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Empedocles et al

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  • Tom Saunders
    (1) what is the monad in the I Ching, and (2) why is the identification of such a monad in Thomas so uncertain and subjective? 1. The monad in the I Ching
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 31, 2005
      (1) what is "the monad" in the I Ching, and (2) why is the
      identification of such a "monad" in Thomas so uncertain and subjective?

      1. The monad in the I Ching is the polaric force between the dualistic points of Yin and Yang. No one example seems to explain this concept completely, for instance with just Emperor Hsi Fu, who devised the original model of the Yin and Yang symbol with 8 trigrams around it, does not relate all the concepts that can be applied to the model. 5000 years of use can tend to change a thing.

      Oriental art forms tend to be applications of the polaric force seen in the Yin-Yang model. Pythagorean, and Chinese models of the monadic force of 'one' in geometric forms work in models derived from the idea that a polaric force is working in the body of the form, regardless of its shape and number of points. (dyad, triad, ogdoad, etc.) Sun Tzu, author of "The Art of War" knew the principles of using this force in 'hei ho,' tactics. I point this out to show a work based upon the concepts of "I Ching" that does not take a structural form in its presentation based on the exact model, like the Tao Te Ching.

      The 'Tao Te Ching' is a work by the famous Taoist Sage, Lao Tsu (640 B.C. Sometimes referred to as Lao Zi). The literary work is 64 passages, which can be pictured in sets of eight, posed around the Yin-Yang symbol. ( Lao Tsu knew this idea without saying) These are not the same 64 passages used in the I Ching as a divination device, when modern cards are used in place of coins or sticks, something like tossing knucklebones. The idea is the polaric force of the monad in the "duality" in Yin and Yang, permeates each unit in the sets of eight. ( I Ching, Craze, Sterling, 2000, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, Vintage, 1989)

      The Taoist (Daoist) canon is a collection of 1120 works, many of them are references to martial arts and physical exercise. Much of this knowledge was almost lost until modern martialists revived it, mostly during my lifetime. A passage from Lao Zi, that refers to the monadic force...

      "Controlling the yang and yin elements by Embracing the One, can not allow them {yin and yang} to depart?" (The Way of Qigong, Cohen, Ballantine, 1997 p.15 )

      2. "Why is the identification of such a "monad" in Thomas so uncertain and subjective?"

      I think I see it because the Karate system I have studied all my adult life is a monadology based upon the "Embracing the One" idea. The oriental compass is an octagon, where you are in the middle, exactly like the Yin-Yang, I Ching model. The Pythagorean model(s) can be used the same way, it just happens to use ten units instead of eight. It is a contemplation device, not a calculation device, although this application can be devised.

      The monad in Thomas, is 'Jesus Wisdom.' Tao, means 'logos.' (Cohen) If we consider that the meaning of Tao is as relevant to Thomas, the idea of 'satori' (Japanese term meaning Enlightenment in Taoist/Bud. terms) then, Thomasine Gnosis is going to be a very similar kind of spiritual transcendence. I think what Origen's idea of 'ascending' to the spiritual state of the Incarnate Word is very much the same idea in a different variation.

      Thomas parables suggest the idea of 'kingdom' building. I think the writers of Thomas knew both Eastern and Western philosophies of numerical value building as we see in the I Ching, and Pythagorean Table of Numbers, would live on. After all, Empedocles was five or so centuries dead by the time of Jesus. However, Pythagoreans formed secret societies that could have survived into the time of Jesus. Clement and the Alexandrians did not spend so much time explaining these Presocratics, unless their 'dance' was relevant to the secret texts of 'Jesus Wisdom.'

      Presocratics would have known the I Ching, and Pythagorean concepts of sets or number building. Modern Orientals realize there is a tie to the I Ching and Western Philosophy, even Christianity, but most can't tell you the link is with the Pythagoreans, and followers like Empedocles.

      The power of building one's self with the 'power' of the knowledge of monadology as a tool, is the power of organizing a great number of things into the focus of one action. It is also learning to 'be' the knowledge and the action. This is very much like 'wearing the garment' like Cebes' concept of wearing the soul like a garment. It is not unlike being in the Pythagorean 'cube' or box, as an allegorical contemplation of the same concept. Wearing the garment is a concept that can be aligned with the early Christian Pneumatics. (Craftsmen)

      If you are a dedicated martial artist, you learn to live by a 'wear the garment' philosophy. Cohen points out how alike the ancient texts are to modern practices. I am among a number of people who have over the last 50 years become virtual living "Kingdom of the Sword" kind of guys, in America. ("The hands and feet are like swords," Funakoshi) The lineage of my Karate system can be traced back before the 1st c. but little is known that is more than legends, and bits and pieces. (Bubishi, McCarthy, Tuttle, 1995)

      The point is if you have the power to be, a sword, (''the sword is the monad,'' Pythagoras) huge amounts of restraint have to be learned, or they lock you up. I think this is a good example of how the 'garment' of Jesus Wisdom can be thought of, not to mention the kingdom ideas in saying 98. Wearing the garment in terms of the GThom would be adapting its wisdom into your psyche, your kenomic existence, (Mine started April Fools Day, the Year of the Rat, 1948), and your adaptation or employment of the Tao. (Logos, Light, All, Word Incarnate, Pleroma, etc.)

      I don't know how the number schemes work in Thomas, perhaps it is meant to use it any way it works. Two very old axiom from the Shaolin Temple go, "The eye must see all ways." "The ears must hear in all directions." (The Kenpo Gokui (Essential Principles), Bubishi) That is very much like 'He who has ears, {eyes}......"

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK

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