Presented by:
...the Wanderling

The Power of Chaos In Zen and the Tao

The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. "All men," they said, "have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn't have any. Let's trying boring him some!" Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died.*

Hun-tun, that is Chaos, is not to be confused with the chaos as typically seen in the western world as in "chaotic." It is the supreme ideal of Taoism. Chaos is wholeness, oneness and Nature. Chaos represents the natural state of the world. Digging holes on the head of Chaos means destroying the natural state of the cosmos. Therefore, to the ancient Chinese chaos not only has the meaning of disorder but also presents a respectable aesthetic state. Any outcome is based on the Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions. Since any given outcome cannot be predetermined with any amount of accuracy without knowing the full string of preceding events it is oft times viewed as Chaos even though it is the natural order of things. This idea of chaos may be very different from its western counterpart.


Imbeded in all of the above is what has been called Chaos Magic. The term "Chaos Magic" is modern day terminology for something that has been cultivated and used in Shamanism and by others of similar ilk in cultures all over the world for centuries under other names and terms, sometimes even, no name. That which is Chaos Magic is nearly a mirror-image reflection of Obeah, and seen as well by many as being on nearly the same plane. Chaos Magic is awesome, potent, compelling and in the wrong hands, like Obeah, highly dangerous. Again, like Obeah, it's secret lies in its POWER. Sometimes even a person's white light shields are vunerable to collapse, be rendered impotent, or buckle to another's stronger power when pitted in a test of strengths.

Adherents to Chaos Magic express there is an underlying inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness of everything in the universe. What seems random or chaotic has a higher "order" that can be perceived from a great enough perspective. From this arises the life force, the tendency for matter to accrue intelligence.

Philosophically, Chaos Magic bears a resemblance to Taoism and Zen with a strong dose of the Sanskrit Siddhi. Success hinges on self-annihilation of the Self stripped bare to the Non-Self (Anatta) or Death of the Ego, so there is a lot in common with the Nagarjuna and Madhyamaka schools of Zen. It has been said the effect of a Zen Buddhist Koan on the discursive mind is a small taste of what a Chaos Magician seeks. The practice of Chaos Magic can be destablizing because it's designed to deconstruct belief. Like psychedelic drugs, it can drastically alter your reality.

Because all dualism is an illusion Chaos Magic does not discriminate between so called "white" or "black" magic, say such as seen through the eyes of a Diablero for example, a shaman-sorcerer with an evil bent said to be the type teacher of Don Juan Matus who Carlos Castaneda apprenticed under. Being morally neutral, Chaos Magic is probably not for those who have not already come up with a well-developed code of personal ethics. Chaos Magicians are sometimes defined as "black magic" magicians, but NOT as defined by those who see the dark side of existence as merely "evil". As with Kali Ma, the Black Goddess of Hinduism, who takes away the darkness from every individual who strives in the path of perfection by performing the spiritual disciplines of purifying austerities. Just as all the colors of the spectrum mix into black, yet still black remains black, so too, Kali, who is completely Dark, Unknowable, takes away all the Darkness, yet She, Herself, remains unchanged. If their magic is "black", it is because it deals with that which is dark and hidden.

As I watched Londoners in the street going about their lives there appeared a Dark Luminosity within each being. Yet at the same moment there was a strange feeling that they were no more than sleepwalking robots utterly oblivious to that shining nature within themselves. The life force of each person was somehow entrapped within a dull dreaming shell which seemed to prevent any contact with the real and what could have been aflame with consciousness was gray and lifeless.

Yatri. UNKNOWN MAN: THE MYSTERIOUS BIRTH OF A NEW SPECIES. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988

Buddhism teaches that after a practitioner achieves a certain degree of realization, spiritual power develops. A person at the level of an Arhat is said to possess six supernatural powers. Even so, it is understood that it is through Enlightenment that supernatural powers are manifested, rather than that supernatural powers enhance Enlightenment. Furthermore, it is acknowledged as well that supernatural powers are not attainable exclusively JUST by Buddhists and Buddhists only. It is possible for anyone who has deep religious and spiritual cultivation to develop some kind of "super-normal powers."

AKANKHEYYA SUTTA, Vol. XI of The Sacred Books of the East [14]




DEATH HAD A FACE: The Specter of Death In Shamanism and Zen



Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.






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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

With minor editing for our purposes here, the above in full can be found at:
A Brief History of the Concepts of Chaos

As well as:
Lecture on Chaos Magic, Joseph Max, February 18, 1996.

*(The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Waston, Columbia University Press, 1968, pp.97)