NANSO URAN HOU
The Soft and Melting Duck Egg Meditation
Extracted from "The Tiger's Cave" by Trevor Leggett; ISBN: 0804815259
DAICHI GARY ROBINSON
When Master Hakuin was just starting out upon his Zen career in Japan, he really put a lot of effort into his meditation. In fact, he pushed the chi (prana or life force) around in his body so much, as chi-gong and Tao school people are apt to wrongly do, that he totally screwed up all of the vital energy currents running through his body.
As Hakuin said, he felt hotness in the lungs, icy coldness in his feet, and a constant roaring in his ears from having strenuously pushed his chi into his head. To try and cure his condition, he went from doctor to doctor without any results. No one could help him.
Since doctors don't understand cultivation gong-fu, including even those who know Chinese medicine, even today Hakuin would not be able to cure himself unless he knew of the following technique which I'm going to reveal. You can use it to help purify your physical body, and to fight aging and sickness.
Hakuin was luckily directed to a Taoist sage in the mountains, Master Hakuyu, who scolded Hakuin for his wrong efforts and taught him the following meditation method to harmonize his body.
"If the student finds in his meditation that the four great elements are out of harmony, and body and mind are fatigued, he should rouse himself and make this meditation. Let him visualize placed on the crown of his head that celestial So ointment, about as much as a duck's egg, pure in color and fragrance. Let him feel its exquisite essence and flavor melting and filtering down through his head, its flow permeating downwards, slowly leaving the shoulders and elbows, the sides of the breast and within the chest, the lungs, liver, stomach and internal organs, the back and spine and hip bones. All the old ailments and adhesions and pains in the five organs and six auxiliaries follow the mind downwards. There is a sound as of the trickling of water. Percolating through the whole body, the flow goes gently down the legs, stopping at the soles of the feet.
"Then let him make this meditation: that the elixir having permeated and filtered down through him, its abundance fills up the lower half of his body. It becomes warm, and he is saturated in it. Just as a skillful physician collects herbs of rare fragrance and puts them in a pan to boil, so the student feels that from the navel down he is simmering in the So elixir. When this meditation is being done there will be psychological experiences, of a sudden indescribable fragrance at the nose-tip, of a gentle and exquisite sensation in the body. Mind and body become harmonized and far surpass their condition at the peak of youth. Adhesions and obstructions are cleared away, the organs are tranquilized and insensibly the skin begins to glow. If the practice is carried on without relapse, what illness will not be healed, what power will not be acquired, what perfection will not be attained, what Way will not be fulfilled? The arrival of the result depends only on how the student performs the practices."
Knowing that I had recently undergone an operation to unblock an artery to my leg a good friend sent me the above in the hope that it would aid my recovery. Though I am grateful for the reminder it must be said that this was one of the first meditations I ever practiced but back then it was in a martial art context. If the activities in the dojo became excited or agitated, or if things on the mat were getting a bit intense or worse still, personal, sensei would clap his hands and shout out “Nanso Uran Ho!” and immediately everyone in the dojo was expected to go down into seiza (sat on heels) and, as we might aptly phrase it these days, ‘chill out’!
Due perhaps to the fact that these days my practice is more in Buddhism than martial art I would personally categorize the Nanso Uran Ho as form of ‘visualization’ rather than a ‘meditation’; but that may just be the purist in me splitting hairs! Either way I think it is important it be understood that the "So Cream" (duck egg) meditation may, if only temporarily, help ‘clear the mind’ and act as a kind of beneficial physiotherapy but it alone does not lead to the higher spiritual levels attained through years of arduous and systematic meditation study and practice. DGR