14)  To be eternally awakened – as if you can hear the songs of your grandfathers and to voices of the universe.

For those who follow me here – first thank you. We have finished Inward Training, and now are ready to move on to the next step. As someone whose 141passion is exploring the universe of thought and wisdom, it seems the nuances found in how it all comes together as if there is a grand master plan, is what I am here to explore. It is as if I AM so that I can illustrate who WE ARE in and through the thoughts and words that flow through both me and you.  As a continuum of the transcendental that is in and flows through everything found in nature. Once found it is who we are yet to become. It’s writing something then afterwards asking yourself… where did that come from.

I wrote To be eternally awakened almost twenty-five years ago, as a part of an as yet unpublished manuscript entitled “My travels with Lieh Tzu – Interpolations along the Way”.

To be eternally awakened

How can we know who we come into the world to become?  Perhaps there is a 142heritage of those we might call metaphysicians. As we learn to trust our instincts and the spontaneity given to us as each moment unfolds. If it is as Lieh Tzu says: “To live and die at the right time is a blessing from heaven and not to live when it is time to live and not to die when it is time to die is a punishment from heaven, then is not our destiny predetermined?Why should 143some be favored over others? Why should some get life and death at the right time and others live and die when the time is not right? Know that it is neither other things nor ourselves that gives life when we live and death when we die as our destiny unfolds. Nor 144that wisdom or our endeavors can lead the way.

I am reminded of my visit last October to Huashan Mountain and what is known as Lao Tzu’s Blast furnace, on a small peak to the west of the summit of the South Peak that is by tradition, the place where Lao Tzu was to have made pills for immortality.  There is a legend that says the monkey king was shut in the furnace for wrecking to much havoc in heaven.

145Could the unfolding of our life’s events be but an endless sequence that comes to pass of themselves by way of heaven? Indifferent to the turn of events coming forward as the unbroken wheel or circle of life. Coming in, living each moment to its fullest then going out again. Could this be the way of heaven?

With no offense to heaven and earth the ultimate cardinal rule. How could the sage not go along? Continuing to clear his mind and open his heart only for eternal truths yet to unfold. His wisdom finding no time to question. Just as the demons are thwarted as they can find no footholds to follow. Each person 146finding truths solely for himself in silence and serenity. Without attachment, only the peace found as heaven escorts us as we go and welcomes us as we come back again.

Embrace only those things that assist in the awakening of your eternal spirit. If our destiny can be foretold as we travel from one lifetime to the next, then should we not remain awake to the events that show us the way? Living the proper way, can death matter as we are simply waiting to be born again. 6/11/1995

(The above six pictures are all from Huashan Mountain in Shaanxi Province)

Enhancing the flow – as we acknowledge ourselves with/as the conduit of universal energy. Who are we… once we begin to see beyond human emotions and ourselves?  Perhaps for myself – it is continuing as a storyteller. Refining my own journey by telling the stories of the past to others. Conveying a chronicle of how

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Singing into eternity    Wuhou Temple  Chengdu

thought and philosophy endures over time. Similar to what came to be known as “The Songs of the South”, a series of ancient Chinese poems first compiled in the second century AD. Its poems, originating from the state of Chu and rooted in Shamanism. The earliest poems were composed in the 4th century BC and almost half of them are traditionally ascribed to Qu Yuan. With even my own initial poetry all those years ago resembling that of

Telling our own story through what could be described as “thoughtless action”, along with the stories of those who preceded us. Who were they? Who are we? What was their eternal message they would have wanted to be conveyed as universal flow of energy that serves to connect us all together? Always teaching that there is no separation between anything the ancient Chinese described as “the ten thousand things”. Beyond thoughts of religion, even philosophy, except as a means of awakening our spirit that travels as if unknowingly through time with nothing in our knapsack, but an eternal quest for freedom, tranquility, and wisdom. What more could serve to define us? Who is it that gets the final say and word except 148time, ourselves, and eternity itself – and in the end can it have mattered just the same?

I am reminded of what was called “the beat generation” of the 60’s and flirtations with transcendentalism which I seemed to have caught the tail end of… Coming from SW Missouri and Joplin, it’s not hard to understand why it seemed to pass me by. Seeing beyond myself was easy, knowing how to express it became my lifelong journey. Now being closer to the end than the beginning, I can now see where it all might end or lead. With a beard and long hair others may see me as just being an “old hippy” I take that as a compliment, but in reality, having a sense of coming from a much older indefinable generation. As if I am on a sabbatical just coming and going through time observing and adding my own comments to report back that I have learned along the way. Or as Alan Watts would remind us… we are simply finding our way back home to our source. It is as though our presence records the depth of our spiritual nature.

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Buddha under bohi tree Sichuan Museum

When we truly awaken to this truth, we don’t just experience “being present” we begin to recognize presence as the tangible substance that becomes our true essence. It is the road or path we take in getting there that remains our challenge.

With natural tendencies toward being a universalist, maybe as exemplified by Plato, Rumi, Emerson or as Lao Tzu, Siddhartha,  or Chan Buddhist. Simply because it is my pleasure to serve the eternal spirit in the best way I know how. As if entering the flow that is never-ending…  Referring to the word agape which means – continuing with my mouth wide open, as in wonder, surprise, or eagerness with my own life visioning process combining all I have gathered to Black Elk 3date.

As if aspiring only to be a sponge, never being born or as if I will never die, ultimately to return to live again with dragons, or even as Black Elk described them… the Grandfathers.

Black Elk depicted here as leaving his parents to join the Grandfathers. Drawing by Standing Bear.

Constantly tapping into my soul and the innate wisdom I have learned from my traveling companions. Expressing as who we are in the universal flow as pure conscious as if streaming, undivided from all that ever was. How is it we chose to go forward?

There seems to be an internal truism, formula, even a mantra within that guides us… singing to our subconscious. Always only transcendent, finding our own innate natural rhythm through the words of eternity we speak. Bits and pieces flowing by and through us with the sole purpose of getting our attention telling us to wake up 1410and express them maybe a little better this time. Acceptance of who we are the first step in the journey we are here to continue. When this mantra becomes us – our spirit guides appear and we instinctively know to follow.

Putting this into words – first and foremost, we accept and release all doubt as to our origins and continue on an evolutionary path with no hindrance or allow anything from stopping our eternal growth. We release our life energy in only positive and perfect divine ideas, imagination, and wisdom of the ages that flow through us. I remain receptive as if waiting patiently for life’s expression. I listen, articulate, formulate from within divine ideas and follow-up with divine action. I manifest and relay this conscious receptivity to my indigenous natural environment. My ideas come from ancient beginnings that are waiting as ideas with their own beneficial presence and nature. Everything I do on the outside reflects my inner true nature. The universal presence expresses as myself.

Inner cultivation/bliss, freedom to choose in thrust and trust of universal expression 1411is my choice. Awareness and mindfulness add to a sense of expansion of freedom of my soul and spirit’s eternal enfoldment. With this, I have a willingness to go there as the unlimited dimension of expression of myself. Listening – focusing – intuition – with unprecedented purpose and freedom as my signature as I engage. The universe expresses through me as continually emerging spiritual energy in and of changing consciousness. We, our soul, following a thread that exists among many threads through eternity. In transit we return again and again and again, or as the Hindus might say to a place beyond name and form that leaves any thought of theology behind.

That we are here as an extension of the universal flow of divine energy to articulate a vision that is not singular, is ever-present and re-occurring. It seems to be our tendency to loo for role-models. For the Taoist its Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man.  I am reminded of the Sioux medicine /holy man Black Elk whose Black Elk 1vivid memories of a vision of his people’s suffering and an end to a way of life they had lived for hundreds of years. Ultimately becoming a catholic catechist, as if this was the only avenue left to him to fulfill his dream. I am such a big fan of Black Elk, that my next entry here will be devoted almost entirely to him.

The Dog Vision: Butterflies and Dragonflies in the dream of Black Elk, they represent the Lakota people. Drawing by Standing Bear .

Learning to modify and adding to what is existing narrative – to contribute to an undestractable attention to reality – to what is. To define and expand the vision already articulated as universal love. Perhaps even referencing the writer Hemann Hesse the German-born poet, novelist, and painter who stressed in his best-known works, that included my own favorite Siddhartha, that exploring our search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality is why we are here.

Or as the character Larry in Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, who wanted to think out his thoughts to the very end. Continuing that if he ever acquires enough wisdom, he wanted to be wise enough to know what to do with it. Finally, thinking maybe when he was through… he would have something people would be glad to razors edgetake and build on for themselves. The title The Razor’s Edge, is taken from a translation of a verse in the Katha Upanishad (the  Upanishad is the legendary story of a little boy, Nachiketa – the son of a sage, who meets Yama (the Hindu deity of death). Their conversation evolves to a discussion of the nature of man, knowledge, Atman (Soul, Self) and moksha (liberation), with the book beginning as: “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to ‘enlightenment’ is hard.” As if trying to relay the “perfection of wisdom”. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson credited Katha Upanishad for the central story at the end of his essay Immortality, as well as his poem Brahma.

For myself, it is thinking of the soul, our eternal spirit, traveling through time as if it’s in a never-ending movie. As it continues – it gets tired and falls asleep or returns home (as if dying). When re-awakened as a new life beginning where it left off, it remains ingrained with where it has been to date. With seldom the ability to FGremember, but with an unconscious knowing of where it has been and the journey it still needs to take. Wanting our progress to continue, as if returning to the same movie before falling asleep again as we are continually guided back to our source. Ultimately, it comes down to what takes us there. Maybe even as Forest Gump told us… “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.

Another story I wrote almost twenty-five years ago, as a part of an as yet unpublished manuscript entitled “My travels with Lieh Tzu – Interpolations along the Way”.

A Visit with Old Friends

Remaining as one with the universe. One’s instincts in constant tune with your surroundings. The only secrets worth telling remaining those that remain non‑contending. Staying in the background as the ever‑knowing sage. As you have seen it all before, is not your time better spent seeking the wisdom and knowledge you find in conversing with your old friends that you have recently re‑discovered. As you have been away for a millennia, but have now come home again. Everyone, Lieh, Chuang, Lao and all the others waiting to hear why you have been away for so long. Or then again, was it only for just an instant?

You explain that you have been exploring human nature and trying to understand how people through the ages could become so confused and off‑centered. That those you have come across are vain in the prime of their beauty and remain impetuous in their strength. That they are quick to tell others how to live without due consideration of how they should do so themselves. That all those you have come across seem lost in their own attachments. They remain inept in their attempts to find the Way, and even more so when they think they have. There remains this constant sense of need to remain proud and impetuous so that it remains difficult to impart and relay the true essence and goodness needed to preserve humanity. Instead of remaining as one with nature, they seem intent on destroying it. Finally, they must constantly be reminded of who they ultimately are to become and need IChing24someone or something to keep them steady.

As you finish your account, knowing glances abound as others have come and gone and relayed similar stories. All want to know if you are planning to stay with your old friends or return to your writing in hopes that perhaps one in a thousand may too come forward to learn the proper way. You are amused in that it is known that the sage gives his work to others so that his own power does not diminish as he grows old. Otherwise grappling with confusion when his own knowledge runs out.

Back home after a thousand years and the only question that remains is when you leave again. 8/5/1995

By 1dandecarlo

13) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Finding our bliss, becoming our authentic selves and The Great Learning

In trying to find our own way we often find ourselves in what can be called the “predicament of culture” – the feeling of pervasive off-centeredness that occurs A131when we are confronted with an unavoidable overlay of distinct meaning systems and compelled to choose among or reconcile different and often contrary sources of personal and cultural identity. Who are we… when conscience mind gets in the way of unconscious action – becoming one with the tranquility of simplicity?

In many ways this seems to be where we find ourselves today. For myself, it’s as if the “rules” have already been put in motion by the status-quo. Maybe it is as Joseph Campbell said that we must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one waiting for us. Moving beyond the rules that others play by. The constant struggle to conform with accepted norms by others content to live in their own fixation. How appropriate for the final entry… Chapters 25 and 26 of 100_4877Nei-yehInward Training.

What can bliss be but peace of mind. Becoming universal and transcendent… all the while seeing the way others strive to conform with the status quo, when all should be questioning it. Ultimately looking to Confucius and how people for thousands of years have attempted to live by and up to norms others set for them.

For me it’s about discovery and bringing things back, or returning to the middle. Out of harms way. Looking to and honoring both East and West by spending time with the great metaphysicians of the day and seeing the transparency of universal life flowing through them and even myself. Acknowledging our origins means we find comfort, our own bliss, by simply returning to who we have always been and will be again. From where does our vital energy originate, does it matter, and should we be prepared for what may be inevitable just the same.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training

Twenty-five

The vitality of all people inevitably comes from their peace of mind.

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I Ching – Yin and Yang         The Eight Immortals – Xian

When anxious, you lose this guiding thread;
when angry, you lose this basic point.
When you are anxious or sad, pleased or angry,
the Way has no place to settle.

Love and desire: still them! Folly and disturbance: correct them! Do not push it! Do not pull it!
Good fortune will naturally return to you, and that Way will naturally come to you. So you can rely on and take counsel from it.

If you are tranquil then you will attain it; if you are agitated then you will lose it.

Twenty-six

That mysterious vital energy within the mind: one moment it arrives, the next it departs.

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The Sage Shaanxi Museum  Xian

So fine, there is nothing within it; so vast, there is nothing outside it. We lose it because of the harm caused by mental agitation.

When the mind can hold on to tranquility, the Way will become naturally stabilized. For people who have attained the Way, it permeates their pores and saturates their hair. Within their chest, they remain unvanquished. Follow this Way of restricting sense-desires and the myriad things will not cause you harm.

The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:

“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is A134quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).

The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu Te Tao Ching and the 4th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism. Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular.

The Great Learning: 大学; was one of the “Four Books” in Confucianism. The Great Learning had come from a chapter in the Classics of Rites which formed one of the A137Five Classics. It consists of a short main text attributed to the teachings of Confucius and then ten commentary chapters accredited to one of Confucius’ disciples, Zeng Zi  who lived from 505-436 BC. The ideals of the book were supposedly by Confucius; however, the text was written after his death. The Four Books” were selected by the neo-Confucian Zhu Xi during the Song Dynasty as a foundational introduction to Confucianism and examinations for the state civil service in China. Confucius, who incorporated ideas from Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou and others, compiled and edited the Book of Rites, Book of Documents, Classics of Poetry, and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Confucius’ student, Zeng Zi wrote the introduction and exposition of The Great Learning. Confucius taught 3000 pupils; of which 72 mastered the six arts as follows:

1) The Rites — The cult of the ancestors and the ceremonies mark the passing of the A136seasons and the different stages of a man’s life. The rites are the backbone of society and are indispensable to the proper functioning of the world.

2) Music — The Rites are always associated with music, as the principle regulating the relations between men, and between men and the universe. Music and dance are considered to afford access to supreme beauty and to wisdom.

3) Writing— Like dance, writing reproduces the dynamic and the movement of the world. It is practiced in an atmosphere of contemplative withdrawal, using objects imbued with symbolism.

100_35624) Mathematics — The science of numbers is the origin of exact measurement and of wealth and prosperity.

5) Chariot driving — The chariot has an important place in war, in hunting and in the parades that express the power of the nobles. (This was the period of the Zhou and Warring States Period of China).

6) Archery — Archery forms part of a man’s physical training and, as in the case of chariot driving, allows talent to be tested through competition.

The Great Learning developed from many authors adapting to the needs and beliefs of the community at the time. The Cheng brothers, Yi (1033–1107) and Hao  (1032–1085) both utilized the Great Learning’s philosophies. Their ideas met with strong official opposition, but were reconstituted by Zhu Xi. Cheng’s idea was that it was identical with nature (following the Tao), which he believed was essentially good and emphasized the necessity of acquiring knowledge. During the Southern Song Dynasty, Zhu Xi rearranged the Great Learning and included it in the Four Books, along with the Doctrine of the Mean, the Analects of Confucius and the Mencius. Zhu Xi developed the Chengs’ Confucian ideas and drew from Chan Buddhism and Taoism. It is obvious that over time there was a confluence of thoughts and ideas that made sense that pointed everyone in a similar direction.

My daughter Katie and I visited the Temple (park) dedicated to Zen Zi in Jiaxiang with some of my students in 2012. Tradition says that Zen Zi’s descendants were one of the four ancient families responsible for keeping Confucianism at the forefront of Chinese culture and philosophy for over two thousand years.

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Zeng Zhi Temple

Li Ao, a scholar, poet, and official, used and brought attention to the Great Learning. He adapted several ideas competing religions into his form of Confucianism. After the Song and Yuan Dynasties, the Great Learning became a required textbook in schools and a required reading for imperial examinations. The Dais divided the book into five sections. This included the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, the Evolution of Rites, the Yili, and the “Etiquette and Rites” .

There is a popular commentary by Han Yu and Li Ao who both used The Great Learning. Li Ao incorporated a lot of Buddhist and Taoist ideas into his work. Zi Si  – Confucius’s grandson – is said to have taught Mencius and written the Doctrine of the Mean. He may also have written the beginning of the Great Learning. Ma Yung also edited the Great Learning in the Han dynasty, giving his views of the general meaning.

Principal teachings of the Great Learning

  • Achieving a state of balance and refining one’s moral self – such that it is a reflection of the Way (Tao).100_2971
  • Ample rest and reflection such that one achieves peace of mind. When one is calm and reflected, the Way will be revealed to them.
  • Setting priorities and knowing what is important is essential in one’s quest for moral refinement, for it allows one to focus on that which is of the greatest importance and that which is in line with the Way as outlined in Confucian teachings.
  • One must bring his affairs and relationships into order and harmony. If one 100_3047hopes to attain order in the state, he must first bring his own family and personal life into order through self-cultivation and the expansion of one’s knowledge and the “investigation of things.”
  • Each and every man is capable of learning and self-cultivation regardless of social, economic or political status. This, in turn, means that success in learning is the result of the effort of the individual as opposed to an inability to learn.
  • One must treat education as an intricate and interrelated system where one must strive for balance. No one aspect of learning is isolated from the other and failure to cultivate a single aspect of one’s learning will lead to the failure of learning as a whole.

The main text

What the Great Learning teaches is: to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.  大學之道在明明德,在親民,在止於至善

100_3085The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbed nature may be attained.  知止而后有定;定而后能靜

To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end. 靜而后能安;安而后能慮;慮而后能得

Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in The Great Learning. 物有本末,事有終始,知所先後,則近道矣。

100_2958The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the world, first ordered well their own States.  古之欲明明德於天下者,先治其國

Wishing to order well their States, they first regulated their families. 欲治其國者,先齊其家

Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. 欲齊其家者,先修其身

Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts.  欲修其身者,先正其心

Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. 欲正其心者,先誠其意

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Protective Dragons Confucius Temple

Wishing to rectify their sincerity they made sure of their knowledge.  欲誠其意者,先致其知

Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.  致知在格物

Things being investigated, knowledge became complete.  物格而後知至

Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. 知至而後意誠 

Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. 意誠而後心正 

Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. 心正而後身修

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Stone carving from Han Dynasty  Confucius Mansion   Qufu

Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. 身修而後家齊

Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed. 家齊而後國治

Their States being rightly governed, the entire world was at peace. 國治而後天下平

From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything.  自天子以至於庶人,壹是皆以修身為本           

It cannot be, when the root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered.    其本亂而末治者,否矣

It never has been the case that what was of great importance has been slightly cared for, and, at the same time, that what was of slight importance has been greatly cared for. 其所厚者薄,而其所薄者厚,未之有也

Meaning of “Investigation of Things”

The text sets up a number of controversies that have underlain Chinese philosophy 100_3029and political thinking. For example, one major controversy has been to define exactly the investigation of things. What things are to be investigated and how has been one of the crucial issues of Chinese philosophy. One of the first steps to understanding The Great Learning is to understand how to “investigate things”. This did not consist of scientific inquiry and experimentation, but introspection, building on what is already “known” of “principle”. True introspection was to allow the mind to become all knowing with regards to morality, relationships, civic duty and nature.

The Confucius College of Qufu

Today, there is a school in Qufu called the Confucius College that I am very familiar with that teaches 100_3581students who come from throughout China to study the above “arts of ancient China”. Qufu has always been the center of learning the ancient arts. Calligraphy and martial arts (which takes the place of chariot driving) are the most popular among students today. I have taught classes here on weekends. The school attempts to continue the traditions of ancient Chinese culture, the value of community and family, and our responsibility to acknowledge and respect history.

The Great Learning is significant because it expresses many themes of Chinese philosophy and political thinking, and has therefore been extremely influential both in classical and modern Chinese thought. 

100_3392

Confucius Temple   Qingdao

Government, self-cultivation and investigation of things are linked. It links together individual action in the form of self-cultivation with higher goals such as ultimate world peace as well as linking together the spiritual and the material. Basing its authority on the presumed practices of ancient kings rather than nature or deities, the Great Learning both links the spiritual with the practical, and creates a vision of the Way (Tao) that is different from that presented by Taoism per sea. However, the incorporation of the I Ching, both Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Chan Buddhism with Confucius have been moderating influences over time.

Confucius while he lived, traveled from city to city espousing enlightenment, proper 100_3380ways to govern, and family filiality, but few would listen. His primary “claim to fame” you might say, was updating the five classics of Chinese history, the Analects, and his own version of the I Ching. Defining the way you should live your life became the benchmark that proved his longevity. How those who would follow him were to shape history using him as a pretext to legitimatize their own take as to how things should proceed is what made him immortal. It would be when emperors tied their own authority to govern by and through “the will of heaven” augmented by the teachings of Confucius that we would know how to act accordingly. It was if a natural flow of people and connecting events would tie everything together.

DSCI0019

Stele erected in Qufu dedicated to the Yellow Emperor

Qufu was to become the center of the universe in showing this divine connection. Beginning in pre-history when the inventor of the I Ching, the Yellow Emperor in 2700 BC was said to by from Qufu. The Yellow Emperor was credited with an enormous number of cultural legacies and esoteric teachings. While Taoism is often regarded in the West as arising from Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoists often claim the Yellow Emperor formulated many of their precepts.  The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, which presents the doctrinal basis of traditional Chinese medicine, was named after him.

Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou, who codified the “Book of Rites” five hundred years before Confucius was from Qufu… as well as Confucius himself. Continuing in that tradition, it is also my home when I am in China too.

DSCI0085

Image of Ji Dan at the Temple dedicated to him in Qufu

It is as if my writing takes me back when I’m not there. The following is an entry from my unpublished manuscript, “My travels with Lieh Tzu” in the chapter entitled, Confucius.

Defining Virtue

What sort of man follows Confucius? Four men who served him are looked upon as examples. The first, superior in kindness, the next better in eloquence, the third stronger in courage, and the fourth exceeding in dignity.

100_3185

Following Confucius  Han Dynasty stone carving in Linyi

All a cut above Confucius in their endeavors. Yet they chose to serve him, why is this so?

What is virtue, but that which springs forth from one’s eternal chi or soul?  How can one man judge another when he has his own journey he must follow, his own destiny to find? What is there to possibly come to understand and know except the inner workings of ourselves  and the loving kindness that subsequently follows?

100_4892

Carving of Confucius in Qufu

Confucius explains: “The first is kind, but  cannot check the impulse to act when it will do no good. The next is eloquent but knows not when to speak. The third is brave, but is impulsive and knows not when to be cautious, and the fourth is dignified, but cannot accept others opinions when it is their turn to  speak.  Even if I could exchange the virtue of these four, why would I, when they are less than my own? This is why they have chosen to serve me without question?  Each person must learn their own way in the world.  Can mine possibly be better than the path another has chosen to follow?”

Have not those who have decided to follow the ways of Confucius done so without questioning right and wrong, benefit and harm? Letting everything play out to its rightful end to discover their own true destiny. Since the establishment of government destroys the path for all but the true sage is it not best to find the way to govern properly for the benefit of all. Looking you cannot find it, listening you cannot hear it. In the end, there is nothing to be found again and again.    3/14/95

 

 

 

By 1dandecarlo

12) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / The transcendental flow of spirit… simply “doing by being” as in knowing that you will always be enough.

Have you ever thought or considered that Divine Mind, our intuition, or thought originates for one source and that all sentient beings possess it? Sentient beings are composed of the five aggregates, or skandhas: matter, sensation, perception, mental formation and consciousness, i.e., us.

121

Far Horizons  Huashan Mountain

Before going forward its important to say that if you are happy with where and as you see yourself – that’s okay. It’s important to realize that you can follow another religion and still be a Buddhist… or not.  It is not my intent here to denigrate, or  dismiss the merits of another person’s faith or path. It is the freedom to choose what works for each of us that contributes to manifesting our soul’s growth, our opening doors, and defining from within what path we follow. It was several entries back, when we discussed Eckhart, Emerson, Fillmore, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and others, who professed that the key to our becoming transcendental was our freedom to use our intuition, our inner spirit, as our guide. That we are all connected by and through a universal divine presence as spirit. That our “spiritual home” lies both inward and beyond the horizon where we know the only thing that exists is an extraordinary sense of bliss, tranquility, and profound peace of mind. To a place where heart and mind are in unison with the divine and with this you will always be enough.

122My favorite cartoon back in the 1960’s was when a Wizard would say “Trizzle trazzle trezzle trome, time for this one to come home”. Referring to Tudor Turtle who always fancies himself doing some job or going somewhere he is as yet unprepared for. Mr. Wizard gives him the magical chance to do so, but when thing get to hot, Tudor always wanted to return home. With each journey he learned that all roads lead back to where he began.

Separation only occurs when we look to that which lies outside ourselves to a place that hides our light, or inner vision. The flow we have always known, but may have forgotten.  That the universal mind that is eternal rests in all things. As if matters of the spirit were more important than worldly power and possessions. How is it that one taps into, or retains a spiritual atmosphere of serenity so that you forget all cares and fears in order to become filled with a 123deep sense of peace and tranquility? 

The Shanmen, or Gate of Three Liberations, is the most important gate of a Chinese Chan Buddhist Temple. This is Luohan Temple in Chongqing.

It is tapping into this divine wisdom, that guides us to a place pre-determined by something beyond our own present thinking that enables us to become one with the universal flow and connect with the ethereal and our purpose.

The prayer wheels in Lhasa and Chongqing at the Buddhist temples and 124monasteries I visit on my trips to China and Tibet seem to serve to take me to another place. Hidden behind or inside the cylinders are sūtras (Buddhist scriptures)… One in Lhasa read “I will act for the good and the welfare of all living beings, whose numbers are as infinite as the stars in the sky, so that, following the path of love and compassion, I may attain to perfect enlightenment.” In spinning the wheel, or cylinder, you become one with it and it becomes you – in a communion of spirit that becomes everlasting, as if you have connected again with eternity.

125

Dan’s attendance at Confucius festival

I’ve now gone through this “metaphysical discussion” following the trail left by those inspired by Lao Tzu and many others, and Inward Training looking both to the East and West – to almost it’s end, without hardly mentioning my namesake, Confucius. Confucius family name was Kong. My close connection through traveling and teaching in Qufu over the years led my friends there to give me the name… Kongdan. Hence – The Kongdan Foundation.  Many years earlier, when I began on the internet, my moniker or email name was and 126continues to be Dantzu, as a tribute to my Taoist companion’s Lao, Lieh, and Chuang Tzu.

I am standing at a place called “Confucius Hill” in Qufu (2012) where Confucius gathered his followers and gave instructions and lectures that later became his most famous teachings. The Yellow Emperor originator of I Ching in 2700 BC and Ji Dan who updated the Book of Rites 500 years before Confucius were from Qufu as well. I lived and taught in Qufu for many years as if walking in step with dragons… even now it seems I am still the teacher with a narrative and impelling history. As if I am here to convey thier stories with an obligation to update them as well.

I have always been more of a Taoist than Confucian. I abhor structure and authority by nature that see adhering to the status quo as essential. Without growth and change we suffer consequences of our ego.  But now, as I further my own sense of self-awareness, I feel the pull of both Tibetan and Chan Buddhism in my thoughts, mind, and heart as well. With this it becomes easy for me to see the connection between all three – Buddhism, Confucius, and Taoism with my friend’s Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu leading the way. It is as if I had to walk in Confucius and the others footsteps in Qufu, before I could fully understand their role in basic fundamental 127Chinese thought and philosophy, and I have done that.  My writing is emblematic of my inner consciousness as if never-ending and never staying the same, as if on an eternal pilgrimage. It is as George Harrison sings… I am like a fish with the river running through my soul.

They say all true writing is autobiographical, that is certainly in my own case. One of the first lines I wrote many years ago was… what you write is who you are to become. Another was… It is through you Dan we speak. Little did I know how true that was to be. What was it that pulled me to Qufu? Qufu has a well-recorded history of over five thousand years. On my first visit in October 1999, twenty years ago I knew I had been there before. The similarities and patterns I experienced were deafening, as if I was there to fine-tune knowledge and wisdom that had been gained up to the point of my entering the picture and 128beyond. As if I was directed to the place where my own “flow” was meant to continue as I returned to my origins. 

When in Jining on that initial visit, an hour south of Qufu, I had a picture in my mind of an iron horse from the Han Dynasty from two thousand years ago.  I sensed that I was here when it was first made all those years ago. My friends took me to what looked like an old barn with stone tablets from that period during the Han Dynasty.  The time I was talking about.  They showed me a small iron horse (depicted here) and I confirmed that this was it.  I had been here before. Many times, over the next ten to fifteen years, as I traveled in Qufu and Shandong I often felt I had been and seen these places before. It was as if I was being reminded, entering again, and capturing the flow of who I have always been and of my purpose now and will be again and again. 

Nei-yeh — Inward Training

Twenty-three

For all the Way of eating is that: overfilling yourself with food will impair your vital energy and cause your body to deteriorate.

129

Harmonious Completion      Wuhan Temple  Chengdu

Over-restricting your consumption causes the bones to wither and the blood to congeal. The mean between overfilling and over-restricting: this is called   “harmonious completion.”

It is where the vital essence lodges and knowledge is generated. When hunger and fullness lose their proper balance, you make a plan to correct this. When full, move quickly; when hungry, neglect your thoughts; when old, forget worry.

If when full you don’t move quickly, vital energy will not circulate to your limbs. If when hungry you don’t neglect your thoughts of food, when you finally eat you will not stop.

If when old you don’t forget your worries, the fount of your vital energy will rapidly drain out.

Twenty-four

When you enlarge your mind and let go of it, when you relax your vital breath and expand it, when your body is calm and unmoving:

139

Maintaining the One      Wuhan Temple Chengdu

And you maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances,
you will see profit and not be enticed by it, you will see harm and not be frightened by it.

Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive, in solitude you delight in your own person. This is called “revolving the vital breath”: your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly.

The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:

“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).

 The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th 1211century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu Te Tao Ching and the 4th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism. Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular.

Maintaining the One has always been the central core to traditional Chinese 1212thought, philosophy and religion. Combining these three internally has always been the objective in Eastern thought.  It would be the essence of Chan and later Zen Buddhism that would define the way to life in the light of Sakyamuni Buddha. Ultimately looking to, or becoming what we call a Bodhisattva ourselves, or in Taoism following the path of the Three Pure Ones described earlier. It would be those who followed Confucian ideals who re-shaped history in his name. That how we connect from within with our origins becomes the hallmark of success. Ultimately the Tao and Chan Buddhism came about through mindfulness and are about self-realization and as Chuang Tzu says “When you have got at the idea, forget about the words.”

Chan Buddhism developed in China (especially during Song Dynasty 960-1279) as a re- affirmation of the importance of meditation practice as the signal achievement of unwavering attentiveness and responsive virtuosity (knowledge and proficiency).

100_5338

Buddha at Longmen Grottoes

The fruition of Chan practice is a fluid harmony of body and mind as if a paradox that reaches out through all four limbs – benefiting what cannot be benefited and doing what can’t be done – as if beyond knowing and seeing. Building on the prevalent Chinese Buddhist conviction that all beings have/are Buddha-nature. However, practice was not advocated in Chan as a means to enlightenment, but rather as the meaning of demonstrating it. It is only in denial or ignorance of our own true nature that enlightenment can be regarded as something to seek, a destination at which we might one day arrive. In Christianity, it would be called the I am that I am… I’m already there. In sharp contrast with more scholastically-inclined schools of Buddhism, Chan did not see dispelling ignorance of our own true nature as something to be accomplished by studying canonical texts and commentaries. On the contrary, in keeping with the Buddha’s claim that the wise “do not hang onto anything, anywhere” and “do not enter into the mud of conceptual thinking” (Sabhiya SuttaSutta Nipāta III.6), Chan came to insist that we cannot read or reason our way out of conflict, trouble and suffering. And, in contrast with more ritually-defined schools of Buddhism, Chan also came to deny the merit of seeking help from supramundane sources. Dispelling ignorance of our own Buddha-nature does not involve cultivating or acquiring anything; we need only end the relational paralysis that prevents us from conducting ourselves as enlightening beings. This does not require special conditions or implements. It does not require extensive study or training. It can be accomplished here and now, in the midst of our own day-to-day lives.

Chan originated in and actively propagated what could easily be viewed as anti-philosophical sentiments – a view arguably supported by the apparent illogic of 1213many of the “encounter dialogues” that purported to record the interactions of Chan masters and their students, and by the four-fold phrasing that came to be used in Song dynasty China to characterize Chan distinctiveness.

Ink painting by Fan Kuan during Song Dynasty

 For myself, in trying to sort out the differences between Chan, Tibetan, and Zen is challenging to say the least. There are elements I have found in Chan that seen inherently connected to my own path, while I am still a Taoist at heart… while knowing staying in the flow is what ultimately takes me there. I am still a student and open to this wisdom of the ages.

The four-fold phrasing described above seem to fit for now. They are: 1) a special transmission outside the scriptures (jiaowai biechuan, 教外別傳); 2) not established upon words and letters (buli wenzi, 不立文字); 3) directly pointing to the human heart-mind (zhizhi renxin, 直指人心); and 4) seeing nature and becoming a Buddha (jianxing chengfo, 見性成佛). This could easily had been said by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his famous book tour in the 1840-50’s promoting “Nature”, intuition, and freedom of thought… reaching our own conclusion about things considered as universal or transcendental.

There seems to be appeals to the importance of immediacy, rather than reflection, and assertions about the limits of language and the ultimate irrelevance of thinking to the realization of truth in Chan Buddhism. It was the Sixth Chan Patriarch, Huineng (638–713), who famously proclaimed that throughout Buddhist history, those transmitting the true Dharma established “without-thinking” (wunian, 無念) as the core doctrine and should be engaged as enacting insights and inferences of considerable philosophical significance –a body of philosophical evidence rather than exposition and explanation. What I would call – doing by being. This sounds like where I have been forever, or at least a very long time.

1214

Sixth Chan Patriarch, Huineng

What the anthropologist James Clifford (1988) has referred to as the “predicament of culture”—the feeling of pervasive off-centeredness that occurs when we are confronted with an unavoidable and unprecedented overlay of distinct meaning systems and compelled to choose among or reconcile different and often contrary sources of personal and cultural identity. For me, it is as if you never find yourself in shoes that seem to fit the place where you find yourself at the moment, either seen as an anomaly or enigma.

But it was through collaborative projects of translation and textual exegesis that Buddhism came to be woven so thoroughly into the fabric of Chinese culture that the emperor of Song China, Xiaozong (1162–89), would compare the three teachings of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism to the legs of a bronze ding: a ceremonial vessel associated with political unity and power and cultural authority that would be useless if any one of the three were to be removed.

1215Ceremonial Ding at Luoyang Wangcheng Park, the site of the ruins of the Capital City of Zhou Dynasty from 11th century to 221 BC – over a thousand years). (Picture taken by Dan in October 2018)

Four years before I went to Qufu in 1999, I wrote the following story before I ever had an inkling of going there. All I had even known about Confucius was what I had read and had never heard of Qufu, but that was about to change.  It was as if my writing leads me to where I am, and more importantly to my own role and who I am supposed to become.

                                 Finding Confucius

Just who is this man known as Confucius and what of his obsession with knowledge?  Can he possibly equal the things brought forth by Chuang Tzu who can see through all to its true origin?

1216

Songyang Temple south of Luoyang

While Confucius may help guide those responsible for maintaining the overall scheme of things in their dealings with others, can he possibly know the true underpinnings of all there is to know that lead to logical conclusions?  Can thoughts and ideas expressed outside the true essence of the Tao have any real significance?

Looking for differences to trap unseemly paradox and analogies that can confuse those not serious about finding and true way of virtue.

1217

Mount Huangshan (Yellow Mountain)   Anhui Province

Who can be true to his own thoughts? Swaying this way and that by the Confucian suspicion of speculation without practical or moral relevance or by the comfort found in the seeming irrationality of the Tao.

The three tenants of higher consciousness, Buddhism, Confucius and Taoism always present.  Ultimately pushing everything to higher ground.

Moving all to places they would otherwise miss. Just as the seasoned traveler who breaks the mountain’s ridge to see the vast panorama spread before him. Every direction simply leading to destinations previously seen and known but forgotten.

Everything crystallizing over time. Can one move forward knowing the paradox found in all things that are allowed to advance in their own way? Knowing that Confucius is forever weighing benefit and harm and distinguishing between right and wrong.

1218

Dragon image at entrance of Qingcheng Mountain

Can there be a moral relevance to all things considered practical as found in the analytical comfort of knowing the results lie in the search for truth and knowledge? Can one following such a course of action be taken seriously? Who can know? Is not the ultimate to be born a Taoist, to live as a Confucian and die a Buddhist? Where can all this possibly lead? Who can possibly say?   3/5/1995 (From my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website).

It is often the case that what I wrote more than twenty years ago I didn’t fully appreciate or understand. Returning to it now, I can see meaning that were hidden and just waiting for my return. Telling me the difference between knowledge, experiencing human frailties (my own and others), and wisdom to be gained that shed light to what meaning of the words were meant to be. Ah – the dragons seem to be pleased as if my work continues in earnest.

 

 

By 1dandecarlo

11) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Taking people to places they might not otherwise go as we follow harmonious vibrations

The world has always been filled with nuance and distinction. After the shaman, it was left to the poet and music to convey the message in such a way that people could see themselves and want to follow.

A111

The Eternal Bells at the Temple of Zeng Zi south of Jiaxiang in Shandong

It was the one who could convey the universal symbols showing connections that would define man’s yearning for love and understanding that would carry the day. It would be the sage, the metaphysician who wove it all together, who others looked to for guidance and direction that made it all seem so transcendental.

What today we would call mystical. It was the rhythm of life and death with symbols that conveyed the vibrations of love and compassion that connected it all together like the stars they followed every night. It was always the poet, the storyteller, the one who had a way with words and the music they hung to that defined their thoughts and feelings. They remind us of the way we once were. Times may change, but words that touch our heart never do. For the Taoist, it’s like A112being in tune with music, a harmonious vibration that leads to a natural life. Or as Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian writer would say, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” In my favorite Tolstoy quote, he adds, A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist.” The same idea speaks to the great writer. His novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”, took us to places we would have never gone without his storytelling, his art for writing and illustrating harmonious vibrations. As if when you think about history – our stories are all we have.  Or as the famous writer Johann Goethe said, “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” 

Several writers/poets, it could be hundreds, for me have served as examples of how words, music, and even dance can help to expand our thoughts and A113imagination that take us there. From the past people like Rumi known for the Whirling Dervishes and his poetry, Khalil Gibran and The Prophet, and As a Man Thinketh by James Allen all spoke to a higher reality. So many of the musicians of my generation going back to the 1960’s and 70’s were first poets. Smokey Robinson, Bob Dillon, the Beatles (John, Paul, George and Ringo) etc., were first great writers and poets who shaped and spoke to a whole generation with music that continues to do so. Even the Beach Boys sang about “Good Vibrations”. After going to India in 1966, George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, changed the perception of Eastern spirituality forever in the West making us all transcendental with the song’s lyrics reflecting Harrison’s often stated desire for a direct relationship with God, expressed in simple words that all believers could affirm, regardless of their religion. John Lennon’s song Imagine – took us beyond the confines of religion to universality of spirit that originates from within.

Other singer/poets like Van Morrison took us Into the Mystic, “Where we were A114born before the wind – Also younger than the sun – Let your soul and spirit fly (or flow) into the mystic – and when that fog horn blows, I will be coming home.”  Then of course to Woodstock and Joni Mitchell and her words “We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” So many more – too numerous to count. They inspire us to discover our own sensibilities, cosmic awareness and even perhaps awaken us to see beyond the reality of who we are and what we think is true. I love them all because they give me the freedom to wander back and forth where I can see where things began and to where they might end and most importantly the freedom to go there. As in living in the ancient Chinese sense of wu wei. With wu wei meaning rising to the true self effortlessly – in this case through our music. Again, with Morrison… “Just like the days of old I’ll be coming home.” Giving the ultimate meaning to living in the present moment as if you are already there.

Music takes us back to the stories – to our memories – as if we were always present just waiting to be reminded. Just as storytellers throughout history have been the ones who could best A118remember. I’ll never forget my second day of teaching in China in March 2011 at Jining University in Qufu. I was teaching English to a class of future tour guides and using audio-visual. The textbook I was using began the lesson with Mick Jagger’s “I can’t get no satisfaction”.  No kidding.  Later in the Spring there was a track meet at the university with nine other colleges/universities attending. Every school had cheerleaders in skimpy outfits dancing to Motown and rap music. Of course, Michael Jackson a117was the favorite. American pop culture (Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber) had captured the hearts and minds of all the students. It was the music first then A116the words that seized their imagination as they tried to interpret what was really meant. China would never be the same again. The music contributed to them becoming universal and wanting more and helped to see beyond themselves. Teaching English in that environment was mystical. The music serving to remind them of who and where they’ve been and who they are destined to become. It seems nothing ever changes as everything forever does. Simply following or knowing the past tells us the direction we need for the future.

Years later after graduation and seeing the girls who had come from the 100_3384country-side wearing little or no make-up and worn clothes… who were now flight attendants and teachers who could pose on the cover of a fashion magazine was amazing. When asked how they made such a transformation – they all said it was easy – it was the music and their teacher that carried them to who they saw themselves becoming.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training

Twenty-one

As for the life of all human beings:

the heavens bring forth their vital essence, the earth brings forth their bodies.

A119

Ringing the bell – Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian

These two combine to make a person.
When they are in harmony there is vitality; when they are not in harmony there is no vitality.

If we examine the Way of harmonizing them, its essentials are not visible, its signs are not numerous. (The Way of Virtue – the Tao).

Just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest and it will swirl and blend with your mind, this confers longevity.

When joy and anger are not limited, you should make a plan to limit them. Restrict the five sense-desires; cast away these dual misfortunes. Be not joyous, be not angry, just let a balanced and aligned breathing fill your chest.

Twenty-two

As for the vitality of all human beings:

A1110

Tortoise and Rites   Qingyang Temple  Chengdu

It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned breathing. The reason for its loss is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety.

Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry; to cast off worry there is nothing better than music; to limit music there is nothing better than rites; to hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence; to hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.

When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent you are able to return to your innate nature and this nature will become greatly stable.

The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:

“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).

The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th ATEN7century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu Te Tao Ching and the 4th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism. Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular. Mysticism and being transcendental know no boundaries. Part of being open to new and different thought and philosophy is exploring other ways of thinking. Knowledge does not equate with adopting what we choose not to believe. It often serves us by enhancing innate wisdom we are inclined to adopt more agreeable to us.

For myself, three people considered as metaphysicians or mystics in their own rite, have always been of interest. I have always liked Rumi’s poetry. Back in college here at SMSU in Springfield, I was given a copy of As a Man Thinketh by a friend who thought I should read. Khalil Gibran was also someone I read years ago who inspired me and I think ultimately led A1113me to begin writing myself. Brief summaries of all three appear below.

Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, theologian, and Sufi mystic. Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions, Muslims especially have greatly  appreciated his spiritual legacy for the past seven centuries.  His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats.

Three of my favorite Rumi quotes are:

  • “We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”
  • This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet”.
  • A third would be, “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”

Talk about becoming transcendental and taking us to places we would not otherwise go.  It’s what connecting with spirit does, it’s letting go and letting the universe flow unimpeded through us.

Sufi practices have their foundation in purity of life, strict obedience to Islamic law and imitation of the Prophet. Through self-denial, careful introspection and mental struggle, Sufis hope to purify the self from all selfishness, thus attaining absolute purity of intention and act. “Little sleep, little talk, little food” Rumi2are fundamental and fasting is considered one of the most important preparations for the spiritual life. Mystical experience of the divine is also central to Sufism. Sufis are distinguished from other Muslims by their fervent seeking of dhawq, a “tasting” that leads to an illumination beyond standard forms of learning. However, the insight gained by such experience is not valid if it contradicts the Qur’an.

The Sufi way of life is called a tariqah, “path.” The path begins with repentance and submission to a guide. If accepted by the guide, the seeker becomes a disciple (murid) and is given instructions for asceticism and meditation. This usually includes sexual abstinence, fasting and poverty. The ultimate goal of the Sufi path A1114is to fight the true Holy War against the lower self. On his way to illumination the mystic will undergo such changing spiritual states as constraint and happy spiritual expansion, fear and hope, and longing and intimacy, which are granted by God and change in intensity according to the spiritual “station” in which the mystic is abiding at the moment. The culmination of the path is ma’rifah (interior knowledge, gnosis – that which is considered as mystical or spiritual knowledge), or mahabbah (love), which implies a union of lover and beloved (man and God). The final goal is annihilation (fana’), primarily of one’s own qualities but sometimes of one’s entire personality. This is often accompanied by spiritual ecstasy or “intoxication”. After the  annihilation of the self and accompanying ecstatic experience, the mystic enters a “second sobriety” in which he re-enters the world and continues the “journey of God.”  

A1115

Rumi gathers Sufi mystics

In the mid-9th century some mystics introduced sessions with music and poetry recitals (samba) in Baghdad in order to reach the ecstatic experience. The well-known “Whirling Dervishes” are members of the Mevlevi order of Turkish Sufis, based on the teachings of the famous mystic Rumi. The practice of spinning around is the group’s distinctive form of sama. The whirlers, called semazens, are practicing a form of meditation in which they seek to abandon the self and contemplate God, sometimes achieving an ecstatic state. The clothing worn for the ritual and the positions of the body during the spinning are highly symbolic: for instance, the tall camel-hair hat represents the tomb of the ego, the white cloak represents the ego’s shroud, and the uplifted right hand indicates readiness to receive grace from God. Rumi’s poetry forms the basis of much classical Iranian and Afghan music.

As a Man Thinketh is considered a self-help book by James Allen published in 1903. The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, A11115verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

Additional quotes from As a Man Thinketh are as follows:

  • “Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.”
  • “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
  • “Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment, of these, if you but remain true to them your world will at last be built.”
  • “The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, that which it loves, and also that which it fears. It reaches the height of its cherished aspirations. It falls to the level of its unchastened desires – and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.”

Khalil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, visual artist and Lebanese nationalist. He is primarily known in the English-A11116speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. The book sold well despite a cool critical reception, gaining popularity in the 1930’s and again especially in the 1960’s counter-culture and served as inspiration the poets and music at the time (my generation – I recall reading this many times years ago). Gibran is considered the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Lao Tzu. The Prophet has been translated into over a hundred different languages, making it one of the most translated books in history and it has never been out of print.

Many of Gibran’s writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. But his mysticism is a convergence of several different influences: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and theosophy. He wrote: “You are my brother and I love you. I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel in your church and pray in your synagogue. You and I are sons of one faith – the Spirit.”

Part 1 Number 3 of the 5th Wing of the Dazhuan last time focused on that it would A1117be 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. The ability to know the Way, or Tao, is through the words we speak and write. Anxiety occurs due to our innate desire to know what the Tao teaches – and staying within the limits of the Way. 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 ATEN14the 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 with figures or characters supposed to possess power to connect one with the universe and worn as an amulet or charm. Its presence exercises remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions). I will continue with the Dazhuan and furthering of the I Ching another time.

Ancient spirits with talisman in hand often through myths and legends conveyed the impact of symbols that became associated with the words we sang and spoke as if transmitted in eternal rhythm – in tune with a higher source… as if only dancing with the stars through our spirit or soul. Like all those metaphysicians, mystics, and A1119musicians above were doing and what we are here to do as well. My own Libra constellation is shown here to the left.

There are two famous stories from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website. I couldn’t decide which one to include here, so I included both. I especially like the story of the lady musician Erh of Han.

Mastering the music of the Seasons

There once was a famous musician named Hu Pa who was considered an expert at Aluteeplaying the lute. (The pipa (Chinese : 琵琶) is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26.)

When he played, the birds danced and the fishes jumped from the water with joy. A young man heard of this story and left his family to become an apprentice of the famous musician. The apprentice, whose name was Wen, practiced for three years laying his fingers on the lute’s strings to tune them, but could never finish the music that lay in front of him.

The master musician Hu Pa told him that he might as well go home. Wen put aside his lute and answered: “It is not the strings that I cannot tune nor the piece that I cannot finish. What I have in mind is not the strings. Unless I grasp it inwardly in my heart it will not answer from the instrument outside me. That is why I dare not to put out my hand to stir the strings. Let me stay a little longer and try to do better.”  Soon afterward Hu Pa asked Wen how he was doing and Wen responded that he thought he had it.

As if the notes on the music scale were associated with the four seasons, Wen A1122touched the Autumn note in Spring and suddenly the fruit ripened on the bushes and trees. When Autumn came, he touched the Spring string on his lute and warm breezes came gently forward and the bushes and trees burst into flower. During the Summer he touched the Winter string and frost and snow came with the rivers and lakes abruptly freezing over. And when winter came, he touched the Summer note and the sun shone brightly melting all the ice at once. When he played all four together a fortunate wind blew, auspicious clouds drifted, the sweet dew fell and fresh springs bubbled.

So masterful was his playing that Hu Pa responded: “Even the music masters who can cause droughts and warm the climates of the far north can do no better. They would have to put their lutes away and follow behind you. Your heart is pure and nature has responded and acted accordingly.”   4/26/1995

Woeful songs of Joy

Who can sing and bring forth the emotions and feelings of all so that others too are caught up in tone and rhythm?

A1121The great musician and singer of songs Chin Ching allowed a young man named Hsieh Tan to study under him. Before long, after thinking he had learned it all, the young man left and set off for home. Chin Ching did not object. However, as he left, he sang such a sad song that the sound shook the trees in the entire province and the echoes stopped the clouds above. So, stirred by these events was Hseih Ten, that he returned to study under Chin Ching and never thought of going home again.

Relaying another incident to a friend, Chin Ching told of a woman who while traveling became hungry and traded her songs for a meal. So enthralled by her singing were the bystanders that for three days after she left, they all thought she was still there.

Chin Ching continued that as this singer and writer of songs, I believe her name was A1122Erh of Han, passed a local establishment the innkeeper insulted her. She began singing woefully in long drawn out notes. Everyone upon hearing her song wept sadly and could not eat for three days. The citizens of the town ran after her, apologizing for the rudeness of only one man in their town.  In her joy, Erh of Han sang and played another song whiA1124ch brought much happiness and dancing and hand‑clapping where only a short time earlier all were filled with sadness. Afterwards, as she left, they gave her many presents and food to eat along the way.

Even as we speak today, we remember this traveling minstrel at special occasions such as weddings and funerals by singing and playing her songs of joy and sadness. Everyone taking their cue from their memory of the Erh of Han.

Both the young man who remained to study under Chin Ching and the traveling singer of songs, Erh of Han were to become immortal. Because they could sing the songs that made everyone upon hearing them both laugh and cry, shake the trees around them and cause clouds to stop upon hearing them just to listen. Reminding spirits who heard them of their home once again.  4/27/1995

By 1dandecarlo

10) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Our inequities begin to heal when we become aware of our Worth

The first step in understanding the meaning of consciousness is having a sense of self-awareness and loving ourselves unconditionally.

ATEN1

   Inward Knowing        Sichuan Museum

How that transcends who we think we are and how we help others by loving ourselves. It is from our authentic selves that our “inward knowing or wisdom” begins and our innate talents connect with who we are yet to become as we move from simply I AM to WE ARE. As if saying – it is not enough to believe an abstract truth. That it is just as important to understand the method or way it was attained and how you live to express it as well.

Perhaps having a sense of mindfulness, or maybe even coming to know who we have always been. It is from this place we learn that there is nothing we cannot do or heal. This concept is central to the idea of Inward Training or Inner Cultivation expressed here as our inequities heal when we become aware of our worth. I’m going to repeat that – our inequities heal when we become aware of our worth.  Not living in fear, but that learning to love ourselves first is what heals us. Your consciousness is the reflection of the universal spirit of which you manifest by being yourself. To love yourself, value yourself, and embody this truth of self-worth and self-love so that you can be the reflection of this love in action. This is how to define true service and how we become transcendent to what ultimately connects us with our soul and our eternal source. It truly is what song writers and poets have always said – that all you need is love.

ATEN2

Huashan Mountain… South Peak (from where I took this picture) is regarded as the king of the mountain at an altitude of 2,155 meters (7,070 feet), for it is the highest peak among the Five Sacred Mountains of China. The name Wild Geese Landing Peak comes from a legend that wild geese returning from the south often landed at this peak.

With this knowledge we are able to create heaven on earth. This is the essence of both spiritual and universal truth. You are serving no one when you get lost in the problems of the world. The question becomes how and where am I not loving myself? How can I value myself more? I believe we are born knowing the truth of who we are, it’s in claiming this we initially get lost. Our challenge is to recognize our virtue, this knowledge and past wisdom that resides, as if ingrained in our inner-most being. From this place we can move on to what is called having a reflective mind. Where a certain, or simultaneous occurrence of what is seen as unrelated events occur and the belief that their simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence. It’s from where and how we respond to the outer world that matters. Perhaps just doing by being ourselves.

I often come back to the idea of directing my mind and actions through meditation. Not just the physical act of sitting, but in establishing an ever-present presence of what takes me there – to love and virtue.

ATEN3

The bodhisattva ideal

Establishing a benchmark, or starting point, in meditation and a practice focusing on the Buddhist ideal of existence that center on… impermanence – suffering – and egolessness as the basis for profound truths. As if it’s the next step after discussing the bodhisattva vow a few weeks ago and taking a step further to the bodhisattva ideal in establishing the directness towards a spiritual goal which can convert consciousness into a single, unified vital force that spans the universal spectrum beyond a single lifetime and our present personality – to what remains. As if surpassing previously accepted opinions or views and suspending disbelief, we travel if only by spirit to places we wouldn’t otherwise go.  

It is the ability, often found when meditating with what is called a directed mind.  To see things in a forward looking purposefulness way based on insight and realization of the universal nature of consciousness, rather than simply on the personal aspects of an individual past, or future. Of seeing the world beyond our own limited vision.

100_6012

The Wheel of Life    Sera Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet 

What attracts people to practice Buddhism is that it does not mean you have to leave behind previous thought, but to find yourself in the flow of universal mind, both inwardly and outwardly. As if directed consciousness leads one to “enter the stream towards liberation or enlightenment in which one’s universal nature is realized”.  Its whatever takes you there. Two books I enjoy immensely about Buddhism are by Lama Givinda, first – The Way of the White Clouds, and second entitled The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy.  It is as the Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge unto yourself, without another refuge.”

Nei-yeh — Inward Training

Nineteen

By concentrating your vital breath as if numinous, the myriad things will all be contained within you.

ATEN5

Dujianyan Waterworks Chengdu

Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them? Can you not resort to divining by tortoise or milfoil, yet know bad and good fortune? Can you stop? Can you cease? Can you not seek it in others, yet attain it within yourself?

You think and think about it and think still further about it. You think, yet still cannot penetrate it. While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it, it is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous, but to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.

When the four limbs are aligned and the blood and vital breath are tranquil, unify your awareness, concentrate your mind, then your eyes and ears will not be over-stimulated. And even the far-off will seem close at hand.

Twenty

Deep thinking generates knowledge.

ATEN6

Knowing the Way – Wuhan Temple

Idleness and carelessness generate worry.
Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment. Worry and grief generate illness.
When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die. When you think about something and don’t let go of it, internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak.

Do not plan things out in advance or else your vitality will cede its dwelling. In eating, it is best not to fill up; in thinking, it is best not to overdo. Limit these to the appropriate degree and you will naturally reach your vitality.

The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:

“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).

The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu Te Tao Ching and the ATEN74th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism. Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular.

It seems to me, that our purpose is to have what I think of as mentioned above, a “reflecting mind”. By properly reflecting the past, we can shine a light on our own future. By identifying with our source, we can first be transformed with the knowledge of who we have always been, and then from there begin to transcend what we may perceive as our current limitations. That our nature has given us an opportunity to demonstrate through biological development the necessary conditions for the manifestation of higher consciousness.

Carl Jung (1875-1961), was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded ATEN8analytical psychology. Jung’s work was influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. He was interested in the way in which symbols and common myths permeate our thinking on both conscious and subconscious levels. Jung also noted the relationship between our personal unconscious, which contains an individual’s personal memories and ideas, and a collective unconscious, a set of memories and ideas that is shared amongst all of humanity.

It would be shared concepts, which Jung described as archetypes, (an action, or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature. An archetype, also known as a “universal symbol”, may be a character, a theme, a symbol, or even a setting) that permeate the collective unconscious and emerge as themes and characters in our dreams and surface in our culture – in myths, books, films and paintings, for example. An example in ancient China would be the role of the dragon ATEN9as the shaman or sage who created, exemplified, and knew the correct path to be taken and that others should follow with the Heavens above. What caught my attention in internalizing the thoughts of Jung, was my own dreams and meditation that culminate in my writing and focus on the I Ching and calligraphy, the role of the dragon, certain people, and myths and legends of ancient China that precedes today’s understanding of our collective history. How people the world over reach similar conclusions and that the personal unconscious contains memories which we are unaware we still possess. 

Jung felt that disunity among thoughts in the personal subconscious and the conscious could create internal conflicts which could lead to particular personality traits or anxieties. Such inner conflicts could be resolved, claimed Jung, by allowing repressed ideas to emerge into the conscious and accommodating (rather than destroying) them, thus creating a state of inner harmony, through a process known as individuation that can lead to higher consciousness when the mind attaches itself to what may be seen as it’s beginning. It is this inner harmony between the heart and mind that guides us to become our natural selves… entity. To who we are here to further emulate as our highest selves. It makes you ultimately come back to what we consider as heredity and the principle of preservation and continuity of ATEN11acquired characteristics which result in the faculty of conscious remembering and direction through the guidance of organized knowledge. For myself, I am often amazed that when I am in tune with my internal spirit and am writing, that things appear that I can only ask “where did that come from”. What is it that separates our conscious and unconscious mind and internal and external awareness from our past? The Buddhist will tell us that heredity is only another name for our memory. It becomes the established principle and counter force of dissolution and impermanence. That it is our ability to “remember” our past that determines the level of our spiritual nature. As if simply a calling, or bell waiting for us to answer.

Looking back five hundred years before Carl Jung, this duality was expressed by Meister Eckhard who espoused similar beliefs while a professor at the University of Paris in the early twelfth century. I especially liked Eckhart’s ability to take a line in thought and follow it wherever it took him and to what defines or expresses what was meant by becoming universal.  That God and we are one. That this union was ATEN12not only a harmony of wills or a spiritual communion, but he envisioned a fusion of the individual with God like a drop of water returning to the sea. He was able like Chuang Tzu and what was to become the Tao in early China, to stretch the imagination to further define the flow of consciousness and what the true meaning of becoming universal might yet become, from the inside out. He called the place where God is known to an individual person “the spark of the soul” and that God and man are united because they were already one.

How this transformation occurs is what determines our present fate and destiny. It is as stated above in Inward Training, that by concentrating our vital breath (commonly called qi or chi), as if numinous, the myriad things will all be contained within us. How can we become transformational, both inwardly and ultimately affect our outer world, but through our conscious mind and loving heart? As we transcend the mundane – we too enlighten the world by becoming transcendental.

Part 1 Number 2 of the 5th Wing of the Dazhuan last time ended with the premise that the superior man finds his place in life resting content in the succession of change; he finds satisfaction taking delight in the words; when he acts, he observes the alternations (what appears as alternate succession or repeated rotation) 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 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 fulfilled.

The Dazhuan 5th Wing      Part 1   Number 3

 1.3     The Statements – What the Words Show 

We first look to how great and small are related in the Yijing, the I Ching, and in ATEN13our 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. 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. The ability to know the Way, ATEN14or Tao, is through the words we speak and write. Anxiety occurs due to our innate desire to know what the Tao teaches – and staying within the limits of the Way. 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 with figures or characters supposed to possess power to connect one with the universe and worn as an amulet or charm. Its presence exercises remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions).

Fulu is a term for Taoist practitioners in the past that could draw and write supernatural talismans, Fu which they believed functioned as summons or instructions to deities, spirits, or as tools of exorcism, as medical potions for ailments. It is believed by Taoists that in the past the ability to write Shenfu had been once decreed by their deities to authorized priests or daoshi.

ATEN15

A Taoist charm or talisman coin that contains Taoist “magic writing” on display at the Museum of Ethnography, Sweden.

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 (usually considered a Taoist priest or Buddhist monk) from different schools or offshoots of Taoji, as a symbol that connects us to the invisible world. This was one of the major precept’s outlining the shaman’s influence, (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. It is in the area of the Shaolin Temple, in the region of Songshan Mountain, Dengfeng City, Henan Province. I visited this area in Sept/Oct of last year (2018).

ATEN17Shaolin Temple history can date back to Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 534), and it played an important role on the development of the Buddhism in China. 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 and then to write – 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, statements with meaning, to the lines.  It was with the consultation process that the lines were considered as transforming. It ATEN18is when a line “transforms” that is 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 for themselves. Key among those would be Confucius and then later Wang Pi, whose most important works are two commentaries: one the Tao Te Ching and the other on the I Ching. On both these works he left his indelible mark. His work on the I Ching completely reorganized the book and made it much as it is today; of the extremely numerous early commentaries, moreover, his is the only one to survive in its entirety.  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. But for now our journey continues with this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

To be eternally awakened

How can we know who we come into the world to become?  As we learn to trust our ATEN19instincts and the spontaneity given to us as each moment unfolds. If it is as Lieh Tzu says: “To live and die at the right time is a blessing from Heaven and not to live when it is time to live and not to die when it is time to die is a punishment from Heaven, then is not our destiny predetermined?”

Why should some be favored over others? Why should some get life and death at the right time and others live and die when the time is not right? Know that it is neither other things nor ourselves that gives life when we live and death when we die as our destiny unfolds. Nor that wisdom or our endeavors can lead the way. Could the unfolding of our life’s events be but an endless sequence that comes to pass of themselves by way of Heaven? Indifferent to the turn of events coming forward as the unbroken wheel or circle of life. Coming in, living each moment to its fullest then going out again. Could this be the way of Heaven?

With no offense to Heaven and Earth the ultimate cardinal rule. How could the sage ATEN20not go along? Continuing to clear his mind and open his heart only for eternal truths yet to unfold. His wisdom finding no time to question. Just as the demons are thwarted as they can find no footholds to follow. Each person finding truths solely for himself in silence and serenity. Without attachment, only the peace found as Heaven escorts us as we go and welcomes us as we come back again.

Embrace only those things that assist in the awakening of your eternal spirit. If our destiny can be foretold as we travel from one lifetime to the next, then should we not remain awake to the events that show us the way? Living the proper way, can death matter as we are simply waiting to be born again. 6/11/1995

By 1dandecarlo

9) Nei-yeh — Inward Training / Moving beyond politics and religion to faith and healing

In the beginning it was the medicine man/woman, the healer or shaman who dsci0176were our connection to realms few understood that others looked to when people were sick or hurt and needed healing. The healer looked to the universe, the world few understood and told people to have faith that a cure could be found to the illness or troubles at hand. Along with healing came faith that when symptoms were determined just as in nature – that a way would be found for the proper direction or cure. It would be the healer’s intellect and wisdom gained over generations and time that he learned that having faith in the right outcome was often what saved his patient. It was faith in the finality of the universe and the stars above that gave him guidance to know and show the way. As if coming from his own silent center that rested within his own divinity, or divine nature guided only by spirit. Moving all from survival to security to success, then finally to significance.

In view of my last entry regarding the I Ching, I am reminded that there is nothing in the world that is not subject to change or transformation, least of all humans. As with all things found in nature, we learn to adapt to our environment and change as the times we live dictate. Ultimately, it is as Gandhi 91said that “We each must be the change we want to see in the world.”  That with one’s mind and our actions we change both our world and that of others.

Gandhi in a mission of peace in 1942 visited Nanjing and Soong Mei-ling, wife of Chiang Kai-shek who was President of the Republic of China at the time. In a pairing of great political significance, Chiang was Sun Yat-sen’s brother-in-law: he had married Soong Mei-ling, the younger sister of Soong Ching-ling Sun’s widow, on 1 December 1927. Sun Yat-sen was considered the founder of the Republic of China in 1912. Sun’s widow, Soong Ching-ling sided with the Communists during the Chinese Civil War and served from 1949 to 1981 as Vice-President (or Vice-Chairwoman) of the People’s Republic of China and as Honorary President shortly before her death in 1981.

What is the basis, the root cause, of faith knowing that to live one has to connect his inner world with his outer environment as if we live from within our own cosmos while knowing the reverse is true as well? How could we be separated from what nourishes us and keeps us alive? What the I Ching taught was that success depended on finding the middle and that complimentary dsci0016opposites found in nature, as well as, our own innate nature is what would nurture and save us. That extremes and ego that we may initially follow do not lead to longevity. It was this desire for longevity and direction that looking to the sun, moon, and stars, and the seasons that would show the way. While history has shown that politics and religion serve to separate us from others. That once things are viewed as finite and not infinite, man has wanted to see his own interests first above others. This is contrary to the laws of nature as universal intelligence has always made available enough for all when all are treated equally as nature runs its own course.

It was always to be the reciprocal relationship between faith and healing that 100_3098would serve to guide us. Jesus was first a healer. Everywhere faith has always been our ability to receive and assimilate the power of spirit. It’s the ultimate meaning in becoming universal or transcendental that depends on our ability to communicate from our inner experience that which comes from the stillness of a devoted heart and mind, i.e., our own divinity as we become the conduit… both as the transmitter and receiver. Healing and faith are like opposite sides signifying yin and yang showing the way. Once acknowledged they can take us there too.

Nei-yeh — Inward Training 

Seventeen
For all to practice this Way – you must coil, you must contract, you must uncoil, you must expand, you must be firm, you must be regular in this practice.

92

Becoming Translucent

Hold fast to this excellent practice; do not let go of it. Chase away the excessive; abandon the trivial and when you reach its ultimate limit you will return to the Way and the inner power.

Eighteen

When there is a mind that is unimpaired within you, it cannot be hidden.
It will be known in your countenance, and seen in your skin color.

93

The Procession – Sichuan Museum

If with this good flow of vital energy, you encounter others, they will be kinder to you than your own brethren. But if with a bad flow of vital energy, you encounter others, they will harm you with their weapons.

This is because the wordless pronouncement is more rapid than the drumming of thunder. The perceptible form of the mind’s vital energy is brighter than the sun and moon, and more apparent than the concern of parents.

Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good; punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad. Yet once this flow of vital energy is achieved, all under heaven will submit. And once the mind is made stable, all under heaven will listen.

The above translation of the Nei-yeh is by Harold Roth, and excerpted from his book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

By way of introduction to the text, Mr. Roth writes:

“Nei-yeh (Inward Training) is a collection of poetic verses on the nature of the Way (Tao) and a method of self-discipline that I call “inner cultivation” — a mystical practice whose goal is a direct apprehension of this all-pervading cosmic force. It contains some of the most beautiful lyrical descriptions of this mysterious cosmic power in early Chinese literature and in both literary form and philosophical content is quite similar to the much more renowned Lao Tzu (also called the Tao Te Ching).

The Nei-yeh is a Taoist scripture, believed to have been written in the 4th 8a3century BC, making it — alongside the 6th century BC Lao Tzu Te Tao Ching and the 4th century BC Chuang Tzu — one of the earliest articulations of Taoist mysticism. The Nei-yeh has been translated into English variously as: Inner Cultivation, Inward Training, Inner Enterprise or Inner Development. Though less known than the Te Tao Ching and Chuang Tzu, it is increasingly being recognized and honored as a foundational text of early Taoism. Though belonging primarily to the Taoist Canon, the Nei-yeh resonates strongly with other non-dual spiritual traditions, Chan / Zen Buddhism in particular.

What is it about this substance, this flow of vital energy we each possess and what will be our own legacy? What is it you leave behind and what do you want to be known for when you are gone? Over the centuries of early China there were many publications that had tremendous influence on popular culture. Two would be the interpretation of what was the essence or true meaning of the I Ching, and something called Cultivating Stillness that I’ll discuss another time that further defined the practical application of Taoist thought, and how it influenced how people were to live in society.

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Equanimity, good health, peace of mind, and long life are the goals of the ancient Taoist tradition

With the prevailing hierarchy of Confucian ideology that pre-supposed the divine right of the Emperor, how to merge these four principles (faith, healing, religion, and politics) became paramount. How to interpret the I Ching became central to finding the path to do this. Whose “commentaries” on the I Ching would determine the fate of the Chinese people as a whole? The Ten Wings became the flash point as to how they would to interpreted and communicated what was to become the real meaning of the I Ching. My own version of the 5th and 6th Wings that details it’s meaning is found here on my website and continues below.

Why study the past, but to acknowledge where we have been and attempts to find a better way going forward? Or better said, to explore the path we are here to follow that takes us further down the road of our own fulfillment… as if possessing the ultimate keys of our soul’s enfoldment, or enlightenment. It is as if following 96knowable outcomes can lead to finding patterns that convey the best way to proceed. As described above in Inward Training, it has always been the direction, or “the flow of our vital energy” sometimes called qi or chi, that determines, or matches, our success with where we find ourselves that takes us there. But then how does one measure success and failure when ultimately, we must be judged universally, not simply with or by self-interest, or by what suites us or our ego at the moment? One of the things I love most about Chinese history, philosophy, and culture is that there is over five thousand years of uninterrupted history to gauge what can be seen as trial and error, adherence to nature, and beliefs tied to the universe (sun, moon and stars and earth via nature), versus the frailties of man when left to his own self-aggrandizement and how he sees himself in the outer world. Opposite the blending of what could be seen as a universal community and how man interacts with nature and others in his surroundings can benefit through and by his actions.  It has always been that faith and healing preceded religion and politics, or discontent would follow as we look for omens, or signs that would show the way. Nature would teach that everything under the sun should have an opportunity for growth and change.  With a universal truth being that everything (including man), must be open to change or die.

Even in Western thinking and Charles Darwin, who established a theory of evolution by natural selection as an explanation for adaptation and speciation. He 95defined natural selection as the “principle by which each slight variation of a trait, if useful, is preserved”. That adhering simply to old ways without adapting to one’s environment is not the answer, except to learn from your surroundings and mold them into something new. It wasn’t to do something from scratch, but to build on your strengths by acknowledging and eliminating your weaknesses that kept you from success. Interestingly, the Taoist would argue that it is what is seen as your “intrinsic weaknesses” once acknowledged, that would ultimately come forth to be your greatest strength (that which resides from inside you). As if just waiting for our enthusiasm to catch hold of our soul, our eternal spirit or core, and enabling it to resemble our actions… Like asking – is there common knowledge and wisdom that can take everyone and everything along for the ride that some may see as bowing to weakness, that in reality, or effect, gains a far greater truth that there is no separation between us and others, and in this we find our greatest strength. It is here that our ego, our sense of self-importance, sometimes gets in the way.

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The teacher in Linyi

This idea finding one’s center was the essence of thousands of years of what I like to refer to as “transitional thinking” that permeated Eastern thought and the I Ching that molded what would be seen as healing, faith in a universal presence, politics and religion. Time always tells the story. Similar to what today we might call pragmatism. Especially, how are we to judge another’s place and their growth without giving of ourselves to help show the way. An example would be the Buddhist call to end suffering and what I referred earlier as the bodhisattva vow… and our recognizing that we are here to change the lives of those closest to us by bringing others into the realm of enlightenment.

Continuing from my last entry, the Ten Wings were composed during the Warring States and Early Han Periods of China in about 500 to 200 BC. They were “commentaries” attempting to convey the “true meaning” of the I Ching that were to direct the way we lived our lives. The Fifth and Sixth Wings were of great interest to me and you can find my version of them here on my website at the tab The Dazhuan – The Meaning of the I Ching.

Part 1 of the Dazhuan   1.2     The Dazhuan 5th Wing Part 1 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. That what usually came into a situation usually determined the outcome.

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The divine messenger Beihai Park  Beijing

An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change one learned through observation. People in ancient times believed that omens appear or come with a divine message from their gods 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 see that made them a part of something bigger than themselves. For early China this meant the shaman, who was considered to have a direct link with Heaven and what was to later be known as the I Ching, possessed 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 imagination back to our beginning, or source, that we can see and determine our future.

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Divine Connections with the Way of the Tao   Songyang Temple

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. The one 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 that there was a way of becoming universal ourselves. 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 and will be again, as if our purpose here is to first re-discover our source. It’s not a one and done thing – we are a continuation of spirit and will always be.

As if connecting with a time that truly defines us before history began and the deep dsci0369wisdom that existed when people mirrored 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. It was the lines of the diagrams and words conveying certain meanings that created the language called change. Through the sage, who 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 always 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 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 97Taoist 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.” 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.

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Temple of the Eight Immortals with Queen Mother of the West   Xian

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 superior man finds his place in life resting content in the succession of change; he finds satisfaction taking delight in the words; when he acts, he observes the alternations and takes delight in the omens as if knowing the future that lies before him. Thereby becoming the person he is meant to be. The grace of Heaven and eternal dragons 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 fulfilled. (2013-14)

What is it that becomes our greatest challenge? Why the need for Inward Training? Questions continue, but for now this from my manuscript… “My travels with Lieh Tzu” found here on my website.

Maintaining universal Appeal

Is it not the way we discover within ourselves to succeed or fail that controls our ultimate fate as we travel throughout the universe?

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Temple of the Eight Immortals   Xian

That there is something inside everyone that is destined to be defeated better known as our weaknesses. Just as there is something within us destined never to be defeated. That which is known as our strengths.

So that it must be as the ancients beyond time have always told us, that the strong surpass the weak, while the weak surpass those stronger than themselves. The man who surpasses weaker men than himself is in danger when he meets someone as strong as himself. However, the man who surpasses men stronger than himself will never find danger.

Learning to control your own will and making it responsible to and for your inner chi and the Tao is the ultimate test and challenge. Are not they telling us that you cannot conquer or control others, but must simply learn to control yourself?

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Wuhan Temple  Chengdu

Yu Hsiung tells us: “If your aim is to be hard, you must guard it by being soft. If your aim is to be strong, you must maintain it by being weak. What begins soft and accumulates must become strong. Watch them accumulate, and you will know where blessings and disaster come from. The strong conquer those weaker than themselves, and when they meet an equal have no advantage. When the weak conquer those stronger than themselves, their force is immeasurable.”

Lieh Tzu says that Lao Tzu has even more to say on the matter. Lao tells us that if a weapon is strong it will perish. If a tree is strong it will snap. Softness and weakness belong to life, hardness and strength belong to death.

Understand the two parallels of what hangs in the balance of yin and yang. Knowing the paradox that exists in coming to know all things and finding indifference to the ever‑changing events swirling around you. The sage knows that defeating another through strength defeats one’s own as he follows the traditions of the ages and remains forever in tune with the Tao and forever in style.  1/25/1995

 

 

By 1dandecarlo