Unknown Date, Serial 00222, Side B

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I get to see Father Joseph this morning, and it seems to be superfluous in a way, but we all know Father Joseph by now, and you have all seen him in action. We may have this conference. We felt his warmth and his sincerity, and we've seen the light of his face shining in his eyes, and his ready smile. And I guess this is the important stuff, a list of what he's written and so on, just on top of that. But I'll give you that list anyway. Originally from Hong Kong, Father Joseph came to New Tomorowly in 1992, after 13 years in Italy. He has a Master's in Theology from the University of London, and a Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.


His dissertation, as you all know, is on the Christology of Karl Rahner. The book's title, which is available in the bookstore, is The Logos Symbol in the Christology of Karl Rahner. And I believe that you've studied with him directly, no? I studied with his assistant. I was the first doctoral student of his assistant, and through his assistant, I was able to make acquaintance with Karl Rahner. So you met him at New Tomorowly. And I taught systematic theology in Rome for 8 years. In addition to this book, Father Joseph has published a book on contemplative prayer, and many articles on theology and spirituality in English as well as Chinese journals. Here at New Tomorowly, Father Joseph is serving as Master of the Junior Monks.


He's also chairman of the Tomorowly Institute for East-West Dialogue, and he's also a research associate of the Ricci Institute for Chinese Western Cultural History, based in the University of San Francisco. So I'm very eager to hear his talk this morning. The title is Through the Passion of Transition, Schwantze and Walter Eckhart, a continuation of what we began yesterday afternoon. So let's welcome Father Joseph. Thank you. Thank you.


There is something of a Confucianist and something of a Taoist inside. But today, as the program is passing from presentations on Buddhism to those on Taoism, I would like to point out the close connection between Buddhism and Taoism, especially between Taoism and Zen Buddhism or Chan Buddhism. I just want to refer to a well-known scholar, according to the late Chinese scholar Dr. John Woo, with whom Thomas Merton wrote The Way of Johnson. He says Zen or Chan has Buddhism as father and Taoism as mother, and the child itself takes more to its mother. I don't know whether our Buddhist friends would agree to that or not, but I'm quite convinced of that.


And so, as various people have already compared Eckhart with Buddhism, my paper is an attempt at comparing Eckhart and Johnson, commonly recognized as the second patriarchs of Taoism. The purpose of the comparison is to illustrate their similar views of the relationship between emptiness or detachment and vision or light. The two terms of detachment and vision in my title correspond to the double theme of our conference, purity of heart and contemplation respectively. Although the texts of Laozi and Johnson have subsequently inspired different types of Taoist meditation, my paper does not deal with meditation practice.


But it's Johnson's insight that true light or vision comes from emptying the mind. This insight is expressed in various chapters of the Zhuangzi, but especially in Chapter 6, The Great Master, The Great Teacher. My reflection on Zhuangzi is mainly based on this chapter, along with Chapter 2, The Equality of Things. And my presentation will more or less evolve according to these three points. First, vision through emptiness in Zhuangzi. Second, manifestation of the divine image through detachment in Eckhart. Then, finally, we come to a comparison, Zhuangzi and Eckhart compared. Let's begin with vision through emptiness in Zhuangzi. In Chapter 6, The Great Teacher, Zhuangzi presents a description of a true person.


Elsewhere, he would describe a true person as a perfect person, spiritual person, or a sage. These descriptions abound in his writings. In this book, in this chapter, The Great Teacher, it's not clear whether The Great Teacher refers to Dao or to the true person. Or Zhuangzi intentionally left it open so as to include both interpretations. Now, let's look at some of these descriptions of a true person. What is meant by a true person? The true person of old did not mind having little, did not brag about accomplishments, and did not skimp about things. Being of this character, he could scale pines without fear, enter water without getting wet, and go so far without feeling hot.


The true person of old knew neither to love life nor to hate death. He did not rejoice in birth, nor did he resist death. Without any concern, he came, and without any concern, he went. That was all. Beautiful descriptions. Towards the beginning of the same chapter, The Great Teacher, Zhuangzi's striking statement, he says, There must be a true person before there can be true knowledge. He somehow links true knowledge with a true person. What it means by true person, true knowledge, is difficult to define. But the opening of the chapter can give us some light to what it means by true knowledge.


The opening paragraph of the chapter says, He who knows the activities of heaven and the activities of humans is perfect. He who knows the activities of heaven lives according to heaven. He who knows the activities of humans nourishes what he does not know with what he does know, thus completing his natural span of life and will not die prematurely, half of the way. This is knowledge at its supreme greatness. It is clear that by true knowledge, Zhuangzi means the knowledge of now, as reflected in heaven and in humans. And only a true person can acquire true knowledge. It means that true knowledge is not an intellectual pursuit. It is rather based on the cultivation of the whole person.


This idea of unity of theory of knowledge on one hand and ethics and spirituality on the other is typical of Zhuangzi. And we could say it's typical of all oriental thought, this unity between knowledge and life. It's paradoxical. For Zhuangzi, true knowledge finally comes to mean not knowing. Because the object of true knowledge is Tao, the mysterious Tao. So he would prefer to describe true knowledge as not knowing. So he says, not to know is profound, to know is shallow. Not to know is to be on the inside, to know is to be on the outside. And he says there are two different kinds of knowing, either through knowing or through not knowing.


So he says, in a fictitious dialogue between Confucius and his disciple, Geng Gui, Confucius, the master, says, You have heard of flying with wings, but you have never heard of flying without wings. You have heard of the knowledge through knowing, but you have never heard of the knowledge through not knowing. Look into that closed room, the empty chamber where brightness is born. Beautiful place. The empty chamber where brightness is born. In the empty chamber, there, light, brightness is given birth. So the true knowledge of a true person is knowing through not knowing. The meaning of knowing through not knowing is best conveyed in the opening story of chapter 22,


entitled Knowledge Wandering Lost, in which knowledge was putting forth some questions about acquiring knowledge of Tao to three different personages. Quote, knowledge said to a person called Do-Nothing-Say-Nothing. There are some things I would like to ask you. What sort of pondering, what sort of thinking does it take to know Tao? What sort of surroundings, what sort of practices does it take to find rest in Tao? What sort of path, what sort of procedure will get me to Tao? Three questions he asked, but Do-Nothing-Say-Nothing didn't answer. It wasn't that he just didn't answer, he didn't know how to answer. Then, knowledge put the same questions to Wild and Witchless. Ah, I know, said Wild and Witchless, and I'm going to tell you.


But, just as he was about to say something, he forgot what it was he was about to say. Knowledge, failing to get any answer, returned to the Imperial Palace, where he was received in audience by the Yellow Emperor and posed his questions. The Yellow Emperor said, Only when there is no pondering and no thinking will you get to know Tao. Only when you have no surroundings and follow no practices will you find rest in Tao. Only when there is no path and no procedure can you get to Tao. Knowledge said to the Yellow Emperor, You and I know, but those other two that I asked didn't know. Which of us is right, I wonder? The Yellow Emperor said, Do nothing, say nothing, he is the one who is truly right.


Wild and Witchless appears to be so. You and I, in the end, are nowhere near it. Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. The story tells several things. First, only when there is no pondering and no thinking will one get to know Tao. This means that true knowledge of Tao is not speculative knowledge. Rather, it is a kind of intuitive experiential knowledge. Second, he who truly knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know. Actually, I should stop here. The fact that I continue my presentation only shows that I will not learn. Thirdly, the knowledge of one who knows that he knows is imperfect.


One who truly knows does not even know that he knows. Let's come to the second point. In this chapter, the Great Teacher, Zhuangzi tells us there must be a true person before there can be true knowledge. Out of his kindness, he also indicates the concrete ways to become a true person and to acquire true knowledge. He does so especially in two beautiful stories, two dialogues. First is sitting in forgetfulness. Second is seeing the one in the brightness of dawn. Let me read the first story, sitting in forgetfulness. It is presented again in a fabricated, fictitious conversation. The Great Teacher


Paul Crow is speaking on chaos of thematic continuity between early Daoism and Daoist inner alchemy. That's premature. Actually, my outline, which I did start writing about 20 minutes ago, is chaos. I always like to start these kinds of things with, not that I do this that often, but whenever I get up and I'm supposed to say something of interest, I like to start by saying something from the Dao De Ching, which is, he who speaks does not know, and he who knows does not speak. I figure that always gives people a chance to go and get some coffee right now. Also, another qualifier. What I'm going to describe, or try to describe, is I find quite complicated.


And it involves experience. If you want to understand it, you have to experience it. So I'm actually trying to do the impossible. Unless anybody here's been practicing sitting in the Daoist way for a number of years, then I don't know about that. So it's grounded in experience. What I've done is I've taken, I've threaded together pieces of text from 13 different texts in the Daoist canon, all written by great, accomplished masters. And I'm going to try to convey the thoughts that they express in those texts to you. So you think about it. So, my teacher, when he began teaching Tai Chi, actually after two or three years, he said that he felt that in 15 years I would be an accomplished beginner. So I think I may have just about made it. So it puts it in context. This kind of practice is a lifetime practice, so it's a gradual way.


Okay. Chaos is a thematic continuity. It's a continuity between, as I see it, between classical texts that usually people label as Daoist philosophy. Those are Zhuangzi and Laozi. And the later texts. And the later texts here means 12, 13, 14 centuries. And the specific kinds of texts I'm talking about are those that involve sitting on the ground. I hate using the word meditation. Sitting still and allowing things to happen in the body. Now, when I first started university, it was invoked in many academic books and in lots of introductions to world religions to see Daoist philosophy as these few pristine, beautiful, clear texts. And then pretty much everything after that as some sort of debased, muddy, murky water of suspicion and folk religion. That's turned around, thankfully. And so I don't think in my paper I need to argue the case anymore


that there's a real continuity, that they're not different in kind or essence. They're just different historical examples of the way. There's as much mysticism, which you like to call religion, in the early texts as there is in the later texts. There's as much philosophy and deep insight in the later texts as there was in the texts written in the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. The other thing that I'd like to mention is the Daoist canon has 1,487 different texts in it, different works. And we often get presented with two in the West. So already I think our view of Daoism is fairly horribly circumscribed, very uncircumscribed, very narrow. So it's very broad. It's actually quite overwhelming the first time I saw the Daoism, which was in the Ricci Institute in Taipei. My mouth fell apart. I mean, I heard that it was big.


But I've decided to continue my studies anyway. Okay. I'll try to make this quick and painless. Firstly, I'd just like to say two or three words about the general Western attitude, orientation, approach to chaos, and the idea of chaos. Chaos figures in the cosmogonic scheme for us in the West as much as it figures in the Daoist scheme of things. It's the point of origin. It's the place where things begin. But it's treated differently. I'm not going to bother reading from the account in Genesis. There's so many people here who know that very well. And I'd rather instead replace it with a quotation from the Timaeus, what Plato had to say about it. He, the Creator, was good, and what is good has no particle of envy in it. Being, therefore, without envy, he wished all things to be as like himself as possible.


God, therefore, wishing that all things should be good and so far as possible nothing be imperfect, and finding the visible universe in a state not of rest but of inharmonious and disorderly motion, reduced it to order from disorder, as he judged that order was in every way better. So, in the Timaeus, we have a vision of something bringing order to the world. The world was in disarray. It's set into order. And then in Genesis, of course, humanity is given dominion over the order that it's brought about. Earlier on in the Greek world, there was a different idea, and certainly in Taoism there's a different idea. The idea is that chaos is like an egg. It's simple, it's a unity, it's a unified structure,


and it holds within it potential creation. So it's organic. It comes from within, and it explodes outward in diversity. Of course, in Taoism, the stages of complexity are mapped out from one through to three to the ten thousand things and so on. So it's just a different take on chaos. Chaos is harnessed in Taoism to help guide the training. So I'll move on from there. Chaos has two functions, really, or maybe more, within the kind of training that I do, and that many Taoists have done, will do, and how I do. It gives a general sense of trajectory to the practice.


What I mean by trajectory is it's one of return. It's one of going from multiplicity and complexity back to a state of simplicity, back to a state of chaos. Also, the egg itself, the image of the egg, the primordial egg of chaos, gives a kind of shape or informs the practice of sitting. When you sit, you know, you... Why am I not going to sit? When you sit, there are a number of ways of sitting. There are several postures, but you're physically enclosed. You're creating a kind of a round hole structure. Your eyelids drop and everything settles. You're becoming the egg of chaos, in a sense. The doorways of the senses slowly slide shut,


and everything inside can then become quiet and still. And so what you're doing is you're... In a way, I'm preaching to the converted, but you all know this. You're drawing out of the sensory input the mayhem of the world around you, the input, the back and forth, and going back into the state of stillness. So the function of chaos is very simple, really. It gives you this direction of return, and it gives you a sense of... It informs your understanding of sitting. That's being in unity, being something enclosed, and settled. And it's interesting that the cosmogony in reverse happens when you stand up. You've harnessed all that stillness, that inner harmony that is chaos, and when you stand up and go out into the world,


that's when the creation happens, that's when the unfolding happens with others. Now, this sitting, this sitting around on the floor, or it can actually be walking, or it can be lying down. It can be just about anything. In Taoist texts, you trip over the phrase once in a while, standing, sitting, reclining, whatever. It doesn't really matter. It's there all the time. You don't sort of just find a spot and sit down, and from A to B you're meditating, and then you get up and then you do something else. What ideally happens is you carry that state with you. It's just that you're on a... the frequency level changes a little bit. You're dealing with others and so on, but still, inside, there's actually... I was reading something last night before I fell asleep about being like Mount Tai, Taishan.


You're just steady. The world can be swirling around you. It doesn't really matter. Another inner alchemical master talks about how there's no need to run to a... no offense intended here, but there's no need to run to a mountain and to hide in a cave or anything to be steady and still, to be Mount Tai. You can do it anywhere. I'm sure many of you are aware of the fact that the stillness and stability you garner from your practice here makes you much more efficacious when you move out into the community. Much more productive. Okay, I'm just going to talk about this. Everything that happens in medan happens in the body. The body is your laboratory, if you like, I suppose. And I say that intentionally.


The terminology for this way of practice was actually drawn from alchemists who made preparations with herbs or flowers or sometimes various base metals and what have you. They would cook and prepare them in a ritual manner and then some of them would actually ingest the products and hope that that would convert longevity. There's actually a very interesting article by Nathan Sivan which describes how what you're doing by producing these substances in these reaction vessels is you're compressing the amount of time that would normally go to create some rare piece of metal from hundreds or thousands of years down into a series of weeks. And then when you ingest it, there's a sort of a conferral of that time span on you. Well, this school of practice draws on some of the images from that form of practice in the form of the stove. For example, the belly becomes the stove. So doing exercises and movements like Tai Chi


or other ways of moving will stoke up the fire quite literally. There's a reaction vessel into which ingredients are placed and cooked. And those ingredients, rather than being things that you run around looking for in the world such as lead or various mushrooms or what have you, turns out to be chi in the body. So you have to gather it. You have to gather it in first. You have to stoke up the fire. You have to put it in the pot and close the lid. And you have to start cooking. And you cook for a long time until it's done. When it's done, something called the sacred embryo is born inside you. It might be most convenient to think of that in metaphorical terms. A new self is born inside you. In some texts you actually see an image of this


leaving the point of gatherings on top of the head and going off wherever. In other texts you read about people leaving on dragons or phoenix-drawn chariots or what have you. I actually don't know quite what to make of those images. I suppose you could say they're metaphors for achieving some sort of transcendent state. From a Western standpoint, that would mean going beyond everything. Though in the context of Taoism it's not so clear. I don't know what you'd get out of it, what you would go beyond. I don't know that there's an outside to get to. Anyway. Sorry, I'm not very good at theology, so you may have a lot more thoughts on that than I do. So what do you gather? Well, you gather jing. Sorry, jing. You gather qi. And you gather shen. And this is what happens.


It goes something like this. I have a quotation, something like this. What are they? I just had a brief chat about translating these and I never know what to do when it comes to translating these. So here's something that tells you what these three things are not, which will help fill in what they are to some extent. Okay, a Dharma master of the 12th century says, as for refining the jing, it is the original jing which is refined, not the kind of jing which is influenced by lewd and depraved behavior. Jing is associated with sexual energy. It's something which you don't fritter away, which you have to gather. And you do this by taming the heart, by settling down inside so that your desires aren't dragging you around, your emotions aren't dragging you around. So by achieving this sort of state of quietude inside,


through meditation practice, there I said it, and, well, there are other ways of doing it too, but through settling yourself you gather this jing inside yourself. It doesn't come out of you. And if it's in there long enough and the fire's stoked up long enough, it's refined into, as he says, original jing, not the material stuff. And that's what you can use in the process of transformation. Are you all completely lost yet? Okay, excellent. It's hard to tell. It's very enlightening to see people's faces from this side. As for refining the qi, it's the original qi which is refined, not the kind of qi which is exhaled and inhaled through the mouth and the nose. So the tricky thing to recognize here is that qi, of course, here he's talking about the breath,


and it isn't the breath. It isn't the air. The other tricky thing to notice is that all of these are qi. So think of this as a kind of sub-qi that fits into the system. They're all qi, okay? It's just that this is the kind that keeps your body going. It keeps you alive. It sustains you. You derive it from the food that you eat, from the air that you breathe, and so on. But with the fire burning away inside, it's cleared out. It becomes purified. It becomes this yuan qi, right? Sorry, it's awfully messy. I'm used to writing. And as for the shen, it's the original shen which is refined, not the kind of shen which is involved in the anxious thoughts of the mind. So then you can't reduce shen to cogitation,


to mental activity. You can't reduce qi to breath or air or any other coarse thing that keeps the body going. And you can't reduce the jing to the fluids associated with sexual activity. What you have to understand is that by gathering it at this level and by using this fire... Okay, sorry, I won't say anything more yet. By gathering this in and heating it up, you're going to transform it into something rarefied. When you've gathered enough of it, you can actually use it to transform into qi. And when you've gathered enough qi and applied enough heat for enough time, it transforms into shen, which supports mind activity. So you don't want to overuse your mind because you'll drain it. And if you drain your shen, you drain your qi. And if you drain your qi, you'll need more jing. And if you don't have enough jing, the whole system gets weaker and degrades. You see what I mean? It's actually a cyclical thing.


It's feeding... You actually should have put it in a circle because jing feeds the qi, qi feeds the shen, shen feeds... It just goes round and round. In a sense, it goes like that. So when you have enough strength, and you sit, you have enough of this, which means that your qi is strong and your shen is clear and strong. You have enough reserves, you have enough inner stability to move back to pundun, or dao, or one, or wuji, or whatever you want to call it. I mean, I definitely won't define these... I'm a faintest idea. But you need to build up your strength in order to get there. Now, how do you... I had lots more I was going to say in all these quotations to read and so on, but instead what I'll do is just sort of go... turn the corner and give you my own perspective on how I can generate these in myself.


The training draws on Confucian ideas very strongly. We are, as human beings, we're social creatures. We have to interact, we have to deal with each other, and so that's a training ground. And so we draw on Confucian ideas to harness this opportunity of interaction with other human beings in a way that will train us. Let's see. Where to start? Well, first thing, okay. My teacher told me that when I teach tai chi, and he told this to all the people who teach tai chi that I know, who are associated with him, you may not get paid for it at all. There's no remuneration, no reward for this. You just do it because you want to give away improving health to other people. Further, he pushed many instructors


to get out into the community, to go into extended care centers, hospital settings and what have you, because it's actually a very effective way of getting strength back. And for those who are in such bad shape that they can't, they're not ambulatory, there's no hope that they'll ever run a marathon. For some of them, even to walk would be impossible. But by practicing, they can strengthen their backs. They can focus their minds. They can gain back some clarity. They're interacting with somebody. It's very exciting for people who spend a lot of their time just sitting around and they have a very narrow set of routines and it can be quite depressing. For these people, it's a real joy and uplift to move around and do stuff. It doesn't have to look beautiful. You just have to get moving. So he pushed us out into the community. He says, if you want to do Taoist training, you've got to go out there and work with people. The other thing is,


you've got this non-profit organization that keeps growing. So you've got to organize it. When you do that, you have to put all your heads together. You have to work together. It's terribly difficult. When you put a lot of human beings in an organization together and you shake vigorously, you get all this friction and heat and mess. In doing that, you have to deal with each other. You have to deal with each other's weaknesses, problems, and anger, and rigid opinion, and so on. And it softens you up. It makes you more tolerant. The interesting thing is, when it's done in the context of the training that I'm doing, I'm realizing that I'm doing this to tame my heart. 止心 I'm not going to translate it. Sorry. For example, if somebody... I go to a Tai Chi class. This happens all the time. Go to a Tai Chi class. Try to help somebody. Here, just let your foot go a little bit more.


It'll help you to get the hips around and be able to relax more. Just leave me alone. Okay, that's fine. You step back. But you know that, from a Taoist perspective, if I get all churned out, if I get all upset, it's going to drain some of this. It's going to weaken it a little bit. That's going to require more of this. That's going to require more cooking. Am I out of time yet? No, no. No? Okay. This is a risotto. You've got a long time. So, if it goes into contact... We have this exercise called the Deng Yu, where you have to drop right down and push out of your feet. And after about five, you're going to have to just scream. And we have this joke around the club, you know, if somebody loses it a little bit, gets irritated or irks, we say, well, it's five Deng Yus. You've got to lose five Deng Yus. And literally, yes, you've got to go back. You've got to stoke it up again. You've got to gather it in. You've got to keep... So, it's very embodied, I suppose.


So, you're taming the heart through human interaction all the time. And you're conscious that that's what you're doing. And the interesting thing is, it completely diffuses many very difficult situations. It's very hard to be... It's... I can tell... I used to have quite a bad temper. My parents remember this. Your family always knows everything about you. After about five years of practice, it wasn't me who noticed. I guess you just don't see these things happening. friends, old friends, and my family started to notice, geez, you know, you seem a lot... you're a lot more laid back than you used to be. And now, I mean, you can practice... Who mentioned... You know, the getting cut off in traffic? You know, practically, someone could drive a bus over my foot before I'd get a call, you know. Not just pop me off the afternoon. And it really works. It's true business. So, it's good, because I, you know, I don't get enough sleep. I'm taking care of my son


during the day. So, if I got mad a lot, I'd be in trouble. I don't have the time to do enough work to stoke things up, to keep things going. I meditate when I can. I do reclining meditation during the day. I meditate usually once a day if I can find the time. If I can't find the time, it doesn't matter. Because, you know, you just keep going. You just, you just, that slightly different frequency. It just means you haven't had a chance to switch frequencies.