Thursday, December 20, 2012

The 21December 2012 apocalypse

Those expecting the New Age prediction of the December 21, 2012 apocalypse to happen tomorrow would come away disappointed since it would be a non event. For the gods – Daoist deities, immortals and buddhas – and the Book of Changes have not indicated any major untoward incident happening on the particular day. That is how I know.

Therefore readers who were afraid that they and their families could be affected by the apocalypse should put aside their fears and go on their own way to prepare for Christmas celebrations with kin and friends as usual.

Those conned by the cults - one such cult already reported to be under investigation in China - which sprang up as a result of this New Age prediction to prey on the weak and the fearful would probably have little or no recourse to their assets and/or life time savings donated to these predators.

Whether or not readers have readily access to the gods, the best thing to do is to study the ancient Chinese classic – the Book of Changes - if they want to learn how to foresee the future.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brief commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower

The Secret of the Golden Flower was written through the planchette by Lu DongBin, a Quanzhen Patriarch and one of the renowned Eight Daoist Immortals, according to stories accompanying the text told to Richard Wilhelm – a translator of the text. Another translation of the text is by Thomas Cleary.

Both translations of this Daoist text appear to enjoy great popularity in the West over the decades, since many of its readers who are Daoists, Confucians, or Buddhists can find some resonance with the teachings therein depending on which translation they use. However its popularity also brought out the usual miscreants to cheat and/or to mislead students. Therefore it is unsurprising to read on the World Wide Web the advertisements of self proclaimed ‘teachers or masters’ who have mastered the Secret of the Golden Flower. Real neidan adepts would not make such claims.

Also many have gone onto the TaoBums forum to claim great achievements from practising what is taught in the Secret of the Golden Flower. They are not among the first and certainly will not be the last to claim that. And it gets tiring to put each of such claims to rest, after awhile.

Therefore I will make it as simple and easy as possible for readers to understand what is taught and not taught in this Daoist text. (Similar to what was written today for Taobums members but with more details for readers of the blog)

People asked, ‘How is the Light circulated?’

The Light circulates together with the Qi.

‘How is Qi circulated?’

The Qi is circulated through meditation.

‘Why is the Light not seen during meditation?’

There are many reasons for the inability to see the Light:

Ancestor Lu DongBin, the author of the Secret of the Golden Flower text, had assumed that Chinese readers already know how to still their heart (Daoists directly taught by Daoist Celestial Immortals initially practise that). Meditation using the backward flow method is required to empty the mind. Both Laozi and the Buddha had taught that. (Refer to the TTC and the Sutras)

Thomas Cleary, I have been told, has made the claim on several occasions in his translation, that the text is not on meditation per se. Such claims were probably made because of his Buddhist training. Therefore the Buddhists and Confucians would find some resonance with his translation.

While contemplation practised by Confucians and by Chan Buddhists, as indicated by Lu DongBin, is required to crystallize or ‘fix’ the Light, it is not the main teaching in this Daoist text. Only with the backward flow meditation and a still heart, the practitioner will be able to see the Light; and if he or she is still unable to, start to contemplate to crystallize the Light.

Therefore to claim that the Secret of the Golden Flower is not a meditation text is misleading, to say the least.

Besides that, just reading and practising what is written in the text is insufficient to take anyone no matter how brilliant or diligent to reach good aptitude in neidan practice. The confirmations of good aptitude are indicated in the text – which are important signposts of the Way.

Probably only the Book of Changes and the Tao Te Ching contain the complete teachings of neidan practice, but these ancient classics will prove too profound for any student or even whiz kids.

So therefore two of the Quanzhen Patriarchs - Lu Dongbin and Wang Chongyang –, and their friend, Chen Tuan, who went on to become Daoist Celestial Immortals, advised that students read and understand the Daoist, Confucian, and Buddhist doctrines and to practise the teachings therein to make the Return.

When the neidan practitioner can empty the mind and still the heart, he or she is practising the Return as indicated by Laozi in his Tao Te Ching written for Guan Yinshi – who was the first to mention ‘The Circulation of the Light’. As long as they are making this Return, it does not really matter what it is called – return to the Light, return to Heaven, return to Destiny, return to Tao, or return to the Origin.

But if you do not know how to really empty the mind and still the heart please refrain from making false claims of great achievements on the Web so that students will not be misled. For the esoteric, such false claims would do more harm than good to both yourself and the misled; since Lu Dongbin appears to know whenever people talk extensively on his Secret of the Golden Flower on the Web!

But how would I know?


Friday, December 07, 2012

Final update on the Kan / The Abysmal prognostication interpretation

In February 2008, a fellow Malaysian Yijing aficionado wanted to know if Transmile Group Berhad listed on the main board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (now known as Bursa) is a good investment. The particular listed (or quoted) company’s stock price had plunged 80% from its 2007 record high of RM 15.20 and he had bought in some shares priced at around RM 3.36 with the hope that the new major shareholder and richest Malaysian, Tan Sri Robert Kouk would pump fresh funds to put the company in a firm financial footing. And that consequently its shares price would likely soar again.

The Yijing aficionado had thereafter consulted the Book of Changes and published the prognostication – Hexagram 18 Gu / Work on what has been spoiled – on his blog. After recognizing that the Yijing has indeed spoken and that he did not seemed to understand the implications of the prognostication, for he only had six months divination experience at the time, I hinted to him that the Transmile shares price could fall to RM 2.20 or lower and told him the reasons why.

When the particular shares price did fall to RM 2.20, I suggested that he ask the Yijing again since he had intended to hold on to the investment. This time the Book of Changes provided a far more severe warning in the form of Hexagram 29 Kan / The Abysmal. And I decided to give a comprehensive interpretation of the prognostication in this blog on February 19, 2008 to share it with him and readers. The article is titled, ‘An interpretation of Kan / The Abysmal’ for those interested.

The main gist of my interpretation was that the particular shares price would plunge by limits down before the eventual suspension and delisting of Transmile Group Berhad from the KLSE (Bursa).

There was a further update on December 27, 2008 titled, ‘Few can alter Yi prognostications’ after the shares price of Transmile had dived to a year low of RM 0. 48 – Equivalent to four limits down from the RM 2. 20.

This article is the final update on the Yijing prognostication since Transmile Group Berhad has been suspended from trading in early 2011 and had been delisted from the Official List of Bursa Securities on May 24, 2011. This means that the interpretation was dead right since the oracle had unfolded accordingly to a T. Therefore there is nothing more to add or to subtract, which brings the prognostication to a closure.

Since the interpretation was specifically done for a Yijing aficionado who had minimal experience of divination, it could prove to be the easiest and simplest among the hundreds of blogged articles on the Book of Changes for readers to understand.

Instead of expecting the proverbial fish, try listing out as many aspects of the art of divination and the science of interpretation as can be determined from these three articles - on just one particular prognostication - in order to deepen your own Yijing studies.

To provide some hints and help you appreciate what has been discussed in these three articles, consider if my words and actions uphold the following two phrases embedded in the Great Treatise (Da Zhuan):

Therefore the superior person, whenever he has to make or do something, consults the Changes, and he does so in words. It takes up his communications like an echo; neither far nor near, neither dark nor deep exist for it, and thus he learns of the things of the future. If this book were not the most spiritual thing on earth, how could it do this?
[Part 1 X 2 W/B]

First take up the words,
Ponder their meaning,
Then the fixed rules reveal themselves.
But if you are not the right man,
The meaning will not manifest itself to you.

[Part 2 VIII 4 W/B]


Sunday, December 02, 2012


Greed or avarice is a human desire. And greed knows no bounds. The more investors or speculators profit, the greedier they become.

By definition, greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth or power. (

Laozi and Confucius knowing human nature well taught people in their respective Tao Te Ching and the Analects to guard against greed, especially during old age; since it would prove more difficult for the old to recover from a financial disaster. The young and middle age would more likely have the necessary time span, the energy, and the courage to make a complete recovery from such disasters.

But it has always been tempting when there seems to be easy money to be made together with readily available credit and everyone else is doing it. Think of bull runs in the stock and commodity markets, property bubbles, and gold rushes.

If we look back at the Asian Financial Crisis 1997/98, the Global Financial Crisis 2008/ 09, and the ongoing PIGS* Credit Crisis we can see history repeating itself time and time again. Almost everyone trying to make easy money from the stock markets and/or from real property with free flowing credit from the financial institutions, and did not stop in time, got burnt. Many titan financial institutions also required rescues from their respective governments. (The Book of Changes has had forewarned with omens on the time to get out of the markets to avoid the crises. Refer to the then yet-to-unfold respective Yijing omens blogged in 2008 and 2009.)

Yet do we really think that most of these burnt investors, speculators, or institutions can ever learn from their mistakes?

If investors or speculators keep repeating the same mistakes on financial or property investments and perchance bankrupt themselves, they may tend to blame it on fate or even Heaven. The bankruptcy would not have happened if they have learned from their past mistakes and/or have not gambled beyond their financial means. They should not have tempted fate in the first place and then blame any mishap on it.

But in this day and age, where even previous rulers of nations responsible for emptying the state coffers because of protracted wars and they together with captains of industry and regulators have had played a major part in causing the Financial and Credit Crises and these culprits are let off scot free without paying any restitution – an anomaly of the times – who wants to accept the buck or the blame and be sued for their huge mistakes? Certainly those who had failed in their investments or job scopes would likewise not accept the responsibility for their own failures. Therefore it was much easier to whitewash the mistakes or failures and start on a clean slate again.

If only rulers, captains of industry, regulators, the investors and speculators had learned from history and the ancients; then they would not have repeated the same huge mistakes down the ages caused by human greed.

Such mistakes have caused suicides and intense sufferings including the innocents especially children across the world. Greed for material wealth and power has been the main cause for the hundreds of millions in the US, in Europe and in the Middle East still suffering today.

Investing or speculating with credit (borrowings) - and playing with someone else’ monies - beyond our very means to repay the debt is something that the Book of Changes advises against – if we know our Yijing studies well and if we can interpret prognostications accurately. This advice from the ancient classic upholds my contention that the Book of Changes can be used both as a Book of Wisdom and a Book of Oracles.

To avoid greed and as part of self cultivation, Laozi in his Tao Te Ching chapter 46 exhorts people to be contented with their means. The Buddha by giving up his princedom and lived as a hermit is an exceptional exemplary example of this.

If we have been contented and lived within our means, we would have been more prudent and not borrowed to make speculative gains and live to regret any disastrous financial mistakes. If we are not greedy, we will also not be easily conned (or ‘Madoffed’) for a ‘few dollars’ more.

In line with the advice from the Book of Changes and the three named great ancient sages, contentment with our means, especially when we are old, is good for our self cultivation.

*PIGS - Coined acronyms by the global finance industry for Portugal, Ireland or Italy, Greece, Spain; and certainly an apt name for their imprudent financial institutions, inept regulators and/or greedy speculators.