Kongming

Questions on Yangshen

Recommended Posts

According to neidan literature, Quanzhen, etc. what exactly is the relationship between the Yangshen or immortal body and the Dao as Absolute? Does the practitioner "merge" into the Dao, does his sense of self get annihilated? Or is it that something remains, a sort of "fusion without confusion"?

 

Furthermore, what is the relationship between what is variously termed Mind or Atman, awareness, etc. pure consciousness and the Yangshen? We know that in Zen, other forms of Buddhism, and Vedanta, liberation is a matter of realization or awakening, of dispersing ignorance through enlightened wisdom of our true nature. How does this compare with neidan conceptions?

 

It is known that reverting shen to the Dao or Void is part of the neidan process, but what does this entail? Quanzhen, discussing the difference of their path with that of Buddhism, emphasized the ability to manifest the yangshen, with a famous story being of Lu Dongbin (I believe) and a Buddhist monk manifesting and Lu Dongbin being able to eat and drink while the Buddhist was only able to gulp air or something like that. What is the significance of this? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of the significance of Taoist alchemy is  its emphasize on the difference between yin shen(spirit) and Yang shen ; such an emphasize not only  makes it different  from  Buddhism ,but  also from other religious ways of nourishing supernatural abilities.

 

Differences between these two spirits  likely are as follows:

 

1) Based ¬†on Taoist alchemical theory, ¬†there is a dose of yang called yang-jing (ťôĹÁ≤ĺ) , ¬†hidden somewhere ¬†in our body that makes our ¬†existence and its growth possible .All ¬†other stuff after our ¬†adolescence ¬†are yin-typed ¬†and subject to aging. ¬†An immortal Yangshen , therefore , can only be ¬†a mind or spirit ¬† nourished ¬†and uplifted by this secret yang -jing and the incoming ¬† primordial qi that it later brings in .

 

 Because of this , any methods or ways , not making use of  the mentioned jing and qi  to achieve a spiritual accomplishment , can  hardly be  anything yang, but a  yinshen , regardless of  what wonderful feelings  or abilities that it once gave us . 

 

 

  This is also the  main argument , although not 100 % impartial , that Taoism blames Zen ( always in a polite way)and other similar religious ways , for their not following the Taoist jing-qi-shen way.  For instances, way asking people to project  their mind on an  mirror so as to nourish their mental abilities;  way of relying on some unknown , unreliable spirits to speed up their practice ( the XYP's  ? )..etc.

 

2) Although both Yangshen and yinshen can exist outside the body , their  freedom from physical influence and their abilities in handling physical objects varied . For example, Yangshen can exist under sunlight , yinshen can't ; Yangshen can bring physical objects along with it and travel  , a spirit which you unfortunately come across in an old ,worn  hotel, for example,  its utmost ability likely is  limited to turning on/off  the lighting of  your room or making some strange noises.

 

3) While Yangshen's leave of  the physical body is a mature product of  having enough   jing and qi  accumulated , yinshen , its departure from the body is a result of  the depletion of  jing and qi  , an involuntary process.

 

4) Although being outside of the body,  Yangshen can still determine its own fate for all is done in a deliberate , prepared way ; on the other hand, a yinshen ,once left its physical base, can't determine its own fate or where to go .. , but succumbs to the karma brought along  with itself from past lives.

 

5) Yangshen , in essence, is a great mindless Mind that  can go anywhere , expandable  to unknown frontier ; yinshen , on the other hand ,is just a narrow spirit  entangled by  regrets, hatreds and attachments.

Edited by exorcist_1699
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites