Immortals within the human body

In the early treatise in the document “Laozi middle classic,” immortals of the Daoist tradition are described as living within the bodies of all people. Some such examples are The Eastern Patriarch King and Western Matriarch Queen who live in the left and right eye respectively, as well as the Red Boy, their child who lives between the eyebrows inside the head. These concepts of immortals living within our own body not only served to establish the concept of the human body as a holy place, but also served the role of creating certain types of practices centred around creating a harmonious environment for these gods to occupy. Many ideas arising in later permutations of Daoist meditation also borrow on these ideas and it is very important to recognize the complex relationship between Daoist religious ideas and Nei Dan. This type of early ideology in Daoism seems each individual part of the body as having to be brought into balance and harmony with every other part through various practices including visualization, prayer, ceremony, controlling ones behaviour and other forms of self cultivation. The ideas expressed in such documents are a great interest of mine and over the next few posts I wish to touch more on individual ideas from Laozi’s Middle classic as well as other similar documents, to discuss how they relate to Nei Dan practice, which while coming from the same ideological root, is very different in its understanding of how to create harmony and health in the body and spirit.

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