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Neiye - Section 13 - Concentration

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Section 13: Concentration

 

Eno

 

Spirit-like, concentrate the qi, and the world of things is complete.
Can you concentrate?
Can you become one?
Can you know the outcomes of events without divining?
Can you halt?
Can you stop?
Can you grasp in it yourself and not seek it in others?
Ponder it! Ponder it! Then ponder yet again!
If you ponder and do not comprehend,
the spirits will make it comprehensible.
Yet it is not by the power of the spirits:
it is the utmost of the essential qi.


Linnell:

 

搏 氣 如 神 Because they consolidate Qi like spirits,
萬 物 備 存 The ten thousand creatures are prepared for existence.
能 搏 乎 Can you consolidate it?
能 一 乎 Can you unify it?
能 無 卜 筮 而 知 吉 凶 乎 Can you foretell bad fortune and good fortune, but without divining?
能 止 乎 Can you then stop?
能 己 乎 Can you?
能 勿 求 諸 人 How can you never seek it from anyone,
而 得 之 己 乎 Yet attain it yourself?
思 之 思 之 又 重 思 之 Contemplate it, contemplate it, and again repeatedly contemplate it.
思 之 而 不 通 Should you contemplate it yet not comprehend it,
鬼 神 將 通 之 Know that ghosts and spirits can comprehend it.
非 鬼 神 之 力 也 However, it is not comprehended by the power of ghosts and spirits –
精 氣 之 極 也 But by the utmost of essence's Qi!

 

Roth:

-- Section 19 --
1. By concentrating you vital breath as if numinous,
2. The myriad things will all be contained within you.
3. Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them?
4. Can you not resort to divinig by tortoise or milfoil
5. Yet know bad and good fortune?
6. Can you stop? Can you cease?
7. Can you not seek it in others,
8. Yet attain it within yourself?
9. You think and think about it
10. And think still further about it.
11. You think, yet still cannot penetrate it.
12. While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it,
13. It is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,
14. But to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.
15. When the four limbs are aligned
16. And the blood and vital breath are tranquil,
17. Unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
18. Then your eyes and ears will not be overstimulated.
19. And even the far-off will seem close at hand.


Shazi Daoren: Concentrating Qi

-- Section 19 --
When you concentrate Qi like a spirit,
all things will support your existence.
Are you able to concentrate, able to be one with them?
Are you able to be without divining or counting stalks,
yet know bad and good fortune?
Are you able to stop? Are you able to be yourself?
Are you able to not demand from others,
yet attain it within yourself?
You think about it and think about it.
And again, deeply think about it.
You think about it, yet you can't fathom it.
A Spiritual Being will fathom it,
not due to the Spiritual Being's power,
but due to the ultimate of Jing and Qi.
When your four limbs are aligned,
your blood and Qi are tranquil.
When your mind is one and your heart concentrated,
and your ears and eyes not distracted,
even that which is most remote will be accessible.


Yueya:

-- Section 19 --
By concentrating your qi as if numinous,
The ten thousand things will be contained in you.
Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them?
Can you not resort to divining by tortoise [shell] or milfoil [stalks]
And yet recognize the auspicious and the inauspicious?
Can you stop? Can you cease?
Can you not seek it in others,
And yet realize it within yourself?
You think about it and think about it,
And think still further about it.
You think and yet you cannot connect with it.
The ghostly and numinous can connect with it,
This is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,
But to the utmost capacity of vital essence and qi.
When the four limbs become aligned,
The blood and qi become tranquil.
Unify your awareness and concentrate the heart-mind,
Then the ears and eyes will not overflow with stimulation.
And even the remote will seem close at hand.


Reid:

235 摶氣如神,
By consolidating {29} energy-breath (and becoming) spirit-like, {30}
236 萬物備存。
The myriad things perfect their existence.
237 能摶 乎?能一乎?
Can you consolidate it? Can you unify it? {31}
238 能無卜筮
Can you, without divining by yarrow stalks,
239 而知吉凶乎?
Know what is fortunate and what is perilous?
240 能止乎?能已乎?
Can you stop (peril from arriving)? Can you make it cease?
241 能勿求諸人
Can you not seek this from others
242 而得之己乎?
But attain it in yourself?
243 思之思之,
If you think about it and think about it,
244 又重思之;
And then go back and think about it some more,
245 思之而不通,
Your thinking about it will not reach (comprehension).
246 鬼神將通之:
Ghosts and spirits move forward and reach this (comprehension of altering fortune),
247 非鬼神之力也,
Not because of the ghost’s and spirit’s efforts (in thinking about it),
248 精氣之極也。
(But because of) the extent of their vital essence and energy-breath.
249 四體 既正,
When the four limbs are aligned,
250 血氣既靜,
The blood and energy-breath are tranquil
251 一意摶心,
When unifying intention and consolidating the heart,
252 耳目不淫,
The ears and eyes do not indulge,
253 雖遠若近。
Yet what is far off is as though near.

 

{29} Literally, “roll up into a ball” like dough or clay, often translated as “concentrate.”
{30} Lines 235-253 can be further understood by studying the three chapters from Guigu Zi, provided in the introduction.
{31} Similar to chapter 10 of the Dao De Jing, “Guarding the fortress of your bodily spirits, embrace Oneness. Can you do
this without letting it flee? Gather together the energy-breath and become soft. This is the power of an infant.”

Edited by dawei
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On 7/26/2019 at 7:40 PM, dawei said:

Ghosts and spirits move forward and reach this (comprehension of altering fortune),
247 非鬼神之力也,
Not because of the ghost’s and spirit’s efforts (in thinking about it),
248 精氣之極也。
(But because of) the extent of their vital essence and energy-breath.

not their. yours.

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Posted (edited)

 

On 7/26/2019 at 10:40 AM, dawei said:

Reid:

235 摶氣如神,
By consolidating {29} energy-breath (and becoming) spirit-like, {30}

 

On 7/26/2019 at 10:40 AM, dawei said:

Yueya:

-- Section 19 --
By concentrating your qi as if numinous,

 

A synthesis of the first line by Reid and Yueya might capture the sense a little better. Since a concentrated ch'i/qi 氣 is ching/jing 精 which when stabilized leads to shen 神 (=numinous), which also implies shenming 神明 (=numinous illumination). So a combined rewording would look like this:

 

1 - By concentrating your qi, (and becoming) numinous,

Edited by Jotika_99
punctuation fix

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When the author speaks of concentrating the qi does it necessarily imply breath work? What's your opinion? 

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2 hours ago, Jotika_99 said:

 

 

 

A synthesis of the first line by Reid and Yueya might capture the sense a little better. Since a concentrated ch'i/qi 氣 is ching/jing 精 which when stabilized leads to shen 神 (=numinous), which also implies shenming 神明 (=numinous illumination). So a combined rewording would look like this:

 

1 - By concentrating your qi, (and becoming) numinous,

 

Linnell uses Shen 7 times but it doesn't seem to have the later alchemy connotations Qi to Shen.   I am likely inclined to keep it as a reference to spirits as the other 6 are. 

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1 hour ago, oak said:

When the author speaks of concentrating the qi does it necessarily imply breath work? What's your opinion? 

 

As you might noticing looking at the translations: Qi is translated by Reid as energy-breath and Roth as vital breath.

 

Though Eno and linnell do not use breath anywhere.

 

I'm still on the fence regarding this but there are some similarities to other writings:  See my post here.

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/49163-neiye-introduction-multi-authors/?do=findComment&comment=883948

 

 

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5 minutes ago, dawei said:

Qi is translated by Reid as energy-breath and Roth as vital breath.

 

This is a mistake.

 

"consolidate Qi like spirits" - Spirits have no substance, but do exhibit movement and thus invisible energy of movement.

 

Consolidate means make substance of - the substance of spirits is not physical, but is energy and movement.

In the way spirits derive their "substance", which is actually "information".

 

Passage is NOT about breathing, French "vital breath" ideas, or "packing Qi" via breathing exercises.

 

Whole document is not an "exercise manual".

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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5 hours ago, dawei said:

As you might noticing looking at the translations: Qi is translated by Reid as energy-breath and Roth as vital breath.

Though Eno and linnell do not use breath anywhere.

 

 

Although Linnell does not use “breath” for “Qi” and leaves it untranslated, in his introduction to his Neiye, he says that it can also refer to breath. Apparently, he may be undecided because of its broad meaning but sees that it also includes breath. He, like Eno, do not commit themselves to any specific meaning. Perhaps as an indication that either they are unsure of about the context or because they see that here ch'i/qi applies at different levels: to be consolidated as physical energy, biological energy, as cognitive force, as vital breath, etc.  


Linnell: 
氣 “Qi” (Ch'i): vitality, life force, life energy, vital energy; it can also refer to the breath; here, it is needed for life and dwells in the heart/mind, and is also left untranslated. 

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Lindell just defines the word in various usage, as should be done, like a glossary. 

 

What they see doesn't matter as much as what the neiye is saying.

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26 minutes ago, dawei said:

Lindell just defines the word in various usage, as should be done, like a glossary. What they see doesn't matter as much as what the neiye is saying.

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Linnell provides not just any glossary, but a glossary for the understanding the Neiye. Another glossary might include gas, air, smell, weather, to make angry, to annoy, to get angry, etc. for translating Qi which would be irrelevant to usage in the Neiye. What the Neiye is saying, or what Linnell thinks it is saying, is given in his specific glossary for Qi. So that when reading Qi in his text, the reader would be expected to refer to its definition as he gives it – which is various. So the reader then is left with the option of filling in “Qi” with one of these definitions which he has listed or use all of them (=the consolidated view). And “breath” is among the meanings for Qi which a reader may choose. 

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10 hours ago, Jotika_99 said:

Linnell provides not just any glossary, but a glossary for the understanding the Neiye. Another glossary might include gas, air, smell, weather, to make angry, to annoy, to get angry, etc. for translating Qi which would be irrelevant to usage in the Neiye. What the Neiye is saying, or what Linnell thinks it is saying, is given in his specific glossary for Qi. So that when reading Qi in his text, the reader would be expected to refer to its definition as he gives it – which is various. So the reader then is left with the option of filling in “Qi” with one of these definitions which he has listed or use all of them (=the consolidated view). And “breath” is among the meanings for Qi which a reader may choose. 

 

I hope the reader isn't using a dart to throw at the glossary and pick what it sticks to :P

 

One should at least give support from the text to support their point otherwise it is speculation for the most part.

 

I mentioned the other six uses of Shen and it doesn't fit them.

 

There is also Ried's notes that it is akin to "roll up into a ball".  Now, I learned how to 'roll the dan tian energy' like a drum... why shouldn't that be a possible and literal meaning too as that practice is well known?   But I don't really see it supported in the text overall.

 

I lean with Von that this is not a exercise manual but more a state of being with emphasis on the calm and still heart that results in many beneficial things regarding not just Qi  but mentions of Dao, De, Shen.  I don't see a sequence of practice like one might see in later alchemic explanations; here it is just the state of being expressed [as I see it so far]. 

 

There's enough mention of ghosts and spirits that its early date still puts it much closer to spirit visualization practices than to inner alchemy as we know it today.

 

Roth is the most decided on the idea that this is a breathing practice.  I've given several links to his articles/books to show his thought on this work so folks can see some background on where he came from.   So I respect how he has justified his understanding but I don't yet completely agree.   

 

How do we know this is not an early embryonic breathing technique, which is a suppression of breathing technique in the end?    One can look at Dr. Yang's book titled on this and see his translations of ancient texts on it.  But most of them read more modern alchemy as well.    

 

SO I can take a few sentence examples to see if a substitution seems to play out but in most cases it seems to not work:

 

Thus the Qi of the citizens

Thus the breath of the citizens

 

When the heart/mind is still and Qi is regulated

When the heart/mind is still and breath is regulated

 

This essence –
Is essence of Qi!
With Qi and Dao, then there is life;

 

This essence –
Is essence of breath!
With breath and Dao, then there is life;

 

To transform creatures, without altering your Qi;

To transform creatures, without altering your breath

 

When with virtuous Qi you meet people,
They will love you as they would their brothers.
When with wicked Qi you meet people,

 

When with virtuous breath you meet people,
They will love you as they would their brothers.
When with wicked breath you meet people,

They will harm you with their weapons of war.

 

Once blood and Qi are still

Once blood and breath are still

 

The form of the heart/mind‟s Qi
Is brighter than the sun and moon,

 

The form of the heart/mind's breath
Is brighter than the sun and moon,

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