Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice Blessings

In honor of the Winter Solstice, this poem came into my inbox from  the Sisters of the Integral Way a group of women who nurture  and cultivate the study of the Tao in their lives.  It is an excerpt from the book, The Five Healths for a New Humanity by Hua-Ching Ni & Mao Shing Ni.  It is most gentle, very exquisite yet powerfully strong in its meaning.

玄 女 真 經 

The Teaching of the Mystical Lady

天 地 孕 育 生 民,

Heaven and Earth conceived and nurtured human life.

至 黃 帝 之 世,

Until the time of the Yellow Emperor, 

塵 世 大 亂.

The human world was in great turmoil. 

九 天 玄 女 乃 降.

A mysterious lady from the highest Heaven descended to Earth.

或 謂 玄 女 乃 北 極 玄 氣 化 形.

As it was told, the Mystical Lady was the manifestation of the

Chi, or energy, from the North Star, 

云: 輔 弱 冠 之 黃 帝 登 位,

Destined to aid the young Yellow Emperor to the throne, 

以 安 天 下.

That the human world might know peace.

黃 帝 純 質 聰 穎,

The Yellow Emperor possessed the high intelligence. 

啟 玄 女 曰:

He requested her, saying:

何 以 為 至 中 ?

How may one become truly centered? 

何 以 為 至 神 ?

How may one become most spiritually efficacious?

何 以 為 至 正 ? 

How may one achieve uprightness to the highest degree?

何 以 為 至 聖?

How may one become most sagely?

九 天 玄 女 曰:

The Lady of the Ninth Heaven said to him:

帝 位 為 至 中 ,

The position of the healthy humanity is the most centered.

帝 位 為 至 神 , 

The position of the healthy humanity is the most subtle and effective. 

帝 位 為 至 正 ,

The position of the healthy humanity is the most upright.

帝 位 為 至 聖.

The position of the healthy humanity is the most sagely.

何 以 為 至 中?

As to how to strike the true center,

發 心 若 發 箭,

Use the mind like a shooting arrow,

無 偏 但 適 中,

There should be no deflected attention,

一 舉 而 中 的.

But with one shot, it hits the target.

能 所 歸 一 處.

Concentration brings this about.

何 以 為 至 正?

As to how to be most upright,

帝 心 若 發 箭,

The heart of the emperor should be as if shooting an arrow.

不 上 亦 不 下,

Its aim cannot be too high or too low.

不 左 亦 不 右,

Nor should it be too far to the left or too far to the right.

不 差 毫 髮 適 中 的,

There should be no slight deviation from the target.

所 發 所 至 歸 一 處.

From shot to impact, the arrow’s flight should be one and precise. 

何 以 為 至 聖?

How can one be most sagely? 

上 天 下 地 人 為 中,

From the high Heaven to the Earth below,

People are the center.

上 頭 下 腹 心 為 中,

Betwixt the high head and the low belly,

The human heart is the center. 

五 官 百 骸 氣 為 中,

Among the five organs and the whole body structure,

The vital chi is the center. 

萬 般 思 慮 神 為 中,

Among all types of thinking, the conscious mind is the center.

若 能 懂 得 守 中 理,

The one who is able to understand high truth

Enjoys remaining faithful to the center.

宇 宙 一 氣 永 居 中.

The cosmos is but one energy that always remains at the center.

何 以 為 至 神?

How can one be most spiritual?

一 物 無 可 分,

It is something that cannot be further divided.

It is to be presented in metaphors 

有 以 為 光 明,

Some think of Light.

有 以 為 道 路,

Others of the Way.

有 以 為 生 命,

Some think of Life.

有 以 為 真 理,

Others of Truth,

有 以 為 永 恆,

Still others of perpetuity.

How indeed can one be the most spiritual?

合 者 為 之 有,

When things come together,

There the new can be created.

分 者 為 之 無,

When they are divided,

非 無 亦 非 有,

There can be nothing or no existence.

惟 此 是 至 神.

This is how to know the highest spirituality. 

帝 啟 曰:

The Emperor respectfully asked:

人 有 此 可 能 乎?

Can humans have this potential? 

玄 女 曰:

The Lady answered.

吾 有 中 空 理,

We have the principle to be empty centered.

且 看 離 中 虛,

Look at the trigram of Li[2],

空 明 歸 一 處,

Where the empty center stands for light.

從 此 識 初 氣.

From this, one can understand the source of chi.

帝 又 啟:

The Emperor again requested:

均 人 也 ,

If people are the same,

何 有 思 維 之 不 同?

How can their thoughts be so different?

玄 女 曰:

The Heavenly Lady replied:

人 貴 得 天 啟,

Thoughts are valued as coming from nature.

以 天 地 為 用 心 者 為 正,

Where thinking meets Heaven and Earth there is uprightness. 

失 之 私 心 , 則 不 正.

But to treat others according to personal preference,

That deviates from what is right.

發 心 通 天, 則 合 上 帝.

Set your mind on reaching the wishes of Heaven,

To concur with the will of God.

若 以 發 心 正 否 為 判.

Once the mind is made up

Right and wrong can be judged

By the resolve of the mind.

邪 正 可 分 , 道 魔 立 判.

Then right and wrong can be known

By the purpose of the mind.

帝 曰 : 天 啟 有 異 乎?

The Emperor asked: 

Does Heaven inspire human beings differently? 

玄 女 曰:天 啟 非 異,

The Heavenly Lady replied:

There is no difference.

心 有 邪 曲 耳.

But in the minds of people lie the differences.

帝 曰 : 若 以 發 心 為 上 帝 , 可 乎?

The Emperor asked:

To make the upright use of the mind the God-self, 

Can this be proper?

玄 女: 宜 其. 否 則 , 則 涉 妄 測 天 意.

The Lady responded: Yes indeed!

Otherwise, there can be wrongdoing to exploit the Heavenly will. 

人 之 所 能, 貴 其 行 其 正, 得 其 中 耳.

A human being is capable of being upright and centered,

此 為 履 踐 天 理, 自 合 天 心.

This means to realize the Heavenly Law,

To accord naturally with the Heavenly Heart. 

帝 謂 者, 此 云 天 地 之 心 耳.

That which is called the Heavenly God by humans,

Is simply the heartfelt expression of Heaven and Earth.

帝 曰: 人 為 何 能 久 生 長 年?

The Emperor asked:

How can people be long lived?

玄 女 曰 : 無 他 .

The Heavenly Lady replied: There is nothing other than

但 守 中, 知 節; 敬 事 上 帝.

To be centered, know things have their limitations, and

Respect the highest reality. 

In the universe,

There is only one great divinity that is God.

“G” represents Great,

“D” represents Divinity.

What does the “O” represent?

Whosoever knows to keep to the “O”,

God is with that

Li is the trigram of fire

in the I Ching. 下,

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