Presented on: Saturday, August 4, 2007
Presented by: Roger Weir
We come to History 5 and let's recall for ourselves in retrospect the most powerful integrals developed on this planet came initially in India a very, very long time ago. The word by which it's been known in Sanskrit is yoga. The yoga is a compression, it is a compression built upon arranging postures of the body, asanas, and the asanas are a ritual posture and they're meant to posit the body as capable of an alignment. The alignment is such that the field of nature is integralled in the yoga of the body, in the ritual posture of the asanas. And by being balanced, the field of nature now has a focus in our physical body and if our actions, our ritual actions, our karma actions, are balanced in the body they are capable also of having an alignment.
The alignment is from the body in a geometry of relational causality that goes through a flow. The flow sources in the field of nature but becomes combed out and aligned through the yogic posture of the ritual body so that now the flow of experience is like a purified clear stream. And then it flows directly, then, to the mind and that the mind is able, then, to use the geometry of the pure flow of experience to tune itself to the aligned body which focuses the field of nature. In this way, the mind achieves its concentration - and the Sanskrit word for concentration there was dharana which also means meditation. So that a yoga of the asanas, ritually of the body, and a yogic meditation, of the symbolic structures and orders of thought, position an alignment whereby the field of nature and the stream purified of experience will deliver the images, will deliver the feelings, will have the language, all ordered in such a way that the symbolic order of integral, now, is able to complete this.
As the experience of meditation of dharana, of concentration, became more and more capable, there came an event, a time, a period, where the meditation was powerful enough, the yoga, the ritual asanas, were refined enough, the stream of experience had the images ordered enough, had the feeling tones balanced enough, had the language cadenced in its measurable expressiveness enough, that the meditation, the dharana, condensed and integrated the mind to a single point. That single-pointedness was an extraordinary experience and it was an extraordinary meditation because it came to a very peculiar event. It came to an event where that single point vanished in upon itself; it didn't vanish from anything, it continued to integral until it vanished in upon itself. This was a profound quality of recognition and realisation; this happened in India very, very early on but reached a capacity to be communicated from someone who is able to do that, who could do that, who could teach it to someone else and guide them in such a way that they could be guided, could be taught to have this recognition, to have this moment, to have this event occur.
And the teaching of it was several thousand years after the first discovery that this was possible. The first possibilities of this were realised about 5,000 years ago but the teaching of it was not realised until about 600 BC, 2,700 years ago. And in India the first document that yields that this was teachable is the Brihadaranyaka Upinishad. It's huge, it's about 500, 600 pages, written sometime in the early 600s BC, really mastered by about 600 BC. And brihadaranyaka means 'The great breath forest teachings.' And in that 'Great breath forest teachings' the ability to now communicate and to guide a whole wisdom integral to the point to where it comes to single-pointedness and the single-pointedness can come to a vanishing and a reappearing. The Sanskrit words for this are that this is the atman that comes and that that single-pointedness contains in its single-pointedness the entire field of nature focused in our body, aligned through our experience to our mind. And that that atman vanishes in upon itself because what was at the very core of the integral was not just the body, the physical ritual comportment of our actions, of our physicality, but that the field of nature itself as a field is an undifferentiated eternal field was the source of the integral before the first place of the body emerging, before there were any karmas, before there were any ritual actions.
So that, by the atman being disclosed to itself, it vanished into Brahman and so Brahma was the universal sourcing of each atman and ones inner self is the atman which can attain the integral through a meditation to the point to where it becomes unified, centred and exactly and precisely and purely only what it is so that it carries a capacity to join Brahman. This capacity was very quickly brought, within a 200 year period, was brought to a perfection in the sense that it wasn't just a completed integral but that the vanishing showed that there was a capacity to have a transparency of the symbolic structure of the mind. That thought could be transparent not carrying any content whatsoever from the body or from the mind or from the experience of alignment but that the purity of it was that the field of nature, now, had come all the way through the integral and had re-emerged not as the integral again but as another field, a field of consciousness. And so the field of consciousness became like a further ocean and that further ocean was an invitation, if it were like the field of nature it should be fertile in that it can emerge existential forms. But the forms that would come out would be different: rather than being integral they would be on the outer side of the hour glass, they would become expansive, they would become differential.
So that you would have an opening spectrum and that the opening of the spectrum would continue to open because its quality would not be integral but differential. And that in order to understand that existence in a constant indefinite expansion possibility, what you would find and what was found is that on the other shore of that ocean, emerging from that conscious field, was a prismatic quality of existence, that existential now were like lenses. And they did not just focus to a single-pointedness, to an alignment, to an integral but that they revealed the range, the spectrum. So that, about 500 BC, in India was the historical Buddha, in China it was Lao Tzu, in the Egypt Greek east Mediterranean it was Pythagoras. And with Pythagoras and with the historical Buddha, with Lao Tzu the prismatic person now was a higher order, was a spirit being not limited to the physical body, not limited to the symbolic mind. So that, now, instead of just having the capacity for a meditation, the further furthering development was that there is a contemplation that opens it up, that takes the seed of a meditation and grows it and shows its life of differential flowering and blossoming and so one of the symbols used for it was the flower.
This comes from the seed and it flowers and produces a garden, produces another paradise, produces a future realisable infinitely developing capability. For us today, with History 5, we've been looking at the way in which the archetypal Western tradition developed itself and became a spectrum where the integral of culture, the integral of tradition, the integral of customs, brought together into a symbolic order and then condensed, went through this kind of a transform and opened itself. And when it was opened up, instead of having a mythic experience of custom tradition in a culture that integrals, instead you had a new quality, new orders of experience. You had flows that came through the prismatic lensing of the spirit person forms, of the art forms, and what went through those forms is not so much a stream of experience, that could in time become a stream of consciousness in the mind in its ambidextrousness, but now the stream, instead of being like water, the stream was like light.
And so the light was diffracted into its rainbow possibilities, into its spectrum, and not just a rainbow of seven colours but a spectrum of all colours, all possible colours and it occurred about 500 years later from Pythagoras, from the historical Buddha, from Lao Tzu. It occurred in the time of Jesus that the spectrum is not only all colours but that light itself has a differential conscious extension so that experience now needed to be proved out and tested out by experiment. And out of this came the understanding that the process that had been don, increasingly, for the past 500 years was a science, the capability of having an analytic that has an infinite possibilities of refinement; a science is not limited to an integral, it can utilise integrals but it can also utilise differentials. And that by putting those two in a deep complementarity, now, what occurs, what is able to occur for the first time, is what we would call real, the real cosmos. Instead of an integral universe one has an eternal natural field of the conscious cosmos in all of its possibilities of light.
Light, we know now from science, is the carrier of the electromagnetic spectrum; all electromagnetic energy can be carried and focused by light so that one can literally see our stereoptic vision, our imaged mind, our language capacity to engender the feelings and images of that lighted mind, makes an enlighted transform. And out of that will come the spirit, the person who is now longer limited to the individuality of the symbolic structure, who has developed the character that is configured in experience into a more capable quality, into a more facility is the best word, to have more facility to explore the eternal. And so the spiritual person has a harmonic quality of resonance with the cosmos and now sources themselves so that the theory of vision, of the differential insight vision, made into a theory. A theoria is a contemplation; a theory is a style of contemplating that can be given its differential furthest expansion in a science that has been proofed out and proved out by experiment. And the experiment is experience that has been completely transformed from myth to history so that history becomes a very high powered flow of insight of light of contemplation and is different from meditation.
One of the beautiful little, tiny, books that's been a bestseller for 30 years by Chogyam Trungpa, it's called Meditation in Action. And meditation is an action brought to its equilibrium, its final integral and its single-pointedness. But there is a further quality from that and the further quality from that yoga is that, having passed through that integral into the Mahayana, the great way, one can have a prismatic jewel, a vajra. A Vajrayana is how the jewel prism of the spirit person emerges from the field of consciousness and now is able to pull the experience of meditation through the mind into not only a larger realm but a realm that becomes larger and larger. And so the Vajrayana is the way of the jewel cutting, from the seed that is put there in meditation, through the mind which is now more and more transparent, to the light of insight and not just shedding light on something but not just shedding but being the light itself. And so the phrase in the Vajrayana is that this is a clear light, is a pure, clear light. All of this was done more than a thousand years ago already; we're now expanding this and refining this further.
Our learning takes as its capacity to bring the Vajrayana through to, in its terms, the only way that you could talk to someone that's ensconced in the tradition and custom, that has gone through the meditation and has gone into the theoria, the insight, the contemplation, enough to understand how the prismatic features of the spirit jewel-self now are operative. When they're operative, what is generated is the flow of history and that history is a very high dharma stream of not just clear light, the mind sees it as clear light, in history what is seen is its kaleidoscopic freedom. And as a kaleidoscopic freedom, sometimes in the early attempts to express what this could be, in the 19th century, you would find phrases like cosmic consciousness. Walt Whitman's great doctor friend R. M. Bucke who did a volume, classic volume, like that or, earlier in the 19th century, you would find a genius like Hegel writing an enormously learned book on the phenomenology of the spirit, of how the spirit that moves through history. And its movement through history generates then a quality of complexity that one can take the Kantian transcendental critical philosophy, the Critique of Pure Reason, applied to the spirit that one could have a phenomenology of the spirit.
This is understandably a romantic, enlightenment, Kantian, Goethian, revised Hegelian, way of speaking but the actual refinement shows there is no phenomenology of the spirit at all; there is a numinology but it's best not called an 'ology' because that is prejudicial to an integral mentality, it's best to say that there's a numinicity of spirit that is capable of being appreciated and will render itself to any degree of analytic that you would like. You can experiment to any degree of exactness and not only achieve it but come to appreciate its meaning and its radiance and to further the capacity indefinitely in this kind of refinement. So that history has what we would call the quality of civilisation, as opposed to myth which has a quality of culture. Culture, in order to be healthy, needs to be with nature; nurture and culture is how they used to say it, or nature and culture.
Alfred Kroeber once did, the great anthropologist who was constantly trying to understand from anthropological science, the basis of how man was able to move beyond nature and culture to civilisation and just how that would take place. And, of course he was, like most people involved in a quest like that, given the paradoxical exact exemplar by which he could refine himself and teach himself: he discovered Ishi, the last Indian of his tribe in northern California, the last Palaeolithic man from what had become a vanished culture and who was put into a force fed western civilisation, the San Francisco bay area of the 1920s. He was unable to survive very long, he died of tuberculosis after some years but Theodora Kroeber, who wrote a book on Ishi, the wife of Alfred Kroeber, and it's interesting because as Ishi was being raised in that family, their daughter was being raised alongside of Ishi in that family and their daughter was the great science fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin, the k stands for Kroeber.
So Ursula Kroeber Le Guin literally grew up with seeing a primordial Palaeolithic man go through the interfaces trying to find a way to not just join nature, like he could do, but how to raise himself to consciousness so that he could join civilisation, and almost made it. One finds in writings like Ursula K Le Guin a deep insight into the nature of historical flow and its relationship, where it does not replace the experience of our character but that it transforms the experience of our character, by bringing the images into a new prismatic array. So that they do not always have to be put into alignment to be true, that they can be put into arcs and curves in special resonant ways and that they are true there as well. So that, instead of having just a geometry, one can now have a trigonometry of relational functions that works just as well and are also true. And that one can step this up to very powerful mathematical transforms and that by doing so, by being able to analyse a transform series, one can finally come to understand that what is true eventually leads to our participation in reality and not just our participation in the cultural beautiful participation with what was assumed to be nature.
And that as we do so reality discloses to us that the cosmos, as the eternal differential form, the prism of all prisms, is what generates the field of nature. And instead of getting a round-robin, a closed cycle, what you get is an infinity of occurrence that, each time that this happens, each time this harmonic of completion and perfection in complementarity happens, the cosmos becomes more fertile, the field of nature becomes more fertile for its emergence of a variety of existential forms. Our cosmos, as we can determine so far analytically, is 13.7 billion years old, our star system here about 4.6, so it means that 9 billion years have occurred before our star system even began to condense into existentiality. It's interesting because one of the first most powerful short stories that Arthur C. Clarke wrote - before he wrote the book Childhoods [Childhood's End] and upon which is based the great film 2001 - the short story that he wrote that was most poignant, that was like a seed, was The Nine Billion Names of God, that if one could learn to pronounce all of the nine billion names of God one would get current with the actuality of reality creating for the reality.
The ancient seed in the Egyptian Middle East Greco-roman realm by Pythagoras were sayings by Pythagoras. And the sayings of Pythagoras were collected together and the collection of them was called The Golden Verses of Pythagoras and, very quickly now, you'll see where this is going. The Golden Verses of Pythagoras were the basis for Benjamin Franklin's jewel refinement of his life, very early on. And he relates in his autobiography,
I expected of the next order [the levels of order that he was conscious of now] would allow me more time for attending to my project and my studies. Resolution, once became habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the subsequent virtues; frugality, industry.'[ He finally came out with 13 virtues that he would keep track of every single day on a scale. He wrote,] 'By freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make it more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice. Conceiving then that agreeable to the Advice of Pythagoras in The Golden Verses, daily Examination would be necessary. I contrived the following Method for conducting that Examination.
An experiment with truth on himself. And in the autobiography there's his first chart. Ghandi's great autobiography is called My Experiment with Truth, very much in resonance with Benjamin Franklin but, mysteriously, paradoxically, Ghandi did not know very much about Benjamin Franklin. He got it because of a resonance from a man who was very much like Ghandi and influenced him enormously and that man was Henry David Thoreau. And it's interesting because Thoreau did not concern himself with Benjamin Franklin in his part of the early half of the 19th century, Franklin was considered not spiritual but a ladies' man, an interesting self made, independent, rich, wealthy man whose little sayings were like from Poor Richard's Almanack that were cute for its time but we were into larger phenomenologies of the spirit, we were into greater things. But it turns out that Benjamin Franklin is one of the greatest prisms of all time, that he, in his life - and we'll come back after the break and take a look - the version of Pythagoras he read is by monsieur Dacier, The Life of Pythagoras: With His Symbols and Golden Verses
And right after Franklin passed away, the French presentation of The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, explained and translated into French by Fabre d'Olivet, and done into English, here, and published in 1813. In between Dacier, in his extremely learned quality, and d'Olivet, in his revolutionary truncation of it to just present the pith of it, you find that Franklin's prism had been able to be passed on in instruction, in guidance, to Thomas Jefferson. But, in a way, it was passed on not by alignment teaching but by a resonance comprehension. And the great model for the way in which Franklin taught not only Jefferson but taught Thoreau without him knowing he was being taught that, the great model of that is how Milarepa taught Gampopa, without Gampopa knowing he had been taught and how Gampopa taught Dusum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa, without him knowing that he had been taught. And the only way that they recognised it was in retrospection on the way in which the landscape of man had become kaleidoscopic rather than just simply limited to what it existentially was, what mentally one could integral about it, it was now transformable.
Jefferson, sitting on his horse, on his Blue Ridge Mountain property, had a vision of millions of angels going overhead into the west. And he came out with the vision: 'What if we free up an entire continent and an entire people by the millions and let them explore and see what would happen?' And America as the Great Experiment was made from that vision. And Thoreau in his generation were the first people to come into living in a kaleidoscopic visionary landscape rather than just simply the wilderness of which they had originally conceived it. Born at the same time as Thoreau: Abraham Lincoln. Let's take a break.
Let's come back and we can understand that when we're dealing with the kaleidoscopic flow of history, what is indispensible is to establish the best lenses that we can through which not only for us to see the kaleidoscopic flow of history but in a special selected lenses that generated that history so that the originality of the kaleidoscope, in its flow, is a modulation of those that generated it. And all of us who come later, establishing ourselves in resonance to them, that then makes a harmonic which is expandable, extendable. So that for us to participate, we participate actually in the history, in its reality, but we must tune ourselves and the tuning of ourselves is to bring us out of the integral that would establish only completeness into the pairedness that helps generate the conscious differential so that both may work together. The conscious differential, for rule of thumb, is referred to as perfection so that, for instance, in the Mahayana, as opposed to the early Theravada Buddhism of fifth century BC, the Mahayana of the first century AD has a Prajnaparamita, it is a perfection of wisdom sutra. And that the thread, the sutra, of the Theravada which was the flow of oneness to the completeness of its integral, in the Mahayana the sutra thread is differentialled and tuned so that it is not you following an integral thread, or you with others like you following a single thread, but that you are companioned by a guide by a bodhisattva.
And it is the bodhisattva with you that makes the tuning fork then that is able to establish the harmonic of the real n an actual cosmos. This is different. Later on, when the Mahayana was developing, its ability to refine where the attention went to the prism, went to the lens, rather than the Mahayana vision of the field of consciousness, it went to who is lensing this; the tuning went to a pairedness. And the pairedness became the source, now, of something developed out of the Mahayana sutras into what were called the tantras. And the tantras are two, together, generating lens, not a singular lens but the lensfulness of their pairedness. And, later on, the quality that was developed out of the original sutras, the Mahayana sutras with a guide, the tantras with pairs was the realisation that the pairs are also guided by the bodhisattvas. And so you have a higher order of tantra, you have a Vajrayana that now has its emphasis not on the tantra lens but on the guide being able to incarnate so that the bodhisattva is brought into play as someone who embodies a lineage.
And so it is the reincarnation of the embodied, the first reincarnated lineage is that of the Karmapas. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, is the first of the Tibetan lineage holders, who were able to guide and to teach so that there could be other lineages begun, and one of the first of the other lineages that came along was that of the Trempas. So that the Karmapas and the Trempas are a breeding of lineages and it proliferates so that the bodhisattva of the Mahayana, who is the transcendental guide through the field of consciousness in the flow of history, prismed by tantras and no longer just by sutras, even in the Mahayana, those guides, those bodhisattvas are incarnated, they're in bodies, they become guides through the lineages and today there are lineage holders of many such lineages.
The deepest way to position ourselves to understand how that happens in Asia is to go back to the way in which history in China was engendered initially about 2,100 years ago and the reason for including then, as a pair to Benjamin Franklin's autobiography in our history phase, I'm bringing in the classic history that founded history, kaleidoscopically, in China. And the author is called the Grand Historian of China, Ssu-ma Ch'ien or Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian of China translated from the Shiji, pronounced also as Shih-chi. Shi is the energy, energy frequency, the Qi in the body will be the flow through which all the meridians are not activated but kept dynamic, kept in their dynamis. And because they are kept in their dynamis they do not have physical points, they have instead open passages, openness, and instead of them being points so much, they are locuses of openness so that the Qi, the dynamis, flows through them.
If one looks to find 'Is there anything there where those points are? There is nothing there that is existential but what is there is openness and the constriction of that is what opaques the openness into a false point. And this is the way in which artificial worlds are made in the body, in the mind, in the cultures, in the social societies. And the only way to reopen them, to clear them out to get the flow going again, is to be able to work with the highest process that is operative. When it comes to a civilisation, that highest process is history and if you don't work with history, of opening all of the basis up to and including history, you get instead a boomerang effect of a regression. And the boomerang, if history isn't open to be historically true and work in its kaleidoscopic conscious way, the boomerang goes back to the phase before it and the phase before it being vision, visionary field of consciousness, is not perceptible. And so the flow automatically reverts back, it rebounds from a lack of historical reality, all the way back to the mythic process, and the mythic process is then where one finds the strictures that now operate as if they were points, as if they were constrictions. Nature does not have those constrictions; the field of nature is never impaired because it is generated by the cosmos in reality.
When you have a civilisation, the civilisation is the dynamis of history and beings who live in that dynamic of history, in a civilisation, cannot navigate their actuality on the basis of myth, it is not possible to do so. So that the responsibility is projected to the organiser of the mythic phase to the mind, to the symbolic structure, and so it is in symbols that one finds the idea that there's a stricture and the supposition that the stricture is here in mind. But the stricture in the mind is due to an alignment with the body, with its ritual comportment, with its actions, so that the source of purifying the mind is shunted all the way back to organizing the body. And if the body is organised in its yoga, in its figuration action, the configuration of experience should be improved. And the integral of that in the mind should then be capable of improvement.
If one were operating from nature this would be the way in which it would work but one doesn't go back to the field of nature, one goes back in fact not to existence, not to existence itself, but to an alignment supposed by the mind to be its referential correlate in a body. And so the body is commandeered by the mind on the basis of its unease, its dis-ease based on strictures that are there in the experience in the character. If one looks to see what is the real therapeia, it is freeing the character to be natural in its flow so that its images are consonant with nature, so that its feelings, feeling tones, are consonant with nature, so that its language participates constantly with nature. And so a natural talking, a natural speaking, is enough to bring someone back. If we were in a tribal situation, that's all that would be needed and we were in tribal situations for over 150,000 years as Homo sapiens. And as Homo sapiens sapiens we were in very sophisticated tribal situations for at least 45,000 years.
When civilisation came into play very strongly about 5,000 years ago, the stakes were higher, the complications became, the best way to phrase it 'Once a demonic anti-spirit was cast out by Jesus and someone asked it its name and it replied 'We are legion'.' It is the multiplicity of neutrality, neuterality, not neutrality but neutered. It is the neutering of our humanity that allows for the acceptance of a stricture to build up like a plaque in experience whereas the zeroness of realisation is very consonant with the Tao of nature. The emptiness of the Mahayana is very much like the Tao of the field of nature and it dissolves instantly any kind of constricture to openness on any level whatsoever so that the healing is instantaneous and permanently infinite, it's eternal. One of the epithets of the Upanishads, when they were translated by Aldous Huxley and Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, here in Los Angeles, during the Second World War, they entitled it The Breath of the Eternal to try to convey that there is a way of breathing eternity. So that the solution is not one of just physical opening or mental opening or even spiritual opening but of a cosmic openness which cannot be closed off, neither nature nor the cosmos can be tampered with, they are real, the strictures are artificialities.
We're taking Sima Qian because he is born about 145 BC and lived to about 90 BC and his father was a famous man at court and Sima Qian was raised in such a way that he became alert that the grandparent generation to him, his father's father, the grandparent generation is of course always in a kind of special relationship to us. Grandparenting and grand children have a very special harmonic with us, it skips over, usually, where the source and the sourcing of the stricture would be so that one takes the wisdom of the grandmother, one takes the courage of the grandfather. One sees the grandson, the granddaughter, in that kind of way that jumps the complications where stricturing has its chance to snag. In the grandfather generation to Sima Qian, almost all of the books in China were burnt. The strong man, Ch'in Shih Huang-ti, heaven's own precious emperor, took control and the people who lived everywhere that his control extended to were now people of Ch'in, they became chin-ese, they were no longer people of Zhou, they were no longer people of Shantung, they're people of Ch'in, emperor Ch'in, one man ruling everything.
And in order to limit, because you have to understand that the stricture now must be enforced by the symbolic structure of the mind, assuming that it's integrating on a little bit narrowed, more controlled basis of experience. And so almost all of the books in China were burnt except for a few chosen books that the Ch'in Shih Huang-ti wanted to be preserved and that control of these now would be kept in the hands of the court. The only way that one would ever have an education or teaching was through the mediation of the court controlled by the emperor, the founder of his dynasty. When he died he died in 206 BC after only ruling for less than a generation, many old men, especially some old women, who had memorized classic texts, brought them back into play but the memories were not perfect and so one had variant texts of certain classics and one of the classics that was brought back was The Book of Songs. And The Book of Songs originally had four different recensions, only one of which was finally chosen because the successors to Ch'in Shih Huang-ti, the Ch'in dynasty as they called it in retrospect, those people that came into power styled themselves in a very powerful oligarchy that had an emperor and founded the Han dynasty. But that the Han dynasty emperor, now, would make sure that the order that was set up had to have within it not only a selection of books that had to be mastered in common, and this became the Chinese Civil Service.
The Chinese Civil Service exam was unchanged from when the Han dynasty was founded in 206 BC until 1911 AD. The only thing that changed was like the Jewish commentaries on the Masoretic text which, in 90 AD, is exactly the same as in 2007 AD, it's not changed, as they say, one iota. But the commentaries on it have proliferated, the commentaries on commentaries have proliferated and so, now, in order to be really learned one has to know the studies of and the studies if studies of and the whole development of these qualities and these implications and this meaning. So that the short cut in order not to get entangled in a labyrinth of brush surrounding the original plant, Sima Qian wrote 130 chapters of histories based upon the way in which certain special persons lensed everything in their time. Such that if we read their short little biographies we will be able to understand, through their prism, the spectrum of everything that they considered important at the time and the way in which they did. And that if we add our resonance to their short little biographies, now the flow will be the kaleidoscope of history, including us, and not just the labyrinthine complications of the symbolic thought in its ordering in the mind.
So that one is freed from mentality to the extent that you can use it if you want to consult it but you're not constrained by and because you're not constrained by it, any integrated, integralled constraints in the mind will not affect the way in which you live historically but you must live historically in order to benefit from this freedom, in order to benefit from this variety, this possibility. In his Democratic Vistas, Whitman said in 1875, he said, 'I can see now that nature loves freedom and variation in man.' And so whatever nature permits will be worth exploring and will be a part of the expanding human family. In a way, Sima Qian is extraordinary for us, I'm using the World's Classic edition from Oxford - I was unable to find my copy, I don't know why, hopefully it will turn up next week - which is a truncation in just a couple of hundred pages so that one doesn't have to go into the thousand or so pages of Burton Watson's translation for the Columbia programme. These are translations made in The History of Civilisation, this is from The History of Asian Civilisation, made in 1961. And in order to do this he had done a book in 1958, Ssu-ma Ch'ien: Grand Historian of China, and Burton Watson points out, in there, that with Sima Qian one has the classic beginnings, he says, 'The 2,000 years which it records, move with the ceaseless rhythm of rising and falling political fortunes, a rhythm which to the Chinese is a natural and inevitable reflection in the human realm of the larger rhythm of the seasons and the stars.'
The reason for this being what we were developing in the first four History presentations: a form of periodicity which is not ritual but which is consciously transformable through vision, through the prism of works of art and spirit persons, into the kaleidoscopic conscious flow of history. We talked about the Cycle of the Phoenix every 500 years and how a pair of Cycles of the Phoenix make a millennium and how a pair of millennia make an aion. And that that aion is four Cycles of the Phoenix, four ages and that when you add a fifth age you not only get the completed cycle but you get the furthering of that completed cycle into the new vision, into the next Phoenix Cycle which will already deliver you out of the 500 year cycle into participation with the millennial aspect of it. And that a thrice greatest quality is at the end of a millennium to make sure that you go to the next Phoenix Cycle which is the next millennium so that you begin to have a comprehension of an aion. And at the end of an aion, to be historically kaleidoscopically conscientious and diligent, one needs to be aware that it isn't just a change of another 500 years or a change of a thousand years or a change of two thousand years but that the next will be the beginning of each of these cycles, the next 500 years the next thousand years, the next two thousand years, all at the same time.
Sima Qian comes almost exactly 2,000 years after the first dynasty in China, the shadowy, sometimes not recognised, Xia dynasty. And it is the Xia dynasty about 2,100 BC that begins dynastic China. Before then there were only kings of kingdoms. And there are five great kings and before that there was a sage like FuHsi and NuGua but dynastic China begins, and that's why it's The Records of the Grand Historian of China, he traces the original dynasty of China to his own time which is a 2,000 year period. And right at the middle of that 2,000 year period, 1,100 BC, one finds the millennial change. And what is the trigger? What is the fulcrum? What is the pivot? What is the actual spindle upon which that millennial change happened? In China it is the composition of the I Ching. Before then there were trigrams from FuHsi, there were cracks in tortoise shells for divination but there was no I Ching. The alternate name for the I Ching is the Zhouyi, it's the book of the Zhou dynasty that comes into play, comes into being exactly at that time. And the I Ching is the pivot of wisdom of the Zhou dynasty which is the third dynasty; the Xia succeeded by the Shang and then the third, beginning with the third, is the Zhou.
So that Sima Qian understands that from his time going back, the origins of dynasties in China, which by his time now is the powerful Han dynasty. Because by 140 BC, some 65 years into the Han dynasty, the greatest of all of the emperors of the Han, his name historically is Han Wu Ti, Han Wu Ti. And Han Wu Ti is like an Augustus Caesar in China: organised in an incredible way the extension of China, for the first time, to include all the way back into the western Gobi, central Asia reaches, all the way back to what is today the area around Urumqi, beyond which is only the beginnings of the Siberian Taiga, the edge, the northern edge, of the Gobi desert. Sima Qian understood then that by determining what the millennial pivot was, he next determined what would be the five hundred year Cycle of the Phoenix, because we're dealing here not only with the Cycle of the Phoenix and millennia and aions in the West but the same historical patterns are always determinable and they were in the East as well.
So what is the Phoenix Cycle, the 500 years, before him going back to 600 BC? It's Lao Tzu who lived roughly from 600 to 500 BC, he lived a little over a hundred years, so he was said proverbially to have lived to be 200, he was over a hundred years old. And he didn't die, he rode out to the west, he rode out through the Hangu Pass into the west and at the Hangu Pass the keeper asked him to deliver some wisdom for the ages and he orally dictated to him the Tao Te Ching, 5,500 characters with no punctuation. The original editions had no punctuation whatsoever, it's called a cascade of poetic because it is a seamless ribbon of eternal wisdom and not something made up by ordered structures in the mind, it is the language of pure contemplation delivered orally because it is not yet been crimped into writing which, if not handled in just the right way, would be a constriction. And so if you write something down you forget to remember it and so you think just when you need it you will consult it and because you do this you live in progressive more and more ignorance because you remember less and less of anything including yourself. Your spirit person first becomes elusive, then your individuality becomes imperilled, then your character becomes questionable and then your figuration in the world becomes problematic.
Beginnings of the dynasties, the I Ching as the beginning of a new millennium, the Tao Te Ching as a special kind of prismatic opening up of the I Ching to not just the trigrams with yin and yang but that the trigrams are not initially yin and yang, they are initially, really, Tao and Tê, they are the field of nature as Tao and the emergence into existence as Tê. And so it is the interpenetration of a field of undifferentiated, uncomplicated, unnecessary to order with existence that comes freshly pristine out and is not statically out but is iteratively, vibrantly always emerging. So that it is not a question of being at all, it is a question of understanding that Tê, the power to be, is in its iterative frequency, that if maintained, that energy will always tune coherently to how that unity actually does occur out of the field of nature. And so accuracy is not made by an alignment of the mind with its reference to determined meaning but by the actual freshness of instantly being real in all of the iterations of your vibration.
We're going to talk more about this next week but it occurred in Sima Qian's time. By the time that he passed on in the late 90s, early 80s BC, it was understood that with this historical template in the mind, one had to open oneself up to being not only open to understand and sympathise with special significant people as prisms but the responsibility was to become prismatic yourself, to become a lens of kaleidoscopic consciousness. And so, what entered into the Chinese world at this time, which entered into the Greek world with Thucydides and was reemphasised by Tacitus in the debacle of the first century AD. The portrait of a person is extraordinarily the right way in which the pivot generates its axial actuality. And so the highest quality of that, actually a high dharma quality, is an autobiography.
Our project in the History phase is to write your biography of the last two years. If you will do this you will realise that the history phase is the seventh of eight so that if you've just entered the course, those of you who are just beginning for the first time, it will include not only the year and nine months that you've been in the program but the previous three months before you began the program. So that the self portrait, the autobiography of two years is a two year cycle of taking the previous three months and not including the science whereas if you have gone through the program already once then the science of the previous cycle will be the beginning of this particular cycle.
And you will teach yourself, you will guide yourself in the arcane way in which this generates an analytic capable of indefinite precision, a real science of the person. That has a cognate tuneability to the appreciation of the person, of your person personally and of someone else's person personally, of a community of many persons personally. In the next 2,000 years this will obviate political economies as the basis upon which our kind constellates together in lives. We live at a cusp, by 2007, where this has been about 15 years now into a new cycle, a new cycle of the phoenix, a new millennium, a new aion. But it takes a while for something like this to have its seed time and then to begin to have its germination, it's always been this way. More germination next week.
- Lao Tzu
- Fu Xi
- Immanuel Kant
- Walt Whitman
- Benjamin Franklin
- Arthur C. Clarke
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Chögyam Trungpa
- Sima Qian (Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
- Burton Watson
- Arthur Waley
- André Dacier
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
- Thomas Jefferson
- Ursula K. Le Guin
- Swami Prabhavananda
- Henry David Thoreau
- Abraham Lincoln
- Caesar Augustus (Octavian)
- Alfred Kroeber
- Düsum Khyenpa (1st Karmapa Lama)
- Aldous Huxley
- Jetsun Milarepa
- Gampopa Sonam Rinchen
- Emperor Qin Shi Huang
- Theodora Kroeber
- Richard Maurice Bucke (R.M. Bucke)
- Antoine Fabre d'Olivet
- Christopher Isherwood
- Han Wadi
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (Mukhya Upanishad)
- Childhoods End
- Critique of Pure Reason
- Democratic Vistas
- Gandhi: An Autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth
- Meditation in Action
- Nine Billion Names of God
- Poor Richard's Almanack
- Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty
- Ssu-ma Chien: Grand Historian of China
- Tao Tê Ching
- The Book of Songs: The Ancient Chinese Classic of Poetry
- The Golden Verses of Pythagoras
- The History of Asian Civilization
- The History of Civilization
- The I-Ching
- The Life of Pythagoras: With His Symbols and Golden Verses; Together With the Life of Hierocles, and His Commentaries Upon the Verses
- The Mah?y?na S?tras
- The Upanishads