Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wide learning required

Once again one has erred on overestimating Western scholars’ knowledge on Tao and its related studies. Perhaps if my Daoist friend asks again, one would rather say that I do not know about what they have learned.

Although sad upon reading a post in Tao Speaks, it was not surprising when one Daoist scholar warned that Zhouyi divinations can be considered heresy to Tao learning. Apparently another scholar has published a similar remark on the web too. By quoting Zhuangzi, the Neiyeh and Huainanzi it seems the quotations would support his theory that Daoists with Shen (Spirit) will be privy to Heaven secrets, and therefore Zhouyi divinations can distance people from Tao.

Ha, how would these scholars know?

Have they reached or know someone who has reached that required Shen (spirit) state to hear Heaven secrets to substantiate such a belief? Perhaps to reach that pure state of mind they may need a long time to cultivate their essence through meditation. If it was so simple many neidan practitioners could have reached that state.

One has heard of mediums or spiritual masters who have direct link to divinities who would reveal some heaven secrets from time to time. But without help from the divinities how could they know. On the one hand these scholars prefer not to be seen as religious or superstitious but on the other hand they are happy to jump on the bandwagon to deride a few thousand years old tradition of Zhouyi divinations. Since through such divinations, heaven secrets and omens can be known.

Maybe these particular scholars have discounted ancient sages like King Wen, Jiang Ziya and Duke Dan of Zhou deemed more knowledgeable than Laozi and Confucius.

Can the knowledge of Zhuangzi and Prince Liu An of Huainan be really compared with those great sages?

Perhaps they think that Jiang Taigong is not Daoist? And that he together with King Wen and Duke Dan by propagating the Zhouyi do not know what is good for the Chinese? And had perhaps unwittingly also created heresy to Daoist learning?

These scholars may know about the Neo Daoists, yet they have ignored that most of the learned during the time studied the four Confucian books and the five Classics (which include the Zhouyi) before going onto Daoist studies. Among the renowned Neo Daoists versed with the Book of Changes were Wei Boyang and Chen Tuan whose related works on the hexagrams and trigrams were studied in detail by Daoists and Confucians until today for their cultivation of essence and bodily life.

Without the requisite knowledge of wide learning of Chinese culture and practices these Western scholars chose to ridicule Zhouyi divinations. It is quite obvious what class of Daoist scholars they belong to, pretending to know more than they do. So what can one say to these scholars?

Perhaps read more Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist texts, and stop spreading superficial theoretical Daoist beliefs on the web, please?

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