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.
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…
Becoming the Vessel Wuhan Museum
Understanding change, as told in the Dazhuan, The Great Treatise is the process of 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 all 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 going 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 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 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 through 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 Christ 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 extension 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.
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 details 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 Essential 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 shapes 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 Heaven 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 attempted 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 possibilities). 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 in 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 wisdom 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 meanings 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 Great 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 have 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 take 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 resting 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).