The Nei-yeh Inner Cultivation or Inward Training

Translated by Harold Roth

One
The vital essence of all things: 
It is this that brings them to life.
It generates the five grains below
And becomes the constellated stars above.
When flowing amid the heavens and the earth
We call it ghostly and numinous.
When stored within the chests of human beings,
We call them sages.

Two
Therefore this vital energy is:
Bright! - as if ascending from the heavens;
Dark! - as if entering an abyss;
Vast! - as if dwelling in an ocean;
Lofty! - as if dwelling on a mountain peak.
Therefore this vital energy
Cannot be halted by force,
Yet can be secured by inner power [Te].
Cannot be summoned by speech,
Yet can be welcomed by awareness.
Reverently hold onto it and do not lose it:
This is called "developing inner power."
When inner power develops and wisdom emerges,
The myriad things will, to the last one, be grasped.

Three
All the forms of the mind
Are naturally infused and filled with it [the vital essence],
Are naturally generated and developed [because of] it.
It is lost
Inevitably because of sorrow, happiness, joy, anger, desire, and profit-seeking.
If you are able to cast off sorrow, happiness, joy, anger, desire and profit-seeking,
Your mind will just revert to equanimity.
The true condition of the mind
Is that it finds calmness beneficial and, by it, attains repose.
Do not disturb it, do not disrupt it
And harmony will naturally develop.

Four
Clear! as though right by your side.
Vague! as though it will not be attained.
Indescribable! as though beyond the limitless.
The test of this is not far off:
Daily we make use of its inner power.
The Way is what infuses the body,
Yet people are unable to fix it in place.
It goes forth but does not return,
It comes back but does not stay.
Silent! none can hear its sound.
Suddenly stopping! it abides within the mind.
Obscure! we do not see its form.
Surging forth! it arises with us.
We do not see its form,
We do not hear its sound,
Yet we can perceive an order to its accomplishments.
We call it "the Way."

Five
The Way has no fixed position;
It abides within the excellent mind.
When the mind is tranquil and the vital breath is regular,
The Way can thereby be halted.
That Way is not distant from us;
When people attain it they are sustained
That Way is not separated from us;
When people accord with it they are harmonious.
Therefore: Concentrated! as though you could be roped together with it.
Indiscernible! as though beyond all locations.
The true state of that Way:
How could it be conceived of and pronounced upon?
Cultivate your mind, make your thoughts tranquil,
And the Way can thereby be attained.

Six
As for the Way:
It is what the mouth cannot speak of,
The eyes cannot see,
And the ears cannot hear.
It is that with which we cultivate the mind and align the body.
When people lose it they die;
When people gain it they flourish.
When endeavours lose it they fail;
When they gain it they succeed.
The Way never has a root or trunk,
It never has leaves or flowers.
The myriad things are generated by it;
The myriad things are completed by it.
We designate it "the Way."

Seven
For the heavens, the ruling principle is to be aligned.
For the earth, the ruling principle is to be level.
For human beings the ruling principle is to be tranquil.
Spring, autumn, winter and summer are the seasons of the heavens.
Mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys are the resources of the earth.
Pleasure and anger, accepting and rejecting are the devices of human beings.
Therefore, the sage:
Alters with the seasons but doesn't transform,
Shifts with things but doesn't change places with them.

Eight
If you can be aligned and be tranquil,
Only then can you be stable.
With a stable mind at your core,
With the eyes and ears acute and clear,
And with the four limbs firm and fixed,
You can thereby make a lodging place for the vital essence.
The vital essence: it is the essence of the vital energy.
When the vital energy is guided, it [the vital essence] is generated,
But when it is generated, there is thought,
When there is thought, there is knowledge,
But when there is knowledge, then you must stop.
Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge,
You loose your vitality.

Nine
Those who can transform even a single thing, call them "numinous";
Those who can alter even a single situation, call them "wise."
But to transform without expending vital energy; to alter without expending wisdom:
Only exemplary persons who hold fast to the One are able to do this.
Hold fast to the One; do not loose it,
And you will be able to master the myriad things.
Exemplary persons act upon things,
And are not acted upon by them,
Because they grasp the guiding principle of the One.

Ten
With a well-ordered mind within you,
Well-ordered words issue forth from your mouth,
And well-ordered tasks are imposed on others.
Then all under heaven will be well-ordered.
"When one word is grasped,
All under the heavens will submit.
When one word is fixed,
All under heavens will listen."
It is this [word "Way"] to which the saying refers.

Eleven
When your body is not aligned,
The inner power will not come.
When you are not tranquil within,
Your mind will not be ordered.
Align your body, assist the inner power,
Then it will gradually come on its own.

Twelve
The numinous [mind]: no one knows its limit;
It intuitively knows the myriad things.
Hold it within you, do not let it waver.
To not disrupt your senses with external things,
To not disrupt your mind with your senses:
This is called "grasping it within you."

Thirteen
There is a numinous [mind] naturally residing within;
One moment it goes, the next it comes,
And no one is able to conceive of it.
If you loose it you are inevitably disordered;
If you attain it you are inevitably well ordered.
Diligently clean out its lodging place
And its vital essence will naturally arrive.
Still your attempts to imagine and conceive of it.
Relax your efforts to reflect on and control it.
Be reverent and diligent
And its vital essence will naturally stabilize.
Grasp it and don't let go
Then the eyes and ears won't overflow
And the mind will have nothing else to seek.
When a properly aligned mind resides within you,
The myriad things will be seen in their proper perspective.

Fourteen
The Way fills the entire world.
It is everywhere that people are,
But people are unable to understand this.
When you are released by this one word:
You reach up to the heavens above;
You stretch down to the earth below;
You pervade the nine inhabited regions.
What does it mean to be released by it?
The answer resides in the calmness of the mind.
When your mind is well-ordered, your senses are well-ordered.
When your mind is calm, your senses are calmed.
What makes them well-ordered is the mind;
What makes them calm is the mind.
By means of the mind you store the mind:
Within the mind there is yet another mind.
That mind within the mind: it is an awareness that precedes words.
Only after there is awareness does it take shape;
Only after it takes shape it there a word.
Only after there is a word is it implemented;
Only after it is implemented is there order.
Without order, you will always be chaotic.
If chaotic, you die.

Fifteen
For those who preserve and naturally generate vital essence
On the outside a calmness will flourish.
Stored inside, we take it to be the well-spring.
Floodlike, it harmonizes and equalizes
And we take it to be the fount of the vital energy.
When the fount is not dried up,
The four limbs are firm.
When the spring is not drained,
Vital energy freely circulates through the nine apertures.
You can then exhaust the heavens and the earth
And spread over the four seas.
When you have no delusions within you,
Externally there will be no disasters.
Those who keep their minds unimpaired within,
Externally keep their bodies unimpaired,
Who do not encounter heavenly disasters
Or meet with harm at the hands of others,
Call them Sages.

Sixteen
If people can be aligned and tranquil,
Their skin will be ample and smooth,
Their eyes and ears will be acute and clear,
Their muscles will be supple and their bones will be strong,
They will then be able to hold up the Great Circle [of the heavens]
And tread firmly over the Great Square [of the earth].
They will mirror things with great purity.
And they will perceive things with great clarity.
Reverently be aware [of the Way] and do not waver,
And you will daily renew your inner power,
Thoroughly understand all under the heavens,
And exhaust everything within the Four Directions.
To reverently bring forth the effulgence [of the Way]:
This is called "inward attainment."
If you do this but fail to return to it,
This will cause a wavering in your vitality.

Seventeen
For all [to practice] this Way:
You must coil, you must contract,
You must uncoil, you must expand,
You must be firm, you must be regular [in this practice].
Hold fast to this excellent [practice]; do not let go of it.
Chase away the excessive; abandon the trivial.
And when you reach its ultimate limit
You will return to the Way and the inner power.

Eighteen
When there is a mind that is unimpaired within you,
It cannot be hidden.
It will be known in your countenance,
And seen in your skin colour.
If with this good flow of vital energy you encounter others,
They will be kinder to you than your own brethren.
But if with a bad flow of vital energy you encounter others,
They will harm you with their weapons.
[This is because] the wordless pronouncement
Is more rapid than the drumming of thunder.
The perceptible form of the mind's vital energy
Is brighter than the sun and moon,
And more apparent than the concern of parents.
Rewards are not sufficient to encourage the good;
Punishments are not sufficient to discourage the bad.
Yet once this flow of vital energy is achieved,
All under heaven will submit.
And once the mind is made stable,
All under heaven will listen.

Nineteen
By concentrating your vital breath as if numinous,
The myriad things will all be contained within you.
Can you concentrate? Can you unite with them?
Can you not resort to divining by tortoise or milfoil
Yet know bad and good fortune?
Can you stop? Can you cease?
Can you not seek it in others,
Yet attain it within yourself?
You think and think about it
And think still further about it.
You think, yet still cannot penetrate it.
While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it,
It is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,
But to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.
When the four limbs are aligned
And the blood and vital breath are tranquil,
Unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
Then your eyes and ears will not be over-stimulated.
And even the far-off will seem close at hand.

Twenty
Deep thinking generates knowledge.
Idleness and carelessness generate worry.
Cruelty and arrogance generate resentment.
Worry and grief generate illness.
When illness reaches a distressing degree, you die.
When you think about something and don't let got of it,
Internally you will be distressed, externally you will be weak.
Do not plan things out in advance
Or else your vitality will cede its dwelling.
In eating, it is best not to fill up;
In thinking, it is best not to overdo.
Limit these to the appropriate degree
And you will naturally reach it [vitality].

Twenty-one
As for the life of all human beings:
The heavens brings forth their vital essence,
The earth brings forth their bodies.
These two combine to make a person.
When they are in harmony there is vitality;
When they are not in harmony there is no vitality.
If we examine the Way of harmonizing them,
Its essentials are not visible,
Its signs are not numerous.
Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest
And it will swirl and blend with your mind,
This confers longevity.
When joy and anger are not limited,
You should make a plan [to limit them].
Restrict the five sense-desires;
Cast away these dual misfortunes.
Be not joyous, be not angry,
Just let a balanced and aligned [breathing] fill your chest.

Twenty-two
As for the vitality of all human beings:
It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned [breathing].
The reason for its loss
Is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety.
Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry;
To cast off worry there is nothing better than music;
To limit music there is nothing better than rites;
To hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence;
To hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.
When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent
You are able to return to your innate nature
And this nature will become greatly stable.

Twenty-three
For all the Way of eating is that:
Overfilling yourself with food will impair your vital energy
And cause your body to deteriorate.
Over-restricting your consumption causes the bones to wither
And the blood to congeal.
The mean between overfilling and over-restricting:
This is called "harmonious completion."
It is where the vital essence lodges
And knowledge is generated.
When hunger and fullness lose their proper balance,
You make a plan to correct this.
When full, move quickly;
When hungry, neglect your thoughts;
When old, forget worry.
If when full you don't move quickly,
Vital energy will not circulate to your limbs.
If when hungry you don't neglect your thoughts of food,
When you finally eat you will not stop.
If when old you don't forget your worries,
The fount of your vital energy will rapidly drain out.

Twenty-four
When you enlarge your mind and let go of it,
When you relax your vital breath and expand it,
When your body is calm and unmoving:
And you maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances,
You will see profit and not be enticed by it,
You will see harm and not be frightened by it.
Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,
In solitude you delight in your own person.
This is called "revolving the vital breath":
Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly.

Twenty-five
The vitality of all people
Inevitably comes from their peace of mind.
When anxious, you loose this guiding thread;
When angry, you lose this basic point.
When you are anxious or sad, pleased or angry,
The Way has no place to settle.
Love and desire: still them!
Folly and disturbance: correct them!
Do not push it! do not pull it!
Good fortune will naturally return to you,
And that Way will naturally come to you
So you can rely on and take counsel from it.
If you are tranquil then you will attain it;
If you are agitated then you will lose it.

Twenty-six
That mysterious vital energy within the mind:
One moment it arrives, the next it departs.
So fine, there is nothing within it;
So vast, there is nothing outside it.
We lose it
Because of the harm caused by mental agitation.
When the mind can hold on to tranquility,
The Way will become naturally stabilized.
For people who have attained the Way
It permeates their pores and saturates their hair.
Within their chest, they remain unvanquished.
[Follow] this Way of restricting sense-desires
And the myriad things will not cause you harm.
Reference: http://www.stillness.com/tao/neiyeh.txt
Book: Harold D. Roth Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism
ISBN 0231115652

The Wisdom of Dao Yin in Baopuzi

Dao Yin treats the condition ‘not yet sick’, it releases inharmonious energy. The movements must be practised in order to circulate energy without discomfort in the hundred joints. Without movement, blood remains blocked in the three places. Dao Yin uses this great rule to maintain health and is a subtle and complex technique for eliminating all diseases.

Bao Pu Zi by Ge Hong

Reference: Nourish the Blood, Tonify the Qi to Promote Longevity, and Calm and Concentrate the Mind to Regulate the Heart: Dao Yin Yang Sheng Gong Foundation Sequences 1 by Zhang Guangde

A Japanese Alchemical Chart of the Body

The Japanese alchemical chart of the body reproduced above is entitled Shūshin kyūten tandō zu 修真九轉丹道圖, or Chart of the Way of the Elixir in Nine Cycles for the Cultivation of Reality (the Chinese reading of the title is Xiuzhen jiuzhuan dandao tu). Although no precisely corresponding picture seems to be found in Chinese texts, it is likely that this chart is either copied from, or based on, an earlier Chinese exemplar that may now be lost.

The Chart, which is undated, is now kept in the library of Tenri University in Japan. It is reproduced here from the book by Katō Chie 加藤千恵, Furō fushi no shintai: Dōkyō to “tai” no shisō 不老不死の身体 — 道教と「胎」の思想 (The Ageless and Deathless Body: Taoism and the Idea of the “Embryo”; Tokyo: Taishūkan shoten, 2002), p. 121. Dr. Katō is one the main Japanese scholars of Taoist Internal Alchemy. She has published extensively in particular on the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality) and on the Taoist views of the “embryo.”

From top to bottom along the vertical axis, the Chart shows: the upper Cinnabar Field; the eyes; the tongue; the trachea; the middle Cinnabar Field; the lower Cinnabar Field; and the Caudal Funnel.

Like most similar Chinese pictures, the Chart contains short captions. Below are translations of the captions, with short notes:

1. “Palace of the Muddy Pellet” (niwan gong). The upper Cinnabar Field, commonly called Muddy Pellet.

2. “On the left the Great Yang”. This and the next captions refer to the eyes. The left eye represents Great Yang.

3. “On the right the Great Yin”. The right eye represents Great Yin.


4. “The tongue is the Red Lotus” (honglian).

5. “Under the tongue, on each [side], there are two openings”. These openings are the Cinnabar Cavities (danxue), which should be kept closed by the tongue so that the True Breath (zhenqi) does not escape.

6. “The throat is the Twelve-Storied Pavilion” (shi’er lou). This is a common name of the trachea in Neidan and meditation texts.

7. “Through two [of the four] openings, Breath (qi) flows and pervades the body”.

8. “The heart is the Crimson Palace” (jianggong). The middle Cinnabar Field, commonly called Crimson Palace, is shown at the center of the picture.

9. “Cinnabar Field” (dantian). The lower Cinnabar Field is the dantian proper.

10. “At its first descent, the Elixir is similar to a Luminous Pearl.” This sentence refers to the first stage in the formation of the Elixir, i.e., the first of the nine cycles mentioned in the title of the Chart.

11. “Caudal Funnel” (weilü). Located near the coccyx, this is the first of the “three barriers” or “three passes” (sanguan) in the back of the body. (See an essay by Wang Mu on the “three barriers”.)

12. “As I sit and forget my form (xing), all the mountains, the rivers, and the ten thousand things are within my body”. The word used here for “body” is shen 身, which denotes not only the physical body, but the whole person.

13. “The Breath (qi) of the gallbladder rises above”.

Although its origins and transmission deserve more study, the Japanese Chart appears to be closely related to a work attributed to Chen Nan (?-1213), a Neidan master belonging to the Southern Lineage (Nanzong) of Internal Alchemy. His Cuixu pian (The Emerald Emptiness), which is part of the Xiuzhen shishu (Ten Books on the Cultivation of Reality), contains these verses:

一轉之功似寶珠,山河宇宙透靈軀。紅蓮葉下藏丹穴,赤水流通九候珠。
The result (gong) of the first cycle is similar to
a Precious Pearl;
mountains, rivers, and the whole cosmos pervade
the Numinous Body.
Under the petals of the Red Lotus are stored
the Cinnabar Cavities;
the Vermilion River flows and pervades the Pearl
of the Nine Times.

The Precious Pearl in Chen Nan’s first verse is equivalent to the Luminous Pearl of the Chart (no. 10 above). The second verse is matched by one of the captions in the Chart (no. 12). The term Red Lotus in the third verse is found in the Chart (no. 4), which also mentions the two pairs of “openings”, i.e., the Cinnabar Cavities (no. 5). The expression “flow and pervade” in the fourth verse is used in the Chart (no. 7).

(According to Chen Nan’s own explications, the “nine times” in the fourth verse refer to a form of breathing in nine stages performed after the Pearl of the Elixir descends into the Cinnabar Field.)

In his work, Chen Nan also writes:

天一真水藏於膽,陰陽和合降而成丹,初降之狀,如露一顆明珠。
The True Water [generated] by [number] 1 of Heaven is stored in the gallbladder. When Yin and Yang conjoin, they descend [into the lower Cinnabar Field] and form the Elixir. At its first descent, its shape is similar to a Luminous Pearl made of one drop of dew.

Besides including the term Luminous Pearl, one of captions in the Chart (no. 10) consists of sentence that alludes to the final part of this passage. Finally, another caption in the Chart (no. 13) mentions the gallbladder.

(The words “The True Water [generated] by [number] 1 of Heaven” allude to Water, the first of the five agents, which is given birth by Heaven and is associated with number 1.)

Considering these multiple analogies, it is significant that the Cuixu pian is concerned with a Neidan process in nine cycles, which are also mentioned in the title of the Japanese Chart of the Way of the Elixir in Nine Cycles for the Cultivation of Reality. As for the words Cultivation of Reality, they may be a direct reference to the above-mentioned work that now contains the Cuixu pian.
 
Reference: Golden Elixir Press. – “A Japanese Alchemical Chart of the Body”

The Intercourse of Water and Fire

Whenever you leak vital spirit, being stirred and interacting with beings, that is all fire. Whenever you gather back spirits consciousness and quiet it down to steep in the center, that is all water. When th senses run outward, that is fire; when the senses turn around  inward, that is water.

The one yin [ inside the fire trigram ] concentrates on pursuing sense experience, while the one yang [ inside the water trigram ] concentrates on reversing and withdrawing the senses themselves.

Water and fire are yin and yang, yin and yang are body and mind, body and mind are spirit and energy. Once you withdraw to rest your vital spirit and are not influenced by objects, then this is true intercourse, as of course when you sit in profound silence.

Reference:The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life new translation by Thomas Cleary

Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice

Now, as for your daily practice, Keep your eating and drinking regulated; Restrain your speaking and meditate alone. Do not allow even a single thought to arise. The ten thousand affairs are all forgotten.

Then preserve your spirit and stabilize your intent. The mouth and lips are mutually locked up; The teeth should be lightly touching. Your eyes do not see a single thing;
Your ears do not hear a single sound. Unified, the heart-mind is guarded within.

Continually harmonize your breathing. Subtle, still more subtle, make a light exhale. It is as if the breath exists, as if it does not exist. Nothing is allowed to separate or interrupt.

Then the fire of the heart naturally descends; The water of the kidneys naturally ascends. Inside your mouth, the sweet dew arises of itself. The numinous Perfected support your body
And you spontaneously know the path to long life.

During the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness. The numinous tower of the heart emptied of all things: This is called clarity. Not allowing even a single thought to arise: This is called stillness.

The body is the dwelling place of qi. The heart is the residence of spirit. When intent moves, spirit is agitated; When spirit is agitated, qi is dispersed.

When intent is stable, spirit remains settled; When spirit remains settled, qi gathers. The perfect qi of the Five Phases Then gathers together and forms a pinch of elixir.

Then naturally in the body a sound can be heard. Walking and standing, sitting and lying down, One constantly practices awareness. In the body, it is as if there is the movement of wind. In the belly, it is as if there is the sound of thunder.

Infusing and harmonizing qi fully, A rich liquid pours into the top of the head. When you drink from this pinch of elixir, Your ears begin to hear the tunes of the immortals. These are the sounds of the stringless melodies Sounding spontaneously without any strumming, Reverberating naturally without any drumming.

Spirit and qi then combine together Like a child being cherished in the womb. If you can observe the inner regions, Spirit naturally begins to communicate. This is the residence of emptiness and nonbeing, The place where you can reside with the sages.

If you refine the combination through nine revolutions, You will bind and complete the great cinnabar elixir. Spirit then spontaneously enters and leaves.
Your years will match those of heaven and earth; Your radiance will join with that of the sun and moon. Then you will cast off arising and passing away.

Each day that you cease to practice this, Surely there will be injury and disease. So, during all the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness.

Qi is the mother of spirit; Spirit is the child of qi. Like a hen incubating an egg, Preserve spirit and nourish qi. Then, you will never be separated from the Wondrous.

Mysterious and again more mysterious; In the human body, there are Seven Treasures. Use them to support the country and pacify the people. Then your essence, qi, and blood will be abundant.

Essence is quicksilver; Blood is yellow gold; Qi is beautiful jade; Marrow is quartz;
The brain is numinous sand; The kidneys are jade rings; And the heart is a glittering gem.

These are the Seven Treasures— Keep them firmly in your body, never letting them disperse. Refine them into the great medicine of life. Then with all of the ten thousand spirits, You will ascend to the immortal realms.

Reference:
Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice of the Great High Lord Lao (pdf) pathofzero.com translation and commentary by Louis Komjathy.

Awakening to Reality Wuzhen pian

1 If you study immortality,
you should study celestial immortality:
only the Golden Elixir
is the highest principle.
3 When the two things meet,
emotions and nature join one another;
where the five agents are whole,
Dragon and Tiger coil.

5 Rely in the first place on wu and ji
that act as go-betweens,
then let husband and wife
join together and rejoice.
7 Just wait until your work is achieved
to have audience at the Northern Portal,
and in the radiance of a ninefold mist
you will ride a soaring phoenix.

Notes on Poem 3
In this poem, Zhang Boduan uses traditional images to describe the main features and benefits of the Golden Elixir. There are several grades of transcendence, but for the very fact of being graded, they pertain to the realm of relativity in which we live. Only “celestial immortality,” says Zhang Boduan, grants complete transcendence, the removal of distinctions between the precelestial and postcelestial domains. Fulfilling the Way of the Golden Elixir is analogous to ascending to Heaven as an immortal and having audience with the highest deities.

1 If you study immortality.
The word translated as “immortality” (xian) means, more precisely, “transcendence.” In the view of the Awakening to Reality, celestial immortality is the highest degree of realization. Taoist texts contain several descriptions of the grades of transcendence. For example, the Zhong Lü chuandao ji (Records of the Transmission of the Dao from Zhongli Quan to Lü Dongbin), a work probably dating from the tenth century, states in the section entitled “On True Immortality”: “Immortality is not of one kind only. . . . There are five degrees of Immortals, namely, the demon immortals (guixian), the human immortals (renxian), the earthly immortals (dixian), the spirit immortals (shenxian), and the celestial immortals (tianxian).”

3 When the two things meet, emotions and nature join one another.
The “two things” are, fundamentally, True Yin and True Yang. Inner nature (xing) is essentially pure and unaffected by phenomena or events of any kind. Emotions (qing, a word also translated as feelings, sentiments, or passions) are often impure and tend to disjoin from one’s nature, to the point that they may become uncontrolled. According to many Neidan texts, the separation of inner nature and emotions is a feature of the conditioned state in which we live. Only when True Yin and True Yang merge can one’s inner nature and emotions be not independent of one another, but in agreement with one another.

The Chinese view of “emotions” is more complex than it might at first seem. Emotions are not seen as merely psychological phenomena, but rather as pertaining to the sphere of existence, of one’s being in the world as an individual entity. For this very reason, emotions are often at odds with one’s inner nature, which is inherently transcendent. When emotions and inner nature join one another, emotions turn into qualities — personality, temperament, attitudes — that allow a person to express his or her inner nature in life, according to his or her individuality.

4 Where the five agents are whole, Dragon and Tiger coil.
The five agents are Wood, Fire, Soil, Metal, and Water (see tables 2 and 3). They represent the differentiation of the One into the many, and the diverse qualities taken on by Original Breath (yuanqi) in the conditioned state. Soil is an emblem of the original unity of the five agents. “The five agents are whole” refers to the reversal to unity, which is performed first by reducing the five agents to three, and then to one (see Poem 14). Therefore the undividedness of the five agents is analogous to the joining of Yin and Yang.

The Dragon stands for True Yin within Yang, also symbolized by the inner line of the trigram Li , and the Tiger stands for True Yang within Yin, also symbolized by the inner line of Kan . They are the “two things” mentioned in the previous line. Kan and Li are born from the union of Qian and Kun , the True Yang and True Yin of the precelestial state. To generate the world, Qian entrusts its creative essence to Kun, and becomes Li; Kun receives the essence of Qian to bring it to fulfillment, and becomes Kan. In Neidan, Kan and Li newly join together (“coil”) and return their essences to one another. Symbolically, this liberates True Yin and True Yang from their residences in the conditioned state, and reestablishes the original pair of trigrams, namely Qian and Kun.

5 Rely in the first place on wu and ji that act as go-betweens.
Wu and ji are the two celestial stems related to the agent Soil (see table 4). Soil, which is placed at the center, is an emblem of the One giving birth to multiplicity. To generate the “ten thousand things,” the One first divides itself into the Two, or Yin and Yang. The stems wu and ji respectively represent the Yang and the Yin halves of Soil, or the One.

In the human being, Soil is associated with the intention (yi), the faculty of focusing the mind on a goal or an object. In Neidan, the True Intention (zhenyi) brings about the union of Yin and Yang. This is possible because intention, just like Soil, embraces both Yin and Yang, or wu and ji. For this reason, wu and ji are often said in Neidan texts to be the “go-betweens” (meiping) that allow the conjunction of Yin and Yang.

6 Then let husband and wife join together and rejoice.
Husband and wife respectively stand for the Yang and Yin principles, which join to generate the Elixir.

7-8 Just wait until your work is achieved to have audience at the Northern Portal, and in the radiance of a ninefold mist you will ride a soaring phoenix.
The expression gong cheng, translated above as “your work is achieved,” can also mean “your merit is complete.” — The Northern Portal (beique) is the gate of Heaven, and an emblem of the Center: the symbolic center of Heaven is at due North.

The imagery of these lines is similar to the one found in this passage of the Cantong qi (Token for Joining the Three, chapter 8):

With the Way completed and virtue fulfilled,
withdraw, stay concealed, and wait for your time.
The Great One will send forth his summons,
and you move your abode to the Central Land.
Your work concluded, you ascend on high
to obtain the Register and receive the Chart.
The last line of the Cantong qi passage refers to receiving consecration as an Immortal.

Commentary by Liu Yiming

[Commentary on line 1: “If you study immortality, you should study celestial immortality.”]

Those who fulfill both their nature and their existence, who have a body outside their body, whose form and spirit are both wondrous,(1) who are joined in their reality with the Dao, are celestial immortals. . . . Only the celestial immortals shed their illusory body and achieve a dharmākaya (fashen, the body of Buddhahood), go beyond creation and transformation,(2) and are without birth and without death. Being able to shed life and death, their longevity equals that of Heaven, and they last eternally without decaying.

(1) As remarked above, this expression — which authors of Neidan texts use often — refers to the state of non-duality between formlessness and form, the Dao and the world, the absolute and the relative.

(2) I.e., they go beyond the manifested cosmos, which is ruled by change and impermanence.

[Commentary on line 2: “Only the Golden Elixir is the highest principle.”]

Human beings receive this Golden Elixir from Heaven. It is perfectly good with nothing bad in it, it is innate knowledge (liangzhi) and innate capacity (liangneng).(1) It is the Numinous Root, entirely achieved and with nothing lacking. It is the Breath of precelestial Perfect Yang. . . .

Golden Elixir is another name for one’s inchoate fundamental nature (xing).(2) There is no other Golden Elixir outside one’s fundamental nature. Every human being has this Golden Elixir complete in oneself: it is entirely achieved in everyone. It is neither more in a sage, nor less in an ordinary person. It is the seed of the Immortals and the Buddhas, the root of the worthies and the sages.

However, when it is not refined by fire, Yang culminates and necessarily becomes Yin, completion culminates and necessarily becomes lacking. One falls into the postcelestial state. . . . Therefore the sages of antiquity established the Way of the Return [to the original state] through the Golden Elixir, so that everyone could go back to one’s home and recognize one’s ancestor, and revert to what one fundamentally and originally has in oneself.

(1) The terms “innate knowledge” and “innate capacity” derive from one of the main Confucian texts, the Mengzi (chapter 7): “What one is able to do without learning is called innate capacity; what one knows without pondering is called innate knowledge.”

(2) By using the adjective “inchoate” (hun), Liu Yiming immediately suggests the affinity between one’s original nature and the Dao. “There is something inchoate and yet accomplished, born before Heaven and Earth. . . . I do not know its name, but call it Dao” (Daode jing, chapter 25).

[Commentary on lines 3-4: “When the two things meet, emotions and nature join one another; where the five agents are whole, Dragon and Tiger coil.” This passage provides an example of how Liu Yiming explains the relation between the precelestial and the postcelestial states of being.]

The Way of Cultivating the Elixir (xiudan) is nothing more than harmonizing the firm and the yielding, making strength and compliance match one another, and making nature and emotions join with one another. When nature and emotions join, Yin and Yang meet and the five agents are whole. This is the boundless norm of Heaven.

The five agents are the five breaths of Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Soil. In the precelestial state, these five breaths are the five origins,(1) namely Original Nature, Original Emotions, Original Essence, Original Spirit, and Original Breath. In the postcelestial state they are the “five things” (wuwu), namely the wandering hun-soul, the ghostly po-soul, the Yin essences, the cognitive spirit (shishen), and the errant intention.(2)

The five origins include the five virtues, which are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity.(3) The “five things” include the “five thieves” (wuzei), which are pleasure, anger, grief, joy, and lust. When the five agents are whole, the precelestial and postcelestial are gathered together, and the five origins control the “five things.”

(1) I.e., the basic constituents of the human being in their original, uncorrupted state.

(2) On the hun-soul and the po-soul see above the note to Poem 10, lines 3-4. On the Yin essences see above the note to Poem 9, line 1. The “discriminating spirit” is the thinking mind. The “errant intention” is the common intention, different from the True Intention that makes the joining of Yin and Yang possible; see above the note to Poem 3, line 5.

(3) These are the five so-called “Confucian” virtues.

[Commentary on lines 5-6: “Rely in the first place on wu and ji that act as go-betweens, then let husband and wife join together and rejoice.”]

After the original fundament of the precelestial state is lost and scattered, nature goes east and emotions go west,(1) and the firm and the yielding do not respond to one another. If there is no harmonizing thing that goes back and forth and mediates,(2) “that” and “this” separate and do not know one another.(3) What harmonizes is the two Soils, namely wu and ji.(4) The wu-Soil rules on movement and pertains to Yang. The ji-Soil rules on quiescence, and pertains to Yin. . . .

Within the five virtues, the two Soils, wu and ji, are true sincerity. When true sincerity is in the center, one’s nature is stable. When true stability functions on the outside, one’s emotions are harmonized. When nature is stable and emotions are harmonized, nature and emotions go back to the root: husband and wife join together and rejoice.

(1) These words should be understood in a quite “literal” sense. See table 3, which shows that nature corresponds to the agent Wood (east), and emotions to the agent Metal (west).

(2) The term translated as “mediate,” tongxin, literally means “to transmit a message,” and refers to the function of Soil in bringing Yin and Yang to join one another (see the note to Poem 3, line 5). At the same time, xin also means “sincerity,” the virtue associated with Soil mentioned by Liu Yiming in the next paragraph.

(3) “This” (ci) and “that” (bi, lit. the “other”) are conventional terms in Neidan for the postcelestial and the precelestial, the “ten thousand things” and the Dao, the relative and the absolute, and other analogous pairs of notions or entities.

(4)See the note to Poem 3, line 5.

[Commentary on lines 7-8: “Just wait until your work is achieved to have audience at the Northern Portal, and in the radiance of a ninefold mist you will ride a soaring phoenix.”]

When benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom go back to the oneness of sincerity, and when nature, emotions, essence, and spirit meet in the One Breath, “the three families see one another,”(1) and “the five breaths have audience at the Origin.”(2) You return to the origin and revert to the fundament, and the Golden Elixir coalesces; some call it the Embryo of Sainthood.

Continue to advance in your practice, passing from “doing” into “non-doing.” Nourish [the Embryo] warmly for ten months, keeping it tightly closed [within the womb].(3) Lessen the excess of strong emotions, and augment the insufficiency of compliant nature.(4) Using the celestial True Fire, and relying on the hexagrams Zhun in the morning and Meng at night, smelt away the postcelestial Yin breaths.(5) Generate the immaterial from the material, passing from the subtle to the apparent. When the Breath is complete and Spirit is whole, “with a peal of thunder the golden cicada sheds its shell,”(6) and you have a body outside your body.

When the work is completed and your name is recorded,(7) you will have audience at the Northern Portal and will ride a soaring phoenix. You will fly and rise in the broad daylight,(8) and will become a Celestial Immortal of Pure Yang, free from death. Wouldn’t that be pleasant?

(1) These words are quoted from Poem 14, line 6.

(2) This expression is found in many Neidan texts.

(3) Note the emphasis given on “closing,” also found in texts of external alchemy where it applies, in a literal sense, to hermetically sealing the crucible.

(4) “Lessen” (chou) and “augment” (tian) are two other technical terms used in many Neidan texts. At this stage of the practice, Lead should be “lessened” and Mercury should be “augmented.”

(5) This sentence refers to one of the ways in which the “fire times” are represented in internal alchemy. Sixty of the sixty-four hexagrams are associated with the thirty days of the lunar month. One pair of hexagrams, therefore, rules on each day; the first hexagram rules on its first half, and the second one, on its second half. Zhun and Meng are the first two hexagrams used in this cosmological pattern.

(6) This is another expression found in many Taoist texts. It alludes to achieving an “immortal self,” which Liu Yiming refers to at the end of the present sentence by saying, “you have a body outside your body.”

(7) That is, one’s name is entered in the “registers of immortality,” according to the classical Taoist image for the achievement of transcendence.

(8) This sentence, which is frequent in Taoist texts, alludes to attaining the highest state of transcendence.

Reference: Awakening to Reality (Wuzhen pian) Poem 3 translated by Fabrizio Pregadio www.goldenelixir.com

100 Chinese and Buddhist Health Rules 51-100

No. 51 – Quiet Sitting
To nourish yourself in quietude: lie on your bed, completely relax body and mind, let your whole body melt without using even a tiny bit of effort, so that you feel as if there was no body. Breathe naturally and exert not even a trace of effort in the mind-and-heart— when a thought arises, this is already the use of effort. Place your mind calmly on the soles of your feet and from there guide fire down and water up, so that the qi and blood in the entire body flow vibrantly.

No. 52 – Cultivation Formula
The essential formula of cultivation practice:

Serene and radiant, radiant and serene—I am utterly effortless.
To become enlightened, turn into a patriarch: there is no other secret.

Essential requirements for healing the body: Do not allow any part to use even a bit of effort. Fully control your thoughts, breath, and limbs. The eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, the tongue does not taste, the mouth does not ingest, the mind does not think. This is the only thing.

As soon as there is anything you think, hear, or feel—this is effort. Even a slight movement of arms or fingers—this is effort. Making the breath softer or harder—this is effort. Practicing like this, soon your breath will be naturally calm and it will feel as if it is not moving at all through nose and mouth. Then the 84,000 pores of the whole body will work actively, expanding and contracting. At this point there is no I, no self, no qi, no mind. The mind of heaven has returned to its original position. This is what we call the fire returning to the prime, or fire and water in complete balance. It is the key mode for curing the hundred diseases.

Please rethink the above rule, maybe you forgot it since you read rule no. 20 🙂

No. 53 – Attachment and Fear
Among people who nourish life, thirty percent die anyway. Why is this? It is because they are overly attached to their bodies. On behalf of this stinking bag of skin, they fear being embarrassed, they fear being imprisoned; they fear being defeated, they fear reaching the top. They scan in all directions, looking forward and turning back, looking left and turning right, nervous and terrified of fear itself, troubled by success, troubled by failure. . . .

In this state their pure mind and heavenly connection shrivel to the size of a plum pit and they look like they have been bitten repeatedly by nasty dogs—how can they not end up dying? The more you fear death, the faster death comes. If you want to nourish life, you cannot ever feel fear of death. If you just don’t fear death, you can easily get farther away from it.

No. 54 – Awarness
When people are sick but think they are fine, this is the worst kind of sickness. How many people really are there who know they are sick?

People who truly have no fear of death will never encounter wild tigers on the road or, if they do get close to one, it won’t devour them; they will not encounter knives and guns when in a fight or, if they are attacked by those, won’t suffer harm. Why is this? It is because they do not make death their reference point. Not fearing death, death has no power over them. In nourishing life, what could be more important? Thus people who practice cultivation attain long life with ease. They don’t think about long life, and paradoxically they can live long. Thinking constantly about long life, on the other hand, only makes death come that much faster. Long life is not the goal of cultivation; it is only a secondary phenomenon on the way.

No. 55 – Disconnection
People who surf the web in the middle of the night day after day do great harm to their bodies and chances for long life. The so-called famous great doctors are just like this. Their mind-and-hearts are totally involved in measurements and comparisons of all sorts and trying to ask them to connect to their selves for life-preservation is impossible. What kind of doctors are they?

No. 56 – Bargaining
Don’t crave for anything to be a bit cheaper or even a lot cheaper. Even a bit of craving holds the evil of attachment. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss until one gets a serious heart disease. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss: this means one has no clue about nature or the ways of Dao.

No. 57 – Food
Don’t spend your days thinking about what you could eat to supplement yin or what you could take to enhance yang. Just remember in all activities you give rise to yang; in all quietude you give rise to yin. Yin is the mother of yang; yang is the son of yin.

No. 58 – Precedence
When your qi is deficient, don’t enhance it blindly. This may have a negative impact on the whole body. If it is because blood is deficient, then you should first enhance the blood. This is because blood is the mother of qi, and if you don’t treat it first, you run the danger of drying and overheating the blood vessels and burning up the inner organs. If it is because there is an obstruction and the qi cannot flow freely, enhance both blood and qi by working on them equally. This way you will succeed in enhancing qi.

No. 59 – Environment
The importance of the environment for people’s health cannot be overemphasized. This is why people who live in deep mountains and ancient forests with clean air and fresh qi heal so much more easily. The subtle particles and high oxygen content of the air in these places get into the deep breath when people are in a relaxed state. They thus are absorbed by the body, where they moisturize and nurture the five organs and six intestines and give people new life energy. Another point people are not usually aware of is that even if they do not breathe deeply through nose and mouth, every pore of their bodies breathes in and out all the time—a feature that is essential in our connection to nature and heaven.

No. 60 – Heaven and Earth
When people are relaxed and breathe slow and deep, their body achieves a state of subtle energetic exchange with heaven and earth. Upon inhalation, they in fact expel the inhaled breath in the lungs and the whole body moves to push internal qi out. This is how the qi of humanity moves toward heaven and earth. During exhalation, they in fact absorb the subtle energy of heaven and earth through every pore of the body. This is what Laozi refers to when he speaks of “Between heaven and earth, it is like a bellows.”

No. 61 – Avoid in Exercising
Two things to avoid in exercising:

Do not exercise when blood and qi are deficient.
Do not exercise in a dirty or defiled environment.

No. 62 – Do in Exercising
Two things to do in exercising:

Increase the speed of blood and qi circulation, so the toxins inside the body can come to the surface.
Open the body’s pores wide and breathe in deeply, so you absorb the essence and qi of heaven and earth.

No. 63 – Simplicity
What is “awakening to inner nature”? What is “wisdom”? Both mean to regard all beings from a position of greatest simplicity. However, most people and especially those who are frustrated with themselves tend to take even the simplest thing and see it as highly complex, thus creating complexity. Intricate and straightforward are really the same thing; they are just different sides of the same coin. Smart and perceptive people choose to look at things from the simple side; stupid and ignorant people tend to see them from the complex side.

No. 64 – Incurable Diseases
If people have a incurable disease, they have to rely on the spirit for a cure. If the disease does not respond to reliance on the spirit, they have to rely on the Buddha. What is the Buddha? The Buddha is the mind-and-heart.

No. 65 – Hospitals
In the modern world hospitals and prisons have a lot in common, especially when we think of patients as having received a death sentence. Also, in both situations, many people who do not deserve a death sentence receive one anyway. Why am I saying this?

Let’s think of cancer for a moment. Cancer for many people today equals a death sentence. That is to say, as long as we don’t actually call it “cancer,” we give the patients a sense of hope and a new chance at life. So what I am saying is that the vast majority of cancer patients today are dying of their fear, of the ill treatment of their spirit, of the harsh treatment in the hospital. You may be diagnosed with cancer one day, but you should immediately assume a position of no fear, because if you get well and don’t die, it is your destiny to do so, and if you don’t get well and in fact die, it is because you are the cancer.

In actual reality, there is no disease that cannot be cured, there is only your mind-and-heart that can or cannot let go. All diseases arise from the mind-and-heart, all diseases heal from the mind-and-heart. You only need to return to active living and you will soon have your chance at life. Finding this chance at life means the cure of cancer and your return to full health.

No. 66 – Competition
Any form of competition will turn order into disturbance and lead people into evil [immorality]. What is competition? Competition is anything that pulls people into the world of craving and desire.

No. 67 – Pure and Turbid
From the perspective of the mutual interchange of yin and yang, pure and turbid attract each other. Therefore, any pure and fresh things people eat inevitably get mixed with the turbid juices inside the body and are expelled accordingly.

No. 68 – Overeating
A dominance of turbid juices arises because people eat unclean things, but more importantly because they overeat. The body cannot digest all this matter and it accumulates inside, creating barriers.

No. 69 – Spontaneity
Smoothly following one’s natural course (inherent so-being, spontaneity) is the highest level of nourishing life. Each human being from birth has a set pattern that forms the foundation of his or her destiny. What he or she should or should not do, should or should not eat—as long as he or she follows this inherent pattern of destiny, he will encounter peace and be free from trouble.

Some people are very much aware of their inherent nature. They can specify the details and know exactly what their pattern of destiny is. They will be very clear about what they should and should not do. For this reason, nourishing life definitely has no simple one-fits-all system to follow—people are as different and as fluid as the clouds. Never go after what you admire in others, but always from the depth of your own mind-and-heart look for realizing your own inner nature.

How, then, do people know whether or not they are actually following their own natural course? If in actual life, you find dead-simple things that don’t work out, you get sick a lot, you are not comfortable, and you cannot be at rest with yourself—these are signs that your are going against your natural course. You need to start moving along with the great course of nature on the outside and follow the natural course of your destiny on the inside. Don’t miss out on either one!

No. 70 – Sensitivity Levels
A lot of people, when they hear that a doctor can help with their serious health issues, often assume an attitude of innocence and expect him to eliminate their disease by cutting, excising, poisoning, or otherwise killing it. But after that, does the disease really not have a place from where to resurface? There really is no such thing in the world as a “suddenly arising disease.”

Let me take the common cold as an example. If a patient really came to examine himself carefully, he would find that the various symptom all first gave some subtle indication and that he could have, before actually getting the cold, dispersed its building blocks in the different parts of the body. Thus, some people will find that they were recently exposed to some cold wind or drenched in a rainstorm. Others will discover that they had a great deal of stress at work, suffered from headaches and could not sleep. In reality, all these phenomena are elements that eventually lead to the common cold. In conclusion, if patients’ personal sensitivity and inner awareness were increased to a sufficient level, one could easily reach the goal of “blocking afflictions before they arise.”

No. 71 – True Science
What is true science? It is the law of cause and effect. If it does not work with cause and effect, it is not true science.

No. 72 – Failures
Do not fear failure [defeat, loss] in your mind. Do not take advantage of others in your mind. In other words, only you can suffer failure. Other people are part and parcel of your destiny, so you should give to them and never develop a craving to take advantage of them. You cannot get your mind to stay stable? Who in the world can get it there? Only the Buddha has that power.

No. 73 – Self-Assurance
Once people have taken charge of their health-related thoughts and practices, they develop perfect self-confidence in their entire being that eliminates any need of worrying about disease. This kind of feeling is fabulous. I wish we could all have this kind of powerful self-assurance.

No. 74 – Examination
In intense study, intention and qi are balanced. When the mind is stable, qi is balanced. Thus, for anyone who has attained Dao, examining another person is not a terribly difficult task but just the effect of yet another turning of the mind.

No. 75 – Five desires
Among the five desires, fame [feeling important] is hardest to overcome. Next comes sex [sensual pleasure, having fun], third is wealth [material stability], then food [eating and drinking], and finally sleep [rest and recreation]. As long as the mind-and-heart for fame is not dead, there is no way one can enter Dao.

No. 76 – Disease Inception
The hundred diseases begin when wind and heteropathy enter the body. If the body’s qi is vacuous and weak, the defensive and constructive energies lose their balance. Then worry and speculation, fright and anxiety arise, and wine [intoxication] and sex [distracting sensory pleasures] exhaust one’s strength. Perfect qi is minimal, and outside heteropathy comes in.

No. 77 – Rule 29
This is a circular rule, go and remember rule no. 29

No. 78 – Rule 30
This is another circular rule, go and see again rule no. 30

No. 79 – Side Attack
In the past, when hearing about how Hitler resolved breaching the extremely well defended and highly armed Maginot Line in France, I understood the following: when faced with strong and resistant diseases, you cannot overcome them with a frontal attack. Rather, to destroy it, you must get at it from a variety of angles. Kidney and liver problems, for example, tend to be highly resistant. You get best results when you approach them by balancing the lungs or spleen.

No. 80 – Centering
Being well centered is the root source of nourishing life. Qi and blood in people’s bodies form a pair of yin and yang. Blood is yin and substance; qi is yang and function. Blood is the mother of qi; qi is the master of blood. If qi is insufficient, one easily gets accumulation disease, such as swellings, tumors, blood clots, and the like. If qi is excessive, one easily gets diseases where blood flows too fast from the brain. Thus, as long as you keep blood and qi in even balance, you can stay very healthy.

No. 81 – First Steps
When people just have awakened to some kind of feeling for their “natural course” [inner spontaneity], they already reckon that they have attained Dao. But knowing the natural course is only the first step; going on and following it is what makes people spirit men. Understanding and matching yin and yang, understanding and following one’s natural course, this is the great inner power needed to be a good healer.

No. 82 – Natural Course
What is this “natural course”? It is the fact that each and every thing has the two sides of yin and yang, that each and every being undergoes the same life process of birth, growth, decline, and death. Following this process, you can use the production and conquest cycles of the five phases to enhance someone’s inner balance. Then what disease could not be cured?

No. 83 – Simple and Complex, Hard and Soft
Simple and complex form a pair just like yin and yang. The more an affair is complex, the more often it can be resolved by the simplest means. In the same way, if you look at what seems to be a simple issue, you often find that the solution is not easy at all and you cannot resolve it even by exerting utmost efforts.

The same also holds true for hard and soft. Extreme softness can overcome the hardest substance; against extreme hardness softness stands no chance. For this reason, whenever we are faced with solving an issue we should use this kind of thinking: when encountering a complex problem, look for the simplest way of resolving it; when meeting with a simple question, do not disregard it, but make sure to give it sufficient importance. It is just like Chairman Mao used to say: The strategy of war take lightly, the art of war take seriously. In other words, the state of the issue take lightly, the process of resolution take seriously.

No. 84 – Today
Let us see whether the following is true in the world today: people follow their natural patterns of eating and sleeping; people honor their natural course of life. Not really. If they can’t do so, why? Because that is way too simple. So they don’t just rest at ease and honor their course. Such is the honest truth.

No. 85 – Balance
What does “balance “mean? Balance is the state when yin and yang depend on each other and control each other in equal measure. Any form of excess or sufficiency means a loss of balance. All sorts of things may harm primordial qi, loss of balance certainly injures it. Always resting in a state of balance, primordial qi is well preserved and people age and decline only very slowly.

No. 86 – Yin and Yang
The way of yin and yang means two opposing forces depending upon, and changing into, one another. Thus, in any kind of oppositional situation, if one side distances itself from the other, it will never be controlled by it. Thus if one lets go of all loss, destruction cannot reach one.

You see, the leaders in modern society do not like constraints; they want to come and go as they please, following their whims, their own modes, greedy to obtain more goods. The result of this is that there are more rules than one can possibly think of.

Yin and yang are like that. In the great course of life, when one being arises, it becomes the cause of the birth of other beings, but at the same time some other being comes into existence that starts to limit them. This in essence is how the production and conquest cycles of the five phases work, the way yin and yang depend upon and check each other.

For this reason, the way of nourishing life also works like this. If you get sick, there is always one cause that brings it forth. At the same time there is also always a factor that controls it and makes it go away. Just like in the natural world, in any place that has poisonous snakes, there will be plants that cure snake bite.

No. 87 – Body Oblivion
What is self-realization through body oblivion? It means giving up control, giving up secret schemes.

Note: we are unsure of at least some part of the translation. If anybody has a better insight please relay it to us.

什麽叫人得意忘形?他失去控制了,失去陰的制約了,所以其下場畢竟是……,同樣人也不能一味消沈下去,這就是失去陽對他的制約了

No. 88 – Great Wisdom
Any so-called great wisdom, if it is without heartfelt feelings, what great wisdom is that?

No. 89 – Learning
Ordinary people talk about living to old age and learning to old age. But learning also has its time and what you learn in each phase of life needs to match what need most at that time. Otherwise you are not in harmony with the flow of life and fail to follow your natural course. However, looking at education in the world today, from kindergarten to university, how many things do the children learn that they actually need at their age?

What do you need to learn as a child? Most importantly, you need basic ethics and a sense of reverence for your parents. Only learning to read and write, what good does that do after you leave school? Once you get to adolescence, you need to learn how to be good at living in harmony and raising children, focusing on family happiness. In middle age, you need to work on nourishing life. Eventually, when you get to be old, you need to learn how to relax your mental disposition and be at peace in your last years. Whatever else you choose to study, these are the essentials of learning.

No. 90 – Emotions
Emotions and sickness are closely interrelated: all diseases come from emotions. You may use medications for a cure, but whether you do in fact remove the symptoms or not, underneath you are still not well. When you deal with this kind of disease, after you deal with the outer signs you still have to deal with the person inside. The five emotions can bring about disease; the five emotions can also cure them.

No. 91 – Courage
Nourishing life centers on one thing only: do not fear death! As long as you fear death, your yang-qi is insufficient, and when that happens, the power of death can defeat you. That’s what the Daoists keep talking about: the heroic energy found in people who practice cultivation and refinement. Kindness, wisdom, and courage: you must have all three!

No. 92 – Samadhi
Take any subject of study or practice and work on it until it becomes utterly easy and simple: this is the point where you reach an essential state of samadhi. As long as you still feel that the subject has some parts that are great and profound, sections that you cannot fathom, you still have not fully mastered its ultimate essence. You are still only seeing its outer leaves and branches and have not yet reached the root.

At this point you are still in the stage of “being” and have not yet attained the stage of “nonbeing.” All things for you still are enmeshed in the realm of yin and yang, all the myriad affairs and myriad things are still part of yin and yang. You need to find the root is of yin and yang: “Know the one and the myriad affairs are done!”

No. 93 – Nourishing Life
Concentrate your spirit and stabilize your qi, forget both yourself and all beings. This is the ultimate core of nourishing life.

No. 94 – The Center
The center bright and clear, peace will result. Nourish life this way and you will live long, die and not perish, and become a great light in the greater universe. The center not bright and clear, the twelve organs are endangered; they block the Dao and prevent it from flowing freely, so that the body is greatly harmed. Nourish life this way and you will endanger the powers of the greater universe. Be very, very careful!

No. 95 – Proper Cycles
How to apply the five phases’ cycles of production and conquest: if a disease is due to an excess in the five organs, use the conquest cycle to remedy it; if it is due to a depletion, use the production cycle. This is the fundamental principle of using the five phases.

No. 96 – Materialism
People nowadays often pursue an expensive material life-style and put all their efforts toward that. But the result of this kind of pursuit is really scary. What you need to realize is that people’s desire for material goods is inexhaustible. Once this desire can no longer be controlled, it does nothing but create inexhaustible suffering.

In fact, material goods can bring happiness but so can the spirit. Medications can cure diseases, but so can psychological healing. For this reason, spending all our life in the pursuit of material wealth is no where near as good as using our entire life to nurture a good mental disposition, which alone will allow our spirit to attain transcendence.

No. 97 – Rule 73
This is the fourth and the last (re)cycled rule, please read again the rule no. 73

No. 98 – The Sentinels
Our bodies are mechanisms full of wisdom: they have excellent sentinels that guard over our health: the teeth, the appendix, the tonsils, and so on. Originally, any time our bodies enter an exceptional situation (such as, most commonly, “fire rising”), these various sentinels immediately react and communicate the disturbance to the brain. Smart people at this point harmonize their minds-and-hearts and inspect themselves, making sure to restore inner balance.

However, what do Western-trained physicians do these days? “You hurt?” they say. “I will make your pain go away.” Even worse, they have developed some kind of scientific instrument, so they say: “You have a serious nasal infection and sneeze a lot? Let me cauterize the nerves inside your nose, so that you won’t be able to sneeze, no matter how strong the provocation.” The result of these treatments by Western doctors is that, if we ever fall ill, we won’t know until the disease affects our five organs and six intestines.

No. 99 – Benign Symptoms
Just remember: if we have sudden diarrhea, sneezes, coughs, or fever, these are signs of our bodies working at comprehensive recovery. There is no need to take medicines for these symptoms.

No. 100 – Terminal Diseases
Most serious diseases and terminal growths have only one cause: resentment [hatred, discontent]. Once resentment is gone, all ailments dissolve. What is hardest to resolve in this world is continuous and unstoppable resentment. As long as there is such unresolved resentment, there will always be incurable diseases.

Reference: http://yijinjing.ro/health-rules/

The Five Fundamentals of the Mind

There are five basic fundamental concepts which will provide the insights or background needed to achieve higher levels in Martial Arts. These concepts will help you in your overall relaxation skills.

The importance of your ability to relax is connected to several other factors: First and foremost, when you are in a relaxed state, your breathing is not constricted, but full and natural. Secondly, your alertness is clear and refined, and finally, your reactions are quick and uninhibited.

In order to achieve this relaxed state, you must practice meditation. The usual method of meditation emphasizes the physical acts of monitoring your breathing, becoming aware of any stress or tension, etc.

The following five guidelines will help you control your state of mind, a precondition of one’s behaviour.

Respect Respect makes reference to how you treat others. You should always maintain a sense of mutual respect. You should not take on a position of superiority, whether or not it may appear justified. There is an infinite amount of experiences, and any single person cannot possibly have witnessed all of them in his or her lifetime. Therefore, your fellow man has experiences and ideas that you may never have encountered or contemplated before. This is why you can always learn from others.

In the area of the Martial Arts, your classmate/opponent possesses different ideas, levels of skill, etc., all of which are legitimate. There may exist better, faster, more effective techniques, but nevertheless, your opponent’s techniques are real and must be addressed. No two persons will attack or react in the same way (power, angle, or methods). If you are perceptive, you can learn from any variation/situation. When you take on a position of superiority you create an artificial barrier between yourself and others. This barrier will automatically create tension. Tension is the single most important hindrance you must avoid in order to achieve higher levels.

Care Be thoughtful and careful when acting. It is important that you analyze self and commit yourself to whatever actions you take. You should believe in your decision-making processes. If you do not believe (have faith) or do not understand, you will create a mental block, which will hinder your results. Once you understand how a process can help you, then your mind can accept it, giving it value and allowing you to concentrate. It will also allow you to expand, gaining greater insights of how other issues are related to one another.

Thought This is a simple process. Understanding that you are only capable of doing one thing at a time, you can only process (solve) one issue at a time, you should not try to do two things at once. This will only split your focus as you move from one problem to another, and cause anxiety and stress. Single-mindedness will allow you to face the opponent with unrestrained whole-body power.

Focus You must understand completely what you are trying to achieve, clearly defining the end results of what is to be gained. You must therefore strip away all the minor processes and methods in order to focus on the essence of the subject matter. By focusing, you will understand which processes and methods enable you to achieve the desired goal.

Harmony Your interaction with others should be based on self-respect and honour. You should not take a position of superiority, nor one of inferiority. In this harmonious (neutral) position, you will be at ease with others, allowing you to be relaxed, calm, and composed.

Reference: Wudang, Vol. 10, Nos. 2 and 3