Chapter 1: The Origin of Quiet Sitting in China

第一講 中國靜坐的根源

1 The term “quiet sitting,” going back to its origin, refers to a method of self-cultivation that was practiced by China’s ancient Daoists. They sat in quietude, seeking to nurture and protect their life force. Daoists of later ages called this “refining the elixir.”

1 「靜坐」這個名詞,開宗明義的說,就是中國上古道家從靜坐中求養生保命的修煉方法。後世道家稱之為「煉丹」。

2 The Chan [also known as Zen] School of Buddhism also teaches quiet sitting [meditation[2]].

2 佛教禪宗也講靜坐。

3 What the Lord of Universe Church teaches is the “Chinese Original Quiet Sitting.”

3 惟天帝教所講的是「中國正宗靜坐」。

4 The Confucian process of self- cultivation, which goes through stages of “Settling, Quietude, Tranquility, Reflection and Attainment”[3] also originated from quiet sitting.

4 孔門修養過程:「定、靜、安、慮、得」也是從靜坐中而來。

5 The Confucians Cheng Yi [1033- 1107 A.D.] and Zhu Xi [1130-1200 A.D.] of the Song Dynasty incorporated Chan ideas in their thoughts and advocated quiet sitting.

5 宋儒程子、朱子參融禪學也主張靜坐。

6 In the Ming Dynasty, Yuan Liaofan adopted Buddhist techniques in writing his Desideratum of Quiet Sitting.[4]

6 明代袁了凡曾用佛家方法寫了一本《靜坐要訣》。

7 In 1911, two Japanese named Okada and Fujita popularized quiet sitting with a book based on ancient Chinese principles of cultivating the inner elixir, which they claimed were invented by their countrymen, but their book attracted interest for a time.

7 民國初年日本人岡田和藤田兩個人根據我國古代內功原理,著書倡導靜坐,卻說是日本人的發明,但也風行一時。

8 Then Mr. Jiang Weiqiao (a fellow- townsman of mine) wrote a book in response to the Japanese work, called Master Yinshizi’s Quiet Sitting Method. The three chapters of this work are his personal experience in the study of quiet sitting. Tens of thousands of copies were printed, and they were quite popular on Mainland China. They also sold well in Taiwan.

8 於是蔣維喬先生(小同鄉)便針對日本人的著作而寫了《因是子靜坐法》。前後三篇都是他個人學習靜坐之體驗。發行了幾萬本,在大陸上甚受歡迎,在台灣也很暢銷。

9 Many people who read old Daoist scriptures found them full of obscure terms based on yin-yang and the five phases,[5] but found Master Yinshizi’s Quiet Sitting Method was clear and easy to read.

9 因為很多人看丹經,滿紙陰陽五行莫名其妙。看了《因是子靜坐法》,[就覺得]淺顯明瞭。

10 Hence, the common, but resonant term “quiet sitting” came into wide use in contemporary China.

10 從此這個通俗響亮的靜坐名詞,在近代中國就普遍傳開。

11 “Quiet sitting” is “dazuo” which literally means sitting quietly.

11 「靜坐」就是「打坐」。

12 Its original meaning is to “put one’s hand to sweeping the ground of the mind,” and “sit until there is a heaven within one’s self-nature.”

12 原意是「打掃心上地,坐出性中天」。

13 The first part is already hard to accomplish. It requires a person to assume a seated posture, rein in the worldly mind, and cast out illusory notions.

13 第一句話即不容易做到,要人於坐下後,收起凡心,除去妄想。

14 Once the illusions are cast out, there are still countless ‘flights of fancy’ that keep coming and going.

14 妄念既除,尚有多少遐思,隨起隨滅。

15 As for “sitting until there is a heaven within one’s self-nature”, this is even more difficult.

15 要想「坐出性中天」,則更為困難。

16 That is why certain people consider learning meditation, yet think it mysterious, and fear going down a demonic path.

16 所以若干人對於靜坐一面想學,一面又以為神秘,深怕走入魔道。

17 Therefore, today people have only a partial understanding of mystical things about quiet sitting. The time has come to improve on the previous stage of practicing unguided cultivation.

17 因此近代學靜坐的人,對於神秘觀念,一知半解。盲修瞎煉的階段都隨著時代而要求改進。

18 When approached from an academic perspective, “quiet sitting” is a major branch of learning. It spans the fields of psychology, physiology, philosophy, medicine, metaphysics, biochemistry, and religious philosophy.

18 從學術的觀點來說,「靜坐」是一門大學問,它包括心理、生理、哲學、醫學、形而上學、生化學、宗教哲學等等學科。

19 In fact, “quiet sitting” is part of China’s national heritage. It is at the heart of our only remaining heritage.

19 事實上,「靜坐」是我國之國粹,也是現存唯一的國粹。

20 Many creations of our ancient civilization were spread elsewhere and found their most impressive developments in the hands of Europeans and Americans.

20 我國若干古代文明,皆流到歐美人士手上發揚光大。

21 Only the mysteries of “quiet sitting” are still un-mastered by people in other countries.

21 只有「靜坐」的奧妙,外人尚未學得。

22 It behooves us to follow China’s quiet sitting back to the source, to carry on the spirit of the patriarchs who began the transmission of the Dao, and let our nation’s heritage shine forth its brilliance.

22 我們務要探求中國靜坐的根源,發揚遠祖開創道統的精神,光大我民族現存唯一的遺產。

23 Since humans have been living on this Earth they have been challenged by issues of life and death, and have been trying to solve the mystery of life and death. Everyone fears death, but there is no avoiding it.

23 地球自有人類以來,就遭遇生死問題。人生一直就在追求生死之謎。人都怕死,但卻不免於死。

24 As the saying goes, “Everyone covets life and fears death, but all the same, they die.”

24 所謂「人貪生,人怕死;人人貪生,人人死」。

25 The mortality of living things is a mystery of creation, and it is the Dao of the universe.

25 生物之有生死是天地造化之一大秘密,也是宇宙間之大道。

26 It is a subject that religion, philosophy, and science have pondered throughout the ages, but have not been able to solve.

26 故成了中外古今宗教上、哲學上、科學上不斷探本窮源,仍得不到究竟的大問題。

27 There are differing points of view about life and death, and why our life span has shortened. Due to our frantic pace in this age of progress, human lifespan is now limited to about one hundred years.

27 由於人類對於生死觀念看法的不同,生命的短促,時代的進步,人生壽命隨著生活環境而變,最多也不過百餘歲。

28 The only recent case of a transcendent, purely natural person like the subjects of Wuhuai-shi and Getian-shi [6] in high antiquity that people could point to today, was the Sichuanese General Yang Sen’s master, an old man named Li Qingyun, who reached an age over two hundred fifty years.

28 具有超凡出眾,純樸自然,如上古無懷、葛天氏之民,在近代人中,而為人所親見並可舉出人證者,只有四川楊森將軍的老師李青雲老人,活了二百五十多歲。

29 Qingyun Laoren[7] [literally means Old Man Qingyun], born under Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty [1711-1799 A.D.], wandered the high mountains of Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces from youth, gathering herbs for a living.

29 青雲老人生於前清乾隆年間,自幼就往來於四川、青海間高山採藥為生。

30 He traveled deep into the mountains in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, and Henan Provinces. He met with a Daoist who claimed to be over five hundred years old.

30 曾漫遊於湘、鄂、贛、豫深山中,遇上道士自言年已五百餘歲。

31 It was in the Deyou Period of the Song Dynasty [1275-1276 A.D.], where the Daoist had seen the splendid army marshaled by Wen Tianxiang in service of his ruler.

31 當宋朝德祐年猶見文天祥起兵勤王軍容之盛。

32 Qingyun Laoren had begged to learn the arts of longevity, and the Daoist had laughed and said: “The fruiting bodies of ginseng and scutallaria are medicines of long life. Mountains, forests, and open country are the places for living a long life. Quietude and ‘let nature take its course’ are keys to long life.”

32 青雲老人叩求長生之術,道士笑曰:「蔘苓之蕙,長生之藥;山林曠野,長生之地;清靜無為,長生之訣。」

33 So Qingyun Laoren withdrew to Mount Emei and built a hut to live in.

33 老人遂歸峨嵋,逐室以居。

34 When asked about past events like Zeng Guofan’s suppression of the Taiping Rebellion [1850-1864 A.D.] or Luo Bingzhang’s capture of Shi Dakai, [8] he spoke of them convincingly, as if he was speaking about the back of his hand.

34 有人問老人曾國藩平太平天國及駱秉章擒石達開往事,娓娓談來,如數家珍。

35 In 1930, Yang Sen went to meet the old man and brought him to stay in Wan County. He left nothing undone in honoring the old man.

35 民國十九年楊森迎接老人到萬縣城中小住,優禮有加。

36 He then sent Li Huan (a representative in the National Assembly) to call on [former] President Jiang Jieshi [aka Chiang Kai-shek] in Nanjing [aka Nanking], expressly to present a photograph of Li Qingyun and gave a detailed account of how he lived his life.

36 即派李寰(國大代表)至南京晉謁先總統蔣公,專呈李青雲照相一幀,並詳陳李之生活起居。

37 Hoping to get a look at this human marvel, President Jiang made plans to summon him to the capital. Regrettably, the old man was unused to city life and could not bear the tumult of human affairs. Before he could even reach Nanjing, he expired.

37 蔣公曾有意延召入京一瞻盛世人瑞。惜老人過不慣都市生活,不堪人事煩擾。未及晉京,便告物化。

38 If the old man Li had gone on living his hermit’s life in the mountains without ever setting foot in a city, he would still be in this world.

38 假使李老人足跡永不入城市,過他的山林隱居生活,現在一定還在人世。

39 Historical records tell us there were lofty persons and hermits in China’s famous mountains and grottoes.

39 從歷史記載中,我國古代名山洞府中確有高人隱士。

40 They realized that cultivating the Dao and prolonging life could only be sought in stillness, through “quiet sitting and inner tempering.” Their various methods gradually found acceptance.

40 從「靜坐修煉徹悟」中瞭解修道長生的方法,只有從靜中以求。這種種方法便慢慢的流傳於世。

41 According to the “Annals of the Yellow Emperor” in Records of the Historian, [9] the Yellow Emperor [10] traveled west to Mount Kongtong.[11]

41 依據《史記黃帝本紀》載:「黃帝西至崆峒。」

42 Zhuangzi[12] also tells of the Yellow Emperor climbing three times up Mount Kongtong to inquire of the Dao from Guangchengzi.

42 《莊子》也說黃帝三上崆峒,問道於廣成子。

43 The last time Guangchengzi transmitted these secret maxims (a way of mindfulness) said: “In all things be quiet and pure; do not tax your frame; do not agitate your jing (bodily essence); long life will then be yours.”

43 最後一次廣成子傳授秘訣(心法):「必靜必清,毋勞汝形,毋搖汝精,乃得長生」。

44 “Do not tax your frame” means not to over-exert yourself physically. “Do not agitate your jing” means to guard and nurture the body’s essential fluid. To rule it and not let it slip away.

44 「毋勞汝形」即是不要過分消耗體力。「毋搖汝精」即是保精養精,御而不施之謂。

45 Mount Kongtong is in the present Pingliang County in Gansu Province, where a stone tablet commemorates the place at which the Yellow Emperor sought the Dao.

45 直到如今崆峒山在今甘肅省平涼縣,那裡有塊黃帝問道處的碑碣,以供憑弔。

46 The Inner Chapter of Baopuzi[13] also says: “The Yellow Emperor went west to see Zhonghuangzi and received the arts for nine levels of immortality; he climbed Mount Kongtong and received the secret of nature from Guangchengzi.”

46 《抱朴子.內篇》中也說:「黃帝西見中黃子受九品之方,登崆峒山從廣成子受自然之經。」

47 Furthermore, the Jade Maxims by Three Sovereigns on the Secret Talisman Scripture records that the Yellow Emperor opened a stone chest in the first grotto and found the Secret Talisman Scripture[14] in three scrolls.

47 又《陰符經三皇玉訣》記載:「黃帝於第一洞天石匣中取出陰符經三皇玉訣三卷」。

48 Because it was written in cloud-style script, his civil and military officials could not figure out its meaning. The Yellow Emperor’s aides then told him that on Mount Kongtong there was a high and saintly master, a man versed in mysteries of the marvelous Dao.

48 因係雲篆,文武百官盡不知此經義。左右即向黃帝說,崆峒山有一高聖先生妙道深玄。

49 Therefore, the Yellow Emperor went to ask the Dao of Guangchengzi. He approached on knees and forearms, and humbly stood in attendance asking for instruction.

49 因而黃帝親詣,問道於廣成子。膝步肘行,禮拜侍立,請求指教。

50 Guangchengzi said, “In this scripture is the Dao of creation by yin and yang, of governance over country and family, of eternal life that knows no death, and of ascension to the realm of heaven.”

50 廣成子言:「此經是陰陽造化,治國治家,長生不死,上昇天界之大道。」

51 The Yellow Emperor kneeled and asked to be taught. Guangchengzi said, “This scripture is a secret kept by heaven above, to be given to a person of great virtue in the world. If one’s virtues are not sufficient, to possess it is useless.”

51 黃帝跪下求教。廣成子曰:「此經為上天所秘,當予世間有大德之人,如德行不足,得之也無用。」

52 Seeing the Yellow Emperor’s sincerity, Guangchengzi said, “On Mount Emei there is a man named the August Immortal, who is further along in the Dao than I am, and who deeply understands this scripture.”

52 廣成子見帝之誠,乃說:「今峨嵋有一天真皇人,道行比我還高,深曉此經義。」

53 So the two of them went to Mount Emei together to seek knowledge.

53 於是二人同去峨嵋請教。

54 The Yellow Emperor asked, “What is a secret talisman?”

54 黃帝問曰:「陰符者,何也?」

55 The August Immortal and Guangchengzi answered together: “Though this secret talisman has only 333 words, it tells us this: for being able to connect with heaven above, to survey the land below, and to transform all things in between, the sole honor belongs to mankind.

55 天真皇人與廣成子同曰:「此陰符經雖只有三百三十三字,但上可通天,下可察地,中可化生萬物,惟人最尊。

56 Secret means hidden; a talisman is that which tallies. From observing the inner workings of their bodies, saints of ancient times understood the fundamental principles of the creation of all life forms, the sources responsible for the changes that take place, the essence of life, and the mysteries of birth and death.

56 陰者暗也,符者合也。古之聖人內動之機可明天地造化之根,至道推移之源,性命之本,生死之機。

57 Those who really understand what life is all about and know how the movement of life force corresponds to the workings of celestial bodies and nature know how to control themselves to live a much longer life. That is why it is called the secret talisman.”

57 知者可究,暗合天地之機,操運長生之體,故曰陰符。」

58 The August Immortal and Guangchengzi answered each question that was posed, revealing the subtleties of the entire three-scroll scripture, with its maxims for cultivating long life.

58 天真皇人與廣成子逐一答問,盡將三卷經文精妙,修道長生口訣全部吐露。

59 Only then was the Yellow Emperor fully enlightened. He made repeated prostrations [of gratitude and reverence] and then returned.

59 黃帝才大徹大悟,稽首再拜而還。

60 Thenceforth, he threw his energy into dual cultivation of self-nature and physical body, into nurturing spirit and body.

60 從此發憤性命雙修,形神兼養。

61 Finally, he attained the Dao and rose into the sky. It was he who opened the higher realm of Chinese Daoism. The realm of transcendence from the mundane to the sacred, from sacredness to mystery, from mystery into transformation, and from transformation to emptiness. It advances to oneness of heaven and man and rejoins with nature.

61 最後道成飛昇,開創了中國道家超凡入聖、超聖入神、超神入化、超化還虛,而進入了天人合一、回歸自然的最高境界。

62 This legend tells us that Chinese Original Quiet Sitting had its origin with the Yellow Emperor. It also conveys the message that human life in the flesh always has a limit. Only spiritual life that was arrived at through cultivation can partake of eternity.

62 於是中國正宗靜坐就起源於黃帝。同時昭示,人的肉體生命總是有限。唯有經過修煉而成的精神生命,才能永生不死!

63 Also, according to the “Annals of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty” in the Records of the Historian, (the book was completed in 91 B.C., more than 2070 years ago) “the Yellow Emperor studied immortality even when fighting wars.… When over a century had passed, he could communicate with deities.

63 又據《史記漢武帝本紀》載(《史記》成於公元前九十一年,距今二千零七十餘年):「黃帝且戰且學仙,百餘年而後與神通。

64 He mined copper from Mount Shou and cast a cauldron beneath Mount Jing. A dragon came down to meet him. The Yellow Emperor mounted it and flew into the sky. Later generations have thus named the place Cauldron Lake.”

64 采首山銅,鑄鼎荊山下,有龍下迎,黃帝上騎昇天。後世因名其地為鼎湖。」

65 The “Treatise on Investiture and Abdication” in the Records of the Historian says, “Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty once asked his courtiers: ‘I have heard that the Yellow Emperor did not die, yet there is a tomb for him. Why is that?’ (As he had already ascended, why is he entombed in Mount Qiao?)

65 《史記封禪書》:「漢武帝曾問群臣:吾聞黃帝不死,今有塚,何也?」(既飛昇,何以橋山還有陵寢?)

66 His attendants said, ‘He did ascend up to heaven. His ministers buried only his cap and robe.'”

66 左右曰:「黃帝已飛昇上天,群臣葬其衣冠。」

67 The Yellow Emperor’s tomb is located on Mount Qiao, at the center of Yellow Tomb County in present day Shaanxi Province.

67 黃帝陵位於橋山,橋山在今之陜西省黃陵縣。

68 In 1944, the administrative superintendent for the Third District of Shaanxi Province, Mr. Yu Zhengdong, was ordered to restore the Yellow Emperor’s burial mound. The historians Li Jinxi and Tang Zupei were employed to compile a record of the Yellow Emperor’s tomb.

68 民國三十三年陜西省第三區行政督察專員余正東奉命興修黃帝陵寢,並聘史學家黎錦熙、唐祖培編修黃陵志。

69 Their inquiries showed that the site known as the Yellow Tomb was indeed a burial mound for the Yellow Emperor’s cap and robe.

69 經過考證黃陵確是黃帝的衣冠塚。

70 We live in the age of science so readers, of course, will not accept the claim that someone was carried up to sky by a dragon. But in truth, many things cannot be explained scientifically and remain to be studied.

70 今天是科學時代,說乘龍昇天,各位當不能接受。實則不能用科學解釋尚待研究者太多。

71 In Section Four of the “Spiritual Tempering” chapter of A New Realm (the Lord of Universe Church’s doctrine) are these words: “This is the appearance of the true self (refined self), a transformation of one’s original bodily frame engendered by bodily qi [aka chi] and the cosmic Qi.

71 天帝教教義《新境界》「精神之鍛煉」第四段所言:「此乃真我之出現,亦即原來軀體炁氣孕育之化身。

72 From this point one works to refine spirit back to source, to consume oneself with true fire. The fleshly body falls away, and the true self endures. This is the power of raynon, the marvel of matter returning to nature.” This is an explanation of the natural phenomenon of “attaining the Dao and rising to the sky.”

72 從茲煉神還虛,真火自焚,瓦解肉體,真我常存。此為鐳炁之威力,亦為物質而返自然之妙用。」此可以解釋「道成飛昇」自然現象。

73 From the time of the Yellow Emperor until now it has been over 4,700 years. Sima Qian wrote his Records of the Historian more than 2,600 years after the death of the Yellow Emperor.

73 自黃帝起迄今已有四千七百餘年。黃帝之後二千六百多年而有司馬遷做《史記》。

74 Commentaries to the Records of the Historian show that it quotes from a total of 156 earlier books. Most of what it quoted regarding the Yellow Emperor is myth and legend. But after more than 2,600 years of documentation, the legends themselves possess historical merit.

74 《史記》上採用的各家注解,共引書凡一百五十六種,所引大都關於黃帝之傳說故事神話。但經過了二千六百多年的考證與研究,其傳說本身就已具有歷史價值。

75 How much truer is this of the peoples who have remote historical origins? Their distant antecedents are all compounded of mythical stories. Why should descendants of later generations ask for proof of them? The length of time that they were passed down is the best proof.

75 何況世界歷史久遠的民族,其遠祖皆是神話故事傳說所構成。後世子孫何必要問其證據。其傳說流傳時間便是最好的證據。

76 Although the tale of the Yellow Emperor’s ascension cannot be verified in orthodox histories, and bringing forth scientific proof is not easy at present, based on fundamental principles of Chinese Daoist cultivation we can affirm, without a doubt, that the Yellow Emperor did indeed attain the Dao. Through saintly practice and mystical transformation, he reunited with nature.

76 毫無疑問,縱然黃帝飛昇之說,正史無從查考,今天又不易提出科學上的證據,但是,根據中國道家修煉基本原理原則,可以肯定黃帝確實成道,真正聖功神化而回歸自然。

77 This fact has been confirmed and honored by succeeding generations of Daoists.

77 此為我國後世道家所公認共尊的事實。

[2] The term "meditation" is better known in the Western world. The Webster dictionary describes it as "the act of meditating; close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation; reflection; musing." This, however, is fundamentally different from quiet sitting, whose ultimate goal is to let go of all thoughts.
[3]  "Settling, quietude, tranquility, reflection, and attainment" are the five stages of self-cultivation described in the first chapter of The Great Learning, one of the Confucian Four Books.
[4] Yuan Liaofan's (b.1535-1608) Desideratum of Quiet Sitting is a treatise in six chapters on the Tiantai meditation techniques that Yuan learned from his teachers, Master Yungu and Dharma Master Miaofeng.
[5] In traditional cosmology, the five phases are metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. This concept of natural cycles, which comes down to us from Zou Yan of the Warring States Period (475 BC – 221 BC), has applications in medicine, alchemy, historiography, and fortune-telling.
[6] Wuhuai and Getian are ancient rulers that predate even the legendary sage-emperors mentioned by Confucius. As examples of rule by simplicity, it is said that "they were trusted, though they did not speak; they transformed, though they did not act."
[7] Seniority has traditionally earned Chinese people respects from others as a sign of wisdom; thus when men get old, they like to make themselves known as "Laoren."
[8] Shi Dakai was a military leader of the Taiping Rebellion. In 1863 he invaded Sichuan, where he was captured and killed by Luo Bingzhang, the provincial governor.
[9] Records of the Historian was China's first comprehensive history. The book was written by the Han historian Sima Qian (145-86 B.C.).
[10] The Yellow Emperor, thought by some scholars to have lived from 2697 to 2597 B.C.
[11] Mount Kongtong where the Yellow Emperor learned the Dao is said to be near Pingliang County, Gansu Province.
[12] A work of philosophical Daoism, written by Zhuang Zhou during the Warring States Period (403-2 21 B.C.).
[13] Baopuzi is an eclectic Daoist work by Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.) of the Jin Dynasty. The Inner chapters of the book deal with alchemy and life-extension; the Outer chapters deal with statecraft.
[14] The Yellow Emperor's Secret Talisman Scripture exposes heaven's mysteries and reveal divinity's workings.