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About Yueya

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    月牙 yuèyá (Crescent Moon)

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  1. I haven’t decided on the vaccine yet and there’s no need to where I live because there’s virtually no Covid19 active in Australia. But I may well get vaccinated at some stage, depending on how the Covid situation plays out here. Although I’m reluctant to take any sort of medication, and am a great believer in the body’s ability to naturally heal itself, I’m not against allopathic medicine or vaccines per se. Sometimes these are the best option. That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way through the near death of a friend who I was fully supporting in her fight against illness using natural therapies. It rare for me to take any sort of medication, only once in the last couple of decades when in 2016 I took the new antiviral treatment for the HepC virus I acquired in the early 1980’s from heroin use. My normal healthy life style had kept the HepC in check and my liver was unscarred. But the virus was active and was increasingly affecting my energy levels. I had stayed clear of the earlier Interferon treatment because it had horrendous side effects and a low success rate. But the newer treatment was excellent…cleared my HepC with virtually zero side effects. As a sceptic of allopathic medicine, I was totally impressed! I’ve never felt the need to have a flu vaccination but I’ve had the usual collection of vaccines when I was younger and never had any sort of adverse reaction. Based on the evidence I’ve seen so far, I don’t consider any of these Covid19 vaccines to be a big risk. There are risks in everything and on my list of risks Covid vaccine doesn’t rate particularly highly. And I know from firsthand experience from my heroin and other substance injecting days how well our immune system can handle pathogens. I’d shoot up a number of times a day with heroin cut with various substances using non-sterile syringes and water said from the tap. Sure, I’ve done long-term damage to myself, however that took years of self-abusive behaviour. With our bodies there’s always the risk weird things can happen with a minimal trigger but that risk is not great. As to Covid19, one thing I am clear about is that I don’t want to take any sort of vitamin supplements or medication like Ivermectin etc as a preventative. I know some people here advocate that path and I respect that that works for them. However, for me it would be out of harmony with how I live. I stay away from supplements because I have learnt from trial and error that they cause me more problems than benefit. I’d rather simply have the vaccine than go down that path. So that’s my choice: either have the vaccine or do nothing other than continuing my lifestyle of trying to live in harmony with the Dao.
  2. Thank you for your whole post from which I've quoted just a small portion. I very much liked the first sections. I didn't know all that but long suspected it. But I have no interest in the direction you took it with the type of superhuman powers you list. And, while I find these insights into molecular biology interesting, I’ll stick with my own understanding that it’s the qi that pervades the universe that’s the master writer of this information encoded in our DNA. Qi isn’t just energy, it’s also wisdom and goes by the name ‘holy spirit’ in Christianity. My life has taught me that the more I’m able to allow this divine wisdom to express itself through me, the more contentment I feel. It’s contentment that springs from feeling an increasing degree of connection with something far greater than myself. For me personally, the wisdom and worldviews of the great spiritual traditions of the world are sufficient for me to cultivate this connection. It’s to this wisdom I look to alter my self, not to any tinkering with my DNA by technologists.
  3. Martial Arts - Realm of the Insecure

    Although the above essay is written from the perspective of martial arts, it could equally apply to many of us involved with dedicated spiritual practice. Insecurity and low self-esteem are certainly labels which now in retrospect I can accept about myself, although years ago I would have vehemently denied it. It takes a degree of inner security, of strength, to be able to admit weakness. And that’s what my multifaceted journey of inner cultivation has given me. I know for myself, admitting such weakness, though unpleasant, is a major step towards liberation. Specifically, it allows a deeply felt sense of compassion and humility both for myself and for other people. And without that my heart cannot begin to fully open. Damo wrote: “A sense of insecurity can become the greatest fuel for a lifetime journey of self-cultivation and development or it can, sadly, lead us onto a path of egoistic distortion that helps nobody. That choice is ultimately ours alone.” I would make one small change to this, namely change ‘self-cultivation’ to ‘Self-cultivation’. It’s definitely healthier to feel and acknowledge low self-esteem when one does not feel conscious connection with Self than to create a false sense of self based on, in Damo’s words, egoistic distortion. That merely gives a false sense of strength. Alas, such ego inflation is all too common; perhaps a necessary stage to pass through. It has been for me. Now I can smile in wry acknowledgement at the aptness of the imagery Western alchemists of old used to describe this stage of inner transformation. They called it their descension, their cineration, their pulverization, their death. That’s how it felt to me at the time. And that time went on for over a decade. Hence I can understand the massive shields our ego constructs to try to prevent what feels to the ego like a terrible calamity, something to be defended against at all costs. But true inner cultivation is all about gaining the strength to face this ordeal.
  4. The current discussions on Tien Shan nei kung reminded me of an essay by Damo Mitchell titled, Martial Arts - Realm of the Insecure, published in the book, Daoist Reflections from Scholar Sage: Let us always be brutally honest with ourselves as to why we started training in the martial arts in the first place. I have spent my life around various forms of martial arts classes and practitioners. When I was younger it was within the Japanese external systems, and as I grew older it was within the Chinese systems. This means that over the years I have grown to know many people who started training in different forms of Gong Fu. Some of those people are still training, whilst the vast majority have since stopped and moved on to other things. One thing that always fascinated me is the common thread that pulled all of those people into martial training, which is both arduous and longwinded. Why would somebody wish to dedicate so much time to painstakingly analysing every little facet of their body movement through the medium of combat? Now, with the exception of those who got into something like Taijiquan for health reasons, I see that the vast majority began training because they were deeply insecure. This insecurity may have come about for various reasons. In many cases a person was bullied or physically threatened in some way, which is one of the most difficult things for the human psyche to ever come to terms with. In some cases, people were insecure because they were physically frail and martial arts seemed like a good way to become strong. I have met some who were insecure because of the way in which they had been brought up by their parents, and even those who felt insecure because they naturally lacked grace and poise. I feel that if the majority of us looked inside we would see that our training also came from a sense of deep insecurity, which was or is leaving a gaping hole in our inner being. If I look at myself as an example, I can understand this situation very well. I began training at age four because I was sent to the classes by my parents. At this age I was blissfully unaware of the stresses of life and so no major insecurities had developed. Consequently, I was not much interested in the arts and so I treated them as a casual hobby, somewhere I went in the evenings to play and throw my arms and legs in the air. This all changed as I got older and began to realise that other people possibly posed a threat. I have always been slight in stature, and as a child and young teen it made me a target for bullying. Here was the seed of insecurity that left its mark and drove me into a serious study of Karate-Do and then the Chinese systems. This insecurity has carried me through years of continuous training, and though I am close to dealing with my inner turmoil it is always a long journey — the mind is always reluctant to let go of the deepest injuries. The problem with these kinds of psychological aspects is that they tend to dictate each and every thing that we do. Our inner state becomes the standpoint from which we experience the outside world. It causes us to emotionally distort the way in which we act as our damaged psyche seeks to defend itself from further hurt. The spiritual traditions of the East have long understood this and so developed various systems of self-cultivation, which would enable a person to deal with their own being and so elevate themselves to a higher state. Martial arts was one such tool, or at least it has the potential to be so if used correctly. There is an inherent difficulty within the martial arts world and that is that the most insecure are the people who stay within the arts the longest. They are the ones whose inner nature sees the potential for change, even if they don't consciously understand what this crazy drive is that borders on obsession. This means that, almost inevitably, they become the teachers of the arts — those with the most experience and the most years of dedicated effort put into the arts. By the very nature of what it means to be a teacher, students will come to you and then look to you for guidance. On the surface they may be looking to you for martial technique, but subconsciously they are also looking for something else — a way to deal with that same insecurity that most likely led their newfound teacher into the arts in the first place. This is a responsibility that all teachers need to recognise and take on board. It was for these reasons that, classically, schools of martial arts, especially internal practices, would teach ethics alongside their arts. The view was basically that a person could be measured by their actions and the state of their Heart-Mind, not by the strength of their punch. Sadly, over the years this message was lost and, in my opinion, the ethics of martial arts are all but dead. Gong Fu has reached an all-time low of morality, etiquette and self-cultivation. Take a journey onto any martial arts forum and see the countless pages of arguments to see how true this is. As practitioners (and certainly as teachers) we need to remember that it was a deep-rooted insecurity that initially led us to these practices and that almost everybody in this community is coming from the same place. At this point maybe your brain is going, 'Rubbish, I am not insecure — what is he talking about?' If this is the case I would suggest that maybe you are one of the lucky few who are perfectly balanced or perhaps you need to look a little deeper inside and be a bit more honest with yourself. Why this is important is because if you constantly trash others and attack them either physically or verbally you are essentially damaging the other person's inner nature. Their insecurity is likely to become deeper no matter how hard they try to shake off what has been said or done. Each step towards weakening that person's inner nature is taking away from their development. Two people will enter into a conflict because one or both is trying to come to terms with their own insecurity. In order to validate their own stance and thus defend their fragile ego, they will argue until one is the perceived victor and one the loser. The 'winner' has confirmed the distorted viewpoint of his own nature in his own mind, whilst the 'loser' has been damaged even more deeply. This is certainly not an effective method of inner growth for either party. In modern times this is made even worse by the internet and martial arts forums. Here, insecure people can shout at others and try to validate their position whilst gathering around them other insecure people to prop up their fragile egos. A gathering of wounded egos attacking each other through typed words should be avoided at all costs lest the inner-growth aspect of martial arts be lost forever. This is why I never support martial arts competitions. In each case there must always be a 'winner' and a 'loser'. If, in a perfect world, competitions or challenges were between two people who mutually accepted that they were there to better their arts and themselves then competition could be a good thing. After a couple of years of taking part in martial arts tournaments I realised that this was sadly not the case. With each win my ego validated my own standpoint whether I was in the right or the wrong, and with each loss my sense of insecurity was etched more deeply into my being. With each competition I see, I witness the same process going on whether the participants are aware of this or not. Martial arts should abhor this kind of practice. In life you should never compete, but, at the same time, if you must fight you should not lose. Not losing and being competitive are not the same thing, and I believe more martial artists should spend time contemplating the differences between these two. This is the heart of the study that we undertake. I don't write this as a rant or an attack but as a thought process that I have been through lately after reading a few martial arts forums and seeing the processes taking place there. A martial arts forum is not somewhere you will ever see me contributing in any great length simply because I find the dynamics of what is taking place in these communities counter-productive to what I am seeking — inner development through the medium of martial arts study. I would urge sincere practitioners of a like mind to question themselves and their motives before getting involved in such places, as the ethical side of study needs to come back lest martial arts become a pale shadow of what they once were. Let us work together to further ourselves and our arts, not fight over things that really bear no importance to the nature of our inner development. A sense of insecurity can become the greatest fuel for a lifetime journey of self-cultivation and development or it can, sadly, lead us onto a path of egoistic distortion that helps nobody. That choice is ultimately ours alone.
  5. Translators of the TTC

    @hermes You seem to have the translation situation well covered. I have A Chinese Reading of the Daodejing by Rudolf Wagner and can confirm that it’s very much a book for specialist academic researchers. And Red Pine's is the only edition I've come across with a wide selection of Chinese commentaries, albeit, as you note, in very brief form. My only further suggestions are: A comprehensive essay by Alan Chan titled, The Daodejing and its Tradition, which I added to this forum a while back: https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/40989-the-daodejing-and-its-tradition/ Also, if you haven’t read the highly influential commentaries by Wang Bi’s and Heshang Gong, I recommend these two translations: Richard John Lynn, The Classic of the Way and Virtue: A New Translation of the "Tao-te ching" of Laozi as Interpreted by Wang Bi Dan G Reid, The Heshang Gong Commentary on Lao Zi's Dao De Jing I have about a dozen translations of the Daodejing and gained much insight from the various interpretations. When I first joined Dao Bums there was plenty of discussion of the text and I very much liked that then. Although it’s no longer my focus, your interest may spur new discussion. I’d like to see that on the forum but it’s unlikely I’d join in myself.
  6. East is East and West is West

    I can't comment on that because I haven't seen it. However, going back to your previous disparaging comment on Jung, I would have hoped that you of all people would hold Jung in high regard because it was Jung's letter to Bill W explaining how he considered alcoholism to be a spiritual disease that led Bill W to found the 12 step fellowship of AA.
  7. East is East and West is West

    I totally agree with you about the importance of myth. Jung writes extensively on it and one of his key projects was to bring back to life the stagnant Christian myth which has become moribund through the rigid dogma of the church. My own personal myth is something slowly being revealed to me. I too was brought up in an atheistic household and have only come to appreciate the richness of religion because of its relevance to my own inner experience. But I’ll say no more now on this topic of vital importance to me other than, for me, the channel that allows heartfelt contact in the sense you’re referring to as prayer, is what Daoists call xuanpin. I plan on slowly adding more content to the topic I’ve started by that name in the Daoist section. So far, when posting material there, I've felt like I'm being at my most authentic.
  8. East is East and West is West

    This post of yours has stayed in the back of my mind for two main reasons, namely your use of the term ‘spiritual certainties’, and your comment on the concealed dualism of Christian monotheism. I’ve heard said that almost everyone comes to religion looking for the certainty it brings, and only a tiny few come looking for deeper truths. Jung has given me certainty of a special kind; the knowledge that working with uncertainty is intrinsic to the path of finding wholeness. What he's given me is a conceptual framework that embraces uncertainty and gives tools to navigate my way through it. To gain an overview of Jung’s complex insights and the terminology he uses to describe them, such as ‘the unconscious’, ‘archetypes’, ‘individuation’ etc, a person needs to read his works. And, of course, no need to do this unless one feels drawn to him. He develops his themes over the course of many decades and makes no attempt to simplify or systemise because, as he himself expressed it: “The language I speak must be ambiguous, must have two meanings, in order to do justice to the dual aspect of our psychic nature. I strive quite consciously and deliberately for ambiguity of expression, because it is superior to unequivocalness and reflects the nature of life. My whole temperament inclines me to be very unequivocal indeed. That is not difficult, but it would be at the cost of truth. I purposely allow all the overtones and undertones to be heard, partly because they are there anyway, and partly because they give a fuller picture of reality. Unequivocalness makes sense only in establishing facts but not in interpreting them; for ‘meaning’ is not a tautology but always includes more in itself than the concrete object of which it is predicated. “ He conceived of our psyche (mind in the greater sense) as a system of energy flows and for energy to flow there needs to be polarity. Thus, like Daoism, he focused on gaining insight into the polar opposites that energise our psyche. And these polar opposites form the bedrock of our mostly unconscious psyche and must be felt and embraced with insight to find wholeness; the Self. “The unconscious is not just evil by nature, it is also the source of the highest good: not only dark but also light, not only bestial, semihuman, and demonic but superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, ‘divine’.” Compare this to what he says about God: All opposites are of God, therefore man must bend to this burden; and in so doing he finds that God in his 'oppositeness' has taken possession of him, incarnated himself in him. He becomes a vessel filled with divine conflict. We rightly associate the idea of suffering with a state in which the opposites violently collide with one another, and we hesitate to describe such a painful experience as being ‘redeemed'. Yet it cannot be denied that the great symbol of the Christian faith, the Cross, upon which hangs the suffering figure of the Redeemer, has been emphatically held up before the eyes of Christians for nearly two thousand years. This picture is completed by the two thieves, one of whom goes down to hell, the other into paradise. One could hardly imagine a better representation of the ‘oppositeness’ of the central Christian symbol. Why this inevitable product of Christian psychology should signify redemption is difficult to see, except that the conscious recognition of the opposites, painful though it may be at the moment, does bring with it a definite feeling of deliverance. It is on the one hand a deliverance from the distressing state of dull and helpless unconsciousness, and on the other hand a growing awareness of God's oppositeness, in which man can participate if he does not shrink from being wounded by the dividing sword which is Christ. Only through the most extreme and most menacing conflict does the Christian experience deliverance into divinity, always provided that he does not break, but accepts the burden of being marked out by God. In this way alone can the imago Dei realize itself in him, and God become man.
  9. INFERNO !

    Some travelling musicians are in the process of making a video of how the community where I live is recovering from the massive November 2019 forest fire. Here’s the preview clip they’ve made about their project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kxt2cczgWY Watching it brought tears to my eyes. People here have lost so much yet our sense of community remains strong. I wrote this post earlier on this thread in the immediate aftermath of the fire. At that stage I wasn’t aware of the full extent of property loss in the area. The devastation was much worse than I realised then; I even understated the number of houses lost along the road I live on. A good many of the houses destroyed had been lovingly built by their owners over many years and were like works of art.
  10. Wild cats

    I've edited it out with a comment that hopefully allows the conversation to flow okay without altering any subsequent posts.
  11. Wild cats

    If you care to read my original post on this topic you will see I greatly admire feral cats. But I’m also fully aware of the damage they do to native wildlife. That’s a dilemma I live with as someone who maintains my land as a wildlife sanctuary. Feral cats have again become wildlife. Stunningly so. And I admire all wildlife. My other focus in posting here is on the psychology of people’s reaction to cats, especial hatred. That video gives some insight into this. No way is this a straightforward, black and white subject. However, if Taomeow would like me to take down that video I will do so as I consider it her right to make this request because she is the person who started this topic. I consider all topic starters have a right to make such a request for the removal of content which they consider inappropriate to the spirit of their topic. (I also feel each individual member has the right to either comply or not with such requests,)
  12. Wild cats

    The title photo gives a good idea. I posted it because it’s important for me to acknowledge that this is going on in Australia. Yet I can neither condemn or condone it. I understand the reasons the feral cat cull is part of Australian conservation policy. As the video makes clear, Australia’s native wildlife have no defences against a predator as smart as a cat. And it’s estimated there’s between 2 and 6 million of them. For people like myself who live in areas where wildlife is abundant, killing is not something remote like it is for many city people. People on the land have to deal with it all the time. But I wouldn’t like to have people like those hunters featured in the video for neighbours, especially not the old guy whose house is decorated with cat skins. He even wears cat skin clothes. Hunting cats for him seemingly has a far deeper significance than merely dealing with the native wildlife predation problem. A perverse form of love? I explored such psychology a little in a previous post, as did you and Luke with your insightful replies. “Cats are just about the closest thing most people can observe in their lives to nature wild and free. The yearning for the impossible, and moreover unidentifiable -- because nothing in their experience has taught them to consciously articulate those amorphous dissatisfactions -- can manifest as defensive rejection of whoever has what they need but can't have.” Note, the old guy has the cats in a form over which he has total control, namely dead as cat skin clothes and a house full of cat skins. He even makes them into what for him are artworks. But overall, Australia is a relatively peaceful and compassionate country. At this time and continuously there are people all over the world who have been deemed feral and are likewise hunted out and eliminated. Muslims especially. And the USA is the world’s most powerful predator in this regard. That too is important to acknowledge.
  13. Wild cats

    Video removed for the reasons Taomeow outlines here.
  14. Who or what is answering?

    Agreed. The Yijing has consistently given me wise guidance over the decades of my inner cultivation. I have no doubts from my experience with it that far more is involved than activation of my own intuition. However, I'm content to leave what's behind it as a mystery.
  15. Xuanpin – Mysterious Female

    Yes, for me too. The best insight I’ve gained into this is from Carl Jung with his concept of the anima – the feminine soul of a hetero-spiritual man. (Conversely, a hetero-spiritual woman has a masculine soul which he called her animus.) These are archetypal forces and hence can never be known because they are the living ‘building blocks’ of our psyche. We can only feel their effects acting from within ourselves. And for me, that anima effect has been the most powerful driving force in my life – and far and away the most meaningful one too. When the anima is projected outwards onto a woman, then ‘she’ entangles us in the world of illusion. (And, of course, also makes it impossible to see the woman as the person she is.) Yet for me, and for most people who are destined to walk this path, that’s the only way forward; obsessive love the only way to connect with this vital source of life and wholeness, our soul. Here’s a heartfelt lament of where projecting the anima outwards can lead: Townes Van Zandt - Rex's Blues Ride the blue wind high and free She'll lead you down through misery Leave you low, come time to go Alone and low as low can be And if I had a nickel, I'd find a game If I won a dollar, I'd make it rain If it rained an ocean, I'd drink it dry And lay me down dissatisfied It's legs to walk and thoughts to fly Eyes to laugh and lips to cry A restless tongue to classify All born to grow and grown to die So tell my baby I said so long Tell my mother I did no wrong Tell my brother to watch his own Tell my friends to mourn me none Chained upon the face of time Feeling full of foolish rhyme There ain't no dark till something shines I'm bound to leave this dark behind Ride the blue wind high and free She'll lead you down through misery Leave you low, come time to go Alone and low as low can be That’s ‘her’ power; can lead to suicide. But, for me, Jung’s and Daoist alchemical insights have shown me the way forward; of how the manifestation of this archetypal force can be transmuted into my inner guide. Projected outwards the anima is ultimately destructive; found inwardly she becomes the only true guide into the beautiful and savage world of the divine: Ride the wild wind high and free She'll lead you out of misery Easy to understand in theory; a long yet deeply meaningful struggle for me to begin to actualise as real inner experience.