Zhongyongdaoist

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  1. thanks for some review... this topic is of interest to me but I can't flesh out enough respect for the Confucian point of view. I did catch the "Song" era aspect and the three teachings which always leaves me suspect... like a modernization of the relationship or explanation. But I appreciate your comments on the topic. (Emphasis mine, ZYD) Well, the relationship between Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism is definitely complex, but they do have enough similarities, especially as Buddhism became naturalized to Chinese culture, that connection is not as forced as it may seem, especially with the changes that took place in Confucianism starting around the end of the first millennium, with the revival of Mencian Confucianism and the rejection of Xunzi's version of Confucianism which had dominated Confucianism from the late Han on. As I pointed out in my quotes from Mencius above: Mystical elements in teachings of Mencius Mencian Confucianism has a much more mystical aspect to it and commonality with Daoism than Xunzi's version did. As I have argued elsewhere (in the above referenced posts on Confucian qigong), there are many echoes of the Neiye in Mencius, these were noted in the Thirties of the last Century by Arthur Waley in the introduction to his translation of the Dao De Jing, The Way and its Power. The resultant movement, usually called Neo-Confucianism has much more in common with both Daoism and Buddhism and makes a much better third party to the proposed "unity" of these three schools of thought. This is also made easier by the idea which Daoist had been promoting for some time that Buddhism was what Laozi taught the "barbarians" in India after he "journeyed to the West", and was thus really inspired by Laozi anyway. This particularly text is a similar argument in the direction of the dependency of Confucianism on revelations from Laozi which Confucius, being a sage himself, understood and took to heart. If you could be a little clearer about what you mean by "the Confucian point of view", perhaps I could help clarify the matter some. ZYD
  2. Thanks dawei, I have skimmed the paper and downloaded it for a more detailed study, though basically it seems to be about the historical development of a particular type of popular Daoist "scripture" which apparently has roots in the Song, and possibly a little earlier, which intends to explain the common Chinese belief in a: This work deals with a fictional, you could call it mythic if you wanted, account of an encounter between Loazi and Confucius, in which Laozi instructs Confucius and Confucius understands and receives the teachings. In this work, unlike the satirical caricatures which make up most, but as I pointed out in Confucius was a Sage: Testimony of a Hostile Witness not all of the depictions of Confucius in Zhuangzi's writings, Confucius is depicted like Laozi as a divine being who descended from heaven to incarnate on earth and perform a spiritual mission, and it is positive views of Confucius such as this which are the basis of the unity of the three teachings which was a fairly common belief from the Song period on. The work discussed focuses on the matter from a Daoist point of view and builds on literary references that go back to Warring States and Han times. From a perspective of the history and development of these types of ideas it is an interesting paper which raises many interesting points, but not in a way which people without a significant historical background are likely to find useful or interesting in and of themselves. At least that is what it looks like after a very quick skim, thanks again for the reference. ZYD
  3. You're certainly welcome lifeforce, I hope that other people can benefit from these and my other posts also. ZYD
  4. I can understand that, neither Mencius nor the Analects are written in a style that I like, but in Mencius there are these remarkable quotes that are largely about very mystical subjects, as I wrote about in my posts in a thread on Confucian Qi gong: Two quotes from Mencius in particular awakened my interest in Mencius. This first one is this: I have quoted the Chinese Text form Muller's site and a translation from D. C. Lau because Muller's rendering "All things are prepared within me", while a possible translation of 备 (bèi) is not as clear as one might wish. Comments from people whose Classical Chinese is good are welcome. All the ten thousand things are there in me: This is about as clear a statement of the Microcosm/Macrocosm relationship as one might wish. This primciple existed in the West as 'All is in All' from antiquity to the 'Scientific Revolution'. It has recently re-emerged as the self-similarity of fractal mathematics and and as the 'holographic principle' in modern physics. To find this so clearly stated in a Confucian text was very unexpected and was an important part of my revaluation of Confucianism as a profound source of fundamentally mystical doctrine. I am true to myself: Another important aspect of this text is the introduction of the concept 诚 (chéng), a word usually rendered as sincere or sincerity and above as true in the translation above. The Zhongyong has to principle teachings, one on 'zhong' which I have referred to here: And the other is on chéng which is one of the most fundamental and profound concepts in Classical Confucianism and the subject a large section of the Zhongyong with which I will deal in subsequent posts. To draw this to a close, I will post the other quote from Mencius, which was also a great surprise to me: To discover that Mencius viewed the end of Confucian self-cultivation as becoming a 'shen' or 'god' was quit a revelation, but this passage in Mencius is only part of the picture. How it relates to the teachings of the Zhongyong on chéng (诚) will be the subject of future posts. For now, I think I have given everyone plenty to think about. The rest of my posts in that thread are worth reading, so you or anyone else might wish to follow the links to the original and take a look at them. The place of Confucius as the "founder" of Confucianism is an interesting topic, and the relationship between Mencius and Xunzi is interesting too, while I believe that on certain fundamental points Mencius must be given precedence, there is a lot that is both interesting and valuable in Xunzi. If I have time I may return to examine these and other topics. ZYD
  5. Yes, I couldn't agree more. The problem with the Analects is that most people approach them as if they were the all there is to Confucanism, since supposedly they were said by him. The Analects is certainly not the first book anyone should read on Confucianism, since it is at best a collection of sayings attributed to Confucius, and while traditionally it is considered that he said all of them and then edited them into this collection, it is also traditionally believed that he wrote many other books which were studied to give these aphorisms context and deeper meaning, and then there are the books that are considered fundamental to an understanding of Confucianism, such as the writings of Mencius, and such works as the Zhongyong, usually translated as The Doctrine of the Mean, the Daxue, or Great Teaching, and other woks. I could go on and on, and if I have time maybe I will, but for now, don't read the Analects without context it can only be a source of misunderstanding. ZYD
  6. There is so much superficial nonsense posted about Confucianism on the Dao Bums that it is ridiculous, with the same people who when questioned reveal that few of them have even a passing familiarity with the Analects, much less the all of the profound aspects of the Tradition, yet they persist in posting the same misconceptions even when corrected. The book that opened my eyes to the real nature of Confucianism was: Humanity and Self-Cultivation: Essays in Confucian Thought, by Tu Wei-ming This book through its "intensive focus on the Confucian process of self-cultivation, noted author and teacher Tu Wei-ming aggressively explores the spiritual dimension of this tradition" provides a look at the insides of Confucianism and reveals a profound landscape in which the human and the divine find a common ground, and can flower in the most remarkable ways. If you really want to understand Confucianism, this is the book to read. ZYD
  7. how to translate 丹道 into English?

    With all due respect Shubin, as a person who has studied both Chinese Alchemy and Western alchemy since the early Seventies, I can say with certainty that the dictionary definition to which you refer is so superficial as to be misleading at best: The key here is the notion of "universal elixir", which in practice was considered both red (Dan) and a pill. Used in the metallic realm it transmuted base metal into gold, taken internally by people it cured all diseases and rejuvenated the person who took it. As such it is the Western Equivalent of "外丹", Weidan. Going a little further into the resources of the dictionary you cite, following the link to synonyms and further to the link, View synonyms, we find: Which certainly corresponds with the purported goal of Chinese Alchemy. Now when I say that I studied Chinese and Western alchemy, I mean that I had the resources of works on Chinese Alchemy by such authorities as Nathan Sivin and Joseph Needham's Science and Civilization in China, but in particular I had Charles Luk's Taoist Yoga Alchemy and Immortality, which I read and reread many times with the intent of answering the question, "Do the meditative processes outlined in this book have a sufficient connection to alchemy as conceive of and practiced in the West to merit the name alchemy?", and the conclusion to which I came over several years of reading, rereading and reading again and intense analysis of the Texts lead me to believe with high certainty that the procedures outlined in the Taoist Yoga text did indeed bear a remarkable resemblance on conceptual levels, and in many ways they had enough resemblance to the stages described in the Western texts, that they could be described as an "internal" realization of the same principles that were put forward as the basis of the external work done in a laboratory. For me to justify these conclusions would require a significant digression and exposition, which I do not have time for now, nor is there really space in this thread, but which I hope to put forward at some point in the future, however, based on those researches I have to say that Daoist Alchemy or Chinese Alchemy, as it was also practiced by Confucians, seems a good and not at all misleading translation for Dandao as a term that includes both Neidan and Waidan as separate but complementary aspects. ZYD
  8. Anglicanism and the Emptiness of Emptiness

    To clarify, in the US, the Anglican Church, AKA, the Church of England, is called the Episcopalian Church, and you can find them all over the place in the US. However, none of the things that rideforever has mentioned have anything to do with Anglican theology and what an Anglican or Episcopalian is supposed to believe, but then the Anglican Church did produce Alan Watts, and they never expelled him for all of the "Eastern" things he talked about, why should they get huffy about the reductionist scientism that is apparently making its way into the Church. To the Anglican the ritual, even up to the Eucharist itself, is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and Spiritual Grace", if you perform it or otherwise participate in it, in theory that Grace will eventually manifest, and if not, well then you at least tried and after death that will be taken into account, as long as it was done sincerely. That is what the "covenant" is all about, and you are not going to understand anything about this without understanding what Romans and Anglicans believe about the covenant, and how it works. Roman Catholics and Anglican Catholics, yes, they do consider themselves to be Catholic, have related, but sufficiently different ideas about the "covenant" and what it means, to have been arguing about it for centuries. I don't believe any of this myself, but you have to understand what the leaders of these sects believe about the "covenant" to understand their attitudes to ritual and its performance and efficacy, and why they believe, rightly or wrongly, that it will be effective for ultimate salvation. ZYD
  9. Well said. This is what I would call awakening. But everyone knows "they" are aliens, don't they? or haven't you put them on? ZYD ZYD
  10. Happy Mozart's Birthday: Post your favorite Mozart here!

    Just a reminder for those who have forgotten. My favorite Synphony: and this wonderful piano piece whose first section, with its intense Sturm and Drang proto-Romanticism, anticipates everything that Chopin was to do, and finishes with a fugue which summarizes all that went before in a way that only Mozart could do: While the YouTube page credits Rudolf Serkin, a great master in his own right, the picture is of his son Peter, and I am almost certain that it is Peter Serkin's performance, since it was Peter Serkin's recording of this which introduced me to this wonderful piece given to me as a birthday present a little closer to 50 years ago than I care to admit, and this sounds too much like that recording and it is difficult for me to believe that Peter Serkin would have imitated his Father as closely as the resemblance would require, but maybe he did. ZYD Edit: Added link to Sturm and Drang for those unfamiliar with the term.
  11. So, what is the basis of this "magical authority" that I keep talking about, and which is symbolized by the magican's wand? Cornelius Agrippa makes this clear in Chapter Three of the third book of his great compendium of magical theory and practice: Simply put, without this "dignification", one is not practicing Magic, in its "brand name" sense of Magic as it was conceived of and practiced from the Hellenistic period through the end of the Renaissance, and at least a little beyond. I usually call this form of magic Classical Magic and differentiate it from neo-Magic, the result of a revival magical practices that started around 1900. One can certainly produce "magic" like effects through "energized enthusiasm", working oneself into an emotional frenzy and sending it off to have an effect, but this is not Magic, it is sorcery, witchcraft, shamanism, whatever you want to call it, but it is not Magic, and if you have achieve sufficient dignification you don't need emotional frenzy either. Here is an interesting story about a very Magically dignified individual, or at least according to the story he would be: If you are curious, and if you are interested in how Magic is practiced then you should be, you can go here: Plotinus, Our Tutelary Spirit on Wiki Source I recommend this because ideas very similar to some that Plotinus puts forward in this work appear, albeit dressed up in Qabalistic guise, in the Adeptus Minor teachings of the Golden Dawn. I could make references to that, except that the material is too dense, technical and complex for anyone without a sufficient background to read with a satisfactory level of understanding. Of course if anyone with a sufficient background asks, I can refer them to the necessary sections. In modern magic the way that this dignification is trained and achieved is largely through what is called the Middle Pillar practice in either its ritual or meditative versions. It is possible using those teachings to obtain the necessary dignification, if you know what you are doing and practice it correctly, however even the original Golden Dawn teachings teachings leave out important aspects of Classical Magic, however when the Golden Dawn ritual system is used within the full context of the Occult Philosophy as expounded in Agrippa's work, the result is very satisfactory, but lacking this during the Twentieth Century the tradition was significantly degraded. I hope this gives at least some idea of what Magical Authority is, and basically to recap, it is the realization of the divine potential that inheres in every human being. This belief in the divine potential of human beings is common to Western Pagan and Abrahamic traditions, as well as both Daoist and Confucian traditions in China. The methods of realizing this potential are different, but the result is the same and is why in China and the West, the Magician's wand and its Chinese equivalent, are a symbol of authority, like a sovereign's scepter. ZYD
  12. In my previous post I intended to show that there was no rigid relationship between magical instruments or weapons, and any of the elements, rather these instruments are symbolic representations which, in traditional magical theory at least, had a deeper relation which might be called "resonance" with the represented elements or other power, and was more than that of mere suggestion, as modern interpretations would maintain. However, I left some matters insufficiently developed and that bothered me to the point that I resolved to write something to clarify this by further examining the nature of both fire itself and magical authority and how they relate. I worked out the outline and sources, but then became too busy to put them into a coherent form, this post and my next one will deal with these matters before returning to the question of the polarity of left and right in Chinese and Western magic. In volume II of The Hermetic Museum, in the second part of Michael Sendivogius' "The New Chemical Light, Concerning Sulphur", is a treatment of the four elements, and while I read many such treatments of the four elements back in the Seventies, this one stands out in my mind and was very influential to my later thinking, as I suspect it may have been to the founders of the Golden Dawn, and very likely influenced A. E. Waite's treatment of the Kings as seated on a throne, since Waite was definitely aware of the text, the following being his translation from the Latin. On pages 137-38 we find the following discussion of Fire: "out of fire of an inferior purity were created the stars" In my previous post I mentioned that the Golden Dawn adepts Lotus Wand was related to the Zodiac, since the Zodiac consists of stars which are created of fire, this is a further link between the Wand and Fire. "and of it is fashioned the vital rational soul, which distinguishes man from all other animals, and makes him like God. This rational soul <138> was divinely infused into his vital spirit by God, and entitles him to be regarded as a microcosm, or small world by himself" This brings us to the notion of what I described as "magical authority", and in the Abrahamic strand of the Western Tradition, magical authority is derived from the human resemblance to God, while after the fall it is dormant, like fire in a flint, but can be stirred to action through the appropriate procedures. As noted above I will talk more about this magical Authority in my next post. Here is an interesting quote from Alexander Wilder's translation of Iamblichus seminal work on Theurgy, usually referred to in its Latin title De Mysteriis, On the Mysteries: All of which points to the ancient notion of the sacrality of fire in both Abrahamic and Pagan traditions. With this background it is no wonder that in the initiatory rituals of the Golden Dawn, the officer of Water says, "I purify thee with water", and the officer of Fire says, "I consecrate thee with fire", and thus to the initiate is revealed, right at the very beginning and repeated over and over again, one of the most important secrets of practical magic, whether he or she picks up on it and realizes how to use it in practice is another matter. In the above discussion I implied some of the traditional relationship between fire and and magical authority, which could be the basis of a magic wand as a scepter and representation of the magician's authority, in my next post, which will follow shortly, I will examine the notion of magical authority itself. ZYD Edit: Fixed a problem with line spacing. Edit: Changed an wrong "of" to a correct "or" in the first paragraph.
  13. Wands seem to me to invoke the intellectual and mental nature of magick more than the Sword. Swords seem to me to invoke destruction and transformation/breaking things apart than the Wand. Also, "fire" and "sword" are often mentioned together in the Bible and are referenced in the Gospel of Thomas as well. This seems far more intuitive than the Wand's association with the will and the Sword's association with evocation. This being said, the sword in Daoist magick has more of a universal function, if I understand correctly. So you're right about these things being culturally and geographically situated. Thank you for clarifying your thinking, I shared some of Nungali's misgivings about it, but decided to address the matter of the Loshu first and leave swords and wands to him. Having seen this answer, and granted it is only a quick summary, so far at least I find it superficial and noncontextual, so let me provide some context. Let's start with the wands association with the "will", as I have said here: begins with the early Nineteenth Century reframing of magic as primitive Mesmerism and the wand as a directing instrument of the animal magnetism through the mesmerist's will following the usage of Mesmer himself. The original purpose of the wand is rather more in line with a royal scepter, or other "staff of office", and thus refers not to the will, but the authority of the magician to perform his rites, which is why the second Psalm, as a remembrance of the divine adoption of man, is used as a preparatory in the grimoires. On the other hand the sword has a very direct association with evocation as military magic, even to its origin in the Roman Military rite of evocation: 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.). Within the context of the Golden Dawn which you reference there are two wands for practice, the Lotus Wand which is for general purposes and specifically for working with the element of fire the "Fire Wand", which takes the shape of stick with a flamelike drop on one end, thus resembling a candle, a very suitable symbolic reference to a positive manifestation of fire. The Lotus Wand of the Adept on the other hand is dedicated to and consecrated by the powers of the Zodiac, and the Lotus which surmounts it is specifically a symbol of the Tetragramaton, and represents the Divine Lordship of all within the confines of the Zodiac. Again within the Golden Dawn context, there is a Sword and an elemental dagger, a lesser bladed weapon with the sword being dedicated to the Sepirah Geburah and its manifestation Mars, all of which reinforces its martial interpretation and use in "Military Magic" and thus evocation. The dagger is purely an instrument for working with the element of air, with throwing knives being one possible example. That said, in the decades in which I have studied the traditional systems of four, five, six, and even ten elements, I have read enough to be able to understand how many things could be useful symbolic representations of them in different contexts, and am loath to get dogmatic about the matter, and also, I always prefer creativity anyway. Chinese magic also has it military magic and its swords are usually dedicated to and consecrated by the Seven Stars of the Dipper. There are symbolic ones made of peach wood as well as metal ones which are usually engraved with or otherwise have representations of the Seven Stars on them, but aside from that the Daoists have a large number of magical weapons ranging from staffs to magical whips. Indiana Jones might have found the last to his liking, they might have been helpful in the Temple of Doom. Well, that's all for now, I will try to get back to the Loshu and divine/human polarity shortly. ZYD
  14. I have many posts on Dao Bums which deal with this type of thing both Chinese and Western, here is one of them: I am very busy right now, but I will try to have a fuller discussion at some point. ZYD
  15. Left-right polarity in Taoism

    I am very busy right now, but I will try to have a fuller discussion at some point. ZYD