From Liu Yiming on the Essential Purity

Simple vase

Pottery and Decoration

Camel simplicity

Photo courtesy of R. Atkins

Speaking of essential purity, Liu Yiming wrote these words.

Pottery has a basic constitution, and is without artifice. Decorate it with colors, inlay it with gold and jade, and though it may be beautifully adorned, it has lost its basic constitution. What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of returning to simplicity and going back to purity.                                                                                                                                

Purity and Delusion

The basic constitution of human beings at birth is pure and flawless. But when this mixes with temporal conditioning, this activates senses and objects, and intellectual knowledge opens up. Added to this are accumulating habits and attachments. Drink deludes those who like drink, while sex deludes those who like sex. Material goods delude those who like material goods, while energy deludes those who like energy. And wealth and status deludes those who like wealth and status.

People pursue their ambitions with all sorts of scheming and cleverness, while following their desires with deceit and hypocrisy. All their doings, all of their actions, are in pursuit of the false. Since they take what is painful for pleasure, they take poison for medicine. Hence their original basic constitution is completely buried. This ultimately goes to such an extreme that they lose their health and forfeit their lives without a care. They bring calamity and misfortune on themselves without even realizing it.  

Returning to Simplicity                                                                                                            

Simple vase

Chinese T’ang Vase

So this is why the ancient sages taught people to understand the good and go back to the beginning. To return to simplicity and purity, to restore the original state. When you restore the original state, you are clean and naked. Without a trace of defilement, leaving off clinging to objects entirely. This state is the embryo of sagehood, the seed of immortal enlightenment. This is what is called the real human being.  

  • Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao 

The Marvel of the Tao 

The Tao is a treasure. If you understand it, it can extend your lifespan. This has nothing to do with material alchemy. It is utterly simple, utterly easy. There is no difficulty. It is completely spiritual; true goodness. The ridiculous thing is that foolish people seek mysterious marvels, but do not know enough to preserve the mysterious marvel that is actually present. 

  • Liu Yiming, Awakening to the Tao