The Doctrine of the “ Cryptic Female ” in Taoism

The chief intent of this paper is to propose the attack of transpersonal psychological science for analysis of some of import facets of the Taoist philosophy, that is, the construct of the Tao as a female cosmopolitan rule and the Taoist attitude “ to be like an baby ” or even as an “ embryo. ”

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To understand these Taoist rules, we must get down from the really beginning-from the cardinal construct of Taoism, that is, Tao ( the Way, the True Way ) . This construct designates the premier land of the World, the beginning of all life and the bound of every being, every bit good as the regulation and step of existences.

The female, maternal image of Tao is the important point to understanding the psychotechnique ( or psychopractical ) attack of Taoism. It is possible to show its importance by mentioning some transitions from the Tao Te ching ( The Canon of the Way and its Power ) or the ” Lao-tse, ” a celebrated Taoist classic:

1. & # 167 ; 6:

The vale spirit ne’er dies-it is called the cryptic female ” ;

The gate of the cryptic female is called “ the root of Eden and Earth. ”

Gossamer it is,

apparently unsubstantial, yet ne’er consumed through usage.

2. & # 167 ; 25:

There was something featureless yet complete, born before Eden and Earth ;

Silent-amorphous-it stood entirely and unchanging.

We may see it as the female parent of Eden and Earth.

Not cognizing its name,

I manner it the “ Way. ”

3. & # 167 ; 28:

Know maleness,

Maintain muliebrity,

and be a ravine for all under Eden.

4. & # 167 ; 61:

A big province is like a low-lying estuary, the female of all under Eden.

In the Congress of all under Eden,

the female ever conquers the male through her hush.

Because she is still,

it is ticketing for her to lie low.

E. M. Chen ( 1974 ) , in her article dedicated to the function of the female rule in Chinese doctrine, notes that some facets of Lao-tzu ‘s construct of Tao makes it possible to suggest that the formation of the learning approximately Tao as a philosophical thought was preceded by the cult of some Mother-Goddess which was connected with the generation of Taoism ( Chen, 1974, p.53 ; Kravtsova, 1994, pp.208-213 ) . She notes that in the description of Tao in the Tao Te ching there are all the significances which are indispensable for the Mother-Goddess cult: Tao is like an empty vas ( & # 167 ; 4 ) ; voidness ( & # 167 ; 5 ) ; cryptic darkness ( & # 167 ; 1 ) ; it is nonborn, but, however, it is the predecessor of the Heavenly Lord ( & # 167 ; 4 ) ; it is the Mysterious Female which is the gate of Heaven and Earth ( & # 167 ; 6 ) ; mother ( & # 167 ; 1, 20, 25, 52 ) ; female ( or hen- & # 167 ; 10, 28 ) ; female ( & # 167 ; 61 ) ; and Mother of all under heaven ( & # 167 ; 25, 34 ) . In add-on, Tao is frequently described as H2O ( & # 167 ; 8, 78 ) and as vale ( & # 167 ; 6, 28, 32, 39, 41 ) . Clearly this vale is the rule of coevals which bears all existences in its deepness.

The Tao Te ching speaks much about the pre-existential, nonmanifested facet of Tao which is the philosophical resistance to the manifested phenomenal being as some possible being ( Wu ) . In this respect, & # 167 ; I is instead interesting. It describes this nonmanifested or cryptic ( supernatural ) facet of Tao as the uterus of the cosmopolitan embryo, the uterus which generates Heaven and Earth, which is the beginning of life. Briefly speech production, it is nil but the Mysterious Mother of the universe:

The nameless is the beginning of the myriad animals ;

The named is the female parent of the myriad animals. Therefore,

Always be without desire

in order to detect its fantastic nuances ; Always have desire

so that you may detect its manifestations…

Mystery of enigmas,

The gate of all admirations!

This transition develops the taking thought of & # 167 ; 1 about two facets or “ epistasiss ” of Tao: approximately Tao as “ cryptic uterus ” and Tao as mother-nurse of all existences. Here we can remember the words of the celebrated observer and mind, Wang Pi ( 3 A.D. ) , that “ Cryptic ” ( or “ Unnamed ” ) Tao nourishes and bears all animals, and phenomenal named Tao feeds them ; the correspondent description Wang Pi gives to the character of the interrelatednesss between Tao and Te.

What about the last sentence of the transition? It can be said that the character Hmong ( enigma ) of the sentence consists of two elements: “ adult female ” and “ small. ” We can say that its usage here is non arbitrary. It is non excessively hard to “ impute ” its etymology ( likely it is non a scientific 1 ) as this:

“ something, that is small inside a adult female, ” that is, embryo hidden in the uterus, like the paradigms of things ( see & # 167 ; 21 ) are hidden in the “ uterus ” of Tao. This sentiment may be supported by the fact that the images of the uterus and embryo are frequently used by Taoists to depict the “ Tao-world ” relation. So Tao can be metaphorically defined as the female parent of the universe, the beginning of life and being, and the cosmopolitan female original. It is rather indispensable to understand the Taoist philosophy of immortality every bit good, because this philosophy considers Tao to be the vitalizing rule which gives ageless life to the ace who has obtained integrity with it. The Tao Te chitig besides says ( & # 167 ; 52 ) :

Having realized the female parent,

you thereby know her kids. Knowing her kids,

travel back to stay with the female parent. To the terminal of your life,

you will non be imperiled.

Let ‘s expression at the kid of the “ Cryptic female of all under the Eden. ”

& # 167 ; 55 of the Tao Te ching says:

He who embodies the flillness of unity is like a rubicund baby.

Wasps, spiders, Scorpios, and serpents will non bite or seize with teeth him ;

Predatory birds and ferocious animals will non prehend him.

His castanetss are weak and his tendon soft, yet his clasp is tight.

He knows non the connection of male and female, yet his phallus is aroused.

His kernel has reached a extremum.

He screams the whole twenty-four hours without going hoarse ; His harmoniousness has reached flawlessness.

Harmony implies stability ;

Constancy requires insight.

Endeavoring to increase one ‘s life is baleful ;

To command the critical breath with one ‘s head entails force.

Something that grows old while still in its prime is said to be non in agreement with the Way ;

Not being in agreement with the Way leads to an early death.

Here, an baby ( a babe ; the text uses Ch ‘ih tzu, “ ruddy, ” or “ rubicund ” baby, i.e. , a merely newborn kid ) represents the image of the perfect sage hill of the critical force. An baby in the Tao Te ching is something like an androgyrie who does non cognize the farewell of male and female, and who, because of this, is overruning with verve. His energetic kernel ( ching ) does non flux below ; it does non alter into seeds yet, and so it is perfect. Therefore, an baby is like the great Tao itself Tao is a beginning of life, and like an baby besides can non be tired, because exhaustion is a consequence of energetic lack. An infant enjoys absolute security ; nature is non unsafe to it because he or she is at the centre of its forces and powers. We should observe the undermentioned words: Endeavoring to increase one ‘s life is baleful ; To command critical breath with one ‘s head entails force. Here we can happen a direct mention to the relation bing between thoughts of obtaining immortality and spiritual psychopractice. Taoism proclaims that a human being is nil more than an inseparable psychosomatic integrity. So people can obtain inimortality merely when their body-microcosm becomes a self-sufficing whole — a self-containing reservoir of the critical energy from one side, and when it realizes its possible, isomorphy with the world-body of the universe from another side. One of the most of import agencies on the manner to this exalted province is the alleged “ ordinance of the critical breath ” ( or “ ordinance of the pneumata ” – hsing ch ‘i ) , that is, a composite of gymnastical and external respiration exercisings, the purpose of which is to obtain head control over the flowing of the energy watercourses in the human organic structure. The most of import rule of such techniques is frequently repeated in mediaeval Taoist Hagiographas: “ Pneuma ( breath, qi ) is led by will-consciousness ( Lolo ) . ” This means the presence of some volitional enforcement which leads the watercourse of the critical energy along the channels of the organic structure ( correspondent to the acmes of stylostixis ) in the desirable way. The Tao Te ching is merely one text which clearly formulates this thought in ancient times. Alternatively of the “ volitional urge ” ( Lolo ) , the Tao Te ching speaks about “ head ” or “ heart-consciousness ” ( Hsin ) , but it is the same thought.

It was thought for a long clip that the construct associating the Taoist thoughts of immortality and different patterns was described merely in medieval trials, but recent archaeological finds in Ch’angsha Mawangtui ( Hunan state ) demonstrate the profound antiquity of both. Therefore, the Mawangtui texts describe legion respiratory exercisings for the “ ordinance of the Pneumata ” ( hsing ch ‘i ) and positions of the Taoist gymnastic exercises ( tao yin ) . Particular images painted on silk, which were known under the general rubric, Tao yin T ‘u ( Schemes of Gymnastics ) , were even dedicated to such patterns. So it may be concluded that these patterns were well-known in China in the yearss when the Tao Te ching is now regarded to hold been composed ( 4-3 B.C. , instead than the traditionally recognized period of 6-5 B.C. ) .

The Tao Te ching everyplace prefers the softness and failing of the baby to the strong hardness of grownups. Strictly talking, a newborn kid is the concentration or manifestation of the critical energy. This is rather clearly demonstrated in & # 167 ; 76:

Human existences are

soft and lissome when alive,

stiff and straight when dead…

Therefore, it is said:

The stiff individual is a adherent of decease ;

The soft, lissome, and delicate are lovers of life.

But the subject “ infant-sage ” can non be reduced merely to the metaphor of the newborn kid. Much deeper and more interesting is the image of the nonborn kid, which besides plays an of import function in the instructions of the Tao Te ching. Let us mention a portion of & # 167 ; 20 of the text:

All the people are glad and joyfull

as if they are observing upon the great forfeit of cattle, as if they are mounting a tower in spring.

Oxygen! I am the lone who is quiet and soundless, like a babe who is non yet a kid.

Oxygen! 1 am fastened and tied

and I have no topographic point to return.

All people behave themselves as if they have more than plenty

and I entirely am bereft.

Oxygen! I have the head of a sap!

Oxygen! Muddled and assorted!

All people are luminously clear

and I am the lone 1 who is dark and conhised.

All people are exact and definite

and I am the lone who is obscured and obscure. O! I am hesitating like an ocean.

Oxygen! I am winging in infinite and I have no topographic point to halt in.

All people behave themselves

as if they have a intent

and I entirely am coarse and simple.

I am rather different from others by honouring the mother-nurse.

This transition is worthy of careful analysis. It appears to me to offer a key to the apprehension of the most indispensable characteristics of Taoism. And the sentence: “ O! I am the lone who is quiet and soundless, like a babe who is non a kid yef ‘ ( in Chinese: wo tu p’o hsi ch ‘i Wei chaoju ying erh chih Wei ‘wi ) is a cardinal to this transition. So, it is best to get down an analysis of the transition with this phrase.

What is the significance of the words “ a babe who is non a kid yet ” or “ a babe who did non go an infant yet ” ? I think that the text is talking about the fetus in the maternal uterus. In fact, even those observers and transcribers who think that the hai ( infant, kid ) here must be changed into its phonetical and practically graphical omonym ( the difference between two characters is merely one classificator “ oral cavity ” written before the original character ) agree with this reading. The 2nd character hai means babe ‘s call or babe ‘s smiling. But a not-yet-crying babe is a not-yet-born babe.

Therefore, Lao-tzu here compares himself with the nonborn babe. What does he inform us about this babe? This baby-sage is “ fastened and tied ” by his embryologic “ apparels ” and umbilical cord, which unites him with the maternal organic structure. This sanctum fetus has “ the head [ or heart-the thought and witting organ harmonizing to Chinese tradition ] of a sap, ” while at the same clip it possesses the highest wisdom. This wisdom seems like nil but stupidity to ordinary people proud of their common sense. This nonborn babe wavers in the ocean of the uterus and “ flies ” in these maternal moving ridges. The connexion with the motherly organic structure and nourishing and feeding the fetus is depicted rather clearly besides at the terminal of the transition where “ mother-nurse ” ( shi mu ) is mentioned.

If the babe of & # 167 ; 20 is a sage, Lao-tzu himself ; who so is the female parent? The information above makes it possible to reason that this female parent is the great Tao itself ; it is the ageless and indefinable Way and cryptic land of every being ; the concealed deepness of this Tao is the uterus wherein the baby-sage dwells. This image straight correlates with Taoist cosmology and cosmology. It considers Tao to be something like a cosmic uterus which embraces the whole existence. The universe enjoys absolute integrity ( helter-skelter integrity – Hun Lolo ) with the maternal organic structure of the Way until its birth, distinction and divorce from the Way in the class of cosmogenesis. Nevertheless, even in the “ born universe ” some integrity with Tao is preserved: it is fed by the power of Tao, which is called Te or Power-Virtue. For illustration: “ The Way gives birth to them and unity [ i.e. , Te ] nurtures them ” ( & # 167 ; 51 ) . Therefore, the connexion between birth in the class of the cosmic development universe and Tao looks rather like the connexion between a female parent nurturing her kid, and the babe itself But in the instance of worlds, there appears a ego construct, an independent, self-containing “ I, ” as an unchanging topic of actions. This sort of egocentric self-consciousness injuries the original integrity, and worlds begin to antagonize Tao. The prevailing attitude of human actions is no longer the jurisprudence and step of the cosmic beat of Tao, but egoistic penchants, which change self-generated natural life into purposeful activities based merely on bare subjectiveness. Taoism sees egocentricity as the cause of all human agonies, strivings, frustrations-from mortality to societal hits.

The lone agencies, non merely to go liberated from agonies but to obtain the highest felicity, is to reconstruct original integrity with Tao, to broaden consciousness and to set an terminal to the egoistic attitude, that is, to return to the province of the nonborn kid who does non cognize a distinguishable difference between his or her ain organic structure and the maternal organic structure, who breathes the maternal breath and eats maternal nutrient. This coming back to the uterus of the Mother-Tao is connected with the widening of the personality to the cosmic graduated table, when “ ageless unity ne’er deserts you, You will return to the province of babyhood ” ( & # 167 ; 28 ) and “ a adult male is saving of his organic structure in caring for all under heaven ” ( & # 167 ; 13 ) . This province of the nonborn kid is the province of immortality, peace, and integrity with all existences and with one ‘s ain nature: The return to the root is called “ hush, ” hush is called returning to the “ fate-vitality, ” the return to the fate-vitality is called “ stability. ” One who knows stability is called “ enlightened ”

( & # 167 ; 16 ) . ‘

Tao explicates itself on all degrees of micro- and universe, and because of this, the Taoist texts distinctively describe an isomorphy between cosmologic procedure, development of the fetus and birth, and in the contrary sequence, the stairss of the Taoist cultivation. So, for the Taoist, the returning to the uterus of the Mother-Tao is non merely a metaphor, but a sort of look of some profound kernel of the isomorphic construction of the existence. It is besides the ground why practicing Taoists try to copy the antenatal provinces in their self-education. One illustration is the celebrated technique of “ embryologic external respiration ” ( t’ai hsi ) , foremost depicted in Ko Hung ‘s Paop ‘u-tzu ( 4 A.D. ) . It is really still and quiet external respiration, minimising inspiration and halitus. This sort of take a breathing control gives the feeling that the practician does non take a breath at all, like a fetus in the maternal uterus, obtaining critical energy ( ch ‘i ) from the blood of the female parent.

Prenatal symbolism permeates the whole text of the Tao Te ching. The comparing of Tao with H2O and the of import function played by the symbolism of H2O in this text in general is good known: For illustration: “ The highest good is similar H2O ; Water is good at profiting the myriad animals but besides struggles to busy the topographic point loathed by the multitudes. Therefore, it is near to the Way ” ( & # 167 ; 8 ) . The ground for the importance of the H2O symbolism lies non merely in that, archetypically, H2O has female nature ; it can be proposed, following Lao-tzu, that H2O is of the same nature as the nature of the Waterss of that embryologic ocean in which the baby-sage washes and wavers ( & # 167 ; 20 of The Canon of the Way and its Power ) .

In this respect, it is instead of import to measure the name-pseudonym of the sage, who harmonizing to a tradition more than two thousand old ages old, is considered to be the writer of the Tao Te ching, that is, Lao-tzu, Old Sage, and besides Old Infant. Let us one time once more reflect upon this baby with the gray face fungus.

Up to the first centuries A.D. , the instruction was formed about the divinized Lao~tzu ( Lord Lao or Lao-jun ) . But the inclinations to divinization were really old. Therefore, in the 21st chapter of the Chuang-tzu, Lao-tzu says that he was rolling in the beginning of things. The divinized Lao-tzu was associated with Tao and with original chaos-undifferentiated energetic pneuma ( ch ‘i ) , that is, with the beginning of the universe itself. ( Detailed research into the procedure of the divinization of Lao-tzu may be found in Seidel, 1969. ) The texts of the Han dynasty period ( 3 B.C.-3 A.D. ) describe Lao-tzu as the Body of Tao. All of the texts usage equivalent word to show the thought of the organic structure in this context: hsing ( signifier, form ) , shen ( organic structure, individual, personification ) , and Ti ( organic structure, substance, embodiment ) ( Schipper, 1978, pp. 358-361 ) . But further still, identified with the pandemonium in its fabulous personification of P’an Ku ( cosmic pananthropos, typologically kindred to Purusha of the Rig-Veda and Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah ) , Lao-tzu became the Godhead of the universe: “ Lao-tzu has changed his organic structure. His left oculus became the Sun, his right oculus became the Moon, his caput changed into the K’unlun mountain, his face fungus changed into the stars and heavenly infinite, his castanetss became firedrakes, his flesh-beasts, his viscera-snakes ” ( Maspero, 1950, p. 108 ; Schipper, 1978, p. 361 ) . In his development from the uniform pandemonium to his cosmic “ birth, ” Lao tzu goes through nine phases, reflected in the myth of his “ historical ” birth. As K. M. Schipper points out ( 1978, p.361 ) , this corresponds to the construct of & # 167 ; 21 in the Tao Te ching which describes the transmutations of the existence from the unqualified “ blurred and cloudy ” to the Name-Mother of all animals. The celebrated commentary of Hoshangkung ( 2 B.C. ) says:

In relation to myriad existences, Tao is such: it is rolling hither and thither and it has no definite topographic point to be grounded at that place. Tao dwells in the formless of the “ bleary and cloudy, ” but it is the lone rule form of all existences. Though ‘Lao is nil but “ bleary and cloudy, ” the One exists in it ; the One contains in itself all metabolisms. Due to the presence of the pneuma-ch’i, it becomes materialized. Though Tao is merely amorphous darkness of enigma, it has spermous energy [ ching ] and though in its kernel its Godhead numinous head [ shen ming ] is really elusive, it lies in the footing of the yin-yang interaction. If one can state anything about the nature of the spermous pneuma [ ching ch ‘ij, it must be declared that its enigma is perfectly existent ; it does non necessitate any ornaments, Tao hides glorification in itself ; Tao contains name in itself-here is earnestness and truth [ hsin ] in the thick of it. ( Hoshang-kung, in Tao Te ching, 1989, p.55 )

It is timely to remember here the myth about the historical and cosmic birth of Lao-tar. There are really interesting inside informations in the canonical text San T ‘ian nei ‘chieh ching ( Canon of the Esoterical Erplanation of Three Heavens ) written during the Han period. First of wholly, the text describes the cosmic birth of Lord Lao as a sort of theophany:

Then in the thick of darkness, Cave of Emptiness was born [ K’ung Aleurites fordii ] . In this Cave of Emptiness, Great Absence was born. Great Absence changed itself into three pneumata: Mysterious, Original and Principal. Bing in helter-skelter mixture, these pneumata gave birth to Jade Maid of the profound Mystery [ Hsuan Hmong yu n & # 1100 ; ] . After her birth fall ining pneumata twisted in her organic structure and by their transmutations they bore Lao-tar… When he was born he had grey hair. So he was called Old baby [ i.e. , Lao-tar ] . This Lao-tzu is Lord Lao. By his transmutation he created from his pneumata Heaven and Earth, people and things. Therefore he has created everything by his transmutations.

This transition clearly tells us that Lao-tar was his ain female parent. Another transition tells us about the “ historical ” birth of Lao-tar:

In the clip of King Wu Ting of Yin dynasty, Lao-tar one time once more entered the uterus of Mother Li. .. When he was born, his hair was grey once more. Therefore he was once more called Old Infant… What about his coming back to the embryologic province in the Mother Li ‘s uterus? ; it must be understood that he himself has changed his elusive assorted organic structure into the organic structure of Mother Li, come ining therefore his ain uterus. In world there was no Mother Li. Unwise people now say that Lao-tar entered Mother Li ‘s uterus from interior. In world, it is non so. ( Tao tsang, Vol.876 ; see besides Schipper, 1978, p.365 )

K. M. Schipper notes that none of the most ancient myths about Lao-tar ‘s birth Tell about the male parent of Lao-tar. Even his household name ( Li ) Lao-tar received from his female parent ( “ Li ” literally means “ plum ” ) . Harmonizing to some versions, Lao-tar was born because his female parent ate the meat of a plum ( Schipper, 1978, p.365 ) .

Therefore, in Taoist texts, Tao is conceived of as a female maternal rule personified in the image of the male-female androgyne Lao-tar ( Berthie

R, 1979 ; Seidel, 1969, p.64 ) . Furthermore, texts emphasis merely his female facet, because Tao bears the existence by itself ; its “ male ” facet does non take part in this procedure at all.

In the myths mentioned above, the laminitis of Taoism is conceived of as cosmopolitan panantropos, the All-Man, who enjoys everlasting cloud nine in the maternal uterus of Tao with which he is connected so perfectly-like a fetus and its female parent representing one and the same organic structure. It is rather obvious that myths of this sort ( myths of a instead early day of the month, as we have seen ) , underline the importance of the subject of flawlessness as a antenatal province for Taoism. They besides explain in great portion why the writing of such a basic ( though non unambiguously basic ) text of Taoism was ascribed to the individual called Old Infant. ( I refer here to the traditional position of Lao-tar as the writer of the Tao Te ching. ) It is besides interesting that the Taoists prefer to construe the name of Lao-tzu as Old Infant or Old Baby but non as Old Sage. It seems to me that understanding the function and significance of the antenatal symbolism in Taoism would function as a general key to the right penetration into the whole system of Taoist idea.

Here it is besides possible to propose a hypothesis about the relationship bing between antenatal and perinatal subjects and their archetypic images from one side, and different sorts of myths about marvelous construct, which are known to practically every civilisation, from another side. It can be suggested that the mythologem of marvelous construct is a manifestation of a subconscious want to bask the synergistic integrity with the female parent which was come-at-able during the period of antenatal development. This want is, in add-on, accompanied by the riddance of every ( and foremost of all, fatherly ) mediation of this integrity. In any instance, Taoist stuffs doubtless connect the province of immortality and flawlessness with returning to the province of the sage-infant ( compare the scriptural phrase “ If you do non alter and go like small kids you will ne’er come in the Kingdom of Eden ” [ Matt. 18:3 ] , and the thought of the combination of the wisdom of a serpent and the simpleness of a pigeon, the subject developed and explained by St. Paul ) . This sage-infant of Taoism everlastingly dwells in the cosmopolitan uterus of the Mysterious Female, Tao as Great Mother of the universe, and this uterus is isomorphous, but surely non indistinguishable to, the maternal uterus in which the embryo enjoys felicity before its birth.

Li Erh, Lao-tzu, Eternal Infant of Taoism, the laminitis of this instruction and the instructor of the male monarchs, age after age looking on the Earth in the name of highest wisdom and highest simpleness ( nonpolished wooden block- p’u, and natural silk-su, are rather common appellations of original simpleness as one of the most of import values of Taoism. he/she is that paradigmatic figure to which Taoism entreaties and calls for designation with.

Taoism proclaims that the human organic structure is a microcosm, an “ image and similitude ” of the universe, the existence. “ A adult male is but little Eden and Earth, ” is an frequently mentioned Taoist stating. This instruction, highly of import for the Taoist tradition, is besides well-known in other spiritual and philosophical philosophies, in the East every bit good as in the West, including Christianity, particularly in its Gnostic assortment ( the Russian theologian Father Pavel Florensky considers it to be perfectly Orthodox ) .

The Taoists besides evaluate organic structure as the image of the province ; the province harmonizing to Chinese philosophical constructs is a portion of natural, cosmopolitan unity. This philosophy of the similarity of the organic structure and the existence is the true foundation of the Taoist pattern of “ interior chemistry, ” the purpose of which is to bring forth the alleged elixir of immortality inside the organic structure of an ace from its energies or pneumata which are a microcosmic parallel of the metals and minerals of the outer universe. It is obvious that the procedures of the organic structure were thought of every bit correspondent to the procedures and alterations of the outer research lab, chemistry, the caldrons of which represented a specific moving theoretical account of the universe every bit good.

Strictly talking, treatises on the interior chemistry ( nei sunburn ) state us about the creative activity of a new immortal organic structure of the Taoist which must be created inside the old “ corrupted ” organic structure. If the procedure is successitilly finished, a new immortal organic structure replaces the old 1. being “ born ” of the mortal organic structure. For our thesis, it is of import that the procedure of the creative activity of the new sacred organic structure from the pneumata of the profane one is described in the texts in footings of gestation, embryologic development, and birth.

The image of the creative activity of the new perfect organic structure is instead widespread in the spiritual beliefs of rather different peoples of the universe. In Shamanism, for illustration, it is used in the imitation of decease, which is accompanied by contemplation of flesh decay, which is followed by metempsychosis after the creative activity from the skeleton ( significant land of the organic structure ) of the new “ Shamanic ” organic structure. This signifier of pattern is instead common for shamanistic inductions ( e.g. , Eliade, 1972, pp. 63-64 ) . Such rites are besides known in some Indian yogic sadhanas, particularly those of Tantric beginning: in the class of this pattern, the Berra creates a new indestructible yogic organic structure ( yoga deha ) , matching with the old one as mature and green fruit, or ( in footings of ” rasayana, ” “ vehicle of chemistry ” ) as vulgar profane metal and mature alchemical gold ( Fliade, 1958, pp. 274-278 ) . The contemplation of a skeleton is besides a common pattern in classical Buddhism. But the semantics of this contemplation in Shamanism or Taoism are rather different than in Buddhism. In the first instance, the skeleton is a symbol of some basic or original substance, which coming back to gives new powers to the individual and brings him or her to a new degree of being. The expert returns to it in his or her experience of mystical decease and metempsychosis, and so obtains new powers and creates from this substance a new sacred organic structure. The Taoist image of coming back to the maternal uterus as an unborn kid in the Tao Te ching and its ontological intension, that is, returning to the uterus of the emptiness of Tao and obtaining a new everlasting life, are besides of the same sort. From the deepness of darkness of the “ helter-skelter and vague ” uterus of the Mother-Tao ( huang hu ) , the Taoist sage creates the visible radiation of enlightenment ( ming ) and new life by go throughing through the experience of mystical decease ( decrease to embryonic province in Tao ) and rebirth-resurrection. But this metempsychosis does non take to the separation from Tao: this Cryptic Female forever remains the mother-nurse of the Taoist baby-sage. In the instance of Buddhism, nevertheless, such contemplation is directed at acknowledging that being is inherently capable to impermanency, destructibility and mortality, that is, the intent of this sort of speculation is an interiorization of the apprehension of the ubiquitousness of samsara ( universe of deceases and metempsychosiss ) as agony and defeat.

For an apprehension of the Taoist inner chemistry, two braces of interconnected constructs are of prevailing importance: natural kernel ( hsing ) and verve ( ming ) ; precelestial or antenatal ( hsian t’ian ) and postcelestial or postpartum ( hou t’ian ) . The Taoist texts explain these constructs therefore: The learning approximately alchemical thaw is the instruction of the method of thaw of the natural kernel and verve to do them hone. The jurisprudence of the natural kernel and verve has two sides: the natural kernel given by Heaven, which must be nurtured, and the natural kernel of the pneumatic quality, which must be overcome. The verve which is confirmed in separation must be pacified ; bodily verve must be fed. These are the chief two sides of the instruction of the Way ( Tung Te-ning, a Taoist of the eighteenth century, commentary on the “ Chapters of the Insight into the Truth ” of Chang Potuan, 11 A.D. ) . A celebrated representative of interior chemistries, Wu Ch’ung-hsti ( born in 1574 ) , besides tells us that precelestial nature is the pneuma received by the fetus at the clip of construct, and the postcelestial 1 is the pneuma or energy received by a fetus due to the external respiration of its female parent or ( after its birth ) through its ain inspirations. The first pneuma is concentrated in the umbilicus, the 2nd 1 in the anterior nariss. The interior chemistry is directed towards the harmonisation of the “ natural kernel ” and “ verve, ” the riddance of any hit between them. When this intent is realized, an “ elixir of immortality ” appears inside the organic structure of an ace which, in bend, changes itself into the alleged “ immortal embryo ” ( hsian t’ai ) turning into the province of the new immortal organic structure of the alchemist. Therefore, the organic structure of the Taoist is a female organic structure, maternal organic structure, and the ace himself or herself appears to be his or her ain female parent, like Lao-tar of the cosmogonic myth, who besides was, as we have seen, the female parent of himself/herself. Surely, “ immortal embryo ” is a fruit of the conjugality or hierogamy of two rules, yin and yang, like everything in the universe, but this sacred matrimony has its topographic point in the organic structure of a Taoist who, like all existences, obtains his/her life in the maternal uterus of the Mysterious Female, the great Way ( Tao ) of the existence. The organic structure of the Taoist is a female organic structure, excessively ; in this organic structure the concurrence of the rules takes its topographic point and the fruit of this brotherhood is nil other than the miraculously transfigured Taoist himself/herself. Thus the organic structure of the Taoist is an analogy to the mystical organic structure of Tao which is of paradigmatic value for the Taoist ( Schipper, 1978, p.371 ) .

We can go on to compare “ embryological ” and “ psychotechnical ” facets of Taoism. The Taoists pay much attending to the instructions about the provinces of development of the fetus. Why? It seems to me that the ground lies in the deep isomorphy between the stairss of embryonical growing, the phases of the procedure of cosmology, and the stages of the formation of the “ immortal embryo ” in interior chemistry ” : “ The fetus obtains his unequivocal bodily signifier for 10 lunar months and afterwards the babe is born. Like this, the numinous fetus besides needs 10 lunar months to be born. The spirit obtains its comprehensiveness and so goes out ” ( Wu Ch’ung-hsti, 1965, p.45 ) . In the instruction of the “ interior chemistry, ” hence, two sides of the Taoist construct of the female take their topographic point: the individuality of the organic structure of the ace with the female organic structure, and the correspondence of the latter with Tao as an ontological form from one side and the learning about transubstantiality of the mother-adept and ‘her ” kid from the other side.

However, Taoists understood ambivalency of the perinatal forms. So the maternal uterus was seen by them, non merely as a beginning of life and energy, but as the grave as well-the ensuing sum-up of life, built on the disbursals of the critical force. It resembles the thought in transpersonal psychological science of the ambiguity of the perinatal experience ( Grof ; 1993 ) : Beats per minute I ( Basic Perinatal Matrix ) provides an experience of the maternal uterus as a blissful and unafraid topographic point, and BPM 2 and BPM 3 topographic points of agony and disease. One of the most celebrated Taoists of the T’ang period, Lu Tung-pin, harmonizing to tradition, declared the followers: “ The Gatess, through which I came to life are besides the Gatess of decease ” ( Schipper, 1969, p.38 ) . This sentence was repeated in the celebrated didactic and titillating novel of 16 A.D. , Chin, Pinging Mei ( The Plum Flowers in the Golden Vase ) to warn readers against frivolous disbursement of the life energy, but here, in a sexual context. In any instance, the ambivalency of the female rule has ne’er been forgotten in China.

What sort of transpersonal experience is typical for Taoism? To reply this inquiry we can utilize the categorization of Grof ( 1993 ) . Grof mentions a specific sort of rapture he calls “ pelagic ‘ or “ Apollonic ” rapture.

Harmonizing to Grof ( 1993, p.336 ) , pelagic rapture ( remember the sea moving ridges in which the unborn baby-sage of the Tao Te Ching swims ) may be characterized by cloud nine, freedom from any emphasis, loss of any restrictions of “ self-importance, ” and the experience of absolute integrity with nature, cosmopolitan order, and God. This province is concerned with a deep, direct apprehension of world and cognitive Acts of the Apostless of cosmopolitan significance. It must be noted that the ideal of Taoism is a self-generated and perfectly natural followers of one ‘s ain aboriginal nature ( which is rooted in the empty Tao itself ) and the nature of all other things, the nature of the cosmopolitan whole ( shun Wu, “ following things ” ) . This “ following the Way ” suggests the absence of mentally constructed, brooding, purposive activity-a province devoid of any existent ontological position ego-subject of activity ( non-doing, wu we: ) . We must besides observe that Taoist texts demonstrate for us a profound and direct vision of world. Phrases like “ returning to the root, coming back to the beginning ” are really typical of Taoist texts. These texts besides proclaim the epistemic ideal of Taoism:

“ One who knows does non talk ; one who speaks does non cognize ” .

Harmonizing to Grof ; the conditions of pelagic ecstasy correspond to the experience of symbiotic integrity of a babe and its female parent during the period of fetal development and of chest eating. He writes ( cited in contrary interlingual rendition from Russian ) : “ As we could anticipate, in the province of pelagic rapture there is presented the component of H2O as the cradle of life. . . The experience of the fetal being, the designation with different aquatic signifiers of life or the consciousness of the ocean, visions of the starry sky and the feeling of the cosmic head are entirely widespread in this context ” ( Grof ; 1993, p.336 ) .

All these features correspond to the description of the Taoist experience. It is besides interesting to observe how late Chinese religious orders with a Taoist background use the subject of the unborn. Here, Female Tao takes the image of Wu sheng Lao mu ( Unborn Old Mother ) . Unfortunately, Sinologists have non noticed the self-contradictory nature of the worldview of the sectaries, looking upon themselves as the kids of the unborn female parent! The paradox of a female parent who is herself unborn is every bit amazing as a Zen Buddhist koan. Even the really word “ unborn ” is self-contradictory, and we know about the instances of enlightenment of some Zen monastics chew overing upon the sense of this word. Indeed, the unborn female parent of the unborn kid is but Great Tao itself.

In Grof ‘s Beyond the Brain ( 1993, p.380 of Russian edition ) , in fact, there is a image showing the image of archetypal Lao-tar-the baby-sage, an baby with gray hair. The image was made by a participant in a psychedelic session and is concerned with the experience of BPM I. In the image we can see a babe sitting with crossed legs on a Nelumbo nucifera flower. The babe has long gray hair and has an umbilical cord conjoined with the unobserved organic structure of its female parent. Grof says: “ Designation with the fetus in the period of the peaceable prenatal development has, as a regulation, Godhead qualities. The image demonstrates obtaining, during a high dose LSD-session, an intuitive penetration into the connexion between the enibryonic cloud nine and the nature of the Buddha ” ( Grof, 1993, p.380 ; change by reversal interlingual rendition

from Russian ) . Here we one time once more run into with the exceptionally of import inquiry of the correlativity between perinatal and transpersonal or “ mystical ” experience. The inquiry is: Is it possible to cut down the mystical experience of transcendency to prenatal or perinatal experience and to remembrances about it? At the present clip, we can non decide this inquiry once and for all. Therefore, below I shall propose some hypotheses which remain to be verified in the class of future transpersonal research.

First of wholly, like Grof I do non compare transpersonal ( mystical, psychopractical ) experience with remembrances of a perinatal character ; I think it is rather wrong to cut down experience of the first sort to experience of the 2nd sort. Second, it is good known that perinatal remembrances of the grownup are chiefly different from the formless and instead simple experience of the fetus. The first sort of experience is much richer, broader, and varied. This type of experience is connected, as one can say, with much deeper degrees of the unconscious stand foring the archetypal dimension of the head. Probably these archetypal forms and gestalts are something like a priori signifiers of the insistent experience of the perinatal state~as in Kant ‘s doctrine, clip and infinite are a priori signifiers of animal intuition which determine our signifier of vision of the transcendent to these forms-reality as it is. Briefly speech production, our profound archetypal degrees of the unconscious may be the beginning of forms organizing the experience of the perinatal provinces by grownups. And those archetypal forms, in bend, are kindred to some sorts of mystical vision.

However, we can detect a sort of correspondence between the perinatal and mystical experience. In this correspondence, perinatal gestalt correlatives with the corresponding transpersonal ( mystical ) province.

Furthermore, in some instances, we can talk of the superimposition or interplay between perinatal and mystical experience. In such instances, perinatal experience may be a kind of cardinal gap to the head gates to mystical experience.

We can merely explicate this phenomenon hypothetically by a sort of similitude or analogy bing between some perinatal and mystical provinces. For illustration, there is some analogy between the feeling of peace and security of the fetal being of BPM I and the transpersonal experience of the unjo mystica, or the experience of cosmopolitan integrity. Therefore, the attainment of the perinatal province serves to extinguish the barriers of the unconscious, opening its deepest degrees which correspond to this integrity, thereby enabling the head ( or uneasiness ) to perforate at that place. In other words, a individual who achieved the experience of symbiotic brotherhood with the female parent of BPM I can more merely and easy achieve a analogue but higher experience of the cosmopolitan integrity: the first sort of experience gives manner to the openness of analogical but highest ( or deepest ) strata and degrees. Probably, the personal or individualistic restrictions spliting the psychical universes of different persons are already absent on such profound degrees of subconscious being. ( I do non utilize the word “ subconscious ” here in the psychoanalytical sense ; possibly it would be better to name it “ superconscious. ” )

Therefore, we may carefully say the being of some sort of isomorphy of basic provinces of consciousness of different degrees, rooted in the holistic and polistructural ( “ holonomic ” in Grof ‘s nomenclature ) nature of world as such, including its psychical dimension. But the jobs of the ontology of consciousness are excessively elusive to discourse briefly. For now, we can merely observe the typical interplay of perinatal and transpersonal degrees of experience in the Taoist tradition.

Taoist tradition, doubtless, is a cherished portion of the spfritual heritage of world. Many of the basic thoughts and images of Taoism have a profound humanistic sense, profoundly rooted in the very construction of our psychical experience. Do we non see the image of the Mysterious Female-Mother of all under heaven in Sophia or Eunoia of the Gnostics, in Shekhina of the Kabbalah, or in Sophia, the psyche of the universe, the image of the coming all-unity of the Russian philosopher and mysterious Vladimir Solovyev?

I have seen everything and everything was merely one:

The lone image of the female beauty.

Unlimitless entered its step,

In forepart of me, inside of me, there is merely you.

-Vladimir Solovyev, “ Three Meetings ”


1.1 have used the English interlingual rendition of the Tao Te ching by Victor H. Mair ( 1 990 ) . In instances of dissension with his reading of the text, I provide my ain interlingual rendition, which is indicated with the superior “ I. ” The reasoning interlingual rendition by Solovyev is besides my ain.


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