Saturday, 12 September 2009


At the Great Beginning there was “Non-Being.” This Non-Being was described as “emptiness.” And that “the Tao abides in ‘emptiness.’” By analogy, “to a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” An amplification was given in the following passage: “Maintain the unity of your will. Do not listen with the mind but with the spirit (Ch’i). The function of the ear ends with hearing; that of the mind with symbols of ideas. But the spirit is an emptiness ready to receive all things.”

A Ch’an (Zen) term, descriptive of movement and space, expresses this state of receptivity as K’ai wu (open awareness), to apprehend in the deepest and widest sense. By “stilling the heart” or shedding the thoughts and emotions of personal life and become a tranquil sphere, an individual could reflect in his hear-mind or as a pool or a mirror, as the Taoist describe it, the power (ch’i) of the Tao, the harmony of Heaven and Earth. Hence the phrase “mirror-like wisdom.”

The stillness and tranquillity associated with emptiness of space and the Tao is also silent, adding to the mystery of the Tao and stressing the reserve and meditative habits necessary for one to be receptive and able to express the Tao. Silence and emptiness of space possess vast powers of suggestion, stimulating the imagination and sharpening the perception. Only through exercise of these highest faculties can the Tao be apprehended and expressed.

In stilling the heart an individual can become one with the elements of nature, the creative force of the Tao. This becoming ‘One’ is the true meaning of wholeness.

- George R. Parulski

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