Study and Practice of “The Secret of the Golden Flower”

Date: October 7, 2011

Third, the theory and methods of Xing and Ming of The Complete Reality of Taoism disclosed by <The Secret of Golden flower>

All Taoism Inner Alchemy classics and the classics of traditional medicine of China use Xing and Ming as basic concepts in their theory and practice. If you do not know these concepts, you can never understand their classics. Xing and Ming formed a world, the world of life. Xing and Ming are very important concepts which are the fundamental concept in Taoism. As the Xing and Ming are the essential concepts, the idea system of Taoism was set by thinking, discussing and explaining these concepts. But till now, there are many explanation and understanding about them. To what extent or level you understand these concepts will decide how far or how high you could reach in cultivation.

“Ming” refers to the variable part of life, which will change or can be changed; but “Xing” refers to the invariable part of life which will not change or cannot be changed. Human’s body has the birth and growth, senility, death, may fall ill or suffer some disease and recover, therefore the body is variable, it changes or can be changed during one’s life; Human’s emotion and feeling is also variable, it will change according to the change of place, the change of mind; mind changes as surroundings and thing change, one may feel happy or get angry. One can change his mind and improve his nature to be perfect by cultivation and practice; Desire will change also, there are many religious disciplines to limit or restrict desire in Buddhism and Taoism. These disciplines will become useless if desire cannot be changed; One’s idea and thought change too, as one learns more from another. As mentioned above, body, feelings, mind, desires, ideas and thoughts change and can be changed, so they are all included in the Ming. Ming training (Ming Gong) is the practice to improve them so as to be a healthy, kind, quiet, peaceful, and wise person. But this kind of practice cannot change the Xing, no matter how high one reaches. So Ming Gong cannot take the place of Xing training (Xing Gong). The key aim of both Buddhism and Taoism is to practice Xing, because Xing can change one‘s birth and death.

What is Xing? It will not change during one’s life, it has no birth and death, is not variable and has no motion. Does it really exist? The Buddhist and Taoism definitely believe that the “XING” do exist! And it might be tested. They both believe that the ultimate goal of training and cultivation is for the training of “XING”. Buddhism call it Nature of Buddha, ”which has no birth and death, without increase and decrease, even without moving all the time”. Taoism call it Yuanshen or Real Nature, Real self (真性 Zhenxing) ”which stands alone without change, quieted and serene, although moving circularly but never stopping”. The names of it might be called differently between Buddhism and Taoism, but they were saying the same thing. Regarding this “XING”, both Buddhist and Taoist think it is invisible and unspeakable, but it can be experienced and recognized only by practice through the biological phenomena.

In the first chapter of <The Secret of Golden flower>, it is said: “I pass on this training, it goes straight forward to the training of XING, shall not fall into any other way, so it’s wonderful and subtle”. Above all, the training of <The Secret of Golden flower> is focused on “Xing training”. It was said in this book: ”Tao or Way has neither name nor shape, it is only the Nature or Yuanshen.” So the Nature and Yuanshen are the same thing. Yuanshen and Shishen (识神) are just a pair. The thinking, ideas and desires are included in Shishen. As for ‘Yuanshen or Nature’ and its function, it is explained in the second chapter of the book: ”When one is born, Yuanshen stays in Fangcun (方寸), Shishen lives in heart. The heart’s form is like a big peach, with lung covering it, liver assisting it, large and small intestine bearing it. If one does not eat for a day, it will be uneasy, even frightened to be upset, angry to be stifled, sad by seeing dead, dizzied by beauty and charming. It seems one’s head is moved by this kind of things, but in fact Yuanshen cannot be moved by these. Can Fangcun move? How can Yuanshen who stays in Fangcun move? If it moves, it is both bad and wonderful, it is bad when one dies since it would go away; it is wonderful when one’s light crystallizes into a Natural Body, and it is starting to move. This is the secret kept for thousand years.” This paragraph’s meaning is: one have two Shen (神), one is Yuanshen, the other is Shishen. Shishen is also called mind which controls one’s desires and thoughts. Why one’s desires and ideas change always?It is because Shishen moves all the time. Yuanshen or Nature which stays in Fangcun does not move at all, no matter how one’s desires and ideas are changing – they cannot influence it, it would go to start a new life only when one dies. So the practice of Shishen may change one’s desires and ideas, it is only the cultivation of Yuanshen which can change one’s birth and death, since Yuanshen knows the truth and law of birth and death, so it is able to stop reincarnation, then transcend into the universe. As its ultimate aim is just to know the truth and law of birth and death, The Complete Reality of Taoism pays more attention to the cultivation of Yuanshen (Xing training).

What is the principle to cultivate Yuanshen? Although the Yuanshen is motionless, it has the light, its light is dispersing between the universe and human body’s limbs and bones. It will become a Natural Body if you carry on cultivating this light by turning it back, collecting and congealing. It will move when its light becomes a Natural Body. This is the principle to practice Yuanshen given by <The Secret of Golden flower> (The Doctrine of Taiyi and Jinhua). From the title of this book one can find this principle too, in the first chapter it is said: ”Taiyi (太乙) is one’s most important thing, Jinhua (金华) is its light.” Taiyi is one’s Nature or Yuanshen, Jinhua is the light of Nature or Yuanshen. The relation of Yuanshen and its light is like the relation between the electric charge and its surrounding electric field, if the light of Yuanshen is trained, the Yuanshen will be influenced also. The training method is to let the radiation light return, collect and stay in front of one’s Fangcun. This method is called “Turning the light back” (回光) . Usually people’s light only radiates, but the practitioner wants to cause the radiated light to return. <The Secret of Golden flower> said: ”The method of training the light is to use Reversal way.” How to do it? <The Secret of Golden flower> unlocks a special technique of The Complete Reality of Taoism: use eyes to do it. <The Secret of Golden flower> explains the theory basis of this unique technology: ”The essence of one’s body all comes to eyes, this is the key point for practice.” <The Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Meridian> (黄帝内经) knew this secret early: ”The essence of one’s body all goes to the upper empty holes.” <The Secret of Golden flower> further indicates that the eyes are the most important empty holes: ”The eyes are the gate or door, by which Shen light (神光) leaks or runs away. This is the easiest and smoothest way for one to lose his Yuanshen.” As eyes are the main door to lose Shen light, <The Secret of Golden flower> selected eyes to turn the light back. As for the detail technique, <The Secret of Golden flower> said: ”When put all of one’s desires and ideas aside, one may use Buddhism word ‘yi’ (∴) to practice, one should put the middle dot into the middle point between eyebrow, the left dot into left eye, the right dot into right eye. In this way the Shen light of two eyes will meet at the middle point of eyebrow. The middle point of eyebrow is Tianmu (天目 the third eye), which is the gate for these three light to meet and come in and go out.” It said: ”If one could practice ‘Turning the light back’ longer, the light will congeal, namely will become a Natural Body”. So if one can cause the light of that radiated to return, gathers and congeals it into a Natural Body, then that motionless Yuanshen probably will start to move, this is the goal of ‘Turning the light back’.

<The Secret of Golden flower> puts forward ‘Turning the light back’ as the basic principle of Xing Gong, and gave the technique of using eyes to train one’s light. The book considers not only that Taoism realized the importance of ‘Turning the light back’, but also other things. In chapter three, “Turning the light back and keeping it in the center” it said: ”It was transmitted from one great master or sage to the next, Reversal looking is the key point (Reversal looking is same as the Turning the light back). Confucians called it ‘Knowing to stop’, Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism called it ‘Vision of the heart’, the Lao-Tzi called it` Inner vision’, they all grasped the key point.” This paragraph’s meaning is: the principle of ‘Knowing to stop’ by Confucianism, the ‘Vision of the heart’ by Buddhism, the ‘Inner vision’ by Lao-tze, are describing the same thing, ’Turning the light back’. Although the principle is the same, the methods and techniques are actually not the same. <The Secret of Golden flower> proposed the method of using eyes to practice. It also said the ‘Stop and look’ method and ‘Tuning the breathing’ method by Buddhism are all the methods to practice ‘Turning the light back’. The light here is not only the light seen by eyes, also the other light, so the light is called Xing light (性光 Xing Guang). <The Secret of Golden flower> emphasizs: ”Even a blind person can do this practice.” Because the light one is going to practice is the light of Xing, light of eyes is only part of it. When talking about ‘Stop and look’ method by Buddhism, <The Secret of Golden flower> said: ”first is to stop looking outside, then look inside. If only stop without looking inside, it is called stopping without looking; if only looking without turning it back, it is called looking without taking it back.” So ‘Stop and look’ is also a method to practice ‘Turning the light back’, but this light is the light of thinking. As for ’Tuning the breathing’ by Buddhism, <The Secret of Golden flower> considers it is same to train light by ears and by eyes, it said: ”When to train light by eyes, look inside but not outside; when to train light by ears, listen inside not outside.” <The Secret of Golden flower> indicates that the methods mentioned above by Buddhism and Taoism are the methods of ‘Turning the light back’, their purpose is to collect the radiation light then turn it back, not only the light seen by eyes is Xing light, it also includes other light. If one understands this principle, he could master the outline of Xing gong, the book said: ”Understanding of this, one can live longer, and transcend into the universe, is mastered by Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.”

What is the Mandala seen by practitioner? Does it have any relations with Yuanshen, Jinhua, and ‘Turning the light back’, which are the important concept mentioned in the book? In fact, the Mandala is the light of one’s Xing or Yuanshen. One has found his Xing light if he sees the Mandala. <The Secret of Golden flower> considers that seeing Mandala means one just began to know how to turn the radiation light back and this is a very important and meaningful phenomenon in cultivation process, it indicates one has understood the principle and grasped the key point of practice. If one continues to practice in this right way, one may reach to higher steps as “the light begins to bloom”, ”the light is just in blooming”, and “the light congealed”. When you reached the step of “congealed”, your Yuanshen will begin to move and becomes active. When Yuanshen moves, one may find the truth of life.

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