Daily Tao / 279 – Stillness


Wind stirs the bamboo,
But once the wind passes,
The bamboo is silent.
Geese land in the chill pond,
But once the geese fly away,
There are no reflections.
In the same way,
Once the red dust passes,
The mind is still.

The affairs of the world are often euphemistically referred to as red dust. This is the involvement of the world that is hard to brush away and yet equally hard to hold on to. We may seek meditative detachment, but as long as the stimulations of the world continue to blow through our minds, the true stillness of meditation is impossible.

If we do not involve ourselves with the difficulties of the world, there will naturally not be an y suggestion or stimulation present. Then the mind will be still. The still mind is capable of the most supreme states of existence.

Obviously, total withdrawal from the tribulations, dangers, sensual temptations, and entanglements of everyday life would be one way of doing this. If you feel ready to do this and you have that option, then you should do so. You will find satisfaction and happiness very quickly. But if you are obligated to remain in the world for some time more, and still want to practice the art of tranquility, you must execute withdrawal on a more microcosmic scale. Then stillness is possible for at least short periods.

Daily Tao / 276 – Moon


Silver disk: Let me call you goddess —
You, with your mirrored face.
Tonight, of all nights, your shape is perfect,
Your presence sublime.
You know it too. You appear before the sun has even set,
Glorious without your cloak of night,
Gazing down in supreme splendor,
To make this dusty world pastoral.

 The queen of night is at her most perfect roundness, closer to us than at any other time of the year. She glows silver in an indigo sky.

People celebrate this night for many reasons. For some, it is the time to enjoy the view of the moon, and they toast it with sweets, wine, and tea. For others, it is a time of relaxation and thanksgiving for the harvest.

The Moon Festival is a woman’s festival, their time to worship. The harvest moon symbolizes the ascendancy of cool darkness over the bright heat of summer. This reminds us of equality in the cosmos : light and dark, male and female, heat and frost, hard and soft — all these things are part of an overall equilibrium.

If you are a woman, then tonight is your night for worship and celebration. If you are a man, then it is a night to step aside and give your wives, mothers, and sisters their privacy. But for all, we can be thankful for the riches of autumn and begin our preparations for the coming frost.