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Understanding Mondic Contemplation

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  • Tom Saunders
    Understanding Monadic Contemplation Models by Tom Saunders Monadologies exist in Hermetic, Taoist, Christian Gnostic, and Buddhist Philosophy. The term
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2005
      Understanding Monadic Contemplation Models
      Tom Saunders
      Monadologies exist in Hermetic, Taoist, Christian Gnostic, and Buddhist Philosophy. The term Monadology is coined by the Philosopher Gottfried Leibnitz, of the 17th century. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)  The term means 'one,' but perhaps should be thought of as the special power of one, to exist in all forms as the polarity described in dualities like the Yin and Yang symbol, representing Tai Chi the great power, and Wu Chi.  Wu Chi,  is thought of as the source or 'void of emptiness' from which all creation springs, or the essence of vital or primal energy.  Wu chi (Wu Ji) means limitless power. (Isshin Ryu Glossary of Terms and Ideas) 
      Monadologies have been used as contemplation devices for thousands of years, starting with Emperor Hsi Fu, of China, approximately five-thousand years ago, who developed the model of the I Ching. (Craze p. 12.) This model overwent some evolution, in its symbology.  The concept of Wu Chi, was explained first in this model 2000 years later by Lau Tzu, the famous Taoist Sage, according to some sources.  In the I Ching model the polarity of the union in the Yin and Yang polarity, Tai Chi, emanates throughout the model through each unit.  
      If it is not apparent to you that the I Ching is or can be used as a Monadology, then the following explanations should put this perspective in place for you.  I will seek to explain this concept
      with several models. This contemplation device can be, and has been used in ancient times to generate
      great power....By learning to focus the power of essential elements into one force.
       In the I Ching, the center is the Yin-Yang symbol, representing duality or polarity, surrounded by eight trigrams.  Trigrams are a system of binary codes in the form of whole and broken lines. A single unbroken line represents heaven, and is represented as the Yang line.  Earth is represented as a broken line, and is the Yin line.  All trigrams are composed of these two in combinations of three. Wu and Tai Chi flow through all aspects of these essential units.
      What has just been described is the "Heaven Sequence," of the I Ching model.  There is another ancient model that can be constructed around, or constructed to resemble this model.  The "Kybalion" is a description of Hermetic principles of duality. (It is not an academically cited work)  There are Seven Basic Principles in the "Kybalion," but no heaven sequence like the I Ching. Nobody ever put the following model together in our lifetime, because nobody had the right documents. There are two documents in the Nag Hammadi Library (NHL), that are without question directly related to the lineage of Hermes Trimegistus, "Aschlepius," and the "Discourse of the 8th, and 9th."
      "Asclepius," and the "Discourse of the 8th, and 9th," are apparently both late entries to the concepts of 'transition,' in the Hermetic tradition. "Discourse" mentions "the seven rulers of substance," in an Oath, imbedded in the text.  Other references in the text suggest other texts and principles relevant to the concepts of Hermetic principles. Both texts mention Hermes by name, Trimegistus. Both texts claim the level above the seven, and mention secret texts, or texts known to them, not us. (Maybe)
      "Discourse" represents a transition not mentioned beyond the, secret texts, or 'Seven' secrets, or principles vaguely mentioned in both NHL texts.  This can be thought of in Pythagorean terms, as entering the box, the Ogdoad.  Eight, is also the 'chosen number' of the I Ching's essential elements, or "Gokui," meaning mastered secrets. (Tabata, defines the term Gokui, which is also sometimes explained as 'essential elements') 
      'Discourse,' suggests what happens in the other 'synoptic' Monadologies.  I mean 'synoptic' in contrast to Leibnitz's Monadology, which gives other values to matter than Taoist, Pythagorean, Thomasine Gnostic, or Hermetic schema of polarity. Leibnitz, did come up with a Monadology, but it simply is not in the "Ogdoad" (the box) with the other Monadologies.  Leibnitz,' model is worth comparing to the others, as likeness' are abundant, it just seems like a model more in line with contrast, than comparison. His idea of 'panpsychism' is very interesting. (IEP)
      The "Kybalion," is consistent with the idea that there was a set of 'Seven Secrets' somewhere in the Hermetic secret lexicon.  In a 'synoptic' schema of applying this tool,  contemplating this model, the polaric value of 8 in these systems seems to suggest a merge with the concept of being 'Pleromic' (One with heaven and earth)in regard to transcending to that level of consciousness.  The Taoist concept of Enlightenment, or Satori, and the concepts of Gnosis in the Hermetic, Gnostic, and Pythagorean schema, are alike in so many ways it is not illogical to call them synoptic.
      In terms of Hermetic literature, and Gnostic literature, it appears that both Asclepias, and 'Discourse' are written in the same general literary presentation as "The Treatise on the Resurrection.''  The central theme is Gnostic transcendence.  "And the barbarian will be better than you Egyptian, in his religion, whether he is a Scynthian, Hindu, or some other of this sort." (Asclepius) The text also introduces the concepts of heaven and hell, into the Hermetic schema, something "The Book of Thomas the Contender" does in Gnostic Thomasine epistemology. This concept is also present in Oriental philosophies.
      The construction of the Hermetic model of seven principles, is 'capped' by the concept of adding the 8th unit which is the Pleromic, or in terms of the Tao, the Heaven Sequence to the model. This is what both of the Hermetic texts in the "Nag Hammadi" suggest, that there is a level of contemplation above the seventh level which is explained in the "Kabalion" as the Gender principle.  The Gender principle,No, 7, is explained as a natural tendency in forms to create new forms.
      This corresponds to the idea in the I Ching that the Power of Wu Chi, and the power of the 'monad' in other Monadologies transcends form and remains within forms regardless of the shape of forms, or the number of corresponding points or corners in the form.  The I Ching, starts out with this correspondence as does the Pythagorean, "Table of the Ten Numbers." (See Below, Appendix A.)  The 'monad' or the power of One, is in everything.
      This seems to be the element missing in the "Kybalion."  The texts of "Aschlepius," and "Discourse" explain this polarity, or connection with the Pleromic force in forms much like the I Ching's explanation of the Heaven Sequence.  It is a hypothetical perfect state. We can put the form of the Seven, and the Eighth element of the "Kybalion," and devise a contemplation device much like the I Ching.  The number eight, however is not critical to the working of the model, it is probably a coincidence that this match can be made.  The result however, is astounding.  The Pythagorean and some Gnostic works use ten.
      The trigrams of the I Ching, stand for various things, called 'essential elements.' They can be directions, earthly elements, seasons, aspects, and other things. By creating the same configuration with the "Kybalion" the essential elements become the types or ways polarity or dualism can be regarded.  The center of the model is a little different than the I Ching's Yin and Yang.
      Yin and Yang stand for various things, such as masculine-feminine, positive, and negative, etc. Yin is thought of as the negative, and Yang positive.  These aspects can be thought of as both relevant to the self or psyche, and the kenoma, or environment.  This is the concept I will use to build the following model, only with what is explained in the "Kybalion," as the principle of I, and Me.  I and Me, are in effect going to replace the symbolic place of Yin and Yang, the Tai Chi, or great power, in the center of the model.
      ''I,'' represents the psyche, in the aspect of the subconscious and conscious mind of inner reflection, and self thought, like contemplation, or meditation. ''Me,'' represents the psyche, in the aspect of how we interact with others in the kenoma, and in all aspects of life. In other words how we talk act and think in the real world.  
      This represents two realms explained in Monadologies, the third realm or aspect being the Pleromic, or Enlightenment.  This will be represented in the model, as the top or cap, No. 8, of the Seven Principles that will surround the iconic, I, and Me, center. with the Hermetic principles. Artistic drawings of this model can be made as the I, and Me will be surrounded by an octagon of the dualities which will represent, the transference of monadic power of the seven to eight essential elements. The elements of this contemplative device are.....
       1.The Principle of Mentalism: "The All is mind, the Universe is mental." "All that is apparent to our natural senses." Energy, power and matter are subordinate to the Mastery of the Mind.

      2.The Principle of Correspondence: "As above, so below; as below, so above." "Studying the Monad he understands the Archangel. The laws of correspondence enable one to reason intelligently from the known to the unknown.

      3.The Principle of Vibration: "Nothing rests, everything moves; everything vibrates." This principle embodies the notion that nothing rests, everything is always in motion.

      4.The Principal of Polarity: "Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are all the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." Duality is explained as different degrees of the same thing.

      5.The Principle of Rhythm: "Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates." Both Good and Evil are in this paradigm of the pendulum swing.

      6.The Principle of Cause and Effect: "Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause; everything happens according to law; chance is but a name for law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the law."

      7.The Principle of Gender: "Gender is in everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principle; Gender manifests on all planes." Postulates the idea that gender, especially the feminine, or negative pole in duality is actually the pole where new forms of energy are manifested.

      8. The Principle of Balance and Harmony. (Psyche, Kenoma, Pleroma)  This is the connection to the Pleroma, or Heaven Sequence in the I Ching model.  It represents the power of Enlightenment through the use of the wisdom the model creates. This principle has three parts related to contemplation, of the psyche, the kenoma, and realization of the existence in the influence of Heaven or the monadic force that permeates the Pleroma, the All.  In terms of symbolism it represents the connection of man beyond the use of all the separate dualities contained in the model. It means transcending out of the types of dualities into a reflective state of awareness of the implications of 'all' the elements in the model.  It means seeing the 'whole' picture or a glimpse of it.

      The use of this device, takes some time to familiarize yourself with the content.  You have to understand each of the dualities (essential elements) in the model separately, and in unison.  It is a device of contemplation.  It is to expand the thinking capacity of the mind, in making decisions, and forming concepts. Reading the mentioned texts in this essay will no doubt help you understand more. 

      The model I have constructed from the "Kybalion" I have learned somewhere else.  The symbols of the I Ching, are used and applied in Chinese and most Oriental martial arts.  They are used for directions, spatial relations, and dimensions, in all three realms I have mentioned, man (I, and Me), the environment, or kenmoma, which is thought of as having within it the Pleroma.  The Pleroma is in everything, but everything is not the Pleroma. Wu Chi is in everything, everything is not Wu Chi.

      An ancient set of precepts known to have come from the Shoalin Temple of China, is called the "Kenpo Gokui" which translates as 'mastered secrets.'  These precepts, could easily be added to the other essential 8 elements surrounding the I-Me center. Certainly these eight precepts can be put around the Tai Chi, and that is how the Chinese thought of them.  The "Kenpo Gokui" is translated in the "Bubishi" (McCarthy),  

      1. The human mind is one with heaven and earth. 2. Our blood circulation parallels the solar and lunar cycles of each day. 3. Inhaling represents softness while exhaling characterizes hardness. 4. Adapt to changing conditions. 5. Response must result without conscious thought. 6. Distancing and posture dictates the outcome of the meeting.  7. See what is unseeable. 8. Expect what is unexpected. 

      Isshin Ryu Karate, founded in Okinawa, by Tatsuo Shimabuku, can list its essential elements in line with the Eight Precepts, and does.  All of the essential elements I have listed including the "Kenpo Gokui" are can be seen to focus in the I Ching model, but beyond that in the sense these essential elements are applied. I mean every point where a technique (waza) is applied, is where the focus of the monadic force is transferred from one opponent to another. Fighting in this regard is like language, transferring thought.

      Eight Essential Skills: (Waza, meaning technique)
      1. Punching and striking  2. Kicks 3. Grabs, bites, fishooking  4. Throws and takedowns  5. Joint locks, strangles 6. Blocks  7. Counters  8.Ground Fighting
      Classical training in karate means that you must become well balanced in all the aspects of essential elements.  Therefor you can easily imagine being the center of the 'Eight' inside the Octagon.  This makes you the monad in respect to using Contemplation about the 'essential elements.' As time and training become a way of life, the "lexicon" or number of skills starts to expand in size. In regard to direction, you are always able to see yourself moving in the center of the compass, with eight essential directions.
      Each essential element starts to expand and grow, but the polarity is always to the monad, you.  These elements become your own skill.  The basics of grabbing, throwing, punching, and the personal skill that can be obtained with training makes the actual number of techniques a person could know, massive.  Training over the years enables one to obtain other essential skills that can be seen as part of the influence in this model.  Here are eight more.....
      The Eight Essential Skills developed as Second Nature. (In waza training)  
      1. Chinkuchi, refers to the torque of the technique, muscle and joint snap and control.
      2. Fesa, refers to the speed of the technique, and path of least resistance.
      3. Attifa, refers to the skill to send the shock of a technique all the way through the opponent's body.
      4. Muchimi, refers to moving in a natural way when fighting.
      5. Kakei, refers to the ability to touch and feel out an opponent, for strengths and weakness.
      6. Ma, Maai, Maai describes the space that exists between you and your opponent. Ma refers to the movement within that distance to strike. "Ma involves advancing and retreating, meeting and departing."
      7. Mu Shin, refers to the ability to 'empty' the mind in readiness of action.
      8. Kamae, refers to becoming composed and ready for action. This means applying the operant space between you and the opponent with your skill directed at the monadic point from the circle of knowledge you develop in training.
      Think of the monadic power involved in bringing all the essential elements of fighting, into the focus of using these skills against an opponent.  Then, you should start to think about how much power the mind can muster using the power of the "Kybalion" with all the essential elements in this essay.  Martial arts is only one craft, there are many.  Think about your potential to develop your skills to them........Build essential elements in what crafts and skills you are gifted.
      Appendix A. This is the model of the Pythagorean Monadology, where the form has ten points......But to keep the length of this essay down please find this reference with a Google, or Yahoo search.....
      Further Reading:
      The Kybalion, Three Initiates, Book Tree, 2004
      The Nag Hammadi Library, Robinson, Harper, 1988
      Ten Great Works of Philosophy, Wolfe , Signet, 2002
      Early Christian Mystics, McGinn/McGinn, Crossroads, 2003
      The Jesus Sutras, Palmer, Ballantine, 2001
      Hidden Wisdom, Smoley/Kinney, Penguin, 1999
      The Bible of Karate, Bubishi, McCarthy, Tutle, 1995
      The Gospel of Mary Magdala, King, Polebridge, 2003
      The Gospel of Philip, Leloup, Inner Traditions, 2003
      The Gospel of Thomas, and Christian Wisdom, Davies, Bardic, 2005
      Early Greek Philosophy, Barnes, Penguin, 2000.
      The Way of Qigong, Cohen, Ballantine, 1997
      Tai Chi Classics, Liao, Shambhla, 1997
      The History of Magic and the Occult, Saliggmann, Gramercy, 1997
      The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, Funakoshi, Kodnasha, 2003
      I Ching, Craze, Sterling, 2000
      Tao Te Ching, Lau Tzu, Feng/English,Vintage, 1972
      Secret Tactics, Tabata, Tuttle, 2005

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