Jeff

What constitutes Taoist alchemy?

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Nope. Heat isn't bad but it is considered a problem if it doesn't subside after a while. After reading through Stuart Alve Olson's works, it seems that the heat is related to the external agent and mobilized energy in the system. JAJ has many exercises but it is only the later chapters of his neigong/weigong book that overlap with Taoist Yoga (pages 541 onwards). There is some variation. I personally like Taoist Yoga a bit more because it has a stronger and more consistent use of yin, yang, and wuji in how it structures exercises. But they should accomplish the same things.

 

All things considered, I hadn't done the training correctly. The light is absolutely a requirement as a first step. You can (and I actually did) cultivate the external agent and some of the internal agent without the light. But it is only in small quantities. Then there will be flashes of light that are seen from the different cultivated agents that circulate. But that is actually a bad sign, because there should be a steady light from the fixed spirit. Without the constant light from the spirit (fixed in the head), there is a high chance that the other lights will deviate from their orbits and/or get lodged in psychic centers (where they don't belong). All of this is a sign of wrong-practice because the consolidating, midway step requires an awareness of light and the ability to render the positive and negative fires out of the external agent so that the internal agent can be stabilized.

 

So Taoist Yoga is actually a very cautious approach to alchemy. But the thing is, it's a very drawn-out process. Chapter 1 can take anywhere from a week to a year depending on both the starting situation and aptitude. (Or more, if you're not entirely sure about what you're doing...:blush:)

 

Actually, having read through a number of books, the subject-matter of just a few sentence in Taoist Yoga can be found in entire books devoted to specific stages or exercises in Taoist Alchemy. So it is definitely the best core source material. But it takes a lot of work to understand.

 

With regards to the LDT, it is less about heat and more about a fullness. And a rumble/vibration is a key sign for advancement. Heat does take place but it's not the only thing or even the main thing.

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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What constitutes Taoist alchemy?

 

Many taoist alchemy systems seem to be more or less successful mash-ups of taoist and buddhist (tantra, dzogchen) practices.

In my current opinion, the core of taoist practice is the replenishment of jing (pre-heaven energy, ming, essence).

If jing replenishment is achieved and consequently the jing saturation of the matrix of the physical body reaches certain high levels above the initial level at birth, certain levels of immortality can be achieved.

 

Edited by Wells

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The heat in lower abdominal is only one of the possible signs of jing to qi transformation. THere could be warm sensation, movement, or light.

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1 hour ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

This is also the same version you can find in JAJ. JAJ basically rehashed Taoist Yoga. I haven't read Damo Mitchell. 

 

But, you wanted practical steps.

 

Here they are. And they're free....

 

JAJ IA book a lot of stuff in there. I can find similarity to methods M. Chia and Michael W. teaches. What is your opinion?

How would you like to suggest to use that book?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With the light, I must say that I've met very diligent and hard working students of the art who after many years of practice still were not able to see the light. What I want to say is that focusing on the light could be discouraging for sincere students in such cases. There is plenty of work that can be done without working with light. I mean, light is good and is a very important part of the practice, but it is not a single focus of the practice - IMO anyway.

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54 minutes ago, Jox said:

 

JAJ IA book a lot of stuff in there. I can find similarity to methods M. Chia and Michael W. teaches. What is your opinion?

How would you like to suggest to use that book?

 

 

I don't really have a suggestion. JAJ has a lot of stuff in the book. I think that it would be good to pay attention to the overarching structure. There are around 500 pages of things related to martial arts, balancing the organs, meditating in different ways. All kinds of things. But the actual neidan alchemy only starts on page 540. So, with this, we can see that most of the information and exercises in existence do not actually involve the alchemy that can bring a person to immortality. They are the realm of health practices and other magical practices that have existed in Chinese culture. 

 

So I would say that your use of the book would depend on your goals and interests. You could probably spend a lifetime exploring all the avenues and traditions that exist. But, with the Neidan stuff, it is a lot less diverse. Jing-Chi-Shen is part of alchemy but not all of alchemy and not really even "alchemy"-proper. Alchemy-proper will combine the three treasures and blend/transmute/fuse them together in the process of generating the yang shen. So, basically, if the goal is neidan, the 500+ pages of the book would be preparation methods which can fortify and stabilize the body for neidan. Or, alternatively, some of the practices are side-practices (which probably couldn't be done at the same time neidan is being done). 

 

I think it's a great book for understanding theory and some of the cultural history and, also, for clarifying things that might be difficult to understand from the wording in the classics. But for the actual neidan stuff, it begins with the laying of the foundation and the fixing of spirit in the original cavity. The different health-related organ balancing things and what-not are great helpers that can be done while focusing on neidan.

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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On 9/20/2017 at 11:50 AM, Jeff said:

I have been having a conversation with another member in the bums chat.  During the discussion, the question of what really constitutes "alchemy"?  Is alchemy just a generic word for "energy stuff", maybe like the word "tantra"? Or, does taoist alchemy imply a specific approach or specific techniques that are some how different than other traditions?

 

I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on the topic.

 

Thanks.

 

Alchemy implies transformation. In that sense, Daoist alchemy and tantra are comparable. 

 

The word alchemy, as used in Daoist practice, does relate to working with energy but it is not a generic term for "energy stuff." For example, there are lots of Daoist energetic practices (taijiqun, qigong) which are not necessarily a part of alchemical methods.

 

Daoist alchemical methods and Buddhist tantric methods include working with energy centers (dantians/khorlos/chakras) and paths (jingmai/tsa/nadi) and the subtle energy (qi/lung/prana). While Daoist and tantric terminology and paradigm are somewhat different, the parallels are clear, especially if you have the chance to practice each under the guidance of a master. 

 

We need to be a little careful with knowledge and experience gained solely from books and self-exploration.

There is far more to cultivation than information and an experienced guide is essential.

 

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To begin one must develop great character and uprightness to even pass the first gate. All involvement with life must be set in order and harmonious. Not everyone is in a position to practice neidan or the time is just not right to begin the practice.The body must be in excellent shape with no weakness or illness. This is the importance of Chi Gung, Tai Chi Kung Fu. the foundation is fortified before beginning neidan.

 

When one method is verified it is forgotten and move to the next method, all steps must be verified.

 

This is part of one method below 

 

one must seek seclusion.

One must be in a chamber of tranquillity and sit upright. With the spine straightened and every single bone of the vertebrae vertical Qi and blood can flow easily and communication can be established. Tuck in the chin and tilt the tailbone inwards. Place the tongue on the upper palate and refrain from closing the eyes completely. One must leave a thread of light entering the eyes in order to avoid falling into ‘Lost Oblivion’.

One must return one’s observation and illuminate the inside, concentrate one’s spirit and enter to the grounds of the ‘Gate of life"

 

One must empty the heart and concentrate one’s spirit, non-attached to form and appearance, not falling into a vain death. The void soul is not obscure and not confused, non-existent and no non-existent. Hold steadfast and nourish as if planting a fragile seed and silently and motionless illuminating, in stillness and without disorder. The spirit luminescence, the void soul is the light of illumination

 

If one during the daytime pursues one’s stocks, one’s heart being un-calm and un-settled, one’s mind-horse not being tied up, what is the use of spending three to four hours every day at night on this Skill?
If one is impeded and entangled in worries, being worn off by work and fatigued from earning money.
If one at daytime refines the self in the dusty society and at night time one practices sitting meditation, is this not meaningless?

 

 

The heart-mind stops below the navel,
this is called ‘Concentrating the Spirit’.
The Qi is hidden away and hibernating below the navel,
this is called ‘Embryonic Breathing’.
The heart and breath are completely subdued to the storeroom below the navel.
Preserve this purity and tranquillity naturally, this is called ‘Non-oblivion’.
Follow this purity and tranquillity naturally, this is called ‘Non- assistance’.
Always regard the empty void as place to hide the heart-mind, i.e. put all thoughts in here.
Regard the dark and silent as the home for resting the Spirit.
Not a single thought arises, not a single though is born, and the thoughts are at rest.
This process is repeated; three-fold and two times, repeatedly settling, repeatedly sinking, many times over and over. This notion has nothing to do with the microcosmic orbit.
The heart-fire descends symbolizing the sinking of one’s thoughts to the lower Cinnabar field.
The thoughts and the intent are retrieved to the lower Cinnabar Field,

If one’s thoughts and heart-fire are on the outside, how is one able to ever bring the kettle to a boil?

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I'm reading Tolle and came across this tidbit:

 

"Sustained conscious attention severs the link between the

pain-body and your thought processes and brings about

the process of transmutation. It is as if the pain becomes fuel

for the flame of your consciousness, which then burns more

brightly as a result. This is the esoteric meaning of the

ancient art of alchemy: the transmutation of base metal into

gold, of suffering into consciousness. The split within is

healed, and you become whole again. Your responsibility

then is not to create further pain."

 

Eckhart Tolle 

The Power of Now, p. 40

1999

 

Granted, Tolle is not a Taoist (to my knowledge) and he's not describing Taoist alchemy, but he mentions alchemy by name so I thought it might be worth noting. :mellow:

 

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First, last and foremost alchemy is a religion. It is educational to see how everybody makes it to be some kind of spiritual calisthenics.

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On 22/09/2017 at 3:43 AM, Apeiron&Peiron said:

...

And, as a third and final note: 3) neidan does not date to just the year 1200. The oldest lineage, by oral tradition, goes back 7 thousand years. But oral tradition is dubious. Regardless, the early history of the celestial master school indicates that there were alchemy practices as far back as almost two thousand years ago. Written records get more scarce when you pass that threshold.

...

On 25/09/2017 at 0:14 AM, KuroShiro said:

...

To me makes more sense the other way around. External alchemy seems to have picked up on the words used by inner alchemy?

 

"Ignorant people who do not know this cast iron crucibles, build clay stoves, and fire metals and minerals, vainly imagining that they will form the elixir in this way." Liu Yiming

 

 

Whether internal or external alchemy came first is a very interesting point for me. 

 

I would appreciate a reference to the literature that suggests inner alchemy is millenia old and was the original form, as it seems most likely to me that inner alchemy was in fact the original discovery, and external alchemy misunderstood this fact. 

 

On 25/09/2017 at 0:38 AM, Apeiron&Peiron said:

It's blended.

Liu Yiming was a later generation master speaking out against the external alchemists. By the written records, it does appear that external alchemy preceded internal alchemy as there were writings about about external alchemy prior to explicit writings about internal alchemy.

 

So, this would indicate that "external" alchemy did exist prior to the jargon being applied to internal alchemy (I think this should be obvious...). Something particular, though, was that many of the writings about external alchemy were actually considered to be internal alchemy but with external/chemical substances as a cipher for the internal process. So, it was considered to be a type of code-writing for internal alchemy. Misunderstood by the uninitiated in modern as well as ancient times. 

 

Hence the quote : "Ignorant people who do not know this cast iron crucibles, build clay stoves, and fire metals and minerals, vainly imagining that they will form the elixir in this way (emphasis added)"

And if you were to examine some of the writings with very old lineage connections, you would be able to see the recapitulation of the history of alchemy in the terms they use. They will usually begin with an explanation about the metals; then they will have an explanation about gods or mythical creatures, and then they will speak of the lights that you will see or the more direct physiology.

 

Perhaps this just shows the confusion about the issue, I could read your post as confirming either perspective really. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lost in Translation said:

I'm reading Tolle and came across this tidbit:

 

"Sustained conscious attention severs the link between the

pain-body and your thought processes and brings about

the process of transmutation. It is as if the pain becomes fuel

for the flame of your consciousness, which then burns more

brightly as a result. This is the esoteric meaning of the

ancient art of alchemy: the transmutation of base metal into

gold, of suffering into consciousness. The split within is

healed, and you become whole again. Your responsibility

then is not to create further pain."

 

Eckhart Tolle 

The Power of Now, p. 40

1999

 

Granted, Tolle is not a Taoist (to my knowledge) and he's not describing Taoist alchemy, but he mentions alchemy by name so I thought it might be worth noting. :mellow:

 

 

I think transmutation would be more abut integrating the pain body and thought process as opposed to severing the link, which suggests spiritual bypassing to me. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well, I guess it depends. In some sense, energy work in one way or another existed since the original humans. And it also existed (in some way or another) in the shamanic peoples of China. They existed before alchemy (the "external" type) was a thing. But, since alchemy came into existence, it is not entirely unreasonable to think that some of the shamanic traditions figured it out.

 

But, at the same time, "external alchemy" would need to exist before its jargon could be used as code writing for internal alchemy. So, in that sense, it preceded the writings on internal alchemy (which is what I had in mind with my previous post). 

 

I don't have a written source on this, though. But it is something you can find in the dates associated with the different writings.

Edited by Apeiron&Peiron
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1 minute ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

Well, I guess it depends. In some sense, energy work in one way or another existed since the original humans. And it also existed (in some way or another) in the shamanic peoples of China. They existed before alchemy (the "external" type) was a thing. 

But, at the same time, "external alchemy" would need to exist before its jargon could be used as code writing for internal alchemy.

 

This is a sensible position, but I have heard inner alchemy jargon being used in peoples dreams and visions when they have no knowledge of inner alchemy/neidan. So as unlikely as it might appear, I am drawn to the idea that these images bubble up from the subconscious as the best way to describe  the subtle energy body undergoing a natural 'spiritualising' process.

 

1 minute ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

So, in that sense, it preceded the writings on internal alchemy. 

 

I don't have a written source on this, though. But it is something you can find in the dates associated with the different writings.

 

ok thanks. 

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Bindi said:

...

I would appreciate a reference to the literature that suggests inner alchemy is millenia old and was the original form, as it seems most likely to me that inner alchemy was in fact the original discovery, and external alchemy misunderstood this fact. 

...

 

Humans' first alchemists were likely similar to these:

 

p03tsmrg.jpg

 

I have watched quite a bit of documentaries recently about apes. One of the things I noticed was how apes will sit very still with only eyes moving a bit to observe environment. The apes are not like monkeys in this regard at all. And here is another picture:

 

wang-shugang-the-meeting.png

 

This is a sculpture which is called 'A Meeting' by a Chinese sculptor (sorry can't remember the name). This sculpture was demonstrated in several city parks around Vancouver, BC. Can you see similarities?

 

Edited by idquest
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47 minutes ago, idquest said:

Is it Egyptian?

 

Thoth god of wisdom - yes.

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On 9/24/2017 at 1:35 PM, Wells said:

Many taoist alchemy systems seem to be more or less successful mash-ups of taoist and buddhist (tantra, dzogchen) practices.

In my current opinion, the core of taoist practice is the replenishment of jing (pre-heaven energy, ming, essence).

If jing replenishment is achieved and consequently the jing saturation of the matrix of the physical body reaches certain high levels above the initial level at birth, certain levels of immortality can be achieved.

 

Your successful positive spiritual development is achieved when your jing transforms into a spiritual makeup even "finer" and then even "finer," ad finitum. People can easily get jing stuck in their head, or create blockages with some practices, as we've heard from many a newbie post at tdb. I would not suggest to anyone to cultivate jing saturation.

 

Refinement is the ultimate goal of ancient immortal taoist alchemy that Lu Dong Bin practiced (there are many types of taoist alchemy on the market). Take your root/your base/your foundational energy and sublimate it into a fine spiritual shen essence that can safely live in your head. This is what the Secret of the Golden Flower speaks of. This is what Jesus means when he talks about the kingdom of heaven. This is the achievement to work towards if you truly wish to accomplish something meaningful in this lifetime.

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The main problem with energetic manipulation and amassing big amounts of chi is that it reinforces the meditator and I-thought.

 

Both need to be destroyed.

 

Without refinement (=clearing ego positions and attitudes) the chi will be stuck at jing level and then people will resort to force as "a way out". Then you get energy sickness and other symptoms because all you are doing is following the thought that says "I need to get out".

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Posted (edited)

Sense of self, or I-thought is how you come aware of yourself. That yourself is a being, it is layered, 5 skandhas in budism. You come aware of it through dhyana a peaceful abode. Dhyana also is not a one thing like concentration. Concentration is some sort of activity.

When i read about jhana and then try to focus on objects like candle light. Its not dhyana or jhana. Nor the burn you see later.

When i focus on candle light then its exactly that what it is, focusing on candlelight, while then doing that by now it is a connotation or meaning and can investigate contents of mind what rise and disappear, mind at some point stops and clarity dawns, you can see it happen. There are some agitation and dark moments like heart breaking, darkness swirling etc moments meanwhile before clarity dawns, objects go bright. That clarity is sense of self gotten brightness what also is lucid dream.

 

After that things go downhill and really bad, then you see suffering. That suffering also can be developed more directly or used like sense of self can be used to get things go through faster. Sense of self is your sense organs and body like eyes, neck tongue whatever. Suffering is the protection from getting involved in activities it will get you into lower body and feelings and organs there like gut, penis etc feelings.

So we will reach to celibacy or well discipline what cultivates all together, its just matter of a thought or Way. So other words sense of self or doing other things or when to cultivate forbeirance, full dicipline is at certain times what is noticed for you accordance to your merit. 

 

--

that happens in multiple possible scenarios. Basically if you read about sense of self, then you can come aware of the self. Other possibility is from your own cultivation somehow you come aware suddenly. Also the scenario where you notice a scenario and notice that you come aware there where before you were on some else knowledge/nana.

imo idea is to get things done in shitty situations where you mainly are agitated under pressure or hedonist, you can come aware and can start mediate and clear out, be the knower of sensations.

Edited by allinone

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