(Research and Translation by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD) Maozi said: Even to mention the Way (道 – Dao) is to demonstrate the profound direction of movement.
Etymology: 屳 (xian1) – Seeking Immortality 入 (ru4) i.e. ‘enter’ + 山 (shan1) i.e. ‘mountain’ = 屳 (xian) – ‘entering a mountain’ (to attain Daoist
However, illness for many (even within privileged societies) is an everyday reality, particularly if there is no cure, or the case that medicines can only ‘control’ the situation for a time. Even in China where Daoism is an ancient medicalised spirituality, people who are ill keep themselves as ‘free’ of angst as possible, and seek to detach a ‘clear’ mind from an ill body as much as possible.
How can ‘dying’ have a beneficial effect for the human species? It appears that the immortal sex cells use the mortal physical body as a vehicle for propagation from one generation to the next, and that in so doing, it is important that these vehicles fall away so that ‘new’ combinations of sex cells are achieved through reproduction.
As the climate is humid, and peaks high, and the area inaccessible, Daoist practitioners had to diligently practice their health and longevity self-cultivation techniques – which included the ability to strengthen the bones and joints, and live for long periods with adequate food supplies. The ability to defend themselves from violent attack was also very important, as they often encountered bandits, wild animals, or were subject to natural disasters. Therefore, due to this necessity, the Daoist communities on the Qing Cheng Mountains have produced many very good martial arts masters.
Genuine self-cultivation can only be achieved after the mind has been developed through discipline. The mind is developed in two ways – by cultivating the permanent states of virtue and selflessness. Cause and effect is entirely dependent upon our own physical actions which produce either blessings or misfortune – but only the realised state of wuwei (non-action) in the mind and body is considered real. Even spirits and ghosts have their method – but their cycle of endless transformation is difficult to discern.