The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Initiating the "River Chariot" Rotation
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After you go through all the skandhas, and produce the impure and then pure illusory bodies, are you done yet? No, you’ve just started. Within the physical body you must still keep pouring the dirty chi out of chi channels to complete the purification of the “four (five) elements,” as termed by Buddhism. Buddhism usually just talks about four elements when it leaves out the space element, which is empty. When the chi channels completely empty of impure chi, the body deflates, and a new one rebuilds instantly or within a few moments. At the earliest stages of the path it takes time but now the process is quicker. In Taoism this is called “expelling all the toxins from the body.” That’s it, just one phrase to summarize the process.
Of particular difficulty at this stage is to open up the chakra at the back of the head where the jade pillow is. In Taoism and Tibetan Buddhism, practitioners tap on this to help the chi go through. When you can open this area (go look at an anatomical chart and you'll see how difficult it is), you’re almost there to a stage that really means some initial accomplishment that’s worth something. After you can do that, there are several more degrees of purification but a major accomplishment is within reach – you can stabilize the bright points at each of the chakras and you can finally open up the real tu-mai and jen-mai chi channels and start the rotation of the “river chariot” spoken of in Taoism. This is also the chariot sometimes spoken of in Jewish mysticism.
Why is this rotation of chi within the major chi channels compared to a chariot? The best way for me to describe the feeling is to have you imagine that you are rolling up a carpet. You know the feeling as you turn that circular object over and over, rolling it. So imagine a string of chi whose tip points downward and hangs inside your root chakra in your perineum. Now imagine that it is pulled back and rolls up, like a carpet. That’s the sensation of rolling that then proceeds up the tu-mai (back) and down the jen-mai (front) channels and through all the extra meridians which are filled with this thick semenlike jing-chi. Actually it’s more like a single impulse or undulation that proceeds around the entire microcosmic circuit in the body, for the whole circuit is one unbroken, fully connected string (stream) of chi. There’s no “tip” of chi – I was just trying to make you understand the feeling of the rotation. You feel a single undulation, like a wave, proceed up the back from the perineum ... down the front it comes, and it gets lost in the legs, but is pumped up again through the heel chakras. Usually you don't feel it so much through the jen-mai, or front channel.
This is the stage of the River chariot rotation. It is a “river,” or water chariot because the chi is clear and initially has the consistency similar to jing. It’s like the water element. Hence it is sometimes called the “Waterwheel.” In Buddhism, one of the minor side meanings of the “wheel of the law” refers to this stage of accomplishment.
Over and over again this thick plasticine like chi rolls through the circuit of the channels, like a chariot whose wheels are sloooowly making its course through an orbit. You don’t try to push it out of the orifices as you’ve done in the hundreds of previous stages of transformation, but just let it perform this circulation on its own without any guidance. This is the secret stage that Taoism refers to, and many other mystery schools. This is the real thing for laying an initial foundation for the Tao. As I always tell you, opening up the chakras is not the Tao, but only lays a good foundation for the Tao. This is the stage where you’ve finally reached close to the final shape of the chakras, so you’ve “opened” them but still not quite. Just very close because there are several more transformations to go. After you’ve reached this far, by establishing the bright points at THIS LEVEL of practice, you’re close to some stage of accomplishment.
You can only reach this stage after you had previously established almost permanent bright points on the major chakras from all the prior gong-fu work described in unwinding them, generating impure and pure illusory bodies, pushing out the dirty chi and so on. Previously it might have taken hours to establish a chi flame at one of the chakras due to visualization practice, and then next day you had to start all over again with concentration. Now however you can reignite the bright points quite readily to keep them going. It’s as easy as placing your thought on the location for a few seconds instead of struggling like within the previous stages. They are not “permanent” but I’m searching for a better word. Let's say "easy to establish."
Previous to this, for so many stages of transformation you poured impure chi out of the chi channels until the real shape of the chakras beneath could be revealed, and then you got them to unwind and expand. They were all wrapped up with multiple layers of impure chi, and the channels within were filled with layers of chi and embedded in pools of dirty chi, too. Now they are clear but plasticine, for the chi is thick and viscous but extremely flexible. This is akin to JING. As time goes on and the River Chariot turns and turns, the chi of the rotation becomes less thick and more refined, which means it trasnforms into CHI. I am only describing the initiatory phases of the process.
As I said, opening up the chakra at the back of the head is extremely difficult. After this feat, you can establish a nearly constant (easily re-ignitable) bright point at the four major and other minor chakra locations for the first time. You concentrated on bright points, or making tiny visualized images of chi flames at chakra openings and chi channel openings earlier along the way to help push out the dirty chi (transformed the five elements) but now those bright points are running relatively automatically on their own. You still need to watch them, but it’s harder to lose the flames, meaning that the chakra stays open and the circulation within stays unobstructed. This is Success – but don’t lose your semen despite the sexual desire at this stage. Yes, woman achieve these stages as well, so this is not just talking to men.
Then two or three days later after opening the Jade pillow chakra and establishing the bright points, if you haven’t lost your semen, then the rotation of the River Chariot will spontaneously initiate – once again due to the unwinding of the root chakra and the other chakras, which has finally been achieved because you established the bright points. Just prior to this rolling, everywhere within your body you can roll up or retract thick semen-like chi from inside your appendages (fingers, toes, the penis, etc.) and roll it in a lump to be discarded, which is something you’ve learned to do through all these other levels of transformation.
When the chariot rotation starts, this is the real meaning of the opening of the tu-mai and jen-mai, or front and back chi channels and the opening of the eight extra meridians in Taoism which comes along with this process. Now you can link the stages from this information. The Chinese schools focus on the front and back channels; the Tibetan and Indian schools focus on the middle, left and right channels, but these have not opened just yet – you still must wait a bit. The channels to the feet have even been opened all the way through to get this far, otherwise the River Chariot could not undergo its rotation. In fact, three major chakras open in the feet – the heels, and two more in front of it. It is almost impossible to open these chakras unless you get to this stage, which is why one of the respectful names for a Buddha refers to his having opened the great chakras in the bottom of the feet. The heel chakras do most of the return pumping upwards for the river circulation, pushing the chi back up to the perineum and root chakra.
I’ve told you to concentrate on the feet with the skeleton meditation and it’s extremely difficult to open up all the channels and chakras within it. You’ve also been able to open up channels to the organs (heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, etc.) too in order to get this to happen, though you also could have ignored them through this process. In other words, you don’t have to concentrate on them at all because they open naturally after you open all these other chakras and channels.
At this stage, the real tu-mai and jen-mai chi channels are quite large in diameter (circumference) compared to the thin thread-like chi channels you concentrated on when first trying to open up the chakras when you first started upon the road of the Vajrayana-Esoteric school tantric focus as described by Tsong Khapa and the Six Yogas of Naropa. Of course I’ve explained how to practice this on the website with free articles and blog posts, and must tell you once again that there’s no better full body cultivation method than the white skeleton meditation for the stage of preparation. Of course I’ve gone through other techniques and meditation methods as well. Prior to this you’ve had all sorts of teachings on consciousness, heavens, Taoist transformation, Christian cultivation, Jewish cultivation, etc. It’s up to you to do the work to study and practice. If you don’t lay a foundation of intensified practices, you cannot get this far at all.
The rolling of the chi through its channels (the River Chariot rotation) starts slow at first and then speeds up, and eventually becomes smooth. This chi is extremely thick and viscous at first. It’s more akin to jing, and then with rotation, like the churning of butter, becomes more refined like chi. Thus we have the jing to chi transformations of Taoism. In fact, this IS the real jing to chi transformations mentioned by Taoism.
The jing being pumped by the root chakra over and over again in a circuitous body circulation through the front and back channels, so its origins seem to come from down below. It’s like one long string or loop of chi that is being recirculated over and over again to refine it. It proceeds for the root chakra up the back to the top of the head, then down the front, to the root chakra again, through that to the feet, and front the feet upwards through the root chakra again. One big circuit. From within the feet a chakra pumps the chi upwards to the bottom of the root chakra, completing the circuit from below. This is the meaning of the Tao school injunction to breath through the bottom of the feet, or "from the heels." It only becomes true at this stage of attainment.
Naturally the body is initially warm to hot as the River Chariot first initiates, and over time the temperature evens out to warmness rather than any hotness like fierce fiery kundalini. Several hours later, next comes coolness and the onset of subtle bliss. This, I’m describing, are just the first few hours of the process. The previous practices of kundalini yoga, or kundalini cultivation to open chakras and channels that you started upon ages ago are long forgotten as this is the real thing, the real kundalini bliss.
Because of the heat, just prior to this stage sometimes the chi inside the body strips off and curls down off the inner walls of the inner chi layers of the physical body. Also, various full sized human chi bodies wiggle free from within and are ejected out the top of the body, often getting a bit stuck at the shoulders before wriggling free. Those are some of the final purifications that happen (toxins ejected) before the River Chariot rotation commences. So many transformations, so many purifications. They’re all just summarized as “expelling toxins” within Taoism or “purifying the five elements” within Buddhism. In Tantra they are called “expelling winds” out of the channels. The vocabulary is different but it’s all the same thing.
The opening of the River Chariot — this is how the body should be naturally. This is the natural state of a truly healthy human being. On top of the head in the center is a little loop, or “flower” or “bud” or “bow” wherein all the chi arrives from down below. This is the “Nirvana Palace” of Taosim and "Sacred" or "Crow"n chakra of Orthodox Buddhism and the Esoteric School. It is the Baihui location of Chinese medicine. You can feel it is opened, and the channels in the sides of the head open as well.
From below, near the perineum, is the root chakra pumping. But it has been so transformed through this process to its original shape that the pumping of the circulation is now smooth like a rolling wave. A single pulse, a smooth ripple or undulation rides its way throughout the entire orbit of the front and back chi channels. All the other chakras are opened, so there is nothing that provide an obstruction any longer to the circulation. This is truly the “Yuan” of the Chinese Tao School, the initial fruit of the Tao. Sweet saliva flows profusely. If you want to see what a sage has written about this stage, you can see pp. 78-79 in Tao and Longevity, by Huai-chin Nan (available on amazon.com).
The mind starts to enter dhyana and is quiet, but one must still use wisdom to detach from the sixth consciousness. It’s easier now to realize what the seventh consciousness or thinking mind actually is compared to the sixth consciousness, or grasping mind. Had you only been able to differentiate between the sixth and seventh consciousnesses earlier, you would have been able to accomplish this much sooner. Such is the way of both Buddhism and Vedanta.
The breathing slows and often stops and one can remain that way in a state of Xi. This is why Buddha taught people to enter this stage through practicing the methods of the Anapanasati Sutra. Just that method alone, combined with the white skeleton meditation and a life of discipline (celibacy, no lust) can get you here.
The limbs soften inside and feel light and pliant as the rotation commences. I want to use the word “nonexistent” but you know they are existent, and yet that phrase comes to mind. They are so soft inside as they are being transformed. A subtle happiness spread across the mind as you are entering dhyana. The wonders of the mind are just opening up.
Are there any special powers that come out? No, life is as ordinary as it was before. The bustle on the street, hawkers selling their wares, people shopping and doing errands. Only now one is free and easy in their mind and as their body slowly diffuses into bliss, comfort spreads everywhere.
The smoothness of the chi flow, even with the slight undulation or ripple, reminds you of the soft caress of a beautiful woman. The purity of the stage is like a beauty with a flawless, creamy smooth complexion. The yang chi glow of a perfect round white jade comes to mind. It is soft, it is round, it is natural, it is lovely. I can only say “beauty flows to the limbs” or “beauty flows throughout the limbs” or “beauty suffuses everywhere.” This is the stage Mencius called “Beauty,” for that’s the only word you can think of to describe it (and thus you have a linkage to the Confucian cultivation school and its way of describing the stages). It is jing that has not transformed into chi but is suffusing everywhere to soften, moisten and open all the channels, and thus being still yin it is referred to like the feminine. It is a beautious stage, beautiful, a thing of beauty. I can only say that.
Softness suffuses everything. The joy bubbles up inside. Even the moon, as pure and round as it seems, is not as perfect as this state. No pearl is as elegant for pearls are hard and gritty by comparison. Accepting of all human beings, kindness, gentleness, softness and humility flow freely as the yang flows. This is the true human nature.
Soft, round, full
The worries of the past fall away.
Beauty flows to the limbs,
The body seems as if not there.
A fine wine cannot in any way compete,
I offer it, I offer it to everyone,
But how can I share it with you?
Better just to leave it alone.
Sexual desire disappears. Who can think of sex at a time like this? Coarse thoughts disappear as if in a dream. The hormones in the body descend like rain from above feeding the flowers below. You wonder – “what types of grasses will grow up from down below (around the root chakra)?” This is NOT the circulation of the jen-mai nor the sweet saliva I’m speaking of at this stage, but a shower of hormones from within the head that falls downward within the body. It’s like a light sprinkling or fine shower of drops that you can see now and then, mostly from the front part of the head. It’s like a light rain or drizzle, and you can sometimes see the droplets sprinkle down. This is the kan hexagram of Taoism.
You can feel the wave as it rolls up the tu-mai and then down the front. From the heels it ascends upwards, the chakras in the feet pulsing. Eventually the central, left and right channels separate themselves from the back and establish themselves and their circulation proceeding from below and straight upwards. Initially these channels were as stuck or glued to the tu-mai back channel, but now they peel away and free themselves so that they stand erect in the center of the body.
What I’ve just revealed is a big secret – people miss these channels because they are attached to the back governor channel and because the chi through them proceeds up to the bud, you don’t notice them. Not until they peel away and establish themselves to go directly upwards. Whenever you feel like there are three channels near the back of the body, with the large one being the tu mai, understand that the left and right channels are trying to peel away so that they can stand erect, and when that happens they will pull the sushumna forwards as well. This is a yoga secret you won’t find mentioned in any schools. It also tells you that when you have to do this it means you are not cultivating hard enough because then the channels would have already established themselves. You must ask for protection from the Buddhas (enlightened beings) at these stages as it’s very easy to lose your progress and because the gong-fu is so rare and fragile.
This then is the channel structure described by the Buddhist Esoteric school – first the front and back channels opened, and now the left right and central sushumna next. Up from the root chakra the chi ascends to the bowed loop in the center of the head, down it also then comes again through the left and right channels to return to its source. But the width of these channels is LARGE compared to the tiny channels you concentrated on to get this whole process started many stages ago. The real governor (tu mai) and jen-mai channels seem almost an inch thick in width, whereas the left-right-central channels are thinner, but still nearly a quarter inch or more in width. They are now full, clear, translucent and unobstructed. Pumping, pumping, pumping flowing, flowing, flowing – this is the true microcosmic, macrocosmic circulation you read about in Tao school and alchemy books. But I don’t think the people who write about these things hardly ever get there.
This upwards and downwards flowing chi next to each other is the meaning of “Heaven and earth communicate” or “sky and earth will be joined.” It’s the meaning of the Heaven or sky I-ching hexagram (chien) seeking the earth (kun hexagram) in Taoism and Chinese philosophy. It refers to the chi ascending upwards in the central channel, and dribbling down the left and right channels while the front and back channels undergo their own circuitous circulation. The central channel sends chi up to the bud because of the root chakra pumping, which is also pumping the chi up the tu-mai at the back, and at the top there is a little circuit of channels in a loop which allows some it to fall again through the left and right channels. So there is a jen-mai and tu-mai circulation, and this little left-right-central channel circuit has its own circulation as well. So many secrets, so many secrets revealed.
The going up and coming down of the central channel and its flanking left and right channels reminds me of Jacob in the Old Testament writing about his dream of angels going up and down a ladder, and so we have the link to Jewish mysticism once again. Angels don’t go up and down ladders, but the chi ascends and descends this way between the root chakra and the flower bud at the top of the head in a constant circulation, just as the front and back channels proceed in the circuitous motion as well. Thus I have revealed the process in plain language and linked it to the Esoteric school, the Tao school and a single symbolic account from the Bible. No one has ever revealed these secrets before, but now you know clearly what the sages were talking about. This is just the operation of the human body after all the chi channels have been cleared.
Two wings or petals, as large as fans, spread out from the root chakra on the left and right sides. The size of these two wings are enormous as they spread across the entire bottom of the pelvic cavity and are constantly bowed arched upwards and pinned downwards within the cavity because of their size. This is like the Chinese peng bird of old described in Chuang Tzu, whose wing span was said to be as large as the seas. Slowly these two petals rise and fall like a bellows in motion. Slowly they flap up and down – the pumping of a bellows with the root chakra in the center.
The root chakra itself assumes a squarish shape as it rises up out of its base a bit, and this becomes the “furnace” we speak of in Taoism and other cultivation schools. This is the only stage you can probably call the “furnace” even though people practice kundalini cultivation and feel warmth. At this stage it's self-sustaining as long as ou meditate. Now you can begint he 100 days of jing to chi transformation.
Initially the chi color is a bright white diamond or silver-bluish point (that’s what a “bindu” is) when the process first starts, but it sometimes flickers with the red color of the fire element in the root chakra square. As soon as it does that it transforms back to silver again. At times it will even seem as if a black smoke is given off as various chi onthe sides are burned away, but this is very rare and not to be expected. You should just know that it happens now and then. This raised root chakra is the “li” hexagram of Taoism, and the hormones descending like spring rain (not the jen mai descent, but a virtual sprinkling of water hormones from inside the head falling downwards) is the kan hexagram.
You cannot achieve this mixing of li and kan until you reach this stage (after clearing out all your channels as previously described) whereupon it happens naturally. About the time that the bright point of the furnace first flickers to red, a few hours later the color yellow forms in front of the furnace at its base in the lower tan tien. It’s like a field or pool in front of the upraised furnace (because the bottom of the cavity is a bit like a bowl). Later in back of the furnace the pool becomes filled with purple, blue, and sometimes red colors. But these are only temporary changes that quickly disappear, as there are far many more transformations to go through. They don't even last several hours. Also at times the chi of the body (sometimes the crown, and sometimes the whole body) turns yellow, but this also quickly reverts back to the clear state. ALl very temporary changes.
There are many changes like this in the first few hundred hours after the Chariot starts its rotation. None should be considered permanent. However, understand that this is basically the “field of elixir” in the dan tien. It is just chi that collects around the base of the upraised root chakra, which looks like a square on a pedestal since it’s raised above the base of the floor. Only the Esoteric school calls this the root chakra. To other schools it’s called the furnace, or you can even call it a “celestial pump.”
At this stage of achievement, all sorts of higher beings will come to you to ask for help in their own cultivation. Previously when you broke through the conception skandha all the local ghosts and spirits would appear asking for assistance in attaining the Tao. At that stage one could even convert the dakinis who had samadhi attainments. Now beings with heavier gong-fu come, including animals who have been cultivating. For instance, a lion or elephant Bodhisattva or mahaghora might come to you because they were having troubles in their own channels at this stage of cultivation, and just needed a little push or assistance to open their own chakras and establish their microcosmic circulations. As you already know all the stages and how to clear out every chakra, and because you can now grab their chakras or channels to help open them, this is what a Bodhisattva does to help. All sorts of beings can visit from the entire cosmos. You now have a (very) small set of gong-fu skills that you can grab their chi and help open some channels or chakras for them, but only for those advanced enough who have been cultivating to this stage of translucent chi and who have enough merit.
This is why the Taoists say that they “test” people to see if they are virtuous or not. If someone is not virtuous you should leave them to themselves and their own efforts rather than voluntarily step forward and help when not asked. If evil people succeed in cultivation it doesn’t make them less evil. You’re just empowering them to do more evil in the world by helping them open up their zhong mai and get healthy. Hence one has to be careful who they teach or take on as students. This is a rule. You need virtue and merit to succeed.
Not everyone is ready because of the lack of virtue and merit, the first stage (I might remind you) of the spiritual path. So just as an example, when I see people who donate even a tiny amount to www.haitiwater.org after hearing of the need and giant merit bang for the buck, I already know who can succeed at cultivation and who will just remain an arm chair reader of cultivation books. No matter how much you might argue or think how good or great you are, you cannot succeed without merit on the cultivation path, and you can never say your merit is great enough. Even the Tao school says you must do 3,000 great deeds (saving a life is one great deed) and 1,000 minor good deeds. Another school of Taoism insists on more than 800 virtuous deeds and more than 3,000 hidden virtues.
Buddhism insists on the same requirement of accumulating virtue and merit to achieve success, just as Christianity reminds you that you need virtue in order to reach heaven. This is no joke but truth. That’s why I mentioned www.Haitiwater.org for you because a single chlorinator ($265) will serve up to 10,000 people every day for a quarter of a century. Diarrhea, fevers, dysentery, typhoid, malaria, cholera, hepatitis and death all disappear because of one tiny change you make possible. Hundreds of babies stop dying because of that one little gift, yes hundreds. Since the entire community gets its water from that one source, you put an end to death and disease in one stroke for one about two hundred and fifty bucks. That’s attaining merit. Do it! Why you even have enough merit to receive these lessons is beyond me as what I’m teaching you is precious and rarely given. In fact it’s NEVER spoken at all. So I’m hoping you’ll do the hard thing and generate the merit. Do it!
So now with all you’ve been taught, you have the linkage between the Orthodox school of Buddhism with Yogacara and Vajrayana the Esoteric School. This stage of yoga we’ve reached is an initial stage that Shiva, the great yogi, wants people to cultivate in Hinduism though of course you can reach it through Vedanta just as you can reach it through Orthodox Buddhism. How so? Through the cultivation of prajna, the dhyana and anapana. We also linked these gong-fu stages to Jewish mysticism, and now the explanations in terms of Taoism. If you look at western alchemy closely, you’ll see the same thing. Even “pagans” and some bard poets in Celtic mysticism have hinted at this stage of “inspiration.” It’s non-denominational. If you’re smart and wise, and understand the principles, you can use lots of paths to get here. If you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t put in the practice effort, then you might as well forget it. But I’ve given you all the teachings in our many articles, blog posts and books.
Everyone who cultivates goes through these stages, and some schools explain the stages clearly while others don’t. Now I’ve given you an explanation as to where the stages fit into the whole sequence of cultivation practice. All this prior work to get to this level of physical transformation, and it’s still just physical gong-fu and not the Tao. You’re only at the stage of jing transforming into chi. You used concentration to get here, but you have not attained true dhyana. On this path of cultivating form, few reach this far. That’s why Buddha told people to cultivate dhyana directly instead by letting go, and then afterwards to come back and transform the physical body. But I’ve united these various schools together for you to see how it all fits together. You’ve only established a foundation for mind-only work so that you can attain the Tao and “unite with Heaven” as Taoism calls it. That’s the beginning of the true dhyana attainments such as the first, second, third, and fourth dhyana. You’ve established the physical foundation of becoming a Taoist “Immortal,” but you haven’t achieved it yet.
Remember the Buddha is also known as a “Great Golden Immortal” or “Great Golden Arhat”, which refers to someone who goes beyond this stage of transformation to fully complete the transformation of the physical body so that they can appear and disappear anywhere at will like Taoist Immortals. This is something I’ve actually seen for myself. If you can understand that various Hindu masters have reached this stage, then you can link to understanding yet another school as well. But these are the physical fruits of the Tao which we are talking about, not the Mind-Only attainments. For that we have to study the peak teachings of Buddhism. But anyone who practices can get to these stages if they just practice correctly – they are not the province or possession of anyone school because they are non-denominational.
One thing is for sure: you cannot achieve any of this without practice, merit, discipline (sexual restraint), and cultivating empty mind.
After many hours, the chi currents are now like milk flowing with honey. With every revolution its constitution is becoming lighter and more refined. How can you understand this state if you don’t experience it yourself? The sweet saliva flows like a river … this is the “water of life” spoken of in Christianity. All the religions have this same stage but only if you cultivate. All along the saliva has been sweet at various stages of cultivation progress, but now it flows like water, a gushing stream. Just prior to this you can open up the mouth cavity at the top under roof of the mouth and push the poisons out from this hole. Prior to this, it is not usually used as an exit point for expelling dirty chi from the body, but now you’ve cleaned this out too along with the jade pillow chakra in the back of the head. Finally, after a long time, you can open up the translucent chi channels throughout the width of the tongue, too. The old chi that covers the tongue splits along the sides, and reveals the tongue below.
Finally the two chakras on the top of the shoulders will open, just as the two fans opened on the left and right sides of the root chakra. The crown chakra now rises out of its base and produces a protrusion out of the skull like the knots on top of a Buddha’s head. Remember, these are the stages of transformation for the physical body rather than for the pure and impure illusory bodies whose crown chakra will look extremely different, such as you see in the pictures of other enlightened beings. I am giving you all the secrets of all these schools in hopes you are no longer confused, resolve the contradictions, see the step by step stages, have faith in practice, and actually achieve these states themselves.
In truth, this is only gong-fu which lays a foundation for achieving the Tao, but you still haven’t achieved it. You’re just purifying the body and achieving a better state of health in the process. At this point your vitality will return and gray hair will turn to its original color again. The body is experiencing renewal. But this is just a physical foundation. The true Tao is seeing the dharmakaya. You’re just transforming the body and laying a good foundation.
The Tao involves cultivating the mind rather than forms, so people who get stuck in these things and think they’re marvelous will lose their way. The actual efforts should be on realizing the dharmakaya and uniting with it. Cultivating the body was just to make that easier. This is called “cultivating life,” not cultivating the original nature. However, you can bypass this entirely by just cultivating mind in the first place to realize the dharmakaya, and along that avenue or road of practice you have the highest chances of success.
But what about all these bodies and layers of chi within and outside the channels? After the creation and destruction of the universe over and over again for aeons after aeons, these are the many various forms that have developed over time, and must be ejected/cleaned out of your chi channels so that you can attain the most primordial possible form of the five elements. You don’t need to know anything about these processes to succeed in spiritual cultivation other than to let go and cultivate an empty mind, and in this way we can say that Taoism is probably best school in terms of simplifying the path’s gong-fu transformations into a triplex of jing, chi and shen, but so few practitioners achieve anything in Taoism (and most go astray down side paths that amount to nothing, following strange practices according to their own secret wants and inclinations) that you have to doubt the efficacy of the popular teaching methods in this school. Taoists usually confuse different traditions, choose the wrong practices, and typically think all they need is to find some Master who will teach them some secret method so that they can become an Immortal instantly. Look how hard it is!
Buddhism has produced the most successes, along with Vedanta, Kashmir Saivism, and some other schools, and within Buddhism you can say that the number of Orthodox Buddhist practitioners who succeeded far outweighs those of the Buddhist Esoteric school (Tibetan Buddhism and Vajrayana) despite its claims of superiority. As to the western schools, of course some individuals succeed but most do not for lack of clear instructions, and for those that do, this is what they initially attain as the physical basis or foundation.
And this brings up the western mystery schools, such as the Rosicrucians, Golden Dawn, Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, Ordo Templi Orientis, etc. Most of their practices and longings were based on corrupt understandings of Jewish kabbalah practices, which were in turn based on incomplete understandings of Ezekiel 1 - ma’aseh merkavah or “works of the Chariot.”
This is already the chariot rotation you have reached at this stage. But go search and you won’t find any kabbalah literature able to explain what I’ve just given you. The practitioners and teachers just don’t know. In fact the western Mystery schools are also always desperately searching for this information and here it s free for all. But can you attain it? You need merit, discipline, concentration, and the right techniques. Frankly it is doubtful that anyone will succeed. In my Teacher’s 60+ years of teaching he always says he’s never found anyone who’s reached the stage of jing transforming to chi. Everyone thinks it’s happening at much lower stages of the path, but this is the real thing and beyond this stage there is even more! Visions of Buddhas, Thrones (Jewish mysticism), Buddhas with dark blue faces like Lions (Christian mysticism, Revelations), pure illusory bodies, crown chakra emanations, … are all peanuts compared to this stage, and it’s only the foundation stage for the dhyana.
Which reminds me ... the Lion faced being you read about int he Bible is the Bodhisattva ruler of a Form Realm heaven. He is a great master and teacher of "crazy" Zen, but the Biblical authors didn't know who he was or what he does nor anything about his stage of cultivation. Now you know. If you reach this far you can see him as this is one of the worlds in which he takes particular interest for reasons I won't go into.
In Hindu culture we have the great yogi Shiva who worked hard at all sorts of yogic techniques to get here and then get the Tao. The tradition of Gaudapada also achieved it. Shakyamuni, who also traveled the yogic path for years, went through all of this as well but after he achieved the fruit he described the path in a different way other than form so that it would live on and help societies and be transmitted in such a way that more people would attain it (rather than by cultivating form). Nevertheless if you read the sutras and search, you will find that he did explain all the form transformations within his own set of excellent descriptions. So if you follow the form schools – Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, Esoteric School, Shingon, kabbalah, western alchemy, Vajrayana, yoga, tantra, western mysticism, etc. – beware.
The entire gist of the western mystery schools - the Rosicrucians, Golden Dawn, etc. — is to actually have you achieve THIS particular stage of attainment, and yet no one gets near it or even understands it. Secret societies speculate on hidden meanings and mysteries, and so unfortunately speculation is all they ever come to. This is the foundational stage for dhyana attainments you reach — the stage of chakras opening, breaking through the skandhas (or koshas), purifying the four elements, the establishment of the channels, the pure illusory body, the River Chariot rotation, jing transforming into chi. In Tibetan Buddhism they just call this the cultivation of the chakras, channels and bright points (bindus) which are the flame points at the centers of the chakras. In Zen this is the stage of cultivating realization because you’re getting ready to attaint he dhayna and then the Tao. In terms of the five great stages of the path, this is the stage of True Cultivation Practice.
I’ve only bothered to explain it from the standpoint of cultivating the body, but warned you that few ever succeed along this path but many succeed along the prajna wisdom – Mind-Only – dhyana cultivation path of Buddhism and Vedanta. Nevertheless, even when you cultivate that route and succeed in enlightenment by realizing the dharmakaya, to be complete you also have to cultivate the sambhogakaya, which is what we’re doing here. As to the nirmanakaya, let’s not talk about this yet. This refers to a high stage of cultivation upon opening your crown chakra, and frankly I don’t think anyone is qualified to hear about it.
I admire the Western mystery schools and their practitioners because of their longings and aspirations. In fact, I wish members would familiarize themselves with the materials in my course on Western Alchemy that shows what it’s all about. It’s actually my one favorite product that I’ve produced but few want it, and yet I guarantee you don’t know much of what’s in it. Pity, because the material is so good.
Unfortunately for the kabbalah practitioners and Western mystery schools (Rosicrucians, etc), ardent and virtuous people get confused in their search for the Tao. It is a pity, it is a pity. I’ve laid it all out for you up to this very stage of jing transforming into chi and the rotation of the chariot. This lays the base for the perfection of the human physical body, an ideal of human perfectability in the manner of Enoch and Metatron of the Bible. When you reach this stage you can choose to cultivate the human body to perfect health and extremely long life, or you can go further and choose the Tao to go beyond the human and celestial. This is the realm of the Buddhas (enligthened ones), otherwise one is simply at the stage of a yogi or rishi.
One thing is for sure and becomes perfectly clear when you understand all this and accomplish any of it. The old Jewish idea of human perfection through strict adherence to the law, meaning Jewish rules and regulations, can bring you absolutely nowhere along these lines. Every accomplished sage warns you about the uselessness of rules and regulations in attaining the Tao, but for lack of a cultivation path the Jewish religion has made the “law” into the path for the common man just as Christianity has made “belief” into the path and Islam has also made “adherence” into the path. It is unfortunate that these schools make these and so many other mistakes. Some of the biggest problems in these traditions arose because Moses was not a high stage practitioner (this is easy to tell from dozens of examples int he Bible) but one who, because of his low attainments and low wisdom, therefore interjected many asura types practices into his mission and thus these streams, and thus began centuries of warfare, anger, hate, vindictiveness, revenge, materialism, manipulation, coarse sexuality, the desire for control and conquest, persecution and destruction. To be bereft of the cultivation path is one thing, but to fall into the mentality of the asuras and follow their angry warlike, power hunger and sensual ways only leads to the destruction of culture and civilization in the end. All races, nations, empires, religions and civilizations - for instance the Assyrians, Aztecs, Mayans, Roman Empires, Egyptian religion, Zorasterians, etc. — die after their merit is used up. The boon of perpetuity is granted to no one; impermanence marks everything. If you therefore want continuance, reform yourself and change for the better. As the prophets of old said, “turn back to God” otherwise following the asura paths means doom in the end and self-destruction due to your own lack of wisdom that you take for cleverness. Who really understands what I’m talking about except the Buddhas?
Cultivation of the form aspect of the body is very difficult and only someone of excellent intelligence and extreme merit can do it, and even then only if they have an extremely strong foundation in the Mind-Only teachings and prajna wisdom principles of the path that have nothing to do with body transformations. This is another reason why Vajrayana practitioners are forced to study for nearly two decades before approaching this path as we’ve described.
Okay, so what happens after you establish the River Chariot rotation and a few dozen hours go by? A new set of transformations — After a certain while, the squarish furnace will have a silvery white circle develop around its base, and then the whole furnace will extend itself and rise upwards towards the bud. This sets off a different set of transformations. Yet again the old chi must be ejected and new chi develop at a higher level, just as before.
To concentrate on the bright points WITHIN the channels, rather than to concentrate on just the river chariot rotation, to get to the next level is extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely difficult hard beyond compare. At this stage the jing within the channels sticks to the sides, and has to be melted a bit to get it to go. Previously you did not really have to do that. But I’m not going to go into the explanations of these higher stages just yet.
The only thing I’m going to tell you is that all you’ve been doing is cultivating the sixth consciousness. Chi and consciousness are linked. You realized that in breaking through the layers of chi connected with the skandhas. You realize what that means in terms of purifying the chi channels and the five elements. Now you have to realize that the sixth consciousness itself is connected to a type of chi, and you have to SEE THIS, realize this rather than continue playing with form. In fact, you have been making a fundamental mistake of cultivation by bringing the sixth consciousness into the body when it is non-local, it is everywhere. Buddha explains this clearly in the Surangama Sutra to Ananda, and yet most religious people succeed int heri cultivation by cultivating imaginary cognition.
If you want to cultivate higher, you have to turn within — away from the sense organs just as Hatha yoga says — and pass through attachment to the seventh consciousness and then the eighth consciousness (the alaya) and then let go of that. Then you can reach the Tathagatagarbha or Womb Matrix of Pure Buddhahood, Perfect and Complete Enlightenment that jumps out of the Three Realms of Desire, Form and Formlessness. Look how high Buddhism takes you past the stage of realizing Brahma!
So I’ve just given you the SUPREME SECRET. You’ve only been cultivating the sixth consciousness this entire path. It’s not very high. To get to dhyana you have to let go of this consciousness - which also means the chi that’s connected with this consciousness that you’ve been cultivating all along — and then you can reach a higher stage of spiritual attainment. You may not know that what I’ve just told you is worth the treasures of the universe. If you can realize the meaning, you now know how to cultivate. The celestial realms are now open to you if you can detach from the coarse sixth consciousness, but remember that these high realms are still unreality compared to the True Tao. This is why even the Form Realm and Formless Realm heavenly denizens all venerate the Buddha and ask the Buddhas for teachings. You might not know, but THEY KNOW. They can see all the stages of gods and beings, including what people mistakenly take as God the Creator (due to low cultivation achievements and wrong thinking) in various worldly religions created throughout the universe, and with eyes wide open recognize the goal is to cultivate the Fundamental Essence of It All, the essence of the original nature. How can I explain it to you and wash away your misconceptions?
Stay Alert! Stay Alert!
Stay in the aliveness side rather than cling!
You don’t need to know what’s going on [with words]
It [the workings of the sixth consciousness) has all been one big molasses dream.
What’s behind the 6th is the 7th
We cling to the curtains rather than step back
If you could only let go and let function give birth
Most of your troubles would be solved
I’m “alive” when it’s gone
Why have I been so stupid to cling?
I sense that true birth is birthlessness
But my mistake is that I still cling to clarity.
Bright, alive, aware,
Empty, thorough, through
Do you know what happens when you give up the 6th?
The impure chi gets extruded like before
but you don’t have to worry about nothin’ [know it, direct it].
I missed the “ordinary mind” that’s always empty there as the essence,
because I became fascinated by mental movement and excitement
You need to make a fundamental wish to regain your original mind
and then cultivate by giving up clinging.
There’s no such thing as the “passing of days”
That’s just the sixth mind rambling along.
The Middle Path is pure because it does not cling to any Self
And phenomena stay [are] just as they are
Accumulate some merit — donate to www.haitiwater.org, or loan some money to www.kiva.org or make a donation to Heifer International www.heifer.org, Orbis www.orbis.org, Smile Train, Operation Smile, Handicapped International, Doctors Without Borders, www.worldvision.org, www.mercycorps.org, and so forth. It’s near Christmas. Give to others who have less, and with some of these organizations your gift can play a role that lasts for a lifetime and even multiply going forwards. Buddhas try to make the world a better place but they need you to make the effort — what did you think they were doing? One of the biggest bangs for the buck and a gift that keeps on giving is donating a chloronator or fraction thereof (they even write your name on it) at www.haitiwater.org. We all need merit to succeed; we’re all here to make the world a better place. If I died tomorrow and said I did one thing, at least I could say I supplied a community of ten thousand people with clear drinking water and banished disease and sickness overnight from my efforts. Never think you have enough merit, never. If you did you’d already be in the dhyana heavens rather than here!