April 17, 2006 at 2:43 pm #12850
Since Bagua was concerned that I might resort to channelled sources to buttress my propositions about immortality, I’ve decided to start off the next round with a piece by Peter Novak, an independent researcher with no investment in Taoism (in fact he is Christian), and whose interest is in integrating scientific research with religious theories.
Peter’s wife committed suicide when he was 27, and it baffled and obsessed him such that he wanted to know more about death. He spent 15 years studying all the world’s religions as well as near death experiences NDEs and past life regression. i recommend his booksThe Lost Secret of Death: Our Divided Souls and the Afterlife, or his earlier book, The Division of Consciousness.
He has just come out with a book on Original Christianity in which I think he argues that the anti-reincarnation early Christians got the pro-reincarnation gnostic Christians banned or suppressed, out of fear that if people believed they could reincarnate, why did they need Jesus to help them resurrect? What’s interesting is that this is exactly an opposite attitude about reincarnation to that expressed by Buddhism, which views reincarnation as the source of suffering. Novak is arguing that in the West, incarnate souls WANT to reincarnate to enjoy more time here (and thus satisfy the earthy half of their soul).
His research led him to same conclusions the ancient Taoists had: the human soul is binary, or has yin and yang components in Taoist language. Peter knows very little about Taoism and even less about its practrices to resolve this yin-yang tension, so this posting is for theoretical background only, but one that puts the issues in a very modern context.
What Novak has concluded from his research is that according to many of the world’s ancient religions, a Third Consciousness that he describes as immortal is the only way to resolve the division in the human soul.
From his research, religious experiences of and past-life memories of the state of floating in absolute “nothingness”, total detachment, are common indications of ONE SIDE of the soul after death, what we would call the Heavenly “spirit” side vs. the Earthly “soul”. That this half of the soul has NO MEMORY and NO ATTACHMENT because that is not its job in the incarnational process.
Realizing either side of the soul while alive is a kind of enlightenment, but is NOT to be confused with the integrated Third state of immortality.
I believe this kind of half-souled enlightenment is what most Buddhists who intentionally cultivate Emptiness and bypass the longer and slower jing-chi-shen process are experiencing. The evidence that many Buddhist practitioners (excepting Tantric Buddhists) disregard their physical bodies is well established. They are seeking a shortcut that bypasses the problem of embodiment, or denies the problem/split between the souls even exists.
The point Novak is making is that this is not simply a matter of disregarding one’s physical health; it is a chronic and globally pervasive condition of under-valuing the earthly half of the binary soul. Just as the Conscious Ego devalues and underestimates the Unconscious half of itself. Just as men tend to devalue women’s reality, the intellectual tends to devalue feeling, etc. etc.
I will take this foundational premise further in future posts, showing its relevance to theories about ego/mind, the relation between yini-yang soul and five shen theory, and the natural human tendency to escape suffering by focusing on one side (the formless/Heaven) of the soul.
This has led to modern priesthoods simplifying what was known to the ancients about the binary nature of the soul into a more simple doctrine of saving a single soul. This has created a set of cultural blinders on humans eager for salvationalpromises from what is “above”. It is as pervasive as the blindness created by being “left brain dominant” and suppressing the contents of the right brain into the “unconscious”.
This is the opening page of Peter Novak’s website. I am hotlinking the URL below.
D I V I S I O N T H E O R Y
of Peter Novak
“Nothing else in the world … not all the armies…
is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
– Victor Hugo
This website describes a revolutionary theory about what happens to us after death. Hundreds of such theories exist, of course – most of them mutually contradictory. The Binary Soul Doctrine is different, in three respects :
1. It accounts for virtually all the reports emerging from modern research into afterlife phenomena.
2. It accounts for the vast majority of humanity’s religious teachings about death and the afterlife, explaining why people would have arrived at those conclusions.
3. It is based on modern scientific knowledge about how the mind functions.
But the oddest thing is that this theory, though newly rediscovered, is among the oldest of explanations – perhaps the oldest explanation – ever devised by the human mind for a series of puzzles about life, death, and the afterlife.
The simple premise of DivisionTheory is that we DO survive death – our psyches do continue to exist and function after the demise of the physical body, but at the tragic cost of being ripped apart into two separate pieces, each of which goes on without the other into a different, crippled afterlife experience.
The conscious mind, known for eons in the East as the Spirit, loses its memory and goes on to reincarnate. The unconscious mind, known for eons in the West as the Soul, becomes trapped in a heavenly or hellish afterlife dreamworld of its own unwitting creation. Both scientific and scriptural evidence exists to support this startling conclusion, which not only explains the differences between many of the world’s great religions, but also shows that humanity’s intuitions about the soul’s survival has a reality separate and distinct from the mind’s philosophical conflicts.
Ancient religious beliefs from all over the globe contain elements of DivisionTheory, suggesting that this was once a world-wide religion. And now our modern science is again pointing in that same ancient direction.
Has modern science finally arrived at the underlying mechanics of Life After Death? It now seems possible, perhaps even likely, that humanity’s many various reports of heaven & hell, reincarnation, and ghosts are all the common effects of a single, scientifically definable “Life After Death” condition. A great wealth of scriptural evidence, compiled from the sacred texts of religions all across the world, also seems to constitute substantiating evidence for a radical new, scientifically-based vision of Life After Death. And yet more evidence for this has been added to our cultural storehouse by recent sociological research into Past-Life Regression, Near-Death Experiences, and ghost reports.
The ancients believed, as modern psychology does, that the inner SELF is composed of a fundamental duality.
Whether one calls the two parts of that duality a conscious and an unconscious, or a mind and a heart, or (as in ancient China) a p’o and a hun, or (as in ancient Greece) a thymos and a psyche, or (as in ancient Egypt) a ba and a ka, or (as in ancient Persia) an urvan and a fravashi, or (as in ancient India) an asu and a manas, or (as in ancient Hawaii) the uhane and unihipili souls, or (as in ancient Israel) a soul and a spirit, humans have always seen themselves as possessing two non-material psychic components.
Like that ancient SELF described in so many cultures, modern science has in this century also discovered that our mind is composed of two parts – one conscious and one unconscious. And the characteristics of the two parts that science has discovered (surprise!) are the very same characteristics those ancient cultures described the two parts of the ancient duality has possessing.
The ancients (Greece, Egypt, Persia, China, Hawaii, Israel) all believed that these two parts separated from one another at death; most cultures believed that one of their two parts would become trapped in some sort of netherworld (a heaven/hell type scenario), while the other part slipped away freely. Some of these ancient cultures believed that this second part went on to reincarnate.
What is particularly interesting to me about this is that :
(A) These ancient cultures described the functions and characteristics of the two parts in terms virtually identical to how modern psychologists describe the functions and characteristics of the conscious and unconscious halves of the human psyche.
(B) If one then asks what would happen if the two halves of the human psyche survived the death of the physical body, but divided from one another in the process, one finds that the unconscious would seem to become trapped in a self-induced dreamworld (think netherworld), while the other would loses its memory and sense of identity but remain free to go on to have new experiences (think reincarnation).
(C) The Bible, as well as many other ancient scriptures, includes literally hundreds of passages supporting such a soul/spirit division concept (although no one seems to have noticed this relationship).
This Division Would Hide Itself
What is particularly interesting is that such a division, if indeed it did occur, would naturally hide itself:
If such a division did occur, no one would be likely to report the division itself, but only the effects of the division (the division itself could only be discovered through deductive reasoning, or if you accept the possibility, divine revelation).
No one would report the division itself because after the division, neither side of the mind would be aware that any such division had occurred at all. Each side of the mind would be prevented from arriving at this realization, because after the division, each side of the mind would be crippled, because each would then lack the mental capacities of the opposite side of the mind:
If the conscious and unconscious split apart, each side would report the very afterlife experiences we have seen come down through history, and which continue to be reported today. The afterlife experience of the conscious mind would reflect the traditional reincarnation scenario, while the afterlife experience of the unconscious would reflect the traditional heaven/hell netherworld scenario.
As has happened for thousands of years, each is still being actively reported today, in NDEs and Past-Life memories. For the last 20 years, science has researched these phenomena, and this research has produced yet further evidence supporting DivisionTheory.
When subjects are regressed in their memories to a point in time in-between lives, they report an afterlife scenario dramatically unlike that reported by NDE subjects. In-between lives, they report possessing no memories or emotions, just calmly floating in a tranquil nothingness. They don’t recall their own names, or having ever lived any previous lives, or having ever been anywhere else besides that nothingness they are experiencing at that very moment. This contrasts sharply with the scenario described by NDE subjects, who report undergoing profound memory-reviews – confrontations with their memories of their past-life- after which they visit emotionally-intense heavens or hells populated by any number of other people. NDE subjects do often report a similar episode during their experiences, in which they seem to temporarily “lose track” of their own emotional state, during the first few moments of an NDE. But shortly after they begin the subsequent events (traveling through the tunnel, experiencing the memory-review, etc), they again report having vivid, intense emotions.
This century brought many discoveries which stand as evidence supporting DivisionTheory:
(1) the psychological discovery that the human mind is naturally divided into two halves, and the discoveries that each half possesses unique traits and characteristics
(2) the DivisionTheory discovery that, if the mind was to survive death, but divided apart in the process, those innate scientific characteristics of those two halves, the conscious and the unconscious, would cause them to neatly reproduce humanity’s two classic afterlife scenarios (the conscious would lose its memory but remain free to go on to new experiences, i.e., reincarnate, while the unconscious would become trapped in a dreamworld created out of its own reactions to its own memories, i.e., a memory-review, a judgment, and then heaven or hell), and
(2) the archaeological discovery, in the Nag Hammadi scriptures, that the afterlife theology of the early Christian church originally focused on such a division of two halves of a person’s spiritual self, and
(3) the historic discovery that the ancient religions of Hawaii, Egypt, Greece, China, Persia, and many other cultures also focused on such a belief, and
(4) the sociological phenomenon that subjects hypnotically regressed in their memories to a point in time in-between past lifetimes (as during Past-Life Regression) consistently describe floating calmly in nothingness, feeling no emotions, recalling no memories, and possessing no sense of identity, and
(5) the sociological phenomenon that people describing Near-Death experiences frequently report experiencing a similar, but temporary loss of feelings and emotions (this occurs immediately after leaving their bodies, but before they travel very far away from that body, and their sense of experiencing emotions returns shortly thereafter), and
(6) the sociological phenomenon that modern exorcists consistently describe the devils and demons they encounter as possessing a single identity, but being at the same time composed of innumerable separate entities.
Does this constitute final, definitive, conclusive proof of DivisionTheory? No. But DivisionTheory does explain ALL the phenomena being reported, up to and including the peculiar memory- and emotion-loses being reported by NDE and past-Life Regression subjects. DivisionTheory suggests that the NDE group is reporting the afterlife experience of the unconscious soul, while the Past- Life Regression group reports the afterlife experience of the conscious spirit.
But neither side, neither conscious nor unconscious, would report the division itself at all. There could be no direct eye-witness reporting of such an event. Neither part would be aware such a division had occurred, because:
*The conscious would not remember the division. Memory is stored in the unconscious.
* The unconscious would not be able to figure out that the division had occurred, because, having lost the conscious mind with its rational intellect, it could no longer objectively figure out anything. It would be as unable to discern logical conflicts and irrationalities as the mind is during dreams.
This would explain why the reports of heaven/hell netherworlds and the reports of reincarnation both continued through the ages, keeping both legends alive, but the reports of the division itself got lost in the confusion during the Dark Ages. After the Dark Ages, the division was no longer understood. or was the distinction between the soul and spirit comprehended, and they became thought of as interchangeable terms for the same thing, whereas in the original texts, the two were clearly separate and distinct components of the human spiritual economy.
Given that, we must ask, what part of “ME” is the soul, and what part is the spirit? If we do divide apart, this question becomes crucial – are they parts I will miss much?
The ancient cultures speak of these two parts in the same way modern science speaks of the conscious and unconscious. If the spirit splits away at death, and the spirit is in fact our conscious mind, death suddenly become far less hopeful a place than merely the reincarnation scenario of the East or the heaven/hell of the West. Instead, we are split apart, losing our very SELFhood.
This rings true in my ears. When something deteriorates, it breaks down into its constituent components. Perhaps the mind does as well. Perhaps this explains what so many ancient religions focused so strongly on the importance of INTEGRITY.April 17, 2006 at 3:39 pm #12851
This is very interesting to read about the conscious and unconscious mind. Do you think that some people are better able to access the unconscious (as in dream practice), and maintain lucidity in that while others may have a more foggy connection? What would be the reason for this sort of imbalance?April 17, 2006 at 4:00 pm #12853
Are you saying that immortality is brought about through the yin-yang tension of souls. That soul completion IS immortality? I thought you would comment on the Daoist cultivation of golden elixer too. Like what is the purpose of the immortal child and more. I understand that through resolving the ego by harmonizing the five shen and wrking with them, we can obtain soul completion, but what about life after death and/or not waiting until death. Maybe you can go more in depth, there are some things I would like to say about that, but would prefer to hear your peice about it first.
FajinApril 17, 2006 at 6:28 pm #12855
I just wanted to say … I love it when you guys do this …. it makes things very interesting…. so much to ponder and absorb.
Happy Easter!April 17, 2006 at 10:16 pm #12857
Upon reflection, I think I understand and can see the role of alchemy and cultivation in my own experience in creating a lucid, permanent connection with dream states (“the unconscious”), but being tired from work all the time doesn’t help.
Lets see if I can merge this model presented here with the alchemical model:
“conscious” self (later heaven and lower astral planes):
divided into two parts; “conscious” conditioned five phases ego self that functions in the outer world, and “unconscious” conditioned babysitter that lurks under the surface, and surfaces in the dream plane, that stores memories, conditioned emotions and fixed patterns.
“unconscious” self (formless early heaven):
spiritual true self of pure unconditioned virtue qualities dweling in the formless realm of early heaven with infinite potential.
Immortal self (primordial heaven):
merging of outer conditioned ego, conditioned babysitter and spiritual true self to provide a process of permanent dynamic access to deeper state of pure potential neutrality.
Any thoughts on the accuracy of this model?April 17, 2006 at 11:07 pm #12859
Hi Singing Ocean,
Let me put in my peice on it. You studied with Shou-Yu Liang, so here is what he says that I have taken from his book, “Qigong Empowerment”. Just to say, he know high level Daoist cultivation methods like Gathering the Spirit method and Golden Light Method.
“Daoism believes the human spirit consists of two components, the Original Spirit and the Personality (Post-Birth Spirit). Prior to the birth of a baby, a Spiritual Luminance enters the womb. The Combination of the Spiritual Luminance, the innate-qi, and innate-jing results in Original Spirit. The Original Spirit contains knowledge learned from numerous other lifetimes about the Truth of the cosmos, and higher potentials. It is stored in the deep concsiousness. Original Spirit appears as light, and has multiple colours. The Personality includes the learning and experience in this lifetime. It has an overshadowing and suppresing effect on the Original Spirit.
Our Original Spirit contains information from numerous past lifetimes. Our Personality only contains information we learned in this lifetime. Original Spirit is hundreds of thousands of times wiser than our Personality. Through training we will allow the Original Spirit to emerge. Our Original Spirit can enter the astral planes (fourth and higher dimensions). When Original Spirit enters the astral planes, it can receive the teachings and help from Spiritual Guides and attain higher wisdom.
Both Daoists and Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that humans consist of three finer spirits and seven baser spirits, together they animate the human body. The three finer spirits are classified as yang and the seven baser spirits are classified as yin. The cultivation of the spirit in Daoist training is to cultivate the three finer spirits to become Yang Spirit and the seven baser spirits to become Yin Spirit. The combination of the Yin Spirit and the Yang Spirit is the Original Spirit. Further cultivation combines the Original Spirit with Dao.
The astral travels of the Original Spirit is not the same as an out of body experience. Most of our body experience are usually that of the Yin Spirit leaving the body when individuals are sleeping, are ill and weak, and sometimes during early stages of qigong training. The Yin Spirit can easily be affected and attacked by ghosts on the lower astral planes, as well as, one’s own negative Pesonality. The astral travels of the Yin Spirit are usually confined to the lower astral planes. When the Yang Spirit travels, it travels up to the higher planes. It does not float around.”
“When the Original Spirit astral travels, it leaves the bodythrough the baihui point, belly button, and other spiritual connection points on the body. Its travels are far and extensive, as it receives the guidance and teachings of the Spiritual Guides, to attain Great Wisdom, and continue the evolution of the spirit. When the Original Spirit is no longer regulated by yin-yang and the Five Elements of the Lower Plane, it will be able to achieve swift and enormous evolution. The wisdom and pure essence brought back to the physical body by the Original Spirit are also beneficial to the body, and sets a solid foundation for immortality. This type of spirit evolution process is much greater than going through countless reincarnations.” (pg. 86-87, Qigong Empowerment).
From Grandmaster Liang’s presentation, the Postbirth Spirit is the concsious self and the Original Spirit is the unconcsious self. I think your idea of merging the concsious and unconcsious self, or Original and Postbirth Spirit to for Immortal Self is an accurate one, Singing Ocean.
I think that Buddhist cultivators shoot for the Postbirth Spirit enlightenment, ie. stopping reincarnation while in this concsious self, or this lifetime. This can be compared to the Buddhist goal of stopping the breath through retention, while Daoists shoot for the Primordial breath, or Embryonic Breathing.
I guess the personal heart shen is the Postbirth Spirit with the conditioned soul fragments and the yuan shen residing also in the heart, is the Original Spirit. It looks to me like when you combine the Original Spirit and Postbirth Spirit or harmonization of the five shen, ie. soul completion, immortality is achieved.
Immortality is brought about because even after you die, choosing to incarnate on Earth again, you will remain with the same knowledge of your past lives. It is all about spirit evolution within this lifetime so that it can endure any lifetime without losing knowledge as an Immortal Self.
Tibetan Phowa attempts to shoot that pearl before death so that you will still carry the Postbirth concsiousness with your Original Spirit, but through harmonization of the Five Shen, the Immortal Self will still continue to live on because it is a fusion of the concsious and unconscious.
When you incarnate, you would still continue spirit evolution in a new body by again, integrating your jing, qi, and shen. This is spirit evolution or what I like to call self-evolution or soul completion – Michael. Spirit is eternal and is continually evolving – no limits.
FajinApril 17, 2006 at 11:33 pm #12861
I have only studied martial arts with Liang Shou-Yu, and have not taken his qigong classes. He is primarily a buddhist, and his main training and lineage come from Emei Shan, although he has studied with both Buddhists and Daoists, as there are teachers of Nei Dan from both traditions in China. Nei dan is in origin a daoist tradition.
I think his presentation is not completely clear, I will try to list the points that I find do not work with me:
He says the “original spirit” is the result of the “spiritual luminance” (what is that?), and the innate (“yuan”?) jing and qi, then how does it have immense wisdom from past lifetimes, if it manifests at birth?
“Original spirit is light with five colors”; is it then the pure virtue qualities or the harmonized neutral force (original spirit-yuan shen)?
Why would the original spirit travel in the astral plane if it is early heaven pure virtue qualities?
Why would the original spirit have to leave the body through the bai hui and the belly button if it exists in a simultaneous vibrational plane of early heaven? would it be leaving the body to travel around the physical plane? to do what?
what exactly are the “Yang spirit” and the “yin spirit” he describes? according to what I have learned, the yin spirit is the conditioned or fragmented elements of the five shen, mostly the 7 po souls of the unrefined metal element, I guess the yang spirit would correspond to the 3 hun shen or the fused five shen.April 17, 2006 at 11:53 pm #12863
Maybe I can clear things up.
>>He says the “original spirit” is the result of the “spiritual luminance” (what is that?), and the innate (“yuan”?) jing and qi, then how does it have immense wisdom from past lifetimes, if it manifests at birth?<>”Original spirit is light with five colors”; is it then the pure virtue qualities or the harmonized neutral force (original spirit-yuan shen)?<>Why would the original spirit travel in the astral plane if it is early heaven pure virtue qualities?<>Why would the original spirit have to leave the body through the bai hui and the belly button if it exists in a simultaneous vibrational plane of early heaven? would it be leaving the body to travel around the physical plane? to do what?<>what exactly are the “Yang spirit” and the “yin spirit” he describes? according to what I have learned, the yin spirit is the conditioned or fragmented elements of the five shen, mostly the 7 po souls of the unrefined metal element, I guess the yang spirit would correspond to the 3 hun shen or the fused five shen.<<
*You are correct. The 7 po souls are the seven baser spirits characterized as yin spirits (yin-earth) and the 3 hun souls are the three finer spirits characterized as yang spirits (yang-heaven). Again, different terminology.
Hope that takes care of that,
FajinApril 18, 2006 at 1:26 am #12865
He is a very well acccomplished Master. I didn’t know that Alve Olsen was his student. That’s inetersting. He knows alot about Tantric Buddhism and many Emei methods of emitting qi and using it for healing.April 18, 2006 at 1:38 am #12867
Your explanation clears up the meaning of what Liang is saying somewhat, but there are still a bunch of loose ends from my perspective.April 18, 2006 at 1:43 am #12869
>>”Original spirit is light with five colors”; is it then the pure virtue qualities or the harmonized neutral force (original spirit-yuan shen)?<<
*Yes, Original Spirit is Yuan Shen like I stated above.
If the original spirit is "yuan shen", is it the fused result of the five phases, which would not have the five colors any more (it would be clear and neutral), or is it the pure virtue qualities of each element; in which case it would be the yuan shen in plural? Which one is it? the neutral original self or the pure virtue of each element?April 18, 2006 at 2:19 am #12871
If “spiritual luminance” means original shen, why doesn’t he say original shen?
If “innate jing” and “innate qi” means prenatal jing and qi, do you mean they are working in harmony with the postnatal shen at birth?
I think Liang is coming from a different Nei Dan school, as he uses the Hun and Po as the Yin and Yang shen, in the Five interior gods school, the focus is not so much on the hun and po. I believe each vital organ shen has a yin and yang aspect although they each definitely each have predominant yin and yang affinities, with the Zhi and Shen (kidney and heart) harmonizing respectively with the Po and Hun to form the yin and yang aspects for cultivation purposes.April 18, 2006 at 2:25 am #12873
Yes, Max. Its amazing the misinformation that is listed here.April 18, 2006 at 2:28 am #12875
Ocean (short form),
Good question. Since this regards to Liang’s explanation, I will bring in more of his explanations of light and spirit. He says:
“Light or aura is an expression of qi in higher vibration. Qi is the foundation of life, and light is the foundation of the spirit. Qi is still within the three dimensional space where the physical body lives, and has not gone beyond the restriction of matter. Light on the other hand has the characteristics of the higher dimensions. There are also many qualitative levels of light.” (pg. 122, Qigong Empowerment).
Also, backtracking when he said on page 86:
“The Combination of the Spiritual Luminance, the innate qi, and innate jing results in Original Spirit.” Also on that page again, “Original Spirit appears as light and has multiple colours.” (pg. 86, Qigong Empowerment).
Five colours are only visible due to light, and light is the foundation of spirit. I agree with this, light in higher vibration in the 4th dimension or early heaven is the foundation of spirit. Colours are expressed through the five shen in yuan shen once it is in the body. It would have to be the pure virtue qualities of wuxing. How would it be yuan shen in plural? I think you mean that more than one because of the other organ shen creating the five colours.
I agree it is difficult to understand with Liang on this one, I think that he does not use 5 Shen theory and may use Spiritual Luminance as a term to describe the pure virtue qualities. This would then make sense.
Above all, my purpose for inserting Liang’s peice was because I agree with him on the Original Spirit and Postbirth Spirit as unconcsious and concsious. Yuan shen (numerous lifetimes) and personal heart shen (this lifetime).
FajinApril 18, 2006 at 2:32 am #12877
OK, Michael’s not perfect he makes mistakes. I agree that attachment is the cause of suffering in my limited knowledge of Buddhism. I think it was Alan Watts who said, “Non-attachment is man’s original foundation.” But anyways, that still doesn’t change much if Michael was wrong on the cause of suffering. Search for the inner message in his post.
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