Friday, December 25, 2009

Not duped

The wisdoms contained in the Book of Changes are aplenty and can be a way of life for Yi students like that of Tao. If we look around us and reflect upon the wisdoms in the Yi, we may find that they provide good guides and wise counsel. And at times, good or bad luck are created by self through our thoughts and actions.

Take for instance the entry on ‘Sincerity at stake’ written on September 27, 2009 where one questioned the sincerity of the sons of the recent deceased neighbor in their request of monthly contributions towards the employment of security guards for the neighborhood. They had already employed the guards to keep a 24-hour watch over their house after a recent robbery. Apparently about half the entire neighborhood was convinced and agreed to the scheme commencing last October.

The other half either remained unconvinced or consists of retirees who could not afford the additional cost of living nor had anything of value at home to be robbed of.

Now it has come to pass that this deceased neighbor’s sons had duped the neighborhood in contributing towards the cost of their own safety. (Instead their father had been generous to some of the elderly neighbors.)

This week, after disposing of their family home they have moved away to a row of new houses constructed on a piece of land previously bought by their late father. (It takes on average twelve to eighteen months to construct a new double storey house in Malaysia.)

I am sure they did not reveal their plans to those who had contributed and now left in a lurch. Thinking that there will be continued security, some contributors have splashed out on new luxury cars and parked them outside their homes. The contributors have less than a week to decide if they want to continue the employment of security guards. And the management of the guards has been knocking on their doors the past few days for answers.

If only they have questioned in their minds the sincerity of the late neighbor’s sons, then they may not be duped into this ‘short term’ scheme and taken advantaged of.

If only they have read the Yi.

To readers who were not duped by Madoff or their neighbor’s sons, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Impartiality (Gongzheng)

Impartiality (Gongzheng) or in simpler terms, fairness, is important to the progress of human beings down the ages. It forms part of human nature.

Public anger will be aroused if any person or a people is treated or deemed to be treated unfairly. There are many instances of such cases occurring during modern times not unlike happenings in ancient China. Take for instance that of Hurricane Katrina and the floods of the Yellow River. (The only difference is there were no executions of culprits in modern times.)

If rulers or their laws are not impartial not only will the people suffer needlessly, the unfairness will also make them angry. Therefore the ancient sages exhort rulers to cultivate cardinal virtues in order that public laws and taxes of the land can be fair to the multitude.

The holy sages through the Yi (Book of Changes) teach the Junzi how to cultivate these virtues, so did Confucius and Laozi in the Analects and the Tao Te Ching respectively.

According to Laozi in TTC 16, acceptance of the principle of returning to destiny leads to impartiality which in turn leads to completeness. Impartiality also relates to Centered Harmony. (To know more about centered harmony, refer to the Doctrine of the Mean).

Fellow students of the Tao and the Yi can also learn more about public sentiment on impartiality, and the cardinal virtues, by watching the Taiwanese series of the trials of Justice Bao Zheng better known as Baogong of the Song Dynasty. (Readers in Malaysia can currently follow the series, dubbed in Cantonese, shown on the Astro network on weekdays.) Any fair or impartial trial has to be based on the grounds of confirmed facts and verified evidence, and not based on mere assumptions or false beliefs.

Mere assumptions and false beliefs can lead to bypaths and not the Way.

If we do not know how to sit and forget, we cannot be empty like Heaven. If we do not cultivate virtues, we cannot be still like Earth. When we do not know how to become empty and still, can we venture to talk about the ancient Way? But people still do!

If someone is partial to Heaven and talks nothing about Earth, it would be perfectly alright to ignore his teachings, even if he happens to be an ancient sage.

Since the three great sages – Laozi, Confucius, and Buddha – taught about Heaven and Earth and so did the holy sages in the Yi. That is being impartial, and a bit more on TTC 16, if you catch the drift.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Returning to destiny (2)

In the first entry of the topic, a reader came up with a few good questions about what came before Tao; immortals and deities; dual cultivation; and whether by consulting the Yi, we are in fact approaching Tao.

Since my answers could be relevant to fellow travelers of the Way and students of the Yi, and/or other readers still trying to figure out what chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching really means, I include them in this second entry. Here goes.

According to Laozi, Tao the mother of Heaven and Earth existed before all things including that of god(s). (Refer to TTC chapters 4, 21 and 25 etc) If Tao is the mother of Heaven and Earth, what existed before it?

According to ancient Chinese history, Heaven and Earth were in existence before humans became immortals and deities.

There is a subtle difference between Daoist immortals and deities, in case readers have not noticed in previous Yi entries related to divinities. Daoist immortals like Buddhas are learned and cultivated, while some deities may face difficulty in discussing the Yi.

Consulting the Yi can be a way to approach Tao, if we follow what the Junzi do. Like fellow travelers of the Way, the Junzi also cultivate.

And what do they cultivate?

The ancients said that they cultivate Tao and Te (refer TTC chapters 23 and 54). To make it simpler for the multitude, the Neo Daoists wrote down for posterity, the dual cultivation of essence and of bodily life.

If we do not even know about this dual cultivation, it would prove difficult to understand what Laozi indicated in TTC 16. Since we need to cultivate Tao and Te to achieve utmost emptiness and guard assured stillness. Only from there can fellows of the Way proceed further to returning to destiny.

At the end of this magical far journey, we may come to realize that Tao last forever, without body, no death.

‘Immortality!’ exclaimed my learned Daoist friend when I reached the final verse of the simple translation of TTC 16. And he is right, in case you had not seen it that way. My recent verse-by-verse discussion with him included references to Confucian thoughts and the Yi.

With this further explanation, perhaps fellow Tao cultivators and Yi students can come to the same conclusions?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Returning to destiny

When we want to learn a profound subject, we always want to study with the best.

Tao and the Yi are among the most profound subjects available in the world. To learn more about these two subjects, we have to read the Yi and the Tao Te Ching written by ancient holy sages and Laozi respectively for posterity.

The many truths that lay hidden within these two ancient classics are available for the right persons to find. And down the millennia of their availability, many brilliant minds cum cultivators found the hidden truths.

If we do not cultivate what the ancient sages have taught, even with brilliant minds, we may be unable to penetrate the mysteries of Tao and the Yi because the subjects are so deep and profound. Like what Laozi said and what undergraduates know to be true, obtaining a third class degree is always easier than a second class one, and the first class degree is only awarded to those with brilliant minds who are invariably diligent.

If we only know the theories and not the practices, we could be reading dead books. If we only know the practices and not the theories we will be deemed technicians.

A true professional (read right person / cultivator) understands both and knows how to apply them to the best of his or her abilities. In knowing how to apply the theories to practice, the cultivator can penetrate the many mysteries of Tao and the Yi.

Meanwhile this is my simple translation of Tao Te Ching chapter 16 for fellow students of the Tao and the Yi. (Note the subtle differences with the more popular translations.)

Understanding the principle well can facilitate our return to destiny. Those who diligently practise neidan the ancient way can spot the metaphors and the requisite actions for the return. Confucians who cultivate to reach the center can perhaps see something familiar. Serious and earnest Yi students should try to relate what Laozi said in this chapter to the Yi.

If you are able with clarity discern what Laozi taught, you are one step closer to penetrating the mysteries of Tao and the Yi.

Tao Te Ching chapter 16

Achieve utmost emptiness, guard assured stillness.

(Even if) myriad things no longer active, I continue to observe return.

Man and things flourish, each will return to its root.

To return to the root require stillness, stillness brings return to destiny.

Returning to destiny is the principle; knowledge of this principle means understanding.

Not knowing this principle, delusions and disasters arise.

Know and accept the principle, upon acceptance one can be impartial, impartiality accords with completeness. Completion accords with Heaven. Heaven accords with Dao.

Dao last forever, without body, no death.

[Allan Lian]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For a few dollars more

Greed is part of human nature. That is why Confucius warned the old not to be greedy.

If the old had not heeded it, their wealth could have been destroyed in 2008. It is sad to see many of the elderly who invested in the so called mini bonds which had paid a higher interest than their local banks and lost their entire fortune on the collapse of Lehman Brothers. If we happen to lose our wealth during old age, it could be difficult for us to make back the money.

I recall the 1985/ 86 recession in Malaysia where several credit & leasing and finance companies collapsed. Investors and depositors, attracted by the high interests that these companies were paying, paid the price of their greed. They just wanted a few dollars more for their money.

But investors have short memories. They are already investing in investments which promise to pay a higher interest than bank deposits. They are investing in the mini bonds again because of the prevailing low interest regime across the world led by the US. They are borrowing to chase equities and real property prices higher. Both China and Japan have recently warned against the created bubbles.

The astute have seen what the US is trying to do with the low interest regime – inflating assets value (think realty) and lowering the US dollar value (think exports). This policy did not work that well for Japan during the 1990s; I wonder if they will work for the United States of America.

Meanwhile risk takers are currently using the US dollars for their carry trades instead of the Yen. I call them risk takers because Japanese housewives made loads of money using the Yen for their carry trades but got burned now and then when exchange rates turned against them.

Retirees should not take on too much risk with their retirement funds. Neither should they be tempted by a few dollars more. There are still many safe and sound investments around even if they pay a low interest. Take heart that global interest rates will be raised eventually.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tao and the Yi (2)

The philosophical Daoists claim that they understand Tao well enough and do not need to study the four Confucian books. They may have a point there or perhaps not.

While ardent followers of Zhuangzi do not need to know about Confucian virtues; Daoists who follow the philosophy of Laozi cultivate those cardinal virtues as depicted in the Tao Te Ching, with the hopes of returning to Tao.

To those familiar with Tao and the Zhouyi, the cultivation of virtues is in line with Heaven and Earth. To be in line with or follow Heaven and Earth is to understand Tao.

Previously one had mentioned that Laozi and Confucius both knew what would happen if there is Tao or no Tao on Earth. Today one would add in another ancient sage.

Mencius said,

‘When right government prevails in the kingdom, princes of little virtue are submissive to those of great, and those of little worth to those of great.

When bad government prevails in the kingdom, princes of small power are submissive to those of the great, and the weak to the strong.

Both of these cases are the rule of Heaven. They who accord with Heaven are preserved, and they who rebel against Heaven perish.’

[Works of Mencius 4 .7 Legge]

[Note: Legge has chosen to translate the Chinese words – having Tao under Heaven – as right government prevails in the kingdom. And – no Tao under Heaven – as bad government prevails in the kingdom.]

Like the two great ancient sages before him, Mencius also knew well his Yi and cardinal virtues. Therefore he also knew much about Heaven and Earth.

Since the advent of the absence of Tao all under Heaven on September 15, 2008 as indicated by the Yi, quite a number of people have perished. The funny thing since then is that even divinities have withheld healing people on Earth, let alone sing.

That is a little bit more on Tao and the Yi.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Full lotus position

The lotus position sometimes called the full lotus pose is much favored by practising masters of yoga. We often see these masters sitting in this pose in Yoga and/or meditation documentaries on TV. In these documentaries, the Yogis would also demonstrate various stretching exercises for health purposes.

According to what is posted in the Wikipedia,
“The lotus position is a cross-legged sitting posture originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on opposing thighs. It is an established posture of the Hindu Yoga tradition. The position is said to resemble a lotus, to encourage breathing proper to associated meditative practice, and to foster physical stability.”

Over the past year or so, a number of Tao Bum members have weighed in with their thoughts on whether the full lotus position is a must for advanced meditation (those related to breath control and/or inner alchemy). Some quote their masters or other masters that the pose is requisite, while some masters in their own right say the lotus position is unnecessary. A Daoist member from Hong Kong recently informed that some Daoist masters in China have made the full lotus pose mandatory for their students.

The issue is difficult to resolve since each individual practitioner or cultivator of Tao has their own practices or beliefs. Then there is the other ‘clouded’ issue of whether they are in fact practising inner alchemy like the ancient and the Neo Daoists or are taught some new age ‘qigong’ meditation or exercises by their Daoist or Buddhist ‘masters’.

If you are practising inner alchemy, it would be appropriate to research into the ancient Chinese classics and/or Buddhist sutras. Did the holy sages in the Book of Changes; and Laozi and/or Buddha ever mention in their writings/ teachings that the full lotus position is mandatory for meditation? Did the Zhen Ren (realized persons) and the renowned Neo Daoists who became celestial immortals write down for posterity that it was the pose for meditation? For the esoteric - whether you are a master or a student - did your ancestor master(s) (Daoist celestial immortals) or Buddhas ever told you that the pose was mandatory for the practice?

If they did, then the full lotus position would be appropriate for your inner alchemy practice. Not otherwise. Unless you believe that your master, his master or grandmasters know more than the ancients and the divinities about inner alchemy.

For example, Zhang Boduan wrote in his Wuzhen Pian (Awakening to the Real) that “laboring the body through massage and gymnastics are not the way; refining the qi and swallowing morning clouds are madness.”

Yet some New Age Daoist masters listed on the web are known to teach such things and have the audacity to claim that their various massages, exercises, ‘Daoist’ yoga, and meditation methods lead to immortality. Compared to them, the yogis are more straightforward. The full lotus position and their related stretching exercises, they explained, can lead to a healthier life.

So there you go, it is up to you what or who you want to believe or follow. Not much point in arguing with those attached to forms or bypaths until ‘the cows come home’.

Those who have had attained good aptitude in inner alchemy, according to Lu Dongbin, would know by now which pose(s) to use for their meditation.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tao and the Yi

The ancients say that Tao can be vast and can be minute and so profound that only the right persons can penetrate all its mysteries. They proffered similar references to the Book of Changes (I Ching / Yijing) in the Great Treatise.

Just like the pursuit of Tao, brilliant minds and the literati down the millennia try to penetrate the mysteries of the Yi. How many were actually successful is difficult to tell since there are few written records left behind for posterity. As a comparison, the Daoists keep Rolls of those successful in attaining the Tao (after penetrating its mysteries) to become celestial immortals and whom invariably can be authenticated in the temples, if required.

Of the Yi, the ancients and the wise left behind references in the Book of History, the Zuo Zhuan (Tso Chuan) and the Ten Wings. So did Confucius and his students in the Confucian books. More than five centuries later, a whiz kid by the name of Wang Bi seemed to be able to penetrate its mysteries and recorded down his understanding that the Yi was a book of wisdom.

Several centuries had lapsed before the time of the so called Neo Daoists and Neo Confucians where brilliant minds again penetrated the mysteries of the Tao and the Yi. Chen Tuan produced many diagrams related to both studies including the Wujitu (Chart of the Infinite). Chou Dunyi produced the Taijitu (Chart of the Supreme Ultimate). From the writings of Chen Tuan, Shao Yong came up with his own diagrams and another method of divination, the Plum Blossoms Yi Number. Chu Hsi recorded down his understanding that the Yi was originally a book for divination.

It was also during this time that renowned Daoists like Chen Tuan, Lu Dongbin, and Wang Chungyang – the founder of Quanzhen - proffered their deep insights that neidan (inner alchemy) and not weidan (outer alchemy) is the method to penetrate the mysteries to attain Tao. They also advocated the integrated studies of the three doctrines – Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist for students to better understand Tao.

The profoundness and mysteries of both Tao and the Yi remain challenges down to this day. Brilliant minds and the literati still try to figure them out just like the ancients and all the wise down the ages.

Laozi and Confucius were no different; they had studied and knew the Yi well. (Remember the Book of Changes is an ancient classic.) Well enough to refer to the Yi in their thoughts and writings and yet keep their meanings hidden for the right persons to discover the truths.

Yet some modern scholars, even if they have brilliant minds, tend to think that the Yi is not profound and they have had penetrated its many mysteries. Some had claimed the same about Tao.

Despite their claims, it is difficult to find their penetrating clarity requisite for an in-depth understanding of the Tao and/or the Yi.

Did anyone note that a court historiographer (a professional diviner or expert) wrongly interpreted the prognostication in the Zuo Zhuan during the Chun Chiu era? If the Tao and the Yi is not other than profound would Laozi state so in the Tao Te Ching and would Confucius in his old age request for fifty years (as recorded in his Analects) to study the Book of Changes so that he would not come to great faults?

If a great sage himself needed so much time to study the Yi, would he tell his students to study this ancient classic to correct their faults? Was it not proper for Confucius to request them and his son to study the easier-to-understand Book of Odes or the Book of Music instead? (This is written in response to spurious claims that Confucius did not study or refer to the Yi in his dealings with his students.)

As a matter of interest, how many Yi scholars out there can really say that they understand Confucius’s interpretations of the lines or hexagrams in the Book of Changes as he did?

If they know little about Confucian doctrines, they may not quite understand where Confucius was coming from.

And if they know any less about ancient Chinese history, they could be clueless as to what Laozi and Confucius meant when they talked about the closure of Heaven and Earth - and therefore the absence of Tao – in their respective texts while making an inference to the Yi.

Meanwhile less brilliant students like us should put more effort into reading the correct books and do homework on Tao and the Yi. It is also proper to discuss our learning with likeminded fellows.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A good opportunity for Yi studies

Steve Marshall, the author of The Mandate of Heaven, is considering starting a regular Yi study group in London for likeminded aficionados depending on the response.

This is a good opportunity for all Yi aficionados who live in London or near enough. If I were still living in London or even Brighton, you can count me among those who would gladly join. Alas I now reside back in Malaysia for a few decades now (and not as reported by some in the World Wide Web).

Steve can be said to be knowledgeable in many tenets of Yi studies. His insights on certain lines or on hexagrams can sometimes astound Yi aficionados. His knowledge on the use of the Shao Yong’s circular diagram helped me pinpoint more accurately on the omen on another 9/11 – the bombing in the US, UK, and Europe; leaving out Japan.

From online discussions with him and by his blogging, one can see he knows something about Daoist, Confucian, and Zen thoughts.

It is a good opportunity not to be missed to discuss the Yi with someone as knowledgeable and reliable as him. Check his Yijing Dao website under Resources.

If you are Chinese or love Chinese tea like him, do not forget to bring along some Ti Guanyin or the milder Po Li for the group discussion sessions. To drink Chinese tea and eat some ground (monkey) nuts over a friendly discussion on Yi studies with someone knowledgeable, what more can one ask?

If interested, search with this address:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Note to students and teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy

Right books and doing proper homework is the correct approach to the study and/or teaching of ancient Chinese philosophy. While I have been saying or hinting that in this blog from time to time, it does not seem to convey the message across.

More particular, I am concerned about the various aspersions cast by some modern scholars (Chinese and Western) that raise doubts in the minds of students and teachers alike on the existence of Chinese sages like Laozi and Confucius, and/or their studies.

Take for example that of Confucius’s study or knowledge of the Zhouyi.

While both in the Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu) and the Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji) it has been recorded that Confucius loved his study of the Yi, some modern scholars have the shameless audacity to claim that the great sage had never read the ancient classic. Where such unsubstantiated or specious claims arise, they can mislead students or teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy who did not do their homework well. But we know that the mean men or Xiao Ren whether they are so called masters or scholars have no shame. They just want a pecuniary gain of money, fame or even both, if they can get away with their various spurious claims.

However if we do our homework well, we could substantiate that indeed, Confucius knew his Yi. (Click on Confucius and the Zhouyi link, if interested.)

Then I read of modern scholars and teachers who doubt the very existence of Laozi and Confucius.

It is funny to say the least that they believe in the existence of Zhuangzi but not that of Laozi and Confucius. Yet they read in the writings of Zhuangzi of both Laozi and Confucius who had lived in an era about two centuries earlier than him. It is also said that Zhuangzi claimed to be a follower of Laozi. (No point in bringing up again, the argument that the Chinese emperors and their ministers including grand historians a few centuries removed from both Laozi and Confucius, and those down the ages, had far greater access to historical records than any scholars.)

It seems that some scholars and teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy like to believe in what they want to believe, creating conundrums or at worst, paradoxes for themselves and their students in the studies.

Luckily, the Daoist and Confucian scholars who were top ministers in the first Han Court of Liu Bang had no such quibbles like modern scholars and teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy. These renowned Han scholars had no difficulty in accepting the existence of both Laozi and Confucius. (Read the Records of the Grand Historian)

If we want to know if certain personages of ancient history truly existed, read the right books and do our homework. To read about Confucius and his thoughts, I have always recommended the translations of the four Confucian books by James Legge.

One of the reasons for the recommendation is because Legge provided many important notes and comments of noted Chinese scholars down the ages on the sage’s teachings, as well as on the sage’s family and his numerous named students. If that is not good enough to prove the existence of Confucius for some, try reading his lengthy travels across the various ancient states in China as recorded in the Shiji. Or read the thoughts of Mencius who was said to be a student of the grandson of Confucius. (Any wonder why one has considered some Western scholars and teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy as third class scholars in an earlier post about nearly the same matter.)

While I am aware the James Legge’s translations is out of print, one is sure the established libraries in the West still stock them. Is it too difficult for teachers or professors of ancient Chinese philosophy to get access to these translations and do their own homework instead of quibbling or reliving doubts about the existence of Confucius? It could make a difference to their knowledge or improve their class of scholarship.

(The previous entry on ‘The mother of Mencius’ was written for a similar purpose.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The mother of Mencius

While Confucians follow the doctrines of both Confucius and Mencius, Chinese mothers down the ages try to closely follow the example of Madam Chang, the mother of Mencius.

“According to Chao Chi, it was the misfortune of Mencius to lose his father at an early period; but in his youthful years he enjoyed the lessons of his kind mother, who thrice changed her residence on his account.

At first they lived near a cemetery, and Mencius amused himself with acting the various scenes which he witnessed at the tombs. ‘This,’ said the lady ‘is no place for my son;’ and she removed to a house in the market place. But the change was no improvement. The boy took to playing the part of a salesman, vaunting his wares, and chaffering with customers. His mother sought a new house, and found one at last close by a public school. There her child’s attention was taken with the various exercises of politeness which the scholars were taught, and he endeavored to imitate them. ‘This,’ she said, ‘is the proper place for my son.’

Han Ying relates another story of this period. Near their house was pig-butcher’s. One day Mencius asked his mother what they were killing the pigs for, and was told that it was to feed him. Her conscience immediately reproved her for the answer. She said to herself, ‘While I was carrying this boy in my womb, I would not sit down if the mat was not placed square, and I ate no meat which was not cut properly; - so I taught him when he was yet unborn. And now when his intelligence is opening, I am deceiving him; - this is to teach him untruthfulness!’ With this she went and bought a piece of pork in order to make good her words.

As Mencius grew up, he was sent to school. When he returned home one day, his mother looked up from the web which she was weaving, and asked him how far he had got on. He answered her with an air of indifference that he was doing well enough, on which she took a knife and cut through the thread of her shuttle. The idler was alarmed, and asked what she meant, when she gave him a long lecture, showing that she had done what he was doing, - that her cutting through the thread was like his neglecting his learning. The admonition, it is said, had its proper effect; the lecture did not need to be repeated.

His wife was squatting down one day in her own room, when Mencius went in. He was so much offended at finding her in that position, that he told his mother, and expressed his intention to put her away, because of ‘her want of propriety.’

‘It is you who have no propriety,’ said his mother, ‘and not your wife. Do not ‘The Rules of Propriety’ say, ‘When you are about to ascend a hall, raise your voice; when you enter a door, keep your eyes low?’ The reason of the rules is that people may not be taken unprepared; but you entered the door of your private apartment without raising your voice, and so caused your wife to be caught squatting on the ground. The impropriety is with you and not her.’ On this Mencius fell to reproving himself, and did not dare to put away his wife.

One day, when he was living with his mother in Chi, she was struck with the sorrowfulness of his aspect as he stood leaning against a pillar, and asked him the cause of it. He replied, ‘I have heard that the superior man occupies the place for which he is adapted, accepting no reward to which he does not feel entitled, and not covetous of honour and emolument. Now my doctrines are not practised in Chi: - I wish to leave it, but I think of your old age, and am anxious.’

His mother said, ‘It does not belong to a woman to determine anything of herself, but she is subject to the rule of the three obediences. When young, she has to obey her parents; when married, she has to obey her husband; when a widow, she has to obey her son. You are a man in your full maturity, and I am old. Do you act as your conviction of righteousness tells you you ought to do, and I will act according to the rule which belongs to me. Why should you be anxious about me?’

Such are the accounts which I have found of the mother of Mencius. Possibly some of them are inventions, but they are devoutly believed by the people of China; - and it must be to their profit. We may well believe that she was a woman of very superior character, and that her son’s subsequent distinction was in a great degree owing to her influence and training.”
[Pages 16 to 18, The Works of Mencius – James Legge]

Perhaps with the above stories, Yi students understand why the mother plays an important role in the family. (Refer to Hexagram 37 Jia Ren / The Family)

A good wife and a kind mother is all a man (whether he is an emperor, sage, or pauper) need. Whether your wife is good, beautiful, or not, friends do not mention her. Neither would the ancients. It forms part of Chinese culture down the ages.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sincerity at stake

The elderly neighbor, a trader, living across the road had recently passed away probably left behind a small fortune for his wife and adult children.

Within weeks of his departure, his family traded in his few-years-old Volvo for a brand new Mercedes and also bought a new Japanese make car. (Reserve my comments on their not following the wisdom of the Yi, and about luck)

It would have been alright, if the neighborhood is wealthy. But it is ostentatious having a brand new Mercedes parked in the driveway in a middle class one, especially when public security in the country has already ‘gone to the dogs’. (Think of Italy in the 1970s and 80s.)

Within a week of the purchases, robbers entered their house before dawn and robbed the family of their brand new cars and some cash as well. Shocked and frightened, they immediately employed private security guards around the clock to look after their house.

Hearing it from a next door neighbor, my wife told me about the robbery and about the security guards. I had told her it would be quite costly to maintain the 24 hours security for months. And I wondered how long they could keep it up.

Sure enough, the sons of that family soon started to call for meetings of the neighbors to talk about poor security in the neighborhood. When few attended, they decided to meet each neighbor outside his or her house trying to drum up support for their scheme of a 24 hours patrol by security guards at each end of the road. Side roads were temporary ignored!

Of late, I have heard the sons’ complains that they have spent so much time and effort for the neighbors and yet feel unappreciated. (Those who had agreed to the security patrol scheme would have to cough up their share of the costs starting next month.)

The question one needs to ask is whether their efforts – words and actions - were sincere or not? And if their words and actions were insincere, doubt they could move heaven!

Perhaps Yi aficionados will understand why I sometimes balked at answers where prognostications mention that sincerity is at stake.

For sincerity is the way of heaven.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Three years mourning for parents

The Chinese would know or have heard about the three years of mourning for parents. Many would say it is traditional. Those who know a bit more from their Chinese studies will say it is based on the Classics. And they are right.

However, most may not know the real reason for the three years of mourning.

The Book of Rites (Li Ki) elaborated about the required periods of mourning with three years being the longest. The Book of Filial Piety (Hsiao Ching) contained what the Master said about the three years mourning being the fulfillment of duty by the bereaved children (Chapter 18).

The Book of Rites says:

Thus it is that in the mourning of three years the highest forms that vary and adorn the ways of men are displayed. Yes, this is what is called the richest exhibition (of human feelings).
[Book 35. 13 Legge]

Perhaps the simplest and easiest clarification can be obtained from the Analects of Confucius. Just like what people of old would want to know – the above paragraph in the Li Ki was to explain why – one of his students questioned Confucius about it:

Tsai Wo asked about the three years’ mourning for parents, saying that one year was long enough.

‘If the superior man,’ said he, ‘abstains for three years from the observances of propriety, those observances will be quite lost. If for three years he abstains from music, music will be ruined.’

‘Within a year the old grain is exhausted, and the new grain has sprung up, and, in procuring fire by friction, we go through all the changes of wood for that purpose. After a complete year, the mourning may stop.’

The Master said, ‘If you were, after a year, to eat good rice, and wear embroidered clothes, would you feel at ease?’ ‘I should,’ replied Wo.

The Master said, ‘If you can feel at ease, do it. But a superior man, during the whole period of mourning, does not enjoy pleasant food which he may eat, nor derive pleasure from music which he may hear. He also does not feel at ease, if he is comfortably lodged. Therefore he does not do what you propose. But now you feel at ease and may do it.’

Tsai Wo then went out, and the Master said,

‘This shows Yu’s want of virtue (* Bu Ren). It is not till a child is three years old that it is allowed to leave the arms of its parents. And the three years’ mourning is universally observed throughout the empire. Did Yu enjoy the three years’ love of his parents?

[Analects 17. 21 Legge]

Now you come to know the real reason behind the three years’ mourning.

You can see that to be a Confucian is difficult; to be filial is even more difficult being duty bound.

The most difficult is perhaps being a Junzi or the right person for Tao.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Another one of those Septembers

Probably many across the world still remember or mourn the September 11, 2001 massacre of a few thousand innocent victims in the United States of America by terrorists deliberately crashing hijacked airplanes into buildings and open space.

Few (including Divinities) would know or remember the September 15, 2008 where Heaven and Earth closed with the able gone into hiding since there is no tao all under heaven. Investors all over the world may instead remember the sensational collapse of Lehman Brothers and the official announcement of its bankruptcy on that very day.

Both major events wreaked havoc to the global financial markets. And both were foretold by the Yi to this student to help protect him from financial ruin.

Is this fateful month of 2009 going to be another one of those Septembers? Well, I can’t say for sure. (There is no prize given even if I say, it is for sure!)

The events foretold by the Yi for this autumn and coming winter have already been blogged in advance. (You are still reading future news today, since the omens or heaven’s secrets have yet to unfold.)

If readers cum investors do not take heed of the advice(s) of the two Da Ren (Great Men) – Warren Buffet and Li Ka Shing - as suggested in the entry last July, nothing can be done. Fate is at work.

All I know is that investors may not have much time left to ‘unwind’ (pun intended).

Therefore as usual, take care.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Heaven is always on the side of the good

In Chapter 79 .4 of the Tao Te Ching, Laozi said:

“In the way of heaven, there is no partiality of love; it is always on the side of the good.”

During his long travels across China, Confucius was once detained and threatened by the men of Kuang. The followers of Confucius were afraid but he said:

‘Since King Wen is no more, who but I can be the standard bearer of culture? If Heaven had wanted culture to disappear, I should not have possessed it after all this time. And if Heaven does not intend culture to disappear, what can the men of Kuang do to me?’

Since there were no written records on the life story of Laozi, one has to assume he has also experienced like Confucius, how Heaven is always on the side of the good. Otherwise he would not have stated that. Remember, a sage is cautious with his words and actions.

Good people, even in modern times, who have had experienced this truth would wholeheartedly agree to the two great sages’ respective statements. Think of the experiences of Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela; and you would be more aware that Heaven is always on the side of the good.

Now where did these two ancient sages learn about this way of Heaven?

From the Book of Changes, of course!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Inferior man (Xiao Ren) has no merit

When can we consider a man, an inferior man (Xiao Ren)?

According to the Book of Changes and the ancients, we judge the character of a person by his words and actions. The inferior man's words or rationale can be rather sweet and insinuating but they may not be good enough to cover up his mean actions to the discerning.

Perhaps a good example is that of an Asian Central Banker who gambled away his country’s entire foreign reserves in 1997 trying to beat off a pack of hedge funds attacking the country’s currency. He rationalized later that he was trying to save both his countrymen and the country.

The learned judge at the end of the trial had no qualms to throw him in jail and fined him one billion US dollars for restitution.

Of course, the banker did not have such vast sum of money, but that was not the point. This great man (Da Ren) who turned out to be an inferior man (Xiao Ren), after all, has no merit. He suffered the consequences.

Turning to Hexagram 21 Shi He / Biting Through, Confucius says in regard to the nine at the beginning:

“The inferior man is not ashamed of unkindness and does not shrink from injustice. If no advantage beckons he makes no effort. If he is not intimidated he does not improve himself, but if he is made to behave correctly in small matters he is careful in large ones. This is fortunate for the inferior man.”

Global financial regulators could do well with their charges if they take note of the great sage’s comments.

On the subject of the nine at the top Confucius says:

“If good does not accumulate, it is not enough to make a name for a man. If evil does not accumulate, it is not strong enough to destroy a man. Therefore the inferior man thinks to himself, ‘Goodness in small things has no value,’ and so neglects it. He thinks, ‘Small sins do no harm,’ and so does not give them up. Thus his sins accumulate until they can no longer be covered up, and his guilt becomes so great that it can no longer be wiped out.”

In contrast to the first line, this top line refers to a man who is incorrigible. His punishment is the wooden cangue, and his ears disappear under it – that is to say, he is deaf to warnings. This obstinacy leads to misfortune.
[Book of Changes - Wilhelm / Baynes]

In case you do not know, students who receive no approval from their masters cannot teach, and those who use intellectual material of others, without the real owner's permission or fair use with citations, engage in thievery; no matter what the rationale.

Regulars in Daoist and Yi forums may find the inferior man under the guise of students and/or ‘teachers’. I tend to avoid such persons and those associated with them.

At the very least, I would not get ‘Madoffed’!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The fever subsides

After earlier entries where one discussed the notion that ancient masters (Shi) and/or neidan masters can heal Flu (inclusive of type A H1N1) victims with heat and the Light from their hands, I discovered that the same remedy can help lower the fever of a ‘patient’.

Last week, my wife suffered from an itchy throat. She tried curing it by taking double action Vitamin C 1,000 mg tablets but to no avail. I was unaware until she told me later that night. By the time I was ready to work on her throat, she was fast asleep.

When I started to work on her throat with my hands, I felt she was running a high fever. Her neck felt hot so was her forehead. After working on her neck for a few minutes (it only takes a few minutes if your palms are hot enough), I touched her forehead with the back of my hand. Her fever had subsided.

By the next morning, the itchiness, probably later turned soreness, of the throat and the fever had both disappeared without a trace. Like Daoist magic?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Having trouble sleeping?

My eldest sister called the other day with news about her planned trip home with family. While on the line she told me that she had some trouble sleeping recently. She could only fall asleep after lying in bed for a few hours.

Then she remembered the simple sitting meditation with the basic breath control I had taught her previously, and she practised it before going to bed. She sounded happy while telling me; she could now fall asleep within a few minutes after doing the meditation.

This is one of the benefits that I was not aware of until she gave me the feedback, since one has no trouble falling asleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep, perhaps you can try the same sitting meditation with the basic breath control that I have taught my father, my siblings and kin.

The two relevant entries are Simple sitting and Basic breath control listed on the section under Meditation written in early 2006.

The simple sitting should be suitable for everyone but not the basic breath control. If you have recent surgery, do not practise the basic breath control until the incision(s) have fully healed. Neither should those below the age of 26 practise it.

In some countries, the teaching of this basic breath control takes months and can cost you some money. In this blog, it is another one of those freebies for the sharing of health and wealth (knowledge).

Whether you are rich or poor, living under a roof or stretching out under the open sky, religious or not, happy or sad, well educated or illiterate, you can still practise this simple and easy meditation if you wish. And it is free.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


To and fro goes the Way
But how many people could remember?
Thousands, millions, billions have forgotten
The fall from Tao

The Ancients pointed the way home
Since they had remembered
Upon seeing the various signposts
Return to Tao, they urge

Not to forsake the multitude
They laid down means and ways
Cultivate essence and virtues
To empty the mind and rectify the heart

Sit and forget
Emotions subside
In peace and harmony
Contemplate the Light

Yin Yang interchanges
Forms and Emptiness
Earth and then Heaven
Stars and Galaxies

How could the multitude remember?
An eternity ago
A journey so far
The thousands, millions, billions ….

Immortals and Buddhas sing
Face the ancestor and the eight trigrams
The golden flower blooms
See the original self

Perhaps then
We could remember
The way we were

Friday, July 17, 2009

Completing the four seasons of 2009

Spring has come and gone. Summer is about to end. Autumn will soon begin. Winter follows. Seasonal cycles have existed longer than the Book of Changes and the ancients. So what have we learned?

The future can be foretold. Omens can be received. Heaven hold many secrets. All these can be known by consulting the Zhouyi. Over the years, one has blogged enough to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that it can be and has been done. Pigs and fishes may still remain unconvinced.

But revealing omens and/or heaven’s secrets too often, has its drawbacks. Even divinities (Daoist deities and celestial immortals) have their limits, the Yi had once told me. While lucky enough not to be struck by lightning, it can damage one’s health or pockets. The loud encroaching thunders can be rather frightening, especially when it is not raining, while one types out the secrets for blogging.

After giving out the omen on the wind borne diseases and the air disasters, the Yi had wanted to tell me something else. Upon consultation, the prognostication given seems to be another omen or heaven secret to complete the four seasons of 2009.

This time, instead of revealing the heaven’s secret or omen in the explicit manner like in previous occasions over the past few years, one would present it in the form of a Guan Yin qin (divination slip) adding on an ‘ancient’, to assist clarity. (I have tested it two nights ago, and there was no usual rumbling from Heaven.)

It could also provide an opportunity for the esoteric, Yi aficionados and Daoist devotees to ‘crack’ their heads over what is the revelation – the heaven’s secret. Readers can try to decipher the message(s) from heaven and comment, if they so wish.

Spring winds borne diseases. False hope and black hands hide heaven.

Summer air disasters. No parts or poor maintenance.

Autumn rains rockets. Watch the south east region.

Winter drum beats in the distance. Pigs cry, fish laughs, and cranes fly home.

Ancient (Gu Ren) for the latter two seasons:

Guan Lo advises Cao Cao not to move.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heed the advice of these Da Ren

It has been a long while since I last talk about investments. With the great destruction of wealth in 2008, few with no vested interest would like to touch on investments. Who wants to be blamed for causing further hardships to investors, or creating personal bankruptcies?

Wise words are usually far and few in between.

When a Da Ren (Great Man) gives advice, small investors like us have to take heed.

In October 2008, during times of great uncertainty, Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, advised American investors to invest in US shares, with their own money.

In early April 2009, Li Ka Shing, the Superman of Hong Kong, advised HK investors to buy shares as they were cheap. About two months later, after the Hang Seng Index had rebounded 50% or more from its March lows, he advised investors to dispose of the shares as the investments were getting expensive.

Understand what has been advised by the two Da Ren and take heed of their advice; since most may not know what is going to happen in the next six months up till the next Chinese New Year.

Even if you think you count amongst those who foreknow the future, try not to be too clever. Those are sagely advice for all investors.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Moving heaven and earth

The ancients say that sincerity is part of human nature. And that sincerity is the way of heaven. According to the Doctrine of the Mean (Zhong Yong), there are different levels of sincerity and the most complete of it allows the Yi diviner to divine like a spirit (shen).

The Judgment in Hexagram 61 Zhong Fu / Inner Truth says:

Inner Truth. Pigs and fishes. Good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers.


Pigs and fishes are the least intelligent of all animals and therefore the most difficult to influence. The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before its influence can extend to such creatures. In dealing with people as intractable and difficult to influence as a pig or a fish, the whole secret of success depends on finding the right way of approach. One must first rid oneself of all prejudice and, so to speak, let the psyche of the other person act on one without restraint. Then one will establish contact with him, understand and gain power over him. When a door has thus opened, the force of one’s personality will influence him. If in this way one finds no obstacles insurmountable, one can undertake even the most dangerous things, such as crossing the great water, and succeed.
[Wilhelm / Baynes]

If you have ever visited pig or fish farms, you may find that pigs and fishes are happiest when it comes to feeding time. Just like humans, creatures need to eat, to fill their empty stomachs. To the pigs and fishes, their owners by feeding and taking good care of them are sincere. This can also apply to reliable teachers and students.

Nine in the second place means:
A crane calling in the shade. Its young answers it. I have a good goblet. I will share it with you.

Confucius says about this line:

The superior man abides in his room. If his words are well spoken, he meets with assent at a distance of more than a thousand miles. How much more then from nearby! If the superior man abides in his room and his words are not well spoken, he meets with contradiction at a distance of more than a thousand miles. How much more then from nearby!

Words go forth from one’s own person and exert their influence on men. Deeds are born close at hand and become visible far away.

Words and deeds are the hinge and bow spring of the superior man. As hinge and bow spring move, they bring honor or disgrace.

Through words and deeds the superior man moves heaven and earth. Must one not, then, be cautious?

The great sage advised that in our dealings with people and/or nations by way of speech, writing and/or action, the Junzi have to be sincere, reliable, and cautious. Since their words and actions can move (gan dong) heaven and earth. If their sincere words and deeds can begin to move heaven and earth, do they not have the same effect with pigs and fishes?

Just like the current handling of the two ‘nuclear’ nations by world leaders and the UN Security Council, if they do not put in more sincerity that can even influence pigs and fishes, they may realize too late what they should have done to avoid an omen or heaven’s secret given by the Yi.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Of students and masters (8)

An anonymous reader, most likely a fellow Tao Bum member, requested for my comments on how John Chang of Mo Pai, also known as the Magus of Java, Indonesia, and Wang Li Ping of Quanzhen in China have the special powers that few possess. Each master has a book written about them, and probably well respected in their own communities.

Since I have not read the books on the two masters nor know them personally, my thoughts would be based on ‘hear say’ on what is written on the web or videos posted on the You Tube by their students or friends of the students. Therefore whatever written about them in this entry has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

However it would be safe enough to say that both masters have certainly reached a high level of cultivation in their respective lineages. Both have teachers versed in the ancient Way. Each has put in decades of earnest and sincere practice in meditation. The only difference would be one apparently uses the Active method while the other uses the Stillness method.

As I have indicated before, the ancient masters (Shi) 'follow' the Yi and practised the Stillness method of meditation. So do Quanzhen.

According to one of his students, Wang Li Ping is versed in the Book of Changes. And most in the Tao Bums know that he teaches Daoist meditation and exercises to the general public in China and elsewhere in exchange for a fee. While John Chang only teach his students, and do healing with powers (heat and electricity) from his hands and acupuncture for a fee. Each follows their own vocation of calling. Each will reach a higher spiritual level as they progress on the Way.

That is fine, unless they stray from the path because of fame and fortune like the so called ‘sages’ of modern times.

The powers and virtue of ancient masters seemed profound even to Laozi, the great sage, during his time. If students follow the ancient Way, they have to cultivate both essence and virtues. And maybe just maybe, they can also have profound powers and virtue like the ancient masters. The Zhen Ren (realized persons) and the celestial Daoist immortals found it to be true. And some wrote down their thoughts in texts for posterity for the right persons.

However, the great sages including Buddha, the Zhen Ren, and the celestial Daoist immortals did not mention powers of generating fire or electricity, the ability that John Chang possesses and his skills were shown on You Tube. Perhaps some Qigong exercises and/or the Active method of meditation - which uses force and therefore raises the likelihood to blow heart valves - allows a high level neidan practitioner to generate electricity from his hands and/or body. One would not know since I happen to practise the Stillness method.

One thing both John Chang and Wang Li Ping have probably learned recently is not to take in or teach unscrupulous (real or so claimed) students who were out to spoil or have almost dragged their respectable names through the mud. If you are a Tao Bum member, probably you would know what I am talking about. (Also remember what Zhang San Feng said about the bad guys?)

By all accounts, both these masters would have gone way beyond the requisite feeling of heat and seeing the light during neidan meditation. The heat in their palms would be rather intense. They could if they wished to, heal swine flu or A (H1N1) flu sufferers in their respective countries.

They certainly will try, if they or their students happen to read about this wonderful type of natural healing using heat and the light from their hands, in this blog or in the Tao Bums, I had mentioned to my learned Quanzhen friend.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Knowing the Mandate of Heaven

The Master said,

‘Without recognizing the decrees of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man.’

‘Without an acquaintance with the rule of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.’

‘Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.’

[Analects 20 .3 Legge]

To be a Junzi or a right person for Tao is not that easy and simple. It takes decades of earnest and sincere self study, practice, and cultivation.

Over the years through discussions with my Daoist friend, through observations and reflections, one has learned how and why Heaven is on the side of the good. [Refer Tao Te Ching]

Through studies of ancient Chinese history including the four Confucian books and the five Classics, pondering while blogging, posting comments, and providing suggestions to like minded friends and strangers, one may have recently discovered why and when Heaven issues its Mandate. (The Yi gave an advice almost a decade ago, to discuss the studies with likeminded fellows. And the World Wide Web turned out to be a rather good place for such discussions and further studies; a great contribution by science and technology.)

The great sage, Confucius knew the decrees of Heaven (Tian Ming) when he was fifty. Every Confucian and/or Yi student has the potential to learn to know it, if we put in the extra mile of effort.

It is possible that some may get to know the Mandate of Heaven before they reach fifty, but being a slow learner; this student has already been a few years too late!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The mystical Light (2)

If neidan practitioners or Daoist students harbor any doubts whether or not the Circulation of the Light meditation is as ancient as what Lu Dongbin had claimed in his Secret of the Golden Flower, and for assurance, they could study what Zhuangzi wrote in his well known ‘Fasting of the heart/mind’ known as ‘Xin Zhai’ in pinyin. (Also refer to my thoughts on Xin Zhai in the entry dated September 26, 2005.)

If we just use our intellectual minds to understand what he was trying to tell in Xin Zhai, we could miss his key points on the basics of the Circulation of the Light meditation. He had also mentioned that neidan practitioners need to focus on the breath.

Then he indicated that if we look at the aperture, the empty apartment is filled with light through it. After seeing this light, spiritual intelligences will come and take up their dwelling with us. And that the meditation had been practiced by Yu and Shun, Fu Xi and Ki Khu, all their lives.

In the excerpt taken from the Secret of the Golden Flower translated by Richard Wilhelm/ Cary Baynes, (refer to the first entry) intellectuals would probably understand Lu Dongbin’ explanations why the mystical light is not in the body alone, nor is it outside the body because he talked about nature and the mind of man in the first two paragraphs. However these later two paragraphs of the excerpt contain the mystery:

“The light-flower of heaven and earth fills all the thousand spaces.

But the light-flower of the individual body passes through heaven and covers the earth. Therefore as soon as the light is circulating, heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, are all circulating with it at the same time.”

How can this be and what is the light-flower, scholars and intellects may ask or have asked down the millennia?

Probably that is why Laozi said that the Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao, and the Buddha indicated that the Way cannot be understood through the intellect alone.

Since the dual cultivation of essence (meditation) and of bodily life (virtues) is requisite to the understanding of this mystical light (within and without the body).

As a going away gift to a Western student of Quanzhen teachers in China, I had indicated in a post in the Tao Bums that he could see stars and galaxies if the light is bended enough. Probably he thought that either his leg was being pulled, or that I may know something about neidan. Since months earlier in reply to his pointed question, I had told him that I have only read a few books and practice meditation.

But it is good to see some occasional hits from Beijing and other cities of China on this blog after that. Because many of those neidan practitioners or teachers who could see the light and has sufficient heat in their palms to help heal swine flu or flu A (H1N1) happen to live in China. Others could live elsewhere in the world.

If any reader of this entry or their teachers can also see the light during meditation and have sufficient heat in their palms, they can try to heal themselves and/or others of any flu.

Since the viral pandemic has spread across the globe and affecting tens of thousands confirmed cases (according to the CDC, up to a million may have been affected in the US), it could be timely to reveal how these neidan practitioners (the Shi) can help heal swine flu.

The flu virus can be considered both cold and dark. The Shi would require to use the heat from the palms to act against the cold and the light to chase away the dark. (Think of Hexagram Xun, 57.2 or refer to my entries on it.)

Usually before the flu starts, ‘patients’ would complain of sore throats. If a neidan practitioner heals the sore throat by applying heat and the unseen light from his or her palms, then the flu would dissipates before it gets full blown – accompanying running nose, fever and other related symptoms.

If my experiences are correct, the heat and the light from the palms will drive the flu viruses away or at least make them inactive overnight.

While people across the world suffer the common flu at least once or twice a year, my family and I had not suffer from a full blown one for almost a decade, around the time when I first started to apply this thermal healing on myself and on them.

Of course, it would be safer to allow the ‘patients’ to take medication while you assist in the healing with the thermal heat and the light, since I do not know what level you are at in your neidan cultivation.

However if you can also see the stars and/or the galaxies, billions of light years away, like Laozi and Buddha, like the space telescopes of the US – a great contribution by science towards Tao cultivation, I am sure that you can heal these ‘patients’ of their flu.

Nothing more needs to be said of those who have gone beyond these levels since I had already mentioned their strong healing powers in the entry on “Whether the ancient masters can heal swine flu?”

To reflect on this light, perhaps readers should reread the Zhouyi, Tao Te Ching chapter one and the chapters relating to virtues, to understand why the Shi (the ancient masters) can see the way of heaven without looking out of the window.

They would also gain some insight if they also read Xin Zhai, the Shurangama Sutra, the Hindu sutras and texts, and the Secret of the Golden Flower translated by Wilhelm. The ideal thing in our daily and continuous cultivation or practice on earth is to eventually link up to heaven.

In addition, it is not for nothing when the Buddha mentioned that by seeing this light, we can also see the lands of the thousand Buddhas. There are many more wonderful signposts of the Way to be seen or heard.

And it all started by keeping still and cultivating virtues to be the right person. This dual cultivation is taught in the Zhouyi, the Daoist classics and texts, the Confucian books, and the Buddhist sutras. Yet many down the ages ask how? No wonder Laozi lamented that his Tao is easy to follow but most prefer the bypaths.

In case, Yi students and neidan practitioners missed it, according to the Zhouyi, the practice of benevolence (ren) and righteousness (yi) will eventually lead to sincerity (zheng) or inner truth.

To help the weak and needy is righteousness, and to heal the sick is benevolence.

But it is still up to neidan practitioners or the ancient masters if they want to heal swine flu sufferers in their respective country or not.


If you or your teacher fall under the category of neidan practitioners who can see the light and feel the heat during meditation but unsure of how you can help, please post your comments on this entry or sent an email to me. I can provide some further guidance where required.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The mystical Light

More than 2,500 years ago, Laozi taught it, years later Buddha spoke about it; Hindu deities had also mentioned this mystical light.

Several centuries earlier, the Light was already incorporated in the Book of Changes by the holy sages, so was Tao, yet few seemed to notice or able to relate it with the Way.

Perhaps it is rather hip to discuss yin yang instead of the dark and the light, since the later minted terms (c 300 BC) have been used to represent many other things in the modern world. While yang can represent the light, the Daoist celestial immortal, Lu Dongbin in his Secret of the Golden Flower mentioned it was Guan Yinshi, the student of Laozi, who first revealed the Circulation of the Light meditation.

Why it is called the Circulation of the Light meditation perhaps has significance to the esoteric. Down the millennia those who practice meditation are many and they understand what Qi is. But not many actually understand or know about the mystical light that circulates together with the Qi.

There was once an online article written (the website hosted by two Koreans was since taken down) about a Korean King who was equally mystified who one day decided to give a big reward to anyone in his Court or any scholar who could provide a coherent answer on this mystical light. Apparently no one came forward to claim the reward.

Few meditation teachers know about the mystical light. If their students are ever taught the full circulation of Qi, known as the small heavenly orbit (Xiao Zhou Tian), no one seems to mention about this light.

An elderly ex-colleague of mine was taught the small heavenly orbit by visiting Taiwanese masters for a few years. After asking him about the light, he told me that he could only see darkness during meditation. Knowing his character well and that he can keep secrets, I gave him a few pointers.

A few months later, I asked him about his progress and he told me he could see the light. ‘How was it?’ I asked. ‘Very bright’, he exclaimed with joy.

You see, a neidan practitioner needs proper safeguards during meditation. Apart from humility and heat, the mystical light is also very important. (For further information, please refer to the entry on safeguards placed under Notes on meditation. The same safeguards have been posted in the Taobums forum to point out to a neidan beginner who felt cold during meditation and was seemingly being disturbed by dark or yin spirits.)

According to Lu Dongbin, this mystical light is not in the body alone, nor is it only outside the body.

“Mountains and rivers and the great earth are lit by sun and moon; all that is this light. Therefore it is not only within the body.

Understanding and clarity, perception and enlightenment, and all movements (of the spirit) are likewise this light; therefore it is not just something outside the body.

The light-flower of heaven and earth fills all the thousand spaces.

But the light-flower of the individual body passes through heaven and covers the earth. Therefore, as soon as the light is circulating, heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, are all circulating with it at the same time.”

If you understand clearly what the heavenly immortal had said above, you can go and claim the big reward from the royal Korean court!

But if you are asked to prove it, no adept can. Since how can any neidan adept ever show you the light circulating and which can only be seen within? They can show you heat by touch but they cannot show the mystical light until they have become enlightened. By then, they may not even want to discuss anything, let alone blog!

Yet they may consider it of merit to help the weak and the needy; and heal the sick with their strong heat and the light emitting from their hands. In a way, they could be assisting the gods (include heavenly immortals and Buddhas)?

The third class scholars will laugh and some other scholars may scoff at what has been discussed, but that is Tao. With this entry, perhaps earnest students may have learned something more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Could the ancient masters (Shi) heal swine flu patients?

Now that the World Health Organization had, belatedly according to various health experts, announced a pandemic of swine flu known as A (H1N1), there was a sudden big jump in confirmed cases in certain countries that had hidden the real figures.

It is in a way, unjust for hiding the confirmed figures, since they had been ‘exporting’ the flu via foreign students returning to their home countries, usually less developed ones, for summer or winter holidays. I understand that the US summer break started the week ended May 10, 2009(?).

Well, in the real world, the rich or the strong bullies the poor or the weak. And if man cannot do anything about it, heaven may sometimes help. But I digress.

According to the symptoms reported, swine flu like any other type of flu can be cured since it is a viral infection. Whether or not, the ancient masters (Shi) could heal swine flu patients is the topic in question.

When the ancient masters can observe the mysterious and contemplate the profound, and see the numerous gates, they can without a doubt heal swine flu patients. After all it is not that difficult.

Neidan practitioners who already have confirmation(s) like those mentioned in the Secret of the Golden Flower by Lu Dongbin would also be able to heal themselves and others of swine flu. So would those who have Qi flows 24/7.

Even those neidan practitioners who can feel heat and can see the Light during meditation may be able to heal themselves and others of swine flu.

Therefore definitely the ancient masters can heal swine flu patients. They would have more than the requisite heat and the Light to cure any viral infections.

But would they lend a helping hand is another question altogether.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Air disasters (2)

After reading news on the Air France missing plane, a reader wrote in on June 2nd to ask if the revealed heaven secret for 2009 was for airborne diseases or for air disasters. My simple reply was that I had blogged the Air disasters' entry early (March 28, 2009) to forewarn readers so that they could plan their flights accordingly.

If not for the sudden loud thunders, the entry title on March 28 would very well have been – ‘Air disasters and wind-borne diseases’. Check what was written on the post script of that particular entry.

Readers could also miss out that my eldest sister had intended to fly back in May. (Refer May 2, 2009 entry on Outbreak of wind-borne diseases.)

The ill fated Air France Flight 447 with 228 people on board went missing on the night of May 31, 2009 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. With updated reports coming in, the plane met with heavy turbulence (strong winds / thunderstorms).

According to aviation experts, investigators, and authorities - the modern version of Priests and Magicians, it could be the fault of speed sensors known as pitot tubes (yet to be confirmed).

“BEA (the French air accident agency) said the A330 had sent out 24 error messages in four minutes including one indicating a discrepancy in speed data. It said similar problems had happened before. Air France said it had first noticed in May 2008 that ice in the sensors was causing lost data in planes like the A330, but that it failed to agree with Airbus [the plane manufacturer], on steps to take.” [Reuters Sunday June 7, 2009]

In the first entry on Air disasters, I have already put IATA and the aviation authorities on notice to monitor the proper maintenance and the equipment of air planes. We are in the midst of a global recession, no?

Apparently some Air France pilots will now not fly the A330s if two out of the existing three pitot tubes were not replaced. How much do three new pitot tubes cost, by the way!

If we also think of what the WHO is currently doing – shifting goal posts and not following the preset condition for declaring a pandemic or a level six for the A (H1N1) flu. The flu has already infected over 26,500 people in 73 countries with 140 deaths. It seems that money is more important than human lives in developed countries, recently.

The Yi also told En Medio de la Tierra in April that the Mexican government got it wrong by declaring that the A (H1N1) flu was declining in their country. They are supposed to monitor and control the outbreak. Look what have they done to their own people? Out of the reported 140 deaths, one hundred Mexicans have died from the disease.

According to news reports, if all 228 people on board the Air France Flight 447 died, it could be the worst air disaster since 2001. And summer is not over yet.

Heaven’s secrets are something like this.

Do the Wu (court diviners/magicians) and sincere Yi aficionados really have to step out of the door to know what is happening in the world?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple thoughts on Duty, Loyalty, and Justice (3)

People secretly admire or love cultural heroes or heroines especially those who are or thought to be exemplary.

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a fictionalized version mixed with historical facts, written in the fourteen century by a Chinese scholar, Lo KuanChung, provided many down-to-earth heroes for the Chinese to admire and love or try to emulate.

The popularity of the book spawned many discussions, drama plays, and story telling down several centuries. Some depicted actions and characters even found their way into qin as ancients to help devotees decipher what the Daoist temple deities usually Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, were trying to tell.

Of course if readers blinked or just read the Romance like any novel, they may not understand the cultural significances in depth. If students want to be learned of things Chinese, we cannot give this important book a miss. It plays a part in later Chinese civilization.

After the correction by my father, I decided to reread the book in two volumes and found the episode of significance. Over the years, being a slow learner at absorbing knowledge, I have read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms in its entirety, several times.

C. H. Brewitt-Taylor, the translator of the book had this comment on Guan Yu:

“For many, Guan Yu will always be somewhat too austere and untouchable to be a real hero of the romance, but many Chinese critics and students have not felt this way. Certainly it is no exaggeration to say that, whatever the merits of the figure of Guan Yu as presented in the book, the fictional Guan Yu has completely replaced the historical one in the Chinese imagination. When he is mentioned at all today, it is the figure as he appears in this novel that the Chinese have in mind, and this fact tends to be true of all the characters appearing in the book.”

After his death, Guan Yu was deified and became known as the God of War. While he is not my hero, I can certainly say I have some affinity with this Daoist deity over the decades.

If you happen to watch Hong Kong crime movies or documentaries, they may show scenes of the HK police including British officers (before 1997) praying or paying their respects to Guan Gong at the altar. So would the Chinese Triads.

Both sides, the good and the bad, know that justice or righteousness of which Guan Gong is really famous for, is far more important than duty and/or loyalty.

According to the novel, the Huayung episode was foreseen and planned by Zhuge Liang, the great strategist, for Guan Yu to manifest his righteousness/ justice (yi) for the whole world to see. To placate Liu Bei’s concern that Guan Yu would allow Cao Cao to pass, Zhuge Liang told him that he had already consulted the stars and knew that the adversary, Cao Cao was not fated to come to his end yet.

Here is the significant episode where Guan Yu manifested his sense of righteousness/justice:

“When the going improved a little and the path was moderately level, Cao Cao turned to look at his following and saw he had barely three hundred men. And these lacked clothing and armour and were tattered and disordered.
But he pressed on, and when the officers told him the horses were quite spent and must rest, he replied, ‘Press on to Chingchou and there we shall find repose.’
So they pressed on. But they had gone only a few li when Cao Cao flourished his whip and broke once again into loud laughter.
‘What is there to laugh at?’ asked the officers.
‘People say those two are able and crafty; I do not see it. They are a couple of incapables. If an ambush had been placed here we should all be prisoners.’

He had not finished this speech when the explosion of a bomb broke the silence and a half company of men with swords in their hands appeared and barred the way. The leader was Guan Yu holding the famous Black Dragon sword, bestriding the Red Hare steed. At this sight the spirits of the soldiers left them and they gazed into each others’ faces in panic.

‘Now we have but one course;’ said Cao Cao, ‘we must fight to the death.’
‘How can we?’ said the officers. ‘The men are scared, the horses are spent.’

Cheng Yu said, ‘I have always heard that Guan Yu is haughty to the proud but kindly to the humble; he despises the strong, but is gentle with the weak. He discriminates between love and hate and is always righteous and true. You, O Minister, have shown him kindness, and if you will remind him of that we shall escape this evil.’

Cao Cao agreed to try. He rode out to the front, bowed low and said, ‘General, I trust you have enjoyed good health.’
‘I had orders to await you; O Minister,’ replied he, bowing in return, ‘and I have been expecting you these many days.’
‘You see before you Cao Cao, defeated and weak. I have reached a sad pass and I trust you, O General, will not forget the kindness of former days.’

‘Though indeed you were kind to me in those days, yet I slew your enemies for you and relieved the siege of Paima. As to the business of today, I cannot allow private feelings to outweigh public duty.’

‘Do you remember my generals, slain at the five passes? The noble man values righteousness. You are well versed in the histories and must recall the action of Yu-kung, the archer, when he found his master Tzu-cho in his power.’

Guan Yu was indeed a very mountain of goodness and could not forget the great kindness he had received at Cao Cao’s hands, and the magnanimity he had shown over the deeds at the five passes. He saw the desperate straits to which his benefactor was reduced and tears were very near to the eyes of both. He could not press him hard. He pulled at the bridle of his steed and turned away saying to his followers, ‘Break the formation.’

From this it was evident that his design was to release Cao Cao, who then went on with his officers, and when Guan Yu turned to look back they had all passed. He uttered a great shout and the soldiers jumped off their horses and knelt on the ground crying for mercy. But he also had pity for them. Then Chang Liao, whom he knew well, came along and was allowed to go free also.

After having allowed the escape of Cao Cao, Guan Yu found his way back to headquarters. By this time the other detachments had returned bringing spoil of horses and weapons and supplies of all kinds. Only Guan Yu came back empty-handed. When he arrived Zhuge Liang was with his brother congratulating him on his success. When Guan Yu was announced Kung Ming got up and went to welcome him, bearing a cup of wine.

‘Joy! O General,’ said he. ‘You have done a deed that overtops the world. You have removed the country’s worst foe and ought to have met at a distance and felicitated.’
Guan Yu muttered inaudibly and Kung Ming continued, ‘I hope it is not because we have omitted to welcome you on the road that you seem sad.’
Turning to those about him he said, ‘Why did you not tell us he was coming?’

‘I am here to ask for death,’ said Guan Yu.
‘Surely Cao Cao came through the valley?’
‘Yes; he came that way, and I could not help it; I let him go.’
‘Then whom have you captured?’
‘No one.’

‘Then you remembered the old kindness of Cao Cao and so allowed him to escape. But your acceptance of the task with its conditions is here. You will have to suffer the penalty.’

He called in the lictors and told them to take away Guan Yu and put him to death.

An accompanying poem:

‘Guan Yu risked his life when he spared Cao
In direst need,
And age-long admiration gained
For kindly deed.’

[Romance of the Three Kingdoms translated by C. H. Brewitt-Taylor]

Guan Yu had died there if not for his elder brother who spoke for him. The sentence was remitted.

Hopefully with this third and final entry, readers can differentiate between Duty, Loyalty, and Justice/ Righteousness.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Simple thoughts on duty, loyalty, and justice (2)

When we are young, we may not be too concerned about the differences between the terms: duty (qin wu / yi wu), loyalty (zhong xin), and justice (yi).

The young like to have fun, more fun, if you will, than older folks. But as we grow older, we may want to know what these terms really mean either for self cultivation or for discourses with likeminded friends. In that we are going in deeper to learn Chinese culture as well as learning to differentiate between right and wrong, and therefore it may lead to the beginning of wisdom.

In the 1980s, my father and I were having a discussion on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms when he asked if I knew what the God of War was famous for.

Trying to impress him, I said that Guan Yu or Guan Yunchang was known as the God of War because of his various exploits in wars such as solitarily killing six captains/generals at five passes.

He was known to have performed his duty well as a general defending against the enemy, and was very loyal to his sworn brothers – Liu Bei and Zhang Fei. He could not be bought over by Cao Cao who had offered him many valuable gifts including the famous Red Hare, and hand maidens, with a hope that Guan Yu would join his forces. But Guan Yu left all these behind and fled riding on Red Hare when he heard that both his sworn brothers were still alive, killing the six captains who tried to stop him at the passes.

My father corrected me by saying:

Guan Gong no doubt was famous for all that, but his real fame was because of his righteousness/ justice (yi).

To be continued.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Simple thoughts on Duty, Loyalty, and Justice

When Western or English educated students reached a deeper level of understanding in ancient Chinese philosophy, they tend to think they know much about Chinese culture and their civilization. They may fail to take heed of what the great Carl Jung had indicated about the minor difference between Western and Eastern minds because of their respective upbringing.

Some of these students, possibly thinking it is fun or chic, tend to play around with terms long established by renowned translators like James Legge and Richard Wilhelm under the guidance of their Chinese mentors versed in ancient Chinese philosophy.

Of course, students can fool around with their Confucian studies, which student does not like to have fun? But can teachers join in the fun too? Probably Confucius and/or Mencius would have frowned upon that event happening? Since teachers have a duty or an obligation to teach the correct things to their students. And Confucians are known to be strict, if not stern.

There is currently an ongoing discussion between Western thinkers or teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy on the cardinal virtues. Some argue that Duty is internal, while some say otherwise. But what has the term, duty, to do with cardinal virtues? They imply that duty can take the place of the established term, justice or righteousness (yi).

Therefore let us look at what this student of ancient Chinese philosophy would say to remonstrate with an online friend.

Probably the best example to depict the respective terms of duty (qin wu / yi wu), loyalty (zhong xin), and justice (yi) would be that of a soldier. A ruler or a country employs and trains soldiers in case of a war, an emergency, or an external threat.

It is therefore the duty or obligation of a soldier to protect the ruler or the country in times of need. Now whether the soldier feels obligated to serve the ruler or nation dutifully is up to him or her. Therefore duty can be internal or not. (Think of soldiers going AWOL or dissent in times of war.)

Loyalty is considered internal because it is related to the heart/mind (xin). People expect their kin and/or friends to be loyal to them. So would expectations of rulers or nations of their soldiers. But then we know that loyalty can be bought, at a price. However, some cannot be bought over at any price.

According to the ancients, the cardinal virtue of justice or righteousness is internal and forms part of human nature. Since it is inborn, everyone possesses this virtue. Even under the threat or fear of death does not steer righteous or just persons from their rightful course of action. The Chinese can quote various stories on that. (Perhaps you realize the subtle differences in our upbringing?) Do we not agree that for justice, there is no fear or favor?

Therefore how the term duty (qin wu / yi wu) can ever take the established place of justice (yi) is beyond comprehension.

To be continued.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Learning to please yourself

Why do Laozi, Confucius, and the Buddha keep on learning till their final days?
Probably like most of those reading here, they remained earnest and sincere students even after they had become sages. Reading from the ancient books and classics, we get to know that the Junzi and the Da Ren are called that because they still have more to learn and cultivate before they can become sages (Sheng Ren).

How do students progress through the various stages of study and practice (or cultivate) to reach the level of a Junzi? And how do Daoists reach the level of Wu Wei?

They simply have to be earnest and sincere in their studies and practice.

If they want to be a good artist (like Michelangelo), an excellent butcher (like Cook Ting), a renowned martial artist (like Zhang Sanfeng), a Court Yi diviner (like a Wu), a neidan master (like a Shi), for example, they need to continually put in the extra mile in their studies and practice.

So what did Laozi and the Buddha learn and cultivate?

They practiced meditation and cultivated virtues. So did Confucius, except that his meditation practice probably was that of contemplation. And Confucius can be said to have put in more effort in emphasizing the cardinal virtues for posterity.

Yet the later and some modern Daoists argue that Laozi did not like virtues because his so called student, Zhuangzi was dead against cultivating Confucian virtues. To the Daoists in the East, such arguments are laughable. Since how could someone become a Junzi or a right person for Tao without cultivating the cardinal virtues?

Are the cardinal virtues not taught in the Zhouyi? Is the Zhouyi not written before the times of Laozi, Confucius, and the Buddha? What have some Yi aficionados been reading all these years?

Have I not mentioned in a much earlier entry that the cultivation of these virtues can bring about the magic of Tao? Do I sound like pulling your legs?

It has been an uphill struggle, about five years ago, to tell Taijiquan practitioners in the West that Zhang Sanfeng founded the particular form of martial arts, and not some one else who happened to live in the Wudang mountain. Now most agree that it is the case since more and more students from the East are interacting in Daoist forums.

It is also an uphill battle to inform Daoists in the West that cultivating virtues forms part of the dual cultivation. They thought and some still thinks that dual cultivation means the ‘angelic’ dual cultivation that has something to do with sex as promoted in the Hua Hu Ching purportedly written by Laozi – I have already indicated with supporting reasons why that spurious claim cannot hold water.

What can be revealed in this blog should be more than sufficient for readers. Yet some think they deserve better by asking for my secrets. Have I no rights to keep some of my own studies and hard earned experiences, secret?

Even if I were to write a book today on how to obtain Heaven’s secrets with the Yi and/or how to get the specific dates, readers would still not be able to do that.

For without the earnest sincere study and practice, and without the continual cultivation of the cardinal virtues, it will prove difficult for Yi aficionados to obtain Heaven’s secrets. And without spiritual clarity or wisdom (refer to Zhang Sanfeng’s commentary on the hundred character stele) even if the Yi informs you what is really going to happen, you may not be able to correctly interpret or decipher the prognostication.

If you do not believe me, try interpreting the various heaven secrets or omens, past or present, in my blog.

If they prove too difficult, try the ones given to Professor Sam Crane and interpreted here. If you still cannot understand them, try the five or six hexagrams given by the Yi a few years ago to the American lady using the handle, Val, in the I Ching Community. These are the prognostications where the Yi actually spoke. If you can interpret them all, then you may have reached the level of Wu Wei and do not really need to read my thoughts on the Yi, anymore.

Meanwhile I am learning to please myself. Since if I claim to know more than others, readers may say that I am arrogant. And if I claim that I do not know, the trolls would imply that I am selfish and/or arrogant.

When are you learning to please yourself?

Perhaps you can do so when you have learned how to rectify your heart/mind (Xin). How to rectify the heart/mind has been blogged before but you may have not noticed!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Whom to believe?

Law abiding citizens would invariably believe what their rulers or governments tell them. However if they have been fooled time and time again, they become disillusioned and will remain skeptical of government policies or of statistical information provided, especially in rich countries where a large proportion of the people are well educated and therefore more discerning. Rightly so, one would say, thus agreeing with the teachings of both Confucius and Mencius.

The Chinese adage of ‘A hand cannot hide heaven’ would probably apply to the current scenarios unfolding in the financial world and of the health of people living on earth.

Financial engineering is not real change. So is under-reporting of the real confirmed figures of the new flu A (H1N1). When unofficial figures differ so widely from the official tally, can we really believe the government(s) or ruler(s) of the day?

It has been reported by Bloomberg that the World Health Organization had been pressurized not to raise the current swine flu situation to pandemic – the highest level of 6. One had also read that WHO intends to use the coined term flu A (H1N1) to include swine/human/avian flu. Notice the subtlety of the intended change.

How long can such ‘hand or collective hands hide heaven’? The truth will always prevail. (Think of the previous US President keeping the arrest of a few Malaysian terrorists, by Malaysian authorities, who intended to bomb the Library Tower in June 2003 – around my predicted date during the time - under wraps for three years. There was a previous entry on this which relates to the omen titled ‘Another 9/11’.)

This is an excerpt taken from a Reuters report on May 20, 2009 titled, “H1N1 to resist drugs?”:

"The US Centres for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) says there have been 5,469 confirmed cases of the new flu A (H1N1) across the US, but Dr. Anne Schuchat has said this is only the tip of the iceberg. CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser estimated last week there were 100,000 cases. "(May 10, 2009?)

Countries whose students study in the US are much concerned since hundreds, possible thousands would be returning for their summer break. The first confirmed case in China was a student who flew back from the US on May 10, 2009. The two confirmed cases in Malaysia were students who returned from the US on a MAS flight on May 11.

Pleas from some governments have been made to the US to check for suspect cases at her exit points but have apparently fallen on deaf ears. Probably the cost of placing exit checks outweighs human lives.

Perhaps under-reporting the seriousness of outbreaks in countries can help bring back confidence to their battered economies, since the share markets have been rallying what with the recent moving of goal posts to allow banks to under-report losses or over-report the worth of their toxic assets. How would I know?

All I know is that sincerity is the way of heaven. Therefore no hand or collective hands can ever hide heaven. And that the Zhouyi tells sincere Yi aficionados, the true happenings in heaven and on earth.

So whom to believe, our government(s) or the Yi? The choice is always up to you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Advices of a Shi (neidan master)

Having spent much quality time with the Wu and Yi aficionados recently, probably readers do not mind if one writes something of importance for the Shi (ancient or neidan masters). It can relate to Yi diviners too, if they catch the drift, but many may not since they are not really into Tao and the Zhouyi, yet. Given time perhaps one day they will get it, if they ponder deep enough over what one have said over the course of these few years.

But what Allan has said may not be as valuable or important as what the ancient or neidan masters indicated. Therefore one often point to the renowned teachers or masters of old, be they sages, Zhen Ren or reputable neidan masters. Take the case of this example.

Many may have heard of Zhang Sanfeng, of his founding of Taijiquan (a slow moving and now a well known form of Chinese martial arts), of his longevity (a centenarian), of his renown in the martial arts world, but few would know that he was also a neidan master.

In case, some do not know, he had derived his Taijiquan patterns and moves from the Zhouyi which depict his in-depth knowledge of this ancient classic.

Last week, while scouring the net, one found his commentary on the Hundred Character Stele written by Lu Dongbin. Thanks to Akrishi who kindly translated Zhang Sanfeng’s commentary and made it available on the web, neidan practitioners may understand more on the Circulation of the Light meditation (refer to the Secret of the Golden Flower) and the various signposts of the Way.

I particularly like the advices given by this renowned master of old on the last four verses which confirm and strengthen my resolve on doing the right things. Perhaps he explained it better as to what causes cultivators of Tao to have foresight and spiritual clarity (or awareness). And why certain secrets of Tao and/or heaven cannot be revealed except to the right persons. Never feed the trolls!

Before I append the last four verses (in bold) of the Hundred Character Stele (according to my own translation) and Zhang’s commentary, a word of caution is necessary.

Sometimes you may not experience the same as what is explicitly indicated in certain Daoist texts. It is an attempt by the renowned masters to throw the wrong persons – the bad guys as this venerable old master called them – off track. Since time immemorial there have always been bad guys around!

Please do not ask me which signposts are correct, I cannot tell you since how would I know.

Without further ado, let us read what the renowned neidan master has to say:

Sitting, listen to no string tune (songs of immortals)

Understand clearly Mother Nature’s secrets

“Practice up to here, the ears hear voice of celestial music, also rhythms of bells and drums. The five pranas pilgrim to the primordium, and the three golden flowers assemble at the top of the head.

Like when evening crows come perching, the mind broadens. Spiritual wisdom is borne by itself, and understand thoroughly the classical texts of the three religions.

Silently realize the root of our previous lives, and foreknow future fortune and fault. Mountains and rivers on earth are as if in our hands; Eyes see thousand miles - the six magical powers already gained, these are real having.

My practice is really up to here. If there are false words that mislead later disciples, I will surely be reproached by Heaven. If people found it not working, I will be guilty and meet with heavenly condemnation. Not meeting a master, it is difficult to know this.”

All this come in twenty verses

Final aim, climb up Heaven’s ladder.

"From nourishing prana by giving up speech up to here, these twenty lines, without any sham, are all real knacks and practice from the Patriarch Lu, and is the ladder for cultivating ascension to heaven.

He who gains and realizes this knack and my commentary, should hasten to do it.

Don't recklessly reveal it, and don't show it to bad guys, to avoid punishment from heaven. Highly value and pursue it, then overcome and ascend heavenly palace."

Zhang Sanfeng’s commentary on the ‘Hundred Characters Stele’ of Lu Dongbin and translated by Akrishi.