Chronicles of Tao III


-What does wu wei mean?

-It means that everything you do seems spontaneous, natural and complete. Nothing affects you. Nothing stirs up the emotions to interrupt the precious tranquility that you have constantly cultivated.

-Nothing affects you?


-What if you are meditating and someone tries to kill you?

-If they come to kill me, fine. I shall kill them first.

-And then?

-And then I sit back down to meditate.

-That’s all?


-Wouldn’t you suffer for killing another?

-Not in this case. They came to kill me. I merely interrupted them.

– Wouldn’t you suffer within?

-No. that’s wu wei. One event happens, then another. If you are truly wu wei, then you are always placid.


-Ever learn to fly without wings, young man?

-Yes, I have. Unless one can fly, how could one go to heaven?

-Quite so, quite so. What is the technique?

-The phrase ’to fly without wings’ is, of course, a metaphor. It means to bring one’s spiritual essence up the spine.

-What is the secret to invisibility?

-The secret is to sit so still that one is like a lizard on a branch who is unnoticed because it is unmoving.

-Point the way to heaven.

Saihung touched his forehead.

-The term ‘heaven’ is a reference to the psychic centers within the skull.

-Is Lao Tzu in your head, then?

-Just so. Even the holy one is a symbol of the psychic center associated with the pineal gland.


You must seek the Mysterious Portal. But it is guarded. You must have an offering to first bribe the guards and then the ability to be invisible so that you may slip through unnoticed. With these preparations, you must then learn to fly to heaven, surprise Lao Tzu in his chambers, snatch up the flask of golden elixir, slay the defenders, break down the palace walls, and return to earth an immortal.

The first thing is the bribe of the guards. Gold and jewels do not move the demon generals. It is the human spirit. Your bribe is a vow that should you attain the golden elixir that will liberate you from this earthly plane, you shall not depart into the infinite before teaching others and continuing the lineage.

You are obviously a man of determination, but you must maintain a certain perspective. For this brings up the question of flying. Flying means weightlessness. Such lightness means shedding weight. Your emotional burden is over eagerness to succeed and anxiety about failing. Gain and loss are not to be taken to heart. You must leave these attitudes behind.

Invisibility signifies stillness in meditation. With it, you can slip through the Mysterious Portal. This gateway is in the region known as the Precious Square Inch in the center of the head at eyebrow level. It is through this gateway that you will someday glimpse the divine light that is always there. When you can unify semen, breath, and spirit, you will soar to heaven – that is to say that you raise this essence to the Mysterious Portal. Snatching the golden elixir means that your channels are now open and that your energy breaches the Mysterious Portal. But at that final stage, the guardians will appear, and you will have  to slay them.

Guardians are the agents of your own involvement with illusion. Your ego will not want you to succeed, for the resulting realization will negate your sense of self. Therefore, it will fight you and attempt to stop you from achieving your goals.

This leaves only one task: to break down the walls of the mind-palace. The palace walls must be broken down, for they will be the final barrier between you and the Source. Once we merge with the Source, temporarily at least for our time of meditation, we surrender all sense of the world and our own individuality.

Surrender is nearly impossible for a fighter like you, but that is actually what you must do. It means deliberately surrendering all actions, motivations, decisions. Even the form of meditation is transcended. The palace walls are the world of forms.

-How can they be smashed by surrendering? How can illusion be overcome like this?

Let me clarify that illusion is not falsehood. Rather, it is the active side of reality. This activity generates form. From that variety comes illusion. Yet all this variation, all these changes, exist only in the mind. You look at me, look at the temple, look at the mountains, and forget your identity with this things. Focus on consciousness, not form, and the illusion of diversity and separateness breaks like a dream. Withdraw from the mind’s interplay into stillness. Withdraw from activity to inactivity. Withdraw into the Source, and all illusion will cease. Then you will know that Lao Tzu, the golden elixir, the guardians, and palace walls existed only in your mind. The only truth lies in realizing yourself as the formless One.

But talking does nothing. None succeed without effort.


Do not fear the sensations you feel during meditation. Let all phenomena come and go. Even death is a part of such illusion. Don’t identify with phenomena, but instead look deeply into the Tao and its source. Forget the illusion of a separate existence. Cast off this imaginary limitation that separates you from the Way. Let your finiteness merge with the infinite. Far from becoming diminished, you will become infinite yourself. When you have this perception, you will then know the true secret of the sages: The mind of one who returns to the Source becomes the Source.


It matters not whether you read the Seven Bamboo Tablets or not. You could read it and it might be as dull as a dictionary. In fact, that would be its exact appearance. But take its components, benefit from its tradition, use them as alloys to be blended in the crucible of life, and forge them into your own unique personality. Don’t follow any book dogmatically, not even the most sacred scripture. It’s stupidity to think any book is the word of the gods.


The two Taoists reminded Saihung that the critical thing in life was to die a spiritual death, to merge with the Void. In order to do so, one had to be free of the cycle of reincarnation. This meant absolutely no earthly ties. The important point was that having children automatically tied one to the circle of reincarnation. How could it be otherwise? By passing on one’s metaphysical and physical genetics, one perpetuated one’s earthly karma. This was why the sages had no biological children.


No one carries another being along the Way. No one.


There are two rules to Taoist dietary practices: moderation and variety. First is moderation. Do not overeat, do not undereat. Do not go to extremes of fasting or overemphasis on any one food. Each meal should have moderate amounts of meat, vegetables, a starch, and a beverage. Avoid pork, duck, wild fowl, and shellfish, as we regard these as having toxins in them.

Variety means that one eat according to the seasons. In winter, eat foods that will build the kidneys and the blood, such as lamb or veal. In summer, the cooling fruits, vegetables, and melons should predominate in your diet. Whatever the meal, try to have a minimum of three vegetables at every meal: one red, one green, one yellow. Do not have great amounts of single ingredients with your meal, but have a great variety of foods instead. If you follow the way of the ancients, you will have the strength to meet your challenges.

Food is a primary source of energy. Thus, it is foolish to restrict it. It is wisdom to control it, however, for this can be a significant factor in the cultivation of energy. One’s qi, the very vital force of the body and soul, is formed from the essence gleaned from food. One might even go as far as to say that the foods you eat can be used to manipulate the consciousness.

Source: Deng Ming-Dao – Chronicles of Tao

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