You could labor ten years under a master
Trying to discern whether the teachings are true.
But all you might learn is this:
One must live one’s own life.
When one starts out learning a spiritual system, there are many absolute assertions that the masters make. These must be accepted with a provisional faith: Each must be tested and proved to yourself before you can believe in them. You will be exposed to all types of esoteric knowledge, but you need only be concerned with whether or not you can make them work for yourself.
There will come an intermediate, joyous point where you find that certain techniques work even better than the scriptures claim. In the wake of these discoveries, you will also find that life continues to be just as thorny and problematic as ever. Does this mean that the study of Tao is useless? No. It only means that you have been laboring to equip yourself with skill. You must still go out and live your life to the end.
When you look back and realize that you have absorbed the teachings so thoroughly that they have become routine, it is not the time to reject the system you have learned. It is the time to utilize what you have learned. You must express yourself, take action in the world, create new circumstances for yourself and others.Only then does the long acquisition of skill become worthwhile.
a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at http://wwww.duckdaotsu.org/dao_books.html
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