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  1. Good stuff. I guess that means I'll be leaving.
  2. Golden Elixir

    It's all good. And interesting too. But, even on that point, there is a difference in how Taoists would go about the descriptions. For Taoists, there isn't an emotional body per se. Matter and Spirit are more tightly bound when approached through the 5-element theory. Technically, there is an emotional body. But the "emotional body" is considered a generalization of the radiant yang fields of the body's organs. The theory goes that there is a pure state experienced in the body's organs where the 5 yang virtues of benevolence, justice, truthfulness, integrity, and wisdom are prominent (and it is prior to birth). After birth, though, the body is repeatedly exposed to the energy of the external world. From there, the yang peaks and is corrupted into yin forms of anger, anxiety, worry, grief, and fear. The way of the Tao is considered reversion because there is a selective re-introduction of yin so as to shape the rhythms and re-create the heavenly yang state that was lost after birth and living in the world. And, in this sense, it is kind of like where the bible advises that disciples should be as children or be born again. Oh (about mindstreams), my take (informed, in part, by wu-xing theory) was that a mindstream is a particular form of soundcurrent.
  3. Golden Elixir

    Thanks. That, I think is the path of the immortal. It is having enough yin (in the right places) to harmonize yang so you never fall into decay. Kind of like what the person in the video-link I posted said: everything in rhythm, but it doesn't need to end. You could be immortal but, to go beyond the trivial understanding (which is simply identification with the experiencer that is never experienced), you would need to harmonize every facet of your song so that the song never ends.
  4. Golden Elixir

    Perhaps I should have said "my, after-the-fact" experience where I first said "experience". But, even so, your use of "void" doesn't match the heart sutra... The idea of inherence is not really part of the yin-yang dynamics. There is constant ebb and flow The main point was that there wasn't/isn't a consciousness behind this; it is a process bigger than consciousness and consciousness, itself, is a sub-part of it (correlated, in-part, to the feature of dependent origination)---and we thus avoid the philosophizing about objecthood, attribution, and essences. The form=emptiness and emptiness=form is true whether meditating or not but you get the "non-experience" of it under specific conditions. The hierarchy your quote describes presents different levels of the more general thing that I was describing (which, during its procession, defines each level and the transitions between them). Which is why we have this in the heart sutra: "Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So, too, are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness." They are all lumped together and subject to the states of form and emptiness (which are indicated as having mutual dependency/shared identity in the same way that yin and yang tend to be described as mutually dependent---where one cannot exist without the other or entirely separate from the other). And the (later) mention of there being nothing to attain is also very similar to the "everything returns to the Dao", which is essentially a statement of non-hierarchy.
  5. Golden Elixir

    My experience is that the void is form and form is void indicates a non-commutativity of a soundcurrent---this is just the ebb and flow of yin and yang. The time when we experience emptiness is a unique time when the ebb of form and void is made to harmonize through us and through the node which we experience consciousness with. You can feel the same type of ebb and flow in the body in meditation or active exercises. When there is a full harmonization of the breath and body and all the senses, the soundcurrent can harmonize(unbroken) so that even your awareness/consciousness partakes in this process without being a witness to it.* *which is to say that it can also be an object in the process. And emptiness would be the yin phase of the soundcurrent that is through the node where your awareness (the yang phase of consciousness) is oriented from. That it can be an object which is subject to yin and yang phases tends to preclude the notion of primacy.
  6. Golden Elixir

    form=emptiness and emptiness=form in and out of meditation, though...
  7. Golden Elixir

    I actually figured out the take on taiji and 10,000 things when thinking about yin and yang on my own. But the unity is not consciousness. It is voidness. It's the thing reached in deep meditation when consciousness seems to cease and you only know you've been in it after you return to normal consciousness. There isn't really a mind-like quality to it. Unless we're talking about different things again...
  8. Golden Elixir

    I see. I think we're at an impasse, then. 5 element theory, yin-yang theory, and the heart sutra (by my understanding) do not affirm a universal mind.
  9. Golden Elixir

    That would be a marked difference. My minimalistic approach keeps me from using concepts that relate to things that I can't actually use or have a repeatable and demonstrable relation with. As such, I don't really view a shared mind as a thing. Even when I looked into a guru who is considered an avatar of shiva (Paramahamas Nithyananda), he still accesses other people's energy body to get information about them. It is still a faculty that is somehow bound to his own body. So I have a particular degree of skepticism about a "universal mind". Do you have any particular reasons for using the idea? Edit: There's also not a universal mind idea in Taoism either.
  10. Golden Elixir

    That's not the same. It's supposed to be an organic growth process. You could open all the channels and chakras and fully integrate the conscious and subconscious and you still wouldn't have made a separate spirit body or elixir. In fact, this was loosely discussed in the Flying Phoenix Chi Kung thread. Sifu Terry described the Flying Phoenix energy, when cultivated, as making all subconscious functions consciously accessible. But, even so, the Tao Tan Pai elixir method was something unique and different.
  11. Golden Elixir

    That's where there still seems to be a difference. The Immortal spirit body can actually appear physically like a body-double. which doesn't depend on the original physical body from which it was made. It is written that it is an actual, autonomous body of spirit. There is even a phase in training where it is supposed wander on its own and you need to bring it back to your body because it is still developing from your body's energy. (And if you don't bring it back, it will either depart as a separate spirit or dissipate/die).
  12. Golden Elixir

    Haha.. I can't always gauge clarity. Probably because I'm lacking some. What's your take on the golden elixir? Is the literal golden embryo forming and developing in the dantian something that is supposed to be taken literally? Or am I totally missing a sense of things? It makes me wonder....Because this sort of thing is something that I haven't really found in connection to teachers---at least, not with any drawn-out detail. It might be mentioned as a possibility but then I hear nothing about it ever again.
  13. Golden Elixir

    This is true. With Chinese we also have the issue of literal translations not making sense. That is, since Chinese is written in characters, more complex ideas get expressed with multiple characters. And there is a sort of absorption where a collection of nouns equals a new noun that has some of the attributes of the other nouns. But with texts written by people with strong energy, there is some preservation of the energy into translations. Like, with Taoist Yoga (though it was probably stronger because the translator was somewhat accomplished with the methods as well), like with page 65 when a student's question is answered with "Your question is most welcome". Those words are charged. You can also get a feel for how ideas are shaped. Likewise, if you understand yin and yang you can tell where things are not quite right (because some aspect of yin-yang complementarity has been represented without balance). There are tough points, though.
  14. Golden Elixir

    Actually, a lot of the problems seem to stem from people taking one quote of Liu Yiming and not the context (I got a copy of "Awakening to Reality" with his commentary for Christmas and have been leafing through it). Liu Yiming said that the elixir was the unchanging essential nature. This is (probably) true. But the cultivation methods, by his description, are to open-up the development cycles so that yang is balanced before it peaks and shatters into disparate yin and yang pieces. I should stop going to the forums and non-practitioners for guidance. I should just bite the bullet and get all the scriptures. Everywhere else that I read seems to corrupt different aspects of what has been written. Even the translator's commentary to "Awakening to Reality" is silly. It says that the advice to "not leave your wife and go off into idle solitude" means that there is no celibacy. Then we get the scripture that you must understand Yin and Yang in order to have a proper practice. That's kind of bogus. Yin and Yang require celibacy to preserve yang; the prior passage was an admonition against simply leaving and living in solitude and, more specifically, not having the awareness to maintain balance and avoid the internal extremes that flip polarities. Then we have people on the Dao Bums using these passages to defend the practice of the bedroom arts (despite the fact that they are always prefaced with the warning that they are side-practices and are ways of constructively tweaking what would otherwise be an deleterious course of action (and shouldn't be done regularly for that reason)). But that's kind of a tangent. In this way, much like Taoist Yoga, "Awakening to Reality" basically says the same thing over and over. Which is really all you need, since it's not always easy to see beyond conditioning and intuitively grasp where something is imbalanced (as the mind usually jumps to the subordinate forms of balance and ignores the extreme imbalance within-which the little "balances" reside). In this way, the "pregnancy" of the immortal fetus and the description of the golden elixir as the unchanging essential nature are the two sides of the same coin. Whereas the description of it as unchanging essential nature is the yin aspect which accompanies the yang (active and visible) stuff of the development of the golden immortal fetus. So most of what I have been reading on the DaoBums kind of missed the point... (since the most visible schools only talk about one side of the coin when they criticize each other). ---Note, this isn't really a response to you. It's more me just thinking out loud and reflecting on what I have been seeing and considering. (People have been advocating wu wei without method or method without wu wei; both are right together yet neither is right apart; the organic development pathways for spirit are basically reconstructed/reactivated with the traditional alchemy exercises; in this way, the proper function of wu-wei in alchemy is like the proper function of wu-wei in martial arts. Yet, instead of basically building a defensive capability that functions like a semi-autonomous biological/spiritual system that preserves your body from attack, you are restoring proper flow patterns and basically activating latent spiritual/biological systems that allow the spirit-substance to develop so it can develop into the pure yang which will harmonize fully with the pure yin aspect, the "golden elixir", understood as essential nature.) Probably nobody will understand that but it's pretty much just for me, and it concludes this discussion in my mind. (Though I am always open to finding more out and correcting possible faults)
  15. Golden Elixir

    Eh, it's not a matter of it being a con job---I am definitely certain that the tradition is able to accomplish what it says. Different schools and exercises accomplish different things. Not all methods can be applied constructively at once. Some goals can only be realized by very specific methods. And, to me, some goals are more important than others (especially if they seem more time-sensitive than others). So, instead of declaring one good or one bad, I am trying to zero in on a particular goal. Namely the golden elixir/embryo. And that's a bit of an interesting and hard to reconcile point. If we presume that all the methods lead to exactly the same thing, then we'd drop the idea of the golden elixir at Liu Yiming's description of it being the unchanging essential nature. But, if we do that, all the peculiarities that I have experienced would have no apparent reason for existing. I am not exactly well-versed in Taoist alchemy. I picked up Taoist yoga and was rather low-minded and brute-force oriented with how I was applying it and trying to make it work. I had attained a number of side things from my attempts at practice, though. Recently, with things appearing on DaoBums, I have put a bit more attention to Zhang Bo Duan. Posts on the DaoBums and what I am finding in the different alchemy manuals show a development that looks very different from the golden elixir that is approached philosophically. Actually, in the golden elixir tradition, the "immortal fetus" and near literal pregnancy description is the most well-developed description of the process and its outcome. (Though it is unfortunate that the scriptures and their commentaries differ in which methods they prescribe....) It's not an expanded state of consciousness or energy that you can experience in this body; it is a very specific procedure for using energy that proceeds very much like a pregnancy. The lower Dantian is an elixir field which is cultivated to a point where it is able to hold sustain, and eventually birth (through the crown) the immortal fetus which will grow into the fully functional golden immortal body. And, once this immortal body is developed, it can grow (by its own power, and in a way that requires no enduring link to the body) the other powers that other people have cultivated in the form of individual siddhis. It really feels like an entirely unique thing different from what other traditions deal with. And not all things associated with Daoism seem to deal with it either---quite a few Daoist sects generate effects that look a lot like Tibetan or Hindu cultivation effects. There is definitely overlap. But there really seems (to me) like this is something unique. But, like I wrote before: "people know what they know and they know what they've been taught; contrasting what methods can accomplish which things doesn't seem to take place since everyone is highly invested in their methods of choice"---getting a good perspective on this stuff is difficult.