What is the Dao? It is the mystery concealed in myriad objects.
It is the treasure of good people,
and the sanctuary of bad people.
Admirable words are able to gain esteem,
admirable deeds are able to receive respect;
those bad people,
how can they be abandoned?
Therefore, when crowning the emperor and installing the three ministers,
though there are large jades offered,
before four horses,
none can be compared with the settlement of the Dao.
Why did the ancients value the Dao this much?
Didn’t they say: “Seek, and you will find,
the sins of the guilty can be forgiven”?
Thus, (the Dao) is the treasure of the world.
The Dao is vast and unlimited. It conceals everything in this universe. He Shang Gong (河上公) said: “Ao (奧) means conceal. The Dao conceals myriad objects in this universe, nothing cannot be contained.” Xiao, Tian-Shi (蕭天石) said:
“’The Dao conceals myriad objects.’ This is just like the ancient saying: ‘The Great Dao in this universe is shapeless, and (in a state of) quietness and solitude. It can be the master of myriad objects and does not wither with the four seasons.’ It transcends this universe, independent, and goes beyond time and exists alone. It is able to protect everything and also support everything. It contains everything and is also far above everything. Therefore, myriad objects respect and obey nothing but the Dao.”
Those people who have done good deeds by following the Dao treasure the Dao as most precious. However, for those who have done bad deeds by not following the Dao, if they can learn to follow the Dao, the Dao can be a sanctuary for them.
Those who are praised and have done good deeds are always rewarded with esteem and respect. However, we should not abandon those who have done bad things. If we are able to lead them to the Dao, they can be changed into good persons and avoid sin. Wu, Cheng (吳澄) said: “’Value the Dao as most precious’ means what is concealed within is precious. If good persons have gained the Dao, they will obtain these treasures. However, if bad persons have followed the Dao, their lives can be protected. Since ancient times, why has the Dao been valued as most precious? Isn’t it because when good people value the Dao, they are able to receive what they want? Isn’t it because when bad people have followed the Dao, they are able to prevent themselves from being sinful? Thus, the Dao is most precious to the world.”
To keep a country in order, an emperor is chosen and three ministers with different duties are assigned. These people are honored with big jade and precious horses; however, how can these compare with ordering the country according to the Dao?
In ancient times, people believed and valued the Dao because they knew if they looked for it, they would find it. They also understood that if those guilty persons were able to follow the Dao, all the bad deeds they have done can be forgiven. From this, we can see how the Dao can be so precious in this world. Xiao, Tian-Shi (蕭天石) said:
“The Dao, when asking for it, you acquire it. When you abandon it, you lose it. When you ask for happiness, you receive happiness. To those who are guilty, they can be absolved. Those who ask for happiness, acquire it, because they are seeking for it. Those guilty persons are exempted, because they get rid of bad deeds and are able to automatically neutralize into the Dao. In this case, how can they be guilty anymore? Therefore, it is said: ‘Disaster is because I make it happen; happiness is because I seek for it. Fortune is because I am able to turn it around.’ Chun Yang Zi (純陽子) said: ‘My life depends on me not by heaven, my fortune depends on me not by divinity.’ How true is this saying. This is why Lao Zi concluded this chapter with ‘Thus, (the Dao) is the treasure of the world’”
Qigong Interpretation and Conclusions
The Dao treats all objects the same in this universe. However, whoever follows it will benefit. Even for those who didn’t follow the Dao and have committed sinful deeds, if they can follow the Dao again, they can escape from their misfortune. For example, the body’s qi circulation follows the sun, the moon, and the earth’s natural timing (the Dao). According to Chinese medicine, our entire body’s qi circulation and distribution all have a timing that has been set due to the influence of the sun, moon, and the earth. This influence is called “zi wu liu zhu.”Zi (子) means “midnight,” wu (午) means “noontime,” and liu zhu (流注) means “the main qi flow.” When we practice qigong, if we are able to follow this natural qi flow pattern (follow the Dao), then we can gain health due to improvement of the qi’s circulation. But if we interfere in this natural qi flow pattern, we will become sick. However, if we have already been sick, when we are able to correct the mistakes and follow the Dao again, the body can heal rapidly. That’s why it implies that, to those good people (healthy people), the Dao is supremely precious since it offers them health and longevity. To those who are bad (sick people), if they are able to correct their lifestyle and follow the Dao, the Dao can bring them back to health.
When people practice qigong, they often set up practice routines (installing ministers) and hope that through this effort, the body can be made healthy. In some ways this is true. Without these practices, the qi’s circulation may become imbalanced (disorder of the country). However, the most powerful qigong practice is having a healthy lifestyle that follows the Dao. You should not wait until problems appear and then practice qigong. However, if you have already had problems with your health and can correct your poor lifestyle and follow a natural healthy lifestyle, you will be able to reestablish your health.
The above is an excerpt from The Dao De Jing: A Qigong Interpretation, Lao Tzu, Translation and Commentary by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, Pub Date September 2018 by YMAA Publication Center, ISBN 13: 978-1-59439-619-9.