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About Chairmandao

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  1. Hou Tian vs Xian Tian & Xiao Yao Pai

    Ah, I have Cleary's Taoist Classics Vol 1 as a starting point, but it's quite a tome as a collection... Lol
  2. Hou Tian vs Xian Tian & Xiao Yao Pai

    Thanks, Walker, for a concise and sincere reply. I'm content exploring and taking things at a gentle pace, after all Rome wasn't built in a day as they say. I'm currently reading a couple of Eva Wong, cultivating stillness is my present "manual" for guidance on alchemy and it's quite good. Without a list of recommended reading, I'm trying to be discerning in my reading material. Aware as I am that there is, like in any such field, a potential propensity for some westernised "band wagon" material, which doesn't help me, or future students. But such is life. This is, indeed such a point as I'm trying to beware of and, I suppose, a part of my tao; that is, to be aware of and not influenced in tao by previous and social influences which may restrict or presuppose. Excellent point well made, Walker. Thanks. As I said, I'm interested in learning and practicing so will continue to read these threads and regard all information imparted. Cheers, Ian
  3. Hou Tian vs Xian Tian & Xiao Yao Pai

    Thank you Donald, I suppose, from the above, I'm a little hesitant as the idea of being able to offer instant and immediate initiation like that sounds, in my experience, unlikely. They say, if something's too good to be true, it usually is. From a western esoteric background, contact with a Holy Guardian Angel is an extremely committed and difficult operation, yet one easily affected by delusion in the inexperienced (I've met people who are happily talking to guardian spirits, often discarnate good and famous people, who seem to have changed in separation from their body...). I don't say that to discredit anybody or anything, but I always worked on the basis that no human can truly "initiate" another, true initiation comes from the gods. A person can steer, guide, instruct, but they cannot walk the path for you, or pick you up and place you on a certain point. Only hen that individual is ready and prepare for a very large change in perspective do the heavens afford a gateway. I guess I'm stuck on the Neoplatonic and Hermetic concepts too much? Hmmm... Spiritual cultivation is something that must be worked at by the practitioner, hence it is called practice, so I guess this has just intrigued me more by the suggestion that somebody can be potentially "triggered" into a cultivation by another, and afforded a guardian spirit who will pretty well do everything for you? If it was truly that easy, why is the world not filled with th enlightened? But, I have seen use of the Laying on of Hands, which was/is a part of Catholic sacrament that imparts Holy Spirit within the newly baptised. So, the baptism initiats within the faith, Laying of Hands confirms Grace bestowed as the transmission of Holy Spirit. It was the rite that Simon Magus wanted to learn from Jesus' Apostles (which he offered to pay for, and they chastised him for). Jesus was passing Holy Spirit onto others through the Laying on of Hands, the apostles were amongst disciples who could, too, perform this sacred magical act. This sounds similar, no? Quit often, the imparted Holy Spirit was so cleansing, it naturally healed, such as leprosy, etc... XYP fascinates me as I've grown cynical and cautious of instant enlightenment for the masses type promises. It goes against the grain, the simplest spiritual cultivation works upon being a better human, relinquishing desire and fixation upon the material, the quick gratification of the manifest plain, which in itself brings harmony and peace. But, XYP are not asking for anything from anyone, no moneys and so far, no commitment to anyone or anything like a cult. So, there's nothing to lose in finding out, I suppose. I also wondered, as immortality seems to be a focus of taoist alchemy, if it's possible that through the alchemical cultivation and transmutation, adherence to fear of mortality leads to acceptance and cultivation of a perspective that doesn't see physical death as something to be avoided or afraid of? Again, my experience of western spiritual practices reveals a "learning to die" with grace, rather than learning to prolong mortality? But then is that a difference between inner and external alchemise? Another thread, more reading perhaps... Interesting, thanks Donald. I've browsed other threads and this seems to be the bone of contention, so I'll leave it there, I think. I have no intention of rocking apple carts, simply to learn. Ian
  4. Hou Tian vs Xian Tian & Xiao Yao Pai

    Ok, maybe ill get a bite this time, lol ;-). The original post in this thread is sounding more convincing to me as I read more (although not experienced in the Taoist systems). The Path of Manifestation, from Shen, Qi, Jing must always be present, no? It is the immanent process of creation occurring around us in a continual cycle of genesis, unrestricted to a six day period but continuing every moment. In the western magical traditions, when one wills a desire to manifesting in the physical, the Path of Manifestation, or Generation (i.e. spirit, Energy, Essence) would be that route. All creation into the manifest plain follows,this route, cogito ergo sum. First I think it (Shen), then my breath carries the energy which is shaped into sound in the throat/mouth (essence) and thus the Word is made flesh, the thought is spoken, the spirit is made manifest. Just an example from Hebraic classic literature (Sefer Yetzirah, if interested). So, I read frequently today that Taoists first worked this principle in observance of the path of manifestation, the. Traced the reverse path to transcendence. There seems to be suggestion that both are works and available to practitioners, which makes sense to me. As I said, I order to manifest the magical process must follow this route. Not t the exclusion of the path of transendence, the purposes are different, the system the same - it depends whether we are nurturing, or harvesting, root or branch. In my magical experience, more often one is working the path of transendence in working to attain gnosis, or communion with the Tao. But, in such traditionsI've worked from western tradition, a tutelary deity is a facilitator, egregore and group soul contributing to the guidance and mutual benefit. This sounds like the XYP system some have talked of here, to me? Perhaps they can elucidate? Also, it strikes me that the path of transendence is called a reversal, whereas the path of manifestation is the flow of the Tao. Semantically, drawing energy down from Shen to Jing would be "going with the flow", wouldn't it? I could be very confused and running the risk of co floating east and west, and traditions therein, and I'm guarded against such. And yet, we are all made of that which we are exposed to through the course of our lives. Accepting that and identifying our true self, liberate from social and cultural mores, rules and doctrines, surely must be enlightening? Lux, Ian
  5. Intro...

    Thanks, OldChi. I feel your 2 cents doesn't account for inflation or poor economic climates and is therefore quite valuable. ;-)
  6. Hou Tian vs Xian Tian & Xiao Yao Pai

    Hi folks, I know I'm coming to this late and am brand shiny new here, and learning Tao, but my spidey sense suggests a few questions may receive some answers. I'm trying to read through and understand some fundamentals that seem to be a bit moot, or at least disagreeable to some more than others. One of these is the descent and/or ascent of energy; or Shen to Jing versus Jing to Shen. From what I read of taoist alchemical methods (my terminology is very novice, so please bear with me and be kind in explanations), the focus is upon transmuting Jing vital energy upward through chi, she, Wuji. Have a I got this correct? This is how I have understood what I read so far (currently hoping that one day a physical teacher may be able and willing to take on a student, but I'm not new to esoterica and have patience ;-) ). I've read on this forum, such as this thread, those who reverse the direction the energies pursue in the process of creation (as I understand it, but i am drawing from a Craft and Qabbalist traditional background somewhat). I'm reading Eva Wong at the moment, Cultivating Stillness, as well as Damo Mitchell, who says, paraphrasing, Jing, Qi, Shen are all manifestations of the same thing, namely the energy of the Dao. His comparison is the substantive formations of water, such as steam, river, his Daoist Nei Gong, he explains how the Daoist process of creation follows the flowing changes in the frequency of these energies from Shen to Jing. He explicitly states that Nei Ging practice is "...where we begin to reverse the natural course and so head back towards the source... This enables us to attain a spiritual awakening." This all makes perfect sense. Although I have some reservations from an inherent western mystery tradition background, which I think there are those here can understand and recognise in the language I might utilise. I don't wish to talk about Qabbalah or Hermetic Gnosis here as I am turning towards the Tao, but it is the language I have acquired and have most accessible at the moment. Anyway, the way Mitchell explains it, this is a reversal of the natural process, which in and of itself to the layman might not sound like natural Taoism (reversal of nature, ante-nature?), which is often explained as being in harmony with nature? This is confusing and seems at odds, or is this semantics? What I mean is, this alchemical process is described as contra to the natural flow of energy from Shen to Jing. Or spirit to matter (Kether Malkuth). Mitchell also goes on to say that the flow continues Shen transmuting to Qi, then Jing until the vital energy is expended and the body dies. In this context, it would sound appropriate to attain spiritual awakening and immortality by retaining as much Shen as possible as he says, reversing the process. Now, and here's my difficulty and question, and it is a lingering example from the western mysteries. A question that is often asked among those groups I have worked in the western traditions who are active, contacted and practice is "Keter to Malkuth or Malkuth to Keter"? That is, does your group raise energy, or draw it down? To put in other terms, does your system concentrate or prefer to work on raising energy from earthly material to spirit of heaven, or by drawing down spirit to descend within and enlighten the physical. Both sublimate the ego, neither is right or wrong. In actuality, the conclusion I achieved with my last working group (a known traditional group), it may be argued that both or either is applicable depending upon many factors, including the purpose and outcome one is operating. Indeed, it might be regarded a circuit of force (to quote Dion Fortune), whereby both directions of flow are in concordance with each other as a unity of equal opposites, almost a yin and yang in itself? I read those whose system or path is Xiao Yao Pai who contact with a spirit and work energy Shen to Jing. In threads I've read, others disagree with the possibility or beneficial reality of this. However, from my background in the occult and esotericism of the west, this is not a problem. Indeed, many who may be regarded as enlightened, even immortal, might have been such? Jesus, for one, did not attain illumination by reversing the route the Holy Spirit had taken to manifest, it rather by becoming the embodiment of Holy Spirit in this energy plane. Within the Gnostic literature and classics, Pistis Sophia for example, it is the very purpose of spirit to descend into matter to retrieve that energy and raise it up again. This, then is a cycle of the flow of energy. In this sense, I can sort of understand then XYP approach, as well as those who disagree. From my understanding and experience, we could argue that spirit is naturally descending and it is our conscious effort or ability in transmuting Jing to Qi, to Shen that brings enlightened awakening. However, XYP seem to be implying that a spirit contact allows aid in this, so there is an active cycle of spirit, descent through to Jing. Presumably, if XYP can answer this, does this then ascend again? If adopting what you say, one would have to assume so? I wonder, for my own benefit, does any of this latter bear any relevance in the Tao as those experienced here recognise it. As I say, this is just the language and background baggage I currently am working through, reorganising and working out where it fits, or if it's unnecessary for the journey. Apologies for the lengthy preamble, I go on a bit... Thanks for listening, reading and patience. Ian
  7. Intro...

    Howdy peeps, I've been lurking here for a bit and it's a fascinating, sometimes impassioned group with, it would appear, a wealth of knowledge and/or experience. So, I thought I'd join. And, with a dearth in available teachers or guides, or practicing Taoists, available to interested learners, I thought I'd ask a few questions. A bit about me: I've long been active within western esotericism, through Qabbalist foundation traditions, utilising ritual and meditation. However, I have since found the western traditions lacking in certain areas, including actual physical practice beyond ritual and pathworking, actually living the way, and sharing a common gnostic concept present in some more popular forms of buddhism whereby enlightenment is deemed the transformation or escape from the mundane life which is deemed sinful, evil, fallen, generally negative! While the western concept appears to share a principle philosophy of unity of and balancing, overcoming, of the essential dualism, I find the expression as I understand it in taoism more satisfying for my personal tastes, especially envisaged through the yin and yang toward wuji (pleroma?). In addition, an enjoyment and enjoinment with nature, life, this world is what I've been missing in traditions that regard such as fallen, favouring as they do the cleverness of the cosy clouds of the mind (the self satisfied nous, philosophising and riddling in the smug way the mind likes to) to the harmony of heaven and earth as one. Anyway, that's quite a preamble... Probably dull, incoherent and quite wrong... I await correction, lol. Outro... Cheers, Ian (my real name, dunno why people are so afraid of using their names on forums, unless it's in order to create a pseudo mysticism around them through anonymity presumed or otherwise. I have no such worries, other than my ego go unchecked.)