第四十四章 立戒— 知足
Fame and life, which one is dearer?
Life and goods (i.e., material wealth), which one is more valuable? Gain and loss, which one is more harmful?
Thus, excessive love (i.e., desire) must cause great spending, excessive hoarding must lead to a heavy loss.
Knowing contentment prevents disgrace, knowing when to stop can prevent danger, thus, it can last long.
Which one is more important to you, your fame or your life? Again, which one is more important to you, your wealth or your life? Have you ever thought about which is more harmful, excess or deficiency?
Anything, when overdone, results in a reduction in or even a reversal of the benefits. He Shang Gong (河上公) said: "Too much lust, then essence and spirit (i.e., the spirit of vitality) will be wasted. Too much love of wealth, then disaster will be provoked." "When alive, the excess wealth is hidden in treasuries and when dead, the excess treasures are hidden in the graves of the hills. When alive, there is a worry of being robbed and when dead, there is worry that the grave will be excavated."1
Human beings have created an emotional matrix filled with glory, dignity, wealth, power, and lust. We have been caught up in all these conscious desires and trapped in their bondage. Because of these emotions, we have lied, killed, enslaved, and abused each other. We have become greedy in our desires and hidden and suppressed our true human nature deeply inside of our subconscious awareness. For these reasons, we have been enslaved by these forms of emotional bondage and these material desires. Not only that, we will find any way possible to fulfill our selfish greediness and desires. Su, Che (蘇轍) said: "When there is too much lust after material things, then as long as they can be acquired, they will be pursued through all possible means. In this case, how can there be no waste? When the wealth hidden is too much, then the attackers will be many. In this case, how can there be no death?"2
Those who are always greedy and full of desires will be unhappy while those who are satisfied with and appreciate what they have received will be happy.
One of the most difficult qigong practices is regulating the emotional mind (tiao xin, 調心). We humans have created a society that is filled with human emotions and desires. Then, we have placed ourselves inside this matrix and suffer and fight with each other. This society (matrix) is called "square" (fang, 方) by the Daoists since there are so many square rules and dogmas to retrain human's emotions. These emotions have hindered our spiritual growth. Those who are able to jump out of this matrix are called "persons outside the square" (fang wai zhi ren, 方外之人).
Among the emotions created, just to name a few, are reputation, wealth, and greediness. However, if you compare all of these emotional gains with your health and life, then you must realize that all these emotional gains are worse than nothing. If you are able to stop your desires of pursuing all of these emotional gains, appreciate and be satisfied with what you have already gained without further greediness, then you have regulated your emotional mind. Consequently, your health and longevity can be secured.
If we look at our past, we can see that two parts, the good and the bad, have shaped human history. The good part includes love, compassion, righteousness, benevolence, and justice, and the bad part comprises greediness, selfishness, glory, dignity, and various desires such as power, gold and lust. All of these have become part of our genetic memory. Repetitive thinking and actions that are recorded in our subconscious mind create genetic memory. Behind our masks and due to negative genetic memories, we still hide dark and evil thoughts such as conquering, killing, enslaving, torturing, and raping. In qigong practice, regulating the mind means to regulate the mind of this life as well as previous lives. In order to evolve our spirit, we must continue to fortify our good genetic memory and gradually eliminate bad parts through self-recognition, awareness, awakening, and, finally, through setting our spirit free from the bondage of the past.
The most important thing needed to regulate our mind is seeing through our emotional bondage caused by our desires. If you are able to see through it, your mind will be calm, peaceful, and not trapped in the matrix. Jumping out of this human matrix and facing the true you is the first step to spiritual enlightenment. In order to reopen the third eye, we must first be truthful to others and ourselves. Otherwise, the third eye will remain closed.
1. 河上公說:"甚愛色，費精神;甚愛財，遇禍患" "生多藏于府庫，死多藏于丘墓，生有攻劫之懮，死有掘 冢探柩之患。"
The above is an excerpt from Dao De Jing: A Qigong Interpretation by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, publication date September 2018, YMAA Publication Center, ISBN 13: 9781594396199.