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What is "Receiving Tao?"
When we look around the world, we admire the miracles and wonders of nature. Countless things change and move simultaneously every second and yet in order and in harmony. So do our bodies. Countless biochemical reactions and physical functions occur concurrently within our bodies. Without our learning and thinking, thousands of activities happen within us. These are the actions and extension of Tao. Tao functions naturally and automatically without the need for our intention to be involved. This is the effect of Tao within us. Tao is not only in control of the universe and nature, but also in charge of every human being in his/her own actions. In other words, it is the same source that governs us, as well as everything else.
Tao is invisible and intangible, but it have been working out its magic before day one. Thereafter, languages, cultures, religious scriptures, literature, and civilization were developed. They all originate from Tao functioning within us.
People don’t realize it is Tao that has been residing and working within us. They have used “soul” to represent the confusing and yet irrefutable being. Because it is eternal and intangible, we also call it “true self.” This true self is the most abundant, brilliant, and imperishable being.
Let’s take a look at our tangible body and see if it can be the true self. We know the pictures taken throughout one’s life show different faces and expressions. We recognize people by face, but our looks change and are not permanent. The handicapped, with impaired arms or legs, can also lead a complete life. One with a transplanted animal heart is still a human being. Even our brain cells keep decreasing and changing every second from the moment we were born.
Therefore, the physical body is only the interim residence of the true self. Though it seems so real, solid and alive, it turns into dust eventually. We call it “false self” because of its tentative and transient nature. By recognizing the difference between the true self and the false self, we understand the reason and importance for us to receive Tao.
Fortunately, we are given the opportunity of receiving Tao and learning the “Three Treasures.” The Three Treasures are straightforward yet profound. The meanings and details of them will be illustrated through the ceremony of receiving Tao. Here, we only discus two issues:
First, by receiving Tao, the true self gets pointed out. It leads us to our conscience. When material pursuits surpass spiritual seeking, the true self is lost and makes us a walking corpse. In order to fulfill and satisfy the sensational desires of the false self, we may commit wrongdoings and harm others, eventually creating trouble for ourselves. Our inner conscience is identified and enlightened by receiving Tao. Thus, the body gets to work with the spirit in a mutually beneficial and harmonious way, making our lives joyful and meaningful.
Second, by receiving Tao, the front door or “Heavenly Gate” gets opened. It leads us to truth, mercy and wisdom. When we leave a house, we leave through the front door. If the front door is locked, we may have to leave through the back door, or even by breaking the window or jumping off the balcony. We may fall and get hurt by doing so. Our body is like a house, and our soul is the master who lives in the house. One day, when the body is aged and depleted and the soul has to leave, we can imagine its horror if it cannot leave through the correct exit. This is the pain and discomfort human beings experience at the coming of death and after death. As we know, for most people, when they die, their body shows stiffness, and signs of helplessness and confusion. After we receive Tao, the door of life and death will be opened.
Having received Tao and the Three Treasures, we have the opportunity to recognize the true self and the Tao that dwells within us. This will make it easier to treat people and the world conscientiously and make our lives more meaningful. Then we can transcend life and death. So if we cultivate ourselves, after our death we will be able to return to where we came from. Therefore, the heavenly Tao is also the way to return back to heaven.
【To probe further】:
The enlightenment of Tao is superior to studying thousands of sutras. This is the value of Tao. The enlightenment of Tao opens the Heavenly Gate, the front door, which is the entrance to heaven. It gives us the guarantee to be exempt from rebirth cycles and to reach eternity. The superiority of this enlightenment lies in that it surpasses Buddhas and saints, it exceeds the scope of sutras and dharmas, and it transcends the universe. Tao is therefore the Source of All Sutras, King of All Dharmas, Mother of All Buddhas, and Creator of the Universe. Transcendence of rebirth cycles leads to eternity. We have never lost Tao, and being imperishable, the Tao never deteriorates. Hence, Tao is the direct way back to heaven.