3 Pathways

Taoism - 3 pathways


Centered in the human (spiritual) heart, kindness encompasses giving, loving, caring, supporting, accepting, embracing, thanking, forgiving, it concerns the well-being of oneself and others, and expressed in different forms of loves, parental love, marital love, and love of relatives, friends, fellow citizens, those in need and even strangers in other parts of the world.  The bigger one’s (spiritual) heart is, the more one can embrace and be kind to.

In daily practice, one strives to cultivate this kindness by choosing and living it in different situations in life: to oneself, to family, to those met in daily life, and to those come across in one’s mind and awareness. Wish them well, whoever and whenever come across in life, be kind to them, embrace them, support them, forgive them if they hurt you, until all there left is love and peace. This is the pathway of the heart.


Centered in the human mind, wisdom grants one with clear direction, sense of purpose, meaning in life, discernment between right and wrong, what to do and what not to do, how to live ones life, how to make decision, how face situation, reflect on past action, and discover road ahead. It reveals nature of self and nature of reality, provide explanation and contextualization of one’s life, and provide guidance within and beyond the ordinary human mind.

In the daily practice, one seeks to expand the mind through study, research, reason, reflect, meditation, awareness, concentration, mastering, transcendence. With progress, the capacity of the mind is expanded, not only in the quantity of information, but also quality and nature of the mind itself. Linear, rudimentary, emotional, uncontrollable mind is gradually trained to be mature, balanced, self-aware, self-transcended mind. Freedom from distraction and content of mind is achieved, one’s sense of identity, purpose, and meaning become self revealing, providing a good balance to the human (spiritual) heart. Such is the pathway of the mind.


With the cultivation of the human heart and human mind, one fundamental question to be answered is: for what? For what does one cultivate one’s heart and mind? Some does it for health, some for freedom, some for one self, some for others. The type of devotion one chooses speaks the answers to these questions.  In Confucius teachings, one starts ones devotion in one’s spiritual well-being, then expand it to family, then to country, then to the whole world. In Taoist one devotes one’s life to the Tao, Buddhists devote their lives to the enlightenment of oneself and all beings.

In daily practice, first examine the type of devotion one is in, starts from it, and gradually expand it, devote one’s life to the good of the bigger (inclusive of one self), and the process ends at eventually encompassing the highest good of all. Go beyond the self-centered devotion, and devote ones life to the good of the bigger and all, at all times and in all situations. Such is the pathway of Devotion.

Kindness, Wisdom and Devotion

As we can see from the above, Kindness, Wisdom, and Devotion represents a whole that supports and complements each other in human development. Without kindness life will become cold and without love, without wisdom the kindness energy will be without direction and could be misused, without devotion one’s kindness and wisdom could be used for selfish purposes. It is therefore suggested that one proceed with all three practices of kindness, wisdom, and devotion, in order to proceed in a balanced and safe manner.