A new special offering and guest post from a true mountain Hermit.

From our Daoist teachers we give an array of talismans of our lineage. We give a numinous special mineral elixir, with a special lapis lazuli Daoist prayer beads. We give a rare Southern MaoShan talisman gourd pendant of priceless value and protection. We give the pilgrim’s alchemical gourd charm from Thai hermit, incised with the sacred cuts for the celestial spirits to inhabit. We shall shower the auspicious person who donates for these treasures with additional items of high mountain oolong and puerh teas, sacred mushroom elixirs, and other gifts. We trace the true alchemical heritage, to the remote regions where the spiritual hermits go on long treks to find the surviving lore. The Hermits travel into remote regions between Asia and Russia, into Malaysia, into all of the jungles of Asia, Southern India. This is the true way as evidenced in the overlapping lore of Chinese Masters like Lao-Tzu/Boganathar, and in the exotic ingredients that necessitated truly ancient contact with these regions. Some lacked the materials for glass, or mercury or antimony, or certain fungus, the soma was sold and brought over vast distances. These rare points of alchemical wisdom has been the Guild relentless pursuit for decades. Thus we shower the auspicious one who donates with the Hermit’s yant clothes that contain the Vedic sigils and forms, the shining leklai to make the most potent holy tonic waters, a sacred precious pill talisman, and items not shown.

These are ancient shamanic, Thai Lersi and Daoist cultic items gained through many initiations from the surviving lineages. We use these boosts of donations for bootstrap investments, in aiding those who hide in the world to share their medicines and writings in a symbiotic relationship of true reciprocity. We invest in the authentic human beings who preserve the old ways, the herbs and forests, and the dynamic ways towards alchemical transmutation. Your donations are catalysts to potential projects, writings, of sowing seeds and reaping abundant harvests. We will produce so many monographs, heirloom and heritage seeds and cultures, traditional equipment, pottery, glassware, in collaborative efforts of training and internships and in secure, remote locations for deep practice and meditation. We thank you for your time and hope you benefit from these writings.

In response to numerous inquiries, we would like to discuss the topic of spirituality and diet, especially within the context of animal products from vegetarian to vegan diets. Here are some remarks that are more philosophical aspects to consider rather than simple platitudes.  We want to emphasize that Tradition is more than mere custom. Customs are region specific and adapt to various conditions whereas the Tradition is abiding, eternal and immutable. Tradition might inspire aspects of culture and custom and these often function as a facade or exoteric expression of the deeper source. Part of our guild’s various research societies are to piece together the fragments found in ancient culture to grasp this Tradition in totality as it was presenced in the ancient world. We hope to be conduits for the most healing arts, the most effective skillful means, and the most authentic modes of being in becoming a True Human Being. This is a primer essay to a future publication from our Guild monographs from Magus Publishing authored by Mr A. B. of  W.H.F.T.

“Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.” Niten Dōraku

(Editors note: Many assume these are written by the same author but it is not always so. As many of the authors have English only has a second language, we edit them to have a cohesive tone. Likewise, we have a specific lexicon of technical terms that we use repeatedly as part of our Noetic Arts. Therefore the somewhat idiosyncratic use of words is an  expression of a deeper esoteric semiotics and the intertwining subjects are the same alchemical thread that weaves in and out of the various herbalist traditions we study in our research societies).

In a world in which Tradition is being attacked and dissolved in a full-spectrum dominance of order from chaos, many feel stunned, shocked and nearly paralyzed. The omnipresent news and media is tuned to create a trauma based fear and sense of impending calamity. People feel less and less in control, the meaning of the old initiatory ways are gone, ‘God is dead’, and most of the New Age paths have been revealed as the worst nightmares of charlatans. This loss of control is expressed in radical politics, in extremes of self-mortification, in rampant hard narcotics, in suicides, and increasing hopelessness. The natural instincts are suppressed and diverted, the ancestral ways lost or mocked and scorned. In the vacuum,  dogmatic worldviews arise but the loss of personal narrative and context limits the expression of this restlessness and lack of ease or disease. This feeling of complete loss of control is often asserted over the diet as a final mode of self expression. This dynamic is exploited in religious, and now in cultural contexts as insider verses outsider, as many religious or cultural taboos are formed to create divisions that one must adapt to from a moral dogma. This becomes part of defining the group, such as abstention from certain meats or certain foodstuffs as a way of being different from one’s neighbors or enemies. They are not rooted in any pure Tradition, but are cultural residues of enforced collective psychological validations. The results are those who become entrenched in ideals, philosophies and notions alien to their ancestral ways and poison to their True Nature. These are exploited and potentiated to exponential levels by the technologies such as social media and artificial intelligence that can aggregate the echo chambers of opinion into a insulated, self-validating feedback loop designed and personalized to the psychology of the user.

The ancestral people were known to be vegetarian in the primordial state, in the eternal spring of the Hyperboreans, in traditions which are the source of the dietary laws of the Vedas. But as the reality of life, the winter and the warfare set in, the contradictions arise, even within the same body of texts, such as the Rig Veda. This is because some of the rules or taboos where for the highest caste, and some for the warriors. The essence of the morality implies the reincarnation and the transmigration of souls that is the core of Pythagorean doctrines and other related ecstatic traditions within the Western Mystery Traditions. Yet research into these reveals a deeper esoterics of sacrifices at certain times that seems to contradict the simplification into neat categories. We find the highest initiations of different sects involving meat, hunting of animals, etc. and the blood magic of shamanism both for healing and assault sorcery. The Daoist alchemists and magicians of fangshi, continue to use animals in their medicines, though it was lessened in some sects do to Buddhist influences. The reality of modern life must now set in. This in digesting the ramifications of where we buy our food, how we acquire our energy and what we do with it as well as surviving and confronting the slow descent of the controlled collapse of the world as we know it. The hermits of old were always keenly aware of the rise and fall of empires and of the thin veneer of civilization. Thus they were prepared to be wild enough to survive and strategic in their training.

Begging monks are not to discriminate foods, and the beggars eat meat, or Siddhas eating entrails, or the Buddhas last meal as pork in some accounts (or a mushroom in others). The Tibetan Lamas will eat meat, noting the need for warmth and medicine but outsource the killing to someone else, except in certain high initiations. The Indian Tantriks break the tension points of taboo with acts of rebellion, but what do they mean in this world when there are no taboos of society? It is something of a radical thing to eat beef in a society that is vegetarian but the same is not true in a society that has no food taboos of any kind.  It is has become inverted to the point that a life in practice and humility, or raising a family or growing one’s food is far more rebellious than any of the past actions of the Vamachara. People use these as justifications to do anything and everything. Beyond these later notions of moral right and left hand paths was the pure initiatory practices that transformed the person into new modes of being. Any other purpose is useless at best.

When one considers the problems in totality in the modern world, there is much to consider. If we are seeking the highest moral and ethical standard, most can agree that the factory or corporate models of farming are abominations to any noble spirit. Yet the majority of the processed food of vegetarians is the very gmo products of soy that inflict irreparable harm on the ecosystems and people around them as well as those who ingest this poison in concentrated food stuffs that mimic meat.  Likewise, the factory produced meat is fed with these products and given so much unnatural steroids and drugs. The dangers of soy, especially un-fermented are well documented but beyond the scope of this entry. The clearing of the land, the chemicals, etc. (if not “organic”) all comprise a great blight on the earth that is simply more subtle than the overt killing of animals. The amount of deaths in habitat, insecticides, predator control, verses hunting or regenerative agriculture based on permaculture is again something for one to weigh in their own moral scale.

What then shall one eat? It is something of the same condition of finding alternatives to fuels. There is no one solution that fits everyone. There is no dogmatic simplification that will enable everyone and everything to thrive because of the inherent sickness in the way we live. One can see that the mass of cities and suburbs are just a sprawl of poorly designed wastelands of resources. The average foods come from thousands of miles away via refrigerated trucks, harvested in a manner that is itself a minefield of political views on immigration, illegal or undocumented workers, exploitation, etc. to which we only reference for further moral implications depending on one’s views. The “food deserts” of certain regions, the access to quality and low costs, etc. all aggregate to further exacerbate the issues on a mass scale. Small scale, high yield permaculture matched with responsible wildcrafting can be a personal solution that allows one to have the autonomy to pursue the Way. The Hermits way of fasting, living food preservation, responsible wild foraging and macrobiotic style superfoods creates a dynamic health and abundance as well as increased liberation from the snares of the beast system.

The dogmatic approach of imposing one’s conditioned worldview on matters of health and nutrition are as dangerous as blind faith in studies from biased and funded groups with agendas. The ancestral diets have always been the most healing, and these can be adapted to ways to enhance health and self-reliance. When one goes to the earliest sources, the moral codes were quite simple. The admonishments to hunters in the texts were always against one excessive in killing or killing for sport. The same with the shamanic codes of hunting lore, where one was advised to not transgress the due harvests. This is a very strong moral injunction to not kill too many animals, just taking what is needed and a great respect for the process and spirit of the animals. This is found in the hunting lore all over ancient Europe, or the North American people and all over Asia as well. Particularly the Daoist ethics was not of strict moral dogma, but in acting in the most natural and appropriate manner.
Daoist texts have a worldview of animals of great respect, with an understanding they posses their own natures, their own Dao, and ‘human should not interfere unless necessary” as some scholars summarize. They point out that Daoists do not ‘like lavish and conspicuous consumption” as Daoists seek to be light and subtle. But they make use of dried venison in the Bigu fasting diets and in the survival hermit skills it is a central part of their clothing and food.

There is a conservation ethics implied in this worldview. But with the sprawl of industrial farming, suburbs and urban expansions, the habitats are pressured, leaving no apex predators. So populations get out of control, disease and starvation happens from the imbalances so in these cases, hunting and related meat foraging could be understood as a type of stewardship of the land. The studies of removing one invasive species from island in Scandanavia by trapping had most of the nearly extinct local seabirds return en masse as there was no previous predator to control the predation on the eggs and nests of the indigenous fowl. Similar examples are found in many contexts and it becomes a fundamental law of nature. “Civilization” has upset the balance in such a way that necessitates some enlightened intervention to restore the balance. The same goes for our own inner ecology and spiritual health. Some can not see past this because of dogmatic indoctrination of worldviews propagated by those proven to be against Tradition, humanity and any sane way of dealing with the impending perfect storm of crises.

The Wise might say that a person living a deep, authentic pursuit of the Way who uses meat to live in a way to escape the demonic system and focus on practice is superior to the vegetarian or vegan who does no practices, or seeks no spiritual path or contributes nothing to the world but working and consumption. A hunter who takes a bit of meat from the forest in the cold regions where vegetarian food is unavailable (unless there is a supreme compromise with the system that demands dependency to survive, for example the Amish are not against electricity but are against the dependency being on the grid represents. Thus they can use alternatives, but most refuse to become habituated to depend on the outerworld. These are somewhat extreme examples, but a step towards personal strength and autonomy begins with something as radical as a garden, or tray of microgreens or a basket of foraged mushrooms or greens). Someone eating meat for energy and is laboring in the dharmas of being a good family member, or good friend or neighbor in an authentic mode of being integrated with the land can not be compared to a prideful virtue signaling, strict vegan whose heart is cold and whose mind is uninspired to the Way. Again it is a question of squandering time, of life, of energy and it is certainly compounded when one eats for no good reason other than to waste time. Likewise to keep scrupulous taboos and dogmatic diets is nothing without the secret fire of True Humanity.

We see the intention is the core of everything. It is the difference in criminal ways between an accident and malice, and it is the difference in the esoteric by what the true intent of the heart wishes to manifest. Another example is in the use of the most ritual plants or medicines for truly high spiritual pursuits or for escapism or worse. Tools can always be misused, techniques and concepts misappropriated and subverted to dark ends and intentions. Or they can simply be wasted, like an essential tool that is carelessly lost or left to rot or rust.
The complex nature of  our actions, the karma of our nation or regions where we live all aggregate and define the potential choices we have. As the fractures increase, the dysfunction, the suffering and the degeneracy will increase. One must be prepared mentally, spiritually and physically to weather the coming storms. The most moral and  noble way is to plan and resolve these issues while one has some luxury of time and resources. This is the subject of several future monographs that these offerings are funding.

Religious scholar Hans-Georg Moeller writes in a study of Daoist philosopy of Zhuangzi an illustrative passage, ” Shan Mu 山木 chapter (20.8) describes the unnerving existential experience of the interwovenness of individual human life into the cycle of life and death that permeates tian dao. Zhuangzi, when hunting a large bird and about to shoot it, realizes that it is just in the process of catching a mantis, who, in turn, is just about to devour a cicada. Shocked by the immediate visualization of the interconnected transitoriness of all individual forms of life, Zhuangzi runs away, only to find the game keeper of the hunting reserve pursuing him and trying to catch him. This ironical end of the scene illustrates, of course, how Zhuangzi himself is merely another segment of the endless succession of life forms constantly feeding of one another. The hunter is himself being hunted; there is no end and no beginning, and, most importantly, no center to the alternation of life forms in the context of tian dao. The story thus illustrates the existential anguish of experiencing that humans not only cannot avoid their own death, but, what is more, that they are dissolving into a non-human or trans-human nature. In death, we not only cease to live, but also to be human…”

“The Daoist sage negatively cultivates himself so as to return to the state of the minimal or “idiotic” human consciousness of a newborn baby who has not yet adopted a “mature” human perspective on the world. In other words, the sage rids himself of the intellectual, cultural, and emotional knowledge that he has acquired as a human so that he will be able to shed his anthropocentric biases and to attain what Feng ( has called “a posteriori non-knowledge” (hou de de wu zhi 後得的無知)…Once one assumes a “mode of knowledge”, one is prone to a) trying to impose what one knows onto others, and b) quarreling with others who claim to know things differently or “better” or “truly”.” This is the paradox in that abandoning the cultural and sophistry of human knowledge, or imposing modes of being on ourselves and others, we obtain a more authentic humanity. Thus we learn what is good for us, and abstain from what is bad to us. Thus we liberate ourselves from the self-imposed prison of limitations through our own wisdom.

In the end, what we do with the precious life we have, the precious life we take or energy we ingest, being it animal or plants, must be spent in true, authentic pursuits and modes of being. All of our choices have impacts on other living things. Take your sustenance in moderation and with mindfulness. Use your energy in noble pursuits and “Do nothing that is of no use.” Struggle with all your being to not be one of the broken victims who use life as excuse to be bitter, resentful, wasteful of time and abundance. Do not be the detritus amassed from this failed modern experience, do not be of the masses with excuses, or the hordes of the unsatisfied and ungrateful. Do not waste time, food, precious medicines and wisdom in a superficial life chasing experiences and sensations.

Abiding relationships, skills and art, creating beauty and health, these are the Ways of all peoples to balance and reintegration into a healthy mode of living. The difference between the sage and the ordinary man is that both have mundane needs and experience emotions, but the sage is not ensnared by their incessant assault on the mind. The sage spiritualizes every action, every habit and experience and thereby feeds the inner elixir. Every action is yoga, natural and spontaneously perfect in the moment as expression of their authentic being. The perfected wisdom allows one to live free and unfettered, the true liberation of being part of and an articulation of transmuted Nature. Misinterpreted, its is an exile from the whole, a demonic experience of reality that becomes parasitic both to predator and prey.

Surround yourself in these items and infuse your life with the Dharma, every thought, word and action in singular, focused purpose.

These animal which I killed
in the beginning did not come from anywhere.
In the duration, they did not stay anywhere.
In the end, they were not destroyed into anything.
From the outset, existing things are not real, so how can the killing and killed be real?  Siddha Bhusuku