Le Bateleur – Tarot 1 – Fluidity

The translation to Magician is a bit of a stretch I think it means juggler {?}.

This Tarot card corresponds to the Jewel of Awareness fluidity. I think it fair to say that I am a fairly fluid being, certainly my mind and my interest are capable of switching subject quickly. But fluidity means a little more than flexibility it means in many ways Dao and going with the flow of life not trying to force. It means respond and not react.

If you look at the card here the chap has all his tools, his skills and abilities laid out in front of him on his table and when faced with a problem(table) or a decision he might be thinking what shall I use from my skill set? How best to proceed.

In his left hand he holds either a wand or as I prefer to think of it a flute, perhaps a magic flute, Die Zauberflöte. The coin in his right hand may be about to disappear up his sleeve. One can imagine him leading a stream of rats or children as he dances through the streets of Hamlyn.

Here is a verbalisation by Theun Mares.

It is also the card of the Westerly Dreamer, the female dreamer in the West the place of the Dreamers in Space. It is the card of facing the unknown and to do this with rigidity can only end in disaster. One has to be fluid with what life and the universe sends for us.

On and off these last few days I have been “getting” this card breaking through…

Tao and Wu Wei

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word “Tao” (道) has a variety of meanings in both ancient and modern Chinese language. Aside from its purely prosaic use to mean road, channel, path, principle, or similar, the word has acquired a variety of differing and often confusing metaphorical, philosophical and religious uses. In most belief systems, the word is used symbolically in its sense of ‘way’ as the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ way of existence, or in the context of ongoing practices of attainment or of the full coming into being, or the state of enlightenment or spiritual perfection that is the outcome of such practices.

Some scholars make sharp distinctions between moral or ethical usage of the word “Tao” that is prominent in Confucianism and religious Taoism and the more metaphysical usage of the term used in philosophical Taoism and most forms of Mahayana Buddhism; others maintain that these are not separate usages or meanings, seeing them as mutually inclusive and compatible approaches to defining the principle. The original use of the term was as a form of praxis rather than theory – a term used as a convention to refer to something that otherwise cannot be discussed in words – and early writings such as the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching make pains to distinguish between conceptions of the Tao (sometimes referred to as “named Tao”) and the Tao itself (the “unnamed Tao”), which cannot be expressed or understood in language. Liu Da asserts that the Tao is properly understood as an experiential and evolving concept, and that there are not only cultural and religious differences in the interpretation of the Tao, but personal differences that reflect the character of individual practitioners.

The Tao can be roughly thought of as the flow of the Universe, or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the Universe balanced and ordered. It is related to the idea of qi, the essential energy of action and existence. The Tao is a non-dualistic principle – it is the greater whole from which all the individual elements of the Universe derive. Keller considers it similar to the negative theology of Western scholars, but the Tao is rarely an object of direct worship, being treated more like the Hindu concepts of karma or dharma than as a divine object. The Tao is more commonly expressed in the relationship between wu (void or emptiness, in the sense of wuji) and yinyang (the natural dynamic balance between opposites), leading to its central principle of wu wei (inaction, or inexertion).

The Tao is usually described in terms of elements of nature, and in particular as similar to water. Like water it is undifferentiated, endlessly self-replenishing, soft and quiet but immensely powerful, and impassively generous. Much of Taoist philosophy centers on the cyclical continuity of the natural world, and its contrast to the linear, goal-oriented actions of human beings.

In all its uses, the Tao is considered to have ineffable qualities that prevent it from being defined or expressed in words. It can, however, be known or experienced, and its principles (which can be discerned by observing Nature) can be followed or practiced. Much of East Asian philosophical writing focuses on the value of adhering to the principles of the Tao and the various consequences of failing to do so.

The Tao was shared with Confucianism, Chán and Zen Buddhism and more broadly throughout East Asian philosophy and religion in general. In Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the object of spiritual practice is to ‘become one with the Tao’ (Tao Te Ching) or to harmonise one’s will with Nature (cf. Stoicism) in order to achieve ‘effortless action’ (Wu wei). This involves meditative and moral practices. Important in this respect is the Taoist concept of De (德; virtue). In Confucianism and religious forms of Taoism, these are often explicitly moral/ethical arguments about proper behavior, while Buddhism and more philosophical forms of Taoism usually refer to the natural and mercurial outcomes of action (comparable to karma). The Tao is intrinsically related to the concepts yin and yang (pinyin: yīnyáng), where every action creates counter-actions as unavoidable movements within manifestations of the Tao, and proper practice variously involves accepting, conforming to, or working with these natural developments.

Sun Tzu or Laozi {Lao Tseu}

Who is best Sun Tzu ot Laozi?

Which of these speaks to you?


The ancient adepts of the Tao were subtle and flexible, profound and comprehensive.

Their minds were too deep to be fathomed.

Because they are unfathomable,

One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance.

Hesitant like one wading a stream in winter;

Timid like one afraid of his neighbours on all sides;

Cautious and courteous like a guest;

Yielding like ice on the point of melting;

Simple like an uncarved block;

Hollow like a cave;

Confused like a muddy pool;

And yet who could quietly and gradually evolve from the muddy to the clear?

Who else could slowly but steadily move from the inert to the living?

He who keeps the Tao does not want to be full.

But precisely because he is never full,

He can always remain like a hidden sprout,

And does not rush to early ripening.

Zen Sayings

Sitting Quietly


“Sitting quietly, doing nothing,

Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” Zenrin Kushû (The Way of Zen 134, 222)



“The blue mountains are of themselves blue mountains;

“The white clouds are of themselves white clouds.” Zenrin Kushû (The Way of Zen 134, 222)

Mountains are Mountains

The famous saying of Ch’ing-yüan Wei-hsin (Seigen Ishin):

老僧三十年前未參禪時、見山是山、見水是水、及至後夾親見知識、有箇入處、見山不是山、見水不是水、而今得箇體歇處、依然見山秪是山、見水秪是水 (The Way of Zen 220 k)

Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters. 13

13 Ch’uan Teng Lu, 22. (The Way of Zen 126)

“Before a man studies Zen, to him mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after he gets an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, mountains to him are not mountains and waters are not waters; but after this when he really attains to the abode of rest, mountains are once more mountains and waters are waters.” (Essays in Zen Buddhism – First Series 24)

Eternity in an hour

萬古長空    An eternity of endless space:

一朝風月    A day of wind and moon. (The Golden Age of Zen 246, 322 n.2)

“One of the most frequently reiterated couplets in Chinese Zen literature” (The Golden Age of Zen 246)


天地同根    Heaven and earth and I are of the same root,

萬物一體    The ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.

Zen Master Sêng-chao/Sõjõ (僧肇 384-414)

“Nan-ch’uan and his lay disciple Lu Hsuan (陸亘). Lu was reciting Seng-chao’s saying:

天地與我同根      Heaven and earth come from the same root as myself:

萬物與我爲一      All things and I belong to one Whole.

However, he did not really understand the full purport of it. Nan-ch’uan pointed at the peonies in the courtyard, saying, ‘The worldlings look at these bush of flowers as in a dream.” Lu did not see the point.” (The Golden Age of Zen 285)

陸大夫向師道、「肇法師、也甚奇怪、解道”天地與我同根、萬物與我爲一”」師指庭前牡丹花曰、「大夫、時人見此一花株如夢相似」 (The Golden Age of Zen 324 n.92)

“While Rikkõ, a high government official of the T’ang dynasty, had a talk with his Zen master Nansen, the official quoted a saying of Sõjõ, a noted monk scholar of an earlier dynasty:

Heaven and earth and I are of the same root,

The ten-thousand things and I are of one substance

and continued, ‘Is not this a most remarkable statement?’ / Nansen called the attention of the visitor to the flowering plant in the garden and said, ‘People of the world look at these flowers as if they were in a dream.’ ” (The Essentials of Zen Buddhism 483-4)


Merge your mind with cosmic space, integrate your actions with myriad forms.

Ch’an master Hung-chih Cheng-chüeh (宏智正覺 Wanshi Shõkaku, 1091-1157)

(Transmission of Light xi)



“Entering the forest he moves not the grass;

Entering the water he makes not a ripple.” Zenrin Kushû (The Way of Zen 152, 224)

Everyday Mind

争如著衣喫飲、此外更無佛祖 “There’s nothing equal to wearing clothes and eating food. Outside this there are neither Buddhas nor Patriarchs.” Zenrin Kushû (The Way of Zen 152, 224)

Seeking the Same Thing

From the K’un-lun mountains eastward the (Taoist) term “Great Oneness” is used. From Kashmir westward the (Buddhist) term sambodhi is used. Whether one looks longingly toward “non-being” (wu) or cultivates “emptiness” (sunyata), the principle involved is the same. 4

4 Quoted by Fung Yu-lan (1), vol. 2, p. 240, from Seng-yu, Ch’u San-tsang Chi-chi, 9. (The Way of Zen 82)

Ocean of Pure Reality

清淨眞如海 Ocean of pure Reality,

湛然體常住 Its substance, in fathomless quiescence, exists eternally.

Ch’an master Fo-kuang Ju-man (佛光如滿 Bukkõ Nyoman)

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 64)

Great Unity


There is one thing: above, it supports Heaven; below, it upholds Earth. It is black like lacquer, always actively functioning.

Ch’an master Tung-shan Ling-chia (洞山良价 Tõsan Ryõkai, 807-869)

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 74)

Man of Tao


Like the clear stillness of autumn water—pure and without activity; in its tranquil depths are no obstructions. Such an one is called a man of Tao, also, a man who has nothing further to do.

Wei-shan Ling-yu (溈山靈祐 Isan Reiyû)

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 66)



“When you forget the good and the non-good, the worldly life and the religious life, and all other dharmas, and permit no thoughts relating to them to arise, and you abandon body and mind—then there is complete freedom. When the mind is like wood or stone, there is nothing to be discriminated.” Pai-chang Huai-hai (百丈懷海 Hyakujõ Ekai, 720-814)

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 63)

Speech and Silence


“Speech is blasphemy, silence a lie. Above speech and silence there is a way out.”

I-tuan (義端) one of Nan-ch’uan’s great disciples (The Golden Age of Zen 250, 322 n.13)


説不處用無盡      What is inexpressible is inexhaustible in its use.

A Chinese Zen master (The Golden Age of Zen 253, 322 n.19)



I would rather sink to the bottom of the sea for endless eons than seek liberation through all the saints of the universe. Shih-t’ou (石頭) (The Golden Age of Zen 270, 323 n.57)


丈夫自有衝天志  The full-grown man aspires to pierce through the heavens:

莫向如夾行處行  Let him not walk in the footsteps of the Buddha!

Ts’ui-yen (翠巖可眞) (The Golden Age of Zen 270, 323 n.59)

Bodhidharma’s Definition of Zen

Four Sacred Verses of Bodhidharma (Daruma no Shiseiku 達磨四聖句)

教外別傳    Kyõge betsuden    A special transmission outside the scriptures;

不立文字    Furyû monji          No dependence upon words and letters;

直指人心    Jikishi ninshin                Direct pointing at the soul of man;

見性成佛    Kenshõ jõbutsu     Seeing into one’s nature and the attainment of Buddhahood.

Bodhidharma (Essays in Zen Buddhism – First Series 176)

Accomplishing Beforehand

“When the task is done beforehand, then it is easy.” Zen master Yuan-tong

(The Tao of Abundance 100)

Begin at the Top

If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top. Zen saying

Every Day is a Good Day


“Everyday is a good day.” (Nichi nichi kore kõjitsu.)

Yün-men (Unmon) Hekiganroku case 6

No Work, No Eating


“A day without work, a day without eating.”

“When there’s no work for a day, there’s no eating for a day.” (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 62)

Ichijitsu nasazareba, ichijitsu kuwarazu. (一日作さざれば、一日食わらず。)

Pai-chang Huai-hai (百丈懷海 Hyakujõ Ekai, 720-814)

Living Dead

許多死漢、送一個活漢 What a long procession of dead bodies follows the wake of a single living person! Chao-chou Ts’ung-shen (趙州從諗Jõshû Jûshin)

“At the funeral of one of his monks, as the Abbot joined the procession, he remarked, ‘What a long procession of dead bodies follows the wake of a single living person!’ ” (The Golden Age of Zen 145, 309 n.47)

Mind is Buddha

Asked “What is buddha?” (如何[是]佛) Ma-tsu replied “This very mind, this is Buddha.” (即心即佛 or 即心是佛. Sokushin sokubutsu.)

Mumonkan case 30 (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 53)

No Mind No Buddha

Asked “What is buddha?” (如何[是]佛) Ma-tsu replied “Neither mind nor Buddha.” (非心非佛. Hishin, hibutsu.)

Mumonkan case 33 (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 53)

This Very Mind is Buddha

自心是佛 Jishin zebutsu. “Your own mind—this is Buddha.” Ma-tsu

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 55)

No Mind No Buddha Not a Thing

不是心不是佛不是物 “This is not mind, this is not Buddha, this is not a thing.” (Fuzeshin, fuzebutsu, fuzemotsu.) Nan-chüan (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 55)

No Clinging

不着不求 “No clinging, no seeking.” (Fujaku, fugu.) Pai-chang (Hyakujõ)

(The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 62)

All Dharmas are Mind-Created

故三界唯心 “Therefore the Three Realms are only mind” (Yue ni sangai yuishin) Ma-tsu Tao-i (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 54)

法界一相 Ultimate reality has a unified form. (Fa-chieh i-hsiang./Hokkai issõ.) Buddha

(Early Ch’an in China and Tibet 107)

Great Tao

不二大道 “The non-dual Great Tao.” (Funi Daidõ) Chao-chou Ts’ung-shên (趙州 Jõshû Jûshin) (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 61)

No Delusive Thoughts

幕妄想 “Away with your delusive thoughts!” “Don’t be deluded!” (Maku mõzõ!)

Ch’an master Wu-ye (Mugõ, 760-821) (Zen Word, Zen Calligraphy 65)

Whatever the master was asked, he replied “Maku mõzõ!”

(I’m not sure about the first character 幕, it may be incorrect.)

Who is This

不識 [I] know not. (Fushiki.) Bodhidharma

No Merit At All

廓然無聖 Vast emptiness, nothing holy! (Kakunen mushõ.) Bodhidharma


身心脱落 “Body and mind dropped off.” (Shen-hsin t’o-lo./Shinjin datsuraku.) Dõgen

Dõgen’s words describing his enlightenment (This is not a saying)

(Zen Buddhism: A History vol. 2, 107 n.24)

身心脱落 “Body and mind dropped away.” (Zen Master Dogen 32)

身心脱落 (Casting off [both] body and mind.)

Hui-neng’s Enlightenment and Diamond Sutra

Fifth Patriarch Hung-jen (弘忍 Gunin or Kõnin, 601-674) signed Hui-neng to go to his chamber at the third watch in the evening.

“When the two were face to face in the stillness of the night, the Patriarch expounded the Diamond Sutra to his disciple. When he came to the sentence: “Keep your mind alive and free without abiding in anything or anywhere,” Hui-neng was suddenly and thoroughly enlightened” (The Golden Age of Zen 62)

應無所住而生其心 “Keep your mind alive and free without abiding in anything or anywhere.”

Diamond Sûtra (Vajracchedikâ [Prajña Paramita] Sûtra) (The Golden Age of Zen 300 n.6)

“To awaken the mind without fixing it anywhere” (Essays in Zen Buddhism – Second Series 32)


Note on Sources

1. Zenrin Kushû 禪林句集 “Ch’an lin lei chü in twenty fasciculi compiled in the year 1307. The title means ‘Zen materials (literally, woods) classified and collected’. The book is now very rare.” (Essays in Zen Buddhism – Second Series 253 n.1)

Also see Watts, The Way of Zen 117 n.4; Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism: A History vol. 2, 47 n.113

Extracted from the Sacred Text Archive

Zazen “Haiku”

a memory evening

forgotten in the sunset

burnishes copper kettles

holding linen gloves

performing léger de main

with destiny’s child

hidden pathways unwind

each nascent moment

ever pregnant pauses

judge and jury mind

hears not the birdsong

resenting coming dawns

a tear meanders lost

on a forsaken face

quenching desert lilies

sandcastle dreams ebb

and flow, with the

incoming tides of life

under the arch’s curve

fate shelters a while

as the earth drinks deep

raindrops softly caress

verdant carpets drawn

on canvas fields

watercolours paint margins

for the Soul to journey

a leather coracle in Dao

the profound silence of ponds

hears water boatmen

tickle trout with song

the wind plays flute

a chimney blows smoke rings

beech logs in the fire

cows chanting mantra in sheds

the prayer bell chimes

a farmer brings fresh hay

the kestrel hovers hungry

seeing beyond horizons

keen for future dreams

the woodcutter’s solitude

cuts axe blade sharp

through logs mundane

spiced wine warming

the veins of golden ore

pumped only by heart

the acrobat squirrel

crosses the swaying canyon

between century’s pylons

semaphore trees

waving long naked fingers

in winter’s winds

the point before mind

waits for the ripple of

a passing thought

stardust falls silent

for those who wait

no footprints in the snow

a match scratches a back

a hint of phosphorous

fire eases the itch of cold

moss on the trees

hiding from sunrays

growing only aeon’s beards

the wise old yews

cracking knuckles in the breeze

have watched millennia

the moorhens plink

pennies in a fountain

wishing for luck at dawn

a carrion crow plucks

a hearty breakfast

at the roadside café

omniscience counts

each Autumn leaf

the actuary of Souls

how does dharma teach

the fiery core of stars

only by feathers in the heart

what lies before now

only the present sleeping

waiting for the cockerel

what lies after now

only persistent dawns

irradiated with dew

what lies in the now

only forever born eternal

in the womb of moment

singing songs in the bath

no-one is watching

a child starts to walk

as naked as spring

a flower unfolds its flag

saying only welcome

the candle shimmers

beacons burn on the hills

eyes glisten with living love

an owl hoots in laughter

at man’s busy lives

pondering on their shadows

a spider’s web tense

sees the ants commute

yearning for love

soft down in chestnut shells

beyond fish hook barbs

cradles possibility

red holly berries

write in their font of hope

amidst the thorns

wide empty paths

leading to the cosmic causeway

where bamboo bridges flex

the Dao bends the reed

to fit the clarinet

and Gabriel’s oboe

Dao tunes pianos

in the darkness of night

a quintessence is born

a river carves Souls

whilst brooks chuckle softly

over the mossy rocks

mayflies tickle the eddies

willows bowing humble

under azure skies

scent carries fragrance

of lotus blossom

cherishing tender Sakurai

a single petal floats

wafted on pillow dreams

cotton wool soothes with a tincture

cutting carrots fine

a sliver of perfection

crisp and juicy with joy

sliced ginger pervades

more pungent than any dawn

a newborn deer forages

Dharma of the Day #10 {opening like a lotus}

The little surprises of life

Are the bounty

With which the universe


When things seem hard

The Dao sends us flowers

For us to inhale


Amidst all the hubris

Petals fall cadent

Upon the breeze


Wait only for the flute

And its subtle keys

It caresses your being


When your spirit flags

It is your salve

And your nectar


Let the cosmos

Be your nurse

And your healer


Open your palms

And take your alms

Humble and secure


To find your place

Which always awaits

A monkey puzzle


To ease back on tension

And to trust

Abandon to your Soul


Then like a leaf in a stream

You can eddy

And dance the currents


Have no fear of weirs

They are man made

Rivers know so much more


Journey always

With open heart

For it has a succour

Most subtle

Be as fluid as now

And do this often

A silken scarf, blowing

No aim

Ease off those shoulders

Breathe in and out

Especially out


Now find your most

Authentic centre

And become, truly

A Star!!

Different Types of Meditation

I’ll introduce the various different types of meditation that I have experimented with and make some comments about them.


I mentioned that as a child I used to gaze at distant objects and become utterly absorbed by them, no thought involved. It is possible to while away great swathes of time in this manner. It is related a little to combing the shadows or gazing at shadows. If one concentrates hard on the shadow of say a leaf, or a tree or pretty much anything one starts to open and experience what can be termed the second attention. This differs from ordinary reality and can be quite spooky at first. In particular if one does gazing at dusk or dawn, some surprising stuff can be observed. Dusk and dawn can be thought of as the gap between worlds. You never know what you may / may not encounter whilst in the second attention at these junctures, this is particularly true when one is far away from concentrations of human beings. It is possible to enter the second attention for extended periods of time. I used to do this when hiking solo in the countryside.

Focusing on an object.

People rarely look and observe with commitment or intensity unless it is their job. I bet art restorers have a fantastic attention to detail. One can train the mind to focus by focussing on an object which may be static or dynamic. This might be a painting, a candle, or a fire.  Anyone who has really concentrated on a fire say in a log burner, for a long time knows how utterly absorbing and transcendental it can be. It can be mesmerizing or engaging. Fire meditations can lead one to strange places. Again, one can focus on the shadows of a candle.

Moving Meditations

These include martial arts and possibly asana. I am not at all supple, so I don’t know about the latter. My first experience of Zen and seiza came at a karate dojo. Where most sessions would end with a ten-minute meditation sat. We also did special breathing exercises in hourglass stance. After having done 1000 high level kicks, meditating in seiza, when the sensei is prowling with a shinai to whack you with if your posture sags, is quite an experience. One can find empty mind easily after extreme exercise. As one progresses in martial arts one is increasingly present in the moment, in the zone, and there is a martial state of mind which is hyper attuned to movement and flow. This differs in flavour between arts, yet to my limited experience there is commonality. Many of these states are generative of ki/qi/chi/prana.

Sound Meditations

Do you really listen to music totally and with every fibre of your being?

If you do you will know that listening to music is a highly meditative thing. Why is there plain song chant, mantra chanting and myriad other forms of music? Because there is nothing quite like certain types of music for speaking direct the soul, not all types but more than you might think. As an art form, the pinnacle of live opera in a cathedral such as The Royal Opera House or a mass in a Cathedral is hard to beat. It touches something deep inside. And if you are a participant as opposed to a recipient the collective ritual is evocative.

Emptiness Meditations

This is the complete and utter stilling of any thought process or fleeting emotion, seeking that point of utter inner silence before any single nascent thought has even begun to stir. There is the point before mind, the void, in which no-thing stirs, no-flicker of idea, no germ of discussion, not an iota of opine, nor a flickering emotion. Total silence, sans bruit. The point before mind is empty, yet it too is impermanent for there must be in time an influx. Time stops but time must restart, that is Dao, flow cannot be held at bay. There in that point before mind one can quite literally see a tiny foetus of thought begin to impregnate the silence and one Knows that one is the thinker and not the thought. When one attains the point before mind one literally stops the world.

Constructive Thought Form Building or Imagination

I have done two of these Toltec Dreaming Practice and The Master in the Heart. One visualises a yellow rose, the other a golden lotus. We have occident and orient. One evokes the lightning strike of energy down, one builds the Antahkarana up. Unlike emptiness practice these raja yoga techniques are constructive, literally building by the focussed and intelligent use of “mind”.

The Zen and the Art of Laser Alignment / Peeling Mangoes / Laying Flooring / Cooking Dinner….

Total absorption in the action, becoming at one with the action and not rushing, having no goal orientation, just doing. No internal dialogue, the eternity of now.

There is scene in the film Fearless where the main protagonist tries to compete in planting rice, in rushing he makes a mess of it and his blind carer has to go out the next day and replant what he has planted. This is the antheses of Zen and the Art of..

His mind was in win-space and not present.

Hmnn, I am pretty sure that I could expand on these…

I Ching Consultation 28-03-21

Please comment on what I can do with the remainder of this life…

It returned 24 Fu with three changing line. In my last five I Ching consultations Fu has appeared 4 times!! The I Ching, the oracle, is bringing this hexagram to my attention.

Fu changes to 30 Li

24. Fu / Return (The Turning Point)


The idea of a turning point arises from the fact that after the dark lines have pushed all of the light lines upward and out of the hexagram, another light line enters the hexagram from below. The time of darkness is past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light. This hexagram is linked with the eleventh month, the month of the solstice (December-January).


RETURN. Success.
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and fro goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram K’un is characterized by devotion; thus the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement is cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth. All movements are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return. Thus the winter solstice, with which the decline of the year begins, comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of the young light, and it arises when six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement.


Thunder within the earth:
Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
At the time of solstice.
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.

The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year–a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the new year. In winter the life energy, symbolized by thunder, the Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.

Six in the third place means:

Repeated return. Danger. No blame.

There are people of a certain inner instability who feel a constant urge to reverse themselves. There is danger in continually deserting the good because of uncontrolled desires, then turning back to it again because of a better resolution. However, since this does not lead to habituation in evil, a general inclination to overcome the defect is not wholly excluded/

Six in the fourth place means:

Walking in the midst of others,
One returns alone.

A man is in a society composed of inferior people, but is connected spiritually with a strong and good friend, and this makes him turn back alone. Although nothing is said of reward and punishment, this return is certainly favorable, for such a resolve to choose the good brings its own reward.

Six at the top means:

Missing the return. Misfortune.
Misfortune from within and without.
If armies are set marching in this way,
One will in the end suffer a great defeat,
Disastrous for the ruler of the country.
For ten years
It will not be possible to attack again.

If a man misses the right time for return, he meets with misfortune. The misfortune has its inner cause in a wrong attitude toward the world. The misfortune coming upon him for without results from this wrong attitude. What is pictured here is blind obstinacy and the judgment that is visited upon it.

The four scanned images below are excerpted from I Ching The Shamanic Oracle of Change by Martin Plamer , Jay Ramsay and Zhao Xiaomin.

30. Li / The Clinging, Fire


This hexagram is another double sign. The trigram Li means “to cling to something,” and also “brightness.” A dark line clings to two light lines, one above and one below–the image of an empty space between two strong lines, whereby the two strong lines are made bright. The trigram represents the middle daughter. The Creative has incorporated the central line of the Receptive, and thus Li develops. As an image, it is fire. Fire has no definite form but clings to the burning object and thus is bright. As water pours down from heaven, so fire flames up from the earth. While K’an means the soul shut within the body, Li stands for nature in its radiance.


THE CLINGING. Perseverance furthers.
It brings success.
Care of the cow brings good fortune.

What is dark clings to what is light and so enhances the brightness of the latter. A luminous thing giving out light must have within itself something that perseveres; otherwise it will in time burn itself out. Everything that gives light is dependent on something to which it clings, in order that it may continue to shine. Thus the sun and moon cling to heaven, and grain, grass, and trees cling to the earth. So too the twofold clarity of the dedicated man clings to what is right and thereby can shape the world. Human life on earth is conditioned and unfree, and when man recognizes this limitation and makes himself dependent upon the harmonious and beneficent forces of the cosmos, he achieves success. The cow is the symbol of extreme docility. By cultivating in himself an attitude of compliance and voluntary dependence, man acquires clarity without sharpness and finds his place in the world.


That which is bright rises twice:

The image of FIRE.

Thus the great man, by perpetuating this brightness,
Illumines the four quarters of the world.

Each of the two trigrams represents the sun in the course of a day. The two together represent the repeated movement of the sun, the function of light with respect to time. The great man continues the work of nature in the human world. Through the clarity of his nature he causes the light to spread farther and farther and to penetrate the nature of man ever more deeply.

Echoes in the Dao

I’ll try to verbalize something that I have been contemplating of late and the only phrase I can find for it is “echoes in the Dao”.

There are some events that may seem small, innocuous even, which continue to have a reverberation long after they have occurred. The circumstance, the event flow, continues to echo though the amplitude damps, decreases with each reverberation.

These echoes are not mind made, they are a property of the Dao. A mind made echo is when one checks the calendar and sees the anniversary of something, a death, a marriage, a cancer operation.  These echoes in the Dao come about without the mind checking, they just ripple in out of space. One is given a reminder of something and it starts to pervade into the consciousness.

Some of these echoes, stem from miss takes, where one has not handled a situation well or missed an opportunity. In a sense something which was “fated” to happen, did not and it leaves a kind of hole, a vacuum, in the event flow of the Dao.  This vacancy echoes on in the on flowing Dao.  It can bring to mind the actors and players concerned in the events around the miss take. It offers a chance to revisit and recapitulate what might have happened. The echoes can be opportunities for learning or if not treated in this way, they are soft fishes of regret breaking the calm surface of the pond of inner space.

I have a mild hypothesis that many of the pivotal events of a life are not the big things, but tiny little, innocuous things. Yet it is around these seemingly small fulcrums that an entire life pivots. They are so small that we fail to notice them and hence miss our take on life.

These echoes are almost ghostly, yet they can offer a second bite at the cherry so to speak.  One could re-initiate the circumstance missed to some extent. Because one can never step in the same river twice, it will never be exactly the same, but a similar learning might be found, should one so seek. The trick is figuring out what caused the miss take in the first place and then not doing that which was causal of it.

Another mild hypothesis is that the universe can be very benevolent, offering unto us a second chance to behave differently. These echoes may offer us a new view of our transgressions and a chance to make amends, to atone, to add a little bit of karmic merit. If we are stubborn and waste the universes benevolent offering, it is a second and more serious miss take.

Have you ever felt an echo in the Dao?