1. What is the true meaning of Tao?

In the beginning, the cosmos is a void without any form or substance. However, in this obscure state, there exists an indescribable abstruse energy. Without beginning or end, It is ever changing and continuously self-rejuvenating.

This energy created billions of galaxies, stars, and solar systems. It also created billions of life forms on Earth; including humans, animals and plants.

Solar System

Observable forms and substances make up the material world; others that cannot be observed make up the spiritual world. This mystical energy which exists in all shapes and forms fills the universe with vibrant vitality. Hence, It is the origin of all lives and the Lord of all beings. We call this energy “Tao”.

Lao-tzu said
“The Void is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. For lack of a proper name, the word Tao is forced to represent It.”

Tao has neither form nor substance. The symbol “Ο“ is reluctantly used to represent Tao. Confucianism used “—“ (the Chinese character for one) to describe Its function and purpose.
Ο“ is the motionless state of ““.
“ is the active state of “Ο“.
Tao created the universe and gave life infinite spiritual energy (the aureole).

The oldest oracle I Ching (“Classic of Changes”) calls the endless regeneration Tai-ji. 12 The changes of Tai-ji, which are described as yin and yang 2 by Taoism, are symbolized as “Buddhism Swastika” by Buddhism and the cross “Cross” by Christianity. Although the Symbols are different, the meanings are the same. The following figure depicts Its transformation.

Transformation

Ο” represents the motionless Tao. Tao, when contracted, is a point which can be symbolized by a dot “”. Tao, when expanded, becomes infinite which can be symbolized by expanding the dot into a line ““.

The actions, inactions, expansions, and contractions of Tao produce endless results. The actions (the expansions and contractions) and inactions cause It to have the two opposite attributes yin and yang.

Tao created the cosmos out of the Void.

It pervades the cosmos. There is no limit to Its abilities. It is the Void, and yet, the abstruse and mysterious energy that is indistinct from the Void. It is the Lord of all souls.

Tao endows Heaven and Earth the Truth and Order. It confers Sheng-qi 3 to plants; It gives Hun-qi 3 and Sheng-qi to animals. Furthermore, It gives human beings Ling-qi, 3 the images of Its intelligence and wisdom, in addition to Hun-qi and Sheng-qi.

All beings come from a single source,
Tao;
yet, every being has a different nature.

Tao not only manifests the state of life, It also unveils the principle, order, and characteristics of life. Inside a human, Tao disperses from a single point and circulates throughout the body; Tao becomes the center of all thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and controls all bodily functions. Everyone has Tao within themselves, yet does not know Its existence.

Tao is the Origin of mankind.

One who searches and discovers Tao becomes a Saint. One who does not know Tao becomes lost and risks the annihilation of his soul.

The way to the discovery of Tao is
Tien-Tao.

Tien-Tao, which cannot be found in any book, is the only way back to Heaven. All Scriptures and teachings of various religions only elaborate Tao. Tien-Tao must be conveyed by the Enlightened Teacher with Tien-Ming, 1 irrespective of how much reading one does or how intelligent one is.

Tao is the “aureole,” the True Water and True Fire of life. Tao has infinite wisdom and power. It is the Truth, Benevolence, and Perfection. All lives come from It and are parts of Tao. Tao is in us and we are in Tao.

A person’s behavior is the manifestation of his soul. Mankind is lost in the material world, thence mankind loses Tao. Therefore, we are unable to act completely in consonance to Tao’s characteristics: the Truth, Benevolence, and Perfection.

Confucianism uses benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom, and faith five words to represent Tao’s virtues.

  • Benevolence is creating and cultivating the universe so that the perpetual extension of life is possible.
  • Justice is providing an environment of which all beings are given an opportunity to live in abundance.
  • Propriety is governing the universe so that yin and yang are differentiated and everything is properly ordered.
  • Wisdom is having the cosmos in a state of perfect balance and harmony.
  • Faith simply denotes Tao’s incredibly still energy, the Truth, and Perfection.

These five virtues can be collectively stated as loyalty and magnanimity, similar to mercifulness taught by Buddhism and love taught by Christianity.

Confucian Saint* Mencius said:
“The feeling of pity and grief is the beginning of displaying benevolence.
The feeling of shame and disgust is the beginning of showing justice.
The feeling of concession and politeness is the beginning of reaching propriety.
The judgment of right and wrong is the beginning of exposing wisdom.”
These four virtues (benevolence, justice, propriety, and wisdom) of Tao resemble the four limbs of one’s body;
the fifth virtue (faith) resembles the head and is the core of these five virtues. The relationships among them are shown in the following diagram:

Five Virtues

+”, a symbol of Tao, depicts the relationships among them.
Faith lies in the center of the five virtues. Therefore, faith, which guides the expression of the other four virtues, is the center and the core of Tao.
Thus,

  • one who acts benevolently based on faith will perfect benevolence in his conscience;
  • one who acts justly based on faith will perfect justice in his conscience;
  • one who acts decorously based on faith will perfect propriety in his conscience;
  • and one who makes judgement based on faith will perfect his wisdom.

When one has all five virtues, he is not far from Tao.

Confucius said, “If a person does not have faith, I wonder how he can live properly in the society.”

Lao-tzu defined Tao as follows:

“Great Tao has no form nor substance,
yet It creates and cultivates Heaven and Earth.
Great Tao has no favors,
thus It governs the law and order of the cosmos.
Great Tao has no name,
but It gives life to and nourishes all beings.
Because It is so mystical and powerful,
there really is no proper word to represent It.
However, without a name,
I am afraid that others cannot relate to It.
Thus, the word “Tao” is reluctantly used to represent It.”


* Saint in Confucianism and Christianity is equivalent to Immortal in Taoism and Buddha in Buddhism.

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