WOMAN IS WISDOM, MAN IS COMPASSION
Apophasis is a shared spiritual experience
“Philosophy” means “love of Wisdom”
Philosophy, a Greek-in-origin word, means “Love of Wisdom;” (i.e., Philo/male //love of Sophia/female wisdom). Tantric Buddhist, and Daoist prayer masters, as seen in Chapters 3-4 of Mystic, Shaman, Oracle, Priest, (Honolulu: 2015), consider this to be a universally shared spiritual insight, i.e., enlightenment means the union of male compassion with female wisdom. The Laozi explicitly states that Dao as female gestates or births the entire cosmos:
Ch. 42: 道生一，一生二，二生三，三生万物； Dao (ie Wuwei Dao无为道) births One (Taiji- Youwei Dao有为道, intellect-judgment),
One births Two (yang, male, compassion, heart, will & desire);
these Two birth Three (Yin, female, wisdom, centered focus in the womb of the belly);
Three / Yin gives birth to the myriad creatures, and nurtures 1 & 2 with wisdom.
Tantric Buddhist sacred images, and the Hebrew Bible’s Song of Songs also symbolize Divine-Human love as a Yabyum female- male image of union. If the image is taken in a physical sense, as sexual union, all Daoist, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan Buddhist master refuse to teach the apophatic or “mystical union” aspect of prayer to the would-be disciple. We would suggest here, as a prelude to inter-religious dialogue for world peace, and a partial answer to the modern “no God” delusion, Daoist apophasis, as expressed by Zhuangzi 心斋坐忘，与道合一 — heart fasting – sitting in forgetfulness, leads to oneness with Wuwei Dao — can also suggest a model for peace bringing dialogue between religions, philosophers, and politicians. Dialogue based on Laozi’s Ch. 67, love, mutual respect, and inner peace, act as a guideline for apophasis, mind and selfish heart emptying prayer, is shared by all spiritual systems, as expressed in above title, Philosophy means love of wisdom.
Each of the statements made here below, can be applied equally to Judaic Kabala, Christian Dark Night Noche Oscura Mysticism, Islamic Sufi, as well as Daoist, Buddhist, and all human spiritual experience. When defined as a total body (not just mind) experience, wisdom is a “present to me right now” awareness. Philo-sophia (love of wisdom), is intuitive, i.e. a direct bodily perception, or awareness of Transcendent Presence, without the conscious1 interference of the intellect, will, or imagination. As the post-modern thinker Derrida explained in multiple works, the mind, which is per se past tense, and the will, which is per se future tense, must by their very nature lead to differance, lack of agreement, until such a time as self-only focused will, or mind stored judgments, cease to interfere with the perception of “Now” awareness.
The First of Nine Statements, which define Apophatic mysticism
- Wisdom is the result of an intuitive, non-judgmental, “gut” perception of the immediate present. Wisdom, when used in conjunction with apophatic prayer, means the awareness of an absolute, transcendent, non-conceptual Presence (i.e., presence as now, a “resistance” to the laws of entropy and differance).2 “Now” presence cannot be classified in the way concepts are judged by the mind to “exist” or “not exist,” to be “true” or “not true,” to be desired or not desired — as when struck on the shoulder during Zen meditation, one says “ouch!”
- “Absolute Being,” in the 9th chapter of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, is a verb; the Greek verb tw’ e’ivai, “The To Be” cannot be predicated of a noun, i.e., it is not a time-limited, sense processed, mood changing, entropy-ruled, mental concept or image. Being as a word exists only in the mind. When wisdom is awakened, the mind sees external things without subjective “differance,” the influence of emotional feelings, subjective meaning, pre-conceived mental images or volitional desires. Wisdom therefore exists only in the “now” of the present, without mental or emotional attachments. It is protected by the principle of “resistance” from any kind of pre-conceived judgment, as explained in the works of Katherine Bell, in responding to Derrida’s “differance”).
- Concept and Word, as they exist in the judging mind are always past tense. (In Caucasian, as well as Buddhist and Daoist philosophy systems, words are conceived after passing through the five senses). Anything in the mind is “per se” past tense. The act of willing or desiring something, on the contrary, always looks towards the “future,” i.e., something not yet obtained.
- Wisdom as such, unlike pre-conceived judgment or willed object, exists only in the “now” present. Intuition is prior to logic, or judgment-derived analysis. As such, wisdom is unhindered by prior judgmental meanings, or desires affixed to words.
-(Corollary 1): Languages which “decline” nouns and “conjugate” verbs, can slow down, even hinder, by logic derived pre-judgment, the forming of intuitive, wisdom based, “now” perception.
-(Corollary 2): Languages based on relational position in a sentence (patterned) structure, rather than declined and conjugated grammar, may, in practice, be less inclined to misjudge spatial, human, or nature relationships, and more likely to value and respect human feelings over culture-and-language defined words/concepts.
-(Corollary 3): Dialogue is hindered, even disrupted, when focus is put on past, negative experiences, or culture-defined social values; but is enhanced when human sensitivity, mutual respect, and spiritual experiences are shared in the present.
- “Being” as predicated of sense perceived objects (Heidegger’s das sein), is not the same being as Aristotle’s tw’ e’ivai “The To Be,” i.e., a non-limited, non-conceptual, absolute, noun-transcending presence. Modern and post-modern philosophy is not wisdom based, but depends on logical and conceptual interpretation of a favored philosopher’s thought processes. Subjective word usage, cultural values, and attachment to personal feelings, hinder peaceful dialogue between philosophers as well as religions. All mentally conceived images, theist or atheist, must, per se, be subject to the law of “differance,” i.e., time/space limited judgments and analyses, altered or colored by the emotions and mental preconceptions of the person who visualizes them.
- Science and mathematics, on the other hand, are not limited or constrained by cultural or emotional aspects of language. Mathematics, by nature and definition, is confined to, and exists totally in the imagination (the ability of the mind to create numerical, geometric, trigonometric and calculi relationships). –Science and the “scientific method” depend upon the ability of the “critical” (concept and judgment forming) mind to hypothesize or create a theory to explain perceived phenomena, -by measuring weight (chemistry) or speed (Physics) of sub-atomic particles. (cf., David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, London-New York, 1980-2007).
– Corollary 1: Scientific theory can be expressed and enhanced by mathematical formulae. Thus science, unlike philosophy, history, or literature, is not constrained by what Derrida calls “differance” i.e., social value, or emotion ruled language. Mathematical formulae can be used to “validate” scientific theory, and are self-resistant to “differance.”
– Corollary 2: The object of Physics is to measure the speed of mentally conceived particles, and their mentally designated qualities. Such “time and place” judgment of particles are relative to, and causally altered by the scientist who observes them. (Bohm, p. 93-122; i.e., Neils Bohr’s discussion of the “Einstein, Rosen, and Podolsky paradox”).
-Corollary 3: Chemistry, through sense-derived evidence, measures perceived particle weight, and hypothesizes the structure of imperceptible sub atomic particles.
- Science hypothesizes on the nature or essence (`o ti tw eivai, the “what” it is to be) or essence of external things, by measuring quality, quantity, (motion, and weight) of mentally conceptualized, sub-atomic particles. Mathematic formulae derived from these measurements are used to express, help describe, and measure mentally perceived phenomena. All scientific hypotheses may be applied or discarded in as much as they are useful to explain sense perceived reality. All scientific hypotheses (unlike social humanities) can be discarded or changed as seen appropriate by future measurement based discoveries.
- Scientists cannot by reason of science-derived knowledge, make judgments about the existence or non-existence of anything outside of perceived quality and quantity of laboratory-controlled evidence. If a scientist chooses to be an atheist, agnostic, or a “believer” in any form of religion or spiritual practices, these choices cannot be attributed to “science.” Belief in God, a transcendent “Absolute,” or a no-word non-conceptualized “Dao” (Tao), cannot be proved or disproved by measuring data derived from, or viewed by the five senses, or concept limited judgment. (C.f., Francis S. Collins, The Language of God, (New York, 2006), pp. 161-167, pointing out the scientific fallacies of Richard Dawkins’ “evolution disproves God” hypothesis).
Religious leaders, however, owe a great debt of thanks to Dawkins, Harris, and other intellectual leaders, who point to the immense distrust, scandal, and offensive behavior, due to wars, killings, and “inquisitorial” disapproval, that have destroyed all credibility to the original Christian message of love, forgiveness, healing, and peace.
We note that some modern western Sinologists also deny any absolute meaning to the word Dao/Tao in Asian philosophy (wisdom) systems, a necessary corollary to the logically and rationally limited, western approach to the meaning of Asian philosophy. This is partially due to the fact that college teachers are constrained to “make sense of,” or simplify, for lower division students, what was to the Asian philosopher something intuitive rather than deductive. The fear of accepting an absolute is a strong deterrent to the “humanist” mind, which might otherwise be constrained to adopt a spiritual attitude to reality, abhorrent to those who claim agnosticism to be scientific.
- Modern Philosophy, unlike science, is limited by differance i.e., the constraints of language when in practical use. The word “philosophy,” which once meant “love of wisdom,” has since the modern misunderstanding of Plato’s idealism and Aristotle’s limited realism, become a “choice of brand name,” or “agreeing with the teacher to get a grade of A,” rather than a love of wisdom, in the original meaning of that word.
Corollary 1. Philosophy in modern Indo-European languages is a logical development of mental and emotional attachment to words and their perceived meaning. That is to say, words, concepts, and cultural values determine what meaning, emotion, and value is given to the word used to name sense-mediated experience. Language, in practice, limits, confines, and restricts what can be conceived and subsequently explored and discussed in philosophy. Cultural values as well as beliefs limit what can be accepted or discussed, by modern and post-modern religion vs. science writers.
Corollary 2. The limits of choice: words used to express modern philosophical reasoning are limited by the choice of one or another “favorite” thinker, whose eccentric, highly complicated thought system becomes more famous the harder it is to understand. Thus, to choose idealism, in Platonic, Neo-Platonic, Yogacaric, kataphatic, post enlightenment, Hegelian, Kantian, Heideggerian, or any Indo-European format, is to logically limit the mind as to how reality is perceived. The philosopher becomes emotionally attached to her/his favorite system, and places all others in adversarial confrontation. Philosophical analysis is thus made subject to the laws of “differance,” which, in effect, means that the definition of a word’s content is deferred or subjectively altered, by each language user, whose cultural values, and emotional experience, color all logically perceived concepts, until such time as there are no more minds to perceive, or philosophers to define, the meaning of words.
Corollary 3. Instead of dialogue, “individual experience” based philosophy, and its teachers, promote monologue, by the acceptance of random disciples and students, whose goal ceases to be that of philosophy, but becomes instead an endless attempt to make sense of, be loyal to, or interpret what the master (the philosophical “gate keeper”) has expressed in complex, vague and unclear forms of writing. Lack of concise expression and lack of clarity thus become the hallmark of modern philosophical writing. Hermeneutics, or the interpretation of obscure texts of philosophy, theology, and humanities for college students, becomes “heuristic,” i.e., using less complicated and less obscure spoken language, as a necessary tool for testing and grading auditors of university lectures and publications, whether in Indo-European or any other modern language. Belief further limits objectivity in textual, and therefore scriptural (biblical) exegesis. (Paperback studies of Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, and Heidegger, try to analyze, and assist non-expert readers comprehend the complexity of “post-modern” thinking).
Post #9 “The Philosophy of Intuition”
The philosophy of intuition promotes philo-sophia love of wisdom — also called enlightenment, or “now-awareness” in its archetypal sense, i.e., distinct from personal preferences, self-chosen logic, and the modern science is infallible mode of thinking. Meaning is thus freed from personal perception, pre-conceived meaning, or emotional preference of the reader/hearer/thinker .
To establish a philosophy of wisdom, we begin with an examination of three stages of the human thought process, as conceived in the Chinese (Daoist) philosophical system. The human condition (what it is to be human) includes three powers, 1) the power of mind to ponder what is in the past); the power of the heart to will & love, which is in the “future,” ie, not yet attained, and 3) the function of the “gut” or belly (lower cinnabar/meditation field) to perceive presence of the “now,” through non-mediated, intuitive awareness.
Post #10 Comparative Spirituality
We recall the mind-body based action of the Ignatian system, (see MYSHOP, Ch. 2), which teaches a form of kataphatic or “sacred art image” prayer, by using the total body, ie, intellect, will, and senses in unity. Ignatius wants the contemplative to touch, feel, hear, smell, and be totally moved by the image of Christ seen in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the Spiritual Exercises. A similar purpose is seen in the powerful images of the Tibetan Buddhist, and Daoist iconographic system, consciously placing sacred images into specific places within the meditator’s body.
Though Western thought systems tend to overlook intuition in favor of mind and its judgmental functions, in the Ignatian as well as Tantric Buddhist/Daoist systems, “feeling” and “looking at” the sacred image is seen as a form of prayer leading to apophasis, i.e., “self-emptying” experience, after an “overload” of feelings, emotions, and attachment to sacred images. Only after emptying out all images, even of the sacred, is intuitive awareness of Absolute presence possible.
The Daoist awakening of the human power of intuition is not simply a power of the body or “soma” as the Greeks once put it, to “feelings” and sensuous appreciation. It is quite the opposite of all self-fulfillment, feelings, attraction, or image grasping. The intuitive powers, Daoist and Tantric masters teach, can only be awakened or invoked when the heart-mind is fasting 心斋 and the judgmental will is forgetting 坐忘。 When mind’s conceptual images are darkened, and heart’s attachments emptied, only then can one be intuitively aware of, and one with Dao/nature’s changes and absolute presence, before concept and will imposed limitation.
Post #12 The Teacings of Zhuangzi (Zhuang-tzu)
The ancient philosophy of intuitive wisdom is described by Zhuangzi as experience-based, i.e., in physically exact terms: Xin zhai, zuo wang, 心斋坐忘 …yu Dao ho yi 与道合一 Fast in the heart, sit in mind’s forgetting,” then be one with the Dao (nature as it is, before mental or volitional limitation).”
Entropy, i.e., the perceived deterioration of sub-atomic particles, and the scientist’s inability to measure speed and weight simultaneously, are related to scientist-as-viewer. The “speed of light” is a concept based on limitations of the mind to accurately define data in any other than mathematical equations, of observer- limited sense perception. The following are examples: -The speed of light is seen to increase when influenced by gravity, and slowed down by passing through a dense or translucent object. -The Mandelbrot algebraic expression of passing from near infinity to near negation (from near zero and back again to infinity) can be expressed in fractal color patterns. By digitalizing the time process in colors, a digital screen image is obtained of a cyclical pattern. Printed out, cyclical time becomes a 2 dimensional, “linear” (thus not a reality experienced) image.
-The translation of Mantra, or other sound based traditions, such as the ancient Egyptian into Ptolemaic Greek, or Siddham Sanskrit into English or Chinese meaning, is not allowed by the Acharya Tantric masters; Mantra remain effective only in their original Siddham pronunciation. -Thus, the Tantric Masters of Tendai, Shingon, and Tibetan Buddhism, demand that the “seed word” sound not be translated, but pronounced in as near to the original tone, as possible. Chapter 4 of MYSHOP shows that the image is changed into a visible seed word, (Om, Ah, Hum), the seed word into a sound, then a color, and finally implanted, or made to resonate in a specific part of the body. The efficacy of Tantric practice relies on passing from sound, to image, to “planting” within the body, and then to emptiness.
Post # 13
-From any spot in the universe, scientists see the cosmos to be expanding infinitely outward and away from the viewer, in all directions. Certainty of this fact is best expressed in mathematical, not conceptual or logical terms. Linear time can therefore be defined as a fiction of the senses’ inability to perceive change in any other form than “before” and “after.” Sub-atomic particles are temporary names given to particles so minute that the scientist’s definition is at best enlightened guesswork, a judgment made in order to be proven wrong by further sense mediated experience, or experiments in limited, observation controlled, “altered by controlled laboratory” conditions.
-The philosophy of intuition does not define the beginning or origin of the world as a “singularity” in time, but recognizes circularity, a cycling process of ending and beginning, expanding and returning, again and again. The very notion of “creation” or “gestation,” in Daoism, is sheng 生 to give birth. Daoism further sees Immanent Dao as a female giving birth to the visible world, whereas the Transcendent Dao (non-being) is nameless, unable to be conceived or predicated.
-Since being as perceived is per se limited to a word or image in the mind, it is erroneous to generalize from a “scientific” theory, i.e., the beginning of the world as a “big bang,” or the ending of the world in a “black hole in space,” to an outside-of- time, mental image derived absolute. Whether linear or cyclical, material or spiritual, static or moving, an image of a being derived from the five senses and linguistic concept, cannot be an absolute transcendent. Just as Mandelbrot equations produce fractals from near infinity to near extinction, and back again, in an endless array images, so the human mind produces an endless array of Divine images, prompted by belief systems, sacred scriptures, cultural and linguistic generated belief systems. Absolute being itself cannot be perceived, envisioned, or willed to be present.
-By the same token it is illogical for a scientist to prove or disprove the existence of an “absolute” God, a mental concept of a “creator of all things.” Proof based on a sense and concept limited, pre-defined notion of “cause” and “effect,” “first” and “last”, cannot be predicated of an absolute being. An absolute, whether called das sein, or tw eivai) is a mind conceived, not a real object. Only the philosophy of wisdom (immediate, non-mediated presence) can be invoked, to be aware of the “absolute” or non-image, “eternal Being’s” – Presence. The act of being is not a noun, but a verb, an insight lost on the language limited mind of Heidegger, in trying to explain “Das Sein” from the intuition based Greek verb used by Aristotle, “tw’ `eivai” (the “to be”).
-The Daoist philosophy of intuition is based on the triple power of the human mind/spirit/total body to know, will, and be immediately aware of (intuit) presence. The powers of the human mind, by contrast, are limited to physical experience mediated through the 5 senses, i.e., relative measurements of linear and cyclical time. They are defined as follows:
1) the power of the mind to know what exists as real or imagined, depends on a process from sense-to-mind perception, and then naming. Knowledge, once named, exists per se only in past time. I.e., word expresses a perceived, conceptualized image which comes into mental awareness of the mind only after it has been perceived as an external object, mediated by the five sense, conceptualized, and named. To the Daoist philosopher, all concepts and words are therefore by nature and definition in linear “past” time with relation to the now of the perceiver. Only after the “past tense,” prejudged knowing mind is quiescent, can there be an opening to intuitive “now” awareness of the present moment.
2) The human will, on the other hand, has as its object only those things which are desired in the linear future. A good thing once attained, is in the present; it is no longer “willed,” but rather is contemplated as present. Thus the human will is oriented to linear future. Only when will is quiescent, can there be an intuitive awareness of the “now” as it is, freed from pre-conceived judgment or desires.
3) The power of intuition is based on the awareness of an immediate “now.” It is not subject to the law of “differance”, because intuition is prior to concept, judgment, or will’s distortion. Intuition is strengthened by the law of “resistance” to the intellect’s need to judge “good and bad,” or yield to desire. External things, when presented as an immediate “now” experience, are of themselves absolutes, i.e., resisting conceptual limitation and acquisitive desire. A refined expression of this self-distancing from judgment, or willed possession can be found in the Japanese sense of “sabi” and “wabi” (distancing) used in the process of aesthetic awareness. (See Ch. 4)
-Note that the appetites of the body to eat and drink, avoid pain, stay warm or cool off, be physically attracted to or repulsed from external objects as “beautiful” or “repulsive” or “dangerous,” are intuitive impulses. They are not yet limited by post conceptual “subjective wording,” i.e., not yet conditioned by cognitive judgment or volitional choices. Thus, I can choose an ascetic path and not fulfill my desires to eat, or give up my food so my children can eat, or turn to care for the beggar or outcaste, all of which are human choices after the process of cognition and volition. But in the case of animal instinct, the desire to give up food or drink for the offspring, mate, or drive away danger, are automatic, to preserve the helpless offspring, or other survival driven instincts. Intuition, on the other hand, looks for the good of the other without reference to selfish good or desire. Whether seen as a desire for good (even the highest good), or evil (to harm another in any way), the human will in and of itself is a hindrance to wisdom/intuition. It is destructive of the very “mystical” or “apophatic” experience of Presence.
Post #16: apopahatic spirituality in practice
-The mystic’s apophatic experience finds the willing of good or bad, the pursuit of virtue or sanctity for the self, as a hindrance. It is an act of selfishness, even irrelevant, when experiencing the reality of absolute presence. Only by an act of intuition is the human person practically (or existentially) aware of presence. Wisdom is valid, as long as it is detached from, i.e., not limited by emotions, cognitive judgment, or self focused desire.
`Apophatic prayer experience is awakened, when viewing sights to which there can be no attachment, such as charnel fields, an image of something that cannot be willed (i.e., is repulsive), e.g., the Ignatian 1st and 3rd weeks of the Spiritual Exercises, or Machig Labdron’s meditations in places of death and carnage. Living with the poor and outcast, avoiding human praise and attention, thus become a means to continual awareness of Absolute presence. By stopping 止 zhi the self-oriented will, and forgetting 忘 wang the image filled mind, all obstacles to the prayer of contemplative union (awareness) are removed.
-The actual process of intuitive awareness through contemplation, (placing oneself in the presence of an Absolute, while maintaining the cessation of mental images and willed desires), must be taught orally by a master teacher, in Asian-in-origin prayer. Tantric visualization, “Zen” meditation, Pure Land Chant, and Daoist (belly focused) meditation, treated in Chapters 3 and 4, are examples of such systems. The cognition- volition- intuition trilogy, is shown here by means of a graph, which illustrates how cognition (the forming of concept and word), will (the moving towards acquiring or rejecting objects presented by the word biased intellect) and intuition (direct apprehension of objects without verbal judgment or willed desire) are enhanced through awareness of different parts of the human body. (For a Daoist philosophy of Intuition, see Chen Yingning, Daoism, Cultivating the Way and its Path, 1953; 1988; 2000). In Daoist philosophy, the mind is the seat of Qi 炁 life breath; the heart houses the will, and “soul-spirit” shen 神; the solar plexus governs feelings and (jing精) intuitive “now” awareness: The three-fold human activity of cognition, volition, and intuition, are three separate activities. Focusing on one or another of these activities lessens or “turns off” the efficacy of the other two. The power of intuition is lessened by mental activity, and negated by the acquisitive, self-focused will. Daoism further locates spiritual activities in specific parts of the body. Intellect, and “Qi” life energy govern the mind, (“upper cultivation field”). Will, soul, emotions, by the heart (central cultivation field) and the other organs of the chest (see below). Intuition, wisdom, direct perception is enhanced by focusing on the lower solar plexus, the “lower cultivation field.” Compassion is seen as a male figure in the heart, and wisdom as female in the womb or belly.
Post #17: The above teachings illustrated by charts:
|1. THE HEAD (Upper cultivation Field, controls Qi, 炁 concept, image)The upper cultivation field unifies sensory perception, and forms concept/word/judgment)Step One: _____ Step Two: _ Step Three:_____
eyes……see…….. Sensory acts of the brain > mind-intellect uses up
>“Qi” life energy when
Ears…….hear….. i. Imagination,_ >judging; “yes” or “no;”
ii. sense memory. (i.e., as > the mind creates
. helpful or harmful). > Mental images, with
nose……smells. . > intellect assigned word;
>lastly, the mind
mouth….tastes.. iii. “Common” Sense, i.e., > judges “Yes,” “No,”
. feelings, “like” or “dislike” > “accepts” or “rejects”
(N.b., the sign “>”means that intuition is not at work after this symbol).
| 2. THE CHEST: The Five Central Organs of the Body(The center cultivation field, holds “shen神,” the spirit-soul part of the body)1. The heart, ruler and lord over the body’s needs and desires, is the seat of Will, love, and hate. The central cultivation field color is bright red for love, dull red for hate);
2. The liver-gall, source of renewing vitality or sickness/anger. It has a bright green aura for vitality, dull green for sickness and unrequited anger;
3. The lungs, source of uplifting ease or “heavy breathing” worry; it has a bright white aura for uplifting joy, dull white for death;
4. The kidneys, source of creative joy, or sadness; they have a bright purple aura for creativity, dull blue for sadness;
5. The stomach-spleen:,”gold” is source of positive healing; dull yellow, or negative judgments, cause ulcers.
they have a bright yellow/gold aura for healing; dull yellow for ulcers-worry)
(Note that intuition is not at work while the heart is willing good for the self. Daoists use color meditation to heal the five organs, changing dull to vibrant colors).
- The Lower cultivation field, belly’s center
(Locus of jing精, intuition-awakened powers)
- The Belly
The masters of Daoist meditation and Buddhist Zen teach that when the mind focuses on the “Lower cultivation field,” the center of gravity in the lower solar plexus, it becomes much easier to forget the images and worries projected by mind’s images, and heart’s desires. Only then we become aware of the external world and its needs. Intuitive Wisdom is present when the person on a spiritual path becomes totally given over to compassion, aware of external as well as internal presence. Wisdom and intuition are therefore focused in the belly. The source of wisdom in the belly is seen as the female Dao, i.e., a spinning girl, eternally weaving forth and restoring “Qi” 炁 creative energy, and circulating it upward to the heart and the brain. (See illustration below, Spinning Girl and Cowherd Boy. The Cowherd boy is seen to reside in the Heart, where he is eternally pasturing an aging Ox, the sign of compassion. Daoist legend says that the two young lovers are only allowed to unite as husband and wife once a year, on the 7th lunar month, 7th day, when “compassion” and “wisdom” come together, to re-charge the cosmos by the union of their spiritual conjugal love. Like the experience of apophasis – union, the gods and keepers of religion only allow this to happen rarely, at most once a year, “lest clerics, monks, and priests become useless, when believers are absorbed in prayer of apophatic union.”
Post #18 Daoist image of Female gestating Qi from the belly
The Spinning girl, symbol of wisdom,
and of the female Dao, eternally spins
forth “Qi” primordial breath in the belly.
The cowherd boy, in the heart, symbol of
compassion, keeps his heart and mind in
eternal focus on the Dao, through the 7
Stars of the Big Dipper (always pointing to
the center of the northern heavens). This
ancient wood block print is used by Daoist
masters to teach inner alchemy meditation.(3)
The philosophy of intuition therefore teaches that wisdom and/or apophatic prayer are only possible when mind and heart are quiet, by focusing on the locus of immediate awareness, the lower body’s center of gravity the solar plexus. To do this one must be xinzhai heart fasting, and zuowang sitting in forgetfulness, i.e., freed from mental judgment, desiring, and conceptual image. One becomes “one with” the absolute, whether inwardly as the wuwei 无为non-act, the non-being, non-worded Dao (Word and act-Transcendent Dao), or externally as the yuwei 有为 female Dao birthing everything, all the myriad creatures, to the ultimate edges of the universe.
Many modern scholars deny the transcendent or spiritual meaning of wuwei 无为 Transcendent Dao. But in so doing, it must be pointed out that this Caucasian-language based bias, though predictable in the post-modern agnostic context, runs contrary to all of the earliest and later commentaries on the 5000 character Laozi, Daode Jing, from the near contemporary book of Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi), and the early Heshang Gong 河上公commentary, to the deeply spiritual and moving work of the Song dynasty Daoist master Bai Yuchan, (which has been translated with great depth and feeling into Italian by Alfredo Cadonna). The philosophy of apophatic intuition is the basis for early, as well as later Daoist prayer and inner cultivation.
The Philosophy of intuition is based on the threefold power of the human condition to: 1) intuit presence (i.e., any presence, immediate awareness of an external thing, or an Absolute). Note that any given, pre-judgmental, external thing is an absolute by its very immediate presence, though it may be in a state of “differance” i.e., decay, or “resistance” growth when seen through the 5 senses and intellect; 2) the power of the intellect to know and conceptualize the nature or “what it is to be” (`o ti tw eivai) or nature of the thing presented by immediate awareness, and name that thing by means of a language limited word/concept; and 3) the function of the will is to acquire or reject the thing for the self, or give the thing away out of compassion for the other.
The prayer of apophasis occurs when the power of concept and judgment are diminished or darkened (sitting in forgetfulness), and the self-seeking will is curbed or turned off (heart-fasting). At this point the intuitive powers of wisdom, quiet awareness of “now” presence, are dominant. A further corollary of this condition is the occurrence of what scientists once called “alpha state” in the brain, the gestation of melatonin and refreshing of the body, slowing of the aging process, healing of bodily ills, and other quieting, health giving effects in the human psyche. These effects are not the reason why the prayer of apophasis is undertaken, but occur when it is practiced. Other causes and conditions not intervening, recluses and hermits (Tibetan monks and nuns, Daoists, monastics, hermits, Sufi and other kinds of practitioners), who practice apophasis, often live long and healthy lives, unless killed for their beliefs, and maintain an aura of refreshing peace and joy, through adversity.
Daoist Yin Yang cosmology provides a “Theory of Everything,” (“ToE”) as a proto-scientific way of approaching the absolute origins of an evolving (vs linear) cosmos. Western modes of science, Newtonian gravity for the visible cosmos, relativity theory for the macrocosm, Quantum mechanics for the invisible microcosm, (and more recently “Big Bang” and “string” theory) are each valid within the conceptual sphere. All are based on linear concepts of time, deriving from ancient Greek cosmology. When in scientific as well as spiritual dialogue, South, and East Asian traditions suggest multiple ways of looking at reality. The head focused in the Past, and heart in the Future, are balanced by the intuitive belly, where wisdom and “now” presence (the beginning of life) are finally awakened. (4)
Michael Saso Summer Solstice, June, 2015
Post #20 Illustration and footnotes
The Turfan Sufi Mosque; Gobi/Taklimakan desert
(Where Sufi masters meditate in huts on the roof)
Endnote 1. By using the word “conscious” in the definition of self focus vs. intuitive wisdom, I mean the awareness of the ego as ego, making a judgment with reference to the self, as opposed to awareness of the thing present to intuition, apart from ego focused memory, feelings, or prior judgments
- The late Religious Studies scholar Catherine Bell, in her ground breaking studies on “Ritual,” pointed out that the word “differance,” created as a tool to fuel the prolific monologues of Jacques Derrida with regard to the subjective time/space relativity of the written or spoken word, is tempered by a second equally important term, “resistance,” whereby the thing itself “resists” misinterpretation by its very presence. “Difference” becomes dialogue through the use of “resistance.”
- The Daoist chart of the human body shows a central heart-belly focus during inner alchemy meditation. Woman is wisdom, man compassion, in Daoist as well as Tantric Buddhist imagery and visualization.
- The recent publication by Livia Kohn, “Sitting in Oblivion”, (Three Pines Press: 2010), is an excellent work in English to understand and practice this moving text of Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) Ch. 4.