I intend this post to be an introduction to a wonderful little book of Wisdom Chapters by Lao Tzu. They are the so-called “Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu”.
Please read the introduction to the Hua Hu Ching by the translater Brian Walker (after these ten short chapters) for more of the story on this enlightening little book. It can be had on Amazon fora few dollars (see link at bottom).
Here are the first ten short chapters:
I reach the Integral Way of uniting with the great and mysterious Tao. My teachings are simple; if you try to make a religion or science of them, they will elude you. Profound yet plain, they contain the entire truth of the universe. Those who wish to know the whole truth take joy in doing the work and service that comes to them. Having completed it, they take joy in cleansing and feeding themselves. Having cared for others and for themselves, they then turn to the master for instruction. This simple path leads to peace, virtue, and abundance.
Men and women who wish to be aware of the whole truth should adopt the practices of the Integral Way. These time-honored disciplines calm the mind and bring one into harmony with all things. The first practice is the practice of undiscriminating virtue: take care of those who are deserving; also, and equally, take care of those who are not. When you extend your virtue in all directions without discriminating, your feet are firmly planted on the path that returns to the Tao.
Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things. To embrace all things means first that one holds no anger or resistance toward any idea or thing, living or dead, formed or formless. Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao. To embrace all things means also that one rids oneself of any concept of separation; male and female, self and other, life and death. Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao. Foregoing antagonism and separation, one enters in the harmonious oneness of all things.
Every departure from the Tao contaminates one’s spirit. Anger is a departure, resistance a departure, self- absorption a departure. Over many lifetimes the burden of contaminations can become great. There is only one way to cleanse oneself of these contaminations, and that is to practice virtue. What is meant by this? To practice virtue is to selflessly offer assistance to others, giving without limitation one’s time, abilities, and possessions in service, whenever and wherever needed, without prejudice concerning the identity of those in need. If your willingness to give blessings is limited, so also is your ability to receive them. This is the subtle operation of the Tao.
Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and took out at the stars. This practice should answer the question. The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky. By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.
The Tao gives rise to all forms, yet it has no form of its own. If you attempt to fix a picture of it in your mind, you will lose it. This is like pinning a butterfly: the husk is captured, but the flying is lost. Why not be content with simply experiencing it?
The teaching of the Integral Way will go on as long as there is a Tao and someone who wishes to embody it; What is painted in these scrolls today will appear in different forms in many generations to come. These things, however, will never change: Those who wish to attain oneness must practice undiscriminating virtue. They must dissolve all ideas of duality: good and bad, beautiful and ugly, high and low. They will be obliged to abandon any mental bias born of cultural or religious belief. Indeed, they should hold their minds free of any thought which interferes with their understanding of the universe as a harmonious oneness. The beginning of these practices is the beginning of liberation.
I confess that there is nothing to teach: no religion, no science, no body of information which will lead your mind back to the Tao. Today I speak in this fashion, tomorrow in another, but always the Integral Way is beyond words and beyond mind. Simply be aware of the oneness of things.
He who desires the admiration of the world will do well to amass a great fortune and then give it away. The world will respond with admiration in proportion to the size of his treasure. Of course, this is meaningless. Stop striving after admiration. Place your esteem on the Tao. Live in accord with it, share with others the teachings that lead to it, and you will be immersed in the blessings that flow from it.
The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.
Introduction by Brian Walker
The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu is among the most widely translated and cherished books in the world. Singular in its lucidity, revered across cultural boundaries for its timeless wisdom, it is believed among Westerners to be Lao Tzu’s only book. Few are aware that a collection of his oral teachings on the subject of attaining enlightenment and mastery were also recorded in a book called the Hua Hu Ching (pronounced “wha hoo jing”). The teachings of the Hua Hu Ching are of enormous power and consequence, a literal road map to the divine realm for ordinary human beings. Perhaps predictably, the book was banned during a period of political discord in China, and all copies were ordered to be burned. Were it not for the Taoist tradition of oral transmission of sacred scriptures from master to student, they would have been lost forever. I am permanently indebted to Taoist Master Ni Hua-Ching for sharing his version of these teachings with the Western world after his emigration from China in 1976. My work here is largely based upon his teaching. I bow also to Stephen Mitchell, whose recent translation of the Tao te Ching moved, shaped, and informed me. I encourage readers of this volume to also study Stephen’s book; his elucidation of the Tao and how it manifests in the world is exquisite. It would be a profound pleasure to me if my work one day met the high standard he has set with his own.
–BRIAN WALKER BOULDER, COLORADO 1 OCTOBER 1993