Tao Te Ching,
Lao Tzu describes the Tao as the value beyond value, with a price beyond
price. Even the coronation of the emperor, the ceremony of the utmost
honor in ancient China, could not compare to the simple joy of being
seated in the Tao.
What makes the Tao so special? Authentic traditions of the Tao emphasize
practical teachings that anyone can follow, so we cannot stop at
simplistic slogans like “the Tao is priceless.” We also cannot avoid
answering the question with glib statements like “the specialness of the
Tao cannot be expressed with words.” We have to examine the how and why
to illuminate and clarify. There are no formal guidelines on how to
conduct such an examination, but we can begin by considering the
1. Connecting with the truth
One way to see the value of the Tao is to recall what happens when you
connect with a great truth. It is an unmistakable moment, because the
truth reaches deeply into you to resonate with incredible power. It can
move you to tears. It can make you jump for joy. It can shake you up
with the shock of recognition. In that moment, you realize that the Tao
is both the path that leads us to the truth, and the essence of the
2. Harmonizing with others
Another way to see the value of the Tao is to recall what happens when
you connect with a kindred spirit. This may be an old friend, or someone
you have just met. When you establish rapport with this person, you can
feel your spiritual energies harmonizing with one another. Hours elapse
as the conversation flows. When you finally emerge from it, you are
surprised by the amount of time that has passed. You have just
experienced the effortless and eternal nature of the Tao.
3. Tapping into the source
The Tao is the ultimate source of creation. It is the field of infinite
possibilities poised to manifest as actualities. You possess the same
power at the human scale, because the Tao within you is the same Tao
underlying all of reality. The universe expresses it as the birth of
stars and galaxies; you express it as creativity at work and at play.
Those who understand this will never experience writer’s block or run
out of ideas. They know the Tao is a limitless source that they can tap
into whenever they want. This is all about the value of new
perspectives, paradigm shifts and innovations.
4. Living life with wisdom
The Tao isn’t just about being creative. It also has a practical aspect
that is meant to be applied in everyday living. Those who do not
understand think the Tao is only about the ethereal mysteries of the
spiritual realm; those who do understand know it is every bit as
concerned about all the mundane details in the material world. It is not
just about learning from saints and sages; it is just as much about
dealing with fellow human beings at their best and worst. You do not
need to wait until the hereafter to reap the benefits of Tao
cultivation. Its value is real and tangible in the here and now.
5. Transforming the self
If you have kept yourself on the path for an extended period of time,
you will find yourself changing for the better. You may not notice at
first because the changes are gradual and imperceptible. You may think
there is nothing different about you, but positive transformation is an
inevitable result of Tao cultivation. You may find others commenting on
you being more composed and more at ease even in difficult situations.
People who have not seen you in a while may remark on the difference
they see in you. These are real changes that will last you a lifetime,
and the benefits they bring you are but a small part in the value of the
6. Offering a helping hand
The more people notice the change in you, the more curious they become.
After a while, when they are certain it isn’t just a temporary phase you
go through, they will want to learn from you. As they approach with
questions, you find yourself in a position to share the Tao. It is a
position of great honor, and there is nothing more satisfying than to
offer a helping hand when someone needs it the most. It dawns on you
that the Tao isn’t just about making a difference in your life. It is
also about making a difference in the world. The Tao is the path of
service, and therein lies its true value.
The above are six finite ways to see the infinite value of something
beyond all limits. They offer only a suggestion, a fleeting glimpse, a
rough outline. To see more of the grand vision, you need to explore on
your own. Just as the Tao transcends all limits, so are the ways to
experience its value. What makes the Tao so special? What makes it so
valuable to you? The answers are out there, waiting for your discovery.
Copyright 1998-2016 by Derek Lin
All Rights Reserved.
you've enjoyed this dharma talk, please consider supporting this web
site by telling a friend, or purchasing a book. Thanks!