Monday, June 27, 2005

Hexagram 48 Ching / The Well (Part II)

Today I have sold off a third of the shares bought when the Yi answered the question on the investment with Hexagram 48 Ching / The Well unchanging. The capital gain was about 47%. If I had sold the shares at the top, last Friday the capital gain would have been 62%. Not a bad investment considering a short holding period of three weeks. One will dispose of the balance two thirds by this week as the following two weeks may not be so good for the share market (those who are well versed with the Piqua may know what I am hinting at).

The gist of this short entry is to show that whenever the Yi talks to you take the necessary action(s) as guided in the prognosis and then cheerfully wait for the outcome. Then again it boils down to the divination and interpretation skills and your experience. Work on them earnestly, sincerely and perhaps one day, just like the Ancients, you can divine like a spirit (shen).

To be able to divine like a spirit, the diviner must have the most complete sincerity.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Light

At the earlier stages of meditation darkness pervades within and blocks the sights. Only when quietness is achieved, and the qi made to clean the resting place of the spirit can one see the Light. So what is this light? This light according to Lu Dongbin is not in the body alone, nor is it only outside the body.

“Mountains and rivers and the great earth are lit by sun and moon; all that is this light. Therefore it is not only within the body. Understanding and clarity, perception and enlightenment, and all movements (of the spirit) are likewise this light; therefore it is not just something outside the body. The light-flower of heaven and earth fills all the thousand spaces. But also the light-flower of the individual body passes through heaven and covers the earth. Therefore as soon as the light is circulating, heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, are all circulating with it at the same time.” (The Secret of the Golden Flower [W/B])

In the Leng Yen Ching, Buddha elaborated on how to examine the Light in the midst of darkness to progress further in the meditation.

“Who uses well his light, reverting to its (source so) bright, will from his body ward all blight, and hides the unchanging from men's sight.” “He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and close the portals (of his nostrils). He will blunt his sharp points and unravel the complications of things; he will attemper his brightness, and brings himself into agreement with the obscurity (of others). This is called 'the Mysterious Agreement.'” (Tao Te Ching [J Legge])

Hexagrams 1 Heaven, 24 Return, 30 The Clinging, Fire, 33 Retreat and 36 Darkening of the Light, provide examples of the light and where good (the light) eventually triumphs evil (the dark). When Qian (the Light) and Kun (the Dark) keep their respective places there will be peace on earth, but chaos arises when Kun (Yin) tries to overturn Qian (Yang).

Surely the ancients and immortals know much more than anyone about the Light (yang) and the Dark (yin). Yet they prefer the Light.

If you ever imagine how a ‘pure being’ or a ‘divinity’ will look like, perhaps you may understand why the Light (yang) is ever so important. But one never really knows until that state of being has been reached?

(Relevant entries to this topic are “Light and Dark Forces (April 23)” and “Yin Yang (March 30)”.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A further note on Hexagram 44 Gou

Hexagram 44 Gou / Coming to meet

The Judgment:
Coming to meet. The maiden is powerful. One should not marry such a maiden.

The rise of the inferior element is pictured here in the image of a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself and thus seizes power.
The inferior man rises only because the superior man does not regard him as dangerous and so lends him power. If he were resisted from the first, he could never gain influence. [W/B]

1) The rise of the inferior element; a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself; and the inferior man; all represent the yin line that replaces the first yang line of the Qian hexagram (which comprises of six yang lines).

2) If this yin line is not checked in time, then more yin lines could follow and eventually all the six yang lines will be replaced by yin lines consequently changing Qian into Kun. This would be in line with the Piqua (twelve monthly hexagrams) sequence. As the next hexagram after Gou will be 33 Tun / Retreat where the first two lines are yin lines and the remaining four yang lines are forced to beat a retreat.

3) In my earlier note, one has used the bold girl example to tie up the relationships between Hexagram 44 with line three of Hexagram 4 and which differs from the girl depicted in Hexagram 31. Under different circumstances, the image of the inferior element or an inferior man can be used too.

4) The hexagram also depicts the meeting between a strong and central assistant (second line) and a strong, central, and correct ruler (fifth line). A great flowering results, and the inferior element (first line) below can do no harm. Thus this is an important time, the time of the meeting of the light and the dark. (Book III)

5) The importance in the timing of the meeting between the light and the dark could allude to inner alchemy practice.

6) Those who are unfamiliar with the entire Piqua sequence can look it up at Steve Marshall’s Yijing Dao website located at the Resources link.

7) Hilary is organizing a webinar, “an online seminar” this Saturday. The speaker is Dr. Margaret Pearson. One of the several questions to be asked will be on this hexagram. Those interested in the seminar can obtain further details at the Answers link.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A note on Hexagram 44 Gou / Coming to meet

There is an interesting ongoing discussion in Hilary’s Answers blog on this Hexagram 44 under the topic of “Taking a woman”. Those who like to join in the discussion can do so by clicking onto “Answers” under the Links section. The following is my post in the discussion:

Yes, Ma Xia is right. Gou does mean sexual intercourse.

For a refreshing Daoist point of view on Hexagram 44, “A highly sexed female is to be avoided at all cost since the male’s sexual energy will be exhausted quickly and can lead to an early death.” That is according to my ‘coconut’ Daoist friend.

Hexagram 44 Gou comes immediately after Hexagram 1 Qian in the Piqua (twelve monthly hexagrams) sequence and it depicts the entrance of a yin line replacing the first yang line of Qian; therefore a warning in the judgment relating to this line.

The image of a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself does not speak well of her (similar to the third line of Hexagram 4) as compared to the girl depicted in Hexagram 31 Hsien / Influence where through mutual attraction the strong man takes a position inferior to that of the weak girl and shows consideration for her. Remember Gou talks about sexual intercourse whereas Hsien talks about courtship (and restrain on seduction). Therefore the favorable judgment in 31, ‘To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune’.

A comment on Hexagram 4 line 2. The line also depicts the firm son taking over the household from the compliant master of the household (Book III [W/B]). Therefore consideration has to be given to women in the household (Book I) just like his father did, as the Chinese like to have the whole family or extended family living under one roof, then and now.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A note on 48 Ching / The Well

One had consulted the Yi fourteen times over the past twenty months and the Yi answered four of the questions with Hexagram 48 Ching / The Well. By coincidence, on all four occassions, the questions were for investments in shares and the hexagram appeared twice in October 2003 and twice again last week. Of these four occurrences, the first prognosis had a fifth line changing while the second had a top changing line. The third prognosis has both the third and the fifth lines changing while the fourth and last has no changing lines. From experience, one knows that The Well is a good hexagram for share investments. But does the Yi want to say something more with the frequent repetitions of this hexagram?

The Judgment
The Well. The town may be changed, but the well cannot be changed. It neither decreases nor increases. They come and go and draw from the well. If one gets down almost to the water and the rope does not go all the way, or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.

Appended Judgments:
The Well shows the field of character. The Well abides in its place, yet has influence on other things. The Well brings about discrimination as to what is right.

The Image:
Water over wood: the Image of the Well. Thus the superior man encourages the people at their work and exhorts them to help one another.

Third line:
The well is cleaned, but no one drinks from it. This is my heart’s sorrow, for one might draw from it. If the king were clear-minded, good fortune might be enjoyed in common.

Fifth line:
In the well there is a clear, cold spring from which one can drink.

Top line:
One draws from the well without hindrance. It is dependable. Supreme good fortune. [W/B]

1) The Judgment contains two warnings, ‘If one gets down almost to the water and the rope does not go all the way, or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.’ The first is that a man may fail in his education to penetrate to the real roots of humanity and remain fixed in convention. The second is that he may suddenly collapse and neglect his self-development.
2) The appended judgments and the image are disclosed to provide additional layers of understanding.
3) For a moment there, one thought the Yi was lamenting (third line) but not so as there have been some changes. One has already sold the particular investment bought last week (upon the third prognosis) for a 45 % capital gain this week.
Thanks to both Joel writing about me in his Biroco blog and Hilary writing in her Answers blog about some entries here, there has been a noticeable increase in readers lately. Hopefully readers can come to share their experiences and allow others to partake from the well. Do note that the Resources links are also Wells.
4) One of the attributes of water, wisdom is clearly depicted in this hexagram. Learning from the wise is like drawing and drinking clear cool water from the well (fifth line). Anyone can drink from the well and yet the well never runs dry (top line).
Perhaps Laozi had this hexagram in mind when he wrote in Chapter 8 of the TTC that the highest excellence is like water and that water benefits all things. (Also see below.)
5) Water nourishes wood (the Well) and wood nourishes fire (the Cauldron). Both hexagrams depict how humanity can be nourished. Consequently we can learn from the deep wisdoms contain in both hexagrams for our self and spiritual development.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Center

The Tai Chi (Supreme Ultimate) symbol comprises of Yin and Yang to represent Dark and Light; Earth and Heaven; respectively to depict what Laozi said (about the Gate) in Chapter 6 of Tao Te Ching; and within yin there is yang and within yang there is yin to depict the law of changes. The Ancients (Daoists, Buddhists and Confucians) exhorted in their writings or teachings to cultivate both the circle (heaven) and the square (earth) to achieve this center. Later adepts promoted the need to cultivate essence (heavenly/hsing/human nature) and bodily life (earthly/ming/ life) to attain Tao. They also emphasized the need to study and learn from the Book of Changes (Yi).

In the Yi, the dragon is used to depict the entire Hexagram 1 Qian (The Creative, Heaven) and the mare to depict Hexagram 2 Kun (The Receptive, Earth) because the dragon belongs to Heaven and the mare to Earth. Both follow their own nature. Heaven represents the Light (Yang) and Earth represents the Dark (Yin). Heaven leads and Earth follows. Heaven creates and Earth receives. (Understanding their deeper significance can assist in the progress of one’s cultivation consequently the ancients share more thoughts on these two hexagrams than other hexagrams.)

Qian and Kun together with Hexagram 29 Kan (representing water and Moon) and Hexagram 30 Li (representing fire and Sun) form the Cauldron, Furnace, and Medicines in neidan practice. After Kan and Li copulate, the Golden Flower appears. Once the Golden Flower crystallizes the embryo is formed. The embryo needs daily nourishment and warmth to grow. This is where the washings (on the control path) and the baths (on the function path) become warm. If one is the right person, after ten months of sustained nourishment the embryo will finally appear on top of the head. This state is what Daoists termed enlightenment and where Buddha named the embryo, the Son of Buddha. Upon full enlightenment (Nirvana), the Daoist adept becomes a heavenly immortal and the Buddhist adept becomes a Buddha.

In their writings, none of the holy men and adepts disclose the location of the center. Over the thousands of years, numerous metaphors were created to describe it and its location. This invariably confused many ‘not so bright’ students and self taught practitioners as only the right person(s) can locate the center. What can be said with certainty is that the center is not located outside but within; the only way to locate the center is through qigong meditation, as indicated by Laozi, Guan Yinshi, Zhuangzi, numerous neidan adepts and immortals in Daoist texts throughout the ages.

Not forgetting about cultivating bodily life, fellow travelers will do well to practise qigong meditation earnestly and diligently if they want to locate the center.

1) As the meditation skills improve, the heat generated by the Qi flows and circulation of the Light can sometimes be unbearable hot. (Softer skin along the path of the flows/circulation can occasionally get singed.) The heat created is to melt the so called medicines. Perhaps neidan adepts’ use the metaphoric terms Cauldron and Furnace, compared to physical ones used in Waidan practices, to better represent the fire process and levels in qigong meditation.

2) The copulation by Kan and Li, because of their various attributes and metaphysic meanings in Daoist texts, is sometimes misinterpreted by neidan practitioners to represent physical sexual intercourse between a male and female. This incorrect concept may have been further exacerbated by the Eastern Sect (Ming Dynasty) and later by the Western Sect (Qing Dynasty).

3) It appears that both sects disbanded shortly after the demise of their respective founders who claimed that they had met Lu Dongbin and that it was he who taught them. Both founders had also capriciously written and rewrote the life history and works of Lu Dongbin. [More information on the two sects can be found at the Taoist Culture and Information Centre by clicking on the 'Taoism' link provided under Resources.]

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Back to basics

A Chinese saying, ‘Not yet know how to walk; yet want to run’ may be applicable to some who tried and failed to delve deeper into Ancient thoughts contained in the Yi. Quite often we tend to forget what our teachers taught. It is from the basics that we build our foundation upon. With a solid foundation our knowledge will not founder while we gradually progress deeper into the studies of the Yi. Occasionally we discuss our understandings with likeminded fellows in forums or in casual meetings to learn more. As one progresses one reads a wider field of related subjects to increase one’s knowledge. One also tries to put into practice what one learns and by this practical experience one’s knowledge naturally deepens. (The same is applicable for Daoist and Confucian students.) Do follow the wisdoms contained in the Yi.

“The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby.” (Hexagram 26 The Image [W/B]) ‘The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.’

The West is spoiled for choice with so many available Yi translations in bookstores or in the web. However, few translators have the required depth of knowledge in Chinese culture and history to translate something as great and profound as the Yi, compared to the Richard Wilhelm/ Cary Baynes translation and commentary where the dedicated Wilhelm was assisted by his teacher, Lao Nai-hsuan an acknowledged scholar in China of his time. According to Carl Jung, even the translation by the renowned sinologist James Legge, a copy of which he has used for years, was ‘inadequate rendering’ compared to Wilhelm’s. Therefore to start with, it is important to select the good translations to use for your studies.

Lately, it has been apparent that some students of Jung, a respected master both in the West and the East, have cause to remember his teachings and what he has said. In his 1930 address to the memory of Wilhelm he mentioned by passing ‘how a prognosis obtained by Wilhelm, was fulfilled to the letter and with unmistakable clearness “in less than two years”. This fact could be further confirmed by many parallel experiences’, he said.

As translators of the Yi, Jungian ‘students’ could at least be firm and not evasive in the introduction to their translation. They cannot assume what the Yi can or cannot do nor whether the Yi can tell the future or not. Like Jung, they could have easily written from their divination experiences. Not assumptions. Do they really want Yi students to learn divination by assuming on assumptions or work on guesswork?

If you have not done so recently, it may be time to reread the Yi again. You may learn something new, as the memory is refreshed. Back to basics by reading and rereading the right books and translations, shall we?

Monday, June 13, 2005

For those who are oppressed

Almost eight years has gone by since the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and yet many of those badly affected still live in quiet desperation. Across Asia tycoons, millionaires and the working class alike had been affected by the meltdown where market value of shares, properties, and monetary values tumbled into bottomless pits followed by liquidations of businesses and consequently innumerable loss of jobs. Once well known tycoons and numerous millionaires across Asia turned into paupers almost overnight. The lucky few count their blessings although they still struggle under the weight of restructured debts.

Occasionally one come across news on how the distressed cope with their lives; former Thai millionaires selling sandwiches in street corners; the South Korean ones spend most of their time on the net; the negative net worth of properties (that is properties worth less than their mortgage) in Hong Kong; former tycoons having their houses sold under public auctions; Malaysians hiding in foreign countries to avoid arrest for theft of public property or charges of fraudulent practices. The latest news on the long forgotten crisis was that a former governor of the Bank of Thailand was found guilty of causing the loss of his country’s entire foreign reserves to defend the Thai Baht. He was ordered to repay the losses and more! It was after all the unprecedented fall of the baht, pegged to the US dollar that startled the Asian financial markets, caused the huge exodus of foreign funds and withdrawal of credit by international financiers. The severity and magnitude of the falls in asset values across Asia within a short spate of time caught entire nations by surprise.

For those who are or still being oppressed, one would like to share the following thoughts taken from Hexagram 47 K’un / Oppression (Exhaustion):

The Judgment
Oppression. Success. Perseverance.
The great man brings about good fortune. No blame.
When one has something to say, it is not believed.

Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the time being outward influences is denied him, because his words have no effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and sparing of words. [W/B]

1) The commentary that accompanies the judgment is in line with what Laozi and Confucius taught in the Tao Te Ching and the Confucian books respectively.
2) The outward influences denied to a person fallen from grace is no different from those affected throughout Chinese civilization- examples are aplenty in the Records of the Historian (Sima Qian). It is a fact of life.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Yi on the expulsion of a Quanzhen immortal

Daoists may be surprised to hear that a Heavenly immortal has been expelled from Quanzhen. In this case more surprisingly as it involves a well known Daoist immortal, and one of the five Northern Patriarchs of Quanzhen. No, it was not Donghua Dijun, Zhongli Quan, Lu Dongbin or Wang Chungyang but Liu Haichan, a student of Lu. One of Liu Haichan’s students, Zhang Ziyang was the progenitor of the five Southern Patriarchs.

A few months ago my Daoist friend and I were discussing on some alchemy practices taught by Liu Haichan. It was then when he mentioned that Liu has been expelled from Quanzhen for quite sometime. When he first heard about it from a Quanzhen temple in Hong Kong, he was surprised too and he did venture to ask why. But his ancestor master, a Heavenly immortal, just told him not to ask. Out of curiosity and as requested by my friend, I recently ask the Yi the reason for the expulsion. And this is what the Yi has to say:

11 Tai / Peace

The Judgment
Peace. The small departs, the great approaches.
Good fortune. Success.

The Image
Heaven and earth unite: the image of peace.
Thus the ruler divides and completes the course of heaven and earth;
He furthers and regulates the gifts of heaven and earth, and so aids the people.

The way of the superior man is waxing; the way of the inferior man is waning. In the world of man it is time of social harmony; those in high places show favor to the lowly, and the lowly and inferior in their turn are well disposed toward the highly placed. There is an end to all FEUDS.[W/B]

1) Although Yi’s answer contains no line changes, the second line refers to factions and clich├ęs.
2) Also check out the relationship between the third line and the top line.
3) The top line explained the FALL and the ‘possibility’ of a return to the fold?
4) The expulsion confirms that even heavenly immortals have to constantly and continuously cultivate.
5) Although the nuclear trigrams indicated something more, out of respect, it is not appropriate to mention it here.
6) Perhaps the expulsion was the only way to end the feud and/or transgression, so that peace reigns once again on Heaven and Earth?
7) My Daoist friend has no objection to the posting of this entry as it was my question.
8) Time to go wandering.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

18 Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Decay) (Part III)

The wind blows low on the mountain:
The image of DECAY.
Thus the superior man stirs up the people and strengthens their spirit. [W/B]

On Tuesday, June 7th the Junzi (superior man) in the form of our Prime Minister finally came out to confirm that the rogue traders and the sudden withdrawals of share margin financing by banks had caused the recent plunge in share prices. He had called upon the National Bank last week to have a word with local bankers who thereafter held the press conference as reported in Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Part II).

The Prime Minister also took to task one of the local major banks which appeared at the said press conference why it had increased its non margin able shares list from 20% to 50% of all counters quoted in the share market as included in the list were many companies that are healthy and profitable. (Surely the sincerity of the bank is questionable under the circumstances.)

He also mentioned that there were no good reasons why banks which had suffered losses caused by inappropriate financing of overvalued shares of a company (refer to entry on Work on what has been spoiled) should at short notices pull credit lines off other investors and major shareholders of other companies. With insufficient time to arrange alternative financing, many of these investors and major shareholders had their shares forced sold and as a result suffered heavy losses over the past two months.

He is now leaving it to the regulating authorities to propose ways to deal with the problem. (Sounds much like the fifth line of Hexagram 18?)

His (much awaited and welcomed) announcement and reprimand were splashed on front pages of the national and business newspapers. This was good enough to comfort the investing public that the regulators will finally do something positive to shore up and bring back confidence to the depressed share market. The investors, including yours truly, supported his actions by buying the shares that were battered recently for no exceptional reasons except those explicitly stated.

By his actions, it appears that the Junzi has brought the unfolding of Hexagram 18 to its end? [Also compare what he has done with the above Image.]

The Yi had also told me earlier this could be the right moment (cue) to buyback some shares.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Part II)

Subsequent to a meeting between the authorities overseeing our Stock Exchange, at a press conference last Thursday evening, the local major banks collectively came out to blame the syndicates (rogue traders) which manipulated certain shares to non sustainable (overvalued) prices and denied that they were withdrawing credit lines that had caused the recent plunge in share prices. There was nothing wrong with most of the companies whose shares plunged to their lifetime lows, they said. These local banks then went on to announce that they can provide margin facilities for those shares that the foreign banks are no longer financing!

With this vote of confidence and more importantly the availability of fresh or extended credit lifelines, the overall share market went up for two consecutive trading days (last Friday, June 3rd and today).

Things are looking up, but the Yi tells me to store up energy and rest until the right time for action to buyback the shares sold in March. Therefore one holds firm and wait cheerfully for further developments, by the relevant authorities and at the ‘foreign’ front, to work on what has been spoiled?

To be continued.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Focus on the breath

More and more people know the benefits of a quiet and empty mind, and are turning to meditation to achieve this state of mind, learning either from masters, books and websites or from friends. If done properly, meditation is good for relaxation of the mind and body, improved concentration, health and spiritual development.

One of the main problems beginners' faces when they sit down to meditate is that of arising thoughts. There are many ways to handle thoughts that come up during meditation. An effective way is to see where the thought began and where it fades while you focus on the breath. By this way, the beginner and/or the serious student will allow the heart to be steady.

Focus on the breath by listening with your ears. If there is a tone, the breath is rough and superficial. Only when the ears cannot hear the outgoing and in taking of the breath, will the breath be light. When the breath is light, the heart is light. When it is light, the heart is in a quiet state and steady.

Focusing on the breath can also be used for contemplation and qigong (breath control) meditation.
(For Zen meditations please also refer to Note 9 of Chan Master Cijao’s writings. Link provided in the entry on A sitting meditation.)