Friday, August 31, 2007

Brief on ‘Thoughts on Zhouyi’

Postings in the blog have expanded to various topics over the past two and the half years and Yi aficionados would note that not all entries relate to the Book of Changes. Thoughts on the ancients, Daoist immortals, Buddhas, Tao, meditation, cultivation, and investments also share space with those on the Yi. Surely, readers would not prefer waiting for weeks on end to read a Yi post or ramblings to fill up the blog?

In case, readers do not see it that way, the entries on investments usually are Yi related and for its promotion of use in line with current times.

Yi aficionados may find that a lot of the middle class and rich people in the West, especially the US where about 50% of the people, invest in stocks and shares either personally or through institutional funds. They also invest in real property and/or foreign currencies. Therefore if you are verse with these types of investments, understand cycles, and good with Yi divinations and interpretations of the prognostications, you could tap this huge potential market by providing your professional divination services.

Just make very sure that the Yi really talks to you otherwise your client could lose money or an opportunity in investing.

By coincidence, my third entry on ‘understanding changes’ in October 2005 indicated property prices in the US and Europe cannot rise forever; therefore it was not a right time to continue to chase property prices higher. But just like the ancient times, people seldom listen.

Sorting out the relevant posts on the Yi under different categories for your easy reference may take up some time. Though less time consuming than writing them. Some entries like the ones on certain specific hexagrams literally took days to write – for example Hexagram 62 Xiao Guo / Preponderance of the Small. Therefore I would appreciate if anyone wants to use some of the shared insights contained in the blog to give credit where appropriate.

Meanwhile enjoy the previous posts under the ‘Thoughts on Zhouyi’ sorted out for your easy reference.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Only colours and light remain

Forms and emptiness have long gone
Only colours remain
Once where the gates were
Only colours remain

Mountains and clouds no longer exist
Whence can I see heaven again?
No more beautiful sights in space
Nor flying snow and the rain

Immortals continue to sing
Who sits still while the body shakes?
With rocking of the head
Amidst the lotus twirls

Is that the spirit?
Or a dazzle of lights
Bubbling of water
A peal of thunder

Did Kan and Li copulate?
During the twists and turns
The continuous shaking of the head
Or when the arms wildly swing

Time has flown
Four times more months to go
The usual warming
For non being to grow

Spiritual masters thought they know
Until Buddha said, ‘Nothing’s wrong with you.’
Innocence for the year
Or is the warm sensation, a premonition?

Is one pure?
Is one still
Whom to ask
When only colours and light remain

Where the path is less trodden
Only Zhen Ren and divinities know
What to do or not to do
To climb the steps of heaven

For only colours and light remain

Diamond Sutra; Tao Te Ching; Secret of the Golden Flower; Hundred Characters stele; Shurangama Sutra; Hui Ming Ching; The Zhouyi; and Zhuangzi on Guangchengzi teaching Huangdi how to fly to heaven.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

‘Old fools never learn’

People like to say that “‘suckers’ are born every day”. But some tend to forget the adage that ‘old fools never learn’.

The rational minded cannot be blamed to think that banks, arguably the most regulated industry in the world, would have learnt from past mistakes of bank failures or from the ignominious example of a grand and reputable merchant bank, Barings, single-handedly brought down by a rogue trader who had made several ‘unauthorized’ wrong bets.

Even where formidable safeguards are in place to prevent the ‘old fools’ theory from happening, the best control systems can still be bypassed by the greed of man. No?

Think again, after you read the following bad news at on August 25, 2007 (excerpts):

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Stricken German state lender SachsenLB is expected to be sold this weekend to another German state bank, Horst Metz, the finance minister of Saxony, said on Saturday.

The eastern state of Saxony and local community savings banks own SachsenLB, the second German casualty after the subprime mortgage crisis led to difficulties in world credit markets.

Last week a group of state banks said they would rescue the bank. In return for a 17 billion euro ($23.1 billion) credit line to keep it afloat, the owners were forced into agreeing to its sale, a milestone in Germany, where few state-owned banks are ever put up for auction.

Germany has taken the brunt of the European fallout so far from problems stemming from subprime home loans as two of the country's banks have almost collapsed, requiring high-profile industry bailouts.

A spokeswoman for BaFin said SachsenLB's Irish subsidiary had already been investigated in 2005 and problems with its risk exposure had been found.

How many more such fragile cases could come out of the closet remains to be seen as each financial reporting session to the Central Banks approaches?

Global banks would have their work cut out to determine the value of, with a reasonable amount of certainty, their net exposure (loans less estimated recoveries) to hedge funds and various derivatives, what with the recent turmoil in the financial markets and the high subprime loans defaults.

No one can say for sure that old fools can ever learn from past mistakes until the current debacle and turbulence finally blows over. It could be a big struggle for an ‘old fool’ to rebuild the foundation once again. (Think of the two ailing German banks and past mistakes)

‘What if it should fail? What if it should fail?’ the Yi has occasion to remind both the Junzi and the Da Ren on what they have been doing.

Therefore like the ancients, and the better managed global banks, be cautious and wary. In uncertain times like these where more skeletons could surprise and leap out from the closet, unless one want to remain an old fool, it may not be far wrong to follow the ancients and play it safe.

Markets never die, live to fight another day.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Confucius says in the Zhouyi

Danger arises when a man feels secure in his position. Destruction threatens when a man seeks to preserve his worldly estate. Confusion develops when a man has put everything in order. Therefore the superior man does not forget danger in his security, nor ruin when he is well established, nor confusion when his affairs are in order. In this way he gains personal safety and is able to protect the empire. [Hexagram 12 Pi Standstill -W/B]

In times of Standstill, following the example of heaven, the Junzi hides his worth and withdraws into seclusion, not allowing specious talk or dazzling temptations to expose his person to danger. Since evil people do not further the perseverance of the superior man.

With words well spoken more than two millennia ago, yet applicable to many an investor in this time of turmoil in the world equity, debt, and currency markets, where mutual mistrust prevails even among global banks, and where bankruptcies and retrenchment are fast rising (in the US, UK and NZ, probably contagiously spreading to the greater part of Europe and Australia), can later sages measured up to Confucius?

The largesse of past easy credit and imprudent lending have just as quickly evaporated as each global bank assess their own damage and exposure to the sub prime mortgage market, its various ingenious derivatives, and the Yen carry trades. As usual the man in the street and those with better credit standing get hit for past excesses (read mistakes) of these financial institutions.

At the time of writing, the US banks have already raised interest rates on higher grade loans, credit cards, recalling loans lent out to weaker borrowers and scaling down on lending to recoup or minimize their losses, notwithstanding the pumping in of more liquidity into the financial systems by Central Banks.

Whether or not, this credit crunch contagion will spread to Asia and panic already nervous Asian bankers to withdraw or limit credit to the markets remains to be seen. There could be another round of pandemonium (remember the ghost festival month?) if an affected large bank or a major hedge fund ever fails.

In times of Standstill and amid such uncertainty, one has been slowly selling shares into the expected rebounds to reduce the level of margin financing and raise cash levels. By Friday all the margin accounts were in positive cash territory helped by the quick recovery of the particular stock bought in bulk which rebounded more than 70% from its previous week lows.

If its stock price climbs higher next week, one will sell the balance of shares investments (think rear guard), to preserve more available ‘foreign capital’ (think soldiers) to fight another day. This is what I meant, in previous entries, by orderly retreat in the face of adversity, and not to allow the army be put to rout by the enemy (read evil people, which include the Xiao Ren).

When hearts of soldiers turn towards home, the supreme commander recalls the army, and contemplates. Like what the great sage Confucius said, ‘In this way he gains personal safety and is able to protect the empire.’

Whether or not, investors want to heed his or the Yi’s advice in times of Standstill is another thing altogether.


If your own original or translated copy of the Yi does not contain the wise sayings or interpretations of Confucius and Mencius applicable to humanity and timing, you could miss out on various ancient Chinese wisdoms. If Yi aficionados still insist that derivative systems teach more about timing than the Zhouyi or that the Book of Changes is only meant for divinations, so be it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

When hearts of soldiers turn towards home

When hearts of soldiers turn towards home, the army has lost the will to fight. Therefore, it is time for the army to beat an orderly retreat unless the supreme commander wants his warriors to ‘wait in blood’ or get massacred by a hasty recall of troops. (Think Iraqi army’s hasty retreat from Kuwait)

In the Shijing, these warriors of old were probably aware that after ‘waiting in the mud’, they will shortly be left ‘waiting in blood’ leading to their untimely death:

How few of us are left, how few!
Why do we not go back?
Were it not for our prince and his concerns,
What should we be doing here in the dew?

How few of us are left, how few!
Why do we not go back?
Were it not for our prince’s own concerns,
What should we be doing here in the mud?

[Book of Songs 122 Arthur Waley]
(Also refer to the third and fourth lines in Hexagram 5 Xu Waiting)

In times of war, faced with insurmountable problems and perhaps ‘riding a ferocious tiger’, it is wise to beat an orderly retreat even if it is no longer a cheerful retreat. Otherwise it could prove difficult to rebuild your army (with reserves) to fight another day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The battles continue

What a week of turbulence and panic in the global financial markets. If investors and traders across the world ever total up their realized and paper losses since late last month, it could come to a whopping trillion US dollars or more. About 200 billion ringgit or 20% was wiped off the market capitalisation of the KLSE. A small consolation if any to investors or traders since their confidence have been shattered.

With ever deepening fear dominating the equity, currency, and bond markets last week, the Xiao Ren - the hedge funds - won the battle hands down.

The widening panic was probably more pronounced in the Asian markets where jittery investors dumped already battered stocks like there is no tomorrow or subjected to never ending margin calls, reminiscence of the financial meltdown back in 1997. While remaining vigilant and cautious throughout, one had to admit that my nerves were frayed to the limits by the created panic on Friday, August 17, what with the freefalls in the much larger stock exchanges of Japan and Hong Kong.

The heavy unwinding of carry trades by hedge funds which pushed up the Yen by 2% and 4% against the US dollar and the Euro respectively triggered the freefall of the Nikkei index. (An expensive Yen adversedly affect Japanese exports.) The comparatively higher interest yielding and favourites, Aussie and NZ dollars were also battered in the mad rush to convert these currencies back into US dollars and/or the Yen.

To reassure the US and the world, and perhaps firing a warning shot to the hedge funds, the US Fed announced a surprise half a percentage point discount rate cut on Friday which provided a welcome temporary relief to banks and mortgage lenders. The US and European stock markets rebounded with the recovery led by finance stocks. The Asian stock markets would probably follow their lead when they reopen on Monday, August 20th since they had closed before the surprise announcement by the Fed.

Mistakes had been made. If we do not learn from our mistakes, the credit and financial problems in the markets created by the Xiao Ren will by and large perpetuate as they are left to multiply and grow ever stronger over the years. Since the 1992 attacks on the Pound Sterling where Great Britain lost the war and the subsequent European currencies turmoil, the hedge funds are well known to hunt in packs. (The Yi had forewarned me on that currencies turmoil.) With their unlimited funding and irrational credit lines (up to a hundred fold of their capital) provided by global financial institutions, which nation can withstand their concerted attacks on her financial systems and currency?

If these hedge funds are large enough and failed, governments had to bail them or their financial lenders out. A lost cause, but the rich industrialized nations still refused to regulate these Xiao Ren since the Asian financial meltdown in 1997.

The hedge funds managers have nothing much to lose, if their hedge funds collapsed, they can spawn more at a later date. Those who suffered the anticipated staff cutbacks (Bear Stearns had cut 240 jobs for example) can either fall back on their earlier big rewards or find an equally or less rewarding job.

The rich and economical powerful nations probably thought they were immune to concerted attacks from maurading packs of hedge funds in their own backyards. How wrong they were has been witnessed the past one month.

My only mistake arose from not heeding the warning from the Yi. The earlier prognostication indicated that even if one has great power (the financial means), one should not buy in bulk the particular stock in question. It was this stock which fell the most and reduced my realized profits.

Going forward, according to the Yi chart, the Junzi (superior man) come into prominence next week. But he or she still has to be wary and cautious since the 'all clear' siren has not been sounded. (Sharks still remain in the waters - 'Jaws 2')

By coincidence, my learned Daoist friend and his fellow disciples have left the country early Friday on an extended mission. The Daoist heavenly immortal had planned it very well this time around. 'Kudos to the divinity', one had told my Daoist friend earlier, since the Yi chart also depicts the timing of the expected recovery which coincide with their return from the mission.

Stay tune if you like, but readers and investors are fully responsible for their own decisions and actions.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Messenger of peace

In the Star newspaper, August 17 2007, Majorie Chiew wrote an interesting article on Chinese Buddhist Master Chin Kung as a messenger of peace. The following are some of the excerpts on him:

“He travels the world with a mission almost impossible. He is out to promote world peace. He gives Dharma talks on peace and harmony, akin to sharing a recipe for an ailing world. He promotes peace and harmony within society – saving marriages on the verge of break-up and turning foes into good neighbours.

He also supports charities regardless of religion and race. He has visited Catholic homes for the aged, helped in Muslims’ fund-raising campaigns and erected a monument for native Australians. He has donated food and clothes to the needy in disaster areas too.

Championing world peace and a much sought after speaker, Venerable Master Chin Kung aspires to lofty ideals. World peace may seem elusive yet Chin Kung soldiers on, convinced that people will one day stop killing one another and heeds his call for peace.

Chin Kung is also the founder of over 200 Pure Land Learning Centers and Amitabha Societies all over the world.

Chin Kung is no seeker of fame and fortune but leads a simple life of teaching (giving Dharma talks) and reading.”

In a recent interview by Star Two, Chin Kung said:
‘There are many peace-loving leaders in the world. Many of them love peace but don’t know how to bring peace. All those who attended meetings of the United Nations are peace-loving folk.’

Asked, if women leaders ruled the world, maybe, we stand a chance of attaining world peace, he replied:
‘It’s not a gender issue. ’It is about education. If we can implement the teachings of the saints and sages – morals, ethics and karma – problems (and conflicts) can be solved.’

Based on his words and actions, Chin Kung is indeed wise and a Da Ren (Great Man). If only more people can learn from the ancient sages, Buddhas, and Daoist immortals, there could be a better chance for world peace.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Battles between the Xiao Ren and the Junzi (on wild claims)

Towards the end of the Warring States more than 2,300 years ago, during the times of the hundred schools, unscrupulous orators and scholars made many wild claims to hoodwink rulers and the masses. If rulers of the states liked what they hear, these orators and scholars will be well rewarded and honored, if not they will be dismissed. If their theories and doctrines appealed to the masses, they would gained a huge following and popularity. However few of their theories or doctrines have ever been passed down to posterity, which probably meant that they had made claims which could not be substantiated. Obviously most of them were out to make a pecuniary gain while others probably thought their doctrines meant something.

For whatever it is worth, out of the many, only Zhuangzi and Mencius who followed the teachings of Laozi and Confucius respectively while not rewarded at the time, had gained much popularity down the millennia with the Chinese. In line with the thoughts of their ancients, rather than spreading wild claims to harm the people, both these minor sages stood by their principles and remained poor throughout their lives.

To cultivate Tao has real ethical values and meanings. It is better to be poor or remain obscure rather than cheat and bluff the multitude. But few down the ages can really follow their good examples, since who does not want to win fame and fortune, the easy way. (Think less popular Chinese thinkers and their doctrines.)

Down the millennia, times have changed, but human nature has remained the same. People are still greedy for fame and fortune in whatever means possible.

If we look at the web today, we find many ‘snake oil peddlers’ plying their ‘neidan’ trade with wild claims that if students massage here and massage there, and/or have controlled sex with the teachers or partners, students can probably attain Tao. Others charge an exorbitant sum to teach basic neidan meditation or a fee for the opportunity to read their treatises. Most of these ‘snake oil peddlers’ had indicated that they got a few years’ hotchpotch training from several dubious meditators and/or cultivators. However because of the ever growing popularity of neidan practice and Tao cultivation in the West, the less discerning fall into their well laid traps. Therefore caveat emptor.

Then there are so called ‘Shen Xian’ – the false prophets – who predict the performance of the global or local financial markets for their intended audience. They lure high personal net worth investors with a good sales pitch promising big returns and named their investment vehicles, hedge funds. Big returns mean high risk.

These hedge fund managers are very well paid and closely followed if their calls proved successful. Like the unscrupulous orators of the past, if they made wrong predictions or calls, all they lose is their well paid jobs, while their followers (the rich investors) sometimes lose their shirts. For example the various US hedge funds heading for Bankruptcy protection because of wrong calls on sub-prime loans.

If forced into a corner, with nothing to lose, some may even lashed out and try to bring down the global financial markets. An example was the warning of a credit crunch; purportedly the worst in 20 years, by Bear Stearns on Friday August 3 that made the Dow Jones Index fall 280 points in the last hour of trade. The steep fall reverberated and shocked the Asian stock markets the following Monday. According to Yahoo news, Bear Stearns held the media conference with an objective to smooth the nerves of its investors after the downgrading of its credit ratings. Instead it made wild claims about the worst credit crunch over a period of 20 years, perhaps benefiting those who shorted the stock market or index futures.

Yes, rather a good counter strategy, I suppose. Blame it on the rating agencies, the financial institutions, the US Federal Reserve or its former chairman – Mr. Alan Greenspan or anyone else involved rather than admit its own failure to foresee the downturn of the US property market, the sub-prime loans defaults, and the impending demise of its hedge funds. (Fund managers cannot blame Al Qaeda for their own failures, can they?)

Obviously, the trick did not work with discerning professional managers of US institutional investors. That is why they bought into the US stock market the next trading day which made the Dow Jones Index recovered the full 280 points previous day’s fall. The same recovery happened in Japan which also speaks volumes for the professionalism of her fund managers too.

With the exception of China, damage was done to the Asian stock markets where jittery investors and the less discerning tried to flee while being put to rout. For example those who bought the particular stock I sold on Monday July 30 near its peak may have panicked and sold them at its lows on Tuesday August 7 with a loss of 49%. If they had waited for the recovery of its shares price over the past two days before selling, their losses could have been halved.

In previous entries on the KLSE and on trade, one always suggests to take profits when preset targets are reached. From hindsight, the last entry on Cheerful Retreat was apt. It may not have helped jittery investors make money; at least they would not have disposed of their investments near the lows on Tuesday, thus preserving part of their capital or profits.

It is also not right for Yi aficionados to make wild claims on the impending collapse of stock markets based on various financial analysts’ statements on the global financial health which can unnecessarily stressed jittery investors. Neither should Yi students and experts come out with new age Yi systems to fool the innocent and/or weak students. If we want to be professionals, there are ethics to follow. If you are unsure what these ethics are, please reread the Zhouyi.

What I am trying to say in this entry is for readers to always discern between the trustworthy and the dishonest, between those reliable and those not, between the sincere and the insincere, to ensure the least likelihood of being misled by those whose claims cannot be substantiated or are an exaggerated repetition of old news in the financial markets.

While it is fun to witness the ongoing battles between the hedge funds and the developed rich nations (US, Europe and Japan) on the credit crunch, the bond markets, the carry trades, the currencies, and the recent oversupply of liquidity to calm down financial markets; it is time to reassess your own stock positions.

When ‘big elephants fight, the grass below invariably get trampled’. Trim your stock holdings or realize gains to hold some cash, if you feel uncomfortable. Otherwise fasten your safety belt and wait for the outcome of the ‘war’ between the Xiao Ren and the Junzi.

Since July 2003, the Yi has not forewarned of an impending financial crisis or another upcoming war, but what you make of it or of this entry is entirely up to readers and investors in the KLSE.

With the advent of the Ghost Festival month on Monday August 13, and the advance of the Xiao Ren (inferior or mean man) according to the Yi chart, expect more turbulence in the financial markets.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

‘Treatise’ on the germinal vesicle

Those who are self taught in neidan often are stumped on some specific terms contained in the Daoist texts or Buddhist scriptures. Like a frog in the well, one would not know the importance of these terms until a discussion refers to it. My interest in the germinal vesicle was heightened by a young religious Daoist student from Indonesia who asked if knowing its exact location was important to neidan practice. He had overheard the elders of his Daoist temple discussed it. That discussion happened a few years ago. (Refer entry on Germinal Vesicle)

Since then one had been trying to examine, apart from the Hui Ming Ching, if Daoist texts also made references to the germinal vesicle. Only when the “Song of Dispelling Illusion and Rectifying Dao” by Zhong LiQuan was translated to English by Silfong Tsun and made available in the web recently did one really understand the importance of it. (The translation is available at:

Upon further checking on the web, apparently another Zhen Ren – Zhang BoDuan - had also referred to its importance in his works known as the Wuzhenpian (Awakening to the Real). Further examination was then made to the Tao Te Ching and from thereon this student found the link in the Zhouyi.

Clearly the source of neidan practice came from the holy sages who incorporated that into the Zhouyi for those earnest and sincere to transcend to Heaven. It is in the Zhouyi, where over the years, one had found more links to Daoist thoughts on neidan. No wonder the Quanzhen masters which include Zhong LiQuan and Zhang BoDuan often made references to the Tao Te Ching and the Zhouyi (by way of the eight trigrams and the hexagrams). They saw the truth hidden in both classics and made the covert references in the form of metaphors in their writings – Daoist texts.

For example, scholars and earnest students of Tao and neidan would be familiar with the terms of Qian and Kun being the cauldron and furnace. Quanzhen texts often refer to the firing process and the requisite levels of heat (Fou Hou) to mix and melt the medicine, represented by Kan and Li. Neidan students and/or masters may often by mistake think that the flowing Qi would generate sufficient heat to melt the medicine. It is not the Qi but actually the fire from the germinal vesicle that can do this. If neidan practitioners really think about it, what else can directly start the fire in the furnace to heat up the cauldron?

In the Hui Ming Ching, Liu Hua-Yang said:
Within the germinal vesicle is the fire of the ruler; at the entrance of the germinal vesicle is the fire of the minister; in the whole body, the fire of the people. When the fire of the ruler expresses itself, it is received by the minister. When the fire of the minister moves, the fire of the people follows him. When the three fires express themselves in this order a man develops. But when the three fires return in reverse order the Tao develops.

The secret of making and melting according to Liu was made known by Buddha who had referred to the germinal vesicle in the Leng Yen (Shurangama Sutra). Liu went on to say that:
This is the reason that all sages began their work at the germinal vesicle in which outflowing had ceased. If one does not establish this path, but sets up other things, it is of no avail.

Wise words, since Laozi had pointed to the germinal vesicle in Chapter Five of his Tao Te Ching, more than 2,500 years ago, followed by the Zhen Ren:

Between Heaven and Earth, There seems to be a Bellows: It is empty, and yet it is inexhaustible. The more it works the more comes out of it.
No amount of words can fathom it: Better look for it within you.

[TTC 5 - Wu’s translation]

It is not thinking, imagining or acting, and it is not located at any of the Three Farmlands of the upper, middle, or lower regions. It is just located at the southwest place where KWUN is produced. Concoct it slowly, and gradually move it to the YUN palace. Try to stir the Heavenly Key lightly -- the True Energy is then always congregated in the Ultra Space.
[“Song of Dispelling Illusion and Rectifying Dao” - Zhong LiQuan – translated by Silfung Tsun]

It is important to be aware of the place which is the well spring of the medicine; simply put, its home is in the south west.
[ Wuzhenpian (Awakening to the Real) - Zhang BoDuan]

The germinal vesicle is an invisible cavern; it has neither form nor image. When the vital breath stirs, the seed of this vesicle comes into being; when it ceases it disappears again.
[Liu Hua-Yang]

The great sages, Laozi and Buddha, followed by Zhong LiQuan and Zhang BoDuan who became heavenly immortals and Patriarchs of Quanzhen obviously knew the workings and/or location of this germinal vesicle. If you are not aware of it nor can locate it, your neidan practice can be considered incorrect, no matter whom your teacher is. It has nothing to do with real masters and heavenly immortals at times; it really depends on the student – which means that even a self taught student can stumble on it.

While the germinal vesicle is an invisible cavern, with neither form nor image, it manifests from time to time. The neidan cultivator can sense it upon its manifestation. And the germinal vesicle grows in size as the level of neidan practice progresses. It is an important signpost of the Way. And its location when at rest, never changes.

Readers may note that there is no link provided to the Zhouyi. By not linking up to the Yi where the germinal vesicle is mentioned, one left the truth to remain hidden on purpose. The intended omission would prevent any theft or plagiarism for profit or credit. Just be aware, it is written in the Zhouyi, I kid you not.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tao and the Zhouyi

When people discuss about the Tao they invariably make references to the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi. Nothing wrong with that since Laozi knew much about Tao while Zhuangzi told stories and anecdotes about the ancients, and of the cultivation of essence (meditation). However, it does not mean that their ancients, Fu Xi, Shen Nong, and Huang Di did not know more about Tao than them. Unfortunately, these ancients left no traceable records of their existence or profound knowledge over the long passage of time (> 3,000 BC). Until the records are found or discovered, the so called modern scholars will not be convinced of their existence.

The earliest historical record extant in China is that of the Book of History (Shujing) said to be compiled by Confucius. It recorded the rules of Yao, Shun and the Great Yu, followed by the three dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou. Confucius had also made references, in the Analects, to the Book of Changes (Yijing/ I Ching) of these three dynasties. The received text of the Book of Changes made available to everyone nowadays is that of the Zhou often referred to as the Zhouyi for short.

The wise King Wen was accredited to have written the judgments while his son Zhou Gong was accredited to have written the lines to the sixty four hexagrams of the Zhouyi. Their wise advisor and war strategist, Jiang Taigong was accredited to have written the Daoist text, Yin Fu Ching.

Both Laozi and Confucius who lived 500 years later had studied the wisdoms contained in the Zhouyi and extolled the virtues of their ancients. Each went on to leave behind to posterity their lucid understanding of ancient thoughts and of the Zhouyi. While Confucius followed the thoughts and practice of Yao and Shun, King Wen and Zhou Gong; Laozi probably followed the thoughts and practice of Fu Xi, Huang Di and that of Jiang Taigong.

The dual cultivation of essence (Tao) and of virtues (Te) for the attainment of Tao is contained in the Yi for the right person – the Junzi.

If Daoist scholars and Yi experts earnestly examine the Tao Te Ching and the comments of Confucius in the ten wings, they could find out how the Daoist and Confucian doctrines linked up with the Zhouyi. Obviously without a deep understanding of the cultivation of essence and bodily life, and the requisite knowledge of the Yi, their task would be doubly hard. They may also have to know a bit of Chinese to translate the TTC and some words in the Yi. (The scholars and/or the cultivators who translated the TTC into English seem to get it but sometimes not, therefore one cannot recommend any.)

A good start, since both Laozi and Confucius often refer to Heaven and Earth in their teachings, is to thoroughly understand the two primary hexagrams, Qian Kun (representing Heaven and Earth), in the Zhouyi. It is not for nothing that sages and the wise down the ages often point to these two hexagrams, since Qian Kun relates to Tao. (Also refer to the Great Treatise and Daoist texts)

The holy sages long before the time of Laozi and Confucius had incorporated the study and the cultivation of Tao within the Zhouyi for the right person. Laozi was the first followed by others who recorded their understanding of the underlying thoughts on Tao contained therein to those who came later. (Think Zhen Ren and Daoist heavenly immortals)

Perhaps you can be a right person too if you truly understand the workings of Heaven and Earth or Qian Kun. If you want to understand where Confucius got some of his ideas study the eight trigrams thoroughly.

There is a Chinese saying that if a student can understand an ancient classic (Jing / Ching), the person can understand all classics. Perhaps it is true. How would I know? Since many of the things said in this entry go against the very grain of the attached thoughts and beliefs of the so called modern Daoist and Yi scholars.

Please find out for yourself, if you are really keen but do not forget to use the Richard Wilhelm translation of the Zhouyi for the research otherwise you could be at a loss as to what the ancients actually said. If you can find the links between the TTC and Confucius’s thoughts with the Zhouyi, well and good. However, if you fail to, you could still achieve more clarity than other students or perhaps even the modern scholars.