Thursday, June 20, 2013

That great light from Heaven (2)

With our recent discussions on the Circulation of the Light, some Yijing aficionados may feel neglected since they think that the particular topic has no relevance with the studies of the Book of Changes.

Let me assure all readers that the Light has everything to do with the ancient Book of Changes; Heaven, Man, and Earth.

Similar to an omen, this Light is a phenomenon. And it could be too deep and profound for deep thinkers, Yijing experts and scholars alike; since even the acknowledged whiz kid Wang Bi may not quite know what the Light is or can represent.

For the Book of Changes, the Tao Te Ching (Daoist), the Shurangama Sutra (Buddhist), and the Hindu Sutras teach about this Light. And Lu Dongbin, a Daoist celestial immortal, had had explained in his Secret of the Golden Flower what this Light is all about.

The holy sages who wrote the Book of Changes however go even much deeper into it with an indication that Heaven (Qian) can send down the Light to Earth (Kun) to help Man (Ren) via the line in the fourth place of Hexagram 12 Pi / Stagnation.

And Heaven has done exactly that in 2011 by sending down the Great Light to help the people. (Refer to the article on “The returning great light” on February 4, 2011 if interested.)

The particular prognostication is a happy global omen which is still unfolding in the world today.

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.
” [W/B]

With his commentary, it shows that Confucius knew about the great light. So did Zhuge Liang or Kongming if you understand well his twelfth prophecy in the Ma Qian Ke.

Similar to the ominous global omen which started to unfold in September 2008 before our very eyes when Heaven and Earth closed with no Tao on Earth, this happy global omen of Heaven sending down the great light would also remain unrecognized – probably for centuries more to come - if left untold.

And if the current crop of Yijing experts and scholars in the world do not quite understand the phenomena of global omens and the Light, who would the multitude turn to for the answers?

Therefore in the first article on “That great light from Heaven” dated February 16, 2012, I have asked the esoteric and the deep thinkers to come up with reasons as to why the great light was sent, what or whom does it represent, how this light can help the people, and who these people are?

Apparently the questions remain too deep and profound for these particular readers since there was no response at all; even though I have had indicated that a complete set of answers can be found in the Wilhelm translation.

There is still some time for those who want to do the homework and come forth with their thoughts on the phenomenon of Heaven sending down the great light. It is not really that difficult if you put your heart into it.

If deep thinkers, expert Yijing aficionados and Sinologists reading the article on “The returning great light” on February 4, 2011 have done their proper homework, they would have known who the Great Light from Heaven is. That would be a good start.

To be continued.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Circulation of the Light and Zhuangzi

Several Daoist texts discuss the ancient practice of the Circulation of the Light and/or its confirmation signs. However, not many readers including translators of these ancient Chinese texts and scholars of Ancient Chinese Philosophy happened or would tend to see it that way. In line with the Tao Te Ching these readers are not alone; because since ancient times - upon hearing of Tao - only the first class scholars have had actually put it into practice.

Now as to whether or not Zhuangzi - a follower of Laozi according to the Grand Historian, Sima Qian - was a first class scholar of Tao, he for certain knew something about the Circulation of the Light.

Since in the chapter on Xin Zhai or ‘Fasting of the Mind’, he had had described the early stages of its practice including that of seeing the light:

Look at that aperture (left in the wall);--the empty apartment is filled with light through it.”

In addition to Xin Zhai, there is an excerpt from the texts of Zhuangzi on a purported discussion between Huangdi (the legendary Yellow Emperor) and his teacher, Guang Chenzi - one of the earliest Daoist celestial immortals – which also relates to the Circulation of the Light.

I have broken up the excerpt into smaller paragraphs with key phrases highlighted (in italics or bold) - for readers - to make it easier to understand and simpler to follow:-

“Guang Chenzi hastily rose, and said, 'A good question! Come and I will tell you the perfect Tao. Its essence is (surrounded with) the deepest obscurity; its highest reach is in darkness and silence. There is nothing to be seen; nothing to be heard. When it holds the spirit in its arms in stillness, then the bodily form of itself will become correct.

You must be still; you must be pure; not subjecting your body to toil, not agitating your vital force;--then you may live for long.

When your eyes see nothing, your ears hear nothing, and your mind knows nothing, your spirit will keep your body, and the body will live long.

Watch over what is within you, shut up the avenues that connect you with what is external;--much knowledge is pernicious. I (will) proceed with you to the summit of the Grand Brilliance, where we come to the source of the bright and expanding (element); I will enter with you the gate of the Deepest Obscurity, where we come to the source of the dark and repressing (element).

There heaven and earth have their controllers; there the Yin and Yang have their Repositories. Watch over and keep your body, and all things will of themselves give it vigour. I maintain the (original) unity (of these elements), and dwell in the harmony of them. In this way I have cultivated myself for one thousand and two hundred years, and my bodily form has undergone no decay.'

Huangdi twice bowed low with his head to the ground, and said, 'In Guang Chenzi we have an example of what is called Heaven'. The other said, 'Come, and I will tell you:--(The perfect Tao) is something inexhaustible, and yet men all think it has an end; it is something unfathomable, and yet men all think its extreme limit can be reached. He who attains to my Tao, if he be in a high position, will be one of the August ones, and in a low position, will be a king.

He who fails in attaining it, in his highest attainment will see the light, but will descend and be of the Earth. At present all things are produced from the Earth and return to the Earth.

Therefore I will leave you, and enter the gate of the Unending, to enjoy myself in the fields of the Illimitable. I will blend my light with that of the sun and moon, and will endure while heaven and earth endure.

If men agree with my views, I will be unconscious of it; if they keep far apart from them, I will be unconscious of it; they may all die, and I will abide alone!'”
[Book XI - Zai Yu or ‘Let it Be’- Legge]

If those practising neidan (inner alchemy) can only see the light; they would progress no further in the attainment of Tao.

They would need to witness the interchanging of the Dark and the Light; Yin Yang; Forms and Emptiness before they can enter the Mysterious Gate(s).

However, aspiring first class scholars – the right persons for Tao – who have had correctly practised the Circulation of the Light over the years would be able to see the manifestations of what Guang Chenzi had had described – most of which have already been embedded in the Tao Te Ching for more than 2,500 years.

This includes seeing splendid Heaven, another eternal signpost of the Way.