Neiye and Resource Links

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Quote from an article entitled "Neiyeh". (link needed) by Dr. Russell Kirkland, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Georgia.


A long-overlooked text of classical times, the Neiye ("Inner Cultivation" or "Inner Development") is a text of some 1600 characters, written in rhymed prose, a form close to that of the Daode jing. It sometimes echoes that text and the Zhuangzi, but it lacks many of the concerns found in those works. Generally dated to 350-300 BCE, it is preserved in the Guanzi (ch. 49), along with two later, apparently derivative texts, Xinshu, shang and xia (ch. 36-37). The Neiye had extremely profound effects on Taoism and Chinese culture. It seems to have influenced (1) the form, and certain contents, of the Daode jing; (2) the self-cultivation beliefs and practices of many later Taoists (from the Huainanzi and Taiping jing to the 20th-century); and (3) certain fundamental concepts of traditional Chinese medicine. It may also have influenced Neo-Confucian ideals of self-cultivation, by way of Mencius' teachings on cultivating the heart/mind (xin) and building up qi (Mengzi 2A.2).


The Neiye seems to be the earliest extant text that explains and encourages self-cultivation through daily, practiced regulation of the forces of life. Those forces include *qi ("life-energy" the universal force that gives life to all things); and *jing ("vital essence" one's innate reservoir of qi). (There is no trace here of the much later Chinese concept that jing referred to reproductive fluids.) Like Mencius, the Neiye suggests that the xin was originally as it should be, but now needs rectification (zheng). The xin becomes agitated by excessive activity, which leads to dissipation of one's jing, resulting in confusion, sickness, and death. To preserve one's health and vitality, one must quieten (jing) one's xin. Then one can then attract and retain qi, and other vaguely interrelated forces, such as shen ("spirit" or "spiritual consciousness"), and tao (a vague term, apparently interchangeable with shen and ch'i). (Such concepts are explained more intelligibly in passages of the Huainanzi: see Roth 1991)."

Shazi Daoren on alt.philosophy.taoism recently took a stab at a translation of this work and posted it in five groups of chapters here.


He's given me permission to reproduce his translation here in full which follows.



Inner Cultivation


zhang 1

1 The Essence of all things

2 Thru transformation creates life.

3 Below, it brings to life the five grains,

4 Above, it aligns the stars.

5 When flowing among the heaven and earth,

6 We call this the 'spiritual being'.

7 When stored up in the center of the bosom,

8 We call this the Sage.


zhang 2

1 Therefore, regarding 'Energy', it is:

2 Bright! as if ascending the sky;

3 Dark! as if entering into the abyss;

4 Disperse! as if existing in the ocean;

5 Present! as if existing in the self.

6 Therefore this Energy:

7 Cannot be stopped by force,

8 Yet can be pacified by Virtue,

9 Cannot be spoken by voice,

10 Yet can be embraced by the mind.

11 Reverently nurture it and do not let it go:

12 This is called 'developing Virtue'

13 When Virtue develops and wisdom emerges,

14 The myriad things will all be attained.


zhang 3

1 All forms of the Heart

2 Are naturally infused, naturally filled,

3 Naturally generated, naturally completed.

4 They can become lost, out of place

5 Due to sorrow, happiness,

6 joy, anger, desire, or profit-seeking.

7 If you are able to cast off sorrow, happiness,

8 joy, anger, desire and profit-seeking,

9 Your Heart will return to its natural flow

10 The natural emotion of the Heart

11 Is beneficial calmness and tranquility.

12 Do not vex it, do not disturb it

13 And harmony will naturally develop.


zhang 4

1 Clear! as though right by your side.

2 Vague! as though it will not be attained.

3 Indescribable! as though beyond the limitless.

4 The proof of this is not far off:

5 Daily we make use of its inner power.

6 The Way is what fills the body,

7 Yet people are unable to fix it in place.

8 It goes forth but does not return,

9 It comes back but does not stay.

10 Silent! none can hear its sound.

11 Present! it exists within the heart.

12 Obscure! we do not see its form.

13 Manifest! it arises with us.

14 Look at it and not see its form,

15 Listen to it and not hear its sound.

16 Yet there is a course to its accomplishments.

17 We call it the Way.


zhang 5

1 The Way has no fixed position;

2 In the cultivated Heart, it gracefully abides.

3 When the heart is calm and Energy aligned

4 The Way can thereby repose.

5 The Way is not distant from us;

6 When people attain it they are fruitful

7 The Way does not leave;

8 When people are in tune with it, they understand.

9 Thus it is present! as if you need but ask for it.

10 Remote! as if dissipated and is nowhere to be found.

11 The Way's sensation:

12 How can you be in tune with its sound?

13 Cultivate your Heart and you will resonate in tune.

14 The Way thereby can be attained


zhang 6 "Dao"

1 As for Dao,

2 The mouth is not able to speak of it

3 The eyes are not able to see it

4 The ears are not able to hear it

5 It is that which cultivates the Heart and aligns the body.

6 When people lose it they die

7 When they attain it they flourish.

8 When endeavors lose it they fail;

9 When they attain it they succeed.

10 Thus Dao is always without root without trunk

11 Without leaves without flowers.

12 The myriad things are generated by it;

13 The myriad things are completed by it.

14 We declare it 'Dao'.


zhang 7 "Ruling Principles"

1 Heaven's ruling principle is to be aligned.

2 Earth's ruling principle is to be level.

3 Humanity's ruling principles are grace and tranquility.

4 Spring, autumn, winter, and summer

5 These are heaven's seasons.

6 Mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys

7 These are earth's features.

8 Pleasure and anger, taking and giving

9 These are human devices.

10 Therefore the Sage

11 Changes with the seasons and doesn't transform them,

12 Yields to things and does not change them


zhang 8 "Alignment"

1 If able to be aligned, able to be calm,

2 Only then can you be stable.

3 With a stable heart within your bosom,

4 Eyes and ears acute and clear,

5 Four limbs firm and sure,

6 You can thereby make a dwelling-place for Essence.

7 As for Essence:

8 It is the Essence of Energy.

9 Energy's Dao is to flourish,

10 To flourish is to think

11 To think is to know

12 To know is where to stop.

13 All forms of the Heart

14 Crossing over to knowledge lose life.


zhang 9 "One"

1 Those able to transform One thing are called 'Spiritual';

2 Those able to change One affair are called 'wise'.

3 To transform without expending Energy;

4 To change without expending wisdom:

5 By grasping the One only the Master is able to do this!

6 Grasp the One; do not loose it,

7 And you will be able to master the myriad things.

8 The Master acts upon things,

9 And is not acted upon by things

10 Attain to the guiding principle of the One.


zhang 10 "managing"

1 Harness the Heart within your bosom

2 Control the words issuing forth from your mouth,

3 Manage affairs in concert with others.

4 Then it follows, the world will be governed.

5 "One word is attained, and the world submits"

6 So goes the saying.


zhang 11 "Aligning the Body"

1 When the body is not aligned,

2 De will not thrive.

3 When the center is not calm

4 The Heart will not be harnessed.

5 Align the body, collect De.

6 Leave to heaven benevolence and to earth justice--

7 These will naturally thrive on their own.


zhang 12 "Attaining the Center"

1 The Spirit comprehends the Ultimate;

2 Manifest! It understands the myriad things.

3 Hold it within your bosom, do not waver.

4 Do not let external things confuse your faculties

5 Do not let your faculties confuse your Heart

6 This is called 'attaining the center.'


zhang 13 "Stabilizing Jing"

1 The Spirit naturally abides in the body,

2 One moment it goes forward, one moment it comes back,

3 No one is able to think of it.

4 Losing it results in disorder

5 Attaining it results in order.

6 Reverently purify its dwelling-place,

7 And Jing will naturally arise.

8 Jing: put aside thinking of it,

9 Still your effort to control it.

10 Strictly and reverently venerate it

11 And Jing will naturally stablize.

12 Attain it and don't let it go,

13 Ears and eyes not overflow

14 Heart and mind without any scheme,

15 Align the Heart within the breast

16 And the myriad things will attain their full measure.


zhang 14 "The Heart within the Heart"

1 Dao fills all under heaven.

2 It exists everywhere that people are,

3 But people are unable to understand this.

4 One word explains it,

5 Ascending to reach the sky;

6 Descending to the limits of earth;

7 Replete throughout the nine provinces.

8 How can I speak or explain it?

9 It exists in the calm Heart.

10 When my Heart is harnessed, my faculties are ordered.

11 When my Heart is calm, my faculties are calmed.

12 What orders them is the Heart;

13 What calms them is the Heart.

14 The Heart is used to harbor the Heart

15 At the center of the Heart is another Heart,

16 The Heart within the Heart.

17 For awareness precedes words.

18 Awareness then leads to formed reality;

19 Formed reality then leads to words.

20 Words then lead to action;

21 Action then leads to order,

22 To not be ordered invariably leads to disorder.

23 Disorder leads to death.


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'.


zhang 16 - Inner Virtue

1 If you are able to be aligned and tranquil,

2 Your skin will be supple and smooth,

3 Your ears and eyes will be acute and clear,

4 Your muscles will flex and your bones strong,

5 You will then be able to bear the Great Circle of heaven,

6 And tread over the Great Square of earth;

7 You will abase yourself with great purity,

8 Perceiving with great clarity.

9 Be reverently aware without wavering,

10 And you will daily renew your Virtue,

11 Completely comprehending the world,

12 Drawing from the Four Directions,

13 Reverently developing your wholeness.

14 This is called Inner Virtue.

15 However, should you not return to practice,

16 This will increase your instability.


zhang 17 - Practicing Dao

1 To be wholly in accord with Dao,

2 You must practice, you must focus,

3 You must expand, you must relax,

4 You must be firm, you must be regular.

5 Hold fast to excellence; do not let abandon it.

6 Chase away excess, let go of the trivial.

7 Once you know the Ultimate

8 You will return to Dao and De.


zhang 18 - Manifest Qi

1 When the whole Heart is centered,

2 It cannot be concealed or hidden.

3 It is apparent from your body's appearance,

4 It is visible by your skin color.

5 With good Qi, when you greet others,

6 They will be kinder than brothers and sisters.

7 With bad Qi, when you greet others,

8 They will harm you with force and weapons.

9 The sound of 'no-words'

10 Is louder than the thunder of a drum.

11 The perceptible form of the Heart's Qi

12 Is brighter than the sun and moon,

13 And more concerned than parents.

14 Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good;

15 Punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad.

16 The mind attains Qi,

17 And the world submits.

18 The Heart and mind stabilized,

19 And the world listens.


zhang 19 - Concentrating Qi

1 When you concentrate Qi like a spirit,

2 All things will support your existence.

3 Are you able to concentrate, able to be one with them?

4 Are you able to be without divining or counting stalks,

5 Yet know bad and good fortune?

6 Are you able to stop? Are you able to be yourself?

7 Are you able to not demand from others,

8 Yet attain it within yourself?

9 You think about it and think about it.

10 And again, deeply think about it.

11 You think about it, yet you can't fathom it.

12 A Spiritual Being will fathom it,

13 Not due to the Spiritual Being's power,

14 But due to the ultimate of Jing and Qi.

15 When your four limbs are aligned

16 Your blood and Qi are tranquil;

17 When your mind is one and your heart concentrated,

18 And your ears and eyes not distracted;

19 Even that which is most remote will be accessible.


zhang 20 - Self-Realization

1 Thinking and searching generate knowledge.

2 Laziness and ease generate worry.

3 Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.

4 Worry and grief generate disease.

5 Disease then causes death.

6 When you think about it and don't let it go,

7 You will be internally distressed and externally weak.

8 Dont let little things become big plans,

9 Else life will abandon you.

10 Eat, but do not exceed your appetite,

11 Think, but do not overanalyze.

12 Temper and put these in balance,

13 And you will attain self-realization.


zhang 21 - Balance and Alignment

1 As for all human life,

2 Heaven brings forth its Jing/essence,

3 Earth brings forth its bodily form.

4 These join in order to make a person.

5 When in harmony, then there is life;

6 When not in harmony then there is no life.

7 In examining the Dao of harmony,

8 You cannot sense it by sight,

9 You cannot summon it by a chance meeting.

10 When balance and alignment fill your chest,

11 And respiration is governed within the heart,

12 This results in enhanced life.

13 When fondness and resentment cause you to lose stability,

14 Then make a determination

15 To restrict the five desires,

16 To remove these two misfortunes.

17 Do not be fondly attached, do not be resentful,

18 Let balance and alignment fill your chest.


zhang 22 - Stabilizing Your Nature

1 As for all human life,

2 It must flow from balance and alignment

3 Where we lose these,

4 Must be by fondness, resentment, worry and anxiety.

5 Therefore, to stop resentment there's nothing like poetry;

6 To cast aside worry there's nothing like music;

7 To temper music there's nothing like ritual;

8 To keep to ritual there's nothing like reverence;

9 To keep to reverence there's nothing like stillness.

10 When inwardly still and outwardly reverent

11 You are able to return to your nature

12 Your nature will become greatly stable.


zhang 23 - Dao of Eating

1 As for the Dao of eating,

2 Overeating harms the body

3 And brings misfortune

4 Undereating dries up the bones

5 And congeals the blood

6 The point between overeating and undereating:

7 This is called harmonious completion.

8 It is the where jing abides

9 And where wisdom is generated.

10 When hunger and eating lose balance,

11 Then make a determination

12 When full, move away from gluttony;

13 When hungry, expand your thoughts beyond food;

14 When old, abandon anxiety.

15 If you don't move away from gluttony,

16 Qi will not circulate within your extremities.

17 If when lusting food you dont expand your thoughts,

18 When you eat you will not stop.

19 If when old you dont abandon anxiety,

20 This will cause your alertness to be exhausted.


zhang 24 - Recycling Qi

1 Enlarge your Heart and release it,

2 Expand your Qi and increase it,

3 Your body calm and unmoving;

4 You're able to hold to the one

and abandon the myriad distractions.

5 You see profit and are not tempted,

6 You see harm and do not fear;

7 Detached and relaxed, yet compassionate,

8 In solitude enjoying yourself,

9 This is called recycling Qi,

10 Your thoughts and actions are like heaven.


zhang 25 - Not Forcing

1 As for all human life,

2 It thrives within serenity.

3 Worry results in the loss of disipline,

4 Resentment results in the loss of equilibrium.

5 When worried or sad, fondly attached or resentful,

6 The Dao then is without abode.

7 Fondness and desire: still them,

8 Folly and confusion: correct them.

9 Do not pull, do not push,

10 Good fortune will naturally return,

11 The Dao will naturally come.

12 By this means you can rely on it.

13 Tranquility results in attaining it,

14 Impatience results in losing it.


zhang 26 - Dao of Tempering Desire

1 The ephemeral Qi within the Heart:

2 One moment it comes, one moment it departs.

3 So minute, it is without interior;

4 So great, it is without exterior.

5 Where we lose it

6 Is due to our impatience causing harm.

7 When the Heart maintains stillness,

8 Dao will naturally stabilize.

9 For people who attain Dao,

10 It pervades their structure to the tip of their hair.

11 At the center of their chest, nothing is lost.

12 Temper desire with Dao

13 And the myriad things will not trouble you.


translation © 2005 - shazi daoren



some of these phrases were very difficult.

some of them didn't quite align with daojia,

or at least to my understanding of it.

it's very difficult to be unbiased in translation.


zhang 6

this is close to a literal translation

Heart is xin - heart/mind


zhang 7

the first three lines are quite terse

in chinese heaven-rule-align, etc.

i followed a bit of roth's approach

to solving this obliqueness.


zhang 8

this verse seems core to neiye

and equates jing and qi as the

object of alignment. such alignment

focuses on calmness, centered heart,

a specific awareness of eyes and ears,

and posture. then jing is able to

dwell and qi is able to flourish

(grow, flourish, be born, etc.) this

doesn't seem to result in emptiness

but rather a level of thought that

stops short of knowledge.


zhang 9

this is a very interesting verse.

the first two lines don't convey

the One theme as well as in the

chinese, where line 1 starts 'One thing'

and line 2 'One affair'. This focus

on 'One' is replete in this zhang.

The Master - junzi, is the same word

konzi uses as the 'superior man'.

i felt that the use of Master in 9.5

juxtaposed against the verb 'master' in 9.7

works very well.

I really like the concept the master

acts (not wei, but rather, shi) upon

things and is not acted upon was

an interesting concept. Although

the 'One' concept seems quite daoist,

the use of junzi and some of the

act on things don't be acted upon

may be a bit confucian.


zhang 10

harness, control, manage, govern

are all the same word in chinese.

yet the idea conveys better as

multiple words appropriate to the

object of each line.

The last two lines are a bit

enigmatic, and i've translated it

as close to the text as i could.

it's a powerful statement, perhaps

a bit of hyperbole, but yet the

idea of attaining dao in later

daojiao does empower the Master.


zhang 11

the Roth translation seems to ignore

line 6 which is 'tian ren di yi'

'heaven benevolence earth justice/righteousness'


roth has:

5 Align your body, assist the inner power,

6 Then it will gradually come on its own.


true, benevolence and righteousness

are distinctly confucian thoughts, yet

it makes more sense to contrast these

with the last line having a form of

'ziran' but not exactly 'self so'.


zhang 12

This is where the 'spirit' begins to take

some central importance in the neiye.

i spent two days thinking about one word

here - guan - "Government", translated in

line 4 and 5 as 'faculties'. roth translates it

'senses', which isn't quite it, as i see it,

it would be the government or constitution

of the body, your general health/faculties.


zhang 13

i left more words in this cut untranslated,

especially Jing, De, and Qi, meaning:

jing - the essence

De - Virtue

Qi - well, Qi, ch'i, Energy.

but some words, spirit/shen, heart/xin

i have translated. i'm just inconsistent

that way - dao ke dao.


zhang 14

this zhang is amazing, and amazingly

difficult to translate.

1-7 portray the 'dao is everywhere' concept

8-9 introduce the core teaching, that

dao is accessible only by what's in the Heart.

I did not translate Heart as Xin, although it

isn't quite heart either. it's heart/mind.

10-16 may be some of the most powerful

words I've read in daojia regarding the

centrality of what's in the heart/mind.

even to the point that the writer is

juxtaposing the conscious heart/mind

with the unconcious heart/mind, that

one, not sure which, controls the other.

17-23 show a descent from awareness

'mind'/yi through the embodiment

of ideas into actions and order.

i'm not sure this isn't more confucian

than daojia. there's definitely no wuwei

here, and sort of an exalting of order

and action.


zhang 15

i can't begin to express the beauty of the language here.


zhang 16

most of these lines are without pronouns.

hence, i could have said 'if i am able to...'

it's hard to tell whether 2 3 and 4 are

consequences of alignment and tranquility

or additional conditions to be met for 5 thru 8.

basically, 1-4 may set the stage for the

four 'greats' in 5-8.

in 4 and 6, there are references to

'great circle' and 'great square'.

roth puts 'of the heavens' and 'of the earth'

in brackets, but i simplified a bit here

in order to easily get the reference.

i still haven't made up my mind whether

it's better to say 'de' or 'Virtue'.

for some reason 'Virtue' in this zhang

feels better to me.

in 7 there's a word 'jian', which means

cheap or lowly, which i interpret as

abasing or humbling oneself.

in 12 there's a word 'qiong', which

means exhaust or poor, roth used 'exhaust',

but it doesn't seem to make sense in

context. draw from is a way to exhaust

something, which is what i used.

and the 'four directions' is an

idomatic expression, it actually says

the 'four ji' as in four ridgepoles or extremes.

we might say in archaic engllish,

'the four corners of the earth.'

this is all called 'inner virtue' neide.

what a concept! inner cultivation

results in inner virtue...

line 15 has 'ran er' so yet...

which together mean 'however'

in modern chinese. i felt this

combination made better sense,

yet these two last lines are

difficult at best to translate.


zhang 17

this starts, literally, 'all dao'

which can also be entirely dao.

to make sense of this in context

there are a set of six practices

that 'must' be one's discipline.

hence, i came back to

to be wholly (one with)

in accord with dao.

line 5 'excellence' is shan, good, good-at

i felt excellence a better fit,

the attribute of disciplined practice.

to say 'hold fast to the good'

would simply not fit.

Ultimate is 'ji' as in taiji, wuji.

the ridgepole.

once you know the taiji/wuji,

or in other words, the 'jis',

you return to daode.

very interesting thought.


zhang 18

line 1 could be entire heart exists in center.

but it seems to make better sense

in the light of earlier use of zhong/center,

to focus on the centered heart.

lines 2-8 are easy translations, quite literal.

lines 9-10 are quite close to literal,

line 10 first word is 'ji'

which might mean spreading hate or sickness

but in context, it seems better to say 'is louder than'

i suggest that ji is just a metaphor for being

disruptively loud. this would appear to

be an idiomatic axiom.

13 is a difficult translation.

16 and 18 have 'yi' - mind, idea, intention,

and given that 18 has both yi and xin,

i feel comfortable translating yi as mind

in most places here. Yi seems to be

the rational thinking mind.

the promises of all the world submitting

or listening are a bit hyperbolic here.

i think the writer is trying to get across

that by concentrating qi and aligning

the heart/mind, whatever an individual

can do naturally thereafter happens,

whereas forcing things without the

internal de/qi is simply a waste of



zhang 19

this is an amazing verse.

i don't have much to say about

the translation, for the most part

it came easily and is straightforward.

line 1 'like a spirit' is literally what it says.

then in lines 12 and 13, guishen

reappars 'spiritual being' - ghost spirit.

this is the disembodied jing in chapter 1.

in other words, no matter how much

one thinks about something,

you won't get it.

having qi concentrated from jing,

as would a spiritual being, one

simply understands stuff.

how does the human being do this?

aligning the body, calming the blood

(heart-beat) and breath, centering

the heart and mind through some

form of meditation (the neiye is

not specific as to what). this

will collect energy/qi, and align

the person's spirit with dao, attaining de.

in such a state, one can 'see the world'

without leaving his/her village.


zhang 20

the first four lines are causal pairs

of things resulting in something 'bad'

notice that 'knowledge' is in the

same class as worry, resentment, and disease.

the four 'bads' escalate to death.

it may be innocent enough to think and search,

but if you think about it, it will burn you up.

line 8 is quite funny, literally,

'no flea makes plans', which

also must be some sort of

idiomatic expression. seems more

appropriate to 'nip little things in the bud',

like several zhang of ddj.

lines 10 and 11 have dual negatives

in them, and it's easier to understand

in chinese than translate.

the idea is to eat and think moderately,

not as if (literally) you can't get enough.

line 13 literally says 'you will self realize'

it's a very powerful statement.


zhang 21 - 7-9

there's a theme here that i cannot quite translate

accurately. the theme is around the harmony

of dao, that its 'emotion' cannot be 'seen'

and it's 'note of chinese scale' cannot be 'completed'.

i'm sure red will see in this something about

sound meditation, and perhaps there is a

sense of how the harmony of dao isn't

quite like traditional sound or music.


the idea, however, conveys to me that there

is a futility in trying to see dao with one's eye's

or hear it with one's ears.

there is a translation of the chinese note

as a summons, summon it by a chance meeting

is an accurate translation. it also is similar

to some phrases in sunzi bingfa around summoning

information. in the end, i like where this landed.


fondness and resentment are also joy and anger

and were translated such in a previous zhang.

however, the joy here is really a fondness,

an attachment to people and things, not

the ecstasy found in meditation or 'true

happiness' whatever that may be.


given that fondness has its opposite in

resentment, and this anger is truly the

type directed toward others, then fondness

and resentment seem to translate better.


14 - make a determination - is actually

'make a plan', or lay it out on paper in

form of a diagram. i could argue that

daojia seems to be against making plans,

but in fact there are several zhang

in ddj around planning things when

they're small. so, instead of an elaborate

plan, which this isn't really talking about,

it's more about commitment.

a determination to do the type of

inner cultivation that rectifies the

dificiencies of one's training.


zhang 22 isn't hard to translate, i just

have a hard time with the premise

that one can use music and ritual

as a means of attaining stability.

that's a personal matter -- not that

i don't participate in ritual or music,

but rather whether such are consistent

with daojia. it really doesn't matter,

because in the context of these

writings, daojia and rujia are not

in conflict within neiye.


zhang 23 clearly is about balanced

diet between over- and undereating.

the problem lies in line 4, where the

words at the beginning, da she, is

really mean 'great absorbtion'.

all i can say is that it must be

idiomatic for undereating or great

fasting of some sort. the context

all clearly points to a mean between

overfilling and something else.

in line 15, the phrase begins with

'abalone', implying that when one

is in the presence of a food delicacy,

one has to be able to move away

from a type of sick envy. literally:

abalone - as a rule/result - sick envy - move.

in other words, don't let the lust for

fine food absorb you into a sick envy;

move away from it! All that is just

easier said move away from gluttony.

the last two lines might be better said,

but the translation here is pretty much

as written - this will cause (ci jiang).


zhang 24 is nearly a perfect

description of the result of neiye.

what is neiye? in my opinion,

any type of meditation where the

body maintains a relaxed alignment,

the chest expanded to allow for

deep breathing, an awareness yet

ability to detach from distraction.

to do this, one balances eating

sleeping, and the sense desires;

drawing upon Jing to cultivate

Qi, and Dao to cultivate De.

When you do this, when you're

with others you can be detached

and relaxed yet compassionate,

and when alone you can truly

enjoy yourself.


zhang 25 - so can all this be

trained? forced? hell no.

no pulling no pushing no

forcing at all. just let it flow

tranquility and serenity allow

'it' to stabilize. impatience,

literally, causes you to lose 'it'.


zhang 26 - ephemeral could

also be mysterious - it's kind of

like a dead spirit in the etymology

very temporary, but not necessarily

fleeting. i think 'ephemeral' captures

the idea.

line 6 hits impatience again.

key thought.

line 9 and 10 - those who 'attain',

dao pervades everything from

structure through hair. i could

ask 'how can one attain something

that is already everywhere?'.

yet there is no exact distinction

in neiye between dao/de/jing/qi.

whatever 'it' is, 'it' is forever

nameless, so these labels tend

not to be precise in their meaning

in the original, nor in translation.

the last two lines are poetic

without grammar

"Dao of tempering desire [resuts in]

10K things no trouble"

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There is a page somewhere in the ocean of information that contains this and other Taoist texts. I long lost the link :( Maybe someone knows what I am talking about.

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An online version of Harold Roth's translation of the Nei Ye can currently be found here:


Harold Roth also has a book on this, entitled "Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism"


The Nei Ye is thought by scholars to have originated in the 4th Century BCE,so it is an interesting text to compare to the Tao Te Ching. There are a number of similar concepts in the two works. The Nei Ye describes various principles and theory and practicing tips in regards to using stillness meditation for the purposes of 'cultivating tao'.

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So do we want to start from scratch with Sean's incredible version, or do we want to continue on the path we've already started? Or can we somehow merge the two? We're currently discussing chapters 8 and 9, I think - but nobody's chewing.


I think I'll add Sean's version to the 8 & 9 chapter already in existence; this will give us great stuff for triangulation.

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-bump- so i can find it again

pffft to whoever shredded the subcategory sectionings.

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rene, today is my first visit to this section in a long time and i was looking forward to some fun chuang tzu discussion.

instead , i think i will just leave as i have no desire to try to go thru the tedious and burdensome task of trying to find

my way thru this labryinth. i am kinda shocked to be honest

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hi zerostao - that was kinda my thinking as well.


here lately,

I've mastered the art

of doing very little,




time to swim in the mountain streams.


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Anyone interested in further discussion of Nei Yeh?

I haven't been around for a while and have had little taste for most of the discussions on the board...

Nei Yeh has always been intriguing, however.

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neiye in some ways is my favorite ancient document.

i have taken time, from time to time, to ponder on it , since manituo

took it up here on ttb. and i hesitate to speak much on it,

even if i agree it is intriguing.

it is definately a personal cultivation text.

from my perspective in considers Te as "power" and as in a "moral" type of thing.

and thru Te one can attract better qi

i also think it is saying that shen is indeed spirit or a spirit consciousness

i would like to hear others thoughts especially on chapters 8 & 9

Edited by zerostao

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neiye in some ways is my favorite ancient document.

i have taken time, from time to time, to ponder on it , since manituo

took it up here on ttb. and i hesitate to speak much on it,

even if i agree it is intriguing.

it is definately a personal cultivation text.

from my perspective in considers Te as "power" and as in a "moral" type of thing.

and thru Te one can attract better qi

i also think it is saying that shen is indeed spirit or a spirit consciousness

i would like to hear others thoughts especially on chapters 8 & 9

zhang 8 "Alignment"

1 If able to be aligned, able to be calm,

2 Only then can you be stable.

3 With a stable heart within your bosom,

4 Eyes and ears acute and clear,

5 Four limbs firm and sure,

6 You can thereby make a dwelling-place for Essence.

7 As for Essence:

8 It is the Essence of Energy.

9 Energy's Dao is to flourish,

10 To flourish is to think

11 To think is to know

12 To know is where to stop.

13 All forms of the Heart

14 Crossing over to knowledge lose life.


Some random thoughts about Chapter 8.


The foundation of Daoist practice is tranquility. One must have a dedicated practice area where you are certain not to be disturbed. There are several characteristics that are recommended but the most important is that it be free from interruption.


Next, to achieve the tranquil state, one needs to be physically, emotionally, and psychologically stable. Stable physical posture is critical, as is a stable, clam, and abiding presence and heart.


Eyes and ears acute and clear, four limbs firm and sure - we want no distraction but we also don't want to doze off. Most people close their eyes early on in practice but it's even more skillful to leave them open yet not be distracted by the visual image, auditory input, etc... Similarly, stability of the physical body is critical to allow deepening. I also think these lines point to the need to see clearly in your life and relationships, hear clearly (that is - listen actively, understand what is being said,.... and firmness of the limbs refers to physical health and preparation for dedicated training.


More to come (like it or not! :D)

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zhang 8 "Alignment"



7 As for Essence:

8 It is the Essence of Energy.

9 Energy's Dao is to flourish,

10 To flourish is to think

11 To think is to know

12 To know is where to stop.

13 All forms of the Heart

14 Crossing over to knowledge lose life.

7 -As for essence (Jing);

8 -it is the 'essence' of energy (Qi)


- pointing us toward the relationship of Jing to Qi. This is something that must be experienced and cultivated through your specific practice. Daoist method uses the Yi to guide the Qi - this generates the Jing.


Lines 7/8 can also read (Roth):

-The vital essence (Jing): it is the essence of the vital energy (Qi)

-When the vital energy (Qi) is guided [by Yi], it [Jing] is generated

These lines are instructing us to use the Yi to guide the Qi (eg using the MCO), to generate the Jing


9 -Qi's Dao is to flourish - Qi won't be restrained, it's not something "you" "have" - it is not contained, not in the body or the dan tians, they are only antennae, the way I feel it. Qi is an awareness, not a possession. It is non-local. We only interact with it.


10-12 - To flourish is to think, to think is to know, to know is where to stop - a simple, yet profound guide to the quality of perception that relates to Jing and Qi and the arising of names, discrimination, knowledge. As thought arises, naming arises, as naming and discrimination arise, the truth is lost.....


13/14 All forms of the heart (xin); Crossing over to knowledge loses life.

Another translation of 13/14 is (Roth):

Whenever the forms of mind (xin) have excessive knowledge....

your vitality is lost.


When the thought enters, the quality of perception/awareness which is how the Yi relates to Qi, is gone like a spark. The first translation emphasizes that by using heart for xin and contrasting that with knowledge. But heart and mind are related in this - xin. Roth uses forms of mind which I think is closer to how we would think of xin and it's role in this context.


Vitality, life, mindfulness, holding the one, whatever you want to call it... this quality of attention or feeling (I refer to it as a 6th sense) that is cultivated through these exercises (eg MCO), is extinguished when thought and knowledge interfere. This is not to be thought of or 'figured out' or 'understood' - it is a distinct and specific quality of attention and awareness in the body that is not of thought or intellect. And that is where JIng, Qi, and Shen operate.

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Nice to see you here, steve. I'm listening... :)

Thanks RV, nice to 'see' you too!



[edit - Sorry, this is Chapter 9]




1 Those able to transform One thing are called 'Spiritual';

2 Those able to change One affair are called 'wise'.


The practice is about transformation. A moment ago we are told that when thought enters, we are lost.

This transformation is what is being talked about when we refer to alchemy.

We are transforming ourselves from conditioned, programmed passengers on the 'thought train' to liberated seekers who are seeking to master stability, stillness, and the art of listening and watching. What are they listening, watching, sitting and waiting for? For life and truth to reveal herself.


When you take that first step toward transformation, it is related to one-ness. And in other translations this may be referred to as "keeping the one" or "keeping the one point", this is a more specific technique of attending to (being mindful of) a specific point in the body. And I think there are many layers here about what one-ness refers to. It is also the exploration of where "I" begin and everything around me "ends" - the illusion of separateness. And this is just scratching the surface. But something happens when we begin this practice in a skillful manner, and that attention to one's nature leads us to:


謂之神 We call him/her 'spiritual' or 'spirit-like' or 'of the spirit'. In a more practical sense, this is reference to the fact that if you begin to master the process of using Yi to guide Qi and generate Jing, then the next level of transformation occurring is the arising of or awareness of Shen - 神.


So then can we bring this process out of the cave and into our lives and relationships?

Can this inform our every act and choice?

Can it replace the endless monkey chatter in our heads and the rote, uninformed lives we are leading?

This is wisdom.


More later, gonna go practice!


Edited by steve
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Neiye (Inward Training), introduction and translation by Louise Komjathy



ShouYi, thank you for posting the Komjathy link. I have only skimmed it so far, but it looks very interesting and informative.


One could hardly guess it from my posts over the years, but one of my primary reasons for joining the Tao Bums back in January of 2009 was interest in the Neiye. From early 2006 to mid 2009 the Neiye was the focal point of studies of Warring States literature with the intent of understanding the context in which it appears and its relationship to Mencian Confucianism, a connection which Roth is at great pains to minimize and no one seems to want to explore. Komjathy seems content to largely follow Roth's lead, but at the very least his introductory historical and terminological discussion seems to be very good.


Thanks again.



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Guanzi Neiye Links:


Kirklands's paper:



Introduction by Kirkland, Translation by Roth: [broken... need replacement]


Jstor signup required:

Roth: Psychology and Self-Cultivation in Early Taoistic Thought  (Read Online)

Roth:  Evidence for Stages of Meditation in Early Taoism   (Read Online)

Indiana University, Early Chinese Thought Fall 2010 (R.Eno)
The Inner Enterprise (Guanzi)


By Bruce Linnell


By Shazi Daoren (on TDB)


Yueya (stored on TDB)

Neiye Booklet


Komjathy - Inward Training Komjathy - Handbooks for Daoist Practice/Komjathy - Inward Training.pdf


A Chinese Model of Cognition - Neiye  (click PDF icon)


Emptying the Mind and Stilling the Body Syncretism in the Concept of Self-Regulation in Chapter 22 of the Chunqiu fanlu


Guanzi Other Works:

Guanzi Xin Shu I:

Guanzi Xin Shu II:

Guanzi Bai Xin:

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On 7/6/2013 at 8:39 PM, steve said:

The practice is about transformation. A moment ago we are told that when thought enters, we are lost.


Hi steve,


Yes ~ I used to be lost when I thought too much with words.


Then feelings set in and the rest is history.


- Anand

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Ayo @sean 


i have been blind to your treasure right in front of me for more time and years i didn’t know. Hidden in plain sight and shit for this grumbling stumbling fool, thanks for making this available.

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On 7/5/2013 at 7:22 PM, steve said:

-Qi's Dao is to flourish - Qi won't be restrained, it's not something "you" "have" - it is not contained, not in the body or the dan tians, they are only antennae, the way I feel it. Qi is an awareness, not a possession. It is non-local. We only interact with it.

I like this discussion of qi. 

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