ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (‘MATHEMATICS IN BREATHING’ NOTE): Tāixī 胎息 embryonic breathing

 Tāixī 胎息 embryonic breathing, closed eyes

Tāixī 胎息 embryonic breathing, closed eyes

Tāixī 胎息 embryonic breathing

On the beginning of use of taixi term Catherine Despeux, a sinologist, says: “One of the first mentions of taixi occurs in the fifth-century biography of Wáng Zhēn 王真 (Later Han), which states that he and others “were able to practice embryonic breathing and feed themselves like an embryo (tāishí 胎食).”

Soon after that we can find a couple of citations which should probably had the intention to explain basics or give some important details to readers (actually, they don’t), and they look like these: (1) “In one of its two meanings, taixi designates a way of breathing similar to that of embryo. Breathing through the nose appears to stop and is replaced by breathing through the navel and the pores of the skin. In the second meaning, taixi is performed by neidan adepts in the abdomen.” I have a strong feeling of uncertainty that you, me, or somebody else can ‘stop breathing through the nose’ and ‘appears to stop’ doesn’t help either. “Replaced by breathing through the navel and the pores of the skin”(K. Despeux)? — Is there anybody who did such things yesterday, or the day before yesterday? Just don’t.

Another approach sounds like this: (2) “In the Tang period (618-907), the Yanling xiansheng ji xinjiu fuqi jing (Scripture on the New and Old Methods for the Ingestion of Breath Collected by the Elder of Yanling) defines the technique as follows: “One must carefully pull the breath while inspiring and expiring so that the Original Breath (yuanqi) does not exit the body. Thus the outer and inner breaths do not mix and one achieves embryonic breathing.”” Well, we have sources, authors, traditions, quotes, scientists’ opinions, thousand of followers, history of taoism, Encyclopedia of Taoism, Routledge, Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008… What we haven’t is called plain English now.

I don’t belong to inner circle of practitioners of neidan or taixi techniques in China specifically and I don’t belong to established circle of Asian Study specialists but I am a passionate reader of both and somehow I feel I should deal with this term tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. For that I suggest reread Ge Hung’s (283-343) Baopu zi, Chapter 8, today. The Tāixī 胎息 resembles now a very slow meditative breathing through the nose (welcome, nose!) and pulling the breath (yes, stop inhaling)  until 120 beats of heart (Baopu zi) and then very slowly exhale through the mouth (yeah, mouth!). Next step is 1000 beats stop (Baopu zi again) and a couple of paragraphs after that  should be definitely added to those wonderful abilities we have been spoken a bit earlier (Shèngrén 聖人 saint, sage, saintly man). In plain English (I promised earlier) for yoga practitioners it is the Lotus Pose with 4-3-2 (for beginners) or just 1 inhale-exhale cycle in minute or more than a minute. So, if I have a pulse 80 beats per minute, 100 bpm will mean a pause after inhalation more then a minute which is difficult but possible to achieve, I guess, for patient followers. Are you in or what?

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (ONE NOTE ON ONE): Shŏuyī 守一 ‘guarding the One’

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Shŏuyī 守一 ‘guarding the One’, ‘maintaining Oneness’

“The term shŏuyī (守一), which appears in Taoist literature from an early period, indicates a form of concentrative meditation that focuses all attention upon one point or god in the body. The purpose of this practice is to attain total absorption in the object and thus perceive the oneness of being.” — Livia Kohn, and it sounds wonderful, especially ‘all attention upon one point,’ and the best point which comes to the mind first is ‘breathing’.

Another proof for the usefulness of such kind of meditation is another quotation: “The shift from visualization to mental tranquility continues in the Song dynasty (960-1279), where shŏuyī (守一) appears as a basic exercise in the texts of inner alchemy (neidan), whose purpose is to protect the center of life within and thus allow the transformation of bodily energies into pure spirit and Dao. In all cases, however, the term indicates one-pointedness of mind, which focuses on a single object of meditation.”— L. Kohn, one of my favorite sinologists.

And guess, what? Another quotation for the first two proves for the previous quotation (Encyclopedia of Taoism, Routledge edition) is the whole chapter of Yoga Sūtra by Patañjali: ‘samādhi pāda’. God bless all people practicing yoga, they deserve it, especially after reading and getting the ‘oneness’ with the whole corpus of sutras.

Of course, I could suggest now a small, collective meditation on these two cultural achievements of China and India to “guard the One,” or “to maintain Oneness” but it will look like a little bit cheap trick. What doesn’t look cheap definitely is your private experience (as well as mine) of meditation on, yes, ‘breathing technique’. For instance, when I have discovered first time that my breathing wave inside my lungs strongly resembles the feeling inside the palms in the famous exercise (you keep your palms ‘face-to-face’ for some time and when you begin move them slowly closing the space,  you feel how air between the palms turns into sort of a spring, or a balloon), and that was so amazing, and I keep the feeling of this air spring every time I meet my yoga mat-à-mat again and again. By the way, you should  really be in the state of deep meditation and somehow 3-5 breathings per minute help to achieve this goal.

In general, shŏuyī (守一 ‘guarding the One’) is what we, linguists, philologists, sinologists, psychologists, and their crazy fans call ‘pure joy.’

Sri Yantra Master Alive and the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (VOL.2): Míngtáng 明堂 Hall of Light

Míngtáng 明堂 Hall of Light (or Bright Hall)

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Of course, there is a sacred building to use for imperial ceremonies in the history of ancient Chinese culture but for us now more important is the Hall of Light mentioned in Ge Hung’s (283-343) Baopu zi and its location one inch behind the area between the eyebrows. More detailed description can be found in the article written by Martina Darga.  

I cannot add to this note much enough. In the acupuncture  textbook this is the place for Yìntáng 印堂 (Hall of Impression) which corresponds to the area ascribed to the ‘third eye’ by many traditional cultures, and has been classified by some qigong authors as the location of the upper dāntián 丹田. That is an extra point, it does not belong to Rèn Mài 任 脈 (The Conceptor Vessel) or more exactly to Dū Mài 督 脈 (The Governor Vessel).

Speaking on many traditional cultures let us make one step into the Indian heritage of yoga. The region between two eyes is called ājñā chakra (the sixth chakra of classical set of seven or eight in Kuṇḍalinī yoga) and followers denote it like the inner mind’s eye to sense subtle energies and to be a gateway flooded with infinite wisdom, insight, and inspiration. So far so good.

Inside martial art practitioners’ milieu and Dim-Mak 點脈 (diănmài) reference books (Erle Montaigue and Wally Simpson, for example) this acupoint is translated ‘decorating place’ and described like causing KO and sometimes called ‘the old evangelist’s point’ which sounds curious enough.

The big colour picture of the ancient architecture would be probably the better illustration here.

Encyclopedia of Taoism (short notes): Jìngzuò 靜坐 quiet sitting

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“In Taoism, the term jìngzuò is secondary to other expressions denoting different forms of meditation, and was probably taken over from Confucianism. In fact, it only appears prominently and with a specific technical meaning in the twentieth century, used mainly by Jiang Weiqiao (1872-1955) in his particular mixture of modern biomedical thinking and neidan, which has been widely regarded a forerunner of the contemporary qigong movement.” After this very informative note written by Livia Kohn, I cannot avoid to remind about Japanese and Indian  traditions ‘to sit quietly’ too. Frankly, that’s one of the many things in my life I do with real pleasure. 

In Japanese it is called ‘seiza’ (靜坐) and means ‘sitting calmly and quietly’ (i.e. in order to meditate) and in Shintō religion it means concentration on the seika tanden  臍下丹田, which easy reminds us ‘dāntián’, the Lower Cinnabar Field. When I am in Japanese mood, I do call it ‘seiza’ and say my favorite martial art text.

Guess, what we have cross-legged in India? Right, we have Padmāsana (Lotus Pose), Sukhāsana (Easy Pose), Svastikāsana (Auspicious Pose), and Siddhāsana (Accomplished Pose), and seven chakras to meditate. When I do my favorite tantric complex (very short and very tantric) I try to pronounce all appropriate words with a Sanskrit accent. As far as we can see, the poses to meditate are classic for all three culture regions, but the inner part is the most difficult one. This difference is worth to meditate itself :)))

jingzuo03a jingzuo04a jingzuo06a jingzuo07a

The Second Series, The Last Sri Yantra #18 (Third Series is Next)

SRI YANTRA #18, 1994

6 points of touch in kernel

14+10+10+8=42 colour triangles in kernel

Diameter of kernel 10.9 cm; 4 1/4’’

Diameter of mandala min 15.5 cm; 6 1/16’’; max  19.7 cm; 7 3/4’’

Diagonal of defence square 27.7 cm; 10 7/8’’

Side of defence square max 23.4 cm; 9 3/16’’

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The whole collection 1994-95 Sri Yantra and More Difficult Star Polygons consists of 32 items. Some of them are in the private collections, some of them aren’t for sale at all.  Every item is covered by half-transparent protective paper fixed back right side by small drops of glue, it flips easily and/or can be promptly removed.

Both Sri Yantra #17 and #18 are the last pair open for public eye and for sale, and I have to underline the fact that in timeline they are closer than others to the time when the algorithm was just discovered (5 January 1994) but it took several months more before I really could enjoy a process of creating my own collection.  The basic colours of Sri Yantra #18 are red, blue, and yellow.  Mekhala and Bhupura (mandala and square of defence) have three black lines of different width, increasing in inside out direction.

 I cannot help myself to say something about cult of simplicity in eastern countries widely spread among educated people in the past.  I know that I can sit at my favourite desk and make up any kind of complexity (if you have seen more difficult star polygons you would understand what I’m talking about), but these two stars ARE closer to the first experience and greatest joy of discovery of the algorithm.  It was enlightenment.  I was speechless three days, I am still  happy 15 years after that, I am just happy like a person who can see the world by the same eyes as a person three millenniums ago in another point of globe.  No boundaries in time and space.

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The idea of Sri Chakra was a source for many people during long time, and these two stars #17 and #18 were the most powerful source for the whole collection and for the entire life of author.  Y’know, 15 years have passed, and I have a reason to think about their beauty to the end of the days.

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 The full story of glory and coolness of discovery of the ancient mathematical algorithm, its perfection in two variations (easy 6-points of touch and more complex 10-points of touch) of Sri Yantra and NINE, NINE/!!!!!!!/ variations of more difficult star polygons, Sri Sarvabhava Yantra (part of them) can be seen here, I hope.

 

The Second Series: Penultimate Sri Yantra #17

SRI YANTRA #17, 1994

 6 points of touch in kernel

14+10+10+8=42 colour triangles in kernel

Diameter of kernel 10.9 cm; 4 5/16’’

Diameter of mandala min 15.4 cm; 6 1/16’’; max  19.7 cm; 7 3/4’’

Diagonal of defence square 27.2 cm; 10 3/4’’

Side of defence square max 23.6 cm; 9 1/4’’

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The whole collection 1994-95 Sri Yantra and More Difficult Star Polygons consists of 32 items. Some of them are in the private collections, some of them aren’t for sale at all.  Every item is covered by half-transparent protective paper fixed back right side by small drops of glue, it flips easily and/or can be promptly removed.

 Sri Yantra #17 and #18 are the last pair open for public eye and for sale, and I have to underline the fact that in timeline they are closer than others to event when the algorithm was just discovered (5 January 1994) but it took several months more before I really could enjoy a process of creation my own collection.  

 The basic colours of Sri Yantra #17 are red, green, and yellow. Mekhala and Bhupura (mandala and square of defence) has three black lines of different width, increasing in inside out direction.

 I cannot help myself to say something about cult of simplicity in eastern countries widely spread among educated people in the past.  I know that I can sit at my favourite desk and make up any kind of complexity (if you have seen more difficult star polygons you would understand what I’m talking about), but these two stars ARE closer to the first experience and greatest joy of discovery of the algorithm.  It was enlightenment.  I was speechless three days, I am still  happy 15 years after that, I am just happy like a person who can see the world by the same eyes as a person three millenniums ago in another point of globe.  No boundaries in time and space.

 Frankly I have said almost all I had to say to levitate our conversation long enough. If you liked anything don’t hesitate to contact me any time online.  

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The whole story of glory of discovery of the ancient mathematical algorithm, its perfection in two variations (easy 6-points of touch and more complex 10-points of touch) of Sri Yantra and NINE /!!!!!!!/ variations of more difficult star polygons, Sri Sarvabhava Yantra (part of them) can be seen here soon, I guess.

 

 

 

Four Posts Under Slogan: Transparent and Half-transparent? Sounds Naked Enough…

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SRI YANTRA #16, 1994

 

6 points of touch in kernel

14+10+10+8=42 colour triangles in kernel

Diameter of kernel 10.9 cm; 4 1/4’’

Diameter of mandala min 15.5 cm; 6 1/8’’; max  19.9 cm; 7 13/16’’

Diagonal of defence square 28 cm; 11’’

Side of defence square max 23.1 cm; 9 1/16’’

 

The whole collection 1994-95 Sri Yantra and More Difficult Star Polygons consists of 32 items. Some of them are in the private collections, some of them aren’t for sale at all.  Every item is covered by half-transparent protective paper fixed back right side by small drops of glue, it flips easily and/or can be promptly removed.

Sri Yantra #16 is a blue twin sister of previously described item.  It has a bit greater diameter, 4 1/4’’, and with mathematically exact straight lines it adds beauty to this kind of art.  The outermost 14-pointed star polygon is drawn inside of thin and contrast thick circles.  The outside diameter of Mekhala has four lines and they form two green strip and one white (in centre).  Defence square contains four gates, three black lines contour and full green edge.

 

The mathematical exactness of the whole collection (including this one) gives a tool for those who practice such kind of meditation.  It is highly organised piece of paper and lines, it’s a symbol of very, sometimes extremely difficult laws of nature human can never understand, and simple beauty surrounding us in a drop of rain, leaves on the trees or anything else — in the same time. All kind of imagination is inside the chakras.  That is.  The problem is how to get it out.

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The smart and cool story of discovery of ancient mathematical algorithm, its perfection in two variations (easy 6-points of touch and more complex 10-points of touch) of Sri Yantra and nine, NINE /!!!!!!!!/ variations of more difficult star polygons, Sri Sarvabhava Yantra (part of them at least) can be uploaded here sooner or later, I suppose.