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Hello everyone - I'm currently reading the 600 page book by Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, titled Daoist Internal Alchemy: Neigong & Weigong Training. I'm

not too far into it, but I've come across the most wonderful page.


Please know that I did receive Dr. Johnson's approval to quote his book for purposes of our discussions. Below is the email he sent - what a kind and wonderful man he must be!


'Hi Barbara - Yes, by all means please feel free to use this material...and thank you for asking. The primary purpose for originally writing the Daoist Alchemy book was to assist others and sharing this life transforming information. That's why we're here...:-).

Best wishes always,

Dr. Johnson'


(I was surprised to actually hear back from him personally - his website is


Please pardon the length of this post:




The ancient Daoists believed that the cultivation of Virtue has its reward, both within Heaven, and within the Dao. These energetic and spiritual rewards are without shape or form, and are the magical stepping stones used by most Daoist disciples to access the secret teachings hidden within the various Spirit Realms. In high levels of Daoist Magic, the acquired magical powers of a disciple are not totally dependent on his ability to practice powerful Qigong and Shengong exercises, but are also dependent on his ability to cultivate Genuine Virtue.


According to the Huimingjing, "If you do not have Virtuous Power (De), even if you encounter the Dao, Heaven will certainly not grant it to you. Why is this? Virtuous Power and the Dao are like a bird's wings. If one is missing, the other is useless. You must have dedication, devotion, compassion, moral integrity, and obey the Five Precepts (no killing, stealing, adultery, lying, or intoxication). Only then do you have something to hope for.


With each kind deed, the disciple's Heart becomes purer and the subtle activities of his True Spirit increase. This allows the gap between the Qi of the disciple's Yuan Shen (Original Spirit) and the radiant light of the Shen Xian (Eternal Soul) to be reduced.


Daoist priests traditionally divide De (Virtue) into four categories: Apparent Virtue, Yin Virtue, Mystical Virtue, and Genuine Virtue. Each type of Virtue represents a specific level of spiritual cultivation, and is described as follows:




This is considered to be the first level of Virtue. However, in this level of compassion, all charitable acts are visible to others and are immediately rewarded with material and/or verbal gratitude. Because in Apparent Virtue there is an even exchange of energy, no accumulation of spiritual energy is cultivated.




This is considered a transitional stage of spiritual evolution. At this level the disciple performs kind deeds without expecting any form of reward. This is the foundation of a true cultivator of the Dao, and is considered to be the preliminary stage to go progressing towards the level of Mystical Virtue.




This is considered to be a higher form of Virtue. It is the expression of Virtue by mystics in the process of cultivating and nurturing their True Shen. These disciples are able to do good deeds without people knowing about their charitable actions. They are both knowingly and unknowingly helping others and society by healing the sick, helping people in trouble, protecting the balance of nature, etc.




This is considered to be the highest form of Virtue. It is pure, genuine, natural, and un-contrived. It is performed spontaneously, without any formulated mental process, as an natural expression of the individual's internal connection with the Dao. In order to first help a disciple develop his Virtue, he is required each night to take inventory and accountability of all of his moods, thoughts, and actions. Everything that occurred during the day must be accounted for. In this way, the disciple begins to observe all of his actions without judgment, and is slowly being introduced to the skill of projecting his spiritual consciousness as an active observer.




I just couldn't pass up the chance to share these wonderful explanations on to The Bums. Can it be said any better?

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This is interesting. Seems though like one of those things that would be difficult to talk about unless there is a specific example that needs to be discussed.

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I think that anyone who wants, at the end of the line, to find enlightenment will be unable to do so without finding Self-Realization. In order to find self-realization, this is a product of elimination. Elimination of the traits we have acquired post-natally, our acquired personality - filled to the brim with 'wrong teachings' by well-intended people.


To acquire mastery of ego, for example, we must remove the 'need to be first', which is a direct offshoot of that urge to succeed, to win. There is a time and a season for everything in our lives -there is a time for contention, for contending for promotions, to pile up lots of money (or stuck energy, as I see it). But someone who is at a point in their life where accumulation is of utmost importance is not going to be seeking self-realization. He may be seeking it, but it will be at a surface level.


To see with clarity is to be able to see without the contortion of anger, of ego, of jealousy, of lust, of obsession, of addiction, of judgment, of gluttony, of pride, of excessive ambition to be above everyone else in any fashion. It is to be One with What Is. When the disciple reaches the place of non-judgment, being content to be 'second', to have achieved Love or Compassion without having to even try - this is not something that is acquired without the elimination process of the removal of the distorting traits we have acquired.


It's getting back to our pre-natal personality, the enlightened template we were born with, is what the Genuine Virtue, the fourth virtue above - this is what the Sage or the Enlightened One possesses. I equate this to the double conical shape of the chakras. One cone faces forward, attached at the tip to another cone which faces backwards. This seems like a perfect metaphor to me. There is an outer dimension to enlightenment - our learning, the teachings of others who are with us and who came before us. This we are all familiar with.


But how many of us, even on this site, actually go out of our way to become better people, to return to this original personality? How can that possibly happen by accident? It takes great effort on our parts to get to know our own acquired personality. This is the inner cone of the metaphor. There are Bums on this forum that have so obviously done the inner work - and it shines through their words. It is equally easy to see the ones that have not done any inner work - their words are hollow, they can cut and paste until the cows come home; they have mastered the words of others and perhaps have multiple letters after their names. But unless the 'soil of the soul' has been prepared by inner exploration, the words of others will fall on rocky soil if the soil has not been prepared, and the plant will not grow. The outer knowledge will be present, but the root of the plant will not make its way down to the heart.


One of the best ways to see ourselves is to observe others. We are mirrors of each other. If your words make me angry, I should look at what is in myself that is being challenged. Once I find it, I will ask my Higher Self to remove that quality within me. In my own case, I don't find that my Higher Self reaches down my throat and removes that quality. Instead, I find that my Higher Self will make sure it draws me into situation after situation that requires my attention to that very defect of character (anything other than my pre-natal personality). It requires 'acting to the opposite' many times. When I really want to argue, for example, the correcting action would be to not argue - in fact, to really listen to the points that the other person is making and try to put myself in their moccasins. And then to dive even deeper and find out where that characteristic started. Once it's been exposed to the light, it will often disintegrate into dust.


Humility, in my experience, is sometimes acquired by humiliation. Humility is absolutely essential for Self Realization or Enlightenment. When we look back over our lives and see where we have harmed others, the true disciple will go back and make amends - regardless of how the other person takes it. The more humiliating the amend, the more it does for my soul. It stings on the inside. But this is also an indication that you have really found that trait that you have been seeking; the more sway that trait has within our personality, the more contorted our vision becomes. It becomes jaded with the trait. If the particular trait is jealousy, for example, then there would be a 'green glow' (of jealousy) that colors our vision and affects and distorts everything we see, everything we think we understand.


I think that looking at the qualities, the 3 treasures of the Sage, are a beautiful template toward enlightenment. Yutang would say the 3 treasures are 'Love, Never be the First, Never too much'. Stephen Mitchell would say the 3 treasures are 'Simplicity, patience, compassion'. When we have become like the Sage, these are the qualities we possess. Simplicity (Mitchell) would equate to 'Never too much' (Yutang). Patience (Mitchell) would equate with 'Never be the first' of Yutang. Love equates with Compassion.


When I was a young girl, my parents bought a board game for me to play with them; it was called "Be At the Head of Your Class". We played this game all the time; it involved flash cards filled with more knowledge than a 5 year old needed to know. But this is the very thing that started off my race to 'ALWAYS be the first'. Yes, perhaps this suited me for that season of my life, where school is a competitive phenomena. But in striving for something much more in my later life, the present life where I want to Really understand, that particular trait had to be greatly diminished. And the ego deflation that came along with being right in the middle is something that was greatly required in my case. Someone else may be totally different. I wish I could say that this trait is totally worked out of me, but it isn't. It still periodically raises its head, and I must catch myself and usually have to 'act to the opposite'. But I can truthfully say that my progress in this area has been considerable - and the times it does appear are less and less.


The way we remove the unwanted and contorting traits is to first identify them - but this is done from a 'witness state', where we are the observer of our own thoughts and actions. Once we're willing to see ourselves as we really are, only then can they be removed. They can't be removed before they're identified.


I think one can make a better life for themselves by not doing the inner work, by relying on the words and works of others. But the ones who have written the great books that we benefit from are ones who have Self Realized and gotten down to their Core. I guess it just depends on how seriously we want to take all this. As for me, I'm in it until the end - and I do so willingly. I no longer avoid looking at my defects because I want to get rid of them. I've been actively working on this very thing for 32 years; the greatest work was at the beginning, once the decision was made. Now, at this point in my life, the work is merely day by day when one of the undesirable traits pops up.


It's just staying on top of our own behavior, is all.

Edited by manitou
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