My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
Heaven and Earth; Sun and Moon
In the I-Ching Qian stands for Heaven, Kun for Earth, Li for Sun, and Kan for moon. Besides Heaven and Earth, sun and moon were the two most important symbols to the ancient Chinese. The sun and moon up in the sky were the first two natural objects they noticed to display the principle of yin and yang.
The Sun was a source of heat and light or most yang or the hottest, the brightest. The moon itself had neither heat nor light; its light was merely the reflection of the sun or most yin or the coldest, the darkest. The waxing and waning of the moon derived the principle of change and also that of the continuity of change.
Heaven and Earth, sun and moon were the four deities that the ancient Chinese revered the most. Heaven and Earth, respectively, represent the pure yang and the pure yin. Sun and moon represent yin within yang and yang within yin, respectively. The ancients named these four gua as the symbols of the four cardinal directions - Qian for south, Kun for north, Li for east, and Kan for west.
Yin and Yang exist in everything.
Sun and moon, fire and water, brightness and darkness are the most obvious examples of yin and yang. The symbol of the sun is Li, meaning the Fire or Brightness; the symbol of moon is Kan, signifying the Water or the Darkness.
When darkness comes which represents a situation of difficulty or danger one can know that no matter how dangerous or dark the situation, if one is able to follow the way of Heaven, one can pass through the danger as safely as water passes through a ravine.
Every ending follows a new beginning. This is the course of Heaven. Turn over a new leaf and make a fresh start.You can still live within the Tao by changing attitudes to remedy things.
The I-Ching says before starting you should carefully plan; after finishing deeply reflect. When in action do so with out undue haste; get out of the rut and forge a new path; find contentment with temporary successes. Hold the principle of the middle path (balance in all things for success; achieving equilibrium). Walk the central path and look forward to the future within the present moment.
Stop dealing with the symptoms of life; cure the cause instead. These are the simplest of things for your practice and life; or are they?
Qian in the I-Ching represents "Heaven" which the ancient Chinese referred to as a symbol of the firmest, healthiest, and purest yang energy in the Universe. When you view the character/image in the I-Ching you will see it is an image of a rising sun (Sun is represented by the I-Ching character - "Li") radiating its light and energy - chi - and nourishing the whole world (Earth is represented by the I-Ching character - "Kun").
Underneath the sun symbol is another which represents the root of a plant that penetrates deep into the ground (this brings the connections of Heaven and Earth, etc.).
On the right the symbol is dispersing chi from the sun which is spread out under the Earths sky (this brings the connections of the Sun and Earth, etc.) denoting health and vitality.
Qian represents the nature and function of Heaven. Its functions deal with originating, developing, maturing, and declining, referring to spring, summer, autumn, and winter (when we think of ourselves this is birth, adulthood, maturity, and death; in Te this is a beginner (Kohai), novice (Sempai), student (Kyosei), and master (Sensei), etc.)
Qian tells us that the purpose here is to study so as to apply instruction, philosophical and physical, to life. (this may be where we get the kenpo gokui and Tatsuo Sensei references to the study of not just the physical but the spiritual aspects of the art as well in order to find balance in training and practice.)
Qian asks us to remain present yet to always "see or look" toward the future and to "see or look" into the past. The "Way" or "Way of the I-Ching's Qian" is in the ability to change and transform. (why change and transformation comes from the rigors of mind-spirit-body training in the fighting arts)
Qian moves forward endlessly and inexhaustibly. (meaning we do the same in our travels of the way of the empty hand) Following the way of heaven leads to sprouting, growing, blooming, and bearing fruit.(we achieve sprouting as beginners when we have studied the kihon; growing comes from continuous and serious training in both kihon and kata; blooming is where we achieve a level of seriousness by achieving a level of sho-dan where real practice and training begin; and we bear fruit as we move higher to levels that go beyond the mere physical but into the spiritual realms)
Tatsuo Sensei said to get to know about other and the I-Ching/Qian tell us to understand the nature of change and adjustment; to know when to move forward and when to back up a bit. They say this is the way of Heaven. (Consider timing, focus, and Ma-ai; distancing in practice then elevate that to the training of the mind where we can "see" and "hear" that which we encounter and coming to the appropriate decisions before taking any literal action, etc.)
To be as Heaven means to keep moving constantly, persistently, and with stability (we can achieve true proficiency in the practice of Te only through a dedication to practice that remains consistent, persistent, and with a dedication that builds stability in the Way). Much like the objects in the Heavens that follow their orbits without deviation, still maintaining equilibrium. (finding our path, following it, and remaining balanced)
If all our actions follow the way of Heaven we will maintain equilibrium (balance; through such as kihon and kata we achieve equilibrium in our bodies by developing both sides equally for balance; achieving a balance of the mind as well through visualizations, etc.). We must train and practice the way to understand that every action should be in accord with the proper time and circumstances. If they are not in equilibrium then we must refrain from action until action is required in accordance with Heaven. (do we not train the mind to achieve peace and when peace needs it then with action but only when circumstances warrant it?)
We must train and practice so our lives will be as the life of dragons! Dragons were believed by ancient Chinese to have the ability to swim in the ocean, walk on the ground, and fly in the sky. Its constantly changing actions were unpredictable, like changes in the weather. (maybe this is why Tatsuo Sensei never did kata, etc. exactly the same way every time?)
In equilibrium with Qian be firm, strong, magnanimous, and energetic.
As mentioned here all things need to find their balance, to be in harmony and that goes with Qian in the I-Ching for if we follow the way of Heaven exclusively then we will go to the yang extreme and since the I-Ching and the Way of Heaven are to find equilibrium then Qian must have its yin, which is Kun:Earth.
Kun is Earth which represents the quality of Earth - submission. When Qian and Kun act together they act as an introduction to the entire I-Ching. (Heaven and Earth represent the person and through the gokui introduce the practitioner to the entire system or Way)
Kun, the Tao of Humanity, is to explore the social phenomena; humanity and its place in society or the world as one whole.
Kun is yin energy complementing Qian's yang and extends over the entire Earth. (Connecting the earth to the heavens). The Earth submits to the will of the Heavens yet through its influences tempers the Heaven into a balanced state of equilibrium.
Kun responds to Qian's creative action. Kun must join with Qian to accomplish anything. Heaven sows the seeds; Earth brings them to birth - a perfect complement of Heaven and Earth (Sensei sow the seed of the way of the empty hand and the deshi brings it to fruition).
Earth responds to the function of Heaven while remaining true to itself; allowing for the Earth to grow and nourish. (a person who responds to the attributes of Heaven allows themselves to achieve growth and chi.)
Heaven is Yang and Earth is Yin which are the two primary and fundamental forces of the Universe. They are opposite but mutually complementary. They must coordinate and support one another. (by understanding one another we learn to understand and support one another which makes all of humanity "one" and allows us through this knowledge and understanding to complement one another for peace and tranquility)
In our practice if we delve into the gokui we then understand that our practice and training while in motion is strong and firm but when in repose becomes gentle and submissive which tells us to deal with life in a gentle and exceptive way with the ability to achieve our serenity though our ability to be firm and strong in words, deeds, and actions.
If a person of Earth possess the virtues of straightness, uprightness, and submissiveness, like Earth responds to Heaven; then one is able to carry out the will of Heaven spontaneously, without effort. Is this not the way of the empty hand when fully understood and practiced, in balance, and with equilibrium?
Kun tells us to restrain ourselves; to be cautious in words and actions. To be cautious is a preventive stance to avoid harm. A person whose heart is as Heaven and Earth will find balance and thus act accordingly. This is the Tao of Earth.
Practitioners of Te should embrace its completeness in practice. Earth embraces the Tao of Heaven while humans follow the Tao of Earth. In this practice we may earn "respect" which means respect for oneself in keeping our inner life straight. We also attain the ability to "rectify" as in rectify oneself in making one's outer action square.
Earth represents pure yin. It possesses beauty, yet is concealed; it engages in service, yet claims no credit. This is also the Tao of Earth.
A person whose heart is the same as heaven and earth is one who has found equilibrium and understands the mutual needs of each which means that when yang is without yin, it is to firm. It is defeated because it is too easily broken. When yin is without yang, it becomes vicious and leaves a legacy of trouble. We learn to achieve a relationship between yin and yang so as to be harmonious, creative, and productive.
Symbolizes brightness or the "sun." Li means to leave, to part from, to be away from. The sun is the most yang energy.
I-Ching expounds the truth of yin and yang; they oppose each other and yet also complement each other. Kan and Li as symbols of the sun and moon. Heaven and Earth represent the pure yang and the pure yin. The sun and moon tell us that within the yang there is yin, and within the yin there is yang.
The I-Ching tells us to follow the Tao of Heaven and apply it to human life. The ancients believed that the truth expounded was as perpetual as Heaven and Earth, as correct as the four cardinal directions, and as bright as the sun and moon.
What this tells us is that during times of darkness and danger we should cling to one another for to do so brings out the brightness of the sun. (as practitioners following the gokui we are taught through our relationships with understanding and trust that we bring out the best in us through that understanding and resulting relationship; two individuals can also be opposites and unique but through understanding of one another also complement each other. This is shown through the practice of uke-tori; sempai-kohai; sensei-deshi; sensei-kyosei and so on.)
The sun and moon attach to Heaven like humans who have heart and soul attach to everyone. This is like the grains and plants attach to Earth.
The sun provide heat and light as a person can provide a sunny and bright attitude in life. Both will provide energy to achieve great things. The sun growth of plants, etc. while a sunny attitude the growth of heart with one another.
The heat and light of the sun represents intelligence and wisdom. When we encounter difficulties we can feel as if we are falling into darkness and when we find a solution then we cast light removing the darkness.
This teaches us to approach life with caution as well as sincerity, trustfulness, and wholeheartedness. This sheds light upon the distinction between right and wrong. (a persons heart as heaven and earth is one who practices the entire way so that they can learn to distinguish between the right and wrong of situations coming to the correct path with the proper answers.)
To understand the first two gokui one must understand many things yet if we understand that the sun sets in the west and rises in the east then we understand that the ancient Chinese used sunset as a metaphor to indicate old age. The sun declines quickly, like the end of one's life. Life and death are natural phenomena like the circulation of the sun and moon or sunset and sunrise. (In Te one starts at 10th Kyu and travels the circular to 10th Dan which at the completion of the circle brings us back to the beginning.)
This I-Ching symbol is comprised of the symbol for Earth. It teaches us to maintain confidence: soothe the mind. (Many aspects of practice when complete teach us zanshin and mushin which is to calm the mind so the mind remains present and able to achieve calm confidence.)
Kan exemplifies the traits of assurance and faith, caution and trust, and helps us to pass through difficult situations. The other half of the symbols of Kan for the moon. Coupled with the sun they are the two most important symbols to the ancient Chinese.
Kan is neutral for it provide neither heat or light other than the mere reflection of the sun. The moon waxes and wanes which is the same as the principle of change; inevitable and constant; how we deal with change becomes known as a natural part of the Universe.
The moon along with the sun as well as heaven and earth represents that there are yin and yang aspects in everything.
Kan's main theme or the moons main theme in Te is to teach us how to deal with difficult situations and danger. It shows us to remain calm and establish a positive attitude so we may consider how to prevent a situation from worsening, then find a way to solve the problem before it becomes violent.
Moon or Kan in the I-Ching means one must maintain confidence and calmness of heart and mind. Like the moon reflecting on calm pools of water. Maintain a spirit of faithfulness and reverence. Take this attitude in dealing with difficulties. No matter how dark and difficult it is, don't lose self-confidence for there is always the way.
One should cultivate an attitude of self-understanding and self-preservation.