The Clarity and Tranquility Scripture

太 上 常 清 靜 經, Tai Shang Chang Qing Jing Jing

The author of this scripture is anonymous, but the text dates to the ninth century during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE). Composed of 390 characters in ninety verses, it relies greatly on Lao Zi’s philosophy. The oldest extant commentary on this scripture was composed by Du Guang Ting (杜光庭, 850 to 933 CE), who was a prolific editor of Taoist texts. Du claims that the scripture was first put to writing by Ge Xuan (葛玄, 164 to 244 CE) and before him it was orally transmitted over numerous generations, and that the scripture itself probably dates back to the time of Western Royal Mother. The basis of this scripture is to reveal the importance of absolute clarity and tranquility of mind. It is not, as some writers extol, about eliminating desire for the sake of attaining clarity and tranquility. Rather, from practicing stillness of body and mind, unwanted desires simply cannot come forth. As the scripture states, “Tranquility without any perception of tranquility. How then can desires arise?”

See Clarity & Tranquility: A Guide for Daoist Meditation (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015) for extended commentaries on this scripture.

Clarity and Tranquility Scripture Audio for Contemplation

Discussion on Clarity

Discussion on Tranquility

Clarity & Tranquility Scripture

Scripture text excerpted from Taoist Chanting and RecitationAudio recording narrated by Mei Lan Shepherd. Copyright © 2011 by Sanctuary of Tao. All rights reserved.

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