"The integration of all facets of life is the way of the Scholar Warrior. It uses specific practices involving the body, diet, breathing exercises, herbology, philosophical study, and meditation to open the way to Tao. Beginning with simple physical exercises and basic tenets of hygiene, it provides a methodical, thorough approach. Nothing is overlooked," writes Deng Ming-Dao in this heady and practical study of Taoism, the Scholar Warrior, and the teachings of Kwan Saihung, his Master. This material is filtered through three stages and provides consistently interesting portraits of this ancient path. "The way of the Scholar Warrior is a method of achieving personal excellence while still in this world."
The first step in knowing the Tao is daily attention to health — especially the body's energy centers. The self-cultivation of this path leads to a wise approach to stretching and exercise. Taoists also use the preventative medicine of herbs for expelling and purifying the body. Those who follow the way have grounded themselves philosophically in the Tao, the mystery of all mysteries. They see the entire universe built on yin and yang.
The Taoist is, according to Deng, "the person who seeks to turn all things to advantage, including impermanence." These men and women use the metaphor of the four seasons to regulate their lives. On the path of the Scholar Warrior problems, questions, setbacks, and dilemmas are faced squarely and seen as part of the journey. The Scholar Warriors are opposed to the illusion of ending conflict with violence. Instead they stand up for the principles of simplicity and humility. They can be practiced and nurtured while on retreat. Deng ends this majestic overview of integral Taoism with the following:
"It is here with us every day, yet it is difficult to sense. It is within us, like a bright candle smothered inside a steel lantern, but we see only darkness. It moves constantly, yet we fail to detect its flow. It is emptiness, but we dwell only in the world of appearances. The Tao is truly great, beyond all descriptions, beyond all conceptions, and beyond all names. It is a mystery, but there is no awakening to life without it. Those who enter into the Tao become one with eternity. Those who enter into the Tao dissolve into Tao itself."