Many lack the ability of ‘looking within’ properly. Looking within is not half-heartedly attempting a method and then wandering away when problems are encountered, as there is no such thing as trouble-free Daoist self-cultivation! Trouble and difficulties represent ‘blocked’ energy that must be ‘dissolved’ through a superior quality of awareness. Breathing deeply and fully in and out of a body that is free of muscular tension allows the mind to ‘still’ and ‘expand’. This is the first position of attainment within Qianfeng Daoism and represents the levels of relative and full enlightenment as found within Chinese Ch’an Buddhism. The attainment of Buddhist Enlightenment is exactly where Qianfeng Daoist development begins. If you cannot gain this enlightenment, then you are not practicing within the Qianfeng School. If you mistakenly think that Buddhist enlightenment has nothing to do with Daoist practice, then you are not part of the Qianfeng School. Listen carefully – the attainment of what is called ‘enlightenment’ within the Chinese Buddhist schools is where Qianfeng practice begins! Realising enlightenment is not the end product within the Qianfeng School, but only the beginning. Simply going away to learn new movements out of boredom achieves nothing if profound awareness is not cultivated here and now! People can learn all kinds other beneficial Daoist activities – such as qigong and Taijiquan, etc - but sooner or later, we all have to ‘look within’ to find the inner stability described in all the ancient texts from virtually every tradition. Dressing, moving and speaking ‘like a Daoist’ changes nothing if the inner energy chemistry has not been ‘refined’, ‘strengthened’, ‘transformed’ and ‘directed’ through ‘awareness’ and ‘understanding’! Indeed, for years Richard Hunn (1949-2006) ‘refused’ to discuss Qianfeng Daoism with me, despite encouraging me to ‘ingest’ the deep and profound text of ‘Taoist Yoga’. At the time, this seemed an odd method compared to the Ch’an School – that was how I was limited at the time. Today, Master Zhao Ming Wang discusses Qianfeng Daoism with me all the time...
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
By Qianfeng Disciple Tian Yuzi (天雨子)
Translator’s Note: Obviously, our minds are conditioned by the experiences we receive from the outside world from the moment of birth onward. We are programmed and socialised by our parents, communities, cultures and societies. This may be termed the ‘educational’ phase of our existences where we learn all the attributes required to be a responsible human-beings. However, this process of conditioning is only half the story. When we become functioning individuals, then the way we think and behave has an impact upon the world we live-in. In this ‘poem’ Tian Yuzi (Disciple Divine Rain) expresses the point of view of a mature Daoist ascetic who understands that ‘free will’ determines the world we inhabit, or at least provides the ‘filter’ through which we ‘interpret’ events. We are nolonger innocent children being ‘filled-up’ by the institutions and conventions of the outside world, and must stand on our own two feet and take responsibility for our own existences. Yes, love and mutual support are certainly the ‘Way’, and although we often sit and train in ‘isolation’, we never forget the well-being of all life that exists. Peace and love to you all! ACW (4.3.2020)
The (external) State is experienced by the (inner) mind. The conditioning of our personal mind determines how we interpret (and interact) with the outside world. From the sense of personal responsibility, ‘what’ and ‘how’ we think effects the way in which society develops and functions. The inner state of our mind is a filter through which we see the world. This is why the mind determines the State, and the State does not determine the mind. In self-cultivation, ‘will-power’ is the key...
It is not outer turmoil which defeats us, but rather our inner confusion. It is fear and anger which is deeply ingrained in the patterns of the mind. If you want to achieve something, first build a strong mind. In this way you can face the inner and outer storms of life and the mind ‘will not move’. The mind will be ‘silent’, ‘deep’, ‘loving’ and ‘full of peace’. It will not be ‘disturbed regardless of circumstance. When the mind is ‘still’, there is no ‘fear’...
Self-cultivation is built on a strong foundation of goodness. All negativity must be uprooted from the patterns of the mind, and its old conditioning exposed and rejected. Goodness is nothing but ‘light’ and ‘warmth’! From a ‘still’ and ‘shining’ mind, all other aspects of Daoist self-cultivation are achieved. This is how the mind (and heart) is filled with endless beauty!
A sagely person understands that the development of the mind is the key to Daoist self-cultivation. The ‘stilling’ of the mind is the ‘doorway’ into genuine self-cultivation. Nothing can be achieved if the mind is not treated as the access point to reality. At the very least, the physical body (and environment) must be conducive for the mind to be brought to a state of complete and permanent ‘inner peace’. Although the external world guides and shapes us, nevertheless, when we grow-up and become individuals, it is our responsibility to work on the purity of inner life, and in so doing contribute with ‘goodness’ toward the building of the external world.
Original Chinese Language Text:
During the recent SARS outbreak in China, I have been accessing news directly from China via WeChat and my numerous ethnic Chinese friends and colleagues living and working in that country. Master Zhao Ming Wang has always emphasised preventative health (despite working with terminally ill people), as does the Qianfeng School. Whilst some people panic and start resorting to all kinds of superstition and faith-based exercises – Master Zhao rejects all this. As Qianfeng Daoism is partly mixed with modern, Western medicine, the idea of maintaining a strong immunity is being advocated at this time (along with the drinking of various TCM soups). Keeping a calm mind and fit body is the Daoist way of prolonging life which exists side by side with the treatments available through modern medicine. Indeed, most people in modern China have access to modern medicine as a norm, with very few practising the Daoist Path. Popular Daoism is often a mixture of superstition, ignorance and commercial exploitation, and many people deliberately avoid it. Master Zhao rejects all these incomplete and misleading pathways and has no problem with modern medicine. Qianfeng Disciples must be rational and reasonable. Preserve the inner forces, eat and drink correctly (preferably through a vegetarian diet), do not over-indulge in pleasure, rich food or alcohol. Sleep well and allow healing to happen properly. Us modern medicine to supplement the long-term effectiveness of Daoist training, assist the Government to cur the latest out-break and build the health of the nature!
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Translator’s Note: I received this text as a post on Master Zhao Ming Wang’s Chinese language ‘WeChat’ blog. The post was made by the member called ‘逍遥.木心’ (Xiao Yao Mu Xin) and involves a discussion regarding the recent SARS outbreak in Wuhan. Just as the elderly Buddhist Master Jing Kong (净空) has held a world-wide meditation and chanting session for the victims of SARS – other disciples of the Qiafeng Daoist School of Beijing advocated the boosting of the immune system as a sure method of fighting a disease. ACW (1.2.2020)
A good doctor can cure a disease – but this can only be achieved by boosting your own immune system – to make it strong!
“Only the body’s own immunity can fight the disease, because our own immune gene chain is sufficient to deal with all known diseases. But why do we still get sick? It is because our immunity is suppressed. The true ancient Chinese medicine is against Medication is used to treat these diseases, but instead aims at restoring the normal order of the human body, unlocking and removing that which suppresses immunity, and then letting an invigorated immunity treat the disease itself. It can also be understood that drugs help the body to cure the disease, not that the drug itself can cure the disease. The inner foundation of the human body, as the field of essential psycho-physical energy, conforms to what the outer human body requires by following the frequency of energy expressed, balances all human energy, and restores a robust biological order to the mind and body. If medication or treatment is used to artificially push the boat along the water, the boat has no inherent power of its own, and this process is naturally hopeless and unfavourable. Once the medicine is withdrawn, the illness returns.”
Our immune system is very smart and agile. Its performance can surpass the world’s fastest processing computer control system, and it protects us 24 hours a day. The blood flow in the body is accelerated in order to send more white blood cells to the battlefield. The stuffy nose and fever we feel are actually signs of a violent attack on a virus. Vomiting is a self-protection reaction when the stomach is weak and its contents cannot be digested. Diarrhoea is the timely discharge of waste from the intestines. Even more amazing is that once the body is infected with a virus, the white blood cells that can deal with the virus – antibodies will remain in the bone marrow forever. When we encounter this virus again, the immune system can respond quickly and save us from suffering.
When you feel lost and desperate, think about the 12 billion cells in the body. Together they build a strong immune system. They are all dedicated to working for you, working with you, fighting for you, and living for you.
Original Chinese Language Text:
As far as my teacher advised, the mind must be ‘stilled’ stabilised and expanded before any Daoist self-cultivation is attempted. This is the Qianfeng Lineage as I have experienced it. One’s physical life must be purified through discipline and vegetarianism. One’s mind must have greed, hatred and delusion uprooted. As the Qianfeng Lineage is intimately integrated with Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, it is the Hua Tou method which is used to work directly on the structure of the mind. The jing and qi travel up the Governing Vessel, which travels from an inch in-front of the anus but behind the scrotum, up the spine and around the top of the head, culminating in the upper palate of the mouth. The tongue touches the palate and connects the rising Governing Vessel to the descending Conception Vessel which starts in the tongue and travels down the front of the body. This travels through the genital area and links with the Governing Vessel near the anus. This is one complete cycle of inner energy cultivation. As the inner energy travels up the Governing Vessel (to the top of the head) the question ‘Who?’ is asked. As the inner energy travels down the Conception Vessel, the question ‘is hearing?’ is used. The full Hua Tou is ‘Who is hearing?’ and the body is split into two even halves – even though the Governing Vessel travels further than the top of the head. All sensation is returned to its non-perceptual essence until the non-perceptual essence is fully comprehended, understood and realised.
Although I can sit with cross-legs and circulate the jing and qi (through the shen) in cycles of 360 repetitions, I find that in the transcendent stage, the parameters of this practice dissolve, disappear and are not required. The enhanced awareness itself penetrates (and opens) all the energy channel within and around the body, whilst linking the inner body to the outer environment through energy flow and psychological awareness. When this state is accessed, I am sat in the cross-legged meditation position with the hands in the usual positions required for Qianfeng practice. I can perform the usual circulation in the traditional manner, but at this time in my life this seems to be far too limited in scope. After years of practice, the practice has given way to a new ability and new perspective. I can feel the blood and energy channels ‘open’ and ‘unify’ fully – or more specifically - I become ever more aware of the ‘open’ and ‘unified’ reality of my inner-outer manifestation. My ‘intention’ (意- Yi) clears, expands, liberates, strengthens and generates contentment, boundless love and a gentle wisdom. This is an insight into how I personally practice with a similar if not identical reality unfolding when I move through my martial arts forms (although I am drawn ever more to ‘stillness’ and ‘awareness’).
Richard Hunn lived in Kyoto, Japan from 1992-2006. Indeed, he ended his days living in an old samurai house with his loving wife Taeko. They practiced 'Kyudo' (弓道), or the 'Way of the Bow' together in a local 'Dojo', and Richard Hunn said to me that he knew he was getting ill when during one training session he could no longer 'draw' the bow - an activity he could usually perform with an effortless ease. Richard Hunn was a strongly built English gentleman and with his mind being expansive and free - he could 'release' the arrow with no subject-object discrimination. When he could not 'draw' the bow, he gently returned the bow to the neutral position and took the arrow out - placing everything neatly on the ground he was kneeling on and entered the state of meditation. The old master (who had been watching) came quietly over and whispered that Richard should immediately visit a doctor. The doctor confirmed advanced pancreatic cancer and said Richard had 6 months to live. This was in 2004. Through a combination of Western medicine, TCM and qigong, Richard Hunn lived for another two years before passing away sat-up in a Kyoto hospital bed.
In 2003, whilst visiting my home in Sutton - South London - Richard Hunn (between long periods of seated meditation and in-depth discussions) handed me a collection of photographs, with each in varying stages of decay. He asked if I could 'reconstitute' the pictures and breathe new life into them. I handed these artefacts to my mother - Diane Wyles - who is an expert in this matter, and she repaired each and every one. Above, is the picture of Zhao Bichen (1860-1942) that Richard Hunn found in a Japanese language magazine. The script accompanying this image includes both Japanese and Chinese ideograms. Diane Wyles was able to rescue the image and make it presentable as the original was in a very bad state and falling apart. Unfortunately, as Richard's illness became all-consuming, our many projects fell by the wayside and I never got to see the original magazine. Although Richard Hunn left me a box of his documents kept at his home in Kyoto, due to a problem with access and one or two other issues, I have not yet received this inheritance 13 years after his passing. Still, I do possess the above picture which proves that at least some Japanese people were interested in Chinese Daoist practice. Richard explained to me that the magazine spoke with a great respect of Zhao Bichen's life and accomplishments.
Are Daoists believing in things that are not there? I am a realist who believes in science and the primacy of matter, whilst fully acknowledging the importance of consciousness. My view is that Daoism is a science but one which allows the effect of consciousness upon matter. I am not talking about any notion of idealism, or suggesting that the human mind can effect change in the environment without recourse to intermediate action. (Although ’mind to mind’ or ‘mind to object’ communication may be possible, I do not believe it has been adequately proven at this present time). What I am suggesting is that when the mind interacts with the interior of the body it occupies, there is an entirely different and unique relationship between mind and matter, which is non-existent between the mind and external object (as far as we know), or at least very different. When awareness is correctly directed and focused upon the bodily processes, then jing (精), qi (氣) and shen (神) manifest (as an integration of consciousness and matter). As matters stand, this capacity is not yet able to be measured by modern science, and so therefore remains outside of its scrutiny. Daoism offers a methodology of specific awareness which generates that which is searched for – it is a mind - body co-operation and not a pre-existing and independent material process. Yes, the physical body exists and can be measured to confirm its presence within time and space, but jing, qi and shen are not like this. They are the product of a material body fed through the filter of an all-embracing consciousness awareness. If this is the case, then what is the point of Daoism? Why not just forget about it and consign it to the dustbin of history? The reason is that when the mind and body interact in this manner, strength is built, health is made more robust, and life is extended. All this is achieved without recourse to modern pharmacology.
I have Richard Hunn’s 1967 (hardback) copy of the English translation of Richard Wilhelm’s ‘Secret of the Golden Flower’. Richard Hunn discussed this translation with Charles Luk - the consensus being that although very well translated from the German into English by CF Baynes – this work is Eurocentric, misleading and hopelessly ‘Orientalist’ in the sense that relatively straightforward Chinese Daoist concepts are presented through a misleading and obscuring filter of Christianity, theosophy and Jung’s ‘psycho-babble’. Charles Luk taught Richard Hunn the original Chinese text (alongside the ‘Hui Ming Jing’ - 慧命經). The ‘Secret of the Golden Flower’ is written in Chinese script as ‘太乙金華宗旨’ (Tai Yi Jin Hua Zong Zhi) - or ‘Grand Unity Golden Flower Lineage Purpose’. Although Richard Wilhelm attributed this text to ‘Lu Dongbin’ (吕洞宾) [796-1016], many modern scholars attribute it to his disciple – Wang Chongyang (王重陽) [1113-1870] - the Founder of the ‘Quanzhen’ (全真) or ‘Complete Reality’ School. One of his disciples was ‘Qui Chuji’ (丘處機) [1148-1227] - who Founded the ‘Longmen’ (龍門), or ‘Dragon Gate’ School. After Charles Luk explained the genuine ‘Qianfeng Xiantian’ (千峰先天派), or ‘Thousand Peaks Prenatal’ School as passed on to him by Master Zhao Bichen (趙避塵) [1860-1942], then Richard Hunn was able to ‘penetrate’ the obscuration created by Wilhelm and Jung in the German-English translation. Interestingly, Wilhelm (who is treated with a certain amount of respect in modern China for at least ‘trying’ to understand Chinese culture), he also translated the ‘Hui Ming Jing’ (慧命經), or ‘Enlightened Life Classic’. This was written by ‘Liu Huayang’ (柳華陽) [1736－？], who together with Wu Shouyang (伍守阳) [1574-1644] - Founded the ‘Wu Liu’ School – through which Zhao Bichen inherited the Quanzhen and Longmen teaching.
In reality, Richard Wilhelm (working in the 1920s), armed with a thoroughly Western intelligence and a Christian background, had no idea what genuine (ethnic Daoism) actually was, and it is clear from many of his comments that he also did not understand Chinese Buddhism, or exactly what Buddhist enlightenment is. These errors were compounded by Carl Jung’s misjudging and misinterpretation of Chinese culture, whilst attempting to fit it into a broad Eurocentric template. In reality, the ‘Golden Flower’ text is a basic method of Daoist meditation explained by Master Zhao Ming Wang (赵避尘) (b. 1966) numerous times in his Chinese language blog – which I have translated into English. There is no mystery involved in any of it. Charles Luk said that once the rue meaning is understood, then the Wilhelm text can be used by a practitioner in the West who knows how to translate the transliteration, but notice(1964) ‘ how different Wilhem’s explanation is to the pages of translation provided by Charles Luk in his (1970) ‘Taoist Yoga’, and his (1964) ‘Secrets of Chinese Meditation’ - particularly the Chapters upon Taoist Meditation and Taoist Practice.
Despite all the apparent issues with Richard Wilheelm's transliteration and understanding, I personally appreciate his efforts and think this book records an earlier time in East-West relations. Richard Hunn (like myself) studied the work of Carl Jung. Again, although I am critical of Jung's political ideas, and do not necesarily adhere to his interpretation of Eastern culture, I also know that when he was in his final years most of his viewpoints changed entirely to the extent where he praised the Chinese Ch'an Master Xu Yun (虛雲) [1840-1959]. Things exist in cycles and like my Mainland Chinese academic colleagues, I recognise reality as it is and as it has been, and with love in my heart, we move forward together into a progressive future!
You must look within with clarity of vision and insight. Without a pristine vision of the inner processes, nothing within Daoist self-cultivation can be achieved. Illness, injury and emotional agitation all lead to obscuration of the inner processes, as does bodily discomfort of any kind. We can adjust our lifestyles and manipulate our environment to reduce this discomfort (particularly in the early days of training), but the fact remains that eventually a certain strength of meditative insight must be developed that penetrates and irons-out all discomfort, just as it penetrates every bodily cell and expands out into the environment. Within Daoist iconology, this is sometimes depicted as occupying other bodies or objects whilst a ‘thread’ of awareness extends from the mind and body of the practitioner – linking the ‘one’ to the ‘many’. Touching the tongue to the palate connects the energy channels and allows the jing and qi to flow down into the lower dan tian, whilst the area of the anus is stimulated and the flowing energy is drawn round and back-up. Sometimes a sense of bliss accompanies the micro and macro circulatory orbits that is related to sexual orgasm but without the emission or requirement for a sexual partner (as no base desire is involved).
ACW - 釋大道 (24.9.2019) UK Qianfeng Sub-Branch of the 千峰先天派 (Qian Feng Xian Tian Pai) - Thousand Peaks Prenatal School (Beijing)
Adrian Chan-Wyles (內丹 - Shi Da Dao) - Qianfeng Lineage: Zhao Bichen (1860-1942), Charles Luk (1898-1978) and Richard Hunn (1949-2006). Acknowledges Master Zhao Ming (赵明旺) of Beijing as the ONLY Lineage Head of the Zhao Family Lineage of Qianfeng Daoism in China and the world.