The donkey was trotting forward slowly.
Sometimes it stopped to refresh itself with another portion of grass. Then Lao Tse got off and let it graze.
Lao Tse strove to cognize all that Huang Di opened for him as rapidly as possible.
He often asked Huang Di about his past incarnation, about those lessons of discipleship…
That day, when they again made a halt, Huang Di allowed Lao Tse to see pictures of that distant past in which Lao Tse was one of the disciples of the incarnate Great Emperor of China.
* * *
… The procession was moving slowly and solemnly. The Emperor Huang Di, sitting still in a ceremonial dress on an eminence, contemplated it. Masses of people were passing by like a river. The solemn procession seemed to be endless.
“An incarnate God has come out to people! How can He bear such endless ceremonies? Will I be really admitted to a personal meeting?” — Lao Tse recalled those events as clearly as if they were happening to Him again at that moment.
The ceremony ended. The guards led a few invited people into the inner chambers of the palace of Huang Di.
Only many years of meditative practice allowed Lao Tse to overcome agitation and enter the room calmly… Several disciples were already there.
Huang Di tenderly looked at the newcomer. He seemed to be different, not that deity from the festive ceremony. Although the Divine Greatness and Calm were like Transparent Ocean around His body, He was also just a wise and kind man.
Huang Di said:
“I am glad to greet you all here! The fact that you were invited indicates your substantial progress on the Path of cognition of Tao. I hope that they didn’t forget to accommodate you and feed you in the bustle of the festivity!”
… It was quite surprising to observe how His Universal Greatness combined with an understanding of the common human needs of His students.
… Very soon new disciples of Huang Di got accustomed to His corporal appearance and to the living presence of God in a human body. His presence near them was no longer a heavenly miracle that caused stupefaction because of piety… They could ask questions and listen to His answers, and they did not lose their power of speech when the Divine Ruler of the Under-Heavenly World addressed any one of them personally.
… During the learning process, He sometimes invited them to the room for conversations. Other times He carried all of them together with their bodies — by His Power — to other places of China, to the mountains, valleys, or to the ocean shore, and then His lessons took place there.
… Now Lao Tse saw himself among the disciples of Huang Di. They were in the room for conversations and were listening to the words of the Great Master.
Huang Di was sitting next to them like an equal among equals and spoke. It was as if there was no distance between the Immortal Master and His disciples. By this, He also helped them to ascend to the heights of His Divine Awareness.
The Ocean of the Living Light of Huang Di was above and below in relation to our planet… His Boundlessness stretched throughout the whole Under-Heavenly World! Yet He was also in His body by a Part of Himself. He was sitting with His disciples in one room, explaining to them the fundamentals of the Path. The Great Soul, Which permeated everything that exists with Its Living Light, was fixed to a human appearance!
As soon as any of the disciples opened the gates to his or her spiritual heart — the Heavenly Palace of that disciple became filled with the Love of Huang Di!
Here He was — the Divine Emperor of the whole Under-Heavenly World and the Emperor of their lives!
His eyes were calm, and when He smiled slightly, His Bliss embraced them all.
“Whenever you lift your eyes to the sky, remember that the Heavens exist around all the Earth and within it. I fill them!
“I embrace everything with My Heart!
“Such is My Omnipresence!
“No matter from where you call Me — I immediately can come at your call!
“I am above everything and under everything!
“I am not the only One! There are other Greatest Souls! Yet it is always easier to call that Friend Whom you know well!
“Now you may ask questions — and I’ll answer to you.”
One of the disciples asked:
“Why do almost all people live their lives as if Tao and Te didn’t exist?”
“The Appearances of Te are not visible for a person with an ordinary sight! Only loving, gentle, refined and great spiritual heart gains the ability to see Them!
“Diseases and other afflictions can easily overcome a body that carries inside it a little soul.
“Those who do not feel joy and Light but look only at their problems and sorrows, seeing only darkness, are also unstable in their lives.
“People should study and practice the ways of the purification of souls and bodies! Only then joy will come into their lives!
“The art of living and growing by soul — stable in subtle and tender love — becomes the great support in life! A person who lives like this will be able soon to see Immortal Te and rely on Their Guidance on the Path of the cognition of Them and Tao!
“Such people, as souls, begin to blossom and obtain for themselves the unshakeable Base of all things — Tao!”
… Huang Di looked at another disciple and he asked:
“How should we help people? I ask this because only very few of them want to hear sage advice! Moreover, even those who have heard it usually object and don’t do the things that could benefit them!”
“Those who are weak and irresolute, those who haven’t matured on the terrestrial roads, and those who seek only self-assertion and are obsessed by the passion for the worldly should be left to their fates. Don’t try to help them to reach those peaks which are beyond their strength!
“At first, every person develops slowly. People experience what they wish and need to experience. Through this, they obtain — life after life — a lot of different experience: sweetness of success, bliss of happiness, bitterness of defeat, sadness of disappointment… Only afterwards, the time comes when nothing attracts them inside the world of things; nothing can evoke in them a desire to possess something else material.
“Then such people start seeking the meaning of their existence and turn their eyes of the soul to Tao! In that case, Te bring them to the road of knowledge.
“Not all people need the Truth about Tao, since not all of them can withstand it right now! A soul has to grow in its personal evolution up to the stage when the passion to cognize Tao rises in it! It’s impossible to teach this!
“You should learn to see and find those who really need the Path.”
… Another disciple asked:
“I want to know if one should renounce worldly riches and if the material wealth is an obstacle on the Path.”
“As long as worldly wealth doesn’t ‘bind’ a soul — it can be useful. However, how many of those who, owning gold and silver, palaces and lands, jade and jasper, are free of those material objects?
“On the other hand, a poor person is also not free from the worldly. The poverty fetters one’s personal development even more, since the one who is poor is constantly concerned about what to eat and where to get money for living. This ‘attachment’ to the worldly causes even more harm to this person than the excessive possession of the worldly things!
“To be truly free from the worldly, such a person has to acquire it first…
“Moreover, those who have never obtained anything important of the worldly things haven’t learned yet to use correctly their property… That is why there is little hope that they will be able to accumulate spiritual treasures and use them properly! For example, they won’t be able to give the accumulated sacred treasures to Tao, Which sent them to the Earth for their education!
“That is why souls don’t come to the Earth only once. By incarnating many times, they should learn a great deal both in the material world and in the worlds of the Divine subtlety.
“Among other things, they should cognize love in all its manifestations. The one who is skillful in the earthly love can become skillful in the heavenly love. On the contrary, the one who is not skillful in the worldly love will not be able to comprehend and manifest the power of the transforming spiritual love!
“For this reason, people first learn to love in small things, where joys alternate with sadnesses.
“On the other hand, the one who really has cognized and realized in oneself the Divine Love cannot be upset by anything! It is so, because that person acts according to the Will of Tao!
“… As for those who are not ready yet for the Great Path — they can serve Tao with their deeds. It will make their lives even better now, and their future destinies excellent! By serving in this way, they will plant good seeds in their destinies: the good that is done now will produce fruits for them in their future lives on the Earth.
“The destinies of those who serve Tao by every possible means are pure and beautiful!”