|“Becoming a Spiritual Radical”
Buddhism holds out the promise that enlightenment is possible in this very life. Indeed, according to the texts of the tradition, it is only in a human life like ours, endowed as it is with all the freedoms and opportunities, that the attainment of perfect happiness can be reached. For those of us living in the modern Western world – with the tremendous wealth we enjoy, the free time, the education, and the access to the authentic teachings and teachers – the conditions are perfect.
|There is only one caveat: we must dedicate our lives to this quest if we expect to reach our highest and final destiny. We cannot be diverted and we must not be seduced by the siren song of samsara in the form of consumer capitalism. Giving up on the idea that samsaric life will work out is the precondition for the renunciation that makes possible true happiness.|
|This is perhaps harder for us than it would be for someone living a marginal life in the Third World. Renunciation doesn’t really seem necessary. Things seem to be working out so well for most of us much of the time.|
|But as Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:19-24) A religious life and a life dedicated to the pursuit of money, new cars, bigger homes, fancier holidays, and the latest gadgets are mutually exclusive.A true spiritual practitioner in the modern, Western world is first of all a consumer capitalist drop-out. A serious seeker has given up on the idea that more consumer goods, better vacations, and more entertainment options or cooler and newer gadgets, will provide the true and lasting happiness we all seek. It is only a person like who has begun treading on the real path to happiness by practicing that rare virtue called “contentment” – the opposite of the endless desires and discontentment the manufacturing of which is the very heart of the consumer capitalist machinery.|
|In a recent article for the London Review of Books, reprinted in Harper’s Magazine, Slavoj Zizek writes despairingly of the “defeat of the left” in the face of the overwhelming and ubiquitous power of global consumerism. “One of the clearest lessons of the last few decades,” Zizek claims, “is that capitalism is indestructible. Marx compared it to a vampire, and one of the salient points of comparison now appears to be that vampires always rise up again after being stabbed to death.”|
|But consumer capitalism is not “indestructible” for any individual. Samsara, in whatever form it takes, can be defeated by practitioners who strongly desire to be free, recognize the true nature of the chains that bind them, and then learn and practice the time-tested methods that will free the mind from the samsaric matrix.But this requires radical measures. The spiritual life is a revolutionary uprising against the samsaric status quo. A good practitioner must be guerrilla insurgent in an on-going resistance movement. A spiritual warrior must be a desperado – desperate to escape from suffering. From the samsaric point of view he or she must appear as a dangerous criminal. He or she must be an “outlaw” – pitted against the “rules” of samsaric life (“You will only be happy if you make money, buy a house, get promotions at work,” etc.).A Buddhist is supposed to recognize first and foremost that samsara is a dangerous place. It is suicidal to try to make friends with it, to try to “fit in” and “play ball” and be a “pillar of the (samsaric) community.” A real practitioner is a dissenter, in mutiny against the oppressive regime of suffering life.
Be a rebel with a cause. Drop out of and pit yourself against the designer form of samsara consumer capitalism has brought to us. Get serious about your spiritual life. Get radical.
|Oppose shopping mall culture and the way it and its values have insinuated themselves into your mind. Don’t try to appear “reasonable” or “moderate” when it comes to suffering and its causes. As Jawaharlal Nehru once said, “The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.”|
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THE INTERNAL ALCHEMY OF THE TAO
Explanation of the Inner Alchemy Chart
This chart was never copied for over a couple of hundred years. There was only the original. It was never passed down to the rest of the world because it is so profound and mysterious that an ordinary person would have no way to understand it. It was rediscovered in the library at High Pine Tree Mountain in China suspended from the wall. It was carefully drawn and the printing was clear, so it was eventually reprinted at that time. When I first discovered this, I decided to reprint it with a complete explanation using the Healing Tao practices. By practicing the Healing Tao formulas you can start to comprehend the detailed illustrations of this mural connecting with our body and the universe. It is with this understanding that I give you this explanation of Internal Alchemy so beautifully illustrated in this ancient Taoist rendering.
The Tao adept saw human body as a microcosm of the natural world. Its anatomy was a landscape with mountain, river, streams, lake, pool, forest, fire, stars a natural harmoniously landscape. It shows a torso and head with few easily identifiable structures –
Master Mantak Chia
The numbered areas 1 to 5 are a series of nine sacred mountain peaks. These mountain peaks are like the funnels, which are able to draw down universal energy. This energy is then concentrated in the caves of the mountains. Taoist adepts go to mountain caves for initiation. In the human head there are nine different centers (peaks or points), which are able to extend to the heaven to make the connection to the cosmos. The cavity in the brain, the body and energy centers are like those caves in a mountain which you can concentrate, store and transform energy.
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1. IMMORTAL REALM is located in the center just in front of the crown. It is this point where our energy is able to ascending to heaven making the connection with the heavens drawing down even more powerful universal energies.
2. TOP OF THE GIANT PEAK is located in the back of the head. When we tilt the head and push the Chi back it reaches its highest point. This peak is connected to the North Star and the thymus gland. It is where we receive the descending universal energy.
3. MUD PILL is located in the center of the crown (Bai Hui or the hundredth meeting point) and when it is open it feels like soft mud. The crown point is connected to the Big Dipper and the hypothalamus gland. It is at this center that you can project your energy (soul or spirit) up or receive the energy down giving way to a two way street.
4. HOUSE OF RISING SUN is the third eye. At the middle of the forehead likely above, this center is able to receive the sun and moon energy, and is used to launch the soul and spirit bodies into space travel.
5. NINE PEAKS MOUNTAIN is more directly connected to the mid eyebrow and has a close connection to the pituitary gland. This center is used to received the cosmic force and used for launching the soul and spirit bodies the earthly plan or human plan traveling.
6. OBSCURE SPIRIT ALTER is between the Mud Pill and in front of the Giant Peak where the spirit and soul bodies are leaving and entering into horizontal flight.
7. CAVE OF THE SPIRIT PEAK is the jade pillow between the 1st cervical and the base of the skull which is know as the God mouth where we can receive universal knowledge.
8. TRUE JADE UPPER GATE is a water gate near to throat connecting to the brain.
9. SOURCE OF RISING LAW is behind the soft palate which is connected to the pituitary gland.
- 9a.The two circles representing the sun and the moon within us are the left and right eyes. By learning how to roll the eyes in a circle motion, we can blend these different energies together enabling us to direct the energies with our eyes. When we roll the eyes up looking to the crown, these energies along with the sexual energy will rise up to the crown. When we roll the eyes down looking to the lower Tan Tien, we bring the premixed energies down to our energy centers (reservoirs) storing them there.
- 9b. The figure of the old white headed man with eyebrows reaching down to the ground is Lao Tze (one of the founders of the Taoism). He is a seated figure with long eyebrows which is connected to the earthly energy.
- 9c. The blue eyed standing foreign monk holds the heaven in his hands. The standing figure is Bodhidharm, the founder of the Zen Buddhism in China, which is holding up his hands to reach the heavens being more connected to the heavenly energy. These two energies or natures are mixed together to form a new Taoist concept, the practice of the Modern Taoism or the Healing Tao system. It is the blending and the harmonizing of our heavenly destiny and our earthly nature.
10. The DRAWBRIDGE is the tongue and the POND OF WATER is the mouth which holds the saliva. In the Taoist practice, when you touch the palate with the tongue (the Source of Rising Law known as the heavenly pool), we connect the circuit forming the link between the governor channel (yang) rising from the perineum up the spine to the head then down to the palate and the conception channel (yin) descending from the root of the lower jaw to the perineum. Once the tongue touches the palate, the Chi is activated. The sexual energy is pumped up to the brain, activating the hypothalamus, pituitary and thymus glands secreting more hormones. The sexual energy, especially the orgasm energy, will help draw in the heaven energy from above and the earth force from below. When you mix these two forces with the sexual energy the hormone secretion is stimulated. This creates an abundance of Chi and fluid. This fluid which flows like a waterfall down through the palate across the upper palate to the back down to the mouth and the throat (Twelve storied pagoda) from where we are able to swallow it down to fill the other two Tan Tiens. This water is also know as the nectar, water of life or the golden elixir.
11. GOVERNING MERIDIAN is located from the perineum up the spine to the head then down to the palate.
12. CONCEPTION OR RELEASING MERIDIAN is located from the root of the lower jaw to the perineum.
13. TWELVE STORIED PAGODA or twelve story tower is the throat center, CV-22. When the sexual energy is pumped up to the crown (reversing the flow) due to the Healing Tao practices of Testicle and Ovarian Breathing, Power Lock, and the Big Draw through the spine to fill the Lower Tan Tien (kidney and sexual centers) (lower reservoir), the Middle Tan Tien (solar plexus and heart center) (middle reservoir), and Upper Tan Tien (brain, and crystal room) (upper reservoir). During its passage through the spine into the brain center the sexual energy is transformed. After the upper reservoir is filled, then the energy flows down the palate through the tongue down the throat into the heart nourishing it.
14. I TILL MY OWN FIELD (Tan Tien or Elixir Field). Inside my field is a magical sprout (the immortal fetus or the unborn spirit) that lives 10,000 years. The color of its flowers (opening of the consciousness and the wisdom) resembles gold and they do not wilt. Its seeds are like Jade pebbles. Its fruits are round. To cultivate it, I depend on the earth of the middle palace (the solar plexus). To irrigate it (the sexual energy reverse the flow up to the crown) I depend on the fountain of the upper valley. After much toil, I achieve the Great Tao and stroll freely through the earth becoming an Immortal of Peng Lai Island.
15. COWHERDER BRIDGE STARS symbolizes the yang elements of the heart, fire and compassion fire. He looks like a child which we call yang heart. In Taoist Text and the Christian Bible, they refer it as becoming like a child again which is the symbol of spiritual wisdom, innocence and simplicity. Extending out of the cowherderï¿½s crown, you find the Big Dipper, which symbolizes the connection of the heart to the heaven seeking harmony with the cosmos. The Taoist regard the Big Dipper as the cosmic timepiece. During the course of the year, the Big Dipper makes a 360 degree rotation pointing to all the stars collecting all the universal power in the Big Dipperï¿½s cup. The law of the heaven is called destiny and the law of the earth is called nature. The harmony between the destiny and the nature is the Tao, the great way. Those who follow the Tao fulfill their spiritual destiny and enjoy the fruit of the earthly nature. The Taoist way of life is to tap into the energies of the heaven and earth while blending and harmonizing them with the human energy in order to cultivate and conserve the vital force in our bodies. Heaven Forces manifest into the celestial energy and its power appears to us as thoughts, consciousness, fate and destiny. Healing Tao is the practice of connecting the heaven (destiny) and the earth (nature) together. Some system or religion separate the heaven and earth into two realm forcing us to choose one.
16. WITHIN THE 50 REALMS IS CONCEALED THE MYSTERIOUS GATEWAY is opposite the heart which has a close relation and connection to the heart that generates the Big Aura protecting the heart and the crown.
17a. LUNG SPIRIT HWA HAO FROM THE EMPTY IS COMPLETED is the power and ability of the lung to totally empty so it can received more. Each inhale and exhale of our body is the breath of the universe expanding and contracting.
17b. HEART SPIRIT TAN YUAN ALSO CALLED GUARDING SPIRIT is located in the liver area.
17c. GALL BLADDER SPIRIT LUNG AU ALSO CALLED MAJESTIC AND BRIGHT is located in the middle of the liver.
17d. LIVER SPIRIT LUNG YIEN ALSO CALLED CONTAINING WISDOM represents the liver, the largest organ of the body as a forest. In Taoism we regard the liver as the controller of the Chi flow. Too much Chi in one place can cause stagnation or congestion, and too little causes weakness and depletion. Both conditions are results of a liver imbalance. The weaver maid (kidneys) also receives the water from the sexual energy, but also makes water which helps the wood (liver) to grow while the liver provides fuel for the heart fire. Each organ is interdependent to each other.
17e. SPLEEN SPIRIT CHï¿½ANG TSAI ALSO CALLED SOUL PAVILION is located in the spleen area.
17f. KIDNEY SPIRIT HSUAN MING ALSO CALLED NOURISHING THE SEEDS. The kidneys store the constitution of inherited energy from our parents.
18. MIDDLE TAN TIEN (heart center) is surrounded by the pericardiumï¿½s ring of fire.
19. WEAVING MAIDEN CIRCULATES AND TURNS is yin (kidneys and water element) and the cowherder standing above her is yang. The weaving maid has the ability to store energy, and to go inward to maintain quietness. She weaves silk like garments out of moonlight (Moon Light and the Milky Way energies accumulated and stored in the lower Tan Tien) by using the mind with the gently, soft, long and deep breaths like spinning or pulling silk drawing in the cosmic force and weaving into an internal Chi Web or Network. The Chinese legend says that the cowherder and the weaving maid were lovers once, but they neglect their duties and were change into stars and put at the opposite ends of the sky. One night a year, celebrated as the loverï¿½s day about September 15, the birds make a bridge (the milky way) across the sky to join them together. Likewise our heart (spirit, fire, compassion fire, love, and destiny) and the kidneys (earth nature, water, sexual energy, and physical body) are separate since the day we were born and never met again. By reuniting again the heart essence (love and compassion fire) and the kidney essence (sexual energy) we can form the immortal fetus giving birth to it and growing it.
20. KIDNEY CAVE (GV-4, Ming Men, or Door of Life) is know as the door of fire which is the gate where the sexual energy will pass and help to transform us.
21. CORRECT TAN TIEN (Real Tan Tien) is located in front and below the kidneys just behind the navel closer to the spine.
21a. YIN AND YANG TAN TIEN are the four yin yang symbols represent the Tan Tien area (field of the elixir) located slightly below the navel approximately 3 inches near the sexual center. This area is the first alchemical cauldron. Tai Chi (yin and yang) represents the moving force. By using the mind, eyes and abdominal breathing to move the Chi and accumulate the sexual energy you will start to cook and be transformed it into Chi (steam) flowing through the channels of the entire body to repair and energize the cells.
22. NORTH SEA WATER FLOWS IN REVERSE is located the sacral hiatus (GV-2). When the sexual energy is pumped up to the crown (reversing the flow) due to the Healing Tao practices of Testicle and Ovarian Breathing, Power Lock, and the Big Draw through the spine to fill the Lower Tan Tien (kidney and sexual centers) (lower reservoir), the Middle Tan Tien (solar plexus and heart center) (middle reservoir), and Upper Tan Tien (brain, and crystal room) (upper reservoir). During its passage through the spine into the brain center the sexual energy is transformed. After the upper reservoir is filled, then the energy flows down the palate through the tongue down the throat into the heart nourishing, cooling, and irrigating it.
23. YIN AND YANG MYSTERIOUS WATER WHEEL is located at the perineum. Sexual energy is the most vital life force that humans inherit from their parents. We need this energy ( orgasm force) to run our life each day. In the Human way this sexual energy is like water, which tends always to run down and out. Each day we lose this force through sexual desire, greed, or unnecessary worldly materialism. We need to reverse this process causing the sexual energy (water and earth nature) to flow inward and upward. The boy and girl represent the testicles and the ovaries connected to the kidneys and eyes working on the water treadmill step by step pumping the water (sexual energy) upward. This is the beginning of the Healing Love practice with the testicle and the ovarian breathing. By starting to roll the eyes like a ball down the front and up the back, we begin to become aware of the testicles and the ovaries feeling them start rolling together with the eyes. Through this process a sea of sexual energy in the lower Tan Tien will transform into a lighter force flowing upward through the spine to the brain, glands, and organs rejuvenating them. 24. AGAIN AND AGAIN, STEP BY STEP is the yin and yang mystery (the boy and the girl, the testicle and the ovaries, the mind and the eyes) continuously turning the great pumps (the coccyx and the sacrum) to make the water (arousal and orgasm sexual energy) rise to the East (the crown). Even in a lake of 10,000 fathoms (Hui Yin, where all the yin energy of the body meets at the perineum) we should penetrate to the bottom where a sweet spring flows upward to the top of the south mountains (Trusting Meridian starts from the perineum up to the crown, and spreads out from the crown like a spring fountain).
25. THE IRON BULL TILLS THE GROUND AND PLANTS THE GOLDEN COIN is located at the lower Tan Tien around the navel connected to the spleen, ground and the earth connection to the spleen. The spleen center is the seed of the spirit and the life force (Chi). Once we are able to reverse the flow of the sexual energy, we can irrigate the dry land allowing us to till the soil to plant the magical golden sprout producing the golden round fruit
26. THE GOLD COIN. Once the land is ready, the seed of long life and wisdom (the immortal fetus or the gold coin) can be planted. All the land and the plants (our soul, spirit, mind, organs and glands) only need sexual energy to grow. The stone carving child strings them together. In one grain of rice the world mystery is hiding as the human form is the microcosm of the universe) and once we learn to understand and control our mind and ourselves, we will understand the mystery of the universe. In a small pot (either the lower, middle, or upper Tan Tien) we can cook all the mountains and rivers forces (natural forces), stars, moon, and sun forces (universal forces) and the primordial forces (cosmic particles) and combine them within ourselves to transform them into the higher force to form the IMMORTAL FETUS.