yuuichi

Water above Fire

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Hi everyone,

 

One of the most fundamental things in Daoist meditation is to place Water above Fire.

 

I would like to discuss and try to understand this.

Who said Water must be placed above Fire, and what exactly did they say?

What is this Water? Does it have a description?

What is this Fire, and does it have a description?

 

Of course, generally the older the source of the quote which talks about this, the better (in my point of view).

 

Thanks

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Of course someone could try to be all poetic and say if you don’t put fire under water, you can’t make steam. But I’m talking about daoist meditation, not cooking. Maybe a person would say that steam is qi (what I have read on this forum), but it’s beside the point. I would like to identify what is the Water the ancient Daoists spoke about and what is the Fire. Why is Water above the Fire, without using metaphors, and so on.

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I dunno.

But what comes to mind first is that life itself came out of water. Water is also most crucial to our survival. Damn, almost forgot we are water!
 

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Fire and water in this context are alchemical ‘substances’. 

 

But this is not a ‘fundamental thing’ in Daoist meditation. It’s just a stage in internal alchemy training.

 

It’s not worth discussing unless you’re at or near to this stage of the process - because it won’t make sense and it isn’t some philosophical thing that can be applied outside of its context. It only becomes relevant after several decades of dedicated cultivation. 

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On 30/01/2019 at 12:57 AM, yuuichi said:

and so on.

 

Yes there is a huge amount of bullshit.
The only answers I ever heard worth hearing come from the book Wuji Qigong and the Secret of Immortality, a short book that summarises the I Ching theory, creates from that a theory of return to immortality, then maps it to body structures, then creates an actual practice that you can do.   All clearly and with diagrams.

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3 hours ago, freeform said:

It’s not worth discussing

 

Why are you even on the forum if you are going to hoard knowledge? Is it so you can act holier-than-thou? Because that’s how it appears.

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In mental terms, water is reception or being receptive to things, accepting things.  Fire is transmission or the desire to do things, to strive or act. The TTC describes it well in many chapters, but the basic point is here...

 

EIGHT

The highest good is like water.

Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.

It flows in places people reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just.

In business, be competent.

In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame.

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From the Neiye generally dated to 350-300 BCE, where Qi seems to be equated with water:

 

zhang 15 "The Fount of Qi"

1 When Jing is preserved, it naturally grows.

2 Externally it will emanate.

3 Hidden inside, it becomes a primal spring

4 Abounding like a flood, it harmonizes and equalizes

5 It becomes a fount of Qi.

6 When the fount is not dried up,

7 The four limbs are firm.

8 When the spring is not drained,

9 The nine apertures freely circulate [Qi]

10 Then you are able to exhaust the universe,

11 And cover the four seas.

12 Within, when your mind is unconfused,

13 Without, there will be no disasters.

14 When your heart is whole within,

15 Your body will be whole without,

16 And you won't encounter natural disasters,

17 Or receive harm from others;

18 Call such 'Shengren'.

 

This translation from

 

In the Nei jing tu diagram water is brought up from below continually, much in line with the Neiye's fount of qi, and 'fire' is brought down from the head. 

 

post-41-1163359964.jpg

 

I personally feel that bringing 'water'/jing/qi up and in its turn 'fire' down is absolutely fundamental.

 

 

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So what you’re saying is that Water is originally at the bottom and has to be moved up, and Fire is originally at the top and has to be moved to the bottom?

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3 hours ago, yuuichi said:

 

Why are you even on the forum if you are going to hoard knowledge? Is it so you can act holier-than-thou? Because that’s how it appears.

 

You get upset rather easily eh?

 

No - it’s because it’s a specific stage of internal alchemy. It’s not ‘knowledge’ that’s applicable anywhere else - it’s a procedural instruction. If you mix contexts, you’ll create errors in your practice.

 

“Season with toasted fennel seed, salt and pepper” is just not useful when you’re working on brewing green tea just right. And it has no philosophical utility either.

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4 hours ago, rideforever said:

theory of return to immortality, then maps it to body structures, then creates an actual practice that you can do. 

the authors are immortals by now. probably

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3 hours ago, yuuichi said:

 

Why are you even on the forum if you are going to hoard knowledge?

relax, those who hoard do not know; those who know do not hoard

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8 hours ago, yuuichi said:

So what you’re saying is that Water is originally at the bottom and has to be moved up, and Fire is originally at the top and has to be moved to the bottom?

 

Yes, in general, starting with the work at the lower dantian. It's fire in my understanding that comes much later and need not be discussed at the beginning, but water is vital to start with. Water in the lower dantian has to metaphorically boil at quite an early stage, but it's still all about the water really, and bringing it up via the dantians.

 

 

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15 hours ago, yuuichi said:

So what you’re saying is that Water is originally at the bottom and has to be moved up, and Fire is originally at the top and has to be moved to the bottom?

My latest favourite in the Nei Dan classics is Bertschinger:A record of the immortals and gathered perfected of the Western hills. 

It gives an almost comprehensive description of this process.

Well, if you have a bit previous experience in what happens inside while practicing..... 

 

You can interpret Water and Fire on many levels. 

The Heart is Fire, the Kidneys are Water. Logically, to reverse that position you have to stand on Your head. 😁 

 

Or you can find True Water in Fire and True Fire in Water, this is described in the book above, in Wang Mu Foundations of internal alchemy, and in the Nei Jing Tu. 

 

It is probably described in Voids favourite book as well, Taoist Yoga, but I never got anything useful out of that one. 

 

And you can do this in many ways. Some focus on the LDT and create heat, and they find that useful. Damo Mitchells book white moon goes this way. 

 

But if you check out the references above, they actually are taking about a slightly different process. You do not have to boil your Jing to make it go up. 

 

At this point, it is really useful to have a method and a teacher, unless you are really good in reading classic chinese so you can figure it out by reading classics in the original language. 

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I agree with those who say there`s not much use in talking about fire, water, steam, etc outside of a practice context.  Perhaps the most accessible way to get the training required to feel these things in your body is at a Lesser Kan and LI retreat with Michael Winn.  There are preparatory levels to be practiced before one gets to this stage, but I don`t think a person has to practice for ten years first.  I took this training with Michael Winn years ago and heartily recommend it.

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I have noticed that many senior alchemy teachers talk about "awareness" being the goal. 
Well, there are many easier simpler and more efficient ways to get to "awareness".

 

What good is a mess as a path that you wish to follow.   
Just listen to Mudfoot's smorgasbord of "ideas".   

How useful is this going to be for you ?   

It could be this, or that person says that, or the black turtle breathes green fire into the yellow pearl that rotates in the 7 gates - what hope do you actually have to make something of these instructions !!!

Or the others who say that you are too stupid, come back after 10 years .... they tell you that you are too stupid, because that's what they think of themselves, and that's what their teachers think of themselves, the lineage of "too stupid come back in 10 years".


Surely it is better to have a simple clear (even if unexotic) way out that works.

Such simple wisdom seems lost on those looking for "more".

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Stop me if y’all heard this.

 

True Fire and True Water, ”hidden” within Kan ans Li have rising and sinking properties. They also equate with True Lead and True Mercury because of their similarity to these metals. One is solid and heavy and easily stays at rest while the other is hard to grasp and when excited it quickly turns to gas, even disturbing it a little is likely to separate a pool of mercury into smaller droplets and those little fuckers go all over the place.

 

There is a certain stage after the extraction of these two True Components where they switch place or are ”returned” to their original placein the early heaven bagua order, meaning that Heaven and Earth are again whole and not mixed. I’m not sure if this is a permanent switch or just another deepening of the alchemical process.

 

I think for as much as i’ve gathered, that some of these ”stages” will manifest quite by themselves in peoples daily life but that being aware of it and in some form of command of this is the big difference. Knowing and using it to ones and others benefit is the goal of alchemy at this point, maybe. Alchemy seems to however be a method to study in preparation of studying other things. If you’ve identified what the two trigrams represent in the early stage then you’ll have to spend some time realizing when their inner and outer perspectives are applicable, what is going on there and how you get into contact with it.

This is a major step in realizing the reality of the human condition and yourself it is said, who knows.

 

Go read Liu Yiming, that helped me along a little, even though as soon as i discuss this stuff i feel like i’m saying it all wrong anyway. Thats why a lot of this stuff seems vague, it’s a realization within and words often fail to describe it well, especially to whomever instead of directed at a certain individual from someone who knows and understands the wholeness of it.

Thats what i heard at least.

 

 

Water and Fire in alchemical practice are not strange and uncommon things, they are subtle and within us in a way we’re unused to notice.

The language is muddled both because it’s hard to describe and because doing this shit wrong is likely to lead those of strong will to delusions and those of weak mind to psychosis or a system of denial and self-deception that is very harmful if you want to lead a good and open life.

It certainly isn’t a way to pack up and become some form of SuperSaian blasting lightning and thunder from their nose, no magics, just true nature.

 

Beware magics, it’s like that song by Tom Waits where there are magic bullets and everything goes to shit.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
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1 hour ago, Rocky Lionmouth said:

True Fire and True Water, ”hidden” within Kan ans Li have rising and sinking properties. They also equate with True Lead and True Mercury because of their similarity to these metals. One is solid and heavy and easily stays at rest while the other is hard to grasp and when excited it quickly turns to gas, even disturbing it a little is likely to separate a pool of mercury into smaller droplets and those little fuckers go all over the place.

 

So is true Lead Kan (Water) or Li (Fire)? Is it dragon or tiger? Does it start at the bottom and rise? Or does it start at the top and descend? 

 

Thank you

Edited by yuuichi

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Water naturally descends, fire naturally rises. Alchemy reverses these:

 

...When the mind of Tao is obscured, real knowledge is obscured, like water flowing downward. By inverting these, we produce the mind of Tao and stabilize the human mind. When the mind of Tao emerges, real knowledge is strong and firm, and the pure and whole water rises. When the human mind is stabilized, conscious knowledge is flexible and adaptive, and the rising, drying fire descends. When water rises and fire descends, they equalize each other.

 

From The Taoist Classics

By Thomas Cleary Here

 

And from The Inner Teachings of Taoism

By Chang Po-tuan

 

37. Water and Fire

Do not seek water and fire in the north and south.

The nature of fire is to fly up; water flows down.

If you can invert the two things,

Water rises and fire descends, and they form the elixir.

 

Here

 

This is my understanding, but it's true that anyone can find support in the literature for any position that they wish to take. Alchemy doesn't have a standardised approach to any of this really. 

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13 minutes ago, Bindi said:

Water rises and fire descends

 

So what you’re saying true lead is Fire, and true Mercury is water? But when the Fire has stopped descending and Water has stopped rising, how does that become Heaven and Earth (Qian and Kun)?

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Inverted from their natural course, water/earth rises and fire/heaven descends. Naturally, before any alchemy work, water descends, and fire rises. Alchemy inverts their natural course. The new direction, water ascending and fire descending, never stops, they have found their new balance, and the 'elixir' is continually created. This to my understanding is earth and heaven in harmony and in balance. 

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Recently, watching senior teachers in various traditions, I have noticed that they from time to time let slip that their ego is still talking in their heads.

So, that's not so good.

Sure they have done something inside and it feels good, but a major problem, perhaps the major problem is still there.

 

As for Fire & Water ... what is the intention behind the practice, anyone even know ???
What is the mechanism of action ?   

What is the theory of operation ?
So you reverse direction .... why ?   And what happens then ?   You want to crawl back into mother ?  


And why not just say let's go back down.   Why all this fire and water business ?

In India they go up the chakras .... no fire & water involved.

 

Then there is the "steaming" effect of fire & water, easily demonstrated with 5 minutes of qigong .... but whether it's a good way to clear blockages is another question, but at least we can understand what it does, and do it.

 

Something else is the pre-post-natal business.   It dawned on me a while back that when a teacher says to you this is a pre-natal form this is post-natal .... they probably just mean, this is a beginners form, this is advanced.   They have absolutely no idea of the natal-ness of anything.   

 

In fact many qigong teachers are extremely proud of the fact you don't have to know any theory or even feel anything inside, just do the movements.   Which just shows the level of intelligence or interest of these people.
Is it really possible to end up as a sage taking such an approach ?


That book WujiQigong and the Secret of Sexiness, it actually does do what I would have hoped everyone could do, but can't.
It is short.
It goes from I Ching theory, to a theory of how to revert the IChing, then maps it to the body, and then creates a practice.
So, when you practice you know exactly what you are doing, where and why, how it is supposed to work, and how it all relates to the IChing.
And it's fairly simple really.

I am not even saying the book is correct, just that I would have hoped everyone would do that, but they don't.


Of course other teachers .... say come back in 10 years you are too stupid, and when they write books they tend to be really really really long and at the end you don't know anything.

 

Oh yes something else !!!
Chuang Tzu it seems to me had cultivated Energy Sensitivity, not Energy.   Hence his incredible view of life, he says he feels trouble coming from a distance and by the time it arrives he is perfectly ready..
And thats one reason I am not so keen on the steaming process of Kan & Li because it creates disturbing and boisterous energy, like a nightclub ... and is not a great environment for cultivating sensitivity.   ZZ by contract is.
IMO those that do Kan & Li and other disturbing practices have disturbed minds and are the time who want a lightning bolt Kundalini energy awakening which is a sort of mindless awakening for people who cannot understand things - well good luck to them.
And so we could divide practices into those that facilitate Sensitivty, and those that are designed for people who just want to beef up.

 

Edited by rideforever
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13 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

 Why all this fire and water business ?

In India they go up the chakras .... no fire & water involved.

 

If you look through the tantric stuff, you will see many things that they have in common with how Nei Dan can be interpreted. 

Including Water and Fire. 

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5 hours ago, rideforever said:

I have noticed that many senior alchemy teachers talk about "awareness" being the goal. 
Well, there are many easier simpler and more efficient ways to get to "awareness".

Yes, but do they produce "dan"? 

 

 

5 hours ago, rideforever said:

What good is a mess as a path that you wish to follow.   
Just listen to Mudfoot's smorgasbord of "ideas".   

How useful is this going to be for you ?   

It could be this, or that person says that, or the black turtle breathes green fire into the yellow pearl that rotates in the 7 gates - what hope do you actually have to make something of these instructions !!!

None, without a method and oral instructions. 

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