Thursday, May 05, 2005

hua hu ching

while travelling in india, one is presented with opportunities to experience and learn of many religious practices and spiritual beliefs. in the short time i've been here i've visited sacred sites, temples, monasteries, etc. and learned from practitioners of islam, hinduism, buddism and sikhism . . .

all, with the exception of islam, represent "eastern thought" . . . i used to lump islam in with those other "mysterious" eastern philosophies but, having learned, now consider islam to be "western" (i.e., of the same ilk as christianity and judaism) for three reasons: (1) it believes in a single life, followed by heaven and hell, (2) it teaches that god is opposed by evil, by satan, who tempts and destroys sinners by causing disobedience to god's laws) and (3) like christianity and judaism, muslims believe their religion is the one and only true religion, and that non-believers are spiritually condemned (tho i believe judaism is much more tolerant on the condemnation issue).

each religion has it's major scriptures: Hinduism/Vedas, Islam/Koran, Christianity/Bible, Sikhism/AdiGranth, Judaism/Torah, Buddhism/Dhammapada, etc. (it would be interesting to do an accessible comparitive study!)

yesterday, from two different sources (and media -- one electronic, the other verbal) i heard mention of the Hua Hu Ching . . . the hua hu ching (pronounced wah hoo jing) represents the unknown teachings of lao tzu, the founder of "taoism" which began in china more than 2,500 years ago . . . lao tzu's tao-te-ching or "book of reason" is taoism's major scripture, and, containing less than 5,000 words is probably the shortest of any religion's major scriptural texts. There are estimated to be more than 50 million "taoists" in the world today, mostly in china and asia (louise's daughter alli, who is 12, thinks taoism "makes alot of sense").

the tao-te-ching is one of the world's most cherished books, it has been translated into many languages and is widely quoted. but few westerners are aware of the existence of the hua hu ching, which was banned in china and exists today due to the taoist tradition of oral transmissions from master to student.

i first learned of the hua hu ching a while back when i read through a copy of kimock's, which then led to each of us comparing some of our favorite verses (the book contains 81 verses) .

the hua hu ching communicates messages of deep understanding, clarity and wisdom, and as i was packing for my trip it was one of the two books i brought along with me (the other being a guidebook to india) . . . so it was noteworthy yesterday to have it "pop-up" twice . . . taking that as a sign to be acted upon, i'm sharing here a verse (52) that i enjoy . . .

Do you think you can clear your mind by sitting constantly in silent meditation?
This makes your mind narrow, not clear.
Integral awareness is fluid and adaptable, present in all places and at all times.
That is true meditation

Who can attain clarity and simplicity by avoiding the world?
The Tao is clear and simple, and it doesn't avoid the world:

Why not simply honor your parents,
love your children,
help your brothers and sisters,
be faithful to your friends,
care for your mate with devotion,
complete your work cooperatively and joyfully,
assume responsibility for problems,
practice virtue without first demanding it of others,
understand the highest truths yet retain an ordinary manner?

That would be true clarity, true simplicity, true mastery.


i have seen a few versions of the translated hua hu ching and believe the most "accessible" is the brian walker version that is published in softcover from HarperSanFrancisco. it's a simple little book that is profound in its teachings and is beautiful to be read alone and/or shared with someone you love.