Zhongyongdaoist

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  1. Confucians on the cultivation of the heart

    Hello SirPalomedes, These are good, readable translations, but they embody the old saying about something being lost in translation. This is not your fault, the translation of Li as "ritual" is acceptable, but the connotation of Ritual in most English speaking countries starts with "empty ritual", and goes downhill from there. I don't have time to comment in detail, but without some context to give a deeper meaning to the notion of "ritual" it will be very much misunderstood by the average reader of Dao Bums, so I will endeavor to give at least a little context for the Confucian concept of "ritual" by citing two quotes from the Li Yun the "Origin and Development of the Rites" chapter of the Liji, the "Classic of the Rites" gives some idea of the deep cosmological root of the concept of "Li": First of all note the use of "propriety" for Li instead of "ritual", this is the core meaning on which I focused in my thinking about Li. Propriety is "proper action" and this "proper action" is not merely the proper performance of arbitrary social conventions, but rather it is the proper enactment of the "ways of Heaven". Later we find a common aspect of Confucion Dao, the notion that the Sage forms a "ternion" or "triad" with "Heaven, Earth and Mankind", making clear that it includes the "spiritual beings" the "rites" are then devised by Sages according to their Heavenly Principles: With the result of what should be the "happy exercise of that in which they (the people, ZYD) find pleasure", the rites should not be stultifying conventions which impose a purely artificial order, but rather enactments of the creative power of Heaven, which should resonate with and help awaken people's "heaven conferred" True Nature and elicit spontaneous assent while at the same time developing the true potential of human beings to realize their Heavenly Nature. This is the Confucian context in which the whole notion of "ritual" should be contemplated, and seen from that perspective it become clear why: Can be followed with the profound "spiritual" instruction that follows, which most people would see as anathema to the notion of "ritual". I don't know if you needed this information, you seem to have a good understanding of these matters, but in general your readers would not have such an understanding and I hope this helps them to see the deeper level at which "ritual" is conceptualized by the Confucian Dao. I wrote this before your second post and it only considers "ritual" which is the focus of the first. Similar unintended distortions occur in relation to your second post, but they are unavoidable because univocal translations of these terms fail to convey their deeper meaning. For example the concept translated as "sincerity", 诚 ( chéng ) is so profound that, as wonderful a personal quality as sincerity is, even in its usual mundane meaning, hardly even approaches its wider meaning in Confucian thought, any more than "Benevolence", does justice to the notion of rén (仁). ZYD
  2. The Most Powerful "Talisman"

    This is something of a complex issue, and I am busy and can only give a cursory answer. How some ordinary thing, like a stick becomes a magic wand, or a knife a magic dagger, and not just in terms of say its official "consecration" or "dedication" for the magician's use, but how some ordinary thing, such as a fan becomes part of a tradition which prepares it and uses it as a magical tool is interesting. The most obvious are such tools as have an origin as weapons and are used as noted above in military magic, but they can also derive from other sources which differentiate along class and occupational divisions, and depend on functional and symbolic aspects of the prospective "tool". In the example of a fan, its obvious use in controlling the direction of air, would indicate it use to control the element of air in general and possibly more specifically weather, and who would use it would depend on social circumstances. A bellows also has a function of controlling the direction of air, but would not be used by a court gentleman or lady, but rather would be something that would arise from craft and folk traditions of magic. A soldier might think in terms of a magic sword, but a woodsman of a magic axe. Something like a scepter though has its derived meaning from it symbolic setting in such things a court ritual, where it is a symbol of power or authority. At a historical distance it may have actually been something that a chieftain might have used to bonk a disrespectful subordinate on the head, but as things become more orderly, it became much more symbolic. So magical tools start as ordinary things which are "pressed" into magical service because of their mundane function, such as fan or bellows, or their symbolic meaning such as a Scepter. At their base they become props in a ritual drama, and some people think that is all that they are or can be, but anyone with real experience knows that they can be more, much more, but that is a whole other subject. I hope this is helpful. ZYD
  3. The Most Powerful "Talisman"

    I have posted on the military origins of the sword in magic, especially in evocation in several places on Dao Bums, here is one: So that the Wand and Sword represent the different aspects of the divinely bestowed authority of the magician, the wand authority and the Sword his threat of force for noncompliance. While this Military context is not clear from the grimoires, viewing Goetic Evocation within the context of military magic has suggestive implications for the notion of spiritual warfare, and also to the references in some grimoires to the operator and exorcist, or the probably related karcist (I am relying on my memory, which is generally reliable, for this, but given time I could come up with suitable references. I remember being puzzled by the usage when I first saw it in my teens a long time ago.). (Emphasis added ZYD) Modern magicians have a tendency to ignore this aspect of magic, thinking that it originates with the Christian suppression of paganism. The matter is much more complex than that and originates in ancient Greece and the war between the Olympians and the Titans, and is thus pre-Christian and similar stories a feature of mythologies around the world, however the matter is too complex to enter into greater detail here, as it would derail the thread. ZYD
  4. Weather Magick

    Since Josh is interested in weather magic he might find this post of mine from many years ago interesting: Note the simplicity of the approach, no great ceremonies, no dressing up in fancy robes and waving painted sticks in the air. This chapter introduces one of the most important concepts of Classical magic, one that separates the masters from the apprentices. I leave it to those who are interested to look it up and make their own decision. Just about everyone who reads this chapter is going to think it nonsense and superstition, but it's not, it's one of the great keys. But any one is free to consider it a 'philosophical superstition' if they want. That would be their loss not mine. This is the difference between what a great Adept, a man of sublime spiritual attainments can do, and beginners who need to dress up in robes and wave painted sticks in the air. Most practitioners are somewhere in between, but especially these days are found closer to the bottom, much closer. I hope that the example is helpful. ZYD
  5. Weather Magick

    Here's something interesting to think about, both Josh Allen, in this post: and flowing hands, in this post: both advocate physical possession is a powerful and in the case of flowing hands, necessary part of training. Gosh, what an amazing coincidence. I wonder what other Dao Bums think about this. ZYD
  6. Weather Magick

    I love Chinese Ghost story, it is one of my favorite films, and that particular sequence one of my favorites in the movie. I saw it in a theater back in the late 80s, and actually have the DVDs for its two sequels also. I don't want to go on and on about it though, even if there are some interesting points in it and the sequels. ZYD
  7. Weather Magick

    Of course Chinese magicians have methods for testing out spirits, but how many real Chinese magicians are on the Dao Bums? The Dao Bums is hardly a hotbed of Chinese magic, most of our members have no interest whatsoever in magic of any type, so you can hardly judge anything about Chinese magic by what appears here. Even among Western Magicians, how many of them actually do the necessary testing? I don't have time to say more about this now, but I am working on longer responses to some of the issues raised in this thread, and a dozen other things more important to me personally as well. ZYD
  8. Weather Magick

    Minus the actual help part, this reminds me of a funny anecdote I read in Terry Kleeman's introduction to A God's Own Tale, about some students trying to summon Lu Dongbin: A group of students had gathered at a phoenix [spirit writing] altar to ask their fortunes. The phoenix wrote, "Drunkard Zhao has arrived." They all cursed him, saying, "We invited Transcendent Lu. HOw dare a savage ghost interfere! We are going to request that the great transcendent's sword behead you!" The phoenix halted, then began again, writing, "The Daoist Dongbin happened to be passing by. What do you want to ask?" The students solemnly bowed twice, then asked about their fates in the examination. The phoenix wrote, "Rub more ink." Thereupon each person prepared ink on his inkstone and in a moment they had filled a bowl. Kneeling, they asked how they should use it. The phoenix said, "You students divide it up and drink it, then hear my pronouncement." They all divided the ink and drank it. When they had finished, the phoenix wrote in large characters, "Normally you do not study; now you drink ink at the last moment. I am not Patriarch Lu; I am still Drunkard Zhao!" The students were mortified and destroyed the altar. Thanks SirPalomides, a good illustration, I'm afraid I saw the punchline coming, but still the message is clear. If you are dealing with a particularly powerful being it is easy for it to be able to manifest a deceptive appearance, and even people who have advanced training can be deceived. The matter is complex, even here we recently had two people claiming to be magicians weigh in on opposite sides of the Jeff issue. Finally, in bringing these issues up, I am not saying that they apply to the OP personally, but that there are certainly some aspects of his story which are suspicious. It might be useful to post on these ideas in a thread of their own, but I don't have the time now to give it the attention it deserves. ZYD
  9. Weather Magick

    To take the 'Devil's Advocate' position for a moment : Such phenomena ( a 'spreading of contact' with ' numerous people reporting same ) have been going on before the internet . Occasionally I have documented such phenomena here when I have written about ' Daimonic Reality ' and its propensity to exponentially spread , at times , ' unusual phenomena' . Of course the internet age offers an ' exponential 2 ' . Just to clarify, my question was why were these people contacting him, not about why they were having their experiences. The internet is the answer to why they contacted him, as to why he or they were having their experiences, that is why I posted this: develops a symbiotic relationship: the usual "victim" of these situations would be lucky if the relationship was actually "symbiotic", the relationship is almost always parasitic. I like to make a financial analogy, the difference between a Mutual Fund and a Ponzi Scheme. A mutual fund is a symbiotic relationship it benefits both parties, on the other had a ponzi scheme is something that benefits one party to the detriment of the other or others. A "spiritual" ponzi scheme is an energy scam, it is set up to get people to put "energy" into the system which is used by spiritual beings for their own purposes, usually bad purposes and which leave the victims of the scheme severely compromised and maybe dead. While flourishing such a spiritual ponzi scheme may be indistinguishable from a well run mutual fund, there are certain things that make it look suspicious, like apparently high returns on investment, but it is hard to prove that it is bad and a fraud, and those caught up in it believe in it and will defend it, until its collapse and until its collapse it is useless to try to talk them out of it. The recent Madoff scheme and its collapse if paradigmatic and is recent enough to be something memorable to almost everyone, and also easy to research. powerful ghost or demon may have the ability to masquerade as a seemingly-benevolent figure and may be able to grant quite a bit of power, knowledge, and special abilities to the recipient of its help: Financial ponzi schemes keep people in by giving returns, and spiritual energy scams will too, this is why claims like this need to be taken with a grain of salt: Such powers could be a genuine return from a good symbiotic relationship, or they might just be part of the con, you really don't know until its too late, and the victim or victims are the last to realize it. The above example was chosen because it was convenient to quote, not because of any intended judgement about Flowing Hands sources. Choosing to study with a teacher as part of an established lineage is like investing in a mutual fund, it is usually a safe investment of time and money. There can be cases where a teacher without lineage is OK, but that is rare, and more of a gamble than good investment. Studying these types of group energy systems is part of learning magic and I could write more, much more, but I don't have the time to do so now, but I hope these ideas are useful. I hope this clarifies the matter. ZYD
  10. Weather Magick

    Thank you post facto for your clear answer, both to my question and to Walker's similar one, which was possibly inspired by my own. Apparently then people are contacting you because of your own promotion of Kongming, that makes sense in an internet age. ZYD
  11. Weather Magick

    You said something back here that interested me: This leads me to ask, how do you recognize these people when you met them, how do they recognize you, and how do you confirm about the voice? They may be from many creeds and backgrounds, but it must be a very small percentage of the population, as even one percent of the world population would give as seventy-seven or so million people and then I think we would have all heard of this type of connection. Thank you in advance for your clarification on this matter, ZYD
  12. Weather Magick

    One reason I was thankful that Walker posted as he did, was that it saved me the trouble and gives me an easy source of quotes with which I agree, such as these: develops a symbiotic relationship: the usual "victim" of these situations would be lucky if the relationship was actually "symbiotic", the relationship is almost always parasitic. I like to make a financial analogy, the difference between a Mutual Fund and a Ponzi Scheme. A mutual fund is a symbiotic relationship it benefits both parties, on the other had a ponzi scheme is something that benefits one party to the detriment of the other or others. A "spiritual" ponzi scheme is an energy scam, it is set up to get people to put "energy" into the system which is used by spiritual beings for their own purposes, usually bad purposes and which leave the victims of the scheme severely compromised and maybe dead. While flourishing such a spiritual ponzi scheme may be indistinguishable from a well run mutual fund, there are certain things that make it look suspicious, like apparently high returns on investment, but it is hard to prove that it is bad and a fraud, and those caught up in it believe in it and will defend it, until its collapse and until its collapse it is useless to try to talk them out of it. The recent Madoff scheme and its collapse if paradigmatic and is recent enough to be something memorable to almost everyone, and also easy to research. powerful ghost or demon may have the ability to masquerade as a seemingly-benevolent figure and may be able to grant quite a bit of power, knowledge, and special abilities to the recipient of its help: Financial ponzi schemes keep people in by giving returns, and spiritual energy scams will too, this is why claims like this need to be taken with a grain of salt: Such powers could be a genuine return from a good symbiotic relationship, or they might just be part of the con, you really don't know until its too late, and the victim or victims are the last to realize it. The above example was chosen because it was convenient to quote, not because of any intended judgement about Flowing Hands sources. Choosing to study with a teacher as part of an established lineage is like investing in a mutual fund, it is usually a safe investment of time and money. There can be cases where a teacher without lineage is OK, but that is rare, and more of a gamble than good investment. Studying these types of group energy systems is part of learning magic and I could write more, much more, but I don't have the time to do so now, but I hope these ideas are useful. ZYD
  13. Weather Magick

    Walker, Thanks for writing such a clear and intelligent discussion of the issues. ZYD
  14. Non-random Yijing consultation

    The first thing to understand is what is called the Macrocosm/Microcosm analogy, the notion of a fundamental link be similarity between the world at large, the Macrocosm, and its reflection on a human level, us Microcosms. I have posted about it in many places I will copy one of them that brings in both Greek Classicism and Confucianism here: In the West it became fundamental to Metaphysics and Ontology, but originated as an Epistimological theory: Like is only known by like in Empedocles because it solves a lot of problems created both by Parmenides on the one hand and the early Greek Atomists on the other. This doctrine was worked out by Plato in a very profound way and continued to influence Western Philosophy up to Hegel. It existed in China as can be seen in this quote from the Confucian, Mencius: and was also used in Daoism. The next important concept is that of Li, in its sense of principle, meaning in this case, fundamental pattern, and its use in cosmology, both Chinese and Western. While I will post about this here, I have posted about it in A Science of Wu Wei? beginning here: In subsequent posts I examine the relationship between Aristotle's matter/form cosmology and Chinese Li/Qi cosmology, quoting from the Neiye, Dao De Jing and Zhuangzi, and I will develop these ideas in the light of passages from the Neiye, Zhongyong, and Zhuangzi, and will expand on ideas that I posted in Confucian Qi gong, which SirPalomides has recently bumped for the edification of those who may be interested. I will post more shortly. ZYD
  15. Confucian Qi gong

    Reading Tu Weiming's Humanity and self-cultivation: Essays in Confucian thought was how I first learned the true depth and meaning of the Confucian tradition, and I recommend it as an excellent introduction. ZYD