The Book of Balance and Harmony

Discussion in 'Tao' started by Vajradhara, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Jul 10, 2003
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    Namaste all,

    this is an exerpt from the above mentioned text, the Book of Balance and Harmony. this text is a Taoist Complete Reality School text and, as such, may be somewhat unfamiliar to those adherents which practice other schools.

    this excerpt is from the section called "Songs".

    "The Sword of Wisdom"

    Ever since adepts handed on
    the secret of the sword,
    The true imperative has been upheld
    Completely, truly adamant.

    If someone asks me about
    Looking for its orgin,
    I say it is not ordinary iron.
    This lump of iron
    Comes from receptive stillness;
    When you obtain it, it rises up.

    Forging it in a glowing fire,
    Through repeated efforts
    It is refined
    and forged into steel.

    When students of the Tao
    Know this secret,
    The spirit of light is intensely powerful,
    And devils of darkness vanish.

    The subtle function of spiritual work
    Is truly hard to measure;
    I now give an explanation for you.
    In telling you about it,
    I divulge the celestial mechanism.

    Setting to work when one yang comes back,
    First have the six yangs pump the furnace bellows;
    Then the six yins work the tongs and hammer.
    When the work of firing is complete,
    it produces the sword;
    When it is first done,
    It flashes like lightening.

    Brandish it horizontally
    and a cold clear breeze arises;
    Hold it upright,
    and the shining bright moon appears.
    When the bright moon appears,
    Auspicious light illumines heaven and earth;
    Sprites and ghosts are distressed.

    It stops turbidity, brings out clarity,
    Sweeps away weird defilements;
    It slays volitility,
    cuts down aggressiveness,
    Destroys monsters:
    Influences draining away
    Vitality, energy and spirit
    All vanish in the light of the sword.

    Entanglements cut off, rumination dies down,
    And the web of feelings is rent asunder.
    Where the spiritual edge is aimed, mountains crumble;
    The demon kings of mundane planes are all routed.

    This precious sword fudamentally has no form;
    The name is set up because it has spiritual effect.
    Learning the Tao and practicing reality
    Depend on this sword;
    Without this sword,
    the Tao cannot be achieved.

    Opening up the vast darkness,
    distinguishing heaven and earth,
    Dissolving obstructions, transmuting objects -
    All is included.
    If you ask me to show it to you,
    I bring it out before you-

    Do you understand or not?

    (commentary available upon request)


  2. jiii

    jiii ...

    Sep 13, 2005
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    The last two lines here make me wonder if this was influenced by Chan Buddhism ("a flash of lightening in the dark"), or if perhaps this text was read in Chan Buddhism as it was developing alongside Taoism and Confucianism in China.
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

    Aug 30, 2005
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    Compare to The Song of Enlightenment.
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

    Jul 10, 2003
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    Namaste Jiii,

    thank you for the post.

    Complete Reality Taoism is a sycrenstic blend of Ch'an Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.

    the text, itself, is a compliation of writings from various masters of the Northern School of Complete Reality Taoism and was finalized, in the form we have it today, in the 1200's C.E.

    there are several phrases which clearly indicate the Buddhist influence upon the work, namely, the phrase "special transmission outside of doctrine" which is a common Ch'an expression.

    in terms of symbolism, this is the sword which Manjurishi is depicted weilding in later Buddhist icongraphy.


  5. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

    Oct 19, 2008
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    An excellent work, IMHO, but please do not dismiss the influence of the I Ching broughtinto the work. I find that it has proven to be a worthwhile cross-studies reference for the hap-hazard student such as I.

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