By Hu Xuezhi
1. The Way of the True Heart
2. Nine Steps of Disciplining the Heart
3. Why could I not know?
4. Eight Steps of Silk Brocade Practice
5. Silent Sitting Practice
6. Motion Postures & Sequence
7. Something for attention
8. Heart-mind Fasting Meditation
The Tao that can be spoken of 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 root of all things.
Therefore, the subtleties of the Tao can be experienced by being free from passions and desires.
The things existing in the world of duality can be well known by possessing passions and desires.
The two above-mentioned have the same source but are given different names.
The ability of transformation between the two is a most mysterious thing, or the door of all mysteries.
Tao, which is also called Infinite Nirvana by Shakyamuni and Infinite Emptiness by Confucius, is so vast that it has no limits to confine it. At the same time, Tao is so minute that there is no interior to fill it.
It extends itself far away beyond the limits of the universe and existed long before the beginning of time.
Tao is capable of exhausting infinitude and dates back to the time when there was no beginning whatever and there was no time. Tao was something naturally formed as infinite achromatic chaos, long before the creation of Heaven and Earth. Infinitely still and infinitely comprehensive, it has remained unchanged and independent ever since, functioning within all things in a thoroughly perfect manner without any lapse or error.
Tao gives birth to all universal things and also is contained within all universal things.
The Tao that is contained within is called the Golden Mean or Te in Chinese, and actually serves a function much like the source of spring water or the root of a tree.
Without this root source, the spring water will run dry and the tree will become withered. Such a Golden Mean or Te is also called Primeval Nature or the True Heart. A state that exists when the desires and passions such as happiness, anger, sorrow, joy, and fear, have not yet come into being; a state of completeness, perfect balance and stillness.
How many hearts are living in my own heart? One idea arises after another dies out.My ego exists as one among the endless hearts of all, which lodge in my own heart. So, to discipline my heart is the same as to discipline my endless hearts.
The gradual process begins when I first set up to gain my own Te, and then gain others' Te, till at last gaining the Te of all the myriad things of the Universe.
When my Te is everywhere throughout the nameless realm, I grow up; gaining the same body with Tao.
2. Nine Steps of Disciplining the Heart
There has long been a tale telling of a Buddhist who, once upon a time, summed up his experiences through long-time silent exercise, saying, "My form is like a tree trunk, my heart is as clean as a bright mirror. I have been dusting my heart every now and then, lest it should incur even one slight stain."
Upon this, Liu Chu, a great saint, at once pointed to the depth of the truth, saying, "Originally, there existed no tree, nor a clean, bright mirror. When there is nothing at all, how can dust alight?"
An analogy can be applicable to explaining the relation between Heart and Congenital Nature. The heart works as like earth, while our nature the emperor. Or in other words, our heart serves as like a vast territory while our nature the king holding reins over it.
Congenital Nature takes residence in the Heart, and depends upon the Heart for existence. No Heart no Congenital Nature.
spacer-top-nav-bar-W19byH21Disciplining the Heart means getting rid of all desires and passions - so as to make a clean sweep of the heart, and to restore the True Heart --- pure, virginal and free from any contamination by desires and passions.
Heart, like a brand-new mirror stationed in one place, is gradually dimmed by dust as time passes away, no matter how polished it originally was.
At the beginning, the heart had its own nature of quietude and emptiness.
When material desires aggressively intrude themselves upon the pure region, this nature begins to be smashed into smithereens, and later leaves almost nothing recognizable to mark its attribute.
functioning-patternspacer-top-nav-bar-W19byH21This circumstance is just like that of a stream: during its winding and struggling course wind begins to billow it, mud and sand tumble about to mingle with it; no matter how clear and pure its source is, it become sullied.
Water has its nature of stillness, but it begins to be involved in motion, for wind is blowing and sweeping constantly across its surface. Originally, water is as clear as a crystal, but it becomes muddy, since earth and sand keep tumbling into it. Discharging waves the water naturally will become still and motionless; depositing the earth and sand on the bottom, the water is sure to resume its nature of lucidity.
Lucidity is the Noumenon of water, while stillness its Congenital Nature.
So it is also with the heart.
Many practitioners engaged in the pursuit of Tao often mistake the Acquired Wisdom (with Yin Congenital Mind-Will at its root) for noumenon. As a result, the foundation of Tao will be laid in bias and all efforts made are in vain, even though later they follow the course of Cultivating Nature and Disciplining Heart resolutely.
A minute mistake is capable of causing utter failure.
Never one idea arising in the Lower Elixir Field promises a good beginning for successful pursuit of Tao.
You may think that the heart, once becoming so lifeless, will be no different in comparison with inanimate ashes and stone. But, in reality, in no circumstances does it go on in this way, owing to the fact that sudden inspiration as well as divinity---coming from nowhere and which cannot be courted on purpose --- will come on the scene when the heart gives up all acquired wisdom and knowledge -- resting in stillness.
We must commit to our memory what consequences will arise from the heart going blank with nothing to be its owner. Like ruffians and ramps stealing to lodge in an ownerless house, the evil becomes the arbiter of the heart, and then ideas and thoughts of all sorts will become more and more frantic. This is due to ignorance of what the True Heart is and to going after the far-away at the expense of the near-at-hand. Thus, some practitioners deviate from the proper course and come into various disorders. So we must perform discreetly lest there should be a thing taken place akin to that of a starving beggar sitting by a food basket and a man floating above the water dying of thirst.
Assuming True Heart in constancy is the proper way you should always take in pursuit of Tao.
Chuang Tzi once said, 'Once even the least attention is paid upon one thing, your Heart will, all at once, be thoroughly bound up by itself. That nothing but the lifeless Mind-Will exists in the stillness and emptiness of the Heart which seems so commodious that it has no boundary, and seems so minute that it has no interior, is always the proper state in which the True Heart should be.
The emptiness of the valleys and the unlimited solitude prevailing among mountain ranges are conducive to the emergence of the True Heart.
When you catch sight of the clear spring water flowing upon smooth rocks, steep cliffs, upon which some resolute pine trees are growing forth, your heart will naturally begin to commune with nature and with those forlorn and remote regions seldom visited by humankind.
How miraculously Tao has been constantly creating all things! Yet few men know it is Congenital Mind-Will that keeps playing an indispensable role in "livening them up". Where it came from you could not know! Where it is going, you could not divine. Its actual speed is immeasurable, for it is beyond the range of time and space which only exist in the region of existence. It comes in and goes out with no movement whatever, and you couldn't portray it with anything concrete. It is impossible to explore its origin as well as its ending, for Congenital Mind-Will is immortal. It is said by the ancients - All things are destined to perish once they have been given birth to. Congenital Mind-Will, however, has neither birth nor death.
When birth and death, which Tao inflicts upon existence, have been thoroughly liberated, all things will at once possess one body in common with Tao. So more time spent on perusing the book,The Origin of the Congenital Mind-Will, more chances you will stand to ensure you gain the knowledge of how Vita-Vapor accumulates to produce Congenital Mind-Will, and how to restore the Congenital Mind-Will by the way of amassing Yang Vita-Vapor.
That to cleanse of the heart and let mind-will remain sincere and innocent is a starting point of the long way of pursuit of Tao. Hence you must, at first, get rid of all aspirations, motives or fancies or other that are popular in the profane world. All people have the chance to become the almighty Buddha. But the only difference lies in that the former gets lost always while the latter is awake constantly.
The Congenital Nature is the Almighty Law holding the reins of Heaven and Earth. Stillness has a nature to harmonize and commune with all things while motion has a nature to response.
Bear in mind that to cheat the True Heart is equal to cheat Heaven!
Being without fault and full with gratitude, you can peacefully and composedly face the True Heart. To learn how to be a qualified practitioner engaged in pursuit of Tao, you must know how to discipline the False Heart.
Carefully and attentively I cultivate my True Heart following the example of Earth. Whole-heartedly and devotedly I nurture my Congenital Nature following the example of Heaven. I make unremitting efforts to make my Congenital Nature commune with Tao---to be always in response to the motion of Heaven, while to be constantly in response to the stillness of Earth.
When engaged in the practice of these postures, one should settle the mind-will in the lower elixir field – located in the empty space 3.8 cm below the middle place between the kidney and navel – a sphere of around 3.8 cm –
The Lower Tantien – The Elixir Field.
Let the internal vision gaze upon that place.
Yes, you will behold darkness in the beginning.
Then slowly think that this darkness begins to expand in all directions. Then your own body slowly disappears in the darkness, your house disappears in the darkness, the town you are living in disappears in the darkness.
Your country disappears in the expanded darkness.
The darkness has expanded so large that the earth disappears in the darkness; the universe disappears in the darkness. Then all things disappear.
I could see nothing, I could hear nothing,
I could think of nothing.
I again return to the time before my birth.
Where I am I could not know.
Where is my body I could not know.
Where is my house I could not know.
3. Why could I not know?
Because when I again return to the time before my birth I could not have the capacity to see, to think, to imagine, or to do anything.
One practitioner said he often hears the sounds made by the birds outside the window. I told him "Do you think you can hear the birds' singing when you are in the time before your birth or after your death?" He replied, "No." then I said, "Now you know how to let your heart be still."
Yes, sometime stray thoughts may intrude upon my heart.
Then I will slightly think of the meaning of –"emptiness, all disappear, nonexistence."
Then I again return to the time before my birth.
I am a dead man still alive.
Retracing my footsteps back to the very beginning.
Preparatory Work before General Silent Sitting Practice
4. Eight Steps of Silk Brocade Practice
Sitting Posture Version
This school of practice has a very long history in China and once played an important role for Chinese health and mental well being. It is generally used for doing preparatory work for Taoist Silent Sitting Practice.
Yet, if practitioner can have the proper mind will maneuvering approach, it can help practitioner gain much more than they could expect.
This practice can combine with any schools of qigong except the imagining methods should change.
When I practice these postures, one should settle the mind-will in the lower elixir field – located in the empty space 3.8 cm below the middle place between the kidney and navel – a sphere of around 3.8 cm.
To constantly settle mind-will in the lower elixir field is the most important measure for the novice; also the most useful method for the common people who for this or that reason only aim at promoting their physical well-being, preserving the good stamina and keeping the heart peaceful and open.
Sit cross legged, slightly close two eyes, hands one on top of the other with thumbs touching, slowly purge of all stray ideas within the heart, position spine upright, and settle mind-will in lower Dantien area. Relax all parts of the body, let tongue rise up to touch the hard palate, with teeth lightly touching.
Catch hold of the feet with two hands (see figure at left). Then bow the upper body forward and backward slowly, stretching back and forth out over the feet - 16 or more times.
Catch hold of the feet with two hands and slowly massage the acu-point YongChuan – Bubbling Spring Point – K-1 – located on the area of the ball of the foot - with the thumbs in a clockwise & counterclockwise fashion 36 or more times – you may move the feet in closer to the body to aid in ease while massaging.
Position two forearms as the figure shows, clench two hands into a loose fist. With the central point of the shoulder (on the spine) as the fixed point and turn the shoulder, upper arm and forearms clockwise and then counterclockwise as like turning a hoisting tackle or a bicycle peddle. 36 or more times.
With arms akimbo (palms resting on the hips, elbows out to the two sides) , slowly turn the head, neck and upper body to the right to watch /gaze right, then turn left to watch /gaze left, keeping spine upright and moving with a slow, gentle rhythm. 24 or more times.
Put two hands behind and let two palms cover the kidney area, right palm right side, left palm left side. A little while, use all finger tips to rub the kidney area up and down till you feel hot with kidney area. Rest a while and rub again. 36 times or more.
Stretch two legs forward – or keep legs in crossed leg position - cross the fingers of the two hands – placing them on the crown of the head - then turn palms upward, then push two hand upward slowly and use force, slightly imagine pushing heavy things upward. Then slowly lower two hands and let two palms cover the head from above. Repeat the process 18 times or more.
Let the hands rest in the lap, sitting quietly, then let two lines of teeth strike against each other 36 times – or more, feel how the vibration spread around and through the entire body - relaxing all parts of the body.
Relax every parts of the body. Place palm of hands over the ears – and press slightly into the ears – then straighten all fingers and let them knock the back side of the head vigorously 48 times or more. Then resume the former position with hands clasped together resting in the lap.