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 to 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 little 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 blog/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 or 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 Taoist 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 “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 shaman 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 identifying 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 it 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 essence 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 Emperor 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 spoke 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 experiences 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.
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 one’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 as 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 the 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 auspicious 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.
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 and 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: 籙) 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 horizon. 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 the 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 person, 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 with 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 concrete 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 (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 defined 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).