OTHER HARPER SAN FRANCISCO

BOOKS BY THOMAS CLEARY
The Essential Tao:
An Initiation into the Heart ofTaoism
through the Authentic 1Ao Te Ching and
the Inner Teachings of Chuang Tzu
The Essmtial Confucius:
The Heart of Confucius' Teachings
in Authentic I Ching Order
The Secret of
the Golden Flower
The Classic Chinese Book of Lifo
Translated, with.Introduction,
Notes, and Commentary by
Thomas Cleary
'I)
HarperOne .
A Di'!!i.!ion ofHarperCollinsPubliJhers
~
Ho.rp•rOne
THE SECRET 01' THE GOLDEN FLOWER:
The ClaJsic Chinese Book 4 Lift.
Copyright© 1991 by Thomas Cleary.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United Scates of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief
qumations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For informarion
address HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Sueet,
New York, NY 10022.
HarperCollins books may be purchased for educarional, business,
or sales promotional use. For information please write: Special Markers
Department, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street,
New York, NY 10022.
HarperCollins Web site: hrcp://www.harpercollins.corn
HarperCollins®, =®, and HarperOne"' are trademarks of
HarperCollins Publishers.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lii, Tung-pin, b. 798
[T'ai i chin hua rsung chih. English]
The secret of the golden flower I translated,
with introduction, notes, and commentary, by
Thomas Cleary. - lsr ed.
p. ern.
Translation of: T'ai i chin hua tsung chih.
ISBN: 978-0-06-250193-6
1, Spiritual life (Taoism) 2. Spiritual life (Buddhism)
I. Cleary, Thomas F., 1949- II. Title.
BL1923.L78 1991
299'.5144-dc20 90-55796
08 09 10 11 MART 20 19
Contents
Introduction
1
The Secret of the Go/dm Flower
7
Translation Notes
73
Th.nslator's Afterword:
Modern Applications of the
Golden Flower Method
131
Works Cited
154
Introduction
Naturalness is called the Way.
The Way has no nameorfonn;
it is just the essence)
just the primal spirit .
. ··he Secret of the Golden
· Fb!wer is a lay manual of Buddhist and Taoist methods for
clarifYing the mind. A distillation of the inner psycho-
active elements in ancient spiritual classics, it describes a
natural way to mental freedom practiced in China for
many centuries.
The golden flower symbolizes the quintessence of the
paths of Buddhism andTaoism. Gold stands forlight, the
light of the mind itself; the flower representS the blossom-
ing, or opening up, of the light of the mind; Thus the
expression is emblematic of the basic awakening of the
real self and its hidden potential.
In Taoist terms, the first goal of the Way is to restore
the original Godo.given spirit and become a. self-realized
human being. In Buddhist terms, a realized human being
is someone conscious of the original mind, or the real
self, as it is in its spontaneous natural state, independent
of environmental conditioning.
This original spirit is also called the celestial mind, or
the natural mind. A mode of awareness subtler and more
direct than thought or imagination, it is central to the
l
2
blossoming of the mind. The Secret ofthe Golden r'/mver
is devoted to the recovery and refinement of the original
spirit.
This manual contains a number of helpful meditation
techniques
1
but its central method is deeper than a form
of meditation. Using neither idea nor image, it is a pro-
cess of gerting right to the root source of awareness itself.
The aim of this exercise is to free the mind from arbitrary
and unnecessary limitations imposed upon it by habitual.
fixation on its own contents. With this liberation, Taoists
say, the conscious individual becomes a "partner of
creation
11
rather than a prisoner of creation.
The experience of the blossoming of the golden
flower is likened to light in the sky, a sky of awareness
vaster than images
1
thoughts, and feelings, an unimpeded
space containing everything without being filled. Thus it
opens up an avenue to an endless source of intuition
1
creativity
1
and inspiration. Once this power of mental
awakening has been developed, it can be renewed and
deepened without limit.
The essential practice of the golden flower requires no
apparatus
1
no philosophical or religious dogma, no special
paraphernalia or ritual. It is practiced in the course of
daily life. It is near at hand, being in the mind itself, yet it
involves no imagery or thought. It is remote only in the
sense that it is a use of attention generally unfamiliar to
the mind habituated to imagination and thinking.
The Secret of the Golden Flower is remarkable for the
sharpness of its focus on a very direct method for self-
realization accessible to ordinary lay people. When it was
written down in a crisis more than two hundred years
3
·•·. ago, it was a concentrated revival of an ancient teaching;
. ·.and it has been periodically revived in crises since) due
to the rapidity with which the method can awaken
awareness ofhidden resources in the mind.
The Secret of the Golden Flmver is the first book of its
kind to have been translated into a Western language. A
German version by Richard Wilhelm was first published
in 1929) and an English • translation of this German rendi-
• tion was published shortly thereafter. Both German and
English editions included an extensive commentary by
the distinguished psychologist C. G. Jung) whose work
became a majorinflllence in Western psychology; studies
of mythology and religion) and New Age culture in general.
Although J ung credited The Secret of the Golden Flower
with having clarified his own work on the unconscious,
he maintained serious reservations about the practice
taught in the book. WhatJung did not know was that
the text he was reading was in fact a garbled translation
of a truncated version of a corrupted recension of the
original work.
Unawares, a critical communication gap occurred in
the process of transmission; and yet the book made a
powerful impression. It became one ofthe main sources
ofWestern knowledge of Eastern spirituality and also one
of the seminal influences in Jungian thought on the
psychology of religion. Cary F. Baynes, who rendered
Wilhelm's German into English, even went so far as to
hail it as "the secret of the power of growth latent in the
psyche."
Psychological and experiential approaches to religion
have enriched modern psychological thought and
4
research, which have in turn enriched the understanding
and experience of religion. In terms of religion as culture,
one of the advantages of a· psychological approach is the
facility with which emotional boundaries of church and
sect can thereby be transcended.
In Wilhdm's own introduction to his translation of
The Secret of the Golden Flown; he notes that Taoist organi-
zations following this teaching in his time included not
only Confucians and Buddhists but also Jews, Christians,
and Muslims, all without requiring them to break away
from their own religious congregations. So fundamental
is the golden flower awakening that it brings out inner
dimensions in all religions.
From the point ofview of that central experience, it
makes no more diffi:rence whether one calls the golden
flower awakening a relationship to God or to the Way, or
whether one calls it the holyspirit or the Buddha nature
or the real self. The TtUJ Te Ching says, "Names can be
designated, but they are not fixed terms.''
The image of the opening up of the golden flower of
the light in the mind is used as but one of many ways of
alluding to an effi:ct that is really ineffable. The pragmatic
purpose of Taoist and Buddhist·teachings is to elicit expe-
rience, not to inculcate doctrines; that is why people of
other religions, or with no religion at all, have been able
to avail themselves of the psychoactive technologies of
Taoism and Buddhism without destroying their own
cultural identities.
Considered in terms of its essential aim rather than
the forms it can take, the golden flower method can be
used to transcend the barriers of personal and cultural
5
differences without losing the richness of diversity and
distinction .... ·
The Semt of the Golden Flower is indeed a powerful trea-
tise on awakening the hidden potential of a universal
human being, and it is in reality an even better and more
useful book than Wilhelm,]ung, or Baynes thought it to
be. However immature his rendition may have been, I am
deeply indebted to Richard Wilhelm for introducing this
extraordinary text to the West, for it could otherwise have
gone unnoticed for decades, even centuries, amidst the
hundreds upon hundreds of Taoist and Buddhisttreatises
awaiting translation.
It can therefore be said that it is because of Wilhelm's
efforts that this new English version of The Smtt of the
Golden Flower has come into being. It is to further
inquiries into ways of approaching universal psychology
and mental wholeness in general, and to further inquiries
into development of the researches initiated by Wilhelm
and Jung in their presentation of this book in particular,
that I have undertaken to follow up on their work with
a new and complete rendition of The Secret of the Go/Mn
F/Qwer.
Because the still-current Wilhelm/Jung!Baynes edition
of this manual contains dangerous and misleading con-
taminations, a primary consideration of the new transla-
tion was to make the contents of The Secret of the Golden
Fluwer explicitly accessible to both lay and specialist
audiences. This is partly a matter of translation and partly
a matter of presentation.
The text itself is somewhat like a series of explanations
of practical meanings in esoteric terminology for the use
6
of lay people. To this have been added selections trans-
lated from a canonical Chinese Taoist commentary that
further refines the principles into pragmatic observations
divested of the outward forms of religious and alchemical
symbolism. The translation notes explain the expressions,
ideas, and practices to which the text refers. The after-
word joins the beginning and the end, from the back-
ground of t h ~ translations to the psychological
implications of the praxis.
I.
II.
III.
IV.
v.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
The Secret of
the Golden Flower
The Celestial Mind
The Original Spirit ::md the Conscious Spirit
Turning the Light Around and Keeping
to the Center
Turning the Light Around and Tuning
the Breathing
Errors in Turning the Light Around
Authenticating Experiences of Turning
the Light Around
The Living Method of Turning
the Light Around
The Secret ofFreedom
Setting Up the Foundation in a
Hundred Days
X. The Light of Essence and the Light of
Consciousness
XI. The Intercourse of Water and Fire
XII. The Cycle
XIII. Song to Inspire the World
Questions and Answers Opening up the
Mysteries of the Doctrine of the
Golden Flower
7
9.
13
17
23
31
33
37
39
49
51
55
57
61
65
I
The Celestial Mind
1 Naturalness is called the Way. The Way has no name
or form; it is just the essence, just the prirriaispirit.
2 Essence and life are invisible, so they are associated
with sky and light. Sky and light are invisible, so they
are associated with the two eyes.
3 Since ancient times, those who realiied spiritual
immortality all communicated their teaching verbally,
transmitting it from individual to individual.··
4 Thishang appeared magically to Donghua, and the
Way was handed on. through a succession to Yan,
then to the southern and northern schools of Com-
plete Reality, which can be considered its full
flourishing.
5 That movement flourished in the sense that there
were a great many who followed it, yet it declined in
the sense that its mental communication deterio-
rated. This has continued up to the present day,
when it is extremely confused and extremely
degenerate.
9
10
6 When an extreme is reached, there is a reversion.
Therefore there was a certain master Siu who
extended his kindness to liberate all, especially setting
up the teaching of the special transmission outside of
doctrine. For those who heard, it was a rare opportu-
nity; those who accepted it formed a religious associ-
ation in their time. Everyone should respectfully
understand the heart of master Siu.
7 First establish a firm foothold in daily activities
within society. Only then can you cultivate reality
and understaf1,: essence.
8 In obedience to a directive, I am acting as a guide to
liberation. Now I am bringing to light the source
message of the golden flower of absolute unity. After
that I will explain in detail.
9 The absolute unity refers to what cannot be sur-
passed. There are very many alchemical teachings,
but all of them make temporary use of effort to arrive
at effortlessness; they are not teachings of total tran-
scendence and direct penetration. The doctrine I
transmit directly brings up working with essence and
does not fall into a secondary method. That is the
best thing about it.
10 The golden flower is light. What color is light? It is
symbolized by the golden flower, which [in Chinese
characters] also conceals [the words] one light within.
This is the absolutely unified real energy of celestial
immortals; this is what is meant by the saying, "The
lead in the homeland of water is just one flavor."
11
The whole work of turning the light around uses the
method of reversal. The beauties ofthe highest
heavens and the marvels of the sublimest realms are
all within the heart: this is where the perfectly open
and aware spirit concentrates. Confucians call inhe
open center, Buddhists call it the pedestal of aware-
ness, Taoists call it the ancestral earth, the yellow
court, the mysterious pass, rhe primal opening.
The celestial mind is like a house; the light is the
master of the house. Therefore once you turn the
light around, the energies throughout the body all
rise. Just turn the light around; this is the unexcelled
sublime truth.
The light is easily stirred and hard to stabilize. When
you have turned it around for a long time, the light
crystallizes. This is the natural spiritual body, and it
steadies the spirit above the nine skies. This is what is
referred to in the Mind Seal Scripture as "silently pay-
ing court'' and ''soaring upward."
The golden flower is the same thing as the gold pill.
The transmutations of spiritual illumination are all
guided by mind.
II
The Original Spirit and
the Conscious Spirit
From the point of view of the universe, people are
like mayflies; but from the point of view of the Way,
even the universe is asanevanescent reflection. Only
the true essence of the original spirit transcends the
primal organization and is above it.
Vitality and energy degenerate alorig with the uni-
verse, but the original spirit is stillthere; this is the
infinite. The production of the universe all derives
from this. If learners can just preserve the original
spirit, they live transcendentally outside ofyinarid
yang. They are not within the three realms.
This is possible only by seeing essence. This is what is
called the original face.
What is mC>st wondrous is when tlttdight has crystal-
lized in a spiritual body, gradually becoming con-
sciously effective, and is on the verge of moving into
action. This is the secret that has not been transmit-
ted in a thousand ages.
13
14
5 The conscious mind is like a violent general of a
strong fiefdom controlling things from a distance,
until the sword is turned around.
6 Now steadily keep to the chamber of the origin,
turning the light around to look back, and this is like
having a heroic leader on top with great ministers
helping. Once the inner government is orderly, the
strong and violent naturally become tame.
7 The highest secrets of alchemy are the water of
vitality, the fire of spirit, and the earth of attention.
8 The water of vitality is the energy of the primal real
unity. The fire of spirit is illumination. The earth of
attention is the chamber of the center, the celestial
mind.
9 The fire of spirit is the function, the earth of atten-
tion is the substance, the water of vitality is the
foundation.
10 People create the body by attention. The body is not
just the physical body, because there is a lower soul
therein. The lower sou! functions in association with
consciousness, and consciousness develops based on
the lower soul. The lower soul is dim; it is the sub-
stance of consciousness. If consciousness is not inter-
rupted, transformation and transmutation of the
lower soul go on endlessly from lifetime to lifetime,
generation to generation.
11 Then there is the higher soul, which is where the
spirit is concealed. The higher soul resides in the eyes
during the day and lodges in the liver at night. When
it resides in the eyes, it sees; when it lodges in the
liver, it dreams.
12 Dreams are the roaming of the spirit. It traverses the
nine heavens and nine earths in an instant. If you are
dull and depressed on awakening, that is a sign of
clinging to the body, which means clinging to the
lower soul.
13 So turning the light around is a means of refining the
higher soul, which is a means of preserving the spirit,
which is a means of controlling the lower soul, which
is a means of interrupting consciousness.
14 The ancients' method of transcending the world,
refining away the dregs of darkness to restore pure
light, is just a matter of dissolving the lower soul and
making the higher soul whole.
15 Turning the light around is the secret of dissolving
darkness and controlling the lower soul. There is no
exercise to restore the creative, only the secret of turn-
ing the light around. The light itself is the creative; to
turn it around is to restore it.
16 Just persist in this method, and naturally the water of
vitality will be full, the fire of spirit will ignite, the
earth of attention will stabilize, and thus the embryo
of sagehood can be solidified.
16
17 A dung beetle rolls a pill of dung, from which life
emerges, by the pure effort of concentration of spirit.
If life can come even from a dung ball, how could it
not be possible to produce a body by concentrating
the spirit on where the celestial mind rests when the
embryo leaves the shell?
18 Once the true nature of unified awareness has fallen
into the chamber of the cnative) it divides into higher
and lower souls. The higher soul is in the celestial
mind; this is yang, energy that is light and dear. This
is obtained from cosmic space and has the same form
as· the original beginning.· The lower soul is yin,
energy thatis dense and opaque. This sticks to the
ordinary mind that has form.
19 The higher soul likes life, the lower soul looks toward
death. All lust affecting the temperament is the doing
of the lower soul. This is what consciousness is. After
death it feeds on blood, in life it suffers greatly .. This
is darkness returning to darkness, by a coming
together of kind.
20 If learners refine the dark lower soul completely, then
it will be pure light.
III
Turning the Light
Around and Keeping
to the· Center
1 Where did the term the light around begin? It
began with the adept Wenshi. When the light is
turned around, the energies of heaven and earth, yin
and yang, all congeal. This is whatiscalled "refined
thought,'' "pure energy:' or "pure thought.''
2 When you first put this technique into practice,
is seemingly nonbeing within being. Eventually,
when the work is accomplished, and there is a body
beyond your body, there seemingly being within
nonbeing.
3 Only after a hundred days of concentrated
the light real; only then is it the fire of spirit. After a
hundred days, the light is spontaneous: a point of
true positive energy suddenly produces a pearl, just
as an embryo forms ftoJ1l the intercourse of a man
and a woman. Then you should attend it calmly and
quietly. The turning around of the light is the "firing
process.''
17
18
4 In the original creation there is positive light, which
is the ruling director. In the material world it is the
sun; in human beings it is the eyes. Nothing is worse
than to have a running leakage ofspirit and con-
sciousness; this is conformity, so theway of the
golden flower is accomplished completely through
the method of reversal.
5 Turning the light around is not turning around the
light of one body, but turning around the very
energy of Creation. It is not stopping random imagi-
nation only temporarily; it is truly emptying routine
compulsion for all time.
6 Therefore each· breath corresponds to one year of
human time; and each· breath corresponds to a cen-
tury in the various pathways of the long night of
Ignorance.
7 Usually people wind up pursuing objects and come
to age in conformity with life, never once looking
back. When their positive energy fades and disap-
pears, this is the netherworld. Therefore the Heroic
March Scripture says, "Pure thought is flight, pure
emotion is fall." When students have little thought
and much emotion, they sink into low W<!.ys. Just
observe clearly, and when your breath grows quiet
you then become accurately aware. This is application
of the method of reversal.
8 This is what is meant in the Yin Convergence Classic
when it says, "The mechanism is in the eyes:' and the
Plain QuestUms of the Yellow Emperor when it says,
"The light rays ofthe human body all flow upward
into the aperture of space." If you get this, long life is
herein, and so is transcendence of life.
9 This is a practice that pervades the three teachings.
10 The light is neither inside nor outside the self.
Mountains, rivers, sun, moon, and the whole earth
are all this light, so it is· riot only in the self. All the
operations of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom
are also this light, so it is not outside the self. The
light of heaven and earth fills the universe; the light
of one individual also naturallyextends through the
heavens and covers the earth. Therefore once you
turn the light around, everything in the world is
turned around.
11 The light rays are concentrated upward into the eyes;
this is the great key of the human body. You should
reflect on this. If you do not sit quietly each day, this
light flows and whirls, stopping who knows where. If
you can sit quietly for a while, all time- ten thousand
ages, a thousand lifetimes-is penetrated from this.
All phenomena revert to stillness. Truly inconceivable
is this sublime truth.
20
12 Nevertheless, the actual practice goes from shallow to
deep, from crude to fine. Throughout, it is best to be
consistent. The practice is one from beginning to
end, but its quality during the process can be known
only by oneself. Nevertheless, it is necessary to wind
up at the point where "heaven is open, earth is
broad, and all things are just as they are," for only
this can be considered attainment.
13 What has been communicated through successive
sages is not beyond reversed gazing. Confucians call it
"reaching toward knowledge." Buddhists call it
"observing mind." Taoists call it "inner observation."
14 The essential teaching is summarized above; as for
the rest, matters of entering and exiting stillness, the
prelude and the aftermath, one should use the book
SmaJJ Stopping and Seeing for a touchstone;
15 The words focw on the center are most sublime. The
center is omnipresent; the whole universe is within
it. This indicates the mechanismofCreation; you
focus on this to enter the gate, that is all. To focus
means to focus on this as a hint, not to become
rigidly fixated. The meaning of the wordfocw has life
to it; it is very subtle.
21
The terms stopping and seeing basically cannot be sepa-
rated. They mean concentration and insight. Here-
after, whenever thoughts arise, you don't need to sit
still as before, but you should investigate this
thought: where is it? Where does it come from?
Where does it disappearr Push this inquiry on and on
over and over until you realize it cannot be grasped;
then you will see where the thought arises. You don't
need to seek out the point of arising any more.
"'Having looked for my mind, I realize it cannot be
grasped.' 'I have pacified your mind for you.'"
This is correct seeing; whatever is contrary to this is
false seeing. Once you reach this ungraspability, then
as before you continuously practice stopping and
continue it by seeing, practice seeing and continue it
by stopping. This is twin cultivation of stopping and
seeing. This is turning the light around.
The turning around is stopping, the light is seeing.
Stopping without seeing· is called turning around
without light; seeing without stopping is called hav-
ing light without turning it around. Remember this.
IV
Turning the Light
Around and Tuning
the Breathing
1 The doctrine just requires single-minded practice.
One does not seek experiential proof, but experien-
tial proof comes of itself.
·• · 2 On the whole; beginners suffer from two kinds of
problems: oblivion and distraction. There is a device
to get rid of them, which is simply to rest the mind
on the breath.
3 The breath is one's own mind; one's own mind does
the breathing. Once mind stirs, there is energy.
·Energy is basically an emanation of mind.
·· 4 Our thoughts are very rapid; a single random
thought takes place in a moment, whereupon an
exhalation and inhalation respond to it. Therefore
inward breathing and outward breathing accompany
each other like sound and echo. In a single day one
breathes countless times, so has countless
thoughts. When the luminosity of spirit has leaked
out completely, one is like a withered tree or dead
ashes.
23
5 So should one have no thoughts? It is impossible to
have no thoughts. Should one not breathe? It is
impossible not to breathe. Nothing compares to
making the affliction itself into medicine, which
means to have mind and breath rest on each other.
Therefore tuning the breath should be included in
turning the light around.
6 This method makes use of two lights. One is the
light of the ears, one is the light of the eyes. The
light of the eyes means the external sun and moon,
combining their lights; the light of the ears means
the internal sun and moon, combining their vitali-
ties. However, vitality is congealed and stabilized
light; "they have the same source but different
names." Therefore clarity of hearing and seeing are
both one and the same spiritual light.
7 When you sit, lower your eyelids and then establish a
point of reference. Now iet go. But if you let go abso-
lutely, you may not be able to simultaneously keep
your mind on listening to your breathing.
8 You should not allow your breathing to actually be
audible; just listen to its soundlessness. Orice there is
sound, you are buoyed by the coarse and do not
enter the fine. Then be patient and lighten up a little.
The more you let go, the greater the subtlety; and
the greater the subtlety, the deeper the quietude.
25
9 Eventually, after a long time, all of a sudden even the
subtle will be interrupted and the true breathing will
appear, whereupon the substance of mind will
become perceptible.
10 This is because when mind is s ~ b t l e , breath issubtle;
when mind is unified, it moves energy. When breath
is subtle, mind is subtle; when energy is unified, it
moves mind. Stabilization of mind must be preceded
by development of energy because the mind has no
place to set to work on; so focus on energy is used as
a starting point. This is what is called the preserva-
tion of pure energy.
11 You don't. understand. the meaning of the word 111Q'Pe,-
mmt. Movement is pulling the strings; the word
movement is another word for control. Since you can
cause movement by vigorous action, how could you
not be able to cause stillness by pure quietude?
12 The great sages saw the interrelation of mind and
energy and skillfully set up an expedient for the
benefit of people of later times. An alchemicaJ text
says, "The hen embraces the egg, always mentally
listening." These are the finest instructions. The way
a hen can give life to an egg is through. warm energy;
warm energy can only warm the shell and cannot
penetrate the iriside, so she mentally conducts the
energy inward .. That "listening'' is single-minded con;.
centration. When the mind enters, the energy enters;
with warm energy, the birth takes place.
26
13 Therefore even though the mother hen goes out
from time to time, she is always listening, and the
concentration of her spirit is never interrupted. Since
the concentration of the spirit is never interrupted,
then the warm energy is also uninterrupted day and
night, so the spirit comes alive.
14 The life of the spirit comes from the prior death of
the mind. If people can kill the mind, the original
comes alive. Killing the mind does not mean
quietism, it means undivided concentration. Buddha
said, "Place the mind on one point, and everything
can be done."
15 If the mind tends to run off, then unify it by means
of the breath; if the breath tends to become rough,
then use the mind to make it fine. If you do this,
how can the mind fail to stabilize?
16 Generally speaking, the two afflictions of oblivion
and distraction just require quieting practice to con-
tinue unbroken day after day until complete cessation
and rest occur spontaneously. When you are not sit-
ting quietly, you may be distracted without knowing
it; but once you are aware of it, distraction itself
becomes a mechanism for getting rid of distraction.
17 As for unawares oblivion and oblivion ofwhich you
become aware, there is an inconceivable distance
between them. Unawares oblivion is real oblivion;
oblivion that you notice is not completely oblivious.
Clear light is in this.
27
18 Distraction means the spirit is racing; oblivion means
the spirit is unclear. Distraction is easy to cure; obliv-
ion is hard to heaL Using the metaphorofillness,
one that involves pain or itch can be treated with
medicine, but oblivion is a symptom of paralysis,
where there is no feeling.
19 A distracted mind can be concentrated, and a con-
fused mind can be set in order; but oblivion is
unformed darkness, in contrast to distraction, which
still has some direction.
Oblivion means the lower soul is in complete con-
trol, whereas the lower soul is a .lingering presence in
distraction. Oblivion is ruled by pure darkness and
negativjty,
21 When you are sitting quietly, if you become drowsy,
this is oblivion." Repelling oblivion is simply a matter
of tuning the breath. The "breath" inthiscase is
respiration,not the "true breathing." Nevertheless
the true breathing is present within it.
22 Whenever you sit, you should quiet your mind and
unity your energy. How is the mind quieted? The
mechanism is in the breathing, but the mind alone
knows you are breathing out and in; do not let the
ears hear. When you don't hear it, the breathing is
fine; and when breathing is fine, the mind is clear. If
you can hear it, the breathing is rough, which means
the mind is cloudy. Cloudiness means oblivion, so it
is natural to feel sleepy. Even so, the mind should be
kept on the breathing.
28
23 It is also essential to understand that this device is
not mechanical or forced. Just maintain a subtle
looking and listening.
24 What is "looking"? It is the light of the eyes spon-
taneously shining, the eyes only looking inward and
not outward. Not looking outward yet being alert is
inward looking; it is not that there really is such a
thing as looking inward.
25 What is "listening"? It is the light ofthe ears spon-
taneously listening, the ears only listening in\vard and
not outward. Not listening outward yet being alert is
inward listening; it is not that there really is such a
thing as listening inward.
26 Listening means listening to the soundless; looking
means looking at the formless;
27 When the eyes do not look outside and the ears do
not listen outside, they are closed in and have a ten-
dency to race around inside. Only by inward looking
and listening can you prevent this inner racing as well
as oblivion in between. This is the meaning of sun
and moon combining their vitalities and lights.
29
When you sink into oblivion and become drowsy,
get up and take a walk. When your spirit has cleared,
sit again. It's best to sit f o r ~ while in the early morn-
ing when you have free time. After noontime, when
there are many things to do, it's easy to fall into
oblivion. Also, there's no need to fix the length of
time of meditation; it is only essential to set aside all
involvements and sit quiedy for a while. Eventually
you will attain absorption and not become oblivious
or sleepy.
v
Errors in Turning the
Light Around
Even though your practice gradually matures, "there
are many pitfu.lls in front of the cliff of withered trees."
This makes it necessaryto elucidate the experiences
involved in detail. Only when you have personally
gotten thisfa.r doyouknow how I can talkofit now.
Our school is not the same as Chan study in that we
have step-by-step evidences of efficacy. Let us first
talk about points of distinction, then about
evidences of efficacy.
When you are going to practice this doctrine, first see
to it somehow that you don't have much on your
mind, so that you can be alive and free. Make your
mood gentle and your mind comfortable, then enter
into quietude. .
When you are quiet, it is then essential to find
potential and find its opening; don't sit inside noth-
ingness or indifference (so-called "neutral voidness").
31
32
5 Even as you let go of all objects, you are alert and
self-possessed.
6 But don't get enthusiastic about attaining the experi-
ence. (This easily happens whenever reality is taken
too seriously. That means not that you shouldn't
recognize reality, but that the rhythm of reality is on
the brink of existence and nonexistence. You can get
it by intent that is not willful.)
7 Even in the midst of alert awareness, you are relaxed
and natural. But don't fall into the elements of body
and mind, where material and psychological illusions
take charge. If you tend to fall into a deadness when-
ever you go into meditation and are relatively lacking
in growth and creative energy, this means you have
fallen into a shadow world. Your mood is cold, your
breath sinking, and you have a number of other chill-
ing and withering experiences. If you continue this
way for a long time, you will degenerate into a block-
head or a rockhead.
8 And yet it will not do to go along with all conditions.
9 Once you have gone into quietude and all sorts of
loose ends come to you for no apparent reason, you
find you cannot tum them away if you want to, and
you even feel comfortable going along with them.
This is called the master becoming the servant. If this
goes on long, you fall into the various roads of the
realms of form and desire.
10 Once you know this, you can seek experiential proofs.
VI
Authenticating
Experiences of Turning
the Light Around
1 There are many authenticating experiences that can-
not be undergone· responsibly by people with small
faculties and small capacities. You must will the liber-
ation of all beings; you cannot handle attainment
with a careless or arrogant attitude.
2 When there is uninterrupted continuity in quiet, the
spirit and feelings are joyful and happy, as if one were
intoxicated, or in a bath. This is called positive har-
mony pervading the body, its golden efflorescence
suddenly blooming.
3 Once "myriad pipes are all silent;' and "the bright
moon is in mid sky;' you feel the whole earth as a
realm of light. This is the opening up of the luminos-
ity that is the substance of mind, the proper release
of the golden flower.
33
34
4 Once the whole body is filled completely, you do not
fear wind or frost. When you meet things that make
people feel desolate in facing them, your vital spirit
shines even brighter. The house is built of yellow
gold, the terrace is white jade; the rotten things of
the world you bring to life with ;1 puff of true energy.
Red blood becomes milk, the physical body is all
gold and jewels. This is the great stabilization of the
golden flower.
5 The first stage corresponds to the Visualizatron Scrip-
turls technical symbols of the setting s u n ~ the great
body of water, and the trees in rows. The setting of
the sun stands for setting up the foundation-in the
undifferentiated; this is the infinite. "Higher good is
like water," flawlessly pure; this is the ultimate. The
master is the ruler that produces movement, and
since movement is symbolized by wood, it is repre-
sented by trees in rows. The rows are in sevens,
which stand for the light of the seven openings
Of the "heart."
6 The second stage begins from the foundation; at this
point the whole earth· becomes a jewel ground of ice
crystals; the light gradually solidifies. Therefore a
great terrace follows. As for the Buddha on the ter-
race of enlightenment, once the golden essence has
become manifest, what is it if not Buddha? Buddha is
the "gold immortal" of great awareness. This is just
the authenticating experience of the major stage.
35
7 There are three authenticating experiences that can
be considered now. One is when you are sitting and
the spirit enters into a state of openness, and then
when you hear people talking it is as though from far
away, but everything is clearly understood even
though all sounds coming in are like echoes in a
Valley. All are heard, you have never heard anything
yourself. This is the spirit in a state of openness; it
cari be experienced by oneself at any time.
8 Another experience is when in the midst of quiet the
light of the eyes blazes up, filling one's presence with
.· light. It is like opening the eyes in a cloud. There is
noway to look for ones body. This is "the empty
room producing light." Inside and outside are per-
meated with light, auspicious signs hover in stillness.
9 Yet another experience is when in the midst of quiet
the energy of the physical body becomes like silk or
jade; while sitting, if you don't stop it, the energy
will soar buoyantly upward. This is the spirit return-
ing to the highest heaven. Eventually, after a long
time, it is thereby possible to ascend.
10 These three experiences can be verified now, but it is
still not possible to explain them thoroughly .. People
experience higher things individually, according to
their faculties and capacities. This is like what Stopping
and Seeing calls the emerging manifestations of roots
of good.
36
11 These things are like when people drink water and
know for themselves whether it is cool or warm: it is
necessary for you to attain faith on your own. Only
then is the true primal unified energy present.
12 If you find the unified energy yourself in authenticat-
ing experience, the eliXir immediately crystallizes.
This is a grain of reality. "A grain, and then another
grain, from vagueness to clarity." This refers to the
"primal grain" that builds up through time; there is
also the total primal grain, which is measureless.
13 Each grain has a grain's power. This requires individ-
ual fortitude above all.
VII
The Living
Method of Turning
the Light Around
As you go along practicing turning the light around,
you need not give up your normal occupation. An
ancient said, "When matters come up, one should
respond; when things come up, one should discern."
If you manage affil.irs with accurate mindfulness, then
the light is not overcome by things, so it will do to
repeat this formless turning around of the light time
.and again.
If you can look back again and again into the source
of mind, whatever you are ?oing, not sticking to any
image of person or self at all, then this is "turning
the light around wherever you are." This is the finest
practice.
In the early morning, if you can clear all objects from
your mind and sit quietly for one or two hours, that
is best. Whenever you are engaged in work or dealing
with people, just use this "looking back" technique,
and there will be no interruption. If you practice in
this way ror two or three months, the realized ones
in Heaven will surely come to attest to your experience.
37
VIII
The Secret of-
Freedom
1 Jadelike purity has left a secret of freedom
In the lower world:
Congeal the spirit in the lair of energy,
And you'll suddenly see ·. .
White snow flying in midsummer,
The sun blazing in the water at midnight.
Going along harmoniously,
You roam in the heavens
Then return to absorb
The virtues of the receptive.
2 There is a n o t h ~ r line, a mystery within a mystery:
"The homeland of nothing whatsoever isthe true
a bode." The depths of the mystery are all contained
in a single measured verse.
' ....
3 The essence of the great Way is to act purposefully
without striving. Because of nonstriving, one does
not cling to local conventions, forms, or images; but
·because of not striving yet acting purposefully, one
does not fall into indifferent emptiness, dead voidness.
39
40
4 The function is all in the center, but the mechanism
is all in the two eyes. The two eyes are the handle of
the stars) whichmanages Creation and operates yin
and yang.
5 The major medicinal ingredient beginning to end is
only the "metal in the middle of primary water" (i.e.,
the "lead in the region ofwater"). The preceding talk
of turning the light around points out a method for
beginners to control the inside from outside, thus
helping them to attain independence.
6 This is fur middling and lesser people cultivating the
lower two passes in order to penetrate the upper
pass. Now as the Way gradually becomes clear and
mastery of the device gradually matures, Heaven does
not begrudge the Way but directly divulges the
unsurpassed doctrine. Keep it confidential, and
work it out.
7 7 U r n i ~ the light around is only the general term: with
each level of progress in practice, the efflorescence of
the light increases in magnitude, and the method of
turning around becomes subtler. Previously one con-
trolled the inside from the outside; now one abides
in the center and controls the outside. Befure, the
assistant administered for the master; now one
promulgates policy in service of the master. There has
manifestly been a great reversaL
41
8 When you want to enter quietude, first tune and
concentrate body and mind, so that they are free and
peaceful. Let go of all objects, so that nothing what-
soever hangs on your mind, and the celestial mind
takes its rightful place in this center.
9 After that, lower your eyelids and gaze inward at
the chamber ofWatet: Where the light reaches, true
positive energy comes forth in response.
10 Ft:n is yang outside and yin inside, so it is in substance
the creative, with one yin inside ruling it, arousing
mind according to things; going along out into
habitual routines.
11 Now when you turn the light around to shine
inward, [the mind] is not aroused by things; negative
energy then stops, and the flower of light radiates a
concentrated glow, which is pure positive energy.
12 Correlates inevicibly associate, so the positivity in
wam-leaps up, whereupon it is notthe positivity in
wam- but just the positivity in the creative itself
responding to the positivity in the creative. Once the
two things meet, they join inextricably, the living
movement of creative energy now coming, now
going, nowfloating, now sinking. In the basic cham-
ber in oneself there is an ungraspable sense of vast
space, beyond measure; and the whole body feels ..
wondrously light and buoyant. This is what is called
"clouds filling the thousand mountains."
42
13 Next, the coming and going is traceless, the floating
and sinking are indiscernible. The channels are stilled,
energy stops: this is true intercourse. This is what is
called "the moon steeped in myriad waters.''
14 When the celestial mind first stirs in the midst of that
utter darkness of the unknown, this is the return of
initial positive energy. This is "living midnight."So
what transpires at this point should be explained in
detail.
15 Ordinarily, once people let their eyes and ears pursue
things, they get stirred up, only to stop whenthings
are gone. This activity and rest are all subjects, btlt
the sovereign ruler becomes their slave. This is
"always living with ghosts.''
16 Now if in all activity and rest you abide in heaven
while in the midst of humanity, thesovereignis then
the real human being. When it moves, you move
with it; the movement is the root ofheaven; When it
is at rest, you rest with it; the rest is the moon
cavern.
17 If the celestial mind keeps still and you miss the right
timing in action, then that is an error of weakness. If
you act in response to it after the celestial mind has
acted, this is an error of staleness.
18 Once the celestialmind stirs, then usqmre attention
to raise it up to the chamber of the creative) with the
light of spirit focused on the crown of the head to
guide it. This is acting in time.
43
19 When the celestial mind has risen to the peak of the
cn:ativeJit floats upward of its own accord, then sud-
denly verges on utter quiescence; immediately use
pure attention to conduct it into the yellow court, as
the light of the eyes is focused on the spiritual room
in the center.
20 Once about to enter utter quiescence, not a single
thought is born; when gazing inward, suddenly one
forgets the gazing. At that time body and mind are in
a state of great freedom, and all objects disappear
without a trace. Then you don't even know where
the furnace and cauldron in your spiritual rooin are;
you can't even find your own body. This is the time
when "heaven enters earth" and all wonders return to
the root. This is solidifying the spirit in the lair of
energy .. ·
21 When you first practice turning the light around and
your mind gets scattered or distracted, so you want
to concentrate it, your six senses are not used;th.is
is called "nurturing the root source, adding fuel to
continue life.''
22 Once concentration is attained, you are naturally
buoyant and do not expend any strength; this is
called "settling the spirit in the original openness,
gathering the primal together.''
23 When even shadows and echoes have all disappeared,
and one is highly stabilized in profound tranquillity,
this is called "hibernating in the lair of energy, all
wonders returning to the root."
44
24 These three stages are in each stage, so there are nine
stages in one stage. I will expound upon that later;
for now I will speak of three stages in one.
25 During the nurturing and initial quieting, gathering
is also nurturing, and hibernating is also nurturing.
At the end, nurturing is also hibernating. The stage
in between can be figured out by analogy.
26 You do not change places, but places are distin-
guished therein; this is the fOrmless opening, where
all places are one place. You do not change times, but
times are clistinguishedtherein; this is time without a
period, an interval of a world cycle of the original
organization.
27 As long as the mind has not reached supreme quiet,
it cannot act. Action caused by momentum is ran-
dom action, not essential action. Therefore it is said
that action influenced by things is human desire,
while action uninfluenced by things is the action
of Heaven.
28 This does not contrast the action of Heaven to the
nature ofHeaven. There is a line missing [sic]. After
this ru explain the word desit-e.
29 Desire is in considering things to exist, or being pos-
sessive toward things; This is thought that is out of
place, action with an ulterior motive.
45
30 When not a single thought arises, then true mindful-
ness is born; this is pure attention. When the celes-
tial potential is suddenly activated in the midst of
silent trance, is this not spontaneous attention? This
is what is meant by acting without striving.
31 The first two lines of the verse at the beginning of
this chapter wrap up the function of the golden
flower. The next two lines refer to the interchange of
sun and moon; "midsummer" stands fur the "fire" of
[the trigrammatic Book The
"white snow'' is the true yin within fire about to
retum.to earth. "Midflight" is the water ofwatn: The
"sun'> is the single yang in the center of on the
verge ofblazing·and returning to heaven. Herein lies
[the operation of spiritual alchemy known as] "taking
from to fill in .fire."
32 The next two lines explain the function of the ctipper
handle; the whole mechanism of rising and descend-
ing. Does not "in the water" refer to watnf The eyes,
as the breeze of wind) shine into the chamber of
and beckon the vitality of dominant yang. That is
what these lines mean.
33 "In the heavens'' refers to the chamber of the &native.
"Roaming and returning to absorb the virtues of the
rtceptiPe" means nurturingthe fire.
34 The lasttwo lines point out the secret within these-
cret. The secret within the secret cannot be ctispensed
with from start to finish. This is what is called cleaning
the mind, washing the thoughts, which is "bathing."
46
35 The learning of sages begins with knowing when to
stop and ends with stopping at ultimate good. It
begins in the infinite and winds up in the infinite.
36 In Buddhism, activating the mind without dwelling
on anything is considered the essential message of the
whole canon. In Taoism, "effecting openness" is the
whole work of completing essence and life. In sum)
the three teachings are not beyond one saying, which
is a spiritual pill that gets one out of death and
preserves life.
37 What is the spiritual pill? It just means to be
unminding in all situations. The greatest secret in
Taoism is "bathing." Thus the whole practice
described in this book does not go beyond the words
"emptiness of mind." It is enough to understand this.
This single statement can save decades of seeking.
38 If you do not understand how three stages are
included in one, for an analogy let me use the Budd-
hist teaching of contemplating emptiness, the condi-
tional, and the center.
39 First is emptiness; you see all things as empty. Next is
the conditional; though you know things are empty,
you do not destroy the totality of things but take a
constructive attitude toward all events in the midst of
emptiness. Once you neither destroy things nor cling
to things, this is the contemplation ofthe center.
When you are practicing the contemplation of empti-
ness, if you still know that the totality of things can-
not be destroyed, and yet do not cling to them, this
includes all three contemplations.
Since empowerment after all means really seeing
emptiness, when you cultivate contemplation of
emptiness, emptiness is empty, t ~ e conditional is
also empty, and the center is empty too.
In practicing contemplation of the conditional, much
of the empowerment is attained in action; so while
the conditional is of course conditional, emptiness is
also conditional and the center is conditional too.
When on the way of the center, you still meditate on
emptiness; but you don't call it emptiness, you call it
the center. You also meditate on the conditional; but
you don't call it the conditional, you call it the
center. When you come to the center, there is no
need to say.
Although !·sometimes speak only o(fire, sometimes
I also speak of warer. Ultimately they have never
moved; with one saying I open my mouth: the
essential mechanism is all in the two eyes. The
mechanism means the function; you use this to
manage Creation.
This docs not mean that is all there is to Creation; all
the faculties of sense and mind are mines of light, so
how could we presume to take only the two eyes and
not deal with the rest?
48
46 To use the yang of water, you use the light of fin to
illumine and absorb it. This shows that the "sun and
moon" are originally one thing.
47 The darkness in the sun is the vitality of the true
moon; the "moon cavern" is not on the moon but
on the sun. That is why it is called the "moon
cavern," for otherwise it would be enough just to say
the ''moon."
48 The white of the moon is the light of the true sun.
The sunlight being on the moon is what is called the
"root of heaven." Otherwise it would be enough just
to say "heaven."
49 When the sun and moon are separated, they are but
half; only when they come together do they form a
whole. This is like the case of a single man or a single
woman, who cannot form a family living alone; only
when there are husband and wife do they amount to
a family.
50 But it is hard to represent the Way concretely. If a
man and a woman are separated they are still
individuals, but if the sun and moon are separated
they do not form a complete whole. What I am say-
ing just brings out the point of communion, so I do
not see duality; you just cling to the separation, so
the separation has taken over your eyes.
IX
Setting Up
the Foundation in a
Hundred Days
1 One of the Mind Seal scripturessays, "the returning
wind mixes together, the hundred days' work is effec-
tive.'' On the whole, to set up the foundation requires
a hundred daysbefore you have real light. As you are,
you are still working with the light of the eyes, not
the fire of spirit; not the fire of essence, not the torch
· ofwisdom.
2 Turn it around for a hundred days, and the vital
energy will naturally be sufficient for true yang to rise
spontaneously, so that there is true fire naturally
existing in water. If you carry on the practice this
way, you Will naturally achieVe intercourse and for-
mation of the embryo. You are then in the heaven
of unknoWing, and the child thus develops. If you
entertain any conceptual view at all, this is immedi-
ately a misleading path.
49
so
3 A hundred days setting up the foundation is not a
hundred days; one day setting up the foundation is
not one day. One breath setting up the foundation
does not refer to respiration. Breath is one's own
mind; one's own mind is the breath's original spirit,
original energy, and original vitality: rising and
descending, parting and joining, all arise from mind;
being and nonbeing, emptiness and fullness, are all in
the thoughts. One breath is held for a lifetime, not
only a hundred days; so a hundred days is also a
single breath.
4 The hundred days is just a matter of empowerment:
gain power in the daytime, and you use it a.t night;
gain power at night, and you use it in the daytime.
5 The hundred days setting up the foundation is a pre-
cious teaching. The sayings of the, advanced realized
ones all relate to the humanbody; the sayings oftrue
teachers all relate to students, This is the mystery of
mysteries, which is inscrutable. When you see
essence, you then know why students must seek
the direction of a true teacher. Everything that
emerges naturally from essence is tested.
X
The Light of
Essence and the Light
of Consciousness
1 The method of turning the light around basically is
to be carried on whether walking, standing, sitting,
or reclining. It is only essential that you yourself find
the opening of potentiaL
2 Previously I quoted the saying, "Light arises in the
empty room." This light is not luminous, but there is
an explanation of this as an evidence of efficacy in the
beginning before one has seen the light. If you see it
as light and fix your attention on it, then you full
into ideational consciousness, which is not the light
of essence.
3 Now when the mind forms a thought, this thought
is the present mind. This mind is light; it is medicine.
Whenever people look at things, when they perceive
them spontaneously all at once without discriminat-
ing, this is the light of essence. It is like a mirror re-
flecting without intending to do so. In a moment it
becomes the light of consciousness, through discrim-
ination. When there is an image in a mirror, there is
no more mirroring; when there is consciousness in
the light, then what light is there any more? ·
51
52
4 At first, when the light of essence turns into
thought, then it is consciousness. When conscious-
ness arises, the light is obscured and cannot be
found. It is not that there is no light, but that the
light has become consciousness. This is what is
meant by the saying of the Yellow Emperor, "When
sound moves, it does not produce sound, it produces
echoes."
5 The introduction to logical examination in the Heroic
Ma"'h Scriptun says, "neither in objects nor in con-
sciousness;' only picking out the organ. What does
this m e a n ~ Objects are external things, or the so-
called material world. This has no actual connection
with us. If you pursue objects, you are mistaking
things for yourself.
6 Things must have an attribution. Transmission of
light is attributable to doors and windows, light is
attributable to the sun and moon, Borrowing them
for myself, after all I find "it is not mine." When it
comes to where "it is not you;' then who attributes
if not you?
7 "Light is attribUtable to the sun and moon." When
you see the light of the sun and moon, there is noth-
ing to attribute it to. Sometimes there is no sun or
moon in the sky, but there is never an absence of the
essence of seeing that sees the sun and moon.
53
8 If so, then can that which discriminates sun and
moon be considered one's own possession? Don't
you know that discrimination is based on light and
dark? When both light and dark are forgotten, then
where is discrimination? Therefore there is still
attribution; this is an internal object.
9 Only the seeing essence cannot be attributed to any-
thing. But if when seeing seeing, 8eeirig is not seeing,
then the seeing essence also has an attribution, which
refers back to the seeing essence of the revolving flow
of consciousness, alluded to in Buddhist scripture
where it says, "Using your flowing revolving
consciousness is called error."
10 When first practicingthe eight attrib1ltions for dis-
cerning perception, the first seven show how each is
attributable to something, temporarily leaving the
seeing essence as a crutch for the practitioner. But
ultimately as long as the seeing essence still carries
with it the eighth consciousness, it is not really un-
attributable. Only when this last point is broken
through is this the real seeing essence, which is truly
unattributable. ·
. ·.. .·. : .
11 When turning the light around, y6uproperly turn
around the primary l!nattributable llght, so not a
single conscious thought is applied.
54
12 What causes you to flow and revolve is just the six
sense organs; but what enables you to attain enlight-
enment is also just the six sense organs. But the fact
that sense objects and sense consciousnesses are not
used at all does not mean using the sense organs
1
just
using the essence in the sense organs.
13 Now if you turn the light around without falling into
consciousness
1
you are using the original essence in
the sense organs. If you turn the light around fallen
into consciousness, then you use the nature of con-
sciousness in the sense organs. Herein lies the hairs-
breadth's distinction.
14 Deliberate meditation is the light of consciousness;
let go, and it is then the light of essence. A hairs-
breadth's clitference is as that of a thousand miles,
so discernment is necessary.
15 If consciousness is not stopped, spirit does not come
alive; if mind is not emptied, the elixir does not
crystallize.
16 When mind is clean, that is elixir; when mind is
empty
1
that is meclicine. When it doesn't stickto
anything at all
1
it is said that the mind is clean; when
it doesn't keep anything in it
1
it is said that the mind
is empty. Ifemptinessis seeri as empty
1
emptilless is
still not empty. Wren empty and mindless of
emptiness
1
this is called true emptiness.
XI
The Intercourse of
Wtl-ter and Fire
1 Whenever you leak vital spirit, being stirred and
interacting with beings, that is all .fire. Whenever you
gather back spirit's consciousness and quiet it down
to steep in the center, that is all water. When the
senses run outward, that is .fire; when the senses turn
around inward, that is water.
2 The one yin [inside the.fire trigram] concentrates on
pursuing sense experience, while the one yang [inside
the warer trigram J concentrates on reversing and
withdrawing the senses themselves.
3 Water and fire are yin and yang, yin and yang are
essence and life, essence and life are body and mind,
body and mind are spirit and energy. Once you with-
draw 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.
55
XII
The Cycle
. .
. .
1 For the complete cycle, energy is not the main thing;
mental attainmenfis the sublime secret. If you won-
der what it ultimately is, the cycle helps growth; it is
maintained without minding, carried out without
deliberate·intention.
2 Look up at the sky; it changes from hour to hour,
through 365 ·days,· yet the polar star never moves.
Our mind is also like this; mind is the pole, energy is
the myriadstars revolving around it. The energy in
our limbs and throughout our whole body is basi-
cally a network, so do not exert your strength to the
full on it.•Refine the conscious spirit, remove arbitrary
views, and then after that medicine will develop.
3 This medicine is not a material thing; it is the light of
essence, which is none other thari the primal true
energy. Even so, it is necessary to attain great con-
centration before you see it. There is no method of
culling; those who speak of culling are quite
mistaken.
57
58
4 When you have seen it for a long time, eventually the
light ofthe basis of the mind becomes spontaneous.
When the mind is empty, and all indulgence is
ended, you are liberated from the ocean of misery.
5 If it is "dragon and tiger" today, "water and fire"
tomorrow, in the end they turn into illusions.
6 There is a cycle in each day, there is a cycle in each
hour; where water and fin: interact, this is a cycle. Our
interaction is the "revolving of Heaven." As long as
you are unable to stop the mind directly, as a conse-
quence there are times of interaction and times of
non interaction.
7 Yet the revolving of Heaven never stops for a moment.
If you are actually able to join yin and yang in tran-
quillity, the whole earth is positive and harmonious;
in the right place in your central chamber, all things
simultaneously expand to fulfillment. This is the
method of "bathing" spoken of in alchemical classics.
What is it if not the great cycle? .
8 The processes of the cycle do indeed have differences
of scale, but ultimately there is no way to distinguish
great and small. When you reach the point where
meditation is spontaneous, you do not know what
fin: and water are, what heaven and earth are, who
does the interacting, who makes it one cycle or two
cycles, or where to find any distinction between great
and small.
59
9 It is all the operation of one body; though it appears
to be most great, it is also small. Each time it takes a
turn, the universe and all things take a.turn with it.
Thus it is in the heart; so it is also most great.
10 The alchemical process should ultimately become
spontaneous. If it is not spontaneous, then heaven
and earth will revert on their own to heaven and
earth; myriad things will go back to myriad things:
no matter how hard you try to join them, you can-
not. Then it is like a season of drought, when yin
and yang do not join. Heaven and earth do not fail
to go through their cycles every day, but ultimately
you see a lot that is unnatural.
11 If you can operate yin and yang, turning them suit-
ably, then naturally all at once clouds will form and
rain will fall, the plants and trees refreshed, the
mountain rivers flowing freely. Even if there is some-
thing offensive, it still melts away all at once when
you notice it. This is the great cycle.
12 Students ask about "living midnight." This is very
subtle. If you insist on defining it as true midnight,
that would seem to be sticking to forms; but if you
do not focus on forms and do not point out true
midnight, by what means can the living midnight be
known?
60
13 Once you know living midnight, there is definitely
also true midnight. Are they one or two, not true or
not alive? It all requires you to see the real. Once you
see the real, everything is true, everything is alive. If
your seeing is not real, what is living, what is true?
14 As fur living midnight, when you see it at all times,
finally you reach true midnight; your mood is clear
and light, and living midnight gradually blooms into
ever-greater awareness.
15 At present, people do not yet clearly know the liv-
ing; just test it out when you head for the true, and
the true will appear, while the living will be sublime.
XIII
Song to Inspire
the World
0 Because ofthe warrnth of my cinnabarheartto liber-
ate the world, I do not refrain from coddling and
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 oftruth: ·.
1 The pervasive principle of the center
Bears universal change;
2 The very being of true poise
Is the mysterious pass.
3 Midnight, noon, and in between,
If you can stabilize breathing,
4 The light returns to the primal opening, .·
So all psychic functions are calm.
5 There emerges the unified energy
Of the river source that produces the medicine.
61
62
6 It passes through the screen
And transmutes, with golden light;
7 The single disk of the red sun
Shines with constant brilliance.
8 Pepple of the world misconstrue
The vitalities wattr and fire;
9 Conveying them from heart and genitals,
Thus producing separation.
10 How can the human way
Meet the celestial mind?
11 If in accord with the celestial,
The way is naturaUy meet.
12 Put down all objects, so nothing comes to mind;
This is the true infinity of the primal.
13 Cosmic space is silent,
Signs are gone;
14 At the pass of essence and life,
You forget conceptual consciousness.
15 After conceptual consciousness is forgotten,
You see basic reality.
16 The water-clarifying pearl appears,
Mysterious and unfathomable:
17 The screen of beginningless afflictions
Is voided all at once.
63
18 The jade capital sends down
A team of nine dragons;
19 Walking in the sky,
You climb to the gateway of heaven:
20 Controlling wind and lightning,
You make the thunder rumble.
21 Freezingthe spirit and steadying breath are for beginners;
Retreating to hide in secrecy is eternal calm.
22 The two poems lused when I initiated Zhang Zhennu
long ago both contain the great Way. "After midnight
and before noon'' are not times, but 1vatl:r and fire.
"Settling the breath" means a state of certteredness in
which you go back to the root with each breath.
"Sitting" means that the mind is unmoved. The "mid-
spine where the ribs join" does not refer to vertebrae;
it is the great road directly through to the jade capi-
tal. As for the "double pass;' there is something inef-
fable 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 transmutation.
This is all based on 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. Clarify-
ing 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,
then you arc a ghost for a day; if you do practice for a sin-
gle breath, then you are a realized immortal for a breath.
Work on this.
Questions and Answers
Opening up the Mysteries of
the Doctrine of the
Golden Flower
You suppose that attainment is possible in quietude but
lost in activity; you do not realize that the reason for loss
through activity is because nothing is attained through
stiUness. When you attain nothing in quietude or lose
anything through activity, in either case you have not yet
reached the Way.
When you keep presence of mind, only then do you have
autonomy. When you have autonomy, only then can you
manage affaixs .... However, presence of mind is easily
fnterrupted. Practice it for a long time, though, and it
will naturally become unbroken. Once it is unbroken, it
is continuous. With continuity, the light shines bright.
When the light shines bright, energy is full. When energy
is full, then oblivion and distraction disappear without
effort.
·observing mind means observing the purity of mind.
The mind is basically nondual, just one vital reality;
throughout the past and future, there is no other. With-
out leaving the objects of sense, you climb transcendent
to the stage of enlightenment.
65
66
But observation of mind can be deep or shallow; there is
forced observation and there is spontaneous observation.
There is observation outside of sense objects, there is
observation within sense objects; there is observation that
is neither internal nor external, there is panoramic obser-
vation. With what observation do you observe mind?
When observation is deep and illusion is cleared, then
this is true emptiness.
Turning the light around is done not by the eyes but by
the mind; the mind is the eyes. After long persistence,
the spirit congeals; only then do you see the mind-eyes
become clear.
When you observe mind and become aware of openness,
thereby you produce its vitality. When its vitality stabi-
lizes, it becomes manifest, and then you see the opening
of the mysterious pass.
Gazing at the lower abdomen is external work. As for the
inner work, when the mind-eye comes into being, that
alone is the true "elixir field."
The light you see before your eyes is rat-light, not the
light of the tiger-eye or dragon-vitality. The light of mind
does not belong to inside or outside; if you look to see it
with the physical eyes, that is bedevilment.
You have been affected by pollution for so long that it is
impossible to become clear all at once. In truth, the mat-
ter of life and death is important: once you turn the light
around and recollect the vital spirit to shine stably, then
your own mind is the lamp of enlightenment.
67
Everyone already has the lamp of mind, but it is necessary
to light it so that it shines; then this is immortality.
Don't let yourselves forget the mind and allow the spirit
to be obscured. If you have no autonomy, your vital spirit
diffuses.
Forms are all conditioned. Cognition is a function of
mind, empty silence is the substance of mind.Jf you fix
the mind on anything conditioned, then temperament is
in control, so you cannot govern if completely or com-
prehend it thoroughly.
The minor technique of circulating energy can enhance ..
the body so as to extend the life span, but if you therefore
suppose that the great Way requires work on the physical
body, this is a tangential teaching.
External work has no connection to the great Way. The
true practice of the great Way first requires that vitality be
transformed into energy. As alchemical literature has
clearly explained, this vitality is not sexual.
Refining energy into spirit means keeping the clear and
removing the polluted.
Few are those who are calm and serious, rare are those
who are sincere and unified.
Radiant light is the function of mind, empty silence is the
substance of mind. If there is empty silence without· radi-
ant light, the silence is not true silence, the emptiness is
not true emptiness-it is just a ghost cave.
68
The breathing that passes through the nose is external
breathing, which is a phenomenon of the physical body.
Only when mind and breathing rest on each other is this
the true breath. The venerable Prajnatara [considered the
twenty-seventh Indian ancestor of Chan Buddhism] said,
"Breathing out, I do not follow myriad objects; breathing
in, I do not dwell on the elements of body or mind." Is
this the nose?
When it comes to watching the breathing, or listening to
the breathing, these are still connected with the physical
body. These are used to concentrate the mindand are not
the real lifeline. The real lifeline is to be sought from
within the real. Looking and listening are one thing.
The three realms are none other than your mind; your
mind is not the three realms, yet it contains the three
realms.
Whenever there is dependence, that is tempoi:al; where
there is no dependence, that is primal.
Where is the primal to be sought? It must be sought by
way of the temporal. Temporal feelings and consciousness
are marvelous functions of the primal. It must be sought
through the work of practical balance in harmonious
accord, which means calmness and openness. Of course,
as long as clarification has not taken place, all is polluted.
Clear up the pollution, and eventually there will be spon-
taneous clarity even without attempting to achieve clarity.
Only then will the "gold pill" come out of the furnace.
69
When there is no self in the mind, it is even and dear; when
the spirit is pure and the energy dear, this is Buddhahood
and immortality. It is only because the iron pillars of
thoughts are deeply rooted, and it is hard to escape their
limitations, that it is necessary to observe one's own mind.
When you see the mind, only then will you find the roots
are insubstantial and thus have a sense of freedom from
pher10mena while having the ability to enter their range.
The primal and temporal are originally not two: what
makes the distinction is only temporal. When you dis-
criminate, then action and stillness are not united, and
primal energy becomes conditioned. When they are
united, temporal energy is also primal, and there is no
distinction between primal and temporal.
If there is discrimination between primal and temporal,
that is just consciousness;ifyou discriminate, then condi-
tioning flares up, and this is the source of the profuse
confusion of thoughts.
What cannot be spoken and cannot be named is the
generative energy,· which is the.su b9tance of the Way.
When the substance is established, the function operates.
When people are deluded by emotions and do not know
there is essence, they are ordinary ignoramuses. If they
know there is essence but do not know there are emo-
tions, this is senseless vacuity. TherefOre our teaching is
actively living and does not settle into one corner, but
instead applies to heaven and earth, combines eternity
with the present, equalizes others and self, and has nei-
ther enemy nor f.uniliar.
70
It is said that we are the same in essence but different in
feeling. There is no difference in feeling either; it is just
that habits develop unnoticed, evolving in a stream, con-
tinuing to the present, so that their defiling influence can-
not be shed. Ultimately this is not the fault of essence.
The great Way is not in quiet living. If you stay quietly in
a room, that has the countereffect of increasing the· flames
of fire in the heart. It is necessary to beworking on the·
Way whatever you are doing in order to be able to "sit on
the summit of a thousand mountains without leaving the
crossroads."
Consciousness is knowledge. In ordinary people it is
called consciousness, in immortals and Buddhas it is
called knowledge. The only distinction is between purity
and impurity.
The noncognizing in the consciousness is the eternal; the
consciousness in noncognizing is wisdom. If you arouse a
discriminatory, galloping mind, this is routine, and you
become an ordinary mortal.
How can you find purity in the mind? It is just a matter
of seeking out purity in the midst of impurity. Then
when you discover signs of impurity in the midst of
puiity, you have now found purity.
The true 'mind has no form: what has forin is ultimately
illusory.
71
Is the true mind to be sought from the source of mind? If
the source is clean, then the celestial design is apparent,
and daily activities never obstruct the supreme Way. If the
source is not clean, then even ifyou have some vision it is
like a lamp in the wind, flickering erratically.
What we call the true mind is the enlightened clear mind.
Therefore it can pervade the heavens and permeate the
earth, without the slightest artificiality.
When mind is empty yet not vacant, this is called true
emptiness; when mind is there but not reified, this is
called subtle existence. Don't tarry on one side, and you
then enter the middle way. Then you have a basis for
gaining access to virtue.
The Way is present before our eyes, yet what is before our
eyes is hard to understand. People like the unusual and
enjoy the new; they miss what is right in frorit of their
eyes and do not know where the Way i s ~ The Way is the
immediate presence: if you are unaware of the immediate
presence, then your mind races, your intellect runs, and
you go on thinking compulsively. All of this is due to
shallowness of spiritual power, and shallowness of
spiritual power is due to racing in the m i n ~ .
Translation
Notes
I. The Celestial Mind
I. The identification of the Way with essence and primal spirit
follows the traditions of the Chan school of Buddhism and
the northern branch of the Completely Real school ofThoism.
2. Essence is open and spacious, like the sky; life is a quantity
of energy, like light. When the text talks about the two
eyes guiding attention, it means that both spacelike aware-
ness and specific perception are operative at the same time.
3. This passage introduces the idea of a succession of transmit-
ters of the teaching of the goldc,;n flower, to link it with the
Way of the ancients.
4. The honorific name Taishang (f'ai-shang) refers to the
metaphysical realit)' represented by Lao-tzu,legendary
author of 1i4o Te Ching, the baSic classic ofThoism.
Donghua. (I'ung-hua) was the teacher of Zhongli Quan.
(Chung-li Ch'uan), who was the teacher ofLu Yan (Lu
Yen). Lu Yan is the ''Yan" mentioned in our text; he is
regarded as the immediate ancestor of the Completely Real
(Quanzhen /Ch'uan-chen) school of Taoism, which was
founded by his disciples and descendants in the eleventh
and twelfth centuries.
73
74
The teaching of the golden flower itself is attributed to
Lu Yan. There are numerous conflicting stories about the
life and times ofLu Yan, but in Taoist tradition it is widely
believed that he attained immortality and is still alive. Most
of the texts attributed to Lu Yan were received by spiritual
communications centuries after the founding of the Com-
plete Reality school and were not written by Lu himself.
5. Completely Real Taoism became so influential in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries that it attracted many
opportunistic followers and imitators. Later many practices
originally abandoned by the school were amalgamated with
elements of Completely Real Taoism to produce bastardized
forms. At the time of the writing of our text, approximately
250 years ago, Completely Real Taoism was almost entirely
a name without a reality.
6. "Master Siu" seems to refer to Xu Jingyang (Hsu Ching-
yang), a great Taoist of the third and fourth centuries who
is said to have foretold the appearance ofLu Yan, to whom
this text is attributed. He is also believed to have said he
would reappear in the world twelve centuries later, which
would have been shortly before The Secret of the Golden
Flower is supposed to have been received from Lu Yan. This
text is said to be a written form of a teaching that was origi-
nally wordless, an esoteric component of the movement
received during a period ofspecial concentration. The term
special tmnsmis1ion outside of iWctrine is a byword of Chan
Buddhism. The practice of contemplative vigils likethe one
in which the golden flower teaching was revealed is also a
standard exercise of latter-day Chan Buddhism.
7. The foregoing passages on the lineage of the text were
omitted in Richard Wilhelm's translation. These passages
are rather laconic, and someone with Wilhelm's knowledge
75
of Chinese language and Taoist history could hardly have
been expected to be able to interpret them; It is not clear,
however, why Wilhelm also excised paragraph 7 on the
importance of an orderly life as a prerequisite for the mysti-
cal practice of the golden flower. It may not have con-:
formed sufficiently to his idea of mysticism. Westerners
have often professed to believe that mystics are generally
isolated from society, and this opinion has affected many
Western attempts to interpret and adopt mystical teachings.
8. The speaker is supposed to be Lu Yan, or Ancestor Lu,
whom later Taoist texts envision as having been entrusted
with a mission for the cdestial government and d ~ t y ­
bound to reappear in the human world from time to time.
9. Wilhelm completely mistranslates this passage, making it
outto say the very opposite of what it actually does. This
appears to be mostly due to simple misunderstanding of
the language and unfamiliarity with the background of the
text. The passage describes the distinctive nature of the text
as representing a sudden enlightenment teaching, in con-
trast to the gradual teachings of ordinary Taoist works on
spiritual alchemy. This identifies the Chan Buddhist
influence behind the Taoist facade of the text.
10. "The lead in the homeland of water is just one flavor"
comes from Umlerstanding Reality, the great classic of the
Completely Real school. Lead symbolizes the true sense of
real knowledge. Water stands for a symbol from the ancient
I Chi1¥J representing the true sense of the knowledge of
reality enclosed within conscious knowledge .. To say that it
is just one flavor means that it is attained by the essence of
consciousness itself, not by any modification of conscious-
neSs. This is what makes it truly universal and unlimited by
sectarian or cultural discriminations.
76
11. The expression "turning the light around" refen; to the
Chan Buddhist exercise of mentally looking inward toward
the source of consciousness. Wilhelm translates this as
"circulation of the light," which is not very plausible
linguistically but nevertheless could have been an honest
mistake. Evidently he confused this ~ i t h the watetwheel
exercise of Taoist energetics, in which a quantity of psychic
heat would be consciously conducted along a certain route
through the body.
Many cultists imitated this exercise on the level of
fixated attention without the psychic heat and noticed the
characteristic modifications of consciousness these postures
produce. It is quite possible that Wilhelm got this idea
from a member of such a cult. The notes added to the
Golden Flower text he used (which was printed some two
hundred years after the movement had arisen) tend to
dilute the Chan with materials that make it look like a run-
of-the mill mixture of alchemy and energetics. Wilhelm's
medical training also seems to have predisposed him to
make physiological interpretations
There is evidence to suggest that it was possible to read
certain special mind-body postures of attention into por-
tions of the original text. These postures were used only for
temporarily anchoring the mind while performing the
inner gazing toward the source of consciousness. This is
not the same as the energy circulation of 'Thoist practice.
The' text speaks of the highest experiences being purely
mental, "in the heart:' elevating the spiritual over the
physical in the manner of Chan Buddhism and the
northern branch of Completely Real Taoism.
12. The celestial mind refers to unconditioned consciousness;
light is its function. When the light is "turned around" and
directed toward its own source, environmental and psycho-
77
logical factors influence the mind less, with the result that
the energy in the body is also preserved and purified
because it is not drawn into conflicts with inner or outer
states.
13. The expression "above the nine skies" means a state of
mind beyond the influence of mundane conditioning. In
, Buddhist terminology it also has the special meaning of.
being above all cultivated meditation states. Silently paying
CbUrt (m God) and soari1f!}' upward are common Taoist ex
sions for elevation of consciousness. There are several Mind
Seal scriptures, and it is not certain to which of these the
text refers in this passage.
14. Taoist maSter Liu says of the gold pill, ('The pill is
the original, primal, real unified energy. This energy, when
passed through fire to refine it,. becomes permanently.
indestructible, so it is called the gold pill."
II. The Original Spirit and the Conscious Spirit
1. The distinction between the original spirit and the
scious spirit isone of the most important ideas in Taoist
psychology. The conscious spirit is historically conditioned;
the original spirit is primal and universal. The conscious
spirit is a complex of modifications of awareness, while the
original spirit is the essence of awareness. To say that this
essence transcends the' "primal organization" means that it
is by nature more fundamental than even the most basic
patterns of modification to which consciousness may be
subject. In Jungian terms; this means that the essence of
the original spirit is beyond, or deeper than, even the·
archetypes of the coJlective unconscious. Jung himself does
not seem to have attained this,and his work reflects \vhat
in Taoist terms would be rermed confusion of the con-
scious spirit (which includes the Jungian "unconscious")
with the original spirit.
2. Vitaliry, energy, and spirit are the fundamental triadof
being, known in Taoist terms as the "three treasures" of the
human body. Here the spirit is the only one regarded as
transcendental. This is characteristic of Buddhistic nco-
Taoist spiritual immortalism, which tends to deemphasize
the physiological practices of old alchemical immortalism.
To ''live transcendentally outside of yin and yang" means to
be aloof from the ups and downs of ordinary life in the
midst of changes in the world.
Th,-ee nalms is a Buddhist term. The realms are the
domains of desire, form, and formlessness, representing the
totaliry of conditioned experience, from the coarsest to the
most subtle. Wilhelm, who seems to have known little
about Buddhism, writes in a note that the three realms, or
"three worlds:' as he translates them, are "Heaven, earth,
and heU." Jung's work on archerypes and dreams would
have benefited immensely from an accurate understanding
of the real Buddhist concept of three realms or worlds. As
it was, J ung does not seem to have been able to distinguish
these realms of experience clearly; most of his work appears
to hover on the border of the realms of (orm and desire;
the realm of formless consciousness seems to have been
unfamiliar to him. Perhaps Wilhelm's Christian background
influenced his interpretation of this term.
3. Seei'!!J essence and original foce are· both· Chan Buddhist terms,
here used to refer to the Taoist experience of the primal
spirit. It is evident that Wilhelm was not familiar with even
the most rudimentary lore of Chan Buddhism.
4. This passage refers to a certain stage that is often referred to
79
in Taoist yogic texts in much more physical terms than it is
here, where the Chan Buddhist/northern Complete Reality
influence is again manifest. Wilhelm's translation of
"instincts and movements" for "on the verge of moving
into action" misconstrues both Chinese grammar and the
nature of the experience to whiCh the passage refers, When
the text speaks of this as a secret that "has not been trans-
mitted in a thousand ages;' it means that the experience
can only be understood.firsthand.
5. Chan Buddhism traditionally describes the mechanism of
delusion as mistaking the servant for the master. In the
metaphor of this passage, the general is supposed to be a
servant but instead usurps authority. According toChan/
Taoist psychology, the conscious mind (which does the
thinking) is supposed to be a servant of the original mind,
but the activity of the conscious mind tends to become so
self-involved that it seems to have become an independent
entity. When "the sword is turned around;' in the metaphor
of our text, the original mind retrieves command over the
delinquent conscious mind.
6. The "chamber of the origin" means the source of aware-
n e s s ~ keeping to the chamber of the origin is turning
around the light ofconsciousness to be aware of its own
source. In this way the mind is freed from compulsive con-
cern with its own productions. Through this practice it
becomes possible to control and order the conscious mind
without force, by maintaining the central position of the
original mind.
Like many Western interpreters of his time, Jung had
the idea that yoga involves or produces abnormal psychic
states and is aimed at total detachment from the external
world, or at transcendental unity without differentiation.
80
In the real Goidm Flower teaching there is no suggestion
of obliterating the conscious mind (which in this context
means the mind that thinks, imagines, dreams, and
emotes, including what Jung called the unconscious).
The faculties of thinking, imagining, dreaming, and
emotion are not destroyed in the earthly immortal ofTao-
ism; rather they are brought under the dominion of their
source of power and made into channels of its expression.
The taming of unruly consciousness is far from the intro-
verted, quietistic cult that Wilhelm, Jung, and othe1'5 of
their time imagined from their fragmentary observations
of Eastern lore.
7. Wilhelm translates c'the water of vitality" as "seed-water"
and equates it with Eros; he translates "the fire of spirit" as
"spirit-fire" and equates it with Logos; and he translates
"the earth of attention" as ((thought-earth" arid equates it
with intuition. Of these three, Eros is closest to certain
Taoist meanings of vitality, in the sense of creative energy
and erotic feeling. In this context; however, Eros is inap-
propriate in that the meaning of vitality here does not .
include erotic feeling. Even the connection with creative
energy is actually remote in this text, because the real
meaning here is the sense of true knowledge of the original
mind. This can be known from the symbolism of water as
explained in the following text.
As for "spirit-fire" and Logos, this seems even less
appropriate, since the fire of spirit here just means aware-
ness and does not at this point differentiate between the
original spirit and the conscious spirit. The sacred and the
profane are mixed, and the spirit does not deserve the name
of Logos yet. This is the very reason for the alchemy: to
refine the sacred, pure primal spirit out of the profane,
conditioned conscious spirit.
81
The earth of attention is translated by Wilhelm as
''thought-earth" and identified with intuition, but thought
and intuition properly belong to the realm symbolized by
fire, not of earth. Water and fire, :real knowledge and
conscious knowledge, primal unity and present awareness,
are brought together in the medium of earth, which stands
for attention, concentration; intent, or will. Here it is
identified with the celestial mind, which means that it is
of temporal conditioning.
In other texts this is called pure attention or true
intent. Since earth is the medium, it must be purified
before it can absorb the pure essences of water and fire to
combine them. If the focus of attention is itsel(already
biased by the activity of an unruly consciousness; then it
may not be able to draw thiu consciousnessto an orderly
reality of which it is as yet unconscious.
8. The "energy of the primal real unity" stands for the living
flux of the perpetual cycles of natural evolution, wherein
all beings and all things live in the lives of one another.
The Book of Balame and an ancient text of the
Complete Reality school antedating the golden floWer
··dispensation by over four hundred years, expresses the idea
of the primal unityin these terms: "All beings are basically
one form and one energy. Form and energy are basically one
spirit. Spirit is basically utter openness, The 'Tho is basically
ultimate non being. Change is therein." The combination of
water and fire in the medium of earth thus refers to
en rial realization of the unity of being from a
tal point ofview that is changeless itself yet accommodates
all change.
9. Wilhelm used the terms Eros, Logos, and intuition in an
attempt to convey the Chinese ideas to a Western audience,
82
but the assignments he made are largely subjective and
arbitraryfrom the point of view of Chinese Taoist tradition.
Part.ofthe problem seems to be that as a Christian he
understood the Chinese word "spirit" to be with
either the divine or the supernatural.
In the first section of this text, for example, Wilhelm
translates zhixu zhiling zhi shen, which means a spirit (i.e.,
mind) that is completely open and completely effective, as
"God of Utmost Emptiness and Life." Based on this sort of
translation, Jung thought that the Chinese had no idea
that they were discussing psychological phenomena. He
then tried to repsychologize the terminology, but since he
did not quite understand it to begin with he could not but
wind up with a distortion in the end. .
It is little wonder thatJung came to imagine, through
his own attempts at meditation, that the Taoists had
arrived at the entrance to the science of psychology "only
through abnormal psychic states;' as he wrote in his com-
mentary to Wilhelm's version of The Secret of the Goldm
Fkrwer. lt is wori:h noting in this connection that J ung also
found late medieval baroque Christian alchemical books
puzzling but did not openly accuse their authors Of having
come upon their science through induction of aberrated
mental states.
10. The concepts of the higher and lower souls were among
those that caught the special attention of Wilhelm and
Jung in connection with their Christian backgrounds
and interests. Wilhelm uses the term anima for lower
soul and animus fur higher soul. ln his introduction he
deemphasizes the gender associations of yin and yang, but
in connection with the concept of the souls Wilhelm calls
the anima feminine and the animus masculine. Jung then
proceeds to exaggerate this distortion even further in his
83
own disquisition on feminine and masculine psychologies.
None of this gets to the heart of the discussion of our text.
The idea that the body is created by attention is typi-
cally Buddhist, but it is also found in the schools ofTaoism
influenced by Buddhism. In this text, the "lower soul" sim-
ply means the feeling of being a solid body physically pres-
ent in a solidworld. As long as this feeling persists, the
srate of the lower soul (\\lhich includes visceral emotions) is
subject to random environmental influences. Therefore the
text speaks of"interruptingconsciousness" in the sense of
withdrawing attention from the feelirigof solidity in order
to free it frOm the bonds of external influences, making it
less sticky and more fluid, unbounded by temporal events.
II. In colloquial Chinese usage, "liverand heart" means what
is essentiaL In a human being, the liver is associated with
courage and conscience. This passage illustrates the Taoist
awareness of the connection between waking and dreaming
experience .•
12. The nine heavens and nii1e earths stand for the whole
universe of experience, frOm the most exalted to the most
profound.
13. This passage connects the last three: the process Ofthe
exercise is to turn attention around to the source of aware-
ness to refine the higher soul, thus preserve the spirit, thus
control the lower soul, and thus interrupt the conditioned
stream of consciousness. The purpose ofinterruptingthe
stream of consciousness is described in the following
passage.
14. "Dissolving the lower soul" means detachment frOm t:he
feeling ofphysical existence. As the text subsequently
makes clear, there is no real lower soul that is in substance
84
different from the higher soul. They are both aspects of one
spirit, artificially alienated by confusion. When energy is
freed from obsessive clinging to the body or lower soul, it
can be used to restore the original spirit to completeness.
15. Turning the light around, or directing attention toward the
source of awareness, counteracts the tendency to dwell on
objects or modifications of consciousness. Here this is
called "dissolving darkness and controlling the lower soul."
Taoists use a symbol from the I Ching known as heapen
or the creative to represent what Chan Buddhists call the
original face or the mind ground. When the text says that
other than turning the light around there is no special exer-
cise for restoring this primal wholeness, it confirms that the
practice being taught is that of Northern Taoism as influ-
enced by Chan Buddhism, and not the physiological
energetics of Southern Taoism as influenced by Tantric
Buddhism.
16. The term embryo of sage hood or embryonic enlightenment is
very common in classical Chan Buddhist texts of the Tang
and Sung dynasties. It seems to have passed into Complete
Reality Taoism from Chan, but a parallel idea occurs in
certain pre-Chan Taoist scriptures. The formation of the
embryo represents the initial awakening of the mind.
Nunuring the embryo, a term frequently found in Chan,
refers to the process of development and maturation after
awakening.
17. "Concentrating the spirit on where the celestial mind rests
when the embryo leaves the shell" is a typical Chan Bud-
dhist formulation, here expressed in the terminology of
Taoism. The Northern Taoist master Liu 1-ming also uses
the metaphor of the dung beetle in his Awakeni'fq to the
TtUJ, where he uses it similarly to describe the creation of
85
the transcendent being by concentration of spirit: «rn the
midst of ecstatic trance there is a point ofliving potential,
coming into being from non being, whereby the spiritual
embryo tan be formed and the spiritual body be
produced."
18. This passage shows that the division higher and
lower souls is regarded as not a primal metaphysical reality
but a temporal psychic phenomenon. When the text says
that the light, clear energy characteristic of the higher soul
is <nbtained from cosmic space," it refers to the equanimous
spacelike aWa.reness taught in Chan Buddhism and
plete Reality Taoism. This spacelike awareness contains
everything while resting on nothing; it is the basic experi-
ence of the Chan master or Taoist wizard who lives in the
midst of the things of the world yet is free from bondage
to them. 'Fhis contrasts with the limitation of awareness
represented by the lower soul, mixed up in the objects of
its perception.
Since }ling's «collective unconscious" still has form,
from the point of view of the golden flower it must there-
fore be dassified.with the lower soul and ordinary mind;
his hope was to make this collsci()us in order to transcend
it, but Jung himself appears to have become so involved in
the discovery and discussion of the unconscious that he
became attached to it and as a consequence was never able
to experience the higher soul and open the golden flower.
His commentary on Wilhelm's translation bearswitness to
this, as do his other writings on Eastern mysticism. .
19. Here life means spirit, and death means matter. Feeding on
blood is emblematic of attachment to the body as self,
ried through the very portals ofphysicai·death. According
to Chan Buddhist psychology, what are mythologically
86
portrayed as experiences of hell after death are in facr mani-
festations of this attachment wrenching the heart as one is
dying. When this text speaks of a "coming together of
kind," it means that whatever attention is fixated on mate-
rial things inevitably meets the fate of all material things,
which is to perish and decay.
20. This final passage again drives home the point that the
lower soul has no independent existence but is just a condi-
tioned modification of the original "unified awareness" and
can therefore be changed and refined to a point at which it
is also pragmaticaJiy no different from the higher soul. This
refinement is the object of the practice of turning the light
around taught in this Golden Flower text.
III. Turning the Light Around and
Keeping to the Center '
l. The 'Thoist adept Wenshi (Wen-shih) was believed to be a
student ofLao-tzu, transmitter of the classic Tao Te Chitig.
A text known as The 11-ue Scriptttre ofWemhi says, "Our
Way is like being in darkness. Those in the light cannot see
a single thing in the darkness, whereas those who are in
darkness can see everything in the light."
2. "Nonbeing within being" refers to a sense of openness and
spaciousness in the midst of things, which is first produced
by the exercise of turning the light around. "Being within
non being" refers to the presence of energy within the vast-
ness of the mind merged with space. The "body beyond
your body" refers to the hidden reserve of vital energy
uncovered by the opening of the mind.
3. The period of a hundred days is commonly mentioned in
Taoist texts as the length of time required to set up the
87
foundation by stabilizing the concentration of conscious-
ness.The actualtime may naturally be different; the crite-
rion is the production of the effect. The term firing process
is also taken from Taoist spiritual alchemy and means the
course of meditation work, symbolized by the firing or
cooking of elixir to crysta!lize it into a pill.
4. "Positive light" means the creative energy in the original
mind. The "eyes"ai:ethe two mainaspect.S of consciousness
symbolized by sky :md light: formless awareness andaware-
ness of form. "Running leakage" means that energy is wasted
through involvement with objects. This is called "confor-
mity" because it happens as a matter of course when the
mind is conditioned by things. "Reversal" therefore means
withdrawing energy from objects; so that it can be stabi-
lized and mastered from within rather than controlled
from without.
5. Turning the light around is turning around the energy of
creation· in that the total experience of the world depends
upon the orientation of the mind. Changsha, a distin-
guished Chan master of the ninth century, is famous for
worlds in theten directions are thdight of the.
self. All worlds in the ten directions are in the light of the
self. In all wor:ldsin the ten directions, there is no one who
is not oneself. !always tell people that the Buddhas of past,
present, and future, together with the sentient beings of
the whole universe, are the light of great wisdom. Before
the light radiates, where do you placeit? Before the light
radiates, there is not even a trace of Buddhas or sentient
beings-'where do you find the mountains, rivers, and
lands?"
This exercise stops random imagination and empties
routine compulsion by stopping them at the source; The
88
teaching of Pure Land Buddhism expresses a similar experi-
ence by saying that one single-minded recollecrion of rhe
Buddha of Infinite Light erases eighty eons of sins. The
idea is that habits of false thought exist only to the extent
that they are continually tended, groomed, and renewed.
Deprived of center-stage attention, these habits lose their
power over the mind.
6. Being rhythmical, breathing is thought of as going through
four seasons with each breath. One of the founders of the
Complete Reality school describes the intensification of
time in the process of spiritual incubation in Taoist alchemy
as the experience of the men tal equivalent of thirty-six
thousand years within one year of concentration. This
represenrs a process of accelerated conscious evolution.
7. Here "conform1ty" is defined as pursuing objects. The idea
of a "netherworld" is not confined in this context to a state
after death, but srands for a condition of depletion in which
there is no more creativity left and one lives through sheer
force of habit.
TheHeroic March Scripture is a Buddhist text that came
into vogue among Chan contemplatives in the tenth or
eleventh century. It has continued in popularity because of
its detailed descriptions of meditation states, highly valued
in the absence of expert teachers. Eventually certain formu-
lations of this scripture were also taken over by Taoisr yogis
borrowing techniques from Buddhism.
8. The Yin Conmzence Classic (Yinfu ]ing) and the Plait: Q!as-
tions of the Yelknv Emperor (HuangDi suwen jing) ·are Taoist
texts, both considered very old. The former work is also
attributed to the Yellow Emperor mentioned in the title of
the larter. This legendary figure of high antiquity is one of
the great cultural heroes of Taoism and Chinese culture in
89
general. One type ofTaoism) called the Huang-Lao teach-
ing after the names of the mythical founders known as
Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) and Lao-tzu) was ostensibly
concerned with immortalism.
Note that here «longlife"and ''transcendence oflife"
are presented as rooted in psychological experience. It is
common among Complete Reality Taoists to understand
immortality as higher consciousnes.s,with Ilo necessary
relation to the)ongevi ty ()f the body as rn.easured
in terrestrial time. Nevertheless, the mental ease
ftom the experience of spiritual "immortality" is als() said
to generally preserve and enhance physical health by freeing
the individual from destructive streSs and tension.
9. The "three teachings" areTaoism, Buddhism, and
fucianism. From its very inception; the Complete Reality
school of Taoism has taught that these three philooophies
share a common essence. This was acceptedby Buddhists,
especially the Chan contemplatives, but Confucians were
averse to recognize any affinitywith Buddhism eVen as
they absorbed Chan methodologyintotheir own studies.
Wilhelm translates this passage, "This is the common goal
of all religions;' andinhisintroductionhe notes thatTaoist
organizations included not only Confucians, Taoists, ·and
Buddhists but also Muslims, Christians, and Jews;
10. Jung used the concepts ofintraversioll and extroversion to
describe what he. thoughtwere attitudes of
Eastern and Western mentaliries .. He absorbed himself in
his own fantasyworld, .and.he imagined that the· Chinese
Taoists did the same thing. Since our textsays, however,
that "the light is neither inside nor outside rhe self;' it
can. hardly be supposed that turning the light around is
the same thing as introversion in the Jungian sense. The
90
Chanfraoist meditative exercise of turning the light around
does not make one oblivious of the external world, nor
does it by any means involve concern with images or
fantasies that may occur to the mind.
11. Quiet sitting was commonly practiced by Buddhists, Taoists,
and neo-Confucians. The Book of Balame and Harmony, a
compendium of all three teachings as they were practiced in
the Completely Real school of Taoism, says; "What the·
three teachings esteem is calm stability. This is called being
based on calm. When the human mind is calm and stable,
unaffected by things, it is merged in the celestial design."
12. The state where "heaven isopen, earth is broad, and all
things are just as they are" is described in graphic detail by
the nineteenth-century Completely Real Taoist master Liu
1-ming in his Awakeni'{q tv the TiW, wherein he speaks of
emulating heaven and earth: "If people can be open minded
and magnanimous, be receptive to all, take picy on the old
and the poor, assist those in peril and rescue thosein trou-
ble, give of themselves without seeking reward; never bear
grudges, look upon others and self impartially, and realize
all as one, then people can be companions of heaven. If
people can be flexible and yielding, humble, with self-
control, free of agitation, clear of volatility, not angered by
criticism, ignoring insult, docilely accepting all hardships,
illnesses, and natural disasters, without anxiety or resent-
ment when faced with danger or adversity, then people can
be companions of earth. With the nobility of heaven and
the humility of earth, one joins in with the attributes of
heaven and earth and extends to eternity with them."
13. "Reversed gazing" means turning attention to the source of
awareness; it is one of the standard expressions of the golden
flower technique. &aching tmvard knmv/edge is a special
91
Taoist usage of a Confucian term. Originally it meant
attaining knowledge by assessment of things. Here it is
used to stand fOr the exercise of"tuming the light around"
and reaching toward the source of knowing. There are
many examples of special 'Th.oist uses ofConfucian and
Buddhist terms to be found in·the literature of syncretic
schools such as that of the Golden Flower.
There fOllow in Wilhelm's translation six paragraphs
that are not in the Chinese text available to me. Their
content marks them as interpolations or footnotes.
14. Small StDJIPi"'f JUUl Seeing is a classic compendium of basic
meditation techniques, composed by the. f o n n d ~ . r ofTian-
tai Buddhism in the sixth century A.D. Wilhelm does not
translate: this passage, and he llliscoristrues.the terms stoJr ..
pi'I!J and seei1f!J as "fixating contemplation." The terms mean
stopping random thought and seeing successive layers of
truth. This recommendation of a popular Buddhist medita-
tion gUidebook as a "touchstone'' illustrates the close rela-
tionship between Buddhist and 'Th.oist contemplative
practices of the time.
15. "Focus on the center" is translated by Wilhelm as "the center
in the midst of conditions," misreading the verb )'Iiiii', "focus,"
as the noun yuan, "condition." There fOllows a passage (not
in my Chinese text) interpreting "focus on the center" to
mean, as Wilhelm translates, "fixing one's thinking on the
point which lies exactly between the two eyes." 'This is not what
the Buddhist tc:rin originally means, and this consciousness-
altering technique in Wilhelm's version is the subject of
strong warnings in modem literature of the Completely
Real school of'Th.oism; it is said to be very dangerous.
The presence of numerous such fraglllentary yOgic
interpolations out of character with the overall teaching of
92
the text leads me to suspect that Wilhelm's text had been
doctored by quasi-Taoist cultists, quite possibly disaffected
Confucians, who were devoted or addicted to altered states
of consciousness.
The meaning of the "center" in the context of Complete
Reality Taoism is more accurately defined by Liu I-ming in
my I Chi"'J Ma""""'-r: "The spirit of openness is the center.
The mysterious female is essence and life. The immortality
of the spirit of openness is the center containing essence
and life. Setting up the foundation on the mysterious
female is essence and life constiruting the center. Those
who keep to this center are sages, those who loSe: this
center are ordinary mortals."
As to the center being the "mechanism of Creation,"
Liu says, "The center is the great root of the world. All the
sages; immortals, and Buddhas of all times are bom from
this center. It is so vast that there is nothing outside it, yet
so minute that it retreats into storage in secrecy. Those who
awaken to this immediately ascend to the ranks of sages,
while those who miss this are sunk fur eons."
Liu also affirms the subclety of the center, and the
delicacy of the mental posrure of focus on the center, to
which he denies any physical location as suggested by Wil-
helm's version of the Go/Jen Flowertext. Liu says: "It has no
location, no fixed pbsinon. Look for it and you cannot St:e
it, listen for it and you cannot hear it. Try to grasp it and
you cannot find it .... It is not easy for people to see this
center, and not easy for them to know it. It cannot be con-
sciously sought, it cannot be mindlessly kept. If you seek it .
consciously, you fall into forms; if you keep it mindlessly, you
enter into empty silence. Neither of these is the central way?'
In IChi"'J MtuUJAJas Liu specifica!Jy repudiates interpre-
tations in terms of yogic exercises such as that described in
93
Wilhelm,s text, emphasizing the dangers inherent in such
practices: "Srudents everywhere are ignorant of just what
this center is. Some say it is the center of the body, some
say it is the center of the top of the head, some say it is the
region of the heart, some say it is the center of the fore-
head, some say it is the throat, some say it is in the middle
of the space· between the kidneys and genitals. Vainly hop-
ing for eterriallife, they cling to points in this ephellleral
body and call that keeping to the center and embracing the
one. Not only will they not live eternally, they will even
hasten death."
16. This passage is seriously misconstrued in Wilhelm,s version.
When the text says, "Hereafter, wheneverthoughts arise,
you don,t need to sit still as before," it is referring to the
time after the hundred days' work of setting up the founda-
tion, during which the power of introspective concentra-
tion is stabili:red. Investigating the locus of thought, where
it arises and passes away, is a method ofrurning the light
around commonly practiced in later Chan Buddhism.
Here and following, Wilhelm translates "need not" as
"must not;, and ''cannot be grasped" as ''cannot be done."
These misconstructions thoroughly skew the meaning,
because they miss the effective thrust of the text. The point
of the exercise is to experience the ungraspability of mind
in itself. ·where the text says "Push this inquiry on and.
ori over and over until you realiZe it cannot be grasped,"
Wilhelm translates, "Nothing is gairied by pushing rdlec.:.
tion funher;' which is completely off the mark; it would be
impossible to attain the true effect of the practice following
Wilhelm's version. What he renders as "nothing is gained" is
a very common Buddhist expression meaning"ungraspable."
When the text says, "'Having looked for my mind, I
realize it cannot be grasped.' 'I have pacified your mind for
94
you,"' it alludes to one of the most famous of Chan Bud-
dhist stories. A seeker asked the founder of Chan to pacifY
his mind. The Chan founder said, "Bring me your mind
and I will pacifY it for you." The seeker said, "Having looked
for my mind, I realize it cannot be grasped." The founder
said, "I have pacified your mind for you." This illustrates
the climax of the exercise of turning the light around. Wil-
helm had apparently never read or heard this story.
17. "Once you reach this ungraspability" is translated by Wilhelm
as "That leads to no goal." In many cases Wilhelm does not
seem to have been able to decipher the text well enough
even to discern where a sentence begins or ends. He also
translates "stopping" as "fixating," but fixation is definitely
proscribed in the instructions ofthis very same text.
18. The canonical Chinese text ends the section here; Wil-
helm's includes a rather long discourse on yogic technique,
which he treats as an addition separate from the main text.
The content of the interpolated passages points to a fairly
typical kind of cultism and mentions practices that are pop-
ular but dangerous. It is worth reemphasizing this danger,
for such practices are also found in other popular books on
Taoism in English, without the warnings that accompany
their mention in authentic Chinese Taoist books. These
exercises are in fact unnecessary for the practice of turning
the light around as taught in the real golden flower
docrrine.
IV. Turning the Light Around and
Tuning the Breathing
1. Chan Buddhism teaches that realization comes of itself and
cannot be anticipated because it is not a product of subjec-
95
tive imagination. Hopes and expectations on the part of
the practitioner inhibit the spontaneous working of the
potential that makes realization possible.
2. Oblivion anddistraction are commonly treated in Buddhist
meditation manuals as the two main"sicknesses" to which
meditators arc prone. Focusing the mind on the breathing
is an ancient Buddhist practice that is especially popular
among modern.:.day Zennists. Spirihm.l Akhemy for Women,
·a late-nineteenth-century Taoist work, says, "In general,
what is most essential at the beginning of this study is self-
refinement. Self-refinement is a matter of mind and breath-
ing resting on each other. This means that rhe mind rests
on the breathing and the breathing rests on the mind"
(from Immortal Sisters).
. ..
3. Taoists and Buddhists both observe the intimate natural
connection between breathing and mental state. When the
mind is excited, the breathing accelerates; when the mind
is calm, so is the breath; The practice of resting mind and
breath on each other makes deliberate use of this relation-
ship to calm the mind down and gradually bring it to a
state of stillness.
4. "Inward breathing" is the rhythm of consciousness, "out-
ward breathing" is the rhythm of respiration. Taoists and
Buddhists both use the image of "leaking" to represent the
loss of energy through random mental activity and its cor-
responding physical unrest. Buddhas and Taoist immortals
are described as having "put an end to leakage."
5. Taoist and Buddhist texts describe many manifestations of
human tendencies toward polarization and extremism.
These include notices of people trying to Stop thinking
completely, believing this to be the goal of meditation
96
practice. In Taoist literature there is also mention of people
who even try to stop breathing. The idea of"making the
affliction itself into medicine'' is characteristically Buddhist,
also described in later Taoist literature as "temporarily using
things of the world to cultivate principles of the Way."
6. Here the "light of the eyes" refers to awareness of the world
at large, while the "light of the ears" refers to fOrmless inner
awareness. Here again the text makes it dear that there is
no real boundary or difference between inside and outside:
"They have the same source, but different names'' (7Jw Te
Ching). The practice of"turning back to the nature of hear-
ing," which is one way of turning the light around, comes
from the Heroic March &ripture, a Buddhist text popular
among latter-day Chan Buddhist contemplatives and figur-
ing prominently in the technical procedures outlined in the
Golden Flower text.
7. To "let go" is to free the mind from entanglement in objects,
but to "let go absolutely" is to fall into oblivion. Again the
balance of"stopping" and "seeing" is critical to the success
of the exercise.
8. Taoist texts distinguish severaJ levels accord-
ing to sound, but soundless breathing is considered best of
all. Six audible breaths are used for healing, while silent
breathing is used for quiet meditation. Since mental silence
is considered the best hygiene as well as the best curative,
soundlessly subtle breathing is generally considered very
important for both mental and physical aspects ofTaoist
practice.
9. The term true breathing is variously defined in Taoist litera-
ture; sometimes it is represented as respiration that is so
subtle that it is completely unnoticeable, sometimes it is
97
represented as the inner rhythm of awareness ordinarily
obscured by the coarseness of thinking.
10. This passage' makes it clearthat practice of resting mind and
breathing on each other is justa starting point. Such con-
centration exercises are only temporary expedients, but ·
cultists sometimes perform them routinely for years on
end; A famous Chan poem says, "When the wine is always
sweet, it lays out the guests;' meaning that overindulgence
in concentration and.consequent addiction to cahnness can
actually incapaCitate the individual for further ·
development.
ll, The Book ofBalllnce tmd Harmony says, "By keeping energy
complete you can nurtUre the mind. To keep energy com-
plete first requires that the mind be dear and cahn. When
clear and cahn, there are no thoughts, so energy is complete."
12.-13. The metaphor of the hen incubating an egg is com-
monly used in Chan Buddhism to represent continuous
attention.
14. The Book of Balance tmd Hamwny says, "Of old it has been
said, always extinguish the stirring mind, don't extinguish
the shining mind. The unstirring mind is the shining mind,
the mind that does not stop is the mind?'
16.-20. It is so much easier to notice distraction when sitting
quietly than when engaged in activity that people often feel
their minds to be more scattered than usual when they
begin to sit quietly. Oblivion is a much more difficult
problem, not only because of its nature as unawareness but
also because contemplatives are ofu:n unconsciously
attracted to it. Distraction, in contrast, is so annoying that
it naturally provokes the desire to overcome it. Therefore
Thoism traditionally emphasizes the importance ofusing
98
both stillness and movement in developmental exercises, to
avoid &lli.ng imo either extreme.
23.-27. Not looking or listening does not mean· not seeing or
hearing. It is a matter of being spontaneous rather than
contrived. The text again makes it clear that this is not
introversion as understood by Jungian psychology. In par-
tirular, paragraph 27 shows that thi'> practice is not a matter
of attention to subconscious mental activity, as Jung seemed
to think.
28. Fixing the length of time for meditation can have negative
effi:cts, turning what is supposed to be a liberative tech-
nique into an automatizing ritual. Japanese Zennists and
their Western imitators often seem to think of sitting medi-
tation in quantitative terms, but in the golden flower teach-
ing quality is the foremost consideration. According to
National reacher Muso Soseki, one of the early greats of
Japanese Zen, the establishment of fixed periods of sitting
meditation was originally a matter of discipline, instituted
during the Middle Ages to cope with large numbers of
monastic inmates who had entered Zen orders for
economic or sociological reasons.
V. Errors in Turning the
Light Around
1. "There are many pitf.ills in front of the cliff of withered
trees" is an adaptation of a Chan Buddhist saying. The cliff
of withered trees stands for a state of nonthinking quies-
cence, from which standpoint it is easy to f.ill unawares
into deviations. Wilhelm translates "in front of the cliff of
withered trees" as "before you reach the condition where
you sit like a withered tree before a cliff." This may give the
99
misleading impression that the "withered tree" condition is
the goal.
2. Chan Buddhism tended to become increasingly simplistic
as time went on, and it was generally not systematized to
the same degree as Taoist alchemy. Thm was also a tradi-
tional reluctance in Chan Buddhism to speak much about
psychic states.
4. This passage combines Taoist arid Chan Buddhist w:imings
against quietism. "Don't sit inside nothingneSs or indifier-
ence" is a c01nmonChanBuddhist expression. Wilhelm
misconstrues it as "One must not sit down (to meditate) in
the midst of frivolous affitirs," which is in a sense antitheti-
cal to the actual meaning of the expression. The Buddhist
term neutmJVoidnesr is insetted in a note in the original text.
5. This is another caution against quietism or nihilism;
"letting go"' is not to be exaggerated irito oblivion.
6. Both Completely Real Taoism and Chan Buddhism com-
monly Warn against becoming enthusiastic or excited in
anticipating in meditation, since this agitates
the mind and stimulates subjoctive1'rojections, thus retard-
ing progress. Wilhelm translates, "Nor must the thoughts
. be concentrated on the right procedure." This is a misread-
ing of the words, and a misleading idea. . .
The parenthetical cominents in my translation an: also
notes in the original text. "You can get it by intent that is
not willful"' is translated by Wilhelm as "If one can attain
purposelessness through purpose." It is not clear what he
thought this meant. The idea seems to
have appealed to C. G. Jung insofar as he rebelled against
the materialistic interpretation of pragmatism characteristic
of his own culture, but the Taoist text means no such thing.
100
7. Wilhelm's rendition of this passage is also murky,largely
because ofthe use of a numberofBuddhist terms that he
did not understand. This was unfortunate for Jung, who in
his meditative fantasies quite evidently did "fall into the ele-
ments of body and mind, where material and psychological
illusions take charge." Although Jung admits that he never
fOllowed the directions of the Golden Flower (which may
be just as well considering the quality of the translation),
nevertheless it is tempting to speculate on whatwould have
happened had there been an accurate version of the text
available to him. ·
8. This passage is added to balance the foregoing warning
about becoming deadened through malpractice; one should
not become senseless, yet neither should one pursue
objects. As ever, balance in the center is the keynote.
9. "Loose ends" tend to come up "for no apparent reason" in
quietude because of heightened awareness and lowered
inhibitions. Wilhelm translates "the realms ofform and
desire" (a Buddhist term) as "the warld ofilh.lsciry desires."
Again this was unfortunate for Jung, who showed a marked
inability to distinguish between the realm of form and the
realm of desire. This tended to skew his interpretations of
fantasies and led him to imagine that golden flower medita-
tion is culture-bound in spite of his beliefin universal
archetypes.
10. People who enter into contemplative practices without this
sort of theoretical preparation are easily deluded by unusual
psychic experiences. Jung, himself a prime model of this,
projected his imaginations on Taoism and thus believed
that the teaching of the golden flower came from "abnor-
mal psychic states." This f.alse belief may be attributed
partly to Wilhelm's inexpert translation of the text, but
101
it also seems to be due in large measure to Jung's own
arbitrary ideas and personalistic interpretations.
VI. Authenticating Experiences
ofTurning the Light Around
1. Wilhelm mistranslates "cannot be undergone responsibly by
people with small faculties and small capacities" as "one
must not conti:ntoheselfwith small demands." The ques-
tion of capacity is extremely important in the teaching and
practice of Taoist alchemy. In his introduction to the text,
Wilhelm asserts that "asfar as the Chinese psyche is con-
cerned, a completely assured method of attaining definite
psychic experiences is available." If the expression ''definite
. psychic experiences" is supposed to mean authentic realiza-
tion of the golden flower awakening, this statement would
seem absurd in the context ofBuddhism and Thoism. A
more accurate reading of the text would have clarified
Wilhelm'sconfusion on this point; it is a matter not of"the
Chinese psyche"in general, but of the faculties and capaci-
ties of the individual. ]ling would also have done wellto
observe the warning of the text that ''you cannot handle
attainment with a careless or:ll"r<lgaht attitude," for the
careless arrogance of his essays on the Golden Flower hin-
dered him. from a more serious and sober investigation of
Taoism as much as did lack of resources.
2. Zhang Boduan (Chang Po-tu an), fuunder of the Southern
School of Completely Real Taoism, wrote of a similar expe-
rience in his Introdliction tiJ Akhemy: "The pores are like
after a bath, the bones and circulatory system are like when
&st asleep, the vitality and spirit are like husband arid wife
in blissful embrace,·the earthly and heavenly souls are like
child and mother remembering their love."
102
3. "Myriad pipes arc all silent" refers to a mental state of pro-
found quietude; "rhe bright moon is in mid sky" refers to
clear awareness within stillness. Both are common metaphors
in Taoism and Chan Buddhism.
4, This passage refers to the refinement of sensory experience
realized through the golden flower practice. The "filling of
the body" with stored energy is said to be sufficient in itself
to preserve health and well-being, even without physical
exercise. "Red blood becoming milk" is a common Taoist
symbol of the sublimation of passion.
5. The Vimalizati<m Scn'pture is a popular Pure Land Buddhist
text, the Guan Wuliangshou jing (Scripture on visualization
of infinite life). There are many examples of Taoists borrow-
ing and reinterpreting Buddhist symbolism; some of them
more plausible than others. The MingChing) a small
fragment of which is included in the Wilhelm/Baynes ver-
sion of the Golden Flower, provides numerous instances of
Chan Buddhist sayings borrowed by Taoist yogis and given
esoteric interpretations in terms of Taoist energy work.
"Higher good is like water" comes from the Tao Te Ching.
6. The Buddha on the terrace of enlightenment is the essence
of one's own mind. The Visualization Scriptttre itself says,
"When you see Buddha, you are seeing your own mind;
for mind is Buddha, mind makes Buddha."
7. Wilhelm translates ''the spirit enters into a state of
ness" as "the gods are in the valley:' giving the text a prim-
itive polytheistic sound that is not there at all in the
original. It was evidently on the basis of this sort of mis-
translation that Jung came to the conclusion that the con-
cepts of Chinese philosophy are, as he said, "never taken
psychologically." Nothing could be further from the truth.
103
As a result of his misconception about the nature ofTaoist
practical philosophy,Jung thought that he himself was a
pioneer in psychological interpretation; but since he did
not understand the original Taoist concepts to begin with,
his attempts to interpret them psychologically were based
on his own imaginations and noton the real meanings of
the ideas as they are understood by Taoists themselves.
8. "The empty room producing light" is an expression from
the famous ancient Taoist Classic Chuang-tztt, This is one of
the quotations from that classic commonly used by practi-
tioners of the Complete Reality school ofTaoism, who ..
found it a fitmetaphor for one oftheir experiences in quiet
meditation. Chan Buddhists tend to downplay the feelings
of such experiences as remoteness, clarity, and suffusion
with light, for two main reasons. One is that such experi-
ences are just signals of something and not goals in· them-
selves. The other is that the impression they nevertheless
create on the mind can be so strong that "the spoils of war
are lost through celebration."
9. The image of ascent is ofren used ill Taoist literature. Sun
Bu-er, one of the great female adepts ofCompletely Real
Taoism, concluded her classic collection of poems with this
verse on "flying":
At the right time, just out of the valley
You rise lightly into the spiritual firmament.
The jade girl rides a blue phoenix,
The gold boy offers a scarlet peach.
One strums a brocade lute amidst the flowers,
One plays jewel pipes under the moon.
One day immortal and mortal are separated,
And you coolly cross the ocean.
(from Immortn.l Sisters)
104
10. The Buddhist meditation manual known as Small Stqpping
and Seeing was mentioned earlier. This passage refers to a
more complete manual by the same author known as Great
Stopping and Seeing.
11. "When people drink water, they know for themselves
whether it is cool or warm" is a common Chan Buddhist
expression used to illustrate the fact that there is no way to
communicate or understand realization of spiritual awaken-
ing except by one's own personal experience.
12. "A grain, and then another grain, from vagueness to clar-
ity" is an often-quoted line from Four Hundnd Wonir on the
Gold Elixir, a short work by the founder of the Southern
School ofCoinpletely Real Taoism, Zhang Boduan (Chang
Po-tuan). Liu 1-ming explains, '"Grain after grain' means
that when the basis is established, the path develops and
the positive energy gradually grows. It does not literally
m ~ a n there is the form of gfains" (The Inner Tmchi'!!]S of
Taoism).
13. In his classic Undentanding &ality, Chang Po-tuan also
writes, "Truly it is said of a grain of the gold elixir that a
snake that swallows it is immediately transfOrmed into
a dragon and a chicken that eats it is then changed into a
phoenix, flying into the pure realm of true yang." Liu
1-ming explains, "When yin and yang combine into one,
the celestial order is clearly revealed; the innate knowl-
edge and capacity which had been about to fade away in
people is round and bright, clean and bare. A bead of
gold elixir hangs in the center of vast space, lighting up
the universe to view, unobstructed in all directions. When
people ingest a grain of this elixir, they immediately
become immortals."
105
VII. The Living Method of
Turning the Light Around
A "living method, is one that is efficiendy adapted to individ-
ual needs and in regrated in to everyday life. A "dead methoo" is
one that is performc:d mechaniCally as an automatic routine.
Chan Buddhist proverb say5, "Study the living word, not the
dead word."
l. "You need not give up your normal occupation." According
to his own writing, Jungwasofthe opinion that yoga prac-
tice needs an ecclesiastical setting. Some professional Japa-
nese Zennists also share this belief, and many Western
Zenriists following latter-day Japanese schools have there.:.
fore come to believe that Zen has traditionally been a
primarily mona5tic movement. The fact that ecclesiastical
operations generally Call more attention to themselves than
individual practitioners, who "hide their light" according to
classical recommendations, has given Westerners the false
impression that monasticism represented the mainstrearll of
Eastern spiritual practice.
2. As the oftumingthe light around is
repeated in the midst of everyday aahlrs, the mind becomes
increasingly fiuid and buoyant, able to engage in ordinary
activitieS without getting stuck oil
3. The keynote of this passage is "not sticking to any image bf
person or self at all." According to his own reports, Jung
was fascinated by the images that came to mind when he
tried to meditate according to his owil method, which he
apparendy believed to· be similar to that of the golden
Bower. Inasmuch as this sort of preoccupation is rigorously
proscribed in Taoist meditation texts, it is no wonder at all
106
that Jung's work shows no indication that he really experi-
enced anything like the golden flower awakening.
"If you can look back again and again into the source of
mind, whatever you are doing" is rendered by Wilhelm as
"When in ordinary life one has the ability always to react to
things by reflexes only," which is not only technically incor-
rect but potentially dangerous. "Turning the light around
wherever you are" is translated by Wilhelm as "circulation
of the light arising out of circumstances." This small mis-
reading of the words is greatly misleading if it means that
the practice depends on circumstances.
4. Although the practice lacks power if it cannot be carried
out in the midst of activity, it becomes easier if a quiet time
is set aside early in the morning to refresh and orient the
mind in turning the light around. "The realized ones in
Heaven will surely come to attest to your experience"
means that higher or more refined levels of awareness
become accessible to consciousness, experientially proving
the efficacy of the practice.
VIII. The Secret of Freedom
Wilhelm translates the title of this section as ''A Magic Spell for
the Far Journey." He tends to read weird and superstitious ideas
into the text. Then again, it was not unusual for people ofhis
time to expect Eastern ideas to be exotic and mysterious. The
word translated as "magic spell" actually means a spoken teach-
ing, or a secret teaching. It also comes to mean "secret" in the
everyday how-to sense of what is essential for success in accom-
plishing something. As fOr "the far journey," this expression,
which literally means "roaming" and really means "freedom of
action," is the title of the opening chapter of Chutmg-tzu, one
of the most popular Taoist classics.
107
l. Jadelike purity is one of the "three purities," which are said
to be realms of higher awareness to which Taoist adepts and
immortals ascend. Thus they are representative of sources
of inspiration for latter-day Taoist texts received through
mediums in trance.
According to Liu 1-ming, "White snow symbolizes the
energy of the primordial unity; this is like the metaphor of
'white light arising in the empty room.'"That this white
snow flies in "midsummer" means that it is manifested in
the "fire" of consciousness.
The "sun blazing" symbolizes positive energy, ''water"
stands for real knowledge hidden within, and "midnight"
represents profound stillness. Therefore ''the sun blazing in
the water at midnight" means the emergence of the positive
energy of real knowledge from the depths of qui erode.
The recepti-Pe is the I Ching symbol for mother earth. Liu
I-ming says, "If people can be flexible and yielding, hum-
ble, with self-control, entirely free of agitation, cleared of
all volatility, not angered by criticism, ignoring insult,
docilely accepting all hardships, illnesses, and natwal dis-
asters, utterly without anxiety or resentment when faced
with danger or adversity, then people can be companions
of eanh" (Awakening to the 11w).
2. "The homeland of nothing whatsoever" is another expres-
sion from the Taoist classicChuang-tzu: It appears at the
end of the first chapter, "Freedom," after which this section
of the Golden F/Qwertext isnamed: in the ancient classic,
the philosopher Chuang-tzu says, "Now you have a huge
tree and worry that it is useless. Why don't you plant it in
the vast plain of the homeland of Nothing Whatsoever,
roaming in effortlessness by its side and sleeping in freedom
beneath it? The r e ~ n it does not f.ill to the axe, and no one
injures it, is that it cannot be used. So what's the trouble?"
108
3. "To act purposefully without striving" is translated by Wil-
helm as "action through non-action." It is not certain what
he meant by this. Wilhelm renders "indifferent emptiness"
as "numbing emptiness;• which could be right except for
the impression it conveys that "emptiness" is itself"numb·
ing.'' This expression should rather be rendered as «numb
emptiness." Only "numb emptiness" is «numbing;• not real
emptiness as understood experienced in Buddhism and
Completely Real Taoism. Here again, acquaintance with
Buddhist thought would have helped Wilhelm to under-
stand the point of this passage.
4. The "center" is explained in the notes to paragraph 15 of
Section III; the "two eyes" are explained in the notes to
paragraph 4 of Section III. The "handle of the stars" refers
to the crux or key of awareness, by which self-mastery and
autonomy are attained.
5. The alchemical symbol of metal or lead is explained by Liu
1-ming in his commentary on Chang Po-tuan's R>ur Hu7z-
dml Wonis on the Gold Elixir in these terms: "Lead is dense
and heavy, hard and strong, lasts long without disintegrat-
ing; what is called true lead here is not ordinary material
lead, but is the formless, immaterial true sense of real
knowledge in the human body. This true sense is out-
wardly dark but inwardlybright, strong and unbending,
able to ward off eJiternal afiliedohs, able to stop internal
aberrations. It is symbolized by lead and so is called the
true lead .... Because its light illumines myriad existents,
it is also called the golden Because it is the pivot of
creation, it is also called the North Star. Because itconceals
light within darkness, it is also c<lued metal within water"
(The Inner Teachings of Taoism).
6. The "lower two passes" are the first two stages of a tradi-
109
tiona! formulation of Taoist spiritual alchemy: "refining
vitality into energy," and "refining energy into spirit?' The
"upper pass" is the stage of"refining spirit into openness."
At this point "Heaven directly divulges the unsurpassed
doctrine', in the sense that knowledge comes spontaneously
through elevation of consciousness rather than by formal
learning.
7. The "outside" is surface consciousness, the "inside" is the
"true sense of real knowledge" hidden below. To "control
the inside from the outside" means to reach deliberately for
this real knowledge and stabilize its connection with con-
sciousness. To "control the outside frOm the inside'; means
to be rooted in real knowledge and thereby
control the activity of the conscious mind. The "master"
is the true sense of real knowledge; the "assistant" is the
conscious mind.
8. The mind is a Taoistterm for what Chan Buddhists
call the original mind. This refers to the mind as it is in its
pristine State unaffected by temporal conditioning.
9. This section of the text, particularly from this passage
onward, is more thickly veiled than ever in the garb of
Taoist alchemical language. Here the meaning becomes
ambiguous in the sense that it can be interpreted in· terms
of the waterwheel exercise of Taoist energetics so popular
in the SOuthern School of Complete Reality, orin purely
spiritual terms characteristic of Chan Buddhism and the
Northern School ofCornplete R.ealityTaoism. In terms of
energetics, the "chamber of waur" means the lower abdo-
men, where energy is built up for circulation. In spiritual
terms, the "chamber of waur" refers to the true sense of real
knowledge hidden within temporal conditioning; I have
italicized water because it stands for one of the main signs
110
of the I Chitzg) consisting of one solid (positivt:) line sur-
rounded by two broken (negative) lines: in Taoist alchemy,
this represents the primal hidden within the temporal.
10. The I Ching sign for .fire) which represents consciousness,
consists of two positive Jines surrounding a negative line. In
this case, the negative line represents temporal conditioning
ruling consciousness. The sign tor the creative) which repre-
sents the enlightened mind, consists of three positive lines.
Fire is in substance the creative in the sense that conscious-
ness is itself enlightenment; but this is not realized because
of the influence of mundane conditioning.
11. "Negative energy stops" because- the exercise ofturning
the light around vitiates the power of conditioned thought
habits.
12. The joining of the positive energy in water and the creative
means the reuniting of conscious knowledge and real
knowledge. The "basic chamber" is the center, which again
may be interpreted psychophysiologicall)' or spiritually.
Wilhelm renders "the positivity in water}) as "the polarized
light-line of the Abysmal;' which is not very meaningful
and certainly does not convey the sense of the positivity,
creativity, or celestial nature of the "light" that the text
emphasizes.
13. The movement of creative energy hecomes ''traceless" at1d
"indiscernible" in the sense that the ecstasy accompanying
the initial mating of consciousness and the true sense of
real knowledge later subsides in favor of a more subtle
experience.
14. "Living midnight" is a Taoist term for a state of profound
mental stillness and guierude that is nevertheless pregnant
with primal energy, preceding the "dawn" of resurgent
light. The restless "human mind" is stilled so that the clear
"celestial mind" may come to light. Wilhelm translates "liv-
ing midnight;' which is an extremely common expression
in this sort of Taoist literature, as ''the time when the child
comes to life."
15. The images of the master becoming a servant and taking
the servant for the master are common in Chan Buddhism.
In Taoist terms, this means that the mundane conditioning
of the "humann1entality" comes to govern the whole mind
and is consequently mistaken for the self.
16. The root of heaven and moon cavern are alchemical terms for ·
the movement of energy emerging from stillness and
rerurning to stillness. They can also be expressed as the
points of shift from passivity to activity and from activity to
passivity.
17. In alchemical language, the positive creative energy of
unconditioned primal awareness must be consciously
"culled" or "gathered" when it emerges from the shrouds of
unconsciousness. If it is not gathered, or if it is gathered
too late, the positive energy is ineffective and mundane
conditioning reaSserts its power.
18. In Thoist energetics, «the chamber of the cnative''is the
head: energy is drawn by attention upward from the lower
torso (the chamber of water) through the spine and into the
head. In purely spiritual Taoism; the energy of the initial
stirring of the "celestial mind" of unconditioned awareness
is fostered until it becomes complete awakening, as symbol-
ized by the creative. Focusing on the crown of the head is a
method of enhancing alertness (to prevent quiet stillness
from slipping into oblivion) and is only for temporary use
at appropriate times.
112
19. In energetics, the "yellow court" is the middle of the body,
where the energy is conducted after passing through the
head. In spiritual practice, this means that heightened
awareness is centered to keep the mind from floating off
into utter abstraction.
20. In Chan Buddhism this experience is described in terms of
"melting" or "unlocking" to indicate a transition from
bondage to freedom.
21.-25. The six senses are the faculties of seeing, hearing, tasting,
smelling, feeling, and thinking. Not using the six senses is
believed to be the most excellent form of hygiene,. both
mental and physical, practiced by Taoists to restore and pre-
serve spirit and energy. Paragraphs 21 to 23 describe three
levels of profundity in experience of the same exercise;
paragraph 25 illustrates their interpenetration. This scheme
of three stages, each also containing three, or a total of
nine, stages, derives from the teaching of the
Chari i.nasterLinji, who was regarded as the founder of vir-
tuallyall the lines of Chan Buddhism extant at the time of
the writing of The Secret of the Golden Flower.
26. The three and nine stages are spoken of in relation to the
subjective experience of the practitioner, but all are obj ec-
tively of the same source. The "interval of a world cycle"
means the interval between stirring of mind and return to
quiescence.
27. caused by momentum is raridom action, not essen-
tial action?' This means that one should learn to act objec-
tively, first quieting the mind so as to be able to act from a
state of cool clarity rather than by impulse. Wilhelm trans-
lates, "One moves the movement and forgets the move-
113
ment; this is not movement in itself." It is not clear what
he thought this might have meant.
28. ''This does not contrast the action of Heaven to the nature
of Heaven" in that it does not consider stillness superior to
action; both action and stillness are part of the total enlight-
enment as long as they proceed from the primal uncondi-
tioned source of mind ratherthan from temporal habit ...
29. Desire>as considering things to exist or desire as being pos-
sessive toward things are typically Buddhist definitions.
Desire as thought that is out of place and based on ulterior
motives is a typical neo-Confucian definition.
30. Wilhelm translates "spontaneous attention'i as "a move-
ment without purpose;' and "acting without striving" as
"action through non-action." Neither of these expre.Ssions
hits the mark, but from the point of vieW ofcross<ultural
studies it is significant to take note of them as reflections of
standard misconceptions of Eastern mysticism.
31. In paragraph lOofthis section, the yin line inside the sym"
bOl of .fin is understood as "falseyin;' which means mun-
dane conditioning. Here it is understood as "true yin,"
which means calmness. The operation referred to as "taking
from water to fill infirtl' consists of replacing the negative
line (temporal col1ditioning) inside fin ( wnsciousness) with
the positive line (real knowledge) inside ·wtmr· (the depths
of the unconscious). This formula comes from the alchemi-
cal classic Undmtmuling Radity, which says, "Take the solid
in the heart of the position of lMm; and change: the yin in
the innards of the palace of fin.· From this transformation
comes the sound body of h t m ~ m (the ~ ) - t o lie hidden
or to fty and leap is all up to the mind." Liu 1-ming
114
explains, "The solid in the heart of the position of 1PIIIzr
is the real knowledge in the mind ofTao; the yin in the
innards of the palace of.ftn is the conscious knowledge of
the human mind. Take out the reality-knowing mind of
'Tho that has fallen into water and with it replace the con-
sciously knowing mind in the palace of fire. In a short time
the yin (temporal) energy will dissolve and the yang (pri-
mal) energy will return, and you will again see the original
face of ht#Pen, recovering your original nature of innate
knowledge and innate capacity, tranquil and unperturbed
yet sensitive and effective, sensitive and effective yet
tranquil and undisturbed."
32. The "breeze of wind" symbolizes gradual penetration
through fOllowing an initiatory process. Here it means the
use of focused consciousness to gain access to real knowl-
edge hidden in the unconscious.
33. "Nurturing the fire" means developing consciousness by
calm and flexible receptivity.
34. is also a key alchemical term. According to The Book
of lJ4Jim&e 11nd HRmwny, in the higher type of grn.dual
method "bathing" means "being suffused with harmonious
energy;' while in the very highest type of alchemy it means
"cleaning the mind."
35. The expression "stopping at ultimate good" comes from
the ancient Confucian classic DRxue ('IR Hsueh; The Great
Learning) and is commonly employed in later Taoist alchemi-
cal texts. ''The infinite" is a Taoist and nco-Confucian term
for the state of awareness prior to discur.;ive discrimination.
36. the mind without dwelling on anything" is a
famous line from the popular Buddhist Diamond Cuttzr
Scripture. The sixth patriarch of Chan Buddhism is said to
115
have become enlightened on hearing this line of scripture
being recited as he was passing through a marketplace.
As fur "effecting openness," The Boolt of &lima 111111
Hamumy says, "laoism, Buddhism, Confucianism -all
simply transmit one openness. Throughout all time, those
who have transcended have done the work from within
openness. Openness and sincerity are the essence of
alchemy, learning Buddhism is meditation plunging into
openness; and as fur learning the affairs of Confucian sages,
selBessness in openness clarities the celestial design."
37. Again Wilhelm proposes a misleading translation: "to be
unminding in all situations" he render.; as "furever dwelling
in purposelessness." It is likely that Jungderived some of
his more bizarre ideas about Eastern philOsophy from just
such mistranslat:ions as this one. In the beginning of Sec-
tion VI it says that in order to develop the capacity to
undergo the experience of the golden £lower awakening
responsibly it is necessary to will the liberation of aU
beings; so the very idea of"purposelessness" is incompati-
ble with this practice. Although Wilhelm translates that
pan somewhat clumsily, nevertheless the meaning does
come through there; apparently it slipped his mind when
he came to this section. The tenn is a
common Chan Buddhist expression.
38. "Contemplating emptiness, the conditional, and the cen-
ter" is a fundamental meditative exercise ofTiantai (f'ien-
t'ai) Buddhism. Again Wilhelm shows virtually comjJlete
ignorance of Buddhism in any context but standard West-
em cliche, translating "the conditional" as "delusion," In
reality, the conditional per se is not delusion; delusion
means to mistake the conditional fur a fixed or indepen-
dent reality in itself.
116
39.-43. Paragraphs 39 to 43 present what may be the simplest
and most concise statement of this Tiantai Buddhist prac-
tice to be found anywhere: the point is to achieve a state of
centered mental poise wherein both the fluidity and factu-
ality of phenomena are evident to the mind without either
exerting an overwhelming influence toward bias.
According to this way of meditation, by realization of
fluidity the mind transcends attachment to conditional
things; by realization of factuality the mind transcends
attachment to emptiness. By realization of the center, one
attains a harmonious unity of freedom and responsibility.
In Tiantai Buddhism: the accomplishment of this practice is
called "three insights in one mind."
44. Fire is spirit, ~ a , - is vitality. Alchemists sometimes say that
Buddhism starts with fire while Taoism starts with Jm.ter.
45. Here "the two eyes" is meant literally. There is a strong ten-
dency to place great emphasis on the data of sight in every-
day life, so the text makes it clear that all the faculties of
sense and perception are channels of enlightened awareness.
The third patriarch of Chan Buddhism wrote, "The six
senses aren't bad, they are the same as true awakening."
46. This means that the true sense of real knowledge, which
in ordinary people falls into abeyance in the unconscious,
must be "resurrected" by consciousness through the
exercise of deliberate attention.
47. The darkness in the sun is true yin within true yang,
flexibility within firmness.
48. The white of the moon is true yang within true yin,
firmness within flexibility.
49. A verse in the alchemical classic Underst:andi'!!J R£4/ity says,
117
"The sun, in the position of fire) turns into a woman; water,
in the moon palace; turns out to be a man."
IX. Setting Up the Foundation
in a Hundred Days
This and the foUowing three sections, comprising the rest of
the text as it is found inthe canonical version on which the
present translation is ba5ed, are entirely omitted by Wilhelm in
his rendition, because he considers them of"inferior quality."
He does not explain, however, the basis of this evaluation.
While it istrue that these last four chapters go back to basics
again and again, this is in fact a general characteristic of the
whole· text, which repeatedly reviews fundamental theory and
praxis as it develops the details of their experiential i m p l i c a ~
tions. It may be that the difficulty ofthese sections, which
contain relatively high concentrations of Buddhist andTaoist
technical terms, discouraged Wilhelm from attempting to
translate them.
1. There are a number of scriptures with the generic Mind Seal
title in the Taoist canon. The practice of one hundred days
setting up the foundation to stabilize consciousness is com-
mon in Taoist alchemy. Here when the text says "you are
stiU working with the light of the eyes:' this means that at
the outset a practitioner is using ordinary consciousness,
not the refined consciousness referred to by the terms
"spirit:' "essence;' and "wisdom."
2. "Intercourse" and "formation ofthe embryo" are standard
alchemical images. Chang Po-tuan's classic Rmr Hundred
Wonlr on the Gold Elixir says, "When husband and wife
mate, clouds and rain funn in the secret room. In a year
118
they give birth to a child, and each rides on a crane." Liu
1-ming explains, "Our real knowledge is yang within yin;
this is the 'husband.' Our conscious knowledge is yin
within yang; this is the 'wife.' After the primal yang in peo-
ple culminates, acquired conditioning takes over affitirs, and
the real gets lost outside, as though it lived in another
house and did not belong to oneself. Though one may
have conscious knowledge, the wife does not see the
husband; yin being without the balance of yang, this con-
sciousness has fulsehood in it. If the husband, real knowl-
edge, is recognized and called back home to meet the wife,
conscious knowledge, and taken into the privacy of the
secret room, the husband loves the wife and the wife loves
the husband; husband and wife mate, sense and essence
combine, so the primal energy comes forth from within
nothingness and congeals into the spiritual embryo"
(The Inner Teachings of Taoism),
When the text says that "if you entertain any concep-
tual view at all, this is immediately a misleading path;' this
means that conceptual views are products of the temporally
conditioned consciousness and thus deviate attention from
the primal essence of consciousness. Chan Buddhism is
well known for insistence on detachment from conceptual
views in order to "perceive essence and at:tain
Buddhahood."
3. Generally speaking, references to points or periods of time
in alchemical literature refer not to clock or calendar time
but to psychological time. Intense condensation of experi-
ential time is also characteristic of mental concentration in
the alchemical process. In his classic Understanding &ality,
Chang Po-tuan writes, "Changing hours for days is the pat-
tern of the spiritual work." Liu 1-ming explains, "Devel-
oped people, emulating the image of the sun and moon
meeting, place thirty days within one day, and also place
one day within one hour: in one hour activating strong
energy, they use the human mind to produce the mind of
Tao, use the mind of Tao to govern the human mind, pro-
duce real knowledge by conscious knowledge, and purge
conscious knowledge by real knowledge; they gather the
undifferentiated primal energy for the mother of the elixir,
and follow the spiritual mechanism of the transformations
of yin and yang as the firing process."
4. Empowerment refers to the stabilization of the higher con-
sciousness so that one can turn the light around at will in
any and ali circumstances. This may require a period of spe-
cial effort, represented by the hundred days setting up the
foundation.
5. In both Chan Buddhism and the Northern School of
Completely Real Taoism, "seeing essence:' directly experi-
encing the essence of consciousness in itself, is temporarily
set up as an aim for those who are bound up in the prod-
ucts of consciousness and thereby alienated from its essence.
After "seeing essence" is attained, it then becomes a means
rather than an end: a means offreeing mental energyfor
further development. Because "seeing essence" can give a
fulse sense of confidence before the union of conscious
knowledge and real knowledge is matured, enlightened
guidance is needed. The classical statement of this principle
in Chan Buddhism says, "First awaken on your own, then
sec someone else." Here the text says ''everything that
emerges naturally from essence is rested" in the sense that it
is necessary to examine the subsequent activity of con-
sciousness for remaining taints of compulsive mental habit
ruled by mundane conditioning. This is one of the most
important functions of a guide.
120
X. The Light of Essence and
the Light of Consciousness
The distinction between "the light of essence" and "the light of
consciousness" is critical to success in the practice of Taoist
alchemy or Chan Buddhism. Paragraph 1 in Section II makes
this clear when it says, "Only the true essence of the original
spirit transcends the primal organization and is above it."
It is unfortunate that Wilhelm did not translate this tenth
section, because if properly unden;tood it would have been of
inestimable value to Jung, who was evidently unable to make
the critical distinction in his own experience. Indeed, Jung docs
not seem to have even had a clear theoretical grasp of this i s s u e ~
what he assigns to the "unconscious" would in 'Th.oism still be
considered part of the consciousness of the human mentality,
not the essence that "transcends the primal organization."
An ofren-quoted classic verse on this subject by the great
ninth-century Chan master Changsha clearly defines the central
importance of the distinction between the "light of conscious-
ness" and the "light of essence" in these tenns: "When people
who study the Way do not know reality, it is just because they
have been giving their recognition to the conscious spirit all
along: this is the root ofbeginningless eons of birth and death,
yet fools call it the original being." From the point of view of
the traditions of Chan Buddhism and Completely Real Taoism,
Jung's confusion on this point is evident throughout his com-
mentary on the Golden Fluwer and otber rexrs from Asian
spiritual teachings.
1. In modern t i m e s ~ followers of sectarian Zen and Taoism
have come to lay great stress on sitting meditation, but clas-
sical masters have pointed out that addiction to stillness can
have serious mental and physical drawbacks. If the practice
of "turning the light around" is carried on only in specific
121
settings or postures, it may be impossible to integrate it
fully with everyday life, leading to a kind of split in the
personality.
2. This passage makes it dear that the "light,. of
nothing to do with visionary experiences. &shan Canchan
]ingu, a well-kno\vn Chan meditation manual dating from
about a century before the Golden Flower text, says, "If you
see lights, flowers, or other extraordinary fOrms, and take
this for sanctity, using these tinusual·phenomena to dazzle
people, thinking you have attained great
you do not realize that you are thoroughly ill. This is not
Chan."
3. The mirror being "occupied" by an image represents the
attention being occupied by the contents of consciousness
and thus losing sight of the essence of consciousness. This
is also a good description of what happened to Jung when
he tried to meditate and became mired in images arising
from his subconscious.
4. The Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) is one of the major figUres
of antiquity associated both with Taoism and with the
founding of proto-Chinese cultUre. The "echoes" here sym-
bolize the thoughts or contents of consciousness; to say
they are "not sound, means that thoughts are not them-
selves the essence of conSciousness, even though they arise
from the movement of consciousness.
5. The March Scriptvn is a Buddhist
text that became particularly popular among Chan Bud-
dhist contemplatives from the Sung dynasty (960-1278)
onward. The following passages of the Golden Flower text,
paragraphs 5 to 10, briefly outline a meditation exercise
from that scripture, known as the "eight attributions,"
122
which is designed to facilitate "perception of essence"'
through a sort of process of elimination. The eight
tions are usually defined as follows:
1. Light is attributable to the sun.
2. Dark is attributable to the dark moon.
3. 'fiansmission is attributable to doors and windows.
4. Obstruction is attributable to walls.
5. Objects are attributable to discrimination.
6. Blank openness is attributable to space.
'7. Congestion is attributable to sense data.
8. Clear light is attributable to clarity.
By gradually "peeling away" the contents of consciousness,
the practitioner ultimately reaches the experience of the
essence of consciousness.
10. The eighth amscioume!s is a Buddhist term: it is also called
the conscWumes.r. One aspect of the storehouse
consciousness is its function as the repository of
sions. This is close to what Jung calls the "unconscious;'
but Jung differs from Buddhism in considering the
scious a basic reality. Another aspect of the storehouse con-
sciousness, which comes out after it has been clarified, is its
function of"mirrorlike awareness." This is a basic experi-
ence of Buddhist transformation of consciousness, but it is
not final. In dealing with both a.spccrs of the eighth con-
sciousness, Buddhist practice aims at "smashing through" it
and removing fixation even on these levels of experience.
Chan and Zen Buddhist literature suggest that Jung was
most definitely not alone in getting bogged down in the
eighth consciousness. Unlike the Chan and Zen Buddhists,
however, Jung was not fortunate enough to have authentic
technical literature sufficient to diagnose the problem.
123
11. Sometimes the exercise of turning the light around is
described as looking to see where thought comes from, but
this is not the same as the psychoanalytic exercise oflook-
ing to see the unconscious roots of conscious manifesta-
tions. In Chan practice, psychoanalysis comes after "seeing
essence;' because it is only from the central standpoint of
essence that the contents of consciousness can be witnessed
objectively.
12. "Flow and revolve" is a Buddhist expression for routine ·.
mental habit. The final passages of this section return to
the critical distinction between the "flowing and revolving"
consciousness and the transcendental essence. This para-
graph makes it clear that even "emptiness;' when experi-
enced as an item of the conscious inventory, is still just an
object, not the open essence of mind. Mistaking a feeling
or state of"emptiness" for emptiness itself is a psychological
phenomenon often mentioned in Zen classics.
XI. The Intercourse of Warer and Fire
1. Here fire stands for conscious knowledge and Wa.ter stands
for real knowledge. The intercourse of water and fire repre-
sents the union of the real knowledge of the mind of Tao
and the conscious knowledge of the human mind.
2. The yin inside fin stands for receptivity, and also for mun-
dane conditioning. The yang inside water stands for the
firmness of the true sense of real knowledge.
3. In his explanation of Chang Po-tuan's Four Hundred Wtnds
on the Gold Elixir, Liu I-ming says, "If you understand that
the foundation of water and fire of real knowledge and con-
scious knowledge originally belong to one energy, and if
124
you cultivate them backward, inverting water and fire,
using real knowledge to control conscious knowledge,
using conscious knowledge to nurture real knowledge,
water and fire balance each other, movement and stillness
are as one; then mind is Tao, Tao is mind" (The Inner
Teachings of 'llroism) .
XII. The Cycle
l. The Southern School of Taoism tends to value the water-
wheel exercise, wherein a mass of energy is developed and
circulated throughout the body. When the Golden Fluwer
text says"energy is not the main thing," this is an indication
of its roots in the Northern School under Chan Buddhist
influence.
2. The Book of &lance and Harmony says, "The North Star,
never shifting, governs motion." lt also says, "The North
Star is the heart of heaven and earth;' and "When the
human mind is calm and quiet, like the North Star not
shifting, the spirit is most open and aware. For one who
sees this, the celestial Tao is within oneself."
3. "Culling" is just a metaphor; The Book of&lance and
Harmony says, "The medicinal ingredients are just culled
in nonbeing."
4. "Indulgence" is a Buddhist term for what Taoists call "leak-
ing," or the expenditure of conscious energy in pursuit of
objects.
5. Dragon and tiger, water and fire, are metaphors for yin and
yang. The meaning of this passage is not entirely clear, but
it seems to refer to dilettantism.
125
6. There are times of interaction and noninteraction of real
knowledge and conscious knowledge as long as their union
has not been stabilized.
7. A poem entitled "Combining Yin and Yang" in The Book of
Balanu andHarmony says, "To reach the Tao is basically not
hard; the work lies in concentration. When yin arid yang,
above and below, always rise and descend, the ubiquitous
flow of vital sense naturally returns of itself. At the peak of
awareness, reality becomes accessible· to consciousness; in
recondite abstraction, nondoing joins with doillg. When
the clouds rei:ede and the rain disperses, the spiritual .·
embryo is complete; the creative principle comes into play,
producing a newbirth."
8. Definitions of process and cycle are matters of method; at
this point the means are transcended and there is no con-
scious fixation on expedient distinctions. According to
Buddhist metaphor, this is like ''leaving the raft behind on
reaching the other shore."
9. This passage reiterates the fundamental continuity of the
individual artd the univene, the identity of mind and the
world it experiences. The third patriarch of Chan Bud-
dhism wrote in his f.unous R¥m on 'Irusting Mind, "There
is nowhere it is not; the ten directions are right before the
eyes. Most minute, it is the same as the great; you forget all
about objects. Most great, it is the same as the minute; you
do not see any outside." A proverb common in both Chan
and Taoist literature says, "It· is so great that there is noth-
ing outside it, so small it enters where there is no space."
Chang Po-tuan's alchemical classic Undemanding Rodity
also says, "The essence of the self enters the essence of the
126
enlightened; the essence of enlightenment is everywhere
thus. From on high the cold light shines in the cold
springs; one moon appears in a thousand ponds. Its small-
ness is smaller than a hair, its greatness fills the universe?'
10. Spontaneity is the real meaning of the Taoist technical term
wmvei, often mistranslated by Wilhelm and others as "non-
action" or "inaction." The Taoist classic Huaimnzi (The
masters ofHuainan), explains spontaneity in these terms:
"Real people know without learning, see without looking,
achieve without striving, understand without trying. They
sense and respond, act when necessary, go when there is no
choice, like the shining of light, like the emanation of rays."
11. "Clouds forming and rain falling" is a standard metaphor
deriving from the ancient classic I Chi11g. It represents the
harmonious combination of yin and yang producing living
energy.
12. "Living midnight" is explained in the notes to paragraph 14
of Section VIII. The term "true midnight" is relatively rare
in alchemical literature, as compared to "living midnight."
It is sometimes taken literally to mean the middle of the
night, as a time of external quiet suitable for fostering inter-
nal stillness. Metaphorically, it stands for extreme tranquil-
lity; it is distinguished from "living midnight" in that the
latter expression emphasizes the subtle presence of poten-
tial and the imminent awakening of positive energy.
13. Untlentanding Rmlity says, "Real enlightenment has no like-
ness; a single round light engulfs myriad forms. The bodiless
body is the real body; the formless form is the real form."
14. Here it would seem that "midnight" is used as an equiva-
lent to the Buddhist term "emptiness;' which is experi-
enced right in the midst of forms.
127
15. Following the Buddhist pattern, to "head for the true"
means to cultivate perception of emptiness in the condi-
tional; "the living" then corresponds to the conditional in
emptiness.
XIII. Songto Inspire the World.·.
0. "Cinnabar hean''hasa dual meaning. The word ror cinna-
bar is also used for the color of cinnabar. The color of
cinnabar is in the fumilyof red, which is the color of com-
passion in Buddhism. This is the external meaning, which
would probably be obvious in context even without knowl-
edge of this traditional association. In chemical terms, cin-
nabar contains mercury. In alchemical terms, mercury
symboli:les the mercurial nature of consciousness, so cinna-
bar symbolizes the matrixof consCiousness.
Many of the expressions and ideas used in the verses of
the following song have already appeared in the text, some
of them more than once. There are a few, however, that are
new or callfor funher commentin this context:
I. By poise in the center it is possible to bear change as it per-
vades all conditioned things.
2. The "mysterious pass" is defined by The Book o/BalRnce and
Harmony in these terms: "Sages just used the word 'center'
to point out the opening of the mysterious pass. This 'cen-
ter' is it. Let me give you a convenient simile. When a pup-
pet 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 though it is a string device, it is the
person controlling the puppet who pulls the strings. Do
you know this person who controls the puppet? The pup-
pet is like the body, the strings are like the mysterious pass;
128
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."
3. 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 notonly from day to day
but also from hour to hour in action and rest and from
moment to moment in thought.
4. The "primal opening" is described by Chang Po-ruan in his
Four Hundmi Wordr 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 Imzer TmchingsofTaoism).
5. The "river source that produces the medicine" is an image
from Chang Po-tuan's Understanding fuality, 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. How-
ever, this movement is not the stirring of emotions at exter-
nal influences, and it is not the stirring of thoughts in the
129
mind. It is the movement of the innate knowledge of the
natur.U mind, the movement of the real knowledge of the
mind ofTao.''
8.-9. In psychophysiological Taoist energetics, water is associated
with the genitals, fin: is associated With the heart: the inter-
course ofwaterand fire is then defined as placing the atten-
tion (associated with the heart) in thelower abdomen
(associated with the genitals). According to The Book of
Ba/anceand H a ~ this practice is in the lower grade of
gradual methods. The actinide toward this practice
expressed here by The Doctrine of the Golden Flower is
another typical indication of its purism.
16. The "water-clarifying pearl" is a Buddhist metaphor for
enlightenment, or for the pure mind.
18. The "jade capital" is a Taoist symbol for the supreme spiri-
tual state. Nine is the number for yang, symbolizing positive
energy in full bloom; dragons represent the inconceivable
fluidity of spirit. .
20. In the terminology of I Ching symbOlism as it is used in
Taoist alchemy, wind stands for accord and penetration;
lightning is a.SS<lciated with fin:, which stands for awareness
and underscinding. Together they form the sign called The
CAuldron, which· represents "producing illumination
through following an initiatory process;' according to Liu
I-ming's explanation in The 1lwirt I Chi7fff. The symbol of
thunder is movement, specifically theinitial activation of
positive energy in the sense of real knowledge.
21. Here again it is made clear that the opening of the
enhanced consciousness knOwn as the golden flower is not
a matter of routine performance of yogic exercises.
130
The image of"retreating to hide in secrecy" is explained
in The Book of Balance and Hamwny in these terms: "It is
written, 'The sages used the Changes [the I Chi7!!f] 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 pon-
der the principles of the Changes to clean their hearts and
thoughts, and store them in ultimate sincerity."
22. The two poems used by Lu Yan when initiating Zhang
Zhennu, who was to become a famous Immortal Sister, a
female Taoist adept, are quoted with an energetics-oriented
interpretation in Spiritual A/chemyJi>r Women. The original
vernes 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 yourown house.
Thunder in the earth rumbles,
Setting in motion rain on the mountain.
Wait until washing,
And the yellow sprouts emerge from earth.
Grab the golden essence of vitality
And lock it up rightly.
Fire metal and wood
To produce the dragon and tiger.
(Immm-ml Sisters)
Translator}
Afterword:
Modern Applications of the
Golden Flower Method
For me the experience
symbolized by the golden flower has always been a prac-
tical concern. This new translation of The Secretofthe
Golden Flower arose from a confluence of several· courses of
events. One of them was my own introduction to the
golden flower practice of"turning the light around;' long
before I knew of the existence of this particular book.
Finding that method of mindfulness extremely powerful
and versatile, I subsequently spent many years studying its
use in experience and looking for tested information
pertaining to its objective application.
Eventually this pursuit led to studies of classical
sourcebooks in Chinese, Sanskrit, and Japanese. I began
translating relevant texts from Buddhist and Taoist tradi-
tions, because I felt that their psychological insights could
be useful in some way to people today, wherever they
were. Although I had not read his views on the subject, I
agreed with J ung that such information should not be
cloistered. Whoever we may be and whatever we may do,
mind is at the heart of our lives; so the clarification and
awakening of mind is of potential interest to everyone, in
whatever walk of life.
131
132
For many years I focused on the study of Chan
Buddhism, the Chinese precursor of Zen. Classical Chan
appealed to me because it cut directly through to the
essence of mind without being burdened by dogmatism
or cultural accretions.
One of the most interesting ways this is done in
Chan classics is by concentrating the teachings of the
scriptures and schools of Buddhism into symbolic stories
representing the underlying state of mind. Many of these
stories are specifically for turning the light around, and
because of my early experiences I was particularly
interested in them. The more difficult and complex
Chan stories dealing with creative integration of the
golden flower mind with the ordinary world required
mental work in everyday life and took much longer to
begin to penetrate.
Eventually I learned to practice turning the light
around according to the methods of all the major schools ..
of Buddhism. At first I was most dramatically affected by
the Chan and Pure Land ways of awakening this con-
sciousness, but I subsequently found that the techniques
of each school had t.heir own advantages; so I continued
to apply whatever worked best whenever I had a special
quest and wanted renewed inspiration.
At the same time, I studied the various support sys-
tems devised by the schools to enable people to experi-
ence the golden flower consciousness in meaningful ways.
I found that this helped to clarify both practical and theo-
retical issues: what I was experiencing in everyday life and
what I was finding in my researches in ancient Eastern
literature on mind studies.
133
It was in connection with this course of events that I
came into con tact with Taoism; ·In the years following my
first exposure to Buddhist teachings;.! looked into other
Asian classical traditions such as Hinduism, Confucian-
ism, Taoism, and Sufism. I also read from the Bible, the
Koran, and the mystic traditions ofJudaism and Chris-
tianity. During these studies I found that turning the
light around revealed unsuspected dimensions in the liter-
ature of other religions. A transcultural, transdogmatic
appreciation of the mental dynamic of religion became
manifest in a very direct manner by means of this
technique.
My studies of world religions took place in several
phases. The first phase of study was partly comparative,
observing what was common to different religions and
what was peculiar to each. This helped to disting1lish
local historical and cultural elements of religious presenta-
tions from perennial underlying concerns. I returned to
these studies later, in connection with programs from the
classical Pure Land, Zen, and FlowerOrnament schools
ofBuddhism, each ofwhich include investigation of
other religions and philosophies as part of Buddhist study.
It was through the last phase of intertraditional study,
as part of the practice of the comprehensive Flower Orna-
ment school of Buddhism, that I returned to the study of
Taoism. This new phase of research into Taoism focused
heavily on inner alchemy,· the processes of refining the
mind and body as a unit joined by will. This eventually
led me to The Secret of the Golden Flmve1; which combines
Taoist alchemy with basic mind work according to the
designs of several schools of Buddhism. ·
134
Over the years I had attempted to read the Wilhelm/
Baynes translation of this important text several times,
but found it inaccessible. Jung's commentary, moreover,
seemed contradictory and confused. Giving up in frus-
tration, I finally began to look for the original Chinese
work.
It proved possible to find a good text in a condensed
collection of essential works from the Taoist canon, along
with an authentic commentary on the practical applica-
tion of the teaching. By this time I had also read and
translated other Buddhist and Taoist classics in the ances-
tral traditions of The Secret of the Golden Flower and there-
fore had become familiar with the technical terminology
of the text.
The main difficulty of the original work is that it uses
Taoist alchemical language mixed with several types of
Buddhist Chinese. This undoubtedly caused Wilhelm
confusion, because there were no facilities for teaching
these languages and symbol systems to Westerners at that
time. On comparison with the canonical version of the
original Chinese text, it became clear that Wilhelm had
misconstrued the text on many points, and his translation
was unreliable.
There are enough flaws in Wilhelm's readings of gram-
mar, terminology, and conceptual structures to render his
translation practically dysfunctional. Perhaps sensing this,
but attributing it to cultural differences, Jung went further
afield in transmogrifYing the central concepts of the text.
J ung warned his readers away from trying to practice
the secret of the golden flower, professing psychoanalysis
to be its Western equivalent. His reasoning was that
135
Europeans lacked the cultural basis for practicing Eastern
disciplines and had to work with their own traditions.
There is obviously some truth to this part of the argu-
ment, and Buddhistshave long said that teachings must
be adapted to local psychological and social climates. I do
not agree, however, t ~ a t Jung's approach.to the uncon-
scious outlined in his introduction to The Secret of the .. ··
Golden Flower is actually equivalent to the golden flower
practice.
What Jung seems to have been against in reality was
blind imitation of techniques, undertaken with the wrong
motivations and attitudes. This is a useful warning, and
he himself was aware that Buddhist proverb says the same
thing. It is not necessary to believe, however, that all
Westerners will inevitably behave in this manner toward
Eastern teachings; Furthermore, the behavior will not
necessarily change simply because its object is changed.
The problem is in the behavior, not in the object.
Jung's case against Westerners trying to practice the
golden flower method would have been stronger if he had
been able to clarify what was culture specific and could
not be imitated usefully, and if he had adequately defined
cultic behaviors that in hi bit the efficiency of mind-purifying
practices. But even so, he made a useful contribution to
the study of this issue by raising doubts that needed
expression and questions that called for examination.
Many Westerners today have had more opportunity.·
for exposure to Eastern teachings and to· psychological
studies of cultism than had Jung and his contemporaries.
Cult behavior continues to exist, nevertheless, so it is
important to distinguish it from authentic spiritual
136
practice. In order to do this, it is necessary to observe the
cult mentality from the point of view of the golden flower
and avoid confusing this process with observing the
golden flower practice from the point of view of the cult
mentality.
Jung's goal of understanding religion in terms of psy-
chology was an approach that made religious teachings of
all kinds more accessible to Westerners. Its full realization
may have been thwarted by a combination of factors,
including lack of sufficient data, due to which Jung was
unable to understand Eastern teachings clearly and.there-
fore could not come to definitive conclusions. Unaware
that Taoists and Buddhists had themselves been interpret-
ing religion psychologically for centuries, Jung vns unable
to avail himself of their methods.
The psychological approach to the study of religion
is not itself invalidated, however, by the shortcomings in
Jung's own practical work on Eastern teachings; on the
contrary, it increases its validity with fuller and more
accurate information and analysis. Jung's caveats about
practice, therefore, should be understood in reference to
cultism, which involves fixation and therefore cannot in
any case foster authentic realization of golden flower mind
blossoming.
In his time J ung did not have access to materials that
would have allowed him to make distinctions between
normal and cultic practices of Eastern teachings, and he
could not objectively judge the relative merits of the
different exercises found in the corrupted version of The
~ t of the Golden Flower rendered by Wilhelm.
Furthermore,. from sources such as J ung's introduc-
tion to the second German edition of The Secret of the
Golden Flowe1; ··and• works.such as Siddhartha and M ~ ·
Ludi by Jung's contemporary Hermann Hesse, it is evi-
dent that fragmentary imitation Eastern mystical cults
were thriving in Europe•between the.first·and second
world wars. Jung's reservations about golden flower prac-
tice were as much held in reaction to events in his own
cultural milieu as they were based on his impressions of .
the text itself.
This fuct seemed particularly significant to me, partic-
ularly insofar as one of the factors involved in my own
long-standing interest in Chan and Zen Buddhism was
the practice of transcending religious and cultural forms
to get at the· heart of reality in itself by direct experience
and direct perception. While it istrue that there are ritu:..
alized Zen cults with highly cloistered and involutedatti-
tudes, these are generally examples of imitations described
longago in the classics of Chan and Zen, and as such they
do not impugn the validity of the originalteachings
themselves.
Cultism, scholasticism, and cultural traditionalism
aside, I believe that the essence of Chan is one of the
most potentially useful elements of the golden flower
teaching; and of Buddhism in general, in the context of>
the modem West. In addition to its psychoactive tech-
niques, the psychologiciU and intellectual structures of
Chan lore can be superlative analytic toolS that enable the
mind to distinguish the inner patterns of things. Of
course, their ultimate value in practice depends upon how
138
effectively they are employed, as in their application to
The Secnt of the Golden Fluwer.
The theory and practice of the golden flower method
do exist in Greek and Christian tradition, but if they are
to be usefully analyzed in secular psychological terms,
without an abundance of philosophical or religious con-
cepts, I believe this can be most easily accomplished by
means of Chan devices that require no background in
Chinese culture to understand or employ.
The Semt of the Golden Flower represents a way of
approaching completeness of energy through complete-
ness of mind. This teaching calls itself a "special transmis-
sion outside of doctrine,'' free from attachment to dogma
and form, based on direct perception of the essence of
mind and recovery of its inherent potential. This is the
hallmark of Chan, which is sometimes called the school
of the enlightened mind.
For practical purposes, a distinction is made in the
golden flower teaching between the "original spirit" and
the "conscious spirit.'' The original spirit is the formless
essence of awareness; it is unconditioned and transcends
culture and history. The conscious spirit is the mind-set
of feelings, thoughts, and attitudes, conditioned by
personal and cultural history, bound by habit to specific
forms. These terms are employed in both Chan and Taoist
traditions.
Intuition belongs to the original spirit; intellect
belongs to the conscious spirit. The essence ofTaoism is
to refine the conscious spirit to reunite it with the origi-
nal spirit. In Chan Buddhism, the primal original spirit is
also known as the host, while the conditioned conscious
139
spirit is known as the guest; the original spirit is the mas-
ter, and the conscious spirit is the servant; In these terms,
self-delusion occurs when the servant has taken over from
the master; self-enlightenment takes place when the
master is restoredto autonomy in the center.
The idea of two. minds or two aspects of mind is
found early on ii1 the ancient Taoist classic TtuJ Te Ching:
"Using the shining radiance, you return again to the l i g h t ~
not leaving anything to harm yourself. This is called
entering the eternal.'' Here is an image of an ideal rela-
tionship between the original spirit as the source of power
and the conscious spirit as a subordinate functionary.
When clarified, the conscious spirit functions according
to the situation without usurpingthe authority of the
original spirit. The original spirit remains available as the
reserve of total awareness, to which the conscious spirit
returns without leaving any harmful fixation on itself or
its objects.
In this way the intellect functions efficiently in the
world without that conscious activity inhibiting access
to deeper spontaneous knowledge through the direct
intuition of a more subtle faculty.
The operation of switching from the limited mind of
conditioned consciousness .to the liberated mind of primal
spirit is known as the methodof"reversal," or turning
around the light. In The Secret,ofthe Golden Flmver these
terms refer to restoration of direct contact with the
essence and source of awareness.
This direct contact empowers the individual to know
spontaneously and be free from bondage to created
thoughts and conditioned feelings, even while operating
140
in their very presence. In the words of the Tao Te Chittg,
one can thus be "creative without possessiveness."
In both Taoism and Buddhism, the term turning the
light around means turning the primary attention from
involvement in mental objects to focus on the essence or
source of mind. This exercise is practiced as a means of
clearing consciousness and freeing awareness.
Many of the Taoists who had the strongest affinities
with Chan Buddhism relied heavily on the exercise of
turning the light around. Although this exercise is found
in all Buddhist schools, it was particularly emphasized in
Chan Buddhism. The See1-et of the Golden Flmver represents
one of the most radical ofthese spirit-based methods.
Virtually the whole text is devoted to the subtleties of
this simple practice of reversal or turning the light
around.
There are numerous Chan, Zen, and Taoist sources
con raining descriptions of tips and techniques for induc-
ing, exercising, and integrating the experience of the
golden flower blossoming. The fundamental premise and
practice are suggested in the plainest terms in the teach-
ings ofDahui (Ta-hui), a famous Chan Buddhist master
of the twelfth century: "Good and bad come from your
own mind. But what do you call your own mind, apart
from your actions and thoughts? Where does your own
mind come from? If you really know where your own
mind comes from, boundless obstacles caused by your
own actions will be cleared all at once. After that, all sorts
of extraordinary possibilities will come to you without
your seeking them."
141
There are also many Chan stories for initiating the
golden flower exercise. Some of them are very simple, but
they can be used over and over again.
A srudent asked a teacher, ''What is Buddha?"·
The teacher said, ''This mind is Buddha."
A srudent asked a teacher, "What should one do when
arising and vanishing (of thoughts) goes on unceasingly?"
The teacher said, "Tsk! Whose arising and vanishing is it?"
Once a teacher asked a student, "Where are you from?"
The srudem said he was from such and such a place. ·
The teacher asked; "Do you think of that place?"
The srudent said that· he often thought of it.
The teacher said, "The thinker is the mind, what is
thought ofis the environment. In the environment are moun-
tains, rivers, land, buildings, people, animals, and so on, Now
turn your thought around to think of the thinking mind; are
there so many things there?"
These Chan structures illustrate some of the ways that .
attention can be arranged to induce the golden flower
experience. It may bepossible to apply this use ofmind
to psychotherapeutic theory and practice by means of its
transcendental understanding of the self, its method of
experiencing the self beyond the quirks ofpersonality,
and its concentration on the elemental source of
autonomy and self-mastery.
To the therapist, the golden flower teaching offers
techniques of developing deeper insight and greater
awareness of human potential, as well as a means of con"
tacting patients at a level of mind that is not affected
142
by psychic afflictions. To the patient, it offers an indepen-
dent means of self-knowledge beyond the domain of
conditioned personality, judgment, and opinion.
Properly used, in the context of contemporary life
and not as an exotic, half-understood cult, the practice of
golden flower meditation certainly has the power to dispel
the influence of neurotic compulsion. Rightly under-
stood and correctly practiced, it does not have the dan-
gers Jung attributed to it because it does not submit to
the fascination of what he referred to as unconscious
contents of mind.
The exercise of turning the light around is in fact so
penetrating an avenue to insight and transcendence that it
is tempting to consider applying its theory and practice to
the search for direction in treatment of some of the more
serious disorders currently being addressed by the psy-
chiatric community, crippling conditions such as those
now known as acute manic depression, schizophrenia,
psychosis, and multiple personality disorder.
It must be kept in mind, however, that it would be
completely foreign to the teaching and spirit of Buddhism
and Taoism to suggest that any idea or practice can be
regarded as a cure for aU iUs, or that any spiritual exer-
cise can automaticaUy bring about the desired regenera-
tion regardless of the mentality and attitude of the
practitioner.
In the traditional psychology of ancient Buddhist and
Taoist schools, psychoactive exercises like the golden
flower were part of comprehensive programs, not magic
wands all-powerful in themselves.
143
To say that greenery needs light, earth, air, and water
does not diminish the importance of any of these elements;
but it may be necessary to emphasize the importance of
one or another when it is missing or insufficient.
For ancient methods of mental development to be
naturalized in the West, they themselves will have to be in
working order to be able to respond and adapt to local
needs; and there will have to be ways of expressing and
addressing those needs effectively in the context of the
new cultures. This is why clinical and descriptive psychol-
ogy have become avenues for the exploration of formerly
esoteric knowledge relating to the nature of experience.
To consider the question of how the golden flower
method could shed light on clues to the understanding
and treatment ofmood and personality disorders, it is
useful to work with the Chan concept of host and guest,
a simple concept corresponding to the Taoist distinction
between the original spirit and the conscious spirit.
From the point of view of the host, or original spirit,
everything concerned with mood and personality is in the
domain of the guest. But through the process of social
conditioning, the average individual comes to be centered
in the guest and therefore regards it as the self. As a result
the true host is concealed, and it cannot bring out its
more objective and encompassing perspective on matters
of mood and personality.
When the guest has taken over center stage and the
host is no longer in sight, the "switching" that takes place
within an individual in response to psychological and
environmental factors is taking place from one mood or
144
personality to another; it does not return all the way to
the source. The individual can then no longer command
the capacity to switch deliberately from a subjective mood
or subpersonality to an objective and impersonal state of
observant mind.
Thus alienated tram the primal source or ((host" of
the original spirit, the t:go seeks integration by attempting
to establish order among ((guests," the conditioned fucades
of psyche and personality. Under these conditions, if
there develop great disparities among moods or subper-
sonalities in the absence of ability to ((return to the light''
of the original mind, then dysfunction and breakdown
may result when the strain of attempting to maintain rela-
tive order overstresses the natural resilience of the fuculty
of mind playing the part of the receptionist or answering
service for the host. Although the host must be there,
it is now hidden and does not respond directly.
Considered in this light, the ability to experience the
pure self of the original mind and the capacity to return
to it at will can be of fundamental significance in the psy-
chic life of the individual. Even as the conditioned mind
goes from state to state in the course of changing circum-
stances, the golden flower technique provides a means of
searching out the host behind the scenes to gain direct
input from its creative energy and inspiration.
This host, or original spirit, can occasionally be
glimpsed in the space between temporal shifts of mood or
personality, but it generally takes practice to stabilize it
and use it deliberately. The result of this ((crystallization"
is a boundless source of potential. If applied with knowl-
edge and without o ~ s e s s i o n , the method of the golden
145
flower can be of use not only to the psychotherapist, but
to the ordinary individual as well; because mind is the
pivot of all acts and events, its iUuminating effects. touch
on every facet of life.
There is a great deal of knowledge relating to the use
of golden flower consciousness in the teachings of Bud-
dhists and Taoists. These teachings were constructed to
assist in orientation of mental exercises, and they need to
be understood in terms of their own structure in order to
work according to their own design.
In this sense,. the need for adaptation does n:ot mean
that essential patterns can be distorted. Orientation is as
important as the exercise itself, for disoriented meditation
does more harm than good.
Seen inthis··light, traditional Buddhist and Taoist
materials on this subject are not propaganda to inculcate
religious belief but blueprints of mental functions drawn
to provide direction in the understanding and application
of psychoactive exercises;
For application of the golden flower mind-awakening
method, one of the most useful instructional devices in
Chan Buddhist teaching explains the "two minds" in terms
of"four relations between host and guese' To focus them
in the mind all at once, these four relations are expressed
in mnemonic phrases: the guest within the guest; the
host within the guest; the guest withiri the host; the host
within the host.
The guest within the guest is the state of the ordinary
mind going from one mood; state, or subpersonality to .
another, alienated from conscious contact with the host
behind the scenes.
146
The host within the guest is the first stage of turning
the light around, when contact with the original mind
is established even as the individual is passing through
shifting moods and personalities.
The guest within the host is a more mature level of
attainment, at which the individual can enjoy free access
to thought and its products, including ideas, moods, and
personalities, without being deceived by them or bound
to them.
The host within the host is the original spirit itself,
the primal source of consciousness in which is found the
hidden "turning point" on which psychic liberty hinges.
In one sense, conscious experience of the host within the
host follows realization of the host within the guest; yet
in a deeper sense the host within the host is not only at
the pinnacle but even at the basis of the total experience
of golden flower practice.
There are also certain stories from Chan and 1aoist
tradition that are used to orient and sensitize the mind to
this "turning point" in such a way that the capacity to
"switch minds" is brought within reach of the ordinary
consciousness. A few have already been mentioned.
One of the more dramatic examples of such stories
is based on a folk tale about a young woman who was
betrothed to a man she didn't love. She ran away to live
with her true lover, but eventually died. When her man
returned to their hometown after her death, he found
that in the experience of the people there she had been at
home all the while, having taken to her sickbed shortly
after her betrothal.
147
In modern terms, the paraUe.l with emotional division
between outer and inner life is obvious; but can we ask,
without assumptions, which one was the phantom?
A Chan master said, "The girl had split souls; which
was the real one?"
Ifwe say she was really at home, yet she lived with her
lover; if we say she was with.her lover, yet she was lying
abed at home.
The Chan answer is that both conditions, both
"selves," were guests of a. formless host.
Another master said, "If you can awaken to the real
one herein, youwill know that leaving one state of being
and entering another is like staying at an inn." In psy-
chological terms, this would suggest that the individual···
who realizes the true host can enter and exit thoughts,
feelings, moods, and personalities at will, being cen-
tered in the primal spirit and thus not subject to
control by the contents of conditioned states of
consciousness.
One of the great advantages of using such stories to
jog the mind is that the very act of remembering the pos-
sibility of "switching" already places psychological distance
between host and guest, thus dispelling to some degree
the mesmeric influence of thoughts, feelings, moods, and
personalities.
A parallel story from Taoist tradition is the famous
butterfly dream of the sage Chuang-tzu. In this classic
tale, the philosopher relates that he dreamed he was a
butterfly, having a wonderful time fluttering about from
flower to flower on the zephyrs of spring.
148
On awakening from this pleasant reverie, however, he
found that he was no longer sure whether he was a man
who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or whether he was a
butterfly now dreaming he was a man.
The issue of this story is not its superficial question of
which psychic contents to identify as the selfbut is in the
act of recalling attention to the "turning point" revealed
in between states, the formless "opening" or "aperture''
through which the real self of the formless host can be
seen and experienced in its own purity and freedom.
By this means it is possible to detach from condi-
tioned states and identities without thereby becoming
dissociated from the realm of ordinary experience. Thus
the individual can always resort to renewal from the very
source of creativity.
This is what Taoists call· returning to the "root of
heaven and earth," from which extradimensionalvantage
point it is possible to experience higher enlightenment
right in the midst of the mundane world.
If this can be accomplished in reality, there is no rea-
son why psychic events such as extreme mood swings or
personality changes should assume control of individuals
to the extent of becoming crippling handicaps. Even if
this practice is understood in theory alone, it can still
offer a perspective on human psychology that will allow
for an objective and nonjudgmental approach to the
understanding and treatment of mood and personality
extremism.
Jung's reasons for warning people away from golden
flower practice were ostensibly based on what he per-
ceived as cultural incompatibility. It was his belief that
149
Europeans of his time lacked the proper psychological
basis for the yogic practices of Chinese, Indian, and ·
Tibetan religions. Therefore Jung thought it only reason-
able that Westerners should not imitate Eastern methods;
and he underscored his point with a proverbial Buddhist
warning about incorrect use of practices. •·... .••.. ·
Jung quarrelled not with the method of the golden
flower, but with the Western attitude toward technology
of any k ~ n d . His remarks on the Western mentality sug-
gest avenues of study, but he does not examine the cultic
behaviors that make imitation methods ineffective. Had
he done so, Jung could have found that neither the reality
nor the imitations of spiritual practices are limited to East
orWest; -
Furthermore, Jung does not show how his method is
actually equivalent to the golden flower practice. Apart from
the fact that hewas faced with a garbled translation of a
corrupt text with the last few chapters missing, Jung was
admittedly preoccupied with expounding his own theories.
Jung's concern with the problems of cultural differ-
ences led him to· believe that the.golden.flower practice
developed from Chinese tradition, in spite ofthe fact that
he had evidence of its existence in Western tradition. Jung
apparently misunderstood descriptions of the exercise
partly because ofWilhelm's mistranslation and his own
lack of experience.
To deal fully with J ung's treatment of the golden flower
teaching would lead us afield from the point of this work,
which is to exposethe original teaching itself. The purpose
of mentioning Jung here is to reopen adoor of inquiry by
questioning the limits of the limitations he presumed.
148
On awakening from this pleasant reverie, however, he
found that he was no longer sure whether he was a man
who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or whether he was a
butterfly now dreaming he was a man.
The issue of this story is not its superficial question of
which psychic contents to identify as the self but is in the
act of recalling attention to the "turning point" revealed
in between states, the formless "opening" or "aperture"
through which the real self of the formless host can be
seen and experienced in its own purity and freedom.
By this means it is possible to detach from condi-
tioned states and identities without thereby becoming
dissociated from the realm of ordinary experience. Thus
the individual can always resort to renewal from the very
source of creativity.
This is what Taoists call returning to the "root of
heaven and earth," from which extradimensional vantage
point it is possible to experience higher enlightenment
right in the midst of the mundane world.
If this can be accomplished in reality, there is no rea-
son why psychic events such as extreme mood swings or
personality changes should assume control of individuals
to the extent of becoming crippling handicaps. Even if
this practice is understood in theory alone, it can still
offer a perspective on human psychology that will allow
for an objective and nonjudgmental approach to the
understanding and treatment of mood and personality
extremism.
Jung's reasons for warning people away from golden
flower practice were ostensibly based on what he per-
ceived as cultural incompatibility. It was his belief that
149
Europeans.of his time Jacked the proper psychological
basis for the yogic practices ofChinese,Indian, and
Tibetan religions. Therefore Jung thought it only reason-
able that Westerners should not imitate Eastern methods;
and he underscored his point with a proverbial Buddhist
warning about incorrect use of practices.
Jung quarrelled not with the method of the golden
flower, but with the Western attitude toward technology
of any k ~ n d . His remarks on the Western mentality sug-
gest avenues of study, but he does not examine the culric
behaviors thatma:keimitation methods.ineffective. Had
he done so, Jung could have found that neither the reality
nor the imitations of spiritual practices are limited to East
or West. -
Furthermore, Jung does not show how his method is
actually equivalent to the golden flower practice. Apart from
the fact that he was faced with a garbled translation of a
corrupt text with the last few chapters missing, Jung was
admittedly pi:eoccupiedwith expounding his own theories.
Jung's concern with the problcmsof cultural differ-
ences led him to believe that the golden flower practice
developed from Chinese tradition, in spite of the fact that
he had evidence of its existence in Western tradition. Jung
apparently misunderstood descriptions of the exercise
partly because of Wilhelm's mistranslation and his own
lack of experience. · ..•. ··.. · · ·· .
To deal fully withJ ung's treatment of the golden flower
teaching would lead us afield from the point of this work,
which is to expose the original teaching itself. The purpose
of mentioning J ung here is to reopen a door of inquiry by
questioning the limits of the limitations he presumed.
ISO
Jung's ideas on the golden flower, and their sig-
nificance in relation to Western thinking about Eastern
thought, are more fruitfully treated in the context of his
total work on Eastern subjects. Nevertheless, they provide
a useful counterpoint to the original tradition when high-
lighting psychological practicalities of the golden flower
exercise.
One reason for this is that Western versions of Eastern
mental exercises active during the sixty years that have
elapsed since the original publication of The Secret of the
Goltkn F/Qwer have been informed in· part by Jungian
interpretations of Eastern. practices.
Among the problems that Westerners have tradition-
ally faced in working with Eastern meditation practices is
the fear that mind-stilling exercises will prevent them
from thinking thoughts that they need to think. This is
also a concern in the East, where there are many warnings
in meditation lore to avoid excessive·stilling.
There are two main objects to stopping thought in
Buddhist tradition. One is to open up space to clarify
rhought by distinguishing compulsive habitual thought
from deliberate logical thought. The other is to clear
room for the conscious operation of non conceptual
insight. Practitioners are carefully warned to avoid becom-
ing intoxicated by the peaceful tranquillity of thought ces-
sation; as the Chan proverb goes, "stagnant water cannot
contain the coils of a dragon."
The golden flower practice can stop thought tem-
porarily, but it does not warp reason. It enables one to
think deliberately rather than compulsively. This use of
mind opens a wider space for thought, with the ability to
151
think and observe thought with detached clarity, so that
one can put down useless thoughts and take up useful
thoughts by means of independent discernment and will.
The speed of its direct perception can also see at a glance
where a train of thought will lead, conserving untold
mental energy.
With any eXercise that stills the mind, at first there is a
tendency for random thoughts and images to occur with
seemingly frequency and strength.
Jung became aware of this phenomenon and attempted
to exploit what he thought was its potential asameans
for exploring the unconscious. He was also aware of dan-
ger in this; and hestresses this danger in his works on
both Eastern and Western alchemy.
In golden flower practice this problem is avoided by
relinquishing all obsession with thoughts and images
that come to mind in the course of the exercise. It is
only after the actual awakening or blossoming of the
golden flower has taken place that examination ofmen-
tal phenomena with detached objectivity is considered
possible. Before this breakthrough, too much introspec-
tion of psychic contents is viewed as a distraction from
the primary purpose of arriving at the source of awareness
itself.
Golden flower exercise is not focused on forms of
images or ideas, and in that sense it is not and cannot
be culture bound. For this reason h is not peculiarly
Chinese, nor is it known and practiced by Chinese people
in general through the influence of their cultural heritage.·
To adapt a practice to a new cultural setting is one
thing; to turn it into something fundamentally different
152
is another. In order to benefit from whatever is useful in
Eastern teachings, they need to be reduced to their
essence and allowed to develop in their new environment.
What is necessary is the primal psychological seed, not
the temporal cultural husk.
Taoist and Buddhist teachings explain that their struc-
tures and terminologies are not sacred in themselves, but
are means of arranging attention to elicit extra potential in
vision, being, and action. Independent perception and
autonomous conduct are not general ideals in the Confu-
cian and Hindu societies within which Taoism and Bud-
dhism existed; they are part of a transcendent interior
culture that has no national boundaries.
·The opening statement of The Secret of the Golden
Flower includes the provision that people should establish
a firm foothold in the ordinary world before they try to
cultivate the blossoming of the golden flower. This means
that they should be able to function adequately in their
own culture and society, whatever that may be. The
golden flower practice is not primarily a therapeutic
method for severely unbalanced people; it is a way of
higher development for ordinary people.
Yet it is also true that some forms of neurosis are built
into civilized society itself, and many ordinary people
suffering slightly from mild neuroses are well integrated
with their everyday world. The reason why the golden
flower method is not particularly recommended for
severely neurotic people, or for people with schizoid or
psychotic tendencies, is that the enhanced receptivity
and sensitivity fostered by the practice might exacerbate
feelings of illness and fear.
153
The thoughts and images that compel the neurotic
and psychotic could become more overpowering in the
early stages of golden flower practice, when the "demons,
of thought assail the mind as it relaxes its conscious set in
anticipation of the attempted switch-over to nonconcep-
tual awareness. Getting past this stage to experience
penetrating insight into the essence and source of aware-
ness itself, not associated with any content at all, would
be key to any help the golden flower method could offer
the severely unbalanced in finding a way out of their hells.
If people with uncontrollable mental problems do
turn to the golden flower method for help, they could be
better off with the guidance of therapists who have them-
selves experienced the original mind of humanity and can
calmly view the various realms of thought and perception
as so many planets in a vast ;md endless space. For their
part, therapists to the mentally bedeviled need the unat-
tached buoyancy and independent objectivity of pene-
trating insight, so the golden flower exercise could be
useful to them in a very direct way in the investigation
of processes of mental illness and liberation.
Works Cited
Chang Understanding Reality: A TIWist Alchemical
sic. Translated by Thomas Cleary. Honolulu: University of
Hawaii Press, ·1987.
Liu 1-ming. The Inner Teachings ofTIWism. Thnslated by Thomas
Cleary. Boston: Shambhala, 1986.
Liu The TtWist I Ching. Translated by Thomas Cleary.
Boston: Shambhala, 1986.
Liu I Chi1fff Mandalas. Translated by Thomas Cleary.
Boston: Shambhala, 1988.
Liu 1-ming. to the TIW. Translated by Thomas Cleary.
Boston: Shambhala, 1988. . .·
Immortal Sisters. Thnslated and edited by Thomas Cleary.
ton: Shambhala, 1989.
Li Daoqun. The Book of Balance and Ha'!"11Wny. Thnslated by
Thomas Cleary. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1989.
Zen Essence. Thnslated and edited by Thomas Cleary. Boston:
Shambhala, 1989.
The Secret of the Golden Flcwer: A Chinese Book of Lift. Thnslated
and explained by Richard Wilhelm, with a commentary by
C. G. Jung. 'franslated from the German by Cary F. Baynes.
San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1961.
Jung, Carl G. and the East. Translated by R. F. C.
Hull. Princeton, NJ: University Press, 1978.
154

OTHER HARPER SAN FRANCISCO BOOKS BY THOMAS CLEARY

The Essential Tao: An Initiation into the Heart ofTaoism through the Authentic 1Ao Te Ching and the Inner Teachings of Chuang Tzu The Essmtial Confucius: The Heart of Confucius' Teachings in Authentic I Ching Order

The Secret of the Golden Flower
The Classic Chinese Book ofLifo
Translated, with.Introduction, Notes, and Commentary by

Thomas Cleary

'I)
HarperOne .
A Di'!!i.!ion ofHarperCollinsPubliJhers

Copyright© 1991 by Thomas Cleary. Spiritual life (Taoism) 2. All rights reserved. Printed in the United Scates of America. ern. p. HarperCollins Web site: hrcp://www. For information please write: Special Markers Department.harpercollins. New York. notes. HarperCollins Publishers. business. or sales promotional use. NY 10022. Tung-pin. English] The secret of the golden flower I translated.L78 1991 299'. Title.rp•rOne ~ THE SECRET 01' THE GOLDEN FLOWER: The ClaJsic Chinese Book 4 Lift. by Thomas Cleary.Ho. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief qumations embodied in critical articles and reviews. b. 10 East 53rd Sueet. 798 [T'ai i chin hua rsung chih. NY 10022. with introduction. For informarion address HarperCollins Publishers.corn HarperCollins®. and commentary. BL1923. 10 East 53rd Street. Spiritual life (Buddhism) I. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lii.lsr ed. Thomas F. 1949II. New York. and HarperOne"' are trademarks of HarperCollins Publishers.5144-dc20 90-55796 08 09 10 11 MART 20 19 . Cleary.. ISBN: 978-0-06-250193-6 1. =®. HarperCollins books may be purchased for educarional. Translation of: T'ai i chin hua tsung chih. .

Contents Introduction 1 The Secret of the Go/dm Flower 7 Translation Notes 73 Th.nslator's Afterword: Modern Applications of the Golden Flower Method 131 Works Cited 154 .

.

··he Secret of the Golden . or opening up. The Way has no nameorfonn.Introduction Naturalness is called the Way. the light of the mind itself. In Taoist terms. or the natural mind. The golden flower symbolizes the quintessence of the paths of Buddhism andTaoism. This original spirit is also called the celestial mind. In Buddhist terms. a realized human being is someone conscious of the original mind.given spirit and become a. the first goal of the Way is to restore the original Godo. · Fb!wer is a lay manual of Buddhist and Taoist methods for clarifYing the mind. of the light of the mind. Gold stands forlight. A mode of awareness subtler and more direct than thought or imagination. independent of environmental conditioning. it isjust the essence) just the primal spirit. self-realized human being. it describes a natural way to mental freedom practiced in China for many centuries. as it is in its spontaneous natural state. A distillation of the inner psychoactive elements in ancient spiritual classics. Thus the expression is emblematic of the basic awakening of the real self and its hidden potential. it is central to the l . the flower representS the blossoming. or the real self.

the conscious individual becomes a "partner of creation11 rather than a prisoner of creation. Using neither idea nor image. Thus it opens up an avenue to an endless source of intuition 1 creativity1 and inspiration. it can be renewed and deepened without limit. fixation on its own contents.2 blossoming of the mind. The Secret ofthe Golden r'/mver is devoted to the recovery and refinement of the original spirit. It is near at hand. The experience of the blossoming of the golden flower is likened to light in the sky. The aim of this exercise is to free the mind from arbitrary and unnecessary limitations imposed upon it by habitual. and feelings. a sky of awareness vaster than images 1 thoughts. an unimpeded space containing everything without being filled. With this liberation. it is a process of gerting right to the root source of awareness itself. It is practiced in the course of daily life. The Secret of the Golden Flower is remarkable for the sharpness of its focus on a very direct method for selfrealization accessible to ordinary lay people. When it was written down in a crisis more than two hundred years . no special paraphernalia or ritual. This manual contains a number of helpful meditation techniques 1 but its central method is deeper than a form of meditation. The essential practice of the golden flower requires no apparatus 1 no philosophical or religious dogma. Taoists say. It is remote only in the sense that it is a use of attention generally unfamiliar to the mind habituated to imagination and thinking. being in the mind itself. yet it involves no imagery or thought. Once this power of mental awakening has been developed.

it was a concentrated revival of an ancient teaching. Although J ung credited The Secret of the Golden Flower with having clarified his own work on the unconscious. Jung) whose work became a majorinflllence in Western psychology.and it has been periodically revived in crises since) due to the rapidity with which the method can awaken awareness ofhidden resources in the mind. The Secret of the Golden Flmver is the first book of its kind to have been translated into a Western language. ·. he maintained serious reservations about the practice taught in the book. who rendered Wilhelm's German into English. a critical communication gap occurred in the process of transmission. and yet the book made a powerful impression. G. A German version by Richard Wilhelm was first published in 1929) and an English •translation of this German rendi•tion was published shortly thereafter." Psychological and experiential approaches to religion have enriched modern psychological thought and . Both German and English editions included an extensive commentary by the distinguished psychologist C. Cary F. Baynes. . even went so far as to hail it as "the secret of the power of growth latent in the psyche. It became one ofthe main sources ofWestern knowledge of Eastern spirituality and also one of the seminal influences in Jungian thought on the psychology of religion. ago. studies of mythology and religion) and New Age culture in general.3 ·•·. Unawares. WhatJung did not know was that the text he was reading was in fact a garbled translation of a truncated version of a corrupted recension of the original work.

it makes no more diffi:rence whether one calls the golden flower awakening a relationship to God or to the Way. In Wilhdm's own introduction to his translation of The Secret of the Golden Flown. or with no religion at all. he notes that Taoist organizations following this teaching in his time included not only Confucians and Buddhists but also Jews.'' The image of the opening up of the golden flower of the light in the mind is used as but one of many ways of alluding to an effi:ct that is really ineffable. "Names can be designated. but they are not fixed terms. The pragmatic purpose of Taoist and Buddhist·teachings is to elicit experience.4 research. So fundamental is the golden flower awakening that it brings out inner dimensions in all religions. which have in turn enriched the understanding and experience of religion. have been able to avail themselves of the psychoactive technologies of Taoism and Buddhism without destroying their own cultural identities. or whether one calls it the holyspirit or the Buddha nature or the real self. the golden flower method can be used to transcend the barriers of personal and cultural . Christians. that is why people of other religions. one of the advantages of a· psychological approach is the facility with which emotional boundaries of church and sect can thereby be transcended. not to inculcate doctrines. The TtUJ Te Ching says. From the point ofview of that central experience. all without requiring them to break away from their own religious congregations. Considered in terms of its essential aim rather than the forms it can take. In terms of religion as culture. and Muslims.

. and to further inquiries into development of the researches initiated by Wilhelm and Jung in their presentation of this book in particular. or Baynes thought it to be. and it is in reality an even better and more useful book than Wilhelm. amidst the hundreds upon hundreds of Taoist and Buddhisttreatises awaiting translation. It can therefore be said that it is because of Wilhelm's efforts that this new English version of The Smtt of the Golden Flower has come into being. It is to further inquiries into ways of approaching universal psychology and mental wholeness in general.. that I have undertaken to follow up on their work with a new and complete rendition of The Secret of the Go/Mn F/Qwer.. This is partly a matter of translation and partly a matter of presentation.5 differences without losing the richness of diversity and distinction . The text itself is somewhat like a series of explanations of practical meanings in esoteric terminology for the use .· The Semt of the Golden Flower is indeed a powerful treatise on awakening the hidden potential of a universal human being.]ung. I am deeply indebted to Richard Wilhelm for introducing this extraordinary text to the West. for it could otherwise have gone unnoticed for decades. However immature his rendition may have been. even centuries. a primary consideration of the new translation was to make the contents of The Secret of the Golden Fluwer explicitly accessible to both lay and specialist audiences. Because the still-current Wilhelm/Jung!Baynes edition of this manual contains dangerous and misleading contaminations.

ideas. The afterword joins the beginning and the end. from the background of th~ translations to the psychological implications of the praxis.6 of lay people. and practices to which the text refers. . The translation notes explain the expressions. To this have been added selections translated from a canonical Chinese Taoist commentary that further refines the principles into pragmatic observations divested of the outward forms of religious and alchemical symbolism.

The Light of Essence and the Light of Consciousness XI. The Intercourse of Water and Fire XII. Song to Inspire the World 9. 13 17 23 31 33 37 39 49 51 55 57 61 Questions and Answers Opening up the Mysteries of the Doctrine of the Golden Flower 65 7 . The Cycle XIII. Authenticating Experiences of Turning the Light Around VII. Errors in Turning the Light Around VI. Turning the Light Around and Tuning the Breathing v. Setting Up the Foundation in a Hundred Days X. The Original Spirit ::md the Conscious Spirit III. The Living Method of Turning the Light Around VIII. The Celestial Mind II. The Secret ofFreedom IX. Turning the Light Around and Keeping to the Center IV.The Secret of the Golden Flower I.

.

·· Thishang appeared magically to Donghua. 3 4 5 9 . so they are associated with the two eyes. The Way has no name or form. yet it declined in the sense that its mental communication deteriorated. so they are associated with sky and light. and the Way was handed on. just the prirriaispirit. transmitting it from individual to individual. This has continued up to the present day. Sky and light are invisible. Essence and life are invisible. then to the southern and northern schools of Complete Reality. Since ancient times. it is just the essence. those who realiied spiritual immortality all communicated their teaching verbally. through a succession to Yan. when it is extremely confused and extremely degenerate. That movement flourished in the sense that there were a great many who followed it.I The Celestial Mind 1 2 Naturalness is called the Way. which can be considered its full flourishing.

I am acting as a guide to liberation. Now I am bringing to light the source message of the golden flower of absolute unity." . That is the best thing about it. This is the absolutely unified real energy of celestial immortals. First establish a firm foothold in daily activities within society. In obedience to a directive. those who accepted it formed a religious association in their time. Therefore there was a certain master Siu who extended his kindness to liberate all. there is a reversion.10 6 When an extreme is reached. this is what is meant by the saying. "The lead in the homeland of water is just one flavor. The absolute unity refers to what cannot be surpassed.: essence. Everyone should respectfully understand the heart of master Siu. especially setting up the teaching of the special transmission outside of doctrine. Only then can you cultivate reality and understaf1. There are very many alchemical teachings. it was a rare opportunity. 7 8 9 10 The golden flower is light. The doctrine I transmit directly brings up working with essence and does not fall into a secondary method. which [in Chinese characters] also conceals [the words] one light within. they are not teachings of total transcendence and direct penetration. What color is light? It is symbolized by the golden flower. but all of them make temporary use of effort to arrive at effortlessness. For those who heard. After that I will explain in detail.

" The golden flower is the same thing as the gold pill.11 The whole work of turning the light around uses the method of reversal. . the yellow court. this is the unexcelled sublime truth. the light is the master of the house. the light crystallizes. Buddhists call it the pedestal of awareness. The beauties ofthe highest heavens and the marvels of the sublimest realms are all within the heart: this is where the perfectly open and aware spirit concentrates. Confucians call inhe open center. and it steadies the spirit above the nine skies. Taoists call it the ancestral earth. When you have turned it around for a long time. the energies throughout the body all rise. This is what is referred to in the Mind Seal Scripture as "silently paying court'' and ''soaring upward. The light is easily stirred and hard to stabilize. rhe primal opening. This is the natural spiritual body. The transmutations of spiritual illumination are all guided by mind. Just turn the light around. the mysterious pass. Therefore once you turn the light around. The celestial mind is like a house.

.

they live transcendentally outside ofyinarid yang.II The Original Spirit and the Conscious Spirit From the point of view of the universe. This is possible only by seeing essence. They are not within the three realms. Only the true essence of the original spirit transcends the primal organization and is above it. this is the infinite. This is the secret that has not been transmitted in a thousand ages. If learners can just preserve the original spirit. The production of the universe all derives from this. What is mC>st wondrous is when tlttdight has crystallized in a spiritual body. and is on the verge of moving into action. Vitality and energy degenerate alorig with the universe. This is what is called the original face. gradually becoming consciously effective. but the original spirit is stillthere. even the universe is asanevanescent reflection. people are like mayflies. 13 . but from the point of view of the Way.

and the earth of attention. the water of vitality is the foundation. . and this is like having a heroic leader on top with great ministers helping. The lower soul is dim. If consciousness is not interrupted. The body is not just the physical body. the earth of attention is the substance. The fire of spirit is the function. it is the substance of consciousness. the strong and violent naturally become tame. Now steadily keep to the chamber of the origin. transformation and transmutation of the lower soul go on endlessly from lifetime to lifetime. because there is a lower soul therein. The fire of spirit is illumination. The water of vitality is the energy of the primal real unity. The earth of attention is the chamber of the center. 6 7 8 9 10 People create the body by attention. Once the inner government is orderly. The lower sou! functions in association with consciousness. and consciousness develops based on the lower soul. turning the light around to look back. The highest secrets of alchemy are the water of vitality. generation to generation. until the sword is turned around. the fire of spirit. the celestial mind.14 5 The conscious mind is like a violent general of a strong fiefdom controlling things from a distance.

the earth of attention will stabilize. The higher soul resides in the eyes during the day and lodges in the liver at night. The light itself is the creative. which is a means of interrupting consciousness. and thus the embryo of sagehood can be solidified. when it lodges in the liver. to turn it around is to restore it. the fire of spirit will ignite. it dreams. which is a means of preserving the spirit. it sees. that is a sign of clinging to the body. It traverses the nine heavens and nine earths in an instant. 13 So turning the light around is a means of refining the higher soul. is just a matter of dissolving the lower soul and making the higher soul whole. When it resides in the eyes. refining away the dregs of darkness to restore pure light. If you are dull and depressed on awakening. which is a means of controlling the lower soul. . which is where the spirit is concealed. only the secret of turning the light around. 12 Dreams are the roaming of the spirit.11 Then there is the higher soul. 14 The ancients' method of transcending the world. 16 Just persist in this method. There is no exercise to restore the creative. which means clinging to the lower soul. 15 Turning the light around is the secret of dissolving darkness and controlling the lower soul. and naturally the water of vitality will be full.

19 The higher soul likes life. This is obtained from cosmic space and has the same form as· the original beginning. in life it suffers greatly. by a coming together of kind. All lust affecting the temperament is the doing of the lower soul. . If life can come even from a dung ball. then it will be pure light. After death it feeds on blood. energy thatis dense and opaque.. from which life emerges. This sticks to the ordinary mind that has form. energy that is light and dear. the lower soul looks toward death. how could it not be possible to produce a body by concentrating the spirit on where the celestial mind rests when the embryo leaves the shell? 18 Once the true nature of unified awareness has fallen into the chamber of the cnative) it divides into higher and lower souls. by the pure effort of concentration of spirit. The higher soul is in the celestial mind.16 17 A dung beetle rolls a pill of dung. this is yang.· The lower soul is yin. This is darkness returning to darkness. This is what consciousness is. 20 If learners refine the dark lower soul completely.

t~ere is seemingly nonbeing within being.III Turning the Light Around and Keeping to the· Center 1 Where did the term turni~ the light around begin? It began with the adept Wenshi. just as an embryo forms ftoJ1l the intercourse of a man and a woman. Then you should attend it calmly and quietly.'' "pure energy:' or "pure thought.'' 2 3 17 . there i~ seemingly being within nonbeing. the light is spontaneous: a point of true positive energy suddenly produces a pearl. when the work is accomplished. This is whatiscalled "refined thought. Eventually. The turning around of the light is the "firing process.'' When you first put this technique into practice. only then is it the fire of spirit. all congeal. Only after a hundred days of concentrated worki~ the light real. and there is a body beyond your body. yin and yang. After a hundred days. the energies of heaven and earth. When the light is turned around.

ys. "Pure thought is flight. never once looking back. Therefore the Heroic March Scripture says. In the material world it is the sun. It is not stopping random imagination only temporarily. and when your breath grows quiet you then become accurately aware. this is conformity. but turning around the very energy of Creation. Turning the light around is not turning around the light of one body. this is the netherworld. Nothing is worse than to have a running leakage ofspirit and consciousness. so theway of the golden flower is accomplished completely through the method of reversal. in human beings it is the eyes. pure emotion is fall. and each· breath corresponds to a century in the various pathways of the long night of Ignorance. When their positive energy fades and disappears. Just observe clearly. Therefore each· breath corresponds to one year of human time." When students have little thought and much emotion. This is application of the method of reversal. it is truly emptying routine compulsion for all time. Usually people wind up pursuing objects and come to age in conformity with life. which is the ruling director.18 4 In the original creation there is positive light. 5 6 7 . they sink into low W<!.

long life is herein. . All the operations of intelligence. "The light rays ofthe human body all flow upward into the aperture of space. Therefore once you turn the light around. Mountains. 11 The light rays are concentrated upward into the eyes. knowledge. this is the great key of the human body. The light of heaven and earth fills the universe. If you do not sit quietly each day. All phenomena revert to stillness. the light of one individual also naturallyextends through the heavens and covers the earth. and wisdom are also this light. This is a practice that pervades the three teachings. so it is· riot only in the self. If you can sit quietly for a while. You should reflect on this. "The mechanism is in the eyes:' and the Plain QuestUms of the Yellow Emperor when it says. everything in the world is turned around. this light flows and whirls. rivers. and the whole earth are all this light. moon.8 This is what is meant in the Yin Convergence Classic when it says. all time.ten thousand ages. and so is transcendence of life. a thousand lifetimes-is penetrated from this. 9 10 The light is neither inside nor outside the self. so it is not outside the self. Truly inconceivable is this sublime truth." If you get this. sun. stopping who knows where.

from crude to fine. but its quality during the process can be known only by oneself.20 12 Nevertheless." for only this can be considered attainment. that is all. To focus means to focus on this as a hint. as for the rest. and all things are just as they are. 13 What has been communicated through successive sages is not beyond reversed gazing. the whole universe is within it. The center is omnipresent." Taoists call it "inner observation. it is very subtle. one should use the book SmaJJ Stopping and Seeing for a touchstone. earth is broad." 14 The essential teaching is summarized above. This indicates the mechanismofCreation. matters of entering and exiting stillness." Buddhists call it "observing mind. Nevertheless. Confucians call it "reaching toward knowledge. the actual practice goes from shallow to deep. you focus on this to enter the gate. it is necessary to wind up at the point where "heaven is open. it is best to be consistent. The meaning of the wordfocw has life to it. . the prelude and the aftermath. not to become rigidly fixated. 15 The words focw on the center are most sublime. The practice is one from beginning to end. Throughout.

"'Having looked for my mind. the light is seeing. whenever thoughts arise. This is twin cultivation of stopping and seeing. They mean concentration and insight. Once you reach this ungraspability. seeing without stopping is called having light without turning it around. but you should investigate this thought: where is it? Where does it come from? Where does it disappearr Push this inquiry on and on over and over until you realize it cannot be grasped. then as before you continuously practice stopping and continue it by seeing. This is turning the light around.'" This is correct seeing. . then you will see where the thought arises. Remember this. I realize it cannot be grasped. Hereafter. you don't need to sit still as before. whatever is contrary to this is false seeing. Stopping without seeing· is called turning around without light.' 'I have pacified your mind for you. The turning around is stopping.21 The terms stopping and seeing basically cannot be separated. You don't need to seek out the point of arising any more. practice seeing and continue it by stopping.

.

IV Turning the Light Around and Tuning the Breathing 1 The doctrine just requires single-minded practice. which is simply to rest the mind on the breath. one's own mind does the breathing. One does not seek experiential proof. beginners suffer from two kinds of problems: oblivion and distraction. On the whole. ·• ·2 3 ·· 4 23 . When the luminosity of spirit has leaked out completely. Once mind stirs. The breath is one's own mind. so has countless rand~m thoughts. one is like a withered tree or dead ashes. There is a device to get rid of them. In a single day one breathes countless times. Therefore inward breathing and outward breathing accompany each other like sound and echo. ·Energy is basically an emanation of mind. the~ there is energy. whereupon an exhalation and inhalation respond to it. Our thoughts are very rapid. but experiential proof comes of itself. a single random thought takes place in a moment.

the deeper the quietude. One is the light of the ears. Should one not breathe? It is impossible not to breathe. lower your eyelids and then establish a point of reference. which means to have mind and breath rest on each other. This method makes use of two lights. Then be patient and lighten up a little. The light of the eyes means the external sun and moon." Therefore clarity of hearing and seeing are both one and the same spiritual light. the greater the subtlety. combining their vitalities. But if you let go absolutely. Orice there is sound. You should not allow your breathing to actually be audible. vitality is congealed and stabilized light. When you sit. Now iet go. the light of the ears means the internal sun and moon. you are buoyed by the coarse and do not enter the fine. just listen to its soundlessness.5 So should one have no thoughts? It is impossible to have no thoughts. The more you let go. However. Nothing compares to making the affliction itself into medicine. "they have the same source but different names. combining their lights. 6 7 8 . Therefore tuning the breath should be included in turning the light around. and the greater the subtlety. one is the light of the eyes. you may not be able to simultaneously keep your mind on listening to your breathing.

." These are the finest instructions.. warm energy can only warm the shell and cannot penetrate the iriside. whereupon the substance of mind will become perceptible. warm energy. When breath is subtle. when energy is unified. "The hen embraces the egg. it moves energy.- mmt. That "listening'' is single-minded con. so she mentally conducts the energy inward . The way a hen can give life to an egg is through. with warm energy. Since you can cause movement by vigorous action. mind is subtle. An alchemicaJ text says. the meaning of the word 111Q'Pe. so focus on energy is used as a starting point. the energy enters. when mind is unified. the birth takes place. the word movement is another word for control. 11 You don't. always mentally listening. centration. Movement is pulling the strings. how could you not be able to cause stillness by pure quietude? 12 The great sages saw the interrelation of mind and energy and skillfully set up an expedient for the benefit of people of later times. When the mind enters. . Stabilization of mind must be preceded by development of energy because the mind has no place to set to work on. This is what is called the preservation of pure energy. 10 This is because when mind is s~btle. after a long time. understand. all of a sudden even the subtle will be interrupted and the true breathing will appear. it moves mind. breath issubtle.25 9 Eventually.

you may be distracted without knowing it. then the warm energy is also uninterrupted day and night. . the original comes alive. and the concentration of her spirit is never interrupted. she is always listening. If you do this. Buddha said. then use the mind to make it fine. If people can kill the mind." 15 If the mind tends to run off. "Place the mind on one point. how can the mind fail to stabilize? 16 Generally speaking. the two afflictions of oblivion and distraction just require quieting practice to continue unbroken day after day until complete cessation and rest occur spontaneously. then unify it by means of the breath. distraction itself becomes a mechanism for getting rid of distraction. so the spirit comes alive. but once you are aware of it. if the breath tends to become rough. When you are not sitting quietly. Since the concentration of the spirit is never interrupted. Unawares oblivion is real oblivion. there is an inconceivable distance between them. Clear light is in this. and everything can be done.26 13 Therefore even though the mother hen goes out from time to time. Killing the mind does not mean quietism. 17 As for unawares oblivion and oblivion ofwhich you become aware. 14 The life of the spirit comes from the prior death of the mind. oblivion that you notice is not completely oblivious. it means undivided concentration.

in contrast to distraction. where there is no feeling. 22 Whenever you sit." Repelling oblivion is simply a matter of tuning the breath. Oblivion means the lower soul is in complete control. and when breathing is fine. but oblivion is a symptom of paralysis. Cloudiness means oblivion. Oblivion is ruled by pure darkness and negativjty. so it is natural to feel sleepy. the breathing is fine. 19 A distracted mind can be concentrated. if you become drowsy. The "breath" inthiscase is respiration. whereas the lower soul is a .27 18 Distraction means the spirit is racing. Distraction is easy to cure.not the "true breathing. the breathing is rough. which still has some direction. do not let the ears hear. When you don't hear it. which means the mind is cloudy. How is the mind quieted? The mechanism is in the breathing. Even so. this is oblivion. one that involves pain or itch can be treated with medicine. 21 When you are sitting quietly." Nevertheless the true breathing is present within it. you should quiet your mind and unity your energy. . oblivion means the spirit is unclear. the mind is clear. oblivion is hard to heaL Using the metaphorofillness. and a confused mind can be set in order. the mind should be kept on the breathing. but oblivion is unformed darkness. but the mind alone knows you are breathing out and in. If you can hear it.lingering presence in distraction.

Not looking outward yet being alert is inward looking. . 27 When the eyes do not look outside and the ears do not listen outside. it is not that there really is such a thing as listening inward. 26 Listening means listening to the soundless. Just maintain a subtle looking and listening.28 23 It is also essential to understand that this device is not mechanical or forced. 24 What is "looking"? It is the light of the eyes spon- 25 What is "listening"? It is the light ofthe ears spon- taneously listening. looking means looking at the formless. it is not that there really is such a thing as looking inward. Only by inward looking and listening can you prevent this inner racing as well as oblivion in between. This is the meaning of sun and moon combining their vitalities and lights. the eyes only looking inward and not outward. the ears only listening in\vard and not outward. Not listening outward yet being alert is inward listening. they are closed in and have a tendency to race around inside. taneously shining.

it is only essential to set aside all involvements and sit quiedy for a while. Also. . sit again. Eventually you will attain absorption and not become oblivious or sleepy. It's best to sit for~ while in the early morning when you have free time. there's no need to fix the length of time of meditation. when there are many things to do. get up and take a walk. it's easy to fall into oblivion.29 When you sink into oblivion and become drowsy. When your spirit has cleared. After noontime.

.

"there are many pitfu. first see to it somehow that you don't have much on your mind.r doyouknow how I can talkofit now. Our school is not the same as Chan study in that we have step-by-step evidences of efficacy. Make your mood gentle and your mind comfortable. it is then essential to find potential and find its opening. Only when you have personally gotten thisfa. When you are quiet. . don't sit inside nothingness or indifference (so-called "neutral voidness").v Errors in Turning the Light Around Even though your practice gradually matures.lls in front of the cliff of withered trees." This makes it necessaryto elucidate the experiences involved in detail. Let us first talk about points of distinction. 31 . When you are going to practice this doctrine. then about evidences of efficacy. then enter into quietude. so that you can be alive and free.

you can seek experiential proofs. Once you have gone into quietude and all sorts of loose ends come to you for no apparent reason. and you even feel comfortable going along with them. you find you cannot tum them away if you want to. you are alert and self-possessed. you fall into the various roads of the realms of form and desire. But don't get enthusiastic about attaining the experience. And yet it will not do to go along with all conditions. your breath sinking. This is called the master becoming the servant. Your mood is cold.32 5 6 Even as you let go of all objects. 7 8 9 10 Once you know this. and you have a number of other chilling and withering experiences. but that the rhythm of reality is on the brink of existence and nonexistence. If you continue this way for a long time. (This easily happens whenever reality is taken too seriously. . You can get it by intent that is not willful.) Even in the midst of alert awareness. this means you have fallen into a shadow world. That means not that you shouldn't recognize reality. you will degenerate into a blockhead or a rockhead. you are relaxed and natural. If you tend to fall into a deadness whenever you go into meditation and are relatively lacking in growth and creative energy. If this goes on long. But don't fall into the elements of body and mind. where material and psychological illusions take charge.

You must will the liberation of all beings. its golden efflorescence suddenly blooming. This is the opening up of the luminosity that is the substance of mind. the spirit and feelings are joyful and happy. When there is uninterrupted continuity in quiet.' and "the bright moon is in mid sky. as if one were intoxicated. or in a bath.' you feel the whole earth as a realm of light. Once "myriad pipes are all silent. 2 3 33 .VI Authenticating Experiences of Turning the Light Around 1 There are many authenticating experiences that cannot be undergone· responsibly by people with small faculties and small capacities. This is called positive harmony pervading the body. the proper release of the golden flower. you cannot handle attainment with a careless or arrogant attitude.

" flawlessly pure. the terrace is white jade. what is it if not Buddha? Buddha is the "gold immortal" of great awareness. The rows are in sevens. 5 6 . it is represented by trees in rows. This is the great stabilization of the golden flower. once the golden essence has become manifest. The setting of the sun stands for setting up the foundation-in the undifferentiated. your vital spirit shines even brighter. The first stage corresponds to the Visualizatron Scripturls technical symbols of the setting sun~ the great body of water. Red blood becomes milk. and since movement is symbolized by wood. this is the ultimate. When you meet things that make people feel desolate in facing them. "Higher good is like water." The second stage begins from the foundation. the physical body is all gold and jewels. the rotten things of the world you bring to life with . As for the Buddha on the terrace of enlightenment. This is just the authenticating experience of the major stage. Therefore a great terrace follows. this is the infinite. which stand for the light of the seven openings Of the "heart. The master is the ruler that produces movement. you do not fear wind or frost.1 puff of true energy. the light gradually solidifies. at this point the whole earth· becomes a jewel ground of ice crystals. and the trees in rows.34 4 Once the whole body is filled completely. The house is built of yellow gold.

auspicious signs hover in stillness. This is like what Stopping and Seeing calls the emerging manifestations of roots of good. 8 9 10 These three experiences can be verified now.· light. People experience higher things individually. you have never heard anything yourself. if you don't stop it. . while sitting. but everything is clearly understood even though all sounds coming in are like echoes in a Valley. Another experience is when in the midst of quiet the light of the eyes blazes up. Yet another experience is when in the midst of quiet the energy of the physical body becomes like silk or jade. One is when you are sitting and the spirit enters into a state of openness. after a long time. according to their faculties and capacities. it is thereby possible to ascend. filling one's presence with . There is noway to look for ones body. It is like opening the eyes in a cloud. This is the spirit returning to the highest heaven. it cari be experienced by oneself at any time. Eventually." Inside and outside are permeated with light. and then when you hear people talking it is as though from far away.. but it is still not possible to explain them thoroughly. the energy will soar buoyantly upward. This is the spirit in a state of openness. This is "the empty room producing light.35 7 There are three authenticating experiences that can be considered now. All are heard.

which is measureless. the eliXir immediately crystallizes. .36 11 These things are like when people drink water and know for themselves whether it is cool or warm: it is necessary for you to attain faith on your own. and then another grain. Only then is the true primal unified energy present. This is a grain of reality. from vagueness to clarity. "A grain. there is also the total primal grain. 12 If you find the unified energy yourself in authenticat- 13 Each grain has a grain's power. ing experience. This requires individ- ual fortitude above all." This refers to the "primal grain" that builds up through time.

" If you manage affil.VII The Living Method of Turning the Light Around As you go along practicing turning the light around. one should respond. and there will be no interruption. then this is "turning the light around wherever you are. 37 . An ancient said." This is the finest practice. "When matters come up. Whenever you are engaged in work or dealing with people. not sticking to any image of person or self at all. if you can clear all objects from your mind and sit quietly for one or two hours. just use this "looking back" technique. If you can look back again and again into the source of mind. one should discern. so it will do to repeat this formless turning around of the light time . the realized ones in Heaven will surely come to attest to your experience. that is best. you need not give up your normal occupation. If you practice in this way ror two or three months.irs with accurate mindfulness. when things come up. In the early morning. then the light is not overcome by things.and again. whatever you are ?oing.

.

. White snow flying in midsummer. dead voidness.VIII The Secret ofFreedom 1 Jadelike purity has left a secret of freedom In the lower world: Congeal the spirit in the lair of energy. And you'll suddenly see ·. The sun blazing in the water at midnight. Because of nonstriving." The depths of the mystery are all contained in a single measured verse. 3 The essence of the great Way is to act purposefully without striving.. but ·because of not striving yet acting purposefully. one does not cling to local conventions.. forms. or images. Going along harmoniously. 39 . You roam in the heavens Then return to absorb The virtues of the receptive. There is anoth~r line. ' 2 .. one does not fall into indifferent emptiness. a mystery within a mystery: "The homeland of nothing whatsoever isthe true abode.

and work it out. There has manifestly been a great reversaL 5 6 7 . now one abides in the center and controls the outside.e. The two eyes are the handle of the stars) whichmanages Creation and operates yin and yang. thus helping them to attain independence. Befure. the assistant administered for the master. the "lead in the region ofwater"). Now as the Way gradually becomes clear and mastery of the device gradually matures. The major medicinal ingredient beginning to end is only the "metal in the middle of primary water" (i. Keep it confidential. This is fur middling and lesser people cultivating the lower two passes in order to penetrate the upper pass. Heaven does not begrudge the Way but directly divulges the unsurpassed doctrine.. but the mechanism is all in the two eyes. the efflorescence of the light increases in magnitude. Previously one controlled the inside from the outside. 7Urni~ the light around is only the general term: with each level of progress in practice.40 4 The function is all in the center. The preceding talk of turning the light around points out a method for beginners to control the inside from outside. and the method of turning around becomes subtler. now one promulgates policy in service of the master.

first tune and concentrate body and mind. now sinking.but just the positivity in the creative itself responding to the positivity in the creative. Let go of all objects. negative energy then stops. nowfloating. arousing mind according to things. lower your eyelids and gaze inward at the chamber ofWatet: Where the light reaches. so that nothing whatsoever hangs on your mind. Once the two things meet. true positive energy comes forth in response. 9 10 Ft:n is yang outside and yin inside. the living movement of creative energy now coming. and the flower of light radiates a concentrated glow..41 8 When you want to enter quietude." . so that they are free and peaceful. 11 Now when you turn the light around to shine inward. beyond measure. This is what is called "clouds filling the thousand mountains. [the mind] is not aroused by things. whereupon it is notthe positivity in wam. so it is in substance the creative. After that. 12 Correlates inevicibly associate. and the whole body feels . now going. In the basic chamber in oneself there is an ungraspable sense of vast space. wondrously light and buoyant. with one yin inside ruling it. they join inextricably. so the positivity in wam-leaps up. which is pure positive energy. going along out into habitual routines. and the celestial mind takes its rightful place in this center.

the floating and sinking are indiscernible. 18 Once the celestialmind stirs. 15 Ordinarily. If you act in response to it after the celestial mind has acted.'' 14 When the celestial mind first stirs in the midst of that utter darkness of the unknown. you move with it. then that is an error of weakness. you rest with it. This is "living midnight. This is acting in time. When it moves. energy stops: this is true intercourse. only to stop whenthings are gone. The channels are stilled. 17 If the celestial mind keeps still and you miss the right timing in action. they get stirred up. This activity and rest are all subjects. then usqmre attention to raise it up to the chamber of the creative) with the light of spirit focused on the crown of the head to guide it. the movement is the root ofheaven. This is what is called "the moon steeped in myriad waters. the coming and going is traceless. thesovereignis then the real human being.'' 16 Now if in all activity and rest you abide in heaven while in the midst of humanity. btlt the sovereign ruler becomes their slave."So what transpires at this point should be explained in detail. When it is at rest.42 13 Next. the rest is the moon cavern. this is an error of staleness. . This is "always living with ghosts. this is the return of initial positive energy. once people let their eyes and ears pursue things.

th. so you want to concentrate it.is is called "nurturing the root source. and one is highly stabilized in profound tranquillity. This is the time when "heaven enters earth" and all wonders return to the root. this is called "settling the spirit in the original openness. as the light of the eyes is focused on the spiritual room in the center.43 19 When the celestial mind has risen to the peak of the cn:ativeJit floats upward of its own accord. · 21 When you first practice turning the light around and your mind gets scattered or distracted. this is called "hibernating in the lair of energy. At that time body and mind are in a state of great freedom. This is solidifying the spirit in the lair of energy. not a single thought is born.'' 23 When even shadows and echoes have all disappeared. all wonders returning to the root. adding fuel to continue life. Then you don't even know where the furnace and cauldron in your spiritual rooin are.'' 22 Once concentration is attained. and all objects disappear without a trace. 20 Once about to enter utter quiescence." . immediately use pure attention to conduct it into the yellow court. you are naturally buoyant and do not expend any strength. then suddenly verges on utter quiescence. suddenly one forgets the gazing. your six senses are not used. when gazing inward.. you can't even find your own body. gathering the primal together.

it cannot act. and hibernating is also nurturing. while action uninfluenced by things is the action of Heaven. where all places are one place. At the end. so there are nine stages in one stage. The stage in between can be figured out by analogy. for now I will speak of three stages in one. 27 As long as the mind has not reached supreme quiet. an interval of a world cycle of the original organization. 25 During the nurturing and initial quieting.44 24 These three stages are in each stage. This is thought that is out of place. gathering is also nurturing. You do not change times. Action caused by momentum is random action. There is a line missing [sic]. action with an ulterior motive. not essential action. 28 This does not contrast the action of Heaven to the nature ofHeaven. . this is the fOrmless opening. After this ru explain the word desit-e. nurturing is also hibernating. but times are clistinguishedtherein. Therefore it is said that action influenced by things is human desire. or being possessive toward things. but places are distinguished therein. I will expound upon that later. this is time without a period. 29 Desire is in considering things to exist. 26 You do not change places.

34 The lasttwo lines point out the secret within these- cret. Does not "in the water" refer to watnf The eyes. 33 "In the heavens'' refers to the chamber of the &native. Herein lies [the operation of spiritual alchemy known as] "taking from wa~ to fill in ." 32 The next two lines explain the function of the ctipper handle. The "white snow'' is the true yin within fire about to retum. This is what is called cleaning the mind. "midsummer" stands fur the "fire" of [the trigrammatic Book ofCh~ symbol].fire. The secret within the secret cannot be ctispensed with from start to finish. washing the thoughts.to earth.fi~. then true mindfulness is born. as the breeze of wind) shine into the chamber of wa~ and beckon the vitality of dominant yang. 31 The first two lines of the verse at the beginning of this chapter wrap up the function of the golden flower. "Roaming and returning to absorb the virtues of the rtceptiPe" means nurturingthe fire. which is "bathing. the whole mechanism of rising and descending. When the celestial potential is suddenly activated in the midst of silent trance." . "Midflight" is the water ofwatn: The "sun'> is the single yang in the center of wa~ on the verge ofblazing·and returning to heaven.45 30 When not a single thought arises. That is what these lines mean. this is pure attention. is this not spontaneous attention? This is what is meant by acting without striving. The next two lines refer to the interchange of sun and moon.

you do not destroy the totality of things but take a constructive attitude toward events in the midst of emptiness. Once you neither destroy things nor cling to things. all . for an analogy let me use the Buddhist teaching of contemplating emptiness. In sum) the three teachings are not beyond one saying. 36 In Buddhism. which is a spiritual pill that gets one out of death and preserves life. 39 First is emptiness. In Taoism. "effecting openness" is the whole work of completing essence and life. the conditional. and the center. this is the contemplation ofthe center." It is enough to understand this." Thus the whole practice described in this book does not go beyond the words "emptiness of mind. This single statement can save decades of seeking. you see all things as empty. though you know things are empty. 37 What is the spiritual pill? It just means to be unminding in all situations. It begins in the infinite and winds up in the infinite. The greatest secret in Taoism is "bathing. Next is the conditional.46 35 The learning of sages begins with knowing when to stop and ends with stopping at ultimate good. 38 If you do not understand how three stages are included in one. activating the mind without dwelling on anything is considered the essential message of the whole canon.

emptiness is also conditional and the center is conditional too. but you don't call it the conditional. much of the empowerment is attained in action. sometimes I also speak of warer. with one saying I open my mouth: the essential mechanism is all in the two eyes. and the center is empty too. emptiness is empty. t~e conditional is also empty. when you cultivate contemplation of emptiness. The mechanism means the function. you use this to manage Creation.When you are practicing the contemplation of emptiness. this includes all three contemplations. Ultimately they have never moved. When on the way of the center. This docs not mean that is all there is to Creation. you call it the center. so while the conditional is of course conditional. so how could we presume to take only the two eyes and not deal with the rest? . if you still know that the totality of things cannot be destroyed. there is no need to say. all the faculties of sense and mind are mines of light. and yet do not cling to them. you still meditate on emptiness. In practicing contemplation of the conditional. you call it the center. but you don't call it emptiness. You also meditate on the conditional. When you come to the center. Although !·sometimes speak only o(fire. Since empowerment after all means really seeing emptiness.

" for otherwise it would be enough just to say the ''moon. so the separation has taken over your eyes. but if the sun and moon are separated they do not form a complete whole. 50 But it is hard to represent the Way concretely. only when there are husband and wife do they amount to a family. If a man and a woman are separated they are still individuals. they are but half. you use the light offin to illumine and absorb it. the "moon cavern" is not on the moon but on the sun. This is like the case of a single man or a single woman." 49 When the sun and moon are separated." 48 The white of the moon is the light of the true sun. who cannot form a family living alone. 47 The darkness in the sun is the vitality of the true moon. What I am saying just brings out the point of communion.48 46 To use the yang of water. The sunlight being on the moon is what is called the "root of heaven. so I do not see duality." Otherwise it would be enough just to say "heaven. . This shows that the "sun and moon" are originally one thing. That is why it is called the "moon cavern. you just cling to the separation. only when they come together do they form a whole.

IX
Setting Up the Foundation in a Hundred Days

1

One of the Mind Seal scripturessays, "the returning wind mixes together, the hundred days' work is effective.'' On the whole, to set up the foundation requires a hundred daysbefore you have real light. As you are, you are still working with the light of the eyes, not the fire of spirit; not the fire of essence, not the torch · ofwisdom. Turn it around for a hundred days, and the vital energy will naturally be sufficient for true yang to rise spontaneously, so that there is true fire naturally existing in water. If you carry on the practice this way, you Will naturally achieVe intercourse and formation of the embryo. You are then in the heaven of unknoWing, and the child thus develops. If you entertain any conceptual view at all, this is immediately a misleading path.

2

49

so
3
A hundred days setting up the foundation is not a hundred days; one day setting up the foundation is not one day. One breath setting up the foundation does not refer to respiration. Breath is one's own mind; one's own mind is the breath's original spirit, original energy, and original vitality: rising and descending, parting and joining, all arise from mind; being and nonbeing, emptiness and fullness, are all in the thoughts. One breath is held for a lifetime, not only a hundred days; so a hundred days is also a single breath. The hundred days is just a matter of empowerment: gain power in the daytime, and you use it a.t night; gain power at night, and you use it in the daytime. The hundred days setting up the foundation is a precious teaching. The sayings of the, advanced realized ones all relate to the humanbody; the sayings oftrue teachers all relate to students, This is the mystery of mysteries, which is inscrutable. When you see essence, you then know why students must seek the direction of a true teacher. Everything that emerges naturally from essence is tested.

4

5

X
The Light of Essence and the Light of Consciousness
1

The method of turning the light around basically is to be carried on whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining. It is only essential that you yourself find the opening of potentiaL Previously I quoted the saying, "Light arises in the empty room." This light is not luminous, but there is an explanation of this as an evidence of efficacy in the beginning before one has seen the light. If you see it as light and fix your attention on it, then you full into ideational consciousness, which is not the light of essence. Now when the mind forms a thought, this thought is the present mind. This mind is light; it is medicine. Whenever people look at things, when they perceive them spontaneously all at once without discriminating, this is the light of essence. It is like a mirror reflecting without intending to do so. In a moment it becomes the light of consciousness, through discrimination. When there is an image in a mirror, there is no more mirroring; when there is consciousness in · the light, then what light is there any more?

2

3

51

52 4 At first. It is not that there is no light. light is attributable to the sun and moon. What does this mean~ Objects are external things. when the light of essence turns into thought.' then who attributes if not you? "Light is attribUtable to the sun and moon. but that the light has become consciousness. 7 . 5 6 Things must have an attribution. If you pursue objects. "When sound moves. it produces echoes. then it is consciousness." When you see the light of the sun and moon. but there is never an absence of the essence of seeing that sees the sun and moon. "neither in objects nor in consciousness. it does not produce sound. Borrowing them for myself. after all I find "it is not mine. This has no actual connection with us." When it comes to where "it is not you. the light is obscured and cannot be found." The introduction to logical examination in the Heroic Ma"'h Scriptun says. there is nothing to attribute it to. This is what is meant by the saying of the Yellow Emperor. or the socalled material world. Transmission of light is attributable to doors and windows. When consciousness arises.' only picking out the organ. you are mistaking things for yourself. Sometimes there is no sun or moon in the sky.

8eeirig is not seeing. . · . Only when this last point is broken through is this the real seeing essence. then the seeing essence also has an attribution. y6uproperly turn around the primary l!nattributable llght.·. 11 When turning the light around. temporarily leaving the seeing essence as a crutch for the practitioner. which refers back to the seeing essence of the revolving flow of consciousness." 9 10 When first practicingthe eight attrib1ltions for discerning perception. this is an internal object. ·. "Using your flowing revolving consciousness is called error. But ultimately as long as the seeing essence still carries with it the eighth consciousness. then where is discrimination? Therefore there is still attribution. alluded to in Buddhist scripture where it says. which is truly unattributable. it is not really unattributable. But if when seeing seeing.53 8 If so. the first seven show how each is attributable to something.. . so not a single conscious thought is applied. Only the seeing essence cannot be attributed to anything. : . then can that which discriminates sun and moon be considered one's own possession? Don't you know that discrimination is based on light and dark? When both light and dark are forgotten.

then you use the nature of consciousness in the sense organs. . 14 Deliberate meditation is the light of consciousness. the elixir does not crystallize. When it doesn't stickto anything at all 1 it is said that the mind is clean. when it doesn't keep anything in it 1 it is said that the mind is empty. 13 Now if you turn the light around without falling into consciousness 1 you are using the original essence in the sense organs. Herein lies the hairsbreadth's distinction. if mind is not emptied. let go. Ifemptinessis seeri as empty1 emptilless is still not empty. Wren empty and mindless of emptiness1 this is called true emptiness. that is elixir. A hairsbreadth's clitference is as that of a thousand miles. But the fact that sense objects and sense consciousnesses are not used at all does not mean using the sense organs 1 just using the essence in the sense organs. and it is then the light of essence. 16 When mind is clean. when mind is empty1 that is meclicine. spirit does not come alive. but what enables you to attain enlightenment is also just the six sense organs. so discernment is necessary. 15 If consciousness is not stopped.54 12 What causes you to flow and revolve is just the six sense organs. If you turn the light around fallen into consciousness.

while the one yang [inside the warer trigramJ concentrates on reversing and withdrawing the senses themselves. Water and fire are yin and yang. that is water. essence and life are body and mind. 2 3 55 . Whenever you gather back spirit's consciousness and quiet it down to steep in the center.fire.fire. as of course when you sit in profound silence. when the senses turn around inward.XI The Intercourse of Wtl-ter and Fire 1 Whenever you leak vital spirit. then this is true intercourse. The one yin [inside the. being stirred and interacting with beings.fire trigram] concentrates on pursuing sense experience. that is . that is all water. yin and yang are essence and life. Once you withdraw to rest your vital spirit and are not influenced by objects. When the senses run outward. body and mind are spirit and energy. that is all .

.

energy is not the main thing. it changes from hour to hour. carried out without deliberate·intention. so do not exert your strength to the full on it. it is maintained without minding. the cycle helps growth. There is no method of culling. Our mind is also like this.· yet the polar star never moves. mind is the pole. remove arbitrary views. This medicine is not a material thing. those who speak of culling are quite mistaken.. Look up at the sky. through 365 ·days. The energy in our limbs and throughout our whole body is basically a network. If you wonder what it ultimately is. 1 For the complete cycle. energy is the myriadstars revolving around it. 2 3 57 . . . and then after that medicine will develop. mental attainmenfis the sublime secret. it is the light of essence. Even so.XII The Cycle . it is necessary to attain great concentration before you see it. which is none other thari the primal true energy.•Refine the conscious spirit.

This is the method of "bathing" spoken of in alchemical classics. "water and fire" tomorrow. The processes of the cycle do indeed have differences of scale. where water and fin: interact. who does the interacting. what heaven and earth are. all things simultaneously expand to fulfillment. or where to find any distinction between great and small. When the mind is empty. who makes it one cycle or two cycles. When you reach the point where meditation is spontaneous." As long as you are unable to stop the mind directly. the whole earth is positive and harmonious. in the right place in your central chamber. there is a cycle in each hour. this is a cycle. eventually the light ofthe basis of the mind becomes spontaneous. There is a cycle in each day. Our interaction is the "revolving of Heaven. as a consequence there are times of interaction and times of non interaction. but ultimately there is no way to distinguish great and small. in the end they turn into illusions. 5 6 7 8 . you are liberated from the ocean of misery. you do not know what fin: and water are. and all indulgence is ended. If it is "dragon and tiger" today. Yet the revolving of Heaven never stops for a moment. If you are actually able to join yin and yang in tranquillity. What is it if not the great cycle? .58 4 When you have seen it for a long time.

then heaven and earth will revert on their own to heaven and earth. the universe and all things take a. it is also small.turn with it.59 9 It is all the operation of one body. you cannot. that would seem to be sticking to forms." This is very subtle. but ultimately you see a lot that is unnatural. Even if there is something offensive. though it appears to be most great. it still melts away all at once when you notice it. the plants and trees refreshed. but if you do not focus on forms and do not point out true midnight. then naturally all at once clouds will form and rain will fall. by what means can the living midnight be known? . Heaven and earth do not fail to go through their cycles every day. when yin and yang do not join. so it is also most great. 12 Students ask about "living midnight. This is the great cycle. myriad things will go back to myriad things: no matter how hard you try to join them. Thus it is in the heart. If you insist on defining it as true midnight. 10 The alchemical process should ultimately become spontaneous. Then it is like a season of drought. the mountain rivers flowing freely. Each time it takes a turn. turning them suitably. 11 If you can operate yin and yang. If it is not spontaneous.

and the true will appear. what is true? 14 As fur living midnight. If your seeing is not real. not true or not alive? It all requires you to see the real. there is definitely also true midnight. what is living. when you see it at all times. Are they one or two. while the living will be sublime. everything is alive. 15 At present. your mood is clear and light. people do not yet clearly know the living.60 13 Once you know living midnight. finally you reach true midnight. Once you see the real. . everything is true. just test it out when you head for the true. and living midnight gradually blooms into ever-greater awareness.

There emerges the unified energy Of the river source that produces the medicine.XIII Song to Inspire the World 0 Because ofthe warrnth of my cinnabarheartto liberate the world. I do not refrain from coddling and talking a lot. The light returns to the primal opening. and in between. but people did not discern. Lao-tzu also lamented the existence of the egotistic self and transmitted the teaching of the open spirit. Midnight. Now I give·a general explanation of finding the road oftruth: ·. Buddha also pointed directly to life and death for a great cause. The very being of true poise Is the mysterious pass. If you can stabilize breathing. 1 2 3 4 5 61 . The pervasive principle of the center Bears universal change. noon. .· So all psychic functions are calm. and this is truly worthwhile.

You forget conceptual consciousness.62 6 It passes through the screen And transmutes. 15 After conceptual consciousness is forgotten. 12 Put down all objects. This is the true infinity of the primal. with golden light. Conveying them from heart and genitals. Mysterious and unfathomable: 17 The screen of beginningless afflictions Is voided all at once. so nothing comes to mind. 7 8 9 10 How can the human way Meet the celestial mind? 11 If in accord with the celestial. 14 At the pass of essence and life. 16 The water-clarifying pearl appears. Pepple of the world misconstrue The vitalities wattr and fire. The single disk of the red sun Shines with constant brilliance. . Signs are gone. 13 Cosmic space is silent. You see basic reality. The way is naturaUy meet. Thus producing separation.

Turning the light around is a matter of singleminded practice: just use the true breathing for stable awareness in the central chamber. Retreating to hide in secrecy is eternal calm. in them the highway of practical cultivation is clear. These two little verses are exhaustive. After a long time at this you will naturally commune with the spirit and attain transmutation. You climb to the gateway of heaven: 20 Controlling wind and lightning. setting in motion rain on the mountain" means the arising of true energy. These are not confusing words. "Thunder in the earth rumbles. 19 Walking in the sky. You make the thunder rumble. . 22 The two poems lused when I initiated Zhang Zhennu long ago both contain the great Way.63 18 The jade capital sends down A team of nine dragons. 21 Freezingthe spirit and steadying breath are for beginners. As for the "double pass. it is the great road directly through to the jade capital. The "midspine where the ribs join" does not refer to vertebrae.' there is something ineffable in this. but 1vatl:r and fire. The "yellow sprouts emerging from the ground" refer to the growth· of the medicine. "Sitting" means that the mind is unmoved. "Settling the breath" means a state of certteredness in which you go back to the root with each breath. "After midnight and before noon'' are not times.

This is all based on quieting of mind and stabilization of energy. it would be too bad if you wasted time. then you are a realized immortal for a breath. When the mind is forgotten and the energy congeals. . this is a sign of effectiveness. Work on this. If you do not practice for a day. Clarifying the mind and seeing its essence is understanding the Way. You should each practice diligently. The emptiness of energy. if you do practice for a single breath. and mind is the formation of the elixir. The unification of mind and energy is incubation. then you arc a ghost for a day. breath.

When energy is full. The mind is basically nondual. With continuity. the light shines bright. However.. When you attain nothing in quietude or lose anything through activity. When the light shines bright.Questions and Answers Opening up the Mysteries of the Doctrine of the Golden Flower You suppose that attainment is possible in quietude but lost in activity. ·observing mind means observing the purity of mind. energy is full.. only then do you have autonomy. it is continuous. throughout the past and future. 65 . you climb transcendent to the stage of enlightenment. in either case you have not yet reached the Way. you do not realize that the reason for loss through activity is because nothing is attained through stiUness. only then can you manage affaixs . When you keep presence of mind. and it will naturally become unbroken. When you have autonomy. Once it is unbroken. there is no other. Practice it for a long time.. though. Without leaving the objects of sense. then oblivion and distraction disappear without effort. just one vital reality. presence of mind is easily fnterrupted.

You have been affected by pollution for so long that it is impossible to become clear all at once. As for the inner work. With what observation do you observe mind? When observation is deep and illusion is cleared. that is bedevilment. then this is true emptiness. Gazing at the lower abdomen is external work. the mind is the eyes.66 But observation of mind can be deep or shallow. thereby you produce its vitality. the matter of life and death is important: once you turn the light around and recollect the vital spirit to shine stably. In truth. it becomes manifest. that alone is the true "elixir field. if you look to see it with the physical eyes." The light you see before your eyes is rat-light. there is panoramic observation. The light of mind does not belong to inside or outside. and then you see the opening of the mysterious pass. the spirit congeals. When its vitality stabilizes. only then do you see the mind-eyes become clear. When you observe mind and become aware of openness. then your own mind is the lamp of enlightenment. there is observation that is neither internal nor external. not the light of the tiger-eye or dragon-vitality. . There is observation outside of sense objects. there is observation within sense objects. Turning the light around is done not by the eyes but by the mind. when the mind-eye comes into being. After long persistence. there is forced observation and there is spontaneous observation.

but it is necessary to light it so that it shines. External work has no connection to the great Way. then this is immortality. Forms are all conditioned. Few are those who are calm and serious. then temperament is in control. Cognition is a function of mind. so you cannot govern if completely or comprehend it thoroughly.Jf you fix the mind on anything conditioned. rare are those who are sincere and unified. empty silence is the substance of mind. the body so as to extend the life span.67 Everyone already has the lamp of mind. empty silence is the substance of mind. Don't let yourselves forget the mind and allow the spirit to be obscured. As alchemical literature has clearly explained. the silence is not true silence. If you have no autonomy. your vital spirit diffuses. this is a tangential teaching. Radiant light is the function of mind. The minor technique of circulating energy can enhance . If there is empty silence without· radiant light. The true practice of the great Way first requires that vitality be transformed into energy. . this vitality is not sexual. the emptiness is not true emptiness-it is just a ghost cave. Refining energy into spirit means keeping the clear and removing the polluted. but if you therefore suppose that the great Way requires work on the physical body.

that is tempoi:al. your mind is not the three realms. Looking and listening are one thing. which is a phenomenon of the physical body. breathing in. The venerable Prajnatara [considered the twenty-seventh Indian ancestor of Chan Buddhism] said. I do not follow myriad objects. all is polluted. "Breathing out. These are used to concentrate the mindand are not the real lifeline. as long as clarification has not taken place. The three realms are none other than your mind. Where is the primal to be sought? It must be sought by way of the temporal.68 The breathing that passes through the nose is external breathing. or listening to the breathing. It must be sought through the work of practical balance in harmonious accord. The real lifeline is to be sought from within the real. Whenever there is dependence. that is primal. Clear up the pollution. Temporal feelings and consciousness are marvelous functions of the primal. I do not dwell on the elements of body or mind. Of course. yet it contains the three realms. these are still connected with the physical body. Only when mind and breathing rest on each other is this the true breath. Only then will the "gold pill" come out of the furnace. . where there is no dependence." Is this the nose? When it comes to watching the breathing. and eventually there will be spontaneous clarity even without attempting to achieve clarity. which means calmness and openness.

. It is only because the iron pillars of thoughts are deeply rooted.ifyou discriminate. that is just consciousness. and has neither enemy nor f. this is Buddhahood and immortality. this is senseless vacuity. TherefOre our teaching is actively living and does not settle into one corner. temporal energy is also primal. and there is no distinction between primal and temporal. only then will you find the roots are insubstantial and thus have a sense of freedom from pher10mena while having the ability to enter their range. the function operates. If they know there is essence but do not know there are emotions. then conditioning flares up. What cannot be spoken and cannot be named is the generative energy. If there is discrimination between primal and temporal. it is even and dear.· which is the. combines eternity with the present. that it is necessary to observe one's own mind.su b9tance of the Way. but instead applies to heaven and earth.uniliar. when the spirit is pure and the energy dear. When they are united. When you see the mind. they are ordinary ignoramuses. and it is hard to escape their limitations. When people are deluded by emotions and do not know there is essence. then action and stillness are not united. and this is the source of the profuse confusion of thoughts.69 When there is no self in the mind. When you discriminate. and primal energy becomes conditioned. The primal and temporal are originally not two: what makes the distinction is only temporal. equalizes others and self. When the substance is established.

" Consciousness is knowledge. continuing to the present. galloping mind.70 It is said that we are the same in essence but different in feeling. evolving in a stream. It is necessary to beworking on the· Way whatever you are doing in order to be able to "sit on the summit of a thousand mountains without leaving the crossroads. The only distinction is between purity and impurity. In ordinary people it is called consciousness. Then when you discover signs of impurity in the midst of puiity. this is routine. The great Way is not in quiet living. and you become an ordinary mortal. . The noncognizing in the consciousness is the eternal. in immortals and Buddhas it is called knowledge. There is no difference in feeling either. Ultimately this is not the fault of essence. you have now found purity. it is just that habits develop unnoticed. The true 'mind has no form: what has forin is ultimately illusory. so that their defiling influence cannot be shed. How can you find purity in the mind? It is just a matter of seeking out purity in the midst of impurity. If you stay quietly in a room. that has the countereffect of increasing the· flames of fire in the heart. If you arouse a discriminatory. the consciousness in noncognizing is wisdom.

and daily activities never obstruct the supreme Way. and shallowness of spiritual power is due to racing in the min~. then your mind races. yet what is before our eyes is hard to understand. Don't tarry on one side. . People like the unusual and enjoy the new. without the slightest artificiality. Therefore it can pervade the heavens and permeate the earth. when mind is there but not reified. What we call the true mind is the enlightened clear mind. flickering erratically. then even ifyou have some vision it is like a lamp in the wind.71 Is the true mind to be sought from the source of mind? If the source is clean. your intellect runs. and you go on thinking compulsively. All of this is due to shallowness of spiritual power. When mind is empty yet not vacant. The Way is present before our eyes. this is called true emptiness. Then you have a basis for gaining access to virtue. and you then enter the middle way. If the source is not clean. this is called subtle existence. they miss what is right in frorit of their eyes and do not know where the Way is~ The Way is the immediate presence: if you are unaware of the immediate presence. then the celestial design is apparent.

.

. 2. like light. 3. the baSic classic ofThoism. This passage introduces the idea of a succession of transmitters of the teaching of the goldc. The honorific name Taishang (f'ai-shang) refers to the metaphysical realit)' represented by Lao-tzu. Donghua. life is a quantity of energy. When the text talks about the two eyes guiding attention. (Chung-li Ch'uan). it means that both spacelike awareness and specific perception are operative at the same time. Essence is open and spacious.legendary author of 1i4o Te Ching. who was the teacher ofLu Yan (Lu Yen). (I'ung-hua) was the teacher of Zhongli Quan. like the sky. to link it with the Way of the ancients. 73 .Translation Notes I. 4. Lu Yan is the ''Yan" mentioned in our text. The identification of the Way with essence and primal spirit follows the traditions of the Chan school of Buddhism and the northern branch of the Completely Real school ofThoism.n flower. which was founded by his disciples and descendants in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Celestial Mind I. he is regarded as the immediate ancestor of the Completely Real (Quanzhen /Ch'uan-chen) school of Taoism.

Completely Real Taoism became so influential in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that it attracted many opportunistic followers and imitators. These passages are rather laconic. "Master Siu" seems to refer to Xu Jingyang (Hsu Chingyang). Most of the texts attributed to Lu Yan were received by spiritual communications centuries after the founding of the Complete Reality school and were not written by Lu himself. and someone with Wilhelm's knowledge . The term special tmnsmis1ion outside ofiWctrine is a byword of Chan Buddhism. to whom this text is attributed. a great Taoist of the third and fourth centuries who is said to have foretold the appearance ofLu Yan. The foregoing passages on the lineage of the text were omitted in Richard Wilhelm's translation. 6. which would have been shortly before The Secret of the Golden Flower is supposed to have been received from Lu Yan. He is also believed to have said he would reappear in the world twelve centuries later. an esoteric component of the movement received during a period ofspecial concentration. There are numerous conflicting stories about the life and times ofLu Yan. At the time of the writing of our text. The practice of contemplative vigils likethe one in which the golden flower teaching was revealed is also a standard exercise of latter-day Chan Buddhism. approximately 250 years ago. 5. Later many practices originally abandoned by the school were amalgamated with elements of Completely Real Taoism to produce bastardized forms. Completely Real Taoism was almost entirely a name without a reality. but in Taoist tradition it is widely believed that he attained immortality and is still alive. This text is said to be a written form of a teaching that was originally wordless.74 The teaching of the golden flower itself is attributed to Lu Yan. 7.

This appears to be mostly due to simple misunderstanding of the language and unfamiliarity with the background of the text. The speaker is supposed to be Lu Yan. 9. 10. "The lead in the homeland of water is just one flavor" comes from Umlerstanding Reality. This is what makes it truly universal and unlimited by sectarian or cultural discriminations. Lead symbolizes the true sense of real knowledge. however. or Ancestor Lu.. To say that it is just one flavor means that it is attained by the essence of consciousness itself. It is not clear. Westerners have often professed to believe that mystics are generally isolated from society. in contrast to the gradual teachings of ordinary Taoist works on spiritual alchemy. Water stands for a symbol from the ancient I Chi1¥J representing the true sense of the knowledge of reality enclosed within conscious knowledge . not by any modification of consciousneSs. making it outto say the very opposite of what it actually does. Wilhelm completely mistranslates this passage.75 of Chinese language and Taoist history could hardly have been expected to be able to interpret them. why Wilhelm also excised paragraph 7 on the importance of an orderly life as a prerequisite for the mystical practice of the golden flower. . 8. whom later Taoist texts envision as having been entrusted with a mission for the cdestial government and d~ty­ bound to reappear in the human world from time to time. It may not have con-: formed sufficiently to his idea of mysticism. the great classic of the Completely Real school. The passage describes the distinctive nature of the text as representing a sudden enlightenment teaching. This identifies the Chan Buddhist influence behind the Taoist facade of the text. and this opinion has affected many Western attempts to interpret and adopt mystical teachings.

When the light is "turned around" and directed toward its own source. to the Chan Buddhist exercise of mentally looking inward toward the source of consciousness. light is its function. Many cultists imitated this exercise on the level of fixated attention without the psychic heat and noticed the characteristic modifications of consciousness these postures produce. Evidently he confused this ~ith the watetwheel exercise of Taoist energetics." which is not very plausible linguistically but nevertheless could have been an honest mistake. The notes added to the Golden Flower text he used (which was printed some two hundred years after the movement had arisen) tend to dilute the Chan with materials that make it look like a runof-the mill mixture of alchemy and energetics. The' text speaks of the highest experiences being purely mental. 12. "in the heart:' elevating the spiritual over the physical in the manner of Chan Buddhism and the northern branch of Completely Real Taoism. This is not the same as the energy circulation of 'Thoist practice.76 11. It is quite possible that Wilhelm got this idea from a member of such a cult. The celestial mind refers to unconditioned consciousness. The expression "turning the light around" refen. environmental and psycho- . in which a quantity of psychic heat would be consciously conducted along a certain route through the body. Wilhelm's medical training also seems to have predisposed him to make physiological interpretations There is evidence to suggest that it was possible to read certain special mind-body postures of attention into portions of the original text. These postures were used only for temporarily anchoring the mind while performing the inner gazing toward the source of consciousness. Wilhelm translates this as "circulation of the light.

this means that the essence of the original spirit is beyond. or deeper than. The distinction between the original spirit and the con~ scious spirit isone of the most important ideas in Taoist psychology. Buddhist terminology it also has the special meaning of. This energy. Jung himself does not seem to have attained this. The Original Spirit and the Conscious Spirit 1. while the original spirit is the essence of awareness. real unified energy. 14. To say that this essence transcends the' "primal organization" means that it is by nature more fundamental than even the most basic patterns of modification to which consciousness may be subject.and his work reflects \vhat . so it is called the gold pill. with the result that the energy in the body is also preserved and purified because it is not drawn into conflicts with inner or outer states.. Taoist maSter Liu I~miilg says of the gold pill. The expression "above the nine skies" means a state of mind beyond the influence of mundane conditioning. primal. being above all cultivated meditation states. when passed through fire to refine it. and it is not certain to which of these the text refers in this passage. even the· archetypes of the coJlective unconscious." II. Silently paying CbUrt (m God) and soari1f!}' upward are common Taoist ex pres~ sions for elevation of consciousness. 13.77 logical factors influence the mind less. ('The pill is the original. becomes permanently. The conscious spirit is historically conditioned. the original spirit is primal and universal. In . The conscious spirit is a complex of modifications of awareness. indestructible. There are several Mind Seal scriptures. In Jungian terms.

which tends to deemphasize the physiological practices of old alchemical immortalism. or "three worlds:' as he translates them. known in Taoist terms as the "three treasures" of the human body. energy. from the coarsest to the most subtle. It is evident that Wilhelm was not familiar with even the most rudimentary lore of Chan Buddhism. Perhaps Wilhelm's Christian background influenced his interpretation of this term. are "Heaven. 3. earth. the realm of formless consciousness seems to have been unfamiliar to him. This passage refers to a certain stage that is often referred to 4. Th. Vitaliry.-ee nalms is a Buddhist term. The realms are the domains of desire. This is characteristic of Buddhistic ncoTaoist spiritual immortalism. As it was. Seei'!!J essence and original foce are· both· Chan Buddhist terms. J ung does not seem to have been able to distinguish these realms of experience clearly. and formlessness. To ''live transcendentally outside of yin and yang" means to be aloof from the ups and downs of ordinary life in the midst of changes in the world. Wilhelm. writes in a note that the three realms. most of his work appears to hover on the border of the realms of (orm and desire. here used to refer to the Taoist experience of the primal spirit. and spirit are the fundamental triadof being. and heU." Jung's work on archerypes and dreams would have benefited immensely from an accurate understanding of the real Buddhist concept of three realms or worlds. who seems to have known little about Buddhism. 2. form.in Taoist terms would be rermed confusion of the conscious spirit (which includes the Jungian "unconscious") with the original spirit. Here the spirit is the only one regarded as transcendental. . representing the totaliry of conditioned experience.

firsthand. 6. In this way the mind is freed from compulsive concern with its own productions. Like many Western interpreters of his time. The "chamber of the origin" means the source of awareness~ keeping to the chamber of the origin is turning around the light ofconsciousness to be aware of its own source. When the text speaks of this as a secret that "has not been transmitted in a thousand ages.' in the metaphor of our text. Wilhelm's translation of "instincts and movements" for "on the verge of moving into action" misconstrues both Chinese grammar and the nature of the experience to whiCh the passage refers.79 in Taoist yogic texts in much more physical terms than it is here. the conscious mind (which does the thinking) is supposed to be a servant of the original mind. Jung had the idea that yoga involves or produces abnormal psychic states and is aimed at total detachment from the external world. the original mind retrieves command over the delinquent conscious mind. In the metaphor of this passage. Chan Buddhism traditionally describes the mechanism of delusion as mistaking the servant for the master. When "the sword is turned around. 5.' it means that the experience can only be understood. or at transcendental unity without differentiation. . where the Chan Buddhist/northern Complete Reality influence is again manifest. the general is supposed to be a servant but instead usurps authority. Through this practice it becomes possible to control and order the conscious mind without force. According toChan/ Taoist psychology. by maintaining the central position of the original mind. but the activity of the conscious mind tends to become so self-involved that it seems to have become an independent entity.

7. Eros is closest to certain Taoist meanings of vitality. . Eros is inappropriate in that the meaning of vitality here does not . quietistic cult that Wilhelm. and othe1'5 of their time imagined from their fragmentary observations of Eastern lore. In this context. conditioned conscious spirit. Even the connection with creative energy is actually remote in this text. pure primal spirit out of the profane. The taming of unruly consciousness is far from the introverted. imagines. he translates "the fire of spirit" as "spirit-fire" and equates it with Logos. and emotion are not destroyed in the earthly immortal ofTaoism. and he translates "the earth of attention" as ((thought-earth" arid equates it with intuition. imagining. dreams. dreaming. This is the very reason for the alchemy: to refine the sacred. Jung. and the spirit does not deserve the name of Logos yet. As for "spirit-fire" and Logos. include erotic feeling. in the sense of creative energy and erotic feeling. since the fire of spirit here just means awareness and does not at this point differentiate between the original spirit and the conscious spirit. however. Wilhelm translates c'the water of vitality" as "seed-water" and equates it with Eros. including what Jung called the unconscious). and emotes. this seems even less appropriate.80 In the real Goidm Flower teaching there is no suggestion of obliterating the conscious mind (which in this context means the mind that thinks. The sacred and the profane are mixed. rather they are brought under the dominion of their source of power and made into channels of its expression. The faculties of thinking. because the real meaning here is the sense of true knowledge of the original mind. This can be known from the symbolism of water as explained in the following text. Of these three.

In other texts this is called pure attention or true intent. 9.81 The earth of attention is translated by Wilhelm as ''thought-earth" and identified with intuition. :real knowledge and conscious knowledge. The "energy of the primal real unity" stands for the living flux of the perpetual cycles of natural evolution. If the focus of attention is itsel(already biased by the activity of an unruly consciousness. expresses the idea of the primal unityin these terms: "All beings are basically one form and one energy. intent. Since earth is the medium. are brought together in the medium of earth. and intuition in an attempt to convey the Chinese ideas to a Western audience. Form and energy are basically one spirit. primal unity and present awareness. Water and fire. then it may not be able to draw thiu consciousnessto an orderly reality of which it is as yet unconscious. but thought and intuition properly belong to the realm symbolized by fire. Change is therein. which means that it is innoc~nt of temporal conditioning. which stands for attention. wherein all beings and all things live in the lives of one another." The combination of water and fire in the medium of earth thus refers to experi~ en rial realization of the unity of being from a transcenden~ tal point ofview that is changeless itself yet accommodates all change. The Book ofBalame and Harmon:~J an ancient text of the Complete Reality school antedating the golden floWer ··dispensation by over four hundred years. Wilhelm used the terms Eros. or will. Logos. . 8. it must be purified before it can absorb the pure essences of water and fire to combine them. Spirit is basically utter openness. The 'Tho is basically ultimate non being. not t~at of earth. Here it is identified with the celestial mind. concentration.

" Based on this sort of translation. It is little wonder thatJung came to imagine.. mind) that is completely open and completely effective. Wilhelm translates zhixu zhiling zhi shen. through his own attempts at meditation. for example. Part. In the first section of this text. ln his introduction he deemphasizes the gender associations of yin and yang. Jung thought that the Chinese had no idea that they were discussing psychological phenomena. 10. Jung then proceeds to exaggerate this distortion even further in his .' as he wrote in his commentary to Wilhelm's version of The Secret of the Goldm Fkrwer.e. lt is wori:h noting in this connection that J ung also found late medieval baroque Christian alchemical books puzzling but did not openly accuse their authors Of having come upon their science through induction of aberrated mental states. He then tried to repsychologize the terminology. which means a spirit (i. that the Taoists had arrived at the entrance to the science of psychology "only through abnormal psychic states. The concepts of the higher and lower souls were among those that caught the special attention of Wilhelm and Jung in connection with their Christian backgrounds and interests. Wilhelm uses the term anima for lower soul and animus fur higher soul.ofthe problem seems to be that as a Christian he understood the Chinese word "spirit" to be as~ociated with either the divine or the supernatural. but in connection with the concept of the souls Wilhelm calls the anima feminine and the animus masculine. .82 but the assignments he made are largely subjective and arbitraryfrom the point of view of Chinese Taoist tradition. as "God of Utmost Emptiness and Life. but since he did not quite understand it to begin with he could not but wind up with a distortion in the end.

"Dissolving the lower soul" means detachment frOm t:he feeling ofphysical existence. there is no real lower soul that is in substance . In colloquial Chinese usage. None of this gets to the heart of the discussion of our text. As the text subsequently makes clear. The idea that the body is created by attention is typically Buddhist. 13. and thus interrupt the conditioned stream of consciousness. In this text. making it less sticky and more fluid. This passage connects the last three: the process Ofthe exercise is to turn attention around to the source of awareness to refine the higher soul. frOm the most exalted to the most profound. Therefore the text speaks of"interruptingconsciousness" in the sense of withdrawing attention from the feelirigof solidity in order to free it frOm the bonds of external influences. The purpose ofinterruptingthe stream of consciousness is described in the following passage. the srate of the lower soul (\\lhich includes visceral emotions) is subject to random environmental influences. This passage illustrates the Taoist awareness of the connection between waking and dreaming experience . The nine heavens and nii1e earths stand for the whole universe of experience. "liverand heart" means what is essentiaL In a human being.83 own disquisition on feminine and masculine psychologies. but it is also found in the schools ofTaoism influenced by Buddhism. thus preserve the spirit. the liver is associated with courage and conscience. the "lower soul" simply means the feeling of being a solid body physically present in a solidworld. 14. thus control the lower soul. II.• 12. unbounded by temporal events. As long as this feeling persists.

here expressed in the terminology of Taoism. refers to the process of development and maturation after awakening. 15. counteracts the tendency to dwell on objects or modifications of consciousness. "Concentrating the spirit on where the celestial mind rests when the embryo leaves the shell" is a typical Chan Buddhist formulation. The Northern Taoist master Liu 1-ming also uses the metaphor of the dung beetle in his Awakeni'fq to the TtUJ. 16." Taoists use a symbol from the I Ching known as heapen or the creative to represent what Chan Buddhists call the original face or the mind ground. it can be used to restore the original spirit to completeness. Here this is called "dissolving darkness and controlling the lower soul. a term frequently found in Chan. Nunuring the embryo. When energy is freed from obsessive clinging to the body or lower soul. The term embryo ofsage hood or embryonic enlightenment is very common in classical Chan Buddhist texts of the Tang and Sung dynasties. but a parallel idea occurs in certain pre-Chan Taoist scriptures. It seems to have passed into Complete Reality Taoism from Chan. Turning the light around.84 different from the higher soul. When the text says that other than turning the light around there is no special exercise for restoring this primal wholeness. They are both aspects of one spirit. artificially alienated by confusion. it confirms that the practice being taught is that of Northern Taoism as influenced by Chan Buddhism. or directing attention toward the source of awareness. where he uses it similarly to describe the creation of . The formation of the embryo represents the initial awakening of the mind. 17. and not the physiological energetics of Southern Taoism as influenced by Tantric Buddhism.

This passage shows that the division ofso~called higher and lower souls is regarded as not a primal metaphysical reality but a temporal psychic phenomenon. what are mythologically .with the lower soul and ordinary mind. from the point of view of the golden flower it must therefore be dassified. it is the basic experience of the Chan master or Taoist wizard who lives in the midst of the things of the world yet is free from bondage to them. Since }ling's «collective unconscious" still has form. 'Fhis contrasts with the limitation of awareness represented by the lower soul. but Jung himself appears to have become so involved in the discovery and discussion of the unconscious that he became attached to it and as a consequence was never able to experience the higher soul and open the golden flower. clear energy characteristic of the higher soul is <nbtained from cosmic space.85 the transcendent being by concentration of spirit: «rn the midst of ecstatic trance there is a point ofliving potential." it refers to the equanimous spacelike aWa. 19. Here life means spirit. his hope was to make this collsci()us in order to transcend it.reness taught in Chan Buddhism and Com~ plete Reality Taoism. According to Chan Buddhist psychology. His commentary on Wilhelm's translation bearswitness to this. Feeding on blood is emblematic of attachment to the body as self. and death means matter. coming into being from non being. mixed up in the objects of its perception. This spacelike awareness contains everything while resting on nothing. . When the text says that the light. as do his other writings on Eastern mysticism. car~ ried through the very portals ofphysicai·death. whereby the spiritual embryo tan be formed and the spiritual body be produced." 18.

transmitter of the classic Tao Te Chitig. "Our Way is like being in darkness. which is first produced by the exercise of turning the light around. 3. The period of a hundred days is commonly mentioned in Taoist texts as the length of time required to set up the . When this text speaks of a "coming together of kind. This refinement is the object of the practice of turning the light around taught in this Golden Flower text. 2. "Being within non being" refers to the presence of energy within the vastness of the mind merged with space. III." "Nonbeing within being" refers to a sense of openness and spaciousness in the midst of things. The "body beyond your body" refers to the hidden reserve of vital energy uncovered by the opening of the mind. Those in the light cannot see a single thing in the darkness. which is to perish and decay. A text known as The 11-ue Scriptttre ofWemhi says. 20.86 portrayed as experiences of hell after death are in facr manifestations of this attachment wrenching the heart as one is dying." it means that whatever attention is fixated on material things inevitably meets the fate of all material things. Turning the Light Around and ' Keeping to the Center l. whereas those who are in darkness can see everything in the light. This final passage again drives home the point that the lower soul has no independent existence but is just a conditioned modification of the original "unified awareness" and can therefore be changed and refined to a point at which it is also pragmaticaJiy no different from the higher soul. The 'Thoist adept Wenshi (Wen-shih) was believed to be a student ofLao-tzu.

Changsha. the criterion is the production of the effect.87 foundation by stabilizing the concentration of consciousness. "Positive light" means the creative energy in the original mind. self. present. Turning the light around is turning around the energy of creation· in that the total experience of the world depends upon the orientation of the mind. together with the sentient beings of the whole universe. The "eyes"ai:ethe two mainaspect. !always tell people that the Buddhas of past. so that it can be stabilized and mastered from within rather than controlled from without. All worlds in the ten directions are in the light of the self. 5. rivers. where do you placeit? Before the light radiates. 4. In all wor:ldsin the ten directions. This is called "conformity" because it happens as a matter of course when the mind is conditioned by things. The term firing process is also taken from Taoist spiritual alchemy and means the course of meditation work. and future. there is no one who is not oneself. "Running leakage" means that energy is wasted through involvement with objects.S of consciousness symbolized by sky :md light: formless awareness andawareness of form. is famous for saying. and lands?" This exercise stops random imagination and empties routine compulsion by stopping them at the source. symbolized by the firing or cooking of elixir to crysta!lize it into a pill.·~ worlds in theten directions are thdight of the. The . a distinguished Chan master of the ninth century. "Reversal" therefore means withdrawing energy from objects. are the light of great wisdom.The actualtime may naturally be different. Before the light radiates. there is not even a trace of Buddhas or sentient beings-'where do you find the mountains.

highly valued in the absence of expert teachers.88 teaching of Pure Land Buddhism expresses a similar experience by saying that one single-minded recollecrion of rhe Buddha of Infinite Light erases eighty eons of sins. both considered very old. The idea of a "netherworld" is not confined in this context to a state after death. Being rhythmical. these habits lose their power over the mind. breathing is thought of as going through four seasons with each breath. Here "conform1ty" is defined as pursuing objects. but srands for a condition of depletion in which there is no more creativity left and one lives through sheer force of habit. TheHeroic March Scripture is a Buddhist text that came into vogue among Chan contemplatives in the tenth or eleventh century. It has continued in popularity because of its detailed descriptions of meditation states. The idea is that habits of false thought exist only to the extent that they are continually tended. Deprived of center-stage attention. The former work is also attributed to the Yellow Emperor mentioned in the title of the larter. 6. 7. One of the founders of the Complete Reality school describes the intensification of time in the process of spiritual incubation in Taoist alchemy as the experience of the men tal equivalent of thirty-six thousand years within one year of concentration. and renewed. Eventually certain formulations of this scripture were also taken over by Taoisr yogis borrowing techniques from Buddhism. This legendary figure of high antiquity is one of the great cultural heroes of Taoism and Chinese culture in . groomed. The Yin Conmzence Classic (Yinfu ]ing) and the Plait: Q!astions of the Yelknv Emperor (HuangDi suwen jing) ·are Taoist texts. This represenrs a process of accelerated conscious evolution. 8.

It is common among Complete Reality Taoists to understand immortality as higher consciousnes. and Con~ fucianism. Nevertheless.easured in terrestrial time. One type ofTaoism) called the Huang-Lao teaching after the names of the mythical founders known as Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) and Lao-tzu) was ostensibly concerned with immortalism. the Complete Reality school of Taoism has taught that these three philooophies share a common essence.' andinhisintroductionhe notes thatTaoist organizations included not only Confucians. that "the light is neither inside nor outside rhe self. hardly be supposed that turning the light around is the same thing as introversion in the Jungian sense. 9. He absorbed himself in his own fantasyworld. . Wilhelm translates this passage. and Jews. From its very inception. Taoists. Note that here «longlife"and ''transcendence oflife" are presented as rooted in psychological experience.' it can.and. This was acceptedby Buddhists. especially the Chan contemplatives.s. The "three teachings" areTaoism. The . thoughtwere chara~teristic attitudes of Eastern and Western mentaliries .he imagined that the· Chinese Taoists did the same thing. the mental ease ~sul~ing ftom the experience of spiritual "immortality" is als() said to generally preserve and enhance physical health by freeing the individual from destructive streSs and tension. ·and Buddhists but also Muslims.with Ilo necessary relation to the)ongevi ty ()f the phy~ical· body as rn. but Confucians were averse to recognize any affinitywith Buddhism eVen as they absorbed Chan methodologyintotheir own studies. Buddhism. Since our textsays.. however.89 general. Jung used the concepts ofintraversioll and extroversion to describe what he. Christians. 10. "This is the common goal of all religions.

without anxiety or resentment when faced with danger or adversity. a compendium of all three teachings as they were practiced in the Completely Real school of Taoism. "What the· three teachings esteem is calm stability. unaffected by things. be receptive to all. earth is broad. Taoists. clear of volatility. and natural disasters. 11. says. free of agitation. The Book ofBalame and Harmony. illnesses. not angered by criticism. and neo-Confucians. assist those in peril and rescue thosein trouble. wherein he speaks of emulating heaven and earth: "If people can be open minded and magnanimous. docilely accepting all hardships. "Reversed gazing" means turning attention to the source of awareness." 12. give of themselves without seeking reward. it is one of the standard expressions of the golden flower technique. With the nobility of heaven and the humility of earth. with selfcontrol. When the human mind is calm and stable. humble.90 Chanfraoist meditative exercise of turning the light around does not make one oblivious of the external world. take picy on the old and the poor. nor does it by any means involve concern with images or fantasies that may occur to the mind. This is called being based on calm. and realize all as one. then people can be companions of earth. The state where "heaven isopen. ignoring insult. one joins in with the attributes of heaven and earth and extends to eternity with them. If people can be flexible and yielding. and all things are just as they are" is described in graphic detail by the nineteenth-century Completely Real Taoist master Liu 1-ming in his Awakeni'{q tv the TiW. never bear grudges. &aching tmvard knmv/edge is a special . look upon others and self impartially." 13. Quiet sitting was commonly practiced by Buddhists. it is merged in the celestial design. then people can be companions of heaven.

oism. There fOllow in Wilhelm's translation six paragraphs that are not in the Chinese text available to me. composed by the.D.the terms stoJr." 'This is not what the Buddhist tc:rin originally means. This recommendation of a popular Buddhist meditation gUidebook as a "touchstone'' illustrates the close relationship between Buddhist and 'Th." The terms mean stopping random thought and seeing successive layers of truth." misreading the verb )'Iiiii'. as Wilhelm translates. and he llliscoristrues.r ofTiantai Buddhism in the sixth century A.oist uses ofConfucian and Buddhist terms to be found in·the literature of syncretic schools such as that of the Golden Flower. Small StDJIPi"'f JUUl Seeing is a classic compendium of basic meditation techniques. fonnd~.oist contemplative practices of the time. 15. Their content marks them as interpolations or footnotes. Wilhelm does not translate: this passage. pi'I!J and seei1f!J as "fixating contemplation. 14. and this consciousnessaltering technique in Wilhelm's version is the subject of strong warnings in modem literature of the Completely Real school of'Th. Originally it meant attaining knowledge by assessment of things.91 Taoist usage of a Confucian term." There fOllows a passage (not in my Chinese text) interpreting "focus on the center" to mean.. "Focus on the center" is translated by Wilhelm as "the center in the midst of conditions. "focus. There are many examples of special 'Th." as the noun yuan. The presence of numerous such fraglllentary yOgic interpolations out of character with the overall teaching of . Here it is used to stand fOr the exercise of"tuming the light around" and reaching toward the source of knowing. "condition. "fixing one's thinking on the point which lies exactly between the two eyes. it is said to be very dangerous.

it cannot be mindlessly kept. yet so minute that it retreats into storage in secrecy." Liu also affirms the subclety of the center. if you keep it mindlessly. and the delicacy of the mental posrure of focus on the center. Look for it and you cannot St:e it. If you seek it . and not easy for them to know it. and Buddhas of all times are bom from this center." As to the center being the "mechanism of Creation.. while those who miss this are sunk fur eons. The immortality of the spirit of openness is the center containing essence and life. to which he denies any physical location as suggested by Wilhelm's version of the Go/Jen Flowertext. immortals. It cannot be consciously sought. Those who awaken to this immediately ascend to the ranks of sages... Setting up the foundation on the mysterious female is essence and life constiruting the center. Neither of these is the central way?' In IChi"'J MtuUJAJas Liu specifica!Jy repudiates interpretations in terms of yogic exercises such as that described in . those who loSe: this center are ordinary mortals." Liu says. who were devoted or addicted to altered states of consciousness. listen for it and you cannot hear it. quite possibly disaffected Confucians. you enter into empty silence. you fall into forms. All the sages. The mysterious female is essence and life. Try to grasp it and you cannot find it . Liu says: "It has no location.92 the text leads me to suspect that Wilhelm's text had been doctored by quasi-Taoist cultists. It is so vast that there is nothing outside it. The meaning of the "center" in the context of Complete Reality Taoism is more accurately defined by Liu I-ming in my I Chi"'J Ma""""'-r: "The spirit of openness is the center. consciously. Those who keep to this center are sages. no fixed pbsinon. "The center is the great root of the world. It is not easy for people to see this center.

" When the text says. "Nothing is gairied by pushing rdlec.:." 16. Wilhelm translates "need not" as "must not. When the text says." Wilhelm translates. because they miss the effective thrust of the text. some say it is in the middle of the space· between the kidneys and genitals. it would be impossible to attain the true effect of the practice following Wilhelm's version. emphasizing the dangers inherent in such practices: "Srudents everywhere are ignorant of just what this center is. "'Having looked for my mind. What he renders as "nothing is gained" is a very common Buddhist expression meaning"ungraspable. Not only will they not live eternally. they cling to points in this ephellleral body and call that keeping to the center and embracing the one. some say it is the center of the top of the head." it is referring to the time after the hundred days' work of setting up the foundation." These misconstructions thoroughly skew the meaning. they will even hasten death. Vainly hoping for eterriallife. Here and following.s text.' 'I have pacified your mind for . and ''cannot be grasped" as ''cannot be done.93 Wilhelm.' which is completely off the mark. ·where the text says "Push this inquiry on and. some say it is the region of the heart. This passage is seriously misconstrued in Wilhelm. tion funher. I realize it cannot be grasped. ori over and over until you realiZe it cannot be grasped. you don. is a method ofrurning the light around commonly practiced in later Chan Buddhism.s version. Investigating the locus of thought. some say it is the center of the forehead. "Hereafter. The point of the exercise is to experience the ungraspability of mind in itself. wheneverthoughts arise. some say it is the throat.t need to sit still as before.. during which the power of introspective concentration is stabili:red. Some say it is the center of the body. where it arises and passes away.

The content of the interpolated passages points to a fairly typical kind of cultism and mentions practices that are popular but dangerous. I realize it cannot be grasped." The seeker said. 17. It is worth reemphasizing this danger. which he treats as an addition separate from the main text. "I have pacified your mind for you. Wilhelm had apparently never read or heard this story. The Chan founder said. Turning the Light Around and Tuning the Breathing 1. for such practices are also found in other popular books on Taoism in English. Wilhelm's includes a rather long discourse on yogic technique.94 you."' it alludes to one of the most famous of Chan Buddhist stories." In many cases Wilhelm does not seem to have been able to decipher the text well enough even to discern where a sentence begins or ends. "Having looked for my mind." This illustrates the climax of the exercise of turning the light around. IV. "Bring me your mind and I will pacifY it for you. These exercises are in fact unnecessary for the practice of turning the light around as taught in the real golden flower docrrine. "Once you reach this ungraspability" is translated by Wilhelm as "That leads to no goal. without the warnings that accompany their mention in authentic Chinese Taoist books. The canonical Chinese text ends the section here. Chan Buddhism teaches that realization comes of itself and cannot be anticipated because it is not a product of subjec- . 18. A seeker asked the founder of Chan to pacifY his mind. He also translates "stopping" as "fixating." but fixation is definitely proscribed in the instructions ofthis very same text." The founder said.

95
tive imagination. Hopes and expectations on the part of the practitioner inhibit the spontaneous working of the potential that makes realization possible. 2. Oblivion anddistraction are commonly treated in Buddhist meditation manuals as the two main"sicknesses" to which meditators arc prone. Focusing the mind on the breathing is an ancient Buddhist practice that is especially popular among modern.:.day Zennists. Spirihm.l Akhemyfor Women, ·a late-nineteenth-century Taoist work, says, "In general, what is most essential at the beginning of this study is selfrefinement. Self-refinement is a matter of mind and breathing resting on each other. This means that rhe mind rests on the breathing and the breathing rests on the mind" (from Immortal Sisters).
. ..

3. Taoists and Buddhists both observe the intimate natural connection between breathing and mental state. When the mind is excited, the breathing accelerates; when the mind is calm, so is the breath; The practice of resting mind and breath on each other makes deliberate use of this relationship to calm the mind down and gradually bring it to a state of stillness. 4. "Inward breathing" is the rhythm of consciousness, "outward breathing" is the rhythm of respiration. Taoists and Buddhists both use the image of "leaking" to represent the loss of energy through random mental activity and its corresponding physical unrest. Buddhas and Taoist immortals are described as having "put an end to leakage." 5. Taoist and Buddhist texts describe many manifestations of human tendencies toward polarization and extremism. These include notices of people trying to Stop thinking completely, believing this to be the goal of meditation

96
practice. In Taoist literature there is also mention of people who even try to stop breathing. The idea of"making the affliction itself into medicine'' is characteristically Buddhist, also described in later Taoist literature as "temporarily using things of the world to cultivate principles of the Way." 6. Here the "light of the eyes" refers to awareness of the world at large, while the "light of the ears" refers to fOrmless inner awareness. Here again the text makes it dear that there is no real boundary or difference between inside and outside: "They have the same source, but different names'' (7Jw Te Ching). The practice of"turning back to the nature of hearing," which is one way of turning the light around, comes from the Heroic March &ripture, a Buddhist text popular among latter-day Chan Buddhist contemplatives and figuring prominently in the technical procedures outlined in the Golden Flower text.

7. To "let go" is to free the mind from entanglement in objects, but to "let go absolutely" is to fall into oblivion. Again the balance of"stopping" and "seeing" is critical to the success of the exercise. 8. Taoist texts distinguish severaJ levels of~finement according to sound, but soundless breathing is considered best of all. Six audible breaths are used for healing, while silent breathing is used for quiet meditation. Since mental silence is considered the best hygiene as well as the best curative, soundlessly subtle breathing is generally considered very important for both mental and physical aspects ofTaoist practice. 9. The term true breathing is variously defined in Taoist literature; sometimes it is represented as respiration that is so subtle that it is completely unnoticeable, sometimes it is

97
represented as the inner rhythm of awareness ordinarily obscured by the coarseness of thinking. 10. This passage' makes it clearthat practice of resting mind and breathing on each other is justa starting point. Such concentration exercises are only temporary expedients, but · cultists sometimes perform them routinely for years on end; A famous Chan poem says, "When the wine is always sweet, it lays out the guests;' meaning that overindulgence in concentration and.consequent addiction to cahnness can actually incapaCitate the individual for further · development.

ll, The Book ofBalllnce tmd Harmony says, "By keeping energy complete you can nurtUre the mind. To keep energy complete first requires that the mind be dear and cahn. When clear and cahn, there are no thoughts, so energy is complete."

12.-13. The metaphor of the hen incubating an egg is commonly used in Chan Buddhism to represent continuous attention.

14. The Book ofBalance tmd Hamwny says, "Of old it has been
said, always extinguish the stirring mind, don't extinguish the shining mind. The unstirring mind is the shining mind, the mind that does not stop is the wand~ring mind?'

16.-20. It is so much easier to notice distraction when sitting
quietly than when engaged in activity that people often feel their minds to be more scattered than usual when they begin to sit quietly. Oblivion is a much more difficult problem, not only because of its nature as unawareness but also because contemplatives are ofu:n unconsciously attracted to it. Distraction, in contrast, is so annoying that it naturally provokes the desire to overcome it. Therefore Thoism traditionally emphasizes the importance ofusing

Not looking or listening does not not seeing or hearing. Errors in Turning the Light Around 1. The text again makes it clear that this is not introversion as understood by Jungian psychology. from which standpoint it is easy to f. In partirular. It is a matter of being spontaneous rather than contrived. instituted during the Middle Ages to cope with large numbers of monastic inmates who had entered Zen orders for economic or sociological reasons. Fixing the length of time for meditation can have negative effi:cts. but in the golden flower teaching quality is the foremost consideration. the establishment of fixed periods of sitting meditation was originally a matter of discipline. Japanese Zennists and their Western imitators often seem to think of sitting meditation in quantitative terms. as Jung seemed to think. "There are many pitf. The cliff of withered trees stands for a state of nonthinking quiescence.-27. Wilhelm translates "in front of the cliff of withered trees" as "before you reach the condition where you sit like a withered tree before a cliff." This may give the .ills in front of the cliff of withered trees" is an adaptation of a Chan Buddhist saying. According to National reacher Muso Soseki.ng imo either extreme. mean· V.98 both stillness and movement in developmental exercises. 28.ill unawares into deviations. to avoid &lli. one of the early greats of Japanese Zen. turning what is supposed to be a liberative technique into an automatizing ritual. 23. paragraph 27 shows that thi'> practice is not a matter of attention to subconscious mental activity.

The idea of"purposelessriess~ seems to have appealed to C. 2.be concentrated on the right procedure. "Don't sit inside nothingneSs or indifierence" is a c01nmonChanBuddhist expression. "letting go"' is not to be exaggerated irito oblivion. Chan Buddhism tended to become increasingly simplistic as time went on." which is in a sense antithetical to the actual meaning of the expression. G." This is a misread. This passage combines Taoist arid Chan Buddhist w:imings against quietism. "Nor must the thoughts . but the Taoist text means no such thing. Jung insofar as he rebelled against the materialistic interpretation of pragmatism characteristic of his own culture.. and it was generally not systematized to the same degree as Taoist alchemy. and a misleading idea.99 misleading impression that the "withered tree" condition is the goal. The parenthetical cominents in my translation also notes in the original text. This is another caution against quietism or nihilism. thus retarding progress. 5. Wilhelm translates." It is not clear what he thought this meant. Thm was also a traditional reluctance in Chan Buddhism to speak much about psychic states. Wilhelm misconstrues it as "One must not sit down (to meditate) in the midst of frivolous affitirs. ing of the words. "You can get it by intent that is not willful"' is translated by Wilhelm as "If one can attain purposelessness through purpose. since this agitates the mind and stimulates subjoctive1'rojections. 6. The Buddhist term neutmJVoidnesr is insetted in a note in the original text. an: . 4. Both Completely Real Taoism and Chan Buddhism commonly Warn against becoming enthusiastic or excited in anticipating ~pe~ences in meditation.

This tended to skew his interpretations of fantasies and led him to imagine that golden flower meditation is culture-bound in spite of his beliefin universal archetypes. 9. People who enter into contemplative practices without this sort of theoretical preparation are easily deluded by unusual psychic experiences. himself a prime model of this. As ever. where material and psychological illusions take charge. This was unfortunate for Jung. one should not become senseless. but . Wilhelm translates "the realms ofform and desire" (a Buddhist term) as "the warld ofilh. 8. Jung. 10. nevertheless it is tempting to speculate on whatwould have happened had there been an accurate version of the text · available to him. Wilhelm's rendition of this passage is also murky. who showed a marked inability to distinguish between the realm of form and the realm of desire. who in his meditative fantasies quite evidently did "fall into the elements of body and mind. "Loose ends" tend to come up "for no apparent reason" in quietude because of heightened awareness and lowered inhibitions.100 7. yet neither should one pursue objects." This f." Again this was unfortunate for Jung. This passage is added to balance the foregoing warning about becoming deadened through malpractice.alse belief may be attributed partly to Wilhelm's inexpert translation of the text.largely because ofthe use of a numberofBuddhist terms that he did not understand." Although Jung admits that he never fOllowed the directions of the Golden Flower (which may be just as well considering the quality of the translation). balance in the center is the keynote.lsciry desires. projected his imaginations on Taoism and thus believed that the teaching of the golden flower came from "abnormal psychic states.

Zhang Boduan (Chang Po-tu an). the bones and circulatory system are like when &st asleep. it is a matter not of"the Chinese psyche"in general. but of the faculties and capacities of the individual. Wilhelm mistranslates "cannot be undergone responsibly by people with small faculties and small capacities" as "one must not conti:ntoheselfwith small demands. fuunder of the Southern School of Completely Real Taoism." for the careless arrogance of his essays on the Golden Flower hindered him. wrote of similar experience in his Introdliction tiJ Akhemy: "The pores are like after a bath. the vitality and spirit are like husband arid wife in blissful embrace. VI. ]ling would also have done wellto observe the warning of the text that ''you cannot handle attainment with a careless or:ll"r<lgaht attitude. 2. a completely assured method of attaining definite psychic experiences is available.101 it also seems to be due in large measure to Jung's own arbitrary ideas and personalistic interpretations. Authenticating Experiences ofTurning the Light Around 1.·the earthly and heavenly souls are like child and mother remembering their love. A more accurate reading of the text would have clarified Wilhelm'sconfusion on this point." a ." The question of capacity is extremely important in the teaching and practice of Taoist alchemy." If the expression ''definite . In his introduction to the text.psychic experiences" is supposed to mean authentic realization of the golden flower awakening. from a more serious and sober investigation of Taoism as much as did lack of resources. this statement would seem absurd in the context ofBuddhism and Thoism. Wilhelm asserts that "asfar as the Chinese psyche is concerned.

The Vimalizati<m Scn'pture is a popular Pure Land Buddhist text. mind makes Buddha. 5. The Visualization Scriptttre itself says. even without physical exercise. The "filling of the body" with stored energy is said to be sufficient in itself to preserve health and well-being. Both are common metaphors in Taoism and Chan Buddhism. 7." Wilhelm translates ''the spirit enters into a state of open~ ness" as "the gods are in the valley:' giving the text a primitive polytheistic sound that is not there at all in the original. for mind is Buddha. This passage refers to the refinement of sensory experience realized through the golden flower practice. . provides numerous instances of Chan Buddhist sayings borrowed by Taoist yogis and given esoteric interpretations in terms of Taoist energy work. the Guan Wuliangshou jing (Scripture on visualization of infinite life). you are seeing your own mind. some of them more plausible than others. 4. 6. The Buddha on the terrace of enlightenment is the essence of one's own mind. "never taken psychologically. The Ht~i MingChing) a small fragment of which is included in the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the Golden Flower. There are many examples of Taoists borrowing and reinterpreting Buddhist symbolism." Nothing could be further from the truth. It was evidently on the basis of this sort of mistranslation that Jung came to the conclusion that the concepts of Chinese philosophy are.102 3. "Myriad pipes arc all silent" refers to a mental state of profound quietude. "rhe bright moon is in mid sky" refers to clear awareness within stillness. as he said. "Red blood becoming milk" is a common Taoist symbol of the sublimation of passion. "When you see Buddha. "Higher good is like water" comes from the Tao Te Ching.

and suffusion with light. One strums a brocade lute amidst the flowers. (from Immortn. concluded her classic collection of poems with this verse on "flying": At the right time. Chan Buddhists tend to downplay the feelings of such experiences as remoteness. one of the great female adepts ofCompletely Real Taoism. found it a fitmetaphor for one oftheir experiences in quiet meditation. his attempts to interpret them psychologically were based on his own imaginations and noton the real meanings of the ideas as they are understood by Taoists themselves. Sun Bu-er." 9.l Sisters) . 8. The gold boy offers a scarlet peach. "The empty room producing light" is an expression from the famous ancient Taoist Classic Chuang-tztt. The other is that the impression they nevertheless create on the mind can be so strong that "the spoils of war are lost through celebration. who . The image of ascent is ofren used ill Taoist literature. One day immortal and mortal are separated. This is one of the quotations from that classic commonly used by practitioners of the Complete Reality school ofTaoism. but since he did not understand the original Taoist concepts to begin with. just out of the valley You rise lightly into the spiritual firmament. And you coolly cross the ocean.103 As a result of his misconception about the nature ofTaoist practical philosophy.Jung thought that he himself was a pioneer in psychological interpretation. One plays jewel pipes under the moon. for two main reasons. The jade girl rides a blue phoenix. One is that such experiences are just signals of something and not goals in· themselves. clarity.

flying into the pure realm of true yang. "When yin and yang combine into one. 13. clean and bare. the path develops and the positive energy gradually grows." Liu 1-ming explains. they know for themselves whether it is cool or warm" is a common Chan Buddhist expression used to illustrate the fact that there is no way to communicate or understand realization of spiritual awakening except by one's own personal experience. Liu 1-ming explains. they immediately become immortals." . A bead of gold elixir hangs in the center of vast space. "When people drink water. When people ingest a grain of this elixir. 11. unobstructed in all directions. Zhang Boduan (Chang Po-tuan). from vagueness to clarity" is an often-quoted line from Four Hundnd Wonir on the Gold Elixir. It does not literally m~an there is the form of gfains" (The Inner Tmchi'!!]S of Taoism). "Truly it is said of a grain of the gold elixir that a snake that swallows it is immediately transfOrmed into a dragon and a chicken that eats it is then changed into a phoenix. lighting up the universe to view. "A grain. This passage refers to a more complete manual by the same author known as Great Stopping and Seeing. '"Grain after grain' means that when the basis is established. 12. The Buddhist meditation manual known as Small Stqpping and Seeing was mentioned earlier. and then another grain. Chang Po-tuan also writes. the innate knowledge and capacity which had been about to fade away in people is round and bright. In his classic Undentanding &ality.104 10. the celestial order is clearly revealed. a short work by the founder of the Southern School ofCoinpletely Real Taoism.

" l. able to engage in ordinary activitieS without getting stuck oil things~ 3.105 VII. and many Western Zenriists following latter-day Japanese schools have there. who "hide their light" according to classical recommendations. the mind becomes increasingly fiuid and buoyant. is one that is efficiendy adapted to individual needs and in regrated in to everyday life. "You need not give up your normal occupation." According to his own writing." According to his own reports.:. 2. The keynote of this passage is "not sticking to any image bf person or self at all. Jung was fascinated by the images that came to mind when he tried to meditate according to his owil method. The Living Method of Turning the Light Around A "living method. fore come to believe that Zen has traditionally been a primarily mona5tic movement. Chan Buddhist proverb say5. Jungwasofthe opinion that yoga practice needs an ecclesiastical setting. "Study the living word. A "dead methoo" is one that is performc:d mechaniCally as an automatic routine. As the formlesspractic~ oftumingthe light around is repeated in the midst of everyday aahlrs. The fact that ecclesiastical operations generally Call more attention to themselves than individual practitioners. which he apparendy believed to· be similar to that of the golden Bower. Inasmuch as this sort of preoccupation is rigorously proscribed in Taoist meditation texts. not the dead word. has given Westerners the false impression that monasticism represented the mainstrearll of Eastern spiritual practice. Some professional Japanese Zennists also share this belief. it is no wonder at all .

" which is not only technically incorrect but potentially dangerous. or a secret teaching.106 that Jung's work shows no indication that he really experienced anything like the golden flower awakening. "Turning the light around wherever you are" is translated by Wilhelm as "circulation of the light arising out of circumstances. Then again." is the title of the opening chapter of Chutmg-tzu. ." this expression. it was not unusual for people ofhis time to expect Eastern ideas to be exotic and mysterious. it becomes easier if a quiet time is set aside early in the morning to refresh and orient the mind in turning the light around. Although the practice lacks power if it cannot be carried out in the midst of activity. "If you can look back again and again into the source of mind. The word translated as "magic spell" actually means a spoken teaching. which literally means "roaming" and really means "freedom of action." This small misreading of the words is greatly misleading if it means that the practice depends on circumstances. It also comes to mean "secret" in the everyday how-to sense of what is essential for success in accomplishing something. VIII. experientially proving the efficacy of the practice. As fOr "the far journey. 4. one of the most popular Taoist classics. whatever you are doing" is rendered by Wilhelm as "When in ordinary life one has the ability always to react to things by reflexes only. The Secret of Freedom Wilhelm translates the title of this section as ''A Magic Spell for the Far Journey." He tends to read weird and superstitious ideas into the text. "The realized ones in Heaven will surely come to attest to your experience" means that higher or more refined levels of awareness become accessible to consciousness.

107 l. Why don't you plant it in the vast plain of the homeland of Nothing Whatsoever. roaming in effortlessness by its side and sleeping in freedom beneath it? The re~n it does not f. ignoring insult. and no one injures it." which are said to be realms of higher awareness to which Taoist adepts and immortals ascend. then people can be companions of eanh" (Awakening to the 11w). this is like the metaphor of 'white light arising in the empty room. 2.'"That this white snow flies in "midsummer" means that it is manifested in the "fire" of consciousness. ''water" stands for real knowledge hidden within. "The homeland of nothing whatsoever" is another expression from the Taoist classicChuang-tzu: It appears at the end of the first chapter. "White snow symbolizes the energy of the primordial unity." after which this section of the Golden F/Qwertext isnamed: in the ancient classic. The "sun blazing" symbolizes positive energy. "Now you have a huge tree and worry that it is useless. "If people can be flexible and yielding. cleared of all volatility. humble. illnesses. So what's the trouble?" . Liu I-ming says. Jadelike purity is one of the "three purities.ill to the axe. Therefore ''the sun blazing in the water at midnight" means the emergence of the positive energy of real knowledge from the depths of qui erode. utterly without anxiety or resentment when faced with danger or adversity. According to Liu 1-ming. and natwal disasters. the philosopher Chuang-tzu says. not angered by criticism. docilely accepting all hardships. entirely free of agitation. with self-control. and "midnight" represents profound stillness. The recepti-Pe is the I Ching symbol for mother earth. "Freedom. Thus they are representative of sources of inspiration for latter-day Taoist texts received through mediums in trance. is that it cannot be used.

but is the formless. This true sense is outwardly dark but inwardlybright.• not real emptiness as understood ~d experienced in Buddhism and Completely Real Taoism. it is also c<lued metal within water" (The Inner Teachings of Taoism). by which self-mastery and autonomy are attained. immaterial true sense of real knowledge in the human body. Wilhelm renders "indifferent emptiness" as "numbing emptiness.• which could be right except for the impression it conveys that "emptiness" is itself"numb· ing. able to stop internal aberrations. what is called true lead here is not ordinary material lead. lasts long without disintegrating. 6. it is also called the golden flower~ Because it is the pivot of creation. Because its light illumines myriad existents. it is also called the North Star. "To act purposefully without striving" is translated by Wilhelm as "action through non-action..108 3. acquaintance with Buddhist thought would have helped Wilhelm to understand the point of this passage. able to ward off eJiternal afiliedohs. Here again. It is symbolized by lead and so is called the true lead . The "center" is explained in the notes to paragraph 15 of Section III. strong and unbending. The alchemical symbol of metal or lead is explained by Liu 1-ming in his commentary on Chang Po-tuan's R>ur Hu7zdml Wonis on the Gold Elixir in these terms: "Lead is dense and heavy. The "lower two passes" are the first two stages of a tradi- .." It is not certain what he meant by this.'' This expression should rather be rendered as «numb emptiness. 5. The "handle of the stars" refers to the crux or key of awareness. the "two eyes" are explained in the notes to paragraph 4 of Section III. Because itconceals light within darkness. 4.." Only "numb emptiness" is «numbing. hard and strong.

" and "refining energy into spirit?' The "upper pass" is the stage of"refining spirit into openness. To "control the inside from the outside" means to reach deliberately for this real knowledge and stabilize its connection with consciousness. particularly from this passage onward. This refers to the mind as it is in its pristine State unaffected by temporal conditioning. the "chamber of waur" means the lower abdomen. To "control the outside frOm the inside'. is more thickly veiled than ever in the garb of Taoist alchemical language. I have italicized water because it stands for one of the main signs . means to be rooted in real knowledge and thereby spont~neously control the activity of the conscious mind. In terms of energetics. the "chamber of waur" refers to the true sense of real knowledge hidden within temporal conditioning. orin purely spiritual terms characteristic of Chan Buddhism and the Northern School ofCornplete R. 7. the "inside" is the "true sense of real knowledge" hidden below. where energy is built up for circulation. The "outside" is surface consciousness. This section of the text. The "master" is the true sense of real knowledge. Here the meaning becomes ambiguous in the sense that it can be interpreted in· terms of the waterwheel exercise of Taoist energetics so popular in the SOuthern School of Complete Reality. in the sense that knowledge comes spontaneously through elevation of consciousness rather than by formal learning. 9. the "assistant" is the conscious mind. The ~lestial mind is a Taoistterm for what Chan Buddhists call the original mind." At this point "Heaven directly divulges the unsurpassed doctrine'. 8.ealityTaoism.109 tiona! formulation of Taoist spiritual alchemy: "refining vitality into energy. In spiritual terms.

or celestial nature of the "light" that the text emphasizes. In this case. consists of three positive lines. 11. The movement of creative energy hecomes ''traceless" at1d "indiscernible" in the sense that the ecstasy accompanying the initial mating of consciousness and the true sense of real knowledge later subsides in favor of a more subtle experience. Wilhelm renders "the positivity in water}) as "the polarized light-line of the Abysmal. The joining of the positive energy in water and the creative means the reuniting of conscious knowledge and real knowledge. this represents the primal hidden within the temporal. "Living midnight" is a Taoist term for a state of profound mental stillness and guierude that is nevertheless pregnant with primal energy. creativity. the negative line represents temporal conditioning ruling consciousness. The I Ching sign for . 10.' which is not very meaningful and certainly does not convey the sense of the positivity. which again may be interpreted psychophysiologicall)' or spiritually. consists of two positive Jines surrounding a negative line. Fire is in substance the creative in the sense that consciousness is itself enlightenment. The sign tor the creative) which represents the enlightened mind. 12. 14. "Negative energy stops" because. 13.the exercise ofturning the light around vitiates the power of conditioned thought habits. preceding the "dawn" of resurgent . The "basic chamber" is the center.fire) which represents consciousness.110 of the I Chitzg) consisting of one solid (positivt:) line surrounded by two broken (negative) lines: in Taoist alchemy. but this is not realized because of the influence of mundane conditioning.

They can also be expressed as the points of shift from passivity to activity and from activity to passivity. If it is not gathered.' which is an extremely common expression in this sort of Taoist literature. Focusing on the crown of the head is a method of enhancing alertness (to prevent quiet stillness from slipping into oblivion) and is only for temporary use at appropriate times. the energy of the initial stirring of the "celestial mind" of unconditioned awareness is fostered until it becomes complete awakening. this means that the mundane conditioning of the "humann1entality" comes to govern the whole mind and is consequently mistaken for the self. as ''the time when the child comes to life. «the chamber of the cnative''is the head: energy is drawn by attention upward from the lower torso (the chamber of water) through the spine and into the head. In Thoist energetics. In purely spiritual Taoism. 17. In Taoist terms. 16. the positive creative energy of unconditioned primal awareness must be consciously "culled" or "gathered" when it emerges from the shrouds of unconsciousness. as symbolized by the creative. The restless "human mind" is stilled so that the clear "celestial mind" may come to light.light. The images of the master becoming a servant and taking the servant for the master are common in Chan Buddhism. Wilhelm translates "living midnight." 15. 18. The root ofheaven and moon cavern are alchemical terms for · the movement of energy emerging from stillness and rerurning to stillness. . or if it is gathered too late. In alchemical language. the positive energy is ineffective and mundane conditioning reaSserts its power.

not essential action?' This means that one should learn to act objectively.-25. In energetics. 20. smelling. this means that heightened awareness is centered to keep the mind from floating off into utter abstraction. "One moves the movement and forgets the movec~ction . 26. Wilhelm translates. caused by momentum is raridom action. or a total of nine. In spiritual practice. Paragraphs 21 to 23 describe three levels of profundity in experience of the same exercise. the "yellow court" is the middle of the body. feeling. hearing. paragraph 25 illustrates their interpenetration. The "interval of a world cycle" means the interval between stirring of mind and return to quiescence. each also containing three. where the energy is conducted after passing through the head. and thinking. but all are obj ectively of the same source. derives from the teaching of the ninth~century Chari i. stages. 21. both mental and physical.112 19. 27. This scheme of three stages. The three and nine stages are spoken of in relation to the subjective experience of the practitioner. The six senses are the faculties ofseeing. In Chan Buddhism this experience is described in terms of "melting" or "unlocking" to indicate a transition from bondage to freedom. practiced by Taoists to restore and preserve spirit and energy.nasterLinji. who was regarded as the founder of virtuallyall the lines of Chan Buddhism extant at the time of the writing of The Secret of the Golden Flower. Not using the six senses is believed to be the most excellent form of hygiene.. tasting. first quieting the mind so as to be able to act from a state of cool clarity rather than by impulse.

" Neither of these expre.. 28. 30. this is not movement in itself. and change: the yin in the innards of the palace offin. Desire>as considering things to exist or desire as being possessive toward things are typically Buddhist definitions. ''This does not contrast the action of Heaven to the nature of Heaven" in that it does not consider stillness superior to action.fin is understood as "falseyin.113 ment. which says. Wilhelm translates "spontaneous attention'i as "a movement without purpose. 31. 29. The operation referred to as "taking from water to fill infirtl' consists of replacing the negative line (temporal col1ditioning) inside fin (wnsciousness) with the positive line (real knowledge) inside ·wtmr· (the depths of the unconscious).. Here it is understood as "true yin." Liu 1-ming . In paragraph lOofthis section." It is not clear what he thought this might have meant. both action and stillness are part of the total enlightenment as long as they proceed from the primal unconditioned source of mind ratherthan from temporal habit ." which means calmness.· From this transformation comes the sound body of htm~m (the ~)-to lie hidden or to fty and leap is all up to the mind. Desire as thought that is out of place and based on ulterior motives is a typical neo-Confucian definition. This formula comes from the alchemical classic Undmtmuling Radity. "Take the solid in the heart of the position of lMm. the yin line inside the sym" bOl of.Ssions hits the mark.' which means mundane conditioning. but from the point of vieW ofcross<ultural studies it is significant to take note of them as reflections of standard misconceptions of Eastern mysticism.' and "acting without striving" as "action through non-action.

also a key alchemical term. The sixth patriarch of Chan Buddhism is said to ·~ctivating . Here it means the use of focused consciousness to gain access to real knowledge hidden in the unconscious. recovering your original nature of innate knowledge and innate capacity. Take out the reality-knowing mind of 'Tho that has fallen into water and with it replace the consciously knowing mind in the palace of fire. 36.ive discrimination. sensitive and effective yet tranquil and undisturbed. the yin in the innards of the palace of.. and you will again see the original face of ht#Pen." &thi~ is 35.ftn is the conscious knowledge of the human mind. The "breeze of wind" symbolizes gradual penetration through fOllowing an initiatory process.114 explains.dual method "bathing" means "being suffused with harmonious energy. oflJ4Jim&e 11nd HRmwny. tranquil and unperturbed yet sensitive and effective. the mind without dwelling on anything" is a famous line from the popular Buddhist Diamond Cuttzr Scripture. In a short time the yin (temporal) energy will dissolve and the yang (primal) energy will return. "Nurturing the fire" means developing consciousness by calm and flexible receptivity.' while in the very highest type of alchemy it means "cleaning the mind. ''The infinite" is a Taoist and nco-Confucian term for the state of awareness prior to discur. The Great Learning) and is commonly employed in later Taoist alchemical texts. The expression "stopping at ultimate good" comes from the ancient Confucian classic DRxue ('IR Hsueh. 34." 32. According to The Book in the higher type of grn. 33. "The solid in the heart of the position of 1PIIIzr is the real knowledge in the mind ofTao.

learning Buddhism is meditation plunging into openness. . In the beginning of Section VI it says that in order to develop the capacity to undergo the experience of the golden £lower awakening responsibly it is necessary to will the liberation of aU beings." It is likely that Jungderived some of his more bizarre ideas about Eastern philOsophy from just such mistranslat:ions as this one. and the center" is a fundamental meditative exercise ofTiantai (f'ient'ai) Buddhism. as "furever dwelling in purposelessness. "Contemplating emptiness. nevertheless the meaning does come through there. Again Wilhelm shows virtually comjJlete ignorance of Buddhism in any context but standard Westem cliche." The Boolt of&lima 111111 Hamumy says. Throughout all time. Buddhism." 37. apparently it slipped his mind when he came to this section.. The tenn ~n(unminding) is a common Chan Buddhist expression. selBessness in openness clarities the celestial design. Confucianism -all simply transmit one openness. As fur "effecting openness.115 have become enlightened on hearing this line of scripture being recited as he was passing through a marketplace." In reality. those who have transcended have done the work from within openness. Openness and sincerity are the essence of alchemy. Although Wilhelm translates that pan somewhat clumsily. the conditional. translating "the conditional" as "delusion. 38. delusion means to mistake the conditional fur a fixed or independent reality in itself. the conditional per se is not delusion. "laoism. and as fur learning the affairs of Confucian sages. Again Wilhelm proposes a misleading translation: "to be unminding in all situations" he render. so the very idea of"purposelessness" is incompatible with this practice.

In Tiantai Buddhism: the accomplishment of this practice is called "three insights in one mind." 46.. This means that the true sense of real knowledge.is vitality.ter. which in ordinary people falls into abeyance in the unconscious.-43. The white of the moon is true yang within true yin. 45. by realization of fluidity the mind transcends attachment to conditional things. flexibility within firmness. There is a strong tendency to place great emphasis on the data of sight in everyday life. they are the same as true awakening. "The six senses aren't bad. The third patriarch of Chan Buddhism wrote.116 39. 47. so the text makes it clear that all the faculties of sense and perception are channels of enlightened awareness. The darkness in the sun is true yin within true yang. one attains a harmonious unity of freedom and responsibility. According to this way of meditation. Here "the two eyes" is meant literally." 44. 48. Alchemists sometimes say that Buddhism starts with fire while Taoism starts with Jm. Paragraphs 39 to 43 present what may be the simplest and most concise statement of this Tiantai Buddhist practice to be found anywhere: the point is to achieve a state of centered mental poise wherein both the fluidity and factuality of phenomena are evident to the mind without either exerting an overwhelming influence toward bias. 49. . must be "resurrected" by consciousness through the exercise of deliberate attention. firmness within flexibility. A verse in the alchemical classic Underst:andi'!!J R£4/ity says. by realization of factuality the mind transcends attachment to emptiness. ~a. Fire is spirit. By realization of the center.

which repeatedly reviews fundamental theory and praxis as it develops the details of their experiential implica~ tions. because he considers them of"inferior quality. Setting Up the Foundation in a Hundred Days This and the foUowing three sections. this is in fact a general characteristic of the whole· text. "Intercourse" and "formation ofthe embryo" are standard alchemical images.' and "wisdom. Chang Po-tuan's classic Rmr Hundred Wonlr on the Gold Elixir says. It may be that the difficulty ofthese sections. The practice of one hundred days setting up the foundation to stabilize consciousness is common in Taoist alchemy. 1. comprising the rest of the text as it is found inthe canonical version on which the present translation is ba5ed. "When husband and wife mate." 2.117 "The sun. While it istrue that these last four chapters go back to basics again and again." He does not explain. In a year . turns out to be a man. which contain relatively high concentrations of Buddhist andTaoist technical terms. the basis of this evaluation. discouraged Wilhelm from attempting to translate them. are entirely omitted by Wilhelm in his rendition. in the position offire) turns into a woman. There are a number of scriptures with the generic Mind Seal title in the Taoist canon." IX. clouds and rain funn in the secret room. not the refined consciousness referred to by the terms "spirit:' "essence. Here when the text says "you are stiU working with the light of the eyes:' this means that at the outset a practitioner is using ordinary consciousness. water. in the moon palace. however.

this is the 'wife. Chang Po-tuan writes. yin being without the balance of yang. "Our real knowledge is yang within yin. this is the 'husband. the wife does not see the husband.' After the primal yang in people culminates. this is immediately a misleading path. the husband loves the wife and the wife loves the husband. acquired conditioning takes over affitirs. In his classic Understanding &ality. When the text says that "if you entertain any conceptual view at all.118 they give birth to a child. conscious knowledge. "Developed people. so the primal energy comes forth from within nothingness and congeals into the spiritual embryo" (The Inner Teachings of Taoism). "Changing hours for days is the pattern of the spiritual work. Though one may have conscious knowledge. Intense condensation of experiential time is also characteristic of mental concentration in the alchemical process. and the real gets lost outside." Liu 1-ming explains." Liu 1-ming explains.' this means that conceptual views are products of the temporally conditioned consciousness and thus deviate attention from the primal essence of consciousness. and taken into the privacy of the secret room. real knowledge. Generally speaking. emulating the image of the sun and moon . references to points or periods of time in alchemical literature refer not to clock or calendar time but to psychological time." 3. is recognized and called back home to meet the wife. this consciousness has fulsehood in it. as though it lived in another house and did not belong to oneself.' Our conscious knowledge is yin within yang. Chan Buddhism is well known for insistence on detachment from conceptual views in order to "perceive essence and at:tain Buddhahood. If the husband. husband and wife mate. sense and essence combine. and each rides on a crane.

place thirty days within one day. Because "seeing essence" can give a fulse sense of confidence before the union of conscious knowledge and real knowledge is matured. "First awaken on your own. This is one of the most important functions of a guide. This may require a period of special effort. represented by the hundred days setting up the foundation. and purge conscious knowledge by real knowledge. then sec someone else. The classical statement of this principle in Chan Buddhism says. produce real knowledge by conscious knowledge. enlightened guidance is needed." 4. use the mind of Tao to govern the human mind. they gather the undifferentiated primal energy for the mother of the elixir. they use the human mind to produce the mind of Tao. . Empowerment refers to the stabilization of the higher consciousness so that one can turn the light around at will in any and ali circumstances. and follow the spiritual mechanism of the transformations of yin and yang as the firing process. 5. After "seeing essence" is attained. it then becomes a means rather than an end: a means offreeing mental energyfor further development. "seeing essence:' directly experiencing the essence of consciousness in itself.meeting." Here the text says ''everything that emerges naturally from essence is rested" in the sense that it is necessary to examine the subsequent activity of consciousness for remaining taints of compulsive mental habit ruled by mundane conditioning. In both Chan Buddhism and the Northern School of Completely Real Taoism. is temporarily set up as an aim for those who are bound up in the products of consciousness and thereby alienated from its essence. and also place one day within one hour: in one hour activating strong energy.

it is just because they have been giving their recognition to the conscious spirit all along: this is the root ofbeginningless eons of birth and death." It is unfortunate that Wilhelm did not translate this tenth section. If the practice of "turning the light around" is carried on only in specific . 1." An ofren-quoted classic verse on this subject by the great ninth-century Chan master Changsha clearly defines the central importance of the distinction between the "light of consciousness" and the "light of essence" in these tenns: "When people who study the Way do not know reality. "Only the true essence of the original spirit transcends the primal organization and is above it. Jung's confusion on this point is evident throughout his commentary on the Golden Fluwer and otber rexrs from Asian spiritual teachings.oism still be considered part of the consciousness of the human mentality. not the essence that "transcends the primal organization. yet fools call it the original being.120 X. who was evidently unable to make the critical distinction in his own experience. Jung docs not seem to have even had a clear theoretical grasp of this issue~ what he assigns to the "unconscious" would in 'Th. but classical masters have pointed out that addiction to stillness can have serious mental and physical drawbacks. In modern times~ followers of sectarian Zen and Taoism have come to lay great stress on sitting meditation. Paragraph 1 in Section II makes this clear when it says.tood it would have been of inestimable value to Jung. The Light of Essence and the Light of Consciousness The distinction between "the light of essence" and "the light of consciousness" is critical to success in the practice of Taoist alchemy or Chan Buddhism. Indeed. because if properly unden." From the point of view of the traditions of Chan Buddhism and Completely Real Taoism.

4. means that thoughts are not themselves the essence of conSciousness. paragraphs 5 to 10. it may be impossible to integrate it fully with everyday life. says. using these tinusual·phenomena to dazzle people. and take this for sanctity. "If you see lights. 5. This is also a good description of what happened to Jung when he tried to meditate and became mired in images arising from his subconscious. The following passages of the Golden Flower text. The "echoes" here symbolize the thoughts or contents of consciousness. known as the "eight attributions. of essenc~has nothing to do with visionary experiences. This is not Chan. leading to a kind of split in the personality. The mirror being "occupied" by an image represents the attention being occupied by the contents of consciousness and thus losing sight of the essence of consciousness. This passage makes it dear that the "light. to say they are "not sound. thinking you have attained great enlightenm~nt. a well-kno\vn Chan meditation manual dating from about a century before the Golden Flower text.. or other extraordinary fOrms.121 settings or postures. The Hero~ March Scriptvn (Sumngam~~-S'I4tm) is a Buddhist text that became particularly popular among Chan Buddhist contemplatives from the Sung dynasty (960-1278) onward. 2. &shan Canchan ]ingu. The Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) is one of the major figUres of antiquity associated both with Taoism and with the founding of proto-Chinese cultUre. briefly outline a meditation exercise from that scripture." 3. even though they arise from the movement of consciousness. you do not realize that you are thoroughly ill. flowers." .

10. 'fiansmission is attributable to doors and windows.spccrs of the eighth consciousness. 6. 8.122 which is designed to facilitate "perception of essence"' through a sort of process of elimination. 4. 3. is its function of"mirrorlike awareness. Buddhist practice aims at "smashing through" it and removing fixation even on these levels of experience. Congestion is attributable to sense data. The eighth amscioume!s is a Buddhist term: it is also called the st:~mhouse conscWumes. however.r. the practitioner ultimately reaches the experience of the essence of consciousness. Unlike the Chan and Zen Buddhists. Light is attributable to the sun. Clear light is attributable to clarity. Objects are attributable to discrimination. By gradually "peeling away" the contents of consciousness. Chan and Zen Buddhist literature suggest that Jung was most definitely not alone in getting bogged down in the eighth consciousness. Dark is attributable to the dark moon. '7. One aspect of the storehouse consciousness is its function as the repository of impres~ sions. 5. This is close to what Jung calls the "unconscious. Blank openness is attributable to space. The eight attribu~ tions are usually defined as follows: 1. .' but Jung differs from Buddhism in considering the uncon~ scious a basic reality. which comes out after it has been clarified. Another aspect of the storehouse consciousness." This is a basic experience of Buddhist transformation of consciousness. 2. In dealing with both a. Obstruction is attributable to walls. Jung was not fortunate enough to have authentic technical literature sufficient to diagnose the problem. but it is not final.

not the open essence of mind. and if 3. 2. . 12. Here fire stands for conscious knowledge and Wa. Liu I-ming says. The yin inside fin stands for receptivity. The yang inside water stands for the firmness of the true sense of real knowledge. and also for mundane conditioning.' when experienced as an item of the conscious inventory. In Chan practice. This paragraph makes it clear that even "emptiness.' because it is only from the central standpoint of essence that the contents of consciousness can be witnessed objectively. psychoanalysis comes after "seeing essence. is still just an object. "Flow and revolve" is a Buddhist expression for routine ·. Mistaking a feeling or state of"emptiness" for emptiness itself is a psychological phenomenon often mentioned in Zen classics. XI. The final passages of this section return to the critical distinction between the "flowing and revolving" consciousness and the transcendental essence. mental habit. The Intercourse of Warer and Fire 1. Sometimes the exercise of turning the light around is described as looking to see where thought comes from. In his explanation of Chang Po-tuan's Four Hundred Wtnds on the Gold Elixir. The intercourse of water and fire represents the union of the real knowledge of the mind of Tao and the conscious knowledge of the human mind.123 11. but this is not the same as the psychoanalytic exercise oflooking to see the unconscious roots of conscious manifestations.ter stands for real knowledge. "If you understand that the foundation of water and fire of real knowledge and conscious knowledge originally belong to one energy.

"Culling" is just a metaphor. The Cycle l." this is an indication of its roots in the Northern School under Chan Buddhist influence. Tao is mind" (The Inner Teachings of 'llroism) . never shifting." 3. the spirit is most open and aware. wherein a mass of energy is developed and circulated throughout the body. using conscious knowledge to nurture real knowledge. inverting water and fire. For one who sees this. 5." 4. "The North Star. governs motion. are metaphors for yin and yang." lt also says." or the expenditure of conscious energy in pursuit of objects.' and "When the human mind is calm and quiet. movement and stillness are as one. The meaning of this passage is not entirely clear. XII. the celestial Tao is within oneself. water and fire. . water and fire balance each other. When the Golden Fluwer text says"energy is not the main thing. but it seems to refer to dilettantism. "The medicinal ingredients are just culled in nonbeing. like the North Star not shifting. using real knowledge to control conscious knowledge. then mind is Tao. The Book of&lance and Harmony says. The Southern School of Taoism tends to value the waterwheel exercise. "Indulgence" is a Buddhist term for what Taoists call "leaking.124 you cultivate them backward. The Book of&lance and Harmony says. "The North Star is the heart of heaven and earth. Dragon and tiger. 2.

the ubiquitous flow of vital sense naturally returns of itself. the work lies in concentration. nondoing joins with doillg." A proverb common in both Chan and Taoist literature says. There are times of interaction and noninteraction of real knowledge and conscious knowledge as long as their union has not been stabilized. The third patriarch of Chan Buddhism wrote in his f.125 6. at this point the means are transcended and there is no conscious fixation on expedient distinctions. the identity of mind and the world it experiences. When yin arid yang. so small it enters where there is no space. According to Buddhist metaphor. "To reach the Tao is basically not hard. "It· is so great that there is nothing outside it. Definitions of process and cycle are matters of method. always rise and descend. Most minute. the creative principle comes into play." 9. 7. it is the same as the minute. reality becomes accessible· to consciousness. Most great." 8." Chang Po-tuan's alchemical classic Undemanding Rodity also says. this is like ''leaving the raft behind on reaching the other shore. This passage reiterates the fundamental continuity of the individual artd the univene. When the clouds rei:ede and the rain disperses. "There is nowhere it is not.unous R¥m on 'Irusting Mind. it is the same as the great. the ten directions are right before the eyes. you do not see any outside. At the peak of awareness. "The essence of the self enters the essence of the .· embryo is complete. in recondite abstraction. the spiritual . you forget all about objects. above and below. A poem entitled "Combining Yin and Yang" in The Book of Balanu andHarmony says. producing a newbirth.

126 enlightened. the formless form is the real form. Spontaneity is the real meaning of the Taoist technical term wmvei. its greatness fills the universe?' 10. act when necessary. one moon appears in a thousand ponds. Metaphorically." The Taoist classic Huaimnzi (The masters ofHuainan). as compared to "living midnight. 13. like the shining of light. From on high the cold light shines in the cold springs. The bodiless body is the real body. Untlentanding Rmlity says. They sense and respond." 14. The term "true midnight" is relatively rare in alchemical literature. . like the emanation of rays.' which is experienced right in the midst of forms. the essence of enlightenment is everywhere thus. "Clouds forming and rain falling" is a standard metaphor deriving from the ancient classic I Chi11g. see without looking. it stands for extreme tranquillity." It is sometimes taken literally to mean the middle of the night. as a time of external quiet suitable for fostering internal stillness. "Living midnight" is explained in the notes to paragraph 14 of Section VIII. go when there is no choice. explains spontaneity in these terms: "Real people know without learning." 11. 12. a single round light engulfs myriad forms. "Real enlightenment has no likeness. it is distinguished from "living midnight" in that the latter expression emphasizes the subtle presence of potential and the imminent awakening of positive energy. Here it would seem that "midnight" is used as an equivalent to the Buddhist term "emptiness. Its smallness is smaller than a hair. It represents the harmonious combination of yin and yang producing living energy. often mistranslated by Wilhelm and others as "nonaction" or "inaction. understand without trying. achieve without striving.

to "head for the true" means to cultivate perception of emptiness in the conditional. 0. I. And though it is a string device. it is not that the puppet can move. Do you know this person who controls the puppet? The puppet is like the body. 2.127 15. The color of cinnabar is in the fumilyof red. it is the person controlling the puppet who pulls the strings. which is the color of compassion in Buddhism. There are a few. the strings are like the mysterious pass. This is the external meaning. In alchemical terms. In chemical terms. "Cinnabar hean''hasa dual meaning. "the living" then corresponds to the conditional in emptiness. that are new or callfor funher commentin this context: By poise in the center it is possible to bear change as it pervades all conditioned things. Many of the expressions and ideas used in the verses of the following song have already appeared in the text. The word ror cinnabar is also used for the color of cinnabar. The "mysterious pass" is defined by The Book o/BalRnce and Harmony in these terms: "Sages just used the word 'center' to point out the opening of the mysterious pass. however. When a puppet moves its hands and feet and gesticulates in a hundred ways. Let me give you a convenient simile. so cinnabar symbolizes the matrixof consCiousness.·. It is moved by pulling strings. XIII. Songto Inspire the World. some of them more than once. which would probably be obvious in context even without knowledge of this traditional association. cinnabar contains mercury. Following the Buddhist pattern. This 'center' is it. . mercury symboli:les the mercurial nature of consciousness.

128
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." 3. 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 notonly from day to day but also from hour to hour in action and rest and from moment to moment in thought.

4. The "primal opening" is described by Chang Po-ruan in his Four Hundmi Wordr 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 Imzer TmchingsofTaoism). 5. The "river source that produces the medicine" is an image from Chang Po-tuan's Understanding fuality, 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

129
mind. It is the movement of the innate knowledge of the natur.U mind, the movement of the real knowledge of the mind ofTao.''

8.-9. In psychophysiological Taoist energetics, water is associated with the genitals, fin: is associated With the heart: the intercourse ofwaterand fire is then defined as placing the attention (associated with the heart) in thelower abdomen (associated with the genitals). According to The Book of Ba/anceand Ha~ this practice is in the lower grade of gradual methods. The actinide toward this practice expressed here by The Doctrine of the Golden Flower is another typical indication of its purism. 16. The "water-clarifying pearl" is a Buddhist metaphor for enlightenment, or for the pure mind.

18. 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. . 20. In the terminology of I Ching symbOlism as it is used in Taoist alchemy, wind stands for accord and penetration; lightning is a.SS<lciated with fin:, which stands for awareness and underscinding. Together they form the sign called The CAuldron, which· represents "producing illumination through following an initiatory process;' according to Liu I-ming's explanation in The 1lwirt I Chi7fff. The symbol of thunder is movement, specifically theinitial activation of positive energy in the sense of real knowledge.

21. Here again it is made clear that the opening of the enhanced consciousness knOwn as the golden flower is not a matter of routine performance of yogic exercises.

130
The image of"retreating to hide in secrecy" is explained in The Book of Balance and Hamwny in these terms: "It is written, 'The sages used the Changes [the I Chi7!!f] 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." 22. The two poems used by Lu Yan when initiating Zhang Zhennu, who was to become a famous Immortal Sister, a female Taoist adept, are quoted with an energetics-oriented interpretation in Spiritual A/chemyJi>r Women. The original vernes 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 yourown house. Thunder in the earth rumbles, Setting in motion rain on the mountain. Wait until washing, And the yellow sprouts emerge from earth. Grab the golden essence of vitality And lock it up rightly. Fire metal and wood To produce the dragon and tiger. (Immm-ml Sisters)

Although I had not read his views on the subject.Translator} Afterword: Modern Applications ofthe Golden Flower Method For me the experience symbolized by the golden flower has always been a practical concern. I subsequently spent many years studying its use in experience and looking for tested information pertaining to its objective application. One of them was my own introduction to the golden flower practice of"turning the light around. Sanskrit. This new translation of The Secretofthe Golden Flower arose from a confluence of several· courses of events. I agreed with Jung that such information should not be cloistered. Whoever we may be and whatever we may do. 131 . I began translating relevant texts from Buddhist and Taoist traditions. in whatever walk of life.' long before I knew of the existence of this particular book. Finding that method of mindfulness extremely powerful and versatile. so the clarification and awakening of mind is of potential interest to everyone. because I felt that their psychological insights could be useful in some way to people today. Eventually this pursuit led to studies of classical sourcebooks in Chinese. and Japanese. wherever they were. mind is at the heart of our lives.

132 For many years I focused on the study of Chan Buddhism. At first I was most dramatically affected by the Chan and Pure Land ways of awakening this consciousness. but I subsequently found that the techniques of each school had t. Many of these stories are specifically for turning the light around.. One of the most interesting ways this is done in Chan classics is by concentrating the teachings of the scriptures and schools of Buddhism into symbolic stories representing the underlying state of mind. and because of my early experiences I was particularly interested in them. the Chinese precursor of Zen. of Buddhism. I studied the various support systems devised by the schools to enable people to experience the golden flower consciousness in meaningful ways. I found that this helped to clarify both practical and theoretical issues: what I was experiencing in everyday life and what I was finding in my researches in ancient Eastern literature on mind studies.heir own advantages. Classical Chan appealed to me because it cut directly through to the essence of mind without being burdened by dogmatism or cultural accretions. The more difficult and complex Chan stories dealing with creative integration of the golden flower mind with the ordinary world required mental work in everyday life and took much longer to begin to penetrate. so I continued to apply whatever worked best whenever I had a special quest and wanted renewed inspiration. Eventually I learned to practice turning the light around according to the methods of all the major schools . At the same time. .

The first phase of study was partly comparative. This new phase of research into Taoism focused heavily on inner alchemy. and the mystic traditions ofJudaism and Christianity. · . My studies of world religions took place in several phases. and FlowerOrnament schools ofBuddhism. and Sufism. I also read from the Bible. During these studies I found that turning the light around revealed unsuspected dimensions in the literature of other religions. This eventually led me to The Secret of the Golden Flmve1. each ofwhich include investigation of other religions and philosophies as part of Buddhist study. that I returned to the study of Taoism. as part of the practice of the comprehensive Flower Ornament school of Buddhism. This helped to disting1lish local historical and cultural elements of religious presentations from perennial underlying concerns. ·In the years following my first exposure to Buddhist teachings. Confucianism.· the processes of refining the mind and body as a unit joined by will. transdogmatic appreciation of the mental dynamic of religion became manifest in a very direct manner by means of this technique. Taoism. the Koran.! looked into other Asian classical traditions such as Hinduism. which combines Taoist alchemy with basic mind work according to the designs of several schools of Buddhism.133 It was in connection with this course of events that I came into con tact with Taoism. Zen. in connection with programs from the classical Pure Land. observing what was common to different religions and what was peculiar to each. I returned to these studies later. It was through the last phase of intertraditional study. A transcultural..

terminology. but found it inaccessible. moreover. Jung went further afield in transmogrifYing the central concepts of the text. Jung's commentary. along with an authentic commentary on the practical application of the teaching. it became clear that Wilhelm had misconstrued the text on many points. but attributing it to cultural differences.134 Over the years I had attempted to read the Wilhelm/ Baynes translation of this important text several times. because there were no facilities for teaching these languages and symbol systems to Westerners at that time. This undoubtedly caused Wilhelm confusion. His reasoning was that . J ung warned his readers away from trying to practice the secret of the golden flower. There are enough flaws in Wilhelm's readings of grammar. professing psychoanalysis to be its Western equivalent. and conceptual structures to render his translation practically dysfunctional. Perhaps sensing this. It proved possible to find a good text in a condensed collection of essential works from the Taoist canon. On comparison with the canonical version of the original Chinese text. By this time I had also read and translated other Buddhist and Taoist classics in the ancestral traditions of The Secret of the Golden Flower and therefore had become familiar with the technical terminology of the text. and his translation was unreliable. The main difficulty of the original work is that it uses Taoist alchemical language mixed with several types of Buddhist Chinese. seemed contradictory and confused. Giving up in frustration. I finally began to look for the original Chinese work.

and Buddhistshave long said that teachings must be adapted to local psychological and social climates. he made a useful contribution to the study of this issue by raising doubts that needed expression and questions that called for examination. undertaken with the wrong motivations and attitudes. nevertheless. But even so. Jung's case against Westerners trying to practice the golden flower method would have been stronger if he had been able to clarify what was culture specific and could not be imitated usefully. Furthermore. the behavior will not necessarily change simply because its object is changed. Cult behavior continues to exist. however. There is obviously some truth to this part of the argument.·· Golden Flower is actually equivalent to the golden flower practice. This is a useful warning. Many Westerners today have had more opportunity.135 Europeans lacked the cultural basis for practicing Eastern disciplines and had to work with their own traditions.. not in the object. I do not agree. t~at Jung's approach. so it is important to distinguish it from authentic spiritual . that all Westerners will inevitably behave in this manner toward Eastern teachings.· for exposure to Eastern teachings and to· psychological studies of cultism than had Jung and his contemporaries. and if he had adequately defined cultic behaviors that in hi bit the efficiency of mind-purifying practices. and he himself was aware that Buddhist proverb says the same thing. It is not necessary to believe. What Jung seems to have been against in reality was blind imitation of techniques. however.to the unconscious outlined in his introduction to The Secret of the . The problem is in the behavior.

Unaware that Taoists and Buddhists had themselves been interpreting religion psychologically for centuries. and he could not objectively judge the relative merits of the different exercises found in the corrupted version of The ~t of the Golden Flower rendered by Wilhelm. it is necessary to observe the cult mentality from the point of view of the golden flower and avoid confusing this process with observing the golden flower practice from the point of view of the cult mentality. Jung vns unable to avail himself of their methods. by the shortcomings in Jung's own practical work on Eastern teachings. including lack of sufficient data. The psychological approach to the study of religion is not itself invalidated. Its full realization may have been thwarted by a combination of factors. Jung's caveats about practice.136 practice. which involves fixation and therefore cannot in any case foster authentic realization of golden flower mind blossoming. therefore.therefore could not come to definitive conclusions. it increases its validity with fuller and more accurate information and analysis. In his time J ung did not have access to materials that would have allowed him to make distinctions between normal and cultic practices of Eastern teachings. on the contrary. should be understood in reference to cultism. due to which Jung was unable to understand Eastern teachings clearly and. In order to do this. . Jung's goal of understanding religion in terms of psychology was an approach that made religious teachings of all kinds more accessible to Westerners. however.

While it istrue that there are ritu:.. their ultimate value in practice depends upon how . and as such they do not impugn the validity of the originalteachings themselves. from sources such as J ung's introduction to the second German edition of The Secret of the Golden Flowe1.first·and second world wars. and cultural traditionalism aside. particularly insofar as one of the factors involved in my own long-standing interest in Chan and Zen Buddhism was the practice of transcending religious and cultural forms to get at the· heart of reality in itself by direct experience and direct perception. the text itself..Furthermore. the psychologiciU and intellectual structures of Chan lore can be superlative analytic toolS that enable the mind to distinguish the inner patterns of things. it is evident that fragmentary imitation Eastern mystical cults were thriving in Europe•between the. alized Zen cults with highly cloistered and involutedattitudes. in the context of> the modem West. Cultism.such as Siddhartha and M~ · Ludi by Jung's contemporary Hermann Hesse. these are generally examples of imitations described longago in the classics of Chan and Zen. Jung's reservations about golden flower practice were as much held in reaction to events in his own cultural milieu as they were based on his impressions of . This fuct seemed particularly significant to me. ··and• works. scholasticism. In addition to its psychoactive techniques. I believe that the essence of Chan is one of the most potentially useful elements of the golden flower teaching. and of Buddhism in general. Of course.

For practical purposes. Intuition belongs to the original spirit.138 effectively they are employed. thoughts. The Semt of the Golden Flower represents a way of approaching completeness of energy through completeness of mind. This is the hallmark of Chan. without an abundance of philosophical or religious concepts. while the conditioned conscious . intellect belongs to the conscious spirit. conditioned by personal and cultural history. based on direct perception of the essence of mind and recovery of its inherent potential. as in their application to The Secnt of the Golden Fluwer. This teaching calls itself a "special transmission outside of doctrine. These terms are employed in both Chan and Taoist traditions.'' The original spirit is the formless essence of awareness. The conscious spirit is the mind-set of feelings. a distinction is made in the golden flower teaching between the "original spirit" and the "conscious spirit. I believe this can be most easily accomplished by means of Chan devices that require no background in Chinese culture to understand or employ. the primal original spirit is also known as the host. it is unconditioned and transcends culture and history. bound by habit to specific forms.'' free from attachment to dogma and form. The theory and practice of the golden flower method do exist in Greek and Christian tradition. which is sometimes called the school of the enlightened mind. but if they are to be usefully analyzed in secular psychological terms. and attitudes. In Chan Buddhism. The essence ofTaoism is to refine the conscious spirit to reunite it with the original spirit.

In The Secret. and the conscious spirit is the servant.139 spirit is known as the guest.'' Here is an image of an ideal relationship between the original spirit as the source of power and the conscious spirit as a subordinate functionary. self-enlightenment takes place when the master is restoredto autonomy in the center. The idea of two. the original spirit is the master. The original spirit remains available as the reserve of total awareness. the conscious spirit functions according to the situation without usurpingthe authority of the original spirit. to which the conscious spirit returns without leaving any harmful fixation on itself or its objects. This direct contact empowers the individual to know spontaneously and be free from bondage to created thoughts and conditioned feelings.to the liberated mind of primal spirit is known as the methodof"reversal. This is called entering the eternal.ofthe Golden Flmver these terms refer to restoration of direct contact with the essence and source of awareness. you return again to the light~ not leaving anything to harm yourself. The operation of switching from the limited mind of conditioned consciousness . When clarified. In this way the intellect functions efficiently in the world without that conscious activity inhibiting access to deeper spontaneous knowledge through the direct intuition of a more subtle faculty." or turning around the light. minds or two aspects of mind is found early on ii1 the ancient Taoist classic TtuJ Te Ching: "Using the shining radiance. even while operating . In these terms. self-delusion occurs when the servant has taken over from the master.

140
in their very presence. In the words of the Tao Te Chittg, one can thus be "creative without possessiveness." In both Taoism and Buddhism, the term turning the light around means turning the primary attention from involvement in mental objects to focus on the essence or source of mind. This exercise is practiced as a means of clearing consciousness and freeing awareness. Many of the Taoists who had the strongest affinities with Chan Buddhism relied heavily on the exercise of turning the light around. Although this exercise is found in all Buddhist schools, it was particularly emphasized in Chan Buddhism. The See1-et of the Golden Flmver represents one of the most radical ofthese spirit-based methods. Virtually the whole text is devoted to the subtleties of this simple practice of reversal or turning the light around. There are numerous Chan, Zen, and Taoist sources con raining descriptions of tips and techniques for inducing, exercising, and integrating the experience of the golden flower blossoming. The fundamental premise and practice are suggested in the plainest terms in the teachings ofDahui (Ta-hui), a famous Chan Buddhist master of the twelfth century: "Good and bad come from your own mind. But what do you call your own mind, apart from your actions and thoughts? Where does your own mind come from? If you really know where your own mind comes from, boundless obstacles caused by your own actions will be cleared all at once. After that, all sorts of extraordinary possibilities will come to you without your seeking them."

141
There are also many Chan stories for initiating the golden flower exercise. Some of them are very simple, but they can be used over and over again.
A srudent asked a teacher, ''What is Buddha?"· The teacher said, ''This mind is Buddha." A srudent asked a teacher, "What should one do when arising and vanishing (of thoughts) goes on unceasingly?" The teacher said, "Tsk! Whose arising and vanishing is it?" Once a teacher asked a student, "Where are you from?" The srudem said he was from such and such a place. · The teacher asked; "Do you think of that place?" The srudent said that· he often thought of it. The teacher said, "The thinker is the mind, what is thought ofis the environment. In the environment are mountains, rivers, land, buildings, people, animals, and so on, Now turn your thought around to think of the thinking mind; are there so many things there?"

These Chan structures illustrate some of the ways that . attention can be arranged to induce the golden flower experience. It may bepossible to apply this use ofmind to psychotherapeutic theory and practice by means of its transcendental understanding of the self, its method of experiencing the self beyond the quirks ofpersonality, and its concentration on the elemental source of autonomy and self-mastery. To the therapist, the golden flower teaching offers techniques of developing deeper insight and greater awareness of human potential, as well as a means of con" tacting patients at a level of mind that is not affected

142
by psychic afflictions. To the patient, it offers an independent means of self-knowledge beyond the domain of conditioned personality, judgment, and opinion. Properly used, in the context of contemporary life and not as an exotic, half-understood cult, the practice of golden flower meditation certainly has the power to dispel the influence of neurotic compulsion. Rightly understood and correctly practiced, it does not have the dangers Jung attributed to it because it does not submit to the fascination of what he referred to as unconscious contents of mind. The exercise of turning the light around is in fact so penetrating an avenue to insight and transcendence that it is tempting to consider applying its theory and practice to the search for direction in treatment of some of the more serious disorders currently being addressed by the psychiatric community, crippling conditions such as those now known as acute manic depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, and multiple personality disorder. It must be kept in mind, however, that it would be completely foreign to the teaching and spirit of Buddhism and Taoism to suggest that any idea or practice can be regarded as a cure for aU iUs, or that any spiritual exercise can automaticaUy bring about the desired regeneration regardless of the mentality and attitude of the practitioner. In the traditional psychology of ancient Buddhist and Taoist schools, psychoactive exercises like the golden flower were part of comprehensive programs, not magic wands all-powerful in themselves.

and it cannot bring out its more objective and encompassing perspective on matters of mood and personality.143 To say that greenery needs light. and there will have to be ways of expressing and addressing those needs effectively in the context of the new cultures. they themselves will have to be in working order to be able to respond and adapt to local needs. but it may be necessary to emphasize the importance of one or another when it is missing or insufficient. and water does not diminish the importance of any of these elements. When the guest has taken over center stage and the host is no longer in sight. or original spirit. But through the process of social conditioning. For ancient methods of mental development to be naturalized in the West. everything concerned with mood and personality is in the domain of the guest. the average individual comes to be centered in the guest and therefore regards it as the self. air. it is useful to work with the Chan concept of host and guest. the "switching" that takes place within an individual in response to psychological and environmental factors is taking place from one mood or . earth. To consider the question of how the golden flower method could shed light on clues to the understanding and treatment ofmood and personality disorders. a simple concept corresponding to the Taoist distinction between the original spirit and the conscious spirit. As a result the true host is concealed. This is why clinical and descriptive psychology have become avenues for the exploration of formerly esoteric knowledge relating to the nature of experience. From the point of view of the host.

the method of the golden . or original spirit. the ability to experience the pure self of the original mind and the capacity to return to it at will can be of fundamental significance in the psychic life of the individual. can occasionally be glimpsed in the space between temporal shifts of mood or personality. The result of this ((crystallization" is a boundless source of potential. the t:go seeks integration by attempting to establish order among ((guests.144 personality to another. but it generally takes practice to stabilize it and use it deliberately. This host. Thus alienated tram the primal source or ((host" of the original spirit. Although the host must be there. then dysfunction and breakdown may result when the strain of attempting to maintain relative order overstresses the natural resilience of the fuculty of mind playing the part of the receptionist or answering service for the host. If applied with knowledge and without o~session. it does not return all the way to the source. the golden flower technique provides a means of searching out the host behind the scenes to gain direct input from its creative energy and inspiration. Under these conditions. The individual can then no longer command the capacity to switch deliberately from a subjective mood or subpersonality to an objective and impersonal state of observant mind. if there develop great disparities among moods or subpersonalities in the absence of ability to ((return to the light'' of the original mind." the conditioned fucades of psyche and personality. it is now hidden and does not respond directly. Considered in this light. Even as the conditioned mind goes from state to state in the course of changing circumstances.

another. These teachings were constructed to assist in orientation of mental exercises. but to the ordinary individual as well. the guest withiri the host. The guest within the guest is the state of the ordinary mind going from one mood. Seen inthis··light. the need for adaptation does n:ot mean that essential patterns can be distorted. one of the most useful instructional devices in Chan Buddhist teaching explains the "two minds" in terms of"four relations between host and guese' To focus them in the mind all at once. traditional Buddhist and Taoist materials on this subject are not propaganda to inculcate religious belief but blueprints of mental functions drawn to provide direction in the understanding and application of psychoactive exercises.145 flower can be of use not only to the psychotherapist. and they need to be understood in terms of their own structure in order to work according to their own design. for disoriented meditation does more harm than good. . For application of the golden flower mind-awakening method. or subpersonality to . state. alienated from conscious contact with the host behind the scenes. Orientation is as important as the exercise itself. touch on every facet of life. In this sense. because mind is the pivot of all acts and events. the host within the guest. its iUuminating effects. There is a great deal of knowledge relating to the use of golden flower consciousness in the teachings of Buddhists and Taoists. the host within the host. these four relations are expressed in mnemonic phrases: the guest within the guest..

146 The host within the guest is the first stage of turning the light around. yet in a deeper sense the host within the host is not only at the pinnacle but even at the basis of the total experience of golden flower practice. conscious experience of the host within the host follows realization of the host within the guest. without being deceived by them or bound to them. having taken to her sickbed shortly after her betrothal. including ideas. when contact with the original mind is established even as the individual is passing through shifting moods and personalities. She ran away to live with her true lover. The host within the host is the original spirit itself. moods. A few have already been mentioned. at which the individual can enjoy free access to thought and its products. The guest within the host is a more mature level of attainment. and personalities. he found that in the experience of the people there she had been at home all the while. In one sense. . When her man returned to their hometown after her death. One of the more dramatic examples of such stories is based on a folk tale about ayoung woman who was betrothed to a man she didn't love. the primal source of consciousness in which is found the hidden "turning point" on which psychic liberty hinges. There are also certain stories from Chan and 1aoist tradition that are used to orient and sensitize the mind to this "turning point" in such a way that the capacity to "switch minds" is brought within reach of the ordinary consciousness. but eventually died.

the paraUe. youwill know that leaving one state of being and entering another is like staying at an inn. feelings. yet she was lying abed at home.her lover. having a wonderful time fluttering about from flower to flower on the zephyrs of spring. and personalities. "If you can awaken to the real one herein. thus dispelling to some degree the mesmeric influence of thoughts. being centered in the primal spirit and thus not subject to control by the contents of conditioned states of consciousness.147 In modern terms. . both "selves. yet she lived with her lover. moods. Another master said. feelings. "The girl had split souls.l with emotional division between outer and inner life is obvious. which one was the phantom? A Chan master said. this would suggest that the individual··· who realizes the true host can enter and exit thoughts. formless host. A parallel story from Taoist tradition is the famous butterfly dream of the sage Chuang-tzu. moods. One of the great advantages of using such stories to jog the mind is that the very act of remembering the possibility of "switching" already places psychological distance between host and guest. In this classic tale. but can we ask. without assumptions. the philosopher relates that he dreamed he was a butterfly. and personalities at will." In psychological terms. The Chan answer is that both conditions." were guests of a. which was the real one?" Ifwe say she was really at home. if we say she was with.

however. Jung's reasons for warning people away from golden flower practice were ostensibly based on what he perceived as cultural incompatibility. If this can be accomplished in reality. Even if this practice is understood in theory alone. Thus the individual can always resort to renewal from the very source of creativity. the formless "opening" or "aperture'' through which the real self of the formless host can be seen and experienced in its own purity and freedom. This is what Taoists call· returning to the "root of heaven and earth. there is no reason why psychic events such as extreme mood swings or personality changes should assume control of individuals to the extent of becoming crippling handicaps." from which extradimensionalvantage point it is possible to experience higher enlightenment right in the midst of the mundane world. he found that he was no longer sure whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly. The issue of this story is not its superficial question of which psychic contents to identify as the selfbut is in the act of recalling attention to the "turning point" revealed in between states.148 On awakening from this pleasant reverie. It was his belief that . it can still offer a perspective on human psychology that will allow for an objective and nonjudgmental approach to the understanding and treatment of mood and personality extremism. or whether he was a butterfly now dreaming he was a man. By this means it is possible to detach from conditioned states and identities without thereby becoming dissociated from the realm of ordinary experience.

To deal fully with Jung's treatment of the golden flower teaching would lead us afield from the point of this work. in spite ofthe fact that he had evidence of its existence in Western tradition. . but he does not examine the cultic behaviors that make imitation methods ineffective. Had he done so.flower practice developed from Chinese tradition.••. and he underscored his point with a proverbial Buddhist . Indian. The purpose of mentioning Jung here is to reopen adoor of inquiry by questioning the limits of the limitations he presumed. Jung's concern with the problems of cultural differences led him to· believe that the. Apart from the fact that hewas faced with a garbled translation of a corrupt text with the last few chapters missing. Jung could have found that neither the reality nor the imitations of spiritual practices are limited to East orWest.golden. but with the Western attitude toward technology of any k~nd. Jung quarrelled not with the method of the golden flower. . which is to exposethe original teaching itself. and · Tibetan religions. · warning about incorrect use of practices. •·. Furthermore. His remarks on the Western mentality suggest avenues of study.. Jung does not show how his method is actually equivalent to the golden flower practice. Jung apparently misunderstood descriptions of the exercise partly because ofWilhelm's mistranslation and his own lack of experience.149 Europeans of his time lacked the proper psychological basis for the yogic practices of Chinese. Jung was admittedly preoccupied with expounding his own theories. Therefore Jung thought it only reasonable that Westerners should not imitate Eastern methods.

he found that he was no longer sure whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly. By this means it is possible to detach from conditioned states and identities without thereby becoming dissociated from the realm of ordinary experience. Thus the individual can always resort to renewal from the very source of creativity. or whether he was a butterfly now dreaming he was a man. Even if this practice is understood in theory alone. the formless "opening" or "aperture" through which the real self of the formless host can be seen and experienced in its own purity and freedom. it can still offer a perspective on human psychology that will allow for an objective and nonjudgmental approach to the understanding and treatment of mood and personality extremism. however. This is what Taoists call returning to the "root of heaven and earth. It was his belief that .148 On awakening from this pleasant reverie. Jung's reasons for warning people away from golden flower practice were ostensibly based on what he perceived as cultural incompatibility. there is no reason why psychic events such as extreme mood swings or personality changes should assume control of individuals to the extent of becoming crippling handicaps. If this can be accomplished in reality. The issue of this story is not its superficial question of which psychic contents to identify as the self but is in the act of recalling attention to the "turning point" revealed in between states." from which extradimensional vantage point it is possible to experience higher enlightenment right in the midst of the mundane world.

Indian.•. which is to expose the original teaching itself. but he does not examine the culric behaviors thatma:keimitation methods. Jung could have found that neither the reality nor the imitations of spiritual practices are limited to East or West. ·. and he underscored his point with a proverbial Buddhist warning about incorrect use of practices. Furthermore. Jung quarrelled not with the method of the golden flower. Apart from the fact that he was faced with a garbled translation of a corrupt text with the last few chapters missing. and Tibetan religions. His remarks on the Western mentality suggest avenues of study.of his time Jacked the proper psychological basis for the yogic practices ofChinese. Had he done so. Jung was admittedly pi:eoccupiedwith expounding his own theories. but with the Western attitude toward technology of any k~nd.149 Europeans. · ·· . Jung's concern with the problcmsof cultural differences led him to believe that the golden flower practice developed from Chinese tradition. To deal fully withJ ung's treatment of the golden flower teaching would lead us afield from the point of this work. Jung does not show how his method is actually equivalent to the golden flower practice. Therefore Jung thought it only reasonable that Westerners should not imitate Eastern methods.ineffective. · . Jung apparently misunderstood descriptions of the exercise partly because of Wilhelm's mistranslation and his own lack of experience. . in spite of the fact that he had evidence of its existence in Western tradition. The purpose of mentioning Jung here is to reopen a door of inquiry by questioning the limits of the limitations he presumed.

and their significance in relation to Western thinking about Eastern thought. The other is to clear room for the conscious operation of non conceptual insight. as the Chan proverb goes. Among the problems that Westerners have traditionally faced in working with Eastern meditation practices is the fear that mind-stilling exercises will prevent them from thinking thoughts that they need to think. One reason for this is that Western versions of Eastern mental exercises active during the sixty years that have elapsed since the original publication of The Secret of the Goltkn F/Qwer have been informed in· part by Jungian interpretations of Eastern. are more fruitfully treated in the context of his total work on Eastern subjects. This use of mind opens a wider space for thought. with the ability to . It enables one to think deliberately rather than compulsively. One is to open up space to clarify rhought by distinguishing compulsive habitual thought from deliberate logical thought. "stagnant water cannot contain the coils of a dragon. There are two main objects to stopping thought in Buddhist tradition. Nevertheless.ISO Jung's ideas on the golden flower. but it does not warp reason. where there are many warnings in meditation lore to avoid excessive·stilling. Practitioners are carefully warned to avoid becoming intoxicated by the peaceful tranquillity of thought cessation. This is also a concern in the East." The golden flower practice can stop thought temporarily. practices. they provide a useful counterpoint to the original tradition when highlighting psychological practicalities of the golden flower exercise.

With any eXercise that stills the mind. nor is it known and practiced by Chinese people in general through the influence of their cultural heritage. and in that sense it is not and cannot be culture bound. He was also aware of danger in this. at first there is a tendency for random thoughts and images to occur with seemingly greater~than~ordinary frequency and strength. so that one can put down useless thoughts and take up useful thoughts by means of independent discernment and will.151 think and observe thought with detached clarity. and hestresses this danger in his works on both Eastern and Western alchemy. It is only after the actual awakening or blossoming of the golden flower has taken place that examination ofmental phenomena with detached objectivity is considered possible. conserving untold mental energy. Jung became aware of this phenomenon and attempted to exploit what he thought was its potential asameans for exploring the unconscious.· To adapt a practice to a new cultural setting is one thing. Before this breakthrough. to turn it into something fundamentally different . In golden flower practice this problem is avoided by relinquishing all obsession with thoughts and images that come to mind in the course of the exercise. Golden flower exercise is not focused on forms of images or ideas. The speed of its direct perception can also see at a glance where a train of thought will lead. For this reason h is not peculiarly Chinese. too much introspection of psychic contents is viewed as a distraction from the primary purpose of arriving at the source of awareness itself.

or for people with schizoid or psychotic tendencies. Independent perception and autonomous conduct are not general ideals in the Confucian and Hindu societies within which Taoism and Buddhism existed. ·The opening statement of The Secret of the Golden Flower includes the provision that people should establish a firm foothold in the ordinary world before they try to cultivate the blossoming of the golden flower. but are means of arranging attention to elicit extra potential in vision. not the temporal cultural husk. This means that they should be able to function adequately in their own culture and society. Taoist and Buddhist teachings explain that their structures and terminologies are not sacred in themselves. and many ordinary people suffering slightly from mild neuroses are well integrated with their everyday world. it is a way of higher development for ordinary people. .152 is another. they need to be reduced to their essence and allowed to develop in their new environment. is that the enhanced receptivity and sensitivity fostered by the practice might exacerbate feelings of illness and fear. The reason why the golden flower method is not particularly recommended for severely neurotic people. What is necessary is the primal psychological seed. whatever that may be. being. In order to benefit from whatever is useful in Eastern teachings. they are part of a transcendent interior culture that has no national boundaries. The golden flower practice is not primarily a therapeutic method for severely unbalanced people. Yet it is also true that some forms of neurosis are built into civilized society itself. and action.

they could be better off with the guidance of therapists who have themselves experienced the original mind of humanity and can calmly view the various realms of thought and perception as so many planets in a vast . If people with uncontrollable mental problems do turn to the golden flower method for help. would be key to any help the golden flower method could offer the severely unbalanced in finding a way out of their hells.md endless space. when the "demons. so the golden flower exercise could be useful to them in a very direct way in the investigation of processes of mental illness and liberation.153 The thoughts and images that compel the neurotic and psychotic could become more overpowering in the early stages of golden flower practice. Getting past this stage to experience penetrating insight into the essence and source of awareness itself. of thought assail the mind as it relaxes its conscious set in anticipation of the attempted switch-over to nonconceptual awareness. . not associated with any content at all. therapists to the mentally bedeviled need the unattached buoyancy and independent objectivity of penetrating insight. For their part.

1989. Translated by Thomas Cleary. Bos~ ton: Shambhala.· Immortal Sisters. 154 . Liu 1-ming. Liu 1~ming. Thnslated by Thomas Cleary. San Francisco: North Point Press. Jung. Liu 1-ming. The Inner Teachings ofTIWism. 1961. The TtWist I Ching. Princeton. Translated by R. Jung. C. 1989. NJ: Princ~ton University Press. Baynes. The Secret ofthe Golden Flcwer: A Chinese Book of Lift. Thnslated and edited by Thomas Cleary. Psycho~ and the East. Li Daoqun. Boston: Shambhala. Boston: Shambhala.Works Cited Chang Po~tuan. I Chi1fff Mandalas. 1986. F. Translated by Thomas Cleary. Zen Essence. . Translated by Thomas Cleary. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. The Book ofBalance and Ha'!"11Wny. Thnslated and edited by Thomas Cleary. 1978. 1988. . Boston: Shambhala. 1986. Carl G. Boston: Shambhala. AWR/teni~ to the TIW. 1988. Hull. 'franslated from the German by Cary F. Thnslated and explained by Richard Wilhelm. with a commentary by C. Liu l~ming. ·1987. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Understanding Reality: A TIWist Alchemical C/as~ sic. Thnslated by Thomas Cleary. Translated by Thomas Cleary. G. Boston: Shambhala. 1989.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful