Journal writings from Shifu Michael’s next book – May 24, 2015

I came across an interesting article in the latest issue of The Empty Vessel magazine (Spring, 2015) a few days ago. It was an article on the female master Sun Bu’er, one of the seven Daoist disciples of Wang Chongyang, founder of the Quanzhen tradition during the 12th century. The article was interesting enough that I decided to find out more about the article’s author and the book the article came from.

So here it is now, I bought and already received the book, and I am half way through it. It is by Jill Gonet and it is titled, Riding the Phoenix to Penglai, Poetry by Taoist Adept Sun Bu-er. I even made email contact with Jill Gonet and we seem to have sprung up an internet dialogue about Daoist meditation and cultivation methods. She also said she’ll be getting my book, A Daoist Practice Journal: Come Laugh With Me, and I further suggested she get the book by Wu Jyh Cherng on the Zuowang lun and meditation.

I really like the Sun Bu’er poems. They are in the style that Wang Zhe (Chongyang) wrote of which I quoted often in my first journal. They are teaching poems on Daoist practice and theory. Here’s poem one:

Recalling the Mind
Before one ever had a body, the one Qi already existed.
Isn’t cultivation like polishing jade to smoothness.
Like refining gold to purity?
To sweep the space of the mind and clean up the ocean of thoughts
–the master key is holding the mind within.
Relax the mind in the spirit’s home,
A void the size of half a grain of millet,
And reside spontaneously there in the warmth.
(Gonet 2014, p. 28)

Jill Gonet follows each poem, there are two sets of poems with her commentary. Jill’s commentaries are to the point but perhaps a little short on in-depth explanations of the text’s meaning and possible applications for practice. I don’t mean to sound judgmental. I think I am still powerfully influenced by Wu Jyh Cherng’s (Daoist Meditation 2015) commentaries on the Zuowang Lun. It’ll be a while before I can impartially read any book on Daoism without comparing them to master Wu’s interpretations on Daoist practice.

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