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The Secret of the Golden Flower Paperback – March 12, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (March 12, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062501933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062501936
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Thomas Cleary is the preeminent translator of classic Eastern texts, including The Essential Tao, The Essential Confucius, The Secret of the Golden Flower, and the bestselling The Art of War.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
Taoism is about making the conscious decision to make the shift from free will to free flow.
Butch
Another thing that commends Mr. Cleary's translation is that he puts his commentary at the end so the translated text is presented without distractions.
John S. Klingler
Enjoy this wonderful book and read it slowly, only a few paragraphs or pages at a time...its yours to discover!
Dance-all-Nite-Chic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By John S. Klingler on October 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a practitioner in the Tibetan Vajrayana for over thirty years. This short book, which I have put into daily practice has corrected mistakes in my practice to such an extent that I feel I have wasted thirty years. This, of course, is not entirely true. Because of the extensive study during those years I could appreciate the depth of Cleary's translation and commentary as one who has successfully practiced this meditation.

With practice, the book gets more and more profound and the practice more refined. It subsumes the whole of the Buddhist canon and that of Taoism and Confucianism and Christianity as well. In particular it brings one to the realization that scriptures, while valuable, have the danger of enmeshing one in words and concepts. On a more personal note, it has helped free me from trying to reproduce past experiences of enlightened mind, which are now just memories and therefore also concepts and ideas.

I have waded through Stopping and Seeing, also translated by Mr. Cleary in volume V of his collected translations, and would advise against it. It is very similar to Ashvagosha's Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana, translated by D.T. Suzuki, which I studied at length many years ago. After your practice has reached a certain point, perhaps it might be of value to study such treatises.

Another thing that commends Mr. Cleary's translation is that he puts his commentary at the end so the translated text is presented without distractions. For this I am also grateful.

One thing that is not addressed in this or other meditation texts, nor by the meditation instructors I have had, is the basics of sitting meditation.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cleary writes an excellent translation of a foundational text. This is not a book that can be understood unless one has a general familiarity with Taoism and Buddhism. As a person follows either one of these disciplines, he or she may use the book as a sort of a gauge as to the depth of understanding one has gained. Each time I reread the book, I find that the content becomes clearer. In this sense it is excellent. It compliments other books in an eastern philosophy student's library.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By V. K. Lin on December 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had difficulty with this book. As I've stated before, finding
English translations on any text is difficult, because Chinese
ideograms are themselves sometimes associated with different
meanings based on context, and because, especially with regards
to religious symbolism and internal alchemy, the symbolism can
be quite esoteric.
This book is divided into sections. The first is Cleary's
direct translation. The second is his commentary for each verse.
The last is an afterward regarding the "technques" espoused in
this book relevant to modern life.
Personally, I would have found the commentary more useful
integrated directly after each verse. The translation is still
highly symbolic, and the commentary adds a little to
understanding what is trying to be said. As it is, I found
myself re-reading the translation verse by verse, at the end of
each verse thumbing to the appropriate commentary. I did not
find the direct translation so poetic that the interruptions
would have destroyed any aesthetic sense from reading it. At
the very least, commentary at the end of each chapter would
have been better.
To a layperson like me, this book provided illumination in
glimpses only. It was hardly direct, clear, or straightforward.
A very strong working knowledge in Chan Buddhism or the
Completely Real School of Taoism would have served me well, but
alas, I don 't have that. The symbolic content was frankly
overwhelming, and it wasn't until I re-read along with the
commentary that I had a sideways understanding of what the goal
of "turning the light around" actually meant.
In fact, much of this book is written like a dissertation.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Butch on May 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
FYI: You might want to read the Translation Notes at the end of this book before tackling "The Secret..." Some books are better read backward. Another tack would be to read Cleary's "The Essential Tao" before tackling "The Secret...".

"The Secret of the Golden Flower" is about a Taoist method of turning our attention from involvement in exterior mental objects to focusing on our interior essence or source of mind. Making our inside the outside, being aware of the projector and not merely the screen. A theme alluded to in the "Matrix" movies, what is real and what is simulation and which is better, choices, choices, choices. The "Secret" is about discovering that we have free will, that we choose our reality, that we are not only observers of but participants in reality. About finding ourself, our true self. We choose to see the glass as half full or half empty, same glass of water, different perceived reality, the power of intention is a great mystery, the mysterious pass. Looking at reality as though it is something completely exterior to us creates separation from reality, separation from ourselves, the Fall into Duality. This is the root cause of much of our World's inhumanity to Man and Nature. We are estranged from our lives. It's only a movie. We are focused on things instead of essence. We have taken the blue pill believing that ignorance is bliss. It is not. Ignorance is the source of pain and suffering for it is ignorance that clings to that which cannot be grasped, the simulacra. Ignorance is being attached to things outside ourselves, temporal things. We, on the otherhand, are eternal. Truth is found within. There is a spark of Divinity within each of us. One way of waking up to the truth is through mind altering drugs, the red pill of "The Matrix".
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