Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What is the Yi Fa Society?

The Yi Fa Society is a "Secret School" founded on ancient formulas for the teaching of a complete system of inner alchemy.  It provides a complete curriculum of training taught over various levels, with both practical and philosophical teaching material.  It utilizes a complete system of Qi Gong (Yi Fa Qi Gong) for the cultivation of consciousness, and trains its members in the secrets and symbolic language of the I Ching. Its 8-level curriculum allows students to progress in understanding and self-transformation.

The structure of the Yi Fa Society emerged from a series of revelations which came as a result of a twenty-year study of the I Ching.  The I Ching is the foundational text of all Chinese spirituality; a three-thousand year old book that has been in continuous use since its creation, the oldest book of such kind in the world.   Used by most as a mere fortune-telling device, sages throughout history have understood it to contain a profound system of metaphysics, and the keys to understanding reality itself.   It also contains within it a system for personal transformation through a process of "inner alchemy".

The I Ching provides the symbolic basis of the system of meditation and inner-alchemy known as Qi Gong, but this too has usually been misunderstood by laymen as a mere system of health-exercises.  Thus, the Yi Fa Society has designed a new set of Qi Gong practices, known as Yi Fa Qi Gong, which are meant to use the principles of the eight elements (the four celestial and four terrestrial elements) to establish a progressive set of teachings by which its members can develop inner transformation, leading to what the I Ching refers to as the emergence of the "Superior Individual", the higher or true self, through the establishment of the True Will (that is, our fundamental natures).

The Yi Fa Society's system of teachings are done in eight levels, each of which provides a graduated series of secret practices and teachings that build on the former levels. It is not tied to any specific religious teaching, but rather to the perennial philosophy of enlightenment; although it makes use of symbols and concepts that have come into common use in Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (as all three were influenced by the symbolism and philosophy of the I Ching).

Where to Begin?

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please contact me here, on Facebook, or Google+ to receive an application form.  Likewise, please write if you have any questions.

The foundation of the Yi Fa is found in the I Ching.  This book provides the foundation for the entire Yi Fa curriculum, and while there are many worthwhile versions of the I Ching in publication today, the specific teachings of the Yi Fa are best expressed in the book "The Magician's I Ching", where the teachings of the I Ching as a system of divination, decision making, and tool for transcendence are explained in straightforward terms specifically designed for western readers, and for those who plan to actually use the I Ching as a system for self-transformation.

(if you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society and working its curriculum, which is a complete system of esoteric training, please contact me!)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Video: The Power of the I Ching

Today's video takes a look at the underlying structure of the I Ching, and why it works.

If you are interested in more teachings and receiving information that goes deeper into the structure of the I Ching, the nature of space-time, and personal cultivation, please don't hesitate to contact me about joining the Yi Fa Society.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Poem From Zhu Xi

It is easy to be young,
but to get to become old-school is hard.

Seeing Time
like one inch of light in the darkness,
impossible to ignore.

By the still pond,
unborn Spring grass dreams;
yet on the front steps
the sound of leaves
fall like rain,
announcing Autumn's coming.

-Zhu Xi (who called himself the "Tea Immortal")

Saturday, May 20, 2017

New I Ching Video: Hexagram #9 - Small Nourisher

Here is the latest commentary video in the I Ching series. This one covers Hexagram #9 - the Small Nourisher.

Members of the Yi Fa Society get access to additional I Ching video and text commentaries that go into more depth on the symbolism and divination uses of the I Ching's Hexagrams. If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please get in touch.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Health Issues and Qi Gong

Most schools of Qi Gong today sell themselves as being about health and healing. This is because mainly the people promoting those schools either have no real grounding in what Qi Gong is for, or are aware but felt obliged to keep the real purpose hidden.  In China, Qi Gong was very badly persecuted during most of the Communist period. It was only allowed to be revived in the time after the terrible persecutions of the Maoist Cultural Revolution, when the Chinese Government eased away from attacking traditional Chinese culture, and when the nation was facing a health-infrastructure crisis.
In fact, there was no such term as "Qi Gong" before the  modern age, this was a name created to unite concepts in traditional Chinese healing, cultivation practice, and internal martial arts. The government began to promote Qi Gong, not as a spiritual practice of cultivation, but as a system for improving health and wellness. So many opportunists who had little or no real understanding of cultivation set themselves up as "qi gong healers", while some of the genuine teachers began to teach again by hiding their more esoteric training behind the facade of "health and healing". In fact, this fit in nicely with the historical tradition of "secret schools", where serious Qi Gong masters would hide the nature of their teaching.

But regardless, Qi Gong was not meant to be about health, or healing. It was meant to be about cultivation for the purpose of eventual enlightenment.

So how useful is Qi Gong, for someone who is only interested in preserving their health or healing some kind of ailment?
Regarding health issues and Yi Fa Qi Gong; or health issues and Qi Gong in general, you have to consider the sources of various health problems.  They are caused by one of a selection of sources:

0. Accidents or short-term illness: a broken leg or a cold or upset stomach are not really caused by anything in most cases, except misfortune. These problems do not really need Qi Gong to heal.

1. Genetics: This is one of the most common causes of non-acute health problems. Recent medical studies have found that a great number of health issues are largely caused by genetic predisposition. This is a product of birth.  Qi Gong can't really do anything to prevent these problems. There's not really anything Qi Gong needs to do about these, in terms of prevention, and only limited amounts it can do in terms of treatment.

2. Environmental issues:  These are health issues caused by where you are, by elements of your environment.  This also includes things you might have a genetic predisposition toward, but would not be affected by it without being exposed to some environmental trigger.  These health problems can sometimes be resolved by changing your environment.  Doing Qi Gong without making changes in your environment won't be of any real help.

3. Lifestyle/choice issues: Some health problems are caused as a consequence of your lifestyle or behaviours, related to eating habits, sleeping habits, drinking, drugs, smoking, or other choices. Again, if you don't change your lifestyle, Qi Gong will not be of help here.

4. Stress or emotional issues: some health problems appear as consequences of mental stress or emotional tension manifesting in the body. The best resolution to these problems is through relaxation, meditation, and the expanding of your own consciousness until your attachments disentangle themselves. The exercises of Yi Fa Qi Gong are effective at dealing with these issues, if properly practiced.

So this is why I do not put very much emphasis on 'health' in Qi Gong practice. Anything related to health that can actually honestly be helped by Qi Gong can and will be helped by performing Yi Fa Qi Gong correctly, even though Yi Fa Qi Gong's primary goal is not health but Enlightenment.

None of the other sources of health problems can be significantly helped by any Qi Gong, even those forms of Qi Gong that allege to be about health.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Video: An Example of an I Ching Casting in Process

This is a video showing the performance of a casting, for reference purposes.

If you are interested in learning more about the I Ching and a whole system of spiritual cultivation, please contact me regarding the Yi Fa Society.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Undoing Emotional Attachments Through Yi Fa Qi Gong

Someone at one point asked about how to best handle 'negative' emotional issues that they feel attached to, using Qi Gong.  The following was my reply:

The technique would be very simple: when you begin the level 1 exercise, bring those feelings to mind; engage with those feelings as you do the practice.

Bring your active consciousness into your body, your movements, and your stillness, as usual.

So at this point you bring up the emotional energy trapped by the attachment, and then start to focus on a totally different use of energy: the practice.

"Energy" here really means intensity; the 'intensity' of your feelings tied up in your attachments is a kind of effort(energy).  Give them a different direction, and it can gradually untie the knot of that attachment by putting that same level of intensity into your practice.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why "Plum Blossom" I Ching Numerology?

The macrocosmic changes of the I Ching, those that exist on a cosmic as opposed to a personal scale, can be deciphered through the use of Shao Yong's Plum Blossom Numerology.

 Generally, this particular name is attributed to a story that Shao Yong realized this system in a flash of insight while observing a Plum Blossom.

However, some people in the West might not realize the depth of symbolism the plum blossom has in Chinese culture.

In Chinese cultural art and poetry, the plum blossom is associated with moral fortitude, with perseverance, and with auspicious good fortune. 

It is, in fact, taken as a symbol for the Superior Individual. It has these qualities because of it's beauty and ability to endure even in harsh climates, and its self-reliance in needing very little care.

The Plum Blossom was in fact associated with four qualities, which could be summarized as "yuan", "heng", "li" and "zhen"; the same four words which commence the I Ching, and which embody Virtue among spiritual cultivators.

In the plum blossom, these four words are associated with the four stages in the plum blossom's growth, and the cycle of the seasons:
Yuan: it is born in union with the new year.
Heng: when it blooms this marks the time of steady gain
Li: in its seeding time, there is harmonious bounty
Zhen: in its time of wilting it is the time of contemplation

Thus, the symbol of the Plum Blossom is not just a product of some coincidence, but an ideal image to represent the macrocosmic changes embodied by Shao Yong's numerological system.

At the same time, this sheds light on the significance of Yuan Heng Li Zhen in the larger context of the I Ching as well. As the first four words of the I Ching's text, and a summary of the entirety of the I Ching, the imagery associated with the plum blossom expresses how "Yuan Heng Li Zhen" is a depiction of the entire process of Time, from beginning to end.

Friday, March 24, 2017

On the Scope of the Great Work

On a personal level, the Great Work involves each individual's progress to manifesting the Superior Individual, and attaining to the level of the Sage (Enlightenment).

But on a greater scale, the Great Work involves the spiritual evolution of humanity as a whole.
In that greater scale, the work you do applying Virtue in the world is not meant to change the world at this present time, but to lay down currents of Change that will change the world over the course of cosmic Time. 

Presidencies, nations and whole civilizations will come and go while we perform the Great Work.
Things happening in the world now are the ripple-effect of things Initiates did 300 years ago.

The things we do with consciousness now will ripple forward to change the entire world 300 years from now.
The Great Work on this scale is done not for one's own gratification, because it is not anything any of us will live to see.

It is work to change the future.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Magician's I Ching Facebook Group now has Over 2000 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 just over 2000 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, March 9, 2017

What to Know Before You do an I Ching Casting

The I Ching can be used to for divination about literally any subject. It is said that it covers all possibilities within the "world of 10000 things" (the manifested reality in which we exist).   So it's not just for thinking about very profound or advanced 'spiritual' questions. It's also not just for thinking about very mundane and ordinary subjects (romance, relationships, family, money, business, etc).  It can be equally effective for any of these things!

And yet, some I Ching castings end up working 'better' for the caster than others.  Why is that?
First, of course, is the level of training and understanding one has in working with and interpreting the I Ching.  The more you study it, and the more you consider its form, its text, its whole system, the better you'll get at using it. That part is pretty obvious (even though for some reason, many people never bother to go beyond the most basic level of understanding with it, even if they use it a lot; I've met some people who have used the I Ching fairly regularly for years and never even actually read the whole text!).

But whatever your level of training and understanding with the I Ching, there is also the fact that sometimes you will do castings that will seem to 'work' really well, providing you clear understanding of the question you are asking, and at other times, it will seem like the answer you get doesn't 'work' for you at all (in the sense that you aren't able to get a clear answer, or that what you get in the casting doesn't seem to be right).

Here are things you need to keep in mind when you are considering doing an I Ching casting about a question:

1. What is the level of Necessity for the casting? Is this something that you do not have a clear idea about without casting for it? Is there a strong emotional sense of intensity to seek out the answer?

2. Do you have the sense that there is something you may be missing, that you hope the I Ching could clarify?

3. How likely are you to interpret the casting objectively?

4. How open will you be to proceeding with the advice the I Ching may present to you?

None of these are points that should necessarily be taken as reasons not to do a casting. But they should give you an idea of whether you're really at the right spot to do the casting or not, and sometimes they may lead you to change your attitude about the casting you are about to perform, before you engage in it. 

The more intense the necessity is for a casting, the more likely that it will be fruitful.

The more clear you are about what it is you are needing from the casting, the more accurate the casting is likely to be.

The more you prepare yourself to be objective in your analysis of the casting, the more likely that you will not mislead yourself in your interpretation.

And the more serious you are about following through with the advice given by the I Ching, the more likely that the casting will provide concrete, direct and meaningful advice.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why Do People Naturally Cultivate Virtue?

(The following is an excerpt from a letter to a Yi Fa Society student)

The answer to the question "why do humans decide to cultivate Virtue naturally" is because Virtue is a part of nature, it's part of the fundamental structure of reality.

However, another thing I think you need to somewhat distance yourself from is the idea that Virtue is tied into our ideas of "good".
There's a lot of things a given culture (including ours) will think of as "good" which is not a part of Virtue in the sense of "De", of nature.

And it can be better to understand Virtue, if you are able, as a natural substance, which as such is actually "neutral" in comparison to our ideas of morality.
This is an inherent understanding of Eastern philosophy, and especially in both the I Ching and the Tao Te Ching.

Because it is natural, people do try inherently to cultivate Virtue; but because people are so often distanced from what is Real and what is Natural, it is often very difficult for them to go far.
In particular, a lot of people will only take partial measures to generate Virtue; some will try to work on Virtue only in their minds and ways of thinking, others will try to do so only in terms of acts, and most will fail to engage in the cultivation of their Consciousness (not even realizing that this is essential to understand and develop Virtue; they think they already "know" what Virtue is, so it's not necessary to actually expand their consciousness as a prerequisite to becoming Virtuous!).

On the other hand, some spiritual practitioners will think that meditation and spiritual exercises alone, without the actual application of Virtue in their lives, is enough. Like that thinking happy thoughts, or trying to calm the mind, is itself Virtue.
That's not the case either.

There's much further elaboration on these issues in the Yi Fa Curriculum at Level 2 and especially Level 3.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

On the Importance of the Standing Posture at the end of Qi Gong Practice

In the final standing posture there is nothing to do.
No distractions, no bells and whistles.
No tricks, no way to play make-believe.
Just stillness and breathing.
You are confronted with yourself.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How to Understand "Relaxation" in Yi Fa Qi Gong

This is a very useful video to understand some of what I mean with regards to 'relaxing' into Qi Gong practice. Although it's obviously being presented from the point of view of martial arts, it's coming from a tradition that makes some use of Qi Extension, and thus it relates to some of what we talk about in the Yi Fa Qi Gong practice.
Note that I'm not saying you need to do these stretches in particular (you could if you want to, but they're geared toward martial arts practice), I'm saying pay attention to what he's talking about just what 'relaxation' means.
People tend to tense up their muscles, while in Qi Gong the point is to keep the musculature relaxed while still holding an internal firmness. So I've found it's very important to remind people to relax while they practice; holding tension in the musculature makes it very ineffective for Qi circulation. But at the same time, this doesn't mean to be all floppy; the POSTURE is firm, the musculature is relaxed (and the breathing is relaxed as well).
There is a parallel in this when it comes to one's consciousness during the practice; you do not want to be mentally tense while you practice. You DO want to be in the Active Consciousness, but this means being very present in a very relaxed way!
Also note what he's talking about "mind" and "putting the mind into the body". When he says "mind" he's talking about what in Yi Fa Qi Gong we call "active consciousness". When you are really present in the active consciousness, your body is not tense, your mind is not tense, but you are fully connected in the body and so without any great effort other than that attention you are able to be in good control of your posture and movements.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Why the Yi Fa, and not a Western System?

Someone recently asked me why am I focusing on the Yi Fa Curriculum; as I clearly know a lot about western magick, why didn't I make a better modern form of a western magical system instead?

There are a couple of reasons why.

In the first place, the magick/occult community is full of people who have ideas, assumptions and fantasies about what magick is and what it's for.

Second, it has been tread over many times, and with many people making false assumptions.

By creating a magical system (the Yi Fa Curriculum) that does not look like what people's assumptions tell them 'magick' looks like, it means only people who are capable of having the right priorities and thinking beyond their own projections will be drawn to it.

Nevertheless, the work of the Yi Fa Curriculum will be highly complementary to the studies and practices of anyone seriously pursuing western esoteric systems.

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New I Ching Video: Hexagram #8 - Union

Here is the latest commentary video in the I Ching series. This one covers Hexagram #8 - Union.

Members of the Yi Fa Society get access to additional I Ching video and text commentaries that go into more depth on the symbolism and divination uses of the I Ching's Hexagrams. If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please get in touch.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Importance of Sincerity in I Ching Practice

Sincerity is essential to effective practice. 

The I Ching is interesting in how it has various ways to make it harder for you to lie to yourself, but it is not fool-proof in that regard, since someone who really wants to get a result that just tells him what he wants to hear will find ways to 'cheat' to do it.

In the Magician's I Ching Facebook Group,  there had been a discussion on the question about whether a casting could ever be wrong.
It was argued that it could not.

I would definitely agree: an I Ching casting, if performed correctly, will not be wrong.
Technical error or imperfect methods can make it less accurate.

But that aside, the problem is in two things: the question before the casting, and the interpretation after the casting.

If you are asking the wrong question, or asking a question in an imperfect way, the I Ching's result could be wrong (de facto, rather than de jure; it will be the right answer to the wrong question in the first place).

If you ask the right question but lack either the ability or the will to interpret it correctly, then we will be unable to make use of the (correct) answer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Five Phases and Eight Elements

There's frequently some confusion in those who study Chinese mysticism/magick, in that there are eight trigrams in the I Ching, but in the greater system of esoteric teaching there is also something that is often defined as the "five elements". The initial and superficial similarity between this and the five classical elements of western esotericism (earth, air, water, fire and spirit) cause a lot of confusion.

Regarding the "5 elements": the problem that has caused this confusion relates to the use of the term 'elements'. Because what we usually call in English the 'five Chinese elements' are NOT in fact 'elements' in the sense of the five elements in western occultism!

The '5 Chinese elements' are actually five 'phases' in the cycle of generation to putrefaction.

The equivalent of the five elements of western occultism (earth, air, water, fire and spirit) are the Eight Trigrams.  The eight trigrams are divided in two parts: the four terrestrial trigrams correspond to the elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire; while the four celestial trigrams correspond to Spirit (you could say "spirit of earth", "spirit of air", "spirit of water" and "spirit of fire").

Then, the 5 chinese elements (the 'wuxing': wood, fire, earth, metal and water), which were most likely first developed in the alchemical teachings of the School of Yin and Yang (around 500 years after the Zhouyi text, the core of the I Ching, was written), correspond to the western 'alchemical elements' (Salt, Sulfur, Mercury). And likewise to the 3 gunas in Indian mysticism.

There are five of these, rather than three, because in the Wuxing system you have three process states (Wood, Earth, and Metal), and two transitory states (Fire and Water).  The process states represent Generation, Plateau, and Decline, while the transitory states represent the moment of peak Flowering and the moment of fullest Barrenness (that is to say, the peak-state and the nadir-state). 

Thus, while the Five Phases look similar to the Five Western Elements, it is in fact representing a totally different esoteric concept, much closer to that of the "alchemical elements" of western occultism.  And it is the Eight Trigrams which are the equivalent of the elements of western occultism.

So you see similar concepts, presented in different ways. Like different languages to describe similar concepts.

This is because the thing being studied is real; it is based on the study of reality, the natural universe, and the universal human condition. So the findings will be the same. But the expression will be different because of differences of distance, history and culture. 

This is discussed a bit further in teachings of Levels 2 and up of the Yi Fa Society.