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So thank you for that and for everything.
Now I'd like to introduce Professor Liu Xiaotong,
who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chinese Studies
at the National University of Singapore.
And we're very lucky to have him with us
because he brings a rigorous training in Chinese philosophy
in China to our discussion of Daoism.
Professor Liu received his PhD in 1985 from Beijing University,
where he taught as an Associate Professor from 1985 to 1990.
He's also taught at Princeton University,
Pacific School of Religion, the GTU in the Bay Area,
at the Harvard-Yenching Institute
and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
And he has had a number of major publications, books,
all of which, or most of which, center on Daoist thought.
And he is the editor of a book that's coming out this year
which sounds very interesting, Daoism and Ecology,
published by the Harvard University Center for World Religions.
The publication of his that most intrigues me
is one called Polarization and the Sense of Propriety
with a comment on the morbid mentality of elites in modern China.
Don't you just want to read that?
It sounds completely fascinating to me.
This topic for this morning is Daoist Traditions, Inventation,
History, Transformation, and Comparison.
So I think this will...
We've had a very thorough, actually, discussion, it seems to me,
of Daoist thought.
So this should give us another very important piece of the puzzle
on the meditation practice and how it's transformed over time.
So, Professor Liu.
Thank you.
I don't want to correct his introduction.
By the time, something may be more than I was.
I don't want to correct him.
He gave you my paper's title.
I will keep that.
But as a presentation, I cannot give you the whole paper.
So I will focus on key points.
Now, first, I want to give you some general picture of my paper,
also the history of Daoism, the philosophy, and the religion.
So, help you understand what I will talk in certain period.
Everyone knows the Dao De Jing is the earliest Daoist text or scripture.
Dao De Jing, the Jing, is the scripture of our classics.
And written by Laozi.
And I personally believe that could be 6th century BC.
And secondly, it's Zhuangzi and Joseph just talked about Zhuangzi very much.
Then, this two part and other, like Huang Lao school I did in the right here,
is Daoist school.
Someone said Daoist philosophy.
And later, in the 2nd century BC,
AD, 2nd AD or CE,
is the Daoist religion,
the movement of Daoist religion had taken place.
Basically, it's Daoist religion history here.
Then, I will mention the scripture of Great Peace,
Tai Ping Jing, is the script of Great Peace.
And I will mention another early Daoist religion texture.
It's a master who embraces the simplicity.
It's about Hu Zi.
Then, in the 5th century, there is another Daoist religion,
especially contemplation text,
it's a scripture of Yellow Court, Huang Ping Jing.
And later on, in the 7th century,
there is Inner Atomy developed.
Then, until the 18th century,
the main movement of Daoist contemplation is Inner Atomy.
That's Paul's talk yesterday.
So, my talk will concentrate on these two texts,
also this one, but come from these two.
So, basically, concentrate on early Daoist religion period.
So, it's just to give you something different
from Joseph's talk and Paul's talk here.
Then, I will give you 20th century's case.
It's a contemplation or meditation case in modern China.
You'll get some idea about Daoist tradition
in modern China's situation.
And that's the history part and the transformation part.
And finally, I will give my observation
about the similarity and the differences
between Daoist contemplation and the Christian tradition.
And that's very preliminary,
but I think it is a proposal for further discussion.
Before that, I want to say something.
I cannot give you the whole history,
so I focus on Keeping One as an example.
Keeping One is a very early and very important concept
or method about Daoist contemplation.
It's a term used by different,
varied Daoist schools and sectors.
But the context is different.
I use this green and red color to show the difference,
and I will explain my presentation.
First, I want to emphasize the key point of Daoist contemplation.
The key point is totality or harmony or unity
of body and spirit,
the material and the spirit,
or the body and the spirit.
That early term is 形神, is body and spirit.
It's not exactly translation.
It's difficult to find the right words
between English and Chinese,
even from modern Chinese to present Chinese.
You cannot find exactly words.
But if you know that's not exactly translation,
it's helpful.
Paul didn't want to translate 心, 精, 气, 神,
and he kept the pronunciation like Chinese,
but he used chaos.
Then he said chaos caused chaos.
But if you know he used chaos,
only one meaning of the chaos,
the more English words, then helpful.
Later, they used 性 and 命,
and 性, 命, 双修,
you should double cultivate your nature and life,
or faith, literally.
So later again,
there's a quote from 精, 气, 神,
some common translation,
the essence of energy and spirit.
So no matter you use 形神, 性, 命,
or 精, 气, 神, different terms,
the spirit, the principle idea is the same.
Totality, harmony, unity of your life,
yourself, your body and spirit.
So when our topic of the symposium is
purity of heart,
of the knowledge,
there's no award just purifying your heart.
When we mention something,
that's purifying something,
it's always together heart, mind, and body.
So especially the contemplation.
That's the unique feature of Taoist contemplation,
is both for your spiritual promotion,
also body health.
So they never separate body and spirit.
So that's the basic idea,
Taoist contemplation.
And also I respond to Father Lawrence's question,
and Joseph asked me to say something about that.
So for Laozi and Zhuangzi,
we take as philosophers or scholars,
instead of the founder of the religion.
Although the later Taoist religion
take Laozi and Zhuangzi as their sage or patriarchs,
even later, after the 7th century,
Laozi was defined as one of the three top gods
in Taoist tradition.
But the god is not so important in Taoist tradition,
because the god comes from qi.
yi qi hua sen qing,
one qi transforms into three gods.
So the god is not so important.
Zhuangzi is also said in Taoist religion,
but their texts are as a basic reading for Taoist religions.
But the basic Taoist religious theories,
their texts are beyond Laozi and Zhuangzi's philosophy.
For example, Laozi and Zhuangzi,
they don't seriously discuss life and death,
especially they didn't seriously pursue immortality.
But immortality is the basic purpose or belief
of Taoist religions.
So Laozi and Zhuangzi basically want to go beyond
the worry of life and death.
For example, when Zhuangzi died,
his disciple wanted to give a big ceremony of the funeral.
And he heard Laozi said,
no, why bother to do that?
He said, we are free.
Your body will be eaten by eagles and other birds.
OK, if you don't bury me seriously,
and the birds will eat me.
But if you bury me deeply,
and the ants and the insects will eat me,
why are you so partial?
So that's the story that Zhuangzi doesn't take
the life and death seriously.
And immortality is not Laozi and Zhuangzi's purpose.
But for later Taoist religion movement,
immortality is a basic idea,
a basic faith pursuit.
However, there are changes about immortality.
In the early period, the second, the fourth,
and fifth century, the Taoist religious
believed physical immortality.
Believed someone can become immortal
and fly to the sky.
And that's the early belief.
So one of that approach is alchemy.
It's a serious alchemy.
With the minerals, the metal, and the herbs
to do the alchemy work.
They expect the cinder or elixir
to become immortal.
That's serious.
But later, inner alchemy developed
because the alchemy, later called outer alchemy,
because they have inner alchemy.
Originally that's alchemy.
Alchemy is the art to produce the cinder or elixir.
Because you cannot get proof of the physical immortal.
They have different theories.
This master becomes immortal after he dies.
His body is here, but he becomes immortal.
And he has gone.
So this is another concept of immortality.
And after the inner alchemy,
basically in the later Taoist movement,
Taoist religious movement,
becomes spiritual immortality.
It's not so clear.
Einstein is so clear.
Physical immortality, and after death,
immortality, and spiritual immortality.
Quite clear.
But in the history, it's not so clear.
I have to make it clear,
that you understand.
But in the practical history,
it's not so clear.
So the idea is different from
reclamation or resurrection.
It's different.
But anyway, any religion like Taoism
is very strange,
because we think immortality is so important.
That means they think that
the secular life is so significant.
And your life, your body, is significant.
You should keep it and develop it.
And based on your secular life and body,
you can reach spiritual transcendence.
That's the basic outline of Taoist movement.
Now I return to my paper,
beginning with the conception of
the concept of keeping the one.
In the first Taoist text, Tao Te Ching,
the keeping the one is not there,
but Lao Tzu used the embracing the one.
That's the conception of the concept.
And then in the Zhuangzi,
there is another term,
keeping this one.
Lao Tzu is embracing the one.
That means, I read the sentence,
can you keep soul and body spirit,
that means spirit of body and spirit of soul,
together as embracing one without detachment?
Can you concentrate your vital force,
that's the qi,
and achieve the softness like an infant?
That's the earliest time
the concept of embracing the one
appeared in the Tao Te Ching.
And then in the Zhuangzi,
Zhuangzi didn't use the keeping the one,
they used the keeping this one.
It's quite similar to keeping the one.
In the Zhuangzi,
a different chapter is the outer chapters,
different from Joseph mentioned inner chapters.
The outer chapters were written by Zhuangzi's followers,
according to the textual analysis.
Zhuangzi established a model
and a principle of contemplation
towards contemplation.
And he said,
let there be no seeing, no hearing,
involve the spirit in quietude,
and the body will write itself.
If you keep the spirit quietude,
then your body will write itself.
That's the interaction between body and spirit.
Be still, be pure,
do not labor your body,
do not churn out your essence,
and then you can live a long life.
A long life is good for Taoists,
even for Lao and Zhuangzi,
but they don't seriously pursue immortality.
When the eye does not see,
the ear does not hear,
and the mind does not know,
then your spirit will keep the body,
and the body will enjoy a long life.
Be cautious of what is within you,
but out of what is outside you,
from much knowledge will do your harm.
That's similar to Joseph's quote.
In this paragraph,
the points about contemplation
are repeatedly presented.
First, one must stop the usual function of all senses,
typically eyes and ears.
Secondly, he or she has to keep mind or spirit
in stillness without its usual thinking and awareness.
Which is the essential condition for contemplation.
Third, the stillness of mind will keep body and spirit
in a state of totality.
This keeping body and mind and spirit in totality
is the central idea of Taoist contemplation,
or Taoist self-participation,
which is necessary for longevity.
The next paragraph emphasizes
the harmony of yin and yang.
I think everyone knows yin and yang here.
And the two opposite and complementary fundamentals
in the universe and human bodies.
The same paragraph goes on like this.
Then I will lead you up above the great ridges
to the source of the perfect yang.
I will guide you through the dark and mysterious state
to the source of the perfect yin.
Heaven and earth have their controllers.
The yin and yang there are storehouses.
You have only to take care and guard your own body.
These other things will, of themselves, grow dirty.
So in Zhuangzi, this paragraph emphasizes
to keep your body and keep your spirit quiet.
Then your body will enjoy a long life.
Later we will see another Taoist testament
that if you keep your body, your spirit will develop.
As a part of the conclusion,
the last paragraph presents the idea of keeping this one.
It's just similar, shou qi, not shou yi.
It's quite similar to keeping the one.
I keep this one, abide in this harmony,
and therefore I have kept myself alive for 1,200 years.
Yes, something like immortality, but not really.
And never has my body suffered any decay.
Because this kind of sentence has stories and theories,
so it's easy to be used by Taoist religious.
But the Taoist religious doesn't develop
from Laozi and Zhuangzi in one single line.
It's combined with other theories,
including shen qian school, that's immortal schools,
directly from immortal school,
and other, and chen wei,
chen wei in Han dynasty, I would say,
that's another related to Confucian movement.
And also yin yang, yin yang school.
So Taoist religion comes from different sources,
including Laozi and Zhuangzi, not only Laozi and Zhuangzi.
And then, now I move on to the formation of the concept
of the keeping the one,
in Tai Dianjing of the Scripture of the Great Peace.
Keeping the one appeared in the Scripture of the Great Peace
many, many times, dozens of times.
At the same time, it appeared another term,
like keeping the one light.
Some scholar, Japanese scholar and American scholar
quote him, keeping the one light,
he just take keeping the one.
He found keeping the one light is keeping the one.
For me, it's the one.
In fact, it's one phrase.
It's another phrase, keeping the one light.
It is similar to keeping the one,
but two concepts.
And the Baofuzi of the Tai Dianjing
Scripture of the Great Peace has some explanation.
I omit, I skip the keeping the one,
directly keeping the one light.
The Scripture said,
the fundamental, which is original energy,
has been treasured since the beginning of the genesis
of heaven and earth.
To pursue great peace,
you must be mindful of the fundamental.
Mindful of fundamental is similar to
keep the totality, harmony and unity.
The primordiality of fundamentality
is very important in Taoist contamination tradition.
These are not mistakes of human qualitative theory.
If not, if you don't keep in mind of the fundamental,
there will be great anxiety.
What we want to do cannot be accomplished,
and disasters come along.
These are not mistakes of human beings.
If it caused, they lost the fundamental.
The one is the fundamental of the Tao,
and the origin of energy,
the mainstay of man's heart,
and what life is rooted in.
So here, again, the one is not
entity-specific, something we know.
Some American scholars study what is one
in Taoist tradition seriously.
There are a hundred different definitions, explanations,
but most of them not related to keeping the one,
not directly related to keeping the one.
Related to keeping the one, there are still many
different, some of them lack definitions,
but in fact, not definitions.
It's just an explanation,
or it's a description of the importance of the one.
Keeping the one, the essence of the meaning
of keeping the one, of the one,
the meaning is plurality, harmony, and unity.
And Father Bruno, I think he catches the key point
of Taoist tradition.
He will talk more about the non-duality.
That's the key point of Taoist tradition of contemplation.
The roots of human beings are internal,
while branches and leaves are external.
This sentence emphasizes that internal is the roots
of yourself, your life, your body, your spirit.
And the external things is not so important.
May you keep the one.
Who keeps the one will receive assistance
from heavenly gods.
To keep the...
Okay, next sentence.
To keep the three is not as good as to keep the two.
And to keep the two is not as good as to keep the one.
So, three, two, one.
Finally, keep the one is the best thing,
best thing and the most important thing.
Now here, another paragraph.
Keeping the physical and the spiritual permanently together
is the so-called one, which leads to longevity.
Again, keep the one means keeping your spirit
and the body together.
And that means leads to longevity.
The sages teach the doctrine of keeping the one.
That suggests you should keep your body.
It appears keep your body.
Being always preoccupied with it,
spirit comes automatically and corresponds
with the body perfectly.
And all kinds of diseases and ailments will disappear.
This is a very symbol of longevity
with good eyes and ears.
So here, if you keep your body,
then the spirit will correspond rightly.
So for Taoist, the body and the spirit are interactive.
And to keep the physical and the spiritual in totality
is fundamental in the Taoist art of longevity.
That's my sentence.
As well as in tradition of contemplation.
This should be the clue for us to understand
the various methods of theories of Taoist contemplation.
Not to be forgotten when we study specific
and divergent methods.
I want to say there are a lot of different methods,
theories, and schools about Taoism contemplation.
But the basic theory or the essential idea
is the totality, harmony of your whole life.
Different elements of different aspects.
So this is keeping the one.
Now I move to keeping the one life.
It is noteworthy that scripture of the Great Peace
presents another method of contemplation.
And it is named literally, keeping the one life.
Keeping the one life is a method of inducing
the experience of the invasion of life.
Like sunshine and the sun's brightness.
During contemplation, the practitioner feels
that a fire is built.
As soon as it is perceived as a nascent glow,
one must immediately keep the image it presents
without losing it for an instant.
In the beginning, the light is completely red.
Then it becomes white and ultimately
turns completely blue.
No matter how far the light reaches,
you should recur to keeping or nurturing the one.
Thus, inside your body, nothing is eliminated.
And all kinds of illness and ailments will be cured.
Here again, the spirituality always comes together
with the physical health and your body's health.
If you hold on it persistently,
it could be named the art of longevity.
So keeping the one or keeping the one life
is part of the art of longevity in Taoist religion.
Keeping the one life could be probably
an offshoot of the Taoist tradition of keeping the one.
Now, this scripture, the master who embraces
the simplicity, is another early Taoist scripture.
The scripture of great peace is a collective work
of many Taoist authors.
But this one is a single author, Ge Hong.
He is about the 4th century,
a master who embraces the simplicity.
In his book, he presents three different
also keeping the one.
At the same time, he presents keeping the true one
and keeping the mysterious one.
There is some transformation.
There are many arguments and statements
of keeping the one.
I cannot read them here.
But I add something here.
Ge Hong, the master who embraces the simplicity,
just emphasizes the importance and significance
of keeping the one.
He said, if a single process for keeping the one
were known, all these other methods could be rejected.
So you can see how it is valid in Taoist tradition.
Another thing is keeping the mysterious one.
By imagining yourself being divided into three persons,
into twelve and thirty-six,
another thing is more mysterious.
So I skip it.
In comparison with the scripture of great peace,
some points in the Master Who Embraces the Simplicity
by Ge Hong should be noticed.
First, Ge says that the one is some kind of interior god,
and the name is the true one.
Secondly, he incorporates the inner visualization of gods
into the theories of keeping the one.
I didn't read this well.
Thinking the one is in your body,
like a god or spirit,
and there is a certain length in men's body,
and shorter in women's body,
and in the lower part or middle part or higher part.
So I skip them.
Now I move to mention a little bit about inner alchemy.
In inner alchemy theory,
they also use the term keeping the one,
but the meaning is changed in preserving spirit.
This is from Huang Tingting's Scripture of the Yellow Core.
And also, generally, in inner alchemy,
keeping the one is also mentioned many, many times.
The meaning, one of the meanings is foundation building.
It's inner alchemy practicing,
and the first stage is foundation building.
So that's the first stage.
So we can see the different meanings I show
from Lao Tzu Zhuang's Great Peace and Master of Embraces,
the simplicity, and the yellow core,
and inner alchemy theories.
Also, I didn't mention yet,
another aspect of keeping the one
is follow the precepts of Daoist theory.
So that's moral aspect of keeping the one.
So I skip that.
But that's enough to show the divergence
and the transformation in the Lao history
of the same principle of same term.
I think that's enough for the time.
Now I move on to speak to the modern 20th century.
I give you a case.
Before that, I want to mention the concept of qi again.
The qi is very broad, a slippery, difficult term.
But it's very useful, very basic for Chinese culture,
in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese medicine.
But it's really difficult to translate it.
Now the popular translation,
or common translation, vital energy, or vital force.
I think it's okay.
Sometimes it's material force, or vital force.
Because the qi could be the cloud, the fog, the mist,
and the breath, or also internal force, vital force.
Some scientists in China republished the report
that they find the qi.
And someone said it's ultra-red light.
And someone said it's electronic magnetic waves.
But their report cannot be repeated by other scientists.
So it's not true.
It's not true.
So we still don't know what is qi exactly,
according to scientific research.
Someone believes finally we will find it
by scientific experiments.
But I doubt.
I hope, but I doubt.
It is very difficult.
But the qi is not so mysterious as you think.
Everyone can feel the qi internally.
For example, if you keep your mind
concentrated on your palm,
this palm, this Chinese term is a poem
called Lao Gong, the Vapor Palace.
And you keep your mind out here
for a few seconds or half minutes,
you will feel it's different.
Warm, heat, or itch, something different.
That's the primary feeling of the qi, internal.
But basically for Taoist practice,
our most popular, our easy way
to keep your mind on the lower palate,
that is Xia Dan Tian,
that's the lower cinnabar field.
It's lower cinnabar field, middle cinnabar field,
upper cinnabar field.
It's most popular, the common practice
is keep the lower cinnabar field.
But if your mind keep concentration
on that part, inside,
inside below, two inch below the navel,
and in 30 seconds or a few minutes,
you will feel the warmth.
You feel the warmth.
That's very primary, preliminary feeling of the qi.
And when you Tai Chi, Tai Chi Quan,
the box of Tai Chi is not really
a kind of contemplation.
But it still emphasizes the qi.
So the movement of your arms and your legs,
your body is not so important.
More important is your mind.
Your mind should lead your body to move.
And you feel the qi internal in the movement.
For example, there is a posture like this.
It's embrace a ball.
It's a ball of qi.
And you should have a feeling.
You really have a ball of qi.
That's right.
If you don't have a feeling,
you move your legs and arms,
it doesn't work.
So the internal feeling is more important
than your movement of your arms and legs.
So you can do this.
If you slowly do this,
you can try to feel the qi
between your palms.
Expanded or depressed.
Expanded, depressed.
You can feel that's the kind of qi.
Not exactly the internal acne you wanted.
But it's beginning.
You can feel the qi is not so mysterious.
Although scientists cannot find what it is.
So, in modern China,
the Taoist contemplation is very simplified.
With scientific ease.
It's very simplified.
Simpler than what I told you yesterday.
So I give you a case.
This case, I like it because
few masters told their disciples
their internal experience.
They keep secret.
Because I understand that's not just
want to keep it secret
for their selfish interest.
Because if they tell you something
internal experience,
some students want to try
to get the same experience,
there will be trouble.
So true master won't tell you
anything like that.
I tell you because I'm not master.
I can say ABC because I'm not master.
I read this paragraph.
Another new form of Taoist meditation
in 20th century is
Yin Shi Zi Jing Zuo Fa.
Yin Shi Zi, a person's name.
Not really name.
It's a nickname.
A method of sitting still.
By Jiang and Yin Shi Zi.
His true name is Jiang Weitiao.
This part translated into English.
I quoted from the translation.
Another new form of Taoist meditation,
Yin Shi Zi Jing Zuo Fa,
authored by Jiang Weitiao,
was once popular in China,
including in Hong Kong and Taiwan
from the 1920s through 1980s.
Although his method
carries on Taoist tradition,
his language is played
without Taoist jargon
and mystery.
For example, he uses
the center of gravity
to replace the traditional term
lower cinnabar field.
His basic theory
is in the line
of keeping the one in ancient times,
namely emphasizing the
primordiality of vitality
and the harmony
of the spiritual and physical.
In addition to basic instruction,
Jiang introduces
his personal internal experience
as something rare and valuable
for the study of meditation.
The basic instruction
of your posture, your mind,
your thought
is quite similar with others.
Next paragraph.
His method teaches that
the meditator should lay down
everything and abstain
from giving rise to thoughts.
He should look within
so that all false thoughts
cease of themselves.
A long practice of meditation
usually results
in a kind of vibration
being felt in the lower belly
below the navel.
Suddenly the lower belly vibrates
and the whole body shakes.
The meditator should not be scared,
but should let this state
take its natural course.
The speed and length
of this vibration
differs from each individual's.
It just happens
and should neither be
sawed nor repressed.
When this vibration is felt,
the meditator should imagine,
but without exertion,
that a hard force goes down
and passes through the coccyx,
your lower part of the back,
and then rises up the spine
until it reaches to
the head and the face
and the chest
and the feet or the stomach
and returns to the belly,
the lower cinnabar field.
As time passes,
this moving heat
will go up and down itself
and can, by imagination,
be spread to all parts of your body,
reaching even the nails
of the ends of the hair,
which results in the whole body
being warm and usually comfortable.
This may take a few months
or even years
after the first vibration.
This experience is exactly similar
to classical accounts
and difficult to explain
in modern scientific theory
and language.
As a matter of fact, however,
he and some of his students
claimed that they had experienced
this phenomenon personally
and cannot deny it.
Jiang's method is helpful
and successful for many people.
However, it is not religious or sacred,
though still somehow mysterious.
It was an early example
that modern people
take some elements
from religious traditions
in the light of pragmatic needs
instead of religious faith.
Personally, I believe
what Jiang said
about the vibration
of your lower belly.
I met a person one day.
I know him very well.
He has a little disabled one leg.
When the winter in Beijing
is very cold,
I met him.
He was very simple.
I said,
you are so nice.
I'm very happy.
I got through the small universe of cold.
That's the contamination term.
Get through the small universe
like a xiao dong tian.
I don't change.
I don't fear of cold.
That's my personal story.
I believe what Jiang said,
the method of sitting still,
is true.
For many people, it's true.
Although I can reach the stage.
I wish I can,
but I'm not yet.
It's something there that is true.
Many people can reach it.
That's why qi gong,
that's a popular term
of Taoist meditation,
is qi gong.
Someone said it's not the right term.
Okay, it's not right,
but we cannot find a better one.
There are so many different qi gong masters
and teach different methods.
A lot of theories and methods,
including the Falun Gong,
which was depressed by the government
a few years ago.
They combine the ancient tradition
but for the modern pragmatic usage.
Finally, I want to conclude
the difference and similarities
between Taoist tradition and Christianity.
I know very little about Christianity tradition,
but I'm serious to accept the invitation
for the dialogue,
so I give some general ideas
for further discussion.
First feature of Taoist contemplation tradition
is continuity and endurance.
I don't want to explain it in series
because you can see from the 6th century BCE
to 20th century,
there is a flow of arts and practice.
The second is essence and divergence.
However, Taoist meditative tradition
undergoes transformation and divergence.
For example,
the concept of one and the idea,
embracing the one,
was created by Lao Tzu.
Then Zhuangzi's disciple developed
this essential theory
in an expression,
keeping this one,
and laid a great emphasis
on the primordiality of human life
and the fundamentality of the combination
of the physical and the spiritual
in human life,
as well as in the universe.
This essential principle runs through
all methods and theories
of Taoist contemplation,
but is embodied in different forms
and directions.
The idea of keeping this one
grew into a technical term,
keeping the one,
in Tai, Pingjing,
and the scripture of the Three Peas,
and was presented as a fundamental method
of longevity and meditation.
In the same time,
derivative method as keeping the one light
was introduced,
and I'll skip the detail.
So thus Taoist traditions of meditation
are plentiful and prosperous.
We may find the same phenomenon
in the Christian tradition of meditation,
that is, consistency and discrepancy.
However, its multiplicity cannot compare
to the long and vast variation
in the Taoist tradition of meditation.
This multiplicity may explain
the first feature,
namely its endurance and continuity.
So the divergence partly comes from
the history.
The Lao and Zhuang are not serious scriptures.
In Taoist tradition, there is no Bible.
Even in Confucian tradition,
there is no Bible.
So every Taoist like Confucian,
they can create their own text.
So that's another reason of the divergence.
So the third is introversion and extroversion.
In the Christian tradition,
meditation usually is an appearance of Tao.
Thus it is essentially and directly outward,
facing to the outside,
an absolute Tao.
There may be silent activities of thinking
and reasoning inside,
but the orientation of them is definitely outward
towards God.
In contrast, however,
Taoist meditation or contemplation
is essentially inward.
Even the final end is the union with Tao,
with the universe,
with the ten thousand things,
which is within.
Pursuing transcendence must be reached
through one's concentration on mind,
our internal organs,
to purify one's heart and mind and body.
The method of keeping one
emphasizes the importance of the harmony
and unity of body and mind.
The center of attention during meditation
is usually inside,
such as mind, activities, points of body,
certain points of body.
For example, I said we can keep on the
Xia Dan Tie in the lower Thin Bar field.
It's inside the belly,
but not the intestine.
It's not your intestine,
it's not your stomach,
it's not your skin,
it's not your bone.
There's some place inside.
So, points of body, viscera,
are internal deities.
Christian meditation means communication with God.
Thus one has to keep his or her selfhood
during the meditation.
God's meditation pursues unity with God.
Thus the practitioner has to forget selfhood,
which has to be reached
through inside conscious and subconscious activities,
including concentration on living,
visualization, imagination,
reflection, and intuition.
There is no verbal communication
with and appeal to the God,
because the God is not a God
and does not give humans any response
and instruction.
There are stories that Taoist practitioners
met a God,
did find an answer,
and received instructions
and scriptures in dreams.
That has nothing to do with meditation.
Fourth, the physical and the spiritual.
In the Christian tradition,
theoretically, meditation is a kind of act
of a pure spiritual goal.
However, for Taoist meditation,
the purpose is always both
spiritual and physical.
The spiritual aspects include
transcendent experience,
being in union with the Tao,
with the ground of the universe,
purifying mind and heart,
promoting morality,
improving psychological health,
and correcting one's thoughts
and indirection of one's behavior.
To be united with Tao
is the highest spiritual pursuit
of Taoist practice,
and at the same time,
the purpose of purification
of heart and soul is realized.
All of these are to be reached
only by meditation and contemplation.
Related to spiritual pursuit,
the moral purification is always
an important part of Taoist purpose
and is more profound in later Taoist
There is a Quanzhen,
or purifying moment.
The physical aspect of Taoist
contemplation is more remarkable,
perhaps a unique feature.
It indicates eliminating ailments
and diseases,
improving physical health,
promoting vitality,
surrounding life,
and even pursuing immortality.
Physically, in the early period,
that's physically immortality
in early time,
and spiritual immortality
in later time.
With these physical attributes,
Taoist meditation is more practical
and easy to be incorporated
into modern life.
It's happening in contemporary China
under the popular name Qigong.
Taoist meditation with a physical pursuit
combined with a spiritual ideal
might be an exceptional tradition
among major world religions.
The last one, human and Taoist.
As to the relationship of human beings
and Taoist,
Taoism is also very remarkable
because of its polytheistic system.
In ancient times,
the longer Taoist religion developed,
the greater was the number of deities
and it became part of its polytheistic system.
As an indigenous religion,
Taoists created deities
from traditional legendary
and folk beliefs.
In its early age,
Taoist gods were created
according to three categories,
heavenly gods such as stars, sun, and moon,
earthly deities such as mountains,
rivers, and land,
and human immortals such as those
including carved heroes
and characters in the legendaries.
In the 6th century,
when Tao Hongjing
wrote a book on the position of Taoist deities,
there were more than 500 gods and immortals.
Before the 10th century,
the highest god worshipped by Taoist believers
varied greatly from school to school
or sect to sect.
Then appears the worship of the three purities.
Sanqing, I mentioned the three Taoist gods.
The three gods in the utmost level
generated and transformed directly
from primordial energy qi.
Taoist polytheistic system
is consistent with its belief in immortality,
either physical or spiritual.
Taoist polytheism contains many kinds of gods
and there is no absolute gap
between gods and human beings
and between the transcendent and this world.
The universe, including the world of deities
and that of creatures,
is continuous and total without separation.
Thus, the religions of gods and human beings
are totally different from that of monotheism.
The divine will not be as significant and powerful
as that in Christian traditions.
Therefore, meditation is not required
for the utmost gods
or to receive instructions from them.
Taoist polytheistic belief
could be the ultimate grounds
of all other features.
All in all, as demonstrated in this paper,
Taoist meditation and contemplation
have enjoyed a long and varied history and tradition.
Some of them are significant
and helpful for modern people,
even for non-religious people.
Some principles among Taoist doctrines
on contemplation, such as...