ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A TRULY PRIVATE NOTE): Zhēnwŭ 真武 Perfected Warrior

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“Zhēnwŭ, also known as the Dark Warrior (Xuánwŭ 玄武) or Highest Emperor of the Dark Heaven (Xuántiān shàngdì 玄天上帝), is a divinity known for his powers of healing and exorcism. In Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE), the Dark Warrior was one of the four animals corresponding to the cardinal directions (see under siling). Usually depicted as a serpent coiled around a tortoise, the Dark Warrior was correlated with winter, water, the color black, and the constellations of the northern quadrant of the sky.”—Theodore A. Cook

Under any circumstances I could imagine myself like the Dark Warrior or Highest Emperor of the Dark Heaven, no. But I am truly correlated several months of the year with winter, water in the form of snow, the color black (typically one week every month when the moon is too small to be visible), and the constellations of the Northern Polar sky. And who we are when we try to be honest with themselves and we cannot be always sure we are right? Dark Warrior is inside us, no matter how light we look in the sunny days.

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Zhēnrén 真人 Real Man or Woman, or THE LIST FOR EVERYDAY CHECKUPS

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The perfected of old did not resent being humble.

They did not take pride in success.

They never plotted their affairs. From this basis, they could be without regret if things went wrong, remain free from self-congratulation when they went right.

They received whatever came and enjoyed it; they lost whatever went and just let it go.

Their food was plain and their breath deep. In fact, the perfected breathes all the way to the heels while the multitude breath just to the throat.

The perfected of old slept without dreaming and woke without concerns.

The perfected of old had no clue about loving life and hating death. They came to life without celebration; they left again without messiness. Calmly they came, calmly they went—and that is all. They never forgot where they came from; they never inquired about where they would end.

They could climb high places without getting scared, dive into water without getting soaked, and pass through fire without getting hot. Their understanding was such that they could rise up and join Tao at all times.

Livia Kohn, Chuang-tsu: The Tao of Perfect Happiness—Selections annotated & explained, 2011 SkyLightPaths Publishing, Chapter 6 (I put this chapter into the list, made it shorter, and changed the sequence a bit: from humbleness of a man to the highness of the Tao)