thelerner

A collection from Dao Zhen

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Dao Zhen was  an old wise member who unfortunately hasn't posted in a few years.  A few people have asked about him lately and thought I'd collect a few of his writings-

 

 

I think as friends and companions, and also as Westerners exploring these Taoist Arts, we have to be objective, honest, and also have a spirit of sharing; then maybe we can make some headway...

 

To be honest, we must seriously look at the  RESULTS gained or LACK OF RESULTS.

 

I think three basic hallmarks of a good Internal Alchemy system would be:

 

1. A real and tangible method to quiet the stray thoughts and desires from the very start of the journey.

 

2. A real and tangible method to quickly open all channels - thereby allowing the student to be free of disease and in health and also to be able to sit for longer and longer periods of time in no pain.

 

3. A real and tangible method to deal with the first main door one approaches - "what to do when Jing is full" -

 

By my research and understanding from personal practice, a "SYSTEM" would address the above points in a very clear manner, and also other points that come later on.....

 

I agree with you in a simple manner on your 4 areas that arise as dimensions of practice; though we could analyze and list quite a bit more -or maybe that is the job of the Buddhists :)

 

It is good to look at a system in outline form, as it can give you some idea of where you are in your practice,

if you are progressing on course, and also if perhaps you made some error, and are going in a wrong direction.

 

Beijing able to look at a system in outline form, can also show if in fact this system has some aim of Union with Tao, and a means to provide a vehicle to allow the student to make such a journey....

 

I would also go one step further, and say that to qualify as a True Method, such a system should have some living examples of adepts who have made advanced headway using these methods - otherwise it is all fancy talk, legendary stories and tall tales...

 

Without a good map, it is perhaps almost imossible to get to the destination.....

 

In a simple way, our practice could be outlined as such:

 

1. Laying Foundation - 100 days

2. Incubation - 1 year

3. Journey through the Big Pass - 7 days

4. Nursing the Infant - 3 years

5. Facing a Wall - 9 years

 

In a more complex way as listed by my senior:

 

STEP 1 Preparatory work

STEP 2 Cleanse the heart of all stray thoughts, desires and passions

STEP 3 Settle mind-will in Lower Elixir Field

STEP 4 Open up the Eight Extra Channels

STEP 5 Administer Jing

STEP 6 Harvest Yang Qi

STEP 7 Revolve the first small waterwheel

STEP 8 Gather Psychical Rays

STEP 9 Gather the Qi of Great Unification

STEP 10 Automatic revolution---Fetal Breathing

STEP 11 Preserve the Buddhist Relic

STEP 12 Nourish the Buddhist Relic

STEP 13 Golden lightning flashes three times

STEP 14 Conduct the Buddhist Relic to pass through the Three Passes

STEP 15 Conceive a Fetus of the True Self in ten months' time

STEP 16 Give birth to the Fetus of the True Self

STEP 17 Raise the Fetus of True Self in three years' time

STEP 18 Possess the same body with Tao

STEP 19 Fill up the infinite emptiness with my brilliant psychical light in nine years time

 

<me.. I haven't gone through the site, but this matches up with these steps and has more info on the bottom of the page http://www.taoiststudy.com/taoist_alchemy/whole-process-taoist-internal-alchemy   might be a good link.. or not, haven't gone through it enough, could be link to Dao Zhen's system or at least info on it>

 

On 2/4/2009 at 9:21 PM, dao zhen said:

I think the big problem by my observation is people have bits and pieces of information, and are trying to put them together.

 

Like feeling around in a dark room, trying to find something..........

 

There is not a "complete view" of practice.

 

Another big problem in the area of Taoist Alchemy Practice in the West is that people view visualization as a part of the practice, when in reality, it is a false one.

 

Using the Mind Will to direct the Qi in the Ren and Du channel has often been termed the "False Water Wheel", by the few Taoist Adepts I met in China.

 

You want to circulate the "External Medicine" in the Water Wheel, so first you have to begin cultivation and "Harvest of Yang Qi."

 

Yet, without having practiced something we may term, "True Practice", people are happy to keep using visualization, or other methods that gain no real resulats, thinking they are walking along the road.

 

I think practices like Vipasana can be a good foundation for learning Alchemy Meditation later on, though it is not needed.

 

As people may learn to still the mind will, or thought of in another light, to bring the mind will back to a unified force, rather than a scattered force.

 

In the very end, we should be practical.

 

Do you get results right away from the practice?

 

By my observation in 90% of people, when engaged in a True Practice, results should be gained in a matter of 4 - 12 days.

 

If you do a method for months and months, and nothing is really happening (such as VERY strong Qi flow, transformation of Jing, and the above lead or pull one to a deep state of stillness) - then it is time to take an honest look at what you practice.

 

For students who are just starting out, in our system, we sit for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min or so - 3 sessions a day at morning / afternoon / evening -

 

This time period is slowly lengthened.

 

The student will spend half of the sitting session holding the hand postures to open the meridians, and building a balanced Qi (stillness quality / medium quality / active quality - combined - ) , then the last half is sitting in stillness, and letting this Qi naturally run its course.

 

 

 

*** This is a tried and true method that opens the energy channels quickly - and if the method is followed correctly, the student can experience sitting for one hour or longer in the begining with not a lot of pain.

 

Pain is caused by closed meridians, and lack of circulation of Qi.

 

Personally, I try now and sit through a good period of the night - 2 - 3 hours in a session - rest, or lie down, then sit up again.

 

This is interspersed with periods of practice lying on the back at times.

 

If I have been busy, I of course sleep as needed.

 

By my observation, a true method is something that is passed down from the experience of many generations or adepts.

 

They have a very exact - step by step - method of practice.

 

As such, they will generally have charted the time it takes to accomplish stages of the practice, sensations one should experience along the way, etc.

 

It is not guesswork.......

 

If one is just practicing sitting, and encounters pain, there are a few ways of dealing with it.

 

FIRST - in ancient times, and in many modern systems of Taoist practice, there is "preliminary" work that is done to prepare for sitting. By my personal experience these are usually Dao Yin stretches with breath training done in a cross leg posture, and also standing Dao Yin methods to stretch the body and tendon network, etc. These methods also begin some very basic work to open the meridian system, train the breath, and circulate the Qi. So look around for Dao Yin methods, or even doing Indian Yoga and Tai Chi can help lay some foundation of BODY for the work of SITTING.

 

SECOND - When sitting there are two methods to work with in passing through the stage of PAIN. Do this, and make it past this stage, as the reward is worth the effort. The pleasure, internal peace, and UNION we gain from the journey past the PAIN stage is really worth the effort.

 

I was taught to allow progress to take shape naturally in meditation.

 

So one method in this regard is to allow the pain to come - say in the hips, or knees, or numbness in the feet - let is build slightly, and before it becomes HUGE, very slowly stretch the feet out and allow things to become comfortable again - then very slowly draw the feet back - AND CONTINUE THE PRACTICE - with this method, a beginer can stretch a practice session out for 1.5 to 2 hours no problem.

 

A second method is to use the breath to push past the pain, or to seek to reach an experience of the meridian opening. This method is usually only good to use if one has a method of practice that combines with the meditation to build up the Qi. As the pain arises, you begin to focus deeply on the breath, and pumping the breath in and out from the Lower Dantian. DO NOT focus on the pain, just focus on the breath. Sometimes one will need a soft breath, sometimes a strong breath. If you can hold the mindfullness, and keep the mind and breath together, and not DRIFT off into the area of pain - oftentimes you will reach a WALL, and then suddenly the WALL breaks down, and there is an OPENING, and the channel opens, and the pain MELTS away like ice, and there is a WARM, comfortable feeling that arises, and the body feels very light, and usually this will lead one to a deep state of emptiness........

 

These are just to give you something to play with.

 

Really, I wish you can all experience to learning of the hand postures - and the related other methods - as it opens things up quickly, builds a healthy qi, and leads one in a very specific direction in the practice.....

 

 

Our system has nothing to do with "practices" nor "techniques"....

 

In the first few stages, some technique must be given, some guidelines, etc.... Most never move past such a stage, and even the basic level of Transformation of Jing to Qi is given as a "technique" or method in the first steps - but even this must become natural, and the mind-will should not be involved in any direction or guiding...

 

The process is like "growth" or a natural "movement" in a direction that you are "pushed" to from the first trainings and "transmissions" from the teacher...  Yes, it is much like "seeds" or "software" is installed....

 

As internal "signs" arise, at times the teacher will advise the student to "employ" a slight method, and this can cause the growth to continue on in a proper direction.

 

For example, at one stage, there is an experience of a strong light that flashes in front of the eyes three times, and at this same time the Qi feels very active and a sound like a roaring will arise from behind - at this time of these signs, there is an action to be taken to continue in the proper growth, etc...

 

The way it was taught to me was we learned the "practice" and we also learned the "theory"...  But in reality, they are two different things, and the practice is what is important.

 

The outline of the practice course is not a reference to "technique", but a view of the main stages of growth that take place along the journey.

 

A tree grows from a seed, to a sapling, to a small tree, to a large one.... Perhaps we can on paper chart such "stages" of growth of the tree, and give each stage a "name"....  But in reality, it is one process of growth, and it is completely "seamless"....

 

Such is the practice of Internal Alchemy....

Growth.....

 

I do not have my stack of theory notebooks with me right now.... :unsure:

 

I am recalling now one stage of the practice where the bones will become like some feeling of "fire" and very intense pain......

 

I did not reach this stage yet, and am just recalling the lecture....

 

I will be back in Wudang in 3 weeks or so, and can go through my notebooks to look for that stage.....

 

I also know there was talk about "false pain", being created by the "false heart" at a stage to try and stop you from practice.... This was talked about in reference to one reaching an important point of "breakthrough" in the practice.  In this reference, it was advised to just sit and move through it, no matter how bad the pain gets - to totally ignore it, and give it no mind, thought, or vision - and attempt to be empty with no movement of the mind-will....

 

Sorry, but I do not remember all the theory, and try and practice more than memorizing such things....

 

Perhaps if you are a seasoned seated meditation adept, then the pain is another thing besides just sore tendons, stiff hip joints, or closed channels in the legs......

 

When sitting with my teacher, it was as if there was a HUGE pressure, almost crushing me about 30 min in.  This would then lead to a great heat, and a huge pain, almost inside my bones, and a strong fight / flight response to open the legs due to the pain......  I would hold, breath and just be with this......  After the sessions would end, I would be soaked in sweat, and REALLY tired.......

 

It reached a point of intensity after about 5 days, and then it was as if I came face to face with this wall, and there arose a pure and sincere intention internally, and my heart had a vow - "I do not care about this pain. I shall not move, ever....." A force arose inside, and the pressure become stronger, more pain, but this "vow" was like a light growing.... Then the pressure and pain suddenly "melted", and I had a huge breakthrough in the practice - whole body become light, like being in a shower of golden light, and I fell into emptiness, and just kept sitting and sitting, and when I came out, Teacher had already left the room, and it was quite late....

 

Maybe this is something like where you are at in your practice?  Perhaps when the heart feels strong and it is the right "time", just sit.....

Till the wall comes down........

 

Maybe a great breakthrough is waiting on the otherside of the pain.............

 

<Addons 7/22/18

By Dao Zhen

I think for serious students, this is a big hurdle to overcome.
It is best to not get into the habit of gaining depression when an emission happens in sleep.
It is natural, and go slow and do not force anything, nor become obsessed with "saving" jing.
Keep practice, follow solid methods and guidelines.
With time, all will become secure quite naturally.
I have found the following to be a help for me in my practice.
Yet this is by no means advise from an expert, as I have very little experience.
In the tradition I am learning, it is generally accepted that a serious student is celibate.

- Points to help prevent emission during sleep -


1. Change conditioned habits and patterns in regards to viewing and interacting with women - on the street, and in the manner we speak and deal with them in public situations -

If we flirt, and have playful interaction with women, it may stir things up quite a bit, and cause trouble during sleep.

Honor and respect women as your sisters in Tao, yet do not view them as sexual objects, nor project sexual fantasy on women.

1-a. Do not view pornography video, magazine, or sexual movies.

2. Diet. Do not over eat, and do not go to bed while full. I have found it best to eat the last meal of the day around 5pm or so. Also in the tradition I am learning, it is thought best to follow a simple vegetarian diet, with no spice, garlic, onion, scallion, chives, and cilantro.

3. Do not have very heavy blankets on the body that will create too much heat when sleeping.

4. Do not sleep on the stomach. Sleep on the back with one leg crossed over the other – hands resting below the navel, or on the right side with one leg tucked behind the bottom leg at the knee level – right palm cupping the ear – left palm below navel area.

5. The most important point I have found that helps is to sit for 1 - 2.5 hours or so in proper seated meditation practice before sleep. This is perhaps the most important point, and will yield the most results.

In this tradition, we have a method to transfer Jing to Qi that is taught.

It is termed - "Lighting a Fire", or "Burning a Soft Fire".
It is very effective, and yields the effect of the Jing being transformed to Qi, and really is like something burns away and evaporates.

There is great warmth generated in the Lower Dantian area that moves, and steams upward during the process in a manner that is very pleasurable and uplifting.

One is left with a feeling of great expansion, and the sign that the Jing has been completely transformed, and it is safe to sleep is one has a feeling like a vast, expansive, clear blue sky.

The sign that one has made some gain in transformation of Jing over a period of time, is generally one will stop to have dream activity.

There is a great stillness in the sleep state, and no real strong dream activity.
This is also related to the pattern of the Metal conquering Wood; Or the Po suppressing the Hun during the night.

When the Hun is suppressed by the Po, it wanders away from the sphere of the liver, and the resulting experience is dreams.

As Jing is transformed into Qi, and the Hun is strengthened, there is less and less dream activity during the sleep state.

One sign I have also come to notice is that if I was lazy and just lie down for sleep without practice, there will be a feeling of something stirring in the lower Dantian, like a movement, or maybe even a worm or something is really moving and stirring.

This is a sign that one will experience an emission during sleep, and it is important to have a strong will power, and sit up and cross the legs and sit to Burn the Soft Fire.

It is also a good idea to get into the habit of getting up from sleep at any time in the night when you awake and there is a stirring in the sexual organ, or a strong erection.

Just sit up, cross the legs, and lightly gaze over the Lower Dantian area and sit in stillness.

In this system, they also teach a standing method of body movement, contraction and breathe retention in the first stages to strengthen the lower gate, to help prevent the emission during sleep.

This stage does not last forever.

It is as if the body and being is at first in a habit to let the liquid flow out, and loose the essence.
Yet with slow and steady practice, the body and being learns another way.
It becomes the natural state to preserve the essence, and no loss is experienced.

It is an investment of time.

So it takes a strong and steady will power.
Constant and steady daily practice over a period of time.
Persevere.



from Dao Zhen

I am a student, and have only studied with one teacher deeply in these arts,
thus I can only offer a limited view and perhaps a partial picture of this whole process.

The act of "dreaming" is related to the pattern of the Metal conquering Wood;
Or the Po suppressing the Hun during the night.

The Po resides in the Lung Sphere and may be thought of in one regard as Metal Element.
Hun resides in the Liver Sphere, and may be thought of in one regard as Wood Element.
Po sponsors Death and has a relation to Jing.
Hun spsonsors Life and has a relationship to Soul.

When the Hun is suppressed by the Po at night during sleeping,
The Hun wanders away from the sphere of the liver, and the resulting experience is dreams.

As Jing is transformed into Qi, and the Hun is strengthened, there is less and less dream activity during the sleep state.

This will also reflect in the strengthening of Yang and the uprooting of Yin;
so many Yin quality will be transformed or uprooted.

I think the most important starting point is the Cleaning of the Heart Mind,
or to Still the Mind and Clean the Heart Mind of All Desire.

After this point, one may begin the process of transforming the Jing back to Qi.
This is the Stage of Burning the Slow Fire or Lighting the Fire.

There is a method and technique taught and a transmission given for this practice.

Later it becomes a very natural state; with no artificial method or technique used,
and takes place naturally.

Signs from this practice include:

~ an expansion and feeling much like a vast clear blue sky.
~ a steaming, or something heavy from below becoming light,
and rising up ward in an expansion that is full of a kind of bliss.
~ shrinking of the genital organ and the testicles after the transformation;
like the "ball" shrinks to a very small size if you feel it after practice.
~ mental stillness, and lack of dream activity.

Signs that the transformation was not done properly or enough:

~ The whole abdomen feels very wet, or damp, like there is something on the skin in the area and also something inside - but when you feel it, there is only dry skin.
~ A moving in the Dantian as you lie down to sleep, like a worm moving around.
~ much dream activity, and emission of the fluid in sleep.

After such a stage has been taken for a time, with Jing transforming back to Qi,
the Yang Qi will begin to be cultivated and harvested.

In my experience, as Yang Qi begins to come on the scene of the practice,
there can be light, strong dropping into a deep emptiness, erection,
and a great overwhelming heat and most notable is the loud vibration and roaring sound........
the sound that is outside, and inside, and a sound and a substance, with a feeling, vibration,
density and more.....

This sound is one of the main signs of the arrival of Yang Qi.

When the Heart Mind has not been stilled and cleaned enough, there can be grasping and mental activity when the Yang Qi arrives.
This will lead to a great heat and a huge volume of sweat will usually pour off the body.
This is a sign that the Yang Qi has transformed to a physical or Post Heaven state, and is discharged and lost.

Yang Qi derives from the Emptiness that surrounds Heaven and Earth;
thus it is attracted to Emptiness.

So one of the aspects of the "timing" is to have "no timing" and to fall into the emptiness at the time of the arrival of the Yang Qi........

Usually one may use the "power" of the ears to "listen" and "follow" the sound......
Following it back to it's origin and root.
Around this time of practice one may begin to move into the Large Water Wheel state - or the begining of this process being started.
So the Yong Chuan will begin to pulse and vibrate along or in rhythm with this sound.

Also the Qi moves with such a strong force and surging motion, like it wants to run its own course and has its own idea of the course it wishes to take, along with the arrival of the Yang Qi.

It was taught that at this time, one should begin to practice "lying" on the back.
You lay down on the back, with the belly facing the ceiling, and let the qi run its course, and allowing the Yang Qi to arrive on the scene.
You forget all aspects of self.
You forget all aspects of the corporeal body.
You forget all aspects of ego.
You fall into the deep empty state, and allow the Qi to run its course freely from Yong Chuan to Bai Hui -
though really it has nothing to do with the corporeal body nor any location we may map or chart on the corporeal body and its related landmarks.

This is one aspect of sleeping practice.

You practice at night, and as it is not a difficult posture to hold, you may train for many, many hours in the night.

The first stages of:
Tempering the Heart and Cleansing of All Desire and Stray Thoughts
Transferal of Jing to Qi
Small Water Wheel
Harvest of Yang Qi
Large Water Wheel

All these stages can be done in the city, and while leading a normal life.

The stage of Incubation is the time one must move into an isolated place and live away from people and noise in order to complete.

I just came back from Huashan and spent time with my companion of tao there.
He trains in the sleeping practice of Huashan and the Dream Yoga.
We sleep in caves together, and he has never given any formal teachings or ideas about such a practice.
Just we lie down and face each other, and waves come over one, and states are experienced....
Deep states of emptiness, and profound Qi circulation.......
Like falling into an ocean, and then rising up into the sky, then expanding into the entire vastness of the sky.....
I asked him about "Sleep Practice" and he just laughed and said it is just the same as doing the "meditation" work, only you do it lying down..........

--------------------
Lucidity is the noumenon of water, while stillness its Congenital Nature.

So it is also with the Heart......



Dao Zhen
Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things.

To embrace all things means
one holds no anger or resistance
toward any idea or thing,
living or dead, formed or formless.

Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means
one rids oneself of any concepts of separation:
male and female, self and others, life and death.

Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation,
one enters into
the harmonious oneness of all things...
 

 

Dao Zhen

Breathing is a very important aspect of Tao Yoga practice.
The success or failure of practice depends on the correct method of breathing.

We may say there are generally 3 stages of breath training:

~Natural Breathing~ After Heaven State
~Reversed Breathing~ Pre Heaven State
~Fetal Breathing~ Before Pre Heaven State

Within these three stages, there are generally nine methods that can be applied in practice.
1. inhale from the nose / exhale from the nose
2. inhale through the nose / exhale through the mouth
3. inhale from the mouth / exhale from the nose
4. inhale with no exhale
5. exhale with no inhale
6. subtle breathing through the skin pore
7. subtle energetic breathing through the energetic centers of the ‘5 Gates’
8. subtle energetic breathing through the energy channels
9. subtle refined inner energetic breathing in the Dantian

Learning Natural Breathing is the first step to take. We may think of this stage as returning to the natural way of breathing we experienced as children. In this method, we must regain balance of the inhale and exhale. This is done in the first steps by counting. We count 4 on the inhale, pause, and then count 4 on the exhale. The Breath must be soft, natural and drawn deep into the lower Dantian area. The mental intention one has during breath practice is very important.

You must learn to practice with a healing intention and a positive heart. This is done by learning to ‘smile’ inside to yourself during breath practice. This will develop the state of ‘Self Nurturing’.

We call this method the ‘Healing Smile’. As you breathe, smile deeply inside, filling yourself with joy, self love, nurturing energy and healing intention. Let the Breath and the Healing Smile join together and become one; filling the entire body and inner self with a warm, healing, self loving, nurturing energy. This is a very important first step in practice.
 

Dao Zhen:

Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things.

To embrace all things means
one holds no anger or resistance
toward any idea or thing,
living or dead, formed or formless.

Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means
one rids oneself of any concepts of separation:
male and female, self and others, life and death.

Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation,
one enters into
the harmonious oneness of all things...

 

<more coming, just need some time>

 

Edited by thelerner
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Daozhen brought a level of sincerity to this forum that is seldom seen, here or elsewhere in the world. Thanks for putting this together. 

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Yes, very nice, indeed. Dao Zhen's sincerity is refreshing. It is always nice when people share their experiences. Helps the rest n of us along the way.

 

Thanks

 

 

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Thank you my friends...

i am sorry I stoped posting.

honestly, I was tired of the arguing.

i simply have focused my life on the way of Taoist Practice - and now for the past 9 years actively teaching in Japan.

I feel the main point overlooked by those exploring Taoist Methods is the process of refining and purifying the Heart.

Too much focus is put on the fascination of Qi Powers, Technique, and also Political Ranking. 

Purify and Simplify the Heart -- 

uncover your original state of sincerity.

this is an important foundation for making Internal Progress...

all my best,

dao zhen 

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I consider you a fountain of experience & wisdom.

2 hours ago, dao zhen said:

Thank you my friends...

i am sorry I stoped posting.

honestly, I was tired of the arguing.

i simply have focused my life on the way of Taoist Practice - and now for the past 9 years actively teaching in Japan.

I feel the main point overlooked by those exploring Taoist Methods is the process of refining and purifying the Heart.

Too much focus is put on the fascination of Qi Powers, Technique, and also Political Ranking. 

Purify and Simplify the Heart -- 

uncover your original state of sincerity.

this is an important foundation for making Internal Progress...

all my best,

dao zhen 

The heart seems.. abstract to me.  More then anything it bothers me, as I hear it thumping away on long sleepless nights. 

Do you see the heart as the 'innocent' original mind?  Or no, the heart is the heart.. 

What pointers do you have for purifying and simplifying it? 

 

Sincere Thanks

Michael

<addon I suppose the answer to my question on purifying and simplifying are in an old post you made>

 

Dao Zhen
Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things.

To embrace all things means
one holds no anger or resistance
toward any idea or thing,
living or dead, formed or formless.

Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means
one rids oneself of any concepts of separation:
male and female, self and others, life and death.

Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation,
one enters into
the harmonious oneness of all things...

 

me> seems very simple and very hard. 

Edited by thelerner
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There is the Innate or True Nature.

 

there is the Spirit...

 

next we find the Heart...

 

then we may find mind will...

 

and so on...

 

what you are able to encounter, depends on the depth you reach.

 

if you have only reached the level of thought and thinking mind - the heart may seem obscure or far away...

 

Heart is not a reference to the physical organ - it is reference to the quality of our Inner Nature, an Innate Quality.

 

You must have some practice methods which will work to deal with the negative acquired nature which covers and obscures the Heart.

 

Purifying the Heart is reference to dealing with and washing away the Acquired Negative Nature or Mind.

 

You need some technique or method to do this...

 

In my system of teaching -- we begin with movement and stillness methods.

 

Movement is a path to gain physical transformation, develop health and begin opening the channel system.

 

Stillness begins training and disciplining the mind, and awakening the Dantian Center...

 

This beginning process is termed Foundation Training...

 

During this process, you will begin to encounter and deal with the Negative Nature and through following the practice method, it is transformed to some degree...

 

the results  gained depend upon the effort put forth and the perseverance over time...

 

gaining a concrete and real practice method is perhaps the most important beginning...  

 

Edited by dao zhen
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19 hours ago, dao zhen said:

I feel the main point overlooked by those exploring Taoist Methods is the process of refining and purifying the Heart.

 

This statement strikes a chord with me.

 

People often ask about what what Daoists believe and from that ensues a great deal of discussion about the core texts of Daoism and what the various passages mean. All of which is useful in helping to develop a philosophical understanding of Daoism.

 

But what about the "doing" side of Daoism. Seems to be often neglected. Generally people know of meditation but there seems to be such a great diversity in approaches that it is hard to know where to begin, how to begin. Seems that Buddhist literature is full of advice on various methods and I am sure there is some ... perhaps a lot ... of overlap in practice approach. But there also seems to be something inherently different in the Daoist approach. Seems like this is where the notion of "purifying the heart" comes into play. 

 

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Tao is Nothing….

How can it give birth to the Divine, and cause the world to be produced..?

Tao does not give birth to the Divine, the Divine is born of itself.

So Tao gives birth to the Divine, by not giving birth.
Tao does not produce the World, but the World produces itself.

Tao Produces, by not producing.

Tao is Everywhere,
but everywhere it is nothing….

- Kuo Hsiang

 

Do we not get lost in words and terms - 

creating separation, confusion, and becoming entangled in attraction and aversion..

 

Buddhism / Taoism....

 

The Quan Zhen Dao - 

merged the three teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism into a unity - 

seeing that all three paths had value and aid to the path of Awakening...

 

In my training my Master often talked about the differences of Buddhism and Taoism.

 

Taoism in the begging has practice methods which Nourish Life and the Physical Form.

 

This is a unique practice we find in the Taoist School, 

and it can be a help and a hinderance.

 

The hinderance is often people become overly focused on the physical form, and health - 

neglecting any aim to develop the Heart and Spiritual Nature.

 

Developing the Heart is a very important and Classical approach to Taoist Self Cultivation Methods...

 

We must do our best to purify our heart;

Hard work, steady practice, 
and a clear spirit are necessary.

Purity and Emptiness are the elements of the Heart-Training method.

~ Loy Ching Yuen

 

During the beginning of my apprenticeship under my Taoist Master,

well over 15 years ago, we were training in the deep mountains in the far North East of China.... 

 

We meditated - training the way of Internal Alchemy, 

day in and day out more than 9 hours a day. 

 

He constantly repeated one message to me continuously,

 "Empty, Empty... more Empty still... Empty your Mind of all things... Regain your Pure Heart..." 

 

I would question this at times, having received most of my experience at that time from books in English, which often suggested Taoist Practice was a way of visualisation and imagination training.

 

I often would ask,

"Should we not imagine something. Should we not visualize an image.." 

 

Master's answer always was the same,

"No... think nothing at all.  Let your Mind rest upon the Emptiness of your Lower Dantian. It is the bridge you must cross. This is the Heart Training Method I am teaching you. Do not think or imagine anything at all. Rest upon the Emptiness and Allow your True Heart to return once again..." 

 

In my learning it was taught, we may find two approaches to practice in the Taoist Path --- 

 

One Path, stresses methods of Mind, use of visualization, and seeks to control, guide and direct the Vital Qi Energy, through the use of directed Mind Will. 

 

The Second Path, which is less commonly found in the public,  is the Way of the Heart.

 

The Way of the Heart, Cultivates Emptiness of Mind and works to Purify the Heart - 

giving birth to the Arising of the True Heart State.

 

This Path of the Heart seeks to allow Nature to guide the practice and does not seek to control, dominate or direct the Qi Energy, with excessive concentration or directed use of the Mind Will.

 

I asked my Master, why I had not ever heard of the Heart Training Path before..? 

All I had seen up to that point was books with excessive Mental Concentrations, Visualisations, and teachings to imagine or guide the Qi Energy with the force of Mind Will.

 

He answered slowly,

"Humans love form, shape and method.  Humans love materiality.  Humans Cling to form, image and shape, this keeps them busy in mind and heart, so they do not have to look at the condition of the Inner Heart. They do not have to look deeply to their Inner Nature.   To Empty the Mind, and Face the Heart, this is the most difficult path of all. Yet as with all things in life, the greater the difficulty, the bigger the reward..." 

 

Sit Still, rest in Emptiness, and Purify the Heart...

 

This is not the entire practice method....

 

Just the beginning.

 

There is the organised method of Mudra and Posture training during meditation, 

to open the meridian channels, transform the tendon and physical form, and stimulate the Qi Energy to begin developing at a higher frequency state.

 

This is all transforming one's condition and state -- 

bringing one to a condition which can harmonise with nature....

 

So in General, one must know through the proper instructions of the Teacher,

when to apply Concentration and Doing.

when to apply Empty Mind and Non-Doing.

 

This approach to practice in some texts is often given the metaphorical terms of -- 

Soft Fire and Strong Fire or often the Martial Breath and the Scholar Breath...

 

So many metaphor in Taoist Practice, which often all these different terms are referring to only a few simple aspects of oneself.

 

In Practice we must deal with and Transform 5 Aspects:

 

  • Intention / Mind Will / Heart
  • Innate or True Nature
  • Shen - Spirit
  • Jing - Vitality
  • Disposition / Temperament 

We can come to understand --

 

Innate Nature or True Nature is the Master of our Heart and  Mind.

 

Heart and Mind acts as the Residential house or environment for the Shen to reside and root upon.

 

Jing or Vitality is the Master of the Corporeal Body.

 

Disposition and Temperament attaches itself and takes residence with the Corporeal Body.

 

During our course of development in Practice and Self Cultivation work, we may come to understand we are working with only three things:

 

Corporeal Body, Mind Will and the Heart....

 

Why then all of this talk and practice methods dealing with the Vital Qi Energy...?

 

The Qi Energy is an agent of combination, which forms the bridge to Unify the Heart and the Corporeality into a Unification and Oneness. 

 

This gives rise to a losing of the identity of the Corporeal Body, a forgetting of all things.

 

From not knowing, comes the great knowing - the ultimate doctrine of Nature....

 

Learn the backward step 
that turns your light inward 
to illuminate your self. 
Body and mind of themselves 
will drop away, 
and your Original Face will be manifest.

Coming, going, the waterbirds
don't leave a trace,
don't follow a path.

- Dogen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dao zhen
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The clouds emerge from the Mountain of Chung

And they return to the Mountain of Chung.

I would like to ask the dweller in this mountain,

'Where are the clouds now?'

Clouds emerge from No-mind

And then return to No-mind.

No-mind is nowhere to be found.

We need not seek the home of No-mind.

 

- Wang An-shih

Edited by dao zhen

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6 hours ago, dao zhen said:

The Qi Energy is an agent of combination, which forms the bridge to Unify the Heart and the Corporeality into a Unification and Oneness. 

 

This makes quite a lot of sense. What else is qi for? In the west we often learn of qi in the martial sense. This appeals to youth where there is this constant urge toward physicality. This connecting aspect of qi is often missed. So, it would seem that qi needs to be developed and healthy for there to be a strong potential for realization of unity and oneness. 

 

6 hours ago, dao zhen said:

This gives rise to a losing of the identity of the Corporeal Body, a forgetting of all things.

 

So here, the loss of the identity of the corporeal body is the loss of its identity as a separate and distinct thing of its own ... unity.

 

Very nice. Thanks.

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"Change....

Both inception and transformation,

relies on Qi – Vital Life Force Energy...

There is no being in the cosmos which does not originate from it.

Thus Qi envelops the cosmos from without,

and moves the cosmos from within.

How else than by Qi can the sun, moon, planets and stars shine...

How else than by Qi ,

can thunder resound and rain, wind and clouds be formed...

How else than by Qi can all beings take rise, mature, bear fruit and withdraw in the course of the four seasons....

Humans existence too depends upon this Qi,

the Vital Life Force Energy...."

 

~ Yellow Emperor's Classic on Inner Medicine

 

The question to perhaps first ask ourselves -- "What is Qi...?"

 

We can see from the Yellow Emperor's words - Qi is all things -

knowing this we may also ask, "What is the relationship of Qi and Tao...?"

 

Qi is like an Agent, sent out from Tao to fulfil various tasks and jobs -

Qi has it's own consciousness, it's own intelligence...

 

Qi can take many shapes, and forms and qualities - this depends on the frequency - the lower frequency, Qi can become dense and form matter, the higher the frequency, Qi can become expansive and spacious - all is simply Qi - Qi is Nature....

 

Then why all of these Arts and Exercises to Cultivate Qi...?

 

The Human has separated from the Nature, we became Un-Natural....

 

This is where it can be important to ask, "How to return to Nature and what is Natural...?"

 

Often times, much of the arts and practices we find being termed - 'Qigong', 'NeiGong', or this and that, may not have within their design and parameter the Aim to bring the Practitioner back to Nature and what is Natural...

 

The Human often wishes to gain power, rank, and all manner of material things....

 

This desire has influenced many systems and method of practice we find....

 

In cultivating Qi, we must look at what are we really doing, and what are we cultivating....

 

In the Way I Practice and was Taught we Cultivate the Qi of the Great Nature...

 

This has it's own aim and direction, which outlines how we approach practice.

 

In other methods the Qi being cultivated is much more like Qi of the Mind or Will, and is in some way attached and influenced by the Ego Nature...

 

In cultivation of the Qi of Great Nature we have the idea and aim to let go of the Small Ego Self, and embrace the Great Nature.

 

"When there is the ego nature,
I am embraced by Heaven & Earth.

When there is no ego nature,
Heaven & Earth are in my embrace.
A unity arises, where once there was separation..."

 

This approach of practice in many ways is like we are simply preparing ourselves, to become an Appropriate Vessel for the Great Nature...

 

It is like we are living in an Ocean of the Qi of the Great Nature....

 

Yet we are so filled with our Own Ideas, Acquired Thoughts and Attitudes, and various levels of Defilement - 

there is no Empty Space at all...

 

So the Cup is Full - the Ocean of Qi may not enter....

 

Then the question to ask is -- "How to Empty the Cup and create the Vessel...?"

 

The beginning work and various methods can be outlined simply as:

 

1. Stilling Mind and Transforming Heart

2. Transforming the Physical Body / Purification of Physical Body

3. Developing the Dantian Center

4. Opening the Energy Channels

5. Rebuilding the Lost Vital Essence 

6. Transforming Essence into Energy

 

This all slowly leads to a different condition and quality of being...

 

This Quality of Being you have become is very attractive to the Great Nature...

 

The Great Nature begins to contact you and commune with you....

 

This is a process of Qi Cultivation...

 

Cultivating the Qi of the Great Nature...

 

Yet you have no idea or intention to do this work...

 

It does the work itself - naturally.....

 

Without effort or idea.....

 

 

Edited by dao zhen
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7 hours ago, dao zhen said:

The Human has separated from the Nature, we became Un-Natural....

 

This separation would seem to be the source of much of the anxiety and difficulties of human existence. Acknowledging this separation would be a first step towards transformation.

 

7 hours ago, dao zhen said:

This all slowly leads to a different condition and quality of being...

 

This Quality of Being you have become is very attractive to the Great Nature...

 

The Great Nature begins to contact you and commune with you....

 

Somewhere in my readings ... probably in discussions of around neigong or internal alchemy ... there was introduced the notion that like things attract. I know I may not be expressing this well but the idea was that through self-cultivation practices ... the emptying of the heart-mind ... one would be creating a state that would attractive to the energy of existence. And through this one could begin to experience the sense of unity of all existence. This seems to resonate with with dao zhen's statements above.

 

 

Edited by OldDog
Typo

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