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Developing character

ragini

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Recently I have been feeling rather down, and have been getting the feeling that I should work on developing the strength of character that a saint has. I asked the Yi, how should I do it and got 50.2.4.5 -> 53

I have some thoughts on what this might mean - but am really looking for suggestions and advise from your wonderful people.
:bows:
 

mryou1

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Wow, it's remarkably fitting that you got Hex 50 in response to that question. The Vessel is the sacred instrument used to cook food for sacrifice to gods and ancestors. Akin to hexagram 27, but hexagram 27 is the taking in of nourishment for your body/mind, while 50 is the taking in of nourishment for your soul.

The changing to 53 typically carries a symbol of water seeping through cracks, or gradual progress. In relationship to The Vessel, this symbol seems to carry a whole new meaning: exploring the cracks in your Vessel. Not ignoring the flaws in your attempts to "saintliness". Acting with temperance (akin to Buddhist thought). Not abstaining from desires, but not divulging in them. The middle path. A leaky Vessel can still hold the meat, and most of the broth.
 

troubadour

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I like the idea of those cracks.

Saints are perfectly themselves - cracks and all.

There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. - Saint Leonard Cohen
 

gene

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ragini

First of all, hexagram 53 shows us that nothing ever comes immediately if that something is personal growth. It has to be developed. Secondly, hexagram 50 speaks of a transformation, and in order to have spiritual growth we have to transform ourselves through renewal (hexagram 24)

Line two tells us to limit ourselves to our actual achievements. In other words, don't get sidetracked. It is when we divert ourselves, and get off course even for a moment, (see hexagram 24 about slight digressions) we tend to stay off course. The more we do so the harder it is to get back on. By making ourselves like a horse that "looks straight ahead," we negate some of the danger associated with the path.

Line four tells us that if our character is not strong, that we will be "spoiled." If we are not up to the task, we will fail. The problem so often in spiritual growth is that "The world is so much with us." It keeps beckoning to us, and calling at our doorstep. It forces to pay attention to the daily chores, and then the "Prince's meal is spoiled."

Line 5 continues this theme in saying that, "It is important for us to hold to it at all times and not be led astray." The spiritual path is the hardest thing that can ever be done, and it requires constant self abnegation and sacrifice. Lao Tzu said, Every day I invest in loss." In Christian terms, "The way of the cross leads home."

Gene
 

ragini

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The changing to 53 typically carries a symbol of water seeping through cracks, or gradual progress. In relationship to The Vessel, this symbol seems to carry a whole new meaning: exploring the cracks in your Vessel. Not ignoring the flaws in your attempts to "saintliness". Acting with temperance (akin to Buddhist thought). Not abstaining from desires, but not divulging in them. The middle path. A leaky Vessel can still hold the meat, and most of the broth.
I like the idea of those cracks.

Saints are perfectly themselves - cracks and all.
Thank you mryou1, I do have a lot of cracks, and I realize it is high time I started filling them. I have tried abstaining from desires and have experienced negative consequences. I agree, this time around it will be important to act with temperance :)

troubadour, that's a nice one :D
 

ragini

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ragini

First of all, hexagram 53 shows us that nothing ever comes immediately if that something is personal growth. It has to be developed. Secondly, hexagram 50 speaks of a transformation, and in order to have spiritual growth we have to transform ourselves through renewal (hexagram 24)

Line two tells us to limit ourselves to our actual achievements. In other words, don't get sidetracked. It is when we divert ourselves, and get off course even for a moment, (see hexagram 24 about slight digressions) we tend to stay off course. The more we do so the harder it is to get back on. By making ourselves like a horse that "looks straight ahead," we negate some of the danger associated with the path.

Line four tells us that if our character is not strong, that we will be "spoiled." If we are not up to the task, we will fail. The problem so often in spiritual growth is that "The world is so much with us." It keeps beckoning to us, and calling at our doorstep. It forces to pay attention to the daily chores, and then the "Prince's meal is spoiled."

Line 5 continues this theme in saying that, "It is important for us to hold to it at all times and not be led astray." The spiritual path is the hardest thing that can ever be done, and it requires constant self abnegation and sacrifice. Lao Tzu said, Every day I invest in loss." In Christian terms, "The way of the cross leads home."

Gene
Hi gene,

Transformation through renewal is an image I have been getting from a while. Even though I can sort of understand it, I am having a slightly hard time grasping it's full meaning, in that what is it that I should renew in myself.

Not getting off path is important, as is cultivating the character that is needed to stay true to the path. I feel like even though I have the desire for that character, the wisdom, and confidence is lacking. Maybe that's what has to be transformed in myself. Again not sure how ...

Constant self abnegation and sacrifice ... yes that is important too, but will require the kind of character where one does not start getting inflated when success or recognition comes. I am actually not an inflated or arrogant person, yet there are times when (unwarranted) vanity rears it's head from the deep recesses. I know it needs to go ... but how ? It comes on it's own, I don't beckon it.
 

gene

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ragini

When we separate from the path, (because the world is too much with us) that is when renewal must take place, renewing ourselves to the path.

Gene
 

ragini

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Just wanted to update this thread.

I have been thinking of the cracks I have, from a long time, and am coming to a conclusion that they exist at the level of psychology, spirituality, and health. I am creating some sort of a plan to address them at all three levels.

gene, I am realizing the importance of staying on track. Even a little deviation from the track makes it difficult to get back on. So, staying true to the track is very important. It reminds me of something I read a while back : "just showing up at work everyday takes care of half the problems"
 

gene

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ragini

Boy, do I ever know the problem of getting off the path. It happens so suddenly, and when things of the world force us to bring our attention to it. It is a never ending battle, (hexagram 7), but as Don Quixote said, "The road is better than the inn."

Gene
 

weiwuwei

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I posted here not too long ago about a political campaign for which I got a whopping 50.1.2.3.4.6>24.

I was mainly asking Yi about the character of the people I was working with, and whether or not they were a good group of people to associate with, since I was stuck with them if I wanted to continue doing what needed to get done.

This story might help you:

http://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/friends/showthread.php?p=167068#post167068
 

ragini

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ragini

Boy, do I ever know the problem of getting off the path. It happens so suddenly, and when things of the world force us to bring our attention to it. It is a never ending battle, (hexagram 7), but as Don Quixote said, "The road is better than the inn."

Gene
hehe the road is certainly better than the inn. Now I just need to find out how to keep my car from getting off it so very often :D
 

meng

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Recently I have been feeling rather down, and have been getting the feeling that I should work on developing the strength of character that a saint has. I asked the Yi, how should I do it and got 50.2.4.5 -> 53

I have some thoughts on what this might mean - but am really looking for suggestions and advise from your wonderful people.
:bows:
First, what does feeling rather down have to do with strength of character? I'm not even sure I see a connection between not feeling down and being a saint. Saints never feel down? It shows weak character?

I believe bliss and melancholy are close cousins; more than likely emotions a saint isn't spared.

The attribute of the yielding or dark principle is not joy but melancholy -
Wilhelm 58

I see 50 as your belly, your cooking pot, and what you fill it with, how you plan to serve it (use it), and 53 is the steady and daily walk of a saint: not a spiritual giant (hohoho), but a reliable source of inspiration and integrity, even when unrecognized or even disdained for saintly things. He or she no longer serves princes and kings, and has no home of their own.

Miracles occur through a mixture of power and humility.
 

ragini

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Hi meng,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

First, what does feeling rather down have to do with strength of character? I'm not even sure I see a connection between not feeling down and being a saint. Saints never feel down? It shows weak character?
I don't mean to imply that saints have weak character, but I do believe that when we feel down, it is because we have been swayed by some external circumstance. The strength of character which could make us connected to the divine and not be swayed by external things, may help us reach a state where one does not feel down.

I believe bliss and melancholy are close cousins; more than likely emotions a saint isn't spared.
I agree, but I think it is because melancholy helps us look inwards. In that process if we are able to find a deeper connection to the universe then we feel bliss. Nothing wrong with melancholy, but I definitely would like to transcend from that to a state where I can feel more (spiritual) joy, and not feel the melancholy.

Wilhelm 58

I see 50 as your belly, your cooking pot, and what you fill it with, how you plan to serve it (use it), and 53 is the steady and daily walk of a saint: not a spiritual giant (hohoho), but a reliable source of inspiration and integrity, even when unrecognized or even disdained for saintly things. He or she no longer serves princes and kings, and has no home of their own.

Miracles occur through a mixture of power and humility.
Thank you, that helped a lot. We do have choice with what we put in the belly. I see the daily walk as being steady to the purpose we choose for ourselves. Not serving kings and princes, but only the divine does bring some very pleasant feelings. Finally, thanks for the quote on 'power and humility'. Integrating that dichotomy is something I need to learn.

Thank you.
Ragini :bows:
 

meng

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Hi Ragini,

I think it's interesting that the shortest sentence in the Bible, since we're discussing sainthood, is "Jesus wept." The iconic devotional image called the "Man of Sorrows". Legend has it that Satan offers him bread when he is most hungry, if he bows down to him. But nowhere does it say any of this made him less a saint; exactly the opposite: the Dude was down. There is no pain or sadness a Bodhisattva has not experienced. His or Her compassion can't be theoretical only, it must be felt, and felt deeply.

When the Buddha sneaked away from his cloistered palace to see the world outside, he was deeply saddened and disillusioned at seeing sickness, old age and death. So "down" was he that he decided to forgo riches, power, luxury, and at great distress and disappointment to his father, and instead to become a monk, determined to reckon with these most troubling realizations, to supersede them, transcend them in [his] consciousness and being; to awaken.

I understand that 47.1 isn't saintly behavior, but I doubt a saint ever walked this earth who has not experienced it, cyclically, just like anyone else. How one reckons with it, that's what separates saints from sinners - in us. A Bodhisattva is not set free from the cycles of the dual-world, including the down ones. H36 speaks this too, let the light go on shining even when hidden from view, even when moping under a tree, saying 'oh po po me.' I personally find banging on pots helps, making noises with a guitar, talking to a rabbit or tree; a hummingbird who waits impatiently.
 

ragini

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Hi Ragini,
There is no pain or sadness a Bodhisattva has not experienced. His or Her compassion can't be theoretical only, it must be felt, and felt deeply.
Thanks meng, that makes a lot of sense. :bows:

Hi Ragini,

I personally find banging on pots helps, making noises with a guitar, talking to a rabbit or tree; a hummingbird who waits impatiently.
Hehe, I have tried speaking with trees, and must say it helps relieve sadness ;)

I can see what you are saying. Sadness and melancholy must be felt in totality, before one can transcend it

Thank you :bows:
 

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