Afterword

In September 2005, after I had finished the final draft of this book, I had a great experience of nature in Hawaii with my wife Deirdre Orceyre. I practiced my shamanic alchemy Qigong on the Kan (Water) island of Kauai and the Lift (Fire) island of the Big Island. I sensed the power of Water and Fire and how they destroy and recreate life. The abundance of nature that is so evident in Hawaii showed me the importance of the symbolic "killing" function of the tiger. Death is indeed the path of rebirth. Through the gifts from my students and friends Malik Cotter and Joyanna Cotter, I had the chance to visit the House of the Sun, Haleakala, and the Valley of the Moon, Iao, on the island of Maui. I thought about the topic of Enlightenment as I was enjoying the magic of Maui and meditating in the bright light of the sun and the moon.

When I returned to my home in Portland, Oregon, I received Dr. Lonny Jarrett's insightful commentary on my book. One of the interesting and important ideas he wrote to me about was Enlightenment. He suggested I go into more depth on the topic of Enlightenment at the end of this book. To do this, I felt that I needed a quiet space with a cup of tea to write about this in an afterword to conclude this book. I am now in the woods enjoying the natural breeze, meditating in the green and golden colors of the forest, listening to the singing of the birds, drinking the tea, and continuing my writing. My thanks to David Branscomb and his wife Laura Hauer for their generous offering of this space for my personal retreat and writing.

Now let us drink tea and join Dr. Jarrett in his discussion: "What is Enlightenment? Since this is the path and the goal, a discussion of Enlightenment seems to be in order. The Wu (ancient shamans) were connected to the unborn, the simplicity on the infantile side of complexity. It seems to me that Enlightenment is the simplicity on the other side of complexity." Dr. Jarrett wrote the Chinese character Mingty\ for Enlightenment in his discussion.

So then, what is Enlightenment? We use this word almost every day in our Qigong practice and in other spiritual cultivation practices. Let us begin with the meaning of the Chinese character Ming EjfJ for Enlightenment. Ming E^ is composed of the left radical RiB for the sun and the right radical Yue ^ for the moon. As we learned in Part I, 3 Dong Xi Yuan Tong—The Pathway of Yin Yang, a traditional way to learn the Dao ill is to observe the sun and the moon. Therefore, the original meaning of Ming is "understand the Dao." More common meanings of Ming are bright, clear, understand, brilliant, and pure-hearted. Through studying the meanings of Ming, we may learn about the different degrees of spiritual Enlightenment. The sun and moon are symbols that fully represent brightness. We can see things clearly when the light breaks down the darkness, and we can see better when more light is available to us.

Consciousness is the light of the Heart. We are able to understand more about the truth of our lives as we awaken more of our consciousness. The degree of the awakening of consciousness is the degree of spiritual Enlightenment. The full awakening of consciousness is full Enlightenment. A fully enlightened being lives with the prenatal, eternal, or original Heart (Benxing With this Eternal Heart, the enlightened being understands the

Dao and lives with the Dao in every moment. We call this being Immortal or Buddha.

At the most common level, Enlightenment carries only the common meaning of Mi'ng—understand. I want to share another common Chinese word for understand, Zhidao 3H, which is literally translated as "understand the Dao." Most Chinese people casually say, "Wo Zhidao"—"I understand the Dao," but they do not really understand the Dao. Let us have some tea and continue this discussion.

Tea is tea, before Enlightenment. Do you remember the first time we drank tea? Yes, we did not know how to drink the tea, and we could not tell the differences in quality. No matter the kind, they were all just tea. This is equal to the beginning of our Qigong practice or other spiritual cultivation practices. We can't tell the differences among all the practice forms.

Tea is not tea, during Enlightenment. After we learned how to drink the tea and spent a lot of time drinking different kinds of tea, we were excited to tell our friends how much we "understand" tea. Do we really understand tea? This

is the normal level of Enlightenment. Similarly, after we learn how to practice Qigong, we say, "I know Qigong." Do we really "know" Qigong?

Tea is tea, after Enlightenment. The style of a tea master drinking tea may be no different from that of a beginner. Tea masters drink the tea without excitement or criticism. Tea is tea; the tea masters enjoy it and live with it. This is the highest Enlightenment. We may not be able to tell that they are enlightened beings when we meet them because they might appear to be living an ordinary lifestyle.

Now let us imagine we are having a tea party. Two new guests join us, a tea master and a beginning tea drinker. Both of them lift their teacups and drink their tea without any words. Can you tell who is who? What is the difference between a fully enlightened being and an ordinary person? A Chinese proverb says, "Da Zhi Ecu Yu % M "—A person with great wisdom may look like a foolish person. These discussions are related to Dr. Jarrett's other thoughts: "To what degree is spiritual Enlightenment correlated with physical health? Ramana Maharshi, a great and fully enlightened being, died of cancer." Yes, in my understanding, a fully enlightened being should not have physical health problems. Why did some of those enlightened beings die from physical illnesses? I want to leave these discussions for my next book, The Way of Enlightenment-Chinese Shamanic 28 Lunar Mansions Cosmic Qigong. Also, I believe that you will have your answers to these questions when you drink more tea.

At this moment, I can hear the calls of the wild geese flying over ^^ ¿s^*' my roof. As I lift my head and look at the sky through the , window, I see that a group of geese is forming the shape of the Chinese character RenK (person) toward the south.

* Oh, it reminds me that it is autumn— the tiger ' season. Moreover, it inspires many thoughts. Why did the ancient WuM. regard the wild goose as a symbol for spiritual Enlightenment? Do the geese understand the Dao? Yes. Of course, yes! Why did the WuM. use the shape of migrating geese as the character to represent the human being? This character is so simple; it is made with only two strokes— one left and one right. Oh yes, the left and right is the pathway of Yin and Yang. Ren is a pattern of the Dao. The Dao is within us. We are all enlightened beings on the path to becoming fully enlightened!

The great Dao is very simple and very close to us. The Dao is within the tea. Enlightenment is within the tea. Let us Pin ¿n (savor) it.

Zhongxian Wu

Hermitage Cottage, Cloud Mountain Retreat Center October 16, 2005

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