“The life and development of the Subtlest are
eternal and infinite.
It is the Deepest Base of everything.
On It the material world exists.
It acts without violence.
… The gate from the world of matter to the hidden
world is open when one stays in calm.
The understanding of this truth comes in non-doing.
… By strictly following the primordial Path of
transformation of oneself as a consciousness,
one can cognize the Eternal Origin.
This Path is the Path to Tao.”
Lao Tse — Tao Te Ching (6,10,14)
A boy named Wen worked as an apprentice of a potter. He was an orphan.
He, supposedly, should be glad about the kind of work he had, about the everyday food he received, even though it was poor, and about the roof over his head…
But Wen did not like this monotonous life: he did not like to make the same pots and bowls every day from morning to night.
He was doing it well, he was trying his best, but he dreamt about another thing…
He wanted to be a disciple of a Master of Tao, and not of a potter!
He wanted to leave that small world of the workshop with high clay walls, which separated him from the rest of the world! He wanted to break free from the monotonous circle of life!…
… Once the potter caught Wen doing something strange. The boy molded a human figure out of clay, dried it a little, then submerged it into the water — and it disappeared…
“If I too could disappear, if I could dissolve and become invisible — I would run away from this place and find a Master of Tao,” — thought Wen.
In these dreams, he was found by his owner. And the punishment, of course, was not long in coming.
The potter was beating Wen with a bamboo stick and became more and more exasperated by the fact that the stubborn boy was not asking for mercy…
And Wen, trying to hold back his moans, was imagining that his body… would dissolve, disappear now in the air in front of the amazed potter… He knew that the Immortal Masters of Tao could do this: They disappeared and then reappeared elsewhere!…
At that time, a man appeared in the yard. About how he passed through a well locked solid door or through high clay walls around the workshop, and got inside — the angry potter and Wen speculated much later…
It was Master Heavenly Heart. He said:
“Let this boy go with Me! I’ll pay you the price that you will name.”
“… Uh… He is a very good worker and I appreciate him,” — the potter started.
He stopped punishing Wen and began to think frantically about how much money he could ask from the strange traveler. He increased the highest price ten times, expecting haggling, and called it out… For his total surprise, the visitor calmly laid out the named quantity.
From that moment, Master Heavenly Heart no longer paid any attention to the agitated potter, as if he did not exist, and talked with the boy only:
“Pack up your things, Wen!” — He said. — “You wanted to learn what the Immortal Masters of Tao know. If you go with Me, I’ll show you the way to the Abode of Tao.”
… Everything had happened so fast that Wen did not have time to wonder that the unusual Traveler knew his name… He hastily packed up his meager belongings.
Wen was still a bit afraid that this miracle was only a dream and that he would wake up soon and open his eyes… before a potter’s wheel…
But Master Heavenly Heart was real!
So Wen set off with Him.
Thus he became a disciple of Master Heavenly Heart.
* * *
Many years passed. Wen’s new life as a disciple of Master Heavenly Heart was not easy, but it gave him incredible happiness of deeper and deeper cognition of Tao and Te!
… Once Master Heavenly Heart talked with His disciples who had been cognizing under His leadership the Radiance of Te and the Infinity of Tao for many years.
That time He was explaining to them about the death of the body, and the disciples were listening to Him attentively:
“Those who never think about the moment when they leave their bodies forever — may find themselves confused, especially if they leave their bodies unexpectedly and under adverse circumstances.
“You’ve already known that souls continue to exist after the separation from their bodies.
“When the soul is dressed in its body, people are used to calling this life. When the soul leaves its body forever, they call this death…
“But when we put on our usual clothes — we are not less or more alive than when we take them off…
“Souls without their former bodies continue to exist in the state to which they were accustomed while living in their bodies. That is, they find themselves among the souls similar to them in the worlds of corresponding coarseness or subtlety. Coarse and evil souls live among those who hate and do violence. On the contrary, gentle and tender souls live in the abode of peace and caress…
“Those Who have learned to live permanently in the Mergence with Te — acquire Oneness with Te.
“And Those Who have consolidated themselves in the Mergence with Tao — obtain the Highest Abode of All the Perfect Ones.
“In youth, it seems to us that we have an infinite quantity of time ahead… Thoughts about life and death usually visit us at the end of our earthly travel. But it’s not wise! In old age, a person almost has neither time nor energy for spiritual attainments! Therefore, it makes sense for us to be always ready for the transition.
“With the loss of the body, a soul loses its ability to change itself. That is why, every moment of life in the body should not be wasted!
“For Those Who have cognized Tao — the death of Their bodies is not something terrifying! It does not take away Their achievements and wisdom!
“Thus the Perfect Ones, Who have flowed into Tao, leave the material world.
“The one who has cognized the Infinity of Tao — can accustom himself or herself to the life in the Mergence with Tao. In this case, this person will feel no fear when the time to leave the body comes. Having left the body, He or She will submerge into the Bliss of Tao!
“All of you have already started learning to enter the Mergence with Tao. And you know that Tao is endless and omnipresent.
“This is a great achievement to live in the stable Mergence with Tao.
“How can this be mastered? You can, for example, in meditation, perceive Tao as the Infinite Wall behind the anahata of your material body. And you can lean against this Wall, merge with it, and disappear in it.
“To achieve this, you, as souls, need to have the same level of subtlety as Tao.
“Moreover, since Tao is omnipresent, this Endless Wall is right here…”
Master Heavenly Heart leaned against the invisible Wall consisting of Peace of Tao and having no boundaries on the left, on the right, above and below… With the movement of the Arms of the Soul, He entered the Mergence.
Now the body of Master Heavenly Heart was filled with the Transparent Calm of Tao. His body became like a protrusion from the Infinity of Tao to the world of matter. It allowed the Master to be present simultaneously in both worlds: in the world of the Creator and in the world of the Creation.
Having showed this exercise, Master summed up:
“This is, more or less, how you can learn to live now. If you meet the death of your bodies in this state, this will mean that you haven’t learned from Me in vain!”
… After a while, when the disciples, tired from the new exercise, were having a rest, Wen asked Master Heavenly Heart:
“Will You teach us to pass through the material walls?”
“People have invented many ways of creating and destroying different walls… They either build walls to protect themselves from the weather or attacks, or destroy those defensive walls which were created by others…
“Today I’ve showed you the Greatest and Indestructible Wall of all walls!
“And if you ever need to go through the material wall with the body, I will surely teach you to do this.
“That Mergence which I showed you, you should learn to achieve not only while walking in meditation around the pond with lotuses, but also in any place. You should strengthen this Mergence and make it the habitual state in your life. Besides, you should learn to submerge into this state immediately, including under adverse circumstances, although it will take much time to master this.
“Only that one can unite himself or herself with the Great Power of Tao who has transformed everything within himself or herself into the Calm of Tao. For you, this is still a distant future. But remember that for those who have worked hard on this Path — nothing is impossible anymore!”
And Master Heavenly Heart disappeared, having moved slightly His Arms of the Soul and stepped back into the Infinite Wall consisting of the transparent Peace of Tao.
… And His disciples began to master the meditation shown to them.
* * *
Wen was a successful disciple.
On the instructions of Master Heavenly Heart, he himself founded a small monastery in the north part of China and began to teach there what he had learned from his Master.
That evening, Wen again recalled the lesson on the acceptance of the death of the body through the direct achievement of the Blissful Mergence with Tao. This filled his body with Great Peace…
“But still what a pity that the Master did not teach us the ability to pass through the material walls!” — he thought. — “This would be very useful now!”
The invasion of nomads swallowed their province, and the monastery was captured…
Wen fondly looked at his young disciples. They were sleeping on the earth floor of a dungeon and were sure that he, Wen, would save them…
A cruel leader of one of the detachments of the attackers decided to show to all the locals the strength of the new power. He wanted to show that his “gods” were “more powerful”. For this purpose, Wen and his disciples should be executed tomorrow in front of all people…
Wen did not fear the death of his body. He was sure that he would be able to meet it as his Master taught him. But his disciples… They didn’t have enough time to master many things!…
… Just five years ago, Wen had founded his small school. He had gathered there children-orphans left without parental care. He had become for them a strict father, a caring mother, and a wise teacher. He had taught them ethical principles, reading, writing, and the development of heart love for all beings. He also had taught them to make pottery. The lessons of the potter were not learned by Wen in vain. The ability to work hard and to do things needed for people had helped his little abode to always have the means of subsistence.
But all that he could teach to his pupils was only the initial stages of the Path of the cognition of Tao. He did not have time for more.
Wen again recalled the words of Master Heavenly Heart: “If you ever need to go through the material wall, then I’ll surely teach you to do this!”
Wen even smiled at the brightness of the memories… It suddenly seemed to him that he was, as before, next to his Master…
And, verily, Master Heavenly Heart filled all the space around with His Presence. And then His intangible Light became visible to Wen: thus the Immortals can manifest Themselves.
“Yes, you’re right, it’s time to fulfill My promise!” — Master Heavenly Heart said.
“There are several ways of passing through the material walls,” — He continued. — “Now it makes sense for you not only to penetrate the masonry with your bodies, but to be far away from this place.
“Come here to Me. Do with Me what I’m going to show you…”
… Wen repeated exactly the movements of consciousness, being in the Mergence with his Divine Master. His hands touched the prison walls…
He suddenly saw the smiling Face of Master Heavenly Heart… on the other side of the wall… The corridor appeared between his hands and the Hands of Master Heavenly Heart…
The disciples of Wen woke up:
“Master Wen, why is it so bright? Is it morning already?”
“Here is Master Heavenly Heart! Go to Him!…”
The disciples saw Master Heavenly Heart and passed through the corridor opened by the Power of Tao. Wen passed last — and the passage closed up.
They found themselves in another monastery — in the south of China.
The Shining Light and Master Heavenly Heart disappeared.
Han was coming joyfully to meet Wen and his disciples. He was one of the old friends of Master Heavenly Heart. Here, in the southern part of the country, there was a monastery created by Him.
* * *
The next morning, Han found Wen near a house wall. He was trying to go through it, repeating the same sequence of yesterday’s movements. He tried to do everything exactly. But the difference was that there was not the smiling Face of Master Heavenly Heart on the other side of the wall!
Wen repeated his attempts again and again until the laughter and the gentle voice of Han interrupted his efforts:
“There is one small condition about which you forgot. This condition is the Will of Tao! The actions of this type can be fulfilled only in accordance with Its Great Will! Only under this condition, the unbelievable and impossible may take place!”
* * *
The same morning in another part of the country, the guards found an unknown man in the prison instead of the monk Wen and his disciples.
Because the other prisoners were absent, He was brought to the leader of the detachment to be executed.
“Where are the others?” — the commander of the invaders asked the guards.
“They are where you can’t find them!” — Master Heavenly Heart answered instead of them.
“Who are you? And how dare you speak without my permission?” — without holding back his anger and indignation, the commander shouted.
“I am the One Who knows how things are created from the formless and how they disappear in it. I am the Perceiver of the Will of Tao and Te. I have come here to stop this senseless cruelty!”
“Well, then you are the one who will have to die!”
“It is impossible!” — Master Heavenly Heart replied with a gentle smile. — “You can’t kill Me because I am Immortal!
“However, you, as a soul, are immortal too, although you don’t understand this yet. This is why, you are the one who will die again and again as a body until the knowledge about the soul and the love for Tao becomes for you more important than the life filled with a thirst for power and material things!”
… Having decided that a mad monk was before him, the leader did not want to listen anymore and gave the order to kill the prisoner. He was very annoyed by the fact that everything was not as he expected…
Yet when the guards tried to execute Master Heavenly Heart, their weapons passed through His translucent body without causing Him any harm. The guards became horrified, and their leader felt his complete feebleness…
Calmly smiling, Master Heavenly Heart said:
“Never show your strength over the vanquished!
“Cause no harm to innocent people!
“And tell your superiors what you have seen and heard!
“Fulfill all that I have said — and only then you will be able to live your life with dignity!”
* * *
After this incident, the nomads, who seized the majority of China, did not cause harm to spiritual abodes anymore and honored the wisdom of Those Who cognized Tao.
This continued even when those nomads later came to power in all of China.
It happens that the one who is considered defeated may be stronger than the conquerors.
The spiritual knowledge about Tao and Te remained in China and passed from one generation to another, from Masters to disciples.
And always there were those who were willing to devote their lives to this cognition.