The Secret of the Golden Flower

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The Secret of the Golden Flower

The Secret of the Golden Flower,太乙金華宗旨-TàiyǐJīnhuáZōngzhǐ, translation by Richard Wilhelm, commentary by C.G Jung (first published 1931, constant re-prints)

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Highlight: One of the first works to explain Taoist concepts and Chinese meditation techniques to a Western audience, this book is a great read for those who would like to understand more about the philosophy behind Martial Arts, especially Tai’Chi.

Key themes: Spirituality, meditation, philosophy

Jung and Wilhelm were some of the first westerners to systematically try to understand Chinese philosophy with reference to the I Ching (“Book of Changes”), which the distinguished Sinologist Richard Wilhelm also translated, with a foreword by renowned psychologist Carl Jung. They explore their interpretation of concepts such asqi(气) in English, which is translated as a sort of “breath energy”.

The original text The Secret of the Golden Flowerwas thought to have been written by the late Tang dynasty master LüDongbin (呂洞賓), but actually, we now know that it was first published in the early Qing dynasty (清代前期), around the years 1668-1692.

In Chinese, the central idea of this book can be described asnèidānshù (內丹术). The challenge, for modern readers (as for the original translators) is to find a meaningful description and explanation of this concept in English, bearing in mind the fundamental differences between the Eastern and Western psyche. In short, this book provides details on a range of meditation practices which originate from the Taoist tradition, focusing on the immortal spirit-body, and designed to prolong life.

“Action through non-action”.

“Though one does not destroy things, neither does one pay attention to them; this is the contemplation of the Centre”.

“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”.

 

 


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