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Everything posted by Zhongyongdaoist

  1. Wen Chang's Tower

    It's easy enough to call it Wen Chang's home and invite him to move in. After all it has his name on it.
  2. That Confucius was a Sage is part of the Confucian tradition. I have summoned and deposed a hostile witness and obtained the following account: Hostile Witness name: Zhuangzi Deposition summary: Would you please state your name for the record? Zhuangzi. And I understand that you have written a great deal on the subject of Chinese Philosophy, and in particular, what has come to be know as "Taoism", is that correct? Well, that was a long time ago and it was mostly about "Dao", I don't know much about these Taoists, though apparently they do like to refer to me as an authority. Is it or is it not true that in writings published under your name you have given a very positive account of Confucius? Yes Bearing in mind that negative accounts of Confucius also appear in your published writings, do you have an explanation for this seeming contradiction? Well, I may have been dreaming I was a Confucian when wrote it, you know, sometimes a man sometimes a butterfly, sometimes a Confucian. Can you repeat the account that you have given about the Sage qualities of Confucius? Yes. For the sake of the Jury, consisting largely of "Taoist", who who never read anything outside of your works and those of Laozi, can you clarify the names of these two interlocutors? Yes, they are Confucius under his courtesy name Zhongni and his favorite disciple Yan hui. Let the jury note substantiating evidence A and B. A: Zhongni was Confucius courtesy name, under names, on Wikipedia B: Yan hui was Confucius favorite disciple on Wikipedia Alright then, can you tell the court and the ladies and gentlemen of the jury what you have written about Zhongni, AKA Confucius, and Yan Hui. Yes, this is what I wrote: If it may please the Court your Honor, I submit to the Court and the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, As the testimony and supporting evidence shows Zhuangzi has written very positive things about Confucius as well as the better known criticism of Confucius person and teachings and I submit that a person who sometimes dreams himself a butterfly and sometimes a Confucian is hardly a reliable source for quotes to criticize either the person of Confucius or his teachings or the Confucian tradition. The jury is still out on this one. Edit: Corrected in Zhuangzi in final paragraph and added emphasis in the second section of the quoted material, to make it easier to find the important passages.
  3. Confucius was a Sage: Testimony of a Hostile Witness

    I have found your post interesting, but since I was not familiar with Brook Ziporyn or Shi Daosheng AKA Juelang Daosheng, I could not reply immediately. So I had to do some research before even forming any preliminary judgement, a very unusual step on the internet, though offhand I do find the notion of Zhuanzi as a dyed in the wool Confucian to be a little farfetched. Based on what I have found so far, I assume you are referring to this fellow: 覺浪道盛 Juelang Daosheng (1592-1659) and I found some references, first was a book: Enlightenment in Dispute, The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China by Jiang Wu Which has several references to Juelang Daosheng. The site on which I found it has a PDF with the usual blank pages, possibly from Google Books, as well as an OCR of the PDF, which I copied for analysis, but I am pretty sure that Dao Bums policy on respecting copyright would prohibit me from post a link to it, but not that the information is out there. Then there was this paper: The Unity of the Three Traditions in the Caodong School during the Late Ming: A Study of Juelang Daosheng's Thought by Tsai Chen-feng Which appeared in the December 2013 issue of Hanxue Yanjiu (Chinese Studies);2013, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p. 19. The English abstract is interesting and suggestive: But I haven't found an English translation, and so I cannot comment beyond noting "Juelang Daosheng's view of Zhuangzi as an esoteric Confucian and Confucius as the great systematizer of the three traditions stands in sharp contrast to the views of other Buddhists", and that at least for now I agree with the other Buddhists. The one thing that I will note is that, when I researched Warring States intellectual history to look at the development of Confucianism in context I saw ideas that appear in the Neiye, in both Mengzi and Zhuangzi with the implication that someone might argue some sort of connection, but with everything else I am working on I have not had time to develop those similarities in greater detail. These are just my preliminary findings. I have not finished with the references to Juelang Daosheng in the above mentioned book and may have more to say after that. As for this "excellent Zhongyongdaoist" fellow that you mention, I hope this doesn't go to his head and he starts insisting people address him as "your excellency", but that may be too much to hope for. ZYD
  4. Benebell Wen's ~The Tao of Craft~

    I haven't had time to write anything specific for this thread, but I have been reviewing my posts in general and have some further comments about some issues that I raise in my review of Benebell Wen's excellent work as mentioned above: I needed to keep a review short and so I did not reference this thread: Agrippa's Doctrine of Occult Virtues, a core concept examined and explained Which deals with the most important important, and importantly, most misunderstood, aspects of Traditional Magic, which is the notion of "Occult Virtues", which is just Latin for "Hidden Powers", and is an aspect of Traditional Magic that was left out of the Nineteenth Century revival of Western magic because its philosophical basis in Plato and Aristotle was no longer understood by the people who were researching magic and trying to understand it in terms that seemed "reasonable" circa 1800, but which had already been seriously corrupted by the Seventeenth Century revival of Epicurean materialism under the guise of "Corpuscular Philosophy", and which meshed well with nominalist version of Christianity, which are the antecedents of modern fundamentalism, as opposed to those influenced by Western Philosophy, which were suppressed even by the Roman Catholic Church during the polemical war with Protestantism, which through the Patrisitc writings had been strongly influenced by not only by Plato and Aristotle, but also by "esoteric" writings, such as the Hermetica. The result being that Occult Virtues were simply dismissed as quint superstitions that owed their influence to the suggestibility of the practitioner and not to any inherent power which they contributed to the practice of magic. The astrological aspects of magic suffered a similar fate, and the result was the creation of "Ceremonial Magic" as a standalone practice based solely on the will power and imagination of the practitioner. So, what does this have to do with Chinese Talismanic Magic? It points back to the importance of these Occult Virtues to the practice of magic in general, which should be rooted in what Agrippa calls "Natural Magic", the subject of the first book of his Three Books on Occult Philosohy, and thus the dependency of magical practice in general, and talismanic magic in particular on the nature, and thus the occult virtues, of those things used as the basis of the talisman. Now the important part of Aristotle's theory for Occult Virtues and thus for Talismans is the Formal Cause, the Form, or in the Greek, morphe, is the source of the inherent potential to become an active "Occult Virtue". Now where this ties in which traditional Chinese practice and its root in Chinese Cosmology is in the traditional Chinese Li/Qi or Principle/Substance Cosmology and its relation with the Aristotelian Hylye/Morphe or matter/form cosmology, which I examine in detail in the posts in the "A Science of Wu Wei?" thread beginning here: While I have mentioned the similarity between Li/Qi and Hylomophism many times in the past on Dao Bums, in these posts I examine it in detail with quotes from the Neiye, Dao De Ching, and the Zhuangzi, and establish the importance of Li, and thus of Li/Qi as an explanatory concept to traditional Daoism. I may also quote some from the Huainanzi, but I can't remember offhand whether I do or not, but I do reference and possibly quote from an essay by Harold Roth in which he basically argues the some point and even cites some of the same references to Zhuangzi's writings as I do, as well as quoting extremely suggestive quotes from the Huainanzi which indicate that the idea continues to influence Daoist thought into the middle Han. That these ideas are important is confirmed by Professor Jerry Alan Johnson's: Daoist Mineral, Plants & Animal – Final Edition Which is basically a text on Chinese "Natural Magic". In his discussion Professor Johnson seems to take the notion that the power or occult virtue of the mineral, plant and animal agents with which he is concerned is inherent in them and is only activated by the practitioner. This impression is confirmed when one looks at his ritual for opening and activating a mineral, i.e. page 101 and elsewhere in a ritual that occupies pgs. 89-101. While some of Professor Johnson's language "imprinting" and "programming"; could be used to give a reductionist interpretation, such as the practitioner is only creating a stone as a physical focal point for a thought form, he also uses the word activate in a way which implies that he is activating something in the "Stone of Power", and that his imprint/programming is only a direction to fulfill one of several possible powers of the stone, such as protect, heal or spiritual development. How one further interprets this is going to depend on their personal ontological commitments, but from a perspective of both Daoist and Western magical tradition, a belief in the Occult Virtues is just as "rational" a belief as any reductionist one, which would write off Occult Virtues on a priori grounds. As a person who has spent decades practicing magic in both Western and Chinese modes, and also understands both the details and implications of post 1900 physics and the history of "the Scientific Revolution", as well as the basis of the earlier worldview and it implications, I favor a belief in the efficacy of Occult Virtues, but I am not going to further debate the subject in this thread. I have addressed it to a certain extent in my posts over the years, and may create a more detailed summary of my criticisms of a reductionist framework. My criticism of reductionism are founded on the potential usefulness of a revival of the notion of formal causes in physics and difficulties with the notion of chance and chaos, and the problems presented to cognitive psychology by the notion that the brain is an "organic computer", based on implications of the mathematics of computability related to the notion that "machines can think", all of which lead me to the strong conclusion that formal causes are by far a more rational approach than reductive materialism and any approach to magic based upon it. Finally, what is the importance of the similarity between Li/Qi and Hylomorphism? These two seem to have arisen independently of each other, they occur at roughly the same time, around 300 BCE, and there is little concrete evidence for, and thus little reason to believe, that they are the result of "cultural diffusion". As independent discoveries they reinforce and tend to confirm the notion that, from both East and West there is a magic and spirituality friendly cosmology based on Formal Causes which has arisen because of the experience and reflection of two different cultures, and that as such it could be argued that these similarities arise because they are a "true" account of the fundamental nature of reality, and that reductionist materialism is a fallacious misdirection in human thought and cultural development and should be abandoned. Taken by themselves these similarities are not enough, but do add weight to the notions I mentioned before for rejecting reductionist materialism. This post has been longer than I originally intended, but I hope that these ideas are interesting and helpful. ZYD
  5. Is spiritual qiqong a thing ?

    I'm not associated with this school at all: Shen Gong So I cannot say anything pro or con to its approach or its value, however the general information at the site will point you in the right direction, which is do searches under Shen Gong read what's there and think about it. Good luck in your research. ZYD
  6. Benebell Wen's ~The Tao of Craft~

    Thank you for mentioning it. I was going to refer to it myself at some point, but I have been busy and had not had time to come back here to do so. I hope to have time to write a little more in this thread when I can make the time. I am glad you, and apparently, judging by the number of likes it seems to have gotten, other people appreciated it. ZYD
  7. Benebell Wen's ~The Tao of Craft~

    I am afraid that you are mixing things up a bit. Proclus is a couple of centuries after Iamblichus who is a contemporary of Plotinus' disciple and editor Porphory. There is some connection between Iamblichus and the Plotininian school, though in many ways Iamblichus is a reaction against Plotinus' version of Platonism. The issues at stake are complex and I would have to do a little review of sources to say more about the exact connection between Iamblichus and the Plotinian school. Unfortunately Iamblichus is not that clear about the practical details of his Theurgy, though Gregory Shaw has written both extensively and convincingly on the matter. I have not had time to sit down with the latest translations of any of these things, though I have many of them in my library, to be able to say much more about contemporary opinion in these matters. As a final note Julian is as I recall in the Iamblichus line through Maximus the Theurgist. I just did a quick search to confirm on that, the site cited is an excellent source for this type of material. I have mentioned it before on Dao Bums. ZYD
  8. Benebell Wen's ~The Tao of Craft~

    With all due respect SirPalomides, the equivalent rite would be that described in the Hermetic Aesclepius. As I recall Iamblichus is very critical of the "makers of efficacious images", and has something else in mind with "Neoplatonic" Theurgy. Assuming that the descriptions found in Prof. Jerry Alan Johnson's books are accurate the analogy of the Aesclepius is very exact. However I am working from memory here, and while my memory is good, I can't provide exact citations right now, but should it be necessary, I could at some time in the future. ZYD
  9. Full Editor option ?

    I always found it a useful feature when it was available and my most vehement gripe after the upgrade was how clumsy the quote function was and it definitely messed with my posting until I figure out how to work around how many problems its seeming simplicity hid. Being able to go back and forth between editing on a word processor on my computer in code and bring it back here to finish it up was a big help to me and also kept a better record of what I had posted. The quality and quantity of my posting has suffered over the past few years because of the change, but my understanding is that bringing in some types of source could pose a security problem. I don't know how serious a problem it could be, but that was a concern in not making it generally available. ZYD
  10. Connection between tao and christianity

    It is my understanding that no Jesuit ever leaves the order. Whatever else they do is done in the service of the order.
  11. The Tao of Craft by B.Wen.

    Could you give some pointers for further reading on Taiyi Tianzun? I vaguely recall a paragraph or two about him in Eva Wong’s guide and I’d love to learn more. Thanks! Awhile back I posted this in my PPF: He has been a focus of my practice for a long time and I see a real need for him in general, both because he can help to achieve and maintain internal congruence, but also for furthering peace and understanding. The link in the above quote should work, but just in case here is a link to the main page of the site described above: The Taoist Culture and Information Center Bookmark the site is extremely useful. Also, you might find some of the other things I have posted in my PPF interesting. ZYD
  12. Thanks for this dawei, I have been so busy I have not seen this until now. I have downloaded the paper which looks very interesting. The notion of Junzi is very interesting and powerful concept in Chinese thought, one which it is worthy to meditate on. ZYD
  13. Deity seals

    First and easiest, peach wood is sacred in Ritual Daoism because of the Peaches of Immortality, which are an important part of Daoist belief. As for the rest of the things that you mention, certainly a Daoshi is going to be able to use these safely and effectively, and even prepare efficacious versions of these for others, but most of what is offered for sale is going to be useless to most people, however it is possible to learn enough through available books to be able to make some of it practical. I reviewed just such a book here: It is practically an encyclopedia of traditional Chinese symbolism as well as practical instructions in traditional Chinese Talismanic Magic. I hope this is helpful. ZYD
  14. Blood Qigong and External Alchemy

    In Qigong there is a relationship between qi and blood like there is in TCM as described here: Qi and blood in Qigong Anyone who is seriously interested in Qigong should study TCM enough to understand the underlying traditional Chinese physiology, and how it relates to Qigong practice. It is also very useful to study Chinese herbology and traditional cooking theory. The importance of these is taken for granted by the Chinese, but getting Westerners to take it seriously is more difficult. A good introduction to these ideas is Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfild and Efrem Korngold, a book which I have been recommending since it came out in the early Nineties. The other aspects that you mention have more to do with religion and magic and are not part of Qigong proper. There is a lot of "superstiion" in religious and magical attitudes about blood, but there is also a core of practical knowledge, but that is another matter and too long and complex to examine now.
  15. Students of Jerry Alan Johnson

    Professor Johnson's teaching site is: Temple of the Original Thunder While at the top it is not clear that 2019 registration for his seven year program is closed, it gets around to saying that at the bottom, where it also has a form to be notified if and when a new class series opens up. As I posted a few years back: They seem to agree with me because their guide to buying Daoist books recommend buying . . . (books from the medical qigong series, at the time of my post, the first two, but see below for more recent recommendation, ZYD) Also at the bottom is the list of texts used in his course and it now includes the first three of his Chinese Energetic Medicine series, which, in the earlier version, is what I had recommended in some posts about the same time as the above. These Texts can be purchased here: Order Chinese Energetic Medicine I have the earlier versions of the series which had a different title so I haven't seen or worked with these, but they should be like mine which are hundreds of pages each and packed with useful information, so at $80.00 a piece for the new ones, they are a good investment which could keep someone occupied for one to two years depending on their experience and starting point and lay a good foundation for future practice. I hope this information is helpful. ZYD
  16. MCO doesnt work

    A lot of people think that they can just start doing the MCO and that is enough there is a warning about this at the end of Chapter Four: You need to go back to Chapter One: Sometimes an "outer method" of the MCO involving visualization is taught to still the mind, such visualization is not doing the MCO, the MCO cannot by "done" by such methods, it is something that arises naturally when one has reached a deep enough level of meditation and become aware of aspects of oneself of which one is ordinarily unconscious. Do whatever you have to do to sit and forget, if imagining empty water wheels helps, do that, but they are not the MCO. I hope this is helpful. ZYD
  17. I confess that Magick it self teacheth many superfluous things, and curious prodigies for ostentation; leave them as empty things, yet be not ignorant of their causes.: This piece of advice is excellent. Agrippa is writing a very comprehensive work which deals with both theory and practice. Much of what he writes would be well known to the educated of his day, that is one of the interesting things about it, and the theory which he introduces is as good now as it was the day he wrote it, but the material which he uses to illustrate these principles, while consisting of quotes from some of the most authoritative sources available to him, read like nonsense today. This make the importance of paying attention to the underlying principles and understanding them and then viewing his exposition as possibly outlandish examples, but examples nonetheless, and understanding them as attempts to illustrate those principles, is a good guide to getting more out of these books than would otherwise be the case. I will try to write more about this, but today I don't have much time to write, but thought I would go ahead and start this and see what response we can get. Out of fairness to Joseph Peterson and his great site from which we will be quoting, I think the least we can do is promote one of his products, which will help support his site: Esoteric Archives on CDrom
  18. [TBOPB1C00] Agrippa Book One Introduction

    Hello Symph, welcome to the Dao Bums. You certainly picked an unusual, but interesting place for your third post. I hope I can give you some useful information. The book, or more exactly Three Books that are the subject of all this Jaw dropping amazing discussion is Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa who wrote it in the early Sixteenth Century. It is available from several sources, but you might find reading it online at Joseph Peterson's Twilight Grotto Esoteric Archive a better way to start reading it, just click right here since you can read it for free, and then you can decide if you want to invest in a printed book. Aside from that, given your Christian background and your efforts to free yourself from early conditioning related to it, you might find this Blog: Was Jesus a Magician? Both informative and inspiring. It is the Blog of Dr. Helen Ingram and is based on and an exposition of her PhD thesis, Dragging Down Heaven: Jesus as Magician and Manipulator of Spirits in the Gospels. I read the book that inspired it, Morton Smith's Jesus the Magician in the late Seventies and found it informative and very suggestive, but not completely convincing, it became one among many possible accounts of a possible historical Jesus, but Dr. Ingram's thesis is a much more convincing discussion and based on it I would say that the notion that Jesus, if there was a historical Jesus, was very likely a "magician" is far more likely than any of the other alternatives that I have read. I hope that the above is helpful to you. ZYD
  19. Ric Ocasek, in past "perfect tense" now. One of his wittiest lyrics and a suitable tribute.
  20. I wrote this review of it a lttle over two years ago: ZYD
  21. Buddhist Deities on the Tree of Life

    A good starting premise. Part of the problem you are having is that you have insufficiently defined your goal and the nature of the elements, i.e. Buddhist Gods and the 'nondenominational "map"' with which you are working. There are many type of maps, and when Korzybski says "the map is not the territory, as he explains elsewhere he really means that "the model is not the cosmos", no matter how useful it might be for engineering purposes. As a teenager I paraphrased part Chapter One of the Dao De Jing this way, "the model that can be explicated is not the eternal model" and of any "final theory" it can truly be said, this too will pass. However this doesn't mean that a ""rigid system" is not useful, just as a stepping stone is only as useful as it is rigid, so as long as one is aware that any such model is only one of many possible ones and that one should try to understand their actual area of application and not get carried away with any particular one, it will probably be OK to use it as a stepping stone. My first model of the Tree of Life was as a "map of Creative Process", and as a useful model it has stood the test of time, but as a religion Buddhism is not about celebrating creation as Judaism is, but about how one can forever escape from it and its endless cycles of "Birth and Redeath". If Buddhist Gods had any place on the Tree it would be constantly repeating "No, don't go there" to descending "souls", and providing aid and comfort to those who, finding themselves in "God's Kingdom", i.e. Malkuth and realizing they are not at all happy with it find themselves, in the Immortal words of Tooter Turtle "Help me, Mr. Wizard, I don't want to be (Whatever Tooter had foolishly requested to be) any more!" (Tooter Turtle on Wikipedia). Fortunately Mr. Wizard is always there to liberate Tooter from the foolish life that in his ignorance he had wished for, and Mr. Wizard had this wonderful incantation "Drizzle, Drazzle, Drozzle, Drome; time for this one to come home." that liberated Tooter from the circumstance of his foolish wish and brought him home. I have used some Buddhist terminology in the above, to give a clue for the type model that you may find useful for placing Buddhist Gods on the Tree of Life, and that is, the Tree of Life as a map of Liberation and how any members of the Buddhist Pantheon might fit on it. With that in mind you might make some connections to the Tree of Life that are both less arbitrary and more consistent. In this regard Crowley's attributions of "the various meditations" might prove a useful starting point. I hope these suggestions are helpful. ZYD
  22. Dzogchen Teachers

    It may seem like "a coincidence", however it is neither accident nor synchronicity, but rather an example of how the forum works. You like one of my posts and the Forum lets me know. That you would like a post that is about obscure subjects to begin with, rather long and semi-technical and hidden in the bowls of "General Discussion" is worthy of note on my part, so I looked up your introductory post and saw that we had common interests. I even have an interest in Buddhist practices and read a translation of Naropa's Six Yogas in Garma C. C. Chang's version when I was thirteen or so, and many more since then. Actually Daoists would love your "Taoist medication", the whole point of Daoist self cultivation is to achieve optimal health and to cure the two diseases of senescence and mortality, and even in Western Alchemy the "philosopher's stone" was called "the medicine of metals" because it turned corruptible base metals such as lead, iron, and copper into incorruptible gold. As for the notion that "so much of this really hardcore Western esoteric tradion is hidden, lost", a lot of it is "hidden" in plain sight as I make clear in such posts as: Agrippa and Aristotle: the Aristotelian background of the Occult Philosophy Agrippa's Doctrine of Occult Virtues, a core concept examined and explained The so called "occult virtues" are only "hidden" from lazy occultists who wail and lament over the loss of things that they have never really gone looking for. It doesn't even occur to them that the whole philosophical framework which gives context and thus meaning to everything that Agrippa says is not some hidden "esoteric" doctrine that was lost for ever, but good old Plato and Aristotle and their Hellenistic successors. Any Renaissance schoolboy would have recognized where Agrippa was coming from, and the reason why is because Agrippa intended his work NOT to be an "esoteric revelation", but a powerful defense of magic, its theory and practice, as a careful reading of his prefatory letter addressed to the Abbot Trithemius makes clear, and thus it had to be in terms that any well educated person could understand and appreciate. I don't have time to write more now, and really don't want to get too far off topic. I hope you have found what I have written interesting. ZYD
  23. Dzogchen Teachers

    I am assuming that by "Taoist medication (Golden Flower)" you mean The Secret of the Golden Flower and are apparently not familiar with: Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality (link to Amazon for convenience sake, get it where you can, search on the internet may lead to a PDF) I became familiar with this book back in 1971 and read and reread it several times. It became fundamental to my understanding of Daoist internal cultivation, and has guided all my thinking about the matter since then. There is a discussion of the possible relation between Dzogchen and these Daoist techniques here: Dzogchen Thogal: a Buddhist creative adaptation of a Daoist technique? Unfortunately the OP, Wells has deleted his posts, which mars the discussion but does not destroy it, and there are many interesting posts, including, I fancy, my own, which also open the subject up into a cross cultural discussion with my citations of both Agrippa and Plotinus. I hope these references are helpful to you. ZYD
  24. Proposed simplification of forums

    I for one oppose the idea of a simplification, I don't have time now for a longer and more reasoned discussion, but I did come up with a simple image. Joni Micthell eloquently lamented the paving of paradise to put a parking lot, I have to ask if someday people will lament that the magical land of Earthsea was bulldozed into a swamp? That is how I think of Dao Bums as it is now, the magical land of Earthsea where the whole Wisdom of the World is kept and with some easy Island hoping can be found. Once those islands are gone, they will be almost impossible to replace. ZYD
  25. Forays into "Folk magic"

    You're welcome, I am glad that people are finding my interesting. This book by Professor Jerry Alan Johnson gives information on the Ritual Daoist development of folk magic into natural magic: Daoist Mineral, Plants & Animal Magic In the series of posts starting here: Maybe in the second half of the book, it looks like he is taking a more broad view from there on. I will keep you informed. I found Western Classical Philosophy particularly Aristotle's Four Causes and his concept of the "unmoved mover", better translated as "unchanged changer", to be very useful in modeling wu wei. There are passages in both the Neiye and the Dao De Jing that support this comparison, especially in regard to the notion of "the One". I have posted on these ideas in several places, but if you are interested I can work up a post and some references for here. ZYD I give a cross cultural comparison of Chinese and Western Philosophy which forms the cosmological basis of Natural Magic. These are actually some of my most important posts on Dao Bums since the flesh out a connection which I have mentioned for years, but never addressed in this detail. ZYD