Sunday, July 31, 2005

Which is shen?

There is an interesting ongoing discussion on the term, Shen (spirit) at the Tao Speaks forum. (Website provided at the Links section or the Dao House under Resources link.)

In Chinese tradition, shen can mean spirit or deity (god).

The discussion brought to mind my recent discussion with my learned Daoist friend whether in relation to neidan practices, the ancients and the Daoist immortals had actually described (instead of alluding to) which is shen? If they have, then one would not have to guess anymore.

So in inner vision, which is actually shen? Is shen the Light, the luminous cloud (s), the sun, the moon, the silvery moon, the various colors or even the golden elixir? Just like the students, masters, and adepts, your guess is good as mine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

'Thermal healing'

Fellow travelers after some years of neidan practice may reach the stage where the Qi flows continuously within the body, twenty four hours a day. They will then feel the heat or warmth all over the body, limbs, head and face from these flows. (The presence of heat or warmth is additional to the tingling sensations commonly felt by practitioners including Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan experts.)

This natural heat generated by the qi flows can be harnessed to speed up healings and bring quick relief to minor ailments such as bruises, swellings, cuts, muscle aches, stiff necks, and sprains either for self or others. Over the years, one has also found that this heat is also effective against viral infections of the throat; especially those flu related viruses which doctors invariably treat with antibiotics.

The way to utilize the heat is to gently place a hot palm above the bruises, swellings or cuts (including stitched cuts, whether recent or fresh) for a couple of minutes before replacing it with the other palm. This also allows the heat to help disperse blood clots, if any, in and around the affected area. (Gently rub the affected area with the fingers or the palm in a circular motion if the affected area is black and blue.) One usually starts with the right palm, although both palms are equally hot, before replacing it with the left palm. This rotation will allow the heat to be regenerated in the other (free) palm. The 'thermal' treatment is more effective if the bruises, swellings or cuts have been cleansed and treated with medical balms beforehand. The heat applied this way will help reduce pain and speed up the natural healing process for bruises, swellings and cuts.

For the relief of muscle aches in the limbs, stiff necks and sprains, one will use the above 'thermal' method followed by a brief and gentle massage with both hands over the affected area. Remember that the heat is more important than the massage.

However you have to stop the massage immediately if your forearms’ muscles suddenly turned taut. It means that ‘wind’ (usually located in the limbs) from the patient’s rheumatism has crossed over to your arms. This may occurred if the 'patient' is elderly and your qi is not strong enough. If the cross over happens, stop altogether; shake both your forearms and flip your hands from side to side continuously for a few minutes. If the muscles still remain taut, use one hand and qi to push the ‘wind’ down from the elbow to the fingertips of the other hand to expel it. (Then work on the other forearm in a similar fashion.) Any remains of the ‘wind’ will be expelled when you next practise your meditation. If you are obligated to help the same ‘patient’ again (as it could be your loved ones or a good friend), do so only after a few minutes of meditation. The meditation will strengthen your qi.

To cure any onset of a sore throat or coughs, gently place your hot palms on the affected area for a few minutes. Then place the palms around the neck; sides, front, and back. Thereafter place a palm below the chin for ten to twenty seconds before replacing it with the other palm. Work on the affected area again briefly and that is all to it. The sore throat or coughs will mysteriously disappear the following day after a good night's sleep. My family and I have not suffered a full blown flu for the past few years using this new found ‘cure’ for the common ailment.

The above self taught methods arose from my own experiments over the years after analyzing how Buddhas heal with the heat and the Light. (Refer April 21 entry on Buddhas rest under trees.) One has found these 'thermal healings' to be effective. Please take note that there is no transfer of qi to the ‘patient’, just the use of natural heat present in both palms to quicken the natural healing process within the body.

The likely drawback as explained above is that the qi of the practitioner may not be strong enough to block ‘wind’ from rheumatic ‘patients’. Therefore it is entirely up to fellow travelers whether or not they want to try the methods out for themselves. If you ever decide to give them a try, please take care not to think about the qi or attempt to transfer the qi to the ‘patient’.

Qi healing is not recommended for these minor and superficial ailments, and should only be done with much caution and constant feedback. Consequently, please leave qi healing to those with years of experience or the experts.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Did the Yi indicate this?

On Thursday July 21 2005 suspected terrorists again tried to bomb three underground trains and a bus in London. Fortunately this time, the bombs failed to explode therefore no one was hurt. This failed bombing followed on the heels of the 7th July bombing of three underground trains and a bus in London which killed fifty six people and injured some 70o. July 7th happens to fall on a Thursday too.

By coincidence, the March 11 2004 bombing of four crowded rush hour commuter trains in Madrid, Spain also occurred on a Thursday.

Although the September 11 2001 ‘bombing’ of the twin towers and Pentagon was on a Tuesday and not on a Thursday, there seems to be another coincidence which could be of significance; that of four targets (and four groups), which the four hijacked planes were intended to crash into. The fourth and last plane however crashed on vacant land.

Let us summarize and analyze the incidents:
1) Four targets crashed into (with planes hijacked by four groups) in USA.
2) Four targets in Madrid bombed (by four groups) on a Thursday.
3) Four targets in London bombed (by four individuals) on a Thursday.
4) Four targets in London ‘bombed’ (by four individuals?) on a Thursday.

These terrorists’ modus operandi seemed to be the ‘bombing’ of four targets, each time using four groups of people or four individuals. One is sure the US and European authorities would have analyzed that and the coincidental Thursdays by now. However, within the context of this blog, the question is did the Yi indicate the number, four, in the omens given to me earlier?

Kun was the hexagram given by the Yi in both the omens on the September 11 2001 incident, and on the Another 9/11 incidents. If we refer to the Later Heaven sequence (or King Wen's arrangement) depicted in the Shou Gua on the discussion of the Trigrams (pg 269 W/B), we will find that the Kun trigram is fourth in the sequence as Chen, the Arousing is the starting point (pg 268). (The trigram, Kun also means people or groups of people as indicated in my interpretations.)

In line with the above analysis and with the benefit of hindsight, can one then say with confidence that the Yi had indeed also indicated the number, four, in both omens? Probably so, but one did miss this angle in the previous interpretations, therefore the Later Heaven sequence will be something to look at in future, as one continues to learn.

Note: This entry also serves as an update of the July 7th entry on Another 9/11 revisited.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bidding for The Mandate of Heaven

Steve Marshall has put up a new copy of The Mandate of Heaven in for open bids starting at a low reserve price. I Ching students, experts and scholars can take advantage of this opportunity to own a copy of his book at a real bargain.

The link to the eBay site is provided by Hilary at her Answers blog. Details of the bids, descriptions, and current selling prices in UK and US, together with a review by Professor Stephen Field are provided at the site.

Time is of the essence, as there are only two days left before the book goes to the current bidder.

Just in case you are wondering, and in all fairness, one may bid for The Mandate of Heaven too! I have always wanted to read The Mandate of Heaven, but the local bookstores do not stock it and its expensive selling price online proves too daunting, not counting the extra postage costs to the Far East.

So there you go each of us has a likely chance to own a copy of an excellent book, probably striking a good bargain for it too? Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A muse on Chapter 10 TTC

Over the past couple of years, one has often been stumped by what Laozi wanted to say in Chapter 10 of the Tao Te Ching (TTC). Trying to get a clearer meaning on the metaphors used, one decided to translate the chapter and post it here for comments, if any. Whatever you want to do with it, please remember I am a novice with the TTC and you have to take my translation with a bit of salt.

One appends the translation of Chapter 10 by James Legge, a renowned translator well versed with ancient Chinese thoughts; so that readers will not be confused. It will be followed by my attempted translation together with notes on each verse or line. Readers are once again reminded not to rely on this newbie’s translation.

When the intelligent and animal souls are held together in one embrace, they can be kept from separating. When one gives undivided attention to the (vital) breath, and brings it to the utmost degree of pliancy, he can become as a (tender) babe. When he has cleansed away the most mysterious sights (of his imagination), he can become without a flaw.

In loving the people and ruling the state, cannot he proceed without any (purpose of) action? In the opening and shutting of his gates of heaven, cannot he do so as a female bird? While his intelligence reaches in every direction, cannot he (appear to) be without knowledge?

(The Tao) produces (all things) and nourishes them; it produces them and does not claim them as its own; it does all, and yet does not boast of it; it presides over all, and yet does not control them. This is what is called 'The mysterious Quality' (of the Tao). [Legge]

Carry and nourish the lower soul (po) in one embrace and not allow it to separate (from the body).
Concentrate the Qi with devotion (and you can) be soft and tender like an infant child (embryo?).
Wash away and remove the mysterious sights to make it (inner vision) flawless.
Love the country and govern people without acting (spontaneity ?).
When the heaven gate (Tai Chi) opens and closes can you act like the (receptive and mysterious) female?
Understand the four attainments with no knowledge arising. [AL]

1) The Chinese use two words, ‘Hun Po’ to represent the human soul(s). 'Hun' can be deemed the light or higher soul while 'Po' the dark or lower (animal) soul. When a person dies, Hun supposedly floats up to heaven and returns to Tao (as Shen) while Po sinks down to earth (as Kuei). When Po is separated from the body it means that the person has passed away, therefore Laozi advises to keep it within the body and to refine it?
2) Neidan adepts do look healthy and 'young'. Whenever one reads the second line of this chapter, it always brings to mind that the ‘infant child’ may allude to the ‘embryo’, a metaphor often discussed in inner alchemy (neidan). But one is probably wrong since Laozi did not mention the accompanying interactions to produce the embryo.
3) The ancients (in Zhuangzi and the Nei Yeh for example) often advised to ‘use Qi to clean up the resting place for the spirit’. Read together with the second line, this third line may contain the same allegory and that such action will enable the neidan practitioner to see clearer within? Also refer to Chapter Fourteen of the TTC for the 'inner visions'.
4) To be able to act spontaneously in life and yet do no wrong is indeed a high achievement in Dao cultivation.
5) Chapter Six of the TTC refers to the gate, Heaven and Earth, valley spirit and the mysterious female. According to my limited understanding one needs to go into the mysterious female which leads to the heavenly gate (Tai Chi) to return to Tao?
6) The four attainments could relate to lines two, three, four and five which refers to the cultivation of essence and bodily life?
7) Legge has provided a good summary in the last paragraph of his translation.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A historical note on suicides

Heaven and Earth nurture and nourish the myriad things including humans. Yet humans nonchalantly take away their own lives and/or the lives of innocent people. According to news reports, committing suicide in groups is apparently in vogue in East Asia where the misguided few get to know each other on ‘designated’ websites to plan group suicides.

Suicide is not actually a new phenomenon, as people had committed suicide in China more than 2,000 years ago.

In 496 BC, mass suicides were used as war stratagems to confound the enemy in the frontline – 300 convicts of Yue committed suicide in front of the Wu army. During the confusion, King Goujian and his Yue army together with two 500-man suicide squads won a resounding victory against the aggressor, King Holu of Wu. (Of his war strategists, Sun Wu (Sunzi) had already retired by then and Wu Zixu was ordered to guard the Wu capital together with the crown prince, Fuchai)

King Holu died of his wounds and left it to his son, Fuchai to take revenge. King Fuchai defeated the Yue army three years after his ascension. By bribing Bopi, King Fuchai’s favorite minister, King Goujian escaped death and saved his Yue state. However he had to become a slave of the King of Wu and had to suffer three years of extreme hardship before he was released and returned to Yue. Upon his return he underwent self-imposed hardships so as to strengthen his resolve to wipe out a national humiliation. It took him twenty years to make Yue strong and prosperous; all the time waiting for the right opportunity to crush Wu. When the Wu army mounted an expedition in the Central Plains for hegemony, the Yue army attacked the capital of Wu. The Wu army rushed back to save the capital but it suffered a crushing defeat and was wiped out. King Fuchai sued for peace but was unsuccessful. Overwhelmed by remorse, he killed himself. After exterminating Wu, King Goujian went on to become an overlord of Eastern China.

In the above story, perhaps you can discern the difference between a great man (who arose amidst great oppressions) and an inferior man.

But most suicides were committed out of shame – Duan killed himself in 722 BC upon the failure of his revolt against his own brother, Duke Zhuang of Zheng. So did a number of Han princes after failed revolts including one led by Prince Liu An of Huainan against their own kin, Emperor Ching. (Prince Liu An while planning a revolt had commissioned the writing of a book known as Huainanzi.)

The Grand Historian, Sima Qian had this to say: “Well does the Book of Songs say: ‘the northern barbarians should be punished, and those of Ching and Shu chastised.’ The princes of Huainan and Hengshan were the emperor’s kinsmen and ruled as princes over a thousand li of territory. Yet instead of assisting their sovereign as good vassals, they took to evil courses and plotted high treason. Thus both fathers and sons lost their land and perished themselves, becoming a laughing stock throughout the empire. The fault lay not solely with the kings, however, for the local traditions were bad and their ministers led them into evil ways. The men of Ching and Chu are reckless, foolhardy and quick to revolt, as has been recorded since ancient times.” (Perhaps herein lay a lesson for current leaders of states?)

If you ever consider taking your own life, do spare a thought for your loved ones and that of your parents. Sparing a thought for your loved ones and parents, also spare a thought for the innocent people (their loved ones and parents) before you ever decide to take innocent lives along with your death. No great religion condones a suicide let alone the murder of innocent people. Neither will Heaven condone such act (s).

Although Heaven, Earth and Sages treat people like straw-dogs (TTC 5), the Way of Heaven is always on the side of the good man (TTC 79). So whether you want to be a good man or an evil one, the choice is yours and yours alone.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A line of intuition or two

One does not know why lines appear on palms for one is not a palmist. But lines occasionally appear or grow markedly strongly ever since I started practising inner alchemy (neidan) in 1993, so much so that one decided to sketch on paper the lines on my left hand in December 1999 for further observations and analysis.

Since then, one of the so called lesser lines of the hand, the Line of Intuition has appeared on the left palm, growing stronger and clearer as time passes by. This Line of Intuition extends like a semi circle from Mercury to Luna (both mounts are below the little or fourth finger).

Cheiro, a renowned palmist, had this to say about the line:
“The line of intuition is more often found on the philosophic, the conic, and the psychic, than on any other of the seven types (of hands). It sometimes runs through or with the hepatica (line of health), but can be found clear and distinct even when the hepatica is marked. It denotes a purely impressionable nature, a person keenly sensitive to all surroundings and influences; an intuitional feeling of presentiment for others, strange vivid dreams and warnings which science has never been able to account for by that much-used word, ‘coincidence.’ It is found more on psychic hands than on any others.”

Nope, one is not a psychic, and my hands are shaped more like the philosophic or conic types, but when one is quiet and receptive, one intuitively ‘knows’ the motive behind someone’s post, words or thoughts. This could explain why one occasionally receives omens and/or heaven’s secrets from the Yi. It could also be because of the Qi flows?

But then again, as the Yi gave the first omen in 1990, one will still rely on the best explanation given by the ancients in the Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung) that is, "the one who possess the most complete sincerity can certainly foreknow and is like a spirit (shen)."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Permanent records

If you consult the Yi, it may be beneficial to keep a proper and permanent record of the divinations. Such records can be used as resources for references, comparisons and in-depth analysis if you decide to delve deeper into Yi studies. Perhaps one day they can be passed down to posterity?

My first recording of the Yi divinations in a journal was way back in the early 1980’s (replacing loose leaves records kept during the 70’s). I am now into the fifth journal started a few years ago. Each journal contains about 200 divinations. Each basic entry has the question, the date (and occasionally the time) written next to it. The answer in the form of hexagram(s) from the Yi is written beside (to the right of) the question. Below the question I write my notes and analysis of the answer.

When the Yi give omens and/or ‘heaven’s secrets’, I will write additional notes and further analysis on the opposite page (otherwise the page would be left blank on purpose) forming a detailed interpretation of the omen or heaven’s secret with regular updates (if any) of the outcome.

One finds this way of recording the divinations useful for oracle interpretations and further studies of the Yi. It keeps the mind focused on the prognosis over the next few days and allows time to ponder deeper into the issue at hand. With the divinations written and set in ink (subsequent notes can be in pencil) the records last for a long time. (Herein lays a Confucian or an ancient thought, perhaps?)

Try out this method of recording sometime if you so wish, and see if it helps in your interpretations of the oracles.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Improper conduct

There are a few attitudes I dislike about Yi students or enthusiasts who wants to be translators of their own right.

One is that they make disparaging remarks in forums on renowned Yi translators who are deceased, without the necessary evidence to substantiate why the definitive translations were in fact wrong. Mere conjectures would not suffice. Word for word translations obtained from readily available Classical Chinese into English websites would not do either. Neither would half-baked ideas of what the ancients know and can do, help in their self-serving cause to elevate their status in the discerning eyes of the Yi experts and scholars.

The worst is an attempt to disparage the definitive translations on the primary hexagrams of Qian and Kun before pouring forth with their own translations which showed a lack of understanding of the ‘Ten Wings’, Tao, Yin and Yang. Who do they really want to fool?

Another wrong attitude is the lack of integrity. If unsure of what the words meant in a line or a hexagram, please say so if you have to write something. It is alright as no one expects us to know everything about the Yi. Do not bullshit and mislead the students. Just share the experiences, knowledge and/or opinion. Students can learn from the post(s) if they so wish.

Perhaps these potential translators in line with some of the ‘New Age’ Yi translators have totally forgotten about this age old wisdom that: “To remain blameless is the highest good”?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

On time spans, trigrams and foretelling the future

Discourses on Yi studies are always good for students, experts and scholars alike to extend their knowledge on the subjects discussed. Those earnest can always take this opportunity to double check the correctness of what they have learned through self-studies, from teachers or from past discourses. It is therefore important to discern what the experts and scholars say and to learn from their divination experiences as well. If doubts still exist, then it is timely to refer to ancient thoughts on the subject matter.

Hilary recently raised two issues relevant to Yi studies in her Answers blog. One is on ‘how long does a divination lasts’ and the other is ‘whether trigrams appeared before hexagrams’? From ongoing discussions on the trigrams issue, apparently some scholars had indicated that the trigrams first appeared in the Han dynasty (around 200 BC) or later. While others say they appeared earlier.

Well, a good example of how much ancients know before the Han dynasty is a recorded milfoil divination performed and interpreted by a Zhou historiographer during the Spring and Autumn era:

The YI JING (I Ching) or ZHOU YI in the Zuo Zhuan
Duke Chuang, 22nd Year -- 671 B.C. (Legge, p. 102, col. 8 & p. 103, col. 2)

Duke Li of Chen was the son of a daughter of the house of Cai. In consequence, the people of Cai put to death Wu Fu and raised him [i.e., Li] to the marquisate. He begat Jing Zhong, during whose boyhood there came one of the historiographers of Zhou to see the marquis of Chen, having with him the Zhou Yi. The marquis made him consult it by the milfoil [on the future of the boy], when he found the diagram Guan, and then by the change of manipulation, the diagram Pi.
"Here," he said, "is the deliverance: ‘We behold the light of the state. This is auspicious for one to be the king’s guest.’ [cf. the Yi on the 4th line of the diagram Guan]. Shall this boy in his generation possess the state of Chen? Or if he does not possess this state, does it mean that he shall possess another? Or is the thing foretold not of his person but of his descendants? The light is far off, and its brightness appears reflected from something else. Kun [lower trigram of Guan] represents the earth; Xun [upper trigram of Guan], wind; Qian [top trigram of Pi], heaven. Xun becoming Qian over earth [as in the diagram Pi] represents mountains. [Thus this boy] has all the treasures of mountains, and is shone on by the light of heaven. He will dwell above the earth. Hence it is said, ‘We behold the light of the state. This is auspicious for him to be the king’s guest.’ A king’s guest fills the royal courtyard with the display of all the productions [of his state], and the offerings of gems and silks, all excellent things of heaven and earth. Hence it is said: ‘It is auspicious for him to be the king’s guest.’ But there is still that word, ‘Behold,’ and therefore I say the thing perhaps is to be hereafter. And the wind moves and appears upon the earth. Therefore I say it is to be perhaps in another state. If it be in another state, it must be in that of the Jiang, for the Jiang are the descendants of the Grand Mountain [Yao’s chief minister]. But the mountains stand up as it were the mates of heaven. There cannot be two things equally great. As Chen decays, this boy will flourish."

When Qin received its first great blow [in 533 B.C.], Chen Huan [the representative of the Gongzi Huan in the 5th generation] had begun to be great in Qi. When it finally perished [in 477 B.C.], the officer Cheng was directing the government of the state.'

The above divination and interpretation depicts the “time span for a divination” – almost two centuries (from 671 to 477 B.C.) on matters of State(s). The “usage of trigrams” for interpretation by a Zhou Court diviner was almost five centuries before the establishment of the Han dynasty. And through the divination, the Yi had “foretold the future”.

Although we can do limited research and analysis on our own, without scholars spending much time and expense to collate and document historical evidence to support their findings before eventual publications to the world, we could miss out on relevant ‘hidden’ issues related to Yi studies. This means that we still have to rely on the Yi scholars and experts to improve our knowledge. After all, to what extent do we really know about the Yi?

Notwithstanding that, we still have to discern the reliability of their findings and works?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Another 9/11 revisited

During spring of 2003, I was given an omen by the Yi which was almost similar to the one I had received prior to the September 11 2001 attack on the US. Using my favorite pseudonym, Kungming, I posted the omen in the I Ching Forum on May 29 2003 under the title of ‘Another 9/11’?

According to my interpretations of the omen, there was a difference this time (compared to 9/11) because ‘certain groups of Moslems acting as tourists or travelers were planning to blow up buildings (including museums) and trains’ this summer (of 2003). The ‘incidents’ may happen in US, and Europe (England more likely target). There will be deaths but fewer than the 9/11 tragedy. I had also advised readers and fellow posters to avoid trips to Europe, museums and not to loiter at train stations.

At the time of my post, there were a few critics and disbelievers and various names such as false prophet or prophet of doom were thrown at me. But the critics were silenced when the US authorities shortly thereafter came out with various announcements that they had reliable information on Al-Qaida’s plans to blow up bridges and derail trains that summer. And that such plot was reminiscent of 9/11.

The US and European authorities made many arrests of likely terrorists all over Europe just before summer and they also managed to arrest a ship carrying 800 tons of TNT in the Mediterranean. They were also highly vigilant that summer of 2003. It was good of the authorities providing protection and security for their people as nothing untoward happened that summer.

However the first such attack on trains occurred in Madrid, Spain on March 11 2004. Ten dynamite-loaded (TNT?) backpacks detonated on four crowded rush-hour commuter trains in Madrid killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,500 at railway stations. Today, sadly, the terrorists turned their attention to London, England. They bombed three underground trains and a bus in London killing at least 33 people and wounding hundreds.

Hopefully the US and European governments will not let down their guard and to maintain vigilance to protect and safeguard their own people. Guard the trains, train stations and do not forget about the historical buildings and museums.

The timing of the omens from the Yi has been deferred before, but to date (since 1990) none has been wrong. Therefore please be careful and vigilant, if you happen to live in Europe or US.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ancient war strategies

Of late, there seemed to be a stirring of interest (in Daoist forums) in ancient war strategies of China. Sun Wu or Sunzi would easily stand out as the best and most brilliant of the generals of the times (known as the Spring and Autumn, and Warring States era) with his widely acclaimed ‘Art of War’ comprising of only thirteen chapters. Wu Chi is another well known brilliant war strategist.

A good translation of Sunzi’s Art of War is by Samuel B. Griffith (Oxford University Press) which includes among others, commentaries from Tsao Tsao; and a section on Wu Chi’s Art of War. Tsao Tsao is of course the famous wily general depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms towards the end of the Han dynasty.

Other lesser known war strategists to the West could be Wu Tzu-Hsu who fought alongside Sunzi for their ruler, King Ho-Lu of Wu. More than a hundred years later, Sun Ping a descendant of Sunzi also made a name for himself fighting in the armies of Chi against Wei led by Pang Chuan, his arch enemy. (Both Sun Ping and Pang Chuan studied the art of war together.) Later came Han Hsin who found fame for his war strategies when he helped Liu Pang (who went on to become the first Han emperor) vanquish the armies of the then Overlord, Hsiang Yu. Such war strategists or generals helped their rulers turn the tides of war from frequent losses into resounding victories. (Records of the Historian, Sima Qian)

The best things one can learn from these strategists are that of two cardinal virtues, benevolence (ren) and righteousness (yi). Only when the ruler and his general possess these highly regarded virtues can they fight a righteous war on behalf of the common people. Otherwise be prepared for a protracted war; and go against what Sunzi advised in the first place – ‘no country has ever benefited from a protracted war’. For virtue(s) is a constant theme in ancient books and classics, and virtues form an important part of the Chinese culture, be they Daoist, Confucian or Buddhist. And what Sunzi had advised more than 2,500 years ago still rings true today, if you care to think about it.

Follow the example of Sunzi, maintain proper conduct, retire gracefully when the work is completed and peace reigns. And not that of Wu Tzu-Hsu, Wu Chi and Han Hsin who fell from grace through ‘misconduct’ and were either killed by their ruler or court enemies.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A city for Confucius and Mencius

According to the People’s Daily, China with the help of overseas Chinese worldwide will build JINING, a new city east of Shandong Province to showcase the lives and hometown of both Confucius and Mencius.

Xu Jialu, vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and chief of the construction project, said on Thursday (June 30 2005)“Confucius and Mencius, the two greatest philosophers of ancient China, symbolize the essence of Chinese traditional culture and thought”. “The construction is the best way not only to commemorate the ancient masters, but also to give people more vivid picture of Chinese culture to the world”. “And the construction plan for the city should fully represent Chinese traditional culture and carry academic research value”, he added. Probably the construction of the new city will start in 2006.

Indeed a purpose built city is a fitting tribute to these two ancients, for Confucius was only a transmitter and not a maker, who believed in and loved the ancients [Analects Book VII]. And Mencius expounded that man’s nature is good [Mencius].

These ancient sages whose Confucian teachings are still taught in schools in China (and parts of Asia) for more than two millenniums, have been misunderstood or largely ignored by those biased for whatever reasons best known to them. For such people perhaps learning has stagnated or come to a halt, since even the Neo daoists and daoist immortals have exhorted the integrated study of the Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist doctrines for self and/or spiritual development.

As usual, the effort to learn and how far to go is entirely up to the daoist or Yi student. The case is not too dissimilar to the two warnings contained in the judgment in Hexagram 48 Ching / The Well. (‘A man may fail in his education to penetrate to the real roots of humanity and remain fixed in convention; or he may suddenly collapse and neglect his self-development’. Commentary W/B)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Flying dragon in the heavens

Back in early 1993, the Yi answered a question of mine with Hexagram 1 Qian / The Creative with the fifth line changing which changed it to Hexagram 14 Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure.

Of the 64 hexagrams, perhaps the best to receive as an answer from the Yi would be Hexagram 1 Qian / The Creative. And of the six lines which form this hexagram, the best line is the fifth line, as nine in the fifth place means:

“Flying dragon in the heavens. It furthers one to see the great man.”

“Here the great man has attained the sphere of the heavenly beings. His influence spreads and becomes visible throughout the whole world. Everyone who sees him may count himself blessed.” [W/B]

As one fortunate enough to receive and experienced this “Flying dragon in the heavens” line, one is able to tell you the tremendous upsurge of feelings of pride and well being associated with the flurry of creative activities to learn, consult the Yi, analyze the hexagrams and lines, interpret the prognostications, summarized the findings and announced the correct predictions time and again to relatives, friends and colleagues. These predictions were often used to tie up with what Daoist immortals and deities had predicted either beforehand or thereafter.

Whenever one predicts the share market will rise or fall sharply it happened. Friends and relatives who rely on the prognostications and relayed the ‘messages’ to others became well sought after because of the high accuracy of the predictions. That was back in 1993 and early 1994.

One had also fine tuned the Pigua (twelve monthly hexagrams) sequence and one’s system for time calculations, as well as creating a table of 64 hexagrams for shares investment during this period of time. With further experience and analysis, one had been able to predict with certain accuracy what are the likely causes to forthcoming omens. Consequently my relatives, friends and colleagues listen when the Yi has something to say ever since. Surely these are “secret messages from heaven”!

Some related entries to this topic are: A note on Hexagram 48 Ching / The Well; Hexagram 1 Qian / The Creative; and Light and Dark Forces.