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on 28 June 2007
This is an excellent manual combining Taoist and Buddhist techniques into a simple but powerful meditation method. The depth of the text is profound and will benefit both beginners and more advanced students alike. I would recommend re-reading it regularly throughout your years of meditation practice.

The "Song to Inspire the World" contained within it is beautiful.

Highly recommended.
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on 3 June 2013
I was recommended this translation of the Chinese alchemical classic by a friend. I had previously read and enjoyed the Wilhelm version, but it seemed to describe mystical and uinattainable experiences - interesting but not for me. This translation is very different. There are some passages of the beautiful Taoist poetry which is symbolic in nature and thus inscrutable if you don't know the symbolism (which Cleary explains in the notes and appendices) but mostly it is written in direct and practical language. It is a guide to recognizing consciousness, consciousness itself being the enlightenment that we dwell in all the time if we recognize it at its purest. Very simple (also very hard, at least for me, for more than two seconds). Cleary perfectly captures the friendly and helpful tone of the unknown author(s) and provides clear notes and explanations. he also points out where and why he has deviated from the Jung-influenced Wilhelm interpretation. It is a book I will continue reading and re-reading for life.
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on 9 November 2012
If you can un pick the nuggets of precious heart wood contained in this text from the typically ambiguous Taoist
vagary that is also to be found in here, you will be left with one of the most insightful and direct approaches to the process of recognising the innate quality of awakening that lies within us all. Read it from the heart, for it is to the heart that it speaks. But beware. Do not interllectualise or get too wrapped up in the minutia here. Both the aurthor and the translator get confused at times, but that is how it is with most of these Taoist texts. There is however a deeper and more immediate wisdom that pours from between the lines that may just open you up in unexpected ways. Definately a text to keep returning to.
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on 10 May 2013
A wonderful, poetic book for the true seeker, it is sometimes a little difficult to understand, so needs persistence and work.
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on 11 March 2013
I have always liked Cleary's translations of the classics, and this one is very good. It cleared up a lot of the questions I had over decades about the Wilhelm / Jung translation. I had always felt that Wilhelm had mixed up several other texts with the "Golden Flower", that I knew, and were separate. Cleary, very convincingly, argues this case. His points about Jung's attempts to fit it to his own paradigms are also very valid.

Claery's translation shows very clearly that it is a classic Buddhist meditation method, rather than a Daoist one as such. Wilhelm confused two traditions and merged them, to the detriment of both.

If you have the Wilhelm / Jung version, get this for a different and, perhaps, more valid take on the the "Golden Flower".

I am speaking from the point of view of a Buddhist/ Daoist (there is no incompatibility), that knows not to confuse methods as Wilhelm seemed to.
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on 20 March 2015
This book contains much good advice for those learning how to meditate & it also gives much insight into the heart of Taoism.
This excellent translation by Cleary is simple and clear, unlike the poor and misleading translation with which Carl Jung was struggling.
We refer to this book in our meditation group; it is particularly helpful in finding the right kind of 'effort'.
I highly recommend.
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on 12 October 2015
quality book.
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on 24 April 2004
This book reveals the higher goals of Taoist internal energy cultivationnot often mentioned elsewhere.
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on 9 February 2013
As I did not consult this book but bought it for a friend when he asked me to. So II am not in a position to say more than to say that he was very pleased with it.
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