Chapter 1: The Origin of Quiet Sitting in China
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.”
2 The Chan [also known as Zen] School of Buddhism also teaches quiet sitting [meditation].
3 What the Lord of Universe Church teaches is the “Chinese Original Quiet Sitting.”
4 The Confucian process of self- cultivation, which goes through stages of “Settling, Quietude, Tranquility, Reflection and Attainment” also originated from quiet sitting.
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.
6 In the Ming Dynasty, Yuan Liaofan adopted Buddhist techniques in writing his Desideratum of Quiet Sitting.
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.
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.
9 Many people who read old Daoist scriptures found them full of obscure terms based on yin-yang and the five phases, but found Master Yinshizi’s Quiet Sitting Method was clear and easy to read.
10 Hence, the common, but resonant term “quiet sitting” came into wide use in contemporary China.
11 “Quiet sitting” is “dazuo” which literally means sitting quietly.
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.”
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.
14 Once the illusions are cast out, there are still countless ‘flights of fancy’ that keep coming and going.
15 As for “sitting until there is a heaven within one’s self-nature”, this is even more difficult.
16 That is why certain people consider learning meditation, yet think it mysterious, and fear going down a demonic path.
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.
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.
19 In fact, “quiet sitting” is part of China’s national heritage. It is at the heart of our only remaining heritage.
20 Many creations of our ancient civilization were spread elsewhere and found their most impressive developments in the hands of Europeans and Americans.
21 Only the mysteries of “quiet sitting” are still un-mastered by people in other countries.
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.
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.
24 As the saying goes, “Everyone covets life and fears death, but all the same, they die.”
25 The mortality of living things is a mystery of creation, and it is the Dao of the universe.
26 It is a subject that religion, philosophy, and science have pondered throughout the ages, but have not been able to solve.
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.
28 The only recent case of a transcendent, purely natural person like the subjects of Wuhuai-shi and Getian-shi  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.
29 Qingyun Laoren [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.
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.
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.
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.”
33 So Qingyun Laoren withdrew to Mount Emei and built a hut to live in.
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,  he spoke of them convincingly, as if he was speaking about the back of his hand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
39 Historical records tell us there were lofty persons and hermits in China’s famous mountains and grottoes.
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.
41 According to the “Annals of the Yellow Emperor” in Records of the Historian,  the Yellow Emperor  traveled west to Mount Kongtong.
42 Zhuangzi also tells of the Yellow Emperor climbing three times up Mount Kongtong to inquire of the Dao from Guangchengzi.
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.”
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.
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.
46 The Inner Chapter of Baopuzi 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.”
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 in three scrolls.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
53 So the two of them went to Mount Emei together to seek knowledge.
54 The Yellow Emperor asked, “What is a secret talisman?”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
59 Only then was the Yellow Emperor fully enlightened. He made repeated prostrations [of gratitude and reverence] and then returned.
60 Thenceforth, he threw his energy into dual cultivation of self-nature and physical body, into nurturing spirit and body.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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?)
66 His attendants said, ‘He did ascend up to heaven. His ministers buried only his cap and robe.'”
67 The Yellow Emperor’s tomb is located on Mount Qiao, at the center of Yellow Tomb County in present day Shaanxi Province.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
77 This fact has been confirmed and honored by succeeding generations of Daoists.
 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.
 "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.
 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.
 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.
 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."
 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."
 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.
 Records of the Historian was China's first comprehensive history. The book was written by the Han historian Sima Qian (145-86 B.C.).
 The Yellow Emperor, thought by some scholars to have lived from 2697 to 2597 B.C.
 Mount Kongtong where the Yellow Emperor learned the Dao is said to be near Pingliang County, Gansu Province.
 A work of philosophical Daoism, written by Zhuang Zhou during the Warring States Period (403-2 21 B.C.).
 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.
 The Yellow Emperor's Secret Talisman Scripture exposes heaven's mysteries and reveal divinity's workings.