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About Yueya

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    月牙 yuèyá (Crescent Moon)

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  1. Hanging Balls

    I'm surprised you didn't get this image, Nungali:
  2. Guidlines for Students

    Outside the intent of the OP, but as a counterpoint to the great complexity of do’s and don’ts students are often presented with, here’s Christmas Humphreys applying Occam’s razor to the complexity of practice rules:
  3. 405 days of Golden Flower Meditation

    An insightful discussion which I've just now read through. My thanks to everyone who’s contributed, especially Arisol and Freeform. The relationship between teacher and student is obviously a complex one. I just want to mention one aspect that’s recently been on my mind when reading some of these Dao Bum threads with strong input from lineage based practitioners. Over the last few decades I too have studied under a number a gifted teachers and learnt much lineage based theory and practice methods. This is all vital foundational stuff. However, no teacher can show me my path. That’s something that’s unique for all of us and must be individually attained. All the teachers I’ve worked with have only been interested in showing me their system. And I’ve very much wanted to learn it. In a very real sense, as part of their transmission, they overwrite me with their lineage based power, their lineage based persona. This is all well and good if it’s my destiny to become a part of their lineage. And that’s what I wanted for many years, but it hasn’t been the way my life’s path has played out. I recently read from a close associate of Carl Jung’s that he didn’t want to overwrite anyone, yet most people who came to him wanted very much to be overwritten. That’s how I’ve been in my search for teachings, my search for meaning. He didn’t like that, but he accepted it as reality. He didn’t want a lineage of Jungians, yet he gained one. What he wanted was to give people insight into how Spirit tries to speak to each of us individually. He saw his role as like that of an obstetrician; he wanted to help people remove inner obstructions that were hindering their giving birth to who Nature wanted them to be. An associate who sometimes sat in with Jung during his consultations said that she was amazed at how Jung could listen to seemingly endless recounting of a person’s life problems and situation, and then at some point stop them and say, “That’s where Spirit is trying to contact you.” He’d give people no easy answers but rather direct them away from the false problems they thought they had and show them the deeper meaningful problems that they needed to confront. He gave them difficulty not comfort. But it was insight into the richly meaningful and individually shaped difficulty that’s at the core of every one of us. And although we all have it in our own unique ways, it seems to me few of us are required by Nature to confront it. This, for me a least, is so much harder to deal with than becoming part of a lineage, religion or any other sort of group. Yet without my decades of Daoist based praxis and other teachings I'd lack the inner strength and clarity I need for this inner rebirth. And, perhaps ironically given I started on the path seeking comfort, it's only through my practice that I've felt how Nature / Spirit demands this of me.
  4. INFERNO !

    Absolutely! Even though none were available to help me, I fully understood why. The fire here was just too massive for them to devote resources to scattered dwellings in forest settings such as my place. There was a fleet of RFS firetrucks in the vicinity and they concentrated around the small village of Nymboida about 5 kilometres away. They saved the school, the community hall and most of the dozen or so dwelling that constitute the village. I didn't even bother calling the RFS, knowing they wouldn't be able to help. But people who live further down the road did and 2 firetrucks and a supervisor in an SUV came past my place about an hour before the fire hit. I asked the supervisor if someone could help me defend my place. He told me it was too dangerous for them to stay and they were going to pull out. He said I was on my own, which I knew anway. Surprisingly, he didn't advise me to evacuate, although other people in the area were strongly advised to leave, including the neighbours who called the RFS. They all left. As it played out, although it's not something I'd ever like to go through again, it felt good that I was able to save my place by myself. I have wondered in the 20 years I've lived here how I'd cope with fire. I was fearful of losing my home. It's where I live and it's my hermitage. Now I know that I can get through. I greatly value that I've felt the awesome power of the worst fire in living memory. Felt it and survived.
  5. INFERNO !

    Neighbourhood people who evacuated and lost their homes have asked me what it was like here when the fire came through. Their unspoken question is whether they should have stayed and defended. If they did, would they still have a home? I just listen to their stories, their reasons for leaving and their feelings in the aftermath. What can I say? If they stayed they might have saved their homes or they might have died. The reality is the fire was horrendous and most people did not have enough water or firefighting gear on hand. A veteran firefighter told me this fire was more intense than all the previous fires he’d fought put together. I don’t watch TV or much media other than Dao Bums, so I have little overview of what images of the fires are being shown. The pictures I’ve seen are mostly from a distance. However, the beginning of the clip below taken from inside a firetruck trying to drive through the fire-front gives some idea of what it was like on the ground here, especially when sheets of flame sweep across the road. That’s exactly how it looked when the fire-front swept across the road in front of my place. I was standing about 100 metres away near my house, firehose in hand thinking this looks grim; my preparations seemingly miniscule in comparison to the scale of the fire. But when the fire hit the mown grass I maintain near my house its intensity dropped. Sure, there was still fire everywhere, strong wind and constant ember attack, but I felt deep within myself, “I can do this”. And not without a good measure of luck, but mostly through good preparation, I got through. https://vimeo.com/382385153
  6. INFERNO !

    500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019 The true scope of the disaster is emerging, with ecologists reporting a heartbreaking mass loss of animals. The true cost of the bushfires on the Australian environment and ecology is only just coming to light. Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate some 480 million mammals, birds & reptiles have been lost by the devastating bushfires in 2019. There are now fears entire species of animals and plant life may be lost forever, with scientists moving to understand the full scope of destruction. The estimates include some 8,000 koalas lost in the flames. About 30% of the entire koala population of NSW’s mid-north coast region has perished. There were only 28,000 koalas in the entire region before the fires began. The mortality rate of koalas from these fires has been particularly high. According to Mark Graham, an ecologist with the Nature Conservation Council, koalas “have no capacity to move fast enough to get away” from fires that spread from treetop to treetop. “The fires have burnt so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies,” Mr Graham told a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry earlier this month. The fires, across much of NSW, as well as SE Queensland and parts of South Australia, have burned an area the size of Belgium in just a few months. Ancient Forests Lost 48% of the iconic Gondwana reserves, which include rainforests that have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, have now burned. Species previously immune to fire now under threat. And these fires are still spreading. Victoria, in the south, usually only gets bushfires towards the end of summer. But over the last week huge tracts of Victoria's forests have burnt and continue to burn. And the hottest part of summer is yet to come. (Although koala's grab attention, my heart goes out to all the affected animals. For instance, I have a possum here that had its footpads burnt off. The district vet came and checked her out in the aftermath of the fire and said the pads will regrow as long as they don’t become infected. I keep an eye on her at night when she comes to get the food I'm leaving out for her on my verandah. For the first couple of weeks she was limping badly. And she wasn't always here. She must have gone off looking for some familiar forest food but of course there's none to be found. It's all burnt and even now almost two months later there's little sign of regrowth. When she came back she was always very hungry. I was amazed by her roaming when she had such difficulty moving about. When she's here, she sleeps during the day under my house or on top of a pole on the tank stand adjoining my house. She's now stopped wandering and is here continually and is now walking without any apparent difficulty. Her foot pads must have regrown.)
  7. Apparently she is not. When I read that about what does and doesn't have Buddha Nature I baulked at her certainty. Incidendly, Jung's term "Collective Unconscious" is another term for this God / Buddha Nature concept. Could also be called "Collective Soul" or "Collective Psyche". (But I hesitate to add anything here as I know Buddhists like nothing better than to argue doctrinal interpretations, and words such as "God" and "soul' are trigger words for them. Like waving a red rag at a bull.)
  8. Yes, the word "God" comes with much cultural baggage and many Buddhists, especially Western Buddhists, react by totally closing themselves off form deeper insights. From my own experience, I'd call this God question a matter of semantics. Underneath, we are all dealing with the same reality. Hence I have no problems equating the word "God" with the term "Buddha Nature". I recently came across this succinct way of explaining by Chan Buddhist, Ming Zhen Shakya in her book The Seventh World of Chan Buddhism: "In Chan, the psychic matrix is called the Buddha Nature, the Original Face, Mind, or the Self. This Self is the core and essence of our being, at once its totality and that part of it which is divine. In Western societies people are used to referring to this divinity as God. Buddha Nature may therefore be referred to as God providing it is not regarded as a supreme being which exists external to the individual, except as it exists in all other living individuals. The facts of creation are simply outside our area of spiritual interest, at least in the beginning stages of spiritual life. Chan Buddhism is non-dualistic. We do not believe that there is God and man. We believe that there is God in man." Earlier on she writes: "As to supreme beings, the Buddha acknowledged the existence of many Buddhas, Mahasattvas, Bodhisattvas, Celestial Kings, and an assortment of godlike mythic creatures who reposed in Nirvana's Tushita Heaven, the locus of the Eighth and Ninth Worlds. All such beings were encountered by those individuals who attained exalted spiritual states. He did not embrace, however, any great cosmic god of gods who was endowed with personality, will, and a secret and somewhat prejudiced agenda. He saw no god who created and destroyed at his pleasure the people, places and things of our universe. The cosmic ground of all being was The Void, the Tenth World, the destination of the ego-emptied practitioner who had completed his blissful tour of the Eighth and Ninth Worlds. For any of religion's practical purposes, the great god of Buddhism is the Buddha Nature which can be said to exist only in conscious, thinking creatures. (Does a stone have Buddha Nature? No. Does an amoeba have Buddha Nature? No. Does a dog have Buddha Nature? Maybe. Does a dolphin or a whale have Buddha Nature? Count on it.) Again, as there is no wilful, exterior great god, there is no wilful, interior petty god, i.e., no individual ego that directs its own precious destiny. Dispelling the notion that in reality each human being is a separate, autonomous self is perhaps the single most important aim of Buddhist discipline." (I present these opinions only for the purposes of discussion on this forum that relies on words. My main motivation for writing this post is to support what I interpret as SirPalomides perspective. I know Apech is thoroughly versed in all things Buddhist and will have his own well-informed perspective on this. Personally, I prefer silence on such topics because it's only something that becomes anything more than intellectual knowledge through ineffable inner experience. But silence doesn't transmit well on a web forum.)
  9. inquiring again

    I would like to have that option. At least a part of me would like it. For instance, I’d use it to block the current Mo Pai topic. My reservation is that by doing so I lose something of the wholeness of the Dao Bums discussion spectrum. Even though I don’t read that topic, I like to know it’s occupying so much discussion energy here. Although there are always topics I have no interest in, I am very interested in the qi flows of this forum, composed as it is of people with a greater or lesser interest in spiritual growth. For political reasons that have been talked about at length, we’ve already lost a significant amount of discussion spectrum. Whilst I appreciate the necessity of that prohibition, it doesn't mean I’m entirely comfortable with it. Without realising the extent of it because we all have blind spots, our posts reveal plenty more about ourselves than what we’re trying to convey with our words. For instance, it seems to me there’s a whole web of chaotic emotion that simmers beneath the surface of most of us Dao Bums members, some more so than others. For me, that chaotic energy is the stuff I need to first acknowledge then work on transmuting into something more stable. That’s the basis of the alchemical method; a method that attempts to work with all that we are; our darkness as well as our light. Hence a forum such as this one that allows a high degree of free discussion is particularly insightful for uncovering personal blind spots by reflection. And that’s certainly not always comfortable. Hence it can only be a slow process of inner discovery, integration and transmutation; for me a lifetime’s work. The alternative method is to block these difficult aspects of ourselves and try to model oneself on ideal figures, such as Jesus or the Buddha to name just two prominent examples. That’s the dominant way of mainstream religion. But to me it feels artificial, a denial of vital aspects of our human condition. These traits do not disappear but lurk beneath the surface and continually sabotage attempts at ‘goodness’. Hence I have reservations about the long term effects on the health of this forum through its closing off of certain perspectives. However, in the short term at least, it has definitely made it a more pleasant place for like-minded people. I'm thinking out loud with this post, I claim no clear-cut answers. Although I favour the alchemical method, I know I also combine it with the other method. Empirically, it would seem an appropriate combination of these two methods is the practical way to proceed; “appropriate” being the key word.
  10. Here are a couple of significant wilderness experiences I had during my long ago year-long travels in the arid regions of Australia: A small waterhole in the East McDonald Ranges, central Australia, about 80km from Alice Springs. This waterhole and the extensive gorge behind it with its string of waterholes is a significant Dreamtime place for the Arrernte people who have roamed this county for tens of thousands of years. Such places are now called sacred sites, but I prefer to think of them as temples. I stayed there for several weeks in 1997 exploring the surrounding country, especially the gorge (gorge = canyon). Much of the time I had the nearby tiny National Parks wilderness campsite to myself. It was a beautiful, sheltered campsite in a small valley with red tinged hills in the distance. I’d been there a few weeks when I had a memorable experience of embodied transcendence. It was during the time of transition between day and night with the fading daylight bathing the landscape in a gentle orange-red glow. I was standing near my small campfire playing my clap-sticks when my reality transitioned. I felt a shimmering of the atmosphere and suddenly I was an Aboriginal man from another era standing playing clapsticks on the same spot. The experience felt totally real; I was both the Aboriginal man and my normal self witnessing myself as the Aboriginal man. I found it very exciting! I very much wanted to go deeper into the experience; to lose myself in it. I’d never before or since felt anything like it. But my excitement broke the connection and brought me solidly back into my normal self. I was left feeling elated in a warm, friendly, deeply contented way, yet tinged with disappointment that it was such a fleeting glimpse and not within my control to sustain. The thing that struck me the most during the experience was how different the vibe of the whole landscape felt. The same physical features for sure, but the whole atmosphere was permeated by a different consciousness. It was a different reality; one that felt ancient, alien yet somehow also familiar. It wasn’t at all scary. Afterwards my impression was of awe, of wonder. Here I was camped in a remote place with me getting a taste of what felt like primal reality, yet this was a glimpse of a far deeper layer. Something far stranger. Later on I thought about where the experience was coming from. Does the landscape hold memories? Or was it coming from within me? Or even the work of god-like spirits such as what Daoists call the shen ming? Or do all these phenomena work together to form what we call ‘our’ mind; what we call reality? Or was it something else altogether? I claim no answers to these questions. I can only speculate and, at the same time, feel content to leave it as mystery. And it’s certainly not all benign beneath the surface. At a later time during the same journey, but at different place in this ancient landscape, I had a devastating experience of void reality. It was scary. This is the experience I was referring to in my PPD post I’ve previously referenced when I wrote: “After a number of months that desert experience eventually overpowered be with its otherness, but that’s another story altogether.” I was dramatically reminded how vital it is to have some form of human friendly connection. One sunny day, whilst sitting in meditation in a small cave, my regular sense of reality completely dissolved and I found myself in an utterly desolate space. It was definitely not an alien yet familiar place like previously. It was a primeval world without a trace of humanity. Words fail me in conveying how terrifying it felt. It was like I was the only human alive, bereft of everything, even my internal sense of self was almost entirely gone. There was nothing familiar; nothing had names anymore. Although I still sat in the same place, it wasn’t a cave anymore. I was in an utterly alien place. All the narratives that make sense of the world were gone along with the whole web of psychic interconnections that continually and subconsciously embrace all us humans in a familiar inner landscape of belonging. I was no one, bereft of all our cultural narratives, and with no inner access to the rich alternative narrative of ancient Aboriginal culture to give meaning. I was painfully reminded that the things that link us the deepest, we can’t feel. Except if they’re taken from us. I quickly packed up, hiked back to my vehicle and drove away. It was such a relief to regain human made sights. I still remember how I marvelled at the first barbed wire rural fence I saw by the roadside; a sight that I’d previously found a blight on the landscape. I who had always found so much to criticise with our human domination of the natural environment suddenly saw it all in a different light. Instead of alienation and repugnance, I marvelled at our achievements. Previously I would speak calmly of our human conditioning as if it was something to be done away with to reach the ‘true reality’ of Dao, but I know now most all of our conditioning is essential. It is a great human achievement, built over countless centuries, with layer upon layer of culturally constructed meaning. Our culture is like houses, like cities, we’ve built to live in because we need their shelter; and our great spiritual traditions are essential parts of it, foundational parts. We’ve made a human friendly world out of the vast primordial otherness. “Embrace the Dao” they glibly say from the sanctuary of their spiritual lineages. Perhaps it’s just semantics, but that sounds way too absolute for me. Even the little I’ve felt of the absolute Dao would destroy me with its unimaginable vastness. I seek to allow improved harmony between myself as a human and that tiny fraction of the flow of Dao that supports human life. The obvious difference between these two experiences is that the first one was about connection with an ancestral human reality, whereas the other one was about total disconnection from anything humanly shaped. These and many other experiences have taught me that appropriate connections are absolutely vital for anyone on a spiritual path. And meaningful, human shaped connections the most fundamentally essential of all. Isolation is deadly. The great mystery traditions of the world’s religions have built pathways into the invisible realms, given it shape and human friendly forms. Given us wisdom. I need this, yet how I work with it is fluid, always evolving, individually shaped. I’ve never felt entirely at home within any single tradition. For many of us, a key result of personal cultivation is that we’re able to feel increasingly subtle levels of connection within the invisible world and hence able to roam deeper and deeper in our own individual ways. A concluding observation: Many years before these experiences, when I felt the awesome power that I described in my previous post above and an even stronger experience shortly afterwards, I wanted desperately, and for a long time, to surrender to its care. In retrospect, I’d say I was like a child looking for shelter under a loving, all-powerful, supreme god-like parent who would take the burden of living from me. Over the decades my perspective has changed. Now I try to cultivate my life in a harmonious way that allows affinity with human-friendly aspects of Dao, not dependence. I seek a personal wholeness that’s both independently upheld yet profoundly connected. I struggle at times, but it’s my struggle. It’s meaningful and personally rewarding for me to work through my difficulties. I’ve learnt to accept embodied life will always involve struggle and that our human consciousness is both a gift and a burden.
  11. @Limahong For me this forum is not a place I come to for frivolous discussion. If I were a moderator I’d first warn you about the excessive sort of posting you’re doing here and then suspend you for three days each time you did it if you continued. I know you put a lot of effort into your posts and singularly they can be quite insightful. But in proliferation they're like spam, just something else here I have to scroll past.
  12. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t be suspended or banned. What I don’t want to see is for this to be done in secret. The Moderation Logs kept it all in the open and allowed people to express their opinions. All I’d like to see from Sean is an initial Moderation Log entry noting someone has been banned or suspended and a sentence or two explaining why. For someone like me with an interest in the psychology of this ‘spiritual’ forum, discussions around banning where strong feelings are aroused are very insightful into our human psyche and hence helpful for me in gaining insight into hidden aspects of my own psyche. Also, if these staff actions aren’t announced we’re all left guessing. As it now stands, in the case of Everything for instance, I’m only assuming he’s been banned because of Nungali’s comment above and the fact he hasn’t been active here for a while. Has he been actually been banned or suspended? And if suspended for how long?
  13. Yeah, obviously not. I assumed people would recognise my analogy as amplification for effect. But I suspect that I might be wrong because it’s apparently left a person as intelligent as Taomeow confused.
  14. I would very much like to see entries in the Moderation Logs when any member has been suspended or banned. Those logs and the ensuing discussion were something that made this forum special. I’m not comfortable with members being whisked away in silence. It reminds me of totalitarian states where people are secretly arrested and banished, often never to be heard of again.
  15. Some more advice needed on practice

    Agreed but I’d be wary of using the term ‘dissolution’. Rather I’d go with how C G Jung describes the process in his essay, On the Nature of the Psyche. (Note: He uses the term ‘ego’ rather than ‘self’, as should be obvious from the context.) Generally speaking the ego is a hard-and-fast complex which, because tied to consciousness and its continuity, cannot easily be altered, and should not be altered unless one wants to bring on pathological disturbances. The closest analogies to an alteration of the ego are to be found in the field of psychopathology, where we meet not only with neurotic dissociations but also with the schizophrenic fragmentation, or even dissolution, of the ego. In this field, too, we can observe pathological attempts at integration if such an expression be permitted. These consist in more or less violent irruptions of unconscious contents into consciousness, the ego proving itself incapable of assimilating the intruders. But if the structure of the ego-complex is strong enough to withstand their assault without having its framework fatally dislocated, then assimilation can take place. In that event there is an alteration of the ego as well as of the unconscious contents. Although it is able to preserve its structure, the ego is ousted from its central and dominating position and thus finds itself in the role of a passive observer who lacks the power to assert his will under all circumstances, not so much because it has been weakened in any way, as because certain considerations give it pause. That is, the ego cannot help discovering that the afflux of unconscious contents has vitalized the personality, enriched it and created a figure that somehow dwarfs the ego in scope and intensity. This experience paralyses an over-egocentric will and convinces the ego that in spite of all difficulties it is better to be taken down a peg than to get involved in a hopeless struggle in which one is invariably handed the dirty end of the stick. In this way the will, as disposable energy, gradually subordinates itself to the stronger factor, namely to the new totality-figure I call the Self. Naturally, in these circumstances there is the greatest temptation simply to follow the power-instinct and to identify the ego with the Self outright, in order to keep up the illusion of the ego's mastery. In other cases the ego proves too weak to offer the necessary resistance to the influx of unconscious contents and is thereupon assimilated by the unconscious, which produces a blurring or darkening of ego-consciousness and its identification with a preconscious wholeness1. Both these developments make the realization of the Self impossible, and at the same time are fatal to the maintenance of ego-consciousness. They amount, therefore, to pathological effects. The psychic phenomena recently observable in Germany 2 fall into this category. It is abundantly clear that such an abaissement du niveau mental, i.e., the overpowering of the ego by unconscious contents and the consequent identification with a preconscious wholeness, possesses a prodigious psychic virulence, or power of contagion, and is capable of the most disastrous results. Developments of this kind should, therefore, be watched very carefully; they require the closest control. I would recommend anyone who feels himself threatened by such tendencies to hang a picture of St. Christopher on the wall and to meditate upon it. For the Self has a functional meaning only when it can act compensatorily to ego-consciousness. If the ego is dissolved in identification with the Self, it gives rise to a sort of nebulous superman with a puffed-up ego and a deflated Self. Such a personage, how-ever saviour like or baleful his demeanour, lacks the scintilla, the soul-spark, the little wisp of divine light that never burns more brightly than when it has to struggle against the invading darkness. What would the rainbow be were it not limned against the lowering cloud? This simile is intended to remind the reader that pathological analogies of the individuation process are not the only ones. There are spiritual monuments of quite another kind, and they are positive illustrations of our process. Above all I would mention the koans of Zen Buddhism, those sublime paradoxes that light up, as with a flash of lightning, the inscrutable interrelations between ego and Self. In very different language, St. John of the Cross has made the same problem more readily accessible to the Westerner in his account of the "dark night of the soul". That we find it needful to draw analogies from psychopathology and from both Eastern and Western mysticism is only to be expected: the individuation process is, psychically, a border-line phenomenon which needs special conditions in order to become conscious. Perhaps it is the first step along a path of development to be trodden by the men of the future—a path which, for the time being, has taken a pathological turn and landed Europe in catastrophe. To one familiar with our psychology, it may seem a waste of time to keep harping on the long-established difference between becoming conscious and the coming-to-be of the Self (individuation). But again and again I note that the individuation process is confused with the coming of the ego into consciousness and that the ego is in consequence identified with the Self, which naturally produces a hopeless conceptual muddle. Individuation is then nothing but ego-centeredness and autoeroticism. But the Self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego, as the symbolism has shown from of old. It is as much one's Self, and all other selves, as the ego. Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself. Notes 1. Conscious wholeness consists in a successful union of ego and Self, so that both preserve their intrinsic qualities. If, instead of this union, the ego is overpowered by the Self, then the Self too does not attain the form it ought to have, but remains fixed on a primitive level and can express itself only through archaic symbols. 2. Jung is referring to Nazism and the devastation of WW2. (On the Nature of the Psyche was originally written in 1947 when Jung was 72 years old and revised by him in 1954.)