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4.0 out of 5 stars Secret of the Golden Flower -Wilhelm Translation, 26 Nov. 2010
The Christian missionary - Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930), spent many years in China, some of which were spent translating the 'I Ching' (Yijing - or 'Book of Changes'), and this text, the 'T'ai I Chin hua Tsung Chih', (or in modern pinyin 'Tai Yi Jin Hua Zong Zhi'), which Wilhelm translates as 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'. However, the Chinese characters that comprise the title of this text have been alternatively translated as:

'Teaching of the Golden Flower of the Supreme One.' (The Rider Encyclopaedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion - Page 349).

The term (tai yi) literally means 'Grand Oneness', and informs the student about the intention of the text. The realisation of the 'Grand Oneness' is achieved through the practice of the meditation method referred to in the text as the 'Golden Flower' (jin hua). According to the Rider Encyclopaedia - the Wilhelm translation is incomplete. It is interesting to note that Thomas Cleary published his own translation in 1991. Those interested in Daoist meditation should also reference Charles Luk's book entitled 'Taoist Yoga' for a reliable, step by step guide to this kind of development.

As it stands, this book remains something of a benchmark in early East-West relations. Prior to this point - the book was first published in German in 1929 - Eastern religions were usually misrepresented by Christian missionaries, and deemed as a product of primitive culture and a phenomena of backward thinking. Of course, the main motivation for this kind of missionary ois to convert the the indigenous population away from their home-grown religions and, in the process, encourage them to abandon their traditions. Wilhelm, as a missionary, like James Legge before him, sought to convert the Chinese people to Christianity, by using knowledge of their religions to facilitate the process. In this volume, Wilhelm discusses the possibility that this text - (which is a blend of Ch'an Buddhism and 'neitan' {inner elixir} Daoism), might have originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and have been the creation of Nestorian Christianity! The English edition was published in 1931. The 1967 English edition has an additioal text entitled 'The Hui Ming Ching', which Wilhelm translates as 'The Book of Consciousness and Life'. This appears to have been added to the 1957 German edition - for which Salome Wilhelm - wrote a Foreword. Carl Jung wrote a Foreword to this book, as well as a commentary to the Hui Ming Ching.

What does this book actually teach? It teaches a form of seated meditation where a student clears the Mind through keeping awareness on the breath. Eventually, as the Mind calms down a ball of light will manifest - this 'golden' light springs forward from the fertile essence of the cultivated Mind and is referred to as a 'flower'. For a text believed to be Daoist in origination, the word 'Buddha' appears with alarming regularity. Buddhist imagery is used throughout, and there is reference to the Mahayana Surangama Sutra. There are four pictures of seated practitioners in the book, each associated with a level of attainment - they are:

Picture 1 - Gathering the Light.
Picture 2 - Origin of a new being in the place of inner power.
Picture 3 - Separation of the spirit-body for independent existence.
Picture 4 - The centre in the midst of the conditions.

This text, which emphasises qi - or breath flow around the body is believed to be from the Quanzhen School of Daoism. Richard Wilhelm uses the 1920 Peking edition as the Chinese source text. There is a definite feeling of the 'unknown' being slowly encountered, and somekind of sense being made of it. Carl Jung, although an expert in his field, often confuses the issue by writing that Westerners should not attempt to practice Eastern methods of spiritual development, or they will suffer a breakdown. This opinion is in direct contrast to that of the Ch'an Buddhist master Xu Yun (1840-1959), who asked his sudent - Charles Luk - to translate as many Chinese spiritual texts into Enlgish as possible, so that Westerners might benefit. A question that has to be asked is that if Jung is correct in his opinion, then what is the point of translating anything? Despite the obvious lack of familiarity with the text's content, nevertheless, nuggets of wisdom appear:

'When the desire for silence comes,
not a single thought arises;
he who is looking inward suddenly forgets
that he is looking.'

This is a wonderful translation very much of its time. The discerning reader may well find it helpful. A favourite book for many.
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4.0 out of 5 stars book, 4 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of the Golden Flower (Paperback)
This was brought to further my understanding of Jung, however if you have limited knowledge of Chinese religious chronology it can be hard to follow-up nothing wrong with book- reader needs work. Book arrived swiftly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 12 Mar. 2013
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Insightful book Will read it again Hard to understand at times That is all I can say at this time
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgot to read my book !!, 15 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Secret of the Golden Flower (Paperback)
fogot to read it... but i swear I will.... its a gem im sure
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The Secret of the Golden Flower by Dongbin Leu (Paperback - 24 Nov. 2010)
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