by Grand Master Frank De Maria
- Prayer to me is a conversation with the source of my being. It can happen at any time I feel the need to commune with the powers that created me and with myself. It is a communion with my essence.
- I look back at my Catholic upbringing as a blessing, because, now, I see and understand it even better than I did before I left it. Now I see the connections to all religions.
- As the Taoist say, I don't know what to call this power that created everything, so I will simply call it Tao.
- Taoism teaches how we can find the rhythms of life and simply flow with them in a harmonic way, bringing with it the peace and harmony that most have never known. Taoism teaches about the forces of nature and how they influence all that we are.
- So it comes down to three things: focus your mind, temper your body and live in peace with your fellow man. The Chinese live by all three philosophies, combining them as they see fit and, thereby, finding peace, harmony and understanding.
- According to Chinese thinking, order starts at home. If the family doesn't follow the order of the family rules, there is no way they will follow the laws of the land, either.
- The experiences I have had have been slow in coming. It has been a gradual awakening for me, but a steady one, with continued practice in Chan meditation.
Now I sense more of the wonders of Tao.
- In the purest form of Taoism, you will find Buddhist concepts.
- There is nothing to do, but stay conscious of the moment. By living in the moment, you are in a prayer already, because if one has a full realization of each moment, they will feel the glory of the Tao all around them.
- If you want to know how you are going to be in the future, then look how you are now.
- There is nothing to seek outwardly, but everything to seek inwardly.
- There is no death, because we don't die, we just transform.
Ann: So, I would like to start with a prayer. Are there any particular Taoist prayers that you would like to say to invoke spirit?
Frank: When you say the word "prayer" to me, it does not mean any particular prayer. Prayer, to me, can come at any time I feel the need to commune with my spirit.
Ann: Do you have specific prayers that you use to open yourself, personally?
Frank: Specific? No, prayer isn't a recital to me; constantly saying the same thing over and over again. Prayer to me is a conversation with the source of my being. It can happen at any time I feel the need to commune with the powers that created me and with myself. It is a communion with my essence. How can anyone disconnect with the source of their existence? All I know is that I am part of creation and I try to connect with it, so I may better understand my role in life.
Ann: Excellent! That's exactly how my heart feels it, although my prayer might be different. That's the essence of what I try to do every day, also, and it's also the essence of the site. We are One, The Way, The Tao.
Frank: There is nothing else, really.
Ann: That's right! So, I just want to mention your center. It's called, "The American Center for Chinese Studies" and it's right here in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, and you're the head of the center, Grand Master. I see here that it says, "Grand Master Ma.”
Frank: That's right.
Ann: All right. In what spiritual tradition were you raised?
Frank: Well, I was born to a Christian family. They were Roman Catholics. So, I was educated in that religion. I am glad I was raised in a so-called religious family, because without this exposure I would have never even known the questions to ask in life.
Ann: And what are some of these questions you asked?
Frank: Well, I don't have a strong faith. In fact, the word "faith" indicated to me a not knowing. Just to believe something for the sake of faith, I find that very hard to do with any real conviction. I asked the same questions most people ask in life. What is it all about, why am I here, what am I to do with my life and, when it ends, what will happen to me, where do I go? Is it all over at death? Is
their nothing else? My religion, at that time, could not provide me with the answers I sought. It always came down to faith. I guess I am not the type of person to follow a religion unless it provides me with some answers that make sense to me. I needed answers that made sense and I found most organized religions did not provide me with the answers I sought. Although, I must be fair and say that, without my exposure to organized religion, I would have never made the attempt to look further into the mysteries of life and death. It was my upbringing that prompted me to even look. Today, I look back at my Catholic upbringing as a blessing, because, now, I see and understand it even better than I did before I left it. Now, I see the connections to all religions.
Ann: May I ask how old are you, now?
Frank: Sixty years old.
Ann: Sixty years old. Okay, and for how many years did you follow the Catholic tradition?
Frank: Well, like any child, I followed it till I left home, which was age seventeen, when I joined the United States Air Force.
Ann: And what other spiritual paths have you studied? You have somewhat integrated Catholicism and, now, you are a teacher in Taoism. Is there anything else that you've looked into?
Frank: The question should really state, "Is there anything I haven't looked into?"
Ann: Oh, okay, is there anything you haven't look into? All right, so you've been broad in what you've been looking for.
Frank: I looked into all the religions, various offshoots of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism etc. The more I looked, the more I saw an underlying connection. It was the Asian philosophies that seemed to make the most sense. Its basis was logical and made sense to me. Most of all, it had nothing to do with faith, it had to do with a knowing you
cannot deny. Even the Buddha said, "Don't follow me; follow yourself." So, I focused on Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Although I must say, again, at this point, I feel I am an even better Catholic than I ever was before, because my studies have shown me the connections to all religions. Now, the words of Christ make sense to me, whereas, before my training, nothing made real sense I could defend in my mind. Now, Christ is not such a mystery to me, I realize that what He said is much the same as what the Buddha said. It is the people who confuse the words. Now, I am closer to Christ than before I found Buddhism and Taoism. Christ, like Buddha, said the same things and it is the people that separate them. Now, Buddha is my Christ and Christ is my Buddha.
Ann: Now, it's interesting, you're here in a small town, and you have a following of people who come and study with you. All ages?
Frank: Yes we take people of all ages from children to adults and senior citizens. All we ask is that they are interested in really learning. We are not a commercial school in that we will take anyone, either. We first interview each person to see just what his or her goals and intensions are in learning. If we think they are not sincere, or they have some misconceptions of who we are, then we will discourage them from joining us. Many parents bring their children to us just to give them something to do. Many commercial schools run more of a day care center than a real training center. The money is not our goal in running this center. It is the training and self-cultivation we are interested in teaching. We do not have children's parties or games here. We teach the child to behave and learn self-control, while teaching them useful techniques to protect themselves, as well, and build a strong and healthy body. As for the adults, we teach them according their physical abilities and advise them with what might be best for their self-cultivation. We do not have belt awards here, as this is not real Chinese Shao-lin. Belts enhance the ego; we try to lessen the ego, here. We teach with the same principles that are taught in the Shao-lin Temple in Mainland China. Shao-lin training can be an aid in learning to control one's mind and body. If used in this manner, it is a useful tool to develop mind, body and spirit.
Ann: And what are the different things that are taught here?
Frank: Well, the American people have not heard of many of the arts taught here and some may have. Most have heard of Shao-lin Kung Fu by now, which had been popularized by the late Bruce Lee and the many Chinese Kung Fu movies, which Hollywood has been making over the years. Many come to us for Shao-lin Kung Fu training, first, only because of what they see in the movies. Of course, the movies are the movies and do not really represent true Shao-lin Training and its meanings and purposes. However, at least, they may have heard of it and that is a start.
The remaining arts we teach, such as Hsing Yi, or Ba Gwa, are not as well known to the American people. Hsing Yi means "Mind Form Boxing" and is based on the concepts of the five elements of nature, Metal, Water, Earth, Fire and Wood. It teaches how each generates each other, as well as destroys each other, depending on their use. This knowledge can be used to live a fuller and healthier lifestyle. The term Ba Gwa means "Eight Tri-gram Boxing" and works in concert with the Chinese book of change, called The I ching or Book Of Changes. This art form can also be useful to teach a student the meaning of change, so that everyday changes in life can be used to our advantage, rather than disadvantage. Finally, we teach Chan Meditation, which is better known as Zen to the American people. This is our highest level of teaching. Of course, its purpose is to attain a glimpse of our real self or heavenly spirit. Chan has the potential to awaken us to our real self and the meaning and purpose of life.
Ann: This is so important, because I love to hear you say that this is certainly just your personal path and what you have found on your path. We're really not teaching religion on this site, at all, but I do believe it is the connection of people's hearts where we really have greater understanding. So, what do you see as harmonious? You've studied many things, but, forgetting ritual and religion, what would you see as harmonious within all the paths that you've studied?
Frank: In all my studies, I have come to the conclusion that all religions are the same. There is a common link between all of them. There is no one correct religion; they all profess the same things, just in different words. It is this underlying truth that links all religions. I like to think of this connection as being like a monk's prayer beads, each bead representing a different religion. Each bead may be slightly different in shape, color, or texture, but it is the thread that links them all together. This thread is the connection between all religions. This thread is the same between all religions, certain truths we all agree on. What are these truths? Well, we know there is something, a power that is in control of the universe. We have many names for this power, God, Tao, The Creator, Jehovah; the names are many, but the meaning is the same. All agree that there is an order to the universe, something that is in control. We know that there are reasons for our existence, although none can agree just what these are. These truths are the thread that binds us all together. The Chinese explain all of creation in a simple way. They say that in the beginning there was nothingness, much the same way the Bible states it. This nothing they call the Wu Chi, the void. Then, a spark of energy created Yin and Yang, the complimentary forces of nature. From the Yin and Yang, the Ba Gwa were created, the cycles of change. These changes are the very world we live in, now, with all its ever-changing conditions and cycles. This theory, if examined, is the same as all religious theories of creation. No matter what story you tell of creation, the idea remains the same. As the Taoist say, "I don't know what to call this power that created everything, so I will simply call it Tao."
Ann: Who have been your spiritual heroes? It may not be someone you have even met, but someone you've read, or something you've experienced, but who are the people who have inspired you?
Frank: I'd have to say that my teachers influenced me greatly. I started very young in the martial arts, and my teachers were very impressive to me. They were fearless fighters and, yet, kind and understanding. They seemed to deal with life in a manner I wanted to, but did not know how. I wanted to emulate them in every way. They were like wise old sages who seemed to have all the answers to my questions. Each teacher taught me something different. Actually, no two teachers are the same and each has their own way to transmit the teachings. Once I found a teacher, I would stay with them for life. In fact, only a few of my teachers are alive today, as most have passed on. However, I stay dedicated to them, right to the end. They changed me from the inside to the outside, and I must say I am but a reflection of their teachings, today. I was very fortunate to have some great teachers, each a Master of their chosen art form. I had Teachers of Shao-lin Kung Fu, Internal teachers of Tai Ji Ch'uan, Ba Gwa Zhang and Hsing Yi Ch'uan. I had Buddhist Masters and Taoist Masters. No one teacher gave me all the answers. Each of them offered me a new peace to the puzzle of life. With each new teacher, I learned the answers to my questions and, with each answer, my life changed for the better.
Ann: How do you, personally, view the differences between Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism? I've done reading about all of them, but, for somebody who comes to the site and wants to be informed, what would you say about the kinds of divisions you would make, in your own mind?
Frank: Well, you know, that's the easiest question you've asked me, so far!
Ann: Is it really? Oh great, because it's a hard one for me!
Frank: These three great philosophies are the very foundation of Chinese belief. Buddhism teaches how the mind influences our happiness. As the Buddha taught, life is composed of birth, old age, sickness and death. Life is a never-ending cycle of suffering, old age, death and rebirth, only to do it all again and again till the end of time, itself. But he also taught that there was a way to end this needless cycle of suffering by awakening our spiritual essence to the truth of existence. He pointed out the many ways people can affect real change in their lives by following the "Eight Fold Path." He showed ways we can overcome the limitations of the mind to expose our real Buddha nature and taught how to awaken from the deep sleep of the illusionary world, seeing things for how they really are. Primarily, he taught people to live in the ever-present moment of time. And view each passing moment for what it really was, stripping away the illusion and living in the reality of that moment. So, in short, Buddhism deals with the human mind and methods to overcome the illusionary mind, transforming it to that of the Buddha Mind, the awakened state of being.
Taoism, on the other hand, works with the body and finding the harmony of body and Tao. Taoism teaches how we can find the rhythms of life and simply flow with them in a harmonic way, bringing with it the peace and harmony that most have never known. Taoism teaches about the forces of nature and how they influence all that we are. It gives us a path to follow that is in harmony with the flow of life, not against it. We learn to move with the currents of life, as opposed to trying to move against the natural currents of life. The philosophies of Buddhist and Taoist thought both seem to blend seamlessly into one another. There is no contradiction between them; one deals with the mind and the other deals with the body. This is a beautiful relationship.
The last is Confucian thought, which mainly teaches how we must live in the world community in harmony with one another. The general idea is simply to understand that we all live in this world, therefore there must be order and laws, so we may all live together in the proper ways that would effect harmony among the people.
So, it comes down to three things, focus on your mind, temper your body and live in peace with your fellow man. The Chinese live by all three philosophies, combining them as they see fit and, thereby, finding peace, harmony and understanding.
Ann: Can you define each in more detail?
Frank: There is a bottom line to Confucius's thought. His way was "order.” It comes out of the Book of Li and he taught how people have to live with one another. No matter what our beliefs may be, one thing we all have in common is that we must live together in this world. It is a sad fact, but a true fact, that the world is really not at peace. Just look at current events in the world, now. We are about to go to war, again. With this decision, there will be many who will die and those that survive the war will suffer. It is sad, but the truth of the matter is that mankind has a violent nature that it can't seem to suppress. It is a fact we must realize about our human nature, so that we can learn how to deal with it. Kung Tze (Confucius) taught how we must each play a role in life, living according to society's rules, so we can get along without conflict. In simple words, we must be controlled, so we don't go out of control. That's why there are laws to prevent people from doing as they wish without punishment, robbing, killing and hurting each other for their own needs. This is not to say that everyone is out of control. There is always the other side of the coin. There are those who understand these facts and live a good life, trying not to hurt others. However, for their sake, we need laws to control the other half, or we simply don't care and follow their dark nature. Kung Tze said we all have a position in life and must live that position to the best of our ability. He indicated that we should follow the chain
of command, so as to attain harmony in society. There is no need to rebel against one another; this attitude is what causes wars. Those of us, who follow Taoism, or Buddhism, always try to live in harmony with the laws of mankind. So Taoist and Buddhist, alike, follow the laws of the land.
According to Chinese thinking, order starts in the home. If the family doesn't follow the order of the family rules, there is no way they will follow the laws of the land, either. The Chinese are a male-oriented society. The male rules in the household and must be obeyed in all matters. The wife has her role to play and must not deviate with self-aspirations, but rather must focus entirely on her family's needs. The children are to obey, without question, doing their utmost to uphold the family name. The family must never be disgraced and must follow the so-called dictates that are associated with the proper way of living. With this kind of living, harmony can exist and each can enjoy their roles in life without conflict. This carries over from family to family, from town to town, from society to society and, finally, to the whole world of living beings. This is the bottom line of Confucius thinking.
As part of my training, I also follow this thinking, so that I may find the harmony of living with others. Some will think this is giving up our freedoms to be what we want to be in life. To some degree, they are right. However, our history proves that if we all have too much uncontrolled freedom, we tend to kill each other to get the things we want. I think self-control is needed, because of our
weak nature. Everything must follow the laws of nature and nature does just that. It is we, ourselves, who are always trying to rebel against our Buddha Nature. This is why Kung Tze theories are of vital importance and why this order of living is common among almost all of mankind, to some degree, or another. As for me, I try to obey and conform to my society, living in it harmoniously, so I may pursue my real interest of self-development, unimpeded by society, in any way.
Ann: I think that's very clear. I'm right with you and I learned some other nice things, as you were speaking. I'm interested in "spiritual experiences.” Can you speak about, for yourself, where you have a sense of something larger than yourself happening? Say, that your Chi becomes particularly bright, or clear, or you have a sense of clarity in your mind. Have you had any spiritual experiences that have helped you understand more about life?
Frank: The experiences I have had have been slow in coming. It has been a gradual awakening for me, but a steady one, with continued practice in Chan meditation. Now, I sense more of the wonders of the Tao. Now, all seems, as it should be in life. I have, finally, come to terms with the natural laws that govern all of creation and, in finding that, an inner peace and acceptance of all things in nature has replaced the fears of living and dying that come with life. This inner peace far exceeds all my expectations of what a Zen mind would be like. I sense my inner being and its connections to the universal power. My Chi seems to fill me, now, more then ever before, giving me a feeling of fullness and consecutiveness to all existence. I, now, see what you call God everywhere and in everything, from the smallest atom to the whole of the universe. I feel safe and secure and at ease to live out my life in the fact that all is, now, as it should be.
Ann: You teach Tai Chi. Tell me a little about the other disciplines.
Frank: Well, everything we teach, here, is connected to the Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophy. We teach the "Shao-lin"; which comes from a mainly Buddhist Temple, the Shao-lin Temple, Huy Nan, in Mainland China. You have to understand the source of Shao-lin and, if you study it, you will find that it's a discipline to cultivate one's self, to follow in its ways. To take a journey, you have to prepare for the journey. So, the Shao-lin exercises with the attention to the self, the attention to the mind and the attention to one's emotions, like fear and anger, assist with getting all of these things under your control. Shao-lin is a method and we use that method to discipline the physical form. We call it "the external art."
Then, we teach the "Tai Chi Ch'uan." Tai Chi means "grand ultimate.” Tai is the "great" and Chi is the "ultimate.” So, "Tai Chi Ch'uan" is "the ultimate inner art form that harmonizes a person to find softness." Shao-lin is the "hardness" and the Tai Chi is the "softness" and, by cultivation of this, we become sensitive to our own energy. We learn what the Chinese call "sung,” which means to relax, but relax how? It means to relax mentally, spiritually, and, also, physically. These three: mind, body, and spirit have to be completely surrendered, so that we become sensitive to the forces around us. This Tai Chi practice is known as the only moving meditation in the world. Tai Chi is an awake, active participation in the body, and in the mind, at the same time. This is part of the Buddhist philosophy.
Then, we teach the "Pa Kua,” which means "eight tri-gram,” and that has to do with the birth of everything. The Book Of Change, the "I Ching,” which is the greatest written work, even prior to the Bible, and the most highly translated book in the world, talks about the eight tri-grams. Actually, I should say that there are eight hexagrams, which, when combined, form the tri-grams that are always changing and moving. So, it teaches about change in life. There are sixty-four of them and the human moves through these different experiences throughout their life. Each of these tri-grams and hexagrams are related to the five elements and nature, itself. So, if we learn how to deal with the Pa Kua forces and understand that we are a part of that process, then we can move and work with it all very nicely and harmoniously. Again, it's a way of following Taoist theory. Pa Kua comes from Taoism. Actually, Tai Chi is heavily Taoist, as well. It always has these underlying factors. Even if you look at the purest form of Tai Chi, you find Taoist concepts. In the purest form of Taoism, you will find Buddhist concepts.
Ann: I think that all religions are similar in this way, as well, because Christianity would be the same, if you were really following Jesus' teachings. So, it is that purity of spirit, dedication, responsibility and the community that is the key.
Frank: That's right. Unfortunately, there is always going to be a yin yang, or a yin, or yang. Therefore, you look out at things with the one gift that we have, the logic of the mind. If we use the tool of the brain, this organ, logic is another great tool that tells us whether we are simply fooling ourselves, or whether we're saying things we'd like to believe in. It's important to be careful how we talk to ourselves, because we really lie to ourselves continuously about spiritual matters, as well as non-spiritual matters. We are habitual liars. So, if you look around, the obvious becomes obvious and the obvious is that the world is in a lot of trouble, right now.
Ann: Do you take a certain time for prayer, or a certain time for meditation, or do you just let each day flow?
Frank: I let it all flow. There is nothing to do, but stay conscious of the moment. By living in the moment, you are in a prayer already, because if one has a full realization of each moment, they will feel the glory of the Tao all around them.
Ann: When you're teaching Tai Chi, or any of these other disciplines, that is almost prayer, too, because it is to be in harmony with yourself and with the Tao.
Frank: Life is one big prayer. Life is one big meditation. Life is one big hope. That's why I say we can't really call these things moments of deep prayer. Meditation is not Ch'uan, nor Zen. It's not even a method to come to terms with Zen or Ch'uan. While in meditation, as long as you are in a method, you are not in the reality of thing. So, while we do teach these things at given times, here, because it's a school and there are times that we have to allot to these different things, I really try to get the point across to people, who have studied long enough, that you take your Tai Chi and you do it at meaningful times and you use it in a meaningful way. Then, it becomes very precious to you. I've come to really realize that in life. I experience the phenomenon of opening my eyes, every morning, and being in tune, again, with this energy that I try to live every moment, as a prayer and thankful expression. Even sitting together, here, right now, is a marvelous experience and you enjoy it and savor it completely. You do your best at it, and you come away feeling very good with it. Now, if I could take every second of my day like this, wouldn't that be a nice, peaceful, wonderful day?
Ann: Oh, absolutely.
Frank: This is how I experience my philosophies, in the act of really living them, instead of philosophizing about them.
Ann: I know that in Buddhism there is not really a Divine Spirit. There is not a God, like in Christianity, but there are Divine Forces that are at work, at all times, right?
Frank: The trouble is that we ask outward, you see? The Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucius theory teaches you, "Who are you talking to?" We need this, as if there is something out there that is going to help you. There is nothing out there. This is "Wu Chi." You have to help you. The Buddha said that your worst enemy, of course, is you. It's been repeated in society, by heavy thinkers, who have come to these terms. We are alone. We're born alone, we live through life alone, and we die. Start looking for intervention from something else and start really looking from within, because the answer is that we are, as the Buddhists say, "Sleeping Buddhas" all of us. We are divine. We are part of the Divine. Christ said it. He was God. What did He mean when He said He was God? He was part of God. The
Buddhists say the same thing. Each one of us is a Buddha. Each one of us is part of the Divine. How can we take and say that we are separate from the Divine? The Divine supposedly made us. We are part and parcel, the same entity and the same thing. So, there is no one to forgive and there is no one to judge us. We judge ourselves through our karmic action. They say that, after death, there is going to be some entity that is going to stand in front of you and judge you. We're judging ourselves, now, and we're also paying our sentence, now, for our past incarnations. Everything that we are, everything that we think, is nothing more than a consequence of what we did.
If you want to know how you are going to be in the future, then look how you are, now.
You have developed yourself on this path. I can see who you are by your karmic action. There is nothing to seek outwardly, but everything to seek inwardly. The answers are only going to come from within us. There is nothing out here that we can look to, or find. That's what the Buddhists call, "The Great Dream," the great illusion. I mean, how sad that people even have the ego to define God as a man up there, in the clouds, with a beard. We are so egotistical and so childish and, yet, we try to act so mature. The realities that Buddhism and Taoism teach are that you, yourself, are part of the essence. You just haven't reached the right vibration, yet. Hindu and Tibetan thought have thirty-seven different levels of growth, as we move on. We change and, as we change, we become more spiritual. You become more forgiving, less worrisome about the minutia of life. You get rid of all the garbage, you empty the computer of the temporary files, and you live the real moment. You become closer with this Force and, in realization that you are a part of it, is where you find the peace.
There is no death, because we don't die, we just transform. Energy can't be created, nor destroyed. These are the certain, relevant facts that tell you the obvious. They tell you this in school, but then they tell you that you die forever. The two don't make sense, logically. If we are energy, which we are, then we transform and the question is, "Transform to what?" Energy moves and transforms, because it has the potential to move. People often don't think to ask the question, "Why does electricity move from this point to that point? Why doesn't it just stay there and not cross the wire?" It's because it's got that potential. This is why electricity moves. That's why we transform. We're that same electrical energy. Electricity, or Chi, has the same meaning and we will move, grow and do this, in a very natural way, because we have that potential to do that. The question is, "How many times around life and death do we have to go before we come to this realization?"
Ann: As a Taoist, or a Buddhist, what are your thoughts about death? Do you think about that?
Frank: It goes back to what I said to you before, I don't believe in death.
Ann: So, it's just a transition.
Frank: Yes. It's nothing, but a transition, because when you say, "death," you have to define, "Death of what?" Then, if you say, "My body." Then, I have to disagree and say, "I am not the body. The body is nothing, but a suit of clothes that I wear." As a matter of fact, it's changing. The guy that is sitting here, now, isn't the same one that was sitting here ten years ago, or five years ago, or even yesterday, for that matter. So, the body is in transition. The only thing that remains with us is that spirit essence. That's our "chi." That's our Source, or soul, if you want to call it that. Whatever name you want to attribute to it, that's eternal. You can't die. It just moves. How it moves is dependent on you and how you develop it to move; how you train it to move. If you tell it to look in the right direction, you cultivate it and it moves upward. If you are looking into the world and caught up in the world, by living in one of the zones - the three zones of living - then you're coming back to do it, again. That is what you call the "death experience." The Tibetans call it, "The Bardo Experience," the transition between the death state and reincarnation. Either you are going to set yourself free, at that point, to transform into a higher level of existence and being that you might call sage, or saint, or not. It's just a higher level and is dependent on how you are preparing for that journey, now. If you don't and you're caught in the world of emotions, fears, greed, and hate from the heart, then you are going to relive that experience in some way. If you're caught in the world of the animalistic nature of sex and so forth, then you're living from the lower zones and you'll be transformed that way, in some lower form of living. You're going to have to do it all over, again. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the journeys through the lives and I'd like to move on. So, reincarnation is not our goal. Our goal is not to reincarnate, but rather to move to the next higher level. Everything rises. It's either rising, or falling, hence the terms heaven or hell, but up tends to be good. So, we stay moving upward into the next dimension of existence. As you sit here, now, you think you're aware, but neither one of us is totally aware. There are sounds here, now, that we don't hear. We're totally unaware of them. There are experiences around us of which we're unaware, so we're not really aware, but only a small part of the term "awareness." Release is a general expansion of that awareness. A level up is more awareness. Until, eventually, we are the size of the universe, itself, and we've expanded back to the "Wu Chi."
Ann: What advice would you like to share with the people who are in search of spirituality?
Frank: Don't stop; keep looking into whatever makes sense to you. Don't settle on one answer unless you become convinced, in your heart that you are right. There is a chance for all of us to find peace. There is a chance for each of us to know our God, if we just look, test, and try out what we learn. Don't be afraid to doubt what you have been taught, find out for yourself and, then, you will be
sure. You will never find God in believing everyone else and not believing in yourself. God, or Tao, is within you, now. You just have to open the door of your heart and there He will be, facing you, and the chances are that you will be looking directly into your own eyes. Buddha bless you. It was a pleasure to talk with you.