Daily Tao / 74 – Accumulation

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An opening in the storming sea,
Gold deposited on bones.
Once accumulation has begun,
Take care not to interfere.

There is a fable about a pious man whose father had just died. A geomancer instructed the son to bury his father at the mouth of a sea cave. The sea opened at this spot only once in a hundred years, and a family who utilized it would experience great fortune. Although he had misgivings about this unorthodox location, the son threw the casket into the waters at the indicated time.

For weeks the son doubted what he had done. He eventually went to a competing geomancer who, out of jealousy, advised the son the raise the casket. The son did so. When the coffin was brought up and opened, the man saw that a fine layer of pure gold had already been deposited on his father’s bones — a clear indication of the auspicious transformation that had begun. In regret, the son wanted to throw his father back in, but it was too late. There was no remedying what had been done.

Spiritual practice must be uninterrupted. We may be anxious because we see very little happening on a daily basis, but we must be patient until we can see what the accumulation of our effort yields. Self-cultivation means steady, gradual progress. To stop prematurely would be more disastrous than never having started at all.

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