Master Wang Chongyang (11 January 1113 – 22 January 1170)
The Fifteen Doctrines for Practitioners by Master Wang Chongyang
A person who wants to become a monk needs to go to a temple. (A practitioner must have a place to live.) Proper living conditions are what the body needs. When the body has a proper place to live, the mind is peaceful gradually, the spirit is comfortable, which is the beginning of the right way of practice. Any excessive workload will cause Qi deficiency; any excessive rest will cause Qi blockage and blood stagnation. One must keep the balance of work and rest. Keep the balanced lifestyle as a habit, one has understood the way of residence.
There are two kinds of travelers: one kind likes to go sightseeing. They travel through nature, enjoy the beautiful landscapes of mountains, rivers, flowers, and plants; or they travel to different cities, visit temples, buildings, and friends for wine and dine; or they travel to look for beautiful clothes or food. These people travel thousands of miles, spend their energy to see the world, and their minds get more and more uneasy and unsatisfied; their Qi is hurt. These are the travelers who will gain nothing.
The other kind of traveler is searching for the truth of life and death, searching for the ultimate rule of the universe. They don’t mind traveling far over mountains and rivers to look for the right masters. They never stop asking questions about Tao/Enlightenment. When they are finally inspired by one sentence, they will find the true light of life and the way to be free from life and death, and they will become "REAL(Enlightened) PEOPLE". This is the true meaning of traveling!
3. Reading books
The way of learning is not to read too many books to confuse oneself. One shall choose the book which one can understand. Reading a book is to understand the meaning; Understanding the meaning is to find the right way to practice; The right way of practice can control one’s mind. Practice the right way for a long time, one can naturally see the light of true nature, become more intelligent, and understand any books and any knowledge. Once achieved this stage, one shall keep it to oneself, shall not show off to others. One shall keep oneself in control and stay humble and modest; otherwise, it will hurt one’s life. If one doesn’t even understand the meaning of the books, but just tries to read more and memorize more books to talk about them in front of people, praising oneself, it is not helpful for practice. This way of reading books will only hurt one’s spirit and life energy. Therefore, although one can read many books, how can this way of learning help one to achieve Tao/enlightenment?
Whenever one has understood the meaning of the books/the Way, one shall keep it to oneself and not reveal it to others.
4. Usage of Medicine
Medicine is taken and made from the essence of nature. Warmth, coldness of the body can be adjusted by medicine. Medicines of strong or mild effect can be given properly and help people. Only those who have learned thoroughly can help and save people’s lives. “Blind” doctors (doctors who have not learned properly are considered as “Blind doctors”) can hurt people’s bodies. A Taoist practitioner must learn everything about medicine. Without the knowledge of medicine, one is lacking the support to practice. However, one shall not rely on medicine too much, which will also hurt one’s inner practice. One shall not be greedy about the benefits of giving medical support to people; it will hurt one’s practice. And even if one is not punished in this life (disaster happens to this person), be aware of the punishment in the next life. All Taoist practitioners must be aware of this rule.
5. Building a house (Temple)
A house made of straw or wood is to shelter our body. Sleeping in the open field is disrespect to the Sun and Moon. Luxurious and fancy houses with many carvings are not wanted by the gentlemen. Tall buildings and high halls are never for Taoist practitioners. Cutting trees is like cutting the supply of juice for the earth; selling them for money is the same as taking blood. Those who only care about the appearance but ignore inner quality are like painting a piece of bread to eat, piling up snow as food. Thus, useless efforts will end up achieving nothing. Anyone who has a clear mind shall search for the true treasure of building inside the body and figure out that the outside beautiful buildings will collapse eventually. Smart gentlemen think carefully.
6. Practice partners
Taoist practitioners stay as partners to help each other and bury each other at death. Always choose the right person to become the partner. Never become partners and then judge and choose the person. Do not fall in love with your partner because love will tie up the mind; Do not treat your partner without love because no love means no compassion. Love or no love, one needs to understand the right appropriate way. There are 3 right partners and 3 wrong partners. 3 right partners: Clear mind, wisdom, and commitment. 3 wrong partners: attached to surroundings, no wisdom, no commitment. The right partner is the foundation of practice, which is fully based on strong mindfulness. A partner is an important foundation/support of practice; therefore, do not choose the partner because of personal feelings or the appearance of the person. It is wise to choose a partner who has a clearer mind than you.
7. Meditation in sitting position
To practice meditation in a sitting position, one should have the rightful speech, behavior, and proper sitting posture. (Being a good person is the foundation of any practice.) Without this foundation, it is not real practice of meditation. With real practice of meditation in a sitting position, one can always stay peaceful 24 hours per day. No matter working, walking, sitting, or sleeping, one’s mind is stable and peaceful as a mountain. Eyes, ears, tongue, and nose are not influenced by surroundings. Any slight changes of mind mean the foundation of sitting meditations is not good enough. One who has achieved this stage of peaceful mind at all times has earned a name on the Immortals’ name list. Although living in society, one has become a human saint and does not need to look for other masters. After hundreds of years of proper practice, one can let go of the body and successfully become a true immortal and free from life and death, and free in the universe.
8. Control the mind
The way of controlling the mind means that one can always remain in a clear mind, the mind is not influenced by anything. One seems quiet and naïve, but one is attached to nothing. One has deep and broad knowledge but is not trapped by any theories and knowledge. This is called Controlled Mind. Thus, the mind is settled and cannot be shaken. When one’s mind is influenced by the surroundings and always feels confounded/confused and needs to look for something, it means that the mind is not settled. This is called Confused Mind. One shall work on the problems right away, do not let the problem go on and hurt the morality and life eventually. At all times, working, walking, sitting, or sleeping, one shall observe one’s mind and control oneself not being influenced by the surroundings. Treat it as sickness and disease!
9. Cultivate spirit
Cultivating spirit is like adjusting an instrument. The string shall not be too tight or too loose. When the strings are adjusted properly, the instrument can be played. It is also like making a sword with the right mixture of steel and tin. One shall try to understand these two examples for spiritual cultivation.
10. 5 Qi movements
Five Qi flows into the middle chamber of the body. Three YUAN (Essence, Energy, spirit) are at the top of the head. The dragon is blowing red fog, the tiger is blowing black smoke. The spirit is in the right place, energy channels are all open, the light of life energy is bright, mercury is fixed by Lead. (Taoists describe the mind as mercury, which moves and is very hard to be controlled. In physics, when you put lead into mercury, mercury can be fixed. So here means the mind is settled and totally clear and peaceful.) While the body is still on earth, the spirit can fly through heaven/sky.
11. True nature and life
The true nature is spirit, life is Qi. When true nature meets life, it is like a bird in the wind, can fly easily. As quoted from “YIN FU JIN”(Another important Taoist book): “To manage the bird depends on Qi. “ A real Taoist practitioner must understand the meaning but do not share with non-moral people, thus will be blamed by the holy spirits/Gods. True nature and life are the foundation of practice; one true practitioner must waste no time!
12. The Way of Holiness/Saints
To achieve the Way of Holiness is based on many years of fully committed hard practice and accumulation of actions of goodness. Only those enlightened minds and sages can achieve the way of Holiness/Saints. When one has achieved the Way, one is sitting at home and is able to connect with the whole universe, one is guarded by all the heavenly beings and gods. One’s name is listed in the immortals and celestial name list. Although living among people, one’s mind is liberated from the physical world.
13. Free from the 3 realms
The 3 Realms are: Desire realm, form realm, formless realm. When one’s mind is free from worries, one is free from the desire realm; when one’s mind is free from any phenomenon, one is free from the form realm; when one’s mind is free from the cognition of emptiness, one is free from the formless realm. Free from 3 realms, one is living as a celestial being. The true nature is in nirvana.
14. How to Live a life
The nature of spirit has no fixed form or phenomenon. It is not empty and it does not exist; it has no before or after; it is not lower or higher; it is not short or long. It can be anywhere when it is in use; it can be nowhere when it is hidden. When one is enlightened spiritually, one knows how to live a life. Longer or shorter, better or worse, it depends on how much effort one puts in. One shall not deliberately leave the world or stay in the world. Stay or leave naturally!
15. Free from the physical world
Free from the physical world means that the spirit is free, not the body. The body is just like the root of a lotus, the spirit is the flower. The root of the lotus must be in the mud, and the flower blossoms in the space. An enlightened person lives as a normal person physically, and his/her mind is free spiritually.
However, people are longing to live forever as immortals and leave the physical world. How foolish is this idea while they don’t understand the truth!
That is why I wrote down these 15 rules to warn all Taoist practitioners in the future. Read and think carefully until you understand.