The Secret of the Golden Flower

The Secret of the Golden Flower

Commentary and Translations

The Secret of the Golden Flower

(PD) Yellow Water Lily in Balboa Park

(Photo clarity, coloring, sizing, and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy)

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2020 May 14, 2020

A good path, is one that combines good things... to choose quality ingredients in harmony, to enable the ingredients to self-create a new creation. A good path combines tones of colors, flavors, sounds... a Nature-based chidao... combined also, with reciprocation. Together is more than the sum of two... Nature's way...

There are many writings that speak of paths, but most of the writings speak of selfish paths... paths of self-profit, paths of vainglory, paths of magical powers... not good paths.

The Secret of the Golden Flower speaks of a path that promises many things, but the promises are of selfishness, power, and escapism... the book does not offer a good path...

For over a month I had curiously researched the histories behind The Secret of the Golden Flower. I had written over forty-thousand words while attempting to find a suitable place to stop, but each topic within the book raises mammoth quantities of related topics that can have no final resting place, and so I chose to simply present a brief overview of the whole. Within this method, I can let-go of the topic, and no longer feel its gnaw for completion.

Oral Accuracy

An easy game learned in elementary school... whisper a message of three sentences to a second person, have the second person whisper the message to a third person, and so on until ten to thirty people have been told. When the last person tells everyone what the person had been told, usually the last person's message is not much close to what was originally said by the first person. Interestingly, the little game is named "Chinese Whispers".

Now, if a school's 'A' classes are unable to correctly transfer information from one mouth to the next ('ear to mouth' recitation), then even less-so would it be considered plausible for the 'D' classes to be able. In the real world, the human ability to accurately orally transfer quantities of information from one person to the next does not exist. The ability never existed in the past, the ability does not exist in the present, and the ability will never exist in the future.

Even if all individuals within a group had good memories, good enough to accurately recite thirty words within three sentences, still the memories would not be good enough to accurately transfer the emotional content of what the words implied. The laws of Nature, which created and rule the human mind, simply do not function that way.

Now, if a man were to claim that one of his distant ancestors had orally handed-down a teaching from generation to generation, and the man also claimed that he had written a book that is a true and genuine copy of the ancestor's exact words, then who would believe it to be true? And, what if the book were over five-thousand words long? It would seem to be very implausible that anyone could believe such a claim, but, apparently, many millions of people have believed it to be true, including European academicians and scientists.

"The book comes from an esoteric circle in China. For a long time it was transmitted orally, and then in writing; the first printing is from the Ch'ien-Lung period (eighteenth century)." (The Secret of the Golden Flower, ©1947, translated from Chinese into German by Richard Wilhelm, Commentary by C. G. Jung, translated from German into English by Cary F. Baynes, printed in Great Britain by Lund.)

What is real in the real world? Is it true that people can, or cannot, accurately orally transfer information?

It is everyone's personal choice, to believe the book to be true, or not.

Right Name

For thousands of years, some of us have publicly spoken of the social need to choose one word for one thing, and to not use the same word for many different meanings.

When people use one word for many different meanings, the word then means nothing... the word has become incoherent, inconsistent, and causes harm to all people who attempt to reason what the word means.

"The holy science takes as a beginning the knowledge of where to stop, and as an end, stopping at the highest good. Its beginning is beyond polarity and it empties again beyond polarity." (The Secret of the Golden Flower, Richard Wilhelm as translated into English by Baynes)

From the original (as given) Chinese text: 'Sacred learning use know footprint begin, use footprint arrive consistent finish. Begin is-as-similar wuji, return is-as-similar wuji.' (draft version).

The original Chinese text's first two words are 圣学 (sheng xue). (sheng) implies 'holy, sacred, saint, sage'. (xue) implies 'learn, study' (as is also in the Xunzi chapter Encourage Learning). By how the Chinese author phrased his sentences, the most likely interpretation is that he was pointing at the 'holy-sacred learning' of Buddhist 'holy scriptures'. All ideologies have their own 'holy-sacred scriptures'.

If the original text had indeed intended to imply the idea of 'science', then the wording might have been something like 科學 'grain-measure learning', or something close to 科學的 ('grain-measure learning bright') which today implies 'scientific'.

There is no rational reason to believe that the author intended to imply what today is noun-named "science".

Wilhelm had translated the two Chinese words while adding a third German word: "Die heilige Wissenschaft". "Wissenschaft" implies a concept of something along the ideas of 'knowledge-ship' and 'knowledge-hood' (e.g. western philosophy, humanities, theology, literature study, reading books, etc.), but, which, to dictionaries and to some people, 'Wissenschaft' is synonymous with the modern English word 'science'. Baynes translated Wilhelm's three German words into English while inserting the "science" word.

Even when living in the same era, and even when speaking both languages... 'Chinese Whispers'.

'Science' is said to imply a methodology of firsthand empirical experimentation and evidence that supports a 'knowledge'. Reading a book is not 'science'. 'Holy-sacred learning' is not 'science'.

"We have to see that the spirit must lean on science as its guide in the world of reality, and that science must turn to the spirit for the meaning of life. This is the point of view established in The Secret of the Golden Flower. Through the combined efforts of Wilhelm and Jung we have for the first time a way of understanding and appreciating Eastern wisdom which satisfies all sides of our minds." (Baynes' Translator's Preface)

Baynes had no understanding of the topics that she spoke of, and yet her preface was worded as if she had become an expert upon reading a book. Far worse, Baynes invented pseudo-authoritative commandments and dogmas: "We have to see", "spirit must lean on science", "science must turn", "have for the first time". Unfortunately, the false word "science" was repeatedly force-fitted into what was written within the Chinese book.

The behavior of the use of the word "science" within Wilhelm's The Secret of the Golden Flower is historically known within ancient Chinese philosophies (and incorrectly translated by European philosophers into English as Rectification of Names). The idea is that people ought to choose one word for one thing, and to not vary (not have dozens of undefined and undefinable meanings for one word like "ethic" and "science"). Confucius spoke of it, Zi Lu paragraph #3 spoke of it, Xunzi's chapter 正名 Correct Name spoke of it, Mohists are said to have spoken of it, and I have spoken of it since before school age: "First know what a thing is before giving the thing a name. If the thing is not known, then the name cannot be known." For over two-thousand years Confucius, Xunzi, and many other individuals have publicly spoken of the need for people to clarify what words mean, but not yet has philosophy, science, academia, dictionary-makers, nor any other ideology exerted an effort to speak coherently.

Expert Not

Jung stated: "...Wilhelm, that expert authority on the soul of China". When observing how Wilhelm did not know of simple little topics like 'wuji', the observation finds that Wilhelm lacked skill in numerous topics. Jung's claim of Wilhelm being an "expert' also finds Jung himself to have had no understanding of his own 'science of psychology'. Both authors fell short of being adequate.

More about wuji can be found in the article Alo and De Wuji.


Twilight Zone Spiral

(CC0) Twilight Zone Spiral

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, a journey into a wondrous land whose boundary is that of imagination; your next stop, the Twilight Zone." (Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, circa 1960)

The revolving Twilight Zone spiral was somewhat similar to some spirals that were sometimes used as an aid for when hypnotizing a person. Hypnosis is like a mental state of mind that is similar to sleep: sensory perceptions are attenuated, mental cognition is focused onto one thing while not being able to mentally rationalize one's environment, and the hypnotized person will think and behave as is suggested by a second person. Self-hypnosis is when the hypnotized person gives to themselves the suggestions.

If an individual were subjected to the spiral while being told that the individual would achieve godhood, and, the individual truly believed the suggestion to be true truth, then when hypnotized, the individual would truly believe of himself to be as a god.

Most everyone knows of hypnosis. Hypnosis is very common, and self-hypnosis is more common.

"When the Light is allowed to move in a circle, all the powers of Heaven and Earth, of the Light and the Dark, are crystallized. That is what is described as seedlike, or purification of the power, or purification of the concept. When one begins to apply this magic, it is as if, in the middle of one's being, there were a non-being. ...Circulation of the Light is not only a circulation of the seed-blossom of the one body, but it is, in the first place, a circulation of the true, creative, formative powers. ...Only after a completed work of a hundred days will the Light be real, then only will it become spirit-fire. ...Only when the eyelids are sunk properly halfway, is the end of the nose seen in just the right way." (The Secret of the Golden Flower, Richard Wilhelm)

The promised suggestion is that the follower of a circling of light, while looking with 'sleepy' eyelids, and after a hundred days of obeying the suggestions, the believer will achieve magical powers.

As is common within some sects of Buddhism and Taoism, it is taught to acquire a state of mind that is no longer aware of sensory perceptions. The teachings within The Secret of the Golden Flower are similar to sleep states: sensory perceptions are attenuated, mental focus is narrowed, and the individual believes his own suggestions to be true truth.

Now, it is each person's choice to choose what is real in the real world, or to choose what a book claims to be true.


In the real world, when a person washes dishes, the person's goal is to cleanse the inside and outside of the dishes. Washing the body is an act of cleansing the outside of the body.

The physical act of 'washing' is performed from the outside. Hands wipe dishes, hands use soap on the body, and car washes mechanically spray water and soap from outside of the car. Most everyone above the age of two years old, and who speaks English, knows what the word 'washing' implies.

'Washing' is a chosen action. If a person does not choose to wash, then his dishes will be dirty, his body will be dirty, and his car will be dirty. The degree of cleanliness is a chosen choice; an act of mentally choosing how well — and by what means — the dish, body, and car are to be 'washed'.

If an individual chooses to 'wash' the dishes, body, and car with polluted mud, then the 'washed' thing will still be dirty. Most everyone above the age of two years old knows what the word 'washing' implies.

"Finally, the two last lines point to the deepest secret which cannot be dispensed with from the beginning to the end. It is the washing of the heart and the purification of the thoughts; it is the bath." (The Secret of the Golden Flower, Richard Wilhelm)

If a heart is 'washed' from the outside, then, how was it 'washed'? Which 'cleaning' materials were used to 'wash' the heart? Self-hypnosis is not a good soap. That which a man mentally chooses, becomes the 'soap'. If the 'soap' is of false beliefs, then so must the heart become false. If the 'soap' is selfishness, greed, and vainglory, then so will be the heart. If a man believes in the words within Wilhelm's translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower, and the man desires to possess 'magical powers', then the man is greedy, the man is selfish, the man is vain, and the man is of low intelligence: his own 'soap' is what he used to 'wash' his own heart and mind.

Therefore, in the real world, if a man washes his own heart by how someone else suggests, then the man has not washed his heart at all; he has merely accepted someone else's suggestions: he has self-hypnotized himself into believing that the ingredients of selfishness, greed, and self-indulgence are capable of creating a good thing.

Even little children know that a heart cannot be cleansed by a muddy mind.

Inconsistent Heart

If a mind believes inconsistent beliefs that contradict what is real in the real world, then that individual is given the noun-name 'imbecile'. An inconsistent mind is the reflection of an inconsistent heart. By what ingredients that are placed together, so will become the finished product.

If a man writes a book, and all of the man's words contradict, then, is the man intelligent? Is the man wise? In the real world, a man who claims one thing, and yet physically does the opposite, is given the noun-names 'hypocrite' and 'imbecile'.

Richard Wilhelm is reported to have been a missionary for about twenty-five years, and then became an employee of a European college where he allegedly taught topics related to Chinese cultures. If Wilhelm truly had been a missionary and an academic employee, then it would seem reasonable to assume that Wilhelm possessed a knowledge of Christianity as well as academic topics related to Chinese cultures.

"...scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ...straining-out the gnat, the however camel swallowing. ...scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, inside however they are full of greed and self-indulgence. ...cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the dish, that might become also the outside of them clean." (Matthew 23: 23,25,26 BIB)

Within Christianity, inner greed and self-indulgence are unclean ingredients of disquality. Greed and self-indulgence are selfish, and thus not capable of harmony with other people, nor of harmony with themselves, and thus they are destructive, not creative like Source and Nature, and thus are evil. The Christian evaluation of disquality agrees with what is real in the real world.

If missionary Wilhelm had indeed read the Christian books, then why did he not know of "cleanse first the inside of the cup"? Why did Wilhelm not exhibit any evidence of knowing what "cleanse first the inside of the cup" means? How could he have been an honest missionary if he did not know of 'cleansing the heart'?

Wilhelm's book possesses no evidence of Wilhelm having cleansed his own heart, and, so, therefore, Wilhelm believed in contradictory beliefs, and Wilhelm physically behaved in direct contradiction of what Jesus was written to have taught.

If an individual has not themselves 'washed' their own heart, then the individual does not know what the topic is. Wilhelm did not know what the topic is, and yet he claimed to know.

Inconsistent Mind

Taken from the Foreword of the second German edition:

"...Richard Wilhelm, the co-author of this book, sent me the text of The Secret of the Golden Flower at a time that was critical for my own work. I had been occupied with the investigation of the processes of the collective unconscious since the year 1913, and had obtained results that seemed to me questionable in more than one respect. They not only lay far beyond everything known to 'academic' psychology but also overstepped the borders of medical, strictly personal, psychology. These findings had to do with an extensive phenomenology, to which hitherto known categories and methods could no longer be applied. My results, based on fifteen years of effort, seemed inconclusive, because no possible comparison offered itself. I knew of no realm of human experience with which I might have backed up my findings with some degree of assurance. The only analogies—and these, I must say, were far removed in time—I found scattered through the reports of heresiologists. This connection did not in any way ease my task; on the contrary, it made it more difficult, because the Gnostic systems consist only in small part of immediate psychic experiences, the greater part being speculative and systematizing revisions. Since we possess only very few detailed texts, and since most of what is known comes from the reports of Christian opponents, we have, to say the least, an inadequate knowledge of the history, as well as of the contents, of this confused and strange literature, so difficult to encompass. Moreover, considering the fact that a period of not less than from seventeen hundred to eighteen hundred years separates the present from that past, support from that field."

There, in his own words (as translated into English), Jung admitted that his base of knowledge was from reading books. Jung did not strive to achieve a 'golden flower' himself, nor did he achieve any form of firsthand experience that could be related to the book's topics. Jung contradicted his claims of believing in science. Jung refused to physically behave as his own ideology teaches: [1] form ideas, then [2] perform firsthand experiments to prove or disprove the ideas, and to then [3] form conclusions based upon the experiments. Jung fully omitted step #2. Jung merely made up mermaid stuff a priori.

Jung's 'psychology', inclusive of his "collective unconscious", therefore, was false.

Question of Jung

A question repeatedly arose while reading Jung's comments, as well as when reading portions of his Collected Works: did Jung not know where babies come from? Frequently Jung would state an a priori ad hoc invention, and within his statement that possessed no evidence nor logic of possibly being true, there was also his phrasing that things like "archetypes" were somehow 'genetically' created.

Confidence is firm that Jung had little or no knowledge of electrical physics, nor of biology, nor of linear development of the body and mind, nor much of anything else that relates to what exists under one's skin. Jung obviously had no memories of his own life prior to birth, and yet he sincerely believed that his a priori imaginations could possibly explain everything and be true truth "science".

Babies comes from mothers... babies are not dead meat before birth... did Jung not know that?

Gross Sum

The Secret of the Golden Flower, as presented by Wilhelm and Jung, easily contains more than a thousand examples of academic fraud, pathological science, pseudo-religions, and an absence of experience with the book's topics.

If an individual is truly interested in The Secret of the Golden Flower, then the smart choice is for the individual to read and to translate the original (as given) Chinese text one's self. At present, is the only known online source that provides The Secret of the Golden Flower with Traditional script. All other known versions make use of modern Simplified script, which cannot convey word-meaning like what is possible with the Traditional script.

The book's Chinese title is 太乙金華宗旨, which loosely implies Extreme Second Gold Flower Ancestor Decree.

I have only glanced at a few paragraphs within Thomas Cleary's 1991 translation. To my knowledge, Cleary's version is the only legal book available to the public aside from Wilhelm's public domain version. If an individual is interested in reading a full English translation, then Cleary's version is the far superior choice. Cleary's version is not flawless (nor is my own), but at least he did not use the 'science' word except once when correctly speaking of Jung's pseudoscience. Also, due to Amazon® being widely known to sell pirated CDs, DVDs, and books, and other online retailers openly stealing and selling copyrighted materials (especially music, videos, and books), then Cleary's book would be best purchased from potentially legal outlets like Ebay®.

Again, if an individual is sincere of interest in discovering what The Secret of the Golden Flower speaks of, then the very best choice is to translate the original text one's self. The original text does not state what Wilhelm and Jung claimed.

Net Sum

Some people might find a usefulness within the ideas of The Secret of the Golden Flower... the book points at a means of mental escapism, which for some people might be the only route to escape a harsh life of agony of heart. It is okay if an individual chooses the book's path, but the individual ought not claim nor believe that the path is the only path, nor claim nor believe that it is a good path.

Oxygen does not eat hydrogen... they harmonize, and create water. A good path is as Nature creates... harmony, and reciprocation. Selfishness is not harmonious, nor does it reciprocate.

A man cannot be benevolent to people unless there are other people nearby to be benevolent to... a man cannot be creative if there is no one nearby to reciprocate... a man who achieves the 'magical powers' promised within The Secret of the Golden Flower, he stands alone, by himself, and does not know it...