The Teaching of Integral Spirituality


Tai Chi means something like a holistic understanding of life and nature. Most people may know the Tai Chi symbol but do we know what this symbol really means? We may say it represents the duality principle of Yin and Yang*, the complementarity of energies. But what does this really mean and imply when we talk about understanding our spiritual nature or what Master Ni calls ‘our intrinsic nature’? This is all I can say as an introduction and ask in my simple understanding of a very complex teaching. So let Master Ni talk through this quote.

Hua-Ching Ni
Gwei, from the Northeast of Kun Lun, said: The important achievement of ancient developed people was their holistic comprehension of the universe. This wholeness is the basic expression of primal chi as numerous small T’ai Chi’s with indistinguishable qualities, whether mind or matter. The symbol of T’ai Chi is … (see graphic above) Chi is the foremost foundation of the universe before it develops into the distinguishable sphere. T’ai Chi is many: T’ai Chi is one. It can be the smallest and subtlest entity of the universe before any shape is formed. In totality, T’ai Chi is the boundlessness of the universe. Though manifestation comes the dimension of mind and matter. Even in the ultimate development of both, whether ideological or materialistic, both are still completely within the scope of T’ai Chi. In its pure, original state, mind cannot be separated from matter, nor can matter be separated from mind. Nonetheless, an artificial, intellectual separation was made as the result of a partial vision of the manifest level. On the subtlest level, chi’, or first stage of pure, original existence, cannot be called mind or matter. However, it can develop as matter or mind. It is not different to begin with; it is only perceived as being different. The growth of the universe is like the growth of human life. In its early stages, there was indistinguishable oneness, akin to infancy, when neither the mind nor body considered itself separate or different from each other. In the second stage, spirits became active on the gross material level. Spirits were no more than the subtle essence of the gross, bulky material base. In the third stage, different levels of spirits formalized themselves with harmonious energy to become life. To take the form of life is to follow the cycles of life and death. To remain a spiritual being is to keep enforcing one’s true essence and thereby to surpass the cycles of life and death. In the fourth stage, the appearance of human life was the projection and formation of high spiritual beings. / In the fifth stage, the partial development of humanity’s awareness brought about the divergence of mind and body. The result of this dualistic vision was confusion and conflict. In the sixth stage, the original human nature was lost by confused creations and social competition. The downfall of humankind portends dangers which are beyond humanity’s capability to handle and control. In the seventh stage, in which vast destruction is approaching, individual and social awareness finally develops. The value of human preservation is recognized, and human beings again appreciate the truth of immortality. This is where the further development of human life after ‘death’ (the death caused by pursuit of worldly pleasures) is revealed. Possibilities exist in one’s lifetimes to cultivate, develop and direct the subtle essence in order to enjoy everlasting spiritual freedom. /623-624

It is very interesting what this text reveals about the particle level. It is congruent with what quantum physics claims to be real on the quantum level. What is said about the characteristics of T’ai Chi in quantum physics applies to the behavior of electrons, their changeable and largely unpredictable state, the principle of uncertainty that governs them, as well as the principle of nonlocality. Reading this text attentively, one cannot but wonder who the Taoist sages could thousands of years ago intuit the quantum level of beingness, in their metaphorical language, but nonetheless? But this wisdom is not unique to Taoism, it is to be found in many tribal cultures. The knowledge the Dogon in Mali have about the Sirius galaxy is absolutely astonishing and cannot be explained with any infiltration of Western physics into this very untechnological tribe. It is not a transmitted knowledge, but an original, innate wisdom of their culture. In modern culture, we tend to believe that all the knowledge there is in the world was gained through technological progress and machinery while this is really not the case when we study the mythology of tribal peoples around the world.

Master Hua-Ching Ni
Mu, from the Upper region of the Central Land, close to Kun Lun, said: In order to give real hope to our human friends, it is necessary for them to focus on cultivating their intrinsic nature. All human external characteristics — what position one holds in society, how much money one has made or plans to make — is not our concern. There is only one true concern: the quality of a person. It is the quality of a person, the way one cultivates, develops and achieves oneself, that is the true measure of nobility. This is the only way to be ranked among the Divine Immortals. Needless to say, if one seeks spiritual maturity, there is nothing above the spiritual disciplines of the Universal Way. If one seeks continual life without influencing or accepting the interruption from the transformation of lives, the highest secret of the Universal Way is what one should acquire. This is all the truth we can reveal. Many animals have a peculiar habit of taking an indirect route home. They prefer the winding path. However, there is no such detour for a human being to take before reaching his or her own ‘home’. Studying all the religions in the world may be fine if a person does not become entrapped by them. However, it is mostly a waste in terms of the spiritual maturation necessary to arrive ‘home’. One who leads a life of self-cultivation will have the opportunity of full, spiritual growth; one who dogmatically follows a religion will not. One who wishes to restore his divine nature through self-cultivation must first recognize that his nature is the universal / divine nature. He must then realize the universal divine nature in his life by extending universal love with the principle of balance. Since his life-being is also a life-being of the universal divine nature, he must give his love equally. Therefore, through realization of universal divine nature through one’s self-cultivation, human and divine nature are reunited as one. Thus, an achieved one recognizes himself as being the same as God. A child’s heart enjoys all kinds of different things. It is never bothered by conceptual differences. People, whether young or old, should meet each other with the heart of a child. This is the most important element of the human spirit and the best interpretation of humanism. The spiritual goal of a human being should be the restoration of a child’s heart and a fully and healthy developed mind with high intuition and insight. /624-625

And further:

Master Hua-Ching Ni
Syh, from the Lower Region of Central Land, close to Kun Lu, said: Through death nature purifies all lives. People accelerate this ‘purification’ with misdeeds directed towards themselves and others. The content of their lives is that of following the demands of their blind impulses without experiencing true inner growth. Eventually, they will be weeded out by wars of competition, unnatural accidents and disease. People of self-awareness, however, continually purify themselves instead of relying on the cycles of nature to do it for them. They cultivate inner spiritual wisdom which produces the true growth necessary to awaken them from blind impulse. By responding to force with force, the human race has inevitably led itself deeper and deeper into new problems and difficulties. Can our human friends return to their original nature? They can never return to a rustic, natural life, but individual human beings can maintain their good human nature. As Lao Tzu says, ‘Reaching the Truth calls not for complicating our minds, but rather for returning to simplicity and enjoying peace.’ /624-625

Glossary

* Yin-Yang The primordial energy, when working on the earth plane, manifests itself in a dualistic form, as two complementary energies, called yin and yang. Both of the energies can be associated with certain characteristics. However, it would be wrong to identify yin with female and yang with male. It is not that simplistic. Yin can well be associated with the female principle but this does not mean that it is identical with it. It’s actually a bit like in the cabalistic system. We talk about corresponding characteristics or elements, and the system as such is one of corresponding relationships.

Yin can be said to correspond with the female principle, the passive, receptive, soft and dark, water, clouds, the moon, the tiger, the turtle, the color black, the north, lead, the direction down or a landscape that is flat, as well as even numbers.

Yang can be said to correspond with the male principle, the active, creative, bright and hard, fire, the sun, the colors white and red, the dragon, mercury , the direction up or with a landscape that is mountainous, as well as odd numbers.

In every yin there is a bit of yang, and in every yang a bit of yin. This bit is the essence that is multiplied once the point of culmination has been passed. What that means is that for example yin moves towards its fullness in order to culminate and swap its nature into yang. Yang, when it culminates, becomes yin. That is why we can say change is programmed into the very essence of the yin-yang dualism and thus, change cannot be avoided. We can even go as far as saying that the very fact of change is the proof that we deal with a living thing. If there is no change, there is no movement and, as a result, no life. Life is change, living movement. This is what the nature of life teaches us.

Bibliography

Hua-Ching Ni
The Taoist Inner View of the Universe and the Immortal Realm
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1979, 1996

Hua-Ching Ni
The Power of Natural Healing
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1991, 1995

Hua-Ching Ni
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu
Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1991, 1995

Hua-Ching Ni
Life and Teaching of Two Immortals
Volume I, Kou Hong
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1992

Hua-Ching Ni
Life and Teaching of Two Immortals
Volume II, Chen Tuan
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1993

Hua-Ching Ni
Internal Alchemy
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1992

Hua-Ching Ni
Nurture Your Spirits
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1990

Hua-Ching Ni
I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
Revised First Edition
Santa Barbara: Seven Star Communications, 1990

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