Why Lao Tze never mentioned about Taoist magic in his Taoism or Tao Te Ching? This leads to the debate of what Taoism really is about. If it’s about all that spiritual stuff such as the Yuen Sun (spiritual planetary body) as we have introduced in our article of “What is Taoism” and “What is the Yuen Sun”, then why isn’t it mentioned in Tao Te Ching or any of Lao Tze’s work? Most westerners are very familiar with Tao Te Ching because it’s all over the bookstores and even free to read online with zillions of translated versions. Yet, do you think that’s really all of what Taoism is about?
There is a very huge part of Taoism, including Taoist magic that is not exposed to the majority of what we call the “outsiders”. Maybe you won’t believe it, but look at how most Chinese look at “foreigners” and how they categorize their own people versus “Gwai Lo”? There is a huge wall between Chinese and the non-Chinese races. The more “traditional” the Chinese is, the more pride they have in their own culture and the thicker this wall will be. Even Japanese or Koreans are both similar to the Chinese, yet, the Chinese do not see them as ‘brothers” or anything close to themselves. They are all “foreigners” to the Chinese. This mindset is still very strongly embedded in the Chinese today, and to learn about Taoism, an ancient form of wisdom, do you think people will put everything out like an open-source and free-to-learn subject?
Lao Tze and Magic?
Lao Tze never mentioned about “Taoist Magic” in Tao Te Ching, but he told you about it already, while you don’t understand his words due to the lack of “Sum Faat 心法”. Here is an example, and a lot of people know this passage because it’s the first page out of the whole book. This is not a translation from others, but more of a translation directly from the Chinese passages.
“Tao that can be Tao, is not an ordinary Tao” 道可道，非常道
“Name that can be named, not an ordinary name” 名可名，非常名
These two lines are not directly telling you that it’s something in Taoist magic, but it is if you got the teachings directly from a sifu. Most of the people who sees us having a bunch of statues on the altar will think that we are really “worshiping” some kinds of people, maybe even “Lao Tze” or something like that, and that is why people from the other cultures want to call this kind of Taoism “religious Taoism”. You will be surprised when you learn about what the statues is really for, and it’s really not used for worshiping anyone, nor any entities, spirits or gods and supreme beings.
As the two lines above told you already, it’s not what you used to know and all things are not what they used to be. It’s like saying coffee is not coffee, it just looks like coffee.
The definition of the word “Tao 道” is clearly explained in our article on “What is Taoism” already. In short, it means the leading essence that carries a whole system or universe to a certain path or direction. For example, the founder of a company is the Tao of the company. His intention will change the whole direction of the company itself, leading to a different path or future.
The two lines of Tao Te Ching basically told us, if you can swap the Tao of things, it is not the same thing anymore. Even the name is the same, it’s not the same thing anymore. You can imagine yourself being kidnapped by a psychopath scientist one day, and he made a clone of you. Now there is a second you with the same body, same voice, but the this is a clone, and it does not have your souls and all the spiritual stuff inside, and it’s not you. The “Tao” of this clone is not the same as yours, meaning that, it does not have the same Yuen Sun as you, and so it is not you. Even they are looking the same, named the same, they are not the same.
This basically tells you the core concept of magic, which in our lineage, is called Hung Sum Kuet 空心訣, meaning the method of emptying the heart.
The Magic of Emptiness
A lot of people who are researching into these Tao Te Ching and such are confused about all these vague and abstract things in the text, and why they talk about all the stillness, emptiness and oneness? What are we supposed to do in Taoism and why do all these matters to us?
Relating to the concept above, you can see that if you empty out the Tao of something, they are not the same thing anymore. It means, if you can see everything in this world as a “container”, then you can sub your own Tao in there, which is how magic is done.
Our article of “Statues in Taoism” tells it all. You see the statues as 3 old dudes sitting there, but they are not for worshiping the old dudes. You might be saying a spell that means something on the surface, but it does not mean that inside. That’s basically how magic is done. You empty the guts of things and put your own guts in there and there goes magic.
What are the guts? Or the “Tao” that things need?
For a human being, our Tao, is the Yuen Sun, a spiritual planetary body, which is what can give us the “essence of life”. In short, we call that Pre-Heaven energies. This energy triggers up intention, pushes you to think and process the essence, then output the final results in reality.
If you can become the Yuen Sun of something, then you basically can turn all these things into your magical tools. A statue in Taoist magic is just like that. The statue is not a living object, and it does not have any Tao or essence in it.
We use our own essence and intention to stuff it up and now the statue is mine. You think that the statue is a statue of Lao Tze, because your mind is stuck with this name. If you give it to someone who doesn’t know about Lao Tze, they will say it’s just a statue of an old man sitting on the chair.
To me, because I do magic, I infuse my own intention into it and now this is a statue for me to gather up more and more of my “essence” daily, shaping it to a property that corresponds to the statue’s appearance, and later I will use the shaped energy for other things. I can withdraw energies from this container (the statue) anytime and injects it into another person to empowers them too. We do not use statues to worship anyone, because we use them as “containers”!
You might see that we have a wooden sword in magic, which is famous for being a ghost-buster’s weapons in the movies. Most people think that a sword must be a weapon for killing spirits, just like a sword in reality. Well, that is not true. In Taoist magic, a sword is not a sword in reality, because you can dump the guts out and put in your own guts, using it for something else. We take the property of a sword, that has this structure and property, and so we use it like a needle that can poke into the energy field of things, and suck out energies from one place, then injects them into another place, just like how you would use a syringe in real life. This is not the only way to use a magic sword, but at least you can see how the theory from the 2 lines of Tao Te Ching is applied to Taoist magic in Taoism.
Did Lao Tze Knows Magic
It really doesn’t matter if Lao Tze knows magic or not, but what he has stated in the Tao Te Ching is clearly not all of what he will teach to a disciple, and you can’t just take the cover of a book and say that’s what inside the whole book. Tao Te Ching does not represent everything in Taoism, nor even Lao Tze himself. Even the smartest scientist or chef in the world cannot sum up their whole life of experience into one tiny book. What you can do is to summarize everything in a nutshell, and give people a basic guideline or the “essence” of your knowledge. Then if they are really learning from you, all the guidelines and “essences” will make sense and unleash its potentials.
Tao Te Ching is a very broad and abstract book, with tons of ancient text that most people don’t really understand today. Even for those scholars who tried to translate it mostly got it all wrong and weird because they aren’t even Taoist themselves. With the enclosed culture in China, no real master will just unleash their teachings in a book and dump it to the public. What you can see is only the surface of things they know, and it is there for one purpose – to let those who have fate to learn the knowledge be able to pick it up, and then find a master who can guide them to understand the path for real.
You can imagine a chef trying to write a very short cookbook that talks about cooking skills, the chef won’t teach you all the tricks and prep work in the book, but maybe some broad ideas and some small “rules of thumb” to open you up to the world of cooking. Once you get into a real cooking school or maybe really learning under a chef, then all these things will “make sense” to you, because now you have placed the broad ideas into the correct subject, and now all the knowledge will fall into place.
Why Lao Tze never mentioned about Taoist magic in his books? He already did, it’s just that you don’t understand it and people are trying to find what they want to find when interpreting the book.
There is no philosophy Taoism and religious Taoism, to be exact. Taoism is Taoism, and everything is together as one, it’s just that some people only get the surface of Taoism, and they choose to ignore the rest, or not want to dig into the real cultivations, then there goes an “offshoot” of the path.
Taoism is about analyzing nature, to gain wisdom. This wisdom is for knowing what’s beyond, and what is life. What’s you before you are born? Understanding how nature works, then you can apply all the knowledge into your life, and your life beyond the life here in this physical world. In short, the Tao of a human being is the Yuen Sun, and so Taoism is to lead you to find out about your Yuen Sun, repairing it, protecting it and even to witness it yourself.
Lao Tze doesn't have a computer back then, and those bamboo scrolls are hard to write on. Everyone have to keep things concise and short. How can he even explain all these deep and hard-to-understand theories in the little scroll?
Leave it for the disciples to learn when they ordain and learn by face-to-face teaching, and by then they will get it!
Taoist magic is always a part of Taoism, or else, the Tao that Taoism talks about is not even going to make sense. Why do you need to analyze nature and all that? Because you want to know about yourself and know about how nature works, how life works, and how to prepare for the life beyond this one.
Taoism is supposed to be something that you can learn to improve life and open you up to things beyond this life.
Without the cultivation of Taoist magic, the whole journey is not even possible. How can you touch the spiritual dimensions without cultivating for the spiritual energies? Just doing some Tai Chi and reading a book don’t bring you anywhere near this zone. Doing Chi Kung exercises and such without the cultivation of magic don’t even touch the pre-heaven dimensions. If you actually dig into history, every Taoist in Chinese history practice Taoist magic, and there isn’t such thing as just a philosophy of Taoism. It’s the archeologists who just studied the text they dug up from the graves and calling it “philosophy Taoism” because they only have the “shell” of Taoism.
Remember our lesson above? You cannot just take the containers and judge it by the look. My statues might look like I am praying or worshiping to three old dudes, but they are not even related to any “dudes”. You take a book that gives you the surface of Taoism and tries to judge what’s inside? Maybe you won’t see the real Taoism no matter how many times you flipped the pages. Real Taoism is to be inherited and learned from a sifu, a master, and not a book. If you are really a truth seeker, you might want to start learning some real deal, such as Saam Law Sun Gung Taoism.