Some Meditation practices I’ve been working on these days have bared strange fruit. In my research I’ve found that on the cosmological level, the term bajing refers to eight astral bodies: the sun, the moon, the five planets and the Northern Dipper (*beidou). These celestial waijing ; (outer effulgences) are related to the eight sectors of the world, the eight nodal days of the year (bajie j W, namely, equinoxes, solstices, and the first day of each season), and the eight trigrams (*bagua ). On the human level, the neijing (inner effulgences) are various sets of eight inner divinities/demons who play a prominent role in *Shangqing texts, but have also been included in Taoist ritual.
According to *Lingbao sources, the Three Pneumas (sanqi, santian and liutian ) generated twenty-four jing (with each pneuma issuing eight jing) ,while the nine Great Heavens generated seventy-two jing (with each heaven
issuing eight jing). The seventy-two jing of Lingbao correspond to the seventy-two celestial deities of the *Dadong zhenjing, the main Shangqing scripture;this group increases to seventy-four with the Original Father (Yuanfu
and the Mysterious Mother (Xuanmu ). The seventy-two deities are arranged into three sets-higher, middle, and lower-each of which is related to a set of eight inner divinities.
The twenty-four jing of the body are both deities and luminescent points,and are also arranged into three sets of eight. These twenty-four jing are related to the twenty-four pneumas (*qi ) of the year (the jieqi : or “energy
nodes,” each of which presides on fifteen days) and the twenty-four zodiacal constellations. During meditation practices, the adept merges them into a single deity who carries him to the heavens, or guides him or her through the Ten Hells. I’ve found that creating this deity piece by piece before hand and “Locking” it into place in the jade palace works best for this practice. They are further conceived as openings or gates within the body through which the divine pneumas go in and out. The eight jing also play an important role in methods aimed at releasing the mortal knots in the embryo. These knots are congenital germs of death located in the body since its conception, and are the negative
counterparts of the jingo They appear in the eighth month of gestation when the pneuma of the Qingming , the Clear and Luminous heaven, descends onto the body. In contrast, the eight jing symbolize the totality of the innumerable corporeal deities and demons, and have the appearance of young boys whose height,clothes, and names are specified in the texts. One method described in the*Ciyi jing consists in having the Three Original Pure Ladies (Sansu yuanjun) summon these spirits in three groups of eight- the first within the Purple Chamber (zifang ) in the brain, the second within the heart,and the third within the Gate of the Vital Force (Tan T’ian) in the abdomen.
The upper group is related to Heaven, the lower one to Earth, and the central one to Emptiness. The Imperial Lord (Dijun 1i’iti) makes knots on three red threads, eight for each group. Then the bajing untie them and the threads flare up in a great fire that consumes the knots as well the practitioner’s whole body. Finally, the bajing are also carriages of light that transport the deities through the heavens and the lower realms, these carriages of light can be used by the Taoist for the same purpose. In this instance they are the luminous counterpart of the basu (eight purities), which are carriages of clouds.I plan on experimenting more with the knots in future meditation, it is quite difficult to find english source work on these practices. But, that has never stopped me before… Stay Gold folks.
Art by; Vincent Piazza, Copyright 2015
Sources : THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM I, Edited by Fabrizio Pregadio,Interpretation and Literature in Early Medieval China By Alan K. L. Chan