Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Further obstacles up ahead

June is usually not a favorable month for investors in the KLSE. If we revisit previous years, we will see that shares prices usually drift lower or fall in June after the sell off in the May rallies. A good example will be that of 2006. However because the May rally started later than usual this year, the momentum of the belated rally help some speculative stocks and the KLCI to rise higher.

The small rally allowed yours truly to reduce the gearing over the past fortnight. Realizing some gains and cutting small losses along the way to preserve capital. In case some readers want to know my current strategy, I am still holding on to a few resilient low liners and two second board counters waiting for their announced dividends to go ex div. And there is more than enough cash in the margin account to pick them all up.

One thing good about the dividends receivable right now is that two of these profitable companies are paying a tax exempt three percent dividend. Since the market price of their shares remains below par value and if investors have bought them just a couple of months ago, the rate of the dividends works out to be more than twice of the prevailing interest payable on fixed or term deposits held with banks. Capital gains and income are what investors look for in their investments, yes?

While the KLCI has touched a few records high last week, liquidity in the KLSE has not improved much. The falls in the KLCI the past two days was caused by foreign funds selling or profit taking. And according to Reuters, Citibank has just come out with a report advising clients to sell Singapore stocks and switch to Taiwanese stocks. I wonder if the foreign funds will also switch some money out of Malaysia to Taiwan too.

According to the Yi chart, the KLSE has just started to face bigger obstacles – which explain the past two days fall - and more lies up ahead. These big hurdles have proven difficult to cross where many a good horse has stumbled or fallen, since the Bull Run in 1993. The Yi had earlier reminded me with two mild warnings about this dangerous month. And a group of my Daoist friend’s fellow disciples have already gone overseas last weekend. (Refer to earlier entries, if interested.)

Coincidence, some may say. But one would not try to second guess the Zhouyi and/or the Daoist heavenly immortals! A good hindsight cannot help anyone preserve capital or make more money from their investments. The Yi invariably teach students how to use their foresight!

Well, if regular readers who are also investors in the KLSE have reduced their gearing or are holding back some cash as suggested in my last entry on the stock market, they could be in the best of both worlds to watch at the sidelines while the bulls and the bears fight. If their stocks rise, they can take profits and if the stock market falls further or plunge, they can bottom fish or buy more of their favorite stocks. Again, do not forget about the laggard second board counters.

Perhaps, these particular investors with minimized risk can also sleep safe and sound like me every night. There is no more need to worry about interest rates hike anywhere in the world or what damage has been done to the financiers of the sub-prime mortgages in the US. Things will always be taken care of and blow over, it is just a matter of timing. And timing is what we have just discussed.


Monday, June 25, 2007

A good song for neidan study

Zhong LiQuan, one of the well known eight immortals and the teacher of Lu Dongbin, had written two songs on neidan for posterity. One of his songs, the Song of Dispelling Illusion and Rectifying Dao has recently been translated into English and made available to the public at this website: Http://

In the song, Zhong LiQuan addressed the process of neidan practice, the eight trigrams, phases of the moon, the sights seen and sounds heard during meditation, the embryo, the washing and bathing, various other important things and locations that a practitioner may need to know in order to succeed in neidan practice.

Another important area which he covered is that of ‘aside doors’ – the bypaths or byways (TTC 53.2) – which he deemed to be incorrect and/or deviant practices by many.

Earnest neidan students and neidan practitioners may find something useful in the song which they could have missed in their studies. Therefore the song is worthwhile to investigate. Practitioners must remember to verify the accuracy of the song or the translation by Silfong Tsun if they want to put the teachings into practice.

Those who are learning neidan in the web or from CDs may find that some of the claims put forth by the so called neidan masters are considered incorrect practice by Zhong LiQuan.

For example, some people eat only pine nuts or special foods. Some meditate on their dantien(s) while practising breathing skills and later found that they cannot succeed in mastering the truth of Embryo-Immortals. Some people shrink their glans penis or massage their breasts, which he considered unorthodox and inferior techniques. Day and night, some people devotedly practice their techniques at the times of Ji (11 pm to 1 am) and Ng (11am to 1 pm), which he questioned if heaven and earth have bad times.

Of the various songs and poems written on neidan, this Song of Dispelling Illusion and Rectifying Dao appear comprehensive. And I particularly like this section:

This teaching is imparted from ancestors to ancestors,
-- in such a way it comes to the present day;
The single principle of it can transform and fit all the principles of the great earth;
The instructions of Divine Immortals will never be false.

Zhong LiQuan, a heavenly immortal, is also known as the second Northern Patriarch of Quanzhen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Measure of time and space

Over the past few millennia, millions of people have tried to learn how to predict future events and their fate. Of the numerous prediction and divination systems made available today for enthusiasts, students, and masters, perhaps the most accurate and comprehensive divination system ever devised is the Book of Changes.

While other prediction and divination systems can be limited by time or space, by the use of this Oracle, no events on earth and in heaven can remain hidden for long. Not only can the Yi be used to predict fate – a number of fortune telling and astrology systems can also do that accurately – the Book of Changes, unlike those systems, also teaches Yi aficionados and/or their clients how to master their fate by overcoming time and space.

Therefore in the Great Treatise, it is said:

In it are included the forms and the scope of everything in the heavens and on earth, so that nothing escapes it. In it all things everywhere are completed, so that none is missing. Therefore by means of it we can penetrate the tao of day and night, and so understand it. Therefore the spirit is bound to no one place, nor the Book of Changes to any one form.

“We are shown here how the individual can attain mastery over fate by means of the Book of Changes. The Book can enable us to penetrate and understand the movements of the light and the dark, of life and death, of gods and demons. This knowledge makes possible mastery over fate, because fate can be shaped if its laws are known. The reason why we can oppose fate is that reality is always conditioned, and these conditions of time and space limit and determine it. The spirit, however, is not bound by these determinants and can bring them about as its own purposes require.”
[Commentary - W/B]

While many may tend to dismiss that the Zhouyi (the Zhou Book of Changes) can enable us to penetrate and understand the movements of the light and the dark, of life and death, of gods and demons, regular readers of my various entries on related Yi divinations may believe it can be or has been done.

The Chinese believe that when the spirit manifests many wonderful things can happen, one of which is Wu Wei. Chen Tuan in his manual on physiognomy (Xiang), the Mirror of Auras, mentioned that those whose spirit has manifested cannot be read.

In the Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung), it is said:

It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. Such events are seen in the milfoil and tortoise… . When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good shall certainly be foreknown by him, and the evil also. Therefore the individual possessed of the most complete sincerity is like a spirit.

Yi aficionados are fortunate to have an affinity with the Zhouyi and yet often do not fully appreciate the great wisdoms and the most accurate and profound divination system contained therein. The Great Image contains much wisdom, yet it is often ignored by students. There is no need to learn derivative systems to augment oracle interpretations and their timing. The hexagrams and/or the eight trigrams can be used to determine the time and space. Why look elsewhere?

If Yi aficionados really want to learn how to overcome time and space and to master their own fate, perhaps a good start would be to drop all prejudices which may hinder their learning or studies. To become sincere and a Junzi, we have a need to study the ancients and to cultivate.

Only with the cultivation of a Junzi, do we have a chance to manifest the spirit. With the manifestation of the spirit and when the Yi speaks, we will be able to foreknow all things on earth and/or in heaven; and thereby the means to overcome time and space.

Surely, Yi aficionados would love to be able to do just that. Who wouldn’t?


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Revelation of the Mysterious Female

They say a picture paints a thousand words. However if viewers or admirers do not understand the meanings behind the picture, it may look strange, religious, or inexplicable. Adepts down the ages are supposed to know yet many do not.

The meaning is even difficult for top class scholars to understand, yet those of the third class make misleading statements on femininity or laugh at the picture. The in betweens – the middle class scholars - not making anything out of it may keep the picture hidden.
(Refer to TTC 41)

“This picture will be found in the original edition of the Leng Yen Ching (Shurangama Sutra). But the ignorant monks who did not recognize the hidden meaning and knew nothing about the embryo of the Tao have for this reason made the mistake of leaving this picture out. I only found out through the explanations of the adepts that the Julai (Tathagata) knows real work on the embryo of the Tao.”
[Hui Ming Ching – W/B]

In case, neidan practitioners, Daoist and Buddhist scholars still do not understand the meaning behind the picture, let us see what Laozi and later adepts have to say:

Being and non -being produce each other.
[TTC 2]

The Valley Spirit die not, likewise the Mysterious Female. The door of the mysterious female is the root of Heaven and Earth.
[TTC 6]

When the heaven gate (Tai Chi) opens and closes, can you act like the (receptive and mysterious) female?
[TTC 10]

When one begins to apply this magic it is as if, in the middle of being, there were non-being.
[Secret of the Golden Flower]

Ten months the embryo is under fire.
[Hui Ming Ching]

The Zhouyi, Buddhist sutras, Daoist classics and texts, cannot be wholly understood with just the intellect. It requires penetrating clarity obtained through years of studies, related cultivation and practice. Such cultivation and practice have existed before the establishment of religion(s), is it not?
(Think Yi divinations, cultivation of virtues, and neidan meditation)

Neidan adepts having gone beyond the practice of Xinzhai, Wu Wei, and who are nearing or have reached the Center – the root of Heaven and Earth - will be able to relate their experience of the Mysterious Female. Not otherwise.

Only those who do not know, will speak or try to teach how to reach this phenomenon. The adepts who have experienced the phenomena of both the valley spirit and the mysterious female remain hidden, since they know they have yet to acquire the lucidity of a sage.

In case, one is blamed for revealing too much, one would say that nothing much has been revealed, what with the balance of the thousand words!

The truth has been lying around for the past few thousand years for earnest and sincere students to investigate. Only upon thorough investigation and cultivation can a sincere student be the right person.
(Think of the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean)

Therefore if anyone comes by without fully investigating things and ask for further clarification on the Mysterious Female, this student’s answer would be: ‘How would I know?’

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A warm welcome

A warm welcome to all readers, new and regulars, my merchant banker friends, and Daoist friend!

The friendly merchant bankers would probably still remember (upon their asking) the accurate predictions on the few hundred points fall in the KLCI – a plunge of more than 50% in a matter of months - and the fall of Maybank shares from RM 7 to RM 2 something, way back in 1998. (The plunge was because of the capital controls and the Yi indicated fall of former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.)

That got them real interested in reading the Zhouyi. As recommended, they bought their copies of the I Ching or Book of Changes [W/B] in Hong Kong.

My learned Daoist friend has finally linked up to the net recently. Hooray! It could be good news for those who want to know more about Quanzhen (Complete Reality) but they may have to wait until he gets a bit more net savvy before he directly handles mail, if any. It could also mean that one have to be more circumspect nowadays when writing about Tao and its related studies!

One had earlier wanted to recommend the Chinese translation of the blog by Google (on demand) to readers who are more proficient in Chinese. However upon reading the translated version of my latest entry on the Great Learning (Da Hsiao), I will desist for now because it contains marked mistakes – even the title of the book (the heading for the entry) had been mistranslated. Hopefully, Google will take steps to make the necessary corrections and standardized their translator programs for ancient Chinese books and classics. What with more Chinese versed in Classical Chinese nowadays reading blogs on the Zhouyi, Confucius, Laozi, and other ancients?


Friday, June 15, 2007

The Great Learning (Da Hsiao)

Known as one of the four Confucian books, The Great Learning or Da Hsiao in pinyin could be a required reading for those who want to learn more about ancient Chinese thoughts or doctrines. The thinnest of the four books, it comprise of only seven paragraphs of the thoughts of Confucius and ten chapters of commentary by his student, the Philosopher Tsang.

Despite its thin size, the book remains important, so much so that the Chinese called universities, an institution for higher or great learning, Da Hsiao.

The teacher of Zhu Xi said that “the Great Learning forms the gate by which first learners enter into virtue” and that “learners must commence their course with this, and then it may be hoped they will be kept from error.”

Wise words, just like the thinness of the book, a degree from a university provides a good starting point, a stepping stone to a lifelong journey of learning and cultivation to be a better person. A degree will also enable graduates to adequately provide for and regulate their family to be good citizens. Is it not that self cultivation, family, state, and the people form the basis of Confucian studies?

In the course of our studies or further studies, if we investigate things, our knowledge becomes complete. If our knowledge is complete, our thoughts become sincere. When our thoughts are sincere, our hearts are rectified. With our hearts rectified, we are cultivated. If our persons are cultivated, we can regulate our families. When families are regulated, the states will be rightly governed. If states are rightly governed, the whole country is made tranquil and happy.
[Paraphrase of P 5, The Text of Confucius – Da Hsiao, Legge]

If readers think that ancient thoughts do not apply to current times, carefully study paragraph 5 of the Da Hsiao and ponder.

If we look at the prevailing war in Iraq, no one in the right frame of mind or at peace would have approved the sending of troops to start an unrighteous war, had things been properly investigated? (Think Weapons of Mass Destruction and the repeated requests by United Nations for further investigations)

Since things were not properly investigated, knowledge was incomplete, which led to insincere thoughts. With insincere thoughts, hearts were ramified. Therefore families cannot be regulated (dissent abounds, even within the party), states cannot be rightly governed (Think events before and after Hurricane Katrina, US military hospitals), and the country cannot be made tranquil and happy. (Think US / UK)

Therefore the Great Learning starts off with this: What the Great Learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.
[P 1]

Things have their root and branches. Affairs have their end and beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead to what is taught in the Great Learning. (Think cause and effect)
[P 3]

From the son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides. It cannot be, when the root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered.
[P 6 & 7]

To understand the depths of humanity is not easy for students, made much more difficult for those who wish to be known as good rulers who can make their countries tranquil and happy.

Like in any university, it all starts with the proper investigation of things – better known as – diligently do the necessary homework or research! (Think of your Yi, Confucian, Daoist and/or Buddhist studies)

Only then can we become more knowledgeable and sincerely learn from our teachers, the wise, and the ancients. Not forgetting the accompanying self cultivation, to be a better person!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reduce the gearing

Just like in any trade, there are good times and there are bad times, and business can be quiet as well. If you have realized some gains during the recent short rally on low liners and the second board counters in the KLSE, well and good. If not, then you may have to wait a bit longer. However for those who have overbought recently, it would be advisable to sell into rallies or trim your positions since the timing is not quite right.

Expectancy of an interest rate hike in the US and/or in other countries to contain rising inflation could be ‘the talk of the town’ for the next couple of weeks. So will higher defaults in sub prime housing loans if US interest rates unexpectedly rise instead of fall. The huge increase in May home foreclosures in the US already looks frightening – a 350% rise in California and an overall 90% rise in the US, year on year.

While the ‘Sell in May’ phenomenon did not materialize (unlike in 2006 I made no mention of it this year); hedge funds had been selling down their stock holdings in the KLSE. If we look at the last few days appreciation of the USD against Asian currencies, the ‘carry trades’ funds could be switching the money to the US to buy into treasury bonds since they yield better interest rates and provide realized foreign currency gains, to cover their yen denominated loans (Yen – Ringgit / Asian currencies – USD). Remember these hedge funds have huge financial muscle, usually backed up with ‘ridiculous’ finance gearing from global banks, therefore they can move markets.

By coincidence, the Yi chart depicts some big obstacles to cross which indicate that falls may lie ahead. The reason why I recently fret on the shortened May rally! These are the times when we cannot make much even if we can see forthcoming rises and falls in the share market. It is wiser to play safe.

Therefore it is time to under weigh your stock holdings (try to hold on to good stocks and some second board counters) to preserve capital or reduce your financial gearing in case of falls caused by uncertainties. No investor, no matter how big, really likes uncertainties.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Further notes on the Heart/Mind (Xin)

The Chinese word for Xin can either refer to the heart or to the mind of a person. When ancient Chinese sages discussed humanity (ren) and cultivation, they invariably touched on this word, Xin. The difficulty arises if a translator wants to translate the word within a sentence not quite knowing if the sage actually meant the heart or the mind or even both. Complications can arise for students if they follow a wrongly translated meaning of the word by their favorite translator or various translators who do not have the requisite practice and/or deep understanding of what the sage meant.

Things that deal with the heart and mind are important matters to a human being and to students who earnestly practise. Following a wrong meaning or understanding can throw a practising student off the Path if not corrected. Take for example a student of meditation.

Did the sage meant to say empty the ‘heart’ or empty the ‘mind’ or both? Did he say still the ‘heart’ or the ‘mind’ or both?

To understand what the ancient sages really meant, we probably need to check with the writings of those who had attained the Way (the real teachers) and investigate. Since Buddhist and Daoist students in the West quite accept the popularity of Lu Dongbin, a Daoist heavenly immortal who also use the teachings of Buddha to teach neidan meditation, it may be appropriate to look into his Secret of the Golden Flower (Taiyi Jinhua Zongzhi) to discuss the understanding of the heart/mind, Xin:

On the heart : “This (lower fleshly) heart is dependent on the outside world. If a man does not eat for a day even, it feels extremely uncomfortable. If it hears something terrifying it throbs; if it hears something enraging it stops; if it is faced with death it becomes sad; if it sees something beautiful it is dazzled.” “One can make the heart move merely by running. Should one not be able to bring it to rest by concentrated quietness?”

On the mind : “When our ideas go very fast they imperceptibly pass into fantasies which are always accompanied by the drawing of a breath. Daily we draw innumerable breaths and have an equal number of fantasies.” “So then, should a man have no imaginings in the mind? One cannot be without imaginings. Should one not breathe? One cannot do without the breathing. The best way is to make a medicine of the illness. Since heart (mind) and breath are mutually dependent, the circulation of the light must be united with the rhythm of breathing.”

On the heart/mind : “While sitting, one must therefore always keep the heart quiet and the energy concentrated. How can the heart be made quiet? By the breath. Only the heart must be conscious of the flowing in and out of the breath; it must not be heard with the ears.”

In sitting meditation, we seek not to control the heart, lest it gets stifled, nor do we control thoughts since more thoughts will flow into the mind. Therefore both the heart and the mind focus on the breath (Qi). By and by, the heart is stilled and the mind emptied by the quietness and the breath.

If a neidan practitioner can quiet the heart/mind, still the heart, empty the mind, with Qi and the light and with the cultivation of bodily life, the spirit may one day manifest in the lighted room.

There is no necessity to believe what is written in this entry. Look up Xinzhai, the fasting (or emptying) of the mind, for the cleansing of the lighted room with Qi (translated as spirit) as indicated by Zhuangzi. Or look into the Neiyeh for what is written on Qi, Light, and the numinous (read spirit).

Empty the mind, still the heart said Laozi in TTC 16. Only an empty mind can be filled (TTC 22). Leihzi had advised not to restrain the mind, lest it gets injured. How could the mind be restrained if it is empty? The third line of Gen / Keeping Still in the Zhouyi advocates not to enforce quiet less the heart suffocates. The Qingjingjing (Classic of Purity) talks about achieving clarity, quietness, and stillness of the Xin.

If you still want to investigate further, research the emptiness of Heaven and the stillness of Earth in the Zhouyi. To truly understand the heart/mind (Xin) and to emulate heaven and earth is never easy and simple.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The KLSE and China's stock market

Not only does the Yi chart provide a good guide to the Malaysian stock market, it appears that the chart can also be applied to China’s stock market. It is none too surprising given that the Zhouyi originated in China more than 3,000 years ago.

2006 had been a good year of recovery for both the Malaysian and Chinese stock markets after floundering in the doldrums for a few years. Now both their stock markets considered part of the emerging markets are playing catch up to the Asian stock markets where the so called dragon economies are booming. China's stock markets are the top gainers in Asia this year followed by the KLSE. The Malaysian Ringgit also moves in line with the Chinese Yuan.

The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets of China soared to new records high last week like ‘flying dragons in the heavens’ notwithstanding prominent personalities issuing futile warnings to Chinese investors of a rising stock bubble. (Refer to The bull in China entry.)

After the new highs were recorded, her government tripled the stamp duty (a form of tax) on the value of shares transactions from 0.1% to 0.3% to temper the velocity of trades. The Shanghai market fell 6.5% following the surprise announcement.

On Monday June 4th China also advised her people to avoid speculative stocks and to invest in blue chips. Yet foreign funds took the opportunity to sell down her markets the same day and switched their funds to Hong Kong and other Asian countries. With heavy selling, the Shanghai market fell 8.26% while the Hang Seng went up higher. The sell down continued on Tuesday and the Shanghai stock market fell another 7.25% to 3,404.14 points before closing the morning off lows. However the market rebounded in the afternoon and closed the day 2.63% higher at 3,767.10 points! A quick turn around of 10% within the day. This indicates that China knows clearly what she has to do for her people, no matter what the analysts and experts think or say.

Probably these same analysts and experts have long forgotten that a majority of Chinese had to struggle to live on their minuscule USD 30 monthly pay, just twenty years ago. China had come a long way since and having enriched her people (particularly those living in the cities and urban areas), has just started to educate them on cardinal virtues (read Confucian ethics) and the ways of markets.

Meanwhile Malaysian investors may not quite notice the small rally that started on Monday May 28th until it gathered momentum last Thursday and Friday. A shortened May rally that overspills into the month of June is better than nothing.

One was rather quiet and did not want to mention that the warnings the previous week by the so called ShenXian cannot interfere with the ‘Flying Dragon in the heavens’.

From experience, most ‘ShenXian’ cannot disrupt the flow of the Yi chart and/or Yi prognostications with their words and actions unless their charisma is exceptionally strong. (Think our former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and former US President Bill Clinton.) This aside note may prove useful to Yi aficionados in their studies.

The KLSE has drifted sideways and lower for almost two months after the highs reached in early April with liquidity quickly drying up. The GT shares (remember?) had gone up almost twenty fold in April from its record low reached in end 2005. One had bought back some GT shares at slightly higher prices than those sold before the April run up. Since it was time to sell shares in early April according to the Yi chart I sold the GT shares near its 7-years high.

The share price has fallen almost 20% from its recent peak when I bought back some before consulting the Zhouyi and was told off by the Oracle for using great power (the money to buy the shares) without asking what is right. The reason for the reprimand - the shares fell another 15% (making a total of 35%) over the next few weeks before starting to rebound last week. The GT shares took a mere three days to recover 29% from its recent lows.

Does this example not go to show that the KLSE is resilient and that investors may not have to wait too long for good low liner stocks, especially those double checked with the Zhouyi, to rebound or the market to continue its rally in a bull run? It also demonstrates the importance of taking profits which can disappear in a wisp of smoke – like those witnessed end February and in April 2007, and in the recent falls of the Chinese stock markets.

With the May rally straddling into June, I wish KLSE investors good luck! Do not forget to take your profits, if you are happy with the gains. Bulls also need to take breathers, at times.

Long may the KLSE and the Chinese bulls run in 2007!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ways of a Da Ren (Great Man)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan promised on Friday to deliver surprises and insights about the future in an eagerly awaited book, but he gave little away for now beyond saying interest rates were low.

The book, to be published by Penguin on September 17, will examine his 18-1/2 years at the helm of the U.S. central bank.

Greenspan, who can still move markets with the slightest word, said he would bring to bear the lessons learned steering the world's biggest economy to discuss his views on the future in the book to be published in September.

He spoke warmly of Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain's finance minister, Gordon Brown, who is due to take over from Prime Minister Tony Blair on June 27.

"I think we're going to find the three of them hold a very great deal in common, which is going to mold a new Europe that is going to move in a more vibrant way," Greenspan said. "It's the first good sign I've seen about the long-term future of Europe."

Commenting on his past as Fed chief, Greenspan gave unusual insights into the often opaque style of communication that became his trademark in testimony before Congress.

"I got people asking questions that I couldn't and shouldn't answer because there are certain answers no matter how you phrase them and what you do have a market effect," he said.

"I found that where I got a question and got myself into a position where I didn't, couldn't and was not going to answer, I fell back into lapsed syntax and all sorts of ways in which the senator or congressman would think I was saying something terribly profound and think I answered his question."

He also said he proposed to his wife, Mitchell, five times before she realized what he was asking her."

Excerpts from: news.Yahoo.com/s/nm/

Those familiar with Confucian and Daoist studies may agree that Mr. Greenspan is one of those Da Ren that had helped shaped and influenced the economies of the world as chief of the US Central Bank.

In the interview, his modesty shines through when he praised the three new leaders of Europe. His caution in the choice of words when testifying before Congress was not dissimilar with the advice of the ancients – Laozi, Confucius, and Buddha.

Through his words and actions, it shows that he is benevolent and cares about the US and the world.

Just as indicated by Confucius, many a Junzi would stand in awe of such a Da Ren?

In line with the wisdoms depicted in the Great Image, and the thoughts of the ancients, perhaps these images can aptly describe Mr. Greenspan’s proper conduct and great achievements:

Within the earth, a mountain: The image of Modesty. Thus the superior man reduces that which is too much, and augments that which is too little. He weighs things and makes them equal.

Thunder and wind: the image of Duration. Thus the superior man stands firm and does not change his direction.

That which is bright rises twice: The image of Fire. Thus the great man, by perpetuating this brightness, illumines the four quarters of the world.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A brief introduction to the Great Image

The received text of the Zhouyi comprise of 64 hexagrams together with relevant commentaries taken from the Ten Wings. Each hexagram within the Zhouyi is laid out with a Judgment, an Image, the six lines, and the commentaries.

This Image also known as the Great Image (Da Xiang), to differentiate it from the Small Images which relate to the individual lines, depicts the imagery represented by two trigrams (comprising of three lines each) that made up each hexagram (six lines). Commentaries on both the Great and Small Images form the Third and Fourth Wings and added to the text to help explain the meaning of a hexagram.

From the study of the Da Xiang, Yi aficionados can learn how to cultivate proper conduct or virtues of a Junzi (superior man), to be more creative, to have a better understanding of the eight trigrams and their attributes, and to understand heaven and earth.

In the Great Treatise (Da Zhuan) it is said:

The holy sages were able to survey all the confused diversities under heaven. They observed forms and phenomena, and made representations of things and their attributes. These were called the Images. (Da Zhuan 8.1)

Thus the Book of Changes consists of images. The images are reproductions (of conditions in the heavens and on earth). (Da Zhuan II 3.1)

The decisions refer to the images. The judgments on the lines refer to the changes. (Da Zhuan 3.1)

The Master said: Is not the Book of Changes supreme? By means of it the holy sages exalted their natures and extended their field of action. Wisdom exalts. The mores make humble. The exalted imitate heaven. The humble follow the example of earth. (Da Zhuan 7.1)

Diviners and/or scholars often chose to ignore the Image probably thinking it is Confucian (and therefore it has nothing to do with Dao, right?) or that it is a repetition of the Judgment in the hexagram. Some who can derive no meaning from the Image has gone to the extent to nonchalantly dismiss its importance deeming it designated for kings and/or the Zhuhou of the Zhou Dynasty and perhaps irrelevant to current Yi studies!

Time waits for no one. If the jug breaks or the short rope cannot reach the water in the well after decades of studies, nothing comes to fruition. Only a detailed and comprehensive study of the Book of Changes and of ancient thoughts allows a deeper understanding of the Yi and/or its messages.

Without a proper understanding of the Image, students, diviners, experts, and scholars may not really understand the oracles, their prognostications, and the wisdoms contain in the Zhouyi. We would not become wise or a Junzi, if we forego: part of the required learning, the necessary cultivation and practice, and the thorough investigation of things. (Think The Great Learning)

The following selected Images from the Zhouyi will perhaps suffice to underpin this brief introduction on the Great Image (Da Xiang):

The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring. (Qian)

The earth’s condition is receptive devotion. Thus the superior man who has breadth of character carries the outer world. (Kun)

A spring wells up at foot of the mountain: The image of youth. Thus the superior man fosters his character by thoroughness in all that he does. (Meng)

Heaven within the mountain: The image of the Taming Power of the Great. Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby. (Da Zhu)