Taoism > Masters


Master Lu's Sayings

When you need a teacher, he appears seemingly from the void. For each one there is an inner teacher, but to have a clearer understanding of the Way sometimes you need an outside teacher. Master Lu is the outside teacher who appears when you need him...

His teachings are simple monologues on certain themes or dialogues initiated by the disciple, from which spring up the meaning or an invitation to meditate further.

We have just published some of the master's teachings as "sayings". Some were commented.

The Heavenly Master - picture

The Civilized Tao

Me (Jhian): I often heard of Taoist morals and ethics one should take as a guide in his life. What's your opinion about this?

Master: About what?

Me: About the disciples who follow the Way: should they adopt an ethical approach concerning the World?

Master: You mean they should be good people, love animals and their neighbors, and so forth?

Me: Yes, something like that.

Master: There's no such thing in Taoism. One should follow only the Tao.

Me: Still following the Tao doesn't imply being a civilized person?

Master: What you call a civilized person?

Me: One who respects others and follows the rules. 

Master: No, there's no such civilized person.

Me: People think we should adopt civilized manners and help our fellow people and the Earth, and so forth...

Master: Then give them a civilized Tao.

Dialogue about Power

Me (Jhian):  We are looking today at people and we find them very strong, I mean they try to impose their will against the prevailing conditions. Also we know of people rejecting the will and power and choosing the meditation/introversion, the step-back style. Which is the best?

Master Lu: You mean power or stillness?

Me: We can say so.

Master Lu: Many Taoists will tell you: Man, you have to emulate the water conduct, that is, be flexible and follow the trends. This is the best.

Me: But how can one emulate the water conduct in his everyday life, I mean pragmatically?

Te Three Sages:
Three Sages: Buddha, Confucius and Lao-tzu
Master Lu: This happens on a personal level. Each individual should have the taste of his life condition and empty his mind as to follow what really is. One can not follow what is with a full mind.

(My note: One can not follow what is with a full mind, that is, based on preconceived conventions and beliefs. One needs to connect to reality and react accordingly.)

Me: The full mind is the aim of today people trying to know as much as possible about everything in the world. "Where is knowledge, there is power", they say.

Master Lu: Perhaps they would need to know that power is not similar with forcing ahead. Power is also stepping-back.

Dialogue about Power (continued)

Me: How can we practice your power theory in our everyday life?

Master Lu: We always do practice it without thinking. Even now we practice power.

Me: How?

Master Lu: You keep asking and I am responding.

Me: I am not sure I got it.

Master Lu: Well, it's simple. When you ask, you put a pressure on me. You force me to think of your question and give you an answer. When I respond, I obey your pressure...

Me: I see...

Master Lu: But this is a come-and-go kind of process. You must focus on my question and try to understand it. This way you obey my power. This happens all the time!

Me: You mean your power theory is part of nature?

Master Lu: You may say so.

Thoughts about Emptiness (wu)

One day I heard Master Lu commenting on a verse of Tao-te ching. He said: "The emptiness (wu) is the core of the secret teaching. People are looking for a secret teaching but they simply follow the path they were taught at the school. That is, a path compatible with their limited knowledge. Fact is that everybody's trying to find confirmation of his/her path when learning something new. That's why no one learns anything and no one teaches anyone anything."

My comment: I just noticed a short comparison between the emptiness of mind with Taoists and the Gnostic Christ. I thank Sarah for this. It is about a short saying in the Gospel of Thomas, where it is said that when the disciple is empty his is full of light and vice versa, when he is full, he is full of darkness. This may sound familiar to a Taoist Master of ancient times.

Still Master Lu said we are inclined to find the same teaching in every new teaching. Maybe sometimes we find similarities. Or perhaps it is only a wrong interpretation of the new information. (Jhian)

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Mistaken the False Disciple
For the True One

Master Lu: There are two kinds of people: those who follow the Tao without thinking about following, that is unconsciously; and those who try to follow the Tao through a constant effort, say, consciously. The reason is they wish to step on what is sure, leads to attainment and avoids failure.

The  benefit of people in the first category is only a certain feeling of rightness. One may say it is like going with the stream. Their benefit is only theirs, hence nobody can understand what is about.

Therefore when one says: "Look this is a Taoist (because he looks and behaves like a Taoist), I am pretty sure he mistaken the rather false Taoist for the true one!

Nobody can recognize a true Taoist. He doesn't look like a Taoist.

Lao-tzu talked about the ancient Tao Masters and pointed to their muddy figure. He couldn't recognize them either!

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Two Kinds of Wisdom

Master Lu: There are two kinds of wisdom: the practical and the static one. The practical is the wisdom which helps one doing things. It is a rather a short living wisdom because it ceases when time comes. The static one doesn't help one in doing things and looks like a store of unsold goods. People cherish the practical wisdom and leave or ignore the static one.

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Modern Living?

I just found the following verses published in a Taoist group:

    The past is gone.
    The future is unpredictable.
    All we have is now.
    Make great use of it.

Are they really Taoist? No, they are not. The past is gone, of course, but did it teach you something useful? The future is unpredictable? I don't think so - what about the I-ching divination? I-ching is part of the Taoist path learning to know the way out of the confusion of the time.

All we have is now? This is what we call a natural philosophy of living or the concept of seizing the day. We only live for today and unceasingly look for what can further excite our feelings. The entire western modern culture of TV, News and Entertainment is based on this idea. It is not Taoist at all! It is the way of living without having the whole image! By Jhian

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Tao is the Same

A new start is always a vivid source of intense feelings. Still one should consider what is really knew or if there's something that he/she could call new. Taoist thinks that there's nothing new under the sun. Only the ever lasting mixture of yin and yang. In Tao-te ching we are told that at the very beginning there was a kind of shape without shape. Lao-tzu called this "shape" Tao. It is just what I wished to say above. Tao is everywhere the same. If you wish to penetrate its "movements" just close your eyes and contemplate its essence. By Jhian.

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Lost in Tao

Me (Jhian): Someone told me that he felt like lost in Tao. It was about the starting point, he said: "When you start your Tao experience and how you know that you actually have a Tao experience". What you think about this?

Mater Lu: There's no way to feel like you are lost in the Tao. Tao is not a country or land or something alike to feel like you're lost. Tao is like a Father showing you the way. How could one feel lost in this? I really can't figure.

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Tao is not God

Question: I remember I had an argument with my wife and been very affected. I was practicing the Tao but it didn't help me. Why?

Answer: Tao is not a God. One shouldn't ask Tao to behave like God and do things to help one. Stop thinking of Tao in terms of a mighty God who can change things and do anything. If you have problems with your mate or family just keep that state of nondoing and see what happens. This is the way.

Question: Well, I was keeping that state and still there was so much suffering.

Answer: This is because Tao is not God. It doesn't help you with your suffering. Actually it brings the suffering!

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No Tao at All

Mater Lu : Sometimes we know the Tao as the Tao - sometimes it seems it vanishes so one can say: "There's no Tao at all". This is the way of the beginner: knowing that the Tao is but not having the perpetual perception of his presence.

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Tao Machine...

I once asked Master Lu if going with the Tao doesn't make one feel like he/she is a machine... No personal will, no desire...

He answered: We are all machines, indeed - as we perform various tasks machinelike. Very few are wise enough to retain what is valuable and leave the passing. By Jhian.

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The Worst Thing

Question: What is the worst thing one can do in following the Path?

Answer: Not being with Tao but only thinking of it. By Jhian.

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Tao, Good and Bad

- What is the Tao good for? asked Wu from the Northern Sea. Is it good for food, for ride or perhaps for fighting enemies?

- No, replied the Master of No Concern, it is not good for any food, ride or fighting your enemies. It is just the Lord of everything, so one shouldn't ask about good and bad.

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About the Tao-te ching Formula

- 1 gave birth to 2, and 2 to 3, and so fort. What is this for?

- I am no sure, Mater Lu responds, perhaps a math formula?

- It is from the Tao-te ching. I suspected some philosophical formula rather than a math's one.

- Well philosophy it like math, complex...

- Lao-tzu in his Tao-te ching talks about the very beggining or how all things came into being.

- 1 that leads to 2, and 2 to 3, and so forth, sounds like a natural sequence of things, continued Master Lu. Therefore this may be an illustration of how one should conceive of the Tao. This is a rather pragmatic viw. Someone could have simply said: "Tao is that simple like 1, 2, 3…, and so forth".

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The True Understanding

- Is this all that can be said about the Tao? asked someone after reading Tao-te ching.

- Yes, replied Master Lu. This is all.

- Still I don't understand much and wonder if this is because I am a beginner.

- If you think you are a beginner, yes, this is the reason. But if you don't think at all, you may touch the True Understanding, replied Master Lu.

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If Nothing Matters...

- If nothing matters in this world, why not leaving constraints and doing what you wish without concern?

- Not way, said Master Lu. Just think of the payback - you may lose your freedom. And even if this wouldn't be your case, when you cling to worldly things, you feel astray from your inner essence and lose gold for the sake of iron.

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About the Meaning of Life

- I wonder what is the meaning of life here if nothing lasts or matters, there's nothing worth dying for and no guarantee of eternal life promised by religion.

Master Lu reply :  A newborn child is not self-conscious and lives simply relying on instinct. Later on he learns a thing or two, grows up and enters life with all his heart, that is, unconsciously. But there are people who become aware of themselves and ask questions. Why this... why that...? For these people life has meaning because it allowed them to develop lucidity, be aware of what they do, of their meaning or meaningless. They discovered the charm of life. The meaning of being born is to develop and nurture this awareness which may save you at last.

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