Suicide, as Advocated by "Religious" Scruples for instant spiritual attainment

{Phantoms (phantasms) of persons who have committed suicide are among those most frequently witnessed (by the living in the waking-state), as are ghosts of persons who have been murdered. But such phantoms and ghosts likely are simply disguised (in the guise of the person who died) forms of such praeternatural entities as are deputed the duty of thereby commemorating such dead persons as are deemed appropriate for such commemoration. [The dead persons themselves will have already become redincarnate elsewhere, on some other planet in some other galaxy.]}


Stephen Eskildsen : Asceticism in Early Taoist Religion. State Univ of NY Pr, Albany, 1998.

p. 28 "suicide. The adept would poison himself to death with an "immortality potion" under the sincere belief that he would somehow proceed to an immortal existence while leaving behind a fake corpse."

p. 29 "As we shall see in chapter 5, suicidal methods were held in particularly high esteem by the Shangqing movement."

p. 60 The Wu-fu Fu advocateth ingesting root of the poke "(zhanglu, phytolacca acinosa)", which "is a toxic plant".

p. 61 [translated from the Wu-fu Fu :] "eat them [poke roots] ... and your intestines ... can hold only air. The various worms (the Three Worms?) will all leave."

p. 61 However, as a non-toxic alternative (for persons not willing to poison themselves), the Wu-fu Fu suggesteth (in order to expell from the body the "Three Worms") ingesting "Berries of the pagoda tree (huai, sophora japonica)". {"Pagoda tree fruit has ... antiparasitic properties ... used to stop abdominal pain from intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms." }

Subhuti Dharmananda : "... Taoist Influence on Herbal Medicine Literature". "The Taoist immortalists ... were called in by successive Chinese Emperors to help give immortality to the holder of the Imperial Throne, only to leave the throne empty time and again as the Emperor was poisoned by heavy metals. ... Still, ... a full shift to the use of materia medica for the practice of medicine awaited the Song Dynasty, in the 10th Century."

"Cinnabar : One Man's Poison is Another Taoist's Gold". "Wealthy Chinese patrons ... thought they could pay for immortality. Ingesting pills of cinnabar, lead, mercury and other poisonous substances, many died from the poisonous affects."

2000 Exhibition Themes at The Art Institute of Chicago. THE TAOIST RENAISSANCE.

"Taoism and the Arts of China, written by Stephen Little with Shawn Eichman and others, was published by The Art Institute of Chicago in association with the University of California Press."

chapter "Inner Alchemy and Its Symbolism : Introduction".

"This "outer," or chemical, alchemy formed one of the most important foundations of religious Taoism. However, elixirs involved ... ingredients ... often toxic. Swallowing them could cause either immediate death or slow poisoning. In fact, it is believed that a number of Tang-dynasty emperors died from such poisoning."

Jeannie Radcliffe : "Alchemy and Daoism". 2001. "the toxic substances ... left the alchemist even more debilitated, with decreased mental capacities; paralysis and ulcers were among some of the symptoms. It would seem whoever made and took these elixirs were slowly but surely committing suicide."

Russell Kirkland : Taoism : the Enduring Tradition. Routledge, London, 2004.

p. 186 "alchemy was a pursuit of spiritual elevation that was assumed to require the loss of bodily life. Strickmann's famous report that "Taoist alchemy," thus conceived, actually required the practitioner to commit "ritual suicide" ... observed ... exactly what does happen when a successful practitioner reached the death-event", namely, that "He would either ascend under his own power or be conveyed heavenward by an airborne equippage."

{Either of which ascents would occur transcendentally, in a subtle immaterial dream-body, within the dream accompanying or succeeding death of the material body.}

Encyclopedia of Buddhism, article "Alchemical Suicide and Taoism".

"Some of the most intriguing and counterintuitive of these practices involved a practitioner's intentionally killing the body (usually by ingesting a poisonous compound) to attain "immortal" life. Daoists often speak of such alchemical deaths as shijie (liberation from the corpse)."

Randall L. Nadeau : Asian Religions: a Cultural Perspective. Wiley Blackwell.

"Taoism ... various practices ... "alchemical" ... consisted in the consumption of certain herbs and minerals ... poisonous : the early adepts claimed they produced "fake deaths"".

Kristofer Marinus Schipper : The Taoist Body.

p. 176 "Taoists who live in the mountains detect the presence of cinnabar in the earth through the marvellous mushrooms that grow at that spot (and that even shine at night)." {In Nusantara/Indonesia, phosphorescent mushrooms are said to be the material bodies of luminous ghosts; and Taoists identify observed ghosts as "Earthly Immortals".}

p. 179 "the elixir produced by the alchemical reaction was consumed. This solar medicine was ... to ... transform the adept into a being of light who casts no shadows. {There are typically no shadows in immaterial worlds : neither in dreams nor aboard a flying saucer.} He could then fly to the heavens {as is feasible in dreams or aboard a flying saucer} ... with ... the Immortals, the gods and the jade maidens, whose bodies were of the very essences he had just absorbed. Often, these essences did not only consist of cinnabar and mercury, but included realgar (orange-colored arsenic sulphide) and orpiment (yellow-colored arsenic trisulphide) ... . ... .

p. 180 ... Eat-Cold Powder ... was made of stalactite milk ..., along with some realgar and orpiment, ... disadvantages included a gradual decrease in intellectual capacity, partial paralysis, aches and inflammation of the joints, ulcers, ... and ... a general deterioration of the body."

p. 181 "We should view this rage {vogue} to do away with oneself through an addiction to mineral drugs as a kind of subculture within Taoism."

Teemu Suuntamaa : "Early Literary Sources of Daoist Internal Alchemy". Helsinki. "It is ... external alchemy (waidan), which aims to create an elixir of immortality through usage of often poisonous substances".

Livia Kohn : The Taoist Experience : an Anthology. State Univ of NY Pr, Albany, 1993.

section 41 (p. 305) "mercury ... If combined with silver ... turns into a highly poisonous mixture {sic : read "compound"} that will deliver anyone instantaneously into the otherworld. The taking of such an elixir, upon receiving the celestial summons, is in fact a form of ritual suicide. However ... a continued existence in the upper regions of the universe ... is [by means of] ... the physical death that Taoists have to undergo at the time of ascension."

Fabrizio Pregadio (ed.) : The Encyclopedia of Taoism. 2-volume set, continuously paginated.

p. 72 "Some Taoist mountains could also be sites for ritual suicide, including ingesting poisonous elixirs".

"Alchemy in China - The Elixir In External Alchemy".

Taiqing texts are the earliest basis of wai-dan : "later waidan traditions instead describe different varieties of a single exemplary method, consisting of the refining of mercury (Yin) from cinnabar (Yang), its addition to sulfur (Yang), and its further refining. This process, typically repeated seven or nine times, yields an elixir that is deemed to embody the qualities of pure Yang (chunyang) —that is, the state of oneness before its differentiation into Yin and Yang."