Bagua

Bagua

Friday, February 14, 2020

Cultivation Practice Qi Gong Requires Progressive Steps




There are many schools of Qi Gong. Many of these teach amalgam systems, which have either been created by a collection of different exercises from different sources with no consideration as to the progressive nature of cultivation teaching, or from very ancient traditions over many influences of teachers with a lot of mixed up or added material from different sources.



At present, many, undoubtedly most, Qi Gong teachings in the west (or the east as well) focus on good health, and are largely just seen as exercises for health. And in that sense, the significant majority of Qi Gong schools are perfectly adequate for that simple goal.

But the true nature of Qi Gong is not to develop good health. Qi Gong descends from the techniques of eastern Internal Alchemy, and their true purpose is to transform one's consciousness; real Qi Gong is an Enlightenment practice. And when it comes to practicing Qi Gong as a system of spiritual cultivation for Enlightenment, you can't just settle for a hodge-podge of mixed exercises that aren't concerned with establishing solid foundations followed by progressive steps of further transformation. 


The way Qi Gong really works is to imagine a pyramid: the first lowest tier of that pyramid is the Body. it is the absolute foundation. This is why you begin all cultivation practice by being present in your body.





If you are doing things without your active consciousness being in the body it's like you're trying to build a house on air. So that's the first thing you have to learn, how to BE in the body. Because today most people in the West certainly don't know how to do that.



Following that, you must learn how to breathe properly, because the breath is key to the circulation of Qi. In order for that circulation to work properly, your body must be able to relax, so you must not only be consciously in your body, but also to help your body to relax, and breathe naturally.   Only after that can you effectively begin in the basic first-step practices of proper spiritual cultivation, taught in the first level of Yi Fa Qi Gong.

After that, like in the subsequent levels of the Yi Fa society, the work begins to focus on other tiers: the second is the cultivation of Virtue. After that, the effort to unite with what is beyond you, and after that, to experience Reality.

All of these are necessary steps for the system, which is part of why you can't just pick and choose spiritual practices outside of a coherently ordered system, systems of spiritual Cultivation are of necessity progressive. If you just do thing A here, and thing D there, but you skipped B because no one told you about it and C because you didn't like it, then you end up creating a warped practice that will not be able to fully succeed at cultivation.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

I Ching Hexagram Commentary #14 - Great Holdings

Here is the latest I Ching video. If you are interested in deeper teaching on the I Ching as part of an ongoing program of spiritual cultivation, please consider contacting me about applying to the Yi Fa Society.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A Confucian Moral Teaching for Children

In Chinese Civilization, from the establishment of the Chinese education system until the end of the Imperial era, this teaching, from "The Great Learning" and attributed to Confucius was one of the elementary teachings taught to every schoolchild:

The ancient people who desired to have a clear moral harmony in the world would first order their national life.
Those who desired to order their national life would first regulate their home life.
Those who desired to regulate their home life would first cultivate their personal lives.

Those who desired to cultivate their personal lives would first set their hearts right.
Those who desired to set their hearts right, would first make their wills sincere.
Those who desired to make their wills sincere would first arrive at understanding.





Understanding comes from the exploration of knowledge of things.
When the knowledge of things is gained, then understanding is reached.
When understanding is reached, then the will is sincere.
When the will is sincere, then the heart is set right.
When the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated.

When the personal life is cultivated, then the home life is regulated.
When the home life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; and when the
national life is orderly; then the world is at peace.

From the Emperor down to the common man, the cultivation of the personal life is the foundation for all.

It is impossible that when the foundation is disorderly, the superstructure can be orderly.
There has never been a tree whose trunk is slender and whose top branches are heavy and strong. There is a cause and a sequence in things, and a beginning and end in human affairs.
To know the order of precedence is to have the beginning of wisdom.




Friday, December 13, 2019

How Should You Ask a Question of the I Ching?

Different western books and teachings on the I Ching tend to give different advice about how to phrase a question.  I have noted some people claiming that a "yes/no" style of question is really bad. However, I've also noted that those people tend to seem to want readings that are not very direct and straightforward, to leave them a lot of room to interpret the reading in the way they like. In other words, it seems to indicate a lack of trust in the I Ching.

In the Magician's I Ching, I point out that the question itself can be about almost anything, but that in fact in most cases (if it suits the question) it would be advisable to ask in a form where the answer could potentially be as simple as "yes/no" or "good/bad". That doesn't mean that the answer you'll receive will always be that simple, but it's good if you can allow it to be so.

For questions where a yes/no is not really a viable format, asking "should I do X" or "is it advisable to do y" are good questions.

Obviously, any way in which you ask can potentially generate a usable answer. But there are some ways to ask which could make it harder for you to obtain clarity.



For example, I do not advise "either/or" style questions being posited to the I Ching because those can on some occasions cloud the answer.

By either or I mean questions like "which of path A or path B is the best option for me"?

The reason phrasing a question in this way is a bit tricky is because first, you are not asking about one specific thing, so you might be inclined to direct the answer in the direction you would rather wish it was. This is not always a problem because sometimes the two paths are so different (if they were opposites for example, or had radically different characteristics) that you would not be able to just pick the side you like unless you were in deep denial. But when it's less clear a distinction between the two options, you might do some 'reading in' to the answer toward the direction you'd wish was best.

Second, because sometimes there is a tendency for the results to just be muddled and unclear in a casting question like this.

Third, because this doesn't easily leave open the possibility for an option C, or option D, etc.  Again, this isn't always a problem, but when you ask a question in this way you are still predirecting the I Ching to choose between only a set number of options which are what you can foresee, rather than opening to the possibility that something else could be foreseen.

In situations like this, it is sometimes better to either ask a broader question (how should I approach the overall situation? What is the best course of action in general? etc), or to ask more than one specific question (i.e. first asking "what would be the best way to approach option A" and then "what would be the best way to approach option B", and compare).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Magician's I Ching Facebook Group Has Over 2500 Members

The Facebook group created in honor of The Magician's I Ching, but which is a general discussion group for all I Ching related subjects, has now reached 2500 members!






So if you haven't already joined the Magician's I Ching Facebook Group, please consider joining!  It's free, and filled with interesting conversation and material related to the I Ching and I Ching studies.  It's open to people coming from western or eastern traditions.  It's very welcoming to newcomers to the I Ching, and you can get questions answered or useful advice. But it also has many very learned and highly experienced advanced students of the I Ching, and if you are one of those people you'll find some excellent higher level discussion about some of the finer points of I Ching study.

While you're at it, please consider joining the Yi Fa Society.  Members of the Yi Fa Society also have a (secret) discussion group, and benefit from a complete and detailed training program for studying Yi Fa Qi Gong and the I Ching.   Members of the Yi Fa Society are taught additional Qi Gong and I Ching secrets that are not available anywhere public.

At higher levels of membership, the advanced exercises of Yi Fa Qi Gong are taught, and students are provided large numbers of instructional materials (whole books, like "Secret Techniques of the I Ching", "Universal Yi Fa", "The Yi Dao", and "the Great Book of Yi Fa", among others) on how to deepen their work with Qi Gong and I Ching for self-transformation and the work of enlightenment.

Members of the Yi Fa Society can work personally with me to keep up their practice, to resolve problems in their practice, and to develop discipline and structure in their spiritual path.   Members also have the opportunity to have monthly Skype meetings with me for the same purpose.

Yi Fa Society membership is not free, but basic membership is on a monthly donation basis set by each student.


If you are interested in joining the Magician's I Ching Facebook group, just click on the link and join, and start reading and sharing with us!

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please contact me, here or on Facebook.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Who is the Inferior Person?

In the I Ching, we are presented with a division between two levels of the self: the self as the "inferior person", and the self as the "Superior Individual". One of the most fundamental teachings of the I Ching is that in every moment, we are constantly facing a choice between embodying the inferior person, or embodying the Superior Individual.
 
But if the Superior Individual is our true nature, our consciousness applied to totality, when we are 100% engaged and united to reality... then what is the inferior person? What are you when you are being the inferior person?  And what is the real 'problem' of the inferior person?

First, the inferior person is who you usually imagine yourself to be. In fact, it is a groundless mishmash of transitory influences, from influences of our childhood and past, of our environment, of the influences people and ideas and media have made over our notions of reality and who we are, until we wear it all like a false patchwork skin.Wearing this skin gives us a false sense of security and significance, where we "know who we are" and "what we want", and yet ironically it is the real source of our most crippling insecurities and insignificance.





Yourself as the inferior person is really nothing at all; it's a tiny little man, in a very restricted world.

You make yourself small by shutting yourself into your limiting perspective.

You make yourself a world that's small, by only referring to reality through your own centered lens.

And when you're that small, that you affect only your own little controlled world, then what you do doesn't really matter.

It is fleeting, because it is so limited.

It creates a momentary effect, that all too often crashes against a larger reality it tries to defy, and sooner or later your efforts, that you imagined to be so very great, come to nothing.


So the problem of the inferior person is that they are a 'shut-in'. Instead of showing up, letting themselves be part of reality as it is, they are locked into their tiny fantasy universe, seeing only glimpses of heavily-altered reality through that lens of all their desires and fears and programmed beliefs. This means that they are not able to be effective in the world.

Whereas when you don't insist on being only in the center, when you act in Union and accordance with the whole force of the universe, even very small efforts can move along that flow of reality to make huge changes to yourself and to the world.