Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The way to prolonging life

The Zah Yung Ching or Classic of the Directory for a Day contains only three stages for cultivators to return to Tao. In the first stage, it is said:

As to what should be done in a day, when the eating and drinking has been arranged, let one sit straight with his mouth shut, and not allow a single thought to arise in his mind. Let him forget everything, and keep his spirit with settled purpose.

Let his lips be glued together, and his teeth be firmly pressed against one another. Let him not look at anything with his eyes, nor listen to a single sound with his ears. Let him with all his mind watch over his inward feelings. Let him draw long breaths, and gradually emit them, without a break, now seeming to breathe, and now not.

In this way any excitement of the mind will naturally disappear, the water from the kidneys will rise up, the saliva will be produced in the mouth, and the real efficaciousness becomes attached to the body.

It is thus that one acquires the way of prolonging life.

[James Legge – sacred texts. Com]

Sounds simple even to James Legge, but many a cultivator of Tao would take several years or decades of dedicated practice to pass through this initial stage, if at all.

This would be the stage where students and ‘masters’ continue to study learn and practice with many failing to acquire or attain the way of prolonging life.

For without the diligent cultivation of essence (nature) and of bodily life (fate), the many who cultivate Tao would invariably be stuck at this level, unless Heaven happens to be on your side, if you have sufficient merits.

The unknown author of this classic, like the Zhen Ren, assumed that those who practise neidan (inner alchemy) know what they have to do. The earnest and sincere would note that the cultivation of virtues is left unsaid like in many Daoist texts on neidan. But then if we read further into these texts, terms like good and purity are written therein. What do those terms mean? Go figure, or ask your teacher for an explanation.

The unknown author just like the Zhen Ren also assumed that readers know how to meditate.

Those who practise neidan meditation can spot the few things left unsaid in this initial stage, thereby not revealing too much on an esoteric practice relating to Heaven and Tao.

That is why the earnest and sincere, even if they are taught by Daoist celestial immortals, require a lot of reading on relevant texts and ancient classics of the three doctrines – Daoist, Buddhist and Confucian - to augment their learning and practice. The learned can then try to steer earnest and sincere students away from bypaths and pitfalls thereby gaining merit.

If perchance or through diligent practice, cultivators get pass this stage, congratulations!

By performing a great service for Tao and/or through your own talent and virtue, you have managed to prolong your life. Not many down the millennia could attain this.

To the observant, an accompanying change to the line of life in the palm provides a confirmation of this achievement.

It is as if the Junzi is mounting up to Heaven on two dragons, however according to the Book of Changes six is required before he or she can go all the way. In line with the three stages discussed in this simple classic, the right person has attained human immortality – refer to the treatise on the three types of immortals by Zhong LiQuan for clarity.

Having acquired the way to prolonging life, do these right persons have sufficient talent and the requisite purity to go through the more difficult second stage?

The same stage where the legendary centenarian Zhang SanFeng had reached, and where celestial immortals come to talk and sing and much more.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Keys to Changes and neidan

"In ancient times the holy sages made the Book of Changes thus:

Their purpose was to follow the order of their nature and fate.

Therefore they determined the tao of Heaven and called it the dark and the light.

They determined the tao of Earth and called it the yielding and firm.

They determined the tao of Man and called it benevolence and righteousness.

Counting that which is going into the past depends on the forward movement. Knowing that which is to come depends on the backward movement.
" [W/B]

The holy sages left behind in the Yijing much important information on the secrets to Tao and the Changes for posterity.

Not many down the ages grasped and understood the secrets. Those who did and went on to cultivate their nature (Xing) and fate (Ming) in line with the secrets left behind in the Book of Changes (I Ching / Yijing) with the successful becoming sages (Sheng Ren), or Zhen Ren (realized persons) and Daoist celestial immortals.

These ancient sages and Zhen Ren wrote down their understanding of Tao and the Yi in their texts and classics to help sincere and earnest students. Yet there remained a gap of about seven centuries (from 300 AD to 1,000 AD) where the ignorant and the gullible concentrated on outer alchemy (Waidan) instead of inner alchemy (Neidan) to cultivate Tao to achieve immortality.

About a millennium ago, Chen Tuan and Chou Dunyi helped correct the thoughts of Daoists and Confucians with the publication of their respective Wujitu (Map of the Infinite) and the Taijitu (Map of the Supreme Ultimate).

In his treatise on the Taijitu, Chou Dunyi had mentioned most of the highlighted keys to Changes and neidan. He also dealt briefly with Qi (breath). If Daoists and Buddhists choose to ignore his contributions because Chou happened to be a Neo Confucian, they may not know that he obtained the Taijitu from a student of Chen Tuan.

While Chou Dunyi may not be as deep as the Zhen Ren, by looking at the Taiji symbol, he certainly knew much about Change. When yin reaches its extreme, it will change to yang. When yang reaches its extreme, it will change to yin. Therefore the Taiji is represented by a circle half filled with yin and a touch of yang, while the other half is filled with yang and a touch of yin.

The explanation is in line with Yi divination whereby a mature yin line changes to yang and a mature yang line changes to yin. The young yin yang lines do not change.

But Changes are deeper than this, so is neidan.

Therefore we need to continue to study and learn, and cultivate our nature and fate. Without being empty and still, how could the esoteric ever hope to return to Destiny and the Infinite? (Refer to the Tao Te Ching chapters 16 and 28)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Can the mountain withstand the shocks?

Over the past fifteen months, I have only divined thrice. Two were on annual hexagrams and the one in between was an oracle cast because the Yijing had wanted to tell this student something.

The annual hexagram for 2009 in the form of Hexagram Xun / The Gentle, Wind, foretold of wind borne diseases and air disasters, along with the reasons for those events which unfolded accordingly – of the various wind borne diseases recorded in 2009, H1N1 or swine flu turned out to be the biggest killer of people all across the world. The major air disasters that occurred despite safety records vouched by the relevant authorities were mainly caused by faulty equipment. A fellow Malaysian who was afraid to fly home for holidays after reading the Yi predictions asked when the air disasters would end. After summer, I had told her. By coincidence, no major air disasters were reported in the autumn and winter of 2009.

The special or request cast by the Yi brought about Hexagram Zhong Fu / Inner Truth which foretold of Raining rockets; Pigs cry, fish laughs and drum beats in the distance.

Upon reading the Bloomberg opinions column months later, one found that western financial circles use PIGS as an acronym to stand for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. These four countries within the Euro region are heavily indebted relative to their countries’ GDP. A day or two after I blogged that the PIGS were indeed crying, Greece denied it was crying for help.

Witness what happened, and happening now. The sovereign debt or credit crisis is not about to go away by itself.

Whether things have been left too late for a rescue of the PIGS is now up to the ‘farmers’ (the euro region and the IMF)! Since the sovereignty ratings of Portugal and Spain were also downgraded together with that of Greece, a week or two ago.

The drumbeats in the distance heard late last year will certainly be heard again. The deferred raining of rockets may occur in 2010. Those in the south east region could be affected. Who knows, a heaven’s secret is never a small event.

It is time to further discuss the third divination.

Regular readers would note that I have already discussed Hexagram Yi / Providing Nourishment a few times already. This is the annual hexagram for the Chinese year.

In the first entry on the hexagram on February 28, 2010, a day after a big earthquake hit Chile, I mentioned in passing that Zhen, the arousing, thunder, in my books and in this blog, represent loud thunder and earthquakes, and therefore not to discount more big earthquakes this year. A few have already occurred since that entry. There would be more big shocks.

Since the image of hexagram Yi is at the foot of the mountain: thunder. I will discuss the significance of the mountain (Gen) and the thunder (Zhen).

The ancients and the ancient I Ching diviners knew that a mountain contain many treasures within and without. Think of minerals, ores, trees, birds and beasts. In line with this, there is a Chinese adage which says something like ‘if we can leave a mountain intact, fear not of no logs to burn.’

In modern times, metaphorically speaking, the mountain is often used to mean a mountain of debt.

Therefore a mountain containing treasures can turn into a mountain of debt if a person is careless and does not take care of his or her own well being or investments. Remember the above Chinese adage?

Try as we may, many did not escape or were able to hide when Tao first disappeared all under heaven on September 15, 2008 – the fall of Lehman, and the arrests of innocents in Malaysia who were later released. (Refer to entries in September 2008) Omens or heaven secrets from the Yi can relate to local and/or global events.

Together with the great destruction of wealth, tens of millions lost their jobs. Under this bleak scenario, a mountain of treasures can quickly turn into a mountain of debt. Not many including the old Da Ren (billionaire philanthropists) have faced this before.

It is good to read that the able Americans and Europeans have been striving to save as much money as possible and pare down debt over the past two years. Minimal debt and savings for a rainy day (or a storm) is the way forward in these difficult times.

However there has been a recent change in the savings habit of the Asians. For the past year or two, they have been busy investing (or speculating) in stocks, bonds and property not only with their own savings but also with margins or debt. If their luck holds everything will be fine, if not, they could be in for a rude shock.

For shock is another attribute of Zhen, thunder. Whenever there is a loud thunder or an earthquake, those nearby could cower from fear.

So what do we have here? At the foot of the mountain: thunder.

How many shocks or earthquakes can a mountain withstand before it finally crumbles? Not too many, going by the record upheaval over the past two years.

When billionaires can lose everything and/or end their lives, can we, the small fry, able to withstand one too many shocks?

A way out is to start saving again and pare down debt like the Americans and the Europeans have been doing recently. Unless you are very sure your government is going to bail you out, and that they still have the money to do so after the rescue of casino banks and the so called quantitative easing! Some countries already need a bail out themselves, as predicted a year or two ago, if readers have not noticed.

In case, readers missed some of the expected major shocks of 2010, as the three Yijing prognostications continue to unfold, the summarized list is as follows:

H1N1 is making a come back.
Raining rockets, watch the south east region.
Pigs cry, fish laughs. (Credit shocks)
Drum beats in the distance.
Big earthquakes, and property crashes.
Nuclear or silent weapons would be used.

For the expected property crashes, refer to the entry on ‘Bumping into walls’. Sometimes external major shocks (like the use of nuclear or silent weapons for example) can crash both local and global property and stock markets.

Yi and Daoist students should take note that the three prognostications seemed to be related and unfolding in overlapping sequences. From my past two decades of experience with omens and Heaven secrets, they have not happened this way. They usually occurred as isolated events, if not averted or deferred.

But we are now still in very troubled times since the absence of Tao all under heaven as from September 2008.

All these are from the Book of Changes and have nothing to do with fortune telling or fengshui.

So take good care of your life, and your mountain of treasures in 2010 like always.


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hint for a regular reader

Over the past few weeks, I was faced with a dilemma whether to tell a regular reader who lives in an island state of what to do or just leave it to fate. But the person believes in Daoist deities providing protection.

I would have followed my friends’ advice not to say anything, if the reader had not visited my blog this week, I had promised myself. But the person did. The way Tao works is sometimes beyond our understanding.

Maybe I could give a hint to this reader instead of revealing too much of a heaven’s secret. The person concerned would be aware of the indicated timing.

Take note:

“Avoid waiting for the birds, which flew off, to return again in the particular month of 2010, and the month after that.

It could be advisable to stay or visit friends and kin in the mainland for those two months of the year.”