ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A RED DRAGON AND WHITE TIGER NOTE): Zhăn chìlóng 斬赤龍 beheading the Red Dragon

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Sometimes curious students ask about a difference between Chinese gymnastics for men and women. Well, in some complexes of physical exercises it is difficult to see such kind of variations until you will do private customization. From another point of view such differences definitely existed in strict neidan practice. Lets take a quote to illustrate this statement from the encyclopedia article written by Catherine Despeux.

“Menstrual blood is called Red Dragon (chìlóng 赤龍) in neidan, by analogy with male semen, which is called White Tiger (báihŭ 白虎)… ‘Beheading the Red Dragon’ takes place during the first of the three stages in the Ming and Qing system of neidan practice. In men, this stage consists of refining essence to transmute it into pneuma. In women, it consists of “refining of the form Great Yin,” which is achieved by developing inner concentration and by a controlled stimulation of sexual energy, especially through the massage of breasts.”—Catherine Despeux
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If you don’t have a special goal in your mind any complex of exercises will be good enough. If you stick to something strict and classic, and special, this difference can be important to consider and use authoritative sources to achieve success in your practice. Very often not only regular people but specialist yet do want simple instructions and simple results in short time; speaking friendly it is not always the right way to solve the health problems. The easy idea to regulate your food habits can take years to fulfill, and it is not speaking about other ideas you definitely want to die with in the end of your life.

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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (FOR THOSE WHO MISSED COSMOLOGY AND COSMOGONY MIST): Yuánqì 元氣 Original Pneuma, Original Breath

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The life is truly complicated stuff: small people meet big problems from private to economical and from political to ecological and about half of their trouble small people shouldn’t think at all; big people meet small problems which later will bring them the huge headache for a couple of hours while one crisis happily turns—gradually or instantly, whatever—into another.

The Chinese philosophy is neither complicated nor simple, it is compact, or better to say, combinatorially compact (from German Kombinatorik). Let’s take just one quotation on yuan qi from the article of the Encyclopedia of Taoism.

“Yuánqì 元氣 is the pneuma of the Xiāntiān 先天 (“prior to Heaven”) ontologic and cosmogonic stage. Through the stages of the generation of the cosmos, Original Pneuma transforms itself into cosmic pneuma (qì 氣), a process that is equivalent to the generation of Oneness (yī 一) from the Dao. Oneness then divides itself into Yin and Yang, with the lighter parts of pneuma ascending to become Heaven, and the grosser ones descending to become the Earth, thereby marking the shift to the state known as Hòutiān 後天 (“subsequent to Heaven”). Yin and Yang, or Heaven and Earth, finally give birth to the “ten thousand things” (wànwù 萬物).”
Fabrizio Pregadio
When I said Kombinatorik I meant English ‘combinatorics’ and I Ching in our case. Simple enough, complicated in balance, compact and elegant and all in the same time.

SRI YANTRA MASTER AND YIN YANG (陰陽): A MULTIFUNCTIONAL’AN’MODIFIED LIST—108 ITEMS

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I have been dreaming long ago to bring an order to my notes on Yin Yang topic. Today is the day and it is done in digital form and posted. So, you can copy, change the order, make it alphabetical, make it shorter, longer, whatever. I feel myself happy seeing it in the three parts: Earth, Heaven, Man (27+30+51=108 lines) and I shall never tell you why 108. Sometimes the number 108 looks occasional in the list, sometimes it doesn’t. Anyway, I feel harmony in my heart and happiness, and calmness with 108 entries.

Of course, it can be done better but not now and not by me. I have to say in general, that yin-yang partition helps in life extremely, especially in wine classification, you know the routine: black wine—red wine, dry—off dry, sour—sweet, light—dark etc, ha-ha-ha.

EARTH (27)

YIN,Yīn 陰 —YANG, Yáng 陽
DARK SIDE OF THE HILL—LIGHT SIDE OF THE HILL
PLANTS—ANIMALS
FRUIT—CEREALS

WEST, Qiū 秋—EAST, Dōng 東
NORTH, Bĕi 北—SOUTH, Nán 南
WATER, Shuĭ 水—FIRE, Huŏ 火
METAL, Jīn 金—WOOD, TREE, Mù 木
MOISTNESS—DRYNESS
DRYNESS—WIND

NIGHT—DAY
DARKNESS—LIGHT
EVENING—MORNING
AUTUMN, FALL—SPRING
WINTER—SUMMER
NEW MOON—FULL MOON
LAST QUARTER OF MOON—FIRST QUATER OF MOON
MOON—SUN
SUNSET—SUNRISE

WHITE COLOR—GREEN, BLUE COLOR
BLACK COLOR—RED COLOR

BOTTOM—TOP
LIMITED—BOUNDLESS
TRUE—POSSIBLE, PROBABLE
OTHER WORLD—THIS WORLD
EARTH—HEAVEN
TERRESTRIAL—CELESTIAL

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HEAVEN (30)

STRUCTURE—ACTION
ACTUAL—POTENTIAL
POTENTIAL STRUCTURE—POTENTIAL ACTION
REAL STRUCTURE—POTENTIAL STRUCTURE
PASSIVITY—ACTIVITY
ORDER—DISORDER
STATIC—DYNAMIC
REAL—IDEAL
FINITENESS—INFINITENESS

DEEP, PROFOUND—SURFACE, SUPERFICIAL
TRACK—TRACKLESS
CONCRETE—ABSTRACT
BEHIND—ADVANCE

REST—MOTION
DESCENDANT MOVEMENT—ASCENDANT MOVEMENT
CENTRIPETAL MOVEMENT—CENTRIFUGAL MOVEMENT
COUNTERCLOCKWISE TURN—CLOCKWISE TURN
RECURRENT MOVEMENT—TRANSLATIONAL MOVEMENT
PROTRACTIBLE—INSTANTANEOUS

CONDENSE—DISPERSE
CONCAVITY—CONVEXITY
CONTRACTION—DILATION
CONCEALMENT—DISCLOSURE
CONTRACTING—STRETCHING
LOOSENING—HARDENING

PLURALITY—UNITY
EVEN—ODD
NEGATIVE—POSITIVE
ABSENCE—PRESENCE
PAST TIME—PRESENT TIME

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MAN (51)

DIE—BEAR
DEATH—LIFE
WOMAN—MAN
WIFE—HUSBAND
SON—FATHER
DAUGHTER—MOTHER
YOUNGER BROTHER, SISTER—ELDER BROTHER, SISTER
MOURNING—TAKING A WIFE, BEGETTING A CHILD

MATURITY—DEVELOPMENT
INTERNAL—EXTERNAL
RIGHT SIDE—LEFT SIDE
INSIDE OF HANDS AND LEGS—OUSIDE OF HANDS AND LEGS
BODY—LIMBS
KIDNEY, Shèn 腎—HEART, Xīn 心
LUNG, Fèi 肺—LIVER, Gān 肝

SALTY TASTE—BITTERNESS
ACRID, PUNGENT TASTE—SOUR, ACID TASTE

TIMIDITY, TIMIDNESS—BALD, BALDNESS
WEAKNESS—STRENGTH
WEAKEN—STRENGTHEN
SORROW—FRIGHT
FORBEARANCE—IRE, ANGER
FEAR—JOY

USEFULNESS—USELESSNESS
SILENCE—WORD, LOGOS
REALITY—DREAMING, SLEEPING
IGNORANCE—KNOWLEDGE

GREAT YIN, Tài Yīn 太陰—GREAT YANG, Tài Yáng 太暘
SMALL YIN, Xăo Yīn 小陰—SMALL YANG, Xăo Yáng 小陽
INTERMEDIATE YIN, Jué Yīn 厥陰—LIGHT YANG, Yáng Míng 陽明

YIN FOOD—YANG FOOD
RECEIVING—GIVING
SOFTNESS—SOLIDITY
COOLNESS—HEAT
LOW SOUND—HIGH SOUND
HARSH SOUND—PURE SOUND

CORPUS—SPIRIT
SUBJECT—SOVEREIGN
BASE—NOBLE
HOST—GUEST
LABORERS—SOLDIERS
NARROW-MINDED—BROAD-MINDED
OBLIVION—RECOLLECTION
SECRET MODE—OPEN MODE
CAUSE—EFFECT
FULL—EMPTY
DEFICIENCY—EXCESS

BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS—CONTROLLING OTHERS
SMALL STATE—LARGE STATES
UNIMPORTANT STATES—IMPORTANT STATES
FINISH, END—START, BEGINNING

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A BIG DEAL BLACK’AN’ WHITE NOTE): Yīn and Yáng 陰陽

From Yìtú míngbiàn 易圖明辨 (Clarifications on Diagrams Related to the Book of Changes) by Hú Wèi 胡渭 (1633-1714)

From Yìtú míngbiàn 易圖明辨 (Clarifications on Diagrams Related to the Book of Changes) by Hú Wèi 胡渭 (1633-1714)


We have begun last time musing on a set of pictures: from glyphs to internationally recognized symbol (thanks, Cathay!); from 3-dimensional sphere to metal surface imitation; from black-and-white chocolate humble trial to gorgeous smoked image of calligraphy brush, …and straight to my favorite:) Today it is time for serious meditation on some quotes from Encyclopedia of Taoism, Routledge edition (2008), and I am definitely be back soon with a table of terms I have been collecting unrecognizable number of years. Still tuned to Tao? To be continued!

“In the Chinese worldview, the cosmos is generated from the undifferentiated Dao through the interaction of Yin and Yang, two principles or “pneumas” (qi) that are aspects or functions of the Dao itself. Their continued hierogamy engenders everything within space and time, giving rise to the material and spiritual manifestation. The cosmos thus is not static but in constant change.”

“Around the third century BCE, the notion of Yin and Yang was merged with the theory of the wuxing. Water and Metal correspond to winter and autumn (Yin), Fire and Wood to summer and spring (Yang), and Soil is the neutral center. This associations gave rise to finer distinctions within the cycle of Yin and Yang, now defined by four terms:
1. Minor Yang (or Young Yang, shăoyáng 少陽): East, spring
2. Great Yang (tàiyáng 太陽): South, summer
3. Minor Yin (or Young Yin, shăoyīn 少陰): West, autumn
4. Great Yin (tàiyīn 太陰): North, winter

“Another important development dating from around the same period was the combination of Yin and Yang with the eight trigrams (bagua) and the sixty-four hexagrams of the Yijing. From the Han period onward, these associations integrated all forms of classification and computation—Yin and Yang, the wuxing, the ganzhi (Celestial Stems and Earthy Branches), the trigrams and hexagrams of Yijing, and other symbols of the endless cycle of phenomenal change—into a complex system of categorization, giving rise to the system of so-called correlative cosmology.”—Farzeen Baldrian-Hussein.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (PRIVATE NOTES): Xuánguān 玄關 Mysterious Pass

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That kind of things is truly interesting stuff when one term -xuánguān 玄關, for example – can join our body constituency and very general philosophical pointing. Three quotes were chosen to keep reflection going, the entry in the body of Encyclopedia of Taoism this time was written by Monica Esposito, a great sinologist. I put tones as usual, and I do think this act makes citations look better and easier to pronounce and track term further in the dictionaries.

“In neidan, the Mysterious Pass represents the time and place in which an alchemist joins the complimentary antinomies on which he or she works, such as inner nature and vital force (xing and ming), Dragon and Tiger (longhu), lead and mercury, Fire and Water, heart and kidneys, or kăn 坎 (Yang within Yin) and lí 離 (Yin within Yang).”—Monica Esposito.

“The Mysterious Pass, which opens beyond space and time, is inconceivable by means of discursive thought and has, by definition, no fixed position.”—Monica Esposito.

“Only here [in the Center] a new union can occur, as the Mysterious Pass is the ideal space and time to experience the interpenetrating fluctuations of Yin and Yang. The Mysterious Pass is therefore the primordial Chaos (hundun) containing the germ of life—the pre-cosmic sparkle of Original Yang and Original Yin—which is the prime mover and the materia prima of the alchemical work.”—Monica Esposito.

Practically speaking, we do it everyday — placing antinomies (“inner nature and vital force, Dragon and Tiger, lead and mercury, Fire and Water, heart and kidneys”) in one fuel pot and witching fantastic brew — but as always we can do it in Western way or an Asian one, and those people who choose Asian I consider a little bit smarter, as Asian philosophy having had longer history to live in peace with nature in and out of us because this nature definitely can be and is as a matter of fact just merciless to human race. To see this world bewitched one should have very special eyes.

In Modern Chinese ‘xuánguān’ means ‘entrance hall, front door, porch, vestibule’.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOSIM (BEFORE AND AFTER NOTE): Xiāntiān and hòutiān 先天•後天 before Heaven and after Heaven

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Xiāntiān and hòutiān 先天•後天 before Heaven and after Heaven, prior to Heaven and posterior to Heaven, pre-celestial and post-celestial

““Before Heaven” refers to the stage before pre-cosmic Yin and Yang join together, while “after Heaven” is the stage after they join and generate the cosmic pneuma. A notable aspect of this process is that original, pre-cosmic Yin and Yang are each enclosed within their opposites in the cosmos. This notion is referred to by the phrases “Yin within Yang” (yáng zhōng zhī yīn 陽中之陰) and “Yang within Yin” (yīn zhōng zhī yáng 陰中之陽).” —Fabrizio Pregadio.

“A similar representation of cosmogony is seen in the xiantian and houtian arrangements of the eight trigrams (bagua), the first of which is traditionally attributed to the legendary emperor Fú Xī 伏羲 and the second to King Wen of the Zhou (Wénwáng 文王, r. 1099-1050 BCE). The xiantian diagram reproduces the stage after Original Yin and Yang (kun at due North and qian at due South) have joined their essences and have generated the trigrams li and kan at due East and West; the other four trigrams are placed at the intermediate points. Here the cosmos is generated after li and kan attract each other and join their inner lines. In the houtian arrangement, the positions originally occupied by qian and kun are taken by li and kan, to show that the shift from the unconditioned to the conditioned state has occurred, and that Original Yin is now found within cosmic Yang (the trigram li or Fire), and Original Yang within cosmic Yin (the trigram kan or Water).”—Fabrizio Pregadio.

The entry in the encyclopedia was written by its editor, F. Pregadio but the fist time I had seen this theoretical statement about xiāntiān and hòutiān relationships was on the graphical page in Bagua quanxue by Sūn Lùtáng 孫祿堂 (1860-1933), 1990 (actually it was the Russian translation of Chinese publication of 1917, Beijing): Zhang 19 Bāguà xiānhòutiān héyītú 八卦 先後天合一圖.

The Fú Xī 伏羲 sequence —xiāntiān 先天—of trigram (the same for I Ching) is Qián Dùi Lí Zhèn Xùn Kăn Gèn Kūn (from left to right and from down to up) and here it is the inner circle in the picture which begins on the South (Qián up) and goes counterclockwise to Zhèn, jumps diagonally to South-West and goes clockwise to Kūn, North (down).

The Wénwáng 文王 sequence —hòutiān 後天—of trigram is outer circle and once in the text it goes Qián Kūn Zhèn Kăn Gèn Xùn Lí Dùi and in the picture it jumps every time with Lí and Kăn (representing South-North) and Zhèn Dùi (representing East-West). The Wénwáng 文王 sequence underlines Father-Mother (Qián Kūn), three sons and three daughters relationships in the circle of family. The next Zhang 20 in the book of Sun Lutang will explain how martial artists interpret cosmogony for their use in everyday life.

In the beginning there is a scan with glyphs of one graphical page from the Bāguà Quánxué 八卦拳學 book and I placed it here because other pictures from online search very often are just not the same as the author Sūn Lùtáng 孫祿堂 used in his book and teaching. The last picture has only two sequences of trigram, xiāntiān and hòutiān (先天•後天) before Heaven and after Heaven.
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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (PRIVATE NOTES PLUS SOME DETAILS): Wŭxíng 五行 Five Phases, Five Agents

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“The system of the wuxing forms an integral part of what A.C. Graham has called the “correlative cosmology” that had taken shape by the early imperial age under the Former Han. Various English translations have been attempted, but the “five agents” and “five phases ” are nowadays most commonly used by scholars.”—Christopher Cullen.

“With the fivefold scheme [compare with Yin and Yang thinking], however, the potential relationships are considerably more complex. The phases or agents are ordered in two ways: the “production” or “generation” sequence (xiāngshēng 相生) and the “conquest” sequence (xiàngkè 相克). It is easy to see the way the two sequences work, at least with reference to the natural entities after which the phases or agents are named. In the production order, Wood grows using Water; Fire can come from Wood; Soil (ashes) comes from Fire and (as all ancient people thought) Metals grow in the Soil; finally Water condenses on cold Metal. Turning to conquest, Water extinguishes Fire, Fire melts Metal, Metal cuts Wood, Wood (as in an ancient wooden spade) can dig up Soil, and Soil can dam up Water.”—Christopher Cullen.

“Like the Yin-Yang scheme, the wuxing emerged from the intellectual ferment of the late Warring States (403-221 BCE) in ways that are not easy to trace in detail. There were certainly alternative schemes stressing different numbers of categories. The Lushi chunqiu lushi (Spring and Autumns of Mr. Lu), which was assembled in 239 BCE, gives the first full and clear evidence of the scheme in action, and its application was developed further during the Former Han. Traditional attributions to Zou Yan (third century BCE) as a major innovator in wuxing thinking are probably baseless. At most he may have stressed the application of the scheme to the revolutions of political power, with each succeeding dynasty arising in connection with one of the phases or agents.”—Christopher Cullen, the author of article in the Encyclopedia of Taoism.

NOTE 1
Very often and good enough people understand the first principle, (1) “generation sequence” (xiāngshēng 相生), and the second, (2) “conquest sequence” (xiàngkè 相克). I would like to remind — lets call it — the third and the fourth principles, which I have met long ago while reading Sistematische Akupunktur by Porkert/Hempen, “control sequence” and “masking sequence”. For example, (3) Wood destroys Soil, but Metal controls the process, and (4) Wood destroys Soil but Fire masks the process.—Basil Lenkov.

NOTE 2
The images of the internet search (a keyword “五行”) can be quite impressive, but somehow very important aspects disappear behind the colors and volumes of the pictures. For example, a rare author can place Soil in the center with Wood and Fire as a Yang aspect, and Metal and Water as an Yin aspect.—Basil Lenkov.

NOTE 3
Once again, when Soil is in the center, we can see two axes: (1) axis of potency from Wood to Metal, and (2) axis of reality from Fire to Water. In general it gives us a lot of information for meditation because in such case we shall have Wood as potential action, Fire as real action, Metal as potential structure, and Water as real structure. Any table of words in cluster of five will look much better, beginning from the first column under Wood, the second under Fire, the third under Soil, the fourth under Metal and the fifth under Water. It looks classy, it looks reasonable, but it cannot be found so often online.—Basil Lenkov.

NOTE 4
The table of words organized as clusters of five online can be different in size, for a simple illustration “13 lines” table was chosen, but I have to say that in my collection I have “31 lines” of symbolic correlations, and there is a book which gives more than 100 lines. For those who read German: Eberhard W. Beiträge zur Kozmologischen Speculation Chinas in der Han Zeit ll Baessfer Archiv. 1933, No 16. My own precious source goes, as far as I can see, to Needham J. Science and Civilization in China, Cambridge.—Basil Lenkov, Sri Yantra Master.