fatguyslim

Liu I-Ming 18th century Taoist Adept

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I know this topic is quite old and dusty, but I was looking up some things about Lui Yiming and come upon this thread. 

 

I have practied in the Zen tradition for around 25 years. I was originally drawn to Taoism, but 25 years ago, in the U.S., finding a teacher of the Tao was rare, so the next best thing was Zen. I studied with a few teachers and all the while studying Taiji and Qigong. My latest Taiji teacher is Taoist and really rekindled my original interest in Taoism. He is teaching me the philosophy and the internal components of Taiji, but he still strongly emphasizes the martial arts components, which is good. As far as him sharing the Tao, he says it is up to each person to cultivate. So, I continue to read and practice. I have had the fortune of studying with Stuart Alve Olson for a few months and he helped set me straight on a few things. 

 

The reason I am replying to this antiquated post is that I wish I was here to comment for fatguyslim about Liu YIming.

 

Yiming believes there is a superiore virtue and inferior virtue. Superior virtue is basically one already being quite achieved in spiritual practice and not in need of much work. The rest of us mere mortals fall in the inferior category. Therefore, we need to practice in order to work on our desires and defilements in order to have the enviornment be just right for total realization of the Tao. In my years of Zen practice going along side of my Taiji practice, I had stumbled upon the senstations of what happens in internal alchemy rather easily. However, when I realized how to practice some elements of internal alchemy, I saw the continued benefit of doing so. Therefore, revisting the writings of Liu Yiming is very refreshing, because I feel comfortable following a direction like this while still doing the internal work that needs to be done. I do not see these two things as separate at all. It is like in the Heart Sutra, where the Bodhisattva knows all about the emptiness of things and the manifestation of that emptiness in form and even in this knowing continues to live in this world to do the work that is necessary. For me, it is the same in internal alchemy. They go hand in hand. Yiming is pointing out that in its ultimate reality, all of the physiological aspects of internal alchemy are empty of any self nature. However, as I see it, as long as we are cultivating along the path, we still have work to do. He is not saying you are nowhere and worthless because you practice from the standpoint of inferior virtue. He is saying that as humanbeings in our after-heaven existence, we must work to get back to our original nature. This does not mean our lives are meaningless or fruitless until we get there or that there is really any difference between here and there. What we must do, however, is work on putting things back together the way they were in our original condition. If you are to become an immortal, it may take several lifetimes to do. However, even if you do not become an immortal right now, you sure can live your live in a very refined way of a cultivator of the Tao. That is no small thing. If you can be at peace with this, then you are well on your way. Just keep practicing everyday, the rest will take care of itself.  

 

 

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@Wondo

 

Very nice discussion of Daoist concepts. About as good as I have ever heard. 

 

Does your teachers tradition come down through Liu Yiming?

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On 2/22/2019 at 9:45 PM, Wondo said:

The reason I am replying to this antiquated post is that I wish I was here to comment for fatguyslim

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  • Last visitedDecember 14, 2014

 

On 2/22/2019 at 9:45 PM, Wondo said:

If you are to become an immortal, it may take several lifetimes to do. However, even if you do not become an immortal right now, you sure can live your live in a very refined way of a cultivator of the Tao.

This does not sound like the LYM i know)

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19 hours ago, Taoist Texts said:
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This does not sound like the LYM i know)

I did not know you knew LYM. What do you take from his teachings that may be different than my take on it? It would be interesting to know. 

Edited by Wondo
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20 hours ago, OldDog said:

@Wondo

 

Very nice discussion of Daoist concepts. About as good as I have ever heard. 

 

Does your teachers tradition come down through Liu Yiming?

No, not really. I have been studying Taoism on my own for over 25 years. Most of my formal training is in the Zen tradition. However, through my Taiji teachers and some study I did with Stuart Alve Olson, I have been able to bridge the gap that I was looking for, for many years simply because when I started out my spiritual journey mostly influenced by Taoism, there were no Taoist teachers around, and the literature at that time was spotty, not like today. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 9:45 PM, Wondo said:

If you are to become an immortal, it may take several lifetimes to do.

In Shangqin or Lingbao it might have been so, yes

On 2/22/2019 at 9:45 PM, Wondo said:

 

However, even if you do not become an immortal right now, you sure can live your live in a very refined way of a cultivator of the Tao.

LYM was Quanzhen. For those maniacs, once you blew your chance in this lifetime, its game over.

On 2/22/2019 at 9:45 PM, Wondo said:

Just keep practicing everyday, the rest will take care of itself.  

It just might)

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1 hour ago, Taoist Texts said:

In Shangqin or Lingbao it might have been so, yes

LYM was Quanzhen. For those maniacs, once you blew your chance in this lifetime, its game over.

It just might)

Thank you for this. Just curious, why do you refer to them as maniacs?

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37 minutes ago, Wondo said:

Thank you for this. Just curious, why do you refer to them as maniacs?

That is a joke, (It also include him....... 😁) 

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3 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

That is a joke, (It also include him....... 😁) 

Oh, okay. Thanks for clarifying. When I was mentioning about severl lifetimes, that was me talking and not necessarily a direct reference to LYM. I enjoy LYM, but not always sure why he throws the baby out with the bathwater. Being a long time practitioner of Zen, I get where LYM is coming from in discussing the empty nature of cultivation, but the physical practices of Neidan are important and I see both as relevant. 

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1 minute ago, Wondo said:

I get where LYM is coming from in discussing the empty nature of cultivation, but the physical practices of Neidan are important and I see both as relevant. 

He used to irritate the crap out of me, before I understood my practice better. 

I believe he points to the fact that if you get stuck on the level of moving energy back and forth, you miss the point which is realizing the Dao. 

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2 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

He used to irritate the crap out of me, before I understood my practice better. 

I believe he points to the fact that if you get stuck on the level of moving energy back and forth, you miss the point which is realizing the Dao. 

Yeah. That makes sense. I have been practicing Zen for 25 years. I am not a dabbler. I really practice everyday, have been on many long retreats, etc. I noticed that I stumbled across many of the things that are discussed in internal alchemy, but never really got in to it before. But, since I believe that realization of Tao is a complete package, I felt the physical side of things were not quite where they needed to be, so I started working on building that in to my practice. So, in my humble experience, I realize that all of it is necessary. I think LYM is simply warning against not getting attached to the methods, and to recognize the true direction of the practice. For me anyway, they all go together. I know that when I am setting up the foundation, working with energy, etc. that it is just a part of my complete cultivation. When LYM talks about sudden and gradual, that shows up in Zen too. Especially with Huineng and Dogen. Not many people know that the Korean Chinul also talked about this. If we equate it to what Dogen said, practice and englightenment are the same thing. In otherwords, we manifest our Buddha Nature in everything we do especially when we are practicing. Chinul thought that sudden enlightenment happens many times in one's practice and it takes cultivation to make it become realized or matured to a point where it permeates everything you do. Chinul was about sudden englightenment/gradual cultivation. So, for me anyway, my level of understanding is only expanded and matured through cultivation. I believe that it all arrives at the same place. 

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1 hour ago, Wondo said:

Thank you for this. Just curious, why do you refer to them as maniacs?

Thats how our patriarchs referred to themselves)

 

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45 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

That is a joke, (It also include him....... 😁) 

yes it does)

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23 hours ago, Wondo said:

but the physical practices of Neidan are important and I see both as relevant. 

 

If you've read anything by LYM and/or associated authors you'll find there aren't any 'physical practices'.

 

The Tao is no longer understood. There is an endless number of side doors and twisted byways, constituting a few basic groups. There are those who are fixated on voidness and those who are attached to forms, and those who do psychoso­matic exercises. There are seventy-two schools of material alchemy, and three thousand six hundred aberrant practices.

Since the blind lead the blind, they lose the right road; they block students and lead them into a pen.

-Liu I Ming

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23 minutes ago, lifeforce said:

you'll find there aren't any 'physical practices'.

whats dat?

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I think it’s worth putting Liu Yi Ming’s writings into perspective and in the correct context.

 

As I understand it, LYM did not bother with writing about the preparatory, foundational practices.

 

He went straight to the top - the highest levels of Neidan. 

 

Because that’s where the information was most inaccessible, hidden and shrouded in secrecy and misunderstanding at his time - whereas the foundational practices were (relatively) easily accessed through live teachers.

 

In the modern day, it’s kind of the opposite. We have access at the click of a button to all manner of extremely high level classical texts on the later stages of alchemy or Jhanna practices, yet we’re lacking any real foundation for these things to either make sense or to actually be effective.

 

So before we even have a cauldron (Dantien) or any Jing or Qi to speak of - we’re already trying to perform complex alchemical operations and accessing the Mysterious Gate.

 

That’s the modern solution to this - the use of imagination (Healing Tao). But imaginary alchemy creates imaginary results.

 

The truth of the matter is that 80% of ‘the work’ is creating the right conditions inside oneself... only then the 20% of the higher level alchemical work begins. 

 

LYM’s writings often seem harsh. In photography you often hear talk of ‘harsh lighting’ - meaning that when the light source is strong, it creates strong contrasts between the light and the shadows. It’s this difference between light and dark that is seen as harsh. It highlights blemishes, wrinkles and uneven ‘textures’.

 

LYM’s focus is on discernment - separating the true from the false, it’s the central theme to most of his work. This contrast seems harsh, unfair, unflattering. It highlights our own imperfctions, stupidity and lack of virtue. As we know truth hurts sometimes.

 

It’s the same with the Dharmapada and the Dao De Jing - there are sharp distinctions between right and wrong, fools and true cultivators... I’m guessing this isn’t just to be critical and hurtful, but that there’s a good reason for it...

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Since we are playing LYM trivia, here is a fun question

 

who can guess one word that LYM did not use even once in his entire humongous works?

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30 minutes ago, Taoist Texts said:

Since we are playing LYM trivia, here is a fun question

 

who can guess one word that LYM did not use even once in his entire humongous works?

 

Neidan ?

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39 minutes ago, Taoist Texts said:

who can guess one word that LYM did not use even once in his entire humongous works?

 

Probably something that negates my previous post 😬

 

Discernment? Dantien? Photography?

 

:)

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7 minutes ago, Taoist Texts said:

Yes.

 

Everybody else gets A for effort!

What term did he use to describe what he practiced? 

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21 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

What term did he use to describe what he practiced? 

just "Dao" or "the great Dao of Xing-Ming " or simply 'Xing-ming"

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Does that imply that he downplays the importance of creating "dan"? 

It's been almost seven years since I read the Cleary translations of his works, and I was new to the area, so I honestly doesn't remember. 

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33 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

Does that imply that he downplays the importance of creating "dan"? 

he did, in a sense that dan for him was a means to an end: " The ancient saints used the term of golden elixir (dan) to describe the numinous nature that is true, bright and inherently full. This nature is called the Great Limit by the Confucians, by Buddhists it is called the Full Realization, and by Taoists it is called the Golden Elixir. The names are three but the reality is one. The Confucians practice it to become sages, the Buddhists – buddhas, the Taoists – saints. "

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