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Unraveling Taoist Yoga

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This thread is solely about helping people gain an understanding of the terminology in the book Taoist Yoga, by Charles Luk.

Please do not take the thread off topic, with debate.

All interpretations from all schools are accepted, as long as the intention is to help readers gain more understanding about specific passages from this book.

Merci!

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Here are some basic questions to kick things off:

 

What does it mean to 'fix the spirit in its original cavity'?

 

What does generative force mean?

 

What does vital breath mean?

 

What does spiritual vitality mean?

Edited by Celestial

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What does it mean to 'fix the spirit in its original cavity'?

 

It means to meditate: calm the mind and become unattached to sense perception. Chapter one goes into a ton of pretty confusing detail, but I think it becomes more understandable over time with (experience from) practice and study.

 

"Spirit" was the translator's interpretation of "mercury"...and it's kind of an accurate interpretation. Not to get into alchemical symbolism, because I really don't know much about it...but one thing is that mercury was essentially what the alchemists used to describe the "monkey mind", because it was a volatile or unstable element. So: still your spirit, calm your monkey mind, fix your mercurial nature so your spiritual energy stops leaking out...similar ideas.

 

The first few paragraphs of chapter one are some of the most clear in the entire book...I think this is for a reason. We should use what we know, and not get too worried about what we don't understand. Practice alone is the means to success.

 

In "Foundations of Internal Alchemy" by Wang Mu, the first stage is called laying the foundations. People might want to read that as well, but from what I remember it's only slightly easier to comprehend.

 

What does generative force mean?

 

Unaroused sexual capability...whatever it is that enables a guy to get good erections and produce semen. The key to "unaroused" is not to have sexual thoughts, desires, feelings, and perceptions (such as seeing a sexy woman). When you become aroused, it's no longer the useful generative force for the purposes of alchemy.

 

What does vital breath mean?

 

Qi, or your own healing energy. It is literally experienced as a breath that travels through the body, and is related to the breath...it's a product of good exercise, getting proper nutrients, breathing well (so you get oxygen), and not leaking your generative force (by becoming sexual) or spirit (by over thinking/feeling/etc, bascially never calming down and meditating).

 

What does spiritual vitality mean?

 

Possibly just your own accumulated spiritual energy. I'm not looking at the book right now, so I'm not sure how this term is being used.

 

Just some ideas.

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What does vital breath mean?


It means exactly what it says. Your breath is vital. As long as you are breathing, the body will function normally. If you breathe more, your body will even function more efficiently. The body functions include the body growth, development and self healing by metabolism and mitosis. Learn to breathe, learn Chi Kung. Edited by ChiDragon
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STILLING THE HEART

 

that's the focus of chapter one.

 

 

Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality: To create "the cavity of prenatal vitality," as the alchemical cauldron, the Correct Method is Stilling the Heart

 

http://fulllotusqigong.blogspot.com/2013/06/taoist-yoga-alchemy-and-immortality.html

 

I blogged on it there.

 

Lots of wrong comments already in this thread.

 

But let's focus on the solution.

 

I also have a chapter by chapter summary after chapter one.

 

http://fulllotusqigong.blogspot.com/2013/06/taoist-yoga-alchemy-and-immortality_14.html


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Calm the mind, still the heart, fix the spirit...all exactly the same thing.

This thread was started with the clear intention that people won't debate, as the original post indicated. If you're going to say others are posting wrong comments, at least give reasons (examples of how it's wrong, and what you think is right). Not giving any reasoning is disrespectful, as well as unenlightening, because no one is learning that way.

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Sorry TS, but Drew is right on there.

 

While 'fixing the spirit in its original cavity' is a potent part of meditation, it is absolutely not congruent to "meditation." Fixing the spirit at the seat of awareness is part of the process of establishing that upper end of the taiji pole and utilizing it in a meditative context. There are all sorts of utilizations for this potent technique.

 

Vital breath is NOT just "breathing." Part of this is inclusive of the idea of the pineal-pituitary dynamic being the "master control center" for the endocrine system. The vital breath is energetic and manifests partly because of this profound harmonization of the pineal and the resultant performance gain in endocrine function. It is part of the reason why my metabolism jumps and goes wild every time my sessions reach a certain duration and threshold of ongoing focused awareness. And even that is just scratching the surface.

 

Spiritual vitality is a combination of the products of the physical and spiritual - in "laying the foundations," part of what takes place is a repairing of all the damage one has done to himself over the years, in preparation for harmonizing and then harnessing the energies thereof, towards a specific goal. The generative force must be restored, vitality brimming, before any notions of vital breath or spiritual vitality even manifest. It is partly in this where calming the heartmind, longevity breathing, energetic combinations and passages of certain thresholds comes to fuel the awareness in meditation.

 

This is not just mundane stuff here, and if you look for the mundane explanations of them, then you are only going to see the finger and not the moon.

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joeblast,

 

While 'fixing the spirit in its original cavity' is a potent part of meditation, it is absolutely not congruent to "meditation."

 

I say that it absolutely is, and am quite firm in my view. But to each their own understanding. I don't have any desire to debate what I've already said, or about the opinions of others. Who can really say that someone is wrong regarding the book, Taoist Yoga; as if anyone really knows? :lol:

For people who are interested in comparing the first stage of Taoist Yoga with other traditions, to get a more clear view, I'd suggest that they also study the first two chapters of the Yoga Sutras...practice calm abiding meditation (starting with an external support) twice a day...possibly also read "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm...if you are lucky and find any school of alchemy, where they teach about the symbolism of "mercury" and similar things, by all means join it.

 

...

 

By the way, I want to be clear: I agree with Drew that "stilling the heart" is the practice.

Edited by turtle shell
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joeblast,

 

 

I say that it absolutely is, and am quite firm in my view. But to each their own understanding. I don't have any desire to debate what I've already said, or about the opinions of others. Who can really say that someone is wrong regarding the book, Taoist Yoga; as if anyone really knows? :lol:

 

For people who are interested in comparing the first stage of Taoist Yoga with other traditions, to get a more clear view, I'd suggest that they also study the first two chapters of the Yoga Sutras...practice calm abiding meditation (starting with an external support) twice a day...possibly also read "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm...if you are lucky and find any school of alchemy, where they teach about the symbolism of "mercury" and similar things, by all means join it.

 

...

 

By the way, I want to be clear: I agree with Drew that "stilling the heart" is the practice.

Actually I hear that Drew got quite far in the training of the book.

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joeblast,

 

 

I say that it absolutely is, and am quite firm in my view. But to each their own understanding. I don't have any desire to debate what I've already said, or about the opinions of others. Who can really say that someone is wrong regarding the book, Taoist Yoga; as if anyone really knows? :lol:

 

For people who are interested in comparing the first stage of Taoist Yoga with other traditions, to get a more clear view, I'd suggest that they also study the first two chapters of the Yoga Sutras...practice calm abiding meditation (starting with an external support) twice a day...possibly also read "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm...if you are lucky and find any school of alchemy, where they teach about the symbolism of "mercury" and similar things, by all means join it.

 

...

 

By the way, I want to be clear: I agree with Drew that "stilling the heart" is the practice.

 

 

Well, this is why you cant say there shouldn't be debate on things. People get things wrong, and they are either corrected, or they proceed with a wrong view. Now if one isn't attempting to practice this method of internal alchemy, no big deal. But there is a clear and specific warning regarding this in the opening of taoist yoga that supports the view I have given you. If you'd like to clarify how it is you came about the view you hold on to and why you believe it is correct in that particular context, feel free, but I am equally if not more firm in my assertion that you are mashing terms together where terms and concepts cannot be used 100% interchangeably without losing some seriously important bits of the puzzle.

 

Stilling the heartmind is absolutely a big part of the picture.

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I'm cool with you believing that I'm wrong and you're right, for whatever reasons...if the reasons are clear and sound, I will listen and learn something. I've said all that I need to say regarding my view of it, and people can come to their own conclusions upon further study and contemplation. The book is so dense that discussing it, for me at least, is a total waste of time and energy. It would only serve to confound, rather than to clarify. So really, I'm bowing out with respect.

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While putting the generative force into orbit, it is of paramount importance to locate the original cavity of spirit in the brain, which is precisely where a light manifests in the head when the practitioner succeeds in concentrating his seeing effectively on the central spot between and behind the eyes. If this is not done, the radiant inner fire rising to the head during the microcosmic orbiting may be mistaken for that light and wrongly driven into a minor psychic center in the head, from which it will be very difficult to dislodge. Many untutored and inexperienced practitioners make this mistake which hinders the process of alchemy.

 

 

"condensing the shen at the upper dantien"

-yang jwing ming

 

finding the source of the I-thought

-drew

 

It is a very pertinent technique - I mean, for things manifesting in my own practice, the utilization of this technique vastly accelerates the other processes...whereas when I first immersed into 50-60 second breaths, that is where the metabolism sparked....subsequent immersions, knowing this technique, the same phenomena would happen with 10, 15, 20 seconds shorter of a breath.

 

Its not just meditation. People coming to their own conclusions may or may not come to the right one regarding certain components. So if there is a certain context, then it is better to have the issue discussed in the open, there is no need to bow out of a conversation. All that's telling me is you are not sure of your words, and I mean no offense in saying that.

 

The heartmind is important in that the shen cannot sufficiently "condense at the upper dantien" (to use yjm's term) without the heartmind being sufficiently calmed.

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STILLING THE HEART

 

that's the focus of chapter one.

 

 

Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality: To create "the cavity of prenatal vitality," as the alchemical cauldron, the Correct Method is Stilling the Heart

 

http://fulllotusqigong.blogspot.com/2013/06/taoist-yoga-alchemy-and-immortality.html

 

I blogged on it there.

 

Lots of wrong comments already in this thread.

 

But let's focus on the solution.

 

I also have a chapter by chapter summary after chapter one.

 

http://fulllotusqigong.blogspot.com/2013/06/taoist-yoga-alchemy-and-immortality_14.html

 

 

Drew, your forum is down. Do you still have a copy of your commentary of taoist yoga?

Edited by malikshreds

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Drew, your forum is down. Do you still have a copy of your commentary of taoist yoga?

 

it's on the thread here? oh well - is it here?

 

yeah i deleted my blog.

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it's on the thread here? oh well - is it here?

 

yeah i deleted my blog.

That's right it is from an older thread. I can't remember where though.

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The original cavity of spirit:

Is in the centre of the brain behind the spot between the eyes. Lao Tsu called it the gateway to heaven and earth- concentrate on the centre in order to realise the oneness (of all things).

In this centre is a pearl of the size of a grain of rice, which is the centre between heaven and earth in the human body (i.e. the microcosm); it is the cavity of prenatal vitality.

During the training both eyes should turn inward to the centre (between and behind them) in order to hold to this One which should be held in the original cavity of spirit (tsu ch'iao) with neither strain nor relaxation; this is called fixing spirit in its original cavity which should be where essential nature is cultivated and the root from which eternal life emerges.

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countless and thousands of transformation bodies appearing in space....

 

umm - all spiritual masters derive from same god/emptiness golden light.

 

so .....

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JB did a nice job of commenting on these and I'll try to see if I add anything new. My comments are based directly on the text and not some other potential school or thought. IMO, I think it's important to stick to the text so that people need to comment based on an understanding of the text.

 

 

What does it mean to 'fix the spirit in its original cavity'?

 

It means to stabilize the spirit. If the spirit is stabilized then the true breath is stabilized and prepares a necessary component of the overall process. This will eventually give rise to the vital breath.

 

How is it done?

 

Two ways are mentioned:

1. Stilling the heart

2. Use the MCO to still the heart

 

Ultimately, it is essential to stop the thinking process and that is why this is step 1.

 

Fixing the spirit also gives one a focus on the proper location of where light will emerge and can be distinguished from, and not mistaken for, the inner fire rising to the brain.

 

What does generative force mean?

 

In a word, Jing or Essence (ok, that was two words of choice). The goal is to redirect the generative force from following the natural inclinations of the desires/senses to be utilized for the process described. If properly done, the generative forces will transmute to vitality in the MDT. From here, it will next rise to the brain, UDT.

 

What does vital breath mean?

 

This is a dormant breath which is waiting on the transmuting of Jing to vitality in the MDT where it can rise to the brain. I would think of it as a pre-natal breath; The regulating breath being used up till now is the post-natal breath.

 

What does spiritual vitality mean?

 

It is also dormant and waiting. Once vitality is transmuted in the MDT and can rise to the brain to merge with the spirit, then the Spiritual Vitality manifests. It is the spiritual light which springs from the MDT.

 

 

These are rather short answers but I think its better to say less than more for now.

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It means exactly what it says. Your breath is vital. As long as you are breathing, the body will function normally. If you breathe more, your body will even function more efficiently. The body functions include the body growth, development and self healing by metabolism and mitosis. Learn to breathe, learn Chi Kung.

 

Actually:

 

Vitality is QI

The Vital Breaths are the Qi of the 5 Yin Organs. (That is why the 5 return to the 3 and the 3 return to the 1)

 

Generative Force is JING

Generative Fluid is semen

 

Spirit is Shen

 

:wub:

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The heart stills and you can do nothing to help. If the energy awakens, then soars up and passes through the Heavenly Gate, then you enter a new reality and your heart begins to still.

Fixing the spirit has always been an odd thing to say. To fix means to make solid, to crystallize. Some of the shen has become matter and then drops to the belly for further transmutation. An intense serenity follows.

Suddenly, the energy (spirit made solid) awakens and moves up to the solar plexus. The quiet is gone. The whole body begins to vibrate. Then the energy moves up into the heart center. The Egress follows. These are the last steps I am describing. The last chapters of Luk's book. A Magical Spell for the Far Journey, ch8, Secret of the Golden Flower, is describing these last steps to Immortality.

What does it feel like to have this Tao Fetus lodged in your solar plexus/heart? It feels as if your chest is the heaviest part of your body. A love emanates from it - not a passionate feeling, but a solid, peaceful, thankfulness, and adoration for life feeling. Golden Light begins to fill the long endured voidness. Your whole body becomes the precious cauldron as if you are floating in a vast emptiness.

Before, when the Precious Cauldron opens, the place in the center of your head becomes a portal into this Eternity, a place without boundaries. Now, as the cycle turns again, there is no need to look at center to feel this Eternity. The portal has dissolved.

Edited by traveler
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Daoist Yoga is good book,but translation is not the best and also there is missing chapter not translated at all.So it is to be good that someone translate from original Chinise this book and another one by Zhao Bi Chen which is connected with this one and only for now in French.

 

Zhao Bi Chen was Quanzhen Longmen Pai,Nan Wu Pai,but also belonged to sectarian spirit writing cult and salvation society¬†Zailijiao Śú®ÁźÜśēô.

 

His Masters brothers Liao where Chan Buddhist like Liu Huayang(even Liu mention in his works this brothers and some Bi Chen to as his students) and also Longmen Pai and where part of one lay Daoist group which formed modern Wu Liu Pai and at exact the same time Zhao broke to form his own Qianfeng Xian Tian Pai with addition of other teachings including Chan.Wu Liu Pai evolved in time and now it si diferent in certain aspects but in old formation days it have the same teachings like Qianfeng Pai.

 

Ormus

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Believe it or not, but this was the only book I sent away. I have a rather big collection of physical books on the topic and this one just did not do anything to me. It was "locked" or "Empty". I am not sure which one. I gave it to a guy I met at Esalen, I told him to give it to someone who might find its useful...

 

I was thinking about this book lately for whatever reason and thought maybe I should buy it again. But when I read the replies, I am still seeing it as "empty"... Probably not time yet if there is anything useful in it. Or maybe as someone note it is due to translation...

 

Maybe I just need to read it in an original language... 

Edited by qicat
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On 2/19/2017 at 11:52 PM, qicat said:

Believe it or not, but this was the only book I sent away. I have a rather big collection of physical books on the topic and this one just did not do anything to me. It was "locked" or "Empty". I am not sure which one. I gave it to a guy I met at Esalen, I told him to give it to someone who might find its useful...

 

I was thinking about this book lately for whatever reason and thought maybe I should buy it again. But when I read the replies, I am still seeing it as "empty"... Probably not time yet if there is anything useful in it. Or maybe as someone note it is due to translation...

 

Maybe I just need to read it in an original language... 

 

Anyone else find this book to be extremely repetitive and tedious? I've read many Taoists texts and this has been by far the most complicated and complex. To me the spirit of Taoism is of a much more simple nature. It's hard to believe all of these techniques are necessary, if not obstructive to creating the elixir. Things like rolling the eyes, pinching the body, etc, all seem a little too much. I understand certain schools need to formulate complicated techniques in order to get the students to work harder, because if they just said "do nothing" not many would succeed. I believe the creation of the elixir doesn't necessarily require all these extraneous techniques. The book seems to repeat the same basic steps over and over again, getting more complicated as it goes. It does have some good information, but it could have been consolidated into half the size. I almost get the feeling as if this book was meant to scare people away from Taoism, misleading them with complicated techniques. It reminds me of how the first half of renaissance magical texts were filled with spells involving dead animal parts, to scare the reader off from the real astrological knowledge in the latter half. 

          Either way, I find this book to be extremely monotonous. It's like they took the basic teachings from the classic texts and covered them with 50 pages of nonsense. It's hard to believe any Taoist teacher would advocate practicing these techniques word for word. Or maybe this was the point?

 

Edited by turtlehermit
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Hardest book i ever tried to read. Did not get far two chapters maybe.

 

And it seems that is starts at an high level no explanation how to get there.

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