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The novel Journey to the West is an example of a work by an esoteric tradition or School. With `School` is meant an organization that teaches people to awaken. Schools have existed throughout the history of mankind. A School is comprised of a Teacher as well as a firm and experienced inner circle of students. A teaching comprised of a teacher alone, however advanced he may be, without an inner circle, is not a School but a following. A group of experienced students without a conscious teacher is at best an introductory study group. A School`s legacy, surviving through the ages in the form of art, literature and ritual, is, in its conception, designed to carry a double meaning, an inner and an outer one. The inner meaning is directed to the participants’ personal development, while the outer meaning ensures the preservation of the tradition through the ages. With the passage of time, as a rule, the inner meaning is forgotten and only the outer meaning remains. Consequently, what later generations see when they approach esoteric traditions, without exception, is only the outer meaning. But thanks to this, the form of the teaching is preserved, and once another School surfaces it can take advantage of this form, unlock its hidden meaning and apply it for its own needs.

Entrust yourself to reliable friends who carefully protect you and support you, they will make sure that within the furnace, the fire times occur as due. -- Zhang Sanfeng (13th c. Taoist master, The Rootles Tree)
Companions are not of one kind only. There are internal and external companions. The external companions are your intimate friends in the Tao. The internal companions are “the men who do not die”. They support the firm bold breath. If your companions are unsuitable, or if you have no companions, there is only your 'lone yin', and any movement would be inauspicious. 
-- Liu Yiming (Cultivating the Tao)

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The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions⎟ Living Presence ⎟ The Secret of the Golden Flower ⎟

Japanese symbols of Presence⎟ The taoist I Ching ⎟ Being Presence First