Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The wisdom of Can Tong Qi (周易參同契) - Chapter 4a


於是仲尼贊鴻蒙,乾坤德洞虛,稽古當元皇,關睢建始初,冠婚氣相紐,元年乃芽滋。聖人不虛生,上觀顯天符。天符有進退, 屈伸以應時。故易統天心,復卦建始萌,長子繼父體,因母立兆基。消息應中律,升降據斗樞。

My rendition of the first part of chapter four of Can Tong Qi (周易參同契):

And Confucius wrote to praise the profundity of “I”, the wisdom of Qian and Kun (乾坤) covering all vastness. From the earliest Emperor, and from the time when the poem of romantic love Guan Hui (關睢) was first praised, the mating of Male and Female has meant mixing chi together, and this practice began from the earliest year. The sage recognized this Heavenly signification through watching the Sky. The signifying symbols advance and retreat as well as bend and extend in definite patterns. When the Returning Hexagram (復卦) appears, it is the time for (re)birth, the Son takes the body of the Father, and upon the Mother the new establishment begins. The message begins at the center, and running up and down according the North Star.

Paul's comment: The author was highly knowledgeable about ancient texts and used them freely. The Retuning Hexagram says (based on Wilhelm's translation):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. In Taoist meditation, it is the approaching to absolute void that chi arises (in DanTian), signifying from death to rebirth. The phrase in this passage "the Son takes the body of the Father, and upon the Mother the new establishment begins" does sound very familiar to students of the psychology of the Unconscious, in particular of the Jungian type. The Father (Superego) has to "die" to make way for the Son (Ego) to couple with the Mother (Anima: Jungian female archetype of the Unconscious), as the first stage of the individuation process. In Taoist lingo, the beginning step to approach Tao.

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