Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Change in future direction?

One used to read the Financial Times when preparing for the external professional accountancy examinations in London. That was how I managed to breeze through the financial and business management papers in the finals. Thereafter on occasions I read the Times Magazine especially during flights and had subscribed to the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) for almost a decade in the eighties and nineties before the Wall Street Journal, the owners, decided to revamp the Review. FEER was no longer published a few years later. At times, I also read the Asian Wall Street Journal to keep abreast of the financial markets. Reading the right publications and books will certainly help in our learning process.

On a recent track back, one found that both the online Times Magazine and Wall Street Journal had provided a link to the blog entry on ‘The bull in China’. Wow! Thank you to the authors of the related articles for the link up. It certainly made my day!

Do the links from these two prestigious and widely read publications herald a future change to the direction of this blog? Not likely.

But one will rant again if more of the so called ‘ShenXian’ come out to issue unnecessary public warnings that adversely affect the global stock markets thereby hurting more investors than they had hoped to save.

This shows a reason why the Zhouyi and the ancients who knew much about human nature indicated that to remain blameless will be the highest good.

Links to the related articles in the Times Magazine and the Wall Street Journal:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The bull in China

How many analysts can really read or claim to know the Chinese stock markets?

Yet we have the so-called ShenXian, none other than Mr. Li Ka Shing, one of the richest Asians and Mr. Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve Chairman predicting that the rising stock markets in China cannot be sustained. Just like the moon, markets waxes and wanes. However the timing of rises and falls of markets are not as predictable as the moon phases. Ask any savvy trader or analyst.

While the wise Mr. Li and Mr. Greenspan have good intentions when they issued their respective warnings, the bulls in China charged ahead. But the other Asian markets, perhaps slightly more matured, open, and have high equity financing, suffered some jitters on Wednesday and Thursday when these prominent personalities made their respective statements. Damn. Just when the KLSE had rallied on Tuesday, these ‘ShenXian’ poured cold water on the stock markets! Sometimes the prominent like to think that they are wiser than the Chinese Government in enriching its people.

Has the Chinese Government not tried to stop the overheating of the stock markets, just like they did for their overheated real property market? One supposes that all governments in the world would not like to see markets crash which will hurt the economy, both their people and the investors.

The Chinese stock market is an emerging market and restricted to locals and some selected foreign funds. As I understand it, equity financing has been pulled – to prevent overheating - and is no longer made available for the purchase of stocks and shares. This means that investors use cash to purchase their shares. If the money kept in banks as savings or term deposits generate negative growth (where interest income is below the prevailing inflation rate), money will flow into investments that can provide higher returns.

Since most Chinese would be aware that real property prices in their country have gone up sky high or too expensive for them to invest in, their next best investment would be the stock market especially when it is rising. Who does not want to win and to become rich overnight? That probably explains the one million share trading accounts opened with stockbrokers every week for the past few months. Most of the trading accounts with stock broking firms are held by individuals.

According to the Chinadaily, billions of Yuan had been withdrawn every month from savings accounts and term deposits in banks to purchase shares in the stock market. (This by itself is not highly unusual in any other country where there is an ongoing bull run.) “In April, 160 billion out of the total 250 billion Yuan that flooded into the stock market came from individual investors." Yet in the same month, general bank savings rose by 444 billion Yuan although 13.3 billion less as compared to April 2006.

In a country that accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s population and which holds the largest foreign reserves ever (USD 1 trillion plus), a net creditor, and probably has the largest accumulated savings in banks, with a double digit GDP growth during recent years, what is a stock market capitalization of 16.89 trillion Yuan, or a price earnings (PE) ratio of 60?

In a mature market where funds and institutions make up the main players and GDP growth hovers around 3% we would be much concern if the PE’s remain stubbornly high, say, in excess of 30. The professional managers of the funds and institutions who are supposed to be sophiscated and are highly paid to do a good job to bring in favorable returns on investments year in year out would not invest at those rates.

But in China, stock markets can still spring surprises, since all trades are in cash – no equity financing; her economy has expanded faster than the rise in the stock market which took off last year; a high savings rate in the country; the ‘feel good’ factor of rising wealth in assets (real property and shares investment) will spill over to the consumer markets which will further fuel the economy and provide employment. Is this not what all governments and China want?

Of course no Government wants investors to get hurt. With more than one hundred and fifty million of individuals investing in the Chinese stock market, the last ones holding the shares when the music stops (read falls and crash) will certainly feel the pain? But if investors had invested wisely in growth stocks instead of speculative ones (think Information Technology stocks of 2000 in the US where there was no PE since many IT companies had neither business nor profits), their investments may still make money, one day, if the Chinese have the patience and capacity to hold onto them. (Think of stock market crashes, subsequent rebounds and rallies.)

If investors buy shares and real properties with cash as compared to those who rely on borrowings to finance their purchases, they will be alright even if markets turn against them. No jittery banks or financial institutions can pull the carpet from right under their feet when markets plunge.

One way for the Chinese government to protect investors is to properly regulate the markets; another is to educate the people on the pitfalls or high risks of investing in speculative stocks.

Hopefully China can cool down her stock markets like what she is or has been doing for her overheated real property market. And hopefully, the so called ShenXian will stop issuing unnecessary warnings that did not dampened the Chinese stock market but instead affected other stock markets across the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Buddhas’ reminiscence

Sometimes we can learn things by reading what participants write in Daoist Forums. It is made more interesting when students of other doctrines or religions contribute their understanding and insights on cultivation. There will also be times when the exuberant remarked on spiritual matters probably beyond their understanding. For example, how would we know that, and I quote a statement made by a participant who intends to study Zen Buddhism, “Two Buddhas, two awakened ones, have very little to say to each other”?

Not many including esoteric Buddhists would know or like to predict what will happen when two Buddhas meet. Perhaps the following short story can tell the esoteric what actually happened on such an occasion.

A few years ago, I took an amulet of a Buddha to the Buddhist temple to be blessed by Buddha. While I was given the amulet several years ago, I had not worn it around the neck for a long time. It was time for the amulet to be blessed to ensure its protective power remains.

At the temple, a medium was already in a sitting meditation in front of the Buddha’s altar attending to a devotee. When my turn came, I handed the amulet to the medium for the blessing.

The medium looked at the amulet, rubbed it and tried very hard to recognize who it was within the plastic covering and metal frame. On recognizing who it was, the medium broke into a big smile and the Buddha within her said in Cantonese:

Oh it is you, (the name of the Buddha in the amulet)! How have you been? It has been a long time since we last seen each other.

Of course one could not hear the replies given by the Buddha in the amulet. (There was no medium for this divinity.) The two Buddhas seemed very happy and had an animated chat before they continued their discussion in Pali. The Buddhas must have reminiscence over old times spanning several centuries!

Thereafter the Buddha in the medium blessed my amulet with Buddhist mantras in Pali and handed it back to me.

To say that old friends (in this case, read Buddhas) when they meet have little to say to each other is utterly nonsense. Long may these friendships live!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Then the May rally?

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index hit its highest intra day level on Tuesday 8 May 2007 before closing off highs. The overall market drifted lower for the next few days because the year end financial accounts of an index linked stock appeared suspect to the external auditors. It was not really a major issue since the company is relatively small compared to the blue chips and the amount in question according to reports involved a couple of hundred millions. While the wary stayed away from the KLSE one bought some KLCI futures at depressed prices.

The KLCI rebounded on Monday 14 May 2007 after investors digested the news on the particular index linked stock and it was time to take profits on the futures for a 30+ point overnight gain.

However the overall market still showed no sign of a rebound until Wednesday 16 May 2007 after eight straight trading days of more losers than gainers – probably caused by a selling down of margin trades. Some active stocks were down 30% from their April highs.

Perhaps the Yi chart’s obstacles (Guan) proved a bit tougher this time around. A number of elderly persons including my father-in-law had succumbed to their illnesses during this period. I had earlier mentioned to my wife that it would be difficult for her ailing father to cross the major obstacles that lie ahead. He passed away a few days later. A close friend’s mother had also passed away recently and so did an acquaintance.

While the rebound came a bit later than expected, the KLSE seems ready to pick up steam. It is easier for a resilient market to rally after being quiet for a week or two – since there would not be much overhang of outstanding trades. Most weak holders and over geared margin players would have already pared down their investments.

Singapore had on Thursday indicated her support for the planned huge property development across the border in Johor Bahru. The announcement came immediately after the meeting in Langkawi between the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore. This would be good news for the Johor property market, and Singaporeans could also reinvest in the KLSE, if they have forgotten about the previous CLOB issue.

Therefore if the market moves up this coming week with more liquidity than the previous two weeks, expect the start of a good rally.

With the limit ups on two second board counters on Friday, perhaps others may follow suit. However, as always, remember to do proper home work on any counter you wish to invest in. Investment in a safe and sound stock can still make good money for you in a Bull Run.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tao Te Ching Chapter 6

Many Daoists and scholars over the two and half millennia would have spent much time trying to decipher what Laozi had meant to say in his Tao Te Ching. And most after spending years of reading would obtain a correct impression that the classic in the main discuss metaphysics and meditation.

However the Huang-Lao (Huangdi and Laozi) tradition, which involved meditation and the cultivation to be good, was perhaps abandoned by various Daoist sects formed during the late Han dynasty or later. Unlike the better known Huang-Lao Daoists: Yu Ching, Zhuangzi, Zhang Liang and others, these sects started to explore other means such as waidan (outer alchemy) while deviant sects explored sexual alchemy to attain immortality. Some sects for example Mao Shan chose to follow the thoughts of lesser sages such as Zhuangzi to attain Tao.

It therefore meant that few really understood what the great sage Laozi said about Tao and virtues (Te) in the Tao Te Ching. Otherwise Daoists would have concentrated on dual cultivation like what the Quanzhen sect practises and not ventured into various ‘New Age’ thingies – which include waidan and sexual alchemy, while ardent followers of Zhuangzi follow him to reject outright the cultivation of virtues deemed Confucian.

In the first verse of TTC Chapter Six, Laozi mentioned about the Valley Spirit and the Mysterious Female. One had seen many Daoists in the web attempting to impress upon others what these metaphors really meant, especially on the Mysterious Female which some say is a way of life and for men to act feminine!

Of course, no student can be said to be utterly misleading since all attempted to grasp their true meaning. It would have been easier to understand the two metaphors if we cultivate Tao or have real teachers. But not many really cultivate or lucky enough to have teachers who happened to be heavenly immortals or Buddhas.

The same would probably apply to the various TTC translators even though some had studied under Daoist and/or Buddhist teachers for several years in the East. Just like Daoists down the ages, if they or their teachers are not there yet, they would not have a clue to what Laozi really meant in Chapter Six. Thus they too remain blameless unless they intend to mislead or make false claims.

Valley Spirit and the Mysterious Female are real phenomena, not a way of life which the unlearned tend to believe or claim. Only when neidan practitioners have reached or about to reach the Center will they realize what the metaphors truly mean. Not otherwise.

In the Diagram of the Primal Integration of yin yang, the mysterious female is depicted in the Center surrounded by the eight trigrams while the valley and the spirit are written on the top and the bottom of the circular diagram respectively. Perhaps the Daoist who drew this diagram knew the secrets.

Does this not speak highly of the ancient sage, Laozi who wrote this Chapter more than 2,500 years ago? If he had not revealed these two phenomena for posterity, would neidan practitioners down the ages know that they are real and indeed exist?

With this brief explanation on the valley spirit and the mysterious female, let me render a simple translation of TTC 6:

The Valley Spirit die not, likewise the Mysterious Female.

The door of the mysterious female is the root of Heaven and Earth.

Continuously it seems to exist, use it without exertion.

As usual please take my translation with a pinch of salt.

There will be no entertainment of questions on the phenomena, lest a wanderer come to steal the thunder (read cow), the third line of Wu Wang / Innocence!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When the Yi speaks (3)

When we were young and still have much to learn, we tend to miss a lot of things from our Yi studies especially where there is no guidance. However it does not mean that we cannot learn by ourselves or has to rely on a teacher to teach us everything. Obviously our learning could be enhanced or quicken if there were appropriate and proper guidance but without access to real teachers, Yi students have to go through the ‘school of hard knocks’ to learn things themselves.

With the advent of the web we now can speed up our Yi studies since more and more Yi aficionados, be they students, experts, scholars, or professors, from all over the world including China are ‘coming out of the closet’, so to speak, to share their knowledge and experience. Each Yi aficionado will have their own specialty or experience in the Yi studies which may differ from others, therefore the sharing is made more interesting - Tong Ren / Fellowship with men out in the open, so to speak.

Yes, do not readily be taken in by those who implied that they hold verbal Yi secrets passed down from antiquity. One has read about it in the web about a year or two ago. If you happen to know these Yi ‘masters’, ask them to prove it through their divinations, interpretations, and/or predictions – there is no necessity to ask for the revelation of their so called secrets, if any.

Since Tong Ren forms the resultant hexagram of my annual hexagram for 2007, and my main interest, if any, can be said to be Yi divinations and consequently interpretations of oracles, let me share these notes on Hexagram 3 Tun / Difficulty at the Beginning with fellows of the Yi.

Scholars and the wise down the ages explain that since Tun comes immediately after the primary hexagrams Qian and Kun, the hexagram’s name is apt for the difficulties and chaos faced by a diviner or the client who obtained this oracle. However not many students would take the warnings into account upon reading this good pronouncement in the judgment:

Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success, furthering through perseverance. Nothing should be undertaken. It furthers one to appoint helpers.

Yi aficionados without the divination experience of Hexagram Tun would likely be taken in by the pronouncements of supreme success and furthering through perseverance in the judgment. Just like one did twenty one years ago in January 1986 when I asked the Yi if it was appropriate to leave an international firm of accountants.

Inexperienced, without much pondering, and no one to turn to for guidance, this student thought that the Yi had indicated, ‘Go ahead, if you can persevere over the difficulties and there will be supreme success.’ After getting the oracle and with the intention of leaving, I gave notice and struck out on my own.

The Malaysian economy started to turn downwards in 1986 and was mired in a deep recession. While there was some consultancy work to do, clients did not pay for the work done. Towards the end of the year, one was head hunted for a smaller international accounting firm, but I did not join them. It literally meant that one was unemployed over this period of time facing difficulties and chaos – an underlying theme of Hexagram Tun.

Therefore when the Yi speaks and answers on the job prospects or luck of a diviner or client with this hexagram Tun, it invariably indicates unemployment – a time of difficulties and chaos.

This theme had applied to the woman whom one interpreted for a few years ago in the web since the Yi spoke to her. Further examples of the same theme when the Yi spoke to Professor Sam Crane applied to US President Bush and some of his men in case you are interested or want to investigate. (Refer to the relevant entries dated 6 January 2006 and 23 September 2005 on Hexagram 3 Tun.)

Even when the Yi speaks to us, we sometimes may misunderstand the message especially if we are inexperienced in divinations. Therefore do not expect much help from pedant scholars or interpreters who do not consult the Yi. If we do not learn from our own mistakes in the interpretations, we will continue to muddle through our studies.

The Yi can do nothing since not many students would have spotted this implied warning, which is part and parcel of the judgment, in their over eagerness to proceed with their intended action :
Nothing should be undertaken!

Upon obtaining the oracle, the diviner or client is supposed to find and appoint good helpers to assist in the undertaking, if they still wish to proceed with their intended action. Otherwise refrain from taking any action. Or they will face more difficulties and chaos as time goes by. (Think of the recent events in the US and Iraq if you have read the two relevant entries and other related entries.)

These notes and references are further examples of how events will unfold when the Yi speaks.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Deeper implications of Wu Wei

The manifestation of the spirit can be considered the pinnacle of an artist in any discipline (martial arts, painting etc). The Chinese call this manifestation of the spirit as ‘Chu Shen Jin Fa’ (Exit spirit, Enter magic), which depicts the purest form of Wu Wei.

For the students of neidan and Tao, in TTC 2 where Laozi mentioned ‘being’ and ‘non being’, he could have meant human and spirit respectively.

Therefore if the non being leads the being the artist manages affairs without doing anything. Since he or she needs to do nothing and everything gets done.

Only when the non being exits into emptiness is the being, enlightened.

When being is produced by non being, nirvana is reached – the enlightened becomes a Buddha or a heavenly immortal.

Therein lays the different steps of the art of Wu Wei for a neidan practitioner or Daoist dual cultivator.

Of course before the spirit can manifest, a student got to work very hard at it! That is an open secret, yet without exception, it applies to all students.

Related entries: ‘Chu Shen Jin Fa’, The Art of Wu Wei, Enlightenment.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Of students and masters (4)

Tao cultivators especially those who learn from masters tend to think they know more about meditation than others. While many cultivators would have learned the ordinary types of meditation, only the dedicated would perhaps be taught neidan, if their masters have the real technical skills and know how.

Neidan, the pinyin for inner alchemy, differs much from the ordinary meditation made available and taught to the general public. This advanced meditation uses breath control to generate Qi within the body as well as absorb Qi from the atmosphere. Light will circulate together with Qi if the practice is correct.

Parts of the process of neidan practice have been described in the ancient Daoist texts – Tao Te Ching, Neiyeh - and the Shurangama Sutra (Leng Yen Ching). But not many down the ages really understood what had been said. Not to mention the Buddhist monks and Daoist priests who know little about these ancient texts and the Book of Changes and yet think that they know much about the practice. Perhaps till today, some may still consider waidan (outer alchemy), made popular and practised by post Han Daoists for several centuries, to be the key in the path to Tao and immortality.

It was not until the so called Neo Daoists era that the learned began to understand what they had to do. They realized that the practice of neidan, and not waidan, was important to achieving longevity and immortality. Over the next few centuries, a larger number of neidan practitioners had been recorded to have attained immortality. If my understanding is correct, during this era, many of those who attained Tao and became immortals belonged to Quanzhen (Complete Reality Religion).

Once a neidan practitioner has obtained a confirmatory experience or experiences as indicated by Lu Dongbin, a Quanzhen Patriarch and one of the famous eight immortals, he or she shows good aptitude of the practice. However do not expect other neidan practitioners including Buddhist masters to understand what you are practising or experiencing. After all according to Lu Dongbin, his practice known as the Circulation of the Light differs from those taught in Chan (or Zen) Buddhism because the experiences can be confirmed.

Not many living practitioners, even though they represent themselves as neidan masters in the web or in books, have reached the confirmatory stage(s) and fewer would know what you are actually doing. Therein lays the secret. Therefore be circumspect otherwise you may have to reveal more and more secrets or get into needless arguments. Just refer to the relevant ancient texts, sutras, or Neo Daoist texts wherever required and desist from arguing.

Recently, someone handed a Thai Buddhist meditation book for me to read since my meditation, inadvertently revealed by a third party, was deemed wrong. (The book was returned to him through the third party the following day.)

The book described well, the teaching of Dharma and the differentiation between good and evil, which forms part of the cultivation of life, by a high level Buddhist monk (an ‘Achan’) several decades ago. Probably his teachings had been closely followed by various Buddhist spiritual masters in Thailand and Malaysia.

While his teachings on the cultivation of life are commendable, his meditation may be incorrect because the late venerable Buddhist master had various visitations by angels from different parts of the world, including Germany, during his meditation. It must have been a great feeling to any meditator if ‘angels’ come from any part of the world to listen to your Dharma and tell you how good you are – similar to what the late Achan have had experienced.

You see, neidan meditation not only differs from other types of meditation, it can be dangerous without the requisite knowledge and proper guidance when practised alone. At higher levels, a practitioner needs to be more vigilant since one can easily be misled into bypaths by seemingly ‘good’ spiritual beings appearing as ‘angels’ for instance.

In case, Buddhist and Daoist readers disagree to what is written about the venerable Buddhist spiritual master’s incorrect meditation, ask yourself this question:

Did Buddha not warn in the Leng Yen about the various types of manifestations by demons (Mo) and the forms they can take to appear to a meditator during meditation; and the similar warnings given by Lu Dongbin in his Secret of the Golden Flower?

If the answer to the question is a resounding Yes, then these readers may understand this attempt to point out the bypaths walked by the many down the ages, including neidan masters, who thought they are in the know without ever crosschecking with ancient thoughts and with real divinities along the Way. This could be the reason why those who left behind scriptures on neidan practice before becoming immortals, tell students to seek out real masters for guidance.

How many neidan practitioners had actually reached the center and went on to attain Tao without really knowing the thoughts of the ancients and knowing how to differentiate between good (Tao) and evil (Mo)?

Perhaps some readers reading this entry may know the answer better than this student.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

First the rebound

The KLCI hit a new high on Thursday and closed at a fresh record high of 1,363.40 on Friday, 4 May 2007. While most fund managers will be happy, many retailers only saw minor gains or losses on their recent investments. The previous related blog entry was a call for bargain hunting, and not to overtrade!

However retailers can look forward to better rewards once the overall market rebounds, probably by this week. It could also be possible that low liners would lead the market instead of blue chips. (A touch of Alan Greenspan speaks perhaps!) That of course would be great if more investors can make money from their investments.

I hope readers who follow the Yi chart can make good money from their investments in the KLSE because of the foreknowledge to buy or sell their stocks and shares at the right timing.

If they do make much money from shares trading in the KLSE by reading these entries, I would appreciate if they can donate a bit more to their favorite charities. Not only is it for the common good, donors could gain more merits by making a larger donation. If they do so, I may also gain some merits by writing these entries for free to enable KLSE investors make money from the market and who will then be able to donate more to charity. If this suggestion works, everyone wins.

Of course, likewise if readers appreciate what is written on the Ancients, the Yi, and Neidan in this blog, they can also make a donation to their favorite charity. The donations will help the poor and needy; obtain merits for you, and the slim likelihood that one has done something good for humanity.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Time to bargain hunt

After closing for a day last Thursday, the KLSE closed on Tuesday and Wednesday to celebrate Labour Day and Vesak Day. Investors and fund managers may have gone away for a long holiday break. The stock market had been rather quiet and drifted lower for the past two shortened weeks due to profit taking while some low liners made further head way towards their peak for the year. A mixed market, as indicated by the Yi.

Well, one has been bargain hunting the past week or so, since some of my favorite stocks have fallen about 30% from their recent year highs. If the stocks rebound to their year highs in the expected rally, then one can make 40%+ from the investments. If they make new highs, wow!

Hopefully, this round the second boarders will also move up in tandem, they are the real laggards, so that everyone in the market can make some money. The second board counters had gone nowhere quick for the last couple of years. They used to be the favorites of housewives and retailers back in the 1990s. Funds shun them because these small cap stocks are usually illiquid. Can they ever fly sky high again? Sure, when the time is ripe. Therefore do not overlook them, although investors may have to hold the stocks longer than Main Board counters for good returns on investment.

It is time to bargain hunt and accumulate, if you have not done so the past one week. Not long to wait for the KLSE to rebound – according to the Yi chart. Just do overtrade at this time, buy what you can hold. So there you go. Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Happy Vesak Day to all Buddhist readers! Vesak Day happens to fall on May 1 this year.

One of the triple gem celebrations is that of Buddha’s enlightenment. The other two gems are that of his birth and his death.

While many Daoists and Buddhists especially in the East understand what the true meaning of enlightenment is, there will still be some who would give a differing view on the web or in forums.

Some believers or non believers may want you to believe that a realization of a thought or a koan during meditation gives rise to enlightenment! If enlightenment was that easy, many fellow travelers down the ages would have become Buddhas or Daoist immortals.

The published picture extracted from 'The Secret of the Golden Flower [W/B]' depicts the enlightenment of a neidan adept who had reached stage three of the meditation practice. Those who had seen movies and/or read books on Buddha’s life, practice and enlightenment may probably understand its meaning better.