STEP 2

 

Cleanse the Heart of All Desires and Passions



Disciplining the heart---much akin to preaching devotion and devoutness as do many schools of religions---is the process critical to the successful pursuit of Tao. The heart, we all know, is accustomed to yielding to the reckless actions of multifarious thoughts. So to get rid of them should proceed step by step, and the idea of rooting out all stray thoughts in an instant should be dropped.

 


Seat yourself in the gesture like many Buddha statues---the legs crossed and the fingers of two hands interlocked---compose your heart and purge it of all disorderly thoughts. Then gently settle your mind-will in the lower elixir field. That is to say, persistently rest your mind in this vague space, with no time spent on pondering over other things.

This is a gradual process. You should be patient with its dullness at the beginning. Only both the patience and persistency can do. Yet paying much attention upon lower elixir field is very dangerous, which you should bear in mind. For, not as same as the general circumstances in the profane world, the concentration of attention can result in many uneasy symptoms in various degrees, which is owing to the fact that, where the mind-will is the Qi is, and the normal circulation of Qi will be jeopardized on account of excessive accumulation of Qi in one place. So the proper way you place your mind-will is that you seem to pay attention to it, yet in the same time you seem not---a paradox.

After an appropriate length of time when your heart has assumed equanimity, it is the time for you to pay attention to inhaling and exhaling. When you draw a breath, you can envisage the inhaling takes the course of Du Channel ascending the top of the head while the exhaling of Ren Channel descending to the lower elixir field. One revolution you count one time in your heart. In this way you count up by heart the number of the revolutions you envisaged the breath take and bear in mind the accurate number. Then the ideas will never obtain the chance of sprouting up to harass the heart.

As a pair of intimate friends, the mind-will and the breathing should run the same revolution in your mind---which in jargon of Chinese-yoga is called "chaining the heart monkey and harnessing the mind horse." Knowing where the lower elixir field is but not paying your attention there merit the great reward. Yet, settling mind-will elsewhere is bound to make a mistake. In brief, you should transform the heart from existence to nonexistence in your mind, and empty and expand the mind realm to be more spacious and quiescent till all seems to have passed away.

To be free from any ideas and thoughts for a long time can bring about no dream whatever emerging in your sleep, which indicates that the pre-Heaven mind-will is in the process of coming on the scene.

If the heart is not disciplined enough, the pre-Heaven mind-will will always be unsettled and the psychical rays flicker continuously. Similarly, if the stray thoughts have not given up thoroughly, the passions will always be in the growth and the life force will still be subject to all temptations. Only with your mind-will settling gently in lower elixir field yet touching nothing at all, the heart can become purer and purer.

To cleanse the heart of its addiction to stray thoughts, there exists another measure sitting in forgetfulness, which is advocated by Lao Tzi and Zhuang Tzi.

At beginning, settle the mind-will in the lower elixir field---which was always compared by ancient men to the process of pouring fire into water, as the heart occupies the position of Brightness Hexagram with the nature of the fire element while the kidney the position of the Dangerous Pit Hexagram with the nature of the water element. For a long time in this state a whiff of yang Qi will appear after "interaction" between the water and the fire. Assume the Buddha-sitting posture, with the cheat slightly drawn in and the back or the spine moderately upright, the head elevated so that the two eyes can see levelly forward, the shoulders relaxed, both eyes slightly closed and the tongue tip leisurely raised against the hard palate, you can regulate respiration by the way of slowing the rate of breathing to such an extent that you can feel nothing at all.

Certainly, this stage can be reached only through the long-term training. The above-mentioned preparations, you know, should be carried out moderately lest something overdoing should bring about constraints and uneasiness. The proper attitude should be to deal with them naturally and moderately, and there should be no exertion in excess and no efforts in deficiency.

Generally speaking, the heart operates in a constant style of permanently diffusing all sorts of ideas and thoughts and intentions--- speeding outwardly, in a word. However, in disciplining heart the operation fashion is utterly contrary to that of daily thinking, that is to say, reduce itself to inward stillness and emptiness.

Reposing the mind-will gently in the region of lower elixir field and setting your eyes down inwardly upon the same region. Little by little slowing the breathing, you can perceive some minute changes have taken place in the region of lower elixir field as the time passes away---initially, it is a black and opaque space, afterwards a slight light begins to flicker, then the darkness fades away by degrees and brightness fills up the space. After a period you can obtain the feeling that there seems a wave of warm Qi is slowly diffusing and then, of its own accord, then it begins to be circling round the lower elixir field. This is the time of initial sprouting of the yang Qi, and also of the existence arising from nonexistence. So in a persistent way you rest your mind in the lower elixir field, the breathing begins to die out---which process very much resembles the quiet state of a tortoise or winter sleep of a frog. Of course, the mind-will should perch upon nothing, nor should free them utterly to their own freedom---which means that the mind-will seems to exist yet meanwhile to pass away. So with the flight of time the mind-will and the breathing will be more familiar with each other and later afterwards they begin to attach to each other, and at last the Mysterious Pass begins to present itself.

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