The I Ching / Voices of the Dragon

The following is the contents of my book I wrote in 1994 and published in China in 2004 by Blue Wind Publishing in Beijing. The book, An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond, can be found online in China at http://www.ecph.com.cn.

Illustrations are images from my travels around China. They focus on the Han Dynasty and earlier periods in Chinese history and commentary that better defines the impact of Taoism, the yin and yang, the sixty four (64) hexagrams and I Ching throughout history and especially on China. Pictures help the “mind’s eye” to tell the story and help to speak to one’s beginnings and help us to remember previous journey’s we have taken. The central question in the beginning asked by the shaman was – if you abandon yours origins, as well as, your source – can you erase the claim they have on your body and soul? And does it matter? This question is the essence of the I Ching and why the dragon became the liaison between knowing and not knowing, and man’s ultimate connection between the universe, heaven, the ten thousand things and nature itself that serves to unify it all. Ultimately, our own story depends solely on our catching glimpses of our role and our deciding to come along for the ride that feeds eternity. Living in the wu wei that Chuang Tzu teaches and finding and following our own vision, or way, of adapting to complimentary opposites that serve to define us to the end.

chengdu 1

Horse and Chariot Chengdu Wuhan Temple

What King Wu of the Zhou did while imprisoned by the Shang, in 1100 BC, was by tradition adding lines or meaning, to the symbols and images that had been followed for centuries giving them context and providing a relationship with all other things. This is what propelled what was to dominate Chinese culture hens forth. There needed to be both the ability to relate the images (lines), to context and the written word.  This is what I am attempting to do here with not only the written word, but associate a picture or image of historical nature that gives meaning to the text.   As if tying it all together – making the pieces fit.

I.    Preface

It is not the purpose of this book to detail and outline the numerical meaning of the

lines generally drawn as a hexagram that are normally associated with the I Ching. Although included simply as a point of reference for the reader, they are not the focus of the story that is to be told. It is the story of the shaman and his/her connection to the universe, nature, and the stars… Initially used as a way to predict events, the I Ching soon began to represent much more because people desired to have a sense of predictability in all thing that governed their lives. This book was originally written in 1993 out of a desire to promote understanding of Chinese history and culture in such a way that opens the I Ching and the beginning of Taoism to the widest possible audience.Nanjing 2

White Dragons / Great Wild Goose Pagoda – Xian

 

 

I am now updating in 2017, almost twenty-five years later. The metaphor of the dragon is used extensively as a reference point. Especially referring to Taoism and Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu who are considered its founders. The pictures and illustrations provide a further meaning to show the length and breadth of the historical impact of the shaman and sage,  I Ching, Taoism, Confucius, and Buddhism in Chinese religious and philosophical thought over the centuries.

To attract the broadest readership in China and the United State and elsewhere, the author decides to take on the role of the storyteller by becoming the story where appropriate. Often as the shaman or designated person, who was good at telling the story, he conveys the meaning of the oracle in today’s common language or way of speaking as if on a journey of self discovery and remembering his role as a teacher. Or in the context of becoming one with the dragons himself, a metaphor, that conveys the central core or meaning of the Tao.

I Ching shaman

The Ancients Sichuan Museum

Telling the story that had frequently been illustrated on strips of tortoise shells that would later become the I Ching when all the strips or stories were combined together, The shaman assumes the IChing335role of the dragon to find and fulfill his own ultimate destiny. An example would be animal bone with divination inscription from the Shang Dynasty, dating to the 6th year of the reign of King Diyi or Dixin. Reportedly unearthed at Anyang, Henan Province. The Chinese word wu 巫 “spirit medium; shaman; shamaness; was first recorded during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), when a wu could be of either sex. During the late Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC) wu was used to specify “female shaman; as opposed to xi 覡 “male shaman; (which first appears in the 4th century BC). To the left is the Chinese Seal script for wu 巫 “shaman”.

This explains the book being separated into three sections.

Beginnings outlines the process used by the shaman to get in the correct frame of mind for what was to follow.

shaman2

Lieh Tzu’s farm Sichuan Museum

Second, would be the Inner Chapters, a phrase commonly used by Taoists once the heart of the matter was to begin and third, Keeping to the Lower Clouds representing the dragon’s efforts to keep this upstart at bay and to do his homework before trying to come forward to newer heights…

The I Ching conveying and teaching that even then, through trial and error, the secret of foretelling the future and conveying a message was to become and live the story thereby guiding events in the foreseeable future.

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Gone Fishing / Wuhan Museum Chengdu

Other people could then see themselves as participants and get up and tell their version of events and identify their own inner strength and weakness and what was true and what the oracle meant to them. Thereby beginning to plan their own endeavors and ultimate destiny. Focusing first on the narrative, or telling the story, the people of early China soon began to draw their own illustrations, and give meaning to the world around them, i.e, nature and the natural environment around them. This meaning came together as their attempts to understand the I Ching and more importantly early Taoism began to give them a sense of where they “fit in” with the scheme of things.

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Three Large Vats – Wuhan Temple

Becoming the story meant beginning to live the Tao in their day to day activities which when we find our own identity, could not be truer today.

II.   Acknowledgements

A book of this nature and design has many people that are central to its successful completion. Especially when it takes eight years to get from when it is first written to when it finally gets published. This second edition is being done in 2017, the first was published in China in 2004. For the book to be published first in China for the Chinese audience where the I Ching is a central text to understanding and appreciating Chinese history and culture is for the author a tremendous honor.

The final translation (of the 2004 first edition) came from the assistance of Mr. Li Bing, a Doctorate candidate in Western Drama in the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.

Naturally, the translation from English to Chinese becomes a central theme and important part in completing the project. For this I am indebted to Shaoyi Chen and Yujing Qin who assisted with the initial translation of the book, Shaoyi and Yujing are originally from Jinan in Shandong Province. Their counsel and careful consideration in using just the right Chinese phrase or text is greatly appreciated.  Their version in Chinese appears in the book that was published back in 2006, but does not appear here on the website. Another translation is needed. Also, Mr. Guo Jian, retired now from the Jining City Planning Bureau. His expert advice and counsel on the history of the Shang Dynasty and his understanding and interpretation of calligraphy during that period of early China. The initial book, An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond, was written in 1994, three years before my first trip to China in 1997. This updated version now in 2017, comes twenty years later after making almost fifty trips to Qufu, Shandong, and many other places.

I would like to thank my friends in Qufu, China, the birthplace of Confucius. I am especially indebted to the local government and city officials whose friendship I have made over my many visits cannot be overlooked. No request or endeavor was ever too large or great that together we could not achieve. Qufu is the sister city of Boynton Beach, Florida where I lived for many years. The original manuscript was written by the author in 1994 and published in 2004. Over the intervening years to the present  I have made dozens of trips to Qufu and China, and lived and taught in Qufu from 2010 to 2013 at the Cambridge English School, Qufu Normal School (where I lived for three years while teaching there), and at Jining University in Qufu.

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Dan with students from Qufu Normal School

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Dan with students from Jining University

They truly put in practice Confucius’s saying that one should appreciate friends from afar…

I would also like to like thank Laura Wong ad Judy Lu whose assistance in my research at the Library of Congress rare Chinese book section helped to fill in some gaps and who gave me some great suggestions on possible illustrations and reference materials from the library. I would also like to recognize my friends in the US/China People’s Friendship Association (USCPFA) and the Chinese Association for Science, Economy and Culture (CASEC), and the Boynton Beach Sister City Committee where I was a founding member in 2001 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors now in 2017.

I Ching sister citiies

2003 Sister City Delegation

These two organizations are dedicated to building friendship and understanding between our two cultures. I am happy to consider myself a member of all three organizations.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to my family. My wife Marie and our daughters, Emily Jimin and Katherine Elizabeth Xian (Katie). Their continued love and support help to keep me focus on what is truly important. June 2017

III.   Glossary and Introduction

Below is a list of terms and phrases commonly used throughout the following text. They are primarily geared to The One Hundred Flowers (not the period from 1956 to 1960 with Mao, but the Han Dynasty 200 BC to 200 AD) and the period following it, and the I Ching. This book was written as one hundred entries written over a period of one hundred days from late December 1993 through March 1994). Normally they would be alphabetized, however the author would like to show a connection to each word and phrase in the order of the text itself. The intent is to bring forth the words, thoughts and phrases, as we would convey then today. They are presented here as a reference and introduction and to allow the reader a better understanding of the journey that is to follow.

Tao: The right and proper way that life should be conducted or the path that one should follow, albeit unknown and undefined. Living in wu wei, a state of consciousness that is continually moving in the direction of our finding our true place and aligning with our source is the key to a fulfilling life.

Te: Virtue not as end to itself, but the proper means to attain one’s goals that are in alignment with the Tao, the Way of Virtue..

The Tao of Te referred to in the text simply means the Way of Virtue.

Inner chi or chi: Simply one’s breath. Controlling one’s breath is considered a way to open the door to the larger universe outside oneself. Chi, or in pinyin qi, also takes on an additional meaning when it is considered as the air we breathe. Since heaven is simply the air surrounding us, breathing in the air becomes who we are. Our inner chi is our true eternal spirit that is universal and has no recognizable beginning or end. It is simply the manifestation of who we are in the here and now.

Yin and yang: For everything there is an opposite. These two extremes are at the root of all things and in taking turns, they are the moving forces of our world and all its manifestations. Yin is seen as passive, yielding and circumstance, however intricate can be described by a string of yin and yang.

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Stele of Yellow Emperor in Qufu

Things commonly considered as opposites (male-female, hard-soft, strong-weak) must by their nature have beginning, run their course and end, thereby setting the stage for starting the process over and again. There is the same for people as it is for all things.

I Ching: In the beginning, 3000 years ago (more than 4500 years ago with the shaman and Yellow Emperor), the I Ching was considered neither poetry nor philosophy, but as an oracle, or as a predictor of the future, as illustrated in the Prologue.

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I Ching Qingcheng Mountain Chengdu

Oracle bones of large animals (deer and cattle) and tortoise shells were used in antiquity to tell the future. Tortoise shells were at first heated until cracks appeared. The general appearance, or the crack themselves, could then foretell future events. Later the shell was inscribed with paint and brush in six lines, of hexagrams, that one could uses to foretell the future. To most of the millions of Chinese who have followed the I Ching over the centuries, it was the casting of these six lines, which allowed one to tell the future. Each of the lines is represented as being a straight line (-) or a broken line (- -). The order that they appeared foretold one’s future. The central foundation of the I Ching is that yin (represented by a broken line) and yang (represented by the solid line) can be used to describe anything in various situations

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Golden Dragon / Mt. Qingcheng

usually be focusing on the beginning of things, cause and effect, and ultimately complementary opposites that give you the predictable outcome of your actions.

By putting together these lines, yin and yang in all possible combinations, eight trigrams (three lines of either of yin or yang) were formed and were used in conjunction with the eight basic elements as follows, creating sixty-four possible combinations.

Lookup table corresponding with narrative to follow:

Upper →
Lower ↓
乾 Qián
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Heaven
坤 Kūn
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Earth
震 Zhèn
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Thunder
坎 Kǎn
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Water
艮 Gèn
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Mountain
巽 Xùn
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Wind
離 Lí
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Flame
兌 Duì
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Lake
乾 Qián
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Heaven
 01
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgCloud Dancing
 11
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgPeace
 34
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg Great Injury
 05
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgWaiting
26
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg   Big   Cattle
09
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgSmall Cattle
14
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgGreat Harvest
 43
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2630 ☰.svgStride
坤 Kūn
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Earth
 12
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svgObstruction
 02
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Earth
 16
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svgWeariness
 08
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svgSupport
 23
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg Loss
 20
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg View
 35
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svgAdvance
 45
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2637 ☷.svgIllness
震 Zhèn
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Thunder
 25
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svgPropriety
 24
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svgReturn
 51
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svgThunder
 03
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svgRetrenchment
 27
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg  The Cheeks
 42
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg Increase
 21
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svgBiting
 17
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg  The Chase
坎 Kǎn
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Water
 06
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg  The Court
 07
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg  The Army
 40
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg  Letting Loose
 29
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg Water
 04
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg Blind ness
 59
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg Flow ing
 64
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg Unfullfillment
 47
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2635 ☵.svgTrapped
艮 Gèn
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Mountain
 33
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg  The Little Pig
 15
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg Modesty
 62
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg Small Excess
 39
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg    Ad monish ment
 52
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svgMountain
 53
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg  Pro gress
 56
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg  The Traveler
 31
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg  Cut ting
巽 Xùn
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Wind
 44
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svgRendezvous
 46
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg Ascendance
 32
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svgStead fastness
 48
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg  The Well
 18
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg  Work
 57
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg  Wind
 50
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg  The Cauld ron
 28
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2634 ☴.svgGreat Excess
離 Lí
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Flame
 13
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg Gathering
 36
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg  The Crying Pheas ant
 55
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svgAbun dance
 63
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg  Full fillment
 22
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg Decoration
 37
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg  The Family
 30
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg   Fire
 49
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2632 ☲.svgRevol ution
兌 Duì
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Lake
 10
Trigramme2630 ☰.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svgTreading
 19
Trigramme2637 ☷.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svgPrevailing
 54
Trigramme2633 ☳.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg  The Marrying Maiden
 60
Trigramme2635 ☵.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svgFrugality
 41
Trigramme2636 ☶.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svgDecrease
 61
Trigramme2634 ☴.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svgSincerity
 38
Trigramme2632 ☲.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg Abandoned
 58
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg
Trigramme2631 ☱.svg Lake

These eight trigrams are then combined with the eight elements shown above creating the sixty-four possible combinations. These sixty-four combinations were later put into works describing everyday events, generally for the benefit of the Emperor, his relations with other and his family. As at that time, the Emperor was considered the embodiment of heaven here on earth.

ATao8

Original I Ching Qingyang Temple Chengdu

Later, with the infusion of what would be known as Confucianism, this sense of benevolence was to apply to the entire Chinese culture and every family. The sixty-four stories, as such, have been translated over the millennia with commentary attempting to interpret what was actually meant. Written one thousand years before the period in China when Taoism first emerged, the I Ching became the wellspring for future generations to follow and interpret.

I Ching10

Two small Dragons Qingyang Temple Chengdu

Myth and legends in Chinese history say Fu Xi, and the Yellow Emperor were the actual founders of what would be known as the I Ching in 2700 BC and even earlier.

There is an ancient shaman understanding that sees the character for “changes” as containing the sun and moon, and the hours of the day. Sinologists believe the character to be derived either from an image of the sun emerging from clouds, or from the content of a vessel being changed into another.

The I Ching was traditionally ascribed to King Wen of Zhou and later to Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou in about 1000 BC who were responsible for adding words to the symbols (lines) giving them conceptual meaning and was also associated with the legendary Fu Xi, who is said to have created the concept of solid verses broken lines and connecting them to natural phenomena.

I Ching 15

Ji Dan Duke of Zhou Qufu

According to the Great Commentary, Fu Xi observed the patterns of the world and created the eight trigrams later known as the bagua, in order to become thoroughly conversant with the numinous and bright verses dark and to classify what were to be referred to as “the ten thousand, or the myriad things”. The Rites of Zhou, however, also claims that the hexagrams of the I Ching were derived from an initial set of eight trigrams. During the Han dynasty there were various opinions about the historical relationship between the trigrams and the hexagrams, and many so-called commentaries emerged. Notable was the Ten Wings Commentaries, of these, the 5th and 6th Wings were almost exclusively devoted to interpreting the “true meaning” of the I Ching.   The sixty-four essays followed by stories about “Keeping to the Lower Clouds” in the following text represent the I Ching and introduction to the Tao and dragons, and are my own interpretation of events from their initial meaning bringing into a modern day understanding as the storyteller. The character I (pronounced “ee”) means change and Ching (pronounced “jing”) means canon.  Thus, I Ching means “Canon of Change.”

Numerous authors over the centuries have written much about the I Ching. What is enclosed here, is simply my own version of what I have come to know over time, and what I have since learned. The above introduction is not meant to be definitive in any manner. It is simply a preface for the reader to understand basic beginnings and endings to establish his or her own starting point.

Dragons: In Chinese philosophy, the dragon is a metaphor or symbol of power, strength and creativity. While they can take on both good and evil connotations, in the One Hundred Flowers that follows, they generally represent only good and can take on the mystic quality of protective angels. More specifically, here the dragons are referred to as the Chinese philosophers Lao, Chuang and Lieh Tzu who are considered the founders of everyday Taoism. What they and others have left behind is the path, or way to eternal truths and how to live and die.  

IChing13

Dragon Stele Qingyang Temple Chengdu

Paradox: A statement that appears to be contradictory to what is considered common sense, but is actually true. It is the use of paradox and parallels in the use of one’s language that helps to define our true nature and place in the scheme of the universe, i.e., what ultimately provides meaning in defining the true nature of reality. Chuang Tzu was considered the master of conveying what was considered as either true or false, and by showing it’s opposite though the use of paradox, that neither hat is consider as either true or false, can exist on it’s own.

The sage: A man who has found profound wisdom through experience and foresight. One who is enlightened to the ways of the world and the nothingness which all returns to be born again.  He is able to ascertain the correct course of action or non-action to any external situation.

IChing14

The Sage / Qingyang Temple

In ancient times, the sage would retreat the mountains finding seclusion to contemplate the universe and be closer to heaven as the ultimate goal of achievement in his present form. The sage is someone who remains in the background and refrains from bringing attention to himself. He does not compete, abhors  attachments, has few if any desires and does not cling to earthly want. Only reluctantly does the sage come forward to give advise, and then retreat back to the humbleness found in meditation and contemplation.

Immortality: A state of enlightenment found here on earth, or our own spirit form reaching a higher plane of consciousness once we have died. (One who is immortal). A person or thing never really meets their end as once an end occurs, a new beginning must begin anew. One is reborn as such. Immortality has been attempted throughout the centuries in various ways. Ultimately it is simply the understanding that our internal spirit (or chi) goes on forever. This is not necessarily that a Taoist thought, but simply a sense of becoming one with nature and a part of everything becoming as one or developing an innate sense or oneness with everything in the universe.

Lao Tzu: The most prominent of the ancient Taoist philosophers and is considered the author of the Tao Te Ching. However, Lao Tzu has become difficult to prove as a person that actually existed. He is a representative composite of many who contributed in the authorship of the Tao Te Ching around 300 BC.

IChing17

Tribute to Lao Tzu Qingsheng Mountain

However, by tradition, he was considered a contemporary of Confucius during a much earlier time. Despairing over the world of politics at the time, he rode west and was never seen again. Stopping along the way, he stayed overnight with the gatekeeper named Kuan-yin along a mountain path. Kuan-yin realized someone with great knowledge was in his presence and asked Lao Tzu to write down his thoughts. The results were the Tao Te Ching. He is often depicted as riding the wind westward into immortality. I think he found a mountaintop above the clouds so that he could be at peace with his thoughts and connection to what we today would call contentment.

Chuang Tzu: The author of writings that later took his own name. He lived around 300 BC and developed a style of storytelling and teachings promoting individual freedom. His thoughts and writings shifted from the manual of leadership as the Tao Te Ching had become, to the more traditional image of the Taoist sage as being a recluse.

IChing19

Chuang Tzu  Qingsheng Mountain

He reinforced that one should not become too comfortable or tied to the present, as with the coming instant or moment reality will always shift from moment to moment. That if we could simply set things right all would go well. His “Perfected Man” outlines the way to live in what would come to be known as “wu wei”, man’s ultimate sense of gaining immortality here in the present.

Lieh Tzu: Known as the one who rode the clouds or the wind because of his union with the Tao. It is questioned whether he actually existed or that the writings attributed to him simply needed a collective mentor.

IChing20

At home with Lieh Tzu Qingsheng Mountain

He supposedly lived in the wilds of the State of Ching at a place called Pu t’ien. A true sage removed from the world, he like removed from the world, he like Chuang Tzu, saw the as all pervasive in life thus providing it with unity. The Book of Lieh Tzu, became required reading for Taoist precepts in temples and monasteries for over a thousand years, and is still considered as required reading. I have written my own version of this book entitled, My Travels with Lieh Tzu, Interpolations along the Way, a still unpublished manuscript.

One Hundred Flowers: The title given by the author to represent the time frame and significance of the closeness to nature necessary to become centered and in tune with one’s inner spirit, commonly referred to today as “finding oneself”. The one hundred entries were written over a one hundred-day period. After which a profound change was to occur that would begin a journey of transition and enlightenment that continues to this day.

IChing21

Katie is 4 and Emily 7

Flowers represent the fulfillment found in all things in nature that have seeds, take root, grow and ultimately die. But not before reseeding again so that the process is never-ending. Just as the Tao intends for all things in the universe to be found in unity…  Towards the end of the One Hundred Flowers, the author was encouraged to continue his journey with his new found friends, or dragons. That journey would continue initially with Lieh Tzu, and the book mentioned above.

Table of ContentsIChing400

  •  Preface
  • About the Author
  • About the translator

Beginnings

  •  In Everything the is Tao
  • A Premonition of Things to Come
  • I am but a Window
  • Awakening Dragons
  • The Paradox
  • One Step to Find the Way
  • Forgetting Oneself in the Tao
  • Of Little Consequence
  • Tomorrow’s Reality is in the Way
  • Four of my Friends came by Today
  • Seeking Respect and being Respected
  • Finding Clarity
  • When Conflict arises Compassion Prevails
  • Finding Value along the Way
  • Dancing with Chi
  • Prologue to Finding One’s Own Tortoise Shell

 Inner Chapters (The I Ching)   

IChing400

  1.     Cloud Dancing (1 Heaven)
  2.     My Grandmother’s Garden (2 Earth)
  3.     Rain and Thunder, Stay Inside (3 Retrenchment)
  4.     There Can be no Rush (4 Blindness)
  5.     The Dragons are Writing (5 Waiting)
  6.     Finding Joy (6 The Court)
  7.     One Must Have Merit (7 The Army)
  8.     Exposure (8 Support)
  9.     Prospects For Rain (9 Small Cattle)
  10.     Finding One’s Step (10 Treading)
  11.     Disappearing Fences (11 Peace)
  12.     Succumbing to Hysteria (12 Obstruction)
  13.     Forces Staying in Field (13 Gathering)
  14.     A Plum Abundance (14 Great Harvest)
  15.     Oncoming Immortality (15 Modesty)
  16.     To be a Master Gardener (16 Weariness)
  17.     Distant Horizons (17 The Chase)
  18.     Finding the Right Shoes (18 Work)
  19.     Prevailing Tendencies (19 Prevailing)
  20.     Glimpses Coming into View (20 View)
  21.     Small Craft Warnings or Clouding the Issue (21 Biting)
  22.     Two Becoming One (22 Decoration)
  23.     Indulging Immortality (23 The Loss)
  24.     Destiny’s Itinerary (24 Return)
  25.     Following the Voice Within (25 Propriety)
  26.     The Farm from where I Came (26 Big Cattle)
  27.     Finding Nourishment (27 The Cheeks)
  28.     Tao Under Construction (28 Great Excess)
  29.     Riding out the Storm (29 Water)
  30.     The Final Passage (30 Fire)
  31.     Maintaining Friends Along the Way (31 Cutting) 
  32.     Finding the Dragon’s Tooth (32 Steadfastness)       
  33.     The Centerpiece (33 The Little Pig)
  34.     The Interlude (34 Great Injury)
  35.     Knowing Something Memorable to Forget (35 Advance)
  36.     Capturing the Pheasant (36 The Crying Pheasant)
  37.     Family Coming Together as One (37 The Family)
  38.     Destiny Coming Together (38 Admonishment)
  39.     Exposing Wise Counsel (39 Admonishment)
  40.     Keeping an Account of things to Come (40 Letting Loose)
  41.     Staying at an Ever-moving Standstill (41 Decrease)
  42.     Oncoming (Flooding) Decisions (42 Increase)
  43.     Danger Taken in Stride (43 Stride)
  44.     Unbefitting Behavior (44 Rendezvous)
  45.     Beware of Paper Dragons (45 Illness)
  46.     Rewards Yet to Come (46 Ascendance)
  47.     A Journey Eastward (47 Trapped)
  48.     Discovering One’s Artesion Well (48 The Well)
  49.     Changing the Leopard’s Spots (49 Revolution)
  50.     Serving the Ultimate Needs of All (50 The Cauldron)
  51.     Coming to Know your Friends (51 Thunder)
  52.     Visions Yet Unfulfilled (52 Mountain)
  53.     In Progress Review (53 Progress)
  54.     Spirits in Erotic Rendezvous (54 The Marrying Maiden)
  55.     Finding Mirror Images (55 Abundance)
  56.    The Death of the Chamois (56 The Traveler)
  57.     Becoming One with the Wind (57 Wind)
  58.     Seeing and Hearing for the First Time (58 Lake)
  59.     Cedar Hill (59 Flowing)
  60.     Being Eternally Thrifty (60 Frugality)
  61.     The Ultimate Attribute (61 Sincerity)
  62.     Brothers and Sisters (62 Small Excess)
  63.     Fleeting Moment of Anticipated Joy (63 Fulfillment)
  64.     Cloud Dancing Gets a Clean Slate (64 Unfulfilled)
  65.     Epilogue to the I Ching
  66.   Keeping to the Lower Clouds

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  67.    The River of No Return
  68.    Piquing Immortality’s Interest
  69.    Becoming Irrelevant
  70.    As Chuang Tzu’s Perfect Man
  71.    Lieh Tzu Leading the Way 
  72.    Coming Forward 
  73.    Falling Droplets into a Clear Pool
  74.    Remaining Forever Fragile 
  75.    Keeping to the Lower Clouds
  76.    The Eternal Spirit
  77.    Taking to the Foothills 
  78.    Revealing Change
  79.    Forever Meandering Downstream
  80.    Raining Ecstasy 
  81.     Remaining Unattached
  82.     Remaining Indefinable 
  83.     Thresholds Approaching the Edge
  84.     Following Lieh and Chuang
  85.     References and Further Reading

 Beginnings

IV.                   In Everything there is Tao

It is through you, Dan  we speak.  You have far to go but you can find the way.  Stay within yourself and it will come.

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Dragons in the Clouds/ Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Tea is a part of the ritual that brings you to us.

Lack of coordination, lack of memory and lack of patience are but weaknesses we gave you to overcome.  For you to find the way you must find all three.

To find balance you must seek coordination in your relationship with others.  To find benefits you must learn to remember what you have always known, and to find boundaries you must first find patience.

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Two Cranes Sichuan Museum

Your power is in your vision.  When you have mastered all three that vision, or oneness, is within you now  to find the way of virtue.   In everything there is Tao.

As the crane is to longevity as a strong wind you should be. In following the Tao the rest will come. You must repeat the above liturgy prior to any proceeding to find the way. We are here now  come with us.

(Written Christmas Day 1993 finished January 9, 1994)

 V.       A Premonition of Things to Come

This is probably the most important conversation that we have ever had and probably the most important conversation that we will ever have. I am unlike any person you have ever met and unlike any person you will ever meet.

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Everyday People Chengdu Sichuan Museum

While others see their task and ask why it must be done, my role is to simply understand and ask why the task cannot be done. Others are but like grains of sand

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The Wuhan Dragon

struggling  to be the same. I understand what it is to be the same and what it takes to make a difference.

While seeds of change are important, constant change is the nature of reality.  It will be the one who knows that change must occur, that will live to see and know reality.      1/11/94

VI.                  I am but a Window

I am but a window with vision to see what has been, what is and what will be.

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The Teacher Sichuan Museum

Capture the moment.

 For in knowing what can be you can decide what will be.

(An original composition written while driving, I thought of  it as I was driving and wrote it when I arrived at Waltham, MA on the way to a Master  Gardening class.)

VII.           Awakening Dragons

I am not angry with you. Your coming was at a time when I was at a crossroads and leaving helped me to find  the correct path. There is a purpose to your being here yet to find.  By staying close by now is but a reminder of dragons. Before, now and yet to come.

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Phoenix and Dragon Dujiangyan Waterworks

While you have not found where you are going or where you will be, I will always be nearby and you will always be welcome.

Dragons are the protectors of peace and harmony, and as with Shaman of long ago and the symbolic crane, you are still searching for your place to be. There will always be a place for you in your search to stay as close as you want or care to to me. 1/14/94

VIII.                            The Paradox

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

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Book of Rites Qingyang Taoist Temple

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

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

For whatever is useful by the world’s standards cannot be useful in finding the Tao. It is the eternal nature of the Tao and Te (the way of virtue) that is to be found. Reality becomes, is and will be the chance endeavor to find the Tao.     1/15/94

IX.                 One Step to Find the Way

It is said that a journey of one thousand miles begins with one step.

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Golden Dragon Qingyang Temple

To find the way, you must first find yourself. If you do not find your center and know yourself, how can you expect to know the way.

It will be in finding your way to your center that you will come to know yourself and dragons and begin to find the way.    1/17/94

X.                Forgetting Oneself in the Tao

Sincerity is the first step of knowledge toward the way.

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Wisdom Qingyang Temple

It is by silence that the knowledge is maintained, and it is with gentleness that the Tao is employed.

By attaining this you may forget your personality. You may forget that you are forgetting.     (An interpretation of the writings of Yu Shu Ching, 1/21/94).

XI.             Of Little Consequence

It is those of little consequence who complain the loudest about those who get things done.

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Encircled Diamond Wuhan Temple Chengdu

It is easier to complain and do nothing than to think, act  and complete a task that may appear to be difficult.

The task to be completed is generally not nearly as difficult as deciding to find the way to complete it.      1/22/94

XII.              Tomorrow’s Reality is in the Way

I am not the person I was yesterday.  I am not the person I will be tomorrow.

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3 legged rites urn Wuhan Temple

My personality is but a mirror changing constantly to reflect the image of Tao and Te, the way of virtue.

Today’s reflection will only be tomorrow’s reality. Tomorrow’s reality is in the Way.  1/26/94

XIII.      Four of my Friends came by Today

Four of my friends came by today.

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Ancient wise men calling out to the universe / Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Did they leave feeling better than they did when they came?  Did I say things to enlighten their spirits?  Did I acknowledge their pain and frustration?   Did I impart a sense of well-being, compassion and true concern?

Living the Tao leads one to safe refuge in knowing the way and helping others to find theirs. Four of my friends came by today.       1/28/94

XIV.             Seeking Respect and Being Respected

Treat everyone with equal respect and be respected.

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Shangqinggong Temple Qingcheng Mt.

Understand and know underlying contradictions that help to promote clarity in all things. Act with compassion and look forward  with a vision  of oneness.

Do not contend.   Simplify.   Simplify.    Simplify.      1/30/94

XV.            Finding Clarity

Come forward in peace, harmony and compassion and we shall be one. When you leave, do so simply with an understanding of the way in which the task is to be done.

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The 8 Immortals Queen Mother and Lao Tzu / Temple of the 8 Immortals

Know that if you can find clarity and a vision of oneness that the way is there for you to find.      1/30/94

XVI.  When Conflict Arises Compassion Prevails

There will be no conflict coming from me today. Ill feelings are but a shadow of the past to be discarded.  To find peace one must leave behind anger and conflict. Fear and dislike of another leads back to weakness within oneself.

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Blue Mountains Dujiangyan Waterworks

Discover your center  and find your self. Learn to face conflict without being judgmental.

Where there is conflict find peace. Where there is judgment learn not to commit to a false reality. To find wisdom know the way. In learning detachment lead the way. As with the Tao, when conflict arises compassion always prevails. There will be no conflict coming from me today.       1/31/94

XVII.            Finding Value along the Way

Those who see things from the perspective of the cost of everything rarely see or know the true value of anything. Value cannot be judged  by the earthly cost of what you think you need.

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White Dragons Xian / Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Only by seeing simply what is required can you begin the trek to the clouds where dragons seem to be.

The Tao teaches that only when one sees what is not useful  can one begin to see what is, and begin to consider the journey along the way.      1/31/94

XVIII.                   Dancing with Chi

Everything that ever was everything now and that ever will be is within you now to find. All that there ever was to know or that there will be to know is within you to find.

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Taoist Ritual / Temple of the Eight Immortals

You have been everywhere there has been to see, have seen all that there is to see and in the future will see all that there ever will be to see.

You are not a know-it-all. But you know all that there is to know. Simply come to know your self and remember what you have forgotten. Simply to find again, again and again.       2/6/94

XIX.       Prologue to Finding My Own Tortoise Shell

Thoughts and ideas crystallizing over time. Standing only as symbols for all to follow.

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Dragon and Phoenix Temple of the 8 Immortals

Ancient traditions of the shaman who brought forth the proper way long before those present could begin to  comprehend their true meaning. Oracle bones of tortoise shells to be collected and cherished as telling the wave of the future of the things to come and knowing all that will be.

Finding patterns and rendering judgments to be followed. Knowing the way of dragons and keeping them abreast of my progress as the everlasting goal. The ultimate objective simply to follow the signposts along the way to immortality.  Each situation ultimately chasing beginnings and endings  with the elements ultimately in charge. Their task simply to take turns coming to the forefront.

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I Ching stones Temple of the 8 Immortals

The I Ching following the true course of events. Establishing  patterns and finding appropriate endings that must be followed. Reminding all that everything has origins and endings only to be repeated again and again. Understanding the true paradox found only in yang and yin.

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The Turtle / Chengdu Wuhan Temple

The sixty-four stories that follow represent my own oracle. Each my own representation of  the true meaning of the I Ching. As with when I was a small child growing up on the farm finding and keeping tortoise shells simply because they were there to be found.

In retrospect, I now know my purpose was simply to keep them safe and to honor them for a cause I could not then appreciate or understand.  Except possibly to begin to  know dragons even then.

(An original composition written upon the completion of the Chinese  classic the I Ching to be used as the beginning or “Prologue” prior to the sixty-four entries to follow  3/31/94).

Inner Chapters   (The I Ching)

1.                             Cloud Dancing

From the clouds dragons appear to those who have prepared. To the I Ching,

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View from the Top of Huangshen Mountain

heaven is to found residing with dwellings of dragons  who roam the sky resting in the clouds.

Do not look for me where you have found me before.  You will not see me where you have seen me before. Dancing in the clouds with the immortals is where I am to be found.

To be seen with dragons. Cavorting above it all. Beyond earthly endeavors.  A strong personality who with compassion and caring  succeeds by seeing his destiny in the clouds.

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Cloud Dancing Huangshen Mountain in Anhui

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Map of Qingsheng Mountain

Finding the Tao, finding oneness and finding myself floating across the ski with chi. Cloud Dancing across the sky is easy living with dragons is not. A group of dragons are seen riding the clouds disappearing through the sky. As we disappear, I look back and see dragons resting on clouds dwelling in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching   (1 HEAVEN / Heaven over Heaven). 2/3/94

2.                     My Grandmother’s Garden

She comes in peace knowing utmost harmony. Nurturing. Receptive and forgiving,

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Two Deer Qingcheng Mountain

restrained yet uncomplicated. The dragons flying through the sky disappear into the clouds retiring, once strong and assertive now retreating and finding a secure place.

Looking down Mother Earth comes into focus with new growth and new beginnings. Differences occur but a connectedness of all things with the seasons begins. Yang becomes yin. Strong becomes weak, hard becomes soft, male becomes female in the oneness of Tao.

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A Gaggle of Geese / Qingcheng Mountain

Leaving the clouds behind and finding the earth beneath my feet, I discover that I am here to find clarity, to focus, to listen and most importantly to learn. To find the ways of my garden. To know the earth as my grandmother taught me. To know beginnings and endings. Simply to know and remember what my grandmother taught me.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching     (2 EARTH / Earth over Earth). 2/5/94

3.                   Rain and Thunder, Stay Inside

Be careful the dragons are not watching. Mother Earth is busy being cleansed by rain and thunder.

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Rain and Thunder Huangshen Mountain

Stay inside.

Protect yourself  with strong defenses water over thunder means a time of retrenchment. Stay inside. Go slow it is not time to advance. Get sound advice from friends and neighbors. Stay inside.

There are times when the right impression is critical and go betweens are required. Be prepared and wait until the time is right. Stay inside.

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Old Town Huangshen

Prepare carefully and know when to act. Find clarity and reality in the Tao and know thyself. Keep your vision of the Tao and be protected. Do not rush to judgement. Wait until you know what is not real and what is. Be careful, the dragons are not watching. Stay inside.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching       (3 RETRENCHMENT / Water over Thunder). 2/6/94

4.                         There Can be no Rush  

Trying to see dragons while looking over mountains and water into the sun can cause temporary blindness. You must see beyond ignorance.  Beware of those who are not trustworthy. Pay attention they can lead you astray.

There can be no rush to judgment. Only the path to learning leaving childhood innocence behind.

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Dai Temple Taishan Mountain

Find a mentor and come to know peace and harmony. Learn to listen to your inner voice and know the Tao. All that there is to know is already here. In front, beside and behind.  Beneath you instilled in the earth and above you in the sky.

There can be no rush to knowledge. Only preparation to see and know what is important when it arrives and letting your inner virtue define you.

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Arhat Buddhist Temple/ Chongqing

Find and nurture patience and you can begin to look over mountains and over the sea. There can be no rush to find the symmetry to be found in the Tao. With vision you will become immortal and come to know dragons flying in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching      (4 BLINDNESS / Mountains over Water). 2/6/94

5.                          The Dragons are Waiting

Yin and yang tell us to wait without anxiety. Earth and sky, water and heaven wait for the seasons and all things that will come.

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Two Mirrors   Chongqing Museum

Knowing that waiting  brings change from spring and time to plant, to summer a time to tend and autumn a time to harvest. To winter and a time to rest before beginning the cycle once more. Again, again and again.  Let nature and you garden be your teacher. Knowing what is now yields to what will be.

The Tao teaches us to be gracious, asking for help when needed and giving help when it is asked.  Know to treat good and bad the same with indifference. Knowing what is now yields to what will be.  Resolve to know the Tao and know courage and security.

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Sacrificial Rites Xian Shaanxi Museum

Let the seasons teach you cycles. Knowing cycles brings patience. The earth and sky and all in between serve to show patience to those who watch, listen and learn. The dragons are waiting. Be patient, listen and learn.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching               (5 WAITING / Water over Heaven). 2/6/94

6.                                   Finding Joy

As with all things that must know their way, leaving things undone due to flights of fancy can lead to one’s undoing. Learn from your mistakes and know that what has come will come again.

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Golden Emblem / Xian Shaanxi Museum

Be patient, know and understand that staying close to the Tao keeps one protected. Stray and bad things can occur. Find purpose and meaning in what you do and what needs done will get done. Both good and bad are the same. However, knowing the outcome leads one to know the way of virtue.

Accept faults and accept the true fate. Once admitted you are accepted again. Remember what is now taken for granted and loosely kept can easily be taken back again.

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The Protector  Xian Shaanxi Museum

What is fundamental is that the eternal oneness of all things will change.  Yin become yang. Yang becomes yin. Leaving things undone opens chi to the unknown. Letting nature find its course leads one to finding the joy in all things.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching        (6 THE COURT / Heaven over Water). 2/7/94

7.                       One Must Have Merit

To be one with dragons requires great strength and demands discipline. Leadership requires courage based simply on merit. A cause pursued for or by dragons must be pursued with merit.  If not the cause must be abandoned.

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The ancient Dragon   Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Arise from obscurity and retirement. Find your place in the Tao and find a oneness with the universe. Requests from Heaven are difficult to comprehend on both land and water.

Without strength, the most sincere and righteous cause will not prevail. Find patience and your inner chi, or breath, and you will find strength. Find strength in the Tao and you will come to know dragons in the sky.

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Five Tier Pagoda Wuhan Temple

Once merit is found discipline can follow. Finding courage brings respect from friends and neighbors.        

To find balance and harmony one must be worthy of dragons.

To be one with dragon one must have merit to be seen dancing on clouds in the sky.               

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching      ( 7 THE ARMY / Earth over Water). 2/8/94                                                                                                                                                                        

8.                           Exposure

Be careful  the dragons are at play. With integrity comes peril. There is danger in knowing and conveying the truth. For those who need to hear the truth often cannot see it. Support can be given in many ways.

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Zigzag Bridge Eight Immortals

Always convey the truth. Honor will only come to those with courage to say and do what is right verses saying what others simply want to hear. Reality will always be tested by those who question what is real. Support can be given in many ways. Self preservation is arduous to maintain.  As both good and bad are exposed be careful the dragons are at play.

Teach others by doing the right thing. Be careful in conduct and illustrious of sound judgment. Know the oneness of Tao and be effective with others. Get and maintain the attention of others before speaking. Good advice wasted on someone not listening can lead to one’s own demise.

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The Onlookers Eight Immortals

Be careful. Be careful.

But show support for those who endeavor to do the right thing.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching               (8 SUPPORT / Wind over Heaven). 2/9/94

9.                            Prospects For Rain

New beginnings can often bring a sense of insecurity, apprehension and conflict. Lack of communication  brings one to quarreling, misunderstandings and misfortune.

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The Threshold Temple of the Eight Immortals

Waiting for dragons to bring forth good fortune and rain is tenuous at best and can lead to anxiety and false expectations if one is not prepared to venture out. Maintaining and forging trust and integrity within oneself determines both direction and one’s fate.  In either rain or drought, or in sickness and health. All good things come to those who carry no guilt.      

How one deals with misfortune reveals one’s true self and integrity.  Punishments can be expected by those who exploit others. Keeping to false self interests thereby causing others misfortune will also lead to disaster.

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One with Nature / Wild Goose Pagoda

Keep an eternal sense of oneself by understanding clarity found in your inner chi and know peace and come to know the way of virtue. Step back and know the outcome of your actions. Nature will always find the true course. Anticipate and rely on the coming rain. New beginnings require it, integrity trusts it, and so it shall be.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                  (9 SMALL CATTLE / Wind over Heaven). 2/9/94

10.                            Finding One’s Step    

The day of great importance has arrived. A great journey is commencing. The dragons are curious.

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Stepping Out  Temple of the 8 Immortals

Is there sincerity present? Is peace and harmony ever apparent?  The day has arrived.  Draw no attention to yourself  keeping to the back  woods, the mountains, streams and lakes.

Your feet must not stumble. It is important that you have worn the right shoes. With beating heart and trembling hands the way ahead requires endurance.

Concentrating on one step at a time. Focusing only on the path ahead. When trouble arrives remaining alert to peril, looking ahead and watching one’s step as one with nature secure in following the way of knowledge. 

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Following Dragons  Temple of the 8 Immortals

The dragons interest has peaked. Others have come this way and failed. these footprints appear to be true. A great journey is commencing.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching     (10 TREADING / Heaven over Lake). 2/9/94

11.                            Disappearing Fences

The dragons prefer peace and take no action otherwise. Turning their heads to all knowing that conflict defeats all.

Neighbors may build good fences. However, it will be fences that good neighbors build together that remain standing against common enemies. Expect hardship even among friends knowing what is important and what obstacles can be expected. Encounter difficulties in peace and success is assured.

Do not proceed alone in times of controversy. Surround yourself and be protected and protect others as well. Act appropriately with both friends and neighbors always maintaining close relationships.

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Doing no Harm  The Duke of Zhou / Qufu

Being at peace within oneself insures that those close by will not become enemies but instead are simply waiting for an opportunity to become your friend. All the

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Finding Peace Duke of Zhou

while not taking advantage  of another’s downfall.

At the same time knowing that your own carelessness and lack of judgment may be your own. Find peace and the fences good neighbors build may ultimately disappear like dragons riding on clouds in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching      (11 PEACE / Earth over Heaven). 2/9/94

12.                         Succumbing To Hysteria

Speaking softly and smoothly where others must crane their neck to listen is best.  Always speak calmly knowing that that fear and reality are the same to find. Ever conscious that hysteria leads to dread of the unknown.

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Speaking of the Way Huangshen Old City

Hold the attention of all those involved. Varying one’s voice relieves tension that may assist in finding the solution. Be brief, simply uncomplicated. Finding your rhythm brings forth changes  overcoming all setbacks. Sincerity must provide the rhyme and reason of any true voice before it is heard. Much is expected of those who know dragons.

Beware of treachery or bringing attention to oneself by shouting , I am here!  The noise overshadowing what is not said so nothing important is heard. Instead of finding your rhythm in the Tao and being heard for miles and miles forever. Continually refining your actions always knowing simply what is needed.

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The Way of Virtue Huangshen Old City

Internal rhythm, the chi, reverberating  throughout the elements, the earth and sky, waking  dragons to their delight. Stay calm and listen to the one you can hardly hear. He speaks softly as he knows the way of virtue.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching       (12 OBSTRUCTION / Heaven over Earth). 2/10/94

13.                  Forces Staying in the Field

Seek refuge and gather your common forces. Nature provides character and patience. Know and use both and enhance your field of vision to  your full advantage.

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Marshaling  your Forces Dujiangyan Waterworks

Maintain your forces but keep them busy growing vegetables and tending livestock in the field. The dragons gather to take counsel preparing for the inevitable attack. The call goes out for everyone to seek shelter.

Adhering to principle in a crisis unifies all to a common purpose. Stay alert and be prepared. Know the task at hand and know the enemy. When attacked repel with vigor and strength as one knowing the best way to preserve peace is to promote and know harmony.

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Honor in Death Chongqing Museum

Death and sadness bring both honor and victory. All are the same, only different to the eyes of the beholder. Continue growing vegetables and tending the livestock. Victory certain comfort your neighbors with certain knowledge  of the eventual outcome. Fires burning high can be seen by dragons dancing  on clouds in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching   (13 GATHERING / Heaven over Fire). 2/11/94

14.                               A Plum Abundance

Learn, value and know the ways of your garden. Nature tends to care for those who tend tend to it. A celebration coming!

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Girl in Bloom Sichuan Museum

Mother earth is plentiful. Having patience and knowing the seasons brings forth a reason to celebrate.  Keeping victory close to the chest throwing defeat through an open window.

Tending to nature has determined if we are hungry or if we will eat well until the ground thaws in the Spring.  As the plums are picked know that harmony  brings forth the fruits of our labors.  Reminders that patience and discipline are but part of the cycle down the correct path.

Building great fires once again put the dragons on notice. Remembering that if failure is to be avoided, sacrifice must be made to satisfy the heavens. Remain astute following those who follow the symmetry of the seasons.

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The Lynx  Sichuan Museum

An important occasion. Apples, peaches, plums and pumpkins signify abundance. Be grateful and know that success is riding on coattails through the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching       (14 GREAT HARVEST / Fire over Heaven). 2/12/94

15.                      Oncoming Immortality

Remaining pretentious and keeping to ostentation in one’s actions brings unwanted attention.

Simplify! Simplify! When leaving one’s house and shutting the door to visit friends and neighbors it is important to wear and show the proper countenance about oneself.  But first you must know without knowing to succeed.

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The Calling      Shanghai Museum

Strive to be of no account and be truly accounted for by all you encounter. Others  will seek your favor as you are soon noted  for your wise counsel, knowledge of events and as a good teacher. Remain unpretentious and  find sincerity and kindness knowing that if you forget today’s lesson the only thing you’ll meet is scorn.

Propriety well placed will be received modestly by all. Making your goals and ambitions the goals and ambitions of all will bring everyone to your doorstep seeking comfort in your shadow. But first you must know without knowing to succeed.

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Adulation  Shanghai Museum

Know humility and restraint. Know how to become unassuming and know constraint. Refrain from entering the fray on the side of self interest and know your true self. Enjoy a reputation and retreat into the peacefulness of all things.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching    (15 MODESTY / Earth over Heaven). 2/12/94

16.                          Be a Master Gardener

Confined and under the weather, weariness sets in. The dead of winter. Everything is covered.

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Origins Yantai Museum

Snow several feet deep. Hibernation. Waiting, waiting, waiting with listless passion. All things waiting for Spring.

As the spirit is in its deepest despair, yang ebbs into nothingness and yin springs forward. The ice melts and the crocus begin to bloom as the mother robin appears, harbinger of Spring.

Casting away the cobwebs. Shunning aside shackles of mind and body it’s time to find our gardens again. Blinded by the sun in your mind’s eye you begin by sorting through implements reluctantly put away last autumn. Sorting through seeds and preparing small plants the task begins in earnest.

Arise early, refreshed finding yourself in the garden soon to be basking in the midday sun. Do not delay showing only diligence and respect for nature.

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Butterfly and Roses     Yantai Museum

Plant wisdom and know the freedom to choose. Plant clarity and soon understanding comes to the surface. Plant harmony and be at peace with the fruits of your labor. Startled from sleep still  listless, you are dreaming.  A look out the window confirms. The snow is still several feet deep, but your passion is beginning to return.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching              (16 WEARINESS / Thunder over Earth). 2/12/94

17.                            Distant Horizons

Dissatisfaction tells one when it’s time to go. Before leaving, listen and learn and know what bares repeating. Making mistakes leads to new  horizons. Begone now!

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Finding Virtue     Mt. Qingcheng

Come to know greatness. Find virtue in the journey and know misleading directions will lead to paths not to be taken.  Come to know the correct path and that common ways lead to simple action. Gaining ground leads to both good and bad both equally important.

Looking to the sky, distant horizons tell the way. Lights and houses ahead signal a time to stop, visit and come to know  people along the way.   A gathering at a garden gate gets my attention. I stop and listen to a story told by an ancient one.

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The True Path         Mt. Qingcheng

Others have gathered, I am welcomed and in turn tell stories that I have heard along the way. Back on the road again torn between what is left behind and knowing greatness only lies ahead.

Achievement occurs with finding yourself along the true path of virtue. Looking back from distant  horizons the dragons can be seen across the distance.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                     (17 THE CHASE / Lake over Thunder). 2/12/94

 18.                      Finding The Right Shoes

Father and son, tradition and innovation. Old ways and new things. Knowing

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The Eternal Struggle    Chengdu Wuhan Temple

patterns of one’s life brings purpose. Finding purpose through another man’s eyes is not easy. Conflict arises.  Immortality is questioned but always prevails.

Finding one’s sense of purpose can not be left to earthly whim. Finding purpose in greater things allows one to escape from individual concern. Following footsteps may be old-fashioned, however those steps are honed in tradition and value.  Keeping to the right path is knowing how to find  yourself in shoes that fit.

Tradition teaches that structure brings continuity. With continuity comes focus, focus brings clarity and with clarity one can find understanding in all things. Understanding patterns of one’s life brings integrity.

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Ancestors Wuhan Temple

Well worn shoes may require soles, though once repaired the same shoes still can be left to fit the right feet. Find happiness and security in tradition and be eternally rewarded. Ancestors past and spirits yet to come will know comfort through your steps. Seek your own standards yet remain ever diligent. Remember from where you came and seek your own immortality.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching                         (18 WORK / Mountain over Wind). 2/13/94

19.                        Prevailing Tendencies

Bringing forth the eight elements for a cause of greatness is the ultimate challenge in gaining immortality. Clouds begin to break. Dragons appear in formation taking  numbers to see who among them will come forward. They are all now ready, awaiting their final marching orders.

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Guideposts  Sichuan Museum

The odds are great. However, the odds of being defeated are much greater. Cloud Dancing this is your test. Your chance to lead has arrived. Show strength, clarity and understanding and know  resoluteness under fire. Your forces are lined up behind you. However, you must use them effectively and not commit to false pretenses.

Everything in your power must now come to bear if you are to prevail. Great commotion commences as in the distance the elements of your success are about to arrive. Riding on prevailing winds they appear to assist in the great struggle that has yet to come.

Harness the WIND and capture the rays of the sun from HEAVEN. The nature of EARTH and the great strength of WATER are coming to bear. Bring forth the majesty of  great MOUNTAINS, the awesome power of FIRE, the noise and distraction of THUNDER and the coolest of pressure of the deepest LAKE in the universe.  

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The Reckoning  Sichuan Museum

The dragons are lined up in a row awaiting their marching orders. Be worthy of their trust as all look to you for success.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching             (19 PREVAILING / Earth over Lake). 2/14/94

20.           Glimpses Coming Into View

Stay Alert!   The glimpse you see may be your own. To find the view from within one must begin by knowing how.  Begin by knowing where you need to go and in what manner you should arrive.

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Going in Style Wuhan Temple

Seeing oneself clearly along the way brings one ultimately  to reality. The world may seem to be full of pretty pictures to the eye. However, it is how the world is seen from inside that counts. The most beautiful vistas are blinded by the inability to see and discover the beauty within.

Simply come to know oneself from within and see without the need for tinted glasses. Understand and know your faults and strive to eliminate them. Only then can you come forward with assurance. This truism holds true for all to follow, not  just the enlightened ones.

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Glimpses Yantai Folk Museum

Know yourself and come to know the happiness and tragedy all around you remembering that both are the same. Take a hard look and take another. Yes it bears repeating. Know your inner mirror as you see yourself and how others must see your reflection. Come to know your window to the world and see others as the same reflecting back, only as glimpses of oneself. Look quickly and see dragons on clouds coming into view.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                                  (20 VIEW / Wind over Water). 2/16/94

21.       Small Craft Warnings or Clouding the Issue

Putting small boats out  to sea with clouds looming on the horizon can be hazardous to one’s health.

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Small Boats Yantai Museum

The dragons have been feuding and thunder and lightening are seen to be clouding the issue.

Learning restraint in time of the coming storm naturally is the best course to follow. Know safe harbors and retreat to a protective inlet or cove in times of  self doubt and insecurity. The dragons are testing you. If you are truly innocent, even if confined, you will be protected in the long run. Free yourself from self doubt and lack of feelings of self worth. Trust and come to know your own judgment and let your own clarity of events pre-determine what should be self-imposed and move on.

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Blue Harbor Shanghai Museum

Open the portholes of your mind and sense the smell the fresh sea air capturing the moment of truth and reality. Not being prepared for small constraints can lead quickly to large predicaments if left to themselves.

Small craft warnings left unheeded can lead to damage in the coming wake. Once capsized, second thoughts arrive to late to be of much consequence and security. Understand that there can be danger even in places where one seeks shelter. Remain ever vigilant, the dragons are clouding the issue.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                      (21 BITING / Fire over Thunder). 2/1/994

22.                           Two Becoming One   

Two coming together as one becoming the essential oneness of all things. The eternal essence of everything that has been, is now and what will ever be.

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The Eternal Essence   The Confucius Mansion

Change being inevitable, bringing an assurance that nature will take its course.

Celebrating this certainty has remained an important function throughout the ages and helps to keep the dragons satisfied.

Men will grow beards as symbols of understanding and longevity, as women will have children  to nurture and continue all things as they must forever be. The mixing of spirits require caution and knowledge. Wrong decisions now can lead to disappointments for a lifetime.             

Spirits brought together in haste can lead to tragedy. The decision once made, however, it’s time for rejoicing and bringing the two together. Look to the stars and know the eternal spirit of oneness and proceed with great fanfare. In early summer decorate the garden while in full bloom that signify the cycles of  nature and its beauty and our responsibility to it, to ourselves and each other.   

Smooth over small difficulties in your preparations and keep to the appropriateness

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New Beginnings  Confucius Mansion

of the occasion. Words spoken at this juncture should forever be kept and not broken, to be maintained as solemn vows befitting the eternal tribute now undertaken. The dragons are pleased with new beginnings. Be not the last to change and come to know bliss and be completed.  

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching              (22 DECORATION / Mountain over Fire). 2/19/94

23.                         Indulging Immortality

Be prepared to remain nameless, life functioning  without intention, without thought, without bias.

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Paradise Found  Shanghai Museum

Know when to come forward and when to stay behind. Discover peace and harmony by knowing discord and  its ultimate misfortune.

Travelling on a journey ill prepared can certainly lead to adversity and uncertainty. Come to know strength in the oneness of all things. Find emptiness and be forever satiated. Know how to shape events from  nothing and be responsible for molding fine works of art. Remain nameless and be recognized forever indulging immortality.

What is nameless has no duality. For there can be no definition to find.  Understand duality and dualism,  the opposites of all that exist. Yin-yang. Black-white. Soft-hard, good vs bad. Find  yourself as a stream flowing over all. Finding an equal level over all things – none swaying more that others. As in a bellows, it is not the contraption itself, but the strong wind it produces. As in the openness of a valley, it is not the valley itself, but what fills it in support of nature and all things. Know that it is the emptiness between heaven and earth that is the ultimate to be filled.

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The Immortals Huangshen Old City

Emptiness to be made full. Only to endeavor to be empty again as a well fed by one’s eternal spring. What is lost in name, one finds in truth. With truth your true nature   simply comes forward. With both, destiny can be found dancing on clouds in the sky.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching   (23 THE LOSS / Mountain over Earth). 2/19/94.

24.                             Destiny’s Itinerary

Your journey can now begin in earnest taking with you only what is essential and leaving all remnants of excess and baggage behind.

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Horizons Mt Qingcheng

Prevailing calm endurance and a cheerful countenance brought along to dispel ill tidings. Having returned from short adventures before, you again depart in peace and wishes of good fortune. Friends and neighbors arrive to send you off with tokens to ensure an auspicious undertaking.

Great enthusiasm abounds as knowledge of your adventure is spread and becomes known to all those who have come to know you and see you go.  Questions arise about our true destination only to be answered by echos heard as you depart up the hill.  Footsteps along the path signal you are well on your way.

Opportunities arise and fall. One’s lack of timing the only measure of real progress to be made. Seize the moment knowing that the way of virtue, while long and arduous, is there to be found simply within oneself.

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Vase Mt Qingsheng

A split or fork in the road  appears and a choice must be made with the outcome unsure.  Choosing the right direction ensures the safest passage. Looking to nature to lead the way and the cycles of the seasons to speed you toward your destination. Come to find destiny’s itinerary and find comfort. The moment has arrived.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                     (24 RETURN / Earth over Thunder). 2/20/94

25.                 Following the Voice Within

Anxiety and trepidation at the start. Shoes beating down a well-worn path with great excitement and a clear mind. The voice within valuing accountability  and painstaking conscientiousness.

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The White Stork Huangshen Old City

Reminding you that what has been learned, retained and lost again only  to re-learn once more is the true essence of all learning.

Precautions should be taken however, to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. Bring forth only insight and experience and be a teacher  to all for all to know and follow. Be simplistic in your approach and use paradox to illustrate differences to be found in all things.

Find emptiness in thought and decrease your routine daily to that which is only basic. Know the good and bad of all things and comprehend the coming change to your advantage and be prepared. Concepts written without understanding have no focus.  Remain loyal to the effort to be made. Be mature in your approach and know diligence, discipline and direction and do not procrastinate. Remain self supportive, but free of material things. Do not be exploitative taking advantage of others. Do not become obsessed with yourself or your daydreams.

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The Retreat  Wild Goose Pagoda

Simply stay within reality.  Keep to all you have learned and practice all of the above faithfully and know that the journey is just underway. Know propriety and see yourself in the mirror.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching      (25 PROPRIETY / Heaven over Thunder). 2/20/94

26.       The Farm From Where I Came

Corn and milo in the fields.  Fishing for perch and catfish in the pond.

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Nature’s Abundance Qingqing Temple

Falling from the top of the pear tree while reaching for the biggest one. Blackberry briers and wading in the creek. Getting down on hands and knees to get a drink as the water rushes over the rocks. Goats butting and jumping on family, friends and neighbors only to one day be taken away with the pigs. Chickens laying eggs in the barn, hay and holes in the loft we would always unknowingly step into.

Things in the basement never quite sure what’s there. A pet pig as big as I, always letting me rub its side. Days spent with Dad building fences taut and sturdy.  Cranking ice cream all the while hoping to get firsts.  Going to the Barco Drive-In sitting in the chairs in front of the concession stand never really paying much attention or caring what’s playing.

Taking momma crawdad to school for show and tell. Only to have the jar fall and break sending baby crawdads scurrying from under their mother’s tail.  Throwing sticks in the pond always to be returned by King, our one and only true dog.  Coming back from Massachusetts at the age of seven and being able to spell it when no one else in the second grade could.

A snowy Christmas at the old school house, a set of dominoes and finding our way back home. Forever stuck with wearing glasses only to have them be lost again and again and again.

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The Awakening Qingqing Temple

Losing my BB gun on a trip around the lake, never to be seen again.  Cousins always coming over to our house for Christmas breaking all of our toys and going home to theirs.  Leaving us with none.

Momma’s movie camera always taking embarrassing pictures later to be seen by all over and over again.  A  fire and then a concrete slab for what was left of the coop where baby chickens and David died with Grandma watching helpless through the window. Pat and Bub much older than I.  Pat was to go on Ted Mack. Bub on to baseball before his arm gave out. Mary and Susan fighting over dishes and broomsticks yet to be broken. Julie and Matt too young to remember, the farm but a distant memory.

Momma’s garden, the pump on the front porch and the big maple tree we loved to climb.   Going over the hill to visit Grandma’s to make animals from giant cucumbers she would grow  just for me. Sitting on her lap eating sugar and butter bread as she clipped my fingernails all the time commenting that she could not believe how they grew so fast. As I would sit spellbound by the stories and tales she loved to tell.

Being the first ones on the school bus in the morning and the last ones off at night.

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The Old Homestead Lamar, Missouri

The bus driver giving me a nickel for putting all the windows up. A bucket full of fish caught at the pond only to be knocked over.  Fish laughing all the way back as we watched in shock and horror. Trips to the pool in Lamar wearing earplugs and confined to the wading pool because of them.  Going to see my sister Mary in the high school play all dressed up and pretty. The old farm house with its big picture window and veranda along the side. The lane and circle drive telling all to come again.

All of the above actually occurred to the author before the age of ten. An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching  (BIG CATTLE / Mountain over Heaven). 2/21/94

27.                         Finding Nourishment

Finding nourishment along ones journey is critical to arriving in peace still in one piece. Taking care of oneself is much more than simply eating well. Caring for our thoughts and knowing how our actions are put into practice decide which path we will ultimately follow.

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Finding Staples Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Looking inward to one’s own needs protects from seeing something belonging to another and craving it along the way.  Be not like a hungry animal ready to destroy any and all things perceived to be needed in just that moment. Learn to have patience and wait.

Do not be jealous of another or look down upon your own belongings. All symbols of unimportance. Seek inspiration in what is seen on another’s shoulders at the same time working and striving hard to obtain your own coat in order to be protected in hard times.

Maintain a healthy countenance and obtain what you need simply by merit. Knowing what is not of consequence is more critical than craving something that you do not have.   The dragons look unfavorably upon excess and envy. Coveting what your neighbor obtains by achievement only clouds your own vision of your own merit.

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Joy-filled  Wuhan Temple

Know yourself and value your strengths using  them to your advantage. Otherwise, your journey will remain in the dark forever. Remain sage-like and remember what you have already learned. You already know all there is to achieve. Find clarity in everything, remain above simple existence and find immortality dancing with dragons in the sky.

 An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching   (27 THE CHEEKS / Mountain over Thunder). 2/21/94

28.                       Tao Under Construction  

Construct your dwelling carefully with a solid foundation. The bigger the structure the importance of strong building materials becomes. Weakness may cause eventual collapse.

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Peacefulness  Yulie Mountain near Waterworks

A willow may bend under pressure. However bent too far it will snap and break. Construct your way to the Tao with only strength, diligence, clarity and knowledge and be aware that there are those who would undermine your efforts to succeed.  Stepping out to far without a solid footing will lead to your stumbling and failure. Know your limits and limit yourself.

Stay unattached to any specific structure except that within the Tao. Everything appears to proceed according to plan. Keep strength in your footings and foundation. Build walls and know structure. Put in windows to see the world and be seen by all.

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The Ancient One Wuhan Temple

Attach a solid roof to keep away the elements when they should be considered unwelcome. Build a fireplace to cook and heat the inside. Keep things simple to know what’s important on the outside. Creating more than you need causes excess and stress. The willow under pressure starts hardy and bears fruit for an eternity.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching    (28 GREAT EXCESS / Lake over Wind. 2/21/94

29.                        Riding out the Storm

Provisions accounted for along the waterfront. A testing of one’s mettle and character has been invited to come on board. The dragons have made sure that  you are not alone to find your own way.

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Testing of one’s mettle Yantai Museum

Difficult waters are foreseen, almost anxiously anticipated. Once on board and underway everything yang turns to yin, strong becomes weak, hard becomes soft, deep becomes shallow, large becomes small, you have entered the maelstrom.

Your journey is interrupted by fierce elements. Rain, thunder and wind all to test your inner strength.

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The Yantai Light house

A period of doubt sets in. Questions arise as you hit the deck verifying directions. You appear to be wandering aimlessly at no account.

Looking outward there is only darkness. The inner self is the only place where comfort is to be found. Salty brine has made any hope of smooth sailing difficult in rough seas. Falling overboard over false pretensions is foolhardy. The only way to get to the surface of one’s heart, body and mind is strength, clarity and correct behavior. Tempting fate brings further resolve.

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The Zephyr Yantai Museum

What will happen must happen. Knowing all the while, events simply must be controlled or they will simply control you. Dire straits can be upsetting and lead to calamity. Sometimes disaster occurs beyond our control as we need reminding that the fortunes of nature are in reality the ones in command. Ambitions come and go to be changed with the direction of the wind. Find your place within the zephyr and know the results will be fortuitous. Things must be sorted out. Simply to be understood. Seek shelter and wait for the storm to blow over. The elements must ultimately have their own sway.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching      (29 WATER / Water over Water). 2/22/94

30.                           The Final Passage

The results are the same win or lose. As fire can burn uncontrollably consuming all, water can drown all consuming everything in its path.

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Taking Flight    Yantai Museum

As fire can be used to protect and keep warm, water can be applied to dash out the flames to preserve what is left. In effect destroying the unneeded and securing nothing necessary to be continued in the long run. All things being equal brings everything together as one. The dragons are satisfied.

As good and bad are possessed in all things, remember that in all occurrences there are seeds of nothingness that lead ultimately to new beginnings.  Events of nature must be forever reconciled.  Those in the highest authority must be prepared to account to the fullest for their impelling performance.

If the truth will set you free then prepare to fly away to join the dragons as they will be expecting you. Staying always true to the Tao and the way of virtue. Disqualify yourself from earthly claims to acclaim by others who have no knowledge of the true way.

Living only within your own shadow. Knowing yourself and finding the clarity to stay focused as you walk into the sun and beyond, darkness left behind. Prepared to forever release past faults and continue to the next step towards immortality.

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Freeing Oneself    Qingdao Confucius Temple

Freeing oneself to make the necessary passage requires that all things seen from material value disappear from view. Simply find indifference and unconcern and begin to forget.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                      (30 FIRE / Fire over Fire). 2/26/94

31.              Maintaining Friends along the Way

Friendships made along the way can be helpful in coming to know our true selves.

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Han Inscriptions  Linyi Museum

Sharing bread and plum wine brings forth good spirits and appreciation for our ideas and the thoughts of others. Share your accounts of other stops along the way and stay accountable to your responsibilities as a guest.

Respect the feelings of your host remembering that things said in haste can cut like a knife. Think of the outcome before making oneself heard possibly out of turn. Misunderstandings can lead to  embarrassments in response to things said or implied and may result in disenchantment.

Continuing your journey should be delayed until resolution of difficulties is obtained. If the environment still remains tenuous it is best to look for new surroundings. Not hesitating to end relationships can lead to disappointment, disaster and likely recriminations.

Nature heals all wounds. Still if scrapes are left to fester they can last for an eternity. Depart up the path as friends. If not as friends, depart without showing disrespect with the sunny side of the street coming through as your overall disposition.

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Goodbyes  Yantai Vase

Appreciate diversity of opinion and remember that you may come this way again. A true friend is forever. Hospitality may be needed for shelter along your return.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching               (31 CUTTING / Lake over Mountain). 2/27/94

32.                 Finding the Dragon’s Tooth

Stay the course, steady to the task at hand. Stay calm and illustrate resoluteness with temperance towards all. Listening to those whose constant harping of past events for things left undone or unsaid only slows one down and can create unsurity in your behavior.

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Taoist Inscription     Longshan Mountain

Thereby clouding the real issues at hand and making one’s vision of dragons in the distance forever unclear.   Water over the dam is gone. Lost, forever irretrievable for another to find. Do not be the one to have muddied it up or leave telling footprints behind.

Finding the dragon’s tooth cannot be done unless you have kept to the true way of virtue as you have been taught simply to find the proper way. Keep to the center of the road, holding onto past fancies only leads to distractions.

Remain reliable and true to your inner spirit. Reputations both good and bad are hard to change. If you are unworthy and insincere others will be only too happy to step forward to allow cracks in one’s veneer to open to receive complete view and inspection for all to see.

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Monastery  Wenhu Temple

If you have glossed over previous blemishes and not made a complete accounting of events, the outcome will be in doubt. Simply stay the course steady to the task at hand.   Remain calm and show others resoluteness in all things.

It’s time for a proper and full accounting of your activities. Finding the dragon’s tooth requires perseverance and truth.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching.         (32 STEADFASTNESS / Thunder over Wind). 2/28/94 

33.                              The Centerpiece

Stopping for a celebration, many people from distant communities have arrived.  A joyous occasion with much to be thankful for. Everyone busy tending to tasks at hand.

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Leading the Way  Confucius Temple

Various dishes under preparation. Ceremonial duties rehearsed, practiced and rehearsed again and again. It is important to all the dragons that all goes well. Sacrifices can be made only in solemn regard for the occasion at hand.

The centerpiece has been cooking since last night buried in a cavity lined with rocks in the ground. A series of small pigs lined in a row have been roasting and are about to be uncovered. The critical time has arrived. Celebrations of families and neighbors known and cared for through the ages. An overwhelming sense of well-being with everyone joining in to overcome any and all obstacles.

This appears not to be a common gathering of common folks, but a  gathering of those educated to appreciate the value of their position and knowledge gained only through rank and position. The suckling pigs roasting symbolize confident undertakings have been successful and played out to advantage.

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Han Gatherings    Confucius Mansion

Initially on the sidelines  I am eyed warily with reservation. When asked who I am to disturb such important festivities, I simply respond that I am on a journey to find the true way of virtue. Knowing glances abound. Elated, Cloud Dancing has been asked to join the feast.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic  the I Ching                                                             (33 THE LITTLE PIG / Heaven over Mountain). 2/28/94

34.                                 The Interlude

The sky is clouding up as rain and thunder can be seen and heard in the distance.

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Wang Xizhi  Linyi Calligrapher

Ominous warnings of things to come. The dragons are seen taking cover. Prepare to take shelter to wait out the coming storm. Anxious about the coming events you stumble gashing  your big toe severely. Taken in by an elderly couple your wound is treated. However, the outcome is still very much in doubt. Your injury serving as a warning. To continue without acknowledging what should be considered as attainable would be foolish.

Redefining your direction, you take this interlude to see where you are headed before setting out again as the storm continues  unabated overhead with ominous signs of loss and misfortune. The way remaining unclear. Keeping to the true path cannot be considered a hurried adventure.

Slow and steady as with the great tortoise with even steadiness, perseverance and persistence. Success can still be achieved. However, previous losses must be recognized, accounted for and reconciled as such. Then forever forgotten to concentrate on the road ahead.

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Ancient Writings Linyi Museum

Injuries and circumstances permitted to get out of control allow events to surround us, eliminating options.

Acceptance that some things must be acknowledged before making headway is the best course of action. Continually focus only on your own clarity and strength to show the way. (written as a tribute to Wang Xizhi, an ancient Chinese calligrapher from Linyi in Shandong Province)

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching     (34 GREAT INJURY / Thunder over Heaven). 3/1/94

 35.      Knowing Something Memorable to Forget

Remember that the dragons never forget. Yet, paradoxically know that they never remember anything either. True nothingness can have no full accounting. Know nothing. What you find inside yourself in truth, persistence and harmony once discovered is to be cherished and respected.

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The Dragon Turtle  Confucius Temple

Never to be forgotten, lost or dismissed. The more you  become attuned to them the less likely they are forgotten.

They will always be gaining on you. As a glance over your right shoulder confirms. Never be inclined to false inclinations or lacking in the tact found in the proper direction. Keep to the mirror of your mind, spirit and body and be comfortable with the details. The dragons need something memorable to forget.

Keeping to a true accounting of events keeps everyone focused not on past events or indiscretions, but on hope for new beginnings yet to come and find everything there is to know, now and forever. Stay attentive to the details making appearances account for all and to all.

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The Entrance   Yantai Folk Museum

All the time knowing when nothing is of any important account. Know what needs to be said and say only that nothing more. Be brief in your encounters and know that the window of criticism is left shut not to be pried open.

Play up to no one’s expectations and be tied only to your own fate. All the while, remaining respectful of everyday situations and knowing that what is expected leads to nothing but respect by all.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching                                                               (35 ADVANCE / Fire over Water). 3/3/94

36.                 Capturing the Pheasant

A steep incline leads to mountains where a path cannot be found. False leads lead to

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The Dragon Creed Chengdu Taoist Temple

turnarounds and endless backtracking. Going around standing up to the wind the elements are but a reminder of the difficulties yet to be encountered.

Finding another way leads to a canyon with water to be barely seen way down at the bottom. Dry from thirst you can only imagine a cool drink. Lost you can only wonder. A pheasant shutters from beneath the underbrush. A quick stones throw wounds but does not kill the bird as it swerves  to the left as you follow. Pursuing the pheasant you come upon a well-worn path that you have seen before.

Hunger and thirst overwhelm as the valley ahead leads to clues of the bird to be found. Sounds of its crying leads to its capture. In capturing the pheasant you are suddenly overwhelmed. All things previously left unsaid now are clear needing no further explanation. Somehow the bird has been tied to your hardship and ultimate success.

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The Golden Pheasant  Qingcheng Mt.

The dragons are no longer only to be seen in the distance. You feel as though you are removed from the  world you have come to know and rely. But there appears to be no mystery as to where you are now directed. You are alive but yet reborn. A quick requinoter reveals the path where food, shelter  and water are sure to be found.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                                  (36 THE CRYING PHEASANT / Earth over Fire). 3/3/94

37.                 Family Coming Together as One

Family coming together to reminisce and recollect past times spent together as one.

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Decorations  Confucius Temple

Not about barbecues in summer or seeing one another over holidays soon forgotten. But now as adults scattered over the globe only seeing each other in times of transition. Memories of past events becoming the only signpost of who we were long before we became who we are now.

Our father long past, but cherished for memories of what he meant to each of us.  Much too late to get to know the man he really was. Brothers and sisters spread out in age over time, distance and generations. Twenty years of differences overshadowing anything remotely familiar. Never close enough in time to know each other as we should or would have liked.  Past indiscretions and anger for things that should have been forgotten find time to resurface only because we see the worst of ourselves in each other. As we are still holding onto things meaning nothing long gone by.

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Golden Roses    Confucius Mansion

Mother with her own faults and indiscretions, though always meaning well destroying what might have been for all. Still with difficulties seeing us as adults and always fearing the worst may happen in any event instead of simply recognizing change as inevitable.

That truth and security is for each to find only for ourselves. Beginning to find common ground again requires mutual respect, caring and understanding. To stop every conversation starting with I want and begin instead by stressing I’ll give. Unfamiliar discipline should be found and come to be shared by  all and all may be well. If  only perhaps for the first time.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                             (37 THE FAMILY / Wind over Water). 3/3/94

38.                    Destiny Coming Together

Keeping to the high road to catch the prevailing wind you are pushed forward continually to new heights.

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First Dragons Shanghai Museum

The dragons incessantly pushing from behind to see if you are truly up to the challenge. Scoffing all the way. Destiny to be determined solely by the perception we set for ourselves. All the time searching for character knowing and trusting our own judgment and sticking to it to the end.

Having the courage and wherewithal to see and know the truth hitting you again and again as a gale force wind like an unexpected slap in the face as you turn a sharp corner with little or no real harm done.

Somehow though remaining blinded to all that would lead to feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. Clearly seeing deception and being set free because of it. Self-fulfilling prophesies come streaming forward like ants uninvited to the picnic table.  Anxious to gobble up anything left out in the open.

Support coming from all sides only to be pulled back for lack of attention. Reality only for you to find. All the time being constantly aware of others unworthy of the value that you have  placed on trust and honesty.

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Friends of Buddha Shanghai Museum

Whose only goal is deception and unfair advantage. So many peaks and valleys along one’s travels everything seemingly beginning to run together. Clarity becoming unfocused with any understanding of events difficult to follow or simply even comprehend. The dragons still scoffing at your feeble attempts all the way.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching           (38 ABANDONED / Fire and Lake). 3/5/94

39.                   Exposing Wise Counsel

Stepping outside once the middle of winter has arrived one catches the frigid cold and icy snow that should be keeping all inside.

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Rites of Confucius Temple

The same as exposure, integrity coupled with bad news could bring peril. As with the cold, advise not asked for yet given can fall on cold shoulders and die there. Gale warnings abound for those who insist on coming forward with bad tidings. Best intentions are fraught with anguish and frustration for things needing to be said being said then having the consequences falling squarely where they do not belong.

Once discovered, actions that cannot be justified by the light of day are often excused only to find the cover of darkness again at sincerity’s expense. Taking the heat for another’s misstep often leads to the wrong person taking the fall. While the true villain goes on his merry way only to repeat his evil deed another day.

Stay simply within yourself and what the Tao teaches. Be comforted by your own virtue and wisdom and a true sense of understanding in the meaning of all things.

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Heeding the Dragon   Confucius Temple

Accept and give wise counsel at face value as the final act to be played before a full house. Taking a bow at the appropriate interlude for appreciation of your ultimate unveiling. Teaching others truth often requires taking risks. Just know enough to be able to give advice another day.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                               (39 ADMONISHMENT / Water over Mountain). 3/ 7/94

40.        Keeping An Account of Things To Come

Keeping an account or journal helps to monitor our success and failure along the way reminding us that both are the same. Events unplanned for will spring forward into something unplanned for so be prepared regardless. While your path is ultimately  a solitary one to find, the clearer the road ahead is to success the more people will be seen who may want to join a caravan.

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Keeping a Close Reign Dujiangyan Waterworks

Prepare for the worst, but always plan for the best. Setting high standards for yourself and others. Expect only the best from others and bring them up to your expectations. Keeping an account of all those you are responsible to and responsible for and knowing  what to expect from each.

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Mindful  Dujiangyan Waterworks

Keep a close reign on your own thoughts and actions and find the clarity and focus of appropriate action. Preparing Master Plans and setting lofty goals both easy and difficult to achieve is critical to success and failure.  Do your best, expect the best and know how the best must be accomplished and carried out to the fullest.

Understanding the consequences for all. Goals that are not to be fulfilled are bothersome, may soon be forgotten and should not have been established to begin with. Winning the day may bring hard-fought accolades and acclaim. However, success can lead to envy from those who would steal another’s thunder rather than finding their own. The Tao teaches to do the right thing, but to be ever mindful of things to come.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the  I Ching                   (40 LETTING LOOSE / Thunder over Water). 3/8/94

41.      Staying at an Ever-moving Standstill  

Slowing your pace to an ever-moving standstill, the Tao teaches one to appreciate the direction and values of our activities and their net results. Keep thoroughly quiet and calm staying again only to the back roads as before and let the overwhelming situation at hand play itself out.

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The Han Flying Horse

Do not contribute to misunderstandings that can not be controlled. Know only what must be done and do only that but well. Keep others at arm’s length and keep to your own inner destiny maintaining a constant sense of goodwill in your dealings with everyone.

Show a quiet solitude and confidence in dealings with others and stay within the inner peace that is within you only to be found for yourself. Fade back and simply find everything there is to know.

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Good Advise Jade Buddhist Temple Shanghai

Once well rested, continue forward refreshed and renewed. Each step with a confidence not known before, but now ingrained with alternatives to follow. Trouble will always be lurking around the corner. Stay alert and be prepared to brush it aside like gnats and mosquitoes that in reality can do no real harm but to only delay your real progress. New beginnings and help are on the way. Stay at an ever-moving standstill and they cannot pass you by.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                        (41 DECREASE / Mountain over Lake). 3/10/94

42.      Oncoming (Flooding) Decisions

Heavy rains creating difficulty proceeding in the present direction. Following the well-worn path leads to the center of the seat of power and authority. Shelter must be found. Much discussion transpires with the outpouring of events bringing danger to those staying in disregard to safety in low lying areas. Assistance pouring in to replace valuables lost in the storm. Your own place in the overall scheme of things becomes unsettled as there is no way to anticipate the final outcome. The ultimate threat seems to subside.

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The I Ching  Huangshen Old Town

You are thankful for help, but recognize that your base of operations must be moved. Events lead to mutual agreements towards cooperation with others.  Always looking for good advise as trouble again appears once more on the horizon. Rain continues to fall soaking all and bringing the final flood of decision to move on.    

Those who have gathered look to you for direction. Trust moving to and fro like a pendulum not knowing that this chapter of events is over. Packing up, all things must go. Trying to salvage the present only delays what must ultimately be saved.

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The Right Path Nanjing

Endings push us to new beginnings and new destinations. The Tao as the only anchor. The path ahead suddenly seems clear. The sun comes out from behind the clouds drying out mildew taking its turn and having its own way.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                     (42 INCREASE / Wind over Thunder). 3/11/94

43.                    Danger Taken in Stride

Calamity abounding everywhere. Previous encounters have created tremendous harm, both yours and the commotion caused by others. What is given to us to decide is not always what it seems.  A misjudgment here and a misjudgment there soon leads to alternatives lost forever.

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Western Zhou urn Chongqing Museum

Staying within oneself is essential, but not easy by any means. The outside world has agendas that require action. However, it is in knowing how to respond that brings the situation out of the woods and into the light of day. Moving forward brings further disaster and humiliation. With apologies falling on deaf ears and you not seen as being serious. Knowing when to act is as important as knowing how to respond.

Finding strength and clarity you look within yourself to see the direction the wind is blowing the Tao and are comforted with the knowledge that everything  is connected to all things.  That you are an integral part of the universe following the light to be barely seen at the beginning of the end of a very, very long tunnel.

In keeping to the open road there are situations that can easily get out of hand as you know that both good and bad are there easily to be found.

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Musical Instrument Western Zhou Chongqing Museum

Learn from mistakes and open doors that would otherwise forever remain closed. The dragons are not unhappy as they know danger taken in stride only brings one closer to harmonious endings.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching          (43 STRIDE / Lake over Heaven). 3/12/94

44.                   Unbefitting Behavior

Doing the right thing and keeping up appearances requires much juggling with many things always in the air always at the same time. With guests arriving food and furnishings fit only for oneself should not be  offered to others unprepared.

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Entrance to Lama Buddhist Temple in Beijing

Proper behavior as an invited guest is imperative. Improper liaisons with those who should not be touched can forever scar the outcome. Girls pretending to be ladies and men acting like boys can lead to unforeseen and  unwelcome circumstances.

The dragons frown on illicit behavior unbefitting one on such an important journey. Continued movement in this direction will lead to your abandonment along the roadside forever lost and forever forlorn.

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Wine Vessel Late Xia Shanghai Museum

Keep to the correct manner of action and know that you are assured of accolades and dignified celebrations.

Surging feelings towards both parties must be kept in check. If the attraction is for real they should be explored much later after an interval of proper time, space and distance. Respectful situations require actions requiring eternal respect.

Eventual meetings leading to fulfilling one’s destiny will last like a deep pool in the stream bed once the stream itself has disappeared. If life in the bed is to live, it must respect the eternal  ways of nature itself. Actions inappropriate to the situation will lead to disrespect. Respect yourself, learn to respect others and be eternally respected.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                        (44 RENDEZVOUS / Heaven over Wind). 3/ 12/94

45.                          Beware of Paper Dragons

Value compassion and learn humility. Sense the fear that others feel and know their pain and know the true way of understanding and virtue. Contrasting adversity and success under pressure completes the cycle that must occur in all things to have any real meaning.

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The Wooden Dragon / Xian Wild Goose Pagoda

Gathering together to celebrate hopes and dreams and success and past failure brings forth redemption and calls for the sacrifice that must be made. Be obligated to good fortune and find moments of incoherence much more fully appreciated and endured. Contemplating the worst will happen in the best of times only dampens the arrival of what was truly anticipated in the worst of times. Facing the reality of the moment is much less demanding than what you might expect and is generally within your make up to handle.

With responsibility comes a certainty of events as they become yours to control. Remain confident of how things will be disposed of and find comfort in the final results. Beware of paper dragons and straw dogs set up to impede your real progress. They are simply an illusion to test your true strength and mettle.

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The Tortoise               Temple of the Eight Immortals

Getting by will require more than a good show and will need a display of backbone and true grit.  Expressions of sincerity will keep you above reproach. As with the tortoise, slow and steady prevails. Know endurance, but be prepared to retreat into your shell.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching    (45 ILLNESS / Lake over Earth).  3/12/94

46.                             Rewards Yet to Come

As with resisting the elements, climbing a mountain a step at a time or in swimming a river one stroke at a time, the ultimate goal is the same. Simply to get to the top or over to the other side.

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Persistence The Eight Immortals

Without knowing one’s ultimate direction the effort seems fruitless and if the truth ever enters the picture – it is.

Persistent efforts pay off  with dividends to spare. Rewards may come and go like the tide, but in reality it is only truth seen by the inner self that counts. Clarity suddenly becomes much clearer like a deep still pool found in a mountain stream. The trout darting back and forth many feet away always forever seemingly within arm’s reach.

Balance suddenly becoming like two sides being equally found in nature. All things finding their place and a place being found naturally for all things.  Stay within the strength of your persistence, clarity and inner balance and know the end result will be as it must be. Simply to your advantage. The ultimate victory occurs only with the decision to follow the true path of  virtue. It is only through hard work and ever present diligence that success is ultimately achieved.

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Ascendance  Wild Goose Pagoda – Xian

Half-hearted efforts result in half-hearted finishes that are evident for all to see. Know the difference through desire for peace and harmony in all things. Keep to the middle of the road and enjoy the ultimate rewards yet to come.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching       (46 ASCENDANCE / Earth over Wind). 3/13/94

47.                          A Journey Eastward

Prospects depleted with your actions worn into the ground,  you decide it may be time to pack up and move on. Ties and friends becoming unraveled and frayed like an old coat worn much to long.

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Azure Cloud Temple  TaiShan Mountain

A situation you helped to create has led to much good for all in the neighborhood.  But your involvement has come in the end, it is time to go. Three years hence has come and gone bringing anguish and unsurity as to which way should be taken. However, your chi tells you to be gone. Feeling abandoned and trapped by situations of your own making the decision is made.

A position is found in a large city, the environment not too far away. Working with the elements advocating protection of the earth, wind water and sky. Lobbying your old friends in the capital city that you can see eye to eye. Protecting the environment certainly a worthwhile cause. Knowing all the while that this is only a worthy pause.  Insight and action prevailing in the end. Another situation awaits, time to move on again.

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The Tortoise             The Eight Immortals

Journeying eastward finding yourself close to the home of your ancestors you feel as though you have finally come home. A new position found with the knowledge that everything experienced to date has only been to prepare for that which is still to come.  Doors and situations now opening. You are prepared to settle down and stake out your claim.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching         (47 TRAPPED / Lake over Water). 3/14/94

48.                  Discovering One’s Artesian Well

Life springs forth like an artesian well continually replenished. Simply waiting to be used. Each instant a new beginning bringing a chance to better understand the ways of nature and perhaps discover the proper direction as you continue your journey.

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Directions   Qingcheng Mountain

Strength evolving from two mutually inclusive forms both through the spirit or mind and body. Each critical to survival. Each there merely to be found and come to know. Spending time each day in seclusion drawing on the inner chi as Cloud Dancing with dragons to remind you of your responsibilities to yourself, to others and to the universe.

Meditating on the emptiness essential in all things to be found in everything both yin and yang and coming to find serenity within. Ever cognizant of the regenerative power present in each of us to find only for ourselves. Keeping to moderation in food and drink as the key to a full existence. Staying away from excess you come to know your eternal rhythm and cycles.

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The Dragons Await   Qingcheng Mountain

Finding the true way is a never-ending challenge that will be thrown up at you in many ways that most would find overwhelming, get sick and want to stop. Not all are meant to find their eternal well. Most never even bother to look, satisfied with the lot given to them to simply exist day to day.

Take care not to poison the well with bad thoughts or consent to someone else doing so.  Punishment will follow and all will be for naught.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                            (48 THE WELL / Water over Wind). 3/15/94

49.                Changing the Leopard’s Spots

Moving forward constantly keeping only to the essential. Cautious optimism your guide to the encounter that one day must take place. Battle lines are being drawn. Great forces in the field looking down at each other only waiting for the word to show and test their mettle.

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The Lion       Confucius Temple

In the background, maneuvers to the left and right and much noise to confuse and keep the enemy off-guard of your true intentions. Battle scars and hundreds of thousands committed to the fray. Each following the footsteps of the one before him to live or die or if lucky, getting a chance only to fight another day. Pursuing an ever-mounting prevailing readiness. Asking only to get on with it. Proper timing essential to eventual success. Moving to soon will result in sure defeat. A sign from the shaman appears signaling time to wait until another day.

Withdrawing in the face of uncertainty and superior forces to fight again brings assurance of ultimate good fortune. Superior

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The Lioness      Confucius Temple

forces don’t necessarily translate into worthy causes bringing harm and misfortune. Great forces amassed can ultimately be sprang on unprepared victims. However, following the whim of those with uncertain motives can lead to certain disaster.

Wait for the fateful day when blue skies and a prevailing wind can propel you to certain victory.Much rides on your shoulders. Pursuing the right cause is like changing the  leopard’s spots. Be without.sanctimony and know success will follow.   

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                             (49 REVOLUTION / Lake over Fire). 3/16/94 

50.            Serving the Ultimate Needs of All

Waking refreshed, yet fatigued you travel on to the ever increasing horizon as it becomes clear that you are travel weary and deserving of a rest before moving on. As a village is seen in the distance you approach all seeming peaceful. A large vat of food is seen in the courtyard. All milling around.

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The cauldron Shanghai Museum

Witnessing a sense of oneness throughout the community you sense harmony, both physical and spiritual among those present. You come to feel safe and secure. A sanctuary found. The Tao and Te ever present. Suddenly a leg on the cauldron breaks loose as several watch in horror as the vat tips over spilling everything inside as it rolls several feet away breaking handles all the way.

A celebration ensues. Where one would expect long faces and forlorn expressions, you find instead much joy and elation. Yin and yang are understood. Good follows bad to be followed again and again. The spilled food is seen as a sign of celebration releasing something felt to be valuable serving the ultimate needs of all. Going hungry while additional food is prepared is considered good fortune to be shared by all.

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Good Fortune to be shared by All    Qingyang Temple

The lesson is to appreciate what you have. Know what is not important and be respectful. All the time knowing the difference brings the ultimate fulfillment. Know the outcome before it comes served on a jade platter and be prepared and ever vigilant and never go hungry again.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching        (50 THE CAULDRON / Fire over Wind). 3/18/94

51.                    Coming to Know Your Friends

While looking for three friends you have made along the way (character, strength and sincerity), you search places within yourself where they seek refuge from the coming storm.

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Resolve  Qingyang Taoist Temple

The elements are again keeping your direction open to increasing challenge. Rain and thunder, hail and lightning all pummeling down from overhead brings what should be your inner resolve out into the open and into question.

Stopping to reflect on past events and encounters brings to the surface minor brushes with disaster and misfortune. As well as, losses of fame and fortune that now seem only as simple lessons to be learned. Like the prevailing wind, however, your resolve to keep to your inner chi has kept you out of harm’s way. Always continuing  onward only for simply each moment to come.  Discovering oneself along the way is why the journey is made. Storm clouds and inclement weather are simply to be withstood.  Knowing that like all things they too will pass.

Looking for comfort you find character in places not normally found. Keeping again to yourself you discover fertile territory not yet traveled. As with an oxcart that leaves ruts in a well-worn road for all easily to follow. You find strength.

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The Blue Lynx   Confucius Mansion

Not by lifting the huge boulder, but in finding patience found picking up small rocks after it has been broken open. Finding sincerity is like keeping a bird in a cage. Trapped within itself, it stays cooped up. Set free it will fly away to find its wings in the clouds with dragons.

Come to know your friends and travel unimpeded with them once again.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                (51 THUNDER / Thunder over Thunder). 3/19/94

52.                    Visions Yet Unfulfilled

Clouded by details it becomes difficult to continue without stumbling over rocks and debris. As you look further down the path to find the easiest and simplest way you should travel. Needing to clear your head, small pebbles and stones become rocks and boulders that ultimately lead to mountain peaks that may be too much to be overcome.

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The Peak      Huangshen Mountain

While there are many encounters along the way to slow you down or test your knowledge, purpose and ability; it will be the countenance one brings along to overcome the odds that will determine success of the journey. Attempting to reach snow covered mountains seen gleaming in the distance in the bright light of a summer day is a worthy  challenge. However, without knowing the ultimate aim, even a stone thrown in the right direction will surely miss its mark and miss badly.

Keep to a steady pace and know the results of your actions yet to come. Be satisfied that success has followed your footsteps. But be careful not to be caught running only in place seen spinning your wheels.

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The Panorama  Huangshen Mt.

Majestic mountains seen on the horizon keeps one focused on the task at hand as you explore nooks and crannies that lead to nowhere but up and finally over the top encompassing all.

Looking down at the panorama to follow distant streams of smoke billowing signal people and places yet to be seen. Staying above it all, but sensing others needs and values that propel each one potentially to new heights and visions yet unfulfilled.  This has proven to be a good way to come, mountains now in the background with only a clear vision ahead.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                     (52 MOUNTAIN / Mountain over Mountain). 3/19/94

53.                          In Progress Review 

Looking back to review progress already made but simply left behind is not only the anchor to success but also the wind tied to your direction as you become the ultimate weather vane. Distances traveled to date have brought much wisdom and substance. You have come to know your place in the ultimate scheme of things yet to come.

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Second Nature Qingyang Temple

The road long traveled has become second nature to your existence as you have come to be known and been recognized as one following the Tao. Having overcome setbacks and obstacles you have remained faithful to the effort that has to be made. As a goose in migration finds its place in the flock’s formation, you have found your place in the  I Ching. The journey has been arduous and is not over by any means. Hardly. One never completes the journey. But only gets closer to finding oneself where the trip begins again. Finding parallels and paradox to only remind us of what we have always known and simply forgotten.

The task remains formidable. Not only to move further along your own way, but to show by action and deed others as a teacher of peace, compassion and sincerity. Setbacks remain to be found. Persistence the key to renewal with success always bringing progress along for the ride.

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Sincerity    Wuhan Temple

Sincerity insuring that dragons remain at their doorstep waiting for your eventual arrival. Come in peace and know immortality is yours to be had forever. Be free to change and be asked to stay.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic  the I Ching  (53 PROGRESS / Wind over Mountain). 3/20/94

54.              Spirits in Erotic Rendezvous

A comet overhead coinciding with a premeditated chance encounter. A shared look and certain knowledge that the chemistry is electric, seemingly cosmic.

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Spirits  Sichuan Museum

Spirits coming together as if they have met before and are destined to meet again. A planned encounter decided centuries earlier with certain knowledge that they will meet again and again. Finding joy only when the other is found.

A celebration of friends is called for in which both are invited. Mutual interests bring together the attraction almost deafening to those close by as the oneness of both is exposed.  Only they sure of exactly why. The next week is spent together where everything else ceases to exist as two become one as spirits in erotic rendezvous. Energy and ecstasy released as it is with the comet passing overhead only once in a century.

Weeks progress as the relationship grows. Plans for marriage are made and discussed and families put on notice. Feelings ever present on the surface, too close for comfort with others present.  Without warning, a sudden shift in the prevailing wind and the joining is complete. As if their essence and souls are traveling on the comet’s tail now overhead.The celestial body only now moving on to other destinations throughout the galaxy. Spreading love only fleetingly and in ways temporal and transitory.

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Prevailing Winds Laoshan Mountain

Meteoric feelings come and gone leaving a residue impossible to imagine and only more difficult to endure. Efforts to rekindle are fruitless, though both are secure in knowing this moment in time will always be repeated. Parting sadly, feelings of empathy are shared and what must occur occurs. Years later, another chance encounter with knowing glances. Each lost for now.

Each anticipating forever to come as the comet marches on.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                            (54 THE MARRYING MAIDEN / Thunder over Lake). 3/20/94

55.                      Finding Mirror Images

The weight of wealth and possessions can be as light as a goose down pillow. If things are given freely and shared with others one is allowed to sleep at night.

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Yellow Dragons  Sichuan Museum

However, if one is driven by the need for more than what is required to lead a simple unassuming life the pillow can in turn be suffocating. Ultimately leading to one’s demise.

Trappings become necessities for those who have no sense of  purpose and sense of self. Knowing and keeping to one’s inner voice  and chi gives a sense of space and distance between oneself and things of material value which in which truth have no real value to the journey at all.

Accumulating wealth and worldly possessions only serves to mask the inner self, reflecting in the mirror the distance still to be traveled. Strive to find the proper balance and harmony that mirrors the peace within oneself. Practicing perspective with the ever present I Ching.

Keeping to the mirror image of one’s own reality is the key to learning true value. Discard yesterday’s things and find today’s. Learn that value is in finding the nothingness needed to understand tomorrow. There is strength to be found in character, sense of purpose and knowing the ultimate value of the balance to be found in all things.

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Finding Character Chengdu Wuhan Museum

Find this and be rewarded forever. Coming down to earth you recognize those who represent power and authority and the shadows in which they travel. Stay close and lead by example as you are counted on to lead the way.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching    (55 ABUNDANCE / Thunder over Fire). 3/21/94

56.                    The Death of the Chamois

Buckskins tanning in the bright sun light brown almost white from the ram captured on the mountain’s rim only for the delicacy of its tender loins and its superior skin.

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The Chamois  Xian Shaanxi Museum

No matter the benefits, it is not the capture of game pursued over a long distance that is important. But simply the ultimate pursuit itself.  As the hunter respects his prey by only taking what is necessary for his own survival, fulfillment comes with the understanding of one’s place in the universe. Not the lethal release of the arrow.

Pursuing the chamois on the sheer outcropping near the  mountain’s top is as difficult as capturing the pheasant in the valley below. Both represent the ultimate challenge and losing against such an able foe is not losing but gaining the respect found to be in nature’s way.  The ram only captured because its time has come.

Having overcome the chamois there is a satisfaction in knowing the ram as an equal or better in his own territory. Fully aware of his stature in his environment and what it takes to survive on top of mountains. Always to be looking down at panoramas in every direction.

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The Challenge  Sichuan Museum

A innate sense that each step on the craggy outcropping could be his last if improperly placed. However surefooted, he adeptly and safely bounds from rock to rock unconcerned and unafraid.

As a seasoned traveler coming across hunters coming down from higher elevations with their prize, you sense both elation and sadness accompanying the death of the chamois. All is well and as it should be.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese classic the I Ching                                                (56 THE TRAVELER / Fire over Mountain). 3/22/94

 57.              Becoming One with the Wind

Finding yourself in the open plains you crouch in the terrains low contour to remain out of the fierce wind overhead to reflect on your ultimate destination.

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Comeuppance  Qingcheng Mountain

Conceding control of events creates self-doubt as your concern over past events cloud your vision to the final turn of events which in only a matter of time must occur.

Taking command of the situation you move out of the cavity directly into the full force of the wind. Inner conflict impeding your resolve to continue you go back to the crouch as before out of harm’s way unsure of your next move and/or destination. Finally taking charge and finding the inner character present but as yet unaccounted for you give the wind its comeuppance and come up again. The wind it now absolving you of past naiveté and indiscretions. As one would be cleansed of past actions not conforming to the standards to be expected in your new found position in the Tao and in the overall scheme of things.

Contemplating, you think as you would with plants in the garden. The wind bringing strength. Without its presence you would become soft and easy to push aside. With its push you become pliable to the shape of events and respond knowingly as if pre-ordained. The right way ingrained as it should be. The turn of events leading to circumstances and byways to your benefit.

Emulating Lao Tzu you ride the wind westward as Lao Tzu with the I Ching the underpinnings and blanket of the donkey’s saddle providing comfort. Leaving only advice and instructions for others to follow as the Tao as you come to know dragons.

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To be one with Dragons  Qingcheng Mountain

Be well on your way to knowing what others may never come forward to find.

Finding your wind and coming to know your true compass as Lao Tzu keeps you moving towards immortality. Moving into the wind now absolves you of past naivete and indiscretions. As one would be cleansed of past actions not conforming to the standards to be expected in your new found position in the Tao and in the overall scheme of things.

Eternity and dragons expect it, expectations now demand it of you and now you know where to find it. Striving to be one with dragons and immortals will be titanic at best and unfathomable to most.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                       (57 WIND / Wind over Wind). 3/24/94

58.         Seeing and Hearing for the First Time

Adhere simply to the road ahead and be only salutary toward passing strangers. Keeping to oneself your innermost thoughts and directing them only to the attainment of the ultimate there is to find.

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Attainment  Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Speak softly when addressing others confident of what needs to be said. Paying more attention to what is not said versus what is.

Know your own feelings and speak honestly with a knowledge of the eventual outcome to come and know the results before they arrive. Stay quiet except to break down barriers put up to defend what otherwise should not be defended or contested. Look always for disagreement and mediate the outcome with good humor and defend the lesser position. Always knowing that neither side is correct, but may

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The First Time  Wuhan Temple

simply be able to prove a point. Knowing that honesty prevails, protects the outcome and those bound and determined to it.

Sincerity and compassion prevailing only when the hoax is spread on the table for all to see what is best for all involved. Teach others the way and they will be eternally thankful once they have opened their eyes to see.

Culminating the outcome suggests what is to come. Simply keep silent and stay calm until the arrival of what is inevitable. Do not keep the dragons waiting.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching     (58 LAKE / Lake over Lake). 3/25/94

59.                             Cedar Hill

Wading in the creek and sitting on a large rock watching the clouds to the south signal great thunder and lightning. Sky dark blue almost gray showing rain far away with hardly a drop where you now remain standing at attention.

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Finding Higher Ground    Chengdu Street

Torrents of rain coming down. Forever moving to find higher ground. Clouds in the distance tell you water is everywhere into everything. Nothing ever sacred, nothing ever gained, nothing here just yet. Caught up in the anticipation of what may yet be coming this way.

A few minutes gone by with the small creek in the stream bed beginning to show life inching up. Suddenly you hear a roar and in horror you see a wall  of water coming rapidly in your direction as you are momentarily powerless. Water higher than you are tall. Telling you to rush to safety or become one with it forever on its way downstream.

A mad dash to higher ground barely in time to save yourself from being at one with nature in a way that neither you nor nature ever intended. Water now up to the top of the bank from one side to another.  Rushing, rushing, bringing everything in its path along for the ride at no expense except for the misplaced attention to be found in the final outcome. Water now out of its banks and into freshly cut fields of hay. Taking it with everything else forever away. Except for that caught in tree branches to be seen later as a reminder of how high it can reach and setting a goal for the next time when it will try for higher branches to be referred to.

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Everywhere  Qingyang Temple

Reminding future generations of the ultimate high water mark. Simply to impress them with natures strength and sway in the final outcome. To simply remind  them of a weariness necessary to survive.

Finally, the landscape becomes clear as the water is now back within its bank. Though still rushing for all its worth to remind everyone that it will always be in control. Whenever it wants to be. As if laughing its way downstream simply marking time and new heights until its next performance only it knows for sure will come.

Much later the stream is but a trickle as before. Except the large rock you sat on when all this began is nowhere to be seen. Looking down you see only bare feet and realize your shoes have gone along for the ride too.

An Original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                          (59 FLOWING / Wind over Water). 3/26/94

60.                     Being Eternally Thrifty

Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!   Simply staying within the intended means of thriftiness that is part of you nature.

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Simplify  Qingcheng Mountain

Keep to an even keel and use moderation in all your endeavors. Keep to limits predetermined and come to know a peace of mind that comes with a frugal lifestyle. Items of fancy felt to be necessary thereby pushing one beyond one’s means, means you will soon be indebted to powers beyond your control and be left forlorn and forever sorry.

Misguided good intentions without the proper sense of direction leads only to mistakes and painful losses that should and could have been avoided. Always wanting more than you can simply afford causes bitterness and envy of another’s good fortune. As if you were as ass, kicking and braying because he does not like his prescribed burden in life.

Be happy with constraints in every situation and know keeping to them leads to satisfaction beyond any material goods and  wealth that are  ultimately only temporary in nature. Not really in line with your true place in nature and the Tao and stay wholly within yourself.  Living contentedly within your situation in life leads to harmony and security that lead to one truly counting one’s blessings.

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Eternal Truths   Xian Shaanxi Musuem

Be known as being thrifty and be respected for getting the most out of each situation and have the grudgingly good thoughts of others with less patience and virtue. Seek frugality and moderation in all things and know what remains is all that should remain and be eternally pleased  with the results. Free yourself from striving for things that may not come and concentrate on improving what is left.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                                           (60 FRUGALITY / Water over Lake). 3/27/94

61.                         The Ultimate Attribute

Sincerity is the ultimate commitment to nature and finding one’s purpose. The one attribute the dragons have long awaited as the true sign of the sacrifice to the never-ending journey.

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The Gate   Qingyang Temple

Everything else simply secondary to the trust and good feelings inherently found in truly good intentions discovered only when one is sincere.

Endeavors coming easy like the morning sun with birds singing to let everyone know another day has arrived. Another chance to give everything our best effort knowing that’s all there really is to give. Keep to oneself in harmony with all things knowing that events allowed to get out of control can only lead to questioning the intent of otherwise good intentions.  One’s true feeling worn on shirt sleeves for all to see makes it difficult to shelter true emotions inherently both good and bad for everyone to see again and again.

What is sincerity except a deep sense of caring and commitment of thoughts carried out through actions unthought out and unspoken. A sense of caring about the final outcome yet be determined. Yet an assured knowledge of how things will play out in the end for all to know and see.

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Trifecta  Qingyang Temple

Simply an enthusiasm for truth and a compassion for things set free to rise up as the phoenix from the ashes of desperate discontent. So simple to find, yet so  difficult to keep. The attribute the dragons know without saying, so to speak. Clouds parting overhead as they peer down to make a final inspection only to find that you are well on your way.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching    (61 SINCERITY / Wind over Lake). 3/27/94

62.                        Brothers and Sisters

The first full moon of Spring brings a reminder of oneness and sense of self only to be had among siblings, brothers and sisters.

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The Pair   Shanghai Museum

Distance and time forgotten as mutual aspirations are shared and respected. Each bringing only expectations from within and shared appreciation for what is ultimately important. Sharing only a bond of self-acclaim.

Just knowing the other is there and that a shared sense of purpose exists. Defining love for each other as only brothers and sisters can in their own way. Recollections of past events and remembrances of times and acquaintances shared. Knowing that each is living out his or her own sense of  importance and purpose and coming to know the oneness found in all things. Always continuing the never ending search for a sense of self and finding one’s center where everything must begin and end.

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Perfection   Shanghai Museum

Years may pass and exchanges long distance may occur all too infrequently. However, the simple sound of the others voice bringing a comfort in the knowledge that we can truly be ourselves.  It is the reflection that we see of ourselves in each other as only brothers and sisters can in their own way. Knowing all the while that all will be well afterwards. What is family, except a shared sense of values and purpose?

Sensing that when all else fails there will always be  someone to talk to. A conversation where comfort is but a foregone conclusion.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic  the I Ching with additional inspiration from my sisters Mary, Susan and Julie.    (62 SMALL EXCESS / Thunder over Mountain). 3/27/94

63.         Fleeting Moments of Anticipated Joy

Coming up a well-worn path you break the tree line and see a river that must be crossed if the journey is to proceed unimpeded. You have by now broken through much fertile territory that you could not have known existed.

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The Right Path  Qingyang Temple

The I Ching as your guide, a sense of fulfillment that the completion of the first phase of your venture is well within sight.

The way you have followed has brought you from afar with no hope or desire of turning back. The ultimate truth waiting patiently as it now knows that you are well on your way.   A sense of attainment close by that is like an ultimate hunger desperately wanting more. Fleeting moments of anticipated joy that can only lead to wanting more and more.

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The Sanctuary  Nanjing Artist

The trip has been long and arduous. The coming river to be crossed but a synopsis of how you willfully got to this point. A great deal of attention preparing to put into the widest point of the river where the current is not as swift. As if you have found your inner bliss.

Entering the river with a large log that will float using it as a guide. Kicking slowly and methodically to the other side. A deep sense of satisfaction at a job completed and well done. Finding oneself across the river of joy and up the bank to a high plateau everything suddenly seems in order. You dust yourself off and continue  on your great journey, the I Ching almost behind you. Your sense of purpose and direction no longer in question. Ahead lie only new heights to scale.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                      (63 FULFILLMENT / Water over Fire). 3/28/94

64.          Cloud Dancing Gets a Clean Slate

And so it goes, the cycle is now complete. Only to spring forth again and again. For the journey comes to an end only to start up again. The dragons have you lined up in their sights with expectations and curiosity as to where you will go next.

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The Cycle  Qingyang Temple

Remember the simple liturgy from where you came and simply stay within yourself and know that all will come. Live the Tao and come to know the true way of virtue.

What appears humorous and unusual to others bears no need for interpretation. You can only speak for yourself and in following what you have now written the road ahead becomes second nature. Many hazards still lie ahead. The river just crossed with ease meanders back and forth throughout your travels and must be crossed many times over again. Truly the river of no return.

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The Way of Virtue  Sichuan Province

Stay afloat buoyed by hope and aspirations or find yourself sinking like an anvil. The choice simply yours to make. The Tao as your life preserver.

A clean slate appears with  your name on it. What’s gone as done is forever over and finished. Look only to the future and abandon all past claims and indiscretions and begin again refreshed by the knowledge that was gained by the experience.

Celebrate quietly and be simply at peace with yourself and the holy spirit that resides within you and know the eternal journey has only just begun. Dragons appear with empty slates to hand out to those who appear ready to proceed.

An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching                                        (64 UNFULFILLED / Fire over Water). 3/29/94

65.                                     Epilogue

Cloud Dancing, you have taken the first step in finding patience that most others never find the wherewithal to do. You have completed the I Ching.

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The Entrance     Confucius Temple

Keep only to the true path. The importance of the oracle and interpretation is what it means to you along the way.

Saying the same thing over again and again to reinforce what is within you only for you to find. Be honest with yourself and when mistakes are made know that they are made for a reason. That is to teach you the importance of the test to be found in each moment of every day.

Not only the important aspects of the journey itself with the confidence found in catching your breath which is the first step in finding your inner self. But also to finding how to  relate to others the true  meaning of the Way. Finding compassion and sincerity and  knowing truly what they mean. Repeating thoughts and phrases many times and many ways to  simply come to know what is within your heart and soul.

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Nature, the Tao and Confucius Confucius Temple

It is through this test that you must continue to discover, learn and know  inner virtue and responsibility.  With inner accolades and the dragons always at your beck and call only for worthy causes. Remember that we are here for you to use as guides. We truly do lounge on clouds in the sky. So look for us as we are never too far away.

An original composition written upon the completion of the I Ching. 3/29/94

66.                 Keeping to the Lower Clouds

Prancing around the Tao to and fro giving life to words and meanings which otherwise would be left out in the darkness. Bringing a wholesomeness to the effort.

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Eternal Glimpses Huangshen Mountain

Lao Tzu simply sitting back watching with earnest speculation as to where Cloud Dancing is going with all this. As the ultimate paradox, you must keep approaching the Tao To Ching but keep away from its intricacies.

When you are prepared for the journey the dragons will let you know. Keep Chang Tzu and Lieh Tzu as your mentors until they feel that you are ready to proceed.  There is much to do. However, stay focused only on what must be done and have nothing to do. Just remember to keep to the low clouds and earn your keep.

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Dai Temple     TaiShen Mountain

There is much work ahead. Perhaps taking a year or more before the map is laid out to be traveled by this one. There are many rivers and mountains for Cloud Dancing to traverse before the Tao can be fully appreciated and attempted. Capturing the essence of the Tao is one thing. Being prepared to approach the Tao To Ching is quite another matter and much further along the journey.

Great things are expected of this one who has caught the dragon’s attention. Too much too soon simply clutters what must be said and done along the way. The I Ching barely complete.   4/13/94

67.                  The River of No Return

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

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The River    Nanjing People’s Museum

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

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

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

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

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Mirror Images    Qingyang Temple

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

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

68.                     Piquing Immortality’s Interest

Passing through the door no longer able to distinguish between truth and falsehood is not enough to gain understanding.

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Knowing   Dufu

Only when you are prepared to know the difference between truth and falsehood is non-existent can you be prepared to be asked to stay and learn.

Ridding the mind entirely of the concept of truth and falsehood allows one to begin to pique immortality’s interest. Come to understand that truth and falsehood were never the issue. That all things are equal and the same. That there is no victory to be had in taking sides.

Only then, in knowing that all sides are the same are we invited to stay as one with the universe and one day take our place with the dragons. At issue is not rather you are able to discuss the difference, but simply in knowing that the differences are the same either way. Understanding that an underlying unity exists in all things and a connectedness from which all things are derived at,  are dependent and ultimately returned to begin again is the essence of all things.

As all things are possessed of both good and bad, truth and falsehood becomes the essential element in how each of us endeavor to know reality only for ourselves and our own non-existence.

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Universal Love  Dufu Thatched Cottage Chengdu

Stay beyond description and appreciate the silence found only in coming to find your inner chi or virtue, your inherent holy spirit and self, and remain free to fly away.

An original composition written while studying Chang Tzu from The Essence of Tao. 4/11/94

69.                          Becoming Irrelevant

Know that inside and outside are the same. That truth and falsehood are not the issue and begin to travel with dragons on clouds in the sky. Know that there is no way to discuss the ultimate joy found in finding the true path of virtue and the oneness to be found in all things.

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Connections          Dai Temple TaiShan Mountain

Physical descriptions become irrelevant to explanation of how all things fit together in a unifying purpose to be found as one yesterday, today and forever for all things to be found in the universe. The Tao teaches that the essential elements making up all things are to be found  in everything only shaped in different ways. That sameness is the essential Tao. Coming to know this basic tenant is the underlying reason for one’s journey.

The journey is long and arduous. It is difficult to bear, hard to continue and only more impossible to endure.  You are forever blown along with the wind. As a leaf with no real destination. Only a sense of purpose brought along for the ride into eternity as the crane and tortoise are to longevity and beyond.

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The Ultimate Duality  Chengdu Wuhan Temple

Final destinations unknown. With nothing brought along as an itinerary except as the elements dictate things to come. A randomness that foregoes any relevance to anything not essential to the true way.

Assist only with the collapse of reason and find the path blocked for everything except that that can begin again to built on a true foundation. Built solid in the words and images of the Tao and by God himself as all that will be needed to succeed.  4/11/94

70.                 As Chang Tzu’s Perfected Man

As Chang Tzu’s Perfected Man begins by abandoning the ways of the world, you begin by simply letting go of that which is not significant to the Tao. As you are now seen traveling with old friends who guide you along an unknowable path or way.

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Hua Pagoda Xian Old City

Just as the dragons would have it, they are pleased.

Eternal sacrifice made to capture the moment knowing everything rests on your finding and staying on the road yet to be traveled.  Searching for immortality and freedom to go where few have gone before.  Just as a sage would find the true reality of all things. Always leading the way. Knowing that the Tao is everywhere to be found by simply looking and understanding what is and finding one’s own standard within the oneness of virtue.

Eternity existing forever  both before, now and yet to come. As  you continually search for your place in the overall scheme of things. With a comfort known as something done repetitively over and over again. A great sense of satisfaction that all becomes and is second nature.

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The Crane    Xian Old City

Remain simply within the oneness of everything and pursue nothing ethereal as the reclusive sage. Complete with the knowledge of the Tao and understanding what it means. Remember from where you have come. As we are here to remind you of where you will return with us. Everything is here within yourself to rediscover and relearn. Keep to the open road as the Perfected Man and know immortality can only follow.  4/12/94

71.      With Lieh Tzu Leading the Way

As always Lieh Tzu, my brother, has changed his tune in immortality. While a reclusive sage on earth he now leads the way.  Laughing at the others.

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Bamboo  Wangjianlou Park

Hoping as always to instill bits of  wisdom into their eternal  endeavors. As he is now found flying circles around the the dragons all assembled. Ultimately showing up others who should know better than to challenge him to anything short of calling for a full  accounting for anything.

The dragons are converging with Lieh Tzu leading the charge. While others, especially Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu, stay behind taking up the rear guard finding humor in the procession.  Looking down on lesser clouds they see many who have taken up the challenge over the centuries who have heard their inner voice and traveled  far along the way to immortality’s doorstep and beyond.  A newcomer has gotten their attention.

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Wangjiang Pavilion Wangjianlou Park/Chengdu

He has listened well and conveys the words of the dragons in his writings well beyond his years.

Everything coming natural to the one they refer to among themselves as Cloud Dancing, as he seems adept to the ways of nature and has become a well-respected Master Gardener. Always tending to the ways of his garden as one eternally linked to all that the cycles encourage and in fact require.

His journey in fact is just beginning. However, great strides have the attention of all assembled.      4/12/94

 72.                              Coming Forward

Heavy clouds and rain signal that the immortals are close by. The sage into his writings off to himself and his reflections of times spent with Lao Tzu,  Lieh Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

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Three Voices   Chongqing Arhat Temple

Know and keep to humble beginnings and rest assured that all things will  follow. Be guided simply by observation, reflection  and development. Keep totally within yourself and remain patient.

Again be patient as we know  your journey is straight as an arrow with quiver and bow ready to strike its mark. There can be no rush. Simply remember what you have written. The dragons are counting on you to lead and show the way to virtue and reflect their values in your writings. Your new found friends always at your side waiting to see if you are ready to move forward. The challenge is severe. However, the rewards are forever eternal. Listen to Lieh Tzu as his stories convey the next step to follow along the way after the unity found in these One Hundred Flowers.

Keep  to the path as Lieh Tzu requests and all will flow as the salmon having hatched it’s eggs then dying as it has completed its mission and been fulfilled. The salmon’s death only a  signal that the cycle continues.

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The Ultimate  Chongqing Arhat Temple

The Tao forever intact and in control as your mentors reflect. Lieh Tzu forever remaining the symbol of the true sage abandoning all forever seemingly unnecessary to the true way. Keeping only to the Tao and bringing the  connectedness of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu into its eternal understanding for all to know and follow. Asking no questions you simply come forward to know the way.  4/ 12/94

 73.              Falling Droplets into a Clear Pool

As with a drop of water falling falling from an icicle from the roof overhang, each droplet becomes a simple reminder of who we are and from where we came.

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Supreme Sacrifice Qingcheng Mountain

The most important aspect of the journey is being able to clear your mind and remain still. Simply to become a transparent pool after the ripple of the water fades into nature’s memory. All the while knowing that the pool will barely catch its breath before the next  droplet comes again and again.

Clearing one’s mind for new beginnings and dragons to  come is the supreme sacrifice to nature and the true way of eternity. Remain prepared and be found simply cultivating your garden and finding your inner compass. The dragons cannot be bothered with trifles. They shun insincere and inappropriate gestures not in keeping with the true way of virtue. Calling them for tasks beneath their status only delays ones entry and new beginnings.

As with the little  boy who cried wolf  one to many times. The end result was he was no more. The journey is ultimately only for those who come to find simply for themselves dancing in the.clouds with dragons.

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Fu Dog   Qingcheng Mountain

Remember Chuang Tzu’s words and stay  on the path of the Perfected Man and his pursuit of perfection  through daily meditation, ritual and action.

Keeping to Lieh Tzu as the sage continually developing one’s appetite for the sweetness of honey found in the Tao. Follow the teachings of the immortals. Clearing your mind as you prepare to fly away as if traveling on the wind with Lieh Tzu.  4/13/94

74.         Remaining Forever Fragile

Know that everything under heaven and earth becomes vulnerable as old structures were built to be broken. Only to be rebuilt for each generation to begin anew the journey that is to be made.

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The Yin Peacock       Jade Buddhist Temple

Change must occur. In fact to encourage change forces reality waiting to stay in your ultimate favor.

Keep to what you have learned in the balance of the I Ching and keep the forces of the elements close at hand and the dragons cannot be too far away. Be responsible to and for yourself and encourage accountability to all for all to see and know.

The forces of the elements are to be followed with the cycles of nature always in full view. With the road not traveled upon as the next stop along the journey towards the Tao and immortality. As the wind blows and the rain falls in March and April with assurances that the natural order of things will be renewed once more on your doorstep simply waiting to be taken in again.

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The Yang Peacock    Jade Buddhist Temple

Strength and sincerity are virtues that attract all who value continuity and comfort those bearing the ultimate responsibility of carrying out the natural order of things. Peace and serenity will naturally follow with others looking for their own true direction. Be always the one who can read the map to knowledge, longevity and virtue. Plant your feet firmly on the footholds of change and simply follow the proper way.  4/13/94

75.                   Keeping to the Lower Clouds

Prancing around the Tao to and fro giving life to words and meanings which otherwise would be left out in the darkness.  Bringing a sense of right behavior and wholesomeness to the effort. Lao Tzu simply sitting back watching with earnest speculation. As the ultimate paradox you must keep approaching the Tao To Ching but keep away from its intricacies.

When you are prepared for the journey the dragons will let you know. Keep Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu as your mentors until they feel you are ready to proceed.

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The Journey  Wuhan Temple/Chengdu

There is much work ahead however. Perhaps taking a year or more before the map is laid out to be traveled by this one. There are many rivers and mountains to traverse before the Tao can be attempted and fully appreciated as to where Cloud Dancing is going with all this. Stay focused only on what must be done and have nothing to do. Just remember to keep to the lower clouds…

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The Essence of Tao  Shaanxi Museum

Capturing the essence of the Tao is one thing. Being prepared to approach the Tao To Ching is quite another matter and much further along the journey. Great things are expected of this one who has caught the dragon’s attention. Too much too soon simply clutters what must be said and done along the way.

The I Ching barely complete.    4/13/94

76.                              The Eternal Spirit

Medicine men and shaman giving way to Lao Tzu and the others with their quest for immortality putting the finishing touches on the way to be forever followed.

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Visions to Come  Shaanxi Museum

Many false starts by many with good intentions and some sense of direction from signposts they have read and heard along the way. Starting strong, enthusiasm high with motivation found to follow what they feel is the way of virtue.

In the end few succeed as the centuries pass as the dragons look to add more to their company. The entry list is very short as those coming this way often fail to see the Tao as it should be seen. Thinking that it can be turned on and off like a faucet. Each wanting to come this way running. First hot, then cold and then hot again for the strength and comfort found only in the inner self along with the Tao.

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Eternal Spirits  Qingyang Temple

The desire for immortality and desire to return home again to live with dragons the driving force behind the effort that must be made.

The journey is not one that can begin and end over and over at one’s leisure.The immortal ones do not have time to waste on half-hearted efforts.They cannot be bothered. Keeping to one’s eternal spirit is the motivation to continue the journey. Learning and teaching others along the way.

Be happy with the road to be traveled and find comfort solely within the details.   4/13/94

77.                          Taking to the Foothills

Finding and continually maintaining one’s energy and renewal is essential in following the right path along the journey.

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Following the Correct Path                  Pu Song Li / Zibo

As a beacon of light always answering the ultimate question asked along the way. Is the path taken the correct one and is the shortest and  easiest route necessarily the proper one?

Standing on the mountain ridge studying the overwhelming panorama to be followed, two discernible paths are seen. One through traveling below where the terrain looks easy and knowledge of the way is easily defined. The other route through low foothills showing no clear signs of passage with zigzags the order of the day.

Following the path through the valley is not necessarily the best  way to proceed.

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The Exam   Pu Song Li

Renewal comes with the challenge found along the wayside. What will be learned in pursuing the easy way? The purpose of the journey is to continually question one’s motives and direction. Being willing and able to make mistakes, laugh at yourself and learn from your own foibles and forgetfulness. Take to the high road through the foothills. Leaving the low road through the valley for those ill prepared to find the peace and harmony to be found in enduring a little hardship along the way.

The purpose of the journey is choices to be made and knowing that you have made the right one.  (The above dedicated to the memory of Pu Song Li from Zibo, a fellow writer who found his way).  4/14/94

78.                                Revealing Change

Come to know change by following the patterns and cycles found in all things.

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Creating Patterns for All   Yan Hui / Qufu

Knowing all the while that change cannot be forced but only revealed. Keeping silent when showing up all those who are stuck with past indiscretions and obligations around their neck. Maintain a simple calmness found in your inner voice and always be prepared to  do the right thing by truth and sincerity. Find the the balance in everyday actions that simply occur.

Bringing change to the scene is fraught with difficulties, indifference and disaster. Security for some becoming the art of doing things only by rote, over and over again. A monotony comforted by sameness and routine.  

Terrified that something new may come along that must be learned and accounted for. Forgetting that the trick always lies in analyzing underlying contradictions correctly.

While being of no account you seek to reveal the oneness of all is done only by knowing that change must  occur and will be revealed  in the final outcome. However, avoiding accountability for the task at hand by holding onto old ways and false security leads only to vacant stares and an uneventful existence with no real  meaning.

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Confucius    Nisson Hill

Look for change in things not real thereby revealing your second nature. Reveal within yourself those attributes not supporting the road that must be traveled and endure pure joy in the process. Letting all things occur naturally and taking credit for nothing either good or bad.      4/15/94

79.    Forever Meandering Downstream

Remain as a log adrift down a slowly meandering stream. At peace and harmony with all. Knowing that as the river finds its end you will find your own place as well.

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Blue Dragon   British Museum in London

The log itself a beehive of activity with small creatures and bugs in and outside its core with birds forever flitting about. A blue jay landing to rest for a moment just to watch the scenery go by.

Forever finding ourselves. Finding our own place in the universe wholly within nature’s way for each to find and come to know. With no one’s place on the log or the log itself more important than the next.

Coming to know the seasons and the cycles they forever represent and finding comfort in the expectations that the elements constantly bring to the forefront. Always reminded that the final call as to who gets their own way is nature’s alone. Always siding with the strongest as it must be in the end.

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Dragon Pair  British Museum in London

Come to know boundaries and find the structure that is needed for everything to begin to make sense. Stay within those boundaries and be relieved of choices. As what comes forward will be only natural to your own desires. Simply by showing strength and by letting go.

There can be no river to travel or log to steady the way downstream without an awareness that we affect everything we touch and are affected by everything that touches us. As we remain forever on the journey, forever meandering downstream.   4/16/94

 80.                              Raining Ecstasy

You are constantly reminded that there can be no rush. That everything has its place and time.

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The Home of Mencius Mencius Temple  Zoucheng

Learn to have patience and simply become a part of the events swirling around you. Come to know the essence of being yourself. Find comfort in the connectedness of everything and the silence that surrounds you.

As the rain falls on an April morning delays your own plans, know that the falling rain is much more important to the renewal necessary to continue than any seemingly simple sense of self importance you may have on your own agenda. As you come about outside simply enjoying the oneness the rain brings to all things, merely find the satisfaction of being a part of it all.

Essential to the journey is not to challenge the balance of nature. But to simply know your place within the elements. While you may have seen all of this before, with every step the window of opportunity opens a little wider letting the breeze blow and the light shine on path you have to follow.

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Three Dragon Stele  Mencius Temple

Remain as the shaman and reclusive sage keeping the dragons and immortality as the uppermost dimension of your eternal spirit. Be as one with the crane and tortoise and come to know peace and longevity along the way. Keep to the lower clouds as the immortals wish and be prepared to simply look up feel the rain falling on your face and know true ecstasy.       4/16/94

81.                     Remaining  Unattached

Stay only as the sage. Unconsumed by material wealth and things deemed as unimportant to the world of the immortals.

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The Shaman   Shaanxi Museum

The dragons only look to see the progress of those seriously proceeding on their journey. Things that interfere with the progress to be made today only delays where we are going tomorrow and the time of our arrival.

Remain unattached to the seeming reality to be found in the world as it becomes expected by you by others as you proceed through your everyday endeavors. Disappear into the oneness discovered in the Tao and be found in the eternal ways of nature as nature would have it and find comfort.

Remain simply as an empty jug to be filled. Letting nothing interfere with the flow of water when it comes outside the boundaries of what is expected.

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Keeping to the Lower Clouds  Huangshen Mountain

Maintain a healthy distance between yourself and others not familiar with the ways of your journey. There is much to be said for one who only keeps to the high road forgoing that which may turnout to be injurious to yourself and others.

Remain only as before as you remember from where you came. As the reclusive sage, following the Tao on a personal quest. The agent of change through which the world comes to know balance and the eternal cosmos. Simply remembering that you have seen it all before and will again. Stay at the point of mediation with all and truly become one with them.   4/16/94         

82.                         Remaining Indefinable

Forever indefinable, an ageless knowledge beyond unity found in the oneness in all things.

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Reverence  Qingsheng Mountain

How can one possibly hope to discuss the inner workings of the Tao? How can one hope to express what cannot be said? And finally, how can one hope to write about something that cannot be described or known?

As the sage studies many years before a glimmering of knowledge and understanding comes to the surface, he approaches what was before him the first instant. Learning is simply that which is brought to the exterior of oneself. There is nothing new. Only new ways to see nothing.

The Tao is simply the ultimate source of all. The origin and beginnings of everything that forever has roots and foliage, flowers and reseeds itself. Only to begin and end over and over again. Being present at the start and being there in the end. How can one hope to come to know what cannot be known or even desire to know such a thing as the oneness of Tao?

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The Dragon as the Tao  Shaanxi Museum

What other role is there to have? Why have a reason to exist at all?  The answer is that the Tao gives true meaning and purpose to finding one’s way through the origins of the universe. Simply coming to know yourself and how you fit into the overall scheme of things is worth the cost of admission. Remain indefinable and know that the answer is in the journey itself.    4/17/94

83.   Thresholds Approaching the Edge

Approaching thresholds and new beginnings ever ready to start anew. Casting off old ways and relationships as a ship setting out on a long voyage.

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The Retreat   Old City Huangshen

Only taking what is required leaving all excess baggage behind. A cruise as such to become refreshed and renewed. Only departing with  a one way ticket over the edge.

The way ahead long and tedious with change the order of the day. You have received the dragons marching orders and are bound to follow them unimpeded and undeterred.   Events and elements only serving as a guide to show the route to be taken. Approaching thresholds as you would staying on the edge. Always challenging convention and leaving what is expected to others who unknowingly find only the unfortunate comfort of conflicting realities leading to nowhere important and things wholly uneventful.

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The World Belongs to All of Us / Sun Yet Sen Nanjing

Stay on the brink of immortality and follow the ways of the dragons. Approaching levels of attainment requires a clear mind, sincerity and purpose. Remember what you have written and learned and your travels will become a little smoother each day.

As the One Hundred Flowers comes to its end, appreciate what you have accomplished. Not for accolades that may come. But simply for the realization of what lies ahead and inside you to find. The door is opening a little wider. The real journey just beginning. Come to live and know the Tao everyday with every action you possess and pass through to new horizons. Forever keeping your head in the clouds and thresholds approaching the edge.  4/18/94

  84.                     Following Lieh and Chuang

As Lieh Tzu’s everyday man and and Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man, you may now come forward.

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Coming Forward  Xian/Shaanxi Museum

The mantle is now being placed on Cloud Dancing with great histrionics and fanfare for all the dragons assembled.

The first portion of the journey complete. Someday you may wear the clothes of one who can see through every situation for the benefit of being at immortality’s doorstep. Keep to your inner self and know that the dragons are forever your protectors and on your side.

These One Hundred Flowers have taken you to heights you had simply forgotten. Have patience and  take the time to do what must be done with Lieh and Chuang as your mentors. Keep to the I Ching and refer to what you have written as a reminder of from where you have come and what you are here to remember.

Become proficient in tending your garden as it is your balance between your mind, body and inner self as you live each moment in the Tao. Remember that repetition is the key to learning and that the discipline you need to continue on your journey with us is always present.

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The I Ching   Qingyang Taoist Temple

Great things are expected and anticipated from one with such great vision. Your ultimate key to longevity and immortality is your ability to understand underlying contradictions and turn them into success. Do not leave Lieh and Chuang to be masters by themselves with the others. Follow them and simply continue on your way.  4/18/94

 

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Your Writing Becomes You

Living each day as if you have been given the chance to see a miracle in your writing. Today, I hold the miracle in my hand. Tomorrow the miracle becomes me. 8/6/95

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Two old goats in Chengdu Qingyang Taoist Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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