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Chapter 29: Where the Positive and Negative Meet

The Tao, the undivided, great One, gives rise to two opposite reality principles, the dark and the light, yin and yang. From yin comes the receptive feminine principle; from yang comes the creative masculine principle; from yin comes ming, life; from yang, hsing or human nature.

Each individual contains a central monad, which, at the moment of conception, splits into life and human nature, ming and hsing.

In the personal bodily existence of the individual they are represented by two other polarities, anima and animus. All during the life of the individual these two are in conflict, each striving for mastery.

If the life-energy flows downward, that is, without let or hindrance into the outer world, the anima is victorious over the animus; no Golden Flower is developed. If the life-energy is led through the “backward-flowing” process, that is, conserved, and made to “rise” instead of allowed to dissipate, the animus has been victorious. A man who holds to the way of conservation all through life may reach the stage of the Golden Flower, which then frees the ego from the conflict of the opposites, and it again becomes part of the Tao, the undivided, great One.

The old pond
Frog jumps in
The sound of water

This is one of the most famous haiku by Matsuo Basho. It has that special flavor that only awakened people are aware of. Its beauty is not only aesthetic but existential. Its fragrance is that of buddhahood.

Tao simply means that which is, with no qualification, with no adjective. Tao means: just so.

The old pond
Frog jumps in
The sound of water

Haiku is not ordinary poetry. The ordinary poetry is of imagination. The ordinary poetry is a creation of the mind. Haiku simply reflects that which is. Consciousness becomes a mirror and reflects that which confronts it. The mirror remains untouched by what it reflects.

An ugly person passes before a mirror - the mirror does not become ugly, the mirror remains in its sameness. A beautiful person passes by, the mirror does not become beautiful either. And when there is nobody to reflect, the mirror is still the same. Reflecting, not reflecting, reflecting good, reflecting bad, the mirror remains virgin. So is the consciousness of one who has awakened.

Basho was a disciple of the Zen Master, Buko. The time this incredibly beautiful haiku was born, he was living in a small hut by the side of an old pond. One day, after a brief rain, Master Buko visited Basho and asked, “How is your understanding these days?”

Remember, the Master has not asked, “How is your knowledge?” He has asked, “How is your understanding?”

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