Sunday, November 23, 2008

Go on to greater heights

The Master said,

‘To live in obscurity, and yet practise wonders, in order to be mentioned with honour in future ages:- this is what I do not do.

The good man (Junzi) tries to proceed according to the right path (Way), but when he has gone halfway, he abandons it: - I am not able so to stop.

The superior man (Junzi) accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret: - It is only the sage who is able for this.

[Chapter 11 – Doctrine of the Mean – Legge]

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, and affect the movements of the four limbs. 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 (shen).

[Chapter 24]

Past eminent Confucian scholars have had discussed this chapter 24 in detail according to Legge but he penned this in a footnote:

“The whole chapter is eminently absurd, and gives a character of ridiculousness to all the magniloquent teaching about ‘entire sincerity’. The foreknowledge attributed to the Sage, - the mate of Heaven, - is only a guessing by means of augury, sorcery, and other follies.”

By rubbishing the chapter, renowned sinologist James Legge showed his religious bias and ignorance of Yi divination. His unfounded opinion probably misled a few generations of Yi aficionados in the West to believe that the future cannot be foreseen with the Book of Changes.

Perhaps Legge had never heard of Guan Lo of late Han or those Yi students who can divine like a spirit.

Over the years, regular readers have probably seen plenty of happy and unlucky omens, and heaven’s secrets in this blog. So much so that one fellow Yi aficionado even complimented me being akin to Shen Suan Liu Bowan, the adviser to a Ming emperor.

Do you really think I have been guessing, using sorcery or other follies, all this time?

When one can divine like a spirit, what next?

In the Great Treatise, the wise tell Yi aficionados to assist the gods!

For that you may need to raise your spiritual level and know what gods (include Daoist deities, heavenly immortals and Buddhas) actually do on earth.

The Way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.
[Chapter 12]


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