Daily Zen Library


Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body

Translated by Thomas Cleary Thomas Cleary

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The ancient meditation techniques of Taoism encompass a wide range of practices—with an aim toward cultivating a healthy body as well as an enlightened mind. These selections from classic texts of Taoist meditation represent the entire range of techniques—from sitting meditation practices to internal alchemy. Most of the texts appear here in English for the first time.

Selections are taken from the following classics:

   •  Anthology on Cultivation of Realization: A document from 1739 (Ming Dynasty) that emphasizes development of the natural, social, and spiritual elements in human life.
   •  Treatise on Sitting Forgetting: A Tang Dynasty text that sets meditation practice in terms familiar to Confucians and Buddhists.
   •  Sayings of Taoist Master Danyang: Wisdom of the Taoist wizard and representative of the Complete Reality School.
   •  Secret Writings on the Mechanism of Nature: An anthology taken from one hundred sixty-three Taoist sources, including ancient classics and works on meditation and spiritual alchemy, along with admonitions and teachings of the great Taoist luminaries.
   •  Zhang Sanfeng's Taiji Alchemy Secrets: A treatise on the inner mediation practices that are the proper foundation of the martial art Taiji.
   •  Secret Records of Understanding the Way: A rare and remarkable collection of talks by an anonymous Taoist master of the later Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Traditional teachings with a sometimes strikingly modern bent.

Related Journal Entries

Anthology on the Cultivation of Realization

Author unknown Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Insight It is said that the human mind is like water; when it is clear, it reflects every detail, but once it is disturbed, heaven and earth switch... View Journal Entry »

Anthology on the Cultivation of Realization

Author unknown, Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 Learning is the journey to the Way. The classics of the sages and traditions of the wise are the tickets for the journey. In later generations false... View Journal Entry »

The Way

Author unknown, 1739 If people want to do the finest thing in the world, nothing compares to learning. If they want to be the best of learners, nothing compares to learning the Way. Master... View Journal Entry »

Heaven and Earth

Author unknown, 1739 The Great Way is formless; the universe is the Way with form. The universe itself does not speak; sages are a universe that can speak. I did not get to see the sages, but... View Journal Entry »