On Constant Purity and Tranquility

The Wonderful Scripture on the Constant Purity and Tranquility, Spoken by the Ultra Supreme Elder Lord

The Elder Lord said:

The Great Tao, being formless, creates heavens and earths;
The Great Tao, being emotionless, runs the sun and the moon;
The Great Tao, being nameless, eternally nurtures all beings.
I do not know its name, and artificially call it “Tao”.

For things belong to Tao, some are pure, some are turbid; some are dynamic, and some are static. Heavens are pure, and earths are turbid; heavens are dynamic, and earths are static; the male are pure, and the female are turbid; the male are dynamic, and the female are static. It falls from the source and flows to the branches, therefore all things are produced.

The pure is the origin of the turbid; the dynamic is the base of the static. If one can always be pure and tranquil, the whole universe will return (to its origin).

A person’s divinity likes to be pure, but his heart disturbs it; a person’s heart likes to be tranquil, but his desires draw it away. If one can constantly dispel his desires, his heart will of itself become tranquil; if he also can make his heart limpid, his divinity will of itself become pure, then naturally, the six desires will not be produced and the three poisons will be cleansed. If one cannot achieve that, it is because his heart is not yet limpid, and his desires are not yet dispelled.

For a person who can achieve that, when he observes inward onto his heart, there is no heart; when he observes outward onto his body, there is no body; and when he observes remote things, there is no thing.

Since these three kinds of things have been understood by his heart of true self, he sees only the emptiness. Observe the emptiness by using the emptiness, the emptiness is not emptied. Since that which can be emptied does not exist, the inexistence of inexistence does not exist either; since the inexistence of inexistence does not exist, there comes the pellucid, bright, and everlasting tranquility. When it is tranquil but there is nothing that is made tranquil, how can desires be produced? Since no desire can be produced, that is the true tranquility — the Reality.

The Reality always corresponds to, and reflects all things; the Reality always stays in its nature. Always reflect in such a way, yet remain tranquil constantly, then it is the Constant Purity and Tranquility.

By keeping such purity and tranquility, one will gradually enter into the true Tao. When the true Tao is entered, that is called the Achievement of Tao. Though it is called the Achievement of Tao, there is actually nothing to achieve, just in order to enlighten living beings, it is called the Achievement of Tao. To those who can understand this with the heart of their true self, the sacrosanct Tao can be imparted.

The Elder Lord said:

A superior person does not compete, an inferior person loves to compete; the superior virtue is free from virtue, and the inferior virtue clings to virtue. Those who cling to anything do not understand Tao and Virtue.

The reason why living beings do not achieve the true Tao is because their hearts are deluded; their hearts being deluded, their divinities are perturbed; their divinities being perturbed, they are attached to myriads of things; being attached to myriads of things, greed and desires are produced; greed and desires being produced, worrying and afflictions also come. Worrying, afflictions, and illusionary consciousnesses torture their bodies and their hearts, and make them profaned by defilements and turbidities, wander among births and deaths, immersed in the ocean of afflictions constantly, and forever lose the true Tao.

The true and eternal Tao can be achieved naturally by those who understand it with the heart of their true self; and those who understand Tao with the heart of their true self, can constantly be pure and tranquil.

The Immortal Elder Gok said:

I had achieved the true Tao. Formerly I had recited this scripture ten thousand times. This scripture was studied and practiced by heavenly gods, and was not taught to inferior persons. I received it from Eastern Glory Heavenly Emperor, Eastern Glory Heavenly Emperor received it from Golden Gate Heavenly Emperor, Golden Gate Heavenly Emperor received it from Western Royal Mother. As for the direct line of Western Royal Mother’s disciples, they imparted it only by word of mouth, and never wrote down the words. Now for the world, I have recorded it by writing it down. A superior person, who understands it with his heart of true self, will ascend high and become a heavenly Immortal; a middling person, who practices it, will get his position in Southern Heavenly Palace; an inferior person, who gets it, will live in the world for a long time, and then roam through the three realms, and ascend into the Golden Gate.

Tzaw-Profoundness Real Person said:

For a person who studies Tao, if he recites and holds this scripture, he will be guarded by virtuous gods of the ten heavens, and then his divinity will be protected by the Jade Seal, his body will be refined by the Golden Liquid, then both his body and his divinity (sublimed souls) will become miraculously beautiful, and he will dissolve in Tao as the Reality.

Midmost One Real Person said:

If a family has this scripture and they truly understand it, no misfortune or obstruction will interfere with them, hosts of sages will guard their door, and their divinities will ascend to the high realm to worship lofty Real Persons in the present of them. When their merits are sufficient and their virtues are completed, the Heavenly Emperor will respond them, and by reciting and holding this scripture without retrogression, they will fly upward riding the clouds of purple light.

Translated into English by Silfong Tsun

Secret records of understanding the Way

TRUE AND FALSE

The Old Man of Clear Serenity said:
There is nothing in the world that does not have both

true and false versions. Practice of the Way may also be true or false, so students should first distinguish the difference clearly.

True practice is total sincerity. It is not a matter of avoiding the world or leaving society. And neither does it depend entirely on deliberate sitting and reciting scriptures. The essential thing is to refine away the false within the true to filter out the true from the false. Only then do you attain the true reality of perfect sincerity.

If you only concern yourself with reciting scriptures in front of other people and do not concern yourself with inner cultivation and self-government, or if you sit quietly all day, immobile as a statue, looking good out wardly but inwardly agitated by roaming thoughts and miscellaneous ideas‐all of this is false.

The false is antagonistic to the true, so if it is not eliminated it will harm the true. But to get rid of it you have to find the appropriate way. If you do not find the way, it is like shutting the door to catch a robber; the false can not be eliminated and the true issure to get hurt.

People who are not of the highest wisdom are influenced and conditioned by false images every day, so they lose sight of natural realities. They are so used to untruth that it becomes truth for them.

Even if there are some who have a little higher consciousness and clearly know that worldly affairs are all artificial, when taught to cultivate the real they still find the artificial hard to relinquish. If they are to be resolute, they first have to refine themselves within the artificial until they feel they have no more interest in artificial things; if they set them aside to seek the real after that, then they will be able to find the real.

If you happen to have been born in a rural area and are basically uncomplicated and unaffected, and never having experienced the bedazzlement of prosperity you do n o t know there is such a thing asartificiality, then you do not know there is reality either. That is because the real is hidden within the artificial and the artificial is not outside the real. What is quintessential is to be able to find out the real in the midst of the artificial and discern the artificial in the midst of the real.

Therefore cultivation of the Way does not require leaving home. You must mix with society, harmonizing illumination, living in the material world without being infected by materialism.

The Old Man of Clear Serenity said:
In quiet sitting, whether or not there is a specific process, you should not cling to form. If you consciously and deliberately try to apply mental images, you are prone to develop all sorts of illnesses. That is called drawing a snake with legs on it; you will bring trouble on yourself.

When we look into the source of this problem, we find it can be attributed to one’s own fixation, inflexibility, and habituation to biased views. It also comes from conceit and rigidity and failure to clarify instructions from a teacher so as to understand them thoroughly.

The upshot of this failure to abide by the principles of the practice, taking in the elixir too rapidly, without the process’s being completed, sitting hastily and carelessly before yin and yang energies have found their respective places.

Some consciously focus their attention on the lower elixir field when they sit. Some roll their eyes up into their heads to gaze upward. They are doing mental gymnastics.

Some concentrate attention on the breathing, like pumping a bellows. Some focus their minds on counting breaths, trying to take energy in without letting it out.

There are a number of such patterns. They can cause dizziness, deafness, reddening of the eyes, distention of the abdomen, pain in the tendons and bones, mental fogginess, nocturnal emissions, and other symptoms.

People who lack the basic capacity tend to develop illnesses by what they do in their pretenses of practicing Taoism. What they do not realize is that practicing the Way is cultivating and nurturing the Way of nature, the natural course.

First it is essential to clear the mind and minimize desires. After that, you preserve and nurture the vital spirit. You may succeed in prolonging life, or even in permanent realization of wizardry or buddhahood; but the effective result is due to inconspicuous practice according to principle, clearing the mind and not making up anything‐it does not come from artificial contrivance.

Generally speaking, quiet sitting has three types of principles. First there are the principles on which higher alchemy is based. In the middle there are the principles of refining the alchemical elixir. Finally there are the principles of lower alchemy.

So every step has its process. The order must be understood, the principles must be observed. Even those who are sincere and genuine may be able to keep the principles of preparation and procedure, but most act carelessly when it comes to completion.

I am going to reverse the order and talk about lower alchemy. You cannot rush; you will be finished only when you have attained thorough resolution, so that your vital spirit is clear and fresh. Otherwise you will merely have one or two experiences, or the process will break down after starting.

If you are careless with lower alchemy, it is very easy to cause harm. I see so many people trying to practice without doing it correctly from the start. Before their minds are settled, and before they have perceived the right conditions, they immediately cross their legs, fold their hands, and deliberately sit. Their heads are not right to start with; their bodies are not upright,their gaze is not even. They try to operate the process before the fire is even burning in the furnace. Even though there remain a number of conditions that have to be present, they cannot wait‐ they thus shut eyes tight, so that purity and pollution are not distinguished and positive energy cannot rise. This way of practice is hardly effective.

In practice, the eyes and ears are the most difficult point. If you simply take the distention of the primary opening to be the process of the work, you may experience itching and ringing in the ears, blurriness in the eyes, and drooling from the mouth that must be consciously drawn in. These are all examples of inability to await the right opportunity, like eyesight and light unable to combine.

If the opening of the ears has not been shut to the outside, the breath in the nose has not become subtle, the true liquid has not been produced, or the fire in the furnace has not been ignited, no state is genuine.

It is altogether essential to reach the point where the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue merge, and vitality, energy, and spirit fuse; that is when the light of insight shines forth. If you do not wait for the medicine to be produced and the fire to ignite, how can the great elixir be refined? If the firing is insufficient, the negative polluted energy in the body cannot be cleared away. Then pure positive energy cannot rise.

I always tell people that the first essential of practice is to even the temper well. You should not practice sitting hastily; wait until positive energy rises and the medicine is produced – only then is the time right.

When it comes to contemplating emptiness, it is essential to attain reversal of attention inward, the state of turning the light around. Rolling the eyes up into the head is not reversal of attention, nor is it turning the light around when the eyes see darkness. You must reach the point where the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, and the breathing in the nose is extremely subtle. Then you have no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; you are aware only of the existence of the primary opening, nothing else.

When you arrive here, the light of your true nature emerges. This is called the celestial monarch of the four elements offering a bowl.

Afterward, work on not letting go of this little mystic pass; that will surely be a good way to produce an alchemical pill. But work individually, because the state of turning the light around may take more or less time, depending on the individual.

Above all, don’t be in a hurry. If you do n o t wait for a genuine state to occur but forcibly withdraw your vision and consider that to be turning the light around, sitting with your eyes closed, then positive energy cannot get in and negative energy cannot get out. You will only toil uselessly, without benefit.

There are some people who roll their eyes up into their heads and gaze upward with excessive force. If they do this for a long time, they will suffer either brain damage or possibly blindness, both irreversible. This is very harmful, so I have taken up the admonitions left by the masters over the ages to systematically encompass the practical requirements for realizing the Way.

I have revealed the mechanisms of mysticism without fear of celestial regulations, in hopes that each individual may find out what it is to be human, and return home, to permanent realization of the state of fulfillment of higher development.

If you have worked for a long time but have not perceived any truth, it is because your mind is still unstable. Sages taught people to know how to stop, after which there is stability, calm, and peaceful meditation. The function of stabilization is great indeed! If you practice correctly, your mind will be stable and your temper will be even‐how could you then be unable to perceive truth?

Sitting work is called quiet sitting because it is a matter of cleaning all the pollution from your mind. Once the pollution is gone and your mind is clear, truth naturally becomes evident. The reason people cannot see truth is simply because their minds are too noisy and they cannot see through things and events as they really are.

Whether or not they practice quiet sitting, practitioners of the Way must clean old impurities out of the mind, making it clear and pure. Renew this work daily, without haste or hurry, and eventually you will spontaneously see the benefit.

So when you begin, it is essential to make a real effort. Accumulating vitality is setting up the foundation. Stopping thoughts is principal. Unifying spirit and energy is obtaining the medicine. Keeping the spirit still and not letting it scatter is incubation. Refining the spirit back into cosmic space is obtaining the alchemical pill. After the pill is complete, is it not the highest universal truth?

There is a folk saying that if you want effort to deepen, wear an iron pestle down to an embroidery needle. The point is that practitioners of the Way must not be in a hurry to see results.

Whether or not there is any progress cannot be determined on the surface. You should know there is a time to rise up and a time to lie low, a time to go forward and a time to withdraw. It is like walking a mountain path, which has high and low places, even and uneven places‐how can it be viewed as all the same?

You just have to follow the right pathway and you won’t go wrong. As long asyou don’t stop walking, eventually you will reach the peak, so why hurry? If you hurry, your legs and feet will get numb, your head will get dizzy, your eyesight will get blurry, and you will gasp for breath. Then, instead of speeding on your way, you have created obstacles. Unable to go on, you will give up along the way. Isn’t that a waste of all your previous effort?

Strive to break through material form, empty your body and mind, and become lively and fluid. Don’t “draw a snake with legs on it” and you will naturally not be guilty of “drawing a tiger like a dog.” Develop your character in relation to the outside world as much as you can. When your practice is accomplished and its results are fulfilled, then real truth can be seen without looking, inherently containing endless subtleties.

Reference: Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body translated by Thomas Cleary p. 123 – 130

The 10 tenets of Qigong

  1. Tranquility
  2. Experiencing
  3. Nothingness
  4. Emptiness
  5. Rootedness
  6. Openness
  7. Oneness
  8. Compassion
  9. Harmony
  10. The Way

Tranquillity
Take emptiness to the limit; maintain tranquillity in the center” — Lao Tzu

In other words immerse oneself in a state of tranquillity. It is the basic of basics that one be able to keep a peaceful mind. To be able to remain in a state of deep tranquillity is a prerequisite to attaining higher qigong states, and it is the core of practice.

The first consideration is whether we can achieve that state of tranquillity. Practically every practitioner has come across this or that difficulty, or had this experience or that attainment. For beginners, it is always difficult to relax and quiet down. This may not be a problem for someone who has a more receptive mind and whose body naturally relaxes when the mind quiets down. But for most beginners, it is very difficult to quiet one’s thoughts and relax the body. They usually need to relax their bodies before their minds can calm down.

Then, how can we enter this tranquil state? Handed down from a long time ago is a qigong saying: “substitute ten thousand thoughts with one.” It is so basic that to practice any qigong forms or routines, particularly in the elementary and intermediate stages, no one can expect to go anywhere if it is not first achieved.

What exactly is “substituting ten thousand thoughts with one”? How do we do it? Following are some answers.

First is to adjust the body. This applies to the general meditation routines, including standing and sitting meditation. While either standing or sitting, try to loosen up your body‐muscle, blood circulation, bones and countenance. When each and every organ in your body is relaxed, your mind will naturally follow. This method is easy to do and is efficacious to many. Someone who has never done qigong training should first ease off the forehead, then the eyes, and feel the effect; next loosen up the whole body, from head to heel, inside out, and untighten the muscles until there is nothing between the bones and the muscles. Little by little, the mind also quiets down.

Second is to control one’s breathing. There are quite a few breathing exercises and many books are available about methods that can be used.You can adopt any kind of breathing method as long as it helps you relax and is also convenient for you. Although there are various levels of breathing control, general practitioners should only be concerned with convenience.

Third, focus attention on certain body parts; for example, concentrate on the dantien point. This point of concentration replaces all others and gradually one enters tranquillity.

Fourth, try chanting mantras.This is essential fort he Buddhist Pure Land qigong, which teaches no other methods other than chanting the mantra, “Nammo Amida Buddha.” You can do it in silence, or in a low voice. After chanting this mantra day in and day out, you will do it without any conscious effort, even with out uttering the sound. You can walk on the street or do other things, yet the rhythm of the mantra has become so instilled in your consciousness that the sound, audible or not , produces its effect. There is no mystery in Buddhist mantras or other incantations; they simply substitute endless thoughts with the singleness of mantra recitation.

For example,say you are talking to an old country woman. It would be quite irrelevant if you try to teach her all about qigong theory.All you need to do is tell her to chant “Nammo Amida Buddha,” and after chanting thousands and thousands of times she will have the blessings of both spiritual wellness and physical health.Chances are she will be so immersed in the mantra that all other thoughts are dispelled and she will have achieved the desired tranquillity. She has no more worries and her health is regained. As a result, her family benefits and that is a blessing.

Fifth, concentrate on the routine. Different schools of qigong teach different routines, which are sets of body movements, together with regulated circulation of qi, the energy, and point of attention. Some schools stress the importance of the mind. Others claim that mind plays no part in their practice.

Right now in China, Fragrance Qigong is very popular.Many practitioners of this style claim that it is good to practice Fragrance routine because it involves no mind. It is simple and effective. Normally I make no comments on the alleged pros and cons of various styles of qigong. Yet in this case, when one does such routines as Phoenix Nodding, Dragon Tail, or Bodhidharma Rowing, one certainly gets some idea of the meaning of such titles. What is in your mind when such phrases flash by? That is a thought‐ a good one, though. Also, it seems to be pure movement without thought when you are doing the routines. Nonetheless, the act of doing movements contains thought,a single-pointed thought that dispels all others. This is yet another example of “substituting ten thousand thoughts with one.”

I must be honest and say that all the popular forms of qigong are not high level ones. Advanced qigong routines are generally transmitted in encoded forms by the masters. Regardless, even these popular forms and routines simply will be of no use if they ignore the function of the mind.

I will give another example to make my point. Kong Jing qigong also emphasizes pure movements. It equates its routines with the circulation system of the human body; for example, the movement of each finger corresponds to a specific blood vessel. Its movements can cause strong energy flow in the body. Again, it claims that mind has nothing to do with the movements.But even so, one needs to concentrate on the motions to be able to practice well, which is not different from concentrating on the meridian points. All in all, these simple routines are easy to follow and offer a good start for beginning students.

For every qigong form, especially on the elementary and intermediate levels, the most fundamental issue is to be able to enter deep relaxation and direct your mind to a single point of attention instead of being swamped with myriad thoughts. I hope to open a clearer way of looking at the different forms and moves of qigong, and to facilitate your practice. Such understanding will also help you gradually and naturally find the way that fits your individual needs. Better yet, you may be able to come up with ways that can help you relax faster.

A lot of qigong movements have interesting names, such as those we mentioned earlier and others like Holding the Sun and Moon, Embracing the Universe, Standing on Snow Mountain, and so forth. They all connote some positive message, which infuses the practitioner with a certain psychological association. Imagining traveling through the infinite light of the universe or imagining being totally transparent can certainly help with one’s understanding of the movements. Therefore we can see the purpose of these titles. Would you like a movement that is named A Mouse Crossing the Street? I think not.

The next thing to do is desist thinking, which means in the process of quieting down, cease any thought the moment it emerges, instead of letting it run wild. Usually the mind will pop up with new ones,and it is important to halt each one as soon as it arises. Before long, you will acquire the ability to shut out any unwanted thoughts, and eventually you will be able to do it without ever being conscious of the process.This is the high level you should seek. Again, it is to “substitute ten thousand thoughts with a single one.” The single thought is used as a means to halt the ten thousand thoughts.

The last step is to “conquer without conquering.” You can read about this in the Buddhist Diamond Sutra. What does it mean? Say you are agitated, and your mind just will not calm down. What can you do? Just ignore it. Yield to it. Make no effort to subdue it. In the long run,the mind will surrender it self, and thus you have conquered your mind without conquering. This is also of a higher nature, which is more difficult to attain.

When you try to quiet down, your mind is unlikely to cooperate readily. It churns out all kinds of thoughts. At such a moment, you need to sit quietly, trying to figure out where your “true self” hides. Through the eye of your true self, try to observe your mind. It may run in every direction, but your true self can manage it. In due course, you will enter a state of deep meditation despite the resistance of your surface mind. The deep tranquillity and the surface flow of thoughts can co-exist. However, your original mind remains undisturbed even when thought seems to be still flowing on the surface. This state of mind is of a much higher level.

The Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Hui Neng, once said, “I myself possess no talent, but I never cease thinking.” What he meant was that amidst the turmoil of mind activities, his true mind remains peacefully undisturbed. Just like the ocean in the storm ‐ underneath the surges, it remains calm and serene.

We have discussed the seven ways of achieving tranquillity. Once you are able to make them thoroughly your own, all the mysteries of qigong will become clear. Why is it that calligraphy can help you enter tranquillity? Before starting to use the brush, you wash your hands, dust the desk and lay down the paper. In the old times, people also lit incense. You then sit straight and hold your brush. Now you concentrate on one thing only ‐ doing your calligraphy well. That’s it! The numerous thoughts are now replaced by only this single one, and you easily enter the state of qi.

Experiencing
By experiencing, we mean that when you are practicing qigong, try not to involve any intellectual analysis. Forget all that you have learned and known. Of course, when you are not doing the routines, you should learn as much as possible about qigong theory. Think about it. Talk about it yourself. Listen to others talk about it.Turn it over in your mind.Try to understand it.But when you are doing the routines, think of nothing. No theory. Instead, experience every movement.
This perspective may not be shared by some practitioners. That is all right. Even so, try not to think too much. Just keep it in mind. Sooner or later you will experience its meaning. If not,keep on and it will sink in.It is most important to experience with your heart and with your soul.

Nothingness
In qigong practice, “nothingness” cannot be overstressed. We need to set aside all our attachments to levels and achievements, even to qigong itself. “Nothingness” is really a transcendental state, a natural state of being. For instance, a group of people gathers together. Somebody in charge tells them not to stand too close, sothey quickly disperse. Now the person in charge asks them to please stand more naturally, and everybody begins to assume a more natural posture. They probably did not realize that the way they stood before making the adjustment was the most natural, since nobody was conscious of it. As soon as they were reminded to “be natural,” the spontaneity was lost.

The moment of spontaneous posing can be referred to as “nothingness,” the most natural state of being. It is also analogous to our qigong practice. You do not have to be too fastidious about each move. Just try to relax. Flow through it.

Emptiness
I have gone into great length on this topic in the previous section so I won’t repeat myself.
While we maintain an empty state of mind, our bodies undergo certain changes. They are involuntary. I will not go into details since that may create certain visions, which may be come a hindrance in our practice and lead us astray.

Just pay attention to the changes that take place in the state of pure emptiness, that moment of divine inspiration.

Rootedness
No matter what school of qigong we follow, it is essential that we experience its origin. The same is true with looking at our world: go beyond the surface, the image,and the perception until you get to its origin.
A book is produced with paper. The paper is made of trees, straw or other materials. The trees and straw are grown in nature. Nature forms part of our universe. And where does the universe come from? On and on we reflect on the original state of our world. In the qigong state, we can often experience miraculous phenomena.

Openness
Let me first show you an experiment that can be done during mediation. As soon as you calm down, try to imagine that you can see the meridian points in your body. Some of you may be able to actually look inward and see the channels. When the images of these points appear, imagine again that all the points in your body are open and connected. If you keep on visualizing, your body will experience certain changes. You then imagine that not only your body organs are linked, but your mind and body are connected, too. Through this experiment, you may experience the wonder of qigong.

My research tells me that whenever our minds are blocked, our bodies will be affected by the blockage as well. When you are caught in a difficult situation,you may pull al ong face. Don’t think it is just your face showing the anxiety; your entire body also is burdened. If you ease off your facial muscles, your look will be relaxed and your body will in turn loosen up. Life is a material form of interrelations.Your facial expression is connected with your body organs.
It is known in modern medicine that through a single hair we can know the health of a person. Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine,the ear-acupuncture therapy, with needles applied to one’s ears, can cure ailments in other body organs, for example.
When your brows are knitted because of worry, not only is your body knitted, but your internal organs are also tightened into knots. We often use such phrases as”my heart was in my mouth ,” ” it makes my blood curdle,” “ it delights the cockles of my heart,” and so forth. These are not just descriptive terms. They relate to certain body and mental states. When a person is fearful, his face shows it. His heart also feels the dread. On the other hand, when a person is serene, not only his facial expression tells it but his body feels the peace as well. We need to observe and understand our body-mind relations.

In my work, The Decoding of Human Metaphysical Phenomena, I wrote that “our facial expression is our transient and changeable physiognomy which is in turn our permanent and fixed facial expression.”
A person may be born with a good looking face, but if he or she has been over burdened by the hardships of life , then gradually the look becomes one of distress. A sad face does not look nice. Sometimes the genes may carry it to the next generation.

When you feel mentally distressed, your digestive system may also suffer. Stomach disease, indigestion, and distress are all related. Long term depression may lead to heart ailments. This is now common medical knowledge.
Pay special attention to keeping a peaceful mind. When practicing, signal your self to open up, to connect every artery and channel of your body.

Oneness
To be one with the universe is the ultimate state of qigong. Many qigong guidelines tell us to merge ourselves with heaven and earth, be in harmony with man and universe, and embrace the cosmos. These are some basic principles of qigong practice. However, at higher levels of practice things may be different.
These guide lines are a good way to initiate practitioners into qigong. On the other hand, their over emphasis can be paradoxical. It may become a subjective desire rather than the actual experience, which can lead to illusions. It is important that we reach a state of pure harmony with the universe through our own practice and experience. Do not rely on what the masters say or what the books say. We need to experience this by ourselves.

Compassion
To be compassionate and loving means that we should be kind to everything and everyone. Those who have a kind heart can be close to the state of qigong even without practicing. On the contrary, a person who always harbors unkind thoughts may find it extremely hard to do well even with incessant practice.
From a macro viewpoint, compassion and love form the psychological mainstay in our daily lives as we practice qigong. Of course, for a compassionate and loving person, there will be unavoidable moments of trouble, suffering, anger, or narrow‐mindedness. It is perfectly understandable and we should not be overcritical.

Say for example a person gave some much needed assistance to an old man who is in a life threatening situation; the giver would feel very happy and in a good state of mind. If he did his qigong routines at such a time, the effect would be very good, too. He may have a marvelous experience. On the contrary,if aperson was engaged in something shady and then did his routines, a negative effect could result.
To be compassionate and loving enables us to better receive energy from the universe. Vicious thoughts make us out of sorts with our environment, hence attracting negative energy. Being compassionate and loving is not only a psychological requirement but also a basic practicing skill.

Harmony
The concept of harmony should be understood in the context of qigong. It does not mean that we should not fight against the evils in our daily life.
To maintain harmony is more than what etiquette requires in our speech and in how we deal with people. More importantly, we need it in our qigong practice. Maintaining harmony all around us is in itself a state of being. In Chinese language, harmony contains the meaning “soothing the qi.” Cultivate harmony with your‐self and the universe. When you are in harmony with heaven, the earth and all beings, you harmonize the various life forces into yourself. Try to experience it , feel it and understand it.
While in a group,an adept qigong practitioner can immediately sense from its energy field whether the group is in accord. When we detect disharmony, then we do our best to bring back the harmony, to synchronize the energy flow. It is a way to practice and improve oneself. If a practitioner diffuses discord everywhere, he causes pain. He is then far away from his goal of maintaining harmony.

The Way
Man models himself on the Earth; The Earth models itself on Heaven; Heaven models it‐self on the Way; And the Way models itself on that which is so on its own.” — Lao Tzu
This means man should observe the ordinance of heaven and earth, while heaven and earth operate on the laws of the cosmos, and the cosmos complies with the principles of the Tao. Ultimately, the Tao follows the prescript of nature.
Following nature is the ultimate achievement of qigong. Model ourselves on that which is so on its own. Accept and take whatever is natural.

Reference: The Essence of Qigong By Ke Yun Lun
p. 53 – 63

Book of Balance and Harmony

The waning and waxing of energy and matter are the movement and rest of things; rising and retiring by day and night are the movement and rest of the body. Everything, including the advance and retreat of the person, the arising and vanishing thoughts, the fortune and adversity of the world, the success and failure of tasks, is a matter of the alternating rise and fall of movement and rest.

If you observe their patterns of movement and rest. you can see the myriad changes of myriad events and the conditions of myriad beings. When you are mindful in times of rest, you are observant in times of movement. If you have self-mastery in times of rest, you can be decisive in times of movement. If you have stability in times of rest, actions will not lead to unfortunate results. Rest is the foundation of movement, movement is the potential of rest. When you do not lose the constant in movement and rest, your path will be illumined.

Reference: Quote from the Book of Balance and Harmony in The Taoist “I Ching” by Liu I-ming and Thomas Cleary

A Female Story of Daoist Cultivation

Lindsey Wei

A young woman, Lindsey Wei, graduates from high school in America and sets out to find her roots in China, questing for who she is and where her life path belongs. She discovers in herself a skill for martial arts and seeks the hidden knowledge of meditation. After three years of study in various martial styles and unveiling false teachers, she is finally led to the ancient Wudang Mountains. Here she meets a Daoist recluse, Li Shi Fu, who has renounced the world of the ‘red dust’ and long since retired into an isolated temple to cast oracles and read the stars. The coming together of these two extraordinary characters, master and disciple, begins a spiritual relationship taking the young adept on an unforgettable journey through the light and dark sides of modern China and deep into herself. Battling between earthly desires and heavenly knowledge, she makes the transformation into a dynamic and complete woman.

A coming-of-age, personal account, the book describes the lived experiences of a profoundly sincere, bitter yet ultimately liberating female quest. It is written for anyone who ponders the true meaning of Chinese wisdom and the way of the Dao in the hope of discovering a deeper strength within themselves.

Reference: The Valley Spirit: A Female Story of Daoist Cultivation by Lindsey Wei

thevalleyspirit.wordpress.com