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Unity Through Complements

Part 39 of the Tao Teh King for Awakening

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There were those in ancient times possessed of the One.
Through possession of the One, the Heaven was clarified.
Through possession of the One, the Earth was stabilized.
Through possession of the One, the gods were spiritualized.
Through possession of the One, the valleys were made full.
Through possession of the One, all things lived and grew.
Through possession of the One, the princes and dukes became the ennobled of the people.
That was how each became so.

Without clarity, the Heavens would shake.
Without stability, the Earth would quake.
Without spiritual power, the gods would crumble.
Without being filled, the valleys would crack.
Without the life-giving power, all things would perish.
Without the ennobling power, the princes and dukes would stumble.
Therefore the nobility depend upon the common man for support, and the exalted ones depend upon the lowly for their base.

That is why the princes and dukes call themselves “the orphaned,” “the lonely one,” “the unworthy.”
Is is not true then that they depend upon the common man for support?
Truly, take down the parts of a chariot, and there is no chariot (left).
Rather than jingle like the jade, rumble like the rocks.

(Tao Teh King 39)

There were those in ancient times possessed of the One.

Just as in the East it is understood that life (spirit) existed before matter, so also it is known that humanity did not begin as some semi-conscious beings, but that the first humans were the highest evolved of those that had retained human form from the previous creation cycle. Not only that, the earth was in such a state of high vibration that spiritual guides worked along with human beings in the re-establishing of human civilization. At that time the material creation also perfectly reflected its source, which was the infinite consciousness of the One: the Tao.

Through possession of the One, the Heaven was clarified.

The material creation, on the other hand, did begin in tremendous flux and change as the “cosmic soup” began to shape itself into the universe. However, in time perfect order was manifested since the creation itself is part of the Tao, and the Tao is Perfect Order.

Through possession of the One, the Earth was stabilized.

In the same way the earth itself became habitable and no longer subject to the upheavals that had characterized its existence previously. This, too, was a mirroring of the Tao.

Through possession of the One, the gods were spiritualized.

The sentient beings, both incarnate and discarnate, began to function in the manner calculated to evolve and ultimately liberate them into higher realms of existence and life. This included the guardian spirits whose evolution consisted in guiding the sentient beings through subliminal direction.

Through possession of the One, the valleys were made full.

Vegetation and animal life abounded in places suitable for their survival.

Through possession of the One, all things lived and grew.

In time human beings appeared, not through evolution of form but as the specific, unique creation of those guiding and supervising intelligences known in the East as the Creator Mothers (Matrikas) and in the Bible as the Elohim, a term implying several female entities.

Through possession of the One, the princes and dukes became the ennobled of the people.

After more time, humans began to more and more live interdependently and society emerged along with culture and government. This necessitated leaders which at that time rose to their position by the recognition of their superior abilities by the people themselves and not through personal ambition.

That was how each became so.

Naturally, this all took incalculable time and was of tremendous complexity. But what happens when the Tao begins to fade in Its influence and in the consciousness of human beings?

Without clarity, the Heavens would shake. Without stability, the Earth would quake. Without spiritual power, the gods would crumble. Without being filled, the valleys would crack. Without the life-giving power, all things would perish. Without the ennobling power, the princes and dukes would stumble.

Degeneration is the key word for that which follows the weakening of the Tao’s influence in organic and inorganic life

Therefore the nobility depend upon the common man for support, and the exalted ones depend upon the lowly for their base.

In human society worthiness is no longer recognized, so leaders depend on the cooperation of the general populace without regard to their qualifications. In fact, as human life degrades, it is the strong and ruthless that come to rule over a society that fears them and yet depends on them for order and safety (often without obtaining either order or safety). Then wars arise between the leaders and the populace is sacrificed accordingly.

That is why the princes and dukes call themselves “the orphaned,” “the lonely one,” “the unworthy.”

Yes, they call themselves that in a formal, ceremonial way, but of course they neither mean it, nor do they act accordingly.

Is is not true then that they depend upon the common man for support?

Is it not strange that tyrants depend upon the people they enslave and repress? Without them these potentates would be nothing and powerless. So at all times it is the people who empower their rulers and officials, though to their detriment and even destruction. Ironic, is it not?

There is a spiritual side to this which can benefit us. In the individual there are also elements that obey and others that rule. In the life of the yogi the highest spiritual states depend on the elementary observances of moral and ethical conduct. No one ever is above the basics of right thought, speech and conduct. The greatest mystic in the world is totally dependent upon the fundamental principles of spiritual life which include codes of conduct in the simplest level of his life.

Truly, take down the parts of a chariot, and there is no chariot (left).

Chan: “Therefore enumerate all the parts of a chariot as you may, and you still have no chariot.”

Spiritual life and its fruition in enlightenment is not a simple, single entity, but rather it consists of many indispensable elements, all of which are interdependent. It is like a tree. A tree consists of bark, wood, roots, branches and leaves. All together they make up a tree; but take one away and the tree dies and decays and in time there is no tree. The tree cannot exist independently of any element. Spiritual life is the same. Therefore the spiritual aspirant must ensure that not a single facet of spiritual life is omitted or neglected. Otherwise he fails in his quest for higher consciousness.

Rather than jingle like the jade, rumble like the rocks.

In China at the time of Lao Tzu jade was perhaps the single most prized substance for objects of art. Single, large lumps of jade were very rare, so jade objects were relatively small, and if put together in a container they would strike against one another, tinkle or jingle and would certainly crack if handled roughly. On the other hand, boulders crash and rumble and are virtually unbreakable and immovable. So Lao Tzu is telling us not to be like jade, however attractive or precious society may consider it to be, but rather be like stone: substantial, strong and endurant.

Next in the Tao Teh King for Awakening: The Principle of Reversion

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Introduction to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Chapters of The Tao Teh King for Awakening

Preface to The Tao Teh King for Awakening

  1. On the Absolute Tao
  2. The Rise of Relative Opposites
  3. Action Without Deeds
  4. The Character of Tao
  5. Nature
  6. The Spirit of the Valley
  7. Living for Others
  8. Water
  9. The Danger of Overweening Success
  10. Embracing the One
  11. The Utility of Not-Being
  12. The Senses
  13. Praise and Blame
  14. Prehistoric Origins
  15. The Wise Ones of Old
  16. Knowing the Eternal Law
  17. Rulers
  18. The Decline of Tao
  19. Realize the Simple Self
  20. The World and I
  21. Manifestations of Tao
  22. Futility of Contention
  23. Identification with Tao
  24. The Dregs and Tumors of Virtue
  25. The Four Eternal Models
  26. Heaviness and Lightness
  27. On Stealing the Light
  28. Keeping to the Female
  29. Warning Against Interference
  30. Warning Against the Use of Force
  31. Weapons of Evil
  32. Tao is Like the Sea
  33. Knowing Oneself
  34. The Great Tao Flows Everywhere
  35. The Peace of Tao
  36. The Rhythm of Life
  37. World Peace
  38. Degeneration
  39. Unity Through Complements
  40. The Principle of Reversion
  41. Qualities of the Taoist
  42. The Violent Man
  43. The Softest Substance
  44. Be Content
  45. Calm Quietude
  46. Racing Horses
  47. Pursuit of Knowledge
  48. Conquering the World by Inaction
  49. The People’s Hearts
  50. The Preserving of Life
  51. The Mystic Virtue
  52. Stealing the Absolute
  53. Brigandage
  54. The Individual and the State
  55. The Character of the Child
  56. Beyond Honor and Disgrace
  57. The Art of Government
  58. Unobtrusive Government
  59. Be Sparing
  60. Governing a Big Country
  61. Big and Small Countries
  62. The Good Man’s Treasure
  63. Difficult and Easy
  64. Beginning and End
  65. The Grand Harmony
  66. The Lords of the Ravines
  67. The Three Treasures
  68. The Virtue of Not-Contending
  69. Camouflage
  70. They Know Me Not
  71. Sick-Mindedness
  72. On Punishment (1)
  73. On Punishment (2)
  74. On Punishment (3)
  75. On Punishment (4)
  76. Hard and Soft
  77. Bending the Bow
  78. Nothing Weaker than Water
  79. Peace Settlements
  80. The Small Utopia
  81. The Way of Heaven

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