you. If you say it is in the sea, the fish will arrive there before you. Know that the heavenly realm is both inside you and outside you, and you will know that which is outside by that which is inside.”

Jesus via Didymos Thomas
3 BCE – 30 CE
from Gospel According to Thomas

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“I realized that all things in the universe are the essence of mind itself.”

Huineng 惠能
(Huìnéng, Enō)
638 – 713 CE
The Sutra of Hui Neng

Themes: Mind

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“There’s never been a single thing;
Then where’s defiling dust to cling?
If you can reach the heart of this.
Why talk of transcendental bliss?”

Huineng 惠能
(Huìnéng, Enō)
638 – 713 CE
The Sutra of Hui Neng

Themes: Emptiness

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“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།།
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
685 – 763 CE
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

Themes: Problems

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“Stop letting your mind run all over chasing something it has never lost!”

Rinzai Gigen 臨済義玄 via Shan Dao
(Línjì Yìxuán)
? - 866 CE

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“Your Mind is the Buddha. The Buddha is Mind. Mind and Buddha are indivisible.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)
? - 850 CE

Themes: Mind

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“The ultimate principle of emptiness arises spontaneously with every movement of the mind.”

Kanhapa ནག་པོ་པ། via Keith Dowman
("The Dark-Skinned One")
9th Century CE
Mahasiddha #17
from Masters of Enchantment

Themes: Emptiness

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“As soon as you meet a situation, join it with meditation.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ via Chögyam Trungpa
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)
980 – 1054 CE
from Seven Points of Mind Training, Lojong བློ་སྦྱོངས་དོན་བདུན་མ;

Themes: Meditation

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“just as waves rise from a river and return to the river… Only what returns to its nature becomes still and enduring, while what does not return to its nature is at the mercy of others and cannot escape.”

Su Che 呂洞 via Red Pine
1039 – 1112 CE
from Tao-te-chen-ching-chu

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“Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.”

Mumon Ekai 無門慧開
(Wumen Huikai)
1183 – 1260 CE
from The Gateless Gate, 無門関, 無門關

Themes: Problems

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“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Rumi مولانا جلال‌الدین محمد بلخی
(Rumi Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī)
1207 – 12783 CE
from Masnavi مثنوي معنوي‎‎) "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning”

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“To know what truly endures is to know that Heaven and Earth share the same root, that the ten thousand things share one body, and that there is no difference between self and others.”

Deqing
(Te-Ch’ing)
1546 – 1623 CE

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“By looking into the essence of whatever occurs, it becomes simply the empty forms of your mind’s confusion.”

Karma Chagme Rinpoche I ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱས། via Erik Pema Kunsang
1613 – 1678 CE
from Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen

Themes: Confusion

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“Illuminate original mind and no other understanding is necessary.”

Bankei 盤珪永琢
(Bankei Yōtaku)
1622 – 1693 CE

Themes: Mind

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“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet
1694 – 1778 CE

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“Everything that we experience is a communication… the revelation of spirit.”

Novalis
1772 – 1831 CE

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“A moment's realization of the luminosity of one's mind purifies the accumulated evil deeds and obscurations of countless aeons.”

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ། via Erik Pema Kunsang
1781 – 1851 CE
from Flight of the Garuda

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“We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.”

George Sand
(Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin)
1804 – 1876 CE

Themes: Change

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“What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well...’”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1900 – 1944 CE

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“Mitsu asked if he could tell her in a few words what Buddhism was all about… ‘Accept what is as it is and help it to be its best.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
1904 – 1971 CE
from Crooked Cucumber: the Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

Themes: Buddhism

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“In the expectation of wonderful things to happen in the future, one doesn’t hear the sound of the wind and rain, the breath and heartbeat this instant.”

Toni Packer
1927 – 2013 CE
from Light of Discovery

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“To those who will not admit morality without a deity to validate it… the firmness of Lao Tzu’s morality and the sweetness of his spiritual counsel must seem incomprehensible, or illegitimate, or very troubling indeed.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE
from Lao Tzu - A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

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“The environment isn't over there. We are the environment.”

Oren Lyons
1930 CE –

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“The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass.”

Wendell Berry
1934 CE –

Themes: Dream

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“Awareness without choice or awareness that contains no experience…you begin to see yourself as tables and chairs or rocks and sky and water. You begin to identify with the phenomenal world completely.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

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“When Lao-tzu refers to ‘the Way of Heaven,’ he is not simply referring to the sky above but to everything that lives and moves.”

Red Pine or Bill Porter
1943 CE –

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“True buddhist meditation - using any techniques or practices that help transform our habit of thinking that things are solid into the habit of seeing them as compounded, interdependent, and impermanent.”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ།
(Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche)
1961 CE –
"Activity" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from What Makes You Not a Buddhist

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“Self-reflection is the gateway to freedom, grater appreciation and enjoyment. We begin to enjoy spending time with our own mind.”

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche ཛི་གར་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ།
1964 CE –

Themes: Contemplation

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