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.

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