26) The I Ching, Leo Tolstoy and the essence of prayer. To know thyself and following the pathways of Heaven and Earth – As we acknowledge that the world begins and continues with us as we keep our promise to both.

It is in understanding that change comes and evolves from within ourselves and all other things, that the world manifests as something new again mirroring the universal divine presence of what we call Heaven and the Tao. As we look to transcendence through our own divine presence. Where does responsibility lie? It begins with each of us – while old ways of seeing and doing things must often be broken so that we can see more clearly the way ahead to change. We sometimes find ourselves living in fear and lack of what we see is here for us, when the opposite is true.

Ultimately it becomes the great leap of faith we each must take as the circle of life. What we are given to learn with only our virtue intact. With this, our divinity and bliss become one with the only nature we have ever known. As we learn not trying to make things fit where they don’t.

Throughout history, as the stars above changed over the nightly horizon, people learned they must change as well. They could view change that had occurred when the stars returned in place the following year. (Needing a word for “the indescribable past encompassing all that would lead to the way ahead” the 261ancient shaman came up with the word “Tao”). With this people could begin to see beyond themselves and a guidepost, as such, put in place as a starting point with identifying how things fit together over time.

Pictured is the symbol of the dragon affixed to the stars at the Taoist Cave adjacent to the Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu that’s over a thousand years old.

262By remaining indescribable as to the opinion of the multitude or others, each person can attune to their own universal presence without prejudice as to what outcome may appear. As we acknowledge that there is nothing inside us that is not outside us and nothing outside us that is not inside us. With this, life becomes simply matching our words and deeds with our internal rhythm, eternal selves, and change

Aspiring to nothing or simply emptiness, as related by Buddhist teachings, for myself, doesn’t mean that the mind is annihilated or made void. All that’s annihilated is clinging and attachment that clear away for our better understanding of our ultimate desire and universal presence. What we have to do is to see what emptiness is like as it actually appears as we discover our own meaning of “cultivating stillness”. With Taoism, latching onto nothing denotes freedom from ideas of what may have been considered as truth that do not fit our highest aspiration of ourselves.

I like to refer as a reference and connection with the mainstream of Unity teachings and the I Ching described below illustrated from the Bible: Matthew 18:18 as follows –Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 

263In other words, as reflected in the Tao – Heaven is the state of consciousness we bound within us on Earth. With this, we manifest through our actions whatever we loose and/or let go of as our divine nature and become transcendent.

Trusting in that consciousness we gain mindfulness that provides the space we need. Our greatest gift is giving ourselves the freedom of trust in the universe that is already innately present. As if simply seeking to understand for ourselves how it all is reflected as universal transcendence and relates to us. We come to acknowledge that we are here with only our virtue intact, as if to re-discover within ourselves how we loose this virtue and nourish the nature around us. It is this that comes of our highest endeavor and ultimate destiny – whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven we set out to enhance and preserve now.

The quote above could just as easily apply to, or come from, the scriptures and 264teachings of Buddhism, Hindu, Islam, Judaism, the Tao, Indigenous people, etc., not only the Bible. All simply pathways between Heaven and Earth we may choose to follow as we come and go that lead to a familiar end. That there is only one power and presence active in the universe, God the good omnipotent. As if to go from the spirit – to what may be seen as mystical – to what ultimately defines us. That it’s the not knowing that tells us what we are here to find that shows the way for ourselves. That our presence is eternal – just as with all things found in nature. We lose our way when we separate ourselves and others from who they and we have always been, fail to trust universal origins, and our own divine beginnings. True mindfulness is the comfort found with the freedom of being present to find the meaning of spirit and virtue and going there.

What Alan Watts referred to as our source. He was a great writer and 265transformative figure known especially in the 1950’s and 60’s. His influence on his (my) generation was in many ways immeasurable taking others where they could better identify with a universal presence beyond the physical world in which we live. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to both Eastern and Western religion, philosophy, and spirit. One of my favorites is The Way of Zen written in 1957. It was one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism.

When we begin to see beyond simple appearances of who we think we are, our task becomes only to find our way in going there. All simply vehicles we use in becoming universal in the spirit of God, the Tao, and love. That we are here as both transformative and transitional figures, with the purpose of illumination (bringing our own divine light into the world) and acting with intention as to what may become our highest endeavor that assists in transforming the world into what the universe, God if you like, is asking of us as well as others.

The I Ching was/is meant to assist us as a tool in clearing away those things that do not fit the journey – as we match our endeavors with our eternal, i.e., universal presence and act accordingly.

An Ancient Greek aphorism (an observation that contains a general truth) by the Greek writer Pausanias, is to “know thyself”. Its use was attributed to many, 266including both Plato and Socrates. I like what appeared in the Suda, a 10th-century encyclopedia of Greek knowledge, that says: “the proverb is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are”, and that “know thyself” is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude. In other words – it’s not enough to “know thyself”, we are here to be ourselves. To be as William Shakespeare is said to have written in Hamlet, to thine own self be true”. 

A great writer I have always admired is Leo Tolstoy. His influence at the time and ever since has been immeasurable in history. Finding the vehicle of getting closer 267to God became Tolstoy’s passion as a religious philosopher and metaphysician. His works became something to emulate and model as others took the next step following in his footsteps to greater understanding. Most of us know him through the great literary classics he wrote known as War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But his contribution was so much more than that. His addition to the underpinning of theological understanding was in questioning the status quo found in Christian teachings at the time. As much of what he had seen written was incoherent, poorly translated from ancient texts, and didn’t contribute as they should have the love of God, he felt we all should share.

 He felt God continually spoke to mankind over time and in every country, and that Christ, while being the most profound of teachers, was not the only one. He looked for common themes in all religious thought for rational assessments and looked to a philosophy on human beings’ purpose in life.

Most importantly, for myself, he wrote themes after thorough thought and 268investigation, that could follow similar approaches found in Eastern thought (Buddhism, Taoism and the I Ching) which he too had studied, where a structure and method to get one with the universe and finding our place in it is essential. He felt God’s plan was rational and man’s ability to reason was given to him to understand that it must be accessible to everyone… to human understanding.

This commonality of purpose so mirrors the underpinning of basic teaching and thought of the shaman in history. Understanding that all things are eternally connected as demonstrated and shown over thousands of years of human interaction and history. History does repeat itself. Its repetitiveness becomes the teacher as we learn from cause and effect. As different things take turns, or alternate with each other, we can foretell what is in the future. It is in this knowing we can in turn respond accordingly when we are led from our innate virtue we already possess.

When we ask for our prayers to be answered, or a response corresponding DSCI0113with the I Ching, the universe is responding as if a reverberation with “all things considered”, not simply our own desires.

Heaven and Earth (yin and yang) looking for the middle to arrive to ensure harmony and virtue are present.

Nature tells us to wait until events unfold so that our virtue can come forward to know what fits or matches what is best for all involved, as with complementary opposites attracting each other. The universal divine presence (what unfolds from our own heart space) is all-inclusive and operates under the premise of “one size fits all” with nature responding as an echo to what it hears.  When we ask what defines virtue – this is a good place to start.

Tolstoy concluded that the soul was immortal. He thought the purpose of life is to expand on our capacity to love God and our fellow beings – humans, animals, even plants. Tolstoy in many ways was a Taoist at heart. There could be no separation from God and the universe in which we lived. As we love God by loving nature, we attune with what enhances everything found in our natural environment. It’s easy to see his influence on those who followed him including us.     

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was 269a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations  for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and his miss of the prize is a major Nobel prize controversy. Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. I remember back in college reading Tolstoy’s novella (short story) The Death of Ivan Liayich portraying the savage winter and cold of living in Siberia.

In the 1870’s, Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession (1882). His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. Tolstoy’s ideas on non-violent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894), were to have a profound impact on such pivotal 20th-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.

Tolstoy believed that a true Christian could find lasting happiness by striving for inner self-perfection through following the Great Commandment of loving one’s neighbor and God rather than looking outward to 2610the Church or state for guidance.

Gandhi and other residents of Tolstoy Farm, South Africa, 1910

His belief in non-resistance when faced by conflict is another distinct attribute of his philosophy based on Christ’s teachings. By directly influencing Mahatma Gandhi and others with this idea through his work The Kingdom of God is Within You, Tolstoy’s profound influence on the non-violent resistance movement reverberates still to this day.

I have a little personal experience. My mother had a dear friend whose family were members of the aristocracy that was very close to the Czar and his family. As I was growing up in Joplin, Missouri where she then lived (both my mother and she have since passed), my mother had become her care-giver as she grew older and visited her regularly.

My mother went to St. Petersburg, Russia in the mid 1980’s as a member of an 2611International Civil Defense delegation and while there visited the Hermitage Museum. Her friend wanted her to go to take pictures to see what might have changed since she last was there herself.

The stories the lady told were confirmed by the memorabilia and antiques she had brought with her from Russia that were still in her possession. I met her once and she had stories to tell. Stories of her youth had always defined her. She had been in Saint Petersburg, Russia as a little girl and said she knew the Romanov girls quite well. One of my regrets is not returning to hear them because few if any were ever written down for history. It is our memories, that 2612given the opportunity, tell us and take us to our past. It is our remembering that takes us there that tell a greater story that along the way defines who we are.  I do seem to have a recollection of asking her about the writer Tolstoy, and she recalled that everyone loved his writing because it returned them to the place they had always known and been. As though reliving their own history. Count Leo Tolstoy had been a respected member of the Russian aristocracy as well.

On another personal note, in high school I listened to shortwave radio as a hobby to stations all over the world. One of them was Radio Moscow. In 1967, they had a contest celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution in which I entered an essay about the revolution. I was sixteen at the time. My essay was read over the air and they sent me some magazines and books thanking me. (I have no idea what I said). I guess I was destined to become a storyteller and writer even then. The connection to Tolstoy was that the powers that be at the time of the 1917 revolution felt that regardless of his fame, thoughts and writing, it didn’t matter. As Count Tolstoy and a major landowner, his influence needed to be diminished. This contributed greatly to his writings not getting the attention it deserved over time. It seems we are all simply like a strand of pearls strung together looking for harmony, but yet our own and others resistance overtakes us. After I no longer listened to shortwave when I began going to college, I continued getting mail for years at home from all over the world. The mailman would ask, “Who is this guy getting all this stuff”. My mom would laugh and say, “oh, that’s just my son”.

What the I Ching teaches demonstrates how everything is connected and comes 2613together as one. Finding and then getting closer to not only who we have always been, but also are yet to become. But as a process of transformation in how “getting there” as described above so well by Alan Watts and Leo Tolstoy comes into play as we find our way back to our eternal source.

The key being fixtures found in Heaven and Earth we must adhere to that show and guide us the way. The Tao is the universal presence of all things. We manifest how we relate to this presence through awareness and our consciousness that brings us into alignment as a name we give by faith.

Often freeing our gift of imagination and minds to letting go of how we think things 2614should be, or are, and being tied to an outcome tied to fear and resistance we base on who we think we are – that in reality, we are only here for our soul’s growth and to change. Almost as if asking ourselves, are we here to become more than we now see as ourselves, or are we here to play in what the world brings to our doorstep every day?

Finding and adhering to the complimentary opposites of all things is the true essence of the purpose of connecting to Heaven and Earth and the true meaning of yin and yang. They are here, as if spirit guides, to teach and show us the way forward as represented by and through the I Ching. Residing within the flow of our natural rhythm is what takes us there, to what the Tao would calluniversal mind”, even what is also referred to as “divine order”.

It is here that our ultimate dreams reside. When we “follow our dreams” this 2615becomes our destination. Moving beyond philosophy and thoughts of religion – to spirit. To what I call sage mind that can clear away what keeps us from becoming free to align with the universal presence that already resides within us as our true, essential selves. Everything you need – as you are simply here to continue fine-tuning your way through change – you already possess as virtue to be shared with others.

The Dazhuan is composed of the 5th and 6th Wings of what is known as the Ten Essential Commentaries with each having twelve entries that total twenty-four altogether. Below are numbers five and six of the 5th Wing. All told, they convey the history of the I Ching and how each of us should live our lives in such a way that 2616conveys our own innate virtue and are considered the benchmark to all essential wisdom. I wrote my own version of the Dazhuan in 2014. Below are segments I wrote that appear here on my website. This all sounds complicated. But it’s really like learning to drive. It’s simply knowing the rules of the road, staying on course (our life), and following them. It’s like the universe asking you not to be anyone but who you are already are, building on, and going there.

Complimentary opposites coming together to find common ground. As if two drops of water at the crest of a ridge pole or middle setting a passageway for eternity to follow their lead. Setting the tone in harmony with each other. It’s finding this within ourselves that makes the I Ching and discovering our inner comfort from within most appealing.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 5

Tao and Yin/Yang… What the Spirits Are   

As the ancients explored the universe, i.e. the mysteries of the Tao, they could see 2617what was  both beautiful and radical. What can be seen as one light (yang) and one dark (yin) and an on-going balance between the two, showing that nothing in the universe exists alone by itself.

For everything to exist it must have its opposite and that both are in continual interplay: life and death, joy and sorrow, man and women, love and hate, expansion and contraction.  Everything existing in a state of flux with these qualities constantly moving, first one and then the other with one dark and one light. Where we lose our way is when we try to hold onto one when the other comes into full play.

When you can totally identify your thinking with this process, never trying to hold onto one over the other, then you can begin to fully know the Tao and to find the way of virtue (te). If you want to call it benevolent, call it benevolence. It is the gift of life. It is concealed in all that you do. Most importantly, it does not share the Confucian philosopher’s anxiety about imperfection. Understand 2618the spontaneity of Chuang Tzu and you can see the Tao as perfect and its power and virtue as complete. Its greatness possesses all things including us. It was here that the “one light and one dark is the Way of the Tao” began to transform what was to become Chinese philosophy.

This became the essence to understanding and when the terms yin and yang were first used and appeared as a pair. The key to wisdom and understanding is to never see or hold the opposites separately; they are to be held together. By holding them together you have found the key element, i.e., what is essential. By using this, an individual can become who they are really meant to be. It is the Tao that is seen by embracing the two in the one, as the ultimate te, to what is considered as virtue, cementing power and virtue together.

Just as it is change that gives life or birth to everything that has a beginning, it is the power that moves the symbols that unfolds them into life. So, it is in using the I Ching that shows us how the symbols are unfolding to create our fate. Its greatness possesses all things and it is through its great possessions we know true prosperity. What moves and completes the symbols is called Ch’ien (Heaven) and what unfolds them into patterns is called K’un (Earth). In using the symbols found in change (the I Ching), we learn our fate through divination. It is when we penetrate our own transformation by cultivating stillness through what Lao Tzu and others teach us, that we can begin to understand the light and the dark and the spirit (shen) within 2619ourselves. It is then as we do the work the spirit arrives.

This is always the question of the sage. As he begins looking within to his own inner virtue for guidance and remembering his innate connection first to nature and the world around him, to what he can see, touch, and feel. What his senses connect him to. And then secondly, how his inner virtue connected to the cosmos. It is for this reason a solid foundation is sought that answers to our source. Over the millennia it has been in stillness, even as the nothing described in the beginning that the universe comes calling, and it is how we respond to the inevitable spirits that know us by name that determine our fate.

Everything here, the updating of the 5th and 6th Wings, the Dazhuan; the intoning of the Taoist canon Cultivating Stillness; the references to specific locations of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist historic sites important to Chinese philosophical and religious history, are to ignite, or re-ignite our DSCI0084eternal connection to our innermost origins, to what defines us and who we really are.

Ji Dan, the Duke of Chou depicted in the Ji Dan Temple in Qufu

Not for necessarily the scholar, but for Lieh Tzu’s everyday man, the common man who seeks his own fate in both the light and dark and change. This is done as if it is King Wen and Ji Dan, the Duke of Chou are here doing the updating themselves. It is being done for us.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 6

 Becoming the voice of Change as we embrace both Heaven and Earth

 Change is equated with what is broad and what is great. These two energies 2620are linked with the primary energies of Ch’ien (Heaven) and K’un (Earth). Through Ch’ien, it can speak to what is far or outside ourselves. Through K’un, change can speak to what is near, inside us, or what is in the soul. Change, via the I Ching, encompasses both Heaven and Earth and everything in-between and remains unmoved by personal desire.

It is through cultivating stillness we can gain an understanding of Ch’ien and 2621K’un and how they influence our lives, the lives of others, and the world around us. By using both we rediscover the virtue hidden within ourselves. First, there is Ch’ien, it manifests as if it is expressing the wishes or greatness of the universe that it comes forward. As if divine energy, alone and concentrated making its presence felt and known. It can move as if in a straight line.

Ch’ien represents yang energy; it is visionary as if knowing the intent of 2622Heaven. But in practical terms it needs its opposite to function properly, or yin energy to be present. K’un is more practical almost structural energy. While appearing to be weak, it is resting, as if intent on taking its turn to come forward, or furthering its desire to seek or find a common way before proceeding. It focuses on the stillness within, as it waits to match its energy with its opposite. This is the Tao in action as it moves nature and all things to their recognizable middle.

It moves and unfolds what works into the here and now, it’s broken lines representing the myriad things in flux waiting to be matched with their opposite yang energy.  Change always present and waiting, as if anxious to play its eternal role, matching Heaven and Earth, the four seasons, the sun and moon, and most importantly, the stars, our source or origins, from whence we came.

It is here that the central player keeps everything on an even keel and on the same page. It moves with the natural rhythm found in the sun, moon, and stars above that keeps all in check reminding us that we are a part of all other things and they us. The main aspect of change is virtue (te). Virtue is the most powerful element in the universe and is the Tao in action. When we speak of Lao Tzu’s Tao, we are speaking in no uncertain terms of its connection to Te – the Way of Virtue, becoming completed as the Tao Te Ching.

It has always been the task of harnessing this dual energy that can best be illustrated by Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man and Confucian thought of holding the reigns together for the common good guiding the status quo represented by hierarchy and authority.

It is these two opposites that have permeating Chinese philosophy for thousands of years. It becomes who gets to ask the question and whose commentary 2623or interpretation of the meaning of the lines of change gets heard.

Who gets to be the voice of Heaven and how is that parlayed into some kind of practical application here on Earth? This has always been the question asked of the I Ching and change. Who can speak for or to the universe unhampered by desires or prejudices?

If our virtue is all that defines us and how we ultimately return in the end, then using change to see how Ch’ien, or Heaven, moves us it is how K’un, or Earth, unfolds into a pattern of life that becomes our ultimate endeavor. It was the sage as the ultimate teacher and way shower of the Tao, who learned that by cultivating stillness we can do this for ourselves.

Lastly, for now, what especially comes to mind is Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and my own Chapter 35 from Thoughts on Becoming a Sage – the Guidebook for leading a virtuous Life written in May/June 2000 and published in China in 2006 as follows:

                           Remaining humble yet inexhaustible

Holding onto the true image of myself with humility, comity and grace I remain humbled by what the Tao places before me.  As I recommit my entire essence to only promoting that which comes forth as the greater image or vision that I am here to complete. All the while knowing that my highest aspiration can succeed only with the success of all around me.

As the world comes forth to greet me each day, I remain protected, as I have no form thereby beyond whatever harm may come my way. I remain safe, serene and as one 2624with the Tao. Eventually everything coming before me as an equal, I walk guided by selflessness as all things come to me. As I remain one with all things. While forgetting myself in others, others forget themselves in me. Therefore, everyone finds his or her place and no one is not at one with me.

Keep only to the plain and simple drawing people closer as you entertain with images of the Tao. Remaining at the point of inquiry, with no one quite sure how to love or hate, with no shape, taste or sound with which to please others. Remaining enmeshed in the Tao and your role can never be exhausted.

(This is the third of twelve entries, each containing two of the 5th and 6th Wings outlining the origins and purpose of the I Ching, the Dazhuan. Please stay tuned as there is more to the story).

By 1dandecarlo

25) The I Ching, yin/yang theory and our eternal essence… Connecting with who we have always been with nothing to seek beyond fine-tuning and virtue because we are already where we are meant to be.

What is it that comes of our purpose – as we begin to wonder, to question if our journey is consistent with the destination? Nature has always shown and taught us the value of both cause and effect and pragmatism, and more importantly not to be tied to whatever outcome that may appear as change is inevitable. That we are destined to become and embrace the change from within that must occur we each use in defining our path.

Staying behind to impart Immortality’s Wisdom

Coming home to visit with old friends, I am made whole again.  Everything there is 2501to see I have seen and everything there is to do I have done.  I am home again to rest among old friends.  Revisiting the thread that reveals my true identity, I rejoice in the oneness of the universe.  I am at peace as one who has found the grace to see what I must do next in His name.  Shedding my worn baggage, my friends are reminded of the light cast by my eternal coat as I sit beside them to honor our being together once again.

While most are happy to remain within the confines of enlightenment, others are a 78little jealous of my desire to return to the world.  Where attachments hold one down and keep their owner from attaining their true identity. Just as you are reminded that your path leads back to a place where you can help others to perhaps come forth to seek their own ultimate destiny. As you leave, you catch glimpses that convey warmth and gratitude and knowledge of the ultimate paradox…

Upon my return I begin by weaving together the fabric of shreds of a vision that has yet to become reality.  Knowing that neither my light nor my shadow will leave a lasting impression. While what is left behind for immortality’s wisdom will only be known once I have returned home once again.      (May 2000 – Thoughts on becoming a Sage)  

Some of what you see here initially is included in the previous post of my 2503blog/webpage. Not everyone saw it, so to get everyone on the same page an explanation may be necessary.

Ultimately, I am trying to illustrate universal transcendence within each of us, how that effects our relationships, the power and influence of the I Ching and what it means. There is a universal connection to and with all things. It’s how we relate to the flow of events that matters.

It is as Confucius once said that seems to tie it all together with an age-old axiom (a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point). “You/we are not here to first create as everything is already here – that we are here not to create but to relate”. Ultimately, the question becomes where are we doing it from with benevolence and virtue and where our path leads.

For myself, it’s as others have done for thousands of years as if there is no beginning 2504or end. Identifying with my source and going with what takes me there. It is in following our innate wisdom that opens the door to our imagination and insight. A portrayal of what we now call quantum physics.

An example many years ago was when I wrote my own version of the book known as “The Book of Lieh Tzu” I called “My travels with Lieh Tzu”. I would write as if in meditation rising a thousand feet in the air and riding the prevailing winds with my brothers and friends the dragons in tow, as they would manifest before me as metaphors to remind and teach me where I was to go next. As if I was home once again. This was almost twenty-five years ago. If you doubt this, please go to the tab on top of my website where it says Books, scroll down and see the book “My travels with Lieh Tzu”,  with one hundred sixty entries that took a year to write. I barely knew who Lieh Tzu was in Chinese and Taoist history prior to this, or 2506Taoist philosophy. What’s interesting is that some scholars doubt Lieh Tzu actually existed. There needed to be a repository for the stories needed to be told that was to become “The Book of Lieh Tzu” and Lieh Tzu’s  writings are considered to be a compilation of various writers of the time. No one is really sure. He became Chuang Tzu’s paradoxical, or corresponding opposite, considered as the “Everyday Man” opposite Chuang’s “Perfected Man”, so that more people could relate to their own journey they needed to make themselves and better see the way forward.

Incorporating the words as my own was not a matter of just writing my own version. I became the words with instructions with only my virtue intact as if only a reminder. It was as I had written earlier. “What you write is who you are to become”. It is as they say… All great writing is autobiographical. This has been my focus and my passion ever sense. Following this path, I was never to be the person I thought I was here to be. Fitting into the status quo life brings each day became as if irrelevant. My path was to lead me elsewhere. I found over time that when I was angry or disappointed in someone or some event, it was not stemming from something outside of myself. But my own inability to change into who I was or am ultimately here to become. I think this is the challenge we all face.

I firmly believe that our “brethren spirits”, in some cultures they are called our 2507“spirit guides” come looking for us. We often see them as metaphors taking shape as reminders of what and those who we have always known.  First, to find us to help guide us through life’s events, and second perhaps many years later – return or come back to further “wake us up” in order to re-direct us to who we have always been and are as yet to become when we are ready. (Some in a religious context refer to this as being “re-born”). As if once we awaken to our essential self, we acknowledge there is more here than meets the eye. Many times though it is our attachments, symbols, and words we cling to in the present that keeps us from the change we need to fulfill our destiny. We grow comfortable with what we don’t know about our true selves.

Change is not what we discover, or occurs outside of us we often find in the “status quo”, or the comfort found with how others think we should adapt ourselves to someone else’s vision of reality.  Life becomes not just striving “to fit in with others present”, but the process of growing as our eternal innate selves. When we can do this our “outward actions” begin to match the benevolence of the expression of love the universe is calling us to return to and express in such a way that others can begin to see change within themselves that helps them to discover the virtue found in their own innate path.

 “Our relationships with others” becoming for example the essence of more than twenty-five hundred years of the teachings of Confucius, as well as, the 2508shaman and what would become Taoism thousands of years earlier. Chinese history is like a continuous stream of thought and Confucius’ teachings were symbolic of inner change each person demonstrated through benevolence and virtue through all their activities.

By tradition, he was said to have written the first two of the Ten Wings of the Essential Commentaries, of which the 5th and 6th Wings are the focus here. What’s important to acknowledge, is that what is attributed to him was a process covering hundreds of years of people saying… this is what he said and meant. It was their interpretation of his words and then giving them meaning by stature they gave him as a sage. He was also credited with updating the five classics of ancient China that historically have always been his claim to fame. Much more to follow on Confucius later.

There is a famous saying that “When you are ready the teacher will come”. It appeared that way in China. Confucius was to become the great teacher and is still seen as such today. Especially in Qufu and Shandong Province where I lived and taught for so many years. Where I was reminded that change is an inside job we are here to embrace from inside us. Remember the story of Chuang Tzu’s meat cutter, he found his joy in his job of cutting the meat that matched his connection to the universe and the Tao. He loved his work as he loved himself regardless of his task because of his connection with something beyond the present. It becoming only the extension of virtue he embraced. People and positions they hold are always evolving. Our resistance and reluctance to change is what keeps us from doing so.  A re-occurring theme that expresses what we do is not who we are unless connecting us to our beginning that contributes to our way or path, or as I like to say… finding and living our dreams. It’s all we are here for.

The Dazhuan – The Meaning of the I Ching

Understanding change, as told in the Dazhuan, The Great Treatise is the process of 2509identifying  and encompassing the I Ching within oneself – how to combine the Tao and change as self-cultivation, identify within yourself a sense of spiritual cultivation and the transformation that follows.

Connecting with the Way of the Tao.

Ultimately, it is our own words joining, or linking, with the lines and oracle (as if a divine communication or revelation) and how they move us that matters. The Dazhuan tells us that the Book of Change, the I Ching creates the following as it serves to double all the processes that create the reality that we experience.

Approaching and writing about the Dazhuan cannot be a haphazard affair. Commentaries by the greatest thinkers and philosophers in Chinese history, of which, Chuang Tzu, Confucius and Wang Pi, were only three of the most famous who created the framework for all who have weighed in on the Great Commentaries. These Ten Wings, of which The Dazhuan was numbers five and six formed the basis of most all serious thought in China that would follow.

Interpreting the meaning of the I Ching was to take from the shaman and sage what 2510it all means building on thousands of years of observing nature and cause and effect. What came out of something was always in direct correlation to what went into it. Taoists generally felt one way and the Confucians quite another. This created in essence a parallel universe when “what it all meant” would shape Chinese history and philosophy for all time. A second book entitled Cultivating Stillness recently interpreted by Eva Wong stressed equanimity, good health, peace of mind, and long life as the goals of the ancient Taoist tradition known as “internal alchemy”of which Cultivating Stillness is a key text. Written between the second and fifth centuries, the book is attributed to Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching. A principal part of the Taoist canon for many centuries, it served as the basis along with these two Wings for all learning by Taoist precepts in monasteries in China for over two thousand years. They are still in use today.

It is as Joseph Campbell taught us that one of the biggest differences between East and West is a concept that the universal presence of a God figure in the West is some omnipotent entity outside of ourselves we must follow. Verses the East where this presence is reflected through us as us. It is our pre-existing innate nature. In purely philosophical terms, universal love comes from within us as the very Ashao10essence of our being.

A major influence affected by naturally occurring events, including human nature and all-natural phenomenon that the I Ching re-enforces, is it teaches pragmatism. (A philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, value, and in the usage here… the eternal virtue that exists within us).

Too often we try to direct the outcome through what we do before it occurs that fits what should come naturally and universal.  As if things are intended and be meant be transcendent. What is seen universally as – do unto others as you would have them do unto you and that what is good for me must be good for you as well. If you are coming from virtue, then what occurs can only be the extension of your innermost self. What is often seen as procrastination is only our waiting for events to match our vision that fits the step we next need to take. When there can be no rush to what may ultimately occur, when cause and effect are universally considered.

Enabling us to look at all sides of an issue, see pro and con, and reach conclusions that fit the very essence of our being and everything else as the same. There had to be a process where symbols and words could match who we are from within that would further explain who we are individually and how we fit in to the universe around us. With all things being equal there cannot be right verses wrong in the literal sense if everything comes out of their own inherent divine nature and going there to the beginning as the initial step to freedom. An end result where what occurs is universal with consideration of the divine right found by all in nature is lifted together. The I Ching is the application of practical consequences that fit who we have always been, are now, and will be in the future and can serve as a guide in getting there.

Rather myth, legend, or reality, a shaman who lived in 2700 BC named the Yellow 2511Emperor in Chinese history known as Huangdi, is said to have invented the lines of the eight diagrams of the I Ching (as well as the father of Chinese medicine). Historically, he was considered to be from Qufu more than two thousand years before Confucius.

The obelisk at the birthplace of the Yellow Emperor in Qufu

During the Han dynasty in roughly 200 AD an Emperor came along and said… no the Yellow Emperor had been an actual person who had been a great shaman and yes, he had in fact invented the original eight hexagram lines of the I Ching and it was in fact the real thing. At the time, the Emperor had the moniker of being the “Son of Heaven”. In effect, saying myth and reality can merge into what should be taken as truth.

In practical terms, there had to be a process where symbols could match words that 2514spoke individually to each of us reflecting who we are. Things always change and nothing stays the same over time, so how do we empower and enable ourselves to match this with our highest endeavor?

It’s like they found with the stars above. The same stars in the sky would re-appear at the same time once a year. Matching yourself with the stars you were born with, you could tell how old you were and claim a totem – the symbol of a protecting animal assigned to you as a protector here in the natural world that correlated with the stars. What became of the twelve months of the year we refer to as our astrological sign.

What is critical is that we do no harm to ourselves and others along the way. Our life 2515experiences are here to teach us how to live within ourselves and reflect that in all our activities… love thy neighbor as thyself. We need structure to do this and ritual, symbols, and words become the process to take us there. Over eons of time, we have learned that it is love that keeps us centered and not being afraid to open our imagination, our hearts and minds to something new that changes us into something beyond what we think we know. And mostly importantly – love knows no bounds. In going there, we continue with the next step.

What we discussed back in Numbers 1 and 2 here in the 5th Wing about Heaven and Earth is connecting with the sky above as Heaven with the Earth where we are now. That people are like the four seasons as they themselves moved around the sun too. They/We are born, live, die, and would return again as something new. If we could be connected with the stars, then our eternal essence would always be secure giving us a sense of freedom. That there is nothing to fear in death if we have lived our lives in harmony with who we are here to become continually growing as our eternal selves as we connect with all other things. 

Also this is only the second of a total of twelve of furthering how the I Ching works through us. We have far to go. If you are following this website and my entries here, please don’t jump to conclusions as to where this all is headed. Using your own innate wisdom and imagination go with the flow and just let it take you there. You have the freedom to do so, or not.

The following is from Chapter One – Heaven’s Gift of “My travels with Lieh Tzu” that I wrote in January 1995. We are all living history. What matters is what we come to find as our starting point and finding the benchmark of our words, actions, and deeds.

A Conversation with the Yellow Emperor or Forever Knowing the Outcome

Knowing no origins. Finding no difference between one thing and another.

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Yellow Emperor

Death not simply an ending, but the art of transforming from one thing to the next.  Knowing neither birth nor death.  Life but a shadow, sounds but an echo. Always coming and going as nothing made into something, only to be made into something once again.

Somehow taking shape in the end. Simply coming forward to know the way of virtue. Being born to be reborn. Having shape to be made shapeless. Endings never escaping their end just as whatever is born again can never escape its beginning. Living only as the eternal spirit always merely coming and going. The only possessions that exist belonging to Heaven and Earth. Each taking care of man’s spirit and remains. Whatever else could there be.

What is man, but what takes shape through infancy, old age and death. Each simply 2516one’s spirit working out the details along the everlasting Way or Tao. Coming in with harmony and virtue intact. Later only to find turmoil as desires rise and fall.  With challenges and lessons to be lived and learned. Each serving only as the knapsack of one’s destiny.

Knowing hunger and where morsels must be found. Keeping to one’s internal compass and staying on the course of events that must be followed. Finding comfort in one’s blanket to be kept warm by never contending with anything.

Coming to know old age and knowing that imperfections found since infancy have been simply built upon. Looking forward to death so that you may eagerly try again.   1/8/1995

The Dazhuan is composed of the 5th and 6th Wings of what is known as the Ten Essential Commentaries with each having twelve entries. Below are numbers three and four of the 5th Wing. All told, they convey the history of the I Ching and how each of us should live our lives in such a way that conveys our own innate virtue and are considered the benchmark to all essential wisdom. I wrote my own version of the Dazhuan in 2014.

Below are segments that appear here on my website. This all sounds complicated. But it’s really like learning to drive. It’s simply knowing the rules of the road, staying on course (our life), and following them. It’s like the universe asking you not to be anyone but who you are already are and going there. It’s not simply opposites that attract each other… it’s complimentary opposites coming together to find common ground. As if two drops of water at the crest of a ridge pole or middle setting a passageway for eternity to follow their lead. Setting the tone in harmony with each other. It’s finding this within ourselves that makes the I Ching appealing.

The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part I Number 3

The Statements – What the Words Show 

We first look to how great and small are related in the I Ching and in our lives ATEN13as the images and symbols that connect us to the invisible world. Great and small are key words, the oldest terms for yin and yang. Through them we know if we should be forceful and follow our own idea, or are flexible and yield to others. It is the hexagrams that refer to figures while the line statements refer to alternations. Alternations are the act or process of alternating, or in what might be considered alternate succession or repeated rotation.

Understanding this concept is one of the key components of the I Ching and ‘complimentary opposites’ which represent the reality of yin/yang theory as the essence of the I Ching, and the role of facing “underlying contradictions” of our character that define us – both good and bad… much on this later.

In reading the lines auspicious and disaster means success and failure. Trouble and distress refer to minor mistakes; no misfortune means mistakes can be mended. Therefore, what is seen as noble or base depends on position, just as sorting out what is great or small depends on the hexagram while discerning rather something is auspicious or disastrous depends on the statement. Worrying at trouble and distress depends on the risk as quaking at no misfortune depends on distress. Thus, the hexagrams deal with great and small, the statements deal with danger and comfort and show the way things are going.

It would be those who could successfully read the symbols that made consulting the spirit world central to what could be known and what could not be known.  Just as we ourselves are in constant transformation, our spirit always advancing and withdrawing as we look for and to a change of heart that defines us through AI3the ability to know the Way, or Tao, is through the words we speak and write that define both ourselves and our relationships with what we encounter. 

Anxiety occurs due to our innate desire to know what the Tao teaches – and staying within the limits of the Way, or Tao.With this the Superior Man or Women will know how to act as their own divine return signals at both danger and ease. This is how the talisman became important as it defined one’s eternal connection with nature and the universe. (A talisman is a stone, ring, or other object, engraved wit figures or characters supposed to possess power to connect one with the universe and worn as an amulet, bracelet, or charm. Its presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings and/or emotions  human feelings and/or actions).

Remember that this process took thousands of years of understanding cause and effect and what occurs in nature, and how it is a reflection of our own universal presence. How each of us comes forward through our relationships and our response that occurs through our actions that comes into sync with this. It is tied intrinsically with and to who we have always  been as “universal truth”. That we are here to further, and just as important, to do so under the ATibet18auspicious of “divine order”. It is not a conjecture, or simply opinion.  To always live in the presence of this love and have our energies guided thusly. Also you should not view this process in a religious context tied to a particular set of beliefs. Y

You can still follow the Christ presence within, the Bodhisattva vow, the Tao, or other path that takes you to your highest endeavor and destiny. It serves as the universe speaking directly to us – each individual – and the ten thousand things – everything and used as a tool, can help to take us there. What the I Ching provided over the centuries, and continues to do so, was the context giving structure to philosophy and religion that would give a commonality and purpose. Using the I Ching as it found way to the middle (that complimentary opposites attract each other) that reconciles our universal presence and transcendent universal nature.

D112

Therefore, what is seen as noble or base depends on position, just as sorting out what is great or small depends on the hexagram while discerning rather something is auspicious or disastrous depends on the statement. Worrying at trouble and distress depends on the risk as quaking at no misfortune depends on distress. Thus, the hexagrams deal with great and small, the statements deal with danger and comfort and show the way things are going.

It would be those who could successfully read the symbols that made consulting the spirit world central to what could be known and what could not be known.  Just as we ourselves are in constant transformation, our spirit always advancing and withdrawing as we look for and to a change of heart that defines us through the ability to know the Way, or Tao, is through the words we speak and write and our actions that follow. Anxiety occurs due to our innate desire to know what the Tao teaches – and staying within the limits of the Way, or Tao. With this the Superior Man or Women will know how to act as their own divine return signals at both danger and ease. This is how the talisman became important as it defined one’s eternal connection with nature and the universe. (A talisman is a stone, ring, or other object, engraved wit figures or characters supposed to possess power to connect one with the universe and worn as an amulet, bracelet, or charm. Its presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings and/or actions).

In Chinese history, Fulu is a term for Taoist practitioners in the past that could draw 2517and write supernatural talismans called Fu which they believed functioned as summons or instructions to deities, spirits, or as tools of exorcism, as medical potions for ailments. Again, it is important to remember that the Yellow Emperor mentioned above was consider both the founder of the symbols of the I Ching, and also the Father of Chinese medicine. If he did exist, he was the greatest shaman and teacher of his age/time.

A talisman depicting desire for wealth and success.

It is believed by Taoists that in the past the ability to write Shenfu (similar to an oracle) which they believed functioned as summons or instructions to deities, spirits, had been once decreed by their deities to authorized priests or daoshi. Lu (Chinese: ) is a register and compilation of the membership of the daoshi as well as the skills they were able to use. These practitioners are also called Fulu Pai (Chinese: 符籙派) or the Fulu Sect made up of daoshi from different schools or offshoots of Taojia.

It is a symbol that connects us to the invisible world. It’s the vibrations, or light, we attract that puts us in tune with our inner self.What is the light? We/You are the light, with our ability to be conscious and mindful, and to act with wisdom and foresight. To serve the light means to show up which means simply to be present – for yourself, as your best and highest self, and to show up for others in your life as well.

For myself, trying to see this through “today’s eyes” can be difficult. But in context to what they knew at the time, and what they saw as “universal truths”. The use of the talisman is common in almost all ancient cultures and was universal throughout time and the world.

This was one of the major precept’s outlining the shaman’s influence connecting to the sky above (especially the Big Dipper) and what could be seen and observed in nature.  This gave the shaman the ability to converse with nature. It was through symbols that the ancients found the doorway to Heaven. Examples of these symbols first illustrating the sun, moon, and stars, were unearthed during the Han dynasty at Nanyang in Henan Province and depict the sixteen stars of the Azure, or Green Dragon constellation.

The Azure Dragon occupies the four constellations that define the 2518horizon. From prehistory forward, the ancient Chinese felt a direct connection to the stars as if they were in reality the place of their ancestors. First on tortoise shell then later on the hip bone of a horse, bear, or elk, and even later yarrow sticks, came the desire and need to communicate with the spirit world and others and speak – to develop a vocabulary with words that spoke to the divine spirit within. It was this innate urging to connect with the universe that cultivating stillness through meditation was fine-tuned over the centuries.

It was this use of imagination and images that attached words to the divine connection of man and in stillness that man’s divine nature could manifest to 2519the fullest. It was then that the paradigm shifted and the words could define the symbols and everything changed.

Then six lines became eight and the bagua came into being and in about 1100 BC. King Wen (1152 – 1056 BC) added words, i.e., statements with meaning to the lines.  It was with the consultation process that the lines were considered as transforming. It is when a line “transforms” that it turns into its opposite. This is when the words attached to the lines take on great importance. It is here that the spirit is changing shape, so that we know how to act.  Over the centuries many others would write their own commentaries as to the meaning of the lines to fit their philosophy to what they would say the I Ching and Tao really meant. Key among those would be Confucius and then later Wang Pi in the Han dynasty. The primary connection between the I Ching and the Tao is rather change is flowing or is blocked and it is the position of the strong and supple lines that help us to know whether our place in life is great or small. This speaks to our innate moral center or virtue and our desire to find and stay in tune with what is universal. It is in this way we return to the Tao and our eternal self.

The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part I Number 4

Embracing Tranquility as the Sage, the Spirits, and Change   

The I Ching and change is always taking the measure of Heaven and Earth in every 2520person, place and thing and is the source of all beginnings. It is the union of opposites containing the signs of Heaven and knowledge of what is light and clear with what is dark and obscure – the patterns of Earth.

The ancient shaman and later the sage understood this and could go to the beginning of things and trace its impact and nature to the end. By observing nature, they could see how birth was a beginning and death an end that united heavenly spirit with earthly realizing power. That life is a never-ending continuum of one’s soul or spirit. It would be much later when Chuang Tzu would have this realization and express this best.

It was in early pre-history that spirit travel was said to be common for those who were adept at conversing with what could not be known. That by and through following the cosmos and movement of the stars, the shaman could fix their location 2521with the stars and return.

My own source – the Libra constellation

It was this fixing of the stars, sun and moon that allowed the universe to speak and the sage to listen and then communicate on its behalf in what was to become the traditional roll of the dragon in Chinese folklore and history.

The ultimate allegory  – a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through AJ6concrete or material forms; a figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another depicting man’s connection to the universe and the Tao.

Becoming one with the dragons one could reach his/her ultimate endeavor and destiny and understand the underpinnings and wisdom of the I Ching and the Tao. It would be in this way universal truths could be shown and appear through you. The greatest shaman of old were storytellers who could tell and convey the symbols from which all began. As if heaven sent, they became the sage – the ultimate emissary and dragon themselves.

It was through this understanding that all things come about first as a symbol 2522(hsiang) and that the symbol is a heavenly spirit that connects with body energy (chi) by using the realizing power of Earth (K’un) in life.

In death the soul wanders, detaches itself and floats up. It is in this way a transformation occurs. Life is not simply the union and separation of the light and the dark with death, but a celebration of how one returns to his origin. It was with this knowledge the shaman could penetrate all mysteries. And it was the I Ching and what was later to become Taoism that drove the connection between Earth and Heaven by what the earliest shaman, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, Confucius and so many others were to contribute to the spiritual and philosophical world. It is with this realization that they become our peers again and again and you become the peers of others. The Taoist teachings of Lao, Chuang and Lieh Tzu; Confucian ethics of Confucius and Mencius; universal love of Mo Tzu, and the individualism of Yang Chu, we find all of them in change and the I Ching.  Using change, they brought security to those who depended on them. By following fate such an enlightened person can be free of care and sorrow. Fate 2523defined as a person understanding the flow and vibrations of their life as it connects with all around them.

To stay in tune with this universal understanding you must use affection, dialogue and divination (one’s perception by intuition and/or instinctive foresight), not simply diligence and study.

Nothing can separate us from our eternal path or spirit, except our own lack of focus and effort. We learn not to become anxious when it is time to speak, as our voice becomes a mirror or reflection of Heaven. You (we) have always had this power. It is our understanding, wisdom, and furthering coming forward that allows us to use our power and great vision of things to come. It is in unblocking the power that already resides within us that determines our fate. The key being the spirits (shen) not being confined to our thoughts and change not being confined to our body.

(This is the second of twelve entries, each containing two of the 5th and 6th Wings outlining the origins and purpose of the I Ching, the Dazhuan. Please stay tuned as there is more to the story).

By 1dandecarlo

24) The I Ching – Christ consciousness and our presence within the Tao.

We are the change the world is looking for as we become true to ourselves again. Learning to become who we are as the Christ presence from within, as the Tao and I Ching can serve and teach us to become one with the universal wisdom we have always known.

There is a path to follow – some call it the Bodhisattva vow. Others simply calling it God or other names by faith. There is only one power and presence in the universe – our role is to go there in unity with all others. It is by and through learning from the I Ching our path or way can become clear.

The below was written almost twenty years ago as my own version of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching from “Thoughts on becoming a Sage – The Guidebook to leading a virtuous Life”. (We are all becoming the sage when we follow our bliss in pursuit of our highest endeavor and ultimate destiny).

Thoughts on becoming a Sage – The Guidebook to leading a virtuous Life

Verse 3 – Preparing the Way

The sage must begin again by daily ritual and purification. You must prepare an area for optimum meditation and reflection. You must set aside all other activities and thoughts so as to be quiet, still, able to listen and be prepared to learn.

You must instill determination, release all desires, and come to find discipline. When you are ready all will flow unimpeded through you.

You are to become the vessel when and if you remain worthy of the mantle placed upon you. All is within you – everything you need is already here. We have been waiting for you to be fully prepared for the journey.

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The calligrapher of Linyi

Clear your mind, cleanse your heart and open your mind and be prepared for the great and auspicious journey to come. Use every moment to seek clarity. Paying attention to detail brings focus necessary for true learning. Come forward to know thyself and all will become clear.

Now go. But remain vigilant and dedicated to who you are to become. Your endeavors will bring forth your ultimate destiny…

第3节 备道

圣人必须每天举行祭奠仪式,进行自我净化。你必须腾出一个地方,在那里认真沉思反省。你必须放弃繁事,摈除杂念,心平气和,这样才能够听和学.

你必须下定决心,清心寡欲,严于律己。当你能够做到这几点,一切就会迎刃而解.

你是否是一件精美的容器,就看你是否配得起放在你上面的盖子。一切都在你的掌握之中-万事俱备。我们一直在等待着你做好行前准备.

D102要头脑清醒,排除杂念,开放思想,准备参加这个伟大光明的旅行.

Becoming the Vessel Wuhan Museum

必须抓紧时间,清心明目。关心细节可以帮助集中注意力,有利学习。来吧,了解你自己,一切都将会明朗.

现在出发吧。但是,你仍然要头脑清醒,努力奋斗,成为你想做的那种人。你的努力终将会有回报.

Understanding change, as told in the Dazhuan, The Great Treatise is the process D103of identifying and encompassing the I Ching within oneself – how to combine the Tao and change, identify within yourself a sense of spiritual cultivation and the transformation that follows. Just as Emmanuel Kant and Ralph Waldo Emerson taught us that in following our innate, inward nature, the Christ presence within us would emerge and we could become universal, find and know ourselves.

Connecting with the Way of the Tao. Ultimately, it is our own words joining, or linking, with the lines and oracle (as if a divine communication or revelation) and how they move us that matters. The Dazhuan tells us that the Book of Change, the I Ching creates the following as it serves to double all the processes that create the reality that we experience. Sometimes, it is as if knowledge and wisdom are gained by opening our hearts and minds to infinite possibilities to things we have not previously imagined or considered possible. Sending us off on what may be called the “Great Enterprise”. What is important is to acknowledge that this “Great Enterprise” described below encompasses all things not just man. China has historically described this as “the ten thousand things”. Everything found in nature is sacred. Divinity is all around us and we are all are sacred as something much bigger than ourselves. That there exists the “Christ presence” that is present in A89all things. Its what the American Indians knew instinctively about our connection to and with nature and the universe we live, they fought so hard to keep, and what Chief Joseph of  the Nez Perce expressed so well when he said “It does not take many words to speak the Truth”. That no one owns the sun, moon and stars in which we find our place to thrive with all other things.

Approaching and writing about the Dazhuan cannot be a haphazard affair. Commentaries by the greatest thinkers and philosophers in Chinese history, of which, Chuang Tzu, Confucius and Wang Pi, were only three of the most famous who created the framework for all who have weighed in on the Great Commentaries. These Ten Wings, of which The Dazhuan was numbers five and six, formed the basis of most all serious thought in China that would follow.

Interpreting the meaning of the I Ching was to take from the shaman and sage what it all means building on thousands of years of observing the universe and stars above, nature, cause and effect, and man’s connection to it all. The creator was not outside of us – it was in and us as well. There could never be thoughts of separation because everything is ultimately connected to everything else. We are all one – we are the world. It’s what Emerson and Kant taught us in the West about following our divinity and the innate nature we already inherently possess, our existing Christ presence and consciousness that sustains us.

What came out of something including us and all things found in nature, was always in direct correlation to what went into it in the beginning – mostly simply waiting to be built on and exposed. Like IChing126going out the same door you came in after you have arrived. In China, Taoists generally felt one way and the Confucians quite another. This created in essence a parallel universe when “what it all meant” would shape Chinese history and philosophy for all time. As if the process needed to find that place where duality is reconciled. However, many feel Confucius was a Taoist at heart based on the benevolence and virtue he expressed. It was later when others could use his words to say… well this is what he really meant that he was venerated for various reasons.

A second book entitled Cultivating Stillness interpreted by Eva Wong stressed D104equanimity, good health, peace of mind, and long life as the goals of the ancient Taoist tradition known as “internal alchemy”, of which Cultivating Stillness is a key text. Written between the second and fifth centuries, the book is attributed however to Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching. A principal part of the Taoist canon for many centuries, it served as the basis along with these two Wings for all learning by Taoist precepts in monasteries in China for over two thousand years. They are still in use today.

The third “book” along with Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, that was a requirement was the “Book of Lieh Tzu”. It would serve as a conscious effort to show how all the pieces fit together. My own version of the “Book of Lieh Tzu” entitled “My travels with Lieh Tzu, Interpolations along the Way”, also appears here at this website I wrote in 1994-95 in what is still an unpublished manuscript. All three, the Commentaries (including the 5th and 6th Wings), Cultivating Stillness, and The Book of Lieh Tzu were considered to be “teaching manuals or textbooks”.

It’s not a matter of simply reading the words. It is becoming what you have written D105through meditation followed by mindfulness, and incorporating as the wisdom you live by. It is what great artists do through calligraphy, and the 8th-century Chinese calligrapher Yan Zhenqing, who is considered as the father of Chinese calligraphy said to have learned to hold his hand just right by watching geese in the pond next to his home. Or works by musicians Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Artists like Leonardo DaVinci, Michelangelo, Monet, and van Gogh. The Beatles, and especially John, Paul, and George Harrison. Poets like Bob Dillon, Shakespeare, and Walt Whitman. Tolstoy, Aristotle and Plato. Today, movies, museums, and theaters depict similar themes we are innately attracted too. Its what churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples do to help to take us to our highest awareness of who we are… simply connecting us with ourselves. The architecture of Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Confucius Temple and Mansion in Qufu and Forbidden City in Beijing and the British Museum in London (I have been to all of them).

All of the above pushing us to find the love from within our own “Christ consciousness and presence” and use this as our own voice to the universe. Creating what some have been known to call “good vibrations”. Their purpose moving us to our own highest destiny. Because that’s who they were and why we are here. They were expressing themselves as our mutual highest endeavor, as our D107Christ presence and the Tao, or closer to our own divinity if you like. Along with so many more… who wrote, painted, and played music for the ages… for eternity and immortality and especially for us.

Or perhaps even the great metaphysicians and storytellers, who are here to help convey what it all means. It’s the presence that comes from within us. The words of Rumi and dancing as he takes us divinely above the clouds and the D106extension of the great Manjusri, the purveyor of wisdom exemplified by the Buddhist bodhisattva vow. Simply the vibrations we are all here to exemplify and become as well. It is the eternal essence of what the I Ching and Tao were to convey and teach us. Only after knowing who we are, can we begin to find our way to our source and move beyond where we are now. It is what eternity is about.

D118

Black Elk depicted in the other world

It is what the great Sioux medicine man Black Elk was told as a young boy in his vision by his spirit guides outlining the future of his People from atop the Black Hills of South Dakota.

What Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about before he died about “going to the mountaintop and seeing the other side”. He had no fear of what was to come because he anticipated in his heart and mind what might happen and was ready to go home. He had done what he was here to do this time. Just as all the great teachers had done before him. Ultimately, he was simply a man of the Tao, of God’s love for all of us and conveyed what the Christ within each of us really means.

All above here to guide us to the greatness within as to what is inevitably to come and how to make the most of our own story that writes itself. As we only fill in the Qingdao16details as yet unwritten. Even in my teaching at the university in China where I taught more than four-hundred students who planned to be English teachers themselves. I would tell them to find their niche and use their future role as teachers to discover who they were and to encourage students to contribute their own strengths and to help others find theirs as well. As if attempting to fulfill my own role, my own bodhisattva vow as a historian, storyteller and teacher. What I am guided to do here on my webpage.

The Dazhuan is composed of the 5th and 6th Wings of what is known as the Ten D108Essential Commentaries with each having twelve entries. Some written by Confucius, others by competing Confucians and Taoists prevalent at the time.

Below are numbers one and two of the 5th Wing. There are twelve parts to each Wing. (twelve in the 5th Wing and twelve in the 6th) All told, they convey the history of the I Ching with origins dating back thousands of years telling how each of us should live our lives in such a way that conveys our own innate virtue and are considered the benchmark to all essential wisdom. I wrote my own version of the Dazhuan in 2014. Below are segments that appear here on my website, the balance will follow in subsequent entries. This is going to be a lot of information. I don’t expect you to read and absorb in one sitting. Please keep for future reference. This entry represents only the first two of a total of twenty four that conveys the whole story. Like life, it continues as a work in progress. Telling the story is cathartic, i.e., corrective, invigorating, life-sustaining, restores us in re-claiming our essence of our innermost being. It teaches me how far I have yet to travel and prepare for the journey yet to come.

Part 1 of the Dazhuan

The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part I Number 1

A cosmic analogy – How Heaven and Earth define Change

There is a symbolic reality of what lies between figures formed in Heaven and are D109shapes on Earth as high and low places are spread about as both movement and stillness. Just as with in the face of Heaven each person stands alone, there are limits to what is knowable. Just as there are gates in which things come and go always transforming into being something new. The energies that are at work in Heaven and Earth also drive the symbols of change as we observe that events never happen alone and that all changes and the transformation of Heaven and Earth reside in the Yijing, or I Ching. The symbols of change found in the I Ching contain the formative power of both Heaven and Earth as whole and broken lines that distinguish that events are both different and the same and can be interpreted and understood.

These transformations can be seen in the movement found in the Eight Diagrams, the bagua. These three-line figures contain the energy of natural processes: as thunder and lightning stimulate, wind and rain fertilize, sun and moon move on their prescribed courses and after cold comes heat.

The fundamental symbols of change are chien and kun. They contain the power of D110Heaven and Earth and serve to connect us directly with change. Quan or Chien (Heaven) helps us to change spontaneously letting us know change in our hearts. Kun (Earth) makes and completes everything. This gives us the ability to act without complications or pride (ego) and lets us follow change in life with simplicity and spontaneity. When we open ourselves to the influence of change, we acquire the ability to gain both the deep affection of others and ability to lead our own life as an independent person.

The Great Treatise tells us, “What is readily recognized is accepted. What is readily followed brings success. What is accepted can endure and what brings success can grow great. Endurance is the wise man’s power; greatness is the wise man’s task. Being spontaneous and simple means grasping the principles of all under Heaven; grasping the principles of all under chien, or Heaven, means finding one’s place in the midst of kun, or earth”. This is called the “Great Enterprise”.  For myself, this exemplifies the true meaning of the universal “Christ consciousness and presence”, finding or place here on earth, returning to our source and becoming universal.

The key to initiating a sense of understanding change is becoming aware of what is known as symbolic reality that teaches us to see the pattern of things. It is this symbolic reality that becomes our own reflection. Staying in the middle is a step towards freedom from compulsive emotion, the fear of anticipation, and sorrow over the unexpected. The I Ching gives you direct access to the symbolic world behind appearances and with practice follow structure and the ability to know our beginnings and what lies ahead.

Unfortunately, many in Western culture, and modern-day China as well, have D111attempted to portray the I Ching as nothing more than fortune-telling or like nothing more than reading their horoscope. Popular culture can demean what we don’t understand or may be seen to diminish our own limited beliefs.

Our horoscope is directly related to the cosmos and one of twelve constellations connected to the month and year we are born in. Our pull to this is similar to that of the pull of the tides of the ocean and the moon. Simply tendencies that are meant to keep us centered and on course. Even a tailwind pushing us forward, or a headwind if ignored. Something the earliest shaman knew as innately as the sun rising in the morning and setting at night. Its who we are.

The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part I Number 2

Following the Omens and One’s Fate

The shaman and sages created the hexagrams having observed the nuances found in nature then added statements to indicate good and ill omens as man followed the natural course of events. (A hexagram occurs by combining two of the eight elements pictured that show each having three lines with a total of sixty-four D112possibilities). That what came into a situation determined the outcome. An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future (as simple as heavy clouds coming this way portending rain). Often signifying the advent of change one learned through observation (cause and effect) and what occurs afterwards. People in ancient times believed that omens appear or come with a divine message from God who they saw as residing with the stars they could see at night and the coming of the sun and moon everyday as fixtures they could identify with that made them a part of something more than themselves. For early China this meant the shaman was considered to have a direct link with Heaven and what was to later be known as the I Ching and by extension the Tao. He/she possessing the means and was the method to communicate what these omens meant.

The key the shaman discovered was an understanding that the whole and broken lines of the hexagram once formed replace one another and that a person could alter his fate by staying connected to his or her source.

Thus, omens both auspicious and disastrous became figures of failure and success, and that troubles and distress are figures of worry and anxiety that leads to alternation and transformation… and change. And that it is how we connect through our insight and imagination back to our beginning, or source, that we can see and determine our future. All this will be further explained in later entries here describing the 5th and 6th Wings that follow this entry.

The key to understanding myths and legends in China is that they point to a door to further understanding over five thousand years of continuous history and culture. They point to the place where ancient stories were born, retold and modified to fit current events over and over again. This has always been the niche of the storyteller. Tradition tells us that the storyteller reveals, and thus shares, him/her self through his/her telling and the listeners reveal and share themselves through their reception of the story. It is this ability outlined above by the artisans of the ages that told their own story through their art, words, and music that gained universal appeal. Storytelling offers the security of explanation; how life and its many forms began and why things happen, as well as entertainment and enchantment. We are strengthened and maintained through stories that connected the present, the past and the future. As if getting this close to your dreams and being able to touch them. Its where the storyteller takes you with your imagination in tow. It’s what and where knowing what the meaning of the I Ching tells and teaches us.

Like coming together to sing “We are the World”. The one/or ones telling the story D113in such a way that myth and reality merge into one story that fits or suits the times. Making connections, showing how through the stories from the ancients and those who came before us, that there was a way of becoming universal ourselves. What we have called becoming transcendental. We thereby become a part of the story through our lives and by living and telling our own version of events as we too come in harmony with change. Opening the door to who we have always been as our benevolent and highest self and will be again. Our purpose here is to first re-discover our source, i.e., who we are and have always been, and to simply remember as something for us to build on.

As if connecting with what truly defines us before history began and the deep Jy20wisdom that resided at a time when few people doubted the reality they expressed. Over time, it was just a matter of furthering a common story that everyone could identify with and then become a part of the story as well. It is a commonality everyone shares regardless of their origin. The key to transformation acknowledged by the shaman was that symbols were more lasting than words where meaning could be interpreted in many ways. These symbols are re-enforced by the rituals we perform in our daily lives.

It was the lines of the diagrams of the I Ching and words conveying certain D114meanings that created the language called change. Through the sage, who also represented the spirits, they learned the method of advancing and withdrawing energy, the alternation of light and dark, and the three powers or pivots – Heaven, Earth, and Humanity.

The role of the sage has been to help us to take our place in history and finding tranquility, the place our hearts truly reside and the peace of mind to stay there. But it is the connection to the Tao, I Ching, and Cultivating Stillness to be illustrated here that begins with the movement of the six lines of the hexagram illustrating the Tao of the D115Great Triad. It is these Three Pure Ones that are the Taoist Trinity, the three highest Gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. From the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching, it was held that “The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.” Ultimately understanding that there is only the Tao, the Buddha, the Christ presence, one unknowable God, as we may define him/her. Only that we need help in getting there with many lesser deities whose role and by ritual help to take us there as with the Buddhist practice that stresses ritual, mindfulness and meditation, and focusing on our internal spirit guide – the Buddha within. It’s not only so much as who you are (we are all divine). It’s what you do with what you AW3have always known, and what you can accomplish with this knowledge and awareness as our growth contributes to our inner selves and how that extends to the world around us.

This key to the process of divination and understanding the role of the oracle is as if fine-tuning of prayer. As in meditation, expressing a problem, a difficulty, or emotion, you pose the question to change (to the I Ching) in words. Then you must D116take the words of the answer into your heart. The answer or symbol will arise as if a spirit has been evoked and the right answer will appear. It acts as the soul and changes the way one thinks setting foot on the Way of the Tao becoming what Chuang Tzu would call the Perfected Man and furthered by the Eight Immortals and Queen Mother of the West in Chinese history.

The Perfected, or sometimes referred to Superior Man, finds his place in life D117resting content in the succession of change; he finds satisfaction taking delight in his thoughts and words. When he acts, he observes the alternations and takes delight in the omens, as if knowing the future that lies before him. Thusly, becoming the person he is meant to be. The grace of Heaven and eternal dragons (or some may call angels), always coming to his aid as the way of the Tao becomes auspicious and open to him as his highest endeavor and destiny is now secure. This is often known as wu-wei in China. With this he has become the sage and returns home to rest again with his peers.

(This is the first of twelve entries, each containing two of the 5th and 6th Wings outlining the origins and purpose of the I Ching, the Dazhuan. Please stay tuned as there is more to the story).

 

By 1dandecarlo

23) Having faith – Rumi, Chuang Tzu, moving mountains and being moved by mustard seeds.

Understanding the greater truths that ultimately define us. The use of Myth, Metaphors, and Parables as the means of telling and living our own story.

“Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.”   ~ Joseph Campbell.  

Or conversely, as Benjamin Franklin is said to have told John Paul Jones while waiting for another ship to be found during the Revolutionary War while both 2301were in Paris – “He that commands patience will have what he will.” The myth of Jones saying later in battle on the high seas when he thought he was about to lose his ship “I have not yet begun to fight!” made him immortal. His ship was lost, but in the process, he captured a British ship at the same time. He would not settle for a pre-determined fate or was it that he had to write and create his own legacy or destiny, and truth for which we all remember.     

There’s another quote that’s relevant here. It’s from William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even the past.” The past, whether considered as personal, or what might be seen as universal, continues to inform and shape our actions and our lives every day. As we all know from our own lives, the only way to change our behavior and improve ourselves is to take a look at who we have been and make a conscious decision to act differently. In doing so, we confront the past. The caveat being… things never die, they are simply re-born into something new. But then again – who are we and what have we learned along the way? Current research in quantum physics confirms we are universal matter. As if our heart/mind (our soul) continues unimpeded through eternity as we continually write, and edit for posterity, the story yet to be told – as if we are each only living history.

In effect, it is as Campbell teaches us – we are all journalists re-living and perhaps re-telling our own saga again and again. Or perhaps simply storytellers always returning to fine-tune what might be said of the nature of our spirit for 2310the long run. Or even, his Hero with a Thousand Faces… potentially lies in each of us. (An updated cover on a new edition shows Like Skywalker from Star Wars).

Who are we, but myths of our own creation? As we base our thoughts and identities on reflections from the past as if a never-ending thread and project them as who we see ourselves becoming in the future. As if looking at ourselves in the mirror every morning for the first time. Unconsciously aware as we do so – that our past is simple prologue as we go forth each day.                                                                                                                                                                                                    For thousands of years the dragon has been the ultimate metaphor in A218China depicting the shaman and then sage. As if a protecting totem or deity sent by the universe as a guide to one’s universal nature and Tao, the way of virtue. Something to aspire too. One was to never consider himself a sage (too presumptuous), only after he was gone based on his actions could those who followed him endow his legacy with such an honor.

It is as if we live in context with who we have always been, oftentimes unwittingly or unknowingly. What is it that metaphors, myths, parables, and even analogies do for us? They help us to see things in a different way or light. Perhaps to see universal truths and teach, or show us, that there is no separation between us and all other things.

A personal analogy I like is that people are sometimes like plants uncared for or left behind at Menards or Lowes and allowed to wither. I look for these for my garden. Often, these plants can be purchased at a discount… They were left behind – only needing someone to care for or about them. People are like that too. Do we only look to give homes to the healthy plants, or to those only needing nurturing back to their original selves when circumstances many times beyond their control have put them in a precarious condition? Dogs and cats at the Animal Shelter also fit this description. All simply needing a garden to thrive in and/or new home. We get to decide.

Rumi Parables

An excerpt of “The Three Fish” by Coleman Barks from The Essential Rumi. Harper Collins, 1995.

This is the story of the lake and the three big fish that were in it, one of them intelligent,
2311another half-intelligent, and the third, stupid.

 Some fishermen came to the edge of the lake with their nets. The three fish saw them.

The intelligent fish decided at once to leave, to make the long, difficult trip to the ocean.

He thought, “I won’t consult with these two on this. They will only weaken my resolve, because they love this place so. They call it home. Their ignorance will keep them here.”

When you’re traveling, ask a traveler for advice, not someone whose lameness keeps him in one place.

Muhammad says, “Love of one’s country is part of the faith.” But don’t take that literally! Your real “country” is where you’re heading, not where you are. Don’t misread that hadith. It’s right to love your home place, but first ask, “Where is that, really?”

Another Rumi parable I like:

The Mouse and the Camel

 A mouse caught hold of a camel’s tether, and because the camel was walking along, the mouse began to feel very proud and big. “I am leading a camel,” the mouse said to himself, and stuck out his chest and looked around to see if he was noticed.

The camel did notice the tiny mouse down there, but said nothing as the mouse strutted 2303proudly in the lead. Before long they came to a river, and the mouse halted.

“Lead on,” said the camel. “You are my guide.”     “I can’t cross that!” cried the mouse.

The camel stepped into the water and out again. “It’s not even up to my knees,” the camel observed. “Lead me on, master.”

“But that’s way over my head!”

“Climb up on my hump then,” said the camel. “Next time don’t pretend to be the boss if you aren’t able to lead.”

Perhaps things are not always what they seem to be. Our tendencies move us to encounters and the vibrations that seem to mesh with the comfort found in defining who we have always been (the natural flow of our heart/mind – or perhaps even Divine Mind) and we can decide rather to go with it or not. But we each have to decide to go there. A1112Unfortunately, we get sidetracked by attachments we chose to cling and listen to and sometimes act in ways contrary to our innate universal nature. When we have thoughts of transforming our lives into something different – what frame of reference do we use to fill in the gaps or blanks that define what and who we will become? And who or what is our guide that serves as the metaphor of our lives? Who or what do we follow? (A metaphor is a term or phrase applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance). Do we do this ourselves, or simply conform to images others define for us to follow. As if asking – who is it that writes this chapter or are we here simply adding to a never-ending story? As our endeavors continually define our destiny and what takes us there.

Twenty-nineteen – 2019, marks the 500th anniversary since the first printing of one 2304of the great classics of Hebrew literature, Midrash Hamesh Megillot, a collection of rabbinic commentaries  and legends on the Five Biblical Scrolls, (the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther). It was printed in the Italian town of Pesaro by Gershom Soncino, perhaps the greatest of the early Hebrew printers. Though the book was first printed in 1519, the content itself is much older. According to Jewish tradition, this was handed down orally from generation to generation since the time of Moses, and according to more modern scholars apparently only put into written form sometime after the fifth or sixth centuries of the Common Era. See more at the JewishEncyclopedia.com.

As in many rabbinic texts, the legends in this book are interspersed with, and woven into, discussions of Jewish law and custom. They are not meant to be understood literally but as parables; means of understanding greater truths. Indeed, to illustrate this the rabbis recorded a parable about parables in this book, saying:

“Do not let the parable appear of little worth to you. Through a parable, people can fathom words of Torah. Consider the king who has lost a gold coin or a precious pearl in his palace. May he not find it by the light of a candle worth no more than a 2306penny? Likewise, do not let the parable appear of little worth to you. By its light, people can fathom words of Torah” (fol. 2a). A lovely thought to carry through life.

Text and woodcut of initial word on the opening page of Midrash Hamesh Megillot. First printed edition. Pesaro: Gershom Soncino, 1519. Hebraic Section, African and Middle Eastern Division Library of Congress.

Perhaps each of our roles is to come forward and take the next step beyond Campbell’s admonishment that in fact, we are all heroes of our own story. That we all have a role to play. Moving beyond the Power of Myth, as he portrayed, to discover who we have always been and in knowing our past, the present unfolds as if in knowing our true nature and following it into the future. With this found as he says… our bliss defines us – as if identifying with the undefinable Infinate.

What is a parable? A parable is a succinct, didactic (intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) story, in prose or verse that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. A parable is a type of analogy.

An example would be a story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle, such as the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. It is about a traveler who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. Finally, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler. Samaritans and Jews despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man.

Another parable told in many cultures emanating from the earliest shaman, is 2307represented by the egg. The egg symbolizes the rising Sun and the beginning of life. In many myths about the creation of the world, a cosmic egg is laid by a giant bird in a formless, ancient ocean. The egg splits into two and the sky and the earth appear from the halves of it, while the sun is seen in the yolk. You can see in the picture that the newborn Sun still hasn’t taken its final shape yet. Shreds of primary matter continue to stream from the burning sphere rising over the ocean. According to Polynesian myth, the Hawaiian Islands were born from such an egg.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the parable is as follows: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is 2308smaller than all seeds. … It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden.  This parable’s theme illustrates the Kingdom of Heaven growing from small beginnings. Taking the next step as relayed in the New International Version of the Bible in Matthew 17:20Jesus replied to his disciples when questioned, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In China, the teachings of Confucius became the norm almost twenty-five hundred years ago. But stories following faith and nature became the favorite way to convey truth, or what might be called parables, or myths from antiquity. The following story appears in The Book of Lieh Tzu also dates back more than twenty-five hundred years ago. My own version is here on my website and appears below.  It is a well-known fable from about the virtues of perseverance and willpower, as well as, faith. The tale first appeared in Book 5 of the Lieh Tzu, a Taoist text of the 4th century BC.

The Mountains of Tenacious Sincerity

After a lifetime of going around the mountains to get to a place directly in front of him, an old man decided that this was much too far to come and go.  That the mountains should be leveled and thrown into the surrounding sea. So that a road straight through could be built and travel to places a distance away could be made much close.  All agreed, except the man’s wife who argued that at the age of ninety he was too weak to raze even the smallest hill.

2309Painting by Xu Beihong, (1895-1953).

Soon the work began as he and his sons broke up the stones one at a time and began carrying them to the sea. Those passing by scoffed at the idea. Asking how a man in declining years could damage mountains several thousand feet high, he responded: “Certainly your mind is set to firm for me ever to penetrate it. Even when I die, I shall have sons surviving me. My sons will beget me more grandsons, my grandsons in their turn will have sons, and these will have more sons and grandsons. My descendants will go on forever, but the mountain will get no bigger. Why should there be any difficulty in leveling it?”

All those doubting the old man’s tenacity were at a loss for words. The mountains spirit began to get irritated at those pecking at their feet and upon checking it out, heard about what was going on and were afraid the old man would not give up.

They reported the story to God, who was overwhelmed by the sincerity of the old man and his efforts. God commanded that the mountains be moved, one the Shuo Tung the other to Yung Nan. Since that time the area where the old man’s descendants remain is as flat as can be and can be traveled across with ease. The forbidding mountains long gone. With the strength of one’s sincerity and faith, what task can possibly be too overwhelming. 4/19/1995.

As the status quo, Confucius was used to re-enforce the structure of society (the family, the community where you lived, and ultimately laws enforced by the emperor). Whereas, Confucianism depended on structure and conformity, many times this ran afoul with Taoism and an individual’s freedom to decide for himself 2312what was right and what was wrong and following one’s innate talents as their guide. It would be the writings of Chuang Tzu who could lay bare what was contrary to “universal truth” illustrated by telling stories using analogies, humor, parables, and other meaning to demonstrate truths that fit all situations. Three stories made famous by Chuang Tzu were “the Butterfly”, “Cook Ting”, and “The Eight Virtues of the Way, or the Tao”. All seen as conveying far greater truths that challenged what might be seen as prevailing norms or structure, i.e.,  “limitations in thinking” of Confucius. They and many others can be found in the “Book of Chuang Tzu”.

Chuang Tzu dreamed he was a butterfly flittering around as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Chuang Tzu. When he awoke, he saw he was Chuang Tzu. But he did not know if he was Chuang who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Tzu. But he knew there must by some distinction in the transformation of things.

Cook Ting was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. Every touch of his hand cut the 2313meat as if he used the knife as though he was performing the Dance of the Mulberry Grove or keeping time to the Ching-shou music. The cook relayed that what he cared about was the Way or Tao, which goes beyond skill, and said, “I cut up the ox as if by spirit and don’t look at it with my eyes.  Perception and understanding have come to a halt and spirit moves me to where it wants.  Over a period of nineteen years I have cut up thousands of oxen with it, yet the blade is as sharp as the beginning. When I see a place of difficulty, I tell myself to watch out and be careful, keep my eyes on what I am doing, work very slowly and move the knife with the greatest subtlety completely satisfied and move on. I then wipe the knife off and put it away.”

The Eight Virtues of the Way, or the Tao – The Way has never known boundaries; speech has no consistency. But because of recognition of this there came to be boundaries. IChing27These boundaries are referred to as the Eight Virtues. Chuang Tzu is parodying the ethical categories of the Confucians and Maoists by saying… there is left, there is right, there are theories, there are debates, there are divisions, there are discriminations, there are emulations, and there are contentions. As to what is beyond the Six Realms (Heaven, earth, the four directions, i.e., the universe), the sage admits it exists but does not theorize. As to what is within the Six Realms, he theorizes but does not debate. In the case of describing the Spring and Autumn Annals, the sage debates but does not discriminate.

I would add, often the journey begins when we see that we are no longer bound by how others define us – in reality perhaps it is as if we are simply… windsurfing through time. (The immortal dragon mentioned above was known for “riding the winds of eternity”).

Below is the Introduction to Chapter Two – The Yellow Emperor that is entitled “Windsurfing through Time” from an unpublished manuscript entitled “My travels with Lieh Tzu” I wrote in 1995.

Windsurfing through Time

 Always to be riding the wind. Free from obstruction. Not tied to things external of your true nature.

100_5449

Dan at “The Gateway to Heaven” on Huashan Mtn

Remaining free of needing to control events and knowing not to be hindered by them. Keeping the mind, spirit and body free from choices and thinking of alternative courses of action that must be taken.

Doing without thinking. Knowing without doing. Understand this parallel and remain free to simply fly away. Never conscience of the next action to be taken. Only aware of what needs to be done without thinking about or doing it. Action coming natural to current events as the natural extension of your inner chi.

Remaining as a mirror to each situation at hand. Unaware of making distinctions between advantage and danger. Behaving with resolute assurance with nothing standing in your way. Remaining enmeshed in harmony. Staying the same as all around you and finding an inner strength waiting to be found without interference.

To be able to walk on hot coals, swim through a fast current or climb the highest mountain and find comfort in doing none of them. Remain forever adaptable to the events swirling around you. Be as the air as it finds its way into everywhere and as water that passes through everything.

Be non‑existent and exist everywhere in all things. Without the need or desire to control events, simply remain as the ever‑prevailing sage ceasing to be obstructed by them. Free from whatever consequences that may come.    1/18/1995

And on we go…

 

By 1dandecarlo

22) Unity of Springfield / World Religions Class – What is the Tao?

I would like to begin with something I wrote back in April 1994. More than three years before I had an inkling of ever going to China. I wrote this after four or five months of intense study and writing my first book that was my own interpretation of the I Ching -The Book of Change and was introduced to my guides (my mentors) and Taoism. A book that was published in China ten years later in 2004 that appears here on my website thekongdanfoundation.com. 

The River of No Return

What is the Tao, but a blade of grass or a daffodil blooming after a Spring rain?

DSCI0113Simply the essence of nature’s way and our own connectedness to it and to all things. What is the Tao, but the pebbles in a stream bed and the water flowing overhead as the trout breathes through its gills finding oxygen only in the water itself?

What is the Tao, but that that seems irrational to all those unknowing of the ultimate way of virtue? Of the inner desire to find peace and to know a certain contentment known only in the journey itself and knowing where the road leads to and where it does not.

What is the Tao, but the beginnings and endings of all things that were comprised of yesterday, occurs today and will happen tomorrow? Everything and nothing together as one in an instant and forever.

What is the Tao, but dragons bringing both good and bad as there must be in all things? Strive to do the right thing by all knowing that the clouds and elements both DSCI0139lead and get in the way of what may fleetingly be considered progress.

Mirror Images    Qingyang Taoist Temple   Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China

What is the Tao, but the abandonment of all things seen as necessary to succeed in the world as we live it with others present?  What is the Tao, but the ultimate quest for perfection and immortality and finding mirror images of the sage in ourselves and our everyday actions now and forever yet to come?

What is the Tao, but to flow as a droplet of water down the river of no return? Knowing all the while that in the end you will simply arrive and that in itself will be forever simply enough.    4/10/94

The Longman (Dragon Gate) sect of the Complete Reality School of Taoism

The Dragon Gate sect incorporates elements of Buddhism and Confucianism into a AZhongnan Mountaincomprehensive form of Taoism. Complete Reality Taoism is generally divided into two main traditions, Southern and Northern. The Dragon Gate sect is an offshoot of the Northern school. Its spiritual descent is traced to the thirteenth-century master Qiu Chang-chun, who was one of the original seven disciples of Wang Chongyang. Chang-chun means “Eternal Spring”Genghis Khan appointed Chang-chun overseer of all religions in China, and the Dragon Gate sect thus played a critical role in the conservation of the Han Chinese culture. The entry here tries the show how it comes together in unison with common themes in Chinese history.

The Quanzhen School is a branch of Taoism that originated in Northern China under the Jin dynasty (1115–1234). One of its founders was the Taoist Wang Chongyang, who lived in the early Jin. When the Mongols invaded the Song dynasty (960–1279) in 1254, the Quanzhen Taoists exerted great effort in keeping the peace, thus saving thousands of lives, particularly among those of Han Chinese descent.

Foundation Principles

The meaning of Quanzhen can be translated literally to “All True” and for AThe Way of Complete Perfectionthis reason, it is often called the All Truth Religion” or the “Way of Completeness and Truth”. In some texts, it is also referred to as “The Way of Complete Perfection”. “The Way of Complete Perfection” is a text/reference book I have had for some time and refer to it frequently.

An excerpt from Discourse 7 is called “Sitting in Meditation” and reads as follows:

Sitting in meditation does not simply mean to sit with the body erect and the eyes closed. This is superficial sitting. To sit authentically, you must maintain a clear ATiashan IChngheart-mind like Mount Tai, remaining unmovable and unshakable throughout the entire day. Maintain this practice rather standing, sitting, or lying down, whether in movement or stillness. Restrain and seal the four Gates – namely the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Do not allow the external world to enter in. If there is even the slightest trace of a thought about movement and stillness, this cannot be called quiet sitting. If you can practice like this, although your body exists in the world of dust, your name will be listed in the ranks of the immortals.

Then there is no need to travel great distances and consult others. Rather worthiness and sage-hood resides in this very body. After one hundred years, with accomplishment complete, you will cast off the husk and ascend to perfection. With a single pellet of elixir (inner wisdom) completed, spirit wanders through the eight realms. (page 111 from Daily Practice)

This branch of Taoism was founded at Kunyu Mountain in Shandong province that Akunyinlies near the cities of Yantai and Weihai and is the birthplace of Quanzhen Taoism. I have been to both cities and had several students from this area while teaching at Jining University and Qufu Normal School in Qufu. For centuries, the mountain has been popular not only with emperors and monks, it has attracted innumerable members of the literati – writers, poets, calligraphers, and painters – who built 100_5699retreats on the mountain where they could pursue their respective artistic inspirations. Inscriptions and stelae are spread about the mountain, bearing witness to the presence of these scholars and artists.

With strong Taoist roots, the Quanzhen School specializes in the process of “alchemy within the body” or Neidan (internal alchemy), as opposed to Waidan (external alchemy which experiments with the ingestion of herbs and minerals, etc.). The Waidan tradition has been largely replaced by Neidan, as Waidan was a sometimes dangerous and lethal pursuit. Quanzhen focuses on internal cultivation of the person which is consistent with the pervading Taoist desire for attaining wu wei, which is essentially unconscious action. Like most Taoists, Quanzhen priests were particularly concerned with longevity and immortality through alchemy, harmonizing oneself with the Tao, studying the Five Elements, and ideas on balance consistent with yin and yang (I Ching) theory. The school is also known for using Buddhist and Confucian ideas.

The Wu Xing, also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, the Five Steps/Stages and the Five Planets of Aplanetssignificant gravity (Mars: , Mercury: , Jupiter: , Venus: , and Saturn: ) is the short form of “Wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì” (五種流行之氣) or “the five types of chi dominating at different times”. It is a five-fold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal Afive elementsorgans, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The “Five Phases” are wood ( mù), fire ( huǒ), earth (tǔ), metal ( jīn), and water ( shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the “mutual generation” sequence. In the order of “mutual overcoming” they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. After it came to maturity in the first or second century BC during the Han dynasty, this device was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial 100_5684arts. The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts with the I Ching providing an over-reaching… or over-arching (as I call it), connecting point that transcends everything bringing understanding to it all. This is all a lot to take in at once. Just remember the Chinese have had thousands of years to “connect the dots, or stars, or planets” so to speak.

Xing:  of ‘Wu Xing’ means moving; a planet is called a ‘moving star’: 行星 in Chinese. Wu Xing:  originally refers to the five major planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, Venus) that create five dimensions of earth life. Wu Xing” is also widely translated as “Five Elements” and this is used extensively by many including practitioners of Five Element acupuncture. This translation arose by false analogy with the Western system of the four elements. Whereas, the classical Greek elements 100_4892were concerned with substances or natural qualities – the Chinese xing are “primarily concerned with process and change”… along with balance, hence the common translation as “phases” or “agents”. Another tradition refers to the Wǔ Xíng as Wǔ Dé 五德 , the Five Virtues (usually translated as “inherent character”, inner power, or integrity in Taoism). Also viewed important in Confucianism as: benevolence (rén ), righteousness (yì ), propriety (lǐ ), wisdom (zhì ), and fidelity (xìn ) as the Five Constant Virtues (wǔ cháng 五常) which are important as traditional virtues of China.

Cosmology and feng shui

According to Wu Xing theory, the structure of the cosmos mirrors the five phases. 100_3421Each phase has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature, as can be seen in the following table. In the ancient Chinese form of geomancy, known as feng shui, practitioners all based their art and system on the five phases (Wu Xing).

All of these phases are represented within the trigrams of the I Ching and yin/yang focusing on “complimentary opposites”. Associated with these phases are colors, seasons and shapes; all of which are interacting with each other.

Understanding that along with innate knowing comes the grace of impermanence – everything changes – and that there is no separation. We are simply one with the ten thousand things… with everything found in nature. Based on a particular directional energy flow from one phase to the next, the interaction can be expansive, destructive, or exhaustive. A proper knowledge of each aspect of energy flow will enable the feng shui practitioner to apply certain cures or rearrangement of energy in a way beneficial to the receiver.

Beginning history of Taoism

According to traditional legend, Wang Chongyang met two Taoist immortals in the DSCI0258summer of 1159 CE. The immortals, Zhongli Quan and Lu Dongbin taught him Taoist beliefs and trained him in secret rituals. The meeting proved deeply influential, and roughly a year later, in 1160, Wang met one of these men again. In this second encounter, he was provided with a set of five written instructions which led to his decision of living by himself in a grave (a cave) he created for himself in Zhongnan Mountain for three years. (The Zhongnan mountains have been a popular dwelling-place for Daoist hermits since the Qin dynasty. Buddhist monks began living in the mountains after Buddhism’s introduction into China from India in the early first millennium AD. Due to the mountains’ close proximity to the ancient capital of Xi’an, officials who incurred the imperial court’s wrath often fled to these mountains to escape punishment. It was from here that early Taoism left and went to Shandong).

After seven years of living in the mountain (three inside the cave and another four in a hut he later called “Complete Perfection Hut”), Wang met two of his seven future A7Mastersdisciples, Tan Chuduan and Qiu Chuji. In 1167, Wang traveled to Shandong Province and met Ma Yu and Ma’s wife Sun Bu’er who became his students. These and others would become part of the seven Quanzhen disciples, who were later known as the Seven Masters of Quanzhen. After Wang’s departure, it was left to his disciples to continue expounding the Quanzhen beliefs. Ma Yu succeeded Wang as head of the school, while Sun Bu’er went on to establish the Purity and Tranquility School, one of the foremost branches of Quanzhen.

Another excerpt from “The Way of Complete Perfection” I like to refer to is…

The innate nature of heaven is humanity. The human heart-mind is the pivot. Establishing the Way of Heaven enables the stabilization of humanity.

The celestial nature of every human being has the capacity to be good or DSCI0049perverse, great or petty. It longs for cultural refinement over military activity, for the Dao (Tao) over ordinariness, for dignity over debasement, for loftiness over lowliness. From ancient times to the present, the innate nature of human beings has sought to cast forth the immortal embryo and exchange the husk, to change the bones and transform form. Like ants going out on their circuit, it has not ceased for a moment.

The pivot of every human heart-mind daily and constantly goes through myriad transformations. There are moments of ingenuity and awkwardness, alignment and perversion, as well as profundity and shallowness. There are moments of kindness and cruelty, loyalty and contrariness, broad-mindedness and narrow-mindedness, greatness and smallness, clarity and turbidity, worthiness and rudeness, love and hate, as well as correctness and falsity. If you examine this pivot of the heart-mind, you will know the innate nature of humans.

With respect to “establishing the Way of Heaven”, those who are ignorant about this way do not know that the grace of heaven is extensive. Spring is warm, and summer is hot; autumn is cool, and winter is cold. In each of these four seasons, there is a transformative influence. It produces and completes the myriad beings. Its assistance extends to the human world. (Scripture study / page 191).

Finally, from the book published in 2004 from the Preface of “An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond'”…     

                                           The Paradox

Some people go through their entire lives not knowing who they are, where they have been, or where they are going.

You are fortunate. You have a chance to see to know to understand where you are from, why you are here, and where you are going. To know who you are, who you have been, and you will be along the way. However, you must know that to know is DSCI0111not to know, and to have is not to have.

To see is not to be, and who you will be is not to see.

For whatever is useful by the world’s standards cannot be useful in finding the Tao. It is the eternal nature of the Tao and Te (the way of virtue) that is to be found. Reality becomes, is and will be the chance endeavor to find the Tao.     1/15/1994

By 1dandecarlo

21) The Longman (Dragon Gate) sect of the Complete Reality School of Taoism 

The Dragon Gate sect incorporates elements of Buddhism and Confucianism into a comprehensive form of Taoism. Complete Reality Taoism is generally divided into two main traditions, Southern100_5684 and Northern. The Dragon Gate sect is an offshoot of the Northern school. Its spiritual descent is traced to the thirteenth-century master Qiu Chang-chun, who was one of the original seven disciples of Wang Chongyang. Chang-chun means “Eternal Spring”. Genghis Khan appointed Chang-chun overseer of all religions in China, and the Dragon Gate sect thus played a critical role in the conservation of the Han Chinese culture. The entry here tries the show how it comes together in unison with common themes in Chinese history. 

The Quanzhen School is a branch of Taoism that originated in Northern China under the Jin dynasty (1115–1234). One of its founders was the Taoist Wang Chongyang, who lived in the early Jin. When the Mongols invaded the Song dynasty (960–1279) in 1254, the Quanzhen Taoists exerted great effort in keeping the peace, thus saving thousands of lives, particularly among those of Han Chinese descent.

Foundation principles

The meaning of Quanzhen can be translated literally to “All True” and for this AThe Way of Complete Perfectionreason, it is often called the All Truth Religion” or the “Way of Completeness and Truth”. In some texts, it is also referred to as The Way of Complete Perfection”. The Way of Complete Perfection” is a text/reference book I have had for some time and refer to it frequently.  

An excerpt from Discourse 7 is called “Sitting in Meditation” and reads as follows:

Sitting in meditation does not simply mean to sit with the body erect and the eyes closed. This is superficial sitting. To sit authentically, you must maintain a clear heart-mind like Mount Tai, remaining unmovable and unshakable throughout the entire day. Maintain this practice rather standing, sitting, or lying down, whether in ATiashan IChngmovement or stillness. Restrain and seal the four Gates – namely the eyes, ears, mouth,and nose. Do not allow the external world to enter in. If there is even the slightest trace of a thought about movement and stillness, this cannot be called quiet sitting. If you can practice like this, although your body exists in the world of dust, your name will be listed in the ranks of the immortals.

Then there is no need to travel great distances and consult others. Rather worthiness and sagehood resides in this very body. After one hundred years, with accomplishment complete, you will cast off the husk and ascend to perfection. With a single pellet of elixir (inner wisdom) completed, spirit wanders through the eight realms. (page 111 from Daily Practice)

Kunyu Mountain in Shandong province lies near the cities of Yantai and Weihai and Akunyinis the birthplace of Quanzhen Taoism. I have been to both cities and had several students from this area while teaching at Jining University and Qufu Normal School in Qufu. For centuries, the mountain has been popular not only with emperors and monks, it has attracted innumerable members of the literati – writers, poets, calligraphers, and painters – who built retreats on the mountain where they could pursue their respective artistic inspirations. Inscriptions and stelae are spread about the mountain, bearing witness to the presence of these scholars and artists.

With strong Taoist roots, the Quanzhen School specializes in the process of “alchemy within the body” or Neidan (internal Away of complete perfectionalchemy), as opposed to Waidan (external alchemy which experiments with the ingestion of herbs and minerals, etc.). The Waidan tradition has been largely replaced by Neidan, as Waidan was a sometimes dangerous and lethal pursuit. Quanzhen focuses on internal cultivation of the person which is consistent with the pervading Taoist desire for attaining wu wei, which is essentially unconscious action.

Like most Taoists, Quanzhen priests were particularly concerned with longevity and immortality through alchemy, harmonizing oneself with the Tao, studying the Five Elements, and ideas on balance consistent with yin and yang (I Ching) theory. The school is also known for using Buddhist and Confucian ideas.

The Wu Xing, also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Afive elementsMovements, Five Processes, the Five Steps/Stages and the Five Planets of significant gravity (Mars: 火, Mercury: 水, Jupiter: 木, Venus: 金, and Saturn: 土) is the short form of “Wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì” (五種流行之氣) or “the five types of chi dominating at different times”. It is a five-fold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The “Five Phases” are wood ( mù), fire ( huǒ), earth (tǔ), metal ( jīn), and water ( shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the “mutual generation” (相生 xiāngshēng) sequence. In the order of “mutual overcoming” (相剋/相克 xiāngkè); they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships 100_3170between phenomena. After it came to maturity in the first or second century BCE during the Han dynasty, this device was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial arts. The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts with the I Ching providing an over-reaching… or over-arching (as I call it), connecting point that transcends everything bringing understanding to it all. This is all a lot to take in at once. Just remember the Chinese have had thousands of years to “connect the dots, or stars, or planets” so to speak.

Xing:  of ‘Wu Xing’ means moving; a planet is called a ‘moving star’: 行星) in AplanetsChinese. Wu Xing:  originally refers to the five major planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, Venus) that create five dimensions of earth life. Wu Xing” is also widely translated as “Five Elements” and this is used extensively by many including practitioners of Five Element acupuncture. This translation arose by false analogy with the Western system of the four elements. Whereas, the classical Greek elements were concerned with substances or natural qualities – the Chinese xíng are primarily concerned with process and change”… along with balance, hence the common translation as “phases” or “agents”.  By the same token,  is thought of as “Tree” rather than “Wood”. The word ‘element’ is thus used within the context of Chinese medicine with a different meaning to its usual meaning.

It should be recognized that the word phase, although commonly preferred, is not perfect. Phase is a better translation for the five seasons (五運 Wǔ Yùn) mentioned below, and so agents or processes might be preferred for the primary term xíng. Manfred Porkert attempts to resolve this by using Evolutive Phase for 五行 Wǔ Xíng and Circuit Phase for 五運 Wǔ Yùn, but these terms are unwieldy. As one’s Amagwu textnature is constantly changing and evolving, nothing stays the same over time.

Some of the Mawangdui Silk Texts (no later than 168 BC) also present the Wu Xing as “five virtues” or types of activities. Within Chinese medicine texts, the Wu Xing are also referred to as Wu Yun: ; wǔ yùn or a combination of the two characters (Wu Xing-Yun) these emphasize the correspondence of five elements to five ‘seasons’ (four seasons plus one). Another tradition refers to the Wǔ Xíng as Wǔ Dé (五德), the Five Virtues (usually translated as “inherent character”, inner power, or integrity in Taoism). Also viewed important in Confucianism as: benevolence (rén 仁), righteousness (yì 义), propriety (lǐ 礼), wisdom (zhì 智) and fidelity (xìn 信) as the Five Constant Virtues (wǔ cháng 五常) which are important as traditional virtues of China.

Afive elementsThe phases – Referenced above it’s important to refer to again. The five phases are around 72 days each and are usually used to describe the state in nature:

  • Wood/Spring: a period of growth, which generates abundant wood and vitality.
  • Fire/Summer: a period of swelling, flowering, brimming with fire and energy.
  • Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal periods, or a separate ‘season’ known as Late Summer or Long Summer – in the latter case associated with leveling and dampening (moderation) and fruition.
  • Metal/Autumn: a period of harvesting and collecting…..
  • Water/Winter: a period of retreat, where stillness and storage pervades.

CyclesThe doctrine of five phases describes two cycles, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle, also known as “mother-son”, and an overcoming or destruction (剋/克, kè) cycle, also known as “grandfather-grandson”, of interactions between the phases.

Within Chinese medicine the effects of these two main relations are further elaborated: Inter-promoting (shēng cycle, mother/son)

  • Inter-acting (grandmother/grandson)
  • Over-acting (kè cycle, grandfather/grandson)
  • Counter-acting (reverse )

Generating – The common memory jogs, which help to remind in what order the phases are:

  • Wood feeds Fire
  • Fire creates Earth (ash)
  • Earth bears Metal
  • Metal collects Water
  • Water nourishes Wood

Other common words for this cycle include “begets”, “engenders” and “mothers”.

Overcoming

  • Wood parts Earth (such as roots or trees can prevent soil erosion)
  • Earth dams (or muddies or absorbs) Water
  • Water extinguishes Fire
  • Fire melts Metal
  • Metal chops Wood

This cycle might also be called “controls”, “restrains” or “fathers”.

Cosmology and feng shui

According to Wu Xing theory, the structure of the cosmos mirrors the five phases. Each phase has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature, as DSCI0258can be seen in the following table. In the ancient Chinese form of geomancy, known as feng shui, practitioners all based their art and system on the five phases (Wu Xing).

To the left is one of the “celestial deities” found on twenty-four stone engravings dating back more than a thousand years at Qingyang Taoist Temple in Chengdu in Sichuan Province.   

All of these phases are represented within the trigrams focusing on “complimentary opposites”. Associated with these phases are colors, seasons and shapes; all of which are interacting with each other.  Understanding that along with innate knowing comes the grace of impermanence – everything changes – and that there is no separation. We are simply one with the ten thousand things… everything found in nature.

Based on a particular directional energy flow from one phase to the next, the interaction can be expansive, destructive, or exhaustive. A proper knowledge of each aspect of energy flow will enable the Feng Shui practitioner to apply certain cures or rearrangement of energy in a way they believe to be beneficial for the receiver of the Feng Shui Treatment.

Movement Metal Metal Fire Wood Wood Water Earth Earth
Trigram 
Trigram  in pinyin  qián duì zhèn xùn kǎn gèn kūn
Trigrams
I Ching Heaven Lake Fire Thunder Wind Water Mountain Field
Planet  Neptune Venus Mars Jupiter Pluto Mercury Uranus Saturn
Color Indigo White Crimson Green Scarlet Black Purple Yellow
Day Friday Friday Tuesday Thursday Thursday Wednesday Saturday Saturday
Season Autumn Autumn Summer Spring Spring Winter Intermediate Intermediate
Direction

 

West West South East East North Center Center

Dynastic transition – According to the Warring States period political philosopher 100_3421Zou Yan 鄒衍 (c. 305–240 BCE), each of the five elements possesses a personified “virtue” (de 德), which indicates the foreordained destiny (yun 運) of a dynasty; accordingly, the cyclic succession of the elements also indicates dynastic transitions. Zou Yan claims that the Mandate of Heaven sanctions the legitimacy of a dynasty by sending self-manifesting auspicious signs in the ritual color (yellow, blue, white, red, and black) that matches the element of the new dynasty (Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire, and Water). From the Qin dynasty onward, most Chinese dynasties invoked the theory of the Five Elements to legitimize their reign.

History

According to traditional legend, Wang Chongyang met two Taoist immortals in the summer of 1159 CE. The immortals, Zhongli Quan and Lu Dongbin taught him Taoist beliefs and trained him in secret rituals. The meeting proved deeply influential, and roughly a year later, in 1160, Wang met one of these men again. In this second encounter, he was provided with a set of five written instructions which led to his decision of living by himself in a grave (a cave) he created for himself in Zhongnan Mountain for three years. (The Zhongnan mountains have been a popular AZhongnan Mountaindwelling-place for Daoist hermits since the Qin dynasty. Buddhist monks began living in the mountains after Buddhism’s introduction into China from India in the early first millennium AD. Due to the mountains’ close proximity to the ancient capital of Xi’an, officials who incurred the imperial court’s wrath often fled to these mountains to escape punishment. It was from here that early Taoism left and went to Shandong).

Landscape painting of the Zhongnan Mountains by Huang Junbi

After seven years of living in the mountain (three inside the cave and another four in a hut he later called “Complete Perfection Hut”), Wang met two of his seven future disciples, Tan Chuduan and Qiu Chuji. In 1167, Wang traveled to Shandong Province and met Ma Yu and Ma’s wife Sun Bu’er who became his students. These and others 100_5699would become part of the seven Quanzhen disciples, who were later known as the Seven Masters of Quanzhen. After Wang’s departure, it was left to his disciples to continue expounding the Quanzhen beliefs. Ma Yu succeeded Wang as head of the school, while Sun Bu’er went on to establish the Purity and Tranquility School, one of the foremost branches of Quanzhen.

Another excerpt from The Way of Complete Perfection” I like to refer to is… 

The innate nature of heaven is humanity. The human heart-mind is the pivot. Establishing the Way of Heaven enables the stabilization of humanity.

The celestial nature of every human being has the capacity to be good or perverse, great or petty. It longs for cultural refinement over military activity, for the Dao (Tao) over ordinariness, for dignity over debasement, for loftiness over lowliness. From ancient times to the present, the innate nature of human beings has sought to cast forth the immortal embryo and exchange the husk, to change the bones and transform form. Like ants DSCI0139going out on their circuit, it has not ceased for a moment.

The pivot of every human heart-mind daily and constantly goes through myriad transformations. There are moments of ingenuity and awkwardness, alignment and perversion, as well as profundity and shallowness. There are moments of kindness and cruelty, loyalty and contrariness, broad-mindedness and narrow-mindedness, greatness and smallness, clarity and turbidity, worthiness and rudeness, love and hate, as well as correctness and falsity. If you examine this pivot of the heart-mind, you will know the innate nature of humans.

With respect to “establishing the Way of Heaven”, those who are ignorant about this way do not know that the grace of heaven is extensive. Spring is warm, and summer is hot; autumn is cool, and winter is cold. In each of these four seasons, there is a transformative influence. It produces and completes the myriad beings. Its assistance extends to the human world. (Scripture study / page 191).

Branches and sects

The seven disciples of Wang Chongyang continued to expound the Quanzhen beliefs. The seven Masters of Quanzhen established the following seven branches.

  • Ma Yu (馬鈺): Yuxian lineage (Meeting the Immortals, 遇仙派)
  • Tan Chuduan (譚處端): Nanwu lineage (Southern Void, 南无派)
  • Liu Chuxuan (劉處玄): Suishan lineage (Mount Sui, 随山派)
  • Qui Chuji (丘處機): Longmen lineage (Dragon Gate Taoism, 龙门派)
  • Wang Chuji (王處一): Yushan lineage (Mount Yu, 崳山派)
  • Hao Datong (郝大通): Huashan lineage (Mount Hua, 华山派)
  • Sun Bu’er (孫不二): Qingjing lineage (Purity and Tranquility Sect, 清静派)

Dragon Gate priests

The 11th generation Dragon Gate priest Min Yi-De (闵一得) combined three religions (Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism) together to develop the “Dragon convenience methods”. The principle is “learn from Buddhism, to comply with the precepts, diligently practice inner alchemy arts”, so that the Dragon Gate branch became thriving. Dragon Gate is currently the largest existing Taoism branch in the world.

After the decline of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of People’s Republic of China, people’s understanding of Taoism became more limited to the type of Taoism practiced in the temples located in major urban centers.

 

By 1dandecarlo