The Venerable Master said:
When man attains the power to transcend that which changes, abiding in purity and stillness, heaven and earth are united in him.
The soul of man loves purity, but his mind is often rebellious. The mind of man loves stillness, but his desires draw him into activity. When a man is constantly able to govern his desires, his mind becomes spontaneously still. When the mind is unclouded, the soul is seen to be pure. Then, with certainty the six desires will cease to be begotten and the three poisons will be eliminated and dissolved.
The reason men do not possess the ability to achieve this is because their minds are not clear and their desires are unrestrained.
He who has the power to transcend his desires, looking within and contemplating mind, realizes that in his mind, mind is not; looking without and contemplating form, he realizes that in form, form is not; looking at things still more remote and contemplating matter, he realizes that in matter, matter is not.
Tao believes in spontaneity – not in cultivating virtues, not in creating a character, not even in conscience, they are all ego efforts, and ego is against Tao. Tao is a state of let-go: to be in tune with existence with such totality that there is no separation at all. You are not even the part, you are the whole. You are not the wave but the ocean itself. Hence there is no question of doing. Tao means being.
All other so-called religions insist on doing. They believe in commandments: “Do this, don’t do that.” They have many shoulds and should nots. The Buddhist scriptures have thirty-three thousand rules for a monk; even to remember them is impossible. People forget even what the Ten Commandments are – how can they remember thirty-three thousand rules? Their whole life will be wasted only in remembering them. When are they going to cultivate these rules? It will take millions of lives.
Maybe because of this the idea of many many lives became so significant in the East, because time is needed to cultivate. One life is not enough – even a thousand lives will not be enough – you need millions of lives to cultivate all this. In fact, the whole approach helps you to go on postponing. The tomorrow becomes bigger and bigger, almost infinite, and the today is so small that you can deceive yourself, you can say to yourself, “Let me remain whatsoever I am today; tomorrow I will change. And today, anyway, is so small, nothing much is possible. I will start tomorrow.” Of course the tomorrow never comes; it is there only in the imagination.
Tao believes in this moment; Tao has no idea of future. If you can live this moment in purity, in silence, in spontaneity, then your life is transformed. Not that you transform it: Tao transforms it, the whole transforms it. You simply allow the river to take you to the ocean; you need not push the river.
But when such great truths are put into language, difficulties arise because our language is made by us. It is not made by people like Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Ko Hsuan, it is made by the mediocre people the world is full of. Obviously, language is their invention and it carries their meanings, their attitudes towards life. So whatsoever you say is going to be somewhere inadequate – not only inadequate but deep down wrong also.