The Tao Of Snow

For four days Master Fwap, the Oracle, and I had been trekking our way through and across the winding trails that wove their way between the majestic Annapurna Himalayas. We had crossed countless lofty snow-crested summit passes and also walked in the deep shadows and pin-drop silence of their hidden valleys. Most of our time had been spent trekking without conversation. Speech didn’t seem appropriate. The sheer magnitude and sharp, stark beauty of the Annapurna Himalayas would have been degraded by conversations.

I had never seen mountains that were this beautiful. The stone- and snow-faced Annapurna Himalayas jutted straight up and disappeared into a cerulean blue sky that was broken at varying altitudes by different-colored layers of puffy clouds. Each morning and evening, as the vivid colorations of the Himalayan sunrises and sunsets flooded the skies and clouds, the Annapurna peaks were tinted with light pink, red, cyan, and deep purplish hues and shadows.

Each day of our journey I was simply more overwhelmed by the sights that greeted my eyes. The only other places that I had visited on earth that even remotely resembled the breathtaking beauty of the Annapurna Himalayas were areas along the lake in Kashmir and the stately majestic views of the Matterhorn that one gets in Zermatt, Switzerland.

On the fourth day of our journey, while resting on the western side of a prayer flag-covered pass, my mind was suddenly flooded with questions about enlightenment. For the first time in my life I really wanted to know more about the subject of Buddhist self-realization. I wanted to know how to meditate well, how many other dimensions there really were, what they were like, how karma and reincarnation worked, and what nirvana was all about.

I asked Master Fwap and the Oracle why I had suddenly become so unexpectedly interested in subjects that, up until that moment, I had heavily resisted studying.

“It is because of those who have traversed these paths before us,” Master Fwap explained, as the three of us sat facing each other in a tightly knit circle while basking in the late afternoon amber Himalayan sunlight.

“What do you mean by that?”

“As you have seen with your own eyes, prayer flags are hung along and around the tops of the passes we have been crossing together during the course of our trek these last several days. These flags have been inscribed with Sanskrit prayers by the Nepalese and Tibetan people who have walked here before us on their pilgrimages to and from the holy places of power and enlightenment that lie deep within caves that are hidden in these sacred mountains.

“It is the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims’ belief,” he continued in a reverential tone of voice, “that as their prayer flags, which they have placed along these mountain passes, flutter in the winds that flow through the Himalayas, the prayers that they have written on them are being said over and over, by the flags themselves.

“In addition, they believe the Himalayan winds that move their flags actually carry their prayers to the gods and other beings that exist in higher dimensional planes.”

“How’s that? The flags are just made of cloth, and the prayers on them are written in ink. How can pieces of cloth covered with ink possibly say prayers to the gods for the people who put them there?”

“What you see with your eyes and feel with your heart are not always the same, would you agree?” Master Fwap asked me with a tone of unexpected urgency in his voice.

“Yes, that’s true,” I automatically responded.

“Well,” he continued, “that is the case with the prayer flags the Buddhist pilgrims place around and over the Himalayan mountain passes. Yes, I agree with you, that on the surface their prayer flags are made only of ink and cloth. How could they possibly pray? Flags aren’t living beings, and only living beings can pray, isn’t that correct, from your point of view?”

“Yes,” I tentatively responded. I had the feeling I was a thread that was about to be woven into another one of Master Fwap’s Tantric Buddhist tapestries of illusion.

“If that is your point of view, you would be making a great mistake,” he remarked. “The prayer flags are alive—isn’t that correct, O great Oracle of Nepal?”

The Oracle quickly and rapidly nodded his head three times in agreement with Master Fwap’s statement.

“As you can plainly see,” Master Fwap casually remarked as he stretched out and relaxed his arms against the rough ground behind him, “the Oracle agrees with me: The flags are alive, and they are praying. The winds that whip across the Himalayan passes carry the pilgrims’ prayers into forever,” he said with complete certainty.

“Oh, come on, Master Fwap, you must be kidding. Pieces of cloth can’t pray,” I immediately snapped back at him.

“Oh, yes they can,” he said with a gentle voice.

“Oh, yes they can,” echoed the Oracle, in a deep and somber tone of voice.

“No they can’t.’” I said defiantly. “I mean, really, after all we have been through, Master Fwap, I’m open to learning new things about Buddhism and the universe—but pieces of cloth that are alive and say prayers for the pilgrims who put them there? That’s straight out of a Disney movie. You guys must be kidding me.”

“Oh, no we’re not,” said Master Fwap with certainty.

“Oh, no we’re not,” chimed in the Oracle.

“Well then, explain it to me!” I demanded in frustration.

“O, great Oracle of Nepal,” Master Fwap began, “would you be so kind as to enlighten our young American disciple as to how it is possible for inanimate prayer flags to say real prayers to the gods?”

In response to Master Fwap’s question, the Oracle leaped to his feet and then jumped up into the air. I watched his body move in an upward arc and halt, and then as I waited for him to start to fall and hit the ground, to my utter and total amazement, the Oracle didn’t come down. Instead he just hung there, suspended in the air by some invisible power, levitating his body, about three feet from the ground, right in front of me!

“Oh, yes they can,” Master Fwap said again.

“Oh, yes they can,” the levitating Oracle agreed, with a Cheshire Cat grin right out of Alice in Wonderland plastered across his face.

As I watched with awe, the Oracle continued to hover, suspended magically in the air. I was seriously speechless. Then, as he continued to levitate smoothly, several feet above the ground, he asked me the following question: “How do you keep an idiot in suspense?”

I was so freaked out by the fact that he was just hanging comfortably in the air, levitating several feet in front of me, that it took me a couple of moments before I was able to stammer out my response: “I don’t know, Master Oracle, how do you keep an idiot in suspense? I am completely clueless.”

Looking down upon me, from his levitating height, he responded, “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Master Fwap and the Oracle immediately burst into long peals of howling laughter. After their laughter had finally subsided, the levitating Oracle stretched out both of his arms in either direction as far as he could. He made some kind of a whooshing sound with his breath, and two bright white beams of light shot out from the palms of his hands and into the air and sky around him.

As I watched in awe, the light that continued to flow out from the palms of his hands illuminated the surrounding mountains, making them look viscous and surreal, as if they were some kind of vibrating wavy papier-mâché.

I rubbed my eyes to try and adjust them, but it didn’t make any difference at all. I could still distinctly see the Oracle’s levitating body lighting up and transforming the mountains that surrounded us.

The Oracle then brought down his arms and clapped his hands loudly together three times. His body gently, silently, and gracefully descended to the earth.

The Oracle was now standing in front of me, with both of his feet firmly planted on the ground. I heard Master Fwap’s voice talking to me, but it sounded very distant and faded, as if it were coming from very far away. I couldn’t discern whatever it was that he was saying to me.

Then my eyes closed of their own accord and I stopped thinking. My mind became completely still; the only thing I was aware of was the distant sound of the Himalayan wind as it rushed over the pass we had just crossed.

An immeasurable amount of time passed. I might have been on the ground with my eyes closed for a few moments or forever, I couldn’t tell the difference. Without realizing it, I had entered into some kind of tranced-out state, in which time didn’t exist the way it normally did. Everything felt momentary and yet at the same time every moment seemed like an eternity.

When I opened my eyes, I saw Master Fwap and the Oracle sitting very near me, just as they had been before the Oracle had leaped into the air and levitated. Their eyes were wide open as they both intently watched me.

Master Fwap started to speak, and this time I had no trouble understanding his words: “The prayer flags are alive with the beliefs and prayers of the Buddhist pilgrims who placed them across these passes. I do not mean this metaphorically; in all actuality they have been fully animated by the power of the pilgrims’ auras.”

“How can that be, Master Fwap?” I heard myself asking.

“Perhaps you would better understand this if we first discussed the Tao of snow,” he replied.

“What is the Tao of snow?”

“Let’s start with a definition. Tao is a Chinese word that is very hard to translate into English, because it has so many different meanings.”

“What are some of them?” I inquired with interest. I had heard the word “Tao” used before by my Kung Fu master back in the United States, but I had never really understood what he meant by it.

“Well,” he began, “Tao means the way something is or happens; it would also be equally correct to say that Tao means the movement of life. The word also suggests that there are correct and incorrect attitudes and appropriate and inappropriate ways to be and act in different situations.

“Tao is often initially easier to understand as an image,” he continued to explain. “In the East, water is most often used as the symbol for Tao. Water is something that has no particular form. It assumes the shape of any vessel that it is placed into. Tao is also seen as perennial movement. Since life is always in motion, so is Tao.

“Now, there are many different ways to move. As a snowboarder I am sure you are more aware of this than most people are.”

“Yes, but what does that have to do with Tao?”

“Well,” he responded after several moments of silence, “think about movement for a moment. All motions are not the same; some are appropriate and some are not. Appropriate motions are the motions that are the most efficient: You might say they work out the best, or that they require less energy to effect. Inappropriate motions are those that require more work and use up energy unnecessarily because they are inefficient.

“If you stand back, metaphorically speaking,” he continued, “and look at the vast panorama of existence, you will see the universe is completely efficient. Nothing is ever wasted. Life recycles itself in innumerable ways out of itself, always creating new forms out of its older forms.

“Now let us get more specific and look at the movement of water in a stream as an example of Tao,” he continued to elucidate. “When water is flowing through a riverbed and it encounters an enormous rock, it naturally flows around the rock, instead of flowing over it. It is easier for it to do so.

“But don’t underestimate the power of water! Even though a rock may be very large and solid, while water is very liquid and soft, if the water flows around the rock long enough, it begins to wear the rock down, in spite of the water’s softness and the rock’s apparent hardness. As time passes, the softness of the water will start to consume the hardness of the rock; eventually the rock will be completely worn away, and the river’s water will flow freely where once the huge rock blocked its pathway.

“So Tao is a word that signifies a way or a series of approaches to mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual situations that we encounter as we go through life. Think of the relationship between the water and the rock.

“As Buddhists, we believe that each human being has the ability to make a choice: to follow the indirect ways of Tao or to approach life in a head-on manner, as most people do.

“When the idea of Tao as a method for living and problem solving is explained to most people, their first reaction is that Tao seems like a very weak or passive way to approach things. But if you wish to produce long-term or profound effects within or around yourself, the way of Tao is the supreme method for doing so.”

I interrupted, “One of my martial arts teachers in Kung Fu talked to me in class about Tao. But it was related to fighting. He explained that trying to punch and kick your way to victory wasn’t always the best approach for dealing with extreme, confrontational situations. It was often better to use the motion and power of your opponents to defeat them, he said. Instead of blocking a punch with your arm, and maybe getting your arm bruised or broken if your opponent was skillful, he showed us how to grab our opponent’s moving arm, put a wrist lock on it, and spin our body and rotate with the motion of our attacker’s punch.

“By flowing with our opponent’s attack, instead of directly opposing it, we would be able to avoid injury and also use the power of our attacker’s energy to defeat them. We could do all of this without using up as much of our energy as we would if we responded with a series of counterattacks and opposing movements—which he told us would not only tire us out but also make us more vulnerable, if we were fighting either an experienced opponent or multiple opponents. It seems to me that you are describing a similar principle when you refer to Tao, Master Fwap.”

“Exactly, that’s it. You can deal with the situations in life head-on and wear yourself out, or you can approach them at an angle and let them wear themselves out. Back to my water and rock analogy,” Master Fwap replied, slowly and carefully enunciating each word as he spoke it.

“I think I’m beginning to understand. Maybe another example would help.”

“I am sure you have had similar experiences in snowboarding,” he continued. “There are harder ways to snowboard, where you don’t go with the flow of the snow, and there are easier ways to snowboard, where you flow with the snow. Isn’t that true?”

“Definitely. That is how you can tell a good snowboarder from a bad snowboarder. A good snowboarder lets the gravity of the mountain take him down it. A bad snowboarder is always fighting against the gravity of the mountain and uses up too much of their power straining with their leg muscles and pushing too hard against their board. At the end of a run they are tired because they kept moving their body against the mountain’s energy, instead of moving with the mountain’s energy.

“When you snowboard down a slope well, you shouldn’t really feel tired. If anything, you should feel better and have more energy afterward than you did before you began; that’s part of what makes snowboarding such an outstanding sport.

“It looks completely different when you are watching it. It’s like high diving. When you watch really good divers at the Olympics, no matter how many spins in the air they do during their dive, when they enter the water they leave almost no splash or wake. Bad divers don’t hit the water as cleanly, and there is a lot of splash.

“It’s really the same with snowboarding. When you watch an outrageous boarder board, they don’t kick up much snow, even when they are trick riding or high jumping. The angle they land on is so even that the snow is hardly even disturbed.”

“That is precisely what I was referring to when I was talking about taking an angular approach to life, rather then dealing with situations head-on,” Master Fwap responded. “As Buddhist monks we are trained to approach different situations we encounter in our inner and outer lives, and that includes problem solving, in angular ways, ways that are somewhat analogous to your diving and snowboarding metaphors.”

“What is an angular approach to problem solving like? Can you give me another explanation I can relate to?”

“It’s easy to understand,” he said with a knowing smile. “When your head hurts from trying to solve a problem and you are filled with frustration, you are trying to tackle the problem head-on. When the problem seems to solve itself or just disappears on its own, and you find the experience of solving it enjoyable, you have used an angular approach.”

“I’m not sure if I get it,” I replied. “Can you define the angular approach to living and problem solving for me in a more concrete way?”

“Sure. Let us use mathematics to understand this. Suppose you are trying to solve an equation, and no matter how many times you factor it, you can’t get your equation to balance properly. Now, the average person will simply become frustrated. They will find fault with themselves or the equation and either give up in anger or depression. If they are headstrong, they will just keep mentally pounding away at the equation, angrily looking for a proper solution to it.

“The chances they will solve a difficult equation this way are minimal,” he explained. “They may factor and refactor the equation over and over again, but if they don’t find a different angle to view the equation from, they will only be bringing the same mind-set back to the equation again and again. If their previous mind-set wasn’t able to factor the equation initially, why would it be able to later?

“Taking the angular approach to problem solving means that you would forget about the equation for a while and go and do something else. Later, in a different frame of mind, you might see the equation in an entirely new light. Then with this new frame of mind you would find it easier and more enjoyable to solve.”

“What would change a person’s frame of mind that much? Wouldn’t the person just be goofing off and running away from the problem he is trying to solve?” I asked, my interest in our conversation gradually growing.

“It could be, but that would not be employing the Taoistic angular method of problem solving. You see, my young American friend, everything in life does not have to be as complicated as you sometimes make it. When you are in a clear mental state, things are relatively easy and uncomplicated to understand and deal with. When, however, you are in a confused or highly emotional state of mind, even the easiest things in life can seem overly complicated and impossible to solve or understand.

“So, getting back to your question,” Master Fwap continued, “an angular approach to problem solving involves the use of your second attention. By allowing your second attention to move your mind to a different and higher nodal point, you gain a more advanced way to problem-solve.”

“How do you use your second attention?”

“Why, you meditate, of course!” The Oracle shouted out with a laugh.

“That’s right,” agreed Master Fwap.

“That’s right,” the Oracle echoed.

“But how is meditating on an equation going to cause me to solve it, or any other problem, for that matter? As I meditated on it, wouldn’t I just be thinking even more about the equation or the problem and get even more wrapped up and frustrated by it?”

“No,” Master Fwap replied simply.

“Knowing you, you might!” the Oracle said with a quick laugh.

“The true answer to your question,” Master Fwap said, as he smoothly resumed his explanation, “is to understand how meditation enables you to alter the nodal points of perception within your mind.”

“I think this might be easier for me to understand if you would first explain to me what a nodal point of perception is.”

“A nodal point of perception is the view you have of life at any given moment in time and space. If you were able to see into your second attention, as the Oracle and I can, you would see that you actually have countless nodal points within your nonphysical mind, deep within your second attention’s perceptual field.

“Most people have access to only one or two of these nodal points of perception,” he continued. “Persons whom most people refer to as geniuses have access to perhaps a half dozen or so of their nodal points of perception.

“In reality, there are an infinite number of nodal points of perception hidden within your second attention. In and through the practice of meditation, you can learn about and experience many or all of these nodal points. When you are very skillful in yoga, you can even consciously change nodal points at will, selecting the proper nodal point for whatever life situation or problem you currently need to deal with or solve.”

“I don’t mean to sound dumb, but I still don’t get how meditating on a particular problem is any different from sitting around and thinking about it. What’s the difference?”

“The only difficulty you are having with this is that you lack a clear understanding of what meditation truly is. When I say you should meditate on a problem in order to solve it, I mean the opposite of what you think I mean.”

“How’s that?”

“Okay, relax your mind for a moment. Now instead of trying to grasp what I am saying, just let my words flow into your second attention. Don’t try to understand or analyze them, and perhaps you will comprehend my explanation without my having to explain it to you.”

“The reason you are having a problem understanding this is that you are seeing all of this as a problem you must solve to begin with,” the Oracle casually remarked.

‘The Oracle is right,” Master Fwap said with complete conviction. “You are trying too hard to understand, and therefore you are blocking your ability to understand. Don’t ask any more questions for a few minutes. Just sit back and relax, and let my explanation become your understanding.”

“Okay, I’ll try,” I replied, without much confidence in my voice.

“It’s so easy,” Master Fwap said in an uncharacteristically strong tone of voice. “Whenever you meditate on a problem you need to deal with or solve, don’t think about it at all. In meditation you stop all of your thoughts instead. Additional thought, analysis, or speculation on what appears to be an insoluble problem for you only drains and frustrates you. You have a phrase in your English language, and even though it is uncharacteristically Buddhist in flavor, I think if I use it you will immediately understand the point: There is more than one way to skin a cat.”

“Yes, that’s a common phrase we use in America.”

“So by not thinking about a problem, and meditating on emptiness instead, you fill your mind with more energy,” he continued. “This additional psychic energy will then enable your conscious mind to call on or activate the higher nodal points in your second attention. After meditating, without knowing or understanding how your mind has managed it, the answer to the problem you are trying to solve will just come to you. That is all there is to it.”

“Okay, I’ve got that, but what does all of this have to do with the Tao of snow? I think I understand what you are talking about now in terms of problem solving and meditating. By meditating, I can change my current state of mind into a higher state of mind. In this higher state of mind, which you refer to as a higher nodal point of perception, I can see the problem differently and more clearly and from what you refer to as a different angle, and then I can come up with an answer that is correct.”

“Your boy’s got it.’” The Oracle shouted in mock surprise.

“Yes, that is correct,” Master Fwap said in a slow and patient tone of voice. “Now the true understanding of the Tao of snow, like solving your next problem—finding the secret of the missing dimensions—is a little bit more cosmically complicated.”

“Master Fwap, I think I am really starting to understand all of this,” I said. A tone of excitement began to creep into my voice.

“Beware of understandings,” warned the Oracle. “Stick with knowing nothing. When you know nothing, you will understand everything.”

“That’s correct,” Master Fwap said as a tone of approval warmed the sound of his voice. “Don’t try to reason this all out. Just let my explanations flow into your second attention, without analyzing or thinking about them, and after that everything will become perfectly clear to you.”

“But wait, you said that the Tao of snow and the secret of the missing dimensions are even more complicated. If that is the case, how will this method work on something more advanced?”

“The way to simplify a problem is by simplifying yourself,” the Oracle flatly stated.

“What the Oracle says is, of course, true,” Master Fwap agreed. “Most people try to solve or simplify a problem by working on their approach to it. A Buddhist monk occasionally does that, but usually a monk uses an angular, non-conceptual approach to solving or simplifying a complex problem or situation. Instead of simplifying or solving the problem or situation, if that can’t easily be done in a straightforward and logical manner, a Buddhist monk is trained to temporarily ignore the problem or situation and instead work on simplifying and solving himself.

“Having done so, and having accordingly reached a deeper level of clarity—which is a new view from a higher nodal point within his second attention—he returns to his previously ‘insoluble’ problem or situation. From the perspective of the new mental state he has gained by changing himself, the answer becomes immediately apparent to him.”

“In short,” the Oracle said in summation, “we believe as Buddhist monks that the best way to approach life’s complexities and answer its most difficult questions is by finding the answers—through the vehicle of meditation—within our own minds.

“We go deep within, in order to understand how to live and act in the world around us. We use the outer knowledge we have learned from others or gained through our personal experiences, but we find complicated situations are easier to solve by accessing the different nodal points within our second attention.”

“I still don’t see what this has to do with the Tao of snow. How does knowledge of the Tao of snow answer my original question: Why have I suddenly become so interested in the subject of enlightenment since we have been trekking around and over the Annapurna Himalayas, when before we came here my primary interests were snowboarding, rock and roll, martial arts, and sex?

“All of the Buddhist principles both of you have been kind enough to try and teach me have gotten my interest only because Master Fwap convinced me on our first journeys together that learning Buddhism would improve my snowboarding technique.”

“The answer to both of your questions is the same,” Master Fwap replied. “Let me explain, but as before, no more questions. Just relax and let my answer flow into your second attention; don’t try to reason it out or make sense of it. Just let my answer be enough for you now, without further questioning or explanation.

“At some point in your future, you will have done enough meditation to find the right nodal point. At that time the explanation I am about to give to you will explain everything, without your having to understand it.

“Now the Tao of snow is as follows,” he continued in a very soft and rhythmic tone of voice that caused me to have to listen carefully to and concentrate on each of his words. “It is emptiness. The Tao of snow is emptiness, at least initially. When snow falls from the Himalayan skies it has no particular vibration, you might say it is empty and pure—it has no mental impressions of its own. It is like the prayer flags before the pilgrims construct them; initially they are only cloth and ink.

“After the snow falls, people walk over it on their way from one place to another. As they walk, they are holding in their minds their conscious and subconscious thoughts, emotions, hopes, fears, and expectations, along with their overall knowledge and ignorance. All of these are then amplified by the amount of personal power they have.

“We call the sum total of a person’s mental state at any given time their aura,” he continued. “An aura is living energy, and it affects things it touches, just as your body affects something that you physically touch. The only difference is an aura leaves a psychic impression, which can be seen only with a person’s ‘psychic’ eyes, while the effects on material things you physically touch can be perceived with your physical eyes.

“Here in the Annapurna Himalayas as the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims pray and think about enlightenment, and while they walk on these trails and cross the passes that we have been crossing, their auras impart their psychic impressions not only on the Himalayan snow but on the mountains and on the paths and passes they traverse as well. You cannot see these impressions with your eyes, but your mind can telepathically feel them.

“So that’s why when we walk here, your mind is filled with their thoughts, thoughts about reincarnation, meditation, enlightenment, karma, and other metaphysical topics.

“In many of the other places you have been in the world you have been walking on ‘dirty snow.’ It is no longer crystal white and pure; it has become polluted by the lower desires and aversions of humankind.

“In Los Angeles, and even in Kathmandu, when you walk through those streets they are filled with the psychic impressions of the people who have passed down them before you. Unlike the Annapurna trails and passes, which are frequented only by the devotees of higher spiritual dimensions, the streets you normally walk on are filled with the worldly loves, hates, desires, fears, and violence of your fellow human beings.

“In aurically polluted environments, it requires more effort to be interested in enlightenment. That is why we make pilgrimages to special caves out here, in the purity of nature, far away from the unhappy and worldly impressions of our fellow human beings.

“Now you might begin to understand how the prayer flags work,” Master Fwap continued to explain with enthusiasm. “When the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims make the flags and write their prayers on them, the energy from their auras psychically charges the auric fields of the flags. The flags become positively charged with the spiritual prayers of the people who construct them, in much the same way that you can charge up and increase the power in a battery by connecting it to an electrical charger.

“Everything in the universe affects everything else. Since everything is made up of moving particles of energy, when one energy field encounters another—or as we say in Buddhism, when auras touch—they have a more profound effect on each other than you might suppose.

“That is why it is important you solve the riddle of the missing dimensions now. These very mountains, trails, and passes are attracting more and more tourists and mountain climbers each day, and they are rapidly becoming more aurically polluted. In a few short years,” he said with a laugh, “you might have to become a scuba diver and go hundreds of feet underwater to experience what you are feeling here now. It will be the last refuge of pure aura and power on our planet, the oceans’ depths. It will be the only place left that human beings have not yet polluted with their vibrations!

“So the Tao of snow,” he said in a reflective tone of voice, as if he were talking to himself, “is moving with the energy of clear understanding. This understanding is attainable in places that are pure to practice meditation. Make pilgrimages to power places and places of enlightenment to recharge yourself when you find it necessary to clear your mind. If you go to places that used to be pure but are now aurically polluted, relying on their former reputation as places of power and enlightenment, you are going against the Tao of enlightenment—if enlightenment is what you seek. You are flowing against, not with, the energy of enlightenment. You are, in other words, walking on dirty snow.

“If you seek clean snow, if that is your necessity or aesthetic preference, then you must follow the Tao of clean snow and flow wherever the purest aura exists today. You can’t rely on the old places of power and enlightenment anymore, as you would say in your colloquial Los Angeles language, those places are now ‘lined out.’ Their power has been so obscured by layers of dirty aura they won’t produce the effect your mind, body, and spirit are seeking.

“The Tao of enlightenment is always the same and is always changing. Go with its current flow, in the here and now. Adapt and change with the world and the dharma: This has always been the cornerstone of the pathway to Buddhist enlightenment: Go with the flow of the enlightened energy and not against it.”