The Secret Teachings of the Tao Te Ching
by Taoist Masters Mantak Chia and Tao Huang

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Excerpt from Chapter 9: Longevity and Immortality

Harmony Is Eternal

Longevity and spiritual immortality are cultivated through living in harmony at all levels of existence. Spirit is yang and soul is yin. When they are embraced, oneness is preserved. We are the children of the earth mother and heavenly father. Divine yang Chi and earthly yin Chi is instilled within our body/mind.

"Harmony is eternal.
Knowing harmony is discernment." (55:3)

Human life is enhanced through connection to the universal harmony of heaven and earth, divine and human, inner and outer. When we become simple, still, and quiet, we can become sensitive to this harmony. This is true discernment. It is knowing what is eternal and essential, and knowing what is not.

The High is Founded upon the Low

"Esteem is rooted in the humble.
The high is founded in the low.
This is why the lords and rulers call themselves widows and orphans
without support.
Is this not the root of being humble?
Much praise amounts to no praise." (37: 4-6)

The 15th I Ching hexagram, Chian, sheds light on this process. Chian means modesty. This hexagram is made up of the trigrams Ken (keeping still, mountain) and Kun (the receptive, earth).

The mountain is the youngest son of the divinity, the representative of heaven and earth. It dispenses the blessings of heaven, the clouds an rain that gather at its summit, and shines forth radiant heavenly light. This shows what modesty is an dhow it functions in great and strong people. Kun, the earth, stands above. Lowliness is a quality of the earth: this is the very reason why it appears in this hexagram as exalted, by being placed above the mountain. This shows why modesty functions in lowly, simple people: they are lifted up by it.

Harmony between heaven and earth, between yang and yin, masculine and feminine, spirit and soul, creative and receptive, is acknowledged and united, unified and embraced, reserved and preserved. They can be as close as they wish, and they can be as distant as they need to be. They are the One, the Oneness, the complete, harmonized, pure self. The relationship within and in between is then expanded, no longer restrained by role playing. The relationship is transformed; self and image are no longer separately defined. All people are brothers and sisters. Love is both inner vision and passion extending to the lengths of the universe. Compassion is inhalation and exhalation. Kindness is giving and receiving. Desire is no longer stressful; wisdom is no longer staged. Renewal and refreshment in all relationships is harmoniously granted. The ego is lost into unconditional love and awareness. The mind is expanded into universal understanding. Te is the expression of life's journey.

Form and Formless

Each moment is a transformation; each moment is a death. We are composed of the form given us (physical, mental, and spiritual) and the formless form we have within. Form is composed of everything about our individual physical being, from hair to nails. Formless form is the soul and spirit granted us. Form must die, but formless form never dies. It is the very nature of energy transformation. At a subliminal level, matter and energty are inseparable. It is form because of its changing and transforming quality, it is formless because of its innate perfection and completion.

The fire never extinguishes itself, yet each fire's glow must be extinguished. The water is never dried up, yet each water molecule evaporates. We are going to die, yet we will never die. Who dies? It is the transformation of body/mind form.

"We live, we die.
Why so? It is the nature of life itself.
As a matter of fact, I hear of those who are good at preserving their lives;
Walking through, not avoiding rhinos and tigers.
Entering battle without wearing armaments.
The rhino has no place to dig its horns.
The tiger has no place to drag its claws.
The soldier has no place to thrust his blade.
Why is this so?
Because they have no place to die." (50:1, 3-5)

At this and every moment, we are walking between birth and death. We are living in flux and change, yet in perfect stillness. Yet by not fearing death, not fearing the future - not fearing life - we embrace life fully, and we live with light hearts and minds. We live transparently and the rhino has no place to dig its horns.

Hun and Po at Death

To die consciously is to have lived through the conscious awareness of hun, or heavenly soul. It is to be released from the morbid obsession of po, or earthly soul. The hun is the ethereal soul. The hun is more subtle, and is yang in nature. The po is the corporeal soul. It is closely related to the physical world and descends into the earth at the time of physical death. The po is more physical, and is yin in nature.

During the last exhalation at death, if hun's mortal, conscious awareness stays with po, it will merge into the earthly energy pattern of a ghost. It will pass through the gateway of the mouth, nose, or even ears. This energy pattern will not ascend and associate itself with the higher energy sphere at the third eye or crown point, as it ideally would. If it is good, it becomes a wandering ghost; if it is evil, it becomes a hungry ghost.

With conscious death, the mortal conscious awareness of hun discharges itself from po by retuning to its original form of Shen. By embracing the light, this individual spirit crystallizes into spiritual being - like a beam of laser light. When love is purified selflessly and completely, it is the pure self and pure love of God-self within. The spiritual body is light and spiritual motive is love. The body is formless and its action is deathless.

Immortality is beyond physical and mental. It is an ultimate integration and embrace that leaves nothing pushed aside or left behind. There is blissful satisfaction within and no fear of being alone. There is no sense of who is dead and/or one who is alive; no awareness of living and dying. Soaring from life is not sadness - one has passed through the forgiveness of heart and the attachment of mind. Consciousness becomes a mirror and ego is nothing other than an old habit. This is lasering with pure light, being with pure light, returning to the complete self and God's love. This is the application of being immortal and entering immortality. Lao Tzu calls this - the Tao of having a deep root, a strong stem, a long life, and an enduring vision (59:3). The root is the source and the stem is the form; life is the act and vision is the light.

Your Choice Matters

Whether you want to stick with mortality or choose immortality, is entirely your own choice. The heavenly father gives you the light and consciousness. The earthly mother gives you your body and instincts. You are embraced by light. Freedom of choice is given to your heart, the freedom of action granted to your mind, and the freedom to channel the energy is there for the taking. If you follow the inclinations of your ordinary thinking mind, you will chase after ideas, rise and fall with your emotions, protect your beliefs, and sleep fitfully with nightmares.

Let the light shine through you to live with compassion. Remain untroubled with the mind's loneliness and longing; then you can live with inner peace. You can know with pure awareness, enjoy working with the changing character of nature, and be happy on your sacred path. Lao Tzu emphasizes that: The person who works according to the Tao unites with the Tao (24:4). He adds simply: Only those who are not slaves to life are wise to the value of life (77:2).

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