Dedicated to my Tutor, Mantak Chia
Deceive the heavens to cross the ocean
Far, far away, in the Universe, there is a place that can be called Nothingness. Can be, but no one knows what it really is. I have never met any people who came back from that place. But this is not because such people have never existed, we just did not meet with them in time. When they started their journey to WOO-CHI – this is what that place is called – I had not yet arrived in this world. Thus, I can make judgments about it basing my opinions only on the information they left behind on this Earth.
Soon, in the year 2003 Anno Domini, according to my calculations, the stars will be exactly in the most favourable position, the one that would make the way to WOO-CHI the fastest and easiest, and I too will go there.
WOO-CHI is the final destination of all travels, it is a Mecca for the immortal. Of course, I might have left for WOO-CHI earlier, but I like to experiment. According to my calculations, the favourable star position occurs once every 10,800 years. So, I want not only to leave for WOO-CHI, but also to check the accuracy of my estimations.
Yes, I have always liked experiments. When I decided ‘to curb the dragon’, I was still young, and my only wish was to love and to be loved back, just like in my twenties, and it had been like that throughout all my life. That was why I found another way of doing it, not like all others, who feared or worshipped that ‘dragon’. I tamed him, and he became my friend and my support.
Of course, if you fear or worship, you can be giving away to him your pristine energy, JIN, from the very beginning, every month, probably little by little, but still you would be giving it away. And you can even change your life rhythm and cheat on the moon, make the tide periods longer, but all these, whether you recognize it or not, would be your concessions to your fear. No, I decided to make a loving agreement with the ‘dragon’, and he yielded to me. This is how I got the powerful support of his energy and was able to keep my JIN energy intact.
Sisters, however, did not assume my practice, they were just followers, in the direct meaning of this word, very talented, though.
They were not contributing anything new to the practice, because they considered it perfect. However, it was freedom that accounted for the perfection of it. I dearly loved Sun Bu’er, I adored both her and her poems. But she started practicing only when she was fifty-one, when a considerable part of her pristine energy, JIN, had already gone, and she did not have to spend so much time to resolve the problems associated with her dragon. This is why she did not value my experience. Besides, she had already had three children.
My first child arrived in this world when I was nineteen, and I gave birth to my beautiful goddess when the date of my birth moved by two centuries away from me.
I first met Sun Bu’er in 1184, when she was just sixty. She was sitting at the edge of a cliff, her eyes closed.
“To stop the Dragon.
When everything remains immobile,
It causes movement.
Yin and Yang are creating one another.
Catch the Jade Tiger
At a blow of the wind,
Catch the Golden Bird in the moonshine.
Follow the process of internal change,
And keep focused
On the cessation and return.
When all the bridges are crossed,
The alchemical energy
Returns to the oven.”
She slowly turned her head and addressed me, although I had not given any sign of my presence.
“Sister, come down and join me. It’s a nice morning today. My children are coming to see me and to celebrate my birthday. Earthly duties are also rewarding. I hope to see all my grandchildren. The tea ceremony preparations are in process.”
“Well, since you have noticed me, there is no point in hiding. I liked your poems, Sister. But what do you mean by ‘immobility’? However, I think, we will talk about it later, and now I want to give you some tea as a gift. You are sure to love it. It grew among peach-trees at the secret slope of Lu-Shan Mountain.”
“I do appreciate, Tea Elder, your calling me ‘Sister’. Your fame is like the tender odour of the eternity for those, who have chosen the Way.
“Please, follow me into the house. Soon, it will be filled with the cheerful voices of my grandchildren. It’s not often that we can allow ourselves to indulge in watching the joyous playfulness of these little rulers of the world.”
This wonderful meeting with Sun Bu’er and her children touched me so deeply, that when I was left alone, I had an irresistible wish to experience maternity again.
It was a risky decision, which involved a great deal of responsibility. It was not hard to guess that no one would have approved of my move, even Sun Bu’er. Over the eight centuries I had preserved my ‘jade cluster’ intact. Now it was time ‘to eat’ one of the grapes of this wonderful garden. Besides, it had been quite a challenge to preserve one’s pristine energy for so long, and there was no way to measure it. How could I know whether my decision would be fateful for me, whether I would be able to get over the energy loss, and, besides, whether I would be able to pass on enough energy to my child?
This is why I decided that I should find such a father for my baby, who would possess the most pristine energy. I also made a point of choosing a man of great wealth and a most illustrious name, a man, whose parents might, in case of his death, take good care of the baby and bring him up appropriately. Children have to make their own way. A child needs to get care from both parents, the support of his entire blood, and develop the ability to live among people.
Since my blood was quite influential at the time of my birth, I realized the importance of this. Unfortunately, now the descendants of my family live all across the Celestial Empire, and the link with my parents fades with time, which makes me seek in the lower world support for my child in the strong family of the future father.
Guided by these considerations, I undertook a trip to the lower world to find a positive and potential family. Maybe, some time later I will tell you about that trip, too.
Well, be it for good or for evil, I managed overcome all these problems. But as soon as I had completed my search, I approached a new, an entirely comical problem.
Yes, it was all about love, and about passion. Even you, living in today’s world now, are very well aware that the energy of the embryo is the energy of the love and passion of both the parents. There was this concern: will this young, seventeen–year–old offspring of a wealthy family, who was spending more of his time practicing Kung-Fu than reading books, incite enough love in me. Another, still more amusing question was: which image I should take to make him desire me so passionately that our embryo would get the maximum of our energy support.
Maybe, it was then when I wondered for the first time why in Christianity it was a dove, which came to Virgin Mary. It might have been amusing to see an immortal to come in his real image. Yes, we do not know his name, we do not know what practices allowed him to gain such wisdom and such a degree of immortality, but one thing is clear, he is a great immortal. And one of the reasons to undertake my journey to WOO-CHI is the hope to meet him there.
Often I would imagine the idyllic pictures, how Jesus Christ, hand in hand with his father, was flying over a new beautiful planet somewhere in the vicinity of WOO-CHI. Maybe, they are the same age now, maybe not. Maybe, the father of Jesus Christ is on his second voyage to the Earth, and, maybe, it is not yet the second voyage.
Some time later I will tell you what I was able to learn about Jesus Christ. But I will do so when it is time for it. When you deal with matter, not with information, you are making amazing discoveries. But you get still more excited when you find written evidence of our suppositions in historical documents. It makes me think that some practices at that time in that region – the territories of modern Egypt and Israel – were well developed and accessible to some mortals.
The story of Jesus Christ has always been fascinating to me, but I will come back to this issue another time. I have too much to say about it. At least due to the fact that his father, just like myself, was obsessed about immortality, and also to have had a baby by an earthly, not enlightened, human, a beautiful young virgin. Unlike myself, he knew what destiny was in store for his son, while I did not know anything. I could not even foresee what my baby would be, a boy or a girl. I just wanted to have a baby. I had no one to ask for advice, I did not know any cases of this kind, and everything was against me.
So, who was he, the young man of my choice? His name was Shi, which means a ‘noble man’. He was a descendant of the Southern Song dynasty, Nán Sòng, which at that time was controlling vast territories in the south-east of the central part of China; it is the territory of the modern Guangdong Province. It was there, high in Longhu Shan, Dragon Tiger Mountain, where one could find the most favourable conditions for the alchemical practices of the immortal. It was there, where I was living at that time – these picturesque mountains had been known for thousands of years as a retreat for famous anchorites.
The first time I saw HIM was when he was meditating at dawn on the sports ground in the garden of his house. He was perfection itself. A boy-warrior, whose posture spoke of his great future. He was sitting in the lotus position, his heart meridian closed, a tender, wondering smile on his face. Everything was as clear and transparent as water in a mountain stream – I understood at once that the time had come for him to become a man. His tender heart was doing its best to protect against the storm of youth’s wishes. But who was the one he was going to entrust his heart to, and who was he smiling at in such a sweet way? The petals of peach blossom were slowly drifting down, acquiring the tender pink tints of the rising sun. The entire Earth had sunk into the bottomless silence, and the anticipation of the upcoming endless spring day, that would be filled with passionate looks, the droning bumble-bees, the redolent Jessamine bushes, the thin transparent air, which was manifesting itself by gentle touches of the silky wind on his half-parted lips.
I softly joined in his morning meditation, trying to guess the secret of his heart. It was entertaining to me. But at a certain moment I felt that he started leading me towards his secret dream and I saw the image he was cherishing in his heart. Seeing his dream girl stung my heart, and I cut short the connection, which betrayed me.
An experienced warrior, he jumped on his feet like a tiger ready to repel any attack, but then froze still in astonishment, as he could not see anyone. Not trusting his eyes, he cut through the air with his razor sharp sward. As my presence had been detected, I had to withdraw, leaving him with the fragrance of ylang-ylang flowers.
Well, this is how I learned about his dream girl. It was a maid, a servant, Van by name. Nothing to worry about, but his heart was occupied. Of course, I did not think that he would take her up just to satisfy his desire. But is the young flame of passion always reasonable? I had to hurry up. Just two hours later I had a piece of good luck: the doll-like submissive mortal was sent to the market-place with all other servants.
The house was getting ready to receive guests. Everyone was busy, and Shi went to the back courtyard, where there was a little pond with red and gold fishes. When he was a child, he used to spend hours watching them. When someone would approach the pond, those tiny tremulous creatures would feel that and move towards him. And when someone would walk along the edge of the pond, they would follow him. When Shi was a child, he used to play with the fish. He would hide, crawl along the bank of the pond, trying to deceive them, but each time he would raise his head to look at the fish, he would unfailingly see the fish close to him.
Shi squatted down and pillowed his cheeks on his hands in a childlike manner watching the fish ‘rushing’ towards him from all over the pond. Today he felt ill at ease. He knew that there was a reason to invite so many guests. He anticipated something important, something that would probably affect his life.
The fish were playing, nearly tail-walking, showing their glittering red and golden sides. Shi was watching them in a detached way. Then one of the fishes headed to the opposite bank of the pond. It was followed by another, and then the third, and the fourth… They crossed the pond and started playing there as if someone were standing on the opposite side. Shi did not like that. He rushed to cross the little pond over bridge and … ran into Van.
Of course, it was not Van. I needed to do something to test him. It was a serious bewilderment for a warrior. He had spent years in training and meditation to learn to read the thoughts of others, to feel them at a distance, and… to run into … a girl? It was amusing to watch his feelings whirl: the wish to kill the cause of his shame, and the eagerness to touch, and his embarrassment in this unexpected situation. But it was not enough for me, and I added fuel to the fire. I covered my face with my hands and ‘rushed away’, catching – by accident, of course – my dress on a branch of a Jessamine bush, and tearing it in such a way, that it could not hide anything. On top of that, I tumbled over a little rock, and fell down on the grass near the pond, my energy dragging Shi to follow me.
Kill with a borrowed knife
My objective seemed to be so close: his body lowered upon mine gently, enveloping me with his pleasant heaviness. I closed my eyes and was appealing to him in my thought to be more daring. He, however, drew two short breaths, jumped on his feet, and rushed to the house. I had nothing to do but quietly disappear, leaving behind a piece of silk impregnated with the thick odour of ylang-ylang, which, apparently, had betrayed me, having reminded Shi of the morning incident, when his anxiety caused by the invisible danger became entwined with the scent of ylang-ylang.
What was left for me to remember about this meeting of ours was the sweet memory of both the heaviness and lightness of his young body. This gave me wings, and I was inhaling the aroma of the spring mountain air with all my lungs, by impulses originating in the very heart of my being, in my Dantian.
It seemed to be the very first inhalation given by God to pristine man, the inhalation that made him a living being, the inhalation that gave him life, the soul. Air, inhalation, inspiration, spirit, breathing – all these words have the same root in my language. The Chinese language is remarkable, because if the original meaning of the word is forgotten and is interpreted by different people in different ways, there is always a hint in the form of the graphical representation of the word, the hieroglyph, which depicts the concept. Yes, nowadays lots of hieroglyphs are written in an abridged form and, thus, have lost their original magic sense, their visual formula, but still there is something left.
In my childhood, I used to enjoy myself meditating with my focus on hieroglyphs. I used to write them on large pieces of finest, almost transparent silk, usually of a white or golden yellow colour. Then I would hang them on the wall in my room, which I had painted pale purple, and gaze upon them like magic paintings. At that time, I sincerely believed that those were the structures of the universe – so harmonious they seemed to me.
Now I realize that it was invaluable experience, which the majority of contemporary mankind lack. People of other cultures, who do not use hieroglyphs, are deprived of the experience of building correct and harmonious visual images. Beautiful landscapes, photographs, even paintings fail to provide such an opportunity to process and make elaborate the space of the image. But people … their thoughts take the form of images, not of words, after all.
Comparing the space of the visual images of an individual, who uses hieroglyphs to write, with that of somebody, who uses an alphabet, as, say, the English do, is similar to comparing a classical violin concert with city noise. And our psyche is nothing, but a set of patterns in the space of visual, audio, and kinaesthetic images. It is this fundamental difference that accounts for the lack of western people’s understanding of the behaviour of their oriental neighbours.
Quite often, when my male and female pupils approached me, their eyes filled with tears of despair due to the seeming hopelessness of their situation, be it love or economic problems, I would apply a simple technique to change their inner picture of the world, their way of thinking and attaining their goals – a very simple technique indeed. Guess what? Yes, indeed, I would take a large piece of paper and a brush and would write some hieroglyphs, and then I would encourage my pupils to meditate while looking at it, telling them that looking upon those magic symbols was the key to their situation.
No, I was not cheating them. That was a simple shaman technique. Some elements of this technique are used by modern psychology. Nowadays it is called ‘working with submodalities’ and ‘goal behaviour’. But no matter what elements modern psychology borrowed from ancient practices, this would be just leaves torn from a living tree, doomed to death and oblivion.
Well, I will write about it too, some day. But now, let us go back to that day, the longest day in my life.
So, the spring of 1184.
I was sitting on the slope of a mountain, coming back in my thoughts to that delightful moment and experiencing again and again that ambrosial feeling. A smile was wandering over my lips. It was not the meditative smile of the Buddha, it was the mischievous smile of a young girl who did something she shouldn’t have. If only he knew that the storm of his feeling was caused by a ‘girl’, whose age was over eight centuries. But I was proud of myself: one problem had already been solved. The energy, as hot water, started its way up, along the spine, up to the top of my head, and I had to use much effort to curb it and to direct it the right way, so that it would rotate all the orbits. It was so light and pure – I was just floating above the earth without any effort. Baguas were rotating in all joints at the speed of 60,000 revolutions per second. Sure, it was not easy to control the speed and the direction of rotation in all seventeen points at the same time, but with experience you stop thinking which way to rotate every joint, they start revolving by themselves when I wish it so.
If you ask a centipede how it walks, the poor creature would probably freeze and stay still until the end of its days, trying to figure out how it manages to do it. If you ask a bird how it flies, it will not understand your questions. The same with people: with age they forget their first step, the difficulties they had to overcome, the persistence they had to have and the bumps it cost them to learn to walk steadily.
But if you ask an adult, “How do you walk?” he would misunderstand it. By the way, my observations make me think that many people cannot walk, run or sleep correctly. And this costs them a lot of bodily diseases, which are often rooted in these seemingly primitive, basic things.
The matter is that it is very simple. Using modern concepts, which comprise the nature of electromagnetic fields and their interaction, the predetermination of a certain way of life and the innate disposition towards certain diseases can be explained as follows.
Right after conception the formation of the embryo’s spine starts. It takes the form of a flexible chord, something like a threadlike tube with a high concentration of blood, which indicates iron. This chord, in terms of the 20th century’s physical picture of the world, functions as a little aerial, which catches all electromagnetic waves coming in from the universe. And these fields affect the formation of the fine structure of the spine. Its nuances are determined just by the juxtaposition of the planets at the moment of the conception. This is why karma – some determination of one’s fate – enters the embryo right at the moment of its conception and immediately after. This is why the day and the time of the conception are so important for astrological forecasts.
The human backbone consists of thirty vertebrae. And there are thirty pairs of nerves in each of the vertebrae. The tiniest angles that form some time after conception send impulses to certain organs. This explains why people, who are born under the same Zodiac signs, have similar features of the character and are prone to the same diseases. The signals, of course, are very weak, but they are coming and coming – for years. They are like drops that eventually wear away the stone. The books of destiny are not in the heavens – they are in your backbones. Change the record, and you will be able to change your destiny. The key to success here is the agreement among all physical and psychological methods you might choose.
Fortunately, in my time people did not separate the physical and the psychological. Your body is the home of your soul, and they should match. That’s why all practices combine training both the body and the soul. And this was the reason why the practices were allowed to choose the path of the spirit, and not to fall into the karmic pitfalls of the low order.
Every step along the path towards perfection of those Who Are Walking the Great Way is a step towards freedom. Has freedom any boundaries? I don’t know. I don’t know it, even now. For me, the boundary of freedom runs where my knowledge and my command of practices end. It’s very simple.
First, a foetus rests in his mother’s womb, and this sets the limitations to his freedom. Then the baby stays in the cradle, which becomes the boundary of his freedom. The first step – and the toddler extends his freedom beyond the fence of his parental home. The ladder of freedom has its beginning, but nobody knows where it ends.
Yes, on that happiest and longest day of my life I was floating above the slope of the mountain. I was radiating light, I was as lustrous as a rainbow. Luckily, the sunshine was exceptionally bright that day, and nobody noticed me. Were it night, however, I would have been running the risk of being noticed.
A light wind of disturbance distracted me from daydreams and sentiments. I looked down and saw the Butler from Shi’s house. He was followed by Van. There was something in the peaceful scene that seemed wrong to me. I lowered myself to the grass at the edge of the terrace and continued watching them, trying at the same time to read the book of the recent past.
While I had been indulging in my sweet daydreams, the following incident was taking place in Shi’s house.
Once the servants had come back from the market, the Butler summoned Van.
“Was the way to the city difficult for you?” he asked.
“No, Sir,” answered Van, in due humble and respectful manner, not anticipating anything wrong.
“Was the market crowded today?”
“Yes, very crowded, Sir.”
“Do you love your young Illustrious Lord?”
“With all my heart, Sir,” replied Van, and with this her cheeks acquired the slightest tint of pink.
What else could a servant reply? This was the only possible answer for her. However, the slight flush caused the fatal decision.
“Well, I’m happy to hear that,” said the Butler. “Then you won’t mind accompanying me to the nearby village to choose flowers in honour of the young Illustrious Lord?”
The red silk ribbons on Van’s clothes were light-heartedly waving in the breeze. She was watching the path and simply following the Butler, in her habitual mincing-steps manner. On her back there was a bright green basket, it was as long as Van was tall, which she was carrying by holding onto a thick rope. In silence, the two reached a rickety suspension bridge which connected the two edges of a rock split in twain by a rapid stream of a crystal clear river flowing from up high in the mountains. The Butler waited for Van, and let her go first.
The bridge, as if alive, gave a sigh when Van stepped on it, its dry twigs responding with a crunch to every step they were making. The Butler was walking slower, and started falling behind Van. He was making deliberately heavy steps, which made the bridge shake in a baleful way. All at once Van’s straw sandal caught on a twig, and she lost her balance. At that moment, the wave of the bridge’s shaking reached the place where she was, and the bridge swayed to one side. Van fell down on the bridge, but as she feared to lose the basket, she kept holding its rope.
The shaky wave was going back in the other direction. The Butler, knowing what it meant, immediately lay down on the bridge and clutched at it, his fingers like cat’s claws. Van was trying to hold on by the twigs to avoid falling off the bridge, but she failed to find a good place to clutch by. At last she dared to let the basket go, but it was already too late – the bridge was shaking again, and, just like a horse that knows how to spill an inexperienced rider, it spilled Van, wresting its twigs and the last hope from her. Everything happened in no time at all, and the girl was so shocked that she did not even scream. The current picked up her body and carried it downstream. The only reminder of Van’s existence was a piece of red ribbon caught on some twigs of the bridge.
Some time later the bridge stilled. The Butler stood up and came to the place where Van had fallen off. For a while he watched how the stream was carrying away the basket, which already looked like leaf fallen from a tree. He could not find any sign of Van. So, he took the piece of red ribbon and headed back to the house. There, he showed the piece to his Mistress, and she understood everything.
Of course the parents could not let their son to have a relationship with a servant, but they did not have another way out, such as sending the girl away. It was the time of unrest. For security reasons, no one who served in the Northern House was allowed to leave if he knew the Lord and his children by sight. That was why it had been impossible to send Van back to her home village to her parents, and her staying in the house after the morning incident near the pond was out of the question.
That made me sad. But the trip to the low world that followed made me worried. Van’s body was the incarnation of one of the cruellest rulers of a clan that was feuding with the Shi Nan Song family who had to suffer humiliation in his subsequent incarnation as a girl. The fact that his soul might find a more ‘suitable’ body was a matter for concern, as then it would be a more serious threat for the Nan Song family. And this would be likely to happen during the lifetime of my child.
In the evening guests arrived. They were the heads of the noble families and their wives who had been invited to the Northern House of the Nan Song to bring their registries of days of conceptions and births, so that the most favourable marriage could be chosen for Shi. The astrologists were sitting in a separate room, where the heads of the families were invited in turn. After all the dates had been copied and verified, the astrologists started their calculations. They had a lot to do.
Following a long walk in the garden, where the visitors could admire the fish in the pond, and wondrous trees and flowers, the guests headed for the dining hall, where they could see a huge revolving disk which served as a table. There were, actually, three concentric disks that made up the table, the largest was the lowest, the smaller ones were placed one above the other. In the centre of the top disk, there were four big gilded statues of the Buddha and four smaller ones, thus, in total, eight; they were surrounded by plenty of flowers in special flat vases and cassolettes with incense. The candles were placed in lotus shaped gilded candle holders which reflected their light and made its structure fine, which, in turn, made the silk glitter as if alive.
The guests and the hosts could see each other. All disagreements were forgotten. They were looking forward to a peaceful dinner. Since there were a lot of guests, the table was spun at a special signal, the ring of a tiny bell, so as to please every guest. In a twinkling of an eye all three disks were covered with steaming dishes. The empty plates were noiselessly disappearing, and new and new dishes were coming as if by magic.
It was a gastronomical feast. Cashew nuts, and chicken bits of the same size dressed with sesame oil, bamboo shoots fried golden – everything was disappearing fast. Black eggs, salted ears, calamari, sea cucumbers, long seed white rice with shrimps and something else, unrecognisable; black rice with salted nuts, fried vegetables, fried pieces of eel, and lots and lots of other foods, which would take thousands of pages to describe – it might be the tastiest book, though. The sweet dishes were also a success that day, only the mini cakes could make a separate story: they were impregnated with juices of different fruits and berries, contained transparent candied fruit or green, red, orange and all other unthinkable colours. It is worth mentioning, though, that the tremendous abundance and diversity of food did not mean that every guest was expected to try everything – not at all! Each person was choosing his or her food, the one which was good for him or her, correct on this day of life according to the gastronomic horoscope.
When the treats were eaten and the dishes cleared away, there was a short pause before the Hostess announced a surprise. Everybody became still in anticipation.