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Book: 'Infinite Dao' by Patrick A Kelly

Infinite Dao

From the Book:


So I began Taiji, not knowing what it was. There was only trust that through it I could travel a little further on the path of inner evolution. It transpired that the teacher, Mr Choo, was the son of one of Master Huang Xingxian's senior students from Kuching, Malaysia, where Master Huang, unknown to myself at the time, was then living. From the first class I sensed that this was a teaching with more depth than I had seen up until that point. Initially there were 3 students only in the class and we were taught in Mandarin. We learnt the Five Loosening Exercises, the Short and Long Forms and basic two person exercises.

From the Book: continued


I continued to learn from Mr Choo throughout 1973 and 1974, while finally completing my degree in pure mathematics. Although the art of Taiji gave me a beginning, still Mr Choo was only a young man with 6 or 7 years Taiji experience. It became apparent after a time that the art was not enough in itself but I needed someone with long and deep experience on the path of inner development whom I could trust to answer my questions and guide me on the path. I began to formulate some long range plans to visit Master Huang in Malaysia to continue my training. At the same time I investigated all the teachers of the various esoteric groups in NZ. Most of them were dissapointing, each having some knowledge but lacking the spiritual depth that I sought. Then through a strange series of seeming coincidences I heard of an old Sufi in Auckland who seemed a likely candidate for my search.

From the Book: continued


It was 1974 and during the holidays of my last year at university, I travelled north the 500km from Wellington to Auckland to pay him a visit. Abdullah Dougan sat in his small study and we looked at each other. He spoke first: "Have you come to judge me"? I simply replied honestly and said: "Yes". After another period of silence, he generously began to tell me about his life. He was 56 years old and had begun in a Zen Buddhist group some decades before. After a time he changed to learn from a teacher connected with the Gurdjieff tradition. He had travelled to Europe to meet the pupils of Mr Gurdjieff and had continued his training under one of those people. He also met and received help from Paul Brunton, who was perhaps the most successful of the students of Ramanamaharshi. Seven years before this, our first meeting, he had travelled to Afghanistan following the advice of his inner guide, where he had met and been initiated into the Naqshibandi Sufis by the main teacher of his life, Sheikh Abdul Al Khyum of Kandahar.

From the Book: continued


Abdullah told me that in a few weeks he was about to embark on a journey through the Middle East involving a 40 day fast for which he had been preparing since that meeting with the Sheikh, 7 years before. Those 7 years preparation culminating in the 40 day fast on water alone had the specific purpose of destroying the ego. This, if sucessful, would shift his internal level (in Gurdjieff terminology) from that of a 'man no. 4' to that of a 'man no. 5' - i.e. to move through the 4th. initiation crystalising his freedom on the 4th. energy level and gaining access to the 5th. Though I did not really understand at that time what this all really meant, I became aware over the hour or 2 for which we spoke, that he was an honest person with true spiritual understanding. I told him I intended to move to Auckland in 6 months time and asked him if he would be my teacher. He replied that for that 6 months I should attempt to fast every Monday taking nothing but water (from Sunday evening till Tuesday morning), while attempting to observe my body's reactions. If that was too much for me, he said, then I should not bother coming back as much greater efforts would be required later if I continued on the path of spiritual refinement.

From the Book: continued


That evening, before returning to Wellington, I attended one of his meetings based on the Sufi teachings. There was a reading from one of the old Sufi books followed by questions and answers, then ending with a 15 minute silence. I was in a somewhat heightened state of awareness due to the days proceedings and at the end a strange thing occured, which confirmed the correctness of my decision to take him as my teacher. I was sitting at the back of the room, when the meeting ended and he got up and left the room. No sooner had he gone out the door when, literally deep within my heart, I felt an involuntary cry of "Abdullah"! A few seconds later he appeared back inside the room with a concerned look on his face. He scanned the room until he saw my face, then he gave a large smile, a small wave and departed.
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