Why Aren't Any of the "New Age Gurus" Talking About "Ching-An"? (It's because they never experienced it!)

Before someone achieves the state of samadhi, they always experience the state which Chinese call "ching-an," which means clear and peaceful. In Tibetan Esotericism, it refers to the stage of pliancy, and in Chinese Confucianism is referred to as "Springtime." I've been through and then lost ching-an several times myself, so I can verify all the following characteristics of the state which have been described by a variety of spiritual traditions. In a moment I'll relate my own experiences.

Ching-an is so easy to recognize because the signs are unmistakable, and it's such a low stage of the cultivation path that I wonder why all the modern day gurus, Zen masters and others never mention it.

What are the traditional descriptions of ching-an? Let's start with Nan Huai-Chin's Tao & Longevity: Mind-Body Transformation which states:

When restlessness and torpor both disappear, and the mind suddenly fixes on a single thing in the absence of sleep and restlessness, then lightness occurs. For some, this sensation begins at the top of the head, whereas for others it originates in the soles of the feet.

When lightness begins at the top of the head, the top of the head feels fresh and cool as if cream were being gently poured over. The Buddhists and Taoists call this "internal baptism." This sensation circulates around the entire body, the mind is rested, the body is relaxed, and one feels so soft and flexible that it often seems as if the bones themselves have dissolved. It is then natural for the body to become straight as a pine tree. The mind is clear and there are no feelings of restlessness or torpor in response to external surroundings. One experiences a natural state of joy. This experience of lightness, however, eventually disappears.

When lightness originates in the soles of the feet, one experiences sensations of either coolness or warmth, which move upward to the top of the head. It often feels as if this lightness moves beyond physical boundaries to penetrate the sky. The lightness that originates from the soles is much easier to retain than the lightness that originates at the top of the head. It does not disappear quite so easily.

Confucianists say that a person has the sense of spring when he has attained a state of quietude. Spring indicates feelings of warmth, growth, freshness, and joy. These feelings accompany experiences of lightness during meditation.

Lightness gradually fades when one is forced to deal with mundane affairs and cannot sustain his efforts to progress further. Thus, if possible, it is often best for a person who has reached this state to live alone in a quiet place.

Oftentimes one who continues to cultivate will notice that this phenomenon of lightness grows weak, but this does not mean that it actually fades away. On the contrary, if one remains in this state for a long while, the sensation of lightness will not appear to be as strong as it was at the beginning. It is very much like eating new food for the first time. In the beginning the taste is intensely fresh, but the continual eating of this same food day after day dulls the flavor and it will not appear to be nearly so refreshing as it was initially.

If one continues to maintain the state of lightness without interruption, then one's samadhi will become firm and stable. One will feel calm and clear. The ch'i channels throughout the entire body will undergo various changes, and the body will feel warm and harmonious and as if one is experiencing a strong internal orgasm. These feelings are difficult to describe but the Chinese often say that one is "internally touched by wonderful pleasures." A person can detach himself from worldly desires only by progressing to this point.

During the appearance of the state of ching-an, it's common for the pituitary gland to secrete a sweet tasting hormone that appears in your saliva, and which you should readily swallow. This sweet secretion is not an imaginary phenomenon because it can be objectively tasted by any third party who kisses you, and all the cultivation schools of the world are consistent in insisting that this sweet nectar secretion helps to banish internal illness and extend your longevity. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says, "The yogi who drinks the pure stream of nectar is freed from disease, has longevity, and has a body as soft and as beautiful as a lotus stem." It also says, "It is like milk, ghee, or honey. Fatal diseases, old age and weapons are warded off [upon drinking it]. From [drinking this nectar], immortality and the eight siddhis or perfections will manifest."

Switching to a different cultivation school, the Taoist alchemical primer Tsan-tung-chi (Triplex Unity) comments,

The sweet nectar [sweet pituitary hormone] moistened their skin and flesh,
Their tendons and bones were soft and strong.
They expelled all the internal toxins from the body,
And constantly preserved their true energy [jing and real chi].
Having accumulated these effects over a long time,
Their bodies were transformed, and they became immortals [sages].

These are just two minor references to this phenomenon as there are many more extensive references to this process in almost every cultivation tradition. In Medieval alchemist Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens, the 9th picture (emblem) describes the state perfectly ("Enclose the old man and the tree in a house of dew, and eating of its fruit he will be made young"). Even the Bible (Judges 15:19) may give a reference to the state when it says, "God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived."

That's possibly ching-an once again.

The point is, over and over again you'll find this sweet salivary hormone secretion mentioned as among the very earliest stages of cultivation -- the pre-samadhi stage -- and if you are a biochemist or doctor seeking to unlock the secrets of anti-aging and longevity, this is the premier substance you should be working to isolate and then duplicate.

In fact, its existence should be a starting point of any multidisciplinary true cultivation, anti-aging, and mind-body research.

As another Taoist text, the Wu-jen p'ien (Understanding Reality), also describes this sweet salivary hormone from the pituitary gland:

Everyone originally has the medicine of immortality within.
However, they have lost their understanding and thrown it away.
When the sweet dew [the hormone] descends, sky and earth will be joined.
The place where the yellow sprouts grow is where k'an and li interact.
A frog in a well will say there is no dragon's cave.
How can a quail know about a phoenix's nest?
When the elixir is mature, gold will naturally fill the room [the stage of internal illumination due to the chi becoming full],
Why need to look for plants [special longevity herbs] or burn reeds [pray to
Heaven for longevity]?

You must remember that spiritual cultivation specifies two major types of medicine for the body's health and longevity: nei-dan, or internal medicine, and wai-dan, or external medicine. External medicines can be divided into three types: human, earthly and heavenly medicines.

The earthly medicines are things like plants and minerals which you ingest. The heavenly medicines are divine medicines and divine responses received when you work hard at your spiritual cultivation or you pray for heavenly help and have the merit to receive a response. Human medicine would include an activity like sexual cultivation with another which can help cure your body, balance your chi or help you with your cultivation in other ways.

The highest sort of medicine is none of these but internal medicine, which is your own jing, chi and shen. Your own jing, chi and shen are the top of all forms of medicine in existence.

For instance, the Can Tong Qi (Combining Similars Together) by Wei Bo-yang, details how to combine cultivation of the five elements of your body with medicines and cultivation principles of the I-Ching, Lao Tzu, astronomy and so forth. Within this text, he even tells how you can use the light of your own mind to internally look at your body inside. By focusing upon any diseased part and viewing it within through inner vision, in this way you can use your own shen to cure yourself.

As to this sweet salivary hormone, it, too, is just another example of your own internal medicine, or nei dan, and it will bring about all sorts of beneficial physical transformations.

This sweet salivary hormone is actually the famous "soma" of the Hindu Vedas, "ambrosia" of the Greeks," madya" (divine wine) of the Tantras, "sweet wine" of the Sufis, and "amrita" nectar of the Gods.

It is also the "grail wine" of the Medieval Christian mystics and the "fountain of youth" of European legends.

It's known in countless spiritual cultivation schools and you can find it mentioned everywhere not because it's been a popular symbol to pass along from school to school, but because it's such a low stage of achievement. It's a nondenominational stage of the cultivation path. Being such a low stage of achievement, all genuine spiritual schools have practitioners who go through it on the way to samadhi, and it's a stage of attainment which is unmistakable when it manifests.

In Taoist terms, this is the precursor stage to samadhi which corresponds to the transformations of jing to chi, and the opening of the jen-mai and tu-mai channels.

In Indian yoga and Esoteric Buddhism, it corresponds to the opening of the left and right channels, or ida and pingala channels.

In the Judaic tradition, the opening of these two chi channels is symbolized by the construction of the Boaz and Jachin pillars in the Temple of King Solomon. It's interesting that the reason the construction plans of this temple figure so importantly in Western spiritual literature is because the temple plans actually symbolize our physical body, and people who succeed in cultivation tend to discover this quite naturally.

The salivary secretions which occur during the stage of ching-an are unusually sweet, but this sweetness will also vary at times (as will the thickness or viscosity of this secretion) due to a predominance of what the Hindu schools call the five tattwas, or five elements. Hindu yoga explains that an earth predominating tattwa would cause this secretion to be very sweet, a bit of excessive fire tattwa would make this sweetness a little bitter, and excessive air tattwa leads to a slightly acidic taste. You can actually taste the meaning of the "five elements" as this hormone takes on various flavors.

This is the theoretical explanation from the Indian cultivation schools whereas the explanations from the Chinese cultivation schools differ because they use a different medical system. Nevertheless, the idea is the same: the flavor and consistency of this hormone can and will change over time because of different cultivation and physical conditions. From my own experience it gets more refined the longer you experience the state, but at the initial stages it's more viscous than later. The sweetness intensity also varies as well.

I have experienced the sweet dew many times myself so as to be able to verify its actual existence, and from my own experience I can say that it will appear when you cultivate intensely, but if you stop your cultivation for several days then it will also disappear as well. There will be a momentum continuance for several days, but if you stop your meditation work altogether, the state of ching-an will disappear. You can cultivate to initiate this phenomena and then have it appear for quite some time, but you must continue cultivating if you want to reach the next stage of spiritual attainment.

One of the big dangers to losing this stage is sex.

If you lose your jing because of sex, you'll lose the state and the refined chi that was responsible for initiating this stage. That's why you need to be celibate for at least 100 days to pass through this stage when it occurs. Then again you can also initiate this stage if you have sexual relations without orgasm/ejaculation and so "perform" that your chi ascends up your mai into your head to initiate the release of this hormone. While sharing the sweet saliva with your partner through kissing will help the other, don't think that this sharing is actually the crux of sexual cultivation.

If you think that swapping fluids is sexual cultivation then you'll think that absorbing chi or jing from your part is sexual cultivation. Gosh, so many authors on this subject out there and they're all wrong.

The purpose of sexual cultivation is simply to activate your chi and chi mai so that you experience a state of emptiness. It's simply another way to get there when you have a partner. If you really succeed in achieving emptiness through sexual cultivation, you can stand up and look at your body but you "won't be able to find your body." Your mind will become as big as your room, city, state or universe ... depending upon the stage of emptiness you reach you'll actually be able to feel the borders of these things with your mind ... and then you'll realize what it's like when a bit of chi goes through your central chi channel.

I can also confirm that it is much easier to generate this coolness stage of ching-an from the top of the head and have it proceed downwards than to proceed from the feet and go upwards. That's one of the reasons Buddha wanted people to perform the skeleton meditation starting with the toes and Christianity calls this the stage of cultivation the "washing of the feet." The head-borne ching-an is quite easy to produce if you combine certain chi-gong methods with skeleton visualization and breathing practices, but I never recommend these combinations to other people because they always get attached to them and think it's true cultivation whereas it's just expedient means.

There are so many cultivation methods you cannot teach to others because people who haven't cultivated a lot lack the wisdom to differentiate between expedient means and real cultivation, and because they would drop right into attachment. That's why many Tibetan monks are not introduced to "higher stag" teachings until 20 years of previous study and effort. The only time it's proper to teach someone these things is if they have high wisdom or you watch them every day and are there to tell them to stop the practice once you see they've achieved the outcome. Then you simply switch them to another practice without calling too much attention to the fact.

The propensity for misunderstanding and attachment is so great with these methods that I never like people to follow esoteric school teachings, nor does Master Nan. I can't tell you how many disasters we've both seen originating from Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and yoga where people become too attached to all these form methods. I know so many methods to help someone make progress quickly but they are just too dangerous to teach because people have little wisdom -- no matter how much you try to warn them not to do this or that.

Master Nan was recognized as an enlightened master by the Hutuku of Tibet, so his stage of realization is far higher than any Rinpoche, most of whom do not have samadhi attainments let alone are enlightened. That means he's actually been certified as an enlightened master of the Esoteric school of Buddhism, and yet he never tells people to go that way. I'm the only student I know of whom he's ever taught concerning the esoteric schools, including demonstrating superpowers and the like.

Master Nan always tells me that in years of teaching in Taiwan and China he's never been able to find anyone he could teach this stuff, and that people who fall into the form schools end up producing habits of attachment that cut off their wisdom life. The danger, he says, is that they form habits that become barriers for life after life after life, so he never teaches those things to any students because they will cut off their wisdom life. It doesn't so much matter that you don't achieve enlightenment in this life as long as you don't cut off your wisdom life, because if you do, everyone else will pass you in two or three lives while you still remain attached to cultivating this body of form.

I cannot comment on his observations, but I tell you frankly that you cannot practice esoteric techniques at all unless you have a very good master, and most of the masters I've seen in the esoteric schools have actually produced barriers for their own cultivation because of these techniques that they use, especially the Tibetan Buddhists. They actually cling to methods that put a ceiling on their own possible attainments, and so you know in this life they will keep beating their head against the wall and never get the Tao.

Perhaps the answer lies in what Asvaghosha wrote in The Awakening of Faith, which is one of the highest literary sources for a discussion on our ultimate nature and how to reach it. The Awakening of Faith says, "It should be understood that Suchness is the foundation of [all ] samadhi. If a man keeps practicing it, then he will gradually be able to develop countless other kinds of samadhi. … [On the other hand] Those who practice the various types of dhyana (meditation) and samadhi which are popular in the world will develop much attachment to their flavors and will be bound to the triple world."

My own teacher says it's very hard to help these fellows ... even though they have attained samadhi! Of course that's the Tibet school and what you find in most of yoga today. As to most of the Tao school practitioners, nowadays they don't even make it that far.

Honestly. Seriously. Truthfully. I kid you not with what I've just told you.

Today modern science promotes DHEA, melatonin, human growth hormone, estrogen, progesterone and other hormone treatments for anti-aging purposes, but the sweet tasting hormone substance of ching-an should absolutely, without doubt, be the major focus of anti-aging hormone research.

You have to consider that samadhi attainments are the only thing that can lead to a healthy quality-of-life longevity, and this is the major hormone (amongst several) which initiates the physical transformations of the chi and mai which enable this to happen. Thus it represents a more direct relationship to the cures for illness, aging and mental imbalance than the piecemeal battles fought by this or that other hormone.

Furthermore, to understand this sweet hormone you must remember the consistency in its appearance across cultivation schools and the fact that every major cultivation traditional in existence, including schools which are thousands of years old and established on different continents, independently assert that this salivary secretion is responsible for anti-aging and anti-illness effects! Thus if people wish to do anti-aging and anti-illness research, the focus should be directed to identifying this hormone as well as the changes which it initiates in the biophysical organism.

This is the real youth-producing soma, or grail wine of the ancients.

Taoism offers abundant descriptions of the descension of this "sweet nectar" or "dew," and this particular cultivation achievement can often been seen in the illustrated European medieval alchemy books. It sometimes occurs to those who engage in the right sort of dual sexual cultivation--if the practitioners have cleaned their mai to a certain degree--and a very minor semblance phenomenon (lacking the factors of true sweetness or abundance) can also manifest to those who have relatively clean mai and who engage in prolonged athletic activities such as running. ... But don't jump to the conclusion that this substance is an endorphin, because it's not. It is a sweet tasting endocrine secretion, of a very unique nature, which only manifests as a result of the purificatory processes of cultivation.

Don't get the idea that it's all in your mind as well, because if someone were to kiss you they would definitely ask you why your saliva tastes sweet.

But the sweet dew is not the only phenomenon that occurs during ching an. When it happens, you'll also feel like a cool vapor -- similar to dry ice -- is bathing your limbs and body and floating upwards into the sky. You'll look around to see if it's air conditioning but it's ching-an. As it progresses even further, it will feel like your body is an empty sack of skin, and the bones inside have disappeared.

The feeling of physical coolness, mental lightness and emptiness, and secretion of this sweet saliva is a nondenominational stage which occurs along the path of preliminary approach to samadhi, and is commonly found in all genuine cultivation schools. Some religions call it the state of "blessedness" when it manifests, and some call it "baptism." In Tibetan Buddhism, when you achieve this state, that's a real empowerment rather than the symbolic ones the monks give you in ceremonies.

Why is it a nondenominational phenomenon? Because it always occurs when you're opening the chi channels in advance of samadhi attainments.

In terms of the "mind-body" terminology which is popular today, this is a purely naturalistic hormonal event which occurs when you cultivate the mind, and is physically responsible for biochemically initiating a whole series of other physical changes that lead to health and youthfulness. This hormone helps you purify your body in so many ways.

You can even find this phenomena described in an obscure school like Alexandrine Gnosticism where the "perfect man" descends into the "Virgin's womb" [the tan-tien or lower abdomen], removes the "impurity contaminating the firstborn of water" [the meditator cultivates to purify their jing seminal essence], washes himself [the chi starts to circulate all over the body] and drinks from the "living waters" [the sweet pituitary gland secretion descends].

The Taoist master Huan Yuan-chi said, "In terms of cultivation, when fire warms water, pure yang arises. When water cools fire, 'sweet dew' appears."

Now people often read ancient cultivation texts and think the descriptions within are merely symbolic or allegorical ramblings, but this particular phenomenon just goes to show they are often descriptions of the many physical aspects of the cultivation process which science has yet to discover.

People today say they're being rigorously scientific and pooh-pooh these descriptions as nonsense, but when you find the same phenomena described across different cultivation schools varying with time and place, you have to recognize that there must be something to the commonality of descriptions. Furthermore, since it's such a low stage of achievement, you can easily cultivate it to prove its existence for yourself. It's just that so few cultivate that they rarely achieve these states and if you don't cultivate you'll never experience it. How many times has science denied the existence of a phenomenon despite repeated reports of people experiencing it?

On this we must note that for five years Wilber and Orville Wright made scores of public flying demonstrations, but were derided and dismissed as a hoax by Scientific American, the New York Herald, the US Army and most American scientists!

It's true!

Even Thomas Edison was called a trickster -- despite an enviable track record of previous successful inventions and patents -- when he claimed he had developed the light bulb. The academics of his day derided Edison saying that it defied the laws of physics and therefore couldn't work. Therefore he must be lying.

You see, the very same condition holds true for the claims we're making of cultivation science. People do not cultivate these states themselves so they say they don't exist. They don't cultivate themselves so they say all these consistent commentaries and descriptions across religions are fictions, fabrications or lies. People just cannot accept these things because it's outside their range of experience and prior indoctrination.

Here's the short of it. If you want to experience these things you have to cultivate correctly to a certain stage of attainment and if you don't experience that phenomenon, it means your cultivation isn't good enough.

But people don't like to hear that ... "How can I not be good enough?" they say to themselves, "I'm the special one." A famous professor of education once explained it when he said we all admire sports stars and give them scholarships in college because we all know we cannot duplicate their feats, but we don't give the same admiration or respect to smart people who win academic scholarships because we all feel deep inside that we're just as smart.

Everyone feels they're smart or special. In fact, I cannot tell you how many intelligent people have told me they were enlightened or have seen the Tao and they hadn't opened up any chi mai at all. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me sick.

Of course one day science will eventually attach empirical measurements and analysis to various gong-fu phenomena and say it discovered them, but you can find all these things openly mentioned and analyzed in the cultivation schools of the past. Nevertheless I guarantee that scientists will say they have discovered them. But I can only say time and again that the form and process of cultivation is a science whose principles have been clearly revealed in many spiritual schools, many of which have organized these phenomena into various stages of the path.

To prove these things you just have to cultivate yourself, so don't be waiting for science to catch up with the ancient findings and then say "Hey, they were right." In fact, the whole process of analyzing the esoteric changes of cultivation up to the stages of the first dhyana (if it makes it that far, which is unlikely) will probably require at least two to three to four hundred years of progress and investigation, and this is the next great evolution to be expected of the Western spiritual (and scientific) path.

So if you cultivate you will attain them and if you don't attain them, it simply means that your stage isn't high enough yet. It certainly doesn't mean they don't exist ... it simply means that your gong-fu isn't high enough.

To leap ahead and see the results that science will eventually confirm, you need but go back to the descriptions of cultivation phenomena already provided by Buddhism, Taoism, Tantra, alchemy and yoga. Furthermore, you can research the so-called legends of ancient cultures to find the relevant cultivation processes disguised within.

Thus no matter how the various cultures of the world try to disguise their descriptions of common cultivation phenomena, when you've experienced the relevant gong-fu and know the relevant theory, you'll be able to understand everything at a glance.

(Adapted from The Various Stages of the Spiritual Experience)



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