Tai Qi – Shingen
By Antonio CeJunior
What should preside to our condition as human beings is to understand the entire mechanism of Nature, to which we belong.
In Nature everything is balanced: from day to night, the four seasons, from cold to heat, from light to darkness, from heavy to lightness. Everything refers to the natural order (of Nature) and to its rhythms.
However, when we move away from what is natural, that is, what is part of Nature, of which we are an integral part, unbalance happens. And of this lack of equilibrium the lack of harmony arises, which is nothing but to go against the order of nature in its deep meaning.
Heaven and Earth
For the Chinese, the term Heaven meant not only the deity, but the entire Universe. Earth was understood as Nature in its whole and very early the Chinese understood that there was a connection between Heaven and Earth through the concept of Tai Qi:
The Yin and Yang, the balance of opposites and the duality of life. Represented by the symbolic Tai Qi, Yin and Yang are the negative and positive energies governing all human life and all things in the universe. Yin the black segment in the Tai Qi is the heavy, passive, feminine, receptive or contracting quality of nature and life. Yang the white segment in the Tai Qi is the rising, forceful, masculine expansive side of nature and life.
Neither the qualities of Yin and Yang are better than each other; they are equally attracted, repelled, and dependent and stimulated by each other, hence the small spot of the opposite colour in each segment. They are constantly in flux flowing back and forth, expanding, contracting, and maintaining a balance within the universe.
Therefore the positive energy does not necessarily mean Goodness nor does the negative principle means Evil. Day is not better than Night, it is just its opposite.
It is in this sense that when Yin and Yang were formulated through the Tai Qi it referred to what exists in both the Universe and on Earth.
Today science explains that electricity can only flow, like magnetism, if we have a negative and positive poles. Magnetism, electricity, gravity, all are natural forces that exist both on Earth and the Universe. So this is the connection between Heaven and Earth. The Universe pulses with all kinds of energy flows, magnetism, radio signals, gravity and what not. For this reason the Tai Qi principle is Universal, that is, it is part of the Universe.
In just a century we managed to seriously damage our planet. We destroy the rain forests, the ozone layers and we are beginning to feel the reaction of Nature. Why, because we parted from Nature in our “civilized ways”.
We dare want to control the Earth instead of understanding that we are part of it. Now everything is already changing. However we still consider ourselves “civilized”, despite being drawn away from Nature.
Earth has no agenda, the Universe has no agenda. Nature exists beyond good or evil, animals have no agenda, and they just accomplish their survival task. Humans were the only ones to create agendas, to want power, to have greed. This drove us away from what the Taoists call The Way, which is to seek for a deeper understanding of everything under Heaven, as Chinese civilization so wisely put it.
Conflict always existed among humans because of selfishness and of the need to possess and control.
When we see two people talking heatedly in a TV show, what we see is that none of them is listening to the other. They are only interested in conveying their views and the result is always catastrophic because both become deaf and at the same time they show their autism. This is far from wisdom, the real conclusion that men who try to follow the Way draw from observing the laws of Nature.
Harmony is wisdom. Wisdom is the understanding of yesterday and tomorrow and of the laws of Nature and the Universe, yet living one day at a time. Conflict is what the Archimedes’ Principle explains.
When things cannot be changed, it is useless to try to change them. Each thing has its own intrinsic nature. It must be understood and respected. In fact what happens is that we are seeing something under our own biased perspective, not under a neutral perspective which would enable us to understand it better.
Therefore, when Buddhism says that true form has no form, it is not rhetoric, and it means more than its literal meaning:
Observe the waters of a river. Do they fight the rocks in the river bed? No, they circumvent the rocks. However we do tend to forget this, and instead, we try to impose our points of view. When forget the lessons of nature, we do loose our possibility to achieve more wisdom.
Therefore, water has no shape or form. It takes the form or shape of its vessel. This is the way of Nature. Having no shape is true shape.
Sight and Vision
The Japanese used to categorize sight and vision in five different ways:
Very few in the West and even in the East understand the concept of Shingen. The word is composed of Shin, which also signifies Kôkoro (heart) and it is connected with the spirit, while gen means both eye and sight, vision.
From this heart associated with sight or vision, we have a first transcription of what is compassionate vision. It is important to state that the word compassion is composed of passion (the original meaning is “suffering”) hence compassion is sharing the suffering.
This being clarified, compassionate vision means the clairvoyant view of a vision void of passion (now in the sense of a prejudice, a way of seeing things, a vision blinded by emotions). Passion becomes, therefore, uncontrolled emotion.
Shingen, the compassionate vision, therefore the clairvoyant vision has already surpassed the uncontrolled emotions.
Nikugen • the naked vision
This is nothing more than the simple image received my the retina, void of any mental or emotional process, as it is known that the mechanical vision is purely of the realm of optics.
First and foremost, Nikugen is entirely superficial. It is the lowest of the five levels of vision. The naked vision does not carry any deeper understanding and does not see beyond the objects in its field of vision. It only “sees” the side of the objects that are facing the viewer. These characteristics do not simply apply to the physical vision. Someone who wants to view a problem using Nikugen only sees its most superficial aspects. For instance, without money the person with Nikugen realizes he is without anything. If he wishes to eat he will only realize he has a total impossibility to buy food. This bi-dimensional vision blinds its bearer of other possibilities such as trading work for food, or selling something to obtain money for food.
Tengen • the neutral perspective
The following stage of vision development is Tengen, literally meaning “celestial vision” not in the angelical or transcendental sense, but only on the point of view of the observer or viewer.
With Tengen, the observer is no bound to his point of view, but rather under a neutral perspective as if seeing the entire scene/situation from a great height. Literally Tengen allows you to view the “forest by the trees”.
Therefore, with a less self-centered perspective, the vision of the observer is not so susceptible to the distortions of pre-conceived ideas, emotional reactions or life conditions.
Using the same previous examples, someone with this perspective can now perceive the hidden side of objects. Using knowledge and experience his mind will allow for a broader vision. That is, someone using a neutral perspective, instead of strictly perceiving the lack of money for food, will see the situation as a need for food, which offers new options for a solution.
However still with this elevated perspective, the observer’s emotions, prejudices, and life circumstances interfere with the real understanding of his vision which is still limited by what his eyes see.
Egen • the interpretative vision
Literally it means thinking vision. It is in a higher level, in which the received image in the brain is better understood trough the perception of the implications of things and observed situations.
However it is important to note that it is not an analytical thought. It is rather an automatic and subconscious process in which the sight and the mind operate together and interpretation of the images received by the brain, producing a much deeper interpretation than the mere physical sight.
An example most certainly experienced by many: someone observing two cars coming to a crossing at the same time, from two perpendicular streets which do not allow each driver to see the other, can see an accident about to happen.
If we saw this seen with a Nikugen or Tengen vision, we would just see two cars moving, without being able to establish a cause relation. Unfortunately, most people possess on interpretative sight, however they lack Egen at another level.
With true Egen we would recognize a clash of personalities or wills would be imminent. We would see an event not only through its physical shape, but also in the context of the forces in movement and the effects that would later result as an immediate consequence.
The real benefit with Egen is that the observer is now capable to naturally and subconsciously the cause and effect relationship of things that he observes or participates in. However, Egen still has insufficiencies.
Shingen-Hogen • the compassionate sight.
The next level of vision, Shingen, provides the most vital ingredient of all: compassion (as explained earlier) the spark that motivates the warrior of light.
Compassionate in the sense that it is not charitable, but rather of true solidarity.
With this compassionate vision, the warrior of light sees an event not only through his own perspective, or how it will affect him, but also how the event will affect the lives of all those involved. Moreover he sees with understanding and compassion for all those involved, in such a way that his action will not be guided by what is more convenient to himself, but to the society or the community in its whole, independently of the scale of the concept.
The warrior of light does not look at feelings, actions or wishes of others as right or wrong. This way his judgement will not be blinded by the need to prove himself right or to surpass the natural hesitation that someone else has to admit that he is right or wrong. What is important and what motivates him is what is more valuable.
In a conflict between personalities, the warrior of light observes the visions of others as alternatives, then, using Shingen he analyzes which alternative can be more valuable for all.
The evaluation of the warrior of light is in absolute tune with the unchanging laws of Nature. He understands the principles of cause and effect and that even “wrong” actions are originated by the powers of cause and effect.
Sometimes Shingen is referred to as Hogen, whose literal translation can be best understood as Universal Perspective, in the sense that having equal compassion for all people under a natural and unchanging order, in which the warrior of light may choose to intervene.
It is under this universal order of things that the warrior of light seeks to observe and act in the most beneficial way.
Unlike the ancient samurai, today’s warrior of light or of global peace recovers these principles for actions more noble than warfare.
Therefore, those who see through Shingen-Hogen has walked through the primitive Nikugen until Shingen-Hogen. He gained more insight, more compassion became more natural by tuning in to the laws of the Universe.
Quoted from Flashin Steel by Masayuki Shimabukuro and Leonard J. Pellman
Of Good and Evil
What distinguishes Good from Evil, is the type of energy that is manifested from each of these principles.
Good possess a characteristic that is altruistic, generous, and luminous because it is enlightened. It follows the laws of Nature, because both Good and Evil are of earthly nature e specific to mankind. Animals are not bad or good, they just act according to the laws of Nature, amongst which is survival.
What we call Evil comes from a human energy of negative type, that is, something still very confused, containing selfishness and living in the darkness where it cannot see and therefore it manifests itself under the limited scope in which it dwells.
Nature does not know Good or Evil. The Universe does not know Good or Evil as well. Only man possesses this characteristic that is intrinsic to him. It is up to him to choose.
We all have fallen into the temptation of proclaiming ourselves the owners of truth. We hear proclamations about Evil that are but polarizations, which generate lack of harmony.
For this reason we can understand that The Way has no name. It is nameless, and when we try to define it, it is not the Way anymore. Therefore those who follow the Way do not proclaim anything.
Our Ego is our worst enemy. If we can fight it we have won an important battle for our own selves. For this reason, a man called Jeshua, of the tribe of David, who was part of the Nazarenes sect, (from the Aramaic word Nazar ) said in his sermon of the Mountain:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This must be translated correctly as the oldest Gospel was written in Greek more than 130 years after the crucifixion: Blessed are the simple (void of Ego), for theirs is the kingdom of inner peace (heaven).
Buddha also preached that desire was the cause of all suffering, and only removing ourselves of all illusions could we know the essence of things. Peeling an onion layer by layer will lead us into emptiness, the great Void that contains everything.
Hence, knowing the essential is the way to free ourselves.
We were born naked and we will return to earth without anything. Only the spirit will survive. It is the perfection of the spirit that we must pursue, for that is the pursuit of Harmony, the inner peace.
Harmony is, therefore both Natural and Universal.
Antonio Cejunior – BLADESIGN