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Self-Nourishment—Commonality Translated and Interpreted Dr.Yang, Jwing-Ming

by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, September 10, 2018

第二章 養身—中庸
天下皆知美之為美, 斯惡矣;
皆知善之為善,斯不善矣。故 有無相生,難易相成, 長短相形,高下相傾, 音聲相和,前後相隨。是以 『聖人』處「無為」之事, 行「不言」之教。 萬物作焉而不辭,
生而不有,為而不恃,功成而弗居。 夫唯弗居,是以不去。

If (the people in) the world know what beauty is, then, there is (an existence of) ugliness;
if (the people) know goodness as goodness,
then there is (an existence of) non-goodness. Therefore,
the having and the nothingness mutually give birth to each other, difficulty and easiness are mutually formed,
long and short are mutually shaped (i.e., compared), and high and low are mutually quantified,
the sounds mutually harmonized, and the front and the rear are mutually following each other.
Thus,
sages handle matters without doing anything and teach without speaking.
(With the Dao), millions of objects are begotten (i.e., created) with- out being rejected, lives are born without being possessed, things are done without being proud,

once accomplished, (they) don't dwell on it.
It is because they don't keep these, thus, (all of ) these stay (with them).

General Interpretation of the Above

Humans have defined what beauty is and what it is not. We also defined what is good and what is bad. In doing this, we set up an emotional matrix and dogma in human society. Once we have these concepts, there exists having or not having, difficulty or ease, and other ideas in comparison to one another. Consequently, competitiveness arises and different classes are discriminated. Du, Guang-Ting (杜光庭) said: "What are beauty and goodness? They are initiated from xin (i.e., emotional mind). From this emotional mind, though ugly, (things) can be beautiful and good. Thus, it is said, those who think beauty is beauty and goodness is goodness, since beauty and goodness cannot be defined, are all absurd." Beauty or ugliness, goodness or evil are all relative and de ned by each individual emotional mind. Once we have defined some- thing, we are trapped into the bondage of dogmas.

In the same way, having and not having are relative. Everything was initiated from nothingness and then returns to nothingness. Li, Rong (李榮) said: "All objects under heaven (i.e., the universe) are begotten from the having, and the having is originated from the nothingness. It is from the nothingness that the having is begotten and from the having it returns to the nothingness." This implies all existing objects in this universe were originated from the emptiness. Eventually, all these objects will again return to the emptiness. Lv, Yan (呂岩) said: "It is just like when the heaven and earth began to divide, there were no myriad objects. It was from the qi's (i.e., energy's) existence in the insubstantial nothingness that myriad objects were begotten. This was (a process of) begetting the having from the nothingness. Once there was the birth of myriad objects, then there must be the demise of these myriad objects. The perishing is the returning to the nothingness and is the (process of ) begetting the nothingness from the having."

Therefore, it does not matter if it is good or bad, beautiful or ugly; it all originated from our biased mind. Those who have comprehended the Dao understand this and, thus, will do things without doing and will teach without teaching. To them, there is no good or bad, long or short, high or low. All are the same to them. This is the way of the Dao in nature. Consequently, all lives are derived without being distinguished, compared, discriminated, or rejected. Nature gives birth to everything but does not possess them. Nature has accomplished all of the manifestations of the Dao but without feeling proud of it. It is because of all of these that nature owns it and keeps it always.

Qigong Interpretation

In qigong, we should treat all things neutrally. By doing so, we are able to maintain a neutral point of view and be natural. That means we should not be in bondage to the emotions that we have created in this society. In this way, there is no dignity, no glory, no honor, no happiness, and no sadness. Thus, your wisdom and logical mind will be able to govern your emotional mind. You will not be in a state of expectancy at any time during your life. Since there is no expectation, there is no satisfaction or disappointment. Therefore, if we are able to get rid of the emotional desires, we will not be greedy and continuously enslaved by money, glory, dignity, or honor. Our mind will be peaceful and calm. This is the way of following nature. Without this, we will not be able to unite our spirit with the natural spirit.

The conscious mind or thought is part of a human matrix; the mind is not truthful. You must search for the feeling from the subconscious mind that is more truthful and closer to the spirit. In order to reach this subconscious mind, you have to calm down your mind and transcend the bondage that restricts your spirit from growing. If you are able to experience things from a state of neutrality, you will be able to see both the spiritual and material worlds equally. Your judgment will be more accurate.

Dual Cultivation

Furthermore, the yin world is the spiritual world while the yang world is the material world. The yang (De, 德) is the manifestation of yin (Dao, 道). They are two, but one; one, but two. If you see only the material world, you will be attracted by the material enjoyment and ignore your spiritual being. When you apply this concept to your life, the spiritual life is yin while physical life is yang. These two are equally important. When you train qigong, you must train your physical body as well as cultivate your spiritual strength. Without both, you will be weak and sick. The full meaning of life can be clearly comprehended only when these two polarities are treated equally. It is called "dual cultivation of temperament (spirit) and life (physical life)" in Daoist society.

To reach the spiritually peaceful state, you must also have a mind so open there is nothing that can bother or restrict you. In addition, you should also have a huge capacity for forgiveness. Thus, your mind will not be tangled in the biased thoughts that could lead you to an emo- tional state. In Yellow Emperor Inner Classic (《黃帝內經.素問.上古天 真論》), it is said:

"Then, there are some sages who situate themselves in the harmony of the heaven and the earth, follow the rules of the eight winds (i.e., Nature), wish to stay with laymen society, but without the mind of greediness and desires . . . thus, externally there is no physical fatigue, and internally there is no adversity in thought. Peace and cheer are their main foci. (In this case, the body) achieves its merit (i.e., health) automatically, the shape and body (i.e., physical body) are not awkward and the spirit is not dispersed. One hundred years (of age) can be reached."

Wang, An-Shi (王安石) said: "The having and the nothingness, high and low, the sound's harmonization, the front and the latter, etc., none can avoid being compared with each other. Only those who are able to forget these six comparisons (i.e., six desires) can enter the spiritual calmness."

Regulate Mind

Only when your mind is regulated can your spirit reach its peaceful and calm state. In order to do this, you must get rid of your seven passions and six desires (qi qing liu yu, 七情六慾). As we have seen, the seven passions are liking (xi, 喜), anger (nu, 怒), sorrow (ai, 哀), joy (le, 樂), love (ai, 愛), hate (hen, 恨), and lust (yu, 慾). The desires are generated from the six roots that are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind (xin, 心). Buddhists also cultivate within themselves a neutral state separated from the four emptinesses of earth, water, re, and wind (si da jie kong, 四大皆空). That means the emptiness of material desires in the mind.

Once you have reached a state of "regulating without regulating" (tiao er wu tiao, 調而無調) or "doing without doing" (wei er wuwei, 為而 無為), your mind will be neutral and peaceful. You will then have reached a stage of "doing nothing, yet nothing is left undone" (wuwei er wu bu wei, 無為而無不為).

The above is an excerpt from Dao De Jing—A Qigong Interpretation by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.



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