Monday, December 26, 2011

I Feel My Yang Arisin'

Scott Bradley

I feel my yang arisin'
for all the world to see.

I feel my yang arisin'
'cause I've found the yin in me.

Ain't no use in lyin'
seems clear enough you see,
that when the yang's arisin'
yin's had her way with me.
— anonymous

It is thought by many sinologists that this recently discovered fragment of a bawdy poem is the work of a Chin era (fourth century) Neo-Taoist, perhaps even one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. It certainly evinces the spirit of feng lui, that zany sense of spiritual iconoclasm which so typified these free-spirited sages. Though referenced by Bruce Lee (fl. 645) as a poem of 27 stanzas, he unfortunately does not tell us who the author was or when he believed it written. He does, nevertheless, provide us with significant insight into what inspired it.

"The sage has realized the unity of Yin and Yang", wrote Lee, "and it is for this reason he can express Yang without fear of contamination. Through the remedial purging of the Yin, he has realized the emptiness of no-self and thus can give full expression to his humanity." His point, it seems, is that though the sage is he who follows the yielding way of Yin, the net result is that he is enabled to also follow the asserting way of Yang without it being an expression of egoic identity. He is free to be himself fully because he has lost himself.

We find a similar viewpoint expressed, if not in word, at least in deed, in the behavior of the early Zen master. When angry he expresses anger. When joyful he expresses joy. When murdered he yells as loud as he can. When faced with ignorance he strikes with his stick.

We might stumble at the behavior of these sages, but they do not care. They care nothing for the opinion of others, having transcended their own opinions of themselves. We might question their motivations, say they have wandered from the path of spirituality as we would have it, but they give us no heed. They recognize no one they are obliged to please.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.


  1. I notice that this teaching, "They care nothing for the opinion of others, having transcended their own opinions of themselves" is a continuous reoccurring teaching of yours. I personally do not have a weighty stronghold of worrying about what others think about me or a self-condemnation haunting me (though I use to be oppressed with this), but I do not feel the need to dwell on this subject. It is the dwelling on this subject that I would question, not necessarily someones behaviour. Is it possible that maybe you have not come to terms with this and by expressing this teaching over and over again. it maybe provides temporary relief to you? I actually do not know but humbly offer that up for contemplation.

    When you say, "They recognize no one", does this mean that you prefer to not recognize any outside opinions? I am trying to get underneath what you are actually saying.

  2. Remedial purging of yin? This is making the feminist in me itch.

    Who is this Bruce Lee?

  3. I read this as a joke post. Not sure if it is meant to be or not.

    The poem reads like a country and western y'all. And the references are odd.

    Scott's last several posts have been top class and I wonder after several days of spiritual peak he lost touch with reality a little - which is fun.

    Of course this post could be sincere, in which case I don't get it.

  4. I think Ta-Wan is right. Google the first line and the Rambling Taoists is the only site that pops up with the verse. Now that it is out there, I expect it to be discovered by the hoi polloi and become well known enough to replace "Louie Louie" as a frat boy song, scrawled in high school yearbooks by pimply 14 year old freshmen, and scratched into stall doors in the grimy restroom down at Bubba's Gas'n'Gulp. All of which are as part of the Tao as the most respected master. But my words are as a grain of salt, since I am no expert.


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