Ancient Wisdom of The East – China

There is evidence of Human existence in China around The Yellow Basin River from MILLIONS of years ago. This may be ignored but it cannot be denied. Humans were on this planet aeons before modern history books have been telling us and Ancient China is steeped in Spiritual practises that go back to these long forgotten times.

Whilst we touch on Confucianism and the lesser known Legalism, in this article our main focus is on the two Ancient Chinese Spiritual Doctrines that are still practised today. These are Daoism also known as Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism and there’s reason why this ancient knowledge has survived for millions of years.

Lao-Tzu – Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

Some accounts state that Lao-Tzu was born an Old Man with Long Ear Lobes after having lived inside his mother’s womb for 62 years whilst she leaned against a Plum Tree…

It is also said he left his home, spent time in solitude, and eventually rode a buffalo to the border of Tibet. There it is said that the Gatekeeper asked Lao-Tzu to write down all his thoughts, which he did and then was never seen or heard from again…

Other accounts say Lao-Tzu went all the way to India and that he was the Teacher of Siddartha Gautama, Others say he was the Buddha himself.

According to yet other accounts, Lao-Tzu was born during the second and longest reigning Zhou Dynasty, in the Li Country in a small village called Chu-Jhren in 604 BC. It is said he was born an Old Man on account of his white hair. That later he went to work in the Royal Court Library as keeper of Secret Archives. In which case he would have had access to works such as those by the Hunagdi, ‘The Yellow Emperor’ an Ancient Deity who ruled from around 2697–2597 or 2698–2598 BCE {depending on sources} and who was one of the original Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors.

Others records show that he became an honoured spiritual master and that under the Tang Dynasty era, he was given the title:

‘Supremely Mysterious and Primordial Emperor’ 太上玄元皇帝, Tàishàng Xuānyuán Huángdì.

As with other ancient knowledge, much of the truths from Ancient China have also been misrepresented, distorted, and hidden, and most of this confusion has been intentional. More likely Lao Tzu was an Ascended Master, with reference to the gate being an astrological gate of which the passing through is only possible by one who has attained the required ascension disciplines, and physical cellular advancements to do so. We do know that he is related to the teachings of the book Tao Te Ching, and the earliest known text we have of it, is written on Bamboo Strips.

Tao Te Ching

The contents of the Tao Te Ching are a sentient collection of statement verses of All that is, and All that is not, and which synonymously gauge the progress of, and the consequences of, walking the path and of wandering off it.

The 1st and 32nd chapters have been translated, from different sources as follows:

Tao Te Ching – 1

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

Ever desire less one can see the mystery. Ever desiring one can see the manifestations. These two, spring from the same source but differ in name.

This appears as darkness, darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.    

Tao Te Ching – 32

The Tao can’t be perceived, Smaller than an electron it contains uncountable galaxies.
If powerful men and women could remain centred in the Tao, all things would be in harmony, The world would become a paradise
All people would be at peace
and the law would be written in their hearts….     

Daoism and Taoism

The enigmatic Lao -Tzu is said to have introduced Daoism, which is also known as Taoism. Significantly and unlike other spiritual traditions, Taoism is void of any symbolic deities. Instead, Taoism focuses on principles of Energy.

Daoism/Taoism teaches that individuals must follow Dao, -The Way. A Force of Energy that cannot be named, known, or described and can only be felt after disciplining the mind and hearing the language of the Divine One True Source. That through that awareness and its revelations, and by acting in alignment with the Universal and Natural Laws, we can surrender all attachments and move away from the illusion of Duality and return to Oneness.

Taoism – The Supreme Diagram

From a visual perspective the Taoist Universal Model is represented by the ‘Taijitu Shuo’ – the Diagram of Supreme Polarity.

  • The circle at the top represents Wu Ji, Non Polarity, limitlessness, nothingness, and at the same time, its opposite Tajji, Supreme Polarity
  • This entity is divided into two, a positive and negative energy, Ying and Yang, and all their opposites, joined but separate in an infinite ebb and flow
  • From this came the creation of The Elements and the 10,000, ‘The Myriad of All Things’
  • The last two circles are the sums of the previous mass divided according to the Qian, Masculine Energy, and the Kun, Feminine Energy
  • Then the process begins again from its new state

Exert – Chu Hsi

“In [Chou Tun-i’s] explanation of the Diagram, first he describes the origin of yin and yang, change and transformation; then he clarifies the matter, namely in terms of [the corresponding] endowment and constitution of human beings. When he says, `Man alone receives [the Five Agents] in their highest excellence and so is endowed with the fullest spir­itual potential,’ [a reference to] man’s pure and perfectly good nature, what he is speaking of is the Supreme Ultimate. `His physical form is produced and his spirit manifests [intelligence]’ is the doing of the activity of yang and the quiet of yin. `His five-fold nature is stirred and acts’ is the nature of Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth produced when yang changes and yin corresponds. `The distinction of good and evil arises’ is the like­ness of the male and the female elements. `Human affairs take place’ is the likeness of the production and transformation of the myriad creatures. And finally when we come to, `The Sage properly orders these [affairs] according to the mean, correctness, humanity, and righteousness, taking quiet as the essential; in this way he establishes the ultimate standard for man.’ This again refers to man’s having received the integral substance of the Supreme Ultimate, with the result that he is conjoined with Heaven and Earth in a perfect unity.

Ji is the absolute peak/limit (Jizhi) of the moral order (Daoli).

The principle of all things in Heaven and Earth is Supreme Polarity.

Supreme Polarity is just the single actualized principle that runs through them and unifies them.

Exert – Master Zhu

The Sage [Confucius] calls it Supreme Polarity because it indicates the basis of all things in the world. Zhu calls is Wuji to emphasize the mysteriousness of it.

Buddhism – Wuji er Taji

Buddhism came much later. According to scholars the actual given title is ‘Wuji er Tajji.

’Wuji’ is translated as ‘Non-Polar’ and Taiji is translated as ‘Supreme Polarity’. But Chinese language is heavily tonal based. And ‘er’ can mean ‘and also’ or ‘under these circumstances’ or ‘and yet’ and each of course changes the meaning slightly and shows how easy it can be to mistranslate ancient records.

We do know that ‘Non-Being’ {Wu} and Being {Yu}, As One, is what is meant by ‘The Way’.

So, breaking this one down:

  • Again, the circle at the top represents Wu Ji, Non-Polarity, limitlessness, nothingness, and at the same time, its opposite Tajji, Supreme Polarity
  • The circle with a dot in it represents an awareness of nothingness and therefore something else, manifested
  • This awareness created it’s opposite
  • This entity was divided into two, a positive and negative energy – Tai Yang and Tai Yin
  • When balanced separately they come together to form a new balanced energy – TaiJi – Ying/Yang – Duality in an infinite ebb and flow of oneness through Dao / Tao / The Way
  • From this there is new creation, the Five Elements of Fire, Wood, Metal and Earth, and Water
  • From the Five Elements there came ‘The Myriad of All Things’

Confucius

There were many Philosophers around in the 5th and 6th Century BC in Ancient China. After China’s recent events and influences of the Warring States Period, no doubt many were reflecting and contemplating in their own way with their perspectives reflected in their teachings.

Confucius was one such philosopher. Clearly a thinker ahead of his time, most of his works’ recognition didn’t become realized until after his death.

Confucius had seemingly reflected on the Western Zhou Period with nostalgia and as being idealistic, thus determining his obligation in life to reinstate an awareness of individual and social morality. His teachings were based on the concept of ‘Ren’. The compassion for, and toward all, and at the same time exercising self-discipline of one’s self. He stressed tradition and believed that an individual should strive to be virtuous and respectful, irrespective of their place in society.

His primary two rules were The Golden Rule and The Silver Rule.

The Golden Rule and The Silver Rule

It’s all to do with morality yes, but one doctrine suggests an agenda of self first, and the other, with a responsibility and compassion for others.

The Golden Rule and The Silver Rule approach the same idea of morality from different perspectives.

Confucius championed and held on to morality in uncertain times. His teachings continued to develop and spread over time making his contributions to society and history significant. Now accepted as part of Chinese Belief Systems, his teachings are known all around the world as Confucianism.

Ever Heard of Legalism? – Hmmm …

There was also a lesser-known philosophy founded in Ancient China that still has permeations in societies today. It’s called Legalism. This doctrine was based on a belief system that Humans are essentially bad and ignorant and need to be controlled by a state strong enough to maintain that control…

Legalists set out rules that were intended to be transparent and called for all to be subject to them else face severe punishments. Legalism advocated that the position of a ruler should be appointed with power as opposed to the individual, that a ruler should run a state by enforcing the law, and that tactics should be employed to maintain this.

Pragmatic, Sinister, or Barbaric? – the interpretation is down to perspective.

The Lotus Sutra

There are numerous Mahavana Buddhist Scriptures. The most renown is said to be the Lotus Sutra. ‘Sutra’ translates to ‘Scripture’. And the Sanskrit for the full title ‘Maha Saddharma-pundarika’ translates to something close to “The Lotus of the Wonderous Dharma” {Law}.

The Lotus Sutra is a collection of sermons and accepted in all Buddhist Schools. There are two other shorter Sutras which precede this one, but Buddha covers that early on in the Lotus Sultra…

Triyana and Nirvana

Buddha speaks of his past teachings as provisional. That there is more. That the Lotus is representative of the highest form of enlightenment and surpasses all of Buddha’s other teachings. The Three Circles are known as Triyana. Yet this is only part of the path as through the completion of the stages of enlightenment, with it comes the realization and application, that they are same vehicle, one vehicle, Nirvana.

Put simply, if we knew what the path entailed, many would be discouraged from it. Step By Step, Little by Little, and for the rest of our days and beyond. But that all, can become Buddhas and achieve a state of enlightenment. 

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Free Will

A path of Self or a path of One may sound similar, but they are actually polar opposites.

Free Will is the choice to choose which path you follow.

So, What IS Spirituality?

Spirituality involves Innate Knowledge.

Merriam Webster Dictionary Definition of Innate

The knowledge built into us, from birth…

Innate Knowledge is an intuitive based knowledge present in all humans. It is already known. It’s the nagging in your mind, the tug in your heart, the twist in the pit of your stomach, and all telling you to do or not to do, one thing over another. We have all experienced the consequences of following, or not following, our own inner guidance system. It’s there for a reason, it is always focused on your best interests, it is never wrong. The key is recognising it and knowing when to take action in alignment with it…

So, where does Innate Knowledge come from? That’s a better question. And a huge part of what this story is all about.

Spirituality is many things to many people. Spirituality and Innate Knowledge are topics that have been deliberated over for millennia. There are thousands of explanations represented in as many different forms. But all are spiritual teachings are founded in The Golden Rule. We cover this in a following blog under that title.

Sources and Thanks: 

www.Thoughts.com; www.AshidaKim.com; www.onmarkproductions.comwww.mai-ko.com; www.learnreligions.comwww.modernzen.org; www.mai-ko.com/travel.com; www.AshidaKim.com; www.Thoughts.com; www.Organism.earth.com; www.taosurfers.com; ism/theravada-mahayana.htm.com; www.dragonplanet.com; www.mountaincloud.org; www.sanpai-japan.com; www.theconversation.com; www.wikipedia.com; www.adishakti.org; www.faculty.washington.edu.com; www.2.kenyon.ed.com;

Chu Hsi {Chou Tun-i’s] Translation – Diagram of The Supreme Ultimate

Master Zhu’s Translation – The Supreme Diagram