Cultivation of Xing is about fixing the hole in the fire trigram

A very important aspect of Daoist meditation is “Xing gong,” the art of cultivating the consciousness. In Daoist thinking, Xing is the Yang aspect of the consciousness. It is clear and always present in our waking experience, but not as obvious as the other aspect, Qing. Together, Xing and Qing are represented by the “Shen” spirit which is considered to reside in the heart. The heart is represented by the “Li” fire trigram,

The Li trigam is made up of two yang lines on the outside and one broken yin line on the inside. In this case, Yang represents xing, or conscious perception, and Yin represents Qing, or the emotions and feelings. Day to day, we are more aware of our emotions and feelings than our overall perception. The ancient Daoists believed that following our emotions would lead to indulgence in desire and eventually would injure and kill us, so when they created the various forms of Daoist mediation, one common idea was to mend the broken yin line inside of the fire trigram and change it to the Qian, heaven trigram


The heaven trigram is represented as three pure yang lines and is considered to be the true medicine from which the name “elixir” is derived.
This is why Daoist writings place so much importance on remaining quiet and tranquil, and not giving in to desire. This is why Quanzhen Daoism as created by Wang Chongyang put so much emphasis on first practising Xing and later, developing Ming (life energy).

So what is the easiest way to begin this practice?
Simply set the mind on quiet and calm. Breathe naturally through the nose and focus on collecting your mind into one state of calm silence. Even such a simple practice as this can have long lasting beneficial results if practised frequently.

quote of the day

Observing the natural Dao, there is nothing to observe. Don’t use the eyes to look, use the heart.
The heart is deep and subtle and cannot be seen.
If you can see the natural mind, only then can you illuminate the deep subtlety. This is why it is called “yin.”
Grasping the movement of nature there is nothing to grasp. Do not grasp with the hand, grasp its nature. Its nature changes constantly and has nothing to restrain it. If one can agree with nature, this is called “fu.”(sealing).
Illuminate with the mind, agree with its nature and the yin seal is already complete.
Li Quan believed that yin was the dark, using these words to lead the text, how could anyone be completely unclear? – zhang guo commentary of the first passage of yin fu jing

The quiet and clarity classic (Trans, Robert Coons)

清 靜 經 

The Clarity and Stillness Classic, (Author unknown), translated by Robert Coons.


The old Gentleman said: The great Dao has no form, it gives birth to heaven and earth.
The great Dao has no emotions, it moves the sun and move along their path.


The great Dao has no name, it forever nurtures the ten thousand beings.
I don’t know its name, the strong name I give it is “the way.”


The Dao is both clear and solid, moving and still. The sky is clear the earth is solid, the sky moves, the earth is still.


Male is clear and female is solid. Male moves and female is still. Descending from its root and flowing to its end, and giving birth to the Ten thousand beings.


Clarity is the origin of solidity. Movement is the origin of stillness. If people can remain long clear and still, heaven and earth will return entirely.


He whose spirit wishes to be clear has a confused heart. He who wishes his heart to be still will always be drawn by his desires.


If he can forever diminish his desire, his heart will be quiet of its own accord.
Purifying his heart, his spirit will become clear of its own accord.


Naturally the six desires will not arise, the three poisons will be extinguished.
He who can’t, can’t because his heart is not yet pure.


His desire has not yet been reduced. If he can reduce it, he can observe inside his mind. His mind will be without a mind.


He looks out at his form, his form with without a form. He looks far away at other beings, their being is without a being.


Understanding these three, he only meets with emptiness. Seeing emptiness upon emptiness, the emptiness has no emptiness.


All that is empty is also nothing. Nothing, nothing, and nothing. After nothing, nothing and nothing then he will be deeply quiet.


Quiet and without any quiet, how would his desire arise? Without desire arising, he will be truly still.


Forever complying with nature, forever grasping consciousness. Forever complying, forever still. Forever clear and still.


This clarity and stillness gradually enters the real Dao. After it has entered the real Dao, it is called “obtaining the Dao,”


Even though it is called obtaining the Dao, nothing has been obtained.
Because all life has been changed, it is called obtaining the Dao.


He who understands this can grasp the way of the sages.


The old gentleman said: the highest master does not argue, the lowest master loves to argue. The highest virtue has no virtue, the lowest virtue holds virtue.


That which is held and tries cannot be called the virtue of the Dao. All living things therefore cannot have grasped the true Dao.


If he has a reckless heart, then after he has a reckless heart then he has an upset spirit, after he has an upset spirit


then he tries to affect the ten thousand beings, after he tries to affect the ten thousand beings
then he entreats a greedy purpose, after he entreats a greedy purpose,


Then he will become angry and agitated. Angry, agitated and with uncontrolled thought, he will be tied up in bitterness of body and mind, and he will alone befall disgrace.


Flowing forever between life and death, forever submurged in the bitter sea. Forever losing the true way.


The real forever lasting Dao, if understood, then he will grasp it naturally. If he grasps and understands the Dao, he will be forever clear and still.

Inspirational quote of the day.


Usually when someone wants to study something, they should first clearly understand its principle. Stand upright from the bottom of your feet, set your eyes with a steady gaze, grasp with a firm hand, and if you haven’t gone to the utmost, don’t stop. If you have this kind of determination, you can grasp this one thing. Even if you never make it to the summit, don’t stop half way down the road, or else how can you be called a serious person?
Le Yu Tang. Attributed to Huang Yuanji.


quote of the day

之念正,则天地之心亦正 ; 吾之神清,则太极之理自明。倘能一念不起,久久澄清,虚极静笃之时,则虚室生白,金机飞电,复见天地之心,而自明矣。”
Upright thought makes the heart of heaven and earth also upright. When my spirit is clear, the principle of taiji becomes obvious on its own. If staying without one thought arising, after a long while it will rise to clarity. And the empty room will give birth to white. Gold will naturally fly up as lightening, going back to the heart of heaven and earth and all will become obvious on its own. – xing ming fa jue ming zhi. img_20161018_090229

What is Xing Ming?


Xing and Ming are two of the most important concepts in Daoism, but very little has been written about them outside of China.
To put it simply, Xing is the consciousness and Ming is that which animates life.
Chen Yingning said “xing and ming are like an oil lamp. Ming is the oil and xing is the brilliance of the flame. Without the oil, there could be no flame, but without the flame, the oil would remain unused.” This is a very good twentieth century interpretation of the nature of life and consciousness from a Daoist perspective, but is it the same as what the ancients said?

In the Eastern Han dynasty etymology text book “shuo zi jie wen,” (speaking of words and explaining characters), xing is defined as the yang aspect of the heart and as being paired with its yin equivilent “Qing,” which represents the emotions. Actually, when considering the eight trigrams, Xing is the two solid lines of the fire trigram, Li ☲ and Qing is the inside broken, yin line. In other words, the consciousness surrounds the emotions and the emotions are contained within a larger, clear consciousness represented by the clear sky.

Ming is sometimes viewed as the “jing” or essence of the body, but Wang Chongyang described it as “Qi” or the energy and breath of the body. Zhang Sanfeng went on to elaborate this idea when he said that Ming is called Qi energy because Qi energy and the essence are paired together, with the essence holding the innate energy of the body and making Qi as a way to cycle it throughout the body.
Later Daoist thinker, Li Daochun said in his “Middle Harmony Classic” that Ming is actually the physical body and the Qi. The reason for this is because he interpreted Jing as being the physical origin of our body, so in his thinking, Jing essence would be contained throughout the entire physicality of the body and then be expressed through Qi.

Later yet, in Yin Zhenren’s book “Xing Ming Gui Zhi,” he said that xing is the original mind (yuan shen) and ming is the original essence (yuan jing). The difference between mind and essence and original mind and original essence is that the original aspects of our life reside in the “pre heaven” world, which we already gained through our genetic inheritance during the embryonic phase of the development of our body, this means that these original life essence and original consciousness are not predicated on the aspects of the world that we can decipher through thoughts, feelings, or experiences, but instead is latent deep inside of us and can only be revealed during deep meditation on silence and non action.

Another interpretation is that Xing is the heavens and Ming is the earth, so they are represented as the heaven trigram and the earth trigram, or three unbroken yang lines and three unbroken yin lines. This means that as cultivators of the Dao, we must find a way to return the post heaven mind of fire (two yang with a yin inside) and water (two yin on the outside with a yang inside) back to their original natures of pure yin and pure yang.

As you can see by now, Xing and Ming are one principle with many different ways of understanding. If you can truly exhaust the study of xing and ming, it will be very easy to understand how to master meditation.

If this post has been useful to you, please consider taking one of my meditation courses on the main site
Thank you.

Robert Coonsprettylittletemple

June 2017 Spring Tour of Taiwan’s Tea Fields


Its official, we are planning to make a spring tour of select tea fields and temples in Taiwan. We have gotten the green light from San Jing Organic farms in Nantou to do a tour of the fields, tea production, area, and to get some direct hands on experience in the very unique method of organic tea agriculture being practiced there by tea farmer Li.
We will also go to Muzha to visit various farms making Tieguanyin, both using modern and traditional methods, visit Dong Ding and maybe even Shanlinxi, as well as one of the oldest tea farms in Taiwan. I also have plans to take tour members to the temple dedicated to Shen Nong, the god of agriculture and discoverer of tea, which is on the edge of Taipei. We may also be able to see some other farms and temples, as well as visiting some of taiwan’s most famous tea houses and places of tea history.

The trip will be seven days long, with the first day being pick ups at the Taoyuan airport and every day after that dedicated to different places along the map of Taiwanese tea infrastructure. I’m still sorting out the final details, but I will attempt to make the price affordable and the quality of the tour very high, so I’m sure you will find the trip very enjoyable, educational, and informative.

If you have any interest in taking this tour, please contact me through the website!!