Five Ranks (of Ts’ao-tung) meets Purple Development


Introduction Podcast to series 6:


Five Ranks (of Ts’ao-tung):

Introduction links:


My version of the 5 Rank system with non-racist Personality and Expression as the Core principles:



This is a classic example of what I mean when I say there is fundamental racism in religion, education, spirituality, mediation – you name it!

In the original version, The images are black and white. Where black is ‘bad’ – vexations. And white is ‘good’ – wisdom.

In my version Red is Personality

Purple is Wisdom/Expression

Blue is Potential – wrapped in your Personality.

It makes perfect sense to me as you travel through the development that you reach a place of truth in your personality to be in the world. What I call your Core.

I think it is important to show stage 4 is a nothing stage – it’s empty – it’s not wisdom or vexation. It’s neither your truth nor your best self. It’s a place of true potential outside everything you have known till now.

So let’s go through each stage:

1: Classically in the original text you have these vexations(black) that take hold of you. You are out of balance. The vexations knock you out of your wisdom. But you are keen to grow.

In my case, I have replaced your personality as a vexation – an inconvenience always in your relationships, school, your place of work. You get in the way of yourself. Or at least this is what you are always told. Your truth battles and knocks off centre the wisdom of the world almost. You don’t have the ability to express your needs, desires or wisdom.


The wisdom has taken over the vexation. The focus in the original text is to focus on the elimination of your vexations.

In my case, you are starting to be wise to your true self. You are starting to see the differences between you and the outside world. All you have to offer.


The vexations are encased in wisdom. You are aware of both wisdom and vexation. There is a sense of you being in control of your life – what you manifest.

In my case, there is a core self – a gnawing almost to be in truth but it is surrounded by the wants of the world. How do you break free?


In the classic text, this is a place of nothing – it looks as if the centre is filled with white – wisdom but it’s not. It’s a place filled with nothing. Blank space.

For me, this is the most pivotal stage of development as you travel out of everything that is unknown to a place of isolation (I’m going to do a special podcast on what is meant by isolation).

This is a place of removal from all you know. All you have followed till now. You go to the mountain top. There is a stillness. In the case of being Irish, you can no longer go to the pub where people do mindless distractions and answer questions on what you do. You can’t be bothered. But it’s lonely.

Too many spiritual teachers and followers stay in this place.

It is a place of no contribution to humanity.


The most important place you can get to for growth.

I really objected to the classic text this being black. It would seem good but it’s not. It’s when you make vexations and ‘bad’ work for you. You are plugged into all experiences. They no longer just represent vexations. They represent lessons and wisdom.

In my case, this is when you become your best self. Yu are unapologetically not fitting into society. You see the gap, the distance. The distance from all you have been told to fit into. You are fully living in that space. You see the pitfalls. You want something new and you contribute back to humanity from all your lessons.

There are almost places of pain and suffering stored in your body from the journey which you tap into in order to help others. Your experiences become growth for everyone. Your distance from them become your wisdom – your expression.