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Professor Wong's Lecture, 17/3/02
Nature Dao training

What is Dao?

Dao is nature of living. It is following a natural way of human life in harmonious relationship to nature and the universe. Dao describes the natural force pre-existing within all living things. A flower will unerringly and perfectly grow from seed to full bloom, and reproduce again, because of the Dao of a flower’s natural existence. Should the flower not grow to its full potential, or be destroyed, it is because of an inability to access appropriate nurturing of the Dao in time and place. Dao also describes the order of the inanimate; the Dao of the universe is to be a universe. The force that causes/creates all of the myriad events and patterns of the universe, even that of a single inanimate particle suspended in space, or of a single living cell, finally displays a profound and wonderful order of intelligence, and this is the Dao. Dao is the intelligent order that rises from and underlies the seemingly random cataclysmic chaos of events of chemical and quantum Yin/Yang reactions/relationships.

Nature Dao involves the study of the nature of being and living. For human beings, Nature Dao studies involve recognition, so as to recognise and discover the best way to nurture the Dao of human life. This will lead to the full flowering of human potential and to harmonious relationships with nature and the universe. We are part of the Dao of nature, connected to all aspects both seen and unseen. Nature Dao training leads us to move toward a natural state. This way is termed Dao Jia. Dao Jia is not religion; religious Dao is termed Dao Jiao.

Xing Shen He Yi, Unity of Form and Spirit

Dao Jia involves studying a way of life relating to our own and greater nature, both for the present and future. It involves developing physical form and spirit - Xing and Shen, to combine together in harmony with the Dao for all of life, in order to gain the best possible result in any circumstance.

Xing, Physical, Material – Form, Shen, Mental, Emotional - Spirit

The whole person separates into these two aspects (Xing and Shen), which must coordinate well for natural health and long life. If they do not combine appropriately, a person will become run down and eventually become sick. Dao Jia training includes the education concerned with the dynamic interaction of Xing and Shen, termed, Xing Shen He Yi, unity of form and spirit. This principle has historical roots reaching back 16,000 years, and there are indications it goes back even before this. Xing Shen He Yi is elucidated within the medical classic, Huang Di Nei Jing, and is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medical theory.

Unfortunately, many modern TCM doctors do not follow this way of thinking; they place more emphasis upon Xing, form, and do not fully comprehend the role of Shen, spirit, in holistic health. I practice Xing/Shen diagnosis and Xing/Shen treatment and the results are excellent. Why? It is because the physical and spirit must have a capacity to balance each other for natural health, happiness and well-being, and this is Xing Shen He Yi. When a practitioner is pre-occupied with treatment of the physical, they may miss much.

Yin/Yang study began here

Archaeological studies and literary references indicate that the origins of Nature Dao principles may reach back 16,000 years. We can, through this vast transmigration of time, today understand concepts such as Yin and Yang and realise why they are always relevant to people, no matter from which age.

For example, regarding the cycle of night and day, Yang time is considered to be from sun up to sun down. The sun causing light and heat to warm the earth is a typically Yang function. Night is considered Yin time because of the darkness and relative coolness and is naturally more appropriate for rest and sleep. Regarding people, in relationship to earth’s daily cycle of night and day and the best way to govern our own finite resources, Yang time is naturally the best for activity and working, whereas Yin times are the best for restoring and resting. When rest and work balance each other, longevity will be enhanced and health will not suffer with this as a cause.

From the earliest times, people would rise with the sun and begin work; this was in perfect accord with Yang rising. When the sunset, they would go home to relax and sleep; this is in accord with the rising of Yin. Yin/Yang study began here and obviously illustrates a natural way. Yin/Yang study evolved from this beginning to form natural understanding concerning Tian Ren He Di.

Tian Ren He Di, Unity of Heaven People and Earth

Tian is heaven, Ren is centre, life (or in-between heaven and earth), Di is earth and He means unity. Here we will see why the ancients separated nature into three distinct categories.

Tian divides heavenly influences into nine categories.

The six basic natures pervading heaven are: Feng - wind, Han - cold, Shi - damp, Zao - dry, Shu - summer heat, Huo - fire. All of these natural phenomena cause disturbance or changes to physical entities - to Di, earth and Ren, life. They combine together, i.e., wind cold, dry heat, etc., or give effect individually. Tian influences can manifest three basic conditions within Ren, a person; Re, heat, Xu, weakness/vacuity, and Shi, excess/replete. Tian influences assert changes to Ren, life, thereby demanding ongoing adaptation from Xing, form, and Shen, spirit, in order to maintain natural health.

Ren refers to life - all living entities between heaven and earth.

In order to maximise potential for good health and long life, we need to understand how Xing, form, and Shen, spirit, combine to defend against the evil attack (pathological penetration) of Feng - wind, Han - cold, Shi - damp, Zao - dry, Shu - summer heat, Huo - fire, or they will disturb a person. This study is fully contained within TCM theory.

Di is earth; earth is the ground/centre, for the interplay arena of Wu Xing, the five elements.

 

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Wu Xing, five-element phase theory

The elements are: fire, water, earth, metal and wood. The Wu Xing, five-element phase theory, is structured to enunciate earth’s changing. This is the cyclical movement/changing between the elements of earth; how they effect, give rise to, balance and support each other. They illuminate all aspects related to earth’s elemental Yin/Yang make up and changing.

In TCM theory, each organ system of the body is associated with an elemental phase according to its fundamental character. That is, the heart is known as The King of Fire - the heart’s vigorous pumping action generates heat (relative to the other organ systems) and is therefore associated with fire (Yang); whole-body fluid regulation by the kidneys is more subdued and associates kidneys with water (Yin); liver - wood; lungs - metal; and spleen - earth. As external nature is obviously mirrored in the make up of the elemental earth of a human body, application of the five-element phase theory defines how the body organ systems coordinate, balance, support and potentially attack each other.

The above Tian, heavenly influences, and Di, earth’s elemental building blocks, all cause changing upon the Xing, form, and the body’s condition can have an effect upon Shen, spirit. Ren, people, are also affected by life circumstances apart from those of heavenly or earthly influences. Conditions of Shen, spirit can have an effect upon Xing, body (form). These influences may include depressive environmental surrounds, work conditions, emotional and family relationships, social and political environments, etc. Understanding how Xing, form, and Shen, spirit, combine and how the above can disturb a person will provide understanding. The study of TCM includes all of these concepts.

The next step onward from understanding the individual characteristics of the above three divisions, is how to understand the profound overall relationship dynamic between Tian, heaven, Ren, people or living entities between heaven and earth, and Di, earth’s elements, and how they combine/interrelate in totality. The Ba Gua correlation of symbols was created to enunciate this quest.

When observing the universe and the phenomena of natural forces, it would seem obvious that the birth of life depends on a relatively even balance of these forces. It is difficult to imagine the rising of life in the extreme fire (Yang) of the sun, and likewise in the extreme cold (Yin) of the planets away from life giving warmth. Life requires a shifting balance of more or less equally matched polarities for existence to occur. The Ba Gua correlation of symbols depicts the forces of heaven and earth and demonstrates positive and destructive relationships with regard to the flourishing, or not, of life.

Look at the two Ba Gua images below. They show eight-sided constructs depicting the nature of change between Yin and Yang forces. Fu Xi Ba Gua is on the left, termed Xian Tian Ba Gua. Fu Xi Ba Gua was created 8,000—10,000 years ago. In 1997, during the Academy China tour we saw the place of origin of Fu Xi's Ba Gua in Tianshui. The image on the right is titled Hou Tian Ba Gua and was created 3000 - 4,000 years ago. Both forms display degrees of changing from Yang to Yin, and Yin to Yang. Xian Tian Ba Gua is laid out in such a way as to explain how nature changes and is related to heaven, the elements of earth and how to balance life. Hou Tian Ba Gua is employed to explain practical life matters.

The first step of this study is to go through and recognise the different qualities of the eight Ba Gua trigrams. The next step is to write out the trigrams, Chen, Dui, and Li, etc., and follow how they change. See the reason why some are opposite to each other and why some enhance and balance each other. See why the Yin/Yang lines in particular placements represent a reflection of actuality. Remember the names and how they are related, fire, water, thunder and mountain, etc. You should reach the stage of drawing them from memory or with the eyes closed. Draw the Gua from the bottom upward. This is the study of Ba Gua, leading to understanding of the nature that surrounds us and informs us about the Dao of nature.

 

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Fu Xi and Hou Tu, Lou Zhu Discourses

The two images below are the Lou Zhu image and He Tu image. The underlying meaning of Hou Tu and Lou Zhu is the earliest depictions of the way Tian, heaven, and Di, earth, interrelate with each other. These patterns portray an intricate mathematical complexity that scholars have defined over the ages as all sides precisely correlate with each other. They numerologically express the ceaseless motion between heaven and earth.

 

Lou Zhu He Tu

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Fu Xi was a legendary sovereign, thinker and inventor and the first of China’s three great cultural heroes – The Three Demiurges of Chinese history – of whom it is said that they laid the foundation of Chinese culture. Scholars believe he lived around 8,000 BC. Through his study of nature he wrote Lo Shu Wei and Ho Tu Wei, discourses describing recognisable patterns of heaven and earth. From these early commentaries from Fu Xi, the eight trigrams of the Ba Gua were created and this was when the dots were transformed into lines.

The Ba Gua trigrams serve to enunciate the eight basic forces/qualities of the universe, logically symbolising the Yin/Yang movement/changing of heaven and earth. This way of thinking evolved to form the 64 hexagrams of the Yi Jing reflected upon in the famous Yi Jing, Book Of Changes. And these same precepts are also employed to define the Yin/Yang condition of a patient in TCM clinical practice. Fu Xi was a marvellous thinker who also invented many practical items, such as fishing nets and the institution of marriage. He is often depicted holding a mathematical protractor, the Chinese symbol for building and architecture, and also of magic and the curative forces of nature.

The Tai Ji Symbol

The Tai Ji symbol reflects actual forces of nature and depicts the fundamental attributes of Wu Ji, the great ultimate. Many books present this symbol incorrectly. Look at the human figure (not shown) depicting the major Yin/Yang Qi flow around the human body; the origin of the Tai Ji symbol is taken from here. The Tai Ji symbol must be read from right to left; it is drawn as if one is looking out through it from behind the page, and movement is from Yang to Yin. Many people place the white-coloured Yang on the left side (as one normally looks from outside) thinking this is the correct movement of Yang, this is wrong. Yang rises, always from below moving up, and Yin falls from heaven moving down, just as water always descends from heaven. Fire never burns down, it burns upward as heat always rises; this also correlates with the origin of Yin and Yang. Yang is fire and Yin is water. The water character never rises unless pushed. Now we can understand why it is appropriate for the bulk of Yang to be placed on the top right hand side of the symbol (as one looks) with the symbology Yang is and has raised. The fine stream of Yin appearing from the bulk of Yang on the top left-hand side symbolises Yin emerging from Yang and indicates Yin is and has descended. The colour of Yin is associated with black; the colour of Yang is white.

 

tai_chi_symbol

 

Kong Dong Shan Mountain, Ancient Origins of Nature Dao

Professor Wong led students to this ancient place in 1997. This is the oldest known place of Nature Dao teachings. A famous story relates the tale of a visit to Kong Dong Shan Mountain by the ancient Chinese Yellow Emperor, Huang Di.

Emperor Huang Di, through the vehicle of questions addressed to a great Daoist healer, Qi Bo, was responsible for compiling the medical classic; Huang Di Nei Jing. The story goes that Huang Di was having difficulty overwhelming the opposing forces arrayed against him during the war he was engaged in, which by this time had been raging for a long time. It is assumed the time was around 5,000 years ago. He had heard of the reputation of a great Daoist strategist, Guang Cheng Zi, who lived at Kong Dong Shan Mountain and Huang Di decided to seek counsel from him. Huang Di went to see Guang Cheng Zi three times. On the first visit, Guang Cheng Zi turned him away from his door saying he only knew how to wage war, fight and control people – which Guang Cheng Zi thought was wrong and he wouldn’t save him. On the second visit Guang Cheng Zi refused to even see Huang Di. Only after the war had finished and after the process of rejection had helped Huang Di find something that allowed him to be very honest, did Guang Cheng Zi agree to offer instruction. He said to the emperor, “Follow nature in order to control nature; find what is suitable for harmony with nature”. From this, Huang Di changed. He initiated the work of compiling great written works in order for people to learn how to lead good lives. It all came from here.

The exact date of these events has been obscured by time: one book states it was more than 9,000 years ago, and another says between 6,000 to 8,000 years ago; no-one knows the exact date of these events.

The school over which Guan Cheng Zi presided is believed to have already been in existence for 3-4,000 years implying that the Daoist system has formally been in existence for at least 10,000 years.

Wu Ji, No End; Tai Ji, Yin/Yang Changing

According to the old study, everything is nothing, and this was called Wu Ji, great ultimate; the entire physical universe stems from and returns to Wu Ji. Wu Ji is likened to a circle (as reflected by the Tai Ji symbol) it has no end, we don’t know what it is, how big or small it is, we don’t know the scope of nature and this is Wu Ji, no end. What can be stated is that from Wu Ji we observe Tai Ji. Why does Wu Ji become Tai Ji? Within Wu Ji we definitely observe Yin/Yang changing and this changing is Tai Ji.

When we practice the physical movements of Tai Ji Quan, we experience the reality of this perception in order to go through/imprint, the nature of life. All Tai Ji Quan movements have an integral order similar to the natural order of life, movement and stillness; soft and hard; the external and internal; the end and the beginning. All are harmoniously combined within the flowing movements of the form. To experience the nature of life leads us back to the Dao. This Dao is called Nature Dao or Zhi Ren Da Dao. Zhi Ren is natural life, Da Dao means the true way of nature. The Tai Ji symbol was drawn 8,000 years ago to symbolise the movement within Wu Ji. We understand that Wu Ji encompasses Yin/Yang changing and this movement is Tai Ji. The Tai Ji symbol expresses one half as Yin and the other as Yang. Tai Ji is the process of movement and change pre-existing within the great ultimate (Wu Ji) from maximum Yin to maximum Yang with all degrees between.

Defining Degrees of Change Within Wu Ji (Great Ultimate)

Liang Yi, Two Forms; Si Xiang, Four Images; Ba Gua, Eight Trigrams; Yi Jing. 64 Hexagrams

Each division of Yin/Yang theory about to be described has specific and profound individual meaning regarding forces of nature. More than symbols, they represent a language capable of simplifying complexity, seeking to crystallise insight and understanding. As with any new language, patience must be applied as we walk through what exists. As we pass through each grouping of lines, realise that each has its own focus and application; this is enough at this time.

Look at the images below, these are the images of Liang Yi, Si Xiang and Ba Gua. All lines show definitions of Yin and Yang. Liang Yi shows two lines at the base, Si Xiang shows the four symbols on the second row, and Ba Gua is represented by the top row of eight patterns. These images were created by Chinese culture 8,000—10,000 years ago. Understanding concerning Wu Ji and the Yin/Yang changing of Tai Ji came from the early culture long before this time.

 

constructing_64_hexagrams

 

All lines of the three illustrations represent degrees of Tai Ji within Wu Ji. The two lines at the base form the foundation: one is Yin and one is Yang; black represents Yin and white represents Yang. These two forms are titled Liang Yi. Liang means two.

To form specific contexts and further delineate Yin/Yang forces within Wu Yi, the grouping rising from Liang Li is Si Xiang. Si means four and Xiang means corners – four corners. As a base for Si Xiang, we see Liang Yi is doubled; Yang now has two lines and Yin also two lines. Yin/Yang with Yin/Yang placed on top forms Si Xiang. The two white Yang lines symbolise Tai Yang, greater Yang. Yang as the foundation or base with Yin on top is Shao Yang, lesser Yang. Yin as the foundation with Yang on top is Shao Yin, lesser Yin. Yin as the foundation with Yin on top is Tai Yin, greater Yin. Liang Li reflects two basic forces, and Si Xiang reflects four basic forces.

Traditional Chinese medical meridian theory is based upon Si Xiang. This is because all of the meridians of the body display characteristics that fall between Tai Yang, greater Yang; through Shao Yang, lesser Yang; Shao Yin, lessor Yin; and Tai Yin, greater Yin. The individual meridians of the body reveal, and are designated a Yin/Yang character, according to their intrinsic nature. Movement of the Qi through the meridian system goes from Tai Yang to Tai Yin. The changing character of Qi through the meridian system is defined by the four phases of Si Xiang theory.

It is important to remember the lines of all images are to be conceptualised and they are read from the bottom to the top (not top to bottom), and from right to left.

One Yin and one Yang line forms Liang Yi, two symbols. The two lines/symbols of Liang Li increase in an exponential manner to form Si Xiang, four corners. The four symbols of Si Xiang increase in the same exponential way to form Ba Gua. The eight trigrams of the Ba Gua increase in the same exponential way to form the 64 hexagrams of Yi Jing.

As experience increases regarding recognition of the language of these patterns, you will become able to see deeply into the minutiae of the profound macrocosm, and also any of the myriad Yin/Yang microcosms, of Wu Ji the great ultimate. These patterns do not only describe the positive relationships of nature and life, but also illumine just as clearly the characteristics that herald’s cataclysmic clashes/destruction; as opposing forces contact each-other. The level of insight contained within the 64 hexagrams of Yi Jing may take years to recognise and fully appreciate. A final result of this study is to reach for the realisation that these divisions also represent conditions of the differing mental/emotional states of spirit/consciousness. Confucius, at the age of seventy, stated;

If some years were added to my life, I would dedicate fifty years to study of the Book of I (Yi Jing) and then I might come to be without great fault.

 

king_wens_yi_jing

King Wen’s layout of the 64 hexagrams of the Yi Jing


Everybody must write out and memorise the lines of the Ba Gua. The Ba Gua training is from here. Ba Gua theory is used to describe the eight basic conditions/qualities of the universe, and also to define the Yin/Yang signature of the eight directions. When you practice the movements of Ba Gua Tai Ji you will directly experience the different character of the eight directions; you can feel they are different. On occasion during the Dao training course, we take turns being blindfolded, then to turn in a circle on the spot until someone calls out stop, then to ask which direction they are facing. When the quality of practice reaches a high level, then they know the direction.

Xian Tian Ba Gua and Hou Tian Ba Gua

Now look again at the two eight-sided Ba Gua images on the middle of the page. ??? The image on the left is Xian Tian Ba Gua. Xian Tian Ba Gua is laid out in such a way as to explain nature’s changes and is related to heaven, the elements, earth and how to balance life. The image on the right is Hou Tian Ba Gua. Xian Tian Ba Gua was created 8,000–10,000 years ago, and Hou Tian Ba Gua 3,000–4,000 years ago.

You can see the positions of the trigrams are different; this is because their uses are different. Suppose you want to check a house, the directions are different, good or bad, which part should face south and which part should always point to the north; this kind of study is from here. Regarding the Feng Shui of something (environmental relationships conducive to producing flourishing life) or how and where and which direction to place or face the house, geological and directional position, etc., the Xian Tian Ba Gua is used. Hou Tian Ba Gua is more concerned with living circumstances, plans, strategy, or battle plans, fortune, etc.

The trigram at the top of the Xian Tian Ba Gua is Chen Gua, heaven (Tian); on the bottom opposite Chen is Kun Gua, earth (Di); left of Chen is Dui Gua, marsh/lake (Ze); opposite Dui is Gen Gua, mountain (Shan); right of Chen is Xun Gua, wind (Feng); opposite Xun is Zhen Gua, thunder (Lue); left side centre is Li Gua, fire (Huo); and opposite Li is Kan Gua, water (Shui).

 

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Fu Xi Xian Tian Ba Gua

 

When observing nature we see these eight different aspects of heaven and earth every day. Suppose a person checks the position of a house and it has a Li, fire, character and the person wanting to live there has a Kan, water, character; water and fire will work very well as both elements precisely balance each other.

This is one way to use the Xian Tian Ba Gua. You can see the relationship of heaven and earth to each other and this will aid decision making. Examine the dominant aspects of a geological placement and decide its character, know your own character and then balance the two. Suppose you are an abattoir butcher, and thus are involved with a lot of killing – this would align with Zhen, thunder. A Zhen, thunder, character living in a Li, fire, character house or region would lead to a lot of trouble, always fight, fight, fight. If a butcher lived in a Kan, water, house or region, this is good and would clean up everything – they need water to cool and moisten the explosive nature of thunder – this is balanced. In this way the Ba Gua is related to the eight basic qualities of nature and demonstrates a way to find balance within diverse polarities. Tian, heaven, Ren, life, and Di, earth, must be balanced. Shui, water, and Huo, fire, must be balanced.

The first step of this study is to go through and recognise the different qualities of the Ba Gua trigrams. The next step is to write out the trigrams, Chen, Dui, and Li, etc., and follow how they change. See the reason why some are opposite to each other and why some enhance and balance each other. See why the Yin/Yang lines in particular placements represent a reflection of actuality. Remember the names and how they are related, fire, water, thunder and mountain, etc. You should reach the stage of drawing them from memory or with the eyes closed. Draw the Gua from the bottom upward. This is the study of Ba Gua, leading to understanding of the nature that surrounds us and informs us about the Dao of nature.

Tu Na, Exhalation and Inhalation.

What is the Dao? Dao is the way of natural life. We utilize knowledge of the Dao to understand nature and to benefit our lives. Follow your age, nourish the body in a natural way, and utilise Tu Na to strengthen the body. Tu is exhalation and Na is inhalation. Regarding Tu Na, we have many, many tactics to preserve and strengthen this vital function.

For example, in medical practice we refer to the Na Qi function of breath, specifically kidney Na Qi. From the inhalation of lung, the kidney is understood to "grasp" the lung Qi in order to draw the breath deeply into the body; from here it disseminates throughout the deep internal parts of the body. If upon inhalation, the breath cannot descend very well, this indicates that the kidney Na Qi function is not strong. The lung and kidney must be balanced; otherwise inhalation will be superficial in its penetration of the body, only reaching the upper parts. If not balanced, the Qi pushing energy will not go down and disseminate through the body fully and this is wrong.

Kidney Na Qi function describes the natural relationship between the lung and kidney. Similarly, all of the organ systems of the body are likewise interrelated. Disease states are all related to the kinds of relationships reflected by the Ba Gua. The complexities of movement and change, of inter-dependence and balance, of excess or deficiency, are all contained within the framework of the Ba Gua. You must be able to draw the Ba Gua and grasp the meaning of this study, or you cannot progress in your study of nature.

Lineage of Nature Dao

The lineage of Nature Dao study is vast. What I have studied and what I have been doing for over 60 years began with the study from the Nature Daoist, Guang Chen Zi. The time before Guang Chen Zi was difficult to access, as I could not find any conclusive history. One extremely ancient work still exists titled Hong Zhen Lao Zi; it is very very old, and indicated some things but still no special history. The person who continued the Nature Dao lineage after Guang Chen Zi was Yu Huang Da Di. Yu means Jade, which is pure and clear, and the best jade is found within the Kun Lun region. Nature Dao learning passed down from these times as a single stream of knowledge and this is the knowledge I have. Daoism has now separated into too many forms. The first separation was to Dao Jiao. This is the religious Dao with origins around 200 AD. I do not follow this way.

Daoist Lao Zi wrote the famous Daoist work Dao De Jing around 500 BC. I led students on the Academy China tour to Chengdu where we saw the Qing Yang Gong Daoist temple; Lao Zi taught here. Gong means temple. It is recorded in folklore that Confucius went to visit him there. Lao Zi s way was to follow nature and he taught that nature’s way is Wu Wei. Wu Wei means non-action, or letting things take their natural course. Not to worry about anything non-attachment to results, non-aggression, not to force anything, to enact a state of pure being, this being natures way.

Wu Wei actually has two meanings; the first is to remain very quiet inside, not reacting to anything. The second is Wu Bu Wei, anything against nature, seek to give direction and turn it back to nature. The actual way of the Dao is this; first achieve Wu Wei and then develop Wu Bu Wei. Wu Wei is not wanting to do anything. Wu Bu Wei is nothing I don’t want to do, what I have to do I will do, not to just allow nature to unfold as it will - but I will change/enhance nature, when appropriate, for the good and this is Wu Bu Wei.

Buddhism Origins in China

The flow of knowledge to my generation also included information from the Buddhist tradition. Buddhist origins were around 480 BC. The life of Sakyamuni, who became the Buddha (enlightened one), gave rise to this tradition. Buddhism entered China from India. It spread through Tibet, Urumqi, Lanzhou, and finally reached the ancient capital of the middle kingdom, Xian, in the first century AD. This was the time of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The Buddhists’ first Pagoda temple in China was erected at Luoyang. Legend has it that white horses carried the first scriptures from India to this place in 68 AD; hence the name (meaning White Horse Temple). At this time, Buddhism in India and Nepal had reached its peak and this was almost certainly the first time Buddhism had reached China. According to historical records, the Eastern Han Dynasty sent a team of scholars to Tibet to translate some of the major works of the Buddhist tradition.

It took about 200 years to spread Buddhism through to Xian. By the time the tradition spread throughout China, particularly after 65 AD, many of the traditional terms and vernacular had changed, as Chinese translations utilised Daoist terminology and meaning. Daoism was older and many thought higher, so a lot of aspects/concepts were already explained. Interpretation of Sakyamuni’s original teachings changed quite a lot during this time. The Chinese Buddhist tradition of the modern day has altered significantly from the original Indian form; the Chinese Buddhist tradition is not the same as the Indian Buddhist tradition.

We are not forming or joining any religion; this is not what we are doing. We are working to discover how we are a part of nature and this is related to Tian Ren He Di. Tian is heaven, Ren is life or centre (in-between heaven and earth), Di is earth and He means to balance – and Xing Shen He Yi is unity of form and spirit. How to do this? This is what we do – Nature Dao training consists of consistent exploration of Tian Ren He Yi and Xing Shen He Yi. The medicine of Dao is born from a deep understanding of these two, as sickness comes from disorder of Tian Ren He Yi or Xing Shen He Yi; thus, understanding is very important.

In China, the modern doctors of TCM cannot completely follow the way I practise medicine. This is because they do not fully study the Dao. A lot of patients go to China for treatment and are told by the doctors there to come back and see me; I have seen a lot of patients like this. Why this is so is because they know what I am, they know what I have done; they know the scope of my studies and their origins. When I visit there, all the top people come out to see me and this happens all over China.

The precepts of medicine all follow the nature/precepts of Dao. If we follow a way of life based on the natural laws of Tian Ren He Di, Unity of Heaven Man and Earth and Xing Shen He Yi, unity of form and spirit as enunciated above, then each stage of life is more fully lived and all life’s transitions are made with less distress. Follow the Nature Dao to help keep the body healthy; you will find out the principles of the medicine are very good and you can help other people also.

Fu Xi, Origins of He Tu and Luo Shu

Fu Xi created the Lou Shu Wei and He Tu Wei discourses. They have inspired important commentaries within Chinese culture since the time of their writing. Fu Xi began his writing by stating that nature is always very strong and he spoke about Tian Xing Jian and Jun Zi Zhi Qiang Bu Zhi.

Tian Xing Jian, Nature's Action Changes, Always Healthy

In this context Tian is nature, Xing is changing, and Jian, health as a natural state. This statement is saying that it doesn't matter how nature changes. If we follow the Dao of human life in relationship to nature, health will remain as a natural state. This is a very important statement. If this idea is understood very well and followed, it becomes possible to avoid becoming upset or lost and remain able to maintain natural holistic health for life. Tian is nature, Xing is action, and Jian is always healthy. To maintain Jian - holistic health, indicates we can assimilate and harmonise no matter what the change and still be OK. Nature changes from very good to very bad; from very bad to very good, always like this but still OK and this is meaning of Jian.

Jun Zi Zhi Qiang Bu Zhi, Wise Persons Continuously Strengthen Themselves

Regardless of natures changing, how do we remain healthy and strong? People are a part of nature and bound to the same laws of nature; as such, wise people must strengthen themselves and this is Jun Zi. Jun Zi means wise/good people. Gaining wisdom underlies our study. Jun Zi Zhi Qiang Bu Zhi is an important statement in this regard. Jun Zi is a wise person. Zhi Qiang is self-training/cultivation, and this is to make unremitting effort to improve oneself, constantly vigilant to become and remain strong. Bu Zhi is to never stop training and is the way to maintain Jian, natural health.

No matter how nature changes you can still stand strong. No matter what a person has to carry in their lives or how their lives may change, if they follow in this way they still find a way to stand up and this is my experience. This statement indicates that any person who develops a conscientious regular practice over an extended period of time will become concentrated in purpose, able to perform any task, and be mentally and physically strong enough to assimilate and harmonise with any change - without becoming upset, angry or lost. This is the way to always remain healthy and strong. No matter what happens in the world, you remain strong/balanced and well enough in tune with what surrounds you to access a way to stand up, thereby avoiding serious upset, never suffering emotional anger or disease.

Ba Gua Tu, Sixty-four Gua

Look at the He Tu diagram; all the sides are equal even though the Yin/Yang depictions are different. Luo Shu is the same. Luo Shu is read as a square and explains Yin/Yang characteristics of earth. He Tu is shown here in its ancient square form; it actually should be read in its circular form. He Tu explains patterns regarding heaven. When these two are merged together, they change to create the 64 hexagrams that make up the circular form of Ba Gua Tu.

Now look at the circular form of Ba Gua Tu below. The 64 hexagram Gua (each Gua now has six delineations) are drawn from the inside aspect of the circle out, never the other way around. The inner circle is earth; the outer circle is heaven. Care is taken to place the Yin/Yang lines correctly; Yin is black, and Yang is white. For example, look at the hexagram with Yang at the base (inside aspect of the circle) with five Yin lines on top; this line is called Fu. As we read the circular form of Ba Gua Tu, we must always read it from the inside circle outward, from one to six, never the reverse. The inner circle represents earth and movement stems from earth to the outer circle representing heaven. Earth is the foundation and movement is from earth to heaven.

This principle is the same with regard to people. If the physical body is weak then higher development is difficult and a person may easily become unbalanced. First you must stand up by moving through specific stages of development, build upon a strong foundation and become better and better again. Not just thinking I am the best, I can do it; no, this way will see a person fall down straight away because there is no foundation. The Ba Gua reflects the same idea; each line is built upward upon a foundation. A base is laid for support of the next level; this level supports the next and so on. The internal/inside is termed Nei Gua. Nei means internal, Wei means external, so Nei Gua is the inner circle, Wei Gua the outer circle. The meaning of Nei Gua and Wei Gua is from internal to external; first strengthen the foundation and build from here.

The eight-sided Ba Gua symbolises eight degrees of changing. These eight multiplied by eight expand to form 64 symbols now consisting of six levels rather than three.

 

64_hexagrams

 

The reason these 64 hexagrams are shown in a circular form is because we can more easily read their changing. In the future you will be able to look at this form and find out how nature is changing. You can use this form to relate to the nature of change.

The foundation of this study is to understand fully the implications presented by the eight-sided Ba Gua and this is the initial step. Study the three Yin/Yang levels of each trigram and try to see how by reading from the base up, they actualise fundamental collective forces of nature, said by pundits to be the eight basic conditions of the universe. When you can perceive these forces clearly, you have a foundation for discovering what surrounds you in any circumstance, whether physical – health, weather, or subtle mental emotional states of self and others.

I want everybody to be able to write out the eight Ba Gua symbols and associated elements, fire, water, earth, heaven, etc. In the future we will need this information as a base for further development of understanding. It must be clear or anything further will easily be missed.

Why do we have to understand how nature changes?

Zi Bian, Understand the Changing

If we are able to perceive and accept the changing of any circumstance before or as it happens, we can know the strength of the force against us and respond appropriately. We can know if it is too strong for us or not. Either way, clear perception will enable suitable steps to adjust/adapt naturally to any change. Zi Bian does not mean anything if it just means to hide in a house or to enact some kind of aggressive avoidance, or something like this. The natural extension from clear perception of the changing is the stream of knowledge concerned with appropriate adjustment, termed Ying Bian.

Ying Bian, Appropriate Adjustment

What do I have to do to improve the situation, what action's assimilate and harmonise changing circumstances without causing harm? Awareness that change is upon us (Zhi Bian) enables clear perception regarding circumstances and how our lives might be affected. Ying Bian now states the need for appropriate action to strengthen the situation and ourselves; in this way we avoid harm or upset.

This is how to enhance life and this is called the Nature Dao training. For example, when the weather changes, what do we do? What is the changing, how is it changing? I cannot go against the weather if it is too strong. I cannot allow myself to be upset so what do we do now? I have to stand up and work out what to do and how to do it. And this is why we need to build a strong foundation. The same calling to adapt appropriately applies within any branch of life and this is Ying Bian. The first is true perception and this is Zi Bian, what to do now is Ying Bian.

Ying Bian is actually to see the beginning and realise what is at the end - as an extension of the beginning. Once realised, this enables planning suitable for beneficial results. To understand all of this is to understand the reality of how nature adapts and we too hold this capacity, we too are a part of this natural dynamic. Fu Xi taught that unity of Yin and Yang is the foundation of Dao. Thus it is understood that Nature Dao is the study of nature and the application of natural balance to human life.

How do we perform appropriate actions?

A fundamental principle of Dao training is to perform actions without being controlled by Ming, Li, Chuen, and Yu. Since the earliest days of human existence, motivation from Ming, Li, Chuen, and Yu has to a lesser and at times a greater extent, caused profound effect to people and cultures. The cumulative effect of 20,000 years of their development within human culture has been too great. In the modern age, our natural senses (including those of natural adaptation) have all but been lost.

Animals sense natural change and know the Dao. For example, observe the behaviour of ants two or three days before heavy rain; they run around everywhere gathering and storing and taking refuge in high shelter - they already know what is coming. When you see ants moving to a higher refuge, you know rain must be coming - they already know. A long time ago I wrote a book about the nature of animal healing and how they do it. White cranes when constipated will draw water into their long beaks and twist to squirt the water into their anus and this is nature. Monkeys and elephants will travel great distances, unerring in navigation, to arrive precisely in time for the ripe fruit. Animals will search out specific foods when they are sick. I wrote about so many things like this, I wanted to understand more about nature’s natural intelligent and connection to healthy life - connection to the Dao. Animals know how to heal themselves. I also included information about the Australian Aboriginals in that book as well.

The purpose of Yi Jing and Ba Gua study is to understand the fundamental nature of change and then to spontaneously adapt to any change. We have to know how to get up again and go forward; this is why we study the Yi Jing (not I Ching). Yi Jing means changing - this changing always leads to not changing and then to changing again. This is why a person must develop good awareness. Jun Zi Zhi Qiang Bu Zhi, A Wise Person Continuously Strengthens Themselves, is a reflection of good awareness. It also means a person must know they can naturally do it, to remain strong and in touch with the changing and natural adaptation. Then it doesn’t matter how you or your life changes, you can still access a way to stand up.

Inappropriate adjustment causes upset

Trouble is caused from always feeling upset/agitated and people often don't know what to do about it; they are lost to their own natural senses and capacities. If a person does not know what to do and makes poor choices, then inappropriate adjustment to circumstance will always result. And in the same way, connection to natural nature will find a way through, while going against natural nature will lead to upset and trouble.

If a person cannot understand the above principles, they are easily upset or thrown off balance, they become upset or angry. Why be angry, always angry - what for? One must learn how to avoid resisting or pushing against circumstances by force. A person must understand how to shift with the changes. When you understand the changing, your inner dialogue acknowledges the situation and you have the confidence to work any problem through. Find a way to stand up and do it until you know that you are all right; in this way you remain happy and you can really do something of benefit.

And what is it we can really do and what for? The first step towards a real answer to this question is to find out: What are you?

Xing Shen, Form and Spirit

The starting point for an answer to this question is to understand that human beings are a combination of Xing, physical, and Shen, spirit. A foundation principle of Dao training is the simultaneous cultivation of Xing, physical form, and Shen, mental/emotional, collectively called spirit. What we are seeking to achieve is Xing and Shen development. This kind of training enables us to learn more about what and who we are. Xing, physical development, comes about through action. In our school we employ the martial physical arts training culture for development of every part of the body. For development of Shen, spirit, we utilise active and still meditation and Dao De - Dao ethics. The physical body, Xing, and the spirit, Shen are interconnected via the meridian Qi system. We actively seek to know about the Qi flow through the 12 main meridians and the eight extra meridians and this is Qi training.

Our way is to train both Xing and Shen. We do this through the practices of the Wu Gong physical arts to strengthen the physical body, Tai Qi Quan and Ba Gua Tai Ji training to develop internal and external Qi, and meditation and Dao De, Dao ethics, for Shen, spirit training.

Throughout my studies of ancient culture I have sought to separate out and bring forward the best of all that has been realised by good people, no matter from what tradition or ethnic heritage. Therefore, my lectures will include references from traditional Chinese medicine, (I have now been in clinical practice for over 60 years). Nature Dao, Buddhism from Xi Jian, the works of Confucius, who lived around 500 BC; China’s people have revered his teachings these last 2,500 years. So we put the best of these together to uplift of our knowledge and understanding for the betterment of our lives. For our main focus we will return to follow Nature Dao and the study of Yi Jing.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 October 2010 08:53