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ZeroQi

Golden Flower | Beginner Journey

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Hey guys!

 

I joined the forum just yesterday and wanted to open this thread for two purposes: 1. To seek guidance and advice from anyone who knows something about the topic, namely the practice described in "The Secret of the Golden Flower" and 2. To track everything that I do from day 1 so that people in the future might have an easier time if I am successful. 

 

Some short information about me. I'm in my early 20s, have practiced martial arts for about 7 years in total but have not done so for another 7 years at least. At the same time, my lifestyle hasn't exactly been ideal since then, smoking, drinking etc. As a matter of fact, I still smoke, even though the rest has been cut off mostly. 

 

In terms of knowledge, I cannot even be considered a newbie tbh. I knew about internal energy a couple years back but have always been a sceptic since it was hard for me to believe in something I cannot understand. Recently, however, after reading some wuxia books, I decided to do some research into legends. So then I found several "entries" of ascetics/hermits that have lived hundreds of years, and even moreso, suddenly 'died' in meditation after people found out about them, with no body to be found etc (i.e. Li Ching-Yuen - Wikipedia)

 

Anyway, for a few weeks, I scoured the internet for information but mostly to no avail. Besides this forum itself, the only other semi-complete source of information or reasonably researched source of information that I found was The Secret of the Golden Flower, which is also why I have chosen this since I lack a teacher and/or lineage. 

 

My aim is to see how far one can progress on this path when your internal energy isn't that great to begin with and you don't come from any lineages. I will keep editing this post as time progresses and add journal entries. 

 

For the next week or so, I will be reading the book in its entirety, using the Thomas Cleary translation. In addition, I will be using thelerner's comments in this thread.

 

I do have a question though. GF is described as a kundalini meditation, does that mean it belongs to buddhism ? I am mostly interested in practicing a taoist neidan technique so that's why I am asking.

 

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12 minutes ago, ZeroQi said:

Hey guys!

 

I joined the forum just yesterday and wanted to open this thread for two purposes: 1. To seek guidance and advice from anyone who knows something about the topic, namely the practice described in "The Secret of the Golden Flower" and 2. To track everything that I do from day 1 so that people in the future might have an easier time if I am successful. 

 

Some short information about me. I'm in my early 20s, have practiced martial arts for about 7 years in total but have not done so for another 7 years at least. At the same time, my lifestyle hasn't exactly been ideal since then, smoking, drinking etc. As a matter of fact, I still smoke, even though the rest has been cut off mostly. 

 

In terms of knowledge, I cannot even be considered a newbie tbh. I knew about internal energy a couple years back but have always been a sceptic since it was hard for me to believe in something I cannot understand. Recently, however, after reading some wuxia books, I decided to do some research into legends. So then I found several "entries" of ascetics/hermits that have lived hundreds of years, and even moreso, suddenly 'died' in meditation after people found out about them, with no body to be found etc (i.e. Li Ching-Yuen - Wikipedia)

 

Anyway, for a few weeks, I scoured the internet for information but mostly to no avail. Besides this forum itself, the only other semi-complete source of information or reasonably researched source of information that I found was The Secret of the Golden Flower, which is also why I have chosen this since I lack a teacher and/or lineage. 

 

My aim is to see how far one can progress on this path when your internal energy isn't that great to begin with and you don't come from any lineages. I will keep editing this post as time progresses and add journal entries. 

 

For the next week or so, I will be reading the book in its entirety, using the Thomas Cleary translation. In addition, I will be using thelerner's comments in this thread.

 

I do have a question though. GF is described as a kundalini meditation, does that mean it belongs to buddhism ? I am mostly interested in practicing a taoist neidan technique so that's why I am asking.

 

 

There are a couple books by Cleary and Baine, and I refer to both for scholarly reasons only, but the technique I was taught has nothing to do with what's in the book, though it achieves the same result and similar experiences. 

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So how could one go about learning the technique if it's not in the book? You are referring to GF though, right, or is it another book?

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14 minutes ago, ZeroQi said:

So how could one go about learning the technique if it's not in the book? You are referring to GF though, right, or is it another book?

If you go through @thelerner notes you will see that the book has some parts that are missing and can be taught only by a teacher.

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17 minutes ago, ZeroQi said:

So how could one go about learning the technique if it's not in the book? You are referring to GF though, right, or is it another book?

 

Most books never teach the full technique, unfortunately, across systems, this is true. They are best viewed as marketing material.

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The book The Secret of the Golden Flower contains very clear guidance on what to do and why.  

Energy leaks out from the eyes into the world, therefore you have to turn this around to stop it leaking which leads it back into the source.

Very clear guidance on how to meditate using the eyes and nose and inner attention etc...

Using the eyes the light reverse back from the world into the space between the eyes where an inner space is discovered which is the centre of your existence etc... 

 

http://thesecretofthegoldenflower.com/ch3.html

 

I would read the text carefully several times especially the instructions.

It is quite a short book with most of the instructions in the first few chapters.

 

Other authors have moved away from the instructions contained in this book ... and created all sorts of other practices and techniques that are totally unrelated.

They are not the same.

 

The author of this book put exact instructions in the book, that is why he wrote it.

 

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Also, the fruits of one's practice show how good their learning is, whether it is a teacher or a book. You may decide for yourself whether learning from a book which is also steeped deeply in cultural nuance and linguistic limitations is better or if people who teach it know what they are talking about based on what they have achieved. Both paths have their advantages and disadvantages, but I subscribe to finding a good teacher, which is also linked to luck, karma, and dedication. 

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6 minutes ago, Wuschel said:

Turning the light around is not just turning around the essence of one body, but turning around the very energy of creation."

 

Yes it may be, in the end.

But best not concern oneself with such big things at the start.

The instructions regarding the eyes nose and light that are carefully described in the book are practice instructions.

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The GF is a nut I try to crack every few years. Pieces of it flow into my regular meditation practice but I miss the experiential whole. 

 

Wang Li Ping the famous lineage holder writes about GF in his book. I like what he writes but it's another excellent practice I haven't made time for. 

 

Maybe rideforever is right, stay with just the original, I can't say my scholarly approach has gotten very far, but then I tend to be energy resistant, more rock then sponge. 

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1 hour ago, rideforever said:

The book The Secret of the Golden Flower contains very clear guidance on what to do and why.  

Energy leaks out from the eyes into the world, therefore you have to turn this around to stop it leaking which leads it back into the source.

Very clear guidance on how to meditate using the eyes and nose and inner attention etc...

Using the eyes the light reverse back from the world into the space between the eyes where an inner space is discovered which is the centre of your existence etc... 

 

http://thesecretofthegoldenflower.com/ch3.html

 

I would read the text carefully several times especially the instructions.

It is quite a short book with most of the instructions in the first few chapters.

 

Other authors have moved away from the instructions contained in this book ... and created all sorts of other practices and techniques that are totally unrelated.

They are not the same.

 

The author of this book put exact instructions in the book, that is why he wrote it.

 

 

Agree with everything you wrote, and good advice ! Here's my understanding.

 

Deep within your eyebrows,

There is a house,

with a majestic throne.

 

This throne,

is like a spiritual altar,

In the temple of your being.

 

Light, 

sits on this throne,

as The Master of the House.

 

When the doors of the house are all open, 

it's easy for the Master to go outside.

 

The Golden Flower reminds you,

To bring the Light back.

 

When the Master is back,

The Father will be one with the Son,

For Light is born of Spirit.

 

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Posted (edited)

4 In the original creation there is yang light, which is the determining factor. In the material world it is the sun; in a human being it is the eyes. Spiritual and consciousness energy runs away or leaks mechanically through the eyes. Therefore, the Way of the Golden Flower depends wholly on the method of reversal.   

 

>> this shows the location in the human body
  

8. In the Yin Convergence Classic it is said: "The eyes are the key". In Suwen from The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor it is said: "The essence of the human body flows upward and fills the empty apertures". If one understands this, one has the key to attaining immortality and transcending the world. This is a practice that pervades the three religions of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. 

10. The essence of man fills upwards to the eyes, that is the great key of the functioning of the human body. You should think about this. If you do not practice meditation every day, this light flows out, who knows when it will stop?


>> energy flows upwards from tantien into the eyes and leaks out in the world


14. The two founders of Buddhism and Taoism have taught that one should look at the tip of one's nose. But they did not mean that one should concentrate on the tip of the nose. Neither did they mean that while one`s eyes are looking at the tip of the nose, one`s thoughts should be concentrated on the middle yellow court. Wherever the eyes look, one`s attention follows. How can one direct one`s attention at two places at the same time. This is just like taking the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself.  

 

>> some oblique reference here about attention flowing out, whilst an inner attention is present in the middle court.

>> the author is not clear here; but what I think it means is that whilst you do this practice and there is the light flowing in .. you "awakeness" must wake up ... the flowing light is simply an assistance ... you must wake up.   So you would initiate the flowing energy using the machinery of your face and the light ... but then sensitively feel inside for your "I Am Here".

 

15. What then is really meant by this? The idea of focusing on the tip of the nose is very clever. The nose must serve the eyes as a guideline, but the nose itself is not the issue. If one`s eyes are wide open, one looks into the distance, so the nose is not seen. If the eyelids shut too much, so that the eyes close, then again the nose is not seen. When the eyes are open too wide, one`s attention is easily scattered outward. When they are closed too much, one easily gets lost in dreamlike states. Only when the eyelids are lowered properly halfway, is the tip of the nose seen in just the right way and therefore it is taken as a guideline.     

 

>> clear instructions; adjusting the eyelids there is a point in between fully open and fully closed where the light is able to flow back

 

16. The main thing is to lower the eyelids in the right way, and then to allow the light to come in naturally; you don`t need to make any special effort. Looking at the tip of the nose serves only as the beginning of the inner concentration, so that the eyes are brought into the right direction for looking, and then are held to the guideline: after that, one can let it be. That is the way a mason hangs up a plumb-line. As soon as he has hung it up, he guides his work by it without continually bothering himself to look at the plumb-line.   

 

>> clear mechanical instructions; lower eyelids and the light flows in.  No metaphors.       

 

17. Stopping and observing (??) is a Buddhist method that originally was not secret. One looks attentively with both eyes at the tip of the nose, sits upright in a comfortable position, and focuses the heart around the center, which is also called the Yellow Middle in Taoism. It not necessarily means the center of the head. It is only a matter of fixing one's attention on the point which lies between the two eyes. Light is something extremely volatile. When one fixes the attention on the mid-point between the two eyes, the light naturally enters. One doesn`t need to direct the attention to the middle castle. These few words include all essential points. As for the rest, matters of entering and exiting stillness, the prelude and the aftermath, one can check the book Small Stopping and Observing for a reference.   

 

>> clear instructions, focus between the eyes at the "Yellow Middle" i.e. the seat of the Yellow Emperor, or the seat of your soul.
>> "These few words include all essential points"

 

19. Stopping and observing are inseparable; they mean concentration and insight. When thoughts arise, you don't need to sit still as before, but you should investigate this thought: where is it? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Repeat this inquiry until you realize it cannot be grasped, then you will see where thoughts arise. After that you don`t need to seek out the point of arising any more. Having looked for my mind, I realize it cannot be grasped; I have pacified your mind for you.


>> Further details I can tell you my self which come from technical teaching from other teachers, I repeat them as best as I remember :


Between the eyes, in the centre, and a little behind them (2") is a region that can be awakened.  This is one goal of the GF practice the awakening of your real identity here.  What is in this place ?  It is your higher identity, it is not of this world.
So you use the light, nose and eyes, as a gentle guide and try slide backwards so that there is the sense of a flow leading to the central point, and feeling yourself there ... you feel there is something there ... eventually you feel "I Am Here".  My essence abides here.
Just rest in this place, central between the eyes but a little further back.
One other way to practice is to be inside the eyes themselves, feel the energy of the eyes themselves, and 'be' inside them.   This is a very interesting practice.  Afterwards flow slightly backwards into the centre ... and be inside this Yellow Court and feel your presence there.

 

First being in the eyes, as the eyes; then gently as you sink behind the eyes, it is as if you are in the seat that looks through the eyes and the eyes look into the world.  And you are aware you sit in that seat.  
Gently gently.

 

 

                                 -----------    LEFT EYE ========== LIGHT ==============

                              /                                                                                                         \       

THRONE -------- <                                                                                                               ==== THE WORLD

                              \                                                                                                         /

                                 -----------    RIGHT EYE ========== LIGHT ==============

 

 

I was taught all this and have not originated one thing.

I am very grateful for such guidance and share it here for the benefit of a few.

 

 

 

Edited by rideforever
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9 minutes ago, Wuschel said:

But that seat can be anywhere, no? It can be in thoughts, in ldt, heart, third eye, dream body, anywhere. So where is that seat really?

 

The reason we have bodies is to assist us because for a young being living with no body in no universe would be too difficult to understand, so we use the body as a vehicle for understanding and for correctly locating various functions and states, and orienting.

If you can imagine a baby being born with no body in a dark void ... it would be too difficult to understand and no learning or growing would result.

In the text the author describes a method of practice using the body as a guide.  Nose face eyes etc...  This is how you practice.
But he also indicates that what is awakened is not of the body, but of the infinite.

 

In some traditions no body pointers are used.  For instance people might pray to "God", using no body pointers.

In other traditions the 3rd eye, or the Hara, are used ... body pointers.

Body pointers are used by traditions who are in touch with the subtle energy flows in the universe and in the body.

 

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8 hours ago, ZeroQi said:

 

For the next week or so, I will be reading the book in its entirety, using the Thomas Cleary translation. In addition, I will be using thelerner's comments in this thread.

 

 

Hi ZeroQi, ah a good start!

Spoiler

Paraphrasing some old Master "to start with the intestines and bowels, you know what one can cultivate down there!!!!" 

 

The thread linked below contains a copy of an essay on the topic of practical use of the Golden Flower method. thelerner was the sole liker so you know it's good. You will see it fits what has been discussed so far. Key is the way the author goes about describing the technique of 'turning the light around" and how this operation is the first building block required on the 'spiritual path'. Add this piece to the several listed in the thread so far to help gain a nuanced grip on the Golden Flower text itself. 

 

I posted this to the forum as it is hidden away at the the end of "Introduction to Magic, Volume II: The Path of Initiatic Wisdom by Julius Evola and the UR Group" which is a translation of numerous articles from the Italian Occultist/Hermetic journal UR circa 1927-28 and it is a resource I doubt many Daoist enthusiasts would peruse. Despite coming through the lens of an anonymous Italian Magician nigh on 100 years ago it is in my humble opinion, the superior commentary on the Golden Flower publicly available today and anyone interested in Daoism should assimilate it

 

Spoiler

P.S. I recommend studying Liu-I-Mings works too https://www.goldenelixir.com/press/trl_04_liu_yiming.html  - When he talks of Superior virtue(inner potency) vs Inferior virtue - perhaps the essay below will make the distinction clear. 

Enjoy.

 

 

 

* * *

 

4 hours ago, Sebastian said:

 

Agree with everything you wrote, and good advice ! Here's my understanding.

 

Deep within your eyebrows,

There is a house,

with a majestic throne.

 

This throne,

is like a spiritual altar,

In the temple of your being.

 

Light, 

sits on this throne,

as The Master of the House.

 

When the doors of the house are all open, 

it's easy for the Master to go outside.

 

The Golden Flower reminds you,

To bring the Light back.

 

When the Master is back,

The Father will be one with the Son,

For Light is born of Spirit.

 

 

Wow, if you wrote that, kudos to you sir.

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One thing I would like to add I found useful,

 

A potential reading Liu-I-Ming's cryptic wording of "borrowing from the other house to furnish my house" could be too:

 

Practice some Trataka (candle gazing), specifically the method of easily staring at the glow point of the flame, then close your eyes and attempt to hold the afterburn image in the center of your vision until is dissipates and repeat. The more you try to fix it in place the more it will move about, but with some time and practice you will eventually discover a 'slip-state' of mind between fixed intent and emptiness to keep it in place for quite some time. Then forget the raft and move on to use this mental state whilst practicing the golden flower method of reversal of "sight upon hearing" until the shining mind appears and coagulates. 

 

*

 

Spoiler

"Technically, this preliminary phase of the work takes place in the
“higher seat” and is called the diversion, circulation and crystalliza-
tion of the “light.” One might speak here of the “fixation of thought,”
but that seems a colorless and abstract formula compared to the lively
suggestions given in the text. The yang principle is light. This light is
primarily that of clear and wakeful consciousness. It is the light of see-
ing—which is why the yang is said to reside in the eyes—but also an
aural light, i.e., the light of hearing, taken as synonym of understanding.

*

"To make the light “circulate” means reversing the direc-
tion, bringing the light back to itself and to the origin, just as in a circle;
so that the light, meaning the union of seeing and understanding (light

of the eye + light of the ear), gathers itself and now illuminates the
interior, rotating around itself.

6. “Therefore, understanding (ear) and clarity (eye) are one and the same

effective light.”

The way is found by means of “extreme intelligence and clarity, and

the most complete absorption and tranquility” (p. 23).

“There should be no movement in the mind” (p. 44). 7

The “magical key” is indicated by these expressive words:

“One should only let the light fall quite gently on the hearing.”

*

"It does not happen through
contemplation alone; it already involves a change of state that is fanned
like a fire by the “rotation” and crystallization of the intellectual light

in the center between the eyes. In the midst of the light, a point of the
yang pole arises; “Then suddenly there develops the seed pearl. It is as if
man and woman embraced and a conception took place”"

*

"The text contains advice for avoiding a wrong direction in practice,
such as reducing it to “exercises” and forcing oneself mentally and inten-
tionally while maintaining the everyday sense of one’s I. It says that
through the work “one must press on from the obvious to the profound,
from the coarse to the fine”

*

"The text adds that the fixation of the intellectual light between
the eyes serves to stabilize the total direction. One thereby determines
the direction in which the whole work subsequently unfolds, leading
to progressively deeper strata of being (p. 39). The “pure light” is gath-
ered, and therein manifests, reborn, the pure yang with its character of
primal energy and embryo of the “non-dual state”: this is the goal of the
first phase and the basis of the following ones."

 

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My Master once shared that when you place your attention in the throne, you are in effect placing your attention at the UDT/MDT/LDT at the same time - because the Heavenly Heart contains all the energies of the body. Hence it is a special point to access the Oneness of your Being.

 

From my own understanding and experience, it is not only a third eye practice. The Flower draws its roots from all three Dantians, your body is like the compost, and it's an organic unfolding. When you truly relax, eventually the Light will enter the center of the head by itself, and your lower Dantian will naturally have some activity to support this phenomenon. The three Dantians will become alive, connect and become one. You will forget completely about the Dantians, the throne, the Light as you'll be in the Oneness of Spirit.  

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