Excerpt from Step 6: Thousand plus Ten Thousand

Selection from Lao Zi on Opposition

Since Tao is the function of opposition, the flow of harmony, and the dance of one and sameness, it is useful and desirable to utilize the opposition along the path of spiritual cultivation. From beginning to end, Lao Zi reveals nothing on the path of understanding the Tao other than the opposition. Examples are the spoken Tao and the unspoken Tao, the nameable Tao and the un-nameable Tao, the Tao of the subtle and manifest, being and no-being, diffculty and ease, long and short, hight and low, voice and sound, before and after....
All these are the pairing of yin and yang, the value of opposites.

In Chapter 28, he discusses fully the work of opposition in spiritual practice. He uses male and female as the flow of the world, the pure and impure as the cleansing of the world, and white and black as the formation of the world. To go with the flow of the world is to know the harmony of male and female which is to be in touch with the eternal action of the child. This is the first phase of understanding.

Truly, how many of us in life can live up to the eternal action of this flow? " I am married to God" is the summary of the true statement of this understanding. Who, among us, can make this statement?

In the process of dating, we explore ourselves; when we love someone, we betray ourselves; when we make love, we discharge ourselves; when we marry someone, we promise ourselves; when we devote ourselves to someone, we exhaust ourselves. We know the opposition, we see the opposition, and we live with the opposition. But how often do we create the flow through the opposition? Who recognizes and applies the power of this eternal action that attracts our likes, balances our dislikes and continues with our opposites? Only the person who really abides with the eternal child-like action.


The second understanding Lao Zi imparts is the cleansing of the world between the pure and impure. This cleansing process deals with the ongoing action of the Tao, which is the simplicity of the Tao. This is where heaven and earth function jointly, with heaven representing purity and earth impurity. This is why water and earth stand together, with water being pure and earth impure. This is how male and female live together, with male pure and female impure. In understanding this cleansing, sim
plicity becomes the way. Simplicity is where the ongoing action suffices and returns. This is the vital Qi of life, the action of life itself. This is the living reality of life, the interaction of life itself.

The pure is the clean, the good, and the healthy part of life. The impure is the murky, the bad, and the sick part of the life. Between these two opposites, stillness is at work. In stillness, water purifies itself, the body cleanses itself, and the mind tranquilizes itself. Stillness is a flowing state, a transitional state, and an eternally changing state. Stillness is not a conditon. It moves between sturcture and character, and rotates between quality and quantity. It drifts and changes between discernment and eternal, and travels between harmony and equanimity. Stillness is the womb of action, the mother of Qi, and the father of peace. The womb of action is the forming state. The mother of Qi is the eternal changing state. And the father of peace is the present unchanging state. This cleanising action is the notion of the Tao and the emotion of life.

The third understanding is the notion of formation of the world between the black and the white. We know that the black is close to us and the white rises above us. We feel that the black is behind us and the white is in front of us. We understand that the black is inside our bodies and white surrounds our breath. We have neither descended into the valley of the black nor ascended into the wave of light. Before we are formed, the white sperm penetrates the black form of life. After our birth, the white milk nourishes the black body of life. Before we are able to see anything, the white light penetrates the already blackened darkness. After our body is cremated, the remains are black ashes and white bones. This replicates what our body is, and this is the way all the forms of the world are.

The black and white are the formation of the world, the vision of the infinite, and the image of the Tao. Integrating these three understandings, one can discern the message, the character, and the nature of opposites. In the process of learning to apply these understandings one can learn how to go with the flow, the cleansing, and the formation of opposition..

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