January 22

Research projects
Cosmology & the Big Bang; A discussion of origins and endings.
Hindu Cosmology
Big Bang Theory (not the sitcom!) Recommended book: Eastern Philosophy for Beginners (we will look at excerpts as we go)

January 25
Introduction to Hinduism.

Harappa & Mohenjo-daro
Read (quickly) the following two Wiki entries:
Mohenjo-daro (Wiki)
Harappa (Wiki)
Browse some of the slides in these links. I will be reviewing them in more detail during class:
Indus Valley Civilizations (general site)
Around the Indus Valley in 90 Slides
Check out this "mystery":
The Radiation Mystery

January 29 - February 1
PRIMARY READING: Read POWELL 1 and SMITH in the class DROPBOX folder.

Also review the POWERPOINT file on identity and Hinduism.
THE GITA - Introduction & part 1

Just skim the introduction. In the text, pay special attention to the Krishna's use of rhetoric as we proceed.
Here is the introduction to the Gita chanted (just listen to the first minute or so to get an idea):

And HERE are some quotes from prominent scholars regarding the Gita.

I will be lecturing about the context of the Gita and providing commentary as we go. If you miss a lecture or need to review, here's an introductory lecture I found on YouTube:


TRIMURTI: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (Krishna is the earthly incarnation of Vishnu)

Brahman - Wikipedia
Brashit - paleo Hebrew
Here is a piece on PRANA -- just read the first few paragraphs to get an overview.
And here is a more extensive description of TAPAS (heat) from a spiritual perspective (I talked about the physiological view in class). Note that this is parallel to the Western idea of the "crucible" in Alchemy.

Chakras and the endocrine system.

The introductory section of the Wiki entry on The Bhagavad Gita (Wiki)
Here is another decent translation of the GITA you can download as a full pdf file: BHAGAVAD GITA . The Gita text begins on page 39.

If you're curious:
The Carolina Bays are one of the remnants of the asteroid strike on North America before the end of the last ice age (remember, we're technically still in an ice age)
Compare the 3,600-year cycle to the +/-27,000-year cycle of the "Great Year"
The precession of the equinoxes

February 5
PRIMARY READING: THE GITA - Parts 2 & 3. Pay special attention to Krishna's method of argumentation.

If you're curious (not required):
If you want more plot details of the Mahabharata, I recommend the complete text, but there is an excellent abridged translation by the great Indian novelist R. K. Narayan if what you want is the story.
Here's a synopsis with more detail (more gruesome and lurid) than what I covered in class. The beginning starts earlier than what I covered, so keep in mind that Bishma is the king of the Bharata clan (i.e. the king without progeny who must let Krishna Vyasa father the heirs): MAHABHARATA SYNOPSIS

February 8
For next time, read the two essays in the DropBox folder:
"Yoga as Reversal" (which describes the 8 Limbs) and "The Gita on Wisdom"
I've underlined key passages in the DropBox readings to save you time.

Also quickly read the next two sections of THE GITA - Parts 4 & 5. Pay special attention to Krishna's method of argumentation.

February 12-15
Read the next three sections of THE GITA - Parts 6-8.

Also read:
The 4 GOALS OF LIFE in Hinduism.
The 4 STAGES OF LIFE in Hinduism.

February 22, 26
Finish reading the Gita and catch up on your reading if you're behind.
We will wrap up the yogas and the Gita and look at the context of the Mahabharata.

Continue reading in the Gita.
Review in Powell -- the chapters on Hinduism.
An example account of kundalini awakening:

Watch these:
The Benefits of Deep Breathing
Diaphragmatic Breathing
READING: THE GITA - Parts 9-12.
THE 8 LIMBS OF YOGA (from Yoga Journal)

Finish the Gita
. Look at the summary and see if you can follow the general rhetorical structure.

Arjuna's moral crisis in the Gita.
The difference between MORALITY and ETHICS (scroll down for text).
Review the logic of Krishna's various arguments and explanations.
How are they different from Krishna's and Arjuna's points of view?
Is Arjuna's final decision an act of free will or is it under duress?
Wrapping up the Gita:
Here is a summary of The Secret of Secrets in the Gita.
Also read The Five Arguments of Krishna, summarizing the rhetoric of the Gita, HERE
Read this Wiki entry on The Neuroscience of Free Will (it is relevant to the issue of karma).


Gita - Conclusion, review

Intro to Taoism

Some explication of TAO

The evolution of some Chinese characters.

Also READ this COMMENTARY on the Tao Te Ching

Tao & Te

Read the beginning of the China section in Powell as well as the introduction to the Tao Te Ching and compare the English/Feng translation of verse #1 to Ron Hogan's.
TTC by ENGLISH & FENG-- this is the translation we will be using as the main one

Midterm Review


Finish the first half (to Chapter 40) of the English/Feng translation of the Tao Te Ching.
If you want the full text, you can go here: English/Feng TAO TE CHING.

Wikipedia on QI
What is Qi

Also read this entry on LAO TZU

Read the two pages on the Ancient Dynasties of China [1], [2] focusing mostly on the Zhou period.

You should finish the English/Feng TAO TE CHING. (We will be looking at the concept of TE.)

Here is an example of a project proposal. This one has a conclusion, but yours may not. The bibliography is also left blank on this one (although there were actual texts in the proposal) so you aren't able to use it as a research shortcut! You should have yours ready by next Tuesday.
Sample project proposal #1
Here are two examples of very different proposals and two sample papers for your reference. (The papers are actually much longer than they appear online.)
Sample Proposal #2
Sample Proposal #3
Sample Paper #1
Sample Paper #2

Introduction to the I Ching
Forward to the I Ching, by Carl Jung

The comic book history of ancient China in two parts:
Send project proposals via email by March 29

Our I Ching reading question last semester was: Between now and May 1st, characterize U.S. policy in relation to Syria.

The hexagrams were:
#4 (Youthful Folly/Ignorance) (with moving lines 1, 2, and 4; line 2 is the important one to read) changing to #21 (Biting Through)

Our I Ching reading question this semester was: Between now and December 1st, characterize U.S. relations with North Korea regarding nuclear missiles.
The hexagrams were:
#24 (Return/The Turning Point)(with a moving line at 1) changing to #51 (Thunderbolt)

Read some of these Taoist stories.
Read some of these Parables of Jesus. Pay special attention to the following:
The Laborers in the Vinyard
The Prodigal Son
The Mustard Seed
The Good Samaritan


The Buddha's life in pictures
Read the DHAMMAPADA, Chapter 1-7.

Summary of The Cloud Dream of the Nine
Conze translation of The Heart Sutra
Buddhanet translation of The Heart Sutra with commentaries

The great Ch'an Master, whose Dharma-name was Hsi Yun, resided below Vulture Peak on Huang-po Mountain, which is in Kao-An County in Hung-Chou. He was a major disciple of Ts'ao-Ch'i, the Sixth Patriarch, and the Dharma-son of Pai-Chang. He admired the Supreme Mahayana Vehicle and sealed it without words, teaching the transmission of Mind only and no other Dharma whatsoever. He held that both Mind and substance are void and that the interrelationships of phenomena are motionless. Thus, everything is, in reality, void and still like the radiant light of the great sun in the sky, shining brightly and purely throughout the world. If one has attained this understanding, he holds no concept of duality -- such as new versus old or shallow versus deep -- in his mind. If one has attained this understanding, he does not attempt to explain its meaning, nor does he hold biased views, one way or another, regarding particular sects. The Master just pointed out that "It is!" alone is the correct understanding. So, even allowing a single thought to arise is wrong. He made clear that the profound meaning beyond words is the Tao, which is subtle and the action of which is solitary and uniform.

—from The Zen Teachings of Huang-po by Pei Hsiu (italics added)

The Buddhist view of reincarnation
Here's a Huffington Post piece on scientists arguing about what happens to the "soul" after death.

The Four Noble Truths on Youtube:

FINAL PROJECTS DUE - May 11 (Friday by midnight)

FINAL EXAM - May 17 (Thursday) IN CLASS: Section 1: 12:30-2:30 p.m. / Section 2: 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Keep in mind that the narration in this video gets the story WRONG. Watch it to get a general sense of the story, but be sure to read the book.

Read my translations of chapter 1 (the reincarnation chapter)and the Ghost Story chapter of Kim Man-jung's KUUNMONG (The Cloud Dream of the Nine). Pay attention to the footnotes.
A summary of the plot can be found HERE.

Read this essay that describes how "real" life can "read" like fiction.
Also, read THIS WIKI ENTRY, paying special attention to the idea of "interpenetration."

Review for Final FINAL STUDY GUIDE

An excellent introduction to basic Buddhism (Life of the Buddha, 4 Noble Truths, 8-fold Path) and Tibetan Buddhism.


In answer to our question about the Republican primaries, the I Ching's response was: Hexagram 45 (Gathering Together) with a moving 6 at the top, which changes it into Hexagram 12. Since there was a moving line, that means the first hexagram characterizes the current condition and the second hexagram characterizes the potential outcome.

The reading for the moving line is:

Lamenting and sighing, floods of tears.
No blame.

It may happen that an individual would like to ally himself with another, but his good intentions are misunderstood. Then he becomes sad and laments. But this is the right course. For it may cause the other person to come to his senses, so that the alliance that has been sought and so painfully missed is after all achieved.

Hexagram 12 Stock photo for "defeated"
For Hexagram 12, you can look at the full reading on the link, but this reading of the image seems appropriate:

Heaven and earth do not unite:
The image of STANDSTILL.
Thus the superior man falls back upon his inner worth
In order to escape the difficulties.
He does not permit himself to be honored with revenue.

When, owing to the influence of inferior men, mutual mistrust prevails in public life, fruitful activity is rendered impossible, because the fundaments are wrong. Therefore the superior man knows what he must do under such circumstances; he does not allow himself to be tempted by dazzling offers to take part in public activities. This would only expose him to danger, since he cannot assent to the meanness of the others. He therefore hides his worth and withdraws into seclusion.

EDIT - You can see that the pictographic reading of "defeat" is incorrect when associated with Trump. The defeat is of his opponent and the pictogram is actually a blaring trumpet with the letter D (for Donald) emerging from the bottom. An uncanny foreshadowing of the results of the presidential election.

Tuesday 5/3
Review for Final FINAL STUDY GUIDE

An excellent introduction to basic Buddhism (Life of the Buddha, 4 Noble Truths, 8-fold Path) and Tibetan Buddhism.


Also, familiarize yourself with the I Ching with the links below:
Wiki: I Ching

Herk Stokely on the I Ching

I Ching (Just 6 Things) from "Imagining the 10th Dimension" (includes summary of the Wiki entry, for those too lazy to read)
The I Ching as a "Super-Computer"
I Ching and the Genetic Code
"Characterize what will happen with Ebola in the U.S. between now and December 1st."

The result was HEXAGRAM 2 with a 6 in the first place.
Here is the pictogram for HEX 2:

This characterizes the current condition.
The moving line changes it to HEXAGRAM 7, for which the pictogram is:

This characterizes the outcome.
You can read the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching HERE (scroll down).

Compare these pictograms with some of these images:
Kitum cave (where Ebola originated)

This is a fundraising image showing the first nurse, Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola in Texas (TX).It was taken from a support site (the photo was in various news articles).

This is a typical synchronicity that happens with pictographic I Ching readings. Note the 2nd pictogram looks also like the letters T and X disassembled.

The definition of BOLA:
"a weapon consisting of a number of balls connected by strong cord, which when thrown entangles the limbs of the quarry."

Here is the INTRODUCTION to the Tao Te Ching keyed to the Feng/English translation we are using.

For those investigating meditation:
Here's the documentary, DOING TIME, DOING VIPASSANA:

And here is a good post-retreat video by a 24-year-old:

The other documentaries I mentioned in class are:
THE DHAMMA BROTHERS (about the use of Vipassana in an American prison)
YOGA, INC. (about the commercialization of yoga in the U.S.)

A link to LITTLE BUDDHA for those who need to watch the film again. (Apply internet safety rules!)

There is a 12-part series of clips on YOUTUBE also (which is a collection of the important scenes but missing some connective plot elements).

On the class page, watch the video links and read the entries in the TAOISM section down to "The I Ching and the Genteic Code" article.
Read the up to verse 40 of the English/Feng translation the Tao Te Ching. A link to that version can be found HERE.

Read the first 20 verses of the Tao Te Ching and compare the various translations, especially of the first verse HERE.

Wrapping up the Gita:
Skim the following, paying attention to the concept of PRAKRTI.
Here are the Wiki entries on PURUSHA (the cosmic man) and PRAKRTI (cosmic energy/nature). Note the particle/wave duality of these concepts and the idea that there is a directionality to their interaction (SATVA). You do not have to know these concepts in depth at this point, but get a general idea of them, since they will carry over into our discussion of Taoism.

Since many of you were interested in the "tone" yoga, you might want to have a look at this example of a DYI cymatics illustrator made from a Celtic drum.

You can get instructions on how to make a rudimentary cymatics sounder yourself (for vocal sounds) by looking at the video here.
Cymatics research has been going on for a long time (as you can see from mandala patterns in Hinduism and Buddhism). Here's a more academic presentation:

Here's a demonstration of the effect of sound on plasma -- the Ruben's Tube:

Mythbusters also has a segment that gives a nice explanation here.
But keep in mind that the relationship between plasma and sound works both ways. Plasma also creates sound, as you can see demonstrated in this video, which may seem rather unbelievable (the sound is coming from the plasma):

You can find other examples of plasma speakers via Google.
Here's a Wiki article on how PLASMA SPEAKERs work. (Now you know how the voice of God could come from a flaming bush.)

Here's a very interesting contemporary take on Verse #53.

Chuanz Tzu's butterfly dream
One of the most interesting contemporary cases of reincarnation (ABC Primetime 2005).
YouTube Video of the ABC Primetime story.
The Cloud Dream of the Nine (discounted 20%, free shipping for class members)

The Chinese characters for China are litterally MIDDLE KINGDOM. You will probably be surprised to see that China has large numbers of pyramids around the ancient Chin capital of Xian, a city whose structure is modeled precisely on the character for MIDDLE. Here is a video on China's pyramids:

The first Chin Emperor wanted his empire to be modeled on Heaven, but he was also preoccupied with the idea of physical immortality based largely on Taoist ideas. Look at the links on QI below.

One of the problems with qigong is that practitioners often use what we would consider fraudulent demonstrations to validate qi for an audience. Here's an example of both authentic and fraudulent evidence.

Here's an unfortunate example of some authentic Aikido techniques that are then turned into fraudulent exaggerations (it only works with people who are hand-picked by Dondrup Dorje).

An example of debunking. (This brings up a question about the nature of hypnotism, also.)

The use of alternating lateral motion in a "Chi Machine."

Also skim Carl Jung's PREFACE to the I Ching

For those interested in MANTRA YOGA, this link goes to Muz Murray's yoga site.
For those curious about NDEs, here is a link to IANDS.


If you need to review the Little Buddha film, you can watch the whole movie via the THIS link.

Read the rest of the DHAMMAPADA..

40 Hz Gamma Brainwaves (3 parts)

Other topics on the Society for Scientific Exploration website.

An "origami divination" based on reading the I Ching. Click on image to read explanation.

Our I Ching reading from last class was framed by the question: "Characterize the outcome of the presidential elections from now until November 7th." The resulting pictograms are below:

with two moving lines (9 at 5 and 6), which produced:


Since the candidates are WILLARD MITT ROMNEY and BARACK OBAMA, we pay special attention to the underlying meanings of their names, especially since the bottom trigram, THUNDER, remains unchanged and the upper trigram, WIND/WOOD, becomes EARTH/ASH after the changing lines.

Here's an xample of the I Ching question from an earlier exam.
Note that I gave the moving two lines but not the "outcome" hexagram, since it was more distracting than relevant to the reading.

Those interested in more on the symbology of the caduceus can read my essay here.

Look at the summary if you need to be reminded of Krishna's rhetorical strategies in general. One of the important considerations will be to distinguish "the knower" from "the field," and for that purpose, it will be good to review your understanding of some basic dualities.

Computers can "read your mind" (for your curiosity)
Scroll down and watch the video on this page - "The Quantum Activist"
The full documentary can be seen here if you are interested.

Also watch this:

40 Hz Gamma Brainwaves (3 parts)

Other topics on the Society for Scientific Exploration website.

Hollow Mask Illusion
Spinning Dancer Illusion 1
Spinning Dancer Illusion 2

Our I Ching reading from the two classes was framed by the question: "Characterize the Republican primaries between now and May 1st." The resulting pictograms are below:

HEXAGRAM 35 with a moving line, which produced:



For those of you who are interested in Kundalini yoga, this link will take you to a site that has a comprehensive discussion of Kundalini yoga along with resource links: Jana Dixon - The Biology of Kundalini.

Here's what I tried to demonstrate in class. Note how it's a visual record of the multiplication problem, but it requires no multiplication, only addition.

An example of torsion physics and its prominence in the new political movements.

THRIVE screens on 11.11.11