Moon Mind


In quiescence I hear the cinnamon blossoms fall. When the night has come, the Spring mountains are silent. Suddenly the moon appears from behind the clouds and startles the young birds; By the mountain stream they chirp and chirp. --Wang Wei (Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art and Poetry by Chuan-Yuan Chang, p.203) “When the poet is free from artificiality he will not only reflect pure objective reality, he … [Read More...]

Musician Wen Learns to Play the Lute


“A long time ago there was a musician who could charm birds and fish into dancing with his music. A lute player named Wen . . . wanted to acquire the skill. So he left his family and went to study with the master musician Hsiang.  “For a long time Wen could not play anything. . . . After three years he had learned nothing. ‘You might as well go home,’ his teacher said. . . . [Wen thought]  ‘I cannot play from my heart, so the music has never … [Read More...]

Mirror Mind


An Eighth Century Chinese Poem The wild geese fly across the long sky above. Their image is reflected upon the chilly water below. The geese do not mean to cast their image on the water; Nor does the water mean to hold the image of the geese. (Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art and Poetry by Chuan-Yuan Chang, p.83) Mirror Mind When your mind comes to a complete rest, your essence is effortlessly … [Read More...]

Who Is a Sage?


“Who is a sage? What is an enlightened person? Are they people who are known and respected by many? Or are they the ones who hide their knowledge and wisdom and appear like ordinary persons? Lieh Tzu thinks that enlightened people are those who speak rarely and do not reveal their abilities and accomplishments casually” (Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living by Eva Wong, p.104). Lieh Tzu is Wrong Is Lieh Tzu wrong? How can a … [Read More...]



“By taking the path of nonaction, wu-wei, nothing is left undone and everything is accomplished. . . . Nonaction means to not take any action that goes against nature” (Simple Taoism:  A Guide to Living in Balance by C. Alexander Simpkins PH.D and Annellen  Simpkins PH.D, p. 69).  A Quiet Mind To act without acting is the quintessence of trading skill. Since action begins in the mind, letting the mind quiet is paramount. However, a proper … [Read More...]

Light from Darkness


“Like a dry skeleton is his frame; Like sparkless ashes is his mind. Genuine is his knowledge, solid and true, Not supported by reasoning. Dark and dim, he has no mind, Not accessible to discussion. O! Lo! What kind of person is he now? In this story we have a good illustration of tranquility achieved through quiescence” (Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art and Poetry by Chung-yuan Chang, p.150). “According to … [Read More...]



“We are born with what the Taoists call the Mind of Tao, but the conditioning of society distorts it and replaces it with the Human Mind. Taoists believe that before we can resurrect this hidden Mind of Tao, we need to go into a process of Thawing, a de-conditioning of the ideas we already consciously and unconsciously hold” (The Tao: Finding the Way of Balance and Harmony by Mark Forstater, p.60).  Following the Tao can teach a trader to … [Read More...]

Flowing Mind


Of late I deeply devote myself to quiescence. Nothing in the world concerns my mind . . . . The breeze from the pine woods blows my sash; The mountain moon shines above my harp. You ask me to explain the reason of failure or success. The fisherman’s song goes deep into the river. --Wang Wei (Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art and Poetry by Chuan-Yuan Chang, p.117) Quiescence.  A silent mind. No … [Read More...]

Gain By Losing


Gain by Losing “Taoists advise people not to seek recognition or public acclaim. Instead, act humbly, and quietly pursue the development of personal talents. Tao is not fulfilled in external awards or recognition but in accomplishing for itself” (Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen Simpkins, p.67). Kill the Buddha Let the idea of becoming a master trader die. If you don’t, the recognition will … [Read More...]

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: The Silver Web


moonlight glistens off the spider’s web turning it silver --Terry Chitwood A spider’s web conjures up images of entanglement, entrapment . . . of being unable to escape. You are caught in the web, unable to move, at the mercy of the spider. And spiders don’t have mercy. What are you to do? A Touch of Heaven Walk the web with nonstick soles . . . a nonstick soul. Don’t be tied to your ideas; don’t be bound to your beliefs. You need … [Read More...]

On the Edge


The ski racer on his edge tears around the gate, spraying ice shards in his wake. --Terry Chitwood From 1995-1997 I ski raced (mainly giant slalom) at the amateur level, living in Vail Colorado for most of the latter two years. The giant-slalom course got icy around the gates, especially for the later racers. I raced on 203cm Volkl skis because they were known to hold their edges well on ice. Necessary Risk Paradoxically, … [Read More...]