16 July 2016
I just finished this wonderful book, another translation by the esteemed Thomas Cleary. Between this slim volume and Cleary's translation of 'Secret Of The Golden Flower' we have a complete method and guide for Taoist meditation, which fully integrates with and is complementary to our T'ai Chi. I cannot recommend them more highly. However they are not necessarily useful to the beginner without a working knowledge of the Taoist Classics. My plan over the Late Summer is to compile a brief primer to the foundation practices in these wonderful books, so that those of us who might like to practice together can have a common start point, leading to a sitting group in the future, (or more cake and sitting solo for me if no one turns up!). No problem either way...
If you do a web search for Taoist meditation, London, Taoism groups, etc., you get a whole bunch of Mantak Chia based Chinese energy and Taoist hygeine folks, no offence to them and their genuinely health-enhancing practices, but I am with Liu I Ming on this issue (look it up), so these groups are not for me. This morning I went along to a friendly Zen sitting group in Wimbledon, which was great. Many of the teachings of the Northern School of Complete Reality Taoisim (yes, wonderful name lsn't it?) are shared between Ch'an (later in Japan called Zen, in Korea it's called Son), so sitting zazen is a good place to sit with like-minded folks. Often the practices between Ch'an, Zen and Taoism are exactly the same and just have different terminology. Cleary's translation of The Secret Of The Golden Flower is particularly good on this. When I sat a Son retreat with Stephen and Martine Batchelor a couple of years ago, Stephen called Zen 'Taoist Buddhism'. The roots are certainly intertwined and the enlightened mind to which all refer, is the same: also the emptiness of all phenomena, conditioned arising, and so on.
Mindful that the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao... I shall stop writing now and get an early night.