Here is a plan for a new on line and on-site course, would appreciate all comments and corrections!
Center for the Study of East Asia Art and Culture
Art, Spirituality, Ritual, Symbol
CSEA is a not-for-profit educational institute, the purpose of which is to study, explain and preserve the best of Asian Arts, Antiquities, and spiritual practices, through public lectures, seminars, and visual media. The Art objects, images, and antiquities used for CSEA lectures, seminars, practice & contemplative viewing, are located primarily at the Tohgendo Institute, 147 Sanjo-doori, Kyoto city, Japan. Teaching and study materials are also available on-line and in print.
-Special seminars, pilgrimages, and learning-by-practice experience are made available through associate institutions, including Mt. Hiei (Tendai Mikkyo), Mt. Koya (Shingon Mikkyo), Daitoku-ji, (Zen heritage), Greater Tibet monastic centers, Daoist ritual masters of North Taiwan (Zhengyi Mengwei and Qingwei traditions), Daoist monks and nuns of Mt. Wudang, Hubei, China (Quanzhen-Longmen; and Chinese Wushu practice).
-University courses/instructors recognized/recommended by CSEA include: Loyola Marymount (Extension courses) Los Angeles, CA; Santa Clara University Religious Studies, Santa Clara, Ca; Sino-Asian Institute, (Library and art collections), Los Angeles, CA; Hawai’i Wushu Association, Honolulu, Hawaii; and the San Jose University, Macao.
Art and Antiquities lectures, seminars, and spirituality courses at the Tohgendo Collection, Kyoto include: – 1) Neolithic Jade, Green Bronze, & other artifacts from Hong Shan 紅山, Liang Zhu 良渚, and San Xing Dui 三星堆 (3000-1700 BCE)
-2) Shang, Zhou, Warring States, Qin and Han dynasty artifacts; (1700 BCE – 200 CE)
-3) North-South period Buddhist statuary, gilded bronze of China and North Korea;
-4) Late Tang and early Liao, Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasty Chinese Buddhist art;
-5) Korean, Chinese, and Japanese paintings; silk, gold-and-silver, brush painted screens;
-6) Tibetan Tangkha (paintings on Goache cloth); gilded bronze; how to identify historic periods, figures, and art motifs of the six major Tibetan schools; Nyingma, Sagya, Kagyu, Atisa, Zongkapa (Gelugpa), and Jonangpa.
- 7) 17th c. to Modern Era art; Japanese brush paintings, intaglio and woodblock prints; art collections from Hawai’i; Yunnan (SW China Batik); Tohgendo reprint images catalog.
-8) The Shido Kegyo rituals and inner mediations of Shingon and Tendai Mikkyo: 18 Step “Dao” path (Juhachido); Lotus mandala; Vajra Mandala; Agni-hotra fire ritual.
-9) The basic Mijue manuals of Orthodox Zhengyi Daoism, 道教秘訣集成，道教源流
-10) Soto Zen sitting, Rinzai Zen Koan, Pure Land Chant, Lotus Sutra; Basic Buddhist practices taught in the temples of Kyoto and environs. All courses, seminars, and research publication undertaken by CSEA students are recognized and accredited by Tohgendo’s university and monastery partners.
Director: Morimoto Yasuyoshi, Tohgendo Collection, Kyoto, Japan.
Associate professors, teachers, and lecture materials: the monks of Koya-san, Hiei-zan, Kyoto Zen and Pure Land temples; Daoist Mijue Keyi masters; on-line study courses.
Michael Saso, PhD Kyoto Tohgendo 11-17-2012
The new, corrected 3rd edition of Daoist Master Zhuang, in Chapters 4, 5, and 6, shows in condensed format, what one must learn before receiving a “license,” in order to be a Daoist “Rites of Passage” master. It must be noted, here, that there is no such thing as a Daoist “ordination” in the western sense of the word; instead it is called “shou lu” 收錄 ie receiving a register/list of spirits’ names, summons, and appearances, and learning where to store the spirits in the body, to be summoned out and used during ritual, exorcism, and healing. The Tantric Buddhist equivalent is the “kancho(jpn)- guanding(chn)”灌頂, which is equivalently the same process as that used by the Daoist; often with the same mudra, manta, and sacred image. One must practice many years with a master who uses Chinese language in daily life, in order to learn the mudra 手印, mantra 咒文 and mandala 道場 images, AND actually see them, store them in the body, and know how to summon them forth and use them in ritual, to heal, and sanctify others. Once these processes are learned, one can go to a licensing place, such as Hieizan in Kyoto, Longhu Shan in Jiangxi, etc, and pay for a document which certifies that you paid for a license to perform public ritual, whether or not the spirits really come when you summon them. One must first go to a licensed Daoist master who knows the music, hymns, dance steps, and rituals, to learn how to do ritual meditation correctly. The reason for doing this is to learn how to perform the Rites of Passage, in a Chinese cultural and linguistic context only (there is no equivalent in the west).
When you go to a master and he or she says “I don’t know how to do it,” “I just do it to make a living”, then you have probably found a real master, and must by lengthy presence and unassuming humility learn by attending his/her rituals as a disciple, and praying with him/her, etc. If, on the other hand, the master says “I am the best, here is the fee,” or “I will give you an ordination,” such is done at modern day Longhu Shan, and even Hieizan (sixty days of physical deprivation and rote performance of rituals), and paying the $5000 to $9000 fee, one is given a license to “legally” accept money for performing rites of passage within a Japanese or Chinese cultural context. There are no equivalent rites in English, or at least no one has created them yet. Martial Arts masters, healers, TCM doctors, do not need to learn the complicated Daoist or Buddhist rites of renewal or burial, unless the goal is to perform them in a Chinese or Japanese cultural context. Perhaps we can work out a way to do this, in western languages and cultures, on the web!
At last Daoist Master Zhuang 3rd edition has been published. It can be ordered % Oraclebones Press, 1250 Long Beach Ave, #204, Los Angeles, CA 90021, or on line. the cover photo is pictured here; updated, with Pinyin Romanization, and clear instructions how to perform Daoist rites of renewal and healing. Includes “Qimen Dunjia” rites 奇門遁甲，orthodox Zhengyi Mengwei rites of renewal 正一盟威科儀，and Qingwei Thunder-vajra ritual 清微五雷法。
Mandala as Interior Practice
A Mandala is a patterned geometric icon, drawn to assist the person contemplating its sacred images to achieve unity (Sanskrit: Adi; Chn.: Bu-er 不二; Engl. “non-duality”) of mind, heart and body with the Absolute, symbolized in the mandala’s very center. The goal of this contemplative process, to achieve awareness of Absolute Presence, is fulfilled by the simultaneous use of the mind (by viewing the mandala images), the heart (by orally chanting the mantra “seed” words), and the body (by using mudra hand dance), while contemplating the Mandala’s images. Tantric Buddhism, the ritual meditations of Daoism, and the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, all teach that the total body (not just the mind alone) must feel, taste, and experience the “sacred” in unity, if prayer is to be effective, ie, lead to compassion, forgiveness, and empathy for others. The basic goal of contemplating a mandala, therefore, is that mind, mouth, and body experience the “sacred” by visualizing the mandala images, chanting appropriate mantra, and performing the assigned mudra, in unison.
There are two, basic mandala, in the Tantric Buddhist system: the Lotus Mandala (Gharba Datu; Chn. Lianhua 蓮花, Jpn Rengei) and the Vajra Mandala (Vajra Dhatu; Chn. Jingang 金剛, Jpn Kongo). Images of the two Mandala are shown here:
Mandala are drawn on cloth, as murals on temple walls, made into 3 dimensional gilded bronze, with statues representing the sacred figures, and in sand. When drawn in sand, the mandala is destroyed on completion; the sand is distributed to the faithful in jars, or swept away into a river or field. Whether in sand or in mental image, the mandala is always “destroyed” or emptied out of mind and body, as a third, “apophtaic” or “kenotic” step before realizing “union.” Thus, in the Tantric Buddhist, ritual Daoist, and Ignatian contemplative systems, the process of realizing “mystic” union must be done in 4 stages, ie, purification, “illumination” by means of sacred image, the emptying out of all images (kenosis), and then absolute union without image. The Daoist classic Zhuangzi calls this step “heart fasting, sitting in forgetfulness.” Only after all images, even the most sacred, and all desires, even for “perfection” or “illumination” are emptied, can absolute presence be realized. This process is described more fully in a forthcoming book “Mystic, Shaman, Oracle, Priest,” which at last is in the final process of editing, before being sent to UH press.
michael saso 9-21-12 from downtown Los Angeles,
emptied of all sacred images of Kyoto and Beijing.
庚桑楚 – Geng-sang Chu chapter of Zhuangzi:
This Zhuangzi passage explains the two functions of “DAO”, as WU 無and YOU有. WU is the Transcendent, invisible Dao, which CHU 出 “brings forth” the visible You cosmos, which is done by WU’s “ben本,” ie, basic nature; in this passage, we are told to RU 入 enter DAO through Transcendent WU’s “Qiao”, 竅an opening or gateway.”
YOU is the immanent Dao- visible because “WU” is there in it; you is lasting,長 “zhang” real, because WU 剽 (piao), causes cyclical change by beating/chiseling at it, again by its very “ben” basic nature
出無本，入無竅。to send out the visible world is Wu’s basic nature; the entry to Wu is through a (mysterious, hidden) gateway竅 .
You is real because Wu is there; permanently evolving because Wu basically “beats” it (chisels away at it);
有所出而無竅者有實。“You“ because it comes out from Wu’s gateway, is real/visible.
有長而無本剽者，宙也。(Yuzhou 宇宙 is the word for the cosmos, in Chinese; here Zhuangzi states that the Yu or heavenly part of the cosmos is real or visible, because it “chu” 處dwells in the Transcendent WU Dao.
zhou 宙the visible, earthly part of the cosmos is zhang 長 （lasting, “old”), because it is formed, beaten with a rock by Wu transcendent Dao).
“you” includes life, death, coming forth (from Wu) and returning (to Wu).
入出而無見其形 entering, coming forth, Wu sees (note that the word jian 見 is used, not “kan” 看。Ie, jian means to walk in and see by experiencing, while kan means to look on from a distance, with hand shading the eyes). Wu watches over by its presence the formation of xing 形，
是謂天門。This (the source of wu and you) is called “Heaven’s Gate.” (Note that tianmen 天門 or heaven’s gate means the trigram Qian 三, ie the northwest direction, in the I-ching/Yijing’s “posterior Heavens” arrangement of the 8 trigrams. The 8 trigrams are the basis of Daoist meditation, I-ching, and ritual. The Gate of hell or demon in the northeast is closed, and the gate of heaven in the northwest is opened, during all Daoist meditation, ritual, and nature’s process; this quote is from the wai-juan, 8th to 13th chapters of Zhuangzi; ie, it was written after the development of YY5 Element cosmology; only the 1st 7 chapters are authentically from Zhuangzi, the 8th chapter on are quotes recorded from his disciples.
天門者，無有也， The Gate of Heaven is Wu and You
萬物出乎無有。 The myriad creatures are born from Wu You.
有不能以有為有， You (by itself) cannot use You to make You (nb, “you” is pronounced “yoe!”)
必出乎無有， It must come forth from Wu-you. (transcendent and immanent Dao working together).
而無有一無有。 Wu you is one WuYou (transcendent and Immanent Dao are one).
聖人藏乎是。 The shengren contemplative person holds this as a treasure.
The Daoist solution to worry and bad thoughts, is “fasting in the heart” and “sitting in forgetfulness” 心齋坐忘，literally keeping all desires for anything or any goal out of the heart, and all images of any sort out of the mind. Though this is “easier said than done” in the western healing tradition, it is very much a part of the Daoist centering form of practice, and has deeply changed/influenced the coming of Zen and Samatta-vipassyana to China and the rest of Asia. All 3 methods are basically the same, ie, focusing all of the body and mind’s attention on the belly, or rather, the body’s actual (ie physical) center of gravity. That is why Zen, Tantric, and Daoist meditation all fold left hand (under) and right hand (over) each other, then press the 2 thumbs against the navel. The centering position is from 3 to five inches in, (depending on one’s weight) halfway between the 5th lumber vertebrae and the lower folded part of the hands. Athletes, artists, and Taiji/Bagua experts do this automatically; the rest of us learn it by watching the breathing process, ie, seeing air breathed into the lungs, circulated around the body, then exhaled, carrying with it any thoughts and desires we may have stored inside us. Or, put the thoughts and images into a rocket ship, and see them blasted off into outer space. Or, tie the mind like a “monkey” to the shore, and sail away in a boat. Then bring the mind and heart down into the belly, as if on an elevator; once in the belly, burn away all images, until nothing is left. I taught this over a 2 year period to people in the mental ward of Tripler Hospital, in Honolulu, Hawai’i, with good results; the nurses invited me back 2x – 3x a week. Another way to do this is to offer an “Agni-Hottra” fire ritual, write down all our good and bad deeds, good and bad images, on a piece of paper, and burn them. This can be done in reality by a real bonfire, and in our imagination after that.
The last, and perhaps best method to eliminate all unpleasant, demonic, and evil thoughts from our consciousness, is to place a sacred image between us and the evil image, person, or threat. For Tibetan Buddhists, Mahakali (Palden Lhamo) is the most powerful. For Daoists, Marishiten or Doumu (Mother of the Pole Star, who gives birth to thunder and lightning) is used. Best of all, however, for Christians as well as all people who have her image, is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Guadalupe is most effective, because the rays of the sun emanate from her, while she is pregnant with Baby Jesus.