The Yellow Emperor summoned Lao Tsu the Taoist and Bodhidharma the Buddhist to meet him by the Dragon Gate. Bodhidharma gathers his robe about him and seats himself at the wall. Lao Tsu reins in his ox and settles in the saddle.
‘Sages,’ says the Emperor, ‘I have a question for you, a question that deeply perplexes me.’
The two sages, faces impassive, glance at each other.
‘Our thoughts,’ continues the Emperor, ‘are spent heading for the future, away from the past, while the present slips by unnoticed. There must be more to life. I want to know what, in your opinion, is the real Meaning of Life?’
Bodhidharma at once replies, ‘If it were not His Imperial Majesty posing the question I would say seek not the truth nor cherish opinion, but out of humble respect I must ask, which life is it to which His Imperial Majesty alludes?’
Lao Tsu cuts in, ‘And where,’ addressing the Buddhist, ‘O Enlightened One, is the evidence of any other life?’
The Emperor holds up his hands. ‘Gentlemen, please. Let me rephrase the question. Why are we here?’
Again, Bodhidharma pipes up, ‘But are we here? Is this not all an illusion?’ turning to Lao Tsu, ‘Where, O Wise One, is the evidence that this is not all an illusion?’
The Taoist ignores him and looks at the Emperor. ‘Why are we here, Imperial Majesty?’ he spreads his arms, ‘Why not? Do we need a reason? What reason could there be? To sit in meditation until arms and legs wither? To pray to a god? To renounce society or to live in society? To live right? What is right?’
The Emperor thoughtfully tugs his beard. ‘What you both imply,’ he says, ‘is that there is no answer. Life has no meaning?’
Bodhidharma replies, ‘Life means what it means to you, Imperial Majesty.’
Lao Tsu urges his ox to walk away, muttering over his shoulder, ‘Just get on with it!’
~Kris Deva North integrates the principles of ancient Shamanic, Tantric and Taoist traditions with modern Life-training techniques from the Mind Dynamics of the 1970s to state-of-the-art neuro-linguistic programming of the new millenium. His experiences living with Kali-worshippers of Nepal; travelling with a Thai Buddhist monk; satsang with Shiva Saddhus in the Himalaya, Shamans of Africa, North America and Hawaii, and Aboriginal men of high degree in Australia; darshan with the Dalai Lama; witnessing last rites in Varanasi and puja with the Brahmins of Pushkar; and practising taoist, tantric and shamanic meditations and teachings on death, life and beyond, in jungle, mountains, city, beach and desert. In 2010 he published the Taoist Medicine Wheel re-published by Bear & Co Destiny Books January 2011 with contributions by Mantak Chia as ‘Taoist Shaman: Practices from the Wheel of Life.’
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