Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stand not in the middle of the mountain

This entry could be of interest to a variety of students be they Daoist, Buddhist or Confucian. Yi aficionados may learn something of use and investors in the KLSE should seriously consider the various hints given.

We have to start somewhere to learn something of value; otherwise elementary Yi students may think that the Book of Changes is only good for divinations and could continue to do so unabated in the East as well as in the West – which often lead to dropouts denouncing the Yi as ‘hocus pocus’ like the recent example of a Korean Yi student in public. Without proper guidance and deep thinking, many students probably cannot comprehend the great wisdoms or truths hidden in the Zhouyi.

One will spend more time on the aspect of wisdom than that of Yi divination today.

Fourteen years ago, in reading my fortune and in teaching how to improve upon my study of the Book of Changes, a Quanzhen heavenly immortal advised me ‘not to stand in the middle of the mountain (or hill)’. He gave other cryptic messages as well but what has this particular message got to do with wisdom, my fortune, and help to improve my Yi studies? Read on.

It took me six months to figure out the cryptic message – ‘not to stand in the middle of the mountain’. In case, regular readers cannot recall the relevant October 2005 post of a similar title, it refers to Hexagram 23 Po / Splitting Apart where the mountain rests on the earth. The hexagram comprise of five lower broken lines with a sole unbroken line resting at the top.

This is one of the rare occasions where I do not quite agree with the commentary to the great image of Po in the Wilhelm translation which says: “When it (the mountain) is steep and narrow, lacking a broad base, it must topple over.”

To this student, the mountain implodes instead of toppling over. Since there is only one unbroken light line resting at the top of the entire hexagram which is undermined by inferior people (Xiao Ren) – the other five broken dark lines - until it splits apart.

If the mountain splits apart, a person who stands in the middle of the sole unbroken line plunges straight down the chasm into the very depths of earth. You can either visualize the gaps between the five broken lines below the top straight line. Or think of a sudden appearance of a great sink hole, or the solid earth below opening up during a violent earthquake.

If the mountain topples over as suggested in the commentary, one could still be saved by shrubbery or trees along the slopes but if the top unbroken line of Po splits apart or opens up, the person standing in the middle of it plunges straight down to certain death.

Therefore the Judgment warns:
Splitting Apart. It does not further one to go anywhere.

When inferior people has influence and is pushing upwards to undermine the remaining strong line, it is not favorable for a Junzi to undertake anything. But if diviners or people insist on standing in the middle of the mountain after obtaining Po as the prognostication, what can the Yi do?

The way to escape an expected or unforeseen disaster, if any, as depicted by Po has been given much earlier this year in another entry. Let me reiterate the advice by using the Great Image of Po:
The mountain rests on the earth: The image of Splitting Apart.
Thus those above can ensure their position only by giving generously to those below.

It took me six months to figure out what the Daoist heavenly immortal indicated, and several more years to understand the meaning of this great image. If readers count backs the years, this cryptic message amongst others was given in 1993 – the year of a major bull run in the KLSE. Therefore for the past fourteen years, in line with the divinity's advice, one avoids the ninth month for shares trading which ties in with my fortune. As the saying goes, ‘it is better to be safe than be sorry’.

In my opinion, Yi aficionados who tend to stick to their beliefs that there are no auspicious or inauspicious hexagrams in Zhouyi divination may have their work cut out to truly understand divining, let alone the wisdoms inherent in the Book of Changes. If there are no proper distinctions between good and bad hexagrams, and the 384 lines, how could the Yi ever give forewarnings or inform diviners of forthcoming auspicious events?

In Po, the warning is given in the Judgment, and the way out of danger – the wisdom - is depicted in the great image. Down the ages, perhaps many Chinese have stumbled upon or have been taught this truth or wisdom by their elders, teachers, or even by divinities of ‘giving generously to those below’. Yet many may not actually know, if they have not study it, that the wisdom originated from this hexagram in the Zhouyi.

I doubt elementary Yi students are aware of such hidden wisdoms in the Yi. Therefore it is time for them to reread the Zhouyi in earnest and in all sincerity, to allow the wisdoms to slowly sink in. Only then can we learn a thing or two about the Yi.

However do not attempt to convince a stingy boss to apply this wisdom for a pay rise. The end result could be a literal ‘splitting apart’ of your job with the company, for trying to be funny! The concept is rather different, if you truly understand the wisdom contained in the great image of Po.

If you put on your thinking cap, you may find the wisdom workable or understand a truth that existed for more than three thousand years.

To make it easier for some readers and to give credit where due: the kind and the sincere every where on earth still practises it today, so do a majority of Americans, especially the great persons (Da Ren) in the US.


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