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      article: Qi in Daoism: Lu Dongbin's Hundred Word Monument  |  date: 2017-01-21 17:28:40  |  Find articles by this author

     


     

    Qi in Daoism: Lü Dongbin's Hundred Word Monument [1]

    Attributed to Lü Dongbin

     

     

     

    Ancestor' Lu's Hundred Word Monument, replica at Wun Chuen Sin Koon Daoist Monastery in Hong Kong. Source: Wikipedia; photographer, Chong Fat. Click here for another photograph of the Monument.

     

    The Daoist Immortal Lü Dongbin. Ink and color on silk, 16th century, Ming dynasty. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    1. In cultivating qi, [2] silently watch and wait.
    Surrender the mind and its emotions to non-doing, non-thinking, and non-being.

    2. In movement and stillness know your one true self: the original ancestor (the source progenitor). There is really nothing else to search for. Ask yourself who is looking?

    "The primal true one energy [yuan qi] [3] is the generative energy that gives birth to heaven, earth, and human beings. It contains all patterns, and is present at all times. This is what is called the source progenitor of essence and life. Those who keep aware of this are sages; those who ignore it are ordinary people." Liu I-Ming [Thomas Cleary 2000, p. 239].

    3. Your eternal self must respond to the world and its people; but when responding, do not become bewildered, crazy, or confused.

    4. When not lost in confusion, the mind dwells on itself and qi-energy spontaneously returns.

    The emotional and stimulation excesses of life drain a persons life energy (qi). Nevertheless, by turning one's attentive awareness away from the outside world, and in stillness contemplating the infinite silent inner world of the self, the qi naturally returns back to where it belongs within the body, mind and soul.

    5/A. When qi returns, the elixir [4] for immortality is reconstituted.

    Immortality means much more than just living for a long time or forever. It might be better to define it as the ability to energetically transmute our body, mind and soul into spiritually refined Virtue/Power, viz.:, which itself is infinite, and then merge (perhaps even physically) with the supernal qi of the Dao [5]. With that an individual is automatically in harmonic resonance within themselves, and with others, society, nature, and the divine.

    5/B. Within the pot [the dantian] water and fire join.

    The pot or vessel refers to the dantian, which literally means the "elixir field," the place in the lower abdomen where qi is stored for use. The elixir is cultivated and comes to fruition by the interactive mixing and intercourse of "fire" and "water."

    "Fire" and "Water" are used in different ways by different Daoists: They are open-ended metaphors used for spiritual work. Zhang San-feng, the legendary Daoist monk and warrior, is said to have commented on this section of the Hundred Character Tablet with these words: The two energies rising and descending in the center of their bodies, yin and yang pairing in the Alchemical Crucible. Suddenly they feel a thread of hot energy in their genitals, rising up into the heart. Sense comes back to the essence of consciousness, like husband and wife joining in blissful rapture. The two energies interact to form the substance of the elixir; water and fire mix in the lair of energy. The cycle goes on and on, so that the spirit drives the energy and the energy maintains the body. [Cleary p. 190].

    6. Yin and yang are born again and again. What is ordinary is transformed in one clap of thunder.

    7. White clouds [6] rise up to the summit [the crown of the head]. Sweet dew flows down the mystical mountain [the inner psychic body].

    White clouds may be thought of as being yin qi and yang qi rejoined as primordial qi. The "mystical mountain" in the text is called Mount Meru."

    Sweet dew may be thought of as saliva (mixed with air in the mouth). as it descends to the dantian. Zhang San-feng (Chang San-Feng) wrote: The secret is when the mouth is filled with saliva after a period of stillness followed by rising and circulating of energy. Visualize the saliva as sweet dew, or ambrosia, what the Buddhists call the elixir of immortality, and as you swallow it, mentally send it down into the Alchemical Cauldron [dantian], where it solidifies the original energy and thus nurtures it. [Cleary, p. 192].

    8. Having drunk the wine of longevity, you freely and happily wander about. Who can know you?

    9. Sit and listen to the song of the string-less lute [in other words, listen to the silence]; and understand clearly the source and mechanism of creation and transformation.

    10. These twenty lines in their entirety are a real and true stairway to heaven.


    The Hundred Word Monument in Chinese Characters

    養氣忘言守,降心為不為。
    動靜知宗祖,無事更尋誰?
    真常須應物,應物要不迷。
    不迷性自住,性住氣自回。
    氣回丹自結,壺中配坎離?
    陰陽生反復,普化一聲雷。
    白云朝頂上,甘露灑須彌。
    自飲長生酒,逍遙誰得知。
    坐聽無弦曲,明通造化機。
    都來二十句,端的上天梯。

    Editor's Comments: When a comment gives no author's name, it was written by the editor of Qi-Encyclopedia.

    Footnotes:

    [1] ^ The title in Chinese is 吕祖百字碑 - Lu zu bai zi bei literally meaning Ancestor Lu's One Hundred Word Monument. The last two words are often rendered as "Character," and "Tablet" or "Stele."

    [2] ^ Qi (chi or ch'i) is a Chinese concept open to many interpretations. It is a relative term, a propositional term, gaining its meaning by the context in which it appears. Within Daoism it may refer to a hidden spiritual creative force that gives birth to all that is, was, will, or could be. It also is the vital life force gained by the act of breathing, and therefore considered the breath itself. All of life and existence are manifestations of qi. Also in everyday speech, manifestations of qi are customarily called qi: For example, excessive fire qi in the liver may cause anger, but this anger itself is called "qi." A qi master may have students rub their hands together to generate qi, but the heat that is felt as a result of this is itself sometimes called "qi."

    [3] ^ Yuan qi (元气) is often defined in English as original qi, innate qi, or primal qi. It is the qi we had before we were born. It also exists externally as the intrinsic and inherent nature of the universe.

    [4] ^ Elixir (Dan- 丹). Literally "red pill"; the toxic mineral, mercury sulfide which was used in ancient alchemical concoctions for gaining immortality. A magical substance with the power to cure, improve, or preserve life. Lü Dongbin seems to be saying that it is made by the fusing of yin and yang energies, and/or the merging of mental intention and sexual generative forces.

    [5] ^ Dao or Tao (literally "The "Way"). The Absolute underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of qi unfolding in its ever changing patterns of yin and yang and signifying the Way, or code of behavior; that which is in harmony with the proper and natural order of all and everything. But it is best undefined in words, but rather to be experienced and lived.

    [6] ^ The Chinese word used here for "white" (bai - 白) can also mean bright, clear, clean, pure, and empty—therefore all possible qualities of a perceived or imagined or visualized qi.


    Sources:

    Hirsh Diamant. About Qi, Lu Dongbin, Immortality, and Self-Cultivation.

    Akrishi. The Hundred Words Stele, by Lu Dongbin, and commentary by Zhang Sanfeng

    Ancestor Lü. The Hundred Characters Tablet: Translations and Commentaries. also at www.scribd.com

    Thomas Cleary. The Taoist Classics, Volume Three. Shambhala, 2000.


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