The Intercourse of Water and Fire

Whenever you leak vital spirit, being stirred and interacting with beings, that is all fire. Whenever you gather back spirits consciousness and quiet it down to steep in the center, that is all water. When th senses run outward, that is fire; when the senses turn around  inward, that is water.

The one yin [ inside the fire trigram ] concentrates on pursuing sense experience, while the one yang [ inside the water trigram ] concentrates on reversing and withdrawing the senses themselves.

Water and fire are yin and yang, yin and yang are body and mind, body and mind are spirit and energy. Once you withdraw to rest your vital spirit and are not influenced by objects, then this is true intercourse, as of course when you sit in profound silence.

Reference:The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life new translation by Thomas Cleary

Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion

Zhang Guoming; HuangHe Science and Technology College

Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion run through the entire process of Health Qigong exercise. Motion strengthens muscles, bones, and tendons, promotes blood circulation, and improves functions of the viscera. Quiescence supports healthy energy, regulates the functions and activities of the nervous system, improves sleep, and makes people energetic and happy. This is why an ancient saying goes “motion nourishes the body and quiescence nourishes the spirit”.

The Yin-Yang Hypothesis in the ancient philosophy of China divides all things of the universe into Yin and Yang categories. When it comes to the relations between motion & quiescence and body & spirit, motion represents Yang and quiescence represents Yin. Body represents Yin and spirit represents Yang. With regard to their own properties, motion promotes Yang and the promoted Yang will boost Yin. Quiescence promotes Yin and the promoted Yin will boost Yang. Balance between motion and quiescence will make Yin and Yang promote each other. They will rise and fall and be converted into each other endlessly. Any relative excess or insufficiency of Yin or Yang will cause Yang to be impaired by Yin or Yin impaired by Yang. Yin and Yang will be eventually separated from each other and result in death. Therefore Yu Shu pointed out in Nan Jing Ji Zhu that “if we use sole Yin Qi to nourish Yang, Yang may be isolated; if we use sole Yang Qi to nourish Yin, Yin may be isolated.” In order to nourish both the body and spirit during the exercise of Health Qigong, we should achieve both Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion. Through well-coordinated motion and quiescence, we can balance Yin and Yang in the human body, achieve simultaneous nourishment of both body and spirit, realize coordinated physical and mental development, and thus adapt ourselves to the natural and social environments.

Quiescence in Motion means to coordinate movements, respiration, and thought during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to gradually smoothen and coordinate movements and gradually relax and calm the thought. In other words, we should keep a moving body and a stationary mind. During the exercise of Health Qigong, the relaxed and serene mind will well adjust the excitement of the cerebral nerves and inhibit and calm the over-excited nerves so that the brain can be properly regulated to a certain extent of excitation. A balanced nervous system will properly regulate the viscera and muscular tissues to fully relax the tissues and organs controlled by exalted nerves. The relaxation of tissues and organs will promote the circulation of blood and Qi and thus promote the discharge of in-vivo metabolic products and toxic and harmful substances. The discharge of in-vivo metabolic products and toxic and harmful substances will reduce the damage to the nervous system. The quiescent cerebral nerves will perform benign regulation of the body and thus form a virtuous cycle. Just as Yi Shu: Yi Xue Su Yuan says: “To prolong life, we should keep a calm and serene mind and stay out of worries.” When the mind is vacant and serene, the spirit will be at ease. When the spirit is at ease, the Qi of the viscera will be well coordinated, the essence and Qi will be abundant, and the body will be healthy. Therefore, it is very important to achieve a gentle body and a relaxed and serene mind during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to maintain the healthy state of the body.

Quiescence in Motion means to maintain relatively stable body postures during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to reduce the blood flow in the limbs and viscera and increase the blood supply for the brain. This will provide the brain with sufficient nutrition, nourish the brains, and further excite the active regulating effect of the brain. In other words, we should keep a relatively still body while maintaining well-organized activities of the brain tissues. The well-organized activities of the brain mean natural activities that meet the physiological rules of the human body. They are pure-natural movements in the internal and external environments of the body which are free of disturbing factors. Although the brain has entered a serene state free of thoughts, it is filled with infinite vitality and vigor. It is a state in which the over-consciousness gradually fades away and the sub-consciousness gradually comes in. It is “still but not stagnant” and “serene but not dead”. “Achieving the ultimate vacancy and adhering to the true serenity” proposed by Lao Tzu in Tao Teh King indicates that during the exercise of Health Qigong, we should maintain the intelligence of the brain. It is only in this way that we can continuously make progress. Once the brain enters a pure motioning state, it should develop towards two directions. One is to guide the thought to the focus of the infection. The thought goes wherever you feel uncomfortable. Use benign psychological suggestions to naturally attach the focus with Qi and imagine that blood and Qi are unobstructed. Once your confidence is consolidated, the disease may disappear naturally. By concentrating the mind on Dantian, the healthy man can enrich the genuine Qi. When genuine Qi is sufficient, the body will be strong, the essence will be abundant, and life will be prolonged. The second aspect is to form a profound understanding of the world and learn the true meaning of life by experiencing and reflecting on life, and thus to form correct outlooks of the world and life, open the mind, and achieve spiritual purification and breakthroughs.

“Motion” and “quiescence” are relative. They are different in form and associated in nature. Motion contains quiescence and quiescence contains motion. Ultimate motion gives rise to quiescence and ultimate quiescence gives rise to motion. They both promote and restrain each other, forming a both contradictory and unified pair of entities. A proper understanding of the relations between motion and quiescence and a mastery of the essentials and extents of Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion are of important significance for us to balance Yin and Yang of the body, promote coordinated mental and physical development, improve health, and prolong life.

Reference: Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion during Health Qigong Exercise jsqg.sport.org.cn

The Seven Emotions and Qigong

Xia Xuewei; Inner Mongolia Normal University

The seven human emotions, i.e. joy, anger, worry, anxiety, sorrow, fear, and terror are normal phenomena of life activities which do not induce diseases under normal circumstances. However, abnormal fluctuations in the “seven emotions” may directly affect he functions of the viscera, disturb the circulation of blood and Qi, and thus cause diseases. Being affected by these emotions, the exerciser of Health Qigong will not be able to enter a peaceful and calm state free of distracting thoughts. And the results of the exercise will be naturally affected. At the same time, the exercise of Health Qigong also plays a special role in the regulation of the “seven emotions”. Therefore a complete understanding of the physiological and pathological mechanisms of the “seven emotions” is of prime importance and value to the exercise of Health Qigong.

It is believed in theories of the traditional Chinese medicine that: “Anger impairs the liver, joy impairs the heart, worry impairs the spleen, sorrow impairs the lungs, and terror impairs the kidneys.” Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Rage drives Qi upward, overjoy slackens Qi, excessive sorrow consumes Qi, terror collapses Qi, …… and anxiety causes Qi stagnation”. All of these have indicated that the excessive and over-excited “seven emotions” will impair the mental and physical health of man to certain extents.

Joy is an embodiment of the happy and delighted mind. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Joy will harmonize Qi and facilitate both nutrient and defensive Qi.” But over-joy will impair the cardiac Qi, just as Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Ling Shu: Ben Shen says: “The spirit should be hidden and kept from being lost during joy”, indicating that excessive joy will impair the mind. The heart is the core, commander, and grand master of all the five Zang viscera. It is the key to the health of the body. By practicing Health Qigong, we can regulate the blood-pumping function of the heart and enrich cardiac Qi. For example, the “Second Routine of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing can directly stimulate the Heart Channel of Hand Shaoyin and Pericardium Channel of Hand Jueyin by seating the wrists and erecting the palms and thus regulate the cardiac functions, promote blood and Qi circulation, improve the microcirculation at distal ends, and promote blood circulation of the whole body. The “Ape Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi can enhance respiration, massage the heart, and promote the beating function of the heart by lifting and pressing the palms and stretching and retracting the neck, shoulders, and abdomen. In the “He” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “He” during the piercing movement of palms will expel the turbid Qi of the heart and regulate the cardiac functions. The “Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left- and Right-Handed” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can regulate the Heart Channel of Hand Shaoyin and the Pericardium Channel of Hand Jueyin and increase the cardiac output.

Anger is an embodiment of agitated emotion of man. People get angry and furious when they are discontent and unsatisfied. Generally speaking, proper expression of emotions is important for maintaining the physiological equilibrium of the human body. But persistent rage, fury, and gloominess will cause negative effects on the organism. Gloominess impairs the liver and upheaves liver Qi. Blood will ascend with the upward invasion of liver Qi, congesting the brain and causing discomfort of the body. This will lead to headaches, cerebral distension, hypochondriac pains, chest distress, dry eye syndrome, and even critical symptoms such as faint, hematemesis, and shock. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “All diseases originate from Qi…… Anger will cause adverse rising of Qi and even hematemesis or diarrhea”. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Sheng Qi Tong Tian Lun says: “Excessive anger leads to segregation of QI from the configuration; and blood stagnating in the upper part of the body will cause raged syncope.” The liver controls dispersion and blood storage. It facilitates the functional activities of Qi throughout the body, keeps unobstructed circulation of Qi in the channels of all viscera, stores blood, transports blood, and regulates and controls the blood supply for various parts of the body. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the dredging, purging, and blood-storing functions of the liver. For example, the “Blue Dragon Reaching out Claws” of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing disperses the depressed liver Qi and regulates the emotions through leftward and rightward turns of the body, the outreach of the claws, and the forward and sideways bending of the body. The “Tiger Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi dredges liver channels and replenishes liver blood through changes in the hand shape and the glaring eyes and down-pouncing movement. In the “Xu” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Xu” during the palm-crossing movement will expel the turbid Qi of the liver and regulate the hepatic functions. “Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can stimulate the liver channel and dredge and nourish the liver through the glaring eyes during the fist-punching movement, the wrist-turning movement during the return, and the gripping of the five fingers.

Worry means something or someone that causes anxiety. Excessive worries will have negative effects on the organism, impede the movements of Qi, and cause Qi stagnation. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that: “anxiety causes Qi stagnation”. It was said in ancient times that: “When the shape is not straight, Qi will not move smoothly. When Qi does not move smoothly, the mind will not be at ease. When the mind is not at ease, spirit will be scattered”, indicating that obstructed circulation of Qi has a direct influence on the spirit of man. Excessive worries will lead to obscure complexion in the spleen and stomach, dyspepsia, insomnia and dreaminess, dizziness, and many other symptoms. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the converting, generating, and blood-controlling functions of the spleen. For example, “Nine Ghosts Drawing Swords” in Yi Jin Jing massages the spleen and enhances the Splenic functions through twisting and stretching movements of the body. The “Bear Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi enhances the converting and generating functions of the spleen and stomach and boosts the nutrient-transporting and blood-transporting capacities of the Splenic Qi through the waist-turning and abdomen-waving movements. In the “Hu” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Hu” will expel the turbid Qi and regulate the spleen and stomach. “Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin massages the spleen and stomach, enhances the converting and generating functions of the spleen and stomach, and promotes the smooth circulation of blood and Qi through the up-down alternate pulling movements of the left and right upper and lower limbs.

Sorrow (depression) is the embodiment of sadness and depression. Excessive sorrow will impair the pulmonary Qi and cause short breath, just as Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Ling Shu: Ben Shen says: “sorrow will block Qi and hamper its circulation” and “deficient pulmonary Qi will cause nasal obstruction and asthenia Qi”. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the breath-regulating functions of the lungs. For example, both “Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2” and “Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing stimulate the lung channel and enhances the clear-ascending and turbid-descending function and stale-ridding and fresh-intaking functions of lungs. The “Bird Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi expands the chest cavity, massages the heart and lungs, enhances the blood-oxygen exchanging capacity, and thus improves the cardiorespiratory functions through the bird-stretching and bird-flying movements. In the “Si” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Si” will expel the turbid Qi of the lungs and link up the congenital Qi and postnatal Qi, and thus enhance the ability of lungs to get rid of the stale and take in the fresh. The “Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left-and Right-Handed” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can regulate and stimulate the lung channel, increase the lung capacity, and promote the circulation of blood and Qi over the body.

Fear (terror) is the embodiment of apprehensive and fright. Excessive terror will impair the kidneys and cause chaotic Qi in the viscera. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Terror collapses Qi……Terror disorders Qi”. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the essence-storing and water-controlling functions of the kidneys. For example, in “Three Plates Falling on the Floor” of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, the vocalization of “Hi” during the crouching movement will cause the genuine Qi to ascend and descend correspondingly between the chest and abdomen and thus achieve harmony between the heart and kidneys. The “Dear Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi strengthens the waist and kidneys through the left-twisting & side-bending and right-twisting & side-bending movements of the waist which stretch the vertebral column and muscles in the waist and back. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that: “Waist is the container of kidneys”. In the “Chui” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Chui” during the knee-bending and crouching movement will expel the turbid Qi of the kidneys and regulate the viscera. “Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs, and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin strengthens the kidneys and waist through limb movements.

To sum up, all “seven emotions” have important connections with the internal organs of the human body. The “seven emotions” are normal emotional signs of man and do not induce diseases under normal circumstances. And they actually play an important role in maintaining the normal physiological functions of the human body. But over-excitation which exceeds the normal range of regulation of the human body will result in diseases. Exercises of Health Qigong are mainly featured by: Body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation. Body regulation is the basis for breath regulation and mind regulation, while mind regulation is the core of the “Three Regulations”. It provides good regulating effects on all the viscera. Therefore the “Three Regulations” have very good influencing, regulating, and controlling effects on the mental state and temperament of man. And the emotional changes of the “seven emotions” will in turn influence the results of Health Qigong exercise. Therefore it is of great importance and value to learn the “seven emotions” and maintain a normal state of the “seven emotions” during the practice of Health Qigong. By doing so we can gradually replenish the “three treasures” of body (essence, Qi, and spirit) to achieve sufficient essence, abundant Qi, and complete spirit and thus truly understand the essentials of health preservation, disease prevention, and body-building.

Reference: The Seven Emotions and Health Qigong jsqg.sport.org.cn

The Ten Chan Pictures

(1) In the Wild(1) In the Wild

Troubled by all kinds of thoughts and desires, people are liable to get nervous anal disturbed in daily life and with their natural character con-fused and the ability to sustain themselves lost, they are quite ill with vari-ous worries and diseases. The poem reads:
Displaying its horns, the buffalo bellows aloud,
Running along the mountain path into the distance.
A patch of black clouds overhangs the valley,
The buffalo tramples wheat seedlings wherever it goes.

(2) Initial Training(2) Initial Training

When you start qigong practice, place your mind under control and set strict demands on yourself, as if fastening the buffalo with a rope. Af-ter persistent practice, you will become disciplined and avoid unnecessary losses. The poem reads:
Controlled by a rope through its nose,
The buffalo runs swiftly under the whip.
It is no easy thing to overcome a willful temper,
As the boy struggles hard to lead the buffalo.

(3) Under Control(3) Under Control

After some practice, you will find yourself calm and stable gradually. But you cannot slacken your efforts at this moment, anyway. Be sure to forget fatigue and feel at home. The poem reads:
Under constant training the buffalo stops dashing,
Following the boy across streams and through clouds.
Not daring to loosen the rope in his hand,
The boy tends the buffalo all day in spite of his fatigue.

(4) Turning Back(4) Turning Back

When you reach a certain stage in practice, a turn for the better will take place and the destination of your life’s voyage will appear before you. In so doing, you can grow out of recklessness and act in conformity with nature. At this juncture, keep your mind steady and consolidate the origi-nal ring and strengthen the original qi. The poem reads:
A long time has passed before the buffalo turns back,
Its reckless temper has gradually grown gentle.
Not trusting the buffalo completely to itself,
The boy has not yet unfastened the rope.

(5) Tamed(5) Tamed

When you return to the true nature, you will enter a state of freedom; and when you combine the inside with the outside, you will not find yourself shrouded in dust any longer but see the light. Now that you have found your true character, you can do away with those strict demands. The poem reads:
Under the green poplar, by the ancient stream,
The buffalo moves in harmony with nature.
Returning at sunset over the fragrant meadow,
The buffalo follows the boy, who has dropped his rope.

(6) Getting Free of Hindrance(6) Getting Free of Hindrance

Getting free of hindrance is a state of penetration and evenness, and real control of both the body and the mind. Then try to enter a state of void through qi and shen practice and you will feel the inherent rhythm of life. The poem reads:
Sleeping contentedly under the sky,
The buffalo needs the whip nevermore.
The boy, sitting under the pine tree,
Starts to play a peaceful, happy tune.

(7) In Control(7) In Control

A man’s potential is boundless, and exploiting and making use of it will lay groundwork for the distillation of life. As the “buffalo” has been tamed and is free from worldly hindrance, it is time for you to enjoy the power of freedom and stroll in the realm of life. The poem reads:
Bathed in sunset, the river floats past the willow tree
Under the fragrant meadow in light mist.’
Totally at ease, the buffalo drinks when thirsty, eat when hungry,
And the boy is lying on a rock, deep in sleep.

(8) False Reality(8) False Reality

What is above everything is the true reality and observing various things in the world with a tranquil mind. Attaining the “union of man and heaven,” an advanced state in qigong practice, you will be in harmony with yourself and with nature. The poem reads:
The white buffalo stays in the white clouds;
The boy is free of concern, and so is the buffalo.
Penetrated by moonlight, the white clouds grow whiter;
The moon goes its way, and the clouds drift by.

Single Light(9) Single Light

With the buffalo and its master in perfect harmony, there is not any difference between the outside and the inside. Shen merges with the body and willpower with qi. Whenever illumination comes, you will feel at ease and full of go and vigor. The poem reads:
After the buffalo has vanished, the boy enjoys leisure;
A solitary cloud drifts across the hill.
Clapping his hands, the boy sings under the moon,
Though he has another portal to cross before reaching home.

(10) Rest in Sleep(10) Rest in Sleep

The mother of nature is formless, and everything may be back to the original purity and simplicity. The circle in the diagram shows a state of purity and perfection so that existence is non-existence and vice versa. Re-maining quiet and still, you will gain ultimate wisdom and enlightenment and the purification of your life will draw to an end. The poem reads:
Both the boy and the buffalo are nowhere to be found,
The moon illuminates the vast void.
If in search of the meaning of all this,
Look at the wild flowers and fragrant grass.

Chan (meditation) is a state in which you gain wisdom and enlight-enment through self-cultivation. There are many methods of achieving this state, including zuochan, xingchan (walking quietly)and wuchan (con-templation). Self-cultivation is an advanced skill in Buddhist qigong. Bojo Guksa, a Buddhist monk living in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), wrote ten poems and drew ten pictures to describe the steps to enlightenment through contemplation. The buffalo in the pictures stands for the natural character of man or the source of life.

The Ten Chan Pictures ( 十禅图 , shí chán tú ) also known as The Ox Herding Pictures originally comes from China.

Reference: Chinese Qigong Illustrated by Yu Gongbao

Links:
Ten Bulls – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Books:
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Sensaki

Hsin Hsin Ming

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.

As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.

To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.

Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.

At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.

The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state — avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.

Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.

When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.

When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).

Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.

In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.

If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.

Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.

When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.

What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.

Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.

The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.

There is one Dharma, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.

To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.

Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.

If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements.

When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached.

No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.

Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear.

When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.

To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.

Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.

With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.

All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power.

Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.

In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.

To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, ‘Not two.’

In this ‘not two’ nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.

No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth.

And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.

So too with Being and Non-Being.

Don’t waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction.

To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.

Words!

The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.

Reference: Verses on the Faith Mind by The 3rd Zen Patriarch, Sengstau

The Ancient Poem of Universal Post

The universal post is a mystical form of martial arts
We can never fully understand the way it is done
It seems like an embrace with a smiling face
You use your strength from within
You are relaxed and use no force
It is like clouds floating in the wind from all directions
You use forces from the universe to substantiate your strength
Your strength comes from your breathing
You do not hold fast, leaving a lot of room to move
You do not bend to great strength
So smoothly you move and so naturally
Your breathing and your limb movements should not be impeded
It is like moving in space
In and out of the highest peaks and clouds
Gliding through air and clouds
Floating along with the winds
Graceful yet composed
Always contain calmness and peace
Head upheld high with pride
You embrace the world below you
As clear and pure as an underground brook
Like lead turning into silver spinning the moon
Looking into an antique mirror to look deep into your soul
Your cup is filled to the brim
Absolutely free of restraint and free of self
You could fly as though you had wings
Head towards the limitless horizon
Like throwing a pebble into the water
The circles get larger and larger
With your hands you push open the limits of the universe
You embrace from within
Heaven and earth and the ten thousand things capture your thoughts
The eyes look outside with determination
Up and down your strength flows
You push and you embrace continuously
Your thought should be pure
This should clear your mind
This should curb all illness
You always return to the center
You can attack or defend at will
You must have a will of iron
The principle of this s to strengthen
To go for happiness and health
Your body will benefit from this
This has been handed down from the ancients
This form of exercise can help you without limits

Reference: The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien-Ying p. 139

Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice

Now, as for your daily practice, Keep your eating and drinking regulated; Restrain your speaking and meditate alone. Do not allow even a single thought to arise. The ten thousand affairs are all forgotten.

Then preserve your spirit and stabilize your intent. The mouth and lips are mutually locked up; The teeth should be lightly touching. Your eyes do not see a single thing;
Your ears do not hear a single sound. Unified, the heart-mind is guarded within.

Continually harmonize your breathing. Subtle, still more subtle, make a light exhale. It is as if the breath exists, as if it does not exist. Nothing is allowed to separate or interrupt.

Then the fire of the heart naturally descends; The water of the kidneys naturally ascends. Inside your mouth, the sweet dew arises of itself. The numinous Perfected support your body
And you spontaneously know the path to long life.

During the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness. The numinous tower of the heart emptied of all things: This is called clarity. Not allowing even a single thought to arise: This is called stillness.

The body is the dwelling place of qi. The heart is the residence of spirit. When intent moves, spirit is agitated; When spirit is agitated, qi is dispersed.

When intent is stable, spirit remains settled; When spirit remains settled, qi gathers. The perfect qi of the Five Phases Then gathers together and forms a pinch of elixir.

Then naturally in the body a sound can be heard. Walking and standing, sitting and lying down, One constantly practices awareness. In the body, it is as if there is the movement of wind. In the belly, it is as if there is the sound of thunder.

Infusing and harmonizing qi fully, A rich liquid pours into the top of the head. When you drink from this pinch of elixir, Your ears begin to hear the tunes of the immortals. These are the sounds of the stringless melodies Sounding spontaneously without any strumming, Reverberating naturally without any drumming.

Spirit and qi then combine together Like a child being cherished in the womb. If you can observe the inner regions, Spirit naturally begins to communicate. This is the residence of emptiness and nonbeing, The place where you can reside with the sages.

If you refine the combination through nine revolutions, You will bind and complete the great cinnabar elixir. Spirit then spontaneously enters and leaves.
Your years will match those of heaven and earth; Your radiance will join with that of the sun and moon. Then you will cast off arising and passing away.

Each day that you cease to practice this, Surely there will be injury and disease. So, during all the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness.

Qi is the mother of spirit; Spirit is the child of qi. Like a hen incubating an egg, Preserve spirit and nourish qi. Then, you will never be separated from the Wondrous.

Mysterious and again more mysterious; In the human body, there are Seven Treasures. Use them to support the country and pacify the people. Then your essence, qi, and blood will be abundant.

Essence is quicksilver; Blood is yellow gold; Qi is beautiful jade; Marrow is quartz;
The brain is numinous sand; The kidneys are jade rings; And the heart is a glittering gem.

These are the Seven Treasures— Keep them firmly in your body, never letting them disperse. Refine them into the great medicine of life. Then with all of the ten thousand spirits, You will ascend to the immortal realms.

Reference:
Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice of the Great High Lord Lao (pdf) pathofzero.com translation and commentary by Louis Komjathy.

The Five Fundamentals of the Mind

There are five basic fundamental concepts which will provide the insights or background needed to achieve higher levels in Martial Arts. These concepts will help you in your overall relaxation skills.

The importance of your ability to relax is connected to several other factors: First and foremost, when you are in a relaxed state, your breathing is not constricted, but full and natural. Secondly, your alertness is clear and refined, and finally, your reactions are quick and uninhibited.

In order to achieve this relaxed state, you must practice meditation. The usual method of meditation emphasizes the physical acts of monitoring your breathing, becoming aware of any stress or tension, etc.

The following five guidelines will help you control your state of mind, a precondition of one’s behaviour.

Respect Respect makes reference to how you treat others. You should always maintain a sense of mutual respect. You should not take on a position of superiority, whether or not it may appear justified. There is an infinite amount of experiences, and any single person cannot possibly have witnessed all of them in his or her lifetime. Therefore, your fellow man has experiences and ideas that you may never have encountered or contemplated before. This is why you can always learn from others.

In the area of the Martial Arts, your classmate/opponent possesses different ideas, levels of skill, etc., all of which are legitimate. There may exist better, faster, more effective techniques, but nevertheless, your opponent’s techniques are real and must be addressed. No two persons will attack or react in the same way (power, angle, or methods). If you are perceptive, you can learn from any variation/situation. When you take on a position of superiority you create an artificial barrier between yourself and others. This barrier will automatically create tension. Tension is the single most important hindrance you must avoid in order to achieve higher levels.

Care Be thoughtful and careful when acting. It is important that you analyze self and commit yourself to whatever actions you take. You should believe in your decision-making processes. If you do not believe (have faith) or do not understand, you will create a mental block, which will hinder your results. Once you understand how a process can help you, then your mind can accept it, giving it value and allowing you to concentrate. It will also allow you to expand, gaining greater insights of how other issues are related to one another.

Thought This is a simple process. Understanding that you are only capable of doing one thing at a time, you can only process (solve) one issue at a time, you should not try to do two things at once. This will only split your focus as you move from one problem to another, and cause anxiety and stress. Single-mindedness will allow you to face the opponent with unrestrained whole-body power.

Focus You must understand completely what you are trying to achieve, clearly defining the end results of what is to be gained. You must therefore strip away all the minor processes and methods in order to focus on the essence of the subject matter. By focusing, you will understand which processes and methods enable you to achieve the desired goal.

Harmony Your interaction with others should be based on self-respect and honour. You should not take a position of superiority, nor one of inferiority. In this harmonious (neutral) position, you will be at ease with others, allowing you to be relaxed, calm, and composed.

Reference: Wudang, Vol. 10, Nos. 2 and 3

The Prestigious Man

There was a prestigious man in a community who seemingly had all material desires satisfied. He had a loving family, a large house and many servants. Not content with his good fortune, he chose to seek enlightenment.

He first refused responsibility for his estate, believing it would interfere with his spiritual pursuits. He then relinquished all material wealth and gave away even his dearest possessions. Finally, he decided that he must abandon his home. Leaving everything behind except for a small bag in which he carried a few necessities, he traveled through the country seeking teachers and wisdom.

For twenty years he carried his little bag as he walked through the countryside, studying and searching for enlightenment without success. One day he sat near a clear pond and thought how nice it would be to refresh himself in the water. He took off his clothes and laid his bag by the tree. As he laid his bag down he felt a sense of relief and immediately understood why he had searched for enlightenment for twenty years without success. He thought, “I gave up my estate, my personal wealth, my home, my family, yet, for twenty years I could not give up this bag.” At that moment he attained the enlightenment for which he searched.

Reference:
Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment
by Jou, Tsung Hwa
ISBN 0804814651

Further indications concerning Zhan zhuang

1.Before starting post standing you should have already empty your bowels, avoiding from interrupting your post standing,

2.Before post standing you should loose your tie and belt, take off your watch, open shoelaces so that all limbs feel free to move.

3.For beginner in post standing and convalescent practitioner with weaker body, during your post standing exercise you should not close your eyes. Later when you can reach during each training session at least 20 minutes of standing and feel relaxed and happy, than you can naturally close your eyes. But if when you are closing your eyes you feel dizzy or lack of balance, do not hesitate to reopen them and continue your training with eyes opened and looking to a fixed direction.

4.When post standing do not contract your lips but also do not leave your mouth open. Just keep it naturally closed. Upper lip and lower lip should keep a slight space with your teeth.

5.The therapeutical effects of post standing come mainly from the characteristics of the posture itself and your aptitude to maintain it. During this exercise you will progressively taste all different changes happening in your internal body. If you have difficulties to calm your mind you can for example count your breath cycles, a complete cycle including inhale/exhale. But in any case avoid from holding your breath or accelerate/prolong consciously your breath rate. Let your body install by itself breath rate instead of trying to control it.

6.The best time to practice post standing is during set sunrise/sunset where you are not exposed to the dazzling effect of sunshine. In winter and in autumn post standing becomes a very comfortable exercise at these periods of the day.

7.When you are practicing post standing indoor, make sure to refresh regularly the air, temperature should be suitable to the season and try your best to select a place with very quiet surroundings.

8. When leg’s muscles are initiating vibrations and your body is starting to sway forward and backward, at this time you should pay attention to control the swaying amplitude: not too large and rather slow. You can use swaying leftward/rightward to control swaying forward/backward. Your swaying movements should be rather reduced in amplitude and low in frequency.

9.At the end of your post standing, you should reduce gradually the amount of physical effort you are enduring: slowly straighten up your both legs, slightly lower your both hands, place back of both hands on your lower back (in front of kidneys) and rest 2-3 minutes. Wait that any sensation of tingling, souring, swelling and aching in four limbs has completely disappear before changing posture.

10.Concerning people suffering from insomnia and more generally practitioner planning their post standing exercise before sleeping, there are two categories of possible scenarios: a.Just after ending the post standing session, If one will rapidly fall asleep: one belongs to the “apathetic” type. In this case one can practice post standing just before going to bed. b.After post standing one will be rather excited: one belongs to the “nervous” type. In this case the best option is to practice 2-3 hours before sleeping, so that one will have around 1-2 hours to rest, slow down one’s excitement and prepare to a normal sleeping process.

11. Below half hour before or after meal, post standing is not suitable as it is preferable to avoid interference with the normal course of your appetite and digestion.

12. For women in period of menstruation, in the case that there is no perception of discomfort, they can continue post standing exercise but it is recommended to reduce the global amount of physical effort involved in training. If there is any undesirable reaction, they should immediately rest and wait to pass their period of menstruation to restart again post standing.

Reference: Zhan zhuang and the Search of Wu by Yu Yong Nian p. 42 – 44

The One Cavity of the Mysterious Gate

The valley spirit, undying
Is called the mystical female
The gateway of the mystical female
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth
It flows continuously, barely perceptible
Utilize it, it is never exhausted

Tao Te Ching VI (Laozi or Lao Tzu)

The spirit of the valley – a powerful symbol of the female principle – is eternal. It has always been there and will always be. We can call it the mystical female, or the sacred feminine.
The sacred feminine is the universal source of life. Therefore, the doorway to the essence of the mystical female is what we can call the root, origin, or genesis of the entire world.
This essence – life itself – is a continuous flow. We tend to take it for granted and not pay attention to it, but it is always there. And it does not matter how much it is utilized – the power of life is literally inexhaustible.

Reference:Tao Te Ching: Annotated and Explained by Derek Lin
ISBN 1594732043
p. 12-13

The One Cavity of the Mysterious Gate
also known as the “Mysterious Female”

The Cavity of the mysterious female lies within. Its without structure and form and is limitless. Try to find it, and it will seem as if it is beyond thousands of mountains. Try to locate it, in the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, or kidneys, and you will find nothing. Words cannot describe this cavity. If you try to grasp it, it is nowhere to be found.

The cavity of the Mysterious Gate is the most important gate in the body. The cavity is the mind within the mind. Its not made of flesh and blood, yet its the spirit that directs everything in us. The spirit dwells inside a substantive form. It is there, and yet not there. When the ego is absent, the one cavity of the Mysterious Gate will emerge. However, even if there is only a small trace of ego present, the cavity will disappear.

Reference:Nourishing the Essence of Life: The Inner, Outer, and Secret Teachings of Taoismby Eva Wong
ISBN 1590301048
p.58, 60

The Mysterious Gate has many names. In Confucianism, it is called the altar of wisdom. It embodies limitless compassion. It is a consciousness without thoughts and it reflects the way of heaven. It is intuitive knowledge and reflects the way of earth. In Buddhism, the Mysterious Gate is the spirit mountain, the empty consciousness of original mind, or nirvana, the realm of the Amitabha Buddha. In Taoism, it is the Golden Palace, the realm of t’ai-chi, the domain of the Three Pure Realms, the root of existence of all things. Althought it is given different names by the three religions, it is nonetheless the same thing. In Confucianism, when this gate is opened, the sage emerges. In Buddhism, when this gate is opened, the Buddha
emerges. In Taoism, when this gate is opened, the immortal emerges.

Reference:Cultivating Stillness: Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind by Eva Wong
ISBN 9780877736875
p.18-19

Links:
Tao Te Ching wikipedia.org
Tao Te Ching VI Translated by Derek Lin
The Doctrine of the “Mysterious Female” in Taoism kheper.net
Valley Spirit (Gu Shen, Ku Shen or 谷神) compilation by Michael P. Garofalo egreenway.com

Books:
Holding Yin, Embracing Yang: Three Taoist Classics on Meditation, Breath Regulation, Sexual Yoga, and the Circulation of Internal Energy
by Eva Wong
ISBN 9781590302637

The Classic of Purity

The venerable Master said:
The Supreme Tao is formless,yet it produces Heaven and Earth. The Supreme Tao has no desires, yet by Its power the Sun and the Moon revolve in their orbits. The supreme Tao is nameless,yet It ever supports all things. I do not know its namebut for title call it Tao

The venerable Master said:
Tao manifests both as the pure and the turbid, both as movement and stillness. Heaven is pure, earth is turbid. Heaven moves, earth is still. The masculine is pure, the feminine is turbid. The masculine is active, the feminine is passive. Manifesting from its radical essence,Tao flows forth even to the last of things,bringing forth heaven and eart hand all that is in between. The pure is the cause of the turbid, and movement of stillness.

The venerable Master said:
When man attains the power to transcend that which changes abiding in purity and stillness, heaven and earth are united in him. The soul of man loves purity, but his mind is often rebellious. The mind of man loves stillness but his desires draw him into activity. When a man is constantly able to govern his desires, his mind becomes spontaneously still. When the mind is unclouded, the soul is seen to be pure. Then with certainty the six desires will cease to be begotten, and the three poisons will be eliminated and dissolved. The reason men do not possess the ability to achieve this is because their minds are not clear and their desires are unrestrained. He who has the power to transcend his desires, looking within and contemplating mind, realizes that in his mind, mind is not; looking without and contemplating form, he realizes that in form, form is not; looking at things still more remote and contemplating matter, he realizes that in matter, matter is not.

The venerable Master said:
When he has clearly thought about these three he perceives only a void, but when he contemplates the void, he realizes that the void is also void and has become nothingness. The void having vanished into nothingness, he realizes that the nothingness of nothing is also nothing, and when the nethermost nothingness is reached, there is most truly to be found a deep and unchanging stilness. In this profound stillness how can desires be begotten? When desires are no longer begotten,then there is essential and unchanging stillness. Truth is essentially unchanging. All things in heaven and earth are in essence unchanging.

The venerable Master said:
The unfoldment of man’s consciousness, leads him to this unchanging truth. In unchanging stillness, unchanging purity and rest are found. He who attains purity and stillness enters into the immutable Tao. Having entered into the immutable Tao he is named possessor of Tao. Although he is named the possessor of Tao, he knows that he does not posses it. Only when he can transmute all living beings can he be truly named the possessor of Tao. He who is able to understand this can lead others to sacred Tao.

Reference:
The Classic of Purity by Ko Hsuan osholeela.com