My First Step onto the Taoist Path

fanGirl

To be honest, I never thought that anyone would be interested in how I got started on the Taoist path.  It never seemed to be that interesting a process to me, but since I have had several queries by separate individuals asking about my own personal journey, please allow me to share my story with you, my precious fellow travelers.

This was how I became a Taobabe.

girlSadLet me be perfectly clear.  I wasn’t always a Taoist.

In fact, I was born into a Catholic family and was baptized (with special holy water) at a bona fide Catholic church.  My saint name was (still is) Maria, and my godmother was none other than a Catholic nun.

I was a good Catholic.  I went to church every Sunday with my family, and while everyone sat stupefied, with drool running down their chins, I would earnestly listen to the priest drone on and on about the sins of mankind and how we were all going to hell in a handbasket.

It was often quite boring, but I did my best to comprehend what I was hearing because as young as I was, I had decided that it was important to understand the Words of a most sacred Deity.

The knowledge was so important to me that I taught myself to read Vietnamese just so that I could read the bible cover-to-cover.  I wanted to understand the bible because, for some God-damned stupid reason, I felt the need to verify what the priests talked about every Sunday.

You see, I had learned early on that even adults sometimes got things wrong, and I could not afford to believe an adult’s version of the Words of a most sacred Deity without double-checking the exact same passages for myself.

It was a serious labor of love because I did not know how to read, and so I had to teach myself as best as I could, using a dictionary and asking my parents when I got stuck.  I had not yet attended formal schooling, you see.  I was only five years old at that time.

maryEven at that young age, I had determined that my favorite color was blue.  Not just any old blue, mind you.  It had to be the exact shade of a deep sky blue that Maria, the Mother of Jesus wore on her cloak.

I loved the color, not because of the color itself but because Mother Mary wore it.  I loved her white skin, her blue eyes, her light brown hair, and her European features.

I thought she was the most beautiful woman ever to have been born on the face of the Earth.  She was even more beautiful than my own mother, whose skin was not as pale, and whose hair was so much darker than hers.

You have to forgive me.  I was so very young and so very brainwashed.

But slowly, as my reading comprehension grew, I began to realize that she was of a different race than I was.  I also became aware that Mary, and everyone who was ever mentioned in that holy book, was from Israel.  Furthermore, they were all Jewish.

At the wizened and weary age of seven, I renounced Catholicism  after I grocked onto the fact that I was not, and could never be, part of the Christian God’s special chosen children, the Israelites.  I was born in the wrong area of the world to the wrong race of people, and no amount of amelioration from those around me could convince me otherwise.

Since I KNEW that I was a special kid, I didn’t want to be one of his leftover children, someone who was not his chosen, but was accepted out of pity or forbearance.  My reasoning was simple, and as it turned out, quite brilliant.  I deduced that if the Israelites had their own God, my own people must also have our own God, someone who had chosen us to be his special people.

It was then that I made a conscious decision to look for a God who would accept me as I was, a little Asian girl with no special skills, or great beauty, or amazing powers.  I didn’t know if there was such an entity as an Asian God, but I was going to go searching for him.

I started by asking my family about our family’s past and about our ancestral religions, and I found out some pretty cool stuff.

cropped-anime-girl-230.jpg

First, I found out I was the grandchild of a courtier.  My paternal grandfather was an herbal medicine man who worked for the royal court due to the fact that he was the younger of two sons in the family of a royal bureaucrat, a mandarin, if you will, with a now-defunct title similar to that of a duke.

The paternal family had three major religions, intertwined with each other.  The first was Ancestor Worship (more on this later), the second was Confucianism, and the third was Taoism.  Of the three, Ancestor Worship was the only one that actually had any type of formal ceremony.

The other two (C and T) were philosophical bents that the family ascribed to through thousands of years of adherence by word-of-mouth teachings.  My family were court scholars and so were very well-versed in both Confucianistic and Taoist thinking.

Since I knew my ancestors were not gods of any sort, this religion was the first to be discarded.  Confucianism was the second religion to go because although the man was a smart cookie, I knew he wasn’t a god either.

girlBW

That left Taoism as the final avenue for me to explore, but it was not easy to seek out information about Taoism because approachable books on this subject were very rare (emphasis on approachable).  They were also not left in every hotel nightstand around the country like bibles are.

girlHandFaceSince I could not find much on Taoism, I started searching through Buddhism, thinking perhaps it was similar to Taoism.  This was when I began going to the Nichiren Shōshū  temple and learning the Gongyo Lotus Sutra.

I was sincerely hoping that I could find the God that would regard me (and others like me) as his special chosen people.  But once again, I hit that same realization regarding Nichiren as I did Confucius.

Nichiren was no more a god than Confucius was.

Furthermore, I found Buddhism’s ideology to be quite pessimistic, and as a child who was more often than not, full of joie de vivre, its teachings of suffering did not resonate with me.  To put it simply, I was vibrating on a different wavelength, and constant suffering was not within the range of my amplitude.

By this time, I was 13 and a confirmed atheist.  I was convinced there was NOTHING out there.

NOTHING to find.  NOTHING to discover.  NOTHING to see.

I was barely a teenager, and I had given up on finding the divine in life.

tao-of-pooh-book-coverThis went on for a few more years until the 80s when, by a chance happenstance, I was in the library returning some books when I ran across a slim volume called The Tao of Pooh.

Something in me came alive and I grabbed the book.  Although I no longer believed in anything godly, I was still a curious kid and wanted to know what the heck Taoism was.

I zipped through the book in a very short time and a smile began to form on my face.  In very basic English, using very approachable colors and characters, the tenets of Taoism were presented in simple to understand language with nothing to mar its clean elegance.

To be fair, The Tao of Pooh was not an in depth study of Taoism, but it was not missing anything major.  The book explained in black and white, the basics of Taoism, and while there were no shades of grey in such a simple book, it was enough to kickstart my adventure into Taoism.

Those missing shades of grey, I would spend the next couple of decades trying to discern.  Even so, I did not think of myself as a practicing Taoist until I met my brother Derek Lin.  When I visited him at his temple, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a Taoist temple because to me, it always seemed as if it should be a philosophy, as opposed to a religion.

My decision to forego joining a formal Taoist temple was mostly due to my early experiences with formalized religion–experiences which had left a bad taste in my mouth.  I could no longer accept being taught about God in that primary school, memorization methodology.  I wanted to explore and find God for myself, in a more organic manner.

And find God, I did.

skyGirl

The highest goodness resembles water ~ Lao Tzu

In that one line, I had found the God that I was looking for.

A drop of water in an endless ocean is not only part of the ocean, it also contains the ocean within the boundary of its droplet form, held together by its surface tension.  This completely satisfies that duality requirement of Taoism I wrote about in one of my posts, Change (Part 5):  Sequent Change.  I didn’t have to go looking for God in any temple, or religion, or plane of existence called heaven.  God was not only within me, God was also all around me.

Furthermore, unlike Confucius or any of the Buddhas, none of whom ever claimed to be God, the Tao is actually another word for God.  In fact, we can use any word to replace the word God–the Tao, the Universe, the Force, the Source–it’s all the same entity that flows through us, and is contained within us.  I can call myself a Taoist or a Universalist or a Forcist or a Sourcist.  It really does not matter because it is nameless, and the nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth.

Advertisements

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn

Per a request from a reader:

After I posted an article which featured this song, I was asked to translate it, so I happily obliged.  It also gives me the chance to tell you an ancient tale about Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn.

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn

Ngọc Điện chốn kim môn cô ra vào
Ngọc Điện chốn kim môn danh thơm ngoài cõi tiếng đồn trong í í i i ì í i í trong cung
Sinh thay một thú cô đôi ngàn, bầu trời cảnh vật í i i ì í i,
Phong i quang bốn mùa ì trên bát ngát í trăm hoa đua nở dưới cảnh bầy cầm thú đua chơi
í i hi hì í a ới a a à à , ơi ới a a a à

Chim bay phấp phới mọi nơi cá treo ngược nước í i i ì í i
Lượn bơi vẫy vùng trên rừng tùng gió rung xao xác đỉnh sườn non đá vách cheo leo,
kìa dòng sông thương nước chảy trong veo í i ì í a ới a a à ới a à

Sông thương nước chảy trong veo
Thuyền xuôi người ngược í i i ì í i
Có tiếng hò reo vang lừng, nhìn đá núi mây hồng cao thấp
chứ ngàn cỏ hoa tăm tắp màu xanh

í i hi hì í a ới a a à à , ơi ới a a a à

Cô chơi bốn mùa gió mát trăng thâu i hoa thơm cỏ lạ í i i ì í i
mấy mầu ấm êm, nhìn cảnh vật rừng sim ao cá,
chứ đợt măng sang măng nứa măng tre, các bạn tiên đủng đỉnh ra về i ì ì i

Bài sai đố triệu lục cung, nàng ân nàng ái vốn dòng sơn trang
Tính cô hay măng trúc măng sang á a a á à à a

Hào quang sáng tỏ lưng trời
Một mầu xuân sắc tốt tươi rườm rà
Trên ngàn xanh lắm quả nhiều hoa á a a á à à a

ngàn xanh lắm quả nhiều hoa Cô đôi dạo gót vào ra sớm chiều.
Chiếc Gùi mây nặng trĩu lưng đeo
á a a á à à a (3)

The Translation:

The palace at Kim Môn (金門縣)[1], where she wanders about
The palace at Kim Môn, famous far and near
Reincarnate into a creature, the sky, the forest creatures,
Gentle winds blow all four seasons over fragrant flowers
on a meadow where tiny creatures play

Birds fly everywhere and fish jump upstream
Hawks glide over forested dale, atop the mountain ridge,
above the flowing crystal clear river Thương

The river Thương with its crystal clear flowing waters
Canoes going up stream, down stream
Along with the song of the people, look at the pink-cloud adorned mountain,
its ridges high and low, with its thousand trees and flowers, in various shades of green

She frolics through the four seasons, in gentle winds and clear moonshine,
on fragrant flowers and wondrous grasses
All colors warm and soft, the picture perfect paradise,
with ponds and  bamboo forests, along with her celestial fairy friends, go dancing home

A summons comes from the six palaces
she lovingly reincarnates into the village of Sơn Trang
Is it her or is it a bamboo bud?

Bright white aurora shines in the distant skies
A vibrant intense multi-faceted green
Above the skies showers many flowers and fruits

Above the skies showers many flowers and fruits
The Lady Đôi places her footprints on mortal lands
On her back a basket full of clouds

The Tale:

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn is the youngest daughter of Lâm Cung Thánh Mẫu Thượng Ngàn (林宮聖母) King of the Forest aka Princess La Bình,  who was, herself, the daughter of prince Mountain Spirit and Princess Mỵ Nương, the daughter of one of the Hùng Vương kings.

Cô Đôi Thượng Ngàn was granted the name Sơn Tinh Công Chúa (Mountain Spirit Princess).  Her days at the palace were joyful and simple, her only job was to be the personal assistant to her mother, the King of the Forest.

After a certain amount of time, in order to develop her spiritual self, she was given the order from the palace to reincarnate into the family of a landlord in present-day Ninh Bình, in the area of Sơn Lâm.  As a human child, She is described as very pretty, pale-skinned, raven-haired, with a perfect round face.

She grew older and when it came time, she asked to be placed within a temple which worshiped her celestial mother, the  Forest King Mẫu Thượng Ngàn.  There, she was taught the magiks and the celestial language to help the people of Sơn Lâm.

During her time incarnate, she could often be seen running through the forest with her celestial fairy friends, their voices often carried on the winds, singing strange songs in their wondrous celestial language.  She was a gifted and talented singer and poet; often appearing alongside noted famous people, quoting poetry and carrying on conversations with them.

Her color is green.  She wears flowers on her hair and gives lucky fruits to her followers.

[1] Kim Môn is a small archipelago of several islands off the coast of present-day China, in the region of Fujian.

Zeroes and Ones

anime girl 16

Zero

We have to start somewhere, and zero is the perfect starting point.  Since I have that dreaded mathephobia disease, I am rather handicapped and cannot calculate huge numbers in a multitude of dimensions, I need to use a computer to do the grunt work.  Now, I may be blonde, but I’m no dummy.  I know that to start any kind of data analysis using a computer, I have to have a starting point. Data analysts call this starting point base lining, which is an accurate measurement of process functionality before any input change occurs.

The base line is an arbitrary designation, but it is the ONLY arbitrary designation.  Once that designation is in place, all other points will spring forth from that very important first base line and will not be arbitrary.  They will be fixed.

The important question in my mind is—WHERE—would one put such an important designation point?  Since this is such an important designation, even though it is arbitrary, its placement is so important that if it is not placed in the absolutely perfect location, the calculations would be completely off.  When it is that important, I go to the I Ching for the answer, and of course, it has been answered in the support and discussion materials that surround the I Ching.

Chapter 2 of the Shuo Kua states that Heaven and Earth determine the direction.  OK, well, that’s something.  But it still doesn’t tell me whether I should use Heaven or Earth to start changing the direction.

Richard Wilhelm does have some thoughts on this and gives me a few more clues which contribute to this idea: “…at the beginning of the world, as at the beginning of thought, there is the decision, the fixing of the point of reference. … The premise for such a decision is the belief that in the last analysis the world is a system of homogeneous relationships – that it is a cosmos, not a chaos.”   The two fundamental hexagrams, the Creative and the Receptive are such points of reference; they determine a system of coordinates, ‘into which everything else can be fitted.’   This is good.  It corroborates what we know and give us sign posts along the way that tells us we are going in the right direction.

The Ta Chuan states in Chapter 1 that Heaven is high, the earth is low; thus the Creative and the Receptive are determined. *  OK, so now I have more clues.  We now have an up and a down.  Based upon the directions given, it is safe to say that we can go up indefinitely, but we cannot go down indefinitely, because at some point in the going down, it will shoot out the other side of the Earth and then it will be going up.  This means that the base line has to be the center of the Earth.  This is the one point where, no matter which way we move, it will always be up.

This is our starting point.  This is the computer’s 000.

motherearth

What makes this plotting system so great is that even though we have fixed it into the center of the Earth, it does not mean it’s completely fixed.  If we were to land on another planet and needed to use the I Ching for consultation of any sort, we simply use the center of whatever planet we happen to land on as 000 and from that vantage point, all other designations in the space between that starting point and Heaven will be able to be plotted.  It would be understood that the term ‘Earth’ or ‘Receptive’ would be a designation for any terra firma that we happen to find ourselves on.  At the moment, it’s only Earth, but that could change, in which case, the I Ching can shift its base line to accommodate.

The I Ching shows this flexibility in the Ta Chuan, Chapter 7.2:  “Heaven and Earth determine the scene, and the changes take effect within it.”

Chapter 4.4 in the same book states:  “In it are included the forms and teh scope of everything in the heavens and on earth, so that nothing escapes it.  In it all things everywere are complted, so that none is missing.  Therefore by means of it we an penetrate the tao of day and night, and so understand it.  Therefore the spirit is bound to no one place, nor the Book of Changes ot any one form.”

Now, plotting out the first point is fairly simple, and as I found out, to my delight and intense relief, there were others who had already done the hard work for me, folks without that dreaded mathephobia disease that I have—folks who swim and frolic through the waters of mathematics where I choke and drown.

Still, it is not easy.  Their information is dense and requires much digestion.  It’s a good thing my stomach has the constitution of a cow.  I just keep chewing on the material over, and over, and over, until the stuff finally sinks in.

This is what 000 looks like, as depicted in Dr Andreas Schöter‘s diagrams*** as based off of  Jozsef Drasny‘s** work.

000This diagram shows Khôn,  the Receptive Earth at level 0.  

It sits alone in the middle of a hexagram because it is a single point on a 2D plane that starts the whole shebang.  The reason for the hexagram shape is that there are six possible first level children that the Earth can spawn. More on that later.

Once we have fixed the position for Earth at the center of our planet, we can now designate a number set for Càn, the Creative Heaven.  The number set is 111, but it can get as large as it wants to because we can fill the spaces in between with as much as we wish.  This was clearly stated by Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching two thousand years ago: “The space between Heaven and Earth, Is it not like a bellows?  Empty, and yet never exhausted.  It moves, and produces more.”

If I didn’t say it before, I will say it now.  Lao Tzu is freaking brilliant.  All he had to look at were the same diagrams consisting of a bunch of little lines and dots that King Wen arranged in that weird formation that I was staring at.  He also didn’t have a computer to run the numbers at all, but he described the I Ching’s shape as a multi-dimensional entity with the ability to adjust its size to any situation.  Even back then, he knew it was not a two-dimensional entity.

 

111This is Càn, the Creative Heaven is at level 6. 

Obviously, between these two are other layers of the diagram, but these two lay the foundation for everything else so they need to be established first.  The rest are a bit more complicated and will take a little more time and space to talk about.

Next post, I will go into detail on the in-between levels so that we can begin to fill in the shape of the I Ching.

*  I Ching.  Book of Changes.  Richard Wilhelm.

**  Yi Globe. Jozsef Drasny.  Budapest. 2007

***  The Teikemeier/Drasny Sphere.  Dr Andreas Schöter. 2012

Hexagram 59: Dispersion and a Discussion of Crossing the Great Water

black-hole-quasar-water-cloudImage of APM 08279+5255 ~ NASA/ESA

When I first read about this exciting new discovery of an abundance of water (yes that’s right, sweet simple H2O) coming from a huge quasar out in the deep cosmic ocean, I thought to myself, WOOHOO!  We done found it now!  Two teams of scientists from our very own Caltech discovered it, and it is a doozie!

This quasar is so BIG, and so BRIGHT, and so VIOLENT that it is one of the most visible happenings in the cosmos!  It is so big that if we take all the water on Earth and multiply it at least 140 trillion times, that’s how much water is present around that quasar.

earth-waterIf all of Earth’s water can coalesce into one blue ball, this is what it would look like.  Salt water is the larger blue sphere, fresh water is the small blue dot. ~ image courtesy Gavin Rothery*

So just imagine this little blue blob of water, and then multiply it 140 trillion times.  All that water is roughly 100,000 times more massive than our own sun. **   OK, I don’t know about you, but I seriously cannot imagine 140 trillion volume of Earth water.  My head just doesn’t quite work that well when we get to numbers that astronomical.  All I can say is that if this isn’t the Great Water, then it should be.  There isn’t anything else like it in our cosmos.

Speaking of our cosmos…

This quasar is about 12 billion light years away from us, in essence, very close to the start of where it all began, back about 13.7 billion years ago.  In fact, if we can cross this ‘Great Water’, we will be on the cusp, at the edge of when all time and space and matter started.  We will be peering at the very moment when the Word was spoken and all things began.  Keep in mind these are high-end, hella expensive front row seats to the exact point of where it all happened.  With the right tools and enough money thrown at the problem, we can get back to the source of everything, back to the time and space when “Tao produces one, one produces two, two produce three, three produce myriad things, myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang, achieve harmony by integrating their energy…” ~ Lao Tzu

How exciting!!!

anime girl 68

I, for one, would love to cross this Great Water and return to the source to discover for myself how and where the light first began to shine.  I touched upon this briefly in my previous post, Holographic Nature of Our Existence, but to get to that zero point, we have to traverse this Great Waterway.

Many, many ancient texts have talked about it in depth, from the Uttaradhyayana Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada, even the Bible.  this Great Water, as referred to in these great holy scriptures, has been likened to a Great Journey of the Soul, a Great Test of Merit and Mettle, and even that Great Divide which separates the living and the dead.

In the I Ching, the image of wood over water (Sun over K’an) is repeated many times.  It tells of the ‘crossing of the great water’ using wood as a means of communication across bodies of water, and for travel to distant places.

This is the meaning of Hexagram 59 – Huan/Dispersion (Dissolution)

hexagram59

The Judgement
Dispersion.  Success.
The king approaches his temple.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Perseverance furthers.

The Image
The wind drives over the water:
The image of Dispersion
Thus the kings of old sacrificed to the Lord
And built temples.

Before I begin delving into the intricacies of Hexagram 59, I need to share something with everyone.  At the time that I was doing this divination in an attempt to address the question of what it meant to Cross the Great Water, there were several synchronicitous events that occurred.

The first was the happenstance of finding an old article, written back in July of 2011 from Caltech about the huge mother lode of water found at the edge of the cosmos.  The second was throwing the coins and getting Hexagram 59, and finally, when I opened my I Ching book to begin my reading, the pages, of their own volition, opened up at a section of the Ta Chuan which talked precisely about the Crossing of the Great Water.  With all three fortuitous happenings occurring within the space of a few minutes of each other, I decided that it was time to add another hexagram to my collection of written divinations.

Let me tell you, Hexagram 59 is a slightly tricky hexagram.  What I mean to say is that it is not saying what it seems to be saying.  To understand this hexagram, we have to combine the contextual meaning of the two trigrams of wood (sun) and water (k’an), as well as the ancient knowledge of the life and experiences of King Wên, who, at the time of the writing of this hexagram, was in a dungeon, awaiting his son, the Duke of Chou, to come and release him.  As I read the Judgement and the Image of this gnarly hexagram, I am beset with certain questions:  All this talk of water and temples and kings—what does all this have to do with what we are talking about?  Well, after a bit of meditative reflection, the answer shines forth, fully formed.

anime girl 32

This hexagram, though entitled Dispersion, is not talking about separation but rather unity.  The Dispersion that is indicated is one that is done by wood over water, which means a method of communication has been dispersed to reunite elements that had been previously separated.  The dispersion is that of dissolving that divisive egotism in people.  As Richard Wilhelm states in his translation of the I Ching:  “In the common concentration on this goal, all barriers dissolve, just as, when a boat is crossing a great stream, all hands must unite in a joint task.  But only a man who is himself free off all selfish ulterior considerations, and who perseveres in justice and steadfastness, is capable of so dissolving the hardness of egotism.”  ***

The sages of old, (or king) could do this by leading the people to a place of worship or a ceremonial gathering.  This place of worship (the temple) has the power to override petty divisiveness of the common human and unite the deep strong ties and emotions of a deep-rooted consciousness about the common origin of all things (the Lord).  This gathering is also utilized to set a high goal, a will of the people, so to speak, with a common great undertaking, that of creating a vessel that is mighty enough to cross the Great Water.

Now, the last part of this talks about the One Creator.  Wilhelm states:  “The hearts of men must be seized by a devout emotion.  They must be shaken by a religious awe in face of eternity—stirred with an intuition of the One Creator of all living beings, and united through the strong feeling of fellowship experienced in the ritual of divine worship.”   In order to build this great vessel, the people have to be united enough to do so, and the only method of unification is to touch the core of their belief in a single Creator of all living beings.  This means that there must be enough people who are able to comprehend the idea that we are not separate individuals, but rather individuated digits of the same hand of the Creator.  There must be enough people who can grasp the truth, which is that in this whole Universe filled with humans and other wondrous beings, there is only ONE of us here.

I have no doubt that we will eventually be able to cross that Great Water, whether by means of scientific achievements or by internal ascension of the collective souls.  Either way, we cross the waters.  We were all born with everything that we need to be able to navigate the waters.  Whether we choose to utilize what we know to build and create that reality which allows us to cross safely is up to us.  The fact that we are at the cusp of understanding HOW to do this herculean task is amazing, but it is nothing compared to understanding WHY it is necessary that we cross this Great Water.

Here is the tough part of the truth.  No one gets to step onto the other shore until all are safely across.  Whether we go with others or go alone, we can’t get to the other side until everyone is ready to go.  Why?  Because we are a single organism, that’s why.  All this petty talk about so-and-so being better than another so-and-so, well, that’s like saying my left eyeball is better than my anus.  If I want to cross the Great Water, I’m sorry, but I can’t take my left eyeball over without hauling my butt along as well.  There’s just no other way.  No compromise on this.  Get it?  Oarsman or no oarsman.  All go across, or no one goes across.

* http://www.gavinrothery.com/my-blog/2012/6/9/our-planets-water.html

** http://www.caltech.edu/content/caltech-led-astronomers-discover-largest-and-most-distant-reservoir-water-yet

*** I Ching.  Richard Wilhelm

Axiom of the Tao

tao axiom

Chapter 14 – Tao Te Ching

Look at it, it cannot be seen
It is called colorless
Listen to it, it cannot be heard
It is called noiseless
Reach for it, it cannot be held
It is called formless
These three cannot be completely unraveled
So they are combined in to one

Above it, not bright
Below it, not dark
Continuing endlessly, cannot be named
It returns back into nothingness
Thus it is called the form of the formless
The image of the imageless
This is called enigmatic
Confront it, its front cannot be seen
Follow it, its back cannot be seen

Wield the Tao of the ancients
To manage the existence of today
One can know the ancient beginning
It is called the Tao Axiom  

~  Lao Tzu  (as translated by Derek Lin)

 

In my previous post, Axiom: Self-evident Truth, I talked about the meaning of the word Axiom, and I talked about how truths change over time, as human knowledge and awareness grows and develops.  Since we all co-create the reality we find ourselves immersed in, that which appears within our collective minds as the currently accepted axiom of truth will shape what we experience at the moment of reality that we pass through in time.

This means that, for example, if we all decide that the Moon Axiom embodies the story of the moon goddess, Hằng Nga, then it would be the truth because we have made it so, and in doing so, we have used our minds to explain the world around us in a figurative fashion.  Once our understanding grows, our Moon Axiom shifts into a whole new dimension and we are again, able to explain the workings of the world around us, this time, in a more informed and more literal sense.

I have no doubt that once we have attained frequent and easy space flight, when trips to the moon are as common as a flight to Denver International Airport, we will have even more insights into the Moon Axiom, furthering the truths which will allow for a much clearer understanding of the future model of our Moon Axiom.  We will yet again, be able to shift into another paradigm of understanding whereby our future selves will laugh at our current understanding of the Moon Axiom, just as we laugh at the previous generations’ understanding of the Moon Axiom.

Stay with me here.

anime girl 70

I am belaboring this concept because I want to point out that this is a holographic way of looking at axioms.  Remember in my previous post, Holographic Nature of Our Existence, when I talked about the features that holograms exhibit?  Well, one of the important features of a hologram is that it can be broken into small pieces but it will still show the entire image, albeit a bit grainier and less clear than if the whole holographic plate is used to create the hologram.  Likewise, the more pieces of truth we gather about the moon, the clearer the Moon Axiom will appear to us, but missing a few pieces here and there is not going to make the moon unrecognizable.  Granted, it will show a grainy image of the moon in the perspective of the piece that is currently being viewed, but the fundamentals will be there.

Wait a minute, you may think.  That doesn’t sound right.  How does a fairy tale about Hằng Nga have any resemblance to the dusty spherical satellite that revolves around Earth?  Of course, the answer is, it doesn’t.  What it does have though, is the beginnings of a method of explanation about a nightly-occurring phenomenon that is cartoony and in primary colors because that is how one teaches young children to view the world.

We don’t start kindergartners off with complex formulas for the dimensions and distance of the moon in regards to the Earth and the Sun.  We start them off with metaphors and easy to grasp stories to develop their natural state of curiosity and creativity.  We start with basic shapes, accessible cartoon-like characters, and simple language to explain simple concepts.  As the child progresses in development, the stories get more complex, the images more realistic, the mathematics more advanced.  The absolute blacks and whites become more defined, a multitude of shades of grey become visible, allowing for a more complex, less distorted image to be revealed.

Alongside this more complex and clearer picture, the student eventually comes to the crashing realization that the fairy tales that have been told throughout the ages are only there to move the student along to a higher level of understanding.  The happily-ever-after ending so often parodied quite possibly may not end in that happy, happy, joy, joy fashion.  There may be a darker side to the bright and shining truth, nay, there MUST be a darker side that exists, as surely as the Tao has a yin and a yang, because that is how the universe exists.

I drew an analogy between the Moon Axiom and the Tao Axiom so that I could make a parallel that would be meaningful to the Tao Axiom and what it could possibly mean to the ancients who apparently knew what the Tao Axiom actually was.  So let me pull those questions I had asked earlier back out into the open so that we can digest it further.

What does Tao Axiom mean?
Tao Axiom means the Self-evident Truth about the Tao.

Is the Tao of the ancients the same as the Tao of the modern-day Taobabes?
Obviously not, since the Ancients operate on a different level of truth that the modern-day Taobabes (or anybody else, for that matter) have not yet reached.  The ancients had more pieces of the Tao hologram plate than we do.  Peering through a tiny shard shows us a fuzzy image of the whole.  Add to that our relative youth and inexperience and we are barely seeing amorphous cartoon blobs of primary colors moving about to try to attract our attention and to get our eyes to learn how to focus properly.

Can we really wield the Tao of the ancients?
Sure!  Once we grow out of childhood and into our godhood, we will be able to wield the Tao of the ancients.  It is our birthright, but as with all birthrights, we have to learn how to wield it and also earn the right to do so before it can be entrusted into our care.  How can an entire universe be turned over to ones such as we if we cannot even maintain the little romper room that is Earth?  Our little planet was not called The Planet of the Children for no reason.  We still have much to learn about our own treatment towards one another, and we still have to figure out how to keep Earth from convulsing in our toxicity.

Were the ancients’ scientific knowledge so vast that they didn’t even bother to have to go through the proof work of the Tao Axiom?
Yes.  And even if they wanted to, how could they possibly describe 248 dimensions of reality to those who have barely begun to explore the basics of electromagnetic, gravity, and time?  The proof work could only be explained once the scientific and spiritual knowledge of the student has reached a level that would be adequate to grasp the material.  Good news is—we are rapidly reaching that point where knowledge begins to burst forth in rapid successions, each growing from previous knowledge, gaining speed and traction as other points of knowledge converge and exponentially expand.  With the oncoming tide of quantum computing, we will crawl out from under the Stone, Bronze, Iron, and Steel age, to rise into the Diamond Age where we can manipulate atoms at will, and in the process, truly wield the Tao of the ancients.

anime girl 71

Omnivores Rule! The Case for K2

omnivoreVietnamese Tossed Salad with Steak Strips

We are omnivores.

We are not herbivores, nor are we carnivores.  These terms are classified according to the types of teeth we have in our heads (or lack thereof).  They are not utilized randomly, in a feely-touchy sort of fashion that comes and goes with the winds.  It is not a—“I feel sort of herbivor-ish today, so maybe I’ll have a salad for lunch.”

Most animals are either herbivores or carnivores.  There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, they are unable to adapt to external situations, thereby lessening their chances for survival.  We are lucky in that we actually have a choice in the matter.   We have been given the gift of the Four Teeth:  incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.  This means we have the ability to eat anything we can find that does not make us sick.

For us, if we can’t find any meat sources, we can eat roots, leaves, nuts, and flowers for awhile and that would see us through for days or weeks until we get a nice decent kill to augment our food sources.   Let’s say there’s a blizzard blowing outside and nothing is growing at the moment; we can also exist on an animal carcass for quite awhile before we have to go back out of our caves and look for roots or leaves.  We need both meat and plant life to stay healthy.  This is not a concession to any religious ideology (although I am a Taoist and I do believe in balance and harmony of everything).  This is simply the truth.

Let me repeat myself again for those of you who are still not clear on this.

SteamedFishSteamed Chilean Sea Bass

WE ARE OMNIVORES.

This means that to be at our optimum health, we need to eat a balance of both plant and animal substances.  Eating only meat will cause us to become unbalanced and develop diseases; likewise, eating only plants will also cause an unbalance and results in diseases.  Taoism is all about achieving balance within ourselves, as well as all things external.  This includes the food we eat.

Now, why am I ranting and raving on about this?  I’m really not trying to pick fights with the vegan or the vegetarian community.  I could care less what others eat.  If they want to deprive themselves of adequate nutrition, be it on their heads.  It has nothing to do with me.  I am writing this post to zero in on a very important vitamin, namely that elusive ‘activator X’ that Dr. Pete Peterson talked about, which as it turns out is actually K2.

What does this have to do with being an omnivore?  K2 (menaquinone) is ONLY found in bacterial and animal sources.  When animals consume vitamin K1, which is found in plentiful supply within green leafy vegetation, their tissues convert part of the nutrition into vitamin K2.  The mammary glands appear to be especially efficient at making this conversion, presumably because vitamin K2 is essential for growing infants.  Vitamin K2 is also produced by lactic acid bacteria, which of course also makes a host of other products that are not in and of themselves, meat.

anime girl 6

OK, OK, fine.

I will admit that technically, you don’t have to eat meat to get K2.  You can eat this fermented bean dish and get a high dosage of K2, but be forewarned.  The fermentation process involved with making this dish requires the workings of lactic acid bacteria, and these bacteria produce forms of K2 that are chemically different from those that animals produce.

Also, for those who have an issue with eating living organisms, last I heard, bacteria is a legitimate form of micro-organism and yes, you will be consuming them, body and all, as you eat their fermented processes.

And besides…

natto

(eww…)

Fermented beans (Nattō – なっとう) is not a good tasting food dish.  Trust me on this.

So, let me backtrack to the real reason for this posting.

K2

When I first heard about K2, I thought it was some miracle vitamin. How can one vitamin do all that it purports to be able to do, yet have received so little press? Shouldn’t this information be given to those who really need it the most, namely women and children?

Of course, when I realized the benefactors of this information would be women and children, I sighed. When did women and children ever make the cut when it came to being provided with important information? When did osteoporosis or children’s teeth development matter that much to men any way?

Well, here is the scoop.

  • Vitamin K2 is only synthesized by animal tissues, including the mammary glands, from vitamin K1, which is found in association with the chlorophyll of green plants in proportion to their photosynthetic activity. *  Although humans do have a limited capacity to convert vitamin K1 to K2, this converted K2 is vastly inferior to obtaining K2 through a diet rich with K2.  Humans require PREFORMED K2 in the diet to obtain and maintain optimal health.
  • Vitamin K2 is the magic ingredient that activates proteins which are dependent on the vitamins A and D to work.  In other words, any protein that needs a command from A and D to do anything at all will simply not have the ability to carry out those commands without the ability to bind calcium to themselves.  K2 looks around, finds free-floating calcium, snags it, and brings it to the protein, which then binds to it and does what it needs to do.  A good example of this is Osteocalcin, a protein that is used to deposit calcium and phosphorus salts into bones and teeth.
  • OsteocalcinOur body will only produce osteocalcin in the presence of both vitamins A and D; however without K2, osteocalcin does nothing even in the presence of A and D, because it requires K2 to confer upon it, the physical ability to bind calcium.  Without Vitamin K2, the body cannot remove calcium from arteries where it’s not needed, and direct calcium to the bones where it is needed.  This leads to a combination of both osteoporosis AND atherosclerosis.
  • Speaking of which—vitamin K2 deficiency causes calcification of the cardiovascular system. That’s because, as I stated above, it takes the excess calcium from the blood and transfers it to the bone tissues. Cardiovascular calcification is ubiquitous in populations aged 63 and above. According to “The Rotterdam Study, which prospectively followed just over 4,600 men aged 55 or older in the Netherlands, the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification, a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), a 51 percent lower risk of CHD mortality, and a 26 percent lower risk of total mortality.” *  In this manner, not only does K2 repairs and increases bone mass in people with osteoporosis, it also protects arteries from calcification, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease in people with cardiovascular disease. **
  • Vitamin K2 pulls calcium out of saliva and adheres it to teeth to regrow dentin and reverse damage done by bacteria.  It does this by changing the chemical behavior of saliva from phosphorus-accepting to phosphorus-donating.  Although more research needs to be done, preliminary studies conducted by German researchers in 1955 showed that ingested K2 was far more effective than topically applied K2, such as those that could be found in chewing gum laced with K2.  So basically, K2 will also keep our teeth from rotting out of our heads.

But of course, as I have stated on many occasions.  I am no health nut.  I rarely ever do things just for the health benefit (unless it’s exceedingly easy OR it tastes really good any way…I’m a glutton…I freely admit).  The main reason that I am interested in K2 has little to do with osteoporosis and mostly to do with a tiny little gland in my head called the pineal gland (more about the pineal gland in my previous post, Star Wars, the Force, and the Third Eye).

This little gland, called the pineal gland, is responsible for many magical visions that I, as a modern-day writer, artist, and musician rely upon for my continued creative works.  Unfortunately, as we age, the pineal gland also calcifies.  Dr. Jennifer A Luke discovered this phenomenon back in 1997 when she wrote a paper entitled The Effect of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland.

Fluoride is identified as the culprit which causes calcification of the pineal gland.

anime girl 38

Umm… yeah, it’s the same stuff we brush our teeth with, drink as part of our water additive, and bathe every day in.

Now, I’m NOT gonna stop brushing my teeth, drinking water, and bathe just to keep my pineal gland from hardening.  First of all, that just seems like a tedious way to deal with the situation, and I do my best to go with the flow, be like water, you know, just find the simple solution and go with that.

Well, in the spirit of (being rather lazy and wanting to keep brushing my teeth, keep bathing, yada yada yada) being a Taobabe, I decided to add K2 to my diet every day.  The absolute BEST source for K2, as highly recommended by David Wilcock, is skate liver oil.  It is literally swimming in K2.  I take two skate liver oil caplets and two cod liver oil caplets a day.  At ten calories per capsule, that’s not too bad, and it’s simple enough.  Swallow the capsules with your lunch (or your dinner if you forget to do it at lunch).

It doesn’t matter, really, the minute shades of grey.  After decades of neglect, my pineal gland is probably a brick by now.  Still, we have to try what we can to get it to buzz again, and if, along the way, I reverse my genetically predisposition for osteoporosis, or if my arteries become less clogged and healthier, or even if I just get some stronger teeth, it’s all good.

It’s all good.  🙂

* http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2#article

**  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15320745

Axiom: Self-evident Truth

darkness girl

There is no need to prove that the moon exists.  It is self-evident.  It comes out every night in varying shapes for about 28 days and then it’s gone for the remaining three days or so.  Its cycle is so regular, I can calculate my menses to it.  The tides are affected by the moon.  Animals time their routine activities around moon cycles.  Indeed, some animals actually use the moon cycles to have moonlight sex, so in a sense, they have a sexual relationship with the moon.  We can say that there is a Moon Axiom.

ax·i·om
1. a self-evident truth that requires no proof.
2. a universally accepted principle or rule.
3. Logic, Mathematics . a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it.  ~  Dictionary.com

Axiom
An axiom is a premise or starting point of reasoning. As classically conceived, an axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy.[1] The word comes from the Greek ἀξίωμα ‘that which is thought worthy or fit,’ or ‘that which commends itself as evident.’[2][3] As used in modern logic, an axiom is simply a premise or starting point for reasoning.[4] Axioms define and delimit the realm of analysis. In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted within the particular domain of analysis, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory and domain dependent) truths. An axiom is defined as a mathematical statement that is accepted as being true without a mathematical proof.  ~  Wikipedia.org

Given that the word ‘axiom’ means ‘self-evident’ without the need for proof, mathematical or otherwise, it is quite amazing to me that it would be found in the last line of Chapter 14, from an extremely literal translation of the Tao Te Ching written by Derek Lin.

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 14

Look at it, it cannot be seen
It is called colorless
Listen to it, it cannot be heard
It is called noiseless
Reach for it, it cannot be held
It is called formless
These three cannot be completely unraveled
So they are combined in to one

Above it, not bright
Below it, not dark
Continuing endlessly, cannot be named
It returns back into nothingness
Thus it is called the form of the formless
The image of the imageless
This is called enigmatic
Confront it, its front cannot be seen
Follow it, its back cannot be seen

Wield the Tao of the ancients
To manage the existence of today
One can know the ancient beginning
It is called the Tao Axiom  ~ Lao Tzu

So what does Tao Axiom mean?  And is the Tao of the ancients the same as the Tao of the modern-day Taobabes?  Can we really wield the Tao of the ancients?  Were the ancients’ scientific knowledge so vast that they didn’t even bother to have to go through the proof work of the Tao, and simply said, ‘eh, it’s the Tao Axiom.  It’s so self-evident, why would we even bother to try and explain it?”

But that’s like saying to one of my ancestors from four-thousand years ago, “Eh, no worries.  The moon is just a satellite that revolves around the Earth due to gravitational forces which keeps it circling around us—no biggie deal.  It’s just a Moon Axiom.”

Lacking a broader knowledge base to draw further conclusions from, I imagine they would simply shake their heads and think I am an ignorant and crazy witch for not understanding the truth about the moon goddess, Hằng Nga. Hadn’t anybody told me about the story of that beautiful courtesan who lived in a castle far above the skies, out in the endless depths of space?

space window

Her days were endless delights.  She roamed about the sky palace, doing wonderful things, learning about the heavens, playing with other courtesans, and serving the Royal Sky Emperor.

downedship

Unfortunately, Hằng Nga was not just quick-witted, she was also quite mischievous, and so one day, she did something that so sorely displeased a superior officer, she was sent down to Earth to redeem herself.  As a space-faring member, she was different from the locals, both physically and mentally.  Her great beauty and unique ideology caught the eyes of a mortal king.

beautiful-pair 2

He married her, but in the course of their marriage, she did something which enraged him.  She swallowed a single immortality pill, the only one that the king had, which he had gone to great pains to acquire.  There ensued a great chase, which caused Hằng Nga to jump out of a window at the top of the castle turret.  However, instead of falling to the ground, she flew upwards and was captured by a bright orb which took her to the bright full moon above.

girl-in-a-spaceship

She is said to be currently residing on the moon.  But who knows…

In any case, I still need to answer those questions I posed earlier.  Those questions will be addressed in my post Axiom of the Tao.