Song to Inspire the World

Discussion in 'Tao' started by Vajradhara, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    this is another of the teachings in the Secret of the Golden Flower, the classic Chinese Book of Life.

    this book, the Secret of the Golden Flower, is a lay Buddhist and Taoist practice manual and, as such, dispenses with some of the more esoteric symbolism that is normally found in taoist alchemical literature, though there is still a fair amount that the reader may find unfamiliar.

    Because of the warmth of my cinnabar heart to liberate the world, I do not refrain from talking a lot. Buddha also pointed directly to life and death for a great cause, and this is truly worthwhile. Lao-tzu also lamented the existence of the egotistic self and transmitted the teaching of the open spirit, but people did not discern. Now I give a general explanation of finding the road of truth:

    The pervasive principle of the center
    Bears universal change;

    The very being of true poise
    Is the mysterious pass.

    Midnight, noon, and in between,
    If you can stabilize breathing,

    The light returns to the primal opening,
    So all psychic functions are calm.

    There emerges the unified energy
    Of the river source that produces the medicine.

    It passes through the screen
    and transmutes, with golden light;

    The single disk of the red sun
    Shines with constant brilliance.

    People of the world misconstrue
    The vitalities water and fire;

    Conveying them from heart and genitals,
    Thus producing seperation.

    How can the human way
    Meet the celestial mind?

    If in accord with the celestial,
    The way is naturally met.

    Put down all objects, so nothing comes to mind;
    This is the true infinity of the primal.

    Cosmic space is silent,
    Signs are gone;

    At the pass of existence and life,
    You forget conceptual consciousness.

    After conceptual consciousness is forgotten,
    You see basic reality.

    The water-clarifying pearl appears,
    Mysterious and unfathomable:

    The screen of beginningless afflictions
    Is voided all at once.

    The jade capital sends down
    A team of nine dragons;

    Walking in the sky,
    You climb the gateway of heaven:

    Controlling wind and lightning,
    You make the thunder rumble.

    Freezing the spirit and steadying the breath are for beginners;
    Retreating to hide in secrecy is eternal calm.

    commentary available upon request.

    translated by Thomas Cleary.
     
  2. Zazen

    Zazen New Member

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    its a poem about qi gong which is obvious, and about satori


    good poem though
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Zazen,

    thank you for the post.


    what about the song do you find to be teaching concerning qi gong?
     
  4. Zazen

    Zazen New Member

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    "Midnight, noon, and in between,
    If you can stabilize breathing,

    The light returns to the primal opening,
    So all psychic functions are calm."

    this is talking about qi gong. stabilizing the breath leads to qi flow, the light is qi and the primal opening could be anything im guessing the crown of the head or something

    "There emerges the unified energy
    Of the river source that produces the medicine.(qi flow, often times reffered to as a unified energy, directed by rivers and seas of energy, rivers are pathways, seas are centers of cultivation and storage. the river source is probably the dan tian, or another of the three major qi spots. often in chinese they dont say rivers and seas rather, qi meridians and qi channels and such, and btw i shouldnt have to say this but qi is always associated with "medicine" in china, or healing and cureing. their whole systems of TCM is based on it.)

    It passes through the screen
    and transmutes, with golden light;

    The single disk of the red sun
    Shines with constant brilliance.(focusing on a red sun or a single object is part of meditation which is qi gong, in particular taoist visualization techniques)

    People of the world misconstrue
    The vitalities water and fire;

    Conveying them from heart and genitals,
    Thus producing seperation.(sounds like wu xing(5 elements theory) and qi flow theory put together, because linking described between the heart and genitals and the misconstruction of water and fire

    It passes through the screen
    and transmutes, with golden light;

    How can the human way
    Meet the celestial mind?"

    "The water-clarifying pearl appears,
    Mysterious and unfathomable:"(water could be significant of purification if so this could be a discription of a golden pearl of energy, which is a goal of most tai ji juan(grand ultimate fist) students, so that qi can be conserved and stored in the dan tian and contributed to the whole body, making a "purifying" effect)

    im no scholar or master by any means, thats just what i got out of it. alot of taoists texts have hidden meanings that relate to actual practice instead of indepth study of the words and meanings
     
  5. Zazen

    Zazen New Member

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    http://www.ymaapub.com/freebies/pdf/pdf.php

    if your having trouble figureing where im coming from read some of these pdfs, yang jwing ming is the real deal, and his books are excellent, this is a link for pdf files that contain pieces of his books
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namatse Zazen,

    sorry for the tardy reply.

    according to the commentary:

    The two poems i used when i initated Zhang Zhennu long ago both contain the great Way. "after midnight and before noon" are not times, but water and fire. "settling the breath" means a state of centeredness in which you go back to the root with each breath. "sitting" means that the mind is unmoved. the "midspine where the ribs join" does not refer to vertebrae; it is the Great Road directly through to the jade capital. as for "double pass" there is something ineffable in this. "thunder in the earth rumbles, setting in motion rain on the mountain" means the arising of true energy. the "yellow sprouts emerging from the ground" refer to the growth of the medicine.

    these two little verses are exhaustive; in them the highway of practical cultivation is clear. these are not confusing words.

    Turning the light around is a matter of single minded practice: just use the true breathing for stable awareness in the central chamber. after a long time at this you will naturally commune with the spirit and attain transformation.

    This is all based on the quieting of mind and stabilization of energy. when the mind is forgotten and the energy congeals, this is a sign of effectiveness. The emptiness of energy, breath and mind is the formation of the elixir. the unification of mind and energy is incubation. Clarifying the mind and seeing its essence is understanding the Way.

    You should each practice diligently; it would be too bad if you wasted time. If you do not practice for a day, you are a ghost for a day; if you do practice for a single breath, then you are a realized immortal for a breath.

    work on this.
     
  7. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    additional commentary specific to the verses:


    "Cinnabar heart" has a dual meaning. the word for cinnabar is also used for the color of cinnabar. the color of cinnabar is in the family of red, whic is the color of compassion in Buddhism. this is the external meaning, which would probably be obvious in context even without knowledge of this traditional association. In chemical terms, cinnabar contains mercury. in alchemical terms, mercury symbolizes the mercurial nature of consciousness, so cinnabar symbolizes the matrix of consciousness.

    Many of the expressions and ideas used in the verses of the following song have already appeared in the text (Secret of the Golden Flower), some of them more than once. There are a few, however, that are new or call for further comment in this context:

    by poise in the center it is possible to bear change as it pervades all conditioned things.

    the "mysterious pass" is defined by the Book of Balance and Harmony in these terms: "sages just used the word "center" to point out the opening of the mysterious pass. this "center" is it. let me give you a convenient simile. when a puppet moves its hands and feet and gesticulates in a hundred ways, it is not that the puppet can move. It is moved by pulling strings. And thought it is a string device, it is the person controlling the puppet who pulls the stings. Do you know this person who controls the puppet? the puppet is like the body, the strings are like the mysterious pass; the person controlling the puppet is like the innermost self. the movements of the body are not done by the body; it is the mysterious pass that makes it move. but though it is the action of the mysterious pass, still it is the innermost self that activates the mysterious pass. if you can recognize this activating mechanism, without a doubt you can become a wizard.

    Midnight stands for the moment of transition from rest to activity; noon stands for the moment of transition from activity to rest. the whole line means "all the time," but special attention is called to the transitions represented by midnight and noon, which occur not only from day to day but also from hour to hour in action and rest and from moment to moment in thought.

    the "primal opening" is described by Chang Po-tuan in his Four Hundred Words on the Gold Elixir in these terms: "this opening is not an ordinary aperture: made by heaven and earth together, it is called the lair of spirit and energy.

    the "river source that produces the medicine" is an image from Chang Po-tuan's Understanding Reality, which says, "if you want to know the location of the river source which produces the herb, it is just in the southwest, its original homeland." Liu I-ming explains, "the Southwest is the direction of earth the realm where the new moon returns, where yin at its extreme gives birth to yang. In people, this is the time of beginning movement when stillness has reached its extreme. This movement from the extreme of stillness is precisely when the great medicine appears. However, this movement is not the stirring of emotions at external influences, and it is not the stirring of thoughts in the mind. It is the movement of the innate knowledge of the natural mind, the movement of the real knowledge of the mind of Tao."


    in the psychophysiological Taoist energetics, water is associated with the genitals, fire is associated with the heart: the intercourse of water and fire is then defined as placing the attention (associated with the heart) in the lower abdomen (associated with the genitals). According to the Book of Balance and Harmony, this practice is in the lower grade of gradual methods. the attitude towards this practice expressed here by the Doctrine of the Golden Flower is another typical example of its purism.

    the "water-clarifying pearl" is a Buddhist metaphor for enlightenment, or for the pure mind.

    the "jade capital" is a Taoist symbol for the supreme spiritual state. Nine is the number for yang, symbolizing positive energy in full bloom; dragons represent the inconceivable fluidity of spirit.

    in the terminology of I Ching symbolism as it is used in Taoist alchemy, wind stands for accord and penetration; lightning is associated with fire, which stands for awareness and understanding. Together they form the sign called The Cauldron which represents "producing illumination through following an initatory process," according to Liu I-mings' explanation in the Taoist I Ching. the symbol of thunder is movement, specifcally the initial activation of positive energy in the sense of real knowledge.

    here again it is made clear that the opening of the enhanced consiousness known as the golden flower is not a matter of routine performance of yogic exercises.

    the image of "retreating to hide in secrecy" is explained in the Book of Balance and Harmony in these terms: "it is written, 'the sages used the Changes [I Ching] to clean their hearts, and withdrew into recondite secrecy.' What does this mean? It is the consummation of sincerity and truthfulness. the principles of the Changes extend throughout the macrocosm and the microcosm; sages ponder the principles of the Changes to clean their hearts and thoughts, and store them in ultimate sincerity."

    the two poems used by Lu Yan when initiating Zhang Zhennu, who was to become a fairly famous Immortal Sister, a female Taoist adept, are quoted with an energetics-oriented interepetation in Spiritual Alchemy for Women. the original verses read:

    After midnight and before noon,
    Settle the breathing and sit.
    As the energy goes through
    The double pass at midspine
    And on through the brain,
    Gaining the power of energy
    Contemplate the self.


    You must find the ancestor of your own house.
    Thunder in the earth rumbles,
    Setting in motion rain on the moutain.
    Wait until washing,
    And the yellow sprouts emerge from earth.
    Grab the golden essence of vitality
    And lock it up tightly.
    Fire metal and wood
    To produce the Dragon and Tiger.

    (Immortal Sisters)
     
  8. Zazen

    Zazen New Member

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    "here again it is made clear that the opening of the enhanced consiousness known as the golden flower is not a matter of routine performance of yogic exercises"

    i dont know what 'yogic exercises' your talking about, but its plain to see from the commentary, that this poem is an indepth manual on qi gong, what style, for what purpose..i have no idea.

    what i do know is taoists dont talk, or write cryptically for nothing. and they never talk about something they do not experience. if you understood the depth of qi gong you would recognize what im talking about, i just wish i had a better understanding of classical chinese
     
  9. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    I think there is something here in the commentary of Zazen. I cannot put it into words nor is there a ready metaphor that I may use. There is a touch or essense of Qigong and Tai Chi and meditation practice all rolled up into one many-stranded ball of yarn or a can of worms.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010

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