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Bindi

A clear explanation of neidan

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I found this to be very clear explanation of neidan, from Daoism Handbook CHAPTER 16 (LOWELL SKAR and FABRIZIO PREGADIO)

 

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In the state “before Heaven,” yin and yang have a tendency to descend and ascend, respectively. In the state “after Heaven,” where original yin and yang are enclosed within entities of the opposite sign, the descending movement of yin takes along original yang, and the ascending movement of yang takes along original yin: Real Fire goes down with Water, and Real Water goes up with Fire. Original yin and yang, therefore, are bound to move in directions opposite to their authentic nature and to separate from each other.

Neidan aims to set the original yin and yang free from their corrupted counterparts and allow them to follow again their natural tendency. The inner yin line of li descends while the inner yang line of kan rises, and yin and yang can again join in the centre, this time generating the inner elixir or embryo of immortality. This process is an inversion because it reverses the ascending movement of li/Fire and the descending movement of kan/water, but simultaneously it is not, because the movement of the inner lines follows their natural inclination. “Inversion” therefore, is a release of the natural properties of original yin and yang: The neidan process, as one often reads in the texts, is “natural” or “spontaneous” (ziran).    

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Bindi said:

I found this to be very clear explanation of neidan, from Daoism Handbook CHAPTER 16 (LOWELL SKAR and FABRIZIO PREGADIO)

 

 

 

 this is an excellent summary and the key aspect that I think gets neglected by Westerners - is the requirement of meditation for alchemy - the yang fire needs the inner yin line to descend - as meditation. The original human culture, the San Bushmen, taught to visualize fire at the base of the spine. So this teaching is 100,000 years old.

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1 hour ago, voidisyinyang said:

taught to visualize fire at the base of the spine

 

When should this be done?

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22 minutes ago, Dynasty said:

 

When should this be done?

well you want the eyes closed at first - so not while driving or cruising the interwebs.

So meditation is usually done in the morning or at night - right after waking up or before sleeping. But also 11 to 1 pm during noon is the best time for the energy channels to already be connected. So you feel the fire easier. Kundalini in India literally means Fire in the hole in Earth. So you visualize fire in the Earth and that turns the Water into Air (steam) as Qi or Prana or N/om (the original human culture word for this). Recently there was a thread "bashing" the term "neidan" and people really rode a high horse on that thread. But to get upset by people promoting Daoist Alchemy is just to get upset over semantics. In fact Daoist Neidan is the same as kundalini yoga or N/om spiritual training of the original human culture. Once the N/om is activated - then there's really no turning back. You keep building up the energy. I have training details linked below.

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I don't believe Daoist alchemy is the same as kundalini yoga at all. Visualising fire at the base of the spine sounds like kundalini yoga to me. 

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43 minutes ago, Rocky Lionmouth said:

It is a pretty clear explanation, alas it does not state how to do it a d what is which.

 

No, alas it doesn't state how to do it. But even understanding the basic premise of True yin and True yang can be quite enlightening. If you posit this as an ultimate truth, ie. that it is the most natural thing in the world that True Yin and True yang have the desire to join 'in the centre', and that everything that you are doing is in an effort (even if misguided) to allow this to happen, does this clarify anything for you?  

 

I think it's a very specific way of looking at things, and I do believe it is true of our fundamental true nature, I believe the Chinese alchemists have correctly diagnosed our human plight. How to resolve the disjunction between True yin and True yang is another topic :)

 

What are you questioning with "what is which"? Which 'what' isn't clear? 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Bindi said:

I don't believe Daoist alchemy is the same as kundalini yoga at all. Visualising fire at the base of the spine sounds like kundalini yoga to me. 

yes although this can also be called "Freezing the Spirit" - in the Daoist Yoga: alchemy and immortality book. It states - if you don't understand this book at all - just do "freezing the spirit" and that will take care of all the rest of the details.

https://archive.org/stream/TaoistYogaAlchemyAndImmortality/Taoist-Yoga-Alchemy-and-Immortality_djvu.txt

 

so the secret is that this is the "double reversion" as Pregadio calls it. In other words - you have the fire go down (visualize into the Earth). Then the water rises up and turns into Air. But then the water has to go down - the FRONT - as now transformed - and this is the "freezing of the spirit."

 

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freezing the fire...fire derived from spirit.

and

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‘Freezing the fire’ is freezing and driving spirit into the cavity of vitality (under the navel)....‘All masters taught only the freezing (or fixing) of spirit in the cavity of vitality.*

and

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he should first freeze spirit to return it to primeval darkness until in this condition of utter stillness it radiates and illumi¬ nes the whole of empty space

and

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It is the consolidating method which consists of turning back the seeing and hearing to empty the heart (of sense data) so as to freeze spirit and so gather vitality which will then stop draining away.

and

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When advancing further in the training, if the practiser, instead of cultivating (eternal) life, merely closes his eyes to freeze his heart and so disengages all six sense organs, thereby cutting all links between the front and back as well as the upper and lower parts of the body, how can he develop prenatal vitality?

and

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In the last chapter we explained the method of freezing spirit which is so called because it consists of first gathering prenatal true vitality [Yuan Qi] in the original cavity of spirit (tsu ch’iao in the centre of the brain) and then driving it into the lower tan t’ien (under the navel).

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By stoppage of respiration is meant the condition of serenity in which the practiser becomes unconscious, his breathing (almost) ceases and his pulses (all but) stop beating. This is called freezing spirit.

 

So that is what Sri Yukteswar called "Breathless Ecstasy"

 
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Freezing spirit: An alchemical process which ensures the condition of serenity in 
which the practiser becomes unconscious, 
his breathing almost ceases and his pulses seem to stop beating 
for the purpose of gathering prenatal true vitality in the original 
cavity of spirit in the centre of the brain and then driving it 
into the lower tan t’ien under the navel to hold it there to achieve 


immortal breathing.

 

 

 

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My understanding of the Neidan process is the same as is summarised in The Golden Elixir website on the Dantians page. That is that the elixir is generated and heated in the lower dantian, moved from the lower to the middle dantian to be nourished, and then moved to the upper dantian. I understand this process as the water being brought upwards which contains True yang.

 

I've never come across the idea of freezing anything in the Neidan process, and I can't personally imagine a place for such a concept.

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18 hours ago, Bindi said:

 

... it is the most natural thing in the world that True Yin and True yang have the desire to join 'in the centre', and that everything that you are doing is in an effort (even if misguided) to allow this to happen, does this clarify anything for you?  

 

I think it's a very specific way of looking at things, and I do believe it is true of our fundamental true nature, I believe the Chinese alchemists have correctly diagnosed our human plight. How to resolve the disjunction between True yin and True yang is another topic :)

 

What are you questioning with "what is which"? Which 'what' isn't clear? 

 

Indeed Bindi, the first and second paragraph is much how i view it as well.

 

As for which what is which i was merely pointing out that both Water and Fire are referred to as specific ingredients very often in the texts, i have a w.i.p. idea of what those two are, even if they arent always the same exactly.

I think Heaven and Earth are less specific but much more inclusive once they’re achieved and worked with, but i speculate.

I do believe Water and Fire to be descriptions of two states or ”places” and a certain statements regarding a mechanism. But this i glean only from trying to observe the two trigrams as illustrations for these things in a person, i might be off course for not interpreting from a perspective of the bigrams first.

We all know the single line principles, the bigrammatic line combos are so vast and abstract but yet clarify something about the principles and how they move.

 

Questions abound: do the lines stack from bottom up or vice versa?

I think Form and Li (this was discussed in a few months ago but i forgot to jot it down, i’m probably messing the terminology up)  might shed light here but who knows really?

 

Bottom-Upwards is one thing, one process, while Top-Downward is a whole different pair of pants. I know it holds true for building houses and studying kung fu, both directions being working with different methods, goals and results (not always the desired or expected ones) and i do believe the trigrams can represent a human being in a way, but what exactly does this say about Water and Fire in the alchemical context?

We know from Liu YiMings writings among others that symbols only serve for us to grasp the message, to forget them once we have understood what they mean for their appearance is only one of convenience, and they don’t even do that good of a job illustrating whats being talked about.

 

So, which is what and what are they? I have an inkling, had many actually but the latest one has been a pretty solid working material for a few years now, i wont go into details because it’d be tantamount to teaching and Heaven forbid i do that until i get it right, and even then would it be advisable to propagate it? Idk, but probably it spells more trouble than i’d like having, got just enough as it is already :D

 

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17 hours ago, Bindi said:

I've never come across the idea of freezing anything in the Neidan process, and I can't personally imagine a place for such a concept.

yes sometimes I do come across new ideas but you are definitely correct - the paradox of "freezing the fire" can not be imagined nor is it a concept and it is most definitely not in a place!!

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the purpose of gathering prenatal true vitality [yuan qi]....‘All masters taught only the freezing (or fixing) of spirit in the cavity of vitality.*

 

So first it is gathered in the third eye - the "cavity of spirit" and then it is driven down into the "cavity of vitality" - the lower tan t'ien.

 

This is definitely not a concept or something imagined. But it is also based on the secret of "immortal breathing."

 

So the Taoist Yoga book provides the details.

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neither outside nor inside, which cannot be held on to by mindfulness and sought by mindlessness, because to be mindful of it is clinging to the visible and to be mindless leads to (relative) voidness.

 

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