The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Dragon Motif

Previously, I had posted an excerpt of a review of The Propensity of Things by Francois Jullien. Below is an excerpt from the book which particularly caught my eye.

Conclusion II: The Dragon Motif

The body of the dragon concentrates energy in its sinuous curves, and coils and uncoils to move along more quickly. It is a symbol of all the potential with which form can be charged, a potential that never ceases to be actualized The dragon now lurks in watery depths, now streaks aloft to the highest heavens, and its very gait is a continuous undulation. It presents an image of energy constantly recharged through oscillation from one pole to the other.

The dragon is a constantly evolving creature with no fixed form; it can never be immobilized or penned in, never grasped. It symbolizes a dynamism never visible in concrete form and thus unfathomable. Finally, merging with the clouds and mists, the dragon's impetus makes the surrounding world vibrate: it is the very image of an energy that diffuses itself through space, intensifying its environment and enriching itself by that aura.


Shortly after reading The Propensity of Things, I read Lectures on the I Ching by Dr. Richard Wilhelm.

How to go about studying the I Ching has always been somewhat of a puzzle to me. From his lectures, I got some idea of the underlying structure of how the I Ching is put together and how hexagrams are evaluated.

Throwing some coins then looking up one’s fortune, like breaking open a fortune cookie it is not.


Yamabushi said...

I will have to look up that book, Rick. The section "The dragon is a constantly evolving creature with no fixed form; it can never be immobilized or penned in, never grasped." reminds me of everything I strive for when attempting anything related to Aiki or chinese internal arts. It can be so hard to be so soft.

Rick said...

It's an excellent book. I will be reading more from that author.

walt said...

That book by Wilhelm is excellent.

Re: the dragon's curves -- does the dragon get stiff with old age? I was reading that, as people age, the 'S' curve in the spine tends to straighten or, say, degrade, leading to all sorts of alignment and postural problems. The claim was that various forms in martial arts and yoga, prevents this degradation.

I still haven't read Gullien's books, but intend to.

Rick said...

Regarding the I Ching. After reading Wilhelms' book, maybe the activity of the I Ching scholar may be summed up as simply thinking things through.

walt said...

"I still haven't read Gullien's books..."

Okay, so it's Jullien. Obviously old age affects the eyesight and memory as well...

Re: your comment - yes, or even, thinking things through thoroughly. His thinking in terms of the Images intrinsic in the natural world is very right brain-ish, and expansive.