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Tantra in China: Taoism and Chinese Buddhism

Subject: Tantra in China: Taoism and Chinese Buddhism (Ch'an) 
	Zen - Japanese; an abbreviation of the word 'zenna' (also 'zenno'), 
	the Japanese way of reading Chinese Ch'an-na (short form, ch'an).  
	This in turn is the Chinese version of the Sanskrit word 'dhyana', 
	which refers to collectness of mind or meditative absorption in 
	which all dualistic distinctions like I/you, subject/object, and 
	true/false are [resolved]....
	Exoterically regarded, Zen, or Ch'an as it is called when referring 
	to its history in China, is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that 
	developed in China in the 6th and 7th centuries from the meeting 
	of Dhyana Buddhism, which was brought to China by Bodhidharma, 
	and Taoism....
	The essential nature of Zen can be summed up in the four short 
	  (1) '(a) special transmission outside the [orthodox] teaching'...; 
	  (2) 'nondependence on [sacred] writings...; 
	  (3) 'direct pointing [to the] human heart...; leading to 
	  (4) realization of [one's own] nature [and] becoming a buddha.'...
	Esoterically regarded, Zen is not a religion but rather an 
	indefinable, incommunicable root, free from all names, 
	descriptions, and concepts, that can only be experienced by 
	each individual for him- or herself.  From expressed forms of 
	this, all religions have sprung.  In this sense Zen is not bound 
	to any religion, including Buddhism.  It is primordial perfection 
	of everything existing, designated by the most various names, 
	experienced by all great sages, saints, and founders of all 
	cultures and times.  Buddhism has referred to it as 'the identity 
	of samsara and nirvana.'  From this point of view zazen is not a 
	'method' that brings people living in ignorance (avidya) to the 
	'goal' of liberation; rather it is the immediate expression and 
	actualization of the perfection present in every person at every 
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pgs. 261-3.
	Dhyana - Sanskrit; meditation, absorption (Pali, jhana; 
	Chinese, ch'an-na or ch'an; Japanese, zenna or zen); in general 
	any absorbed state of mind brought about through concentration 
	(samadhi).  Such a state is reached through the entire attention 
	dwelling uninterruptedly on a physical or mental object of 
	meditation; in this way the mind passes through various stages 
	in which the currents of the passions gradually fade away....
	The first absorption stage is characterized by the relinquishing 
	of desires and unwholesome factors...and is reached through 
	conceptualization... and discursive thought...  In this stage, 
	there is joyful interest... and well-being....  The second stage 
	is characterized by the coming to rest of conceptualization and 
	discursive thought, the attainment of inner calm, and so-called 
	one-pointedness of mind, which means concentration on an object 
	of meditation.  Joyful interest and well-being continue.  In the 
	third stage joy disappears, replaced by equanimity...; one is 
	alert, aware, and feels well-being.  In the fourth stage only 
	equanimity and wakefulness are present.
	In Chinese Buddhism the notion of dhyana has a much broader 
	application.  It includes all meditation practices such as 
	anapanasati, kasina exercises, contemplation of the body, and 
	other similar techniques that have concentration or one-
	pointedness of mind as their objective.  Thus it also includes 
	all preparatory practices necessary for dhyana in the narrower 
	sense.  From Dhyana Buddhism, which was brought to China by 
	Bodhidharma, among others, Ch'an (Zen) developed.  
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pgs. 56-57.
From Meditation to Enlightenment: Bodhidharma and Hui-neng
	Bodhidharma - ...the twenty-eighth patriarch after Shakyamuni 
	Buddha in the Indian lineage and the first Chinese patriarch 
	of Ch'an (Zen)....
	It is not certain whether he died [in North China] or again 
	left the monastery after he had transmitted the patriarchy 
	to Hui-k'o.... After nine years... he became homesick for 
	India and decided to return there.  Before departing, he 
	called his disciples to him in order to test their realization.  
	The first disciple he questioned answered, 'The way I 
	understand it, if we want to realize the truth we should neither 
	depend entirely upon words nor entirely do away with words; 
	rather we should use them as a tool on the Way (do).'  
	Bodhidharma answered him, 'You have grasped my skin.'  The next 
	to come forward was a nun, who said, 'As I understand it, the 
	truth is an auspicious display of the buddha-paradise; one sees 
	it once, then never again.'  To her Bodhidharma replied, 'You 
	have grasped my flesh.'  The next disciple said, 'The four 
	great elements are empty and the five skandhas are nonexistent.  
	There is in fact nothing to grasp.'  To this Bodhidharma l
	responded, 'You have grasped my bones.'   Finally it was 
	Hui-k'o's turn.  He, however, said nothing, only bowed to the 
	master in silence.  To him Bodhidharma said, 'You have 
	grasped my marrow.'
	The form of meditative practice the Bodhidharma taught still l
	owed a great deal to Indian Buddhism.  His instructions were 
	to a great extent based on the traditional sutras of Mahayana 
	Buddhism....  Typical Chinese Zen, which is a fusion of the 
	Dhyana Buddhism represented by Bodhidharma and indigenous 
	Chinese Taoism and which is described as a 'special transmission 
	outside the orthodox teaching'..., first developed with Hui-neng, 
	the sixth patriarch of Zen in China, and the great Zen masters 
	of the T'ang period who followed him. 
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pgs. 23-24.
	'Sects are merely a reflection of the number of disciples.  If 
	disciples proliferate, then the lineage tends to divide into l
	new sects.  If they dwindle, the sect may disappear.  All sects 
	have the same root, and the differences between them are not 
	essential.  They are just a question of lineage....'
	This has not always been understood by Western investigators 
	accustomed to the idea that there is a connection between sect 
	and doctrine, nor by the Buddhist specialists of Japan, where 
	sects have remained exclusive and their doctrinal differences 
	have been preserved.  Some Japanese have taken it as evidence 
	of decay and this may be one of the reasons why they have 
	avoided the study of modern Chinese Buddhism.
	The classification of monasteries in modern China has been 
	almost as nominal as the classification of monks.  Essentially 
	each belonged to the sect of the founder, that is, of the 
	ancestral master who 'opened the mountain.'...
	In this technical sense there were very few monasteries in 
	China that were not Ch'an.  
	"The Practice of Chinese Buddhism", Holmes Welch, p. 395.
	Hui-neng - ...the sixth patriarch of Ch'an (Zen) in China...   
	Hui-neng was one of the most important Ch'an masters.  He 
	gave Ch'an, which had hitherto been strongly marked by 
	traditional Indian Buddhism, a typical Chinese stamp.  Thus 
	he is sometimes regarded as the real father of the Ch'an 
	(Zen) tradition.  He never transmitted the patriarchate 
	formally to a successor; thus it came to an end....
	With Hui-neng, who as an uneducated layman received the 
	transmission of the patriarchate against all conventions of 
	the religious establishment, a decisive step was made 
	toward the assimilation of Indian Dhyana Buddhism into the 
	Chinese mind-set, as well as toward the development of a 
	native Chinese Ch'an that was at least as strongly marked 
	by Taoism as by Buddhism.  It was this Southern school with 
	its radical rejection of mere book learning (a view already 
	exemplified for centuries by Taoist sages), and its 
	practical down-to-earthness combined with dry humor, so 
	typical of the Chinese folk character, that produced all the 
	great lineages of Ch'an.  
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pgs. 95-96.
	Tongo - Japanese, literally 'sudden [ton] enlightenment 
	[go, satori]'; the teaching of sudden enlightenment, associated 
	with the Southern School.  It is contrasted with the teaching of 
	gradual enlightenment (zengo) associated with the Northern 
	school.  The distinction between 'sudden' and 'gradual' is, 
	however, a superficial one - deeper Zen realization makes evident 
	that there is no contradiction between the two.  Thus Hui-neng, 
	the sixth patriarch of Ch'an (Zen) in China, who is considered 
	the founder of the school of sudden enlightenment, stresses again 
	and again... that sudden and gradual are not in the dharma: 'In 
	the dharma there is neither sudden nor gradual.  Because of 
	delusion or enlightenment, it goes slow and fast.'
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", p. 228.
	Maya - Sanskrit, literally 'deception, illusion, appearance.'  
	The continually changing, impermanent phenomenal world of
	appearances and forms, of illusion or deception, which an 
	unenlightened mind takes as the only reality.  The concept of 
	maya is used in opposition to that of the immutable, essential 
	absolute...  The recognition of all dharmas as maya is equivalent 
	to the experience of 'awakening'... and the realization of 
	nirvana.  According to the highest teachings of Buddhism, as 
	they are formulated, for example, in Zen, it is not actually 
	an illusion or deception to regard the phenomenal world as real; 
	the deception consists rather in taking the phenomenal world to 
	be the immutable and only reality and thus to misplace the view 
	of what is essential.  Fundamentally, the relative and the 
	absolute are one and identical, and maya (...delusion) and 
	bodhi (enlightenment) are one.  
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pgs. 141-142.
Struggle to Enlightenment:  Kendo and Mondo
	Kanna Zen - Japanese..., literally 'Zen of the contemplation 
	of words'; an expression coined in the lifetime of the 
	Chinese master Ta-hui designate the style of 
	Ch'an (Zen) that regarded the koan as the most important means 
	of training on the way to awakening (enlightenment, kensho, 
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", pg. 111.
	Mondo - Japanese..., literally 'question [and] answer'; 
	Zen dialogue between masters or between master and student 
	in which one party asks a question concerning Buddhism or 
	some existential problem that has profoundly disquieted him 
	and the other, without recourse in any way to theory or logic, 
	responds in a way that invokes the answer from the deepest 
	layers of his partner's heart-mind...."  
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", p. 146.
	Kendo - Japanese, literally 'Way of the sword'; fencing in 
	the Japanese style, in which the sword is wielded in both 
	hands....  it was customary for adepts of kendo to train 
	in Zen in order to develop the presence of mind, the ability 
	to react spontaneously (joriki), and fearless readiness to 
	die.  Some Japanese Zen masters were at the same time 
	outstanding masters of the sword.
	In a text by the Zen master Takuan, in which he compares 
	the mental attitude of a practitioner of Zen with that of 
	a sword fighter, we find : 

		From the point of view of the right 
		understanding of ken, not only Zen but also the 
		great law of Heaven and Earth as well as all the 
		laws of the universe are nothing other than kendo; 
		and conversely, from the point of view of Zen, 
		not only ken but also everything in the universe 
		is nothing more than the motion of waves on the 
		ocean of Zen.  More incisively put, the unity of 
		ken and Zen refers to that stage in which there 
		is neither ken nor Zen, and yet we cannot find 
		anything in the universe that is not ken and 
		not Zen....  
	"Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen", p.. 115.
	The mind must always be in the state of 'flowing,' for 
	when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted
	and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-
	being of the mind.  In the case of the swordsman, it means 
	When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not 
	to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy's 
	sword movements.  He just stands there with his sword which,
	forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the 
	dictates of the unconscious.  The man has effaced himself as 
	the wielder of the sword.  When he strikes, it is not the 
	man but the sword in the hand of the unconscious that strikes.
	"Zen in the Martial Arts", by Joe Hyams, p. 92.
	Hossen - Japanese, literally 'dharma contest'; the method 
	typical for Zen of demonstrating the living truth directly, 
	without recourse to discursive thinking or philosophical or 
	religious doctrine.  Hossen, like Mondo, consists of an 
	exchange of words, questions and answers, gestures and 
	responses between two enlightened people.  While the mondo 
	usually consists of one question and one answer, the hossen 
	can develop into an extended encounter.  Most koans consist 
	of hossen or mondo that have been handed down by tradition.
	"In contrast to what the term dharma contest might suggest, a hossen is not a matter of debate; it is not a question of defeating an enemy in discussion or determining which partner is the 'better man.'  The participants in a hossen speak from their Zen experience, which admits of no antagonism, no I-you split.  They make use of these occasions only to test the depth of their own experience in an encounter with a person of greater spiritual power and in this way to train themselves further."  Dictionary of B and Z, p. 87.
	"Koan - Japanese, literally 'public notice'; the Chinese kung-an originally meant a legal case constituting a precedent.  In Zen a koan is a phrase from a sutra or teaching on Zen realization..., an episode from the life of an ancient master, a mondo or a hossen - whatever the source, each points to the nature of ultimate reality.  Essential to a koan is paradox, i.e., that which is 'beyond' (Greek, para) 'thinking' (Greek, dokein), which transcends the logical or conceptual.  Thus, since it cannot be solved by reason, a koan is not a riddle.  Solving a koan requires a leap into another level of comprehension.
	"...Since the koan eludes solution by means of discursive understanding, it makes clear to the student the limitations of thought and eventually forces him to transcend it in an intuitive leap, which takes him into a world beyond logical contradictions and dualistic modes of thought...
	"In general koan practice is associated with the Rinzai school (kanna Zen), however koans have also been used, both in China and Japan, in the Soto school (mokusho Zen).  To begin with, koan practice prevents a student from falling back after a first enlightenment experience...into 'everyman's consciousness'...; beyond that, it helps the student to deepen and extend his realization."  
	Dictionary of B and Z, p. 117.
	"Why is it, then, that Ch'an masters encourage their followers 'to eat when hungry' and 'to sleep when tired' but drew the line at 'Have sex when feeling randy'? - especially in light of this exchange in a text attributed to Bodhidharma, The Grand Patriarch of Ch'an.  Bodhidharma states emphatically, 'Lay people as well as monks and nuns are intrinsically Buddhas, and if they see into their natures they become 
	enlightened.'  A puritan Buddhist objected, 'Lay people still engage in sex, so how can they attain Buddhahood?'  Bodhidharma's rejoinder: 'Once one sees into his or her nature, sexual desire is perceived as essentially empty, and one no longer delights in it as purely physical pleasure.  However, even if one continues to indulge in sex, it is performed as a function of Buddha-nature, free of attachment."
	Lust for Enlightenment, p. 89.
	"In 845 there was a brief but vigorous persecution of Buddhism by the Taoist Emperor Wu-tsung.  Temples and monasteries were destroyed, their lands confiscated, and the monks compelled to return to lay life.  Fortunately, his enthusiasm for Taoist alchemy soon involved him in experiments with the 'Elixir of Immortality,' and from 
	partaking of this concoction he shortly died.  Zen had survived the pesecution better than any other school, and now entered  into a long era of imperial and popular favor.  Hundreds of monks thronged its wealthy monastic institutions, and the fortunes of the school so prospered and its numbers so increased that the preservation of its spirit became a very serious problem.
	"Popularity almost invariably leads to a deterioration of quality, and as Zen became less of an informal spiritual movement and more of a settled institution, it underwent a curious change of character.  It became necessary to 'standardize' its methods and to find means for the masters to handle students in large numbers.  There were also the special problems which arise for monastic communities when 
	their membership increases, their traditions harden, and their novices tend more and more to be mere boys without natural vocation, sent for training by their pious families.  The effect of this last factor upon the development of institutional Zen can hardly be underestimated.  For the Zen community became less an association of mature men with spiritual interests, and more of an ecclesiastical boarding school for adolescent boys.
	"Under such circumstances the problem of discipline became paramount.  The Zen masters were forced to concern themselves not only with the way of liberation from convention, but also with the instilling of convention, of ordinary manners and morals, in raw youths.  The mature Western student who discovers an interest in Zen as a philosophy or as a way of liberation must be careful to keep this in mind, for 
	otherwise he may be unpleasantly startled by monastic Zen as it exists today in Japan.  He will find that Zen is a discipline enforced with a big stick.  He will find that, although it is still an effective way of liberation at its 'upper end,' its main preoccupation is with a disciplinary regimen which 'trains characater' in the same way as the old-fashioned British public school or the Jesuit novitiate.  But it does the job remarkably well.  The 'Zen type' is an extremely fine type - as types go - 
	self-reliant, humorous, clean and orderly to a fault, energetic though unhurried, and 'hard as nails' without lack of keen aesthetic sensibility.  The general impression of these men is they have the same balance as the Daruma doll: they are not rigid, but no one can knock them down.
	"Still another crucial problem arises when a spiritual institution comes into prosperity and power - the very human problem of competition for office and of who has the right to be master.  Concern for this problem is reflected in the writing of the Ch'uan Teng Lu, or 'Record of the Transmission of the Lamp,' by Tao-yuan in about 1004 [e.v.].  For one of the main objects of this work was to establish a proper 'apostolic succession' for the Zen tradition, so that no one could claim authority unless his satori had been approved by someone who had been approved... right back to the time of Buddha himself.
	"Nothing,  however, is more difficult than establishing proper qualifications in the imponderable realm of spiritual insight.  Where the candidates are few the problem is not so grave, but the process of teaching and testing requires standardization.  Zen solved this problem with a remarkable engenuity, employing a means which not only provided a test of competence but - what was much more - a means of transmitting Zen experience itself with a minimum of falsification.
	"This extraordinary invention was the system of the kung-an (Japanese, koan) or 'Zen problem.'  Literally, this term means a 'public document' or 'case' in the sense of a decision creating a legal precedent.  Thus the koan system involves 'passing' a series of tests based on the mondo or anecdotes of the old masters.  One of the beginning koans is Chao-chou's answer 'Wu' or 'No' to the question of whether the dog has Buddha nature.  The student is expected to show that he has experienced the meaning of the koan by a specific and usually nonverbal demonstration he has to discover intuitively."  The Way of Zen, Watts, pgs. 103-105.
	"In the West, just as the division into sects has often been accompanied by a release of energy, so has the combination of sects (not unlike chemical reactions).  But once again nothing comparable has happened in the recent history of Chinese Buddhism, perhaps because little energy can be expected from combining things that are already closely interlocked.  The same applies to Buddhism's relationship with...Taoism....
	"...Organizationally [Taoism] was a separate religion.  Not even the most simple-minded peasant could make a mistake about this, for Taoist monks wore their hair in a top-knot, whereas the Buddhists were shaven.  But there was a mutual borrowing of gods and rites, in which the Taoists probably owed more to the Buddhists than vice versa, particularly with regard to the monastic system.  This 
	would help to explain why Taoist monks were allowed to the wandering monks hall even at model Buddhist monasteries.  They knew how to conduct themeselves when they attended devotions, when they took their meals in the refectory, and when they sat in the hall for reciting buddha's name.  What they recited themselves was not necessarily the name of any buddha."
	The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, p. 401.
	"For the non-abstract mind, the least unsatisfactory way of visualizing the Chinese concept of creation is as a kind of multidimensional weather map, with constantly varying channels of atmosphere pressure, air currents flowing, colliding, and recoiling, cloudes teased out into whisps of cirrius, fluffed into slow-moving cumulus, or towering into thunderheads.  And weaving an erratic vapor trail through them all, powered as if by a serious of spectral gear wheels, the force known as ch'i - the vital essence, the breath of life - whose path is the Supreme Path, the Way, Tao.
	"The key feature of this Chinese perception of the world, as of the weather map, is movement, unevenness, undulation.  All the elements are in a continuing state of advance or retreat.  When one thrusts forward, another must fall back.  When one contracts, another expands.  There is no active without a corresponding passive, no positive without a compensating negative.
	"Until the middle of the first millennium B.C. these ideas remained vague, understood but unexpressed.  Then the divination manual, the I-ching (the 'Book of Changes'), named the passive force yin and the active yang and described how they meshed together to propel the ch'i along the Supreme Path.  'The interaction of one yin and one yang is called Tao, and the resulting constant generative process is called 'change.''
	"The philosophy that grew around the concept of the Way was known as Taoism, and its adherents believed (and still believe) that long life and happiness, immortality even, would result if instead of being subjected to the artificiality of tightly structured societies man could learn to live in perfect harmony with nature.  To achieve this, it was necessary for each individual to aim, in his or hier own existence, at the same harmonious interaction of yin and yang as was responsible, in nature, for energizing the ch'i, the breath of life, and to learn how to strengthen both elements as, in nature, they were strengthened by contact with, and absorption of, each other.
	"The opposing yet complementary foces of yin and yang could be observed in many natural phenomena.  The moon and winter were both yin, the sun and summer yang.  When the sexual parallels came to be drawn, woman - despite a common misapprehension not only in the West but sometimes in China itself - was classified not as pure yin but as 'lesser yin,' and man, similarly, as 'lesser yang.'  It was a recognition of the 
	psychological truth that there is an element of active yang in even the most passive woman and of negative yin in even the most positive man.  The associated belief that, in both sexes, the subsidiary element fed and strengthened the principal one was to play a crucial role in the development of Taoist and indeed all Chinese views on sex.
	"Since it was the exercise of the mind and will that has led humans astray from the natural Path, the disciplines that led back to it were ncessarily disciplines of the body.  One of the most important of these was, of course, sex, whose relevance was easy enough to explain without recourse to too much obscure symbolism.  It took 
	little effort of the imagination to recognize that sexual intercourse was the human equivalent of interaction between the cosmic forces of yin and yang, even when the parallels were drawn not in the direct fleshly sense of vagina and penis, but more subtly as yin essence (the mosture lubricating a woman's sexual organs) and yang essence (man's semen).
	"The sexual disciplines of Taoism were easy to understand and, within limits, pleasurable to follow, but others required a more positive approach, a deliberate dedication.  This was not because they were mysterious in themselves.  Indeed, few modern doctors asked to prescribe a regimen for a long and healthy life would find much to argue with in the basic Taoist program - regular exercise, balanced diet, 
	good breath control, sun therapy, and a full sex life - although for the final item on the list, the elixir of immortality, they would probably substitute its twentieth-century successor, the vitamin pill.  When the requirements of yin-yang harmony were grafted to such a program, however, most of the disciplines ceased to be simple either to perform or to understand.
	"The whole philosophy of Tao, in fact, became at an early stage so abstruse, so inextricably linked with the mysteries of divination, that only the most committed student could hope to progress beyond first principles.  The real problem was that although the basic concept could be perceived without very great difficulty by means of instinct or intuition, it was resistant to the constraint of language.  
	Words, except for the true adept, only too often made nonsense of it.  'Being is Non-Being and Non-Being is Being... The Real is Empty and the Empty is Real....'  Partly as a result, diagrams, calligraphy, painting and sculpture - whose meaning did not have to be filtered through the rational mind - became a characteristic philosophic-religious device.  Whereas a Renaissance painting of the Virgin and 
	Child, or the Last Supper, or the Crucifixion, illustrates only a fragmentary part of the whole of Christian belief, a thirteenth-century Sun landscape conveys the entire philosophic harmony of yin and yang.  This this same harmony could also be conveyed by frankly erotic representations of sexual intercourse was a bonus for Taoists who were low on artistic sensibility.
	"The Tao Masters lived and thought on a level too rarefied for the common man, their dissertations as unrelated to the mind of the 'average' Chinese as those of modern theologians to the once-a-month Western churchgoer.  On the level of ordinary life, as a result, the convoluted, sophisticated philosophy of Taoism was transformed into a magical creed whose followers abandoned reason in favor of faith.  But just as the Fathers of the early Christian church helped to shape the attitude toward sex of 
	the whole Western world, so the Taoist Masters helped to shape that of the Chinese.  Just as the European of early medieval times knew, without quite understanding why, that sex was sinful but occasionally permissible, so his contemporary in China knew, without quite understanding why, that sex was a sacred duty and one that he must perform frequently and conscientiously if he was to truly achieve harmony with the Supreme Path, the Way, Tao.
	"Since sexual intercourse was one of the main highways to heaven there was no reason to remain silent about it.  Quite the opposite, even if normal Chinese reticence on personal matters often had the effect of excluding it from general conversation.  This scarcely mattered, for it was the Chinese who produced the world earliest known, most comprehensive, and most detailed sex manuals.  Many 
	Westerners even today would regard these as pornographic, but pornography is a matter of cultural conditioning.  To the Chinese they were serious works, seriously designed to educate their readers in the manner of achieving yin-yang, woman-man, harmony.  Since they were Taoist in conception and Taoism was a yin creed, calm, flexible, intuitive, they were intended as much for the woman as for the man, and indeed were frequently given to a bride before her wedding."
	Sex in History, by Reay Tannahill, pgs. 165-170.
	"The ideal, according to the handbooks, was for the man to prolong intercourse for as long as possible; the longer he remained inside the woman, the more yin essence he would absorb.  He must also, without fail, rouse her to orgasm, when her essence reached maximum potency.  To the Chinese, uniquely, a woman's orgasm was no less important to the man than to herself.
	"But there is an important qualification.  There was little purpose in strengthening the man's yang essence if he promptly squandered it by himself reaching climax.
	"The basic way of avoiding this, said the Master Tung-hsuan (who is believed to have been a seventh-century physician), was as follows.  At the last moment, 'the man closes his eyes and concentrates his thoughts; he presses his tongue against the roof of his mouth, bends his back, and stretches his neck.  He opens his nostrils wide and squares his shoulders, closes his mouth, and sucks his breath.  Then [he will not ejaculate and] the semen will ascend inward on its own account.'  What the Master recommended, in effect, was a few moments' powerful discipline.
	"As well as this method of coitus reservatus, the Chinese used coitus obstructus.  It was described in _Important Matters of the Jade Chamber_.  'When, during the sexual act, the man feels he is about to ejaculate, he should quickly and firmly, using the fore and middle fingers of the left hand, put pressure on the spot between scrotum and anus, simultaneously inhaling deeply and gnashing his teeth scores of times, without holding his breath.  Then the semen will be activated but not yet 
	emitted; it returns from the Jade Stalk * and enters the brain.'  What this method achieved, in fact as distinct from theory, was diversion of the seminal fluid from the penis into the bladder, from which it would later be flushed away with the urine.  It was a kind of coitus interruptus and had the same contraceptive effect; in fact, it was used for birth control purposes in later times by Turks, Armenians, the islanders of the Marquesas, and the sophisticated nineteenth-century commune founded by John Humphrey Noyes at Oneida, New York."
	[* - 'Jade Stalk' was one of several Chinese synonyms for the penis, and the reference was not, of course, to green jade but to the more precious, creamy-colored 'white' jade.  Other synonyms were Red Bird, Coral Stem, Heavenly Dragon Pillar, and Swelling Mushroom.  A woman's sexual organs might be The Open Peony Blossom, Golden Lotus, Receptive Vase, or The Cinnabar (or Vermillion) Gate.] 
	Sex in History, pgs. 170-171.
	"In alchemy the pairs of opposites are at first antagonistic and later unified through the 'work', but in Taoist alchemy the antagonism is not stressed so much as the interaction and co-operation of the two principles, male and female, sun and moon, spiritual and temporal powers, red and white, sulphur and quicksilver.  Nor did Chinese alchemy employ the symbolism of gold to the same extent as other branches of the work.  Gold with its associations with money and commerce, was considered vulgar and beneath the notice of the scholar and outside the range of interest of 
	the Sage; the Chinese alchemist originally belonged to the scholarly and cultured class.  It was longevity and the elixir of immortality that chiefly engaged their attention.  Alchemy is essentially initiatory and so its ideas are in line with the normal practice of Taoism, which presupposes the transmission of esoteric knowledge from master to pupil and a discipline of meditation and contemplation.  A sharp distinction must be drawn between the mystical alchemy of the scholar, working on an entirely spiritual plane, and the debased alchemy which appeared later in the hands of an ignorant priesthood whose 'alchemy' was largely indistinguishable from magick, spiritualism and shamanistic practices.  It is more than likely that decadent Taoism borrowed from these ideas and magical rites direct 
	from shamanism, since 'the notions of the 'herb of immortality', of animal and vegetable substances charged with 'vitality' and containing the elixir of eternal youth, as well as myths concerning inaccessible regions inhabited by immortals, are part of a primitive ideology going far beyond the confines of China.'  The ignorant and foolish misunderstood the 'work' of alchemy and looked for the making of the material, instead of the spiritual, riches or 'wealth'.  These mistaken and stupid people were called 'charcoal burners' by the genuine alchemists of the West, and 'blowers' in the East.  They laboured under the delusion that the work was material, that lead could be turned into solid gold instead of into the pure gold of effulgence of spiritual enlightenment.  The transmutation sought was, in fact, that 
	of man himself from his 'base' metal or leaden state into perfection of the light symbolized by gold, a purely inner work of transformation.  The immortality, the 'changing skins' sought in the elixir was enlightenment, realization of the Tao, changin from one state to another, passing from death to life, 'from the unreal to the real', that 'out of darkness one may go forth into light'.  The old, ignorant nature must be dissolved and transmuted into the new man; this is the 'chaotic' state of alchemny in which dissolution takes place within the sealed vessel, often symbolically egg-shaped, and is employed in Taoism to represent the state of return to the undifferentiated attained in mysticism in the abolition of duality and the return to the Tao.  Here it is of interest to note that, in China, the butterfly is the 
	symbol par excellence of immortality, having, between states of earthbound caterpillar and etherial butterfly, gone through a process of complete dissolution before rebirth into the winged state of freedom."
	Taoism: The Way of the Mystic, by J.C. Cooper, pgs. 89-90.
	"Today Taoism is either a metaphysical and spiritual method, as expounded by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, by which one can guide one's life and seek enlightenment, or it is, amongst the people, a decadent mass of superstition.
	"After the life of a founder and his immediate followers, the first purity of a doctrine suffers at the hands of those who have found the teaching too hard or too austere and who seek to turn it into an easier way.  Mankind is naturally lazy and looks for something more easily understood or which can be manipulated to suit its tastes.  Lao Tzu's teaching of the Tao was, as he said, inexpressible in any case, and the ideas of self-emptiness, the void, wu-wei and the emphasis laid on pure being were too metaphysical and intellectual a standard for the understanding and taste of the average man who prefers the familiar terrain of moral codes and creeds.
	"Decadence set in after the Sung Dynasty when, under the Wei, those who professed Taoism developed a nihilistic attitude, abdicated from the world, draowned their disillusionment in wine and formed a school of artists, philosophers and poets known as 'the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove'.  They were men of keen wit, but who lacked, in their egoistic renunciation, the balance of the true Sage.  Taoism fell graduallly from the sublime metaphysics of a noble and spiritual culture to the 
	lowest form of popular superstitions and beliefs in all manner of gods and demons.  From being non-theistic, it developed a vast pantheon of gods and tood over decadent Buddhism's pantheon as well.  It catered for the innate superstition found in human nature and so beloved by it, so that the pure teaching of union with the Tao fell into the crude cult of longevity and personal immortality.  Decadence sought to prolong the physical life instead of renewing the spiritual.
	"The element of distortion and exaggeration must always be present in decadence, so from having no Heaven and Hell, both were established with all their most lurid concomitants.  The supernatural became wholly divorced from the natural.  Pure alchemy descended into the hunt for drugs of 'liberation', the use of which is always symptomatic of decadence, both spiritual and physical.  Instead of mastering his own nature, the Taoist, now a priest and magician, set out to master the forces of nature.  He claimed that he could, literally, ride on the backs of dragons and fly on 
	cranes, symbolic of the messengers between gods and men.  All tehse were physical interpretations of that which had once been the symbol of the liberated mind and powers of the spirit, just as the Taoist sword-juggler of the theatre and market-place was the denerate form of the symbol of the knife-bridge or ladder of the perilous and difficult passage to enlightenment.  The magician concentrated on levitation, walking on waters, immunity from burning by fire, and generally sank into shamanism, complete with mediumistic communication with the dead, witchcraft, 
	demonology and all the extravagances of extreme psychism.  The body was cultivated, not to use it as an aid to the spirit, but in order to preserve it for the maximum number of physical years.  Indeed, at the conquest of China by Mongols under Genghis Khan, the decadent Taoist priests found themselves in complete accord with the shamanistic beliefs and practices of the conquerors and attached themselves to teh new dynasty in considerable numbers."
	Taoism: The Way of the Mystic, pgs. 93-94.

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