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This ancient esoteric treatise was transmitted orally for centuries before being recorded on a series of wooden tablets in the eighth century. A composite elephant; the faces are all the same, symbolizing that they represent different parts of the same lower self.
The Secret of the Golden Flower is a Taoist text, that uses alchemical symbols to describe a method to control or dissolve the yin energy of the lower self (earthly po-soul) and bring about the pure yang energy of the Higher Self or Original Spirit (Celestial hun-soul).
The method used by the ancients for escaping from the world consisted in refining away the dregs of yin in order to return to the pure qian a?°.
The method of inner development which produces a divine Immortal uses man's ability to 'reflect back his brightness to light up within. Ancient immortals used the term Golden Pill as a metaphor of the essence of true consciousness.
Both the Golden Flower and the Golden pill (elixir) are simply symbols for true consciousness, which refers to the awareness of the Higher Self or Original Spirit. From the beginning to the end refers to the beginning and end of the method of turning around the light.
When one has been successful in not allowing the effort to be interrupted, the Original Spirit is unveiled.
Sooner or later, depending on one`s firmness of the moment, the lower self will reaffirm itself and the Higher Self will become veiled again. Turning around the light is also referred to as the firing process and is one of the many symbols for the method of turning around the light. The firing process spoken of in the alchemical classics and writings of the masters is a metaphor for the order of practical spiritual work. The inner development of the elixir and the timing of its firing are no different at all from the ebbing and the flowing of the phases of the moon. The firing process is not openly described in the Secret of the Golden Flower, because according to Liu Yiming, one needs to be guided by an enlightened teacher. The 2nd century text Cantong Qi connects the waxing and waning of the moon to the eight trigrams and also hexagrams of The I Ching. The process of refining the yin lower self completely, and becoming pure yang is described in terms of the I Ching hexagrams. Except for the secret of turning the light around, there is no other exercise to return to qian.
Growing from one yang to gradually reach the pure wholeness of six yangs, going from vague to clear, the Gold Elixir develops naturally. Through this process (also shown in the first six oxherding pictures on the right) the Golden Flower gradually opens and comes in full bloom. The further the work advances, the more the Golden Flower blooms, and the subtler the method of turning around the light becomes.
An ancient said, "When people are in the midst of the disturbance, this is a good time to apply effort to keep independent." Stay comprehensively alert in the immediate present, and suddenly an awakening will open up an experience in the midst of it all that is millions of times better than that of quiet sitting. People meditating on the fundamental, carry out their ordinary tasks and activities in the midst of meditation, and carry out meditation in the midst of ordinary tasks and activities. Lao Tzu, Christ and Bodhisattva Manjusri seated on their animals represents the Mind of Tao controlling the lower self, while the lower self is in the midst of ordinary tasks and activities. A sand cone in a Japanese garden, symbolizing the heart gathered into one and then disappearing into nothingness.
Two dragons, like the two Kings of Light, symbolizing the beginning and end of the method of turning around the light, chasing the "unstable" mystical pearl.
The translation and interpretation of The Secret of the Golden Flower in this website is based on the idea that all esoteric traditions have the same inner meaning. Is it not a fact that the three doctrines (of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism) may be three, but the Way is ultimately one? Although these scriptures are the source of foreknowledge and reflection for my school, they are truly the origin of all Three Schools. Not only Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are different paths to the same goal, the inner meaning of all esoteric traditions is basically the same. The Hierarchy is one, and the esoteric sides of all religions were launched by it, as was the great experiment started through Ouspensky and Gurdjieff for our own time. Higher esoteric ideas are coded to protect the knowledge from being lost in the tide of time and humanity. These symbols and metaphors can be unique to one particular tradition, relating to the culture and time that the tradition developed in, or common to many or all esoteric traditions.
The mystery of Christ`s redemption was not absent in any previous era, but it was made known under different symbols.
The inner meaning of all symbols in saced texts revolve around the principles of control of the worldly lower self, the cultivation of a spiritual path, and the awakening of the Higher Self into the Divine Present. The holy man who understands the mysteries of creation inherent in end and beginning, becomes superior to the limitations of the transitory. Happiness as a path is all a matter of compliance; the way to bring about happiness is to be able to act in accord with the time.
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Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Recortar slides e uma maneira facil de colecionar slides importantes para acessar mais tarde. Imagine life as the ultimate game, where the formless explores forms and the timeless experiences time. Even before meeting him I had been interested in Oriental philosophy, and around 1920 had begun experimenting with the I Ching. As a young man Wilhelm had gone to China in the service of a Christian mission, and there the mental world of the Orient had opened its doors wide to him. Super translator and scholar Thomas Cleary points out that Wilhelm studied The Secret of the Golden Flower with one Chinese teacher only, and had no access to the numerous excellent commentaries on The Secret of the Golden Flower in the Chinese tradition. Because of the use of alchemical symbols the text is intimately connected to other Taoist (and also Buddhist) texts and often quotes from these texts. This consciousness is veiled by the discriminating or illusionary consciousness of the lower self. This effort will be constantly interrupted by the yin energy of the lower self, the ten thousand thoughts and emotions.
Washing the heart refers to getting rid of all the interests of the heart, so that only the interest to experience the presence of the Original Spirit is left. To kill the heart does not mean to let it dry and wither away, but it means that it has become undivided and gathered into one.
The medicinal substances are hard to know, and the firing process is not easy to understand.
The alchemical classics and writings of the adepts, amounting to thousands of volumes, do not go beyond the principles of the I Ching. This wonderful charm, although it works very accurately, is yet so fluid that it needs extreme wisdom and alertness, and the most complete absorption and tranquility. One can practice it sitting in a quiet room, as preparation for practicing it in one`s daily circumstances.
Sufi): When the believer has mastered his lower self, so that it serves as a riding mount beneath him, the deeds of his heart will shine forth upon his face. In China during the Song (960a€“1279) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were considered to be different paths to the same goal. But that hasn`t stopped the priesthood of later generations from sole devotion to their own sects and repudiation of others, causing the basic essentials of all three philosophies to be lost in false distinctions, so that they cannot be unified and end up at the same goal. In fact, once one understands the inner meaning, one sees they are actually the same path to the same goal. All the saints are of one mind; it is only those in the midst of the way who follow diverse paths.
For him, the meaning of time is that in it, the stages of growth can unfold in a clear sequence.
In reality it has no such shape; they call it thus because there is a point of conscious energy hidden in the center, and because that point of awareness contains the whole cosmos, space, and the universe.

While he was able to convey many of the important ideas in the work, and though he wished to keep his Christianity out of his translation, the spiritual viewpoint he had lived with all his life inevitably caused confusion that obscured some of the more important aspects of The Secret of the Golden Flower.
Many of these symbols are also used by other esoteric traditions since the inner meaning of all esoteric tradition is the same. The alchemical symbol of lead refers to the firmness of the internal attitude to not allow any interruptions. The Buddha said: "When you fix your heart on one point, then nothing is impossible for you".
When all degenerations are effectively done away with, then the method is not needed, just as a raft needed to cross a river is to be left behind once the river is crossed and a net needed to catch fish is to be put away once the fish has been caught. Each hexagram (and also the trigrams making up each hexagram) describes the firing process. People without this highest degree of wisdom and alertness do not find the way to apply the charm; people without this utmost capacity for absorption and tranquility cannot keep fast hold of it. After the human mind is quiet, and discriminatory awareness is extinguished, the mind of Tao has no function. It is for those as yet incapable of this, those weak in focusing their intent on the Way, that special meditation periods were set up. All the enlightened have left one message; it is only those in the midst of their journeywho hold diverse opinions. He is mindful at every moment and uses the six stages of growth as if they were six dragons (the image attributed to the individual lines) on which he mounts to Heaven. Most people think that external things such as money, power, status or relationships will make one happy. The life-giving potential continues increasing, and the earth is always covered with yellow sprouts, the world blooms with Golden Flowers.
Instead of traditional stalks of yarrow required by the classical method, I cut myself a bunch of reeds. He had the gift of being able to listen without bias to the revelations of a foreign mentality, and to accomplish that miracle of empathy which enabled him to make the intellectual treasures of China accessible to Europe. Because Jung was influenced by this Chinese alchemical classic his own theories suffered from the loss of the more sophisticated perspective Cleary reveals. Turning around the light means turning one`s awareness, which is normally focused on the externals, inward, and shedding light on one`s inner world.
This is also symbolized by the yang energy of the mind of Tao, the yang line in between two yin lines in the Kan (Water) trigram a?µ (not to be confused with the pure yang energy a€” the trigram Qian (Heaven) a?° a€” of the Higher Self).
When people understand that true happiness comes from within, and cannot come from externals, they become interested in religion or spirituality.
It’s designed to make us forget we’re playing a game; to mistake our role in the game for the only life we’ll ever have.
I would sit for hours on the ground beneath the hundred-year-old pear tree, the I Ching beside me, practicing the technique by referring the resultant oracles to one another in an interplay of questions and answers.
One of the many symbols for pure light or awareness is Jindan (e‡‘a??), which translates as the Golden Pill or Elixir of life. Not allowing any thoughts to interrupt the effort of turning around the light is called bathing. Those who are fortunate, know that happiness is an internal state of conscious awareness, in which one is freed from one`s inner demons. All sorts of undeniably remarkable results emerged-meaningful connections with my own thought processes which I could not explain to myself. Wilhelm’s translation gives the impression that the practice requires quiet, stillness and solitude. To realize, or remember, that we’re only sojourning through this world of temporary wonders, that we are not thought, we are what watches thought. His Christian views receded into the background, but did not vanish entirely; they formed a kind of mental reservation, a moral proviso that was later to have fateful consequences.
While that is part of the practice, Cleary’s translation emphasizes that the practice was to be firmly grounded in activities. You are not your body, your mind, your emotions, your mind, all parts of the game, you are what plays the game. He does not know how many stalks are contained in each bundle, and yet the result depends upon their numerical relationship. In China he had the good fortune to meet a sage of the old school whom the revolution had driven out of the interior. Not only must one be able to turn the light around while engaged in living, but also one’s life should include useful work, not mere contemplation.
The Chinese classic ??????, The Secret of the Golden Flower, is about how to wake up in the game, or as Cleary translates it “turning around the light.” The light is consciousness.
All other manipulations proceed mechanically and leave no room for interference by the will. This sage, Lau Nai Suan, introduced him to Chinese yoga philosophy and the psychology of the I Ching. The uninterrupted meditation of the higher soul is to be achieved while being a productive member of the community. If a psychic causal connection is present at all, it can only consist in the chance division of the bundle (or, in the other method, the chance fall of the coins). To the collaboration of these two men we owe the edition of the I Ching with its excellent commentary.
To disappear into isolated exploration of consciousness is as dangerous as forgetting oneself completely in the heat of irrational desires.
Our consciousness pours out of us chasing after objects, and objectified people, we desire or fear.
During the whole of those summer holidays I was preoccupied with the question: Are the I Ching’s answers meaningful or not?
For the first time this profoundest work of the Orient was introduced to the West in a living and comprehensible fashion. If they are, how does the connection between the psychic and the physical sequence of events come about? The consciousness of emptiness is not without contents, just as the clear mind is not without thoughts. Time and again I encountered amazing coincidences which seemed to suggest the idea of an acausal parallelism (a synchronicity, as I later called it). Clear and unmistakably Western as his mentality was, in his I Ching commentary he manifested a degree of adaptation to Chinese psychology which is altogether unmatched. While in higher meditation the world can blissfully melt away into light, that light is full, not empty.
So fascinated was I by these experiments that I altogether forgot to take notes, which I afterward greatly regretted. When the last page of the translation was finished and the first printer’s proofs were coming in, the old master Lau Nai Suan died. Later, however, when I often used to carry out the experiment with my patients, it became quite clear that a significant number of answers did indeed hit the mark. It was as if his work were completed and he had delivered the last message of the old, dying China to Europe.
An exercise favored by the Hindu sage Sri Ramana Maharshi who advised students to ask themselves “Who am I?” For example: am I my body. Wilhelm, when I met him, seemed completely Chinese, in outward manner as much as in his way of writing and speaking.
However, he felt uncertain, fearing that under the influence of his complex he might once more find himself in the power of an overwhelming mother. The Oriental point of view and ancient Chinese culture had penetrated him through and though. This mind like sky is the goal of martial arts masters who say that when a fighter achieves this you do not fight against him, but against the flow of the entire world. Upon his arrival in Europe, he entered the faculty of the China Institute in Frankfurt am Main.
Both in his teaching work and in his lectures to laymen, however, he seemed to feel the pressure of the European spirit.

I offer one such mystery here: The Secret of the Golden Flower considered alongside that classic of 1940s American Metaphysical Religion The Unobstructed Universe. Click here for a blog about the amazing love story and many adventures of the authors Stewart and Betty White (not that Betty White). At the end of this exercise the meditator arrives the same experience described by The Secret of the Golden Flower: pure formless timeless consciousness.
I went to hear some lectures of his and they turned out to be scarcely any different from conventional sermons.
Did this Chinese classic interpreted by Wilhelm inform The Unobstructed Universe, which was published three years after the English translation of his The Secret of the Golden Flower? In The Secret of the Golden Flower the lower soul is that part of us which creates and sustains body and mind.
I saw it as a reassimilation to the West, and felt that as a result of it Wilhelm must come into conflict with himself. The ideas presented by the Whites actually match Cleary’s translation better than Wilhelm’s.
Since it was, so I thought, a passive assimilation, that is to say, a succumbing to the influence of the environment, there was the danger of a relatively unconscious conflict, a clash between his Western and Eastern psyche. If, as I assumed, the Christian attitude had originally given way to the influence of China, the reverse might well be talking place now: the European element might be gaining the upper hand over the Orient once again. The evolution of the Whites’ approach to spirituality seems to have evolved organically if we can believe the process captured in their books. From religious zealots beheading innocents to kids playing games that allow them to kill millions, from films that glorify the kinetic details of carnage to endless TV shows about murders real and imagined, fascination with death is the common denominator. If such a process takes place without a strong, conscious attempt to come to terms with it, the unconscious conflict can seriously affect the physical state of health.
Perhaps more interesting than the question of influence is the possibility that both are describing the same experience. After attending the lectures, I attempted to call his attention to the danger threatening him. Here are some of the similarities between this account from ancient China and a book channeled by the wife of a then famous novelist, friends of Teddy Roosevelt. But we also have another soul, or rather, the part of our soul that is watching, having never become involved in the minutiae of physical organs and mental tricks like language.
The Whites pointed out that stopping thought can be a very wearying exercise and has been a barrier to many beginners learning to meditate. But what can be done?” A few years later Wilhelm was staying as a guest in my house, and came down with an attack of amoebic dysentery. They suggests there’s no need to stop thinking, instead simply observe thoughts passing through. Most of us have epiphanies when our minds seem to open to sky-like consciousness and a sense of deep appreciation overcomes us. His condition grew worse during the following months, and then I heard that Wilhelm was in the hospital. Just as you go about your day not noticing every breath, so too you can let the thoughts go by.
The doctors had not yet given up hope, and Wilhelm, too, spoke of plans he wished to carry out when he got well. A few years after my first experiments with the reeds, the I Ching was published with Wilhelm’s commentary. I instantly obtained the book, and found to my gratification that Wilhelm took much the same view of the meaningful connections as I had. But he knew the entire literature and could therefore fill in the gaps which had been outside my competence. In his dreams, he revisited the endless stretches of desolate Asiatic steppes – the China he had left behind. When Wilhelm came to Zurich, I had the opportunity to discuss the matter with him at length, and we talked a great deal about Chinese philosophy and religion.
He was groping his way back to the problem which China had set before him, the answer to which had been blocked for him by the West. Nothing compares to making the affliction itself into medicine, which means to have mind and breath rest on each other.
The game of life seems so real, so dire, so insistent, the lower soul forgets about its higher powers.
What he told me, out of his wealth of knowledge of the Chinese mentality, clarified some of the most difficult problems that the European unconscious had posed for me. Therefore turning the breath around should be included in turning the light around.” Don’t try to stop thoughts.
On the other hand, what I had to tell him about the results of my investigations of the unconscious caused him no little surprise; for he recognized in them things he had considered to be the exclusive possession of the Chinese philosophical tradition. Just let them float by while you focus your attention on making your breathing as slow and soundless, as peaceful, as you can. A few weeks before his death, when I had had no news from him for a considerable time, I was awakened, just as I was on the point of falling asleep, by a vision. Among the Neoplatonists the anatomy of the soul included more, becoming a ladder from the perfection of the unknowable source of all beauty, harmony, truth and being all the way down to the physical matter souls use to build forms. The lower soul function in association with consciousness, and consciousness develops based on the lower soul. Theosophy, with seven “vehicles of the soul” helped popularize the idea of the astral body at the turn of the 20th century, offering their own diagram of the different parts of a soul. If consciousness is not interrupted, transformation and transmutation of the lower soul go on endlessly from lifetime to lifetime, generation to generation.” The Whites would have phrased it differently, but they were describing the same thing. Not only did I see every wrinkle in the man’s face, but every thread in the fabric of his gown. The obstructed consciousness, they said, dulled by having a body, may spend lifetimes in the vortex, never realizing the unobstructed truth. Wilhelm’s problem might also be regarded as a conflict between consciousness and the unconscious, which in his case took the form of a clash between West and East.
Betty described the afterlife condition of people who lived unexamined lives as “gelatinous.” They can hold no form as they are tossed around in the equivalent of dreams.
I believed I understood his situation, since I myself had the same problem as he and knew what it meant to be involved in this conflict.
We lavish attention on movies, gossip, games, often feeling they are more important than our own lives. Many people know more about their favorite famous people than they do about members of their own families. Though he was intensely interested when I introduced the psychological point of view, his interest lasted only so long as my remarks concerned objective matters such as meditation or questions posed by the psychology of religion. Wilhelm’s translation is beautiful and greatly influenced Jung and generations of readers, however it suffers from serious inaccuracies detailed by Thomas Cleary in his more scholarly 1993 translation. But whenever I attempted to touch the actual problem of his inner conflict, I immediately sensed a drawing back, an inward shutting himself off – because such matters went straight to the bone. In the Secret of the Golden Flower this is described as: “When you first put this technique into practice, there is seemingly nonbeing within being.
Eventually, when the work is accomplished, and there is a body beyond your body, there is seemingly being in nonbeing.” Betty talked about how she began with nothing more than a disembodied point of view in the unobstructed.
In 1923 we invited him to Zurich and he spoke on the I Ching (or Yi Jing) at the Psychology Club.
According to The Secret of the Golden Flower “only after a hundred days of concentrated work is the light real; only then is it the fire of spirit.
After a hundred days, the light is spontaneous: a point of true positive energy suddenly produces a pearl, just as an embryo forms from the intercourse of a man and a woman.” What is this body beyond body like?

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