Red sea through pine lattice.
Islands kneel like vassals before headlands.
Rain clouds snag on coastal ridges.
Yarrow stands spectral in the lighthouse beam.

It is difficult to take in the details of a landscape all at once. Our eyes can only focus on one point at a time. We look near, then we look far. We look left, then we look right. Our view of any one subject, if it is too large, is never whole but is a composite image in our minds. The same is true in regard to our approach to Tao.

Tao is continuous, flowing, and changing, but there is no knowing it in a single view. We rely on composite images that we form in ourselves. For a beginner, glimpses of Tao will be random and fleeting. You will stumble on it from time to time, or you will see it in the brief spaces between events. For the mature practitioner, your composite view comes from training, technique, research, and the experience of self-cultivation. But even after years, it is impossible to take in the totality.

There is a way to know Tao directly and completely. It requires the awakening of one’s spiritual force. When this happens, spirituality manifests as a brilliant light. Your mind expands into a glowing presence. Like a lighthouse, this beacon of energy becomes illumination and eye at the same time. Significantly, however, what it shows, it also knows directly. It is the light that sees.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

I got the most interesting fortune just now…

“You will soon be crossing the great waters.”

So, intrigued by this, I started poking around on the internets….

The religions born in India share a common symbol of salvation as crossing the waters. The waters represent the painful existence in the world, plagued by ills, a continual passing from life to death in samsara. Tossed about on the turbulent sea, the wayfarer finds rest only on the
other shore, the firm ground of Nirvana.
In the Judeo-Christian scriptures, crossing the waters is also a symbol of salvation, drawn from the historical tradition of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea under divine protection and later crossing the Jordan River to reach the promised land.

Carry us across,
as by a boat across the sea, for our good.
Shining bright, drive away our sin.
— Hinduism. Rig Veda 1.97.8

The body, they say, is a boat and the soul is the sailor.
Samsara is the ocean which is crossed by the great sages.
— Jainism. Uttaradhyayana Sutra 23.73

Even if you were the most sinful of sinners, Arjuna, you could cross
beyond all sin by the raft of spiritual wisdom. –Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.36

Strive and cleave the stream. Discard, O brahmin, sense-desires. Knowing
the destruction of conditioned things, be a knower of the Unmade. — Buddhism. Dhammapada 383

Few are there among men who go across to the further shore; the rest of
mankind only run about on the bank. But those who act rightly according to the teaching, as has been well taught, will cross over to the other shore, for the realm of passions is so difficult to cross. –Buddhism. Dhammapada 85-86

29. K’an / The Abysmal (Water)


This hexagram consists of a doubling of the trigram K’an. It is one of the eight hexagrams in which doubling occurs. The trigram K’an means a plunging in. A yang line has plunged in between two yin lines and is closed in by them like water in a ravine. The trigram K’an is also the middle son. The Receptive has obtained the middle line of the Creative, and thus K’an develops. As an image it represents water, the water that comes from above and is in motion on earth in streams and rivers, giving rise to all life on earth.

In man’s world K’an represents the heart, the soul locked up within the body, the principle of light inclosed in the dark–that is, reason. The name of the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has the additional meaning, “repetition of danger.” Thus the hexagram is intended to designate an objective situation to which one must become accustomed, not a subjective attitude. For danger due to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness
or guile. Hence too a ravine is used to symbolize danger; it is a situation in which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water, he can escape if he behaves correctly. — I Ching

Fun stuff, no?