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Aug 07
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The Great Assembly and the Yijing (I Ching)

Shastri Daniel Hessey applies the wisdom of the I Ching to understand the power of the Scorpion Seal Assemblies.

Click here to visit www.IChingandSociety.com

Click here to visit www.IChingandSociety.com

The Scorpion Seal Assembly seen through the eyes of the Ancestral Sovereigns of China
The way of Shambhala originated when the Buddha first transmitted the Shambhala dharma to King Dawa Sangpo by bestowing the Kalachakra abisheka.  In our lifetimes, the Druk Sakyong’s terma and the Kongma Sakyong’s commentaries have brought these teachings into the modern world in a completely vital and contemporary way in order to address the degradation of the dark age.  Over the last many years, I have had the opportunity to see the Shambhala teachings through the eyes of a consonant wisdom tradition that has been handed down to us as the Yijing (I Ching), often known as the Book of Changes.

Under the supervision of Eva Wong, I have translated the Yijing (I Ching) from classical Chinese into English—or, more accurately, into Shambhalian English.  From the outset it was clear to me that the ancient wisdom and language of the most venerable of Chinese classics was cut from the same cloth as the Shambhala dharma.  Indeed, it was the uncanny resonance between the Yijing and Shambhala that first drew me to this project.  The Shambhala tradition is the lens through which I have viewed the text, and the key that has opened its many doors. The teachings of Shambhala, presented in English and tailored to the present age, provided an unexpected bridge that make the riches of the Yijing available to the modern world.  Read from this perspective, the text can rightly be understood as a comprehensive and detailed manual describing how human society can be integrated to join Heaven and Earth, so that it may truly support the journeys of all its members.

Having recently attended the Scorpion Seal Assembly at Shambhala Mountain Center, I looked anew at two hexagrams, 45. 萃 Cuì: Gathering Together and 46. 升 Shēng: Flourishing, that aptly describe what I experienced there.  It seems to me that these ancient writings reflect a similar experience in our own community today, and so I thought I would share them with you.  I hope you are inspired by the the words passed down by our ancestral Chinese forebears about the wonderful world we share with the lineage, the Sakyong, and the dralas. 


The Great Assembly
This hexagram describes the Sakyong and his court as it manifests at a great convocation of society. This is not an administrative or governmental meeting, but a manifestation of the court as mandala, in which all participants can directly experience their own basic goodness and their place in the sacred configuration of the assembly. The assembly allows a full exchange between the people and the Sakyong. It is a meeting of minds and hearts that is the basis of widespread integration in society.
The Text:

Gathering Together:

Radiating Brilliance,
The Sakyong’s majesty manifests as his court
It is Just, Fitting and Timely to see the great person.
In the convocation the Sakyong can fully manifest his brilliance, because of the commitment of those present and the protected nature of the assembly.
Radiating Brilliance,
Just, Fitting and Timely; 
Powerful and Fruitful.
Brilliant, Just and Powerful are Shambhala terms that describe the progression of the manifestation of unconditional basic goodness in society.

To make great offerings is auspicious

All things emerge a just, fitting and timely way.
In particular, the people and governance emerge in a way that joins Heaven and Earth. The word “emerge” is used, because in a sacred environment, society arises spontaneously, and naturally structures itself to express sacredness at every level of activity. The offerings are mutual: the Sakyong offers the teachings and the transmission of sacredness, and the participants offer their loyalty, love, and support.
The Commentary:

Gathering together [means] a convocation.

Teaching evokes deep accord:
The firm is unbiased and resonant.

[Such a] convocation is auspicious.

The Sakyong’s majesty manifests as his court,
Giving rise to offerings of loyalty and devotion.

In such an uplifted, glorious and awake environment, the teachings that had been established in hexagram 20. (觀 Guān: Sacred Outlook) fulfill their potential for transforming society. In this context, the Sakyong’s teachings are deeply resonant with the basic goodness of those present, and thus those in attendance are inspired and develop deep loyalty and confidence in the lineage.
This loyalty and devotion (孝) is described as” filial piety” in the Chinese tradition. Beings are children of the Dao, and are constantly nourished by it. Recognizing this is the basis of natural hierarchy: people have gratitude toward the Dao, then to Heaven and Earth as manifestations of the Dao, to the sage king or Sakyong as a human embodiment of the Dao, and finally to parents and superiors to the extent that they embody virtue.

It is Just, Fitting and Timely to witness the Radiant Brilliance of the great person.

True governance, integrity and propriety arise through [such a] convocation, 

[Therefore] to make great offerings is auspicious
[so that]
The people and their society may emerge in a Just, Fitting and Timely way,

[Ever] loyal to Heaven’s command.

If such a convocation were to be viewed with sacred outlook

The heart of Heaven and Earth and the 10,000 things could be seen.
When auspicious coincidence brings the Sakyong and the people together in a sacred convocation, the forms and skillful means of enlightened society can be established: genuine governance, integrity and propriety. Thus a good human society can continuously emerge from the cosmic mirror.
When seen with pure perception, human society and all its activities are seen as manifestations of basic goodness.

The Image:

Wetlands are over the Earth:
Gathering Together.

The warrior renews the court by appointing new officials, and employs the military to protect it,
[Therefore there is] no anxiety.
In the context of establishing genuine governance through the action of the court, it is periodically necessary to renew the hierarchy as if one were purifying an alter. The character 除 chú literally means “to cleanse”, or “an alter that has been purified”. It this context its meaning has been extended to include “to appoint new officials who will displace the old” in the context of the court. A third meaning is “the steps that approach the imperial palace”, which refers to the function of ministers as the intermediaries who relate to those who wish to approach or make offerings at court. Therefore they must be impeccable.
The military is the counterpart of the government, and serves to protect the integrity of the court and the government. When both the ministers and the military properly empowered, the people are able to fully trust the integrity of the court and the governance, and thus their anxiety is allayed.


Advancing the People

The Text:

Profound and Unfathomable, 
Radiating Brilliance,

Don’t hesitate to see the great person.
It is auspicious to advance to the south.

The South is the precinct of the Fire trigram  in the mandala of later Heaven. This represents the awareness of interdependence as is described in Hexagram 30. (Lí 籬: Awareness):
Repeated awareness [Prajna] sees genuine interdependence.
Thereby transforming and perfecting all under Heaven.
The interdependence of relative knowing and emptiness is genuineness.
Therefore it is brilliant.
By overcoming hesitation and entering into the great convocation described in the previous hexagram, ordinary people can connect fully with the Sakyong, witness his court, and develop higher perception that sees profound interdependence, which is drala. This higher perception is the path through which people flourish.

The Commentary:

The flourishing of the flexible is in accord with the time 

[And is an expression of] widespread loyalty.

The firm is unbiased and resonant,
And therefore radiates great Brilliance.

“The flexible” in this context refer to ordinary people who are loyal to the firm, the energy of Heaven embodied in the Sakyong. The firm—the Sakyong, the court and the government—are without bias. This means that they do not hold their seats from the point of view of self-interest, but as an expression of benefitting others and protecting the Earth.

Don’t hesitate to see the great person,


It is auspicious to advance to the south.

Where one’s aspirations may be realized.
The text encourages the people to celebrate the rare and wonderful opportunity to connect the court and the “south”, the genuine interdependence of all. In this way their desire to live an uplifted life may be realized.

The Image:   

A tree grows from within the Earth.

The warriors are loyal to virtuous authentic presence,

And gradually grow into prominence and greatness.
The tree represents spontaneous emergence and natural development. Warriors are loyal to virtue and the power that is generated by virtue, authentic presence. Through that virtuous power they gradually can take their seats in society according to their aspirations and capabilities.

Daniel Hessey, Shastri

Daniel Hessey, Shastri


For those of you who are interested in further exploring the Yijing as a manual of the development of enlightened society, I invite you to visit www.IChingandSociety.com.  Weekend programs presenting the new translation and commentary of the Yijing have been scheduled in October at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado and Windhorse Farm in Nova Scotia.

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2 responses to “ The Great Assembly and the Yijing (I Ching) ”
  1. No, I have not submitted it (all 500 pages) to a publisher yet. I felt it would be best to teach it a little and have friends read it to help me “tune it up”. I am finding that other people’s ears and hearts are enriching my work in wonderful ways a this point in the process.

    The trigram wind/wood (xùn 巽 ☴) carries two related meanings. The first that of wind, which relates to the transmission circulation of energy and information. Wind is the energy of the Sky as it meets and engages Earth. Although it is not solid, it is persistent and pervasive, and, because it is completely flexible, it is able to penetrate everywhere.

    A second meaning of the trigram is that of Wood. In the schema of the five elements as they are used to organize the trigrams, the trigram Wind corresponds to the element Wood which falls in the southeast. When the character for wood (木) is used in hexagrams that also have either the Earth (kūn 坤 ☷) or Mountain (gèn 艮 ☶) trigrams, it is translated as “tree”.
    Its meaning, can be associated with the rising of the sun. The sun, represented by the fire of the South, initially rises in the East. Thus when the trigram Wind is referred to as wood in the text, its meaning has to do with immanence and emergence of interdependence out of profundity. In application, this points to the warrior’s discipline of riding on coincidence rather than relying on habit and convention as a way of engaging the world. Riding interdependence and coincidence is the vehicle the leader uses to uplift society and the unsophisticated.

    Linda, time will tell whether Princess Drulkmo will be a Wind/wood person or some other quality!
    Great to hear from you…

  2. Linda V. Lewis
    Aug 13, 2010

    Has your book come out yet, Dan? Congrats on becoming a shastri! So how literally should one take Wind as the first daughter, considering the birth of our princess?
    Love and good cheer,

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