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Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:40 pm

Hi All!

I think this is my first time introducing a topic on the forum. Over the years several people have asked me a few things regarding Taoism, martial arts, healing and such. I think it's high time that a few of us come together to explore some of these issues methodically. I'm compelled to reveal that I am a practicioner of Classical Chinese Medicine and have what many consider to be profound insight into the topics here. It is not my intention to reveal and deep secrets or to engage in ego-serving argument. What I would like to accomplish is to have the participation of those truly interested and open-minded. Oh yeah, maturity is a must.

let's start at the beginning with chapter one from the "Tao Te Ching."

Chapter 1



The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

Thus, constantly free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations

These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

http://www.taoism.net/ttc/chapters/chap01.htm

The link provided includes discussions that may be helpful. I'd like to ask anyone, who hasn't really read the commentary to refrain from posting. Thanks.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:21 am

Congratulations on your first topic [yay]

manonthepath wrote:copy paste from Psychosynthesis topic

I'll give it to you a bit at a time. I loathe long posts and am between tasks. I'd like to start by asking if you have any familiarity with Taoism and the "Tao Te Ching." There are many ways to lead to to my meanings and going through a few short passages is as good a way as any. What I mean by a holistic approach is basically one that includes meta-cognitive variables. Such variables as gut neurons and intuition in part.



I love to read gems of wisdom presented in Taoist texts. Their philosophy is really something divine. Laozi has been in my mind for a long time. When I visualize a "wise man" it is almost certainly his appearance I visualize. Maybe it is due time that I read Tao Te Ching as it is only book that hasn't been recommended to me but has been with me for the past few years.

I won't do the same mistake again [grin]

Also, wu-wei is something I consciously strive for, but have just begun doing so.

So, interest is here, and watchful presence to stop myself from ignorance, impotence and stupidity.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby corvidus » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:55 am

Good topic of discussion :)

For me, chapter one begins to explain what is responsible for the 'fixt-point' of consciousness.
In the alchemical community I'm familiar with, this Mystery or Obscurity is also called the Great Paradox, or Origin.

What that comes down to is infinite potential, and in the right conditions, this potential to be given form, fixt, and made manifest.

This is considered by myself and others to be the most Universal Path.
Free yourself from the seduction of words.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:15 am

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

Let's take this apart a bit. This part has to do with cognition: thinking. When we name something, we label it. This means we say what it is not (of course naming things has other functions). We limit it and codify it. We attach certain related concepts to it (whatever it is). This is not the eternal reality of the thing we're thinking about. It is, at best, only a partial understanding.

The eternal Tao refers to a cosmic dynamic by which all things operate. It is all inclusive and ever changing. change is the nature of all dynamism.

This nameless Tao is the origin point for everything. This phrase is very relevant to understanding what is important here. The "Origin" referred to here is a mental-spiritual precognitive state. This state is in itself a dynamic of functions. It is the pause BEFORE we form a thought. It is what Sun Tzu: "The Art of War." refers to as the moment of "Shie." That moment after the bowstring has been drawn and aimed just before we release. This dynamic is the mother of the ten thousand things (everything). The tern thousand things are the stuff we name. Ponder how this can be relevant to living one's life and understanding the cosmic reality. It is the first key to unlocking a great cosmic lock. This has relevance to martial arts and magick especially. When you respond, try to write deeply instead of writing alot. Packing intense meaning into as few words as possible has many benefits indeed.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby Rin » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:04 pm

I'm compelled to reveal that I am a practicioner of Classical Chinese Medicine and have what many consider to be profound insight into the topics here.


I'm curious, what are your thoughts on the distinction, if any, between the more recent term Classical Chinese Medicine and the older (although still recent) and more generally used Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what is your practical training background?

I'm not trying to interrogate you or anything, as I said, I'm just curious, I have a strong interest in Taoist meditative and internal development techniques, and Taoist philosophy (and to a lesser extent, practice) strongly influences my own worldview and practice.
"The path of the Sage is called
'The Path of Illumination'
he who gives himself to this path
is like a block of wood
that gives itself to the chisel-
cut by cut it is honed to perfection"

- DDJ, Verse 27

"It's still magic even if you know how it's done." - Terry Pratchett
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:32 pm

manonthepath wrote:The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

Let's take this apart a bit. This part has to do with cognition: thinking. When we name something, we label it. This means we say what it is not (of course naming things has other functions). We limit it and codify it. We attach certain related concepts to it (whatever it is). This is not the eternal reality of the thing we're thinking about. It is, at best, only a partial understanding.

The eternal Tao refers to a cosmic dynamic by which all things operate. It is all inclusive and ever changing. change is the nature of all dynamism.

This nameless Tao is the origin point for everything. This phrase is very relevant to understanding what is important here. The "Origin" referred to here is a mental-spiritual precognitive state. This state is in itself a dynamic of functions. It is the pause BEFORE we form a thought. It is what Sun Tzu: "The Art of War." refers to as the moment of "Shie." That moment after the bowstring has been drawn and aimed just before we release. This dynamic is the mother of the ten thousand things (everything). The tern thousand things are the stuff we name. Ponder how this can be relevant to living one's life and understanding the cosmic reality. It is the first key to unlocking a great cosmic lock. This has relevance to martial arts and magick especially. When you respond, try to write deeply instead of writing alot. Packing intense meaning into as few words as possible has many benefits indeed.



From well you can draw a bucket of water; from the source a river.

It is as they say, in terms of philosophy, truth is what is directly experienced. What is said is just the breadcrumb that may or may not lead to the experience of knowing. It is much like describing a color. You can name it red and tell someone that it is red, but without direct experience there can be only "named". Experience is not only gained with mind, it is merely translated to form an abstract. An it is only natural for it to come after the experience, but that's not the case in the modern times. It is the mind who wants to experience.

It is really hard to paint the picture that would be understandable to someone who hasn't experienced it but I feel that it can be presented in this form: to consume it, or to live it?
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:44 am

Rin wrote:
I'm compelled to reveal that I am a practicioner of Classical Chinese Medicine and have what many consider to be profound insight into the topics here.


I'm curious, what are your thoughts on the distinction, if any, between the more recent term Classical Chinese Medicine and the older (although still recent) and more generally used Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what is your practical training background?

I'm not trying to interrogate you or anything, as I said, I'm just curious, I have a strong interest in Taoist meditative and internal development techniques, and Taoist philosophy (and to a lesser extent, practice) strongly influences my own worldview and practice.


We can possibly discuss these things in PMs. I'd like to stay on topic with this thread.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:45 am

EternalReturn wrote:
manonthepath wrote:The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

Let's take this apart a bit. This part has to do with cognition: thinking. When we name something, we label it. This means we say what it is not (of course naming things has other functions). We limit it and codify it. We attach certain related concepts to it (whatever it is). This is not the eternal reality of the thing we're thinking about. It is, at best, only a partial understanding.

The eternal Tao refers to a cosmic dynamic by which all things operate. It is all inclusive and ever changing. change is the nature of all dynamism.

This nameless Tao is the origin point for everything. This phrase is very relevant to understanding what is important here. The "Origin" referred to here is a mental-spiritual precognitive state. This state is in itself a dynamic of functions. It is the pause BEFORE we form a thought. It is what Sun Tzu: "The Art of War." refers to as the moment of "Shie." That moment after the bowstring has been drawn and aimed just before we release. This dynamic is the mother of the ten thousand things (everything). The tern thousand things are the stuff we name. Ponder how this can be relevant to living one's life and understanding the cosmic reality. It is the first key to unlocking a great cosmic lock. This has relevance to martial arts and magick especially. When you respond, try to write deeply instead of writing alot. Packing intense meaning into as few words as possible has many benefits indeed.



From well you can draw a bucket of water; from the source a river.

It is as they say, in terms of philosophy, truth is what is directly experienced. What is said is just the breadcrumb that may or may not lead to the experience of knowing. It is much like describing a color. You can name it red and tell someone that it is red, but without direct experience there can be only "named". Experience is not only gained with mind, it is merely translated to form an abstract. An it is only natural for it to come after the experience, but that's not the case in the modern times. It is the mind who wants to experience.

It is really hard to paint the picture that would be understandable to someone who hasn't experienced it but I feel that it can be presented in this form: to consume it, or to live it?


Exactly.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:32 pm

Thus, constantly free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations

These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

Many on this forum ask about the nature and scope of "Intent" and how to use it in spellwork and such. The first step is to understand the nature of intent. These next passages from chapter one may give some of us a lens with which to examine our intent and how we can cultivate intent.

Certainly this refers to yin and yang, but ruminate on the concepts in the context of desire and intent. Consider how the variables of desire, intent, will, and other things you consider important operate in your life. Is there a way you can make them play in ways in which they can operate in greater harmony?
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manofsands » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:58 am

I did that thing (most of us have done) where I wrote a nice, involved reply and then somehow lost it during review or submission.

I'm not going to redo it all now atm. Quick 1st impressions.

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things


True meaning is lost when something is labeled. The truth is caged, judged, and categorized within the limits of the experiences of the observer.

Nameless - truth IS.
Named - the zoo of agreed on opinions, categories, lines and disections. The quantifying of the object at loss of the All.

Thus, constantly free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations


Desires are little blackholes. Vortacies which bend us from the true path. Wonder is the baseline. But desire can change wonders into objects, valued by their helpfulness in gaining said desire.

These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders


The two are one. They are the extremes of the gradient of the one. The polarization is the engine, the energy of the one. In relation to the above, the indirect proportional relationship of wonder and desire.


I'll reply to more later.
YOU ARE
where your
ATTENTION IS

there is no need to push the river... it will flow on its own
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:15 am

Desire is taught. It is merely addiction to manifestation. It is a ego-reaction to what is. A child wonders, it does not desire. Through wonder comes great power felt as an inspiration surge to do, to learn, to be. There is no need to control, there is silent peace, joy and being.

I have yet to understand and implement this on a wider scope.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manonthepath » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:00 am

Desire is both learned and a natural behavior. A newborn desires food. The destruction of the ego does not involve the destruction of desire. The goal is to understand that all desire leads to suffering and this is the beginning of developing the needed detachment, which may help some to decrease or eliminate suffering to the extent that they are able to "manage" their desires. This involves evaluating the nature and scope of our desires and determining which are really necessary and which should be avoided. The battle isn't about transcending desire. It's about transcending the ego and developing an understanding that if we allow ourselves desire, we invite suffering sooner or later. It is up to each to determine the "opportunity costs" involved with each desire on a case by case basis. An example is "True Love" one of the greatest prizes of human existence. Like everything else, it will end in loss, terrible loss. It is up to each to make this attachment worth the eventual pain it will involve. This is where gratitude plays a vital role in the joy of life. Now consider the tobacco addict. The desire to fulfill a momentary compulsion involves a terrible price for the individual and those with attachments to the individual. It is up to each to determine the nature and scope of the desire and the prices to be paid in suffering. [tongue2]
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:53 am

It all then comes back to awareness? [smile]
To be able to stand behind your actions and decisions, no matter what the price will be?
Or from the other standpoint, to be able to pay the price?
Intent to do, will to endure?

I feel like I'm missing something here. So desire is unavoidable, it is a part of life. What about this stuff that man must be free of all desires for his soul to be able to transcend this existence and such?
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby corvidus » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:09 pm

EternalReturn wrote:I feel like I'm missing something here. So desire is unavoidable, it is a part of life. What about this stuff that man must be free of all desires for his soul to be able to transcend this existence and such?


If you continually submit to material/ego desires, it will be difficult to submit to a higher consciousness in order to begin involution.
Free yourself from the seduction of words.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manofsands » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:56 pm

I don't know if I'm ready for total detachment,...
... I kind of enjoy the ride :)
YOU ARE
where your
ATTENTION IS

there is no need to push the river... it will flow on its own
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manofsands » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:02 pm

...However I am all about the recognition of the responsibilities that come with ones choices, like Manonthepath mentioned. And I am 'anti-regret' about the choices we make. Learn and move on.
YOU ARE
where your
ATTENTION IS

there is no need to push the river... it will flow on its own
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:34 pm

manofsands wrote:I don't know if I'm ready for total detachment,...
... I kind of enjoy the ride :)



Me too, that's why I'm struggling so much. [crazy]
To fight all the way through, well I was kinda ready for it but whole body was like "noo, don't do it it's fun not bad".

So awareness sheds light on rights and wrongs, nameless and ten thousand things. To be aware is to witness wonder.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby magari » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:46 pm

manonthepath wrote:Desire is both learned and a natural behavior. A newborn desires food. The destruction of the ego does not involve the destruction of desire. The goal is to understand that all desire leads to suffering and this is the beginning of developing the needed detachment, which may help some to decrease or eliminate suffering to the extent that they are able to "manage" their desires. This involves evaluating the nature and scope of our desires and determining which are really necessary and which should be avoided. The battle isn't about transcending desire. It's about transcending the ego and developing an understanding that if we allow ourselves desire, we invite suffering sooner or later. It is up to each to determine the "opportunity costs" involved with each desire on a case by case basis. An example is "True Love" one of the greatest prizes of human existence. Like everything else, it will end in loss, terrible loss. It is up to each to make this attachment worth the eventual pain it will involve. This is where gratitude plays a vital role in the joy of life. Now consider the tobacco addict. The desire to fulfill a momentary compulsion involves a terrible price for the individual and those with attachments to the individual. It is up to each to determine the nature and scope of the desire and the prices to be paid in suffering. [tongue2]



We need more of this wisdom in the New Age section of book stores.

Too many people seeking an escape rather than a solution.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby manofsands » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:45 pm

manonthepath wrote:It is up to each to make this attachment worth the eventual pain it will involve. This is where gratitude plays a vital role in the joy of life.


That is great insight and advise. [yay]
YOU ARE
where your
ATTENTION IS

there is no need to push the river... it will flow on its own
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby EternalReturn » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:53 am

Oh, it dawned on me [zomg]

thank you manofsands for pointing this out, this is the third time I got an insight from reading your posts, and responses [pray]

and of course, thanks to manonthepath for explaining this to me [yay]
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby MagusSalgon » Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:37 pm

manofsands wrote:I don't know if I'm ready for total detachment,...
... I kind of enjoy the ride :)


The ride doesn't end, it actually gets a lot more intense.
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Re: Learning about Taoist Alchemy

Postby Lumpino » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:52 am

Interesting book about Taoist alchemy is "The secret of the golden flower". Translantion by Richard Willhelm.
The base of this system is very similar like Hindu chakrayoga.
Only chakra Ajna from Hindu texts is there caled a "Heavenly heart" and chakra Anahata a "fleshly heart".
About three month meditation on "Heavenly heart" for calming and then bring attention to "fleshly heart". And to this place to focus attention even in ordinary life until this chakra is not open and reflected the strength in her hidden. It could take a years of meditations.
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