Loving Oneness Now
[NOTE: The following accounts of the lives of Lao-Tzu and Confucius are as accurate as I can make them. Understand that only anecdotal accounts have survived from more than 2500 years ago, but just because they are legends does not discount the likelihood of them having happened. Anyway, please read the following account, not as strict history, but rather for its inspirational content and spiritual message.]
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China, a vast, sprawling loosely-governed empire which, during the
later Chou Dynasty (700-221 BC) was composed of twelve major states ruled by
feudal warlords. Their loyalty to their emperor was nominal, because they looked
to him only for ceremonial religious sacrifices to heaven and earth, and for the
dishing out of numerous royal honors and material rewards to those who professed
loyalty. In the meantime the feudal lords and thousands of their city states
warred “horizontally” with each other for whatever they could take. Armies of
thousands fought frequent battles.
The common people of
China still practiced their animistic religions of believing in the spirits of natural things and phenomena. In this, at least, these farmers and workers were not far wrong because the Devaminds did
organize Nature’s ecosystems the best they could; unfortunately the human
emotions of fear and hate all too often directly interfered with this process of
China had a written
language shared by the ruling classes and the civil service, but power
was the name of the political game and education serviced the powerful ones. In the north
barbarians attacked constantly causing regular headaches to the Chinese
Administration, not to mention the cost of containing them.
To help remedy this
messy situation two
Beings decided to reincarnate in China in order to serve in different but complementary roles, one as a
Spiritual Guide and the other as a Teacher of Ethics and Rational Rule. The
Guide, it was decided, would direct his efforts mainly toward the population as
a whole, and thus the spiritual philosophy he advocated would rely heavily on
natural symbolism as its medium of appeal. The Teacher of Ethics, however would
eschew any mention of spirit, other than token nods, remaining focused on moral
conduct and social behavior.
In 604 BC Li Uhr was
born in the Hu district of the Henan Province of China to educated, gentle
parents who revered the Spirit in all Nature, and this they imbued in their
quiet and reflective son. He learned the deeper meanings behind the mystic
rituals and family rites and, even at an early age, was given to contemplation
and meditation. While his childhood was somewhat sheltered and uneventful, his
extensive and thorough education prepared him for the later role of recorder,
librarian and historian at the Court of the Chou Emperor. His work there included
making astrological and other divinations for members of the court and, as these
were laced with telepathic spiritual intuitions, it was not long before he
became known as Lao-Tzu which means “Venerable Sage”.
Lao-Tzu possessed the
kind of Mind that had to penetrate to
the core of Life, and in this pursuit
of Spiritual Truth he always turned to the Essence of Nature to find “It”.
This “It” he labeled the “Tao” which, when later committed to book form,
influenced the peoples of China for millennia. When he was 87 years old he met
his twin soul Confucius who was then 34.
(K’ung-fu-tzu) was born in 551 BC in Lu to a distinguished but poor family.
He, like his spiritual brother (Lao-Tzu), learned how to carry out the established rituals
of the family religion, but for Confucius it was the respectful reverence for
traditional customs that was most important because it lent stability and
centeredness to everyday living.
When Confucius was
only three his father died but in his extended family there were other powerful,
male role models. Hence he grew up with a sense of kindly responsibility to all
human beings, something he reflected in his first adult work as a foreman of
stores and supervisor of parks. He had married when 19 and soon had children of
All this time a deep,
inner prompting told Confucius he had
to teach, so when only 22 he broke away from proctoring to found his own school.
It had a sliding scale of fees enabling even the poor to attend. This school was
sufficiently successful that its income allowed Confucius to travel from time to
time. Throughout his life his observations of people and governments led him to
formulate the wise and humane civil and moral philosophies which he then taught
to his students and devotees.
Confucius was given
the opportunity to put into practice his principles of caring government when at
the age of 52 he was asked to accept the governorship of a province. This he did
very well until a jealous governor in a neighboring district laid plans to
topple him from power. Anticipating this overthrow Confucius resigned to resume
traveling and teaching for 13 more years. Eventually, when 69, he returned to
his family in Lu where he had two grown daughters and a son. There, at home, he
died at 72 years of age in the year 479 BC.
When the two spiritual
brothers met on
Terra in 517 BC Confucius was mesmerized by the elderly Venerable Sage who asked
him what he wanted from life.
“I would like to
increase people’s reverence for the wisdom of the Ancient Ones of China.
Master, how can I achieve this goal?”
“You must forget all
past teachings, my brother, and search only for the Tao in your heart. The Tao
is now. It can only be found in the
Confucius was puzzled
by this narrowing of time and its implications.
“How can I live in
the present when I have so much to accomplish in the future?” he asked.
“You must let go all
your desires for worldly fame,
ego-power and superficial possessions,” insisted Lao-Tzu gently. “If you
would be as free as the wind, only
when you do not need something can you
then have it and use it wisely.”
“But Master, do we
not have to get deeply involved in education, the law, and the affairs of state
to bring about beneficial changes in the hearts of the people?”
will not work because they involve the use of coercion, conceits, conditioning
and ego-power. The only way to bring about change in people’s hearts is first
to change your own. Relinquish all ego and all conflict to the Tao. Do not
struggle. Flow like a bird with the wind; swim with
the river current to the Ocean. The Tao is found in tranquility, in stillness.
Find it there and then teach the Way to those who seek you out. Tell them the
Tao is formless and the attainment of it is through non-attainment. Only the
empty can be filled with Tao. This is the only Way to Peace—for
returned home he was silent for three days, all the while wondering what Lao-Tzu
meant by these mystical words. He sensed their profound Truth, but as his own
practical preoccupation with education and ethics returned, he was soon drawn
back into the world of social involvement. The philosophical legacy of
Confucius, like Lao-Tzu’s, also influenced the peoples of China for several
thousands of years.
Lao-Tzu, at an
advanced age, became dismayed by the crookedness and degeneration of his state
government so he decided to return to his beloved Nature--to a Natural Life. When he reached the city gates the
Captain of the guard who was a devout disciple of the sage begged him to write
down a summary of his wisdom for his followers to study. Lao-Tzu agreed and
quickly brushed a scroll of some 81 stanzas known as the “Tao-te Ching”, or
the “Book of the Nature of Mind-as-such”. This completed, Lao-Tzu continued
on his Way--forever.
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Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD