The people of good-will who seek to give meaning to their lives by following a path of personal growth are often confused as to where this path lies.
And yet, we all have within ourselves all the knowledge we need to change our lives. We have had it for thousands of years, from back when the human mind was less complex and could directly communicate with the unseen part of the universe.
This knowledge—the most precious Humanity has within its grasp—has been carefully preserved and rounded out over the centuries.
Most fortunate for the rest of human history that this knowledge is now available to everyone, thanks to the globalization of human experience in almost every domain.
The story of the life journey of Ni Hua-Ching, a modern sage, is a remarkable example of this.
Ni Hua-Ching was born into a highly spiritual family. His parents were highly accomplished individuals who taught him the basic principles of the Tao. His father, a Tao master and teacher, was also a respected and devoted doctor who carried on the legacy of his family, which has been practicing traditional Chinese medicine for thirty-eight generations.
Master Ni is heir to the wisdom transmitted through 74 generations of Tao masters—an unbroken lineage dating back two centuries before our era.
He began his training at the age of 10 and for the next 31 years studied in the mountains of China, the cradle of the tradition. It was there that he acquired and mastered the scientific, technical and transcendent aspects of Tao learning in all its richness.
He said that he learned a great deal by confronting life’s difficulties. It was upon settling in Taiwan that he began his teaching career, at the same time practicing medicine and martial arts and authoring approximately 50 works in Chinese.
However he never asserted a great deal about himself, claiming that his own simple existence was not of particular interest.
Ni Hua-Ching moved to California in 1976. It is there that he wrote his many works (over 70 to date) in English, drawing from his courses and conferences.
He said of himself,” I was not particularly gifted or encouraged. What I have achieved is through hard work and a challenging life. I have dedicated my life to supporting people who come through hardship and grow through diligent learning. This is my personal offering to all my friends.”
His two sons have followed in his footsteps—teaching, healing and writing.
Raised in the most complete form of the tradition, Master Ni nonetheless distinguishes his teachings from popular Taoism, which is a folk religion.
His teachings may appear different from conventional Taoism because he does not seek to preach nor convert but rather to offer what this path has to offer the modern world.
Thus his teachings might they seem unusual—different from those of other Tao masters. They are not presented as dogmatically Taoist, or as institutionalized practice, but rather as the path suited to the needs of the modern world. He simply calls it the way that is complete, “The Integral Way”.
While this path can stand alone, independent of reference to any other doctrine, Master Ni nonetheless gives us the cultural background from which this knowledge is derived.
His contribution has been to make available the precious ancient wisdom, delivering it as information that is easily absorbable and comprehensible. The old scriptures, based on analogical thought processes quite different from our own, are written using symbols, images and references that are quite foreign to us. Some are actually written in code. For all of these reasons, the task of deciphering them up is best left to the specialists, though it is doubtful that they themselves entirely understand their meaning. It is even difficult for Chinese scholars.
We must be grateful for Master Ni’s part in making this priceless knowledge available to all of us in all of its complex subtlety, and uniting the ancient and modern worlds.
We owe to him, among other things, his masterly elucidation of the writings of Lao Tzu; in this version the words—not a stiff, lifeless translation—truly speak to us.
His luminous presentation of the I Ching: The Book of Changes stands among his most monumental works.
When he addresses us he speaks to us as individuals, to help us through our hardships and offer us insight for our journey. Reading Master Ni may not be very different than talking to Lao Tzu himself.