Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Talking about dragons (Long)

The US and China (including Taiwan) media are all abuzz with the newest appearance of a popular sports personality, Jeremy Lin, who has only started to play in the US National Basketball Association (NBA) several weeks ago. The US media were quick to coin a catchphrase, “Linsanity”, for the media frenzy and the ever growing number of fans watching Lin play with his New York Knicks basketball team. The US media are simply amazed by (US born) Lin’s sudden and fast growing popularity in the States, in China, and in Taiwan where his parents migrated from.

After all in these gloomy times, is it not good to have a new popular hero to look up to?

But that does not really explain the “Linsanity” phenomenon, does it?

Therefore to understand this phenomenon in perspective, we have to talk about dragons and in particular, Chinese dragons.

Dragons (Long) are mythical and legendary creatures.

The West grew up to view dragons as smoke snorting fire breathing ferocious beasts which more often than not kidnap fair maidens and bring them back to their mountain caves providing a chance for white knights in shining armors to try and kill them, and rescue the damsels in distress.

However, since ancient times, the Chinese view their dragons differently.

Some ethnic Chinese see dragons as celestial beings represented by respective Dragon Kings of the four seas, while others and in particular the ancients view them as beneficent, since dragons bring rains and water to olden agricultural China, or magnificent, as they soar in the heavens. The dragon has also been taken as a symbol to represent Chinese emperors, the sons of heaven.

Tradition has it that dragons are born leaders or can become great leaders whom people look up to and many ethnic Chinese in present times prefer to have their children born in the year of the dragon. This explains why maternity beds are heavily booked in China and in Hong Kong hospitals this year since according to Fengshui, 2012 is the year of the water dragon. These parents like other parents want their children to be very successful in life, and therefore, so to speak, become dragons.

However, contrary to popular beliefs, from studies and observations over the years: those born in the years of dragons still have to work very hard like everyone else (including those born under other animal signs) to achieve phenomenal or supreme success.

Therefore someone not born in a dragon year can still become a dragon. If readers want to know how to; study or reread the available Book of Changes (I Ching / Yijing / Zhouyi) and the first hexagram of this ancient classic, Qian / The Creative Heaven where all six lines talk about dragons.

With all that said, Jeremy Lin, born in 1988 a year of the dragon, was a hidden dragon which cannot act, until he started playing with the New York Knicks team, and has since emerged as a dragon appearing in the field.

The Duke of Zhou added to this nine in the second place of Qian: It furthers one to see this great person (Da Ren).

This probably explains the “Linsanity” phenomenon to the media, while Yi aficionados can learn a bit more about the Book of Changes?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

That great light from heaven

Yi aficionados and scholars know there is much wisdom contained in the ancient classic, the Book of Changes. To understand something very deep, we may have to dig into our reserves. In a way, it could be easier for the ethnic Chinese because of their upbringing to understand more of what is written in the Yijing, since ancient wisdoms pervade Chinese civilization.

But just like the diligent Yi aficionados in the West, the ethnic Chinese still have to put in as much effort by pondering, doing research where necessary, or even asking the ShenXian (Daoist deities and celestial immortals), if and when a rare opportunity arises, to arrive at a more meaningful understanding of what the Yi wanted to say or teach.

After all, who can say for certain that our understanding of the Zhouyi and the ten wings is deep enough and/or our interpretation of the prognostications will be correct all the time?

Take for instance the prognostication given by the Yi about heaven sending down a great light to help the people. (Also refer to entry, “The returning great light” on February 4, 2011)

In the Commentary on the Decision (the 1st and 2nd Wings) of Hexagram 42 Yi / Increase, Confucius commented:

Decreasing what is above and increasing what is below;

then the joy of the people is boundless.

What is above places itself under what is below:

This is the way of the great light.

And it furthers one to undertake something:

Central, correct, and blessed.


In this entry, I will only provide the framework taken from the Yi for the esoteric and the deep thinkers to come up with the reason why the great light was sent, what or whom does it represent, how this light can help the people, and who these people are?

The complete set of answers to the questions raised could be obtained in the Wilhelm translation. Regular readers should take note that this entry is also about world events. How would I know?

Have fun.