Hexagram #50 THE CAULDRON

The cauldron is basically good; It is developmental.

EXPLANATION: The cauldron stands for the process of refinement by fire (the firing process). As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Fire ☲ luminous, below is Wind ☴, penetrating. Producing illumination through following an initiatory process, following the process by opening awareness, the mind becomes daily more humble, while illumination increases daily. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #50 The cauldron

What superior people see in this is that just as a cauldron is a means of cooking things but cannot accomplish this without the action of wood and fire, in the same way that Tao is the means of bearing life, but stabilization of life cannot be accomplished without the work of Wind ☴ (referring to a process) and illumination. Therefore they gradually cultivate practice on the basis of the proper standpoint to stabilize their life.

Proper means not being partial or biased, not hiding something or being dishonest. The position or standpoint is the opening of the mysterious pass, the door of the earthly (yin) and the celestial (yang). Stabilization means concentration without fragmentation. Life means the primordial generative energy. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching

Not hiding something or being or dishonest means not hiding something from oneself or being dishonest with oneself. We often lie to ourselves. It takes a lot of courage to really see oneself and accept one`s weaknesses; we rather pretend we are something that we are not. At the moment one lies to oneself, even if one knows the opening of the mysterious pass, one cannot move there. The mysterious pass is not a physical place, but a psychological place.

The path of stabilizing life lies entirely in work in the right place. To be incapable of the proper position is to be ignorant of the mysterious pass. To be ignorant of the mysterious pass is to be ignorant of life. Being ignorant of life leads to attachment to voidness or clinging to form, taking the false to be real, entering into the byways of auxiliary methods. Then not only is one unable to stabilize life, one is even prone to injuring life.

Life is the primordial sane energy. Life is what is correct, what is correct is life. The correct standpoint, the proper position, is carefully preserving the sane energy in the mysterious pass, maturing and refining it with both gentle and intense effort, working by day, cautious by night, not letting any external energy contaminate the and furnace. Aiming to correct that which is not correct, aiming to stabilize that which is unstable, proceeding from effort to finally reach spontaneity, returning from confusion to order, the work of stabilizing life in its proper position is consummated.

Stabilizing life in it`s proper place means stabilizing self-awareness in the mysterious pass. The mysterious pass begins when the first yin changes to yang, this means that acquired conditioning is burned away by firm yang - self-awareness. This process continues until all yin lines are burned away, resulting in pure yang.

In working on the cauldron, there is firmness and softness, advancing and withdrawing, adding and subtracting. The slightest deviation produces a tremendous loss. Therefore practitioners of the Tao should promote illumination slowly, according to the initiatory process, carefully watching over the firing. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching

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Hexagram #50 The cauldron






The cauldron, an incence burner at
a Buddhist temple



The trigram Earth, representing
the mysterious pass








4. In each image the bull loses some of it`s black color, representing yin energy.


5. And gains some white color, representing yang energy.


6. In the sixth picture the bull is pure yang.