The secret of the golden flower : a chinese book of life

by Richard Wilhelm

Other authorsC. G. Jung
Book, 1962



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New York : Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, [1962]

Local notes

The ancient Taoist text that forms the central part of this book was discovered by Wilhelm, who recognized it as essentially a practical guide to the integration of personality.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Citiria
For all the high-faluting analysis found in this book, the original texts deal with one thing and one thing only, and this is the use of meditation to create an 'individual spirit body' free of the physical body, that will continue after the death of the physical body.
Thus, this text deals not so
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much with the idea of reincarnation, as the idea that the essential spirit can continue after the death of the physical body.
I think of this book as the essentials of meditation, but would not recommend it for those wishing to learn how to meditate - there are more recent works that can help the beginner whereas this book, The Secret of the Golden Flower, rewards carefully study by revealing something of the original thought that has gone into this ancient discipline.
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LibraryThing member Mary_Overton
Jung’s marvelous commentary is balm for the writer’s psyche. He warns us against being enthralled to “… the secret objective of gaining power through words …” He explains how this ancient text guides one through disentanglement. Here is the context in which Jung makes his
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“It is really my purpose to push aside without mercy the metaphysical claims of all esoteric teaching; the secret objective of gaining power through words ill accords with our profound ignorance - which we should have the modesty to confess. It is my firm intention to bring things which have a metaphysical sound into the daylight of psychological understanding, and to do my best to prevent the public from believing in obscure words of power.” pg. 128

Read through Jung’s lens, you can see the narrator telling us, right at the beginning of his text, that it is not to be taken literally, that it is an allegory:
“Master Lu-tsu said, That which exists through itself is called the Way (Tao). Tao has neither name nor shape. It is the one essence [also translated ‘human nature’], the one primal spirit. Essence and life cannot be seen. They are contained in the light of heaven. The light of heaven cannot be seen. It is contained in the two eyes. To-day I will be your guide and will first reveal to you the secret of the Golden Flower of the great One, and starting from that, I will explain the rest in detail.
“The great One is the term given to that which has nothing above it. [great definition for “God”] The secret of the magic of life consists in using action in order to attain non-action. One must not wish to leap over everything and penetrate directly. …
“The Golden Flower is the light. What colour is the light? One uses the Golden Flower as a symbol. It is the true energy of the transcendent great One….” pg. 21

What can be taken literally is some excellent advice on how to meditate.
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LibraryThing member JayLivernois
A classic in Jungiana with many nuances.
LibraryThing member yamiyoghurt
Interesting to find parallels between Daoism and yogic philosophy, not surprising since they probably shared a common evolutionary origin. More interesting is the language and the metaphors used, as those are influenced by the prevailing culture.
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