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Best books to introduce myself to inner alchemy?

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I want to learn about internal alchemy. What book do you guys recommend so I can get introduced to this topic?

 

Thanks in advance

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Don't know if its the best, but I'll throw out one I started with- https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Health-Sex-Longevity-Practical-ebook/dp/B004DI7TRC

The Tao of Health, Sex & Longevity by Daniel Reid.  I thought it had a good mix of philosophy and practice and very readable.  The amazon link lets you read a couple pages. 

 

Though there are a couple things I disagreed with now. 

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I haven't read any Damo Mitchell books, but have been catching up on his "Scholar Sage Podcast" and older Q & A on youtube. It turns out he absolutely knows what he's talking about, and has a very down-to-earth approach and openness. His latest book is called A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong. It's over 500 pages, but he has several other books on the topic that may be more introductory.

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25 minutes ago, thelerner said:

Don't know if its the best, but I'll throw out one I started with- https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Health-Sex-Longevity-Practical-ebook/dp/B004DI7TRC

The Tao of Health, Sex & Longevity by Daniel Reid.  I thought it had a good mix of philosophy and practice and very readable.  The amazon link lets you read a couple pages. 

 

Though there are a couple things I disagreed with now. 

Thanks! I will give it a look!

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Just now, Nintendao said:

I haven't read any Damo Mitchell books, but have been catching up on his "Scholar Sage Podcast" and older Q & A on youtube. It turns out he absolutely knows what he's talking about, and has a very down-to-earth approach and openness. His latest book is called A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong. It's over 500 pages, but he has several other books on the topic that may be more introductory.

Thanks! I will give a look at this author's list of books

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Inner alchemy that only focuses on the body could lead to a biased perspective.

 

Reading  TTC and other Taoist works, eg this one:

is good for refining the mind.

 

If you just sit Zuowang / Zen style, the Tao will present itself each moment since this is all there is.

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Posted (edited)

I'm enjoying reading "The Taoist Alchemy of Wang Liping Volume 1" by Nathan Brine. It is a great intro to Wang Liping's lineage  (FWIW, IMHO, Caveat Emptor, etc) :) 

I've read Damo's books, and I must say that while he does cover a lot of conceptual stuff, Nathan's book is really a practical manual that has a beautiful mix of his own experiences, with the actual introductory meditations and methods of WLP's lineage. What's most refreshingly endearing for me is how his humility shines forth in his words. 

 

Maybe @silent thunder or @Taomeow can comment on it too...as they are actually students from that lineage. 

Edited by dwai
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47 minutes ago, dwai said:

I'm enjoying reading "The Taoist Alchemy of Wang Liping Volume 1" by Nathan Brine. It is a great intro to Wang Liping's lineage  (FWIW, IMHO, Caveat Emptor, etc) :) 

I've read Damo's books, and I must say that while he does cover a lot of conceptual stuff, Nathan's book is really a practical manual that has a beautiful mix of his own experiences, with the actual introductory meditations and methods of WLP's lineage. What's most refreshingly endearing for me is how his humility shines forth in his words. 

 

Maybe @silent thunder or @Taomeow can comment on it too...as they are actually students from that lineage. 

 

Thanks for your little review, Dawei.  I haven't read Nathan's book yet but was meaning to.  Will try to remember to get back to this thread when I do.  (If you look at my latest "what books sit on your night stand" entries you will notice that I've been fully into external alchemy lately,  taoist and otherwise, gunpowder to stars to waigong-medicinal how-to.  "Leaving the world" vs. "coming into the world," the normal taoist seesaw following the energies of the world.  Before taking reigns of those energies, in the ideal scenario.  Or just following, as the case may be. :) )     

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And you can always go to more academic books by Livia Kohn, Eva Wong, Fabrizio Pregadio, Louis Komjathy and Isabelle Robinet. Maybe Stuart A. Olson, Tom Bisio, etc.

 

Just find the authors page on amazon, and search titles about alchemy.

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Doesn't WLP expect folks to be able to sit in meditation for four hours at a stretch? May not be the best path for many householders. 

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

I'm enjoying reading "The Taoist Alchemy of Wang Liping Volume 1" by Nathan Brine. It is a great intro to Wang Liping's lineage  (FWIW, IMHO, Caveat Emptor, etc) :) 

I've read Damo's books, and I must say that while he does cover a lot of conceptual stuff, Nathan's book is really a practical manual that has a beautiful mix of his own experiences, with the actual introductory meditations and methods of WLP's lineage. What's most refreshingly endearing for me is how his humility shines forth in his words. 

 

Maybe @silent thunder or @Taomeow can comment on it too...as they are actually students from that lineage. 

 

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5 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Doesn't WLP expect folks to be able to sit in meditation for four hours at a stretch? May not be the best path for many householders. 

 

 

2-4 hours...but full lotus is not a must. Just cross-legged is fine. :) 

Also, what I find fascinating is that we (temple style) do quite a bit of what they're teaching (some things that stand out as being different are like the one about using a mirror to replay and release stuck energies from previous lifetimes, etc). I'm not really compiling a list, but bought the book out of curiosity and found it fascinating :) 

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At my retreat, with Master Wang, full lotus was not stressed at all.

The benefits of it were explained but it was not stated as required for advancement, only that it can help intensify and speed things up in efficiency.  I sat in half lotus, which I can do indefinitely.  Full lotus is a strain on my knees that I do not push.

 

Our sessions averaged 3 hours.  Sleep sessions ranged from one to four hours on the dot.  Tree work was briefly explained and then we were left to explore it, or not, on our own.

 

What stood out was there was nothing fundamentalist in any of the offered teachings.  It was decidedly open, relaxed and supportive.  Not rigid or militaristic in any way.  Though I guess Master Wang used to be much more demanding in his early teaching years based on some of his own and Richard's descriptions.

 

Two individuals sat in chairs.

 

One was disabled and hobbled along slowly with two forearm canes.

Another had long term hip issues that prevented him from sitting on the floor for five years.  This guy experienced a resounding pop in his injured hip on the second or third day and then was able to join us on the floor for the remaining days.

 

The disabled man using crutches, was able to sit on pillows on the floor by the end of the retreat.

 

As for Master Wang's books.  I would not recommend them to a beginner.  They are perhaps too technical and too dense to be approachable.  They would have been for me in my early years.  They're still daunting for one as conditioned as I still am.

 

The Roots of Chinese Qi Gong by Yang Jwing-Ming.  Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine.  The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel Reed all come to mind as very helpful books in my early exploration.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, silent thunder said:

At my retreat, with Master Wang, full lotus was not stressed at all.

The benefits of it were explained but it was not stated as required for advancement, only that it can help intensify and speed things up in efficiency.  I sat in half lotus, which I can do indefinitely.  Full lotus is a strain on my knees that I do not push.

 

Our sessions averaged 3 hours.  Sleep sessions ranged from one to four hours on the dot.  Tree work was briefly explained and then we were left to explore it, or not, on our own.

 

What stood out was there was nothing fundamentalist in any of the offered teachings.  It was decidedly open, relaxed and supportive.  Not rigid or militaristic in any way.  Though I guess Master Wang used to be much more demanding in his early teaching years based on some of his own and Richard's descriptions.

 

Two individuals sat in chairs.

 

One was disabled and hobbled along slowly with two forearm canes.

Another had long term hip issues that prevented him from sitting on the floor for five years.  This guy experienced a resounding pop in his injured hip on the second or third day and then was able to join us on the floor for the remaining days.

 

The disabled man using crutches, was able to sit on pillows on the floor by the end of the retreat.

 

As for Master Wang's books.  I would not recommend them to a beginner.  They are perhaps too technical and too dense to be approachable.  They would have been for me in my early years.  They're still daunting for one as conditioned as I still am.

 

The Roots of Chinese Qi Gong by Yang Jwing-Ming.  Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine.  The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel Reed all come to mind as very helpful books in my early exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the insight. How long do those retreats with Master Liping last? Does he have some levels he goes by? For example you need 10 retreats to learn all techniques, and then its to you to practice. Or after first retreat you have homework until next year, then you learn level 2 of the practice?

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Posted (edited)

Hey @Shagrath

The retreat was 10 days.

 

There was a list of questions sent, prior to being accepted regarding one's current and past practices, if any specific healing was being sought, and birth date, time and place, if known.

 

There was no talk of levels.  We all shared in the same process, though I expect it was deeply different for each of us.

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On 4/6/2020 at 2:25 PM, dwai said:

I'm enjoying reading "The Taoist Alchemy of Wang Liping Volume 1" by Nathan Brine. It is a great intro to Wang Liping's lineage  (FWIW, IMHO, Caveat Emptor, etc) :) 

 

Just got this yesterday and am enjoying it as well.  I´d place it squarely in the how-to category.  It offers something I´d guess is pretty rare: Taoist alchemy instructions that are clear and accesible for a beginner to actually practice from.  Although the author cautions that a person is unlikely to get much "traction" in the practice without in-person instruction, this book provides a great place to start to build a foundation -- and perhaps a little bit more.  

 

It´s a book about things one can actually practice.  If you´re looking for a scholarly historical, theoretical, or philosophical overview, this isn´t that.  

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3 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

 

It´s a book about things one can actually practice.  If you´re looking for a scholarly historical, theoretical, or philosophical overview, this isn´t that.  

I'll take a book with practices over philosophy most days.  An ounce of good method is worth 10lbs of philosophy.  Getting 1 or 2 techniques that move me along makes any book or seminar worth while. 

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One of my favorites:

Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-Yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism by Harold Roth.

This is more of a theoretical treatment if you are uninitiated. 

If you are already a practitioner with some experience, there is much of practical value here as well.

It is not a how to manual but a priceless resource, one of the earliest treatises on inner alchemy.

The commentary is decent.

 

9780231115650.jpg

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