Updated: Dec 1, 2019
WHY DO PEOPLE DIE? WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF TAOIST ALCHEMY?
XING AND MING. FUSION OF SOUL XING WITH ENERGY MING
Why do people die, if they have no diseases? Old age is the reason, you may say. But why does this old age come, what is the mechanism of it? A man grows old and dies because he is spending his vital energy. It's like a battery in a toy, when the battery is new – the toy car runs, but when the battery has run out – the toy car stops...And what kind of "battery" is it? It is something that is located in the area of the abdomen in the human body (compare stomach and stamina).
In Chinese tradition “the battery” is called MING 命, translated as life or destiny. (“How much stamina one has?”). So, this Ming - battery otherwise known as yuanqi 元氣 in traditional Chinese medicine, but in Taoism a different character is used 元炁 - the primordial qi*. It is getting spent. And when it ends, then a "kind" man with a scythe comes.
Ming is a tangible real substance and it can be felt, given a perfected sensitivity. Ming can be replenished only by mastering the since Taoist alchemy (just to emphasize that, according to the records of our school, some other traditions also posses such an essentially identical method, ). Note that to "Die" in Chinese is written emphatically: 失命 i.e. LOST MING.
But apart from Ming there is still another substance. It is located in the chest, and any other spiritual schools strive to perfect it. All of them base their teachings on it. It is called XING 性, which is translated as nature, the nature of the heart. In Chinese it is also called 心性 XIN XING or 本性 BEN XING. All the many methods of meditations and praying, stopping the internal dialogue, etc appeal to this. The mechanism is simple in theory - it is necessary to reduce the vibrations, to remove the waves and gradually reach a full peace. If you will perfect at this even further, then you will go into a stable peace, the breath will go away, the heart will almost stop beating and A Yin spirit YINSHEN will be able to leave of the body. This is what actually called enlightenment in the late Chan Buddhism. In addition, this work may lead to the improvement of specific abilities. This spirit is something that in many cultures is called a ghost. This spirit is identical to the soul that leaves the body at death – which is also called YINSHEN.
However, in contrast to the dying person, the spirit of the practitioner is connected to the body. When this out of the body experience happens, and then the spirit returns to the body, there are the certain signs which indicate that it did really happen. However many modern practitioners do not get out of the body, and with closed eyes travel in their fantasies. And that is a different phenomenon.
All religions and the latest doctrines hope for such an out of body experience, hence the attention to MORALITY is so strong. Control the passions - that's their main slogan.
If such a practitioner has not reached the mastery, he, at his death like all the dead souls, will go to a worser world (hell - in Christian terminology). After death the life memories of an ordinary person is not preserved, but the memories of a person, who has attained perfection at YINSHEN, will be preserved. But he can’t do anything with it and he can’t be reborn as a human being again. The teacher for him can only be another Yin spirit, i.e. another being from the lower worlds. The upper worlds are closed for the YINSHEN.
Xing and Ming are the separated parts of the primordial Unity. If Xing is a Yin part, then Ming is a Yang part. The YIN spirit (i.e. Xing) is inert and has no energy, and therefore he can’t rise to higher worlds. He needs energy similarly to a rocket needing fuel for the takeoff. Using only the meditation and any methods tied to Xing only changes the Yin'S characteristics, but makes no qualitative change. The ancient Taoist tradition (and with it those that I have already mentioned) uses the energy of Ming for fusion with Xing.Thus it turns these two into a Yang Spirit , also called a Tao fetus, who has the real potential and can move to higher worlds. So it is the Fusion of the energy Ming with the soul Xing that is the essence of alchemy.
Thus, the goal of alchemy - to fuse the soul Xing with the energy Ming and creating a yang Spirit – a Tao fetus, who has the real potential and can move to higher worlds.
How to perfect Xing you can understand by yourself or from the books, but how to perfect Ming you can get only in oral precepts of your Teacher. And important question is: Why it is so? Because of the fact that the secret of Ming is the secret of Life and Death! In carrying out the practice Ming the person violates a natural law (remember the saying "studying from the nature"). This law establishes that an ordinary person SHOULD BE BORN, GROW, LEAVE OR NO AFTER HIMSELF HIS PROGENY AND HIS ACTIONS, THEN GROW OLD AND DIE. Recall the Taoist phrase: "My destiny (MING!) is inside me, it is not from Heaven!" That is, a Taoist does not follow “the Nature", but instead overcomes it and goes against it.
The method passed on by a Teacher is not so complicated, so everyone can change their destiny - Ming. You do not need a special morality, you just need hard work and persistence. An ordinary person, even talented, does not have enough time to do too much of anything – whether good or evil. At childhood and at youth there are a lot of unconscious, automatic behavior. At maturity, when you just started to get your strength, the diseases and decline start to kick in. When a person reaches the top of his comprehensions of the meaning of life, ironically there is no longer the strength to do something.
As well said by Zhang Boduan: "Human life is so much as bubble on the water; yesterday one was on a horse, and now the corpse lies in the coffin, immersed in a death dream". "Remember the Death" – is one of the principles of ancient traditions. And now you can change your destiny, prolong life. What does this mean for mankind? Is this possible without responsibility?
So, why Xing can be understood by yourself or from books? Because the mind works rather manifestly, if we just watch it, we can understand that it is useful not to be overly emotional; the calm mind brings feelings of purity and reinvigoration, etc. If you go further, you can even bring out your own spirit from the body (Yin of course). However, it should be done carefully, because if a person is weak, the spirit will not return to the body and a death will occur. Therefore, you can learn it by yourself or from the books.
As for Ming, then the person can’t understand anything. He could only feel the difference between a young age and the old one etc, but it is difficult to determine whether the energy flows out, or comes in. To see all of these processes clearly you need to be already a being with the cosmic level of thinking. Every second of life staying in the illusion of a permanence, we actually run on an invisible treadmill. What happens to the Universe, how are the energies change, who does understand this now? I.e. to replenish the Ming a new you should be able to change with the cosmos, picking what assists to this task and rejecting anything else. This is the doctrine of changes of the ancient Chinese. How can modern people understand that, living by a bland clock hours and practicing in accordingly? At any modern qigong you will hear that the time and space do not matter, that your practice of qigong helps you “go beyond the natural laws”. And this is said about ordinary people who are can’t even get rid of the laws of heat and cold, food and hunger, but presume to “get rid of the influence of the Cosmos”!
So then the modern person has no alternative, but to seek a direct transmission of knowledge , which stems from the time, when the mankind have a clear understanding of cosmic laws. Of course, we can assume that a genius who can understand these law without could be born. But such an extraordinary person will not need anything at all from this world let alone a transmission. On the other hand there exist fake methods invented by ordinary people, these methods are usually only a projection of their mind and have nothing to do with the laws of Cosmos. Here is an example: Did Someone deciphered the Yi Jing? I think the answer is obvious.
Hence stem here need for the personal transmission. In this case firstly there will be no distortions, and secondly there will be personalized training for each person. Thirdly, in order to avoid deviations the practice will be done under the oversight of Teacher (and not like today, in stadiums, where participants do anything they want). Also, a ritual of accepting a student is a promise by the Teacher to be personally responsible for his student, to vouch for him, including with teachers own destiny...
古圣有言曰命由性修 性由命立 命者炁也性者神也炁 则本不离神神则有时 离炁 Ancient sages said: Ming is perfected starting from Xing. Because you need the true spiritual condition to find your Teacher and then to practise, i.e. you need the correct state of mind while practicing. Xing is established starting from Ming. Without repleniching and perfecting of Ming the true spiritual work is impossible. Qi is inherently inseparable from the Shen (the spirit). If qi ever comes apart from shen, there will be an instant death. So while the person is alive they are inseparable. (This refers to the out of body experiences of the spirit when qi remains in the body)
The author © Dmitry A. Artemyev (Founder of Dao De Centre)
Notes: * While the character reads qi in the both first and the second example, it refers to a different energy. Doctors know only the post heaven energy - houtian, while Taoists practise with pre-heaven one - xiantian... Therefore, doctors don not understand what is contained in the kidneys, mistakenly writing 元氣. Ming and the primordial qi (the Taoist one) are the same. Xiantian – pre-heaven, given before birth and can’t be changed in the direction of the increasing by the ordinary man. Houtian – post heaven, the energy that "feeds" a man after the birth: food, water, air, external qi ... a lot of things, but the main thing is that it can’t replace the pre-heaven energy... Ming is not located exactly in the kidneys but is closely tied to them, as the system of the kidneys is a a part of a reproducing- discharging system of the human body, so the kidneys spend their energy directly for the purpose of reproducing...
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