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El Secreto de la Flor de Oro: Un Libro de la Vida Chino

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obra taoista china sobre meditacion, fue traducida por Richard Wilhelm (tambien traductor, en los anos 20, del clasico filosofico chino el I Ching). Wilhelm, amigo de Carl Gustav Jung, era aleman, y sus traducciones del chino al aleman fueron mas tarde traducidas al ingles por Cary F. Baynes. De acuerdo a Wilhelm, Lu Dongbin fue el principal origen del material presentado obra taoista china sobre meditacion, fue traducida por Richard Wilhelm (tambien traductor, en los anos 20, del clasico filosofico chino el I Ching). Wilhelm, amigo de Carl Gustav Jung, era aleman, y sus traducciones del chino al aleman fueron mas tarde traducidas al ingles por Cary F. Baynes. De acuerdo a Wilhelm, Lu Dongbin fue el principal origen del material presentado en el libro. Recientemente (1991), la misma obra ha sido traducida por Thomas Cleary, un erudito sobre estudios orientales."


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obra taoista china sobre meditacion, fue traducida por Richard Wilhelm (tambien traductor, en los anos 20, del clasico filosofico chino el I Ching). Wilhelm, amigo de Carl Gustav Jung, era aleman, y sus traducciones del chino al aleman fueron mas tarde traducidas al ingles por Cary F. Baynes. De acuerdo a Wilhelm, Lu Dongbin fue el principal origen del material presentado obra taoista china sobre meditacion, fue traducida por Richard Wilhelm (tambien traductor, en los anos 20, del clasico filosofico chino el I Ching). Wilhelm, amigo de Carl Gustav Jung, era aleman, y sus traducciones del chino al aleman fueron mas tarde traducidas al ingles por Cary F. Baynes. De acuerdo a Wilhelm, Lu Dongbin fue el principal origen del material presentado en el libro. Recientemente (1991), la misma obra ha sido traducida por Thomas Cleary, un erudito sobre estudios orientales."

30 review for El Secreto de la Flor de Oro: Un Libro de la Vida Chino

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Kulm

    Secret of the Golden Flower is an ancient Chinese book from an esoteric religious sect. In “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” Jung wrote this about it: “I devoured the manuscript at once, for the text gave me undreamed-of confirmation of my ideas about the mandala and the circumambulation of the center. That was the first event which broke through my isolation. I became aware of an affinity; I could establish ties with something and someone.” I don’t like rating a book like this by stars. If you’re Secret of the Golden Flower is an ancient Chinese book from an esoteric religious sect. In “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” Jung wrote this about it: “I devoured the manuscript at once, for the text gave me undreamed-of confirmation of my ideas about the mandala and the circumambulation of the center. That was the first event which broke through my isolation. I became aware of an affinity; I could establish ties with something and someone.” I don’t like rating a book like this by stars. If you’re into Jung this is an important text but if you’re not it probably won’t be up your alley. For me, personally, the book’s teaching about non-action strikes a chord and makes me understand the words “have no expectations” as something “active” rather than “passive”; a conscious action. Here are two quotes on the subject: “The most important things in the great Tao are the words: action through non-action. Non-action prevents a man from becoming entangled in form and image.” “In what does the spiritual Elixer consist? It means forever dwelling in purposelessness … What I have revealed here in a word is the fruit of a decade of effort.” On meditation: “The chief thought of this section is that the most important thing for achieving the circulation of the light it rhythmical breathing. The further the work advances, the deeper becomes the teaching. During the circulation of the light, the pupil must co-ordinate heart and breathing in order to avoid the annoyance of indolence and distraction. The Master fears that when beginners have once sat and lowered their lids, confused fantasies may arise, because of which, the heart will begin to bat so that it is difficult to guide. Therefore he teaches the practice of counting the breath and fixing the thoughts of the heart in order to prevent the energy of the spirit from flowing outward.” From Jung’s commentary section of the book: “Our text promises to ‘reveal the secret of the Golden Flower of the great One’. The Golden Flower is the light, and the light of heaven is the Tao. The Golden Flower is a mandala symbol which I have often met with in the material brought me by my patients. It is drawn either seen from above as a regular geometric ornament, or as a blossom growing from a plant.” “When my patients produce these mandala pictures it is, of course, not through suggestion; similar pictures were being made long before I knew their meaning or their connection with the practices of the East, which, at one time, were wholly unfamiliar to me. The pictures came quite spontaneously and from two sources. One source is the unconscious, which spontaneously produces such fantasies; the other source is life, which, if lived with complete devotion, brings an intuition of the self, the individual being. Awareness of the individual self is expressed in the drawing, while the unconscious exacts devotedness to life.” I also like these quotes from the Chinese text: “Related things attract each other.” “Disciples, keep it secret and redouble your effort!”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Great little manual of meditation and philosophy. Each time you read it you are sure to discover something new.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ellen

    What? That was mostly my thoughts on this. There may be a lot in here of use, but it wasn't necessarily written for anyone's use. What? That was mostly my thoughts on this. There may be a lot in here of use, but it wasn't necessarily written for anyone's use.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This lovely book is a description of an ancient Chinese meditation technique, and the underlying philosophy. Cleary also translated this work, but I find his rendition more pedantic than Wilhelm's. By practicing this straightforward meditation, many people have found many benefits. Not only does it quiet the mind and focus inner being, it also works to bring the body into a harmonic state. This lovely book is a description of an ancient Chinese meditation technique, and the underlying philosophy. Cleary also translated this work, but I find his rendition more pedantic than Wilhelm's. By practicing this straightforward meditation, many people have found many benefits. Not only does it quiet the mind and focus inner being, it also works to bring the body into a harmonic state.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David

    A fascinating work of Taoist literature and the first in the genre that I've read so far which even came close to being understandable in English (a credit to the translator Richard Wilhelm). A fascinating work of Taoist literature and the first in the genre that I've read so far which even came close to being understandable in English (a credit to the translator Richard Wilhelm).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Overton

    Jung’s marvelous commentary is balm for the writer’s psyche. He warns us against being enthralled to “… the secret objective of gaining power through words …” He explains how this ancient text guides one through disentanglement. Here is the context in which Jung makes his statement: “It is really my purpose to push aside without mercy the metaphysical claims of all esoteric teaching; the secret objective of gaining power through words ill accords with our profound ignorance - which we should have Jung’s marvelous commentary is balm for the writer’s psyche. He warns us against being enthralled to “… the secret objective of gaining power through words …” He explains how this ancient text guides one through disentanglement. Here is the context in which Jung makes his statement: “It is really my purpose to push aside without mercy the metaphysical claims of all esoteric teaching; the secret objective of gaining power through words ill accords with our profound ignorance - which we should have the modesty to confess. It is my firm intention to bring things which have a metaphysical sound into the daylight of psychological understanding, and to do my best to prevent the public from believing in obscure words of power.” pg. 128 Read through Jung’s lens, you can see the narrator telling us, right at the beginning of his text, that it is not to be taken literally, that it is an allegory: “Master Lu-tsu said, That which exists through itself is called the Way (Tao). Tao has neither name nor shape. It is the one essence [also translated ‘human nature’], the one primal spirit. Essence and life cannot be seen. They are contained in the light of heaven. The light of heaven cannot be seen. It is contained in the two eyes. To-day I will be your guide and will first reveal to you the secret of the Golden Flower of the great One, and starting from that, I will explain the rest in detail. “The great One is the term given to that which has nothing above it. [great definition for “God”] The secret of the magic of life consists in using action in order to attain non-action. One must not wish to leap over everything and penetrate directly. … “The Golden Flower is the light. What colour is the light? One uses the Golden Flower as a symbol. It is the true energy of the transcendent great One….” pg. 21 What can be taken literally is some excellent advice on how to meditate.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    During my year out of college, intent upon remedying some dimensions of my ignorance and having become reacquainted with and challenged by C.G. Jung, I did a great deal of reading, much of it in the areas tangent to depth psychology. I'd read some, maybe all, of Jung's commentary on Wilhelm's translation some years before, but not the Taoist text itself. During my year out of college, intent upon remedying some dimensions of my ignorance and having become reacquainted with and challenged by C.G. Jung, I did a great deal of reading, much of it in the areas tangent to depth psychology. I'd read some, maybe all, of Jung's commentary on Wilhelm's translation some years before, but not the Taoist text itself.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Dorman

    Worth it for the articulation of the Host/Guest alone (which is in the Afterword). Cleary's knowledge and experience of Zen and Taoist praxis informs his "notes" and they are an invaluable guide to the text itself. A true classic of simplicity. Worth it for the articulation of the Host/Guest alone (which is in the Afterword). Cleary's knowledge and experience of Zen and Taoist praxis informs his "notes" and they are an invaluable guide to the text itself. A true classic of simplicity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Gregory

    This is a Taoist classic in many ways. But the primary reason is because of the crystal clear translation from Richard Wilhelm and the commentary of Carl Jung. Transparent with their understanding, it gives the reader deeper insight into Chinese philosophy and spiritual practice.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gypsy Renhart

    Though it is not easy to comprehend at first glance it is a book that I will open time and time again. This is going to be an important guide for me and my personal growth.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Artur Benchimol

    June's commentary is great. The second part makes more sense if you're interested in Taoism or esoteric practices. I found it hard to grasp since I had no previous knowledge of such things. June's commentary is great. The second part makes more sense if you're interested in Taoism or esoteric practices. I found it hard to grasp since I had no previous knowledge of such things.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    A great, new translations of an old classic which combines ideas from both Taoism and Ch'an Buddhism. The basic idea being to cultivate the practice of 'turning back the light', 'reverse seeing' and other allusions pointing to self-investigation and direct-pointing style meditation. This style of meditation is popular in Zen Buddhism, and certain other nondual traditions as a means of directly approaching reality. This little treatise sums up the benefits of the approach, and some tips on how to A great, new translations of an old classic which combines ideas from both Taoism and Ch'an Buddhism. The basic idea being to cultivate the practice of 'turning back the light', 'reverse seeing' and other allusions pointing to self-investigation and direct-pointing style meditation. This style of meditation is popular in Zen Buddhism, and certain other nondual traditions as a means of directly approaching reality. This little treatise sums up the benefits of the approach, and some tips on how to cultivate the practice. This is a much improved version of a previous German version, popularized by Jung, which was badly translated at that time due to a lack of knowledge of the practice and subject. Cleary has done a great service in revisiting these texts.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Da Re

    So what is the secret of the golden flower after all? I am not too sure whether I have understood the secret (if it can be understood at all) but I feel like I have definitely taken away some of its appeal. This sounds all very poetic, so what is this book all about? The first part, constituting half of the book, are some lucid contextualisations of the ancient Daoist text “The Secret of the Golden Flower” by Richard Wilhelm and Carl Jung (both pioneers in making Eastern systems of thought intell So what is the secret of the golden flower after all? I am not too sure whether I have understood the secret (if it can be understood at all) but I feel like I have definitely taken away some of its appeal. This sounds all very poetic, so what is this book all about? The first part, constituting half of the book, are some lucid contextualisations of the ancient Daoist text “The Secret of the Golden Flower” by Richard Wilhelm and Carl Jung (both pioneers in making Eastern systems of thought intelligible to a mind embedded in Western concepts). Especially Jung’s writing presents a valuable primer in appreciating Eastern mysticism from a (Western) psychological perspective. He points out the profound issues that come with trying to integrate the accumulated wisdom from Eastern and Western thought traditions, when one is conditioned to think from one (being mostly oblivious of its fundamental assumptions), while being in the dark about the other. Facing profound truths, strange to one’s own thought tradition, usually leads to either the emphatic rejection of them on the one hand or a futile attempt in “cutting off the branch that one is sitting on”. The middle way of carefully investigating confluences, while not trying to abandon one’s culturally constructed viewpoint, is the goal according to Jung. He sees the Western emphasis on the conscious and rational as a compliment to the Eastern emphasis on the unconscious forces beyond the intellect, rather than a contradiction. Jung finds the common denominator in the “tremendous experiment of becoming conscious, which nature has laid upon mankind, and which unites the most diverse cultures in a common task.” I could not agree more. Jung is again ahead of his time, in which us Westerners look desperately eastwards after the erosion of our own traditions of making meaning through encounters with the numinous. Since Kant, we limit ourselves to observable phenomena, laughing away speculations about the beyond. Jung presents an invaluable corrective to this cultural near-sightedness, while casually dropping one quote-worthy insight after another in this 50-something-page long primer to the actual “Secret of the Golden Flower”. The flowery writing, mixed with a symbolism rooted in the mystical I Ging (Book of Changes), lets the message of the book appear quite obscured throughout vast passages of the text. However, it is precisely this refreshingly different manner of putting the way in which the mind needs to be still in order to perceive truth, that shines through the mist. We are simply not used to expressing ourselves in such metaphorical language when discussing epistemology and right conduct. This should not take anything away from the point the author is trying to make, but you should be prepared for the at times estranging formulations. At the end of the book, though, the message has become clear: In order to see and act with clarity, one’s consciousness needs to be brought to a state of non-duality. Here, the syncretism between the Buddhist practice of meditation and the Daoist wu wei (non-action) becomes evident: One needs to trace back the contents of one’s consciousness to the place they originated from - and stop there. Without further attempting to discern what the non-discerning consciousness behind all processes of discernment itself is, one should seek refuge in it. Through the act of observation - not of, but from this indivisible perspective or state of consciousness (whatever you want to label it), truthful action and thought arise paradoxically from non-action. Although I have personally found much value in the writing of both Jung and the author himself, I could see that such philosophising might be hard to relate to, if it has no prior experience of mental states akin those described to stand upon. Despite its more obscure passages, my verdict would still be to go ahead and read this insightful book with an open mind.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Efthimios Nasiopoulos

    Diving into Eastern philosophy has been quite a trip. The Secret of the Golden Flower was especially interesting because not only do you get this beautiful translation but Jung provides his psychological interpretation of this metaphysical writing. He also provides the context of our very Western 'yang' type civilization and why some of this duality of opposites contained in Eastern philosophy, often finds itself misinterpreted or dismissed or laughed off in western rationalism. Whether the meta Diving into Eastern philosophy has been quite a trip. The Secret of the Golden Flower was especially interesting because not only do you get this beautiful translation but Jung provides his psychological interpretation of this metaphysical writing. He also provides the context of our very Western 'yang' type civilization and why some of this duality of opposites contained in Eastern philosophy, often finds itself misinterpreted or dismissed or laughed off in western rationalism. Whether the metaphysical experience is real or not, the psychical experience is very real and has a significantly powerful influence on our lives. To dismiss it, as beneath us or as illness, as we do here, is taking away the treasures that lie beneath. If he believes, I believe. While reading him talk about these metaphysical texts as psychic experience makes me think of people who have done great things attributed to their faith. Whether the strength they summoned was from God or themselves, the result were the same; people committing extraordinary feats, that are beyond simple conscious choices. On the flip side, these forces can make us do things that we seemingly have no agency in, and there in lies the challenge of making the unconscious conscious and thus living in symbiosis with these forces; wherever they may lie....all I know is when I was a kid, picking baseball teams in the playground, alway safe to pick the kid who thinks his bat was graced with that good ole' Jesus juju. The Golden Flower also provides some guidance into connecting with your inner being through meditation and the breath. What better way to bring the unconscious to the conscious than be breathing on purpose and with purpose. The more I read on Chinese philosophy and the body, the more I wish I still had my gall bladder....'it's not important they said.' You're #%!#$% with my chi :\ There's a really cool quote that sums up our western obsession with the self and our one-sidedness "Worldly people lose the roots and cling to the treetops" It's amazing how much we forfeit with our egos and our certainty of things, all the while completely oblivious to what lies at the root.....but hey, Mars looks cool. We'll just keep treating this planet like a comped hotel room. I'm sure that won't get old anytime soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ian Sims

    The Secret of the Golden Flower is a Taoist text deeply intertwined with many other Chinese classics, though it is now believed to have been published much later (it was originally thought to have been written in the T'ang period around when poet Tu Fu was active). The text itself is an excellent description of both the physical and mental attributes of Taoist meditation, and it contains perhaps the most descriptive exposition regarding the end "goal" of these practices. Looking at the history o The Secret of the Golden Flower is a Taoist text deeply intertwined with many other Chinese classics, though it is now believed to have been published much later (it was originally thought to have been written in the T'ang period around when poet Tu Fu was active). The text itself is an excellent description of both the physical and mental attributes of Taoist meditation, and it contains perhaps the most descriptive exposition regarding the end "goal" of these practices. Looking at the history of Chinese philosophy, I'd wager that having been manifested several centuries later, The Secret of the Golden Flower was given the opportunity to perform further exegesis of earlier canonized Taoist texts. For Western readers, I would strongly recommend reading a copy that also includes C.G. Jung's commentary which—while not indispensable for comprehension—provides a beneficial perspective on classic Eastern mythology and its relevance for a modern Western world.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elan

    Typically eastern way of approaching mediation, and a good review on where Wilhelm and Jung did not get this way of thinking right.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kjell DM

    "We have to see that the spirit must lean on science as its guide in the world of reality, and that science must turn to the spirit for the meaning of life." - Richard Wilhelm I think that he's saying with this that we need the means of science to progressively understand and learn to work better with the outside world, to connect the dots there, but that we need spirituality to integrate that whole into our daily lives in a meaningful and relatable and appropriate way. If we don't give both side "We have to see that the spirit must lean on science as its guide in the world of reality, and that science must turn to the spirit for the meaning of life." - Richard Wilhelm I think that he's saying with this that we need the means of science to progressively understand and learn to work better with the outside world, to connect the dots there, but that we need spirituality to integrate that whole into our daily lives in a meaningful and relatable and appropriate way. If we don't give both sides their due but lean too much towards one side of this equation, then usually some form of crisis, sometimes catastrophic, results. This perhaps because its inherent chaos threatens to break free in, by definition, unexpected and probably harmful ways. If done properly though and we explore and gain a better appreciation of both worlds, we develop a new vision of ourselves and the cosmos, resulting in some kind of psychological maturity in which we become more competent to make individual and thus collective decisions, potentially rendering us all a better future. The first part of this review is my deficient summary of the book. The second part a short review of the experience of the read. 1. In the edition I have (Baynes), two Chinese alchemical texts are translated. First the T'ai I Chin Hua Tsung Chih, then the Hui Ming Ching. Afterwards there is a commentary by C. G. Jung, while the first text contains further explanations by Richard Wilhelm. The afterword and foreword are written by each of them respectively. I would like to make clear to you that these texts use ambivalent language and are difficult to understand, definitely in my experience, but probably for Westerners in general. I will simply try to articulate what I've come to make of the book upon having read it once and upon reviewing my notes a few times, don't expect more than a humble and flawed subjective understanding of it as a whole. I'll try to keep it short and won't be diving into historical contexts--for this you have to read it yourself--but will stick to the text and the scholarly interpretations given. All I can say is that it has strong Confucianist, Buddhist and Taoist undercurrents, as well as parallels with other religions such as Christianity. According to these scholars the effective intent of the practice being elucidated in the original texts is that of transcending the psyche above the misery that inevitably comes with life. Inevitably because life is a predicament not subjected to rationality or to the conscious will. In my own experience upon practicing a bit the methods expounded I've come to notice that something like this may in fact appear to be happening (I'm a petty meditator so don't take this too seriously, though my experience was more with active imagination). The idea would be that consciousness and life spring from heaven or "Tao", a still non-dual, primordial state of being, but from the moment of conception separate and become transient and conflicting supra-individual forces (logos vs. eros). Only cultivation of the Golden Flower, something akin to detachment from entanglement with this painful duality, can reunite both beyond in the eternal state of Tao. This can be achieved through "circulation of the light," penetration of the magic circle, which in Jung's interpretation is something akin to the psychic process of development expressed in symbols, more precisely mandala symbolism. He argues that this symbolism represents--among many other things--the circumambulatio of parts or our psyche around a center, and that in concentrating (notice: centre) upon these animations and allowing them to take their own course (through stillness, observance and acceptance), a higher power locked in our unconscious takes over and begins to lead our psychic development. He calls it "self-knowledge by means of self-incubation," projections of events of the psyche on itself, or putting a "spell" on oneself. In the center is the seed which must blossom, and does so through circulation or "non-doing." According to the philosophy, human nature and consciousness are closely related and are in some sense opposites to life. In intensifying the former two, and "extensifying" the latter, they may be brought back together. You intensify consciousness through directing your attention inward "to the realm of the ancestors," if done right it amounts to reflection on the dark and unformed aspects of the inner realm (in other words shadow work, I think), in controlling your breathing then you directly spur the development of these aspects (something akin to active imagination) and still your heart (passions). To extensify life you have to live it, you accept and fulfill your ordinary occupations in the first place so that you clear the way to unperturbed quietness. If you meet your responsibilities there is less distraction for you, and if you do get distracted in meditation, simply stand up and do something else, don't try to force it, but go with it (your instincts). A number of instructions are given in the text about how one can bring about this tranquility and centeredness, and what one is to do with this state in order to eventually unify the forces and crystallize it. Hypothetically, as I understand it, the control over one's inner energy has to direct it in certain ways (at some point towards the heart, at another upward, if I got that right) so as to conserve it and harmonize them in a deep center in yourself. If one succeeds at treating these forces appropriately, the text claims, one may extend the length of one's life and may even continue living as a disembodied ego after death. But, Jung, in his outstanding commentary, warns that blind imitation of the Chinese way of cultivating the practice expounded in these texts, as a Westerner, is an unscrupulous idea. He stresses the argument that doing so would be against the principles of the philosophy, and that the way of integrating these insights properly, for us Western people, would be to keep a firm stand on our own ground whilst exploring this text, staying true as such to our own Western nature and disposition. If our own historical premises are betrayed only conflict will ensue, but if not and if we find a parallel way to undergo the same inner transformation as the East has, it will be much the better for the integrity of our culture and its prospect. For this we have to acknowledge the authenticity of other kinds of consciousness, and of the validity of our own unconscious and its autonomous processes, in all honesty, in a strife towards self-realization. "It is not I who live, it lives me." - C. G. Jung The symbolism is rather complex and I probably didn't do it much honor with my defective summary here, nor to the texts, nor to the scholars' interpretations. If you're interested in learning about Dr. Jung's work, I highly recommend reading Liber Novus first, and then afterwards this book, it will profoundly deepen the sense of meaning you have when reading it. But it's a great book in and of itself. 2. It was a lovely read, and weird. I'm currently beginning a study of part of Jung's corpus and I'm convinced it will further deepen my insight into the meaning of this text. Nonetheless it was already very insightful, and is probably one of the most important works for the West in trying to truly bridge the gap with the East. It has deepened substantially my appreciation of Jung's Liber Novus, and of course hope it does the same for his other works. As I already said I did have some interesting experiences after learning about this philosophy and method. I was lying in my bed one night watching the theater of my imagination, while at some point I began to have the sense that in there was manifesting a second body, a second "me," another stream of consciousness in some sense but directed inward. I can't explain it well but in the text there is talked about something of this kind and so I'm going to explore if I can get at this again and perhaps look deeper into it. Long story short, if you're interested in the reconciliation of West and East, in Jung's psychology, in active imagination, in analytical psychology, in spirituality, or whatever other reason you may be considering to read this book, please do! It will probably be a weirdly interesting and insightful read. "The Westerner ought again to experience the reality of this illusion. He ought to learn to recognize these psychic forces again, and not wait until his moods, nervous states, and hallucinations make clear to him in the most painful way possible that he is not the only master in his house." - C. G. Jung

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gaze Santos

    This book is a fairly recent translation of a Taoist classic text on meditation, usually attributed to Liu Dongbin of the late Tang Dynasty (though the validity of this has been disputed). The book is an interesting mix of Taoist spiritual alchemy and Buddhist meditation technique. Specifically the northern Chan Buddhist school that was the precursor to Zen Buddhism. The book itself describes silent meditation that is the corner stone of Chan and Zen. A technique in the book that is referred to This book is a fairly recent translation of a Taoist classic text on meditation, usually attributed to Liu Dongbin of the late Tang Dynasty (though the validity of this has been disputed). The book is an interesting mix of Taoist spiritual alchemy and Buddhist meditation technique. Specifically the northern Chan Buddhist school that was the precursor to Zen Buddhism. The book itself describes silent meditation that is the corner stone of Chan and Zen. A technique in the book that is referred to as "turning the light around." The general idea is to quiet your mind and try to pay attention to the source of your mind and thoughts, rather than the thoughts in themselves... Easier said than done, but the book tries to describe ways to go about it, and also tries to describe the experience itself, in an attempt to give you a way to gauge your own experiences. This particular edition is a fairly recent translation by Thomas Cleary, who is a scholar of Eastern studies, particularly Buddhism and Taoism. Apparently he first encountered this book in the more famous edition that was translated by Richard Wilhem, and annotated by C.G. Jung. He was so displeased with the translation that he found a version of the original Chinese and made his own translation. I personally have not read Wilhem's version, but Cleary seems to make up for this fact by constantly referring to it in his own notes and annotations. The translations itself is quite pretty and easy to grasp. Cleary's own notes to each verse help to elucidate and explain various stock Buddhist and Taoist phrases that are used throughout the book, for the most part. Phrases that have definite meanings, because they appear in similar contexts in other Chinese spiritual books. A generous chunk of Cleary's notes are also used to critique Wilhem and Jung's versions and to show how much their version and translation was inferior to his. It was okay the first couple of times, but it ran throughout the entire notes and even spilling over into the afterwards written by the author. Wilhem's version is arguably the reason "The Golden Flower" has become so well known in the west, and I can see Cleary's frustration in how everyone was given a false impression of the book. He gives an interesting explanation of why he was displeased with Wilhem and Jung, but I think Cleary's book would have been much better if it had keep these critiques to a minimum, or at least relegated completely to the afterward or a separate appendix. I felt that they often took away from his translation because it was clear that he was always comparing himself to Wilhem's and expected us to do the same.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Marshall

    I just finished reading this book and am not sure how to take it. The premise is good, but I'm left confused on what is the actual translated text, and what is Clearys own materials. I also purchased the Richard Wilhelm/Baynes version and will read that once it arrives. Early on in this translation I started having doubts on Clearys intent. In the intro he constantly belittles the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, while at the same time thanking Wilhelm for introducing the text to the West. He also tha I just finished reading this book and am not sure how to take it. The premise is good, but I'm left confused on what is the actual translated text, and what is Clearys own materials. I also purchased the Richard Wilhelm/Baynes version and will read that once it arrives. Early on in this translation I started having doubts on Clearys intent. In the intro he constantly belittles the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, while at the same time thanking Wilhelm for introducing the text to the West. He also thanks Jungs works, but I wonder if he is just using their names as if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as those pioneers so that he could profit from this enlightened text himself. Another point that got me wondering about Clearys intent was early on in the translation, where it left me unsure about how much of the book is not just a translation, but also a manipulation of the original wordings to leave the reader wanting to buy more material from this author/translator. P.20 passage 14 "The essential teaching is summarized above, as for the rest, matters of entering and exiting stillness, the prelude and the aftermath, one should use the book Small Stopping and Seeing for a touchstone." That part is not a footnote. its not in any way indicated as if it were a break in the translation of the original text, its just part of the reading, blatantly up-selling the reader to another of Clearys books. It makes me wonder how much more of this book is not just a translation but also a re-interpretation geared more towards profiting off the self-help crowd in today's market.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Olivier Goetgeluck

    The man who lives his instincts can also detach from them, and in just as natural a way as he lived them. I am not the only master in my own house. It is not I who live, it lives me. To live mingling with the world and yet in harmony with the light. Action through non-action. Non-action prevents a man from becoming entangled in form and image (materiality). If, when stimulated by external things, one moves, it is the impulse of the being. If, when not stimulated by external things, one moves, it is t The man who lives his instincts can also detach from them, and in just as natural a way as he lived them. I am not the only master in my own house. It is not I who live, it lives me. To live mingling with the world and yet in harmony with the light. Action through non-action. Non-action prevents a man from becoming entangled in form and image (materiality). If, when stimulated by external things, one moves, it is the impulse of the being. If, when not stimulated by external things, one moves, it is the movement of heaven. Though one does not destroy things, neither does one pay attention to them; this is contemplation of the centre. What use is a morality that destroys the human being? Self-knowledge by means of self-incubation. Knowledge of the external world is the greatest obstacle to introspection, but the psychological distress will overcome all obstructions. A culture thousands of years old, one which has built organically upon primitive instincts and which, therefore, knows nothing of the arbitrary morality violating the instincts characteristic of us as recently civilized Teutonic barbarians. For this reason the Chinese are without that impulse towards violent repression of the instincts which hysterically exaggerates and poisons our spirituality. The man who lives his instincts can also detach from them, and in just as natural way as he lived them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anita Ashland

    This ancient Taoist text (only around 40 pages) had an enormous influence on Jung and the development of his personality theories. He discovered it shortly after his break with Freud. This version contains commentary by Richard Wilhelm and a meaty introduction by Jung. Jung: “The art of letting things happen, action through non-action, letting go of oneself, as taught by Meister Eckhart, became for me the key opening the door to the way. We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us This ancient Taoist text (only around 40 pages) had an enormous influence on Jung and the development of his personality theories. He discovered it shortly after his break with Freud. This version contains commentary by Richard Wilhelm and a meaty introduction by Jung. Jung: “The art of letting things happen, action through non-action, letting go of oneself, as taught by Meister Eckhart, became for me the key opening the door to the way. We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this actually is an art of which few people know anything. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, and never leaving the simple growth of the psychic processes in peace.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeannette

    This is a collection of the teachings of Taoism in the form of poetry. It is written beautifully and the teachings still apply to life today. It is available at the Geisel library. I remember that when I carried this book around with me, strangers would start conversations with me about the book, and more than once, I was asked if that was the first book I had read on Taoism. What I learned from this book: It is ok to just simply be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Corbin

    Not bad as a meditation manual and all, but Jiminy Cricket, people! ...Trying to find workable English/Chinese translations is like reclining in a lawnchair next to collapsing train tracks with popcorn in one hand and a time dilation device in the other, listening for the impending whistles and bells.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ho-Sheng

    This was the only translation available before Thomas Cleary's translation. There are errors and misunderstanding. If you are serious about studying the Secret of the Golden Flower, I recommend starting with Clearly's translation first. This was the only translation available before Thomas Cleary's translation. There are errors and misunderstanding. If you are serious about studying the Secret of the Golden Flower, I recommend starting with Clearly's translation first.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cipriana Leme

    If Wilhelm had not written his interpretation of the I-Ching (preface by Jung, also), I would never have discovered this fascinating way of life that has also become MY way of life. I´ve read this book dozens of times and always have in near, just in case.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Mclaughlin

    The translation of the text is good but, in Translation Notes (which comprises 50% of the book), Cleary focuses too much on slamming the interpretations of others (esp. Wilhelm and Jung) at the expense of elaborating more on his own interpretations.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liam Taylor

    'The guest within the guest is the state of the ordinary mind going from one mood, state, or subpersonality to another, alienated from conscious contact with the host behind the scenes.' p. 145. This is where I currently reside. Before I read this translation, I had attributed several misleading meanings to this text. I was under the impression I knew far more about this technique than I actually do. I am not familiar with the myriad of metaphorical terms that need comprehension whilst reading. I 'The guest within the guest is the state of the ordinary mind going from one mood, state, or subpersonality to another, alienated from conscious contact with the host behind the scenes.' p. 145. This is where I currently reside. Before I read this translation, I had attributed several misleading meanings to this text. I was under the impression I knew far more about this technique than I actually do. I am not familiar with the myriad of metaphorical terms that need comprehension whilst reading. I understand Cleary has provided a dictionary of sorts in one of his other texts. In addition, I feel far more grounded in this teaching and related traditions than I was previously, where I had been getting carried away with what Cleary might term, cultist interpretations. My sense that diligence and continued effort are required to allow one's fluorishing in these techniques has been strengthened. My expectations are more in check, I expect reward will take longer and require more concerted effort than I anticipated previously. I sense I do not have an appreciation yet of what 'reward' is. I'm familiar with this story but have not written a note on it previously. 'A parallel story from Taoist tradition is the famous butterfly dream of the sage Chuang-tzu. In this classic tale, the philosopher related that he dreamed he was a butterfly, having a wonderful time fluttering about from flower to flower on the zephyrs of spring. On awakening from this pleasant reverie, however, he found that he was no longer sure whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly now dreaming he was a man.' pp. 147-148 The extensive translation notes section repeatedly cites apparent mistakes in the Wilhelm translation. Cleary is explicit in his criticism of Wilhelm and Jung, at the very least in respect of their approach to the secret of the golden flower text. I have zero authority to judge the validity of Cleary's criticisms, however I do sense he is far more diligent and learned in these traditions than Jung and Wilhelm. Regardless of this, the numerous disagreements Cleary has with Wilhelm's translation highlights the perils of accessing translated texts. 'Although Jung admits that he never followed the directions of the Golden Flower (which may be just as well considering the quality of the translation) ...' p. 100. PP. 100-101 are particularly damning of Jung. '37. Again Wilhelm proposes a misleading translation: "to be unminding in all situations" he renders as "forever dwelling in purposelessness." It is likely that Jung derived some of his more bizarre ideas about eastern philosophy from just such mistranslations as this one.' p. 115 Cleary speaks plainly about the limitations the two men faced and how this bled in to their works. He highlights the differences in resources available to the modern reader and Jung, for example. To paraphrase, we have far more, and far better textual resources available to us now, from which we are able to draw upon these traditions such as Chan Buddhism, Taoism and Zen.

  28. 5 out of 5

    A.

    Critiques of the Wilhelm translation and Jung Commentary : "What Jung did not know was that the text he was reading was in fact a garbled translation of a truncated version of a corrupted recension of the original work." - Thomas Cleary, introduction, The Secret of the Golden Flower. ************* "In Europe the Golden Flower opened slightly some forty years ago when Richard Wilhelm, prefaced by C. G. Jung, revealed its "secret." [1] It is not the least of the contradictions attaching to this work Critiques of the Wilhelm translation and Jung Commentary : "What Jung did not know was that the text he was reading was in fact a garbled translation of a truncated version of a corrupted recension of the original work." - Thomas Cleary, introduction, The Secret of the Golden Flower. ************* "In Europe the Golden Flower opened slightly some forty years ago when Richard Wilhelm, prefaced by C. G. Jung, revealed its "secret." [1] It is not the least of the contradictions attaching to this work that it has become almost as well known thanks to Professor Jung's commentary as by reason of its own text: there is nevertheless no common measure between the two. The object of this commentary, so wrote the celebrated psychiatrist, "is to try and build the bridge of an interior, spiritual understanding between East and West." However, since the parallelism here was being established on a psychic level, not on a spiritual level, the said "bridge" he was building was that of a total confusing of values. The "action in non-acting" of Liu-tsu, the "fasting of the heart" (sin-chai) of Chuang-tse, the Taoist "spontaneity" (tso-jan) do not spell a "psychic laisser faire" opening a path for the suspect fantasies of the unconscious any more than does the "self-abandoning" of Meister Eckhart." [1] English edition : The Secret of the Golden Flower (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., London, 1931). In the original Chinese title of the work the word "secret" does not figure, but only the expression tsong-che = "treatise, fundamental teaching." - Pierre Grison - "The Golden Flower and its Fruit"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Norent Khy

    Review of the translation by Thomas Cleary. (I have also read the translation by Richard Wilhelm.) It is clear that the translator has some knowledge of, understanding of, and attainments in Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This makes the text clearer and much more suitable for cultivation compared to Wilhelm & Jung's version. The difference between the translations is so big - however much I adore Jung's intellect and character - that it's almost not funny, to the point that it's funny again. I Review of the translation by Thomas Cleary. (I have also read the translation by Richard Wilhelm.) It is clear that the translator has some knowledge of, understanding of, and attainments in Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This makes the text clearer and much more suitable for cultivation compared to Wilhelm & Jung's version. The difference between the translations is so big - however much I adore Jung's intellect and character - that it's almost not funny, to the point that it's funny again. If you really have to read Wilhelm and Jung's version, do so, but I really recommend reading Cleary's version afterwards. This book by Cleary is more complete than I expect of a translation. The translated portion offers proper metaphors to support the practice of meditation. The notes are there to explain the used metaphors, which can serve as bridges for some of the gaps between western and eastern cultures. The afterword by the translator tells of his own story/relation with the book, his own cultivation, and where he perceives the book to be positioned in the space of schools of spirituality. For serious endeavours of cultivation guided by this book, I would recommend reading it completely, starting to practice turning the light around. It is only when the risks are clear, that practice can bring merit. Or as Dogen said: Engage yourself in meditation as though saving your head from fire. NOTE: Seek professional help if you need your life to be more or less in order. The practices of this book is for those that seek for more from their ordinary lives.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leman C

    A great translation and explanation of the teachings of Ancient Chinese spirituality. The book has diagrams in it to explain the process of meditation and enlightenment. Dr. Carl G. Jung's commentary is a bonus. Both Lü Dongbin and Dr. Jung have done a wonderful job in explaining the ancient Chinese teaching of spirituality. This book teaches the readers once-secret teaching of how to meditate the right way to reach enlightenment. Dr. Jung's commentary helped me understand the meaning of ancient A great translation and explanation of the teachings of Ancient Chinese spirituality. The book has diagrams in it to explain the process of meditation and enlightenment. Dr. Carl G. Jung's commentary is a bonus. Both Lü Dongbin and Dr. Jung have done a wonderful job in explaining the ancient Chinese teaching of spirituality. This book teaches the readers once-secret teaching of how to meditate the right way to reach enlightenment. Dr. Jung's commentary helped me understand the meaning of ancient eastern philosophical teachings. Dr. Jung's Definition of the anima and the animus, subconscious and conscious vs. Chinese version of it help the reader understand what the ancient teaching is. Dr. Jung's commentary about the mind- soul relation has helped me understand one part in a different book called "Hermes Trismegistus to Divine Pymander" that I had difficulty understanding. Eastern philosophy has always fascinated me. I highly recommend this book to people that are into spirituality, meditation, and the human psyche (which is extremely complicated). This book is so valuable that I think everyone must read and learn Eastern philosophy and find what they are. I loved the book. I may reread it again because I want to be enlightened and reach my source. Go back home and stay with the divine, if you will.

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