Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting to know Heaven

This is not the original article that I had set out to write. The article in final draft forms and titled, “How to get Heaven on our side” had to be deleted after receiving a warning from Heaven (Tian) probably for revealing its secrets (Ke). Just as I was finishing that particular draft, a sudden thunderstorm appeared with loud thunder very close by. By instinct I had quickly deleted the entire draft, emptied the recycle bin in the computer, and the thunder immediately stopped. Within minutes the thunderstorm passed. Regular readers will not find anything strange about this phenomenon since they have read it before in my articles on the then yet-to-unfold global omens, and the yet-to-unfold twelfth prophecy of Zhuge Liang on China, from the Yijing.

After all, the phenomenon serves as a fair warning from Heaven to those who want to over reveal its secrets. Not too much different from the fair warning given by the two divinities to Guan Lo of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms fame. Therefore I am now writing this article instead. And you know what; there is no thunderstorm, so far so good!

Yijing aficionados and students of Tao should learn to know Heaven if they wished to or have already dedicated a lifetime to their respective studies. They may be able to get Heaven on their side if they cultivate both Human nature (Xing) and Fate (Ming) as taught by the Holy Sages who wrote the Book of Changes. And do good deeds as indicated in Daoist texts. Sincere and serious students of Tao and the Yijing should take note of this. Human lives are precious to Heaven, if you can save an innocent life (or lives); do so without hesitation.

Perchance, if they already know heaven, they can still learn something deeper from the Book of Changes or from the three great ancient sages, Laozi, Confucius, and the Buddha. For these three sages knew Heaven well. Read on.

Confucius told his students, when they were facing danger of being robbed and killed, that since the passing of King Wen, Heaven has chosen him to be the standard bearer of culture; the men of Guang (the pillagers) can do nothing to him. [Records of the Grand Historian - Shiji]

In the Analects, Confucius has had made several statements which depicted his deep and profound knowledge of Heaven but I will only use one which have much relevance in this discourse and found to be true from actual experiences and observations over the past two decades:

“He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray”. [III, xiii Legge]

Confucius had used this statement to provide a fair warning to the officer who had wanted to usurp his position.

Although ancient, what Confucius had stated two thousand five hundred years ago is still applicable till today. Truths always withstand the passage of time. Those on the receiving end of Heaven’s wrath, with or without fair warning, may still quite not understand what they have done wrong. Perhaps by reading this article, they can learn from their past mistakes.

Pedant scholars the likes of the late Professor Homer Dubs will hardly believe a word of what I say since there is dearth of literature to substantiate the phenomena of Heaven’s actions on behalf of the good, unless they are deep and thorough enough to comprehend the sayings of the three great sages. When even Xunzi, a top ancient philosopher of his time and an accredited Confucian, did not quite understand these two statements of Confucius, what more can be expected of both ancient and modern pedant scholars?

Instead of being a Confucian Junzi (superior person) who stands in awe of sages, Xunzi proffered a contrary view on Heaven which opposes the identical thoughts of the three great ancient sages, and his contemporary, Mencius.

For only those who have experienced it can appreciate the phenomena of Heaven’s moral will. They may further get to know the Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming) around the age of fifty, give or take a few years.

In the modern context and with great contributions from science, readers should pay more particular attention to what they say or do in Daoist or Yijing forums and in this lowly blog. If they happen to come across a dull and seemingly ignorant person with no oratorical skills at all and yet ventured to talk in simple English about Tao and/or Yijing omens, stay well clear if you do not believe a word of what he says!

Never call him names, nor disparage his practices or his works, unless you really know more than this particular frog-in-the-well that had been sent-down-the-mountain by the Yijing for fellowship with men. He could already have Heaven on his side. And/or assisting the gods as indicated in the Great Treatise (Da Zhuan).

By calling him names; by disparaging his practices and his works; by injuring him with words or thievery; by reneging on agreements or promises made to him; culprits had offended Heaven and had been punished. Therefore this also goes to show that Heaven has moral will.

To remain blameless, he has always hinted to (previous and present) forum members and to readers not to cast aspersions on what he does or says unless they try to correct his mistakes, if any. And according to Confucius and the Buddha, the culprits had brought Heaven’s wrath down upon themselves.

To settle doubts, please also listen carefully to what the Buddha and Laozi had respectively said:

The Buddha asked the man who came to denounce his Way and his practice that if he offers a gift to his neighbor and his neighbor accept it not; would not the gift be returned to him? And the man replied, ‘It will’. The Buddha then said: “You denounce me now, but as I accept it not, you must take the wrong deed back on your own person.”

The Buddha said, “Evil doers who denounce the wise resemble a person who spits against the sky; the spittle will never reach the sky; but comes down on himself.” [Both quotations Google from: The sayings of Buddha in forty-two sections]

Laozi in Chapter 79 of his Tao Te Ching said:

The Way of Heaven is impartial; it is on the side of the good”.

By providing a reference on Heaven’s moral will in Chapter 79, and by providing many other references on Heaven and Earth in his Tao Te Ching for future generations, Laozi depicted his profound knowledge of Heaven.

What the Buddha and Confucius had respectively taught, ‘evil deed(s) will redound on the culprits’ and ‘those who offends Heaven will be punished and has no one to pray to,’ is but one of the ways how Heaven protects the good.

The observant and those who are directly taught by Daoist celestial immortals or Buddhas would know more ways than this. These ways form part and parcel of Heaven’s secrets. Disclosures of which can be subjected to fair warnings from Heaven!

The mysterious workings of Heaven and Tao are certainly not easy to comprehend until experienced. We should know our own limitations and be circumspect of what we say or do in public regarding ancient Yijing and Tao practices, lest we inadvertently offend Heaven.

Good deeds seemed unrewarded and evil deeds seemed unpunished yet Heaven’s and/or divinities’ rewards and punishments often manifest for those who in the know. Those who know this phenomenon down the ages based on what they have taught include Laozi, Confucius, the Buddha, and Mencius.

Perhaps after reading this article, readers got to know the ways of Heaven a bit better?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Romance of ‘Friends come without blame’ in the Book of Changes

In the Judgment of Hexagram 24 Fu / Return it is said (extracts):

Going out and coming in without error. Friends come without blame. To and fro goes the Way. On the seventh day comes return.

And the nine in the fifth place of Hexagram 39 Jian / Obstruction says:

In the midst of the greatest obstructions, Friends come.

While the image of the six in the second place says that because the king’s servant is beset by obstruction upon obstruction, in the end, there is no blame.

In his tenth prophecy of the Ma Qian Ke, with the accompanying Hexagram Jian / Obstruction, the great Zhuge Liang or Kongming has had established that the Chinese phrase for ‘Friends come without blame’ or ‘Peng Lai Wu Jiu’ in pinyin can also be read as ‘Friends come, no blame’.

Now whether or not the friends (Peng) that have been referred to in both Hexagrams represents the same phenomenon is the subject of this romance. But as usual whenever this student writes about things related to Tao and Heaven, there would be no damage to your health and well being if you take it in with a bit of salt!

Friends come without blame, to and fro goes the Way
Signifies the Return (Fu)
Friends come no blame, in the midst of obstructions upon obstructions
Signifies Obstruction (Jian)

The Holy Sages allowed the least knowledgeable to reveal the truths
So that more can be taught, a phenomenon of Wu Wei
From the Tao Te Ching, Analects, down to the Daoist texts
The least knowledgeable among those with profound knowledge had taught the most

Therefore do not be surprised if you cannot learn anything profound here
Since the author knows only a touch of the ancients and Zhouyi
However, while we may have the same teacher, our experiences vary
And the romance may contain a hint or two to help expand your deep knowledge

Heaven and Earth had closed since 15 September 2008
Signifying no Tao all under Heaven
Friends cannot come because of the obstructions upon obstructions
Therefore no blame can be accorded

Laozi, Confucius, and Mencius knowing this phenomenon
Had warned the able to hide until Heaven and Earth (re)open
Those who had refused to listen, suffered along with the hundreds of millions
Causes were known, retribution was duly paid where people had revolted

To foreknow when Heaven and Earth will reopen is easy and simple
Heaven first send down the Great Light to help the correct, central, and blessed
Then ‘Friends come without blame’
Both phenomena presage the phenomenon of ‘To and fro goes the Way’.

In case you have doubts, I can help you count
It has been forty nine months since there was no Tao on Earth.
Those who practised neidan meditation during this period knows not when to stop
Conversely, they too would not know when to start

The adept(s) had to forego the embryo within
Since it cannot survive without Tao on Earth
A time when Guan Yin had indicated that Buddhas give no blessings
Friends had tried to come amidst the greatest obstructions, and accorded no blame

If you want to experience ‘Friends come without blame’
Empty your mind and still your heart to wait for the Return.
It is not necessary to sit but just be quiet.
Friends come when you are ready and whenever there is Tao all under Heaven.

An overheard conversation:

Welcome back, my friends!
It has been a long time.
Forty nine (49) months to be exact.
An eternity some say.
Yet there is no blame.

For Heaven and Earth had closed.
And there was no Tao all under Heaven.
With so much obstructions placed upon travels
Even Buddhas give no blessings
As told by Guan Yin

Yes, I know that you came a few times earlier.
But, your calls at the gate were mumbles.
Anomalies still happen whenever there is no Tao on Earth.
Though a few culprits have been overthrown
Most roam freely while the innocents still suffer

The forgoing of the embryo again is not a great loss.
Compared to the sufferings of the hundreds of millions people on Earth.
Heaven by sending down the Great Light last year indicates that the correct, central, and blessed are not completely forgotten.
Except for the able who else could appreciate that they have to hide?
Meanwhile they wait for the reopening of Heaven and Earth and the ensuing abundance of Tao once again.

My palms have suddenly grown hot.
As if we shook hands.
Pray tell your shy female companions, their first ever visit is much appreciated.
And that they sing the melodic song in harmony with you.
Send my regards to our Buddhist friends; I do miss their chiming in now and then.

Your long visit today may presage that of Tao moving to and fro freely again.
Do not worry too much, even if this conversation is overhead and published.
Any listener would stretch their Tao and Yijing knowledge to the limits before appreciating any of what has been said.
Otherwise they will dismiss it as a self-talk by a cranky old man.
And whichever way they choose, they are correct. Since how would he know?

Allan Lian

All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Review of Homer H Dubs’ article on ‘Did Confucius study the Book of Changes?’

Over the past eight decades, anyone after reading the late US Professor Homer Dubs’ 1928 influential article published in the Tongbao, the first international journal in sinology established in 1890, would be confounded as to whether or not Confucius had actually studied the Book of Changes. The article in simple English is very persuasive and well supported by several quotations from the Analects, and one each from the Book of History and from the Records of the Grand Historian. (Homer H Dubs’ article on ‘Did Confucius study the Book of Changes?’, is kindly made available by Steve Marshall for those interested at )

Professor Homer Dubs (1892 to 1969) was a Yale graduate in philosophy, a Columbia University masters, and after having earned a PhD from the University of Chicago with a dissertation on the Chinese philosopher, Xunzi that he would publish in two volumes, taught at several US Universities before taking up the Chair of Chinese at Oxford that had been held by James Legge. In addition, Dubs grew up in China as a child of missionary parents and returned there as a missionary after obtaining his masters and his Bachelor of Divinity. The professor, an American sinologist and polymath, is best known for his translation of sections of Ban Gu’s Book of Han. (The life, credentials, works, and later eccentricities of Homer Dubs can be further read at Wikipedia:

Anyone not having studied ancient Chinese philosophy as deep as Homer Dubs, a professor at the University of Minnesota when he published the well debated article, could be influenced or swayed by his persuasive and substantiated arguments to believe likewise that Confucius would have nothing to do with the Book of Changes anymore than about spirits. With his impressive array of scholarly credentials and works, his immense knowledge of ancient Chinese philosophy, and stature, it would seem nigh impossible to provide a substantive review of the article. To challenge such a scholarly article supported by various historical citations appears daunting even to those who continue to believe that Confucius did study the Book of Changes; unless they happened to be equally or more steeped in ancient Chinese philosophy than him. Of his contemporary sinologists, Richard Wilhelm would have been the ideal candidate and/or Yijing aficionado to review Dub’s 1928 article even though his eminent Chinese mentor has had passed away by then. However, Wilhelm was probably too ill when the article was published, and had passed away two years later.

Apparently, this influential 1928 article has yet to be reviewed. Therefore under the circumstances, this student who knows only a touch of the ancients and the Zhouyi, with no particular talent or virtue to speak of, takes up the challenge to review Homer Dubs’ article readied to be shamed if he falters. In the review, reasons would be submitted on why the article has had blindsided both Dubs’ admirers and dissenters for more than eighty years.

Dubs had probably started out the article to provide a contrary view to that of Professor Hu Shih’, which according to him was the best and most critical scholar of the day. And I would tend to agree with Dubs’ poor assessment of Hu Shih, if the eminent Chinese Professor had not provided any further evidence that Confucius actually used the Book beyond his famous saying that ‘if some years were added to his life, he would give fifty to the study of the Book of Changes and then might come to be free from great faults’ (VII, xvi) and/or that of Sima Qian’ Records of the Grand Historian on the life events and works of the great sage. (Pages 82 and 83 Tongpao XXV 1928)

Now to write a scholarly article to uphold or to refute the age old Chinese belief that Confucius has had studied the Book of Changes, it could do great injustice to the ancient sage for not having discussed the ancient classic, the ten wings, and the four Confucian books as a whole.

If Professor Hu Shih only knew what his peers would know, it reflects a run-of-the-mill mentality, and no special in-depth knowledge of both the four Confucian books and the Book of Changes that we can learn from. However, neither did Professor Dubs know much about the Book of Changes of Zhou or the Ten Wings, if at all, since he rarely touched on them in his article, if his admirers and/or dissenters have not noticed.

The following analyses and findings of Dubs would depict his level of knowledge, if any, of the Zhouyi and the Ten Wings:

According to Dubs, Sima Qian in his monumental Historical Record states that Confucius wrote various appendixes to the Book of Changes. Relying on Legge’ correct assessment that the attribution of the entire Ten Wings to Confucius is wrong and that we cannot be sure that any of it is from the pen of Confucius himself. He reasoned that: ‘They (The Ten Wings) were too trivial and unworthy to a great man. So we cannot conclude from the Book of Changes itself that Confucius had any connection with it, rather the contrary. Likewise Sima Qian’ evidence must be ruled out as secondary and based on insufficient evidence’. (pages 83 and 84)

The fact that Confucius did write various appendixes to the Book of Changes of Zhou as indicated by Sima Qian had been likely confirmed by James Legge (and Richard Wilhelm in his W/B translation) seemed to be lost on Dubs probably in his over eagerness to refute the age old belief. The whitewashing of the Records of the Grand Historian, which he himself ascribed as monumental, was to be repeated in the article when Dubs tried to cover up (Xunzi’ student) Li Si’ infamous acts. If Dubs had been a student of the Book of Changes, he would not have so lightly dismissed the involvement of Confucius in the writing of the Ten Wings by just relying on the thoughts and the feelings of Legge.

Dubs has had cleverly blindsided Yijing aficionados and scholars by quoting sources from the Analects which supported his prejudices against Chinese ancestor worship, prayers, and divination. Such prejudices could have arisen because of his previous missionary background together with his adoration for Xunzi (who hated the evil princes who did not follow the Way but gave their attention to magic and prayers and believed in omens and luck – Shiji). He provided an unclear quotation - and considered it without basis as ancestor worship - on Confucius teaching Chi Lu that he must be able to serve men before learning how to serve the dead, to support his contention that the sage has nothing to do with divination (and spirits). (In his translation, James Legge had mentioned the distinction by way of notes between ghosts (Gui) and spirits (Shen); and that Confucius had used ghosts (Gui) in the quotation. And the differing views offered by past eminent scholars on this particular quotation.) (XI, xi) (84)

Dubs further displayed a lack of deep understanding of ancient Chinese philosophy when he contended that Confucius holds prayers useless by offering two inappropriate supporting quotations from the Analects, ‘He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.’ (III, xiii) And – “where the sage had indicated there was no necessity for his student to offer prayers on his behalf for his illness, because his praying has been for a long time.” (VII, xxxiii) (84) By applying the first quotation, he like his idol, Xunzi, clearly did not understand that Heaven has a moral will. Also did he not understand what Confucius has said about his own prayers in the latter quotation? Therefore the presented argument of Dubs that since Confucius holds prayers useless, divination is useless too, holds no water.

By quoting the statement ‘divination, when fortunate, should not be repeated’ from the Book of History to support his contention that indeed divination is superstition, he laid bare his ineptness, if he had any knowledge at all, of the Book of Changes. (84) Only the ignorant would be foolish enough to again ask the Book of Changes after obtaining a fortunate prognostication, or a happy omen. Furthermore there was no cause whatsoever for Dubs to cast aspersions on the exemplary Emperor Shun and the Great Yu, as superstitious, just to sway readers to his preferred way of thought or belief. (The historical statement on divination was made by Shun to Yu, in the Great Counsels of Yu.)

To answer his questions as to why there were no records of Confucius teaching or of his recommending the Book of Changes to his students, I can only submit my opinion that if the great sage knew that he has not fully comprehended a profound subject like the Book of Changes, he would not have proceeded to teach the subject to his students. And since Confucius was versed with the Odes, the Rites, and the Music, and found them easier to learn, he recommended his students to study them instead. (85)

This usual opinion of mine is probably now supported by the missing and recently found chapter Yao of the Analects wherein Confucius indicated that his divination accuracy is 70% and about the same as one of his students. (But it would be rather unfair to the late Professor Dubs to use the Yao Chapter to counter his well articulated points on why Confucius did not study the Book of Changes.)

Dubs then tried to hoodwink less knowledgeable readers in ancient Chinese philosophy by making the statement that, ‘Should Confucius have honored and admired it, we should expect that his disciples and followers would have likewise studied and spoken of it. On the contrary they maintain a complete silence for centuries after his death.’ And immediately after that he launched into a vile attack on the author of the Doctrine of the Mean as superstitious, because the author believes in spirits and in divination. (85)

Surely, the learned Professor of ancient Chinese philosophy like James Legge knew that it was Confucius’ beloved grandson (and student), Zisi who wrote the Doctrine of the Mean! Therefore was there or was there not evidence that Confucius’ disciples did study and speak about the Book of Changes? Or did Dubs again try to whitewash important ancient writings that supported the age old belief by casting aspersions on the texts and/or personages? Furthermore, would this renowned grandson of Confucius who is the accredited teacher of Mencius, turn against his own grandfather’s teachings by writing something deemed unbecoming? It is left to readers of this review to decide.

In addition, Dubs indicated that Mencius was quiet on the matter and so was Xunzi. Without knowing much about the Book of Changes and the Ten Wings, Dubs certainly would be clueless as to the profound Yijing knowledge of Mencius; even though he has had read his Book. From brief accounts of Xunzi in the Wikipedia, it is quite possible that this particular philosopher did not study the Book of Changes since unlike Mencius he disbelieved that Heaven has moral will. Therefore, Xunzi may not even know what the Mandate of Heaven was. Similar to some pedant scholars, Dubs argued that it was not until Zuo Zhuan that the Book of Changes was mentioned, totally disregarding the existence of the Doctrine of the Mean which is traditionally honored as one of the four Confucian books.

One can discern that Dubs then at the age of 36 adored Xunzi as his hero, probably influenced by his teachings while writing the thesis on the ancient Chinese philosopher for his PhD. Since in the article, he had made several attempts to raise the stature of both Xunzi, and his rouge student, Li Si who as the prime minister of Qin buried Confucians alive, and burned many categories of books. However, in the eyes of the learned and the wise, Xunzi would never be equally great as Mencius as Dubs has had wished. (85) And Li Si is still rouge because of his despicable acts against humanity and learning. Since Xunzi the teacher did not understand much about Heaven, neither would his student or followers! And to the Chinese, the acts of a student reflect upon the teacher. Mencius is honored as a Confucian sage while Xunzi will remain as an eminent philosopher because his theory on human nature directly contradicts that of Mencius’ Man is born good.

On Li Si’s infamous acts of ‘Burning of books and burying of scholars’, an event recorded by Sima Qian, the Grand Historian of Han, Dubs again tried to cast aspersions on the integrity of the Records of the Grand Historian. (88) While Dubs will certainly know the fact that Sima Qian on the pain of death dared to record the dastardly acts of the first Han Emperor’s wife, Empress Lu after Liu Bang’s death, the professor because of his vested interests still tried to mislead readers; admirers and dissenters alike. That Li Si was subjected to the Five Tortures by the second Qin emperor and later put to death by the prime minister of the day was no more than what he had deserved.

Even though he did not quite make out a convincing case to those in the know for condemning the Book of Changes as superstition; Dubs deviously praised the wisdom of Confucius for not having anything to do with superstitious things. This would confound both the Yijing aficionados and those who hold on to the age old belief.

Without an in-depth Yijing knowledge, how could one appreciate the age old connection between the commentaries by Confucius and/or his students, and Mencius contained in the Ten Wings and the Zhouyi?

Using selective irrelevant citations coupled with flawed analyses which led to incorrect findings, Professor Dubs still unabashedly conclude that Confucius did not concern himself with the Book of Changes anymore than about spirits. Yet his flawed findings and misleading conclusion that Confucius did not study the Book of Changes had stood unchallenged for more than eight decades!

Surely, the late Professor Dubs would not mind it a bit, if my review can finally put his misleading arguments to rest, once and for all. If the influential and yet misleading article is not brought to light and shamed, it would continue to be a disservice to the Book of Changes, Confucius, the current and future generations of Yijing aficionados. Although it is never too late or too old to study the Book of Changes, the ‘lost’ generations (the misled) in between the eighty odd years cannot be brought back to the Light.

In case readers think that the review is nothing but hype, and that this student only know the famous quote used by generations of scholars - including the late eminent Chinese Professor Hu Shih - to support the belief and/or contention that ‘Confucius did study the Book of Changes’, I append below just a few assorted quotations from the Analects for your reading pleasure. Please put on your thinking cap before reading the quotations since they have proven too deep even for generations of eminent Chinese scholars of ancient Chinese philosophy, and without any exception, readers should also know their Yijing studies well otherwise the quotations’ trails to the ancient classic will remain hidden:

I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.’

[Analects 7.19]

The Fang bird does not come; the river sends forth no map; - it is all over for me!’
[Analects 9. 8]

When Tao pervades all under heaven, be prominent. When Tao recesses, go into hiding.’ [Translated by AL]
[Book 8 Chapter 13 of the Analects]

The Master said,
The people of the south have a saying – ‘A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.’ Good!

Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace.’

The Master said,
This arises simply from not attending to the prognostication.’

[Analects 8. 22 Legge]

Allan Lian

All rights reserved.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Of students and masters (12)

Integrity is of importance to teachers of the Book of Changes and/or the ancient Way, and those who possess it will gain the respect of their peers. Since students rely on teachers, their teachings of Yijing studies and/or neidan (inner alchemy) practice should accord with established order set down by the ancients (Holy sages, Laozi, Confucius, and the Buddha). Such teachings should not be based on the teacher’s idiosyncrasy on how the Book of Changes and/or the Way is to be taught. In a way, that is why a teacher from a proper lineage is sought after, since his or her teaching would conform to its tradition and regulations. This of course does not mean that lineage teachers do not make the same mistake, but if their teachings or practices are found to be deviant, they can be subjected to severe punishment.

However in the West, those who teach in public more often than not - partly because of misinterpretations and indolence, but mainly out of ignorance - tend to misrepresent the ancient teachings thus misleading their students. And the Yijing students are no wiser until they standstill in their studies, while those practising neidan may come under delusions and illusions in more serious cases. However, it does not mean that all such teachers in the West have no integrity.

The Book of Changes teaches the Junzi (superior persons) among myriad things how to return to the Light. Yet a so-called Yijing expert and scholar, because he has translated the Book of Changes and has written some books on Yijing studies, tends to teach about the Dark. While to the ancients, Heaven and Earth are of paramount importance, he chooses to talk or write more on the morbid, the dark side, and hell as part of Yijing studies. (This idiosyncrasy is still endurable since it is up to individuals including students how they want to lead their lives.) Yijing omens can only be obtained by the sincere and are very difficult to interpret, yet he recently demonstrated to his students how to beckon the phenomenon to appear and be interpreted by waving their arms towards the heart/mind? This of course is downright misleading, but na├»ve students will possibly be much impressed. After briefly watching his demonstration on You-Tube, I switched it off and as of now no longer hold any more respect for this Yijing ‘expert’ and ‘scholar’. If we do not know how to obtain or interpret omens from the Book of Changes, it is only correct not to teach it. Never conjure something up like he did.

A couple of years ago, out of curiosity, I had watched on You-Tube an acknowledged Zen Master in the West teaching his students how to meditate. Meditation is very important to both Chan and Zen Buddhism according to what is written in Wikipedia. The Zen Master proceeded to teach the proper way of sitting meditation until he told his students that they have to focus their eyes a foot or two ahead of them. The Buddha did not teach this way of eye focus for meditation. According to Lu Dongbin in his Secret of the Golden Flower, the Buddha taught to look at the tip of the nose during meditation, the same way as Laozi had done.

A senior female Chinese student of a renowned neidan master in China wrote in the Taobums the benefits of learning the Circulation of the Light meditation from him. To substantiate the claim, she exclaimed that a group of Westerners who has recently learned this meditation from her master in China had experienced the same signpost as that of the neidan students of Richard Wilhelm. Until she published the sketches drawn up by this group of Western ‘students’ during the short course of meditation taught by the neidan master, I did not know what she was on about. The sketches were similar to the mandalas depicted at the back pages (in between pages 136 and 137) of the Secret of the Golden Flower translation of Wilhelm. Not to embarrass her, I did not tell her that these mandalas were in fact not drawn by neidan students of Wilhelm, if he had any at all. These mandalas are also not a signpost as claimed but were drawn up by various patients of the great Carl Jung and indicated as such by him. And you know what that means? Probably this group of Westerners after practising the meditation fell under delusions or illusions similar to the mentally ill. Whether or not they were taught the right Circulation of the Light meditation and/or they had practised it incorrectly, the neidan master is responsible for his ‘students’ including the antics of that senior female Chinese student. If we do not know what the right method is, do not teach it. Only teach those right methods that we are versed with.

Of the incorrect teachings discussed, students of the Zen Master will come to less harm, if any. The mistake in focusing the eyes during meditation can be easily corrected and has been, if readers have not noticed. The knowledge of the students of the so-called Yijing expert and scholar will probably come to a complete standstill after several more years of studies, I have observed. However, some may fall under the grand delusion thinking that they already know much about the Book of Changes. Alas, another lost generation. The most serious case is what had happened to the group of Westerners who had shown signs of delusions. As to whether or not the neidan master who is from a renowned and reputable lineage in China will be punished for his transgression of the established order, if any, we will have to leave it to his ancestor masters (Daoist celestial immortals) to do the right thing. It is of no concern to outsiders.

What more can I say about those who misrepresent the ancient teachings? For a little more fame and/or fortune, they decide to throw integrity out of the window.

Please, real dragons do no such things; especially those who happened to know why Heaven has no favorites and yet is on the side of the good.