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Daoist Contemplation & Ritual 道教觀想跟科儀的關係

Daoist Contemplation 道教修行观想法. Lesson #1

Traditional Daoist contemplation, and Daoist ritual are closely related systems.
道教观想和科仪法 有密切的关系; they are taught together by the Daoist master.
Before learning to meditate, or perform 科仪 keyi rites of renewal, however, the Daoist master insists that the disciple first learn and practice Ch. 67 of the Laozi: “Compassion, frugal simplicity, never put self above others;” – that is, never think or say bad things about anyone; live a life of quiet simplicity; never “put down” others, condemn or criticize, or think or say negative things about anyone. Until the disciple is filled with positive good thoughts about others, and has learned to practice Chapter 4 of Zhuangzi “Heart fasting, sitting in forgetfulness” 心齋坐忘, learning Daoist meditation or contemplation is not allowed, by strict Daoist jie 戒 regulation.

The Daoist Trinity

Return to the Origin, find one’s roots 回源反根 is the goal of Daoist meditation.
Ch. 42 of Laozi, “Dao gave birth to the One; One gave birth to 2; 2 gave birth to 3; 3 gave birth to the myriad things” 道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物 (自然)
“Dao” means the Transcendent, Wuwei dao 道=无为之道
1 = the moving Dao, Taiji, primordial breath; 有为之道,太極,元氣,炁,意
2 = yang, 陽 i.e., the male, action oriented, desires of the human heart 心,志,神
3= yin 陰,女,生之元,智, yin, woman, birthing, wisdom 精, (in the belly). Yin
(精), ie, the “3”, gives birth to all of nature, and restores energy to 1 (炁) & 2 (神)

1 = heaven, the head thinking and judging; 2= earth, the heart desiring and willing;
3= the belly, lower cinnabar field 下丹田 alchemical furnace, refining 1 and 2 into wisdom,
精 i.e., the ability to be always aware of Wuwei Dao’s gestating “now” presence.
Daoist contemplation brings all of the mind’s images and desires (“the past”), and all of the heart’s selfish desires (“the future”), into the belly, and refines them into a “now only” awareness of Transcendent Wuwei Dao. The mind uses up “Qi” by thinking negative thoughts and judging; the heart uses up “shen” spirit by selfish desires instead of loving and healing others; when shen and qi are exhausted, death occurs; with belly’s refined jing 精wisdom, longevity is achieved, living to a ripe old age (120 years) is possible, and health is restored.

Taoyi, Daoist ruler of the Underworld

Dao births the 4 seasons: spring 春/元, summer 夏/亨, autumn 秋/利, winter 冬/貞. The four Yijing (I-ching 易經) mantic words used here, ie, yuan, heng, li, zhen 元亨利貞 have deep spiritual meaning! Yuan means primordial purification; heng means nesting and nourishing sacred images; li means cutting away all images and desires, after which the Dao writes on the heart-mind with a fiery brush zhen 貞, like a heated iron used to draw on an oracle shell 卜+貝.

Lesson two shows how Dao births the 5 elements, 6 tones, 7 stars, 8 trigrams, etc.
(lesson 2 will be taken from the qingwei mijue ben 清微祕訣本說明.

Dou Mu, mother of Big Dipper,

11 thoughts on “Daoist Contemplation & Ritual 道教觀想跟科儀的關係

  1. Dear Proffesor,

    Thanks for your wisdom. It’s great! Here, in Poland, daoism is unknown, but I try to cultivate Dao. Please pray for me. Regards

    1. Thank you for your kind message, Lukamo, I will soon post more pictures of Daoists doing Keyi Ritual; practicing Daoism as written in the Lauzi (Lao-tzu) and Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) is indeed rewarding and filled with peace. Daoism is not a “belief” system, rather it is a practice leading to apophatic or mystic prayer; thus Christians, Buddhists, Islamists (Sufi) all practice it.!

  2. My favourite quote from Daodejing is:
    qing jing wei tian xia zheng – When there is clearness and stillness, everything under heaven falls into place

    From Zhunagzi I like the words of Guangchengzi spoken to Huangdi.

    Your words – “now only” awareness of Transcendent Wuwei Dao” sound for me very similar to teachings of Advaita Vedanta (Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ashtavakragita) and modern nonduality movement.

    But I think that daoism includes not only pure mysticism but also yin yang and qi theory. Harmonizing yin and yang/qi is the way to Dao, cultivating both – body and mind


  3. On the other hand, maybe clearness and stillness of heart/mind can corrects everything under Heaven, every imbalance of energy

  4. Excellent and very deep comments, thank you for your insights!

  5. 师父好!







    1. 對了! 您的說法很正確! 鄙人用的辭典是“說文解字”, 跟 陳蒙家 的 殷墟卜辭總述,“貞” 的來源就是 “卜” 跟 “貝” i.e., 寫甲骨文的方法,“道” 用熱的 “卜” 在我心上寫無為,無像的字。莊 老先生救是這陽解說的。

  6. Dear Professor and Master,

    Would you be so kind as to write post about the concept of clarity (qing) and stillness (jing) or about the words of Guangchengzi spoken to Huangdi (Zhuangzi, chapter 11).

    Your posts (and books!) are very helpful.

    Kind regards,

    1. I am honored by your post, Luke, but do not consider myself a “master”, rather a beginning student of the Dao. Both the Zhuangzi and Laozi have the basic same theme, ie, the Wuwei Dao 無為之道of no word and “non-act” (Transcendent Act) can be felt, realized, become “one” with us (於道合真)as soon as the heart and mind are qing 清 and quiet jing 靜;the difference in the Grade Six (liu pin 六品)ritual Daoist, and the Grade Five and higher (五品以上)is also found in this distinction, ie, the “Sanwudugong” 三五都攻 Grade Six master performs the Daoist rituals perfectly, as summoning, inviting, petitioning, and appeasing the spirits, during Jiao rites of renewal as well as Rites of Passage (生冠昏喪祭)for the people. Grade 5 & above(五品以上)combine ritual with inner meditation of “emptiness” or “apophasis”, by refining spirits and their colors from the many to the 5 – then 3 – (3 Pure Ones) – to the “One” (hundun, taiji, youweizhidao 混沌,太極,有為之道. From the state of Hundun, the meditor is able to achieve oneness with wuwei dao 心齋坐忘,于無為之道合真。It takes a whole life time to do this, 120 years if we stop negative judgments, good as well as bad thoughts, no images is the “non”goal of Daoist inner alchemy meditation.

  7. Hi Dr. Saso,
    Great post!

    When will lesson 2 come out? Can’t wait!

    Thanks and many blessings!

  8. The next post will be of art here at Togendo Museum, in Kyoto; we learn more from an image than a word (one image better than 1000 words), and also the forthcoming 2nd edition of “Gold Pavilion” (Oraclebones Press) explains the Yellow Court Canon 黃庭經 way of doing this through inner meditation, with or without ritual. Tantric Buddhism also teaches that one can do the “naigoma” (Agni-hotra fire rite) as inner mediation; a course is now being set up here in Kyoto so students can learn the Shingon as well as the Tendai way of doing this.

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