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Tao Haiku - Verse 4

The mountain opens.

Master enters, villagers

despair, then forget.



Master Sha teaches: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears. When the teacher appears, grab the teacher!"

The Master will not enter where he is not invited, nor stay where his guidance is taken lightly, or not followed at all. "The Master can only teach ready students." If the people are not ready to follow the sacred teachings, Heaven may direct the Master to leave the village.

When it is time to cultivate the Tao in solitude, the Master may choose to "go to the mountain". Lao Tzu, Jesus, Milarapa, Yogananda, and countless other spiritual teachers made decisions to take refuge in harsh, secluded mountain and desert landscapes. Spiritual texts tell the stories of many Masters who chose to live in remote, inhospitable caves where they refined their Xiu Lian practice, and developed advanced spiritual abilities before returning to humanity to serve others.

Mythical tales of many ancient, highly-advanced, Taoist adepts tell of the Master perfecting his purity and "entering the mountain" upon achieving immortality. In these cases, the mountain acts as a doorway or portal for the Immortal to leave Mother Earth and return to Tao. The Chinese historian Ge Hong (283-343), author of Traditions of Divine Transcendants, documents the spiritual journey of historical Taoists such as Gan Shi, Li Babai, Li Yiqi, and others who all chose to leave civilization and trek to sacred mountains in order to return to Heaven. For each Immortal, when cracks appeared in the rock face, the mountain in front of them miraculously opened to receive them. The Master then physically entered the sacred space within as pure as a pure baby returning to its mother's womb. The rock cave then closed, sealing off access to the teacher. Witnesses reported back to the students and the villagers that the Master that had blessed and nurtured them had departed for Heaven. Those who understood the significance of the Master leaving them cried despairingly at the loss of their teacher.

But many human beings are fickle, and over time, the villagers and students forgot the Master, forgot the teachings, and were forced by their karma to continue the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation.

© Stephen Colwell, 2017 All Rights Reserved

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