4. The Energy Practices of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond
Higher Beings in the Background
An elderly monk, who had been doing spiritual cultivation for many years, once told me, `Behind each cultivator who has attained success, whether in the internal domain or external domain (of worldly undertakings), there is always the presence of Helper Guides from higher realms.`
These invisible Helper Guides are the real directors behind the scenes. As a result, some of the essences of the Helper Guides manifest themselves on the cultivator. By observing these essences, a person with the Wisdom of Discriminatory Awareness will be able to determine the identities of the Helper Guides.
The elderly monk also went on to say that while some cultivators have only one Helper Guide, some have multiple Helper Guides. In some cases, the Helper Guides only stay for a little while and then take off. In other cases, the Helper Guides constantly follow the cultivator around. It is a phenomenon in which each case is unique and may be quite complex.
According to the elderly monk, Helper Guides of great adepts are from higher levels in the spirit realm`s hierarchy, while Helper Guides of cultivators of lesser achievements are from the ranks of earth spirits, water spirits, lake spirits, and tree spirits. Cultivators who have not attained any accomplishments only have unrefined chi in their bodies, without any trace of Helper Guides.
The elderly monk divulged the following analysis:
Dharma Master Cheng Yen`s Helper Guide is Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun`s Helper Guide is Lord of the Greater Yin Mountain Palace.
Supreme Master Ching Hai`s Helper Guide is the Great Brahmadeva.
Venerable Master Hsuan Hua`s Helper Guide is the Shurangama King Bodhisattva.
Venerable Master Miao Lian`s Helper Guide is Kuan Yin Bodhisattva.
I asked the elderly monk, `Who is my Helper Guide then?`
`The Golden Mother of the Jade Pond!` said the elderly monk laughingly.
Since Amitabha is my Personal Deity, Shakyamuni Buddha (Three-Peaks) and the Five Buddhas and Four Bodhisattvas of the Central Court of the Garbhadhatu Manadala (Nine-States) are my teachers, isn`t it strange that my Helper Guide is the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond?
The elderly monk explained, `It is true that a strong component of the light and energy in your body can be traced to the realms of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But, there is also a very unique stream of light and energy manifested unintentionally by you which is like a colorful whirlwind. This whirlwind of light often appears on your body and it signifies the presence of multiple empowerment from a Higher Being. This unusual light pattern is the light and energy of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. That is why, seriously speaking, the Golden Mother is your Helper Guide!`
The elderly monk further elaborated, `There is more to it. The Divine Light of the Golden Mother is an important component of the Lei Tseng [Thunder Store] temples and local chapters of your True Buddha School. Often times, being the main deity and Bodhisattva-in-residence at the Lei Tseng temples, the Golden Mother`s Divine presence is the strongest there.`
I did not raise any objection to the analysis proffered by this elderly monk with wisdom-eyes.
My Affinity with the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond
I, of course, am aware of the affinity between the Golden Mother and myself. All I have to do is look into the past-life LDs (seed consciousness). I know both of our identities and that we are intimately related. Therefore, when the close attendants of the Golden Mother (Tung Hsiang-cheng, Yu-yi, Hua-lin, Ching-e, Yao-chi, and Mei-lan) meet me, they all treat me with respect.
The rank of the Golden Mother in the spiritual hierarchy is extremely high. That is why many religious sects have made her into a principal deity of their own and have given her names such as Mother Empress, Imperial Mother, Lao Shen Niang, etc. Many of the names attributed to her were actually creations of Taoist practitioners in later generations.
In Taoism, the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond is the One Breath of Earlier Heaven (Hsien-tien Yi-chi). Based on my perceptions:
One Breath of Earlier Heaven - Dharma Body
Golden Mother of the Jade Pond - Bliss Body
Hou Hui - Emanation Body
The following comparison also may be made between the Immortal realms of Taoism and the three realms of Heavens in Buddhism:
Realm of Desire - Realm of Earth Immortals
Realm of Form - Realm of Heaven Immortals
Realm of Formless Pure Spirit - Realm of Golden Immortals
The rank of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond is unimaginable. Based on investigations using my Buddhic powers, the Five Directions Mystical Breaths in Taoism are equivalent to the Five Directions Buddhas in Buddhism. Of course, the rank of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond is just as high as that of a Five Direction Buddha, and only second to those of the Hsuan-hsuan Shang-jen and Mu-kung Shang-sheng.
My comparison of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond to one of the Five Directions Buddhas is based on true knowledge and not because I want to lavish praise on her. However, I also know all too well that this kind of statement from me will be met by absolute rejection in Buddhist circles. The Buddhist religious establishment has regarded the immortals of Taoism as beings who have not attained ultimate realization or Perfect Enlightenment.
In truth, the various methods of spiritual cultivation may be likened to the scaling of a mountain. If the summit is the `Buddha Fruit,` then there is more than one way of climbing the mountain; many paths may be developed to enable one to reach the peak. The source of the Buddhadharma realized by Shakyamuni Buddha is rooted in Indian Brahmanism and Hinduism. The Buddhadharma of Shakyamuni Buddha is of course superior to Brahmanism and Hinduism, but its roots are, nonetheless, planted in the soil of Brahmanism.
After Indo-Buddhism was introduced into China, it incorporated some of the aspects of the native Taoism and became Chinese Buddhism. In terms of esoteric practices, the supreme yoga tantra and energy practices of Tibetan Buddhism are quite similar to the practices of chi-kung and the internal alchemy of Taoism. These are just different approaches leading to the same results.
Because of our relationship at the level of `seed consciousness,` I am aware of the deep and practically inseparable affinity between the Golden Mother and me. That is why I would not refute the elderly monk`s declaration that the Golden Mother is the High Being who is helping me.
The Energy Practices of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond
There are the two following passages in the Yao-ch`ih chin-mu p`u-tu hsiu-yuan ting-hui chieh-t`o chen-ching (Golden Mother of the Jade Pond`s Sutra on Liberation through Stillness and Wisdom):
`To cultivate the Tao is to return to the source of everything. The Tao is the source of everything. This source gives rise to branches which give rise to leaves. Leaves give rise to flowers, and flowers give rise to fruits. Men and the myriad creatures may have different appearances and characteristics, but the principles underlying their development from the source are the same. When the connection with the source is firm, roots will grow; well-developed roots give rise to abundant foliage. Poor connection with the source leads to the withering of roots, which leads to sparse foliage. The purpose of cultivation is to strengthen the connection with the source. How is this done? By actualizing filial and brotherly love and refining vibrant vital and spirit energies. When one practices filial and brotherly love, the heart will be free of guilt. When the vital and spirit energies are strong, Tao is attainable. To cultivate the Tao is to simply recover one`s Original Face. It is through the same areas that vital and spirit energies have dissipated that they have to be retrieved.
`Liberation is not difficult to attain if one can achieve stillness and wisdom. When the body and mind rest in meditative stillness, wisdom is engendered. With the engendering of wisdom, liberation is feasible. To realize liberation, the first requisite is to eliminate the six robbers: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily sensation, and mental consciousness. When the six robbers are shut away, one sees clearly the nature of the five aggregates of form, perceptions, thoughts, intents, and consciousness. When the five aggregates are understood, wisdom is engendered. At this stage, ching, chi, and shen will arise to merge and travel freely both ascending and descending. With strong and vibrant energies, one enters into the stage of liberation.`
The Energy Practices of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond have pointed out the following:
1) To cultivate the Tao is to strengthen the connection with the source.
2) To cultivate the Tao is to recover the Original Face.
3) The key is `to retrieve vital and spirit energies through the same areas where they have dissipated.`
4) When the body and mind rest in stillness, wisdom is engendered.
5) When the six forms of `externally directed consciousness` are transcended, one gains a clear understanding of the true nature of the five aggregates that constitute a personality.
6) Ching, chi, and shen have to circulate freely, both ascending and descending.
On the day I was initiated into Buddhism and Taoism, the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond helped me to activate my psychic abilities and obtain instantaneous divine-sight. That same night, I was led to travel throughout many of the heavenly realms. These well-known events have been recorded in my early spiritual books.
I have also engaged in many of the energy practices of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, such as the `Sword Tempering Method,` `Great Incubating Method,` `Pill Cauldron Method,` and `Ultimate Correct Method.` Although the techniques of these Taoist energy practices of the Golden Mother differ from those of the energy practices of the Tibetan Buddhists, the underlying principles behind them are the same. The following is a brief summation of my analysis:
`Strengthening the connection with the source` is equivalent to the Buddhist Tantric practice of `achieving non-leakage in body, speech, and mind.` It is stated in Tantra that `leakage leads to falls.` There are four bodily leakages: genitalia, oral [mouth], skin pores, and urinary/excretory. The four types of chi that can leak through the mouth are: shang-hsing chi, hsia-hsing chi, ping-teng chi, and pian-hsing chi. The four ways that energy can leak from the mind are: craving, greed, ignorance, and wrong views.
`Recovering the Original Face` is tantamount to the Personal Deity Yoga of Buddhist Tantra. When a practitioner succeeds in the Personal Deity Yoga practice and transforms himself from an ordinary mortal to the Personal Deity, he is `recovering his Original Face.`
The key to the Golden Mother`s energy practices (retreiving vital and spirit energies through the same areas where they have dissipated) has great significance. It is in fact the same as the Tantric practices of `cultivation of body, speech, and mind` and `cultivation of prana, channels, and light drops.`
`When the body and mind rest in meditative stillness, wisdom is engendered.` This is the same as the three studies of `disciplines, stabilization, and wisdom` in Buddhism.
The shut-down of the `six consciousnesses` and the understanding of the `five aggregates` are subjects covered by the Mind Only School [Yogachara] of Buddhism.
Ching, chi, and shen (generative, vital, and spirit energies) are the three key elements in Taoist energy practices. Prana(chi), channels, and light drops are the three key elements in Tantric Buddhist energy practices. And I have listed them as follows:
Ching is light drops.
Chi is prana.
Shen is the manifestation of light and wind in the channels.
The truth is, the `Sword Tempering Method` is a foundation practice of the Highest Tantra, the `Great Incubating Method` is equivalent to the Treasure Vase Chi and Psychic Heat practices, the `Pill Cauldron Practice` is the `light drop` practice, and the `Ultimate Correct Method` results in the emergence of Clear Light and the Void.
The energy practices of the Golden Mother are, indeed, directly linked to the energy practices of Buddhist Tantra. When I started my practices on the Buddhist energy yogas, I realized that I had a complete understanding on them already. Penetrating one door is tantamount to penetrating all doors; all of the energy practices became clear and lucid to me.
Many Buddhist monks have accused me of practicing heresy when they saw my devotion to the Golden Mother. In reality, my cosmic view encompasses the Oneness - in expansion I do not find anything outside of me and in contraction I do not find anything inside of me, a state where the outside does not differ from the inside.
Many Buddhist monks have asked me not to enshrine and honor the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond at my Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple. I ask them back, `If I should not honor her, whom should I honor? Should I honor your grandmother instead?`
Please excuse my impudent remarks to the monks, but the Golden Mother is the first Deity who initiated me into Buddhism and thus made it possible for me to achieve Realization and Perfect Enlightenment through practicing Buddhism and Taoism. When I drink from the fountain of success in cultivation, how can I not remember from whence it sprung? If I do not honor and revere the Golden Mother, whom should I revere?
Translated by Janny Chow