The mind must still be ‘calmed’ before these methods work, regardless of lineage. However, Zhao Bichen considered his main masters to be two Ch’an Buddhist monks (who together passed on the Wu Liu Daoist lineage to him). Their input added the Ch’an method of ‘hua tou’ to the Daoist practice.
After training with me for a month, I asked Secretary Xie Guangjian about whether the President’s sleep had improved? He answered: “The President’s sleep has improved, but it is still not as good as it once was a year or two ago, when he used to sleep soundly.” Two days after having learned the complete Taijiquan Form, President Ho Chi Minh said to me: “Taijiquan has had a very good effect on my sleep problem and has been very helpful.” I was very pleased to hear this.
Shen is the realisation and permanent identification of consciousness with universal ’empty space’ to such a degree that when the physical brain ceases to function, the ‘practitioner’ becomes the state of ’empty space’ – which is the universe that includes all things. This is why advanced Daoist practitioners are able to enter this state whilst still in their bodies, so that the actual ‘act’ of dying becomes a formality whereby ‘breathing’ ceases altogether and qi energy permanently integrates with ‘jing’ and ‘shen’ – leaving the physical body behind forever.
How can ‘dying’ have a beneficial effect for the human species? It appears that the immortal sex cells use the mortal physical body as a vehicle for propagation from one generation to the next, and that in so doing, it is important that these vehicles fall away so that ‘new’ combinations of sex cells are achieved through reproduction.
As the climate is humid, and peaks high, and the area inaccessible, Daoist practitioners had to diligently practice their health and longevity self-cultivation techniques – which included the ability to strengthen the bones and joints, and live for long periods with adequate food supplies. The ability to defend themselves from violent attack was also very important, as they often encountered bandits, wild animals, or were subject to natural disasters. Therefore, due to this necessity, the Daoist communities on the Qing Cheng Mountains have produced many very good martial arts masters.
The Zhouyi (i.e. Yijing) is demonstrably far older than the Dao De Jing, and it is an interesting consideration that the author(s) of the latter may well have been copying the organisation structure of the former, as a means to ensure political and social legitimacy for their text.