Ultimate Principle of Xiu Dao (Xiu Dao-5)
In Xiu Dao, or commonly known as Daoist Meditation in English, Xing and Ming are a pair of very important concepts. One has to learn how to apply them in …
Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well.
I notice that though most of my subscribers
and viewers are interested in content related
to martial arts, there are quite a few of
you interested in Xiu Dao and meditation-related
concepts as well. Thank you for the positive
feedback, both public and private. I find
it very encouraging and that drives me to
keep posting more content.
Also, to those who have strong Daoist practice
experience, you may have noticed that the
way I introduce this topic is very systematic.
I believe it is the only way to help our community
see the whole picture of this practice that
was full of mysticism and overwhelming information,
combined with a lot of misconceptions. The
systematic way of introducing Xiu Dao will
maximize the benefits offered by this system
that has been developed for thousands of years.
About Daoist documents, I have to say that
there are more than 5000 volumes in total
including both long and short documents. Among
those documents, less than a thousand of them
are related to Daoist practice. The rest are
related to religious Daoism or other topics.
I started reading those documents from my
teenage years under the guidance of my family
members, teachers and friends. I can confidently
say that I have read every relevant classic
document on this practice. Furthermore, regarding
new books about Xiu Dao, I am very selective
in what I read because not all of the contemporary
books have value. Based on personal experience,
it is impossible to understand Xiu Dao without
guidance because those documents are full
of jargon. At least you need someone to point
out a productive direction in learning so
that you would understand the fundamental
principles of Daoism beyond the most popular
terms. So, if you have experienced frustration,
ambiguity, and incomprehension in learning,
that is totally fine since it is caused by
the nature of those documents. I totally blame
the writing style of those documents and sincerely
believe that it can be improved upon.
A fundamental and unavoidable topic in both
philosophical and religious Daoism is Xing
and Ming. Not only is it related to Daoist
belief systems such as the meaning of life
, but it can also guide our practice. Without
understanding these two terms, you cannot
claim to be a Daoist practitioner!
So, let’s get started.
Topics covered in today’s video include:
1. Xing and Ming in Daoism,
2. Xing and Ming’s significance,
3. What can we do in practice?
4. Practice Time,
1. Xing and Ming in Daoism.
In ancient Chinese philosophies, the main
topic is about Life. We can say that Chinese
philosophy is a study of life. Life is the
subject of different systems and most of the
practice involved in the ancient systems has
been to adjust, manage and stabilize our life.
So that, in expectation, we will be able to
make our limited life go beyond its boundary
and reach the unlimited and infinite being.
So, understanding the reality of the universe
is not the objective at its face value, instead,
the objective is to find a path to achieve
and realize the great Dao, or to be the ideal
state of being: an immortal, a sage, a buddha
and so on. Of course, like I mentioned before
that these terms have specific meanings in
each system and we should not try to interpret
them based on commonly held beliefs. Immortal,
sage, or buddha in ancient Chinese philosophy
means that someone has achieved a state that
is beyond its limitation and boundary in life.
This is why in ancient Chinese philosophy,
it is believed that everyone has the potential
of becoming one of these three. In front of
becoming an immortal, sage or buddha, everyone
It is or at least at a certain level, a supernaturalism
system since the meaning of life here depends
on the spiritual realm. More specifically,
it is a Soul-centered view based on modern
philosophy standards. Xiu Dao focuses on finding
the path to become an immortal through a path
that can lead you to go beyond your physical
limits and boundaries in life. By the way,
like I introduced in my prior video that the
word Immortal in Daoism can mean many things.
Without clearly defining the meaning of immortal,
we would not be able to define the meaning
of the “spiritual realm”. In my opinion,
immortal is just a metaphorical term and we
should not interpret it literally. Since it
is an interesting term, I will introduce it
in depth in the future.
Now, let’s come back to Xing and Ming. Xing
means nature. Ming means life. What is Nature?
Nature in Daoism means the Real-Self, the
original One. What is Life? Life is our physical
existence, our health, and our functions.
Furthermore, In Daoism, Xing concerns the
psychological and Ming concerns the physiological.
Xing and Ming are two important aspects of
an individual’s destiny. The relation between
Xing and Ming is specially emphasized in Daoism
as a core concept. Therefore, it is a question
that must be answered by someone trained in
To summarize, Xing and Ming are two terms
used in Daoist practice that describe the
relationship between human beings and the
universe, as well as the mind and body, or
physical function and spiritual well being,
or psychological and physiological aspects,
and so on. In Xiu Dao practice, these pairs
of terms have a special significance, which
leads us to the next topic.
2. Xing and Ming’s significance in Xiu Dao,
In Xiu Dao, Xing means nature, mind, or spirit.
Ming is life, physical function or activity.
Ming also means Energy, or Primordial Energy
to be more specific because Ming is directly
related to the concept of Qi, or Energy.
Now, let me talk about a few prominent historic
Daoist figures, their works and statements
relevant to Xing and Ming.
Qiu Chuji, from 1148 to 1227 is a prominent
figure in Daoist history. He was a disciple
of Wang Chongyang, the founder of North Daoist
school. Qiu Chuji was the most famous among
the Seven Total-Reality Daoists of the North.
In his famous work “Da Dan Zhi Zhi”, or
Great Elixir Direct Explanation, he said that
“the principle of golden elixir, is just
the practice of Xing and Ming”. So, we can
see how important Xing and Ming are in Xiu
Wang Chongyang, a Chinese philosopher, poet,
and one of the founders of the Total-Reality
Daoist school in the 12th century, once said
that Xing is the primordial Spirit, Ming is
the primordial Energy.
Shi Tai, one of the Five Southern Patriarchs,
in his Huan Yuan Pian, or “Tablet on Reversion
to the Origin said:
Qi Shi Xing Zhong Ming
Xin Wei Xing Nei Shen
This translates to:
Energy is the Life in our body.
The mind is the Spirit in our Nature.
Next, let’s talk about Zhang Sanfeng. Zhang
Sanfeng is an important figure in Daoist history.
He was the founder of the Sanfeng School of
Daoism. Zhang Sanfeng’s name has been misused
by many people in recent times, something
which I will talk about in a future video.
But for now, let’s limit all discussion
to Xing and Ming. In his book Da Dao Lun，or
Discussion of Great Dao, he said:
Qi Mai Jing Er Nei Yun Yuan Shen
Ze Yue Zhen Xing
Shen Si Jin Er Zhong Zhang Yuan Qi
Ze Yue Zhen Ming
This translates to:
The Real Xing is the Primordial Spirit after
our Energy stabilizes.
The Real Ming is the Primordial Energy after
our Mind stabilizes.
Now, let’s talk about ZhongLi Quan. ZhongLi
Quan was considered one of the Eight-Immortals
in Daoist history. He once told his disciple
Yi Dian Ling Ming Wu Wei, Xing Ye.
Yi Dian Yuan Qi Chang Tiao, Ming Ye.
This translates to:
Xing is the unhindered Spirit.
Ming is the continually nourished Energy.
Simply speaking, in Xiu Dao, Xing and Ming
mean Spirit and Energy. Since Spirit and Energy
are the most important entities in Daoism,
we can see how important these terms are.
By the way, let me remind you of the Primordial
and Post-mordial variations of entities that
I introduced in prior videos. This concept
can be applied here as well. There is primordial
Xing and Ming, as well as post-mordial Xing
and Ming. In Xiu Dao, we focus on the former,
not the latter. For this topic, there are
different concepts as well, such as Five-Virtues
of Primordial and Five-Harms of Post-mordial
and they are complicated to talk about. In
the interest of time, I will skip them for
now and may introduce it in the future.
To summarize, the overall practice of Xiu
Dao, is simply to adjust, manage and balance
Xing and Ming, or Spirit and Energy. This
is why I said in the beginning that without
understanding these terms, you can never claim
to be practicing Xiu Dao.
3, What can we do in practice?
In Xiu Dao, any activity related to cultivating
the Xing is called Xing Gong，or Practice
of Xing. At the same time, any activity related
to improving the Ming is called Ming Gong，or
the Practice of Ming.
(1) Xing Gong, or Practice of Xing, is related
to the cultivation of one’s personality,
and quality. Very often, it is related to
another philosophical concept, Virtue. Historically,
Daoist practitioners had to study many classic
documents in order to understand and respect
different standards related to virtue including
Based on personal research and experience,
I believe that theoretically speaking, virtue
itself is post-mordial while the justification
and rationality of virtue is the primordial
concept. One has to understand the justification
and rationality so that our mind and spirit
would be able to be nourished in the primordial
state. It is my own research result and it
would be great to have verification. That
is why Xing Gong, or personal cultivation
(2) Ming Gong, 命功, or Practice of Ming,
is related to one’s Life. In Xiu Dao, Life
is improved by Medicine, or the refinement
of the Three Treasures, the Jing, Qi, and
Shen. Daoist practitioners try to improve
the primordial Ming by first working on Post-Mordial
life and gradually progressing to nourish
the Primordial life. I introduced this topic
in a prior Xiu Dao video. So, the specific
activities, procedures to achieve this result
is Ming Gong or the Practice Of Ming.
You may consider any activity that can benefit
your life to be Ming Gong. But in the context
of Xiu Dao, Ming Gong means a specific set
of activities directly related to primordial
entities, with the goal of achieving the “Reverse
Flow of Action”.
Now, you may be under the impression that
Ming Gong, or Practice of Ming, is more important
than Xing Gong. Well, that is not true at
Of course,, in the initial stages, some schools
focus more on Ming Gong while some others
focus more on Xing Gong. However, in Xiu Dao,
a key concept in dealing with Xing and Ming
is 性命双修, Xing Ming Shuang Xiu, or
Practice both Xing and Ming Equally, which
reflects the importance of the relation between
Xing and Ming. Since Xing and Ming are two
sides of the same coin, they cannot be separated
eventually. I can say that all of the Daoist
practitioners in history emphasize this concept
in practice! A commonly held belief is:
Ming Wu Xing Er Bu Li,
Xing Wu Ming Er Wu Yi.
Shuang Xiu Xing Ming Shi Zhen Ji.
This translates to:
Ming would not Stand without Xing.
Xing would not Exist without Ming.
The Real Path is the Cultivation of Both Xing
So, maintain our mind to cultivate our Xing,
Practice our Body to improve our Ming.
Let me repeat again: the ultimate goal in
practice is to cultivate Xing and Ming equally.
However, in the initial stages, many schools
emphasize on cultivation of Xing, or Mind
and Spirit. For example, Zhang Sanfeng said:
Wei Lian Huan Dan Xian Lian Xing,
Wei Xiu Da Yao Qie Xiu Xin,
Xin Xiu Zi Ran Dan Xin Zhi,
Xing Qing Zi Ran Yao Cai Sheng.
This translates to:
Cultivate the Xing before Practicing the Great
Cultivate the Mind before Cultivating the
The Great Elixir will come naturally after
the Mind gets Cultivated
The Great Medicine will be generated when
the Mind gets Purified
Here, Zhang Sanfeng emphasized the importance
of the cultivation of the Mind or Spirit.
In other words, the importance of Xing Gong.
By the way, like I introduced in prior videos,
in Zhang Sanfeng’s time, around the Yuan
and Ming Dynasty, Neo-Confucianism rose in
popularity and even became the dominating
school of thought during that period. Zhang
Sanfeng, along with other Daoist philosophers,
scholars, and masters, adapted a great deal
of concepts and teachings from Neo-Confucianism
into Daoist practice in strengthening the
theoretical contents of Xing Gong. Following
this, Neo-Confucianism teaching became a part
of Daoist Virtue.
Please remember that Ming Gong and Xing Gong
overlap very often. This overlapping part
can be a very powerful practice in reality.
I will introduce it in a future video.
To summarize, Xing Gong and Ming Gong, the
Practice of Mind and Body, are two key complementary
but unified aspects in Xiu Dao.
4, Practice Time,
Last time, what I introduced to you is to
focus on the whole body while maintaining
a stable body structure. If you have incorporated
it into your daily practice already, you can
move on to the next step which I will talk
about now. If not, please go back to the previous
video and practice it. In Xiu Dao practice,
you should not skip any step, or the result
and benefits would no longer be the same.
Also, there is no rush for you to skip a step.
You can always catch up on what you missed
before. Life is long.
However, if you feel life is short or if you
want to focus on the power of Now, then again,
I would recommend going back to the prior
video *Now itself*.
Having said that, in today’s video, I’d
like to introduce a new exercise. Assuming
you’re in a stable body structure and focussing
on the whole body already, shift your focus
to the lower Dantian area. Please keep in
mind that the lower Dantian area is not the
surface of your lower stomach. Rather, it
is the area inside your lower abdomen. At
this moment, it is not necessary to be very
precise about the Dantian’s location. Just
relax your mind and be aware of the Lower
Dantian area. As for the breathing, just breathe
naturally for now.
You are welcome to write down your experience
after you practice in the comments section.
I will answer your questions if time permits.
To quickly recap the process so far:
Relax your body
Relax your mind
Focus on the whole body
Be aware of the lower Dantian area
After a while, open your eyes.
Again, a lot of topics have been introduced
in such a short video.
(1) Xing and Ming have been introduced along
with their significance in Daoism.
(2) Xing and Ming are very important in Xiu
Dao. You need to understand them before in
order to practice Xiu Dao correctly.
(3) Theoretical background information about
Xing and Ming has been elaborated.
(4) A simple exercise of Xiu Dao has been
So, that ends today’s video. Thank you for
watching, see you next time. And enjoy your