taoist practice
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Teachings of Immortals Chung and Lu

"Becoming an immortal is not the ultimate goal of cultivation. A being who is entirely yin with no yang is a ghost. A being who is entirely yang with no yin is an immortal. Humans are half yin and half yang. Therefore they can become either ghosts or immortals. If we follow our desires and do not begin to cultivate [the Tao] when we are young, we will become ghosts when we die. On the other hand, if we are willing to cultivate, we will be able to transcend human existence, enter the sacred realm, shed the human shell, and become immortals. There are five classes of immortals and three paths of cultivation, and the level of immortality that you will attain will depend on the quality of your cultivation."

"The three paths of cultivation are the Lesser Path, the Middle Path, and the Great Path. The five classes of immortals are ghost immortal, human immortal, earth immortal, spirit immortal, and celestial immortal. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts; human immortals do not leave the realm of humanity; earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth; spirit immortals do not leave the realm of the spirit; and celestial immortals do not leave the celestial realm."

"Spirit immortals are earth immortals who have continued their cultivation in the earthly realm. They have connected all the parts of their body; they have used lead to replenish mercury; they can channel the refined generative energy to the top of the head; and they can transform the jade nectar into the elixir. Their bodily form has been transmuted into vapor; the five vapors have reverted back into the one primordial vapor and the three yang essences have gathered at the top of the head. When their cultivation is complete, the mundane body is transformed into the subtle body. Their yin residues are purged and they are completely filled with pure yang. A body emerges from the subtle body as they shed their mundane substance and ascend to the immortal lands. Entering the realm of the sacred, they return to the three mountains and leave the dust of the world forever." "When earth immortals have refined themselves further through cultivation, they are able to shed their shell and become spirit immortals. When spirit immortals who dwell in the three islands have accumulated enough merits by teaching humanity about the Tao, and when their teachings have yielded fruits, they will be summoned by celestial decree to return to the celestial realm. Celestial immortals live in the celestial realm, fulfilling their duties as judges and officials within the celestial administration. They begin their duties as judges of the water realm. Then they are promoted to oversee the earth realm. Eventually they may become administrators of the sky [or celestial] realm.

"There is nothing to ask about the Tao. There is also nothing that it cannot answer. When the Great Simplicity of the true origin divided, the Tao gave birth to the One. The One gave birth to the Two, and the Two gave birth to the Three. The One is structure, the Two is function, and the Three is transformation. Structure and form are nothing but yin and yang, and transformation is the result of yin and yang copulating. There are three realms-upper, middle, and lower. They are sky, earth, and humanity, respectively. Each realm has a piece of the Tao in it. The Tao gave birth to the yin and yang vapors and the two vapors gave birth to the three realms. The three realms gave birth to the five elements and the five elements gave birth to all the myriad things. Of all creation, only humans have the potential to attain the Tao. This is because humans can penetrate the principles of the Tao and understand themselves. By penetrating the principles and understanding themselves, they can preserve their life. By preserving their life and cultivating longevity, they can merge with the Tao. And by merging with the Tao, they can be as firm as the sky and the earth and can last forever."

"When heaven follows the principles of the Tao, ch'ien (heaven) will seek out k'un (earth). In the first interaction, the eldest male emerges, and it is called chen (thunder). In the next interaction, the middle male emerges, and it is called k'an (water). In the third interaction, the youngest male emerges, and it is called ken (mountain). When heaven approaches earth, ch'ien will interact with k'un and will give birth to the three yangs. "When earth follows the principles of the Tao, k'un will scck out ch'ien. In the first interaction, the eldest female emerges, and it is called sun (wind). In the next interaction, the middle female emerges, and it is called li (fire). In the third interaction, the youngest female emerges, and it is called tui (lake). When earth approaches heaven, k'un will interact with ch'ien and give birth to the three yins.
"Ch'ien and K'un interact to give birth to the six vapors. The six vapors interact to create the five elements. The five elements interact to create and nourish the ten thousand things. Ch'ien finishes its course of descent when the three interactions are completed. Thereafter yang rises again. Consequently the yin that is hidden in the yang also rises and returns to heaven. K'un finishes its course of ascent when the three interactions are completed. Thereafter yin sinks again. Consequently the yang that is hidden in the yin also sinks and returns to earth.

"When the yin in the yang cannot be exhausted by use, it is the true yin. When the true yin reaches heaven, it will meet yang and be energized. Since yin descends from heaven, how can we say that there is no yang within the yin? Yang is hidden in yin. When the yang in the yin does not dissipate, it is the true yang. When the true yang reaches earth, it will meet yin and be renewed. Since yang rises from earth, how can we say that there is no yin within the yang? Yin is hidden within yang. Always returning to earth, this yin never dissipates. Yang is hidden within yin. Always returning to heaven, this yang never extinguishes. This cycle of ascent and descent continues forever because the interaction of yin and yang is governed by the principles of the Tao. It is because of this that heaven and earth have a secure foundation and can last for a long time."
"The Great Tao originally has no form. It is only because of the existence of `the other' that it has acquired a form. The Great Tao has no name. It is only because `the other' is named that it has acquired a name. When the Tao is manifested in heaven and earth, it is the way of ch'ien and k'un. When it is manifested in the sun and the moon, it is the way of yin and yang. When it is manifested in human society, it is the way of ruler and minister. In the bedchamber it is the way of husband and wife; in the social community it is the way of elders and children; in the circle of acquaintances it is the way of friends; and in the family it is the way of father and son. Everything follows the principles of the Tao in its own way. "When our father and mother copulate, the yang of the father moves first. Yin follows later. As the true vapor connects with the true water, the fire of the heart and the water of the kidneys will interact. In this way the essence of procreative energy (ching) is refined. When the essence of the procreative energy emerges and encounters the yin of the female, the waters are swirled in the areas of nonactivity. When it encounters the yang of the female, blood is stirred and collected in the womb. The fetus contains the essence of the procreative blood of the female. It also embodies the true vapor, because in copulation the vapor is directed into the womb of the female. With time the true vapor will be transformed into a human being. This process is patterned after the workings of heaven and earth. It is also modeled after the way in which ch'ien and k'un are attracted to each ocher and the way in which they give birth to the three yins and the three yangs.

"The true vapor is yang and the true water is yin. The yang is hidden in the water and the yin is hidden in the vapor. Vapor governs ascending movement, and inside the vapor is the true water. Water governs descending movement, and inside the water is the true vapor. Thus the true water is the true yin and the true vapor is the true yang. The true yang descends, following the path of the water. Behaving like ch'ien, it moves to meet k'un, creating chen (thunder) when it is on top, k'an (water) when it is in the middle, and ken (mountain) when it is at the bottom. In the human body, movement spreads upward and downward from the middle. Thus chen is the liver, k'an is the kidneys, and ken is the bladder. The true yin ascends, following the path of the vapor. Behaving like k'un, it moves to meet ch'ien, creating sun (wind) when it is at the bottom, li (fire) when it is in the middle, and tui (lake) when it is at the top. In the human body, movement spreads upward and downward from the middle. Thus sun is the gall bladder, li is the heart, and tui is the lungs. When its form is developed and the numerics are complete, the fetus will leave the mother's body.

"After birth the primordial yang is stored in the kidneys. The primordial vapor gives birth to the true vapor, and the true vapor moves toward the heart. The true vapor gives birth to the true water and then returns to the origin. From there it circulates up and down through the body without stopping. If the vapor does not leak out of the body, you will live a long life. If you know the rhythm of its movement and know how to replenish it in the appropriate way, you will never grow old. If you work hard in your cultivation, the yin will dissipate, the yang will be pure, and you will be able to transcend mortality and enter the sacred. These are the principles of the hidden workings of heaven. They have not been transmitted past or present.

"In the beginning, when the primordial whole split open and divided itself, the Subtle Yellow anchored the directions. Heaven and earth took on the shape of an egg. Round like a sphere, the cosmos encloses the six vapors within. Moving across the sky, the sun and the moonrise and set along the east-west axis like an ever turning wheel. The time between the sun's rising in the east and its setting in the west is called day. The time between the sun's setting in the west and its rising in the east is called night. This is what is meant by day and night being delineated by the rising and setting of the sun.

"The moon is different from the sun. The moon receives its soul from the west and its spirit from the east. Its tight shines at night and its spirit is hidden during the day. As it moves through the days of the month, it is sometimes visible and sometimes not. When the moon moves from west to east, the spirit emerges in the soul. When the new moon first appears, it is shaped like a bow, and in the early part of the night it illuminates the west. In the next phase the spirit occupies half of the soul. The moon is now in its first quarter. In the early part of the night it illuminates the south. In the next phase the soul is completely filled with the spirit, and the moon is as bright as the sun. In the early part of the night it illuminates the east. In the next phase the soul emerges in the spirit, and the moon is shaped like an incomplete mirror. In the early part of the night the spirit is hidden in the west. In the next phase the soul occupies half of the spirit. The moon is now in its last quarter. In the early part of the night it illuminates the south. In the next phase the spirit is completely filled with the soul. Now it is behind the sun. In the early part of the night the spirit is hidden in the east. This is what is meant by day and night being delineated by the waxing and waning of the moon."
"At the winter solstice the sun rises sometime in the first fifty minutes after the hour of chen [between 7:00 and 7:50 A.M.] and sets sometime in the last fifty minutes before the hour of shen [between 4:10 and 5:00 P.M.]. Its path follows a definite course, moving progressively from south to north. The sun continues to move north until the summer solstice. At the summer solstice the sun rises sometime in the last fifty minutes before the hour of yin [between 4:10 and 5:00 A.M.] and sets sometime in the last fifty minutes after the hour of hsu [between 7:00 and 7:50 P.M.]. Its path follows a definite course, moving progressively from north to south. The sun continues to move south until the winter solstice. When the sun moves from south to north between the winter and summer solstices, cold changes to warmth. When it moves from north to south between the summer and winter solstices, warmth changes to cold. The summer sun is the night of winter and the winter sun is the night of summer. After the winter solstice the moon, like the summer sun, rises northerly and then moves south. After the summer solstice the moon, like the winter sun, rises southerly and then moves north.""The rise and fall of yin and yang in heaven and earth parallel the ascent and descent of vapor in the human body. Do the principles that govern the rising, the setting, and the movement of the sun and the moon also apply to the human body?"

"The workings of heaven and earth are found in the rise and fall of yin and yang. In their ascent and descent, the two opposites in the tai chi mutually create and nourish each other. This process never stops. Therefore heaven and earth can last as long as the Tao.

"If you live in accordance with the principles of heaven and earth, you will enjoy a long life and not die. However, if you can model yourself after the movements of the sun and the moon, if you can receive the spirit of the sun in the moon and transform yang into yin, and if you can extinguish the yin completely, the yang within you will be pure. When the essence of the moon is full and clear, the yin spirit will disappear. When yin disappears, you will be like the bright sun illuminating the earth. However, if in addition you can use the vapor to complete the spirit, you will be able to shed your bodily shell and become an immortal. This is what is meant by 'cultivating the body of pure yang.'

"For the followers of the Tao who cultivate the true essence, which procedure should be practiced first--applying the principles of the rise and fall of yin and yang in heaven and earth, or initiating the interaction of the essences in accordance with the movement of the sun and the moon?" "The method of following the workings of heaven should be applied first. Use the principles of the rise and fall of yin and yang to unite the true water and the true fire. Refine them into the great medicine and let the medicine guard the elixir field (tan tien). In this way you will be able to escape suffering and death and live as long as heaven and earth. Should you decide to continue your cultivation after you have attained longevity in this realm, then you should apply the principles of the interaction of the sun and the moon to your body. Use yang to refine yin and do not let yin emerge. Use the vapor to nourish the spirit so that the spirit will not dissipate. In this way the five vapors will move toward the primordial regions, the three Rowers will gather at the top of the head, and you will be able to leave the mundane world and return to the three islands."

"There are four periods of time. Each person has a life span of one hundred years. Between the first and the thirtieth year is the period of youth and strength. Between the thirtieth and the sixtieth year is the period of growth and maturity. Between the sixtieth and the ninetieth year is the period of aging. Between the ninetieth and the one hundredth or one hundred twentieth year is the period of decay. This is the period of time in the body; it is the first of the four periods of time.

"There are twelve two-hour partitions in each day. Five days constitute one week. Three weeks make up one fifteen-day cycle. Three fifteen-day cycles make up one minor change in the weather, and two minor changes in the weather make up one season [or one major change in the weather]. The seasons are spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In spring half of yin is yang. Thus in spring the weather changes from cold to warm. In summer all of yang is yang. Thus in summer the weather changes from warm to hot.

The ascent and descent of yin and yang follow the behavior of the sky and the earth. Fluid emerges from vapor and vapor emerges from fluid. Fluid and vapor mutually give birth to each other, following the behavior of the sun and the moon. In the sky and the earth, ch'ien and k'un mutually seek out each other. In accordance with the rise and the fall of yin and yang, they copulate once a year, following the principles of the Tao. Each year is followed by another year. The birth of the spirit and the soul parallels the course of the sun and the moon. Their essences flow and ebb and they copulate once a month in accordance with the principles of the Tao. Each month is followed by another month. In humans the moment of convergence occurs once every day and night [twenty-four hours]. If you do not know the time of the convergence, if you are unfamiliar with the method of gathering, if you do not know how to replenish that which was lost, if you do not gather it when it is plentiful, if during the height of yin you do not cultivate the yang, if during the height of yang you do not refine the yin, if you do not know that you are losing your life force every month, and if you do not practice every day, then with each passing year you will have lost one year of your life, and with each passing day you will have lost one day of your life. If you are unwilling co cultivate [the Tao], then you are no different from those who sleep in wet clothes in a draughty room and those who endure the summer that and brave winter storms: you all choose to be ill. If you idle your time away, then you are no different from those who are waiting to die."

"Those who cultivate the Tao must not idle away their time. As the years pass, the body will become weaker and weaker and you will get closer and closer to death. However, if you practice the wrong method, you won't get any results either the yin and yang in your body will not copulate on schedule and the timing of the daily and monthly interactions will be off."

"You must apply, the schedule of the year in the body, apply the schedule of the month in the year, and apply the schedule of the hour in the day. This is because the vapors of the five viscera How and ebb in specific times in the month and rise and fall during specific times of the day. Every hour the vapors move five degrees, and every six temporal segments they complete one circuit of circulation. The process is the same for metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. East, west, south, north, and center all have their numerics of birth and completion. "If the schedules are followed correctly, then the procreative energy can be refined and transmuted into true vapor, the true vapor can be refined and united with the yang spirit, and the spirit can be refined and merged with the Great Tao."

"The vapors of the five viscera are metal, wood, water, fire, and earth; the positions of the five elements are east, west, south, north, and center, respectively. How do they create and complete each other? Do they interact at specific times? When should they be gathered? I'd like to hear what you have to say about these things."

"From the Great Tao comes the sky and the earth. When sky and earth divided, the five emperors emerged. The green emperor of the east is the ruler of spring. During this season yang rises within yin and gives birth to the ten thousand things. The red emperor of the south is the ruler of summer. During this season yang rises within yang and makes the ten thousand things grow. The white emperor of the west is the ruler of autumn. During this season yin rises within yang and directs all things to complete their course of development. The black emperor of the north is the ruler of winter. During this season yin rises within yin and makes all things decay and die. In the ninety days of a season, eighteen days are set aside in each season [for the yellow emperor].

"Right from the start, when the positions of the five elements are established, the husband-wife relationship emerges. The kidneys are water. In water is metal, and metal naturally gives birth to water. Therefore, when you begin your cultivation, you must recognize the metal within the water. Water is naturally tamed by earth. Therefore, when you gather the medicine, you must get water to obey earth. The dragon is the manifestation of the spirit of the liver and the tiger is the manifestation of the spirit of the lungs. The yang dragon emerges from the palace of li and the yin tiger emerges from the palace of k'an. When the five elements follow the cycle of creation, the vapor is transferred from the mother to the son. Thus, from tzu [11:00 P.M.] to wu [11:00 A.M.], yang is born within yang. When the five elements follow the reverse cycle, the flow of the liquid is governed by the husband-wife relationship. Thus, from wu [11:00 A.M.) to tzu [11:00 P.M.], yang is refined within yin. Yang is incomplete without yin. Eventually, when there is no yin, you will not die. Yin cannot be born without yang. Eventually, when yin is completely purged, you will attain longevity."

"The one vapor emerges when our father and mother copulate. Generative fluid and blood interact to create form. In the formation of the fetus, the spleen emerges from the kidneys, the liver emerges from the spleen, the lungs emerge from the liver, the heart emerges from the lungs, the small intestines emerge from the heart, the large intestine emerges from the small intestines, the gall bladder emerges from the large intestine, the stomach emerges from the gall bladder, and the bladder emerges from the stomach. All the internal organs are created from the interaction of generative fluid and blood. Everything starts from the first emergence of yang. The one yang is embodied in the two kidneys and the kidneys belong to the element water. In water there is fire. When the water rises, it is called vapor. When vapor ascends, it will move toward the heart. The heart is yang in nature. When yang meets yang, the Great Ultimate will give birth to yin. When the vapor of yin accumulates, fluid will emerge. The fluid descends from the heart, and in its descent it will return to the kidneys. The liver is the mother of the heart and the sun of the kidneys; it directs the vapor from the kidneys to the heart. The lungs are the wife of the heart and the mother of the kidneys; they direct the fluid from the heart to the kidneys. The rise and fall of the vapor and the fluid follow the behavior of yin and yang in the sky and the earth. The liver and the lungs also direct their vapors in accordance with the behavior of the sun and the moon. "The five elements are simply a convenient way of talking about the numerics of creation. In actual fact, creation and interaction both originate from the undifferentiated vapor of the primordial yang. Fluid is born within vapor and vapor is born within fluid. The kidneys are the root of the vapor and the heart is the origin of the fluid. When the spirit is strong and stable, subtly and elusively, the true water will emerge within the vapor. When the source of the heart is pure and clear, quietly and mysteriously the true fire will emerge within the fluid. Understand the true dragon and know how to draw it out of the fire; recognize the true tiger and know how to extract it from the water. When the dragon and the tiger copulate, they will be transformed into the yellow sprouts. When the yellow sprouts mature, the great medicine will be completed and the golden pill will materialize, and when you attain the golden pill, you will become an immortal." "The dragon is not the dragon in the liver it is the yang dragon that emerges from the true water in the palace of li. The tiger is not the tiger of the lungs; it is the yin tiger that emerges from the true 6re in the palace of k'an."

"The waters in the human body are these: the four seas, the five lakes, the nine rivers, and the three islands. These are some of the names that have been given to them: hua-chih (Radiant Pool), yao-chih (Green Pool), feng-chih (Phoenix Pool), t'ien-chih (Celestial Pool), yii-chih (Jade Pool), k'un-chih (Pool of the K'un-lun Mountains), yuan-tan (Primordial Deep Pool), lang-yuan (Immortals' Terrace), shen-shui (Sacred Water), chin-po (Golden Waves), ch'iung-i (Red Fluid), yii-chuan (Jade Spring), yang-su (Milk of the Sun), and paihsueh (White Snow).

"Yin wanes in the numerics of two and eight and yang waxes in the numerics of nine and three. Understand this and you will see the completion of the dazzling red-golden pill. When the seven is circulated and the nine returns, you will be able to shed your shell and become an immortal. The true vapor is in the heart. The heart is the source of the liquid, the kidneys are the sea of vapor, and the bladder is the common fire. Applying the common fire is not enough; the bladder must also be able to store saliva and fluid. If the followers of the Tao do not understand the workings of heaven and if they try to guess and approximate the subtle principles, they will find it hard to attain the transformations. Worse, they may get sick and die." "In the body the heart and the kidneys are separated by eight and four-tenths [Chinese] inches. The distance between them parallels the distance between the sky and the earth. In the Great Ultimate, when yin and yang copulate, vapor and fluid will mutually create each other. There are twelve two-hour partitions in each day. These partitions parallel the twelve months of the year. The heart creates fluid. However, it cannot do it alone. In order for the fluid to emerge from the heart, the fluid of the lungs must descend to direct the fluid out of the heart. When the flow of the fluid follows the husband-wife relationship, it will first move up and then down to return to the lower tan-t'ien. This process is called 'the wife returning to the palace of the husband.' The kidneys create vapor. However, they cannot do it alone. In order for the vapor to emerge from the kidneys, the vapor of the bladder must rise to direct the vapor out of the kidneys. When the flow of the vapor follows the mother-son relationship, it will first move down and then up to gather at the middle tan-t'ien. This process is called 'the husband returning to the palace of the wife.' The vapor of the liver directs the vapor of the kidneys. The vapor first flows down and then up toward the heart. The heart is fire, and when the two vapors interact, the lungs will be bathed in steam. When the fluid of the lungs descends to the heart, the fluid of the heart is created. When this fluid emerges and does not leak out of the body, it is called the true water. The fluid of the lungs directs the fluid of the heart. The fluid first flows upward and then down to the kidneys. The kidneys are water, and when the two waters interact, the bladder will be immersed in moisture. When the vapor of the bladder rises to the kidneys, the vapor of the kidneys is created. When this vapor emerges and does not escape from the body, it is called the true fire.

"The true fire emerges from water. It is elusive and subtle. Although it has substance, it cannot be seen. Even if you try to hold on to it, you will not be able to keep it. The true water emerges from fire. It is quiet and mysterious. Although it has essence, it cannot be retained. Even if you try to retain it, it will escape." "The kidneys belong to the element water. Vapor born in the water is called the true fire. What is the substance that is contained within the fire? The heart belongs to the element fire. Fluid that is born in the fire is called the true water. What is the essence that is contained within the water? The substance in the fire and the essence in the water have no form and are intangible. To begin with, they are difficult to obtain. However, if we obtained them, how should they be applied?"

"Followers of the Tao past and present have all relied on these two substances to attain immortality. The two substances copulate to produce the yellow sprouts. When the numerics of the fetus are complete, the great medicine will be realized. These two substances are the true dragon and the true tiger." "The dragon is yang in nature. It flies in the sky, and when it roars, clouds are born and the ten thousand things are moistened. Its primal form is the green dragon; its directions are chia and i [east]; its element is wood; its season is spring; and in the ways of humanity, it represents benevolence. Its trigram is chen, and in the body it is the liver. The tiger is yin in nature. It runs on the ground, and when it cries, winds blow in the mountains and all the insects are subdued. Its primal form is the white tiger its directions are keng and hsin [west]; its element is metal; its season is autumn; and in the ways of humanity, it represents integrity and honor. Its trigram is cui, and in the body it is the lungs. "Although the liver is yang in nature, it resides in the position of yin. The vapor of the kidneys feeds the vapor of the liver. Following the mother-son relationship, water gives birth to wood. When the vapor of the kidneys is plentiful, the vapor of the liver will be strong. When the vapor of the liver is strong, the remaining yin in the kidneys will be purged and the vapor of pure yang will rise. Although the lungs are yin in nature, they reside in the position of yang. The fluid of the heart feeds the fluid of the lungs. Following the husband-wife relationship, fire tames metal. When the fluid of the heart reaches the lungs, the fluid of the lungs is born. When the fluid of the lungs emerges, the remaining yang in the heart will be purged and the fluid of pure yin will descend. "The liver is yang in nature and can rid the kidneys of yin. The vapor that passes through the liver is pure yang. Hidden within the vapor of pure yang is the one true water. Intangible and formless, it is called the yang dragon. The lungs are yin in nature and can rid the heart of yang. The fluid chat flows into the lungs is the pure yin. Hidden within the fluid of pure yin is the vapor of the true yang. Elusive and invisible, it is called the yin tiger. "Vapor rises and fluid descends, so normally the two do not interact. However, when the one true water in the vapor meets the fluid, the two will join, and when the true yang in the fluid encounters the vapor, they will be bonded. If you know how to use the correct methods to control the vapor and the fluid when they interact, so chat the vapor of the kidneys does not escape and the one true water can be harvested from the vapor, then the fluid of the heart will not leak out. In this way you will be able to gather the vapor of the true yang from the fluid. The mother and son will unite and will mutually care for each other. The rice will receive the rays of the sun and grow. If nothing goes wrong in your cultivation, the medicine will mature in a hundred days. In two hundred days the sacred fetus will be formed, and in three hundred days you will be able to shed your shell and become an immortal. The golden pill is shaped like the egg of a cicada and is red-orange in color. When it stands guard in the lower tant'ien, you will be able to preserve your body, live forever in the earthly realm, and become an earth immortal."

"When the vapor of the kidneys emerges, it is like the sun rising from the sea. Neither fog nor cloud can hide its light. Compared with the vapor, the fluid flowing downward is but a bamboo window shade. How can the descending fluid block the force of the vapor? If the vapor is strong, the one true water will also be strong. When the fluid of the heart emerges, it is as fierce as the winter sky that kills all things. Nothing can oppose its chill. Compared with the fluid, the vapor flowing upward is like a moth. How can the rising vapor battle the strength of the fluid? If the fluid is strong, the true yang will also be strong. However, the strength of these substances will vary among practitioners."

"The vapor of the kidneys leaks out easily; therefore it is difficult to obtain the true tiger. The fluid of the heart does not accumulate easily; therefore it is difficult to hold on co the true dragon. Thousands of volumes of scriptures have discussed the workings of yin and yang, but the workings of yin and yang are none other than the natures of the dragon and the tiger. Many practitioners do not understand this because their knowledge is based on hearsay and gossip. They only know about the principle of the interaction of the dragon and the tiger; they do not know when the two should copulate and when the products of the interaction should be gathered. This is why many practitioners can only enjoy the small benefits of cultivation. They are able to lengthen their years but they cannot shed their shells. The main reason for their failure is that they are unable to bring together the dragon and the tiger. When the dragon and the tiger do not copulate, the yellow sprouts cannot emerge, and when the yellow sprouts cannot be gathered, the elixir medicine cannot be realized."
"A medicine is something that can cure illness. There are three kinds of illnesses. First, if you get sick from sleeping in wet clothes in a draughty room, or from exposing yourself to extreme heat and cold, or from working too hard and tiring yourself, or from not eating properly, you will suffer from what is called the illnesses of the seasons. Second, if you do not cultivate [the Tao] and if you follow the desires of your heart, you will lose the primordial yang, dissipate the true vapor, and age swiftly. This is called the illness of aging. Third, if your form is emptied of vapor and if the spirit is gone, your body will have no ruler and you will die. After you have breathed your last, you will lie rigid in the ground in the wilderness. This is death, and death is the illness of the body.

"There are also illnesses of the seasons that occur specifically in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. These illnesses are associated with cold, hot, warm, and cool weather. "There are three reasons why people have failed to cultivate the pill. First, they could not distinguish between the real medicines and the false ones. Furthermore, they did not know how to apply the fire and gather the substances. As a result, they burned the precious substances to ashes. Confused about the schedules of tiring, they wasted their effort for nothing. Second, there are those who had high-quality medicines but did not know how to apply the fire, and those who understood the schedules of 6ring but had low-quality medicines. These practitioners failed because they were unable to compound the substances. Third, there are those who had good medicines and knew the schedule of firing. In following the yearly schedule they did not miss a month, and in following the monthly schedule they never missed a day. They understood when to add and when to subtract and knew the times of How and ebb. The vapor was sufficient and the pill materialized, but they were unprepared to circulate it. As a result, the mysterious crane disappeared into thin air, and they lost their chance to ingest the pill.

"The medicines are the essences of the sky and the earth. The schedules of applying fire are transmitted by the immortals. In the period of the three kings, the Yellow Emperor completed the pill after nine cycles of circulation. After the period of the five emperors, three years of alchemical work were needed before the pill would materialize. During the years of the Warring States, the scent of death filled the air and spread across the nation. Nature could no longer absorb the essences of the sky and the earth to produce the exquisite medicines. Those who knew the formulas fled to the remote mountains and deep valleys and died with the knowledge locked inside them. The bamboo strips on which the methods have been recorded have disintegrated. As a result, the methods of compounding the pill were lost to the world. "If the medicines are still available in the world, then why did the emperor of Ch'in send an expedition overseas to search for the islands of immortality? If the formulas for compounding the elixir are known to the world, then why did Wei Po-yang need to rediscover the methods by studying the theory of change? Do not trust people who advertise that they know the methods. It is likely that they got the information through rumors and hearsay. These false teachers mislead future generations, bring destruction to families, harm their students, and accomplish nothing for themselves. You won't find the medicines in the world, and those who continue to try to find them externally are only wasting their time. "It is wrong to say that we should not use external medicines. Those who begin their cultivation in their old age do not have strong foundations. The kidneys are the root of the vapor, and if the roots are not deep, the leaves will not be healthy. The heart is the source of the 8uid, and if the source is not clear, the fluid cannot last. Therefore older people must first use the five minerals and the eight stones to help them start their cultivation. With time they will be able to refine the three substances. Each substance has three categories. 10gecher they are called 'the nine categories of the great dragon-tiger elixir.' This elixir will reconnect them with the true vapor. It will help them refine their form so that they can live a long life on earth, and it will also make their bodies light so that they can fly. "If they continue to cultivate using the techniques of the bedchamber, if they know the best time to copulate, and if they know how to gather the ingredients, with time they will be able to shed their shells and become immortals. However, if you think that you can enter the celestial realm by holding on to the external pill and applying fire to it daily, then you are mistaken, because this is not how the external medicines work.

"Now I will tell you about the principles of the internal pill. The medicines of the internal pill come from the kidneys. Everyone has them. The medicines of the internal pill are also found in the sky and the earth. If the schedule of firing follows the numerics of the cycles of the sun and the moon, and if the method of interaction is patterned after the copulation between the male and the female, the sacred fetus will materialize and the true vapor will be born. Like a pearl growing inside a dragon, vapor will emerge within the vapor. When the great medicine is realized, the yang spirit will appear. Another body will emanate from the body, like a cicada coming out of its cocoon. This is the internal pill. It originates from the copulation of the dragon and the tiger. When the dragon and the tiger copulate, they will be transformed into the yellow sprouts. When the yellow sprouts mature, lead and mercury will separate." "The internal medicine is nothing but the dragon and the tiger. The tiger is born in the palace of k'an: it is the water within the vapor. The dragon emerges from the palace of li: it is the vapor within the water. In the external medicine, the mercury extracted from the cinnabar is equivalent to the yang dragon, and the silver extracted from the lead is equivalent to the yin tiger. Lead and mercury are both external medicines. How can their equivalents, the dragon and the tiger, copulate and become the yellow sprouts? When the yellow sprouts emerge, lead and mercury will separate. What are the equivalents of lead and mercury in the internal medicine?"

"The black lead embodies the one substance of heaven and occupies the highest place among the five metals. Lead gives birth to silver thus lead is the mother of silver. The red cinnabar receives the vapor of the sun and occupies the highest place among stones. Cinnabar gives birth to mercury; thus cinnabar is the mother of mercury. It is difficult to extract silver from lead and it is difficult to prevent mercury from escaping out of the cinnabar. "If you gather the medicine and do not apply fire, the medicine will dissipate. If you apply fire but do not gather the medicine, the yang within the yin will escape. Under these circumstances, the best you can hope for is to produce vapor from the kidneys and use it to strengthen and warm the lower primordial region.

"If you want to gather the medicine at the appropriate time and if you want to apply the fire according to the correct numerics, you must first collect the lead. Stoke the fire with vapor and strengthen the foundation of the medicine. Then, using the method of gathering, let the medicine guard the lower tan tien. If you can refine the mercury and use it to repair the lower tan tien, you will be able to enjoy a long life and become an earth immortal.

"In gathering the medicine, you must extract the primordial lead the moment the golden sparks fly out behind the navel. The whole purpose of extracting the lead is to use it to replenish the mercury. If you do not replenish the mercury, then you will not be able to direct the generative fluid to return to the head. If the generative fluid does not return to the head, how can the true vapor be born? If the true vapor is not born, how can the yang spirit be realized? Therefore, if you want to replenish the mercury, you must extract the lead. If you do not extract the lead, you will not be able to refine the mercury and repair the tan tien. If the tan tien is not repaired, how can the mercury be crystallized into cinnabar grains? If the cinnabar grains are not transmuted, how can the golden pill be realized?"

"In the ancient times, the sacred ones on high wanted co transmit the teachings of the Tao to humanity. Our ancestors lived simple lives, had few desires, knew little about the things in the world, and had no idea of what the Tao is about. However, they were aware of the rise and fall of the vapors in the sky and the earth and they knew that the vapors of warmth, coolness, cold, and hot shaped the seasons. There is a time for every season, and the duration of each season is determined by the numerics of the year. When one cycle ends, the next one begins. This is why the sky and the earth can last forever. "Consider the waxing and waning of the essences of the sun and the moon. The principles of flow and ebb are manifested in the four phases of the moon: new, first quarter, full, and last quarter moon. Rising and setting, waxing and waning, the moon gives each month its full complement of days. The months and the years continue without fail because they follow the principles of the Tao. It is also why the sun and the moon can last forever.

"Summer's heat is followed by winter's cold, and winter's cold is followed by summer's heat. People nowadays do not understand this simple principle of the rise and fall of vapors in the sky and the earth. The full moon is followed by a sickle moon and the sickle moon is followed by a full moon. Today people are ignorant of this principle of the movement of the sun and the moon. As a result, they waste their limited time on earth chasing after pleasures and desires. They do not understand that luxuries and riches are like fleeting clouds and they do not realize that attachment and anxiety sow seeds of karmic retribution in the next lifetime. Before the songs of pleasure end, they are already sad; while they savor fame and fortune, their youth and good looks have slipped away. Greedy for material goods, they have doomed themselves to karmic disasters. Attached to children and grandchildren, they want to be with their family forever. Desiring a long life, they entertain false hopes of attaining longevity, not knowing that they have squandered their primordial yang by letting the true vapor escape. The day they curb their desires is when they become severely ill, and the day they stop their bad habits is when they meet death.

"The true immortals and the sacred beings on high took pity on humankind. Not wanting to see us sunk into countless cycles of reincarnation, they taught us about the Great Tao, told us about the principles of the rise and the tall of yin and yang in the sky and the earth, and explained co us the principles of the waxing and waning of the essences of the sun and the moon. Great as the sky and the earth and bright as the sun and the moon, the essences are manifested externally as metals and stones. Internally they are manifested as vapor and fluid. If we want to gather them, we must replenish them, and if we want to replenish them, we must extract them. The principle of extracting and replenishing lies ac the root of all creation and transformation.
"After the winter solstice, yang rises from the earth and yin is extracted from the ground. When the great yin is extracted, emerging [incomplete] yin is born. In this process lesser yang is replenished and is transformed into bright yang. When emerging yin is extracted, lesser yin is born. In this process bright yang is replenished and is transformed into great yang. If extracting and replenishing do not occur, then cold will not be transformed into warmth and warmth will not be transformed into heat. After the summer solstice, yin descends from the sky and yang is extracted from heaven. When the great yang is extracted, bright yang emerges. In this process lesser yin is replenished and is transformed into emerging yin. When bright yang is extracted, lesser yang emerges. In this process emerging yin is replenished and is transformed into great yin. If extracting and replenishing do not occur, then heat will not be transformed into coolness and coolness will not be transformed into cold. This is how yin and yang in the sky and earth ascend and descend to transform the six vapors of weather. The process is patterned after the principle of extracting and replenishing.
"When the moon receives the spirit of the sun, the sun will become the soul of the moon. In the first fifteen days of the lunar month, the soul is extracted out of the moon to replenish the spirit in the sun. When the moon is filled with essence, its brightness will illuminate the earth. If extracting and replenishing do not occur, then the new moon will not be transformed into the first quarter moon and the first quarter moon will not be transformed into the full moon. When the moon takes back its yin soul, the yang essence will return to the sun. In the last fifteen days of the month, the spirit is extracted out of the sun to replenish the soul in the moon. The light of the moon is spent because its soul is filled with yin. "In the beginning you must use lead to obtain mercury. It is a mistake not to use lead to gather the mercury. Extract the lead and direct it into the upper palace, because without lead you will not be able to hold on to the primordial vapor. Once the lead is directed to the upper palace, the generative fluid will enter the head. The mercury obtained from this process will be purely yang and will not have any yin residue in it. The generative energy will be transformed into cinnabar and the cinnabar will be transformed into metal. This metal is the true lead. The true lead is enclosed inside the true vapor and is born within the true vapor. When the one true vapor becomes the five vapors, the five vapors will gather toward the primordial regions, the three yangs will accumulate on cop of the head, and the golden essence of generative energy will sink into the lower tan tien. From there the essence will rise again to refine the body. When the body glows with a golden hue, it is a sign that the true lead is rising inside the internal organs. After ten months of alchemical work in the Yellow Chamber and one year of applying the principle of extracting and replenishing, the body will radiate a white light. Moving down and up, up and then down, the elixir will circulate inside to continue to refine the body. The golden essence of the generative energy is now set in motion, and as the elixir circulates from front to back and back to front, the body will feel as if it is heated and immersed in hot vapor. This is a sign that the true vapor is being transmuted. If you only gather the medicine and apply the fire but do not practice the method of extracting and replenishing, you will not be able to achieve these effects."

"When it should rise, it must not descend; when it should be extracted, it should not be replenished. There must be no mistake in its movement, whether it is up and down or back and forth. Everything relies on the strength of the Water-wheel." "In the old days, the wise ones noticed that clouds blocked out the sun and figured out how to build shelters for shade. They saw leaves floating on water and figured out how to build boats. Seeing things swirled by the wind, they intuited the theory of rotation and built the wheel. What is the wheel? It is patterned after the structure of the sky and the earth. The rim is round like the sun and the moon, and when it is rolled on the ground, it can travel across the land. "Those who understood the principles of the Tao used the concept of the waterwheel to talk about movement in the body. They said that because the body is filled with water, yin dominates yang. Using the images of a wheel to describe movement and a river to describe the waters in the body, they came up with the term waterwheel. This wheel in the body does not travel on land; rather, it moves through water. Ascending and descending, moving backward and forward, it traverses the eight pools and the four seas.

"When the golden elixir and the jade elixir are circulated to refine the body, when the body is refined and transmuted into vapor, when vapor is refined and transmuted into spirit, and when the spirit is merged with the Tao, the Tao within you will be complete, and you will be able to transcend the mundane and attain immortality. These are signs that the Purple Waterwheel is turning."

"The elixir does not have color we cannot describe it as red or yellow. The elixir does not have flavor: we cannot identify it as sweet or tasty. The elixir is the elixir field (tan tien). There are three tan-tiens. The upper one is called the abode of the spirit, the middle one is called the house of vapor, and the lower one is called the region of the generative essence. Vapor is born from generative essence and is stored in the middle tan tien; spirit is born from vapor and is stored in the upper tan tien; and the true water and true vapor merge to form the generative essence, which is stored in the lower tan t'ien. All practitioners have three tan tiens. However, if the vapor born in the kidneys does not gather toward the Primordial Middle and if the spirit hidden in the heart does not enter the Upper Court, the generative essence will not be able to the Circulation and Return of the numeric nine, the yang in the lungs, which originated from the heart, is also returned to the heart to reside in the middle tan tien.

"In the past some people have argued that the 'return of the golden elixir' refers to the descent of the fluid of the lungs to the lower tan tien. They have also said that the 'return of the jade elixir' is the descent of the fluid of the heart to the lower tan tien. They are wrong. These statements don't even come close to describing the mysterious workings of heaven. "Although the lungs give birth to the kidneys when metal creates water, it is incorrect to describe metal entering water as 'returning to the tan tien.' Although the kidneys control the heart when water tames fire, it is incorrect to describe water entering fire as 'returning to the tan tien.'

"The golden elixir is the fluid of the lungs, and this fluid encloses the immortal fetus. Together with the dragon and the tiger, the fluid and the fetus are escorted into the Yellow Chamber. When the great medicine is complete and extracting and replenishing have occurred behind the navel, the fluid of the lungs will fly up to the Upper Palace and then return to the middle tan tien. This is the process of 'the golden elixir returning the tan tien.' "The jade elixir is the fluid of the kidneys. The fluid of the kidneys follows the upward movement of the primordial vapor and rises to gather at the heart. If you accumulate it, it will become the Golden Water. If you channel it upward, the Jade Pool will be filled. If you refine it, it will be transformed into White Snow. If you move it out of the middle tan tien into the lower tan tien, the immortal fetus will be bathed and steamed, provided that you have already collected the medicine. If you let it rise from the middle tan tien and then direct it to the four limbs, the body will be refined and your bones will be purged of mundane dust. However, if it is not received [in the lower tan tien], it will not rise. This cycle occurs endlessly and it is called 'the jade elixir returning to the tan tien.' "When yin reaches its limit, yang will be born. Within yang is the one true water. When this water rises with the yang, it is referred to as 'the yin returning to the field of yang.' When yang reaches its limit, yin will be horn. Within yin is the one true vapor of yang. When this vapor descends with the yin, it is referred to as 'the yang returning to the field of yin.' In the process of repairing the brain and refining the top of the head, the lower returns to the upper. In the process of moistening and watering, the upper returns to the middle. In the process of cooking the pill and applying the fire, the upper returns to the lower. In the process of refining the form and heating the body, the lower returns to the middle. "When the five elements interact in their reverse order, the three tan tiens will be tossed. As a result, the three fields will exchange contents with each other. This process will occur until the body is refined and transmuted into vapor and vapor is refined and transmuted into spirit. The spirit is first transported from the lower tan tien to the middle tan tien. Then it is moved from the middle to the upper tan tien. Finally it is transported from the upper tan tien, to the Celestial Gate, where it will exit the body. At this time the mundane form will be left behind as the spirit enters the realm of the sacred. When the three transportations from the bottom to the top are complete, there will be no more 'returns.'" "It is unthinkable that those who follow the Tao would cultivate yang but neglect yin. It is equally unbelievable that they would refine the self but forget about the substantive body. When the primordial vapor first enters the embryo, the vapors of cur father and mother are at rest. Generative essence and blood enclose the fetus, and the entire bundle is stored inside the mother's place of pure yin. When yin is born within yin, a body will create another body. Even when the fetus is mature and is filled with vapor, it is still yin in nature. Even if it grows to six feet tall, it has within it only one spark of primordial yang. If you want to cultivate longevity, you must first refine the body so that you can survive the kalpas [karmic catastrophes] in the earthly realm. If you want to transcend the mundane and enter the sacred, you must refine the body and transmute it into vapor and then use your own body to create another body."

"The body is a manifestation of yin. Therefore yin has a form. Using form to attain the formless, we can transmute the body into vapor. In this way the mundane body is transformed into the sacred body. You say that this is the highest method of refining the body. First we use the body to retain the vapor; then we use the vapor to nourish it. Even if we manage to reap only small benefits from our cultivation, we will be able to live a healthy and long life. However, if we can reap large benefits, we will be able to retain our bodily form forever in the earthly realm. The old will become young and the young can maintain their youth and live a long life.
"There are three hundred sixty years in one great life cycle, thirty-six thousand years in one kalpa, and thirty-six thousand kalpas in one great kalpa. However, no one knows when the great kalpa will occur. Therefore, to be able to last as long as the sky and the earth and survive the kalpas, we must learn how co refine and preserve the body. Can you tell me how the body can be refined, how the transmutations are accomplished, and what the effects are?" "In three hundred days the fetus will mature and the body will be developed completely. After birth the vapor will fill the body. The average height of a person is five feet five inches [Chinese measurement]: it is patterned after the numerics of the creation and completion of the five elements. Some are taller and some are shorter, hut in general, people do not vary much from this measurement. The region above the heart is called the nine heavens and the region below the kidneys is called the nine earths. The distance between the kidneys and the heart is eight and four-tenths inches. Between the heart and the first level of the pagoda, the distance is again eight and four-tenths inches, and between the first level of the pagoda and the top of the head, the distance is also eight and four-tenths inches. From the kidneys to the crown of the head, the distance is two feet five and two-tenths inches. The primordial vapor reaches its maximum flow once every twenty-four hours [one day and one night] and travels a circuit of three hundred twenty measures. Each measure is equivalent to two feet five and two-tenths inches. Adding up to eighty-one [Chinese] cubits of primordial yang, the circuit is patterned exactly after the pure yang numeric of nine multiplied by nine. The distance between the heart and the kidneys is patterned after the structure of the sky and the earth. The distance from the kidneys to the crown of the head is two feet five inches and is patterned after the numerics of the five elements and the pure yang numeric of five multiplied by five. "Primordial vapor is exhaled with exhalation. When it is exhaled, it will move unhindered to guard the body. The true vapor of the sky and the earth moves with the seasons and the changes in the weather.

"Although many are familiar with the methods of 'returning to the elixir fields,' few know about the techniques of refining the body. When the jade elixir has returned to the tan-t'iens, it will bathe the immortal fetus and send it upward. At this time you must use the Waterwheel to drive it to the four directions. First, when the liver receives it, light will fill the eyes and the pupils will be bright and clear. Second, when the heart receives it, the mouth will generate the numinous fluid and the fluid will become the White Snow. Third, when the spleen receives it, the skin will take on a rosy hue and all scars will disappear. Fourth, when the lungs receive it, a fragrant scent will accompany the body and the complexion will resemble that of a child. Lastly, when the kidneys receive it, the elixir will have returned to its original home. You will hear the music of pipes and your hair will turn from white to black. These are the results of using the jade elixir to refine the body.
"If you want to use the golden elixir to refine the body, you must apply it when the process of the 'return to the tan tien has just begun but is not completed. When the golden elixir meets the ruling fire, the two will temper each other. After the golden elixir has returned to the tan tien, it will rise again to battle with the true yin. This process is called 'refining the substantive body.'

"Originally earth tames water. However, if the golden elixir is in the earth, its light will be reflected back to the Yellow Emperor in the center and it will be united with the great yin. Originally fire tames metal. However, if the golden elixir is in the fire, the red seed will be merged with the furnace and the purple vapor will be born. "When fire emerges from water, the yin in the yang will disappear and the golden pill will crystallize in the Yellow Chamber. When the yang spirit is tempered in the five vapors, green vapor will thrust up from the liver, white vapor will emerge in the lungs, red vapor will appear in the heart, black vapor will rise in the kidneys, and yellow vapor will settle in the spleen. All five vapors will move toward the central region, where, following the ruling fire, they will penetrate and enter the Inner Court. In the lower region, yin will disappear in the yang within the yin and yang will rise to gather in the palace of the spirit. In the central region, the yang within the yang will be pure and will rise to gather in the palace of the spirit. In the Yellow Chamber, the great medicine will be purely yang and will rise to gather in the palace of the spirit. The five fluids will move toward the lower region, the five vapors will move toward the central region, and the five yangs will move toward the upper region. After the three gatherings are complete and after three thousand merits have been accumulated, the crane will dance at the top of the head and the dragon will leap up inside the body. You will hear sweet music and see falling flowers. The foundations of the purple Chamber will be complete and the true fragrance will float around you. After you have accumulated three thousand more merits, you will leave the dust of the world and will no longer live among mortals. When the stick of incense is extinguished, you will become a resident of the lands of immortality. Transcending the mundane, you will shed your shell, enter the realm of the sacred, and become an immortal."

"The Tao has no form. The great source is originally simple. The clear on top and the muddy at the bottom are merged into one undifferentiated whole. When the great simplicity divided, the primal beginning emerged from the one undifferentiated whole to become sky and earth. Within the sky and the earth, the five directions east, west, south, north, and center are born. Each direction has a ruling emperor, and each emperor has two children-one yang and one yin. These children are the two vapors. The two vapors mutually create and complete each other to give birth to the five elements. The five elements mutually create and complete each other to give birth to the six weather patterns, which are called the three yins and the three yangs.
"Humans are conceived in the same way as the universe was created. When the fetus is first conceived, generative essence and vapor are merged. Then essence and vapor separate to form the two kidneys. The kidney on the left is called the 'mystery,' and the 'mystery' ascends with the vapor to be transported into the liver. The kidney on the right is called the 'female,' and the female follows the path of the fluid down to the bladder. The 'mysterious female' originally came from nothingness; it is from nothingness that all things are generated. Coming from the true vapor of our father and mother, the mysterious female is rooted in the ground of pure yin. Therefore it is said that the valley spirit that does not die is called the mysterious female. The entrance to the mysterious female is the root of the sky and the earth. The mysterious female is the two kidneys. It is from the kidneys that the five viscera and the six organs are created. The liver belongs to the element wood; it is called chia and i, and it is analogous to the green emperor of the east. The heart belongs to the element fire; it is called ping and ting, and it is analogous to the red emperor of the south. The lungs belong to the element metal; they are called keng and hsin, and they are analogous to the white emperor of the west. The spleen belongs to the element earth; it is called wu and chi, and it is analogous to the yellow emperor of the center. The kidneys belong to the element water they are called jen and kuei, and they are analogous to the black emperor of the north. "At the time of conception, there is neither form nor shape; there is only one yin and one yang. When the fetus is mature, the intestines and stomach are formed. "When chia and i rule in the liver, we need to guard against blockage of circulation in the spleen. When ping and ting rule in the heart, we need to guard against blockage of circulation in the lungs. When wu and chi rule in the spleen, we need to guard against blockage of circulation in the kidneys. When keng and hsin rule in the lungs, we need to guard against blockage of circulation in the liver. When jen and kuei rule in the kidneys, we need to guard against blockage of circulation in the heart. When the vapor of one organ is full, the vapors of the others are at ebb, and when one of the viscera is strong, the others are weak. This is also another reason why many people are unhealthy.

"The vapor of the heart germinates in the hour of hai [9:00-11:00 P.M.] and is born in the hour of yin [3:00-5:00 A.M.]; it waxes strong in the hour of ssu [9:00-11:00 A.M.] and is weak in the hour of shen [3:00-5:00 P.M.]. The vapor of the liver germinates in shen and is born in hai; it waxes strong in yin and is weak in ssu. The vapor of the lungs germinates in yin and is born in ssu; it waxes strong in shen and is weak in hai. The vapor of the kidneys germinates in ssu and is born in shen; it waxes strong in hai and is weak in yin. In spring the vapor of the spleen follows the behavior of the vapor of the liver, in summer it follows that of the heart, in autumn that of the lungs, and in winter that of the kidneys. People nowadays know nothing about the daily schedule and are unfamiliar with the hours of waxing and waning. Therefore they get ill easily.

"During specific times in the year, month, and hour, the three yangs are gathered. When this occurs, you should refine the yang and prevent yin from emerging. During specific times in the year, month, and hour, the three yins will accumulate. When this occurs, you should nurture the yang and prevent it from dissipating. The true vapor that is born inside you is the vapor of pure yang. Therefore it is important that you refine the vapors of the five viscera, still the breath, and direct the vapors up to the Celestial Pool. When you have accomplished all this, first the yin in the kidneys will disappear and the waters of the Nine Rivers will be still. Second, the yin in the liver will disappear and the eight gates will be shut. Third, the yin will disappear in the lungs and metal and fire will be brought together in the furnace. Fourth, the yin will disappear from the spleen and the Jade Chamber will be sealed. Finally, the true vapor will rise and the four vapors will merge as one. Even if the golden fluid tries to descend, this little cup of liquid will not be able to oppose the full force of the fire. As a result, fire will enclose water and the two will unite and enter the palace of the spirit. When this happens, you should slow the breath and turn your gaze inward. When the one intention does not stray, the spirit will become omniscient. In stillness you will hear music and songs. You will feel as if you are in a dream, but you are actually not dreaming. Rather, you are immersed in emptiness. The environment that you experience will be completely different from that of mundane existence. Nothing in this world can equal its splendor: the buildings are like palaces, the roofs are covered with sparkling green tiles, the trellises shine like pearls, and the air is thick with fragrance. These are signs that the yang spirit has left the Inner Court to return to the upper tan-t'ien. When the spirit is refined further, it will be lifted to immortality to merge with the Great Tao. When the spirit thrusts through the Celestial Gate, the subtle body will be bathed in a golden glow. Flowers will land on the mundane body and swirl through the air like ripples in water. One movement of an arm or a leg will send you traveling ten thousand miles. If the yang spirit is returned to the shell, spirit and body will merge and you will be able to live as long as the sky and the earth. At this point you can choose to live forever in the earthly realm or leave the mundane shell and return to the ten continents.

"The few who have successfully used the methods of visualization and forgetting oneself know that treasures that are gathered in dreams are useless, because dreams vanish in the morning. They also understand that dreaming of cakes will not satisfy hunger. If you practice the methods incorrectly, you are only building empty wishes on illusions. Like flowers in a mirror and the reflection of the moon in water, your cultivation will not have any substance. Even if you practice diligently, you will achieve nothing. "If you want to use the methods of visualization and forgetting oneself, you must understand that the mind is stirred easily and that it is difficult to subdue the will. You must know that these methods should be used only at the appointed time and under appropriate conditions. It is not enough to find a secluded place and sit quietly. The mind is easily led astray by things in the world, and the will is easily influenced by emotions. If you do not follow the correct procedures, you will be as far from success as the distance between the sky and the earth. Even if you practice for months and years, you will not get results. If the mind is confused and the will is wild, your efforts will come to nothing. If you are too focused on visual images, you will see only the beauty of the green elixir and will never notice its radiance. If you are too intent on listening to the sound of flutes, you will never notice the roar of the thunder. The senses play only a small role in the method of visualization. Even if you travel and search the six directions, you are not guaranteed to find the right method. And if you do not have the correct method, how can you use visualization and internal observation to help your cultivation?" "For example, to facilitate the rise of yang, you should visualize the following images: male, dragon, fire, sky, clouds, crane, the sun, horse, smoke, haze, the wheel, horse cart, flowers, and steam. All these images are associated with the rise of yang. To facilitate the descent of yin, you should visualize the following images: female, tiger, water, earth, rain, tortoise, the moon, oxen, spring, mud, lead, and leaves. All these images are associated with the descent of yin.

"The green dragon, the white tiger, the red raven, the black tortoise, the five mountains, the nine continents, the four seas, the three islands, the golden boy and jade lady, the Water-wheel, and the pagoda are all useful visual images. You can also use the names of various processes of cultivation to evoke visual images. However, if you visualize images only for the purpose of stilling the spirit, you will be no different from a fisherman who loses the basket before catching the fish and a hunter who lets the hare escape before capturing it. To move the postcelestial wheel, you must have the prototype of the precelestial wheel, and to complete the great vessel, you must have the pattern of the lesser vessel. The methods of internal observation and visualization do not tolerate mistakes. You cannot use them indefinitely and you cannot treat them as the ultimate technique. When all thinking stops, this is true cognition. True cognition means true emptiness, and true emptiness occurs when you are no longer imprisoned by ignorance. Only when you are close to the final liberation, only after the foundations are completed, and only after you have begun to apply the daily schedule should you use the method of visualization to assist your practice. However, as the days toward your union with the Tao grow fewer, and as you enter the state of the intangible, you should practice visualization less and less and should begin to use the method of internal observation."

"The method of internal observation is a technique that allows us to exchange yin for yang, and it should be practiced only when we are ready to leave the mundane and be transformed into an immortal. Do not belittle this method, and make sure that you learn it well. Everything that I have said about the transition from mortal to immortal occurs at a specific time in the process of cultivation. If you understand the method of internal observation and trust it, and if you practice it correctly at the appropriate time, you will achieve the expected results.

"The practice of internal observation is not tied to specific times of the day and does not have specific procedures. When it is time for you to leave the mundane, you should find a quiet room, practice it day and night, learn to recognize the yang spirit, and be ready to drive away the yin ghosts. Bod-hidharma faced the wall for nine years before he entered the Inner Court; the World-Honored One [Buddha] spent six years stilling his mind before he emerged from the confines of the mundane. From these examples you should know chat internal observation is not easy to practice.

"When the circulation moves from above to below and when the Purple Waterwheel enters the Celestial Palace, you will see the riches of heaven floating in front of you. Things that you admire and wish for will appear and disappear, and things that are normally difficult to obtain will be given to you. Practitioners who have lived a simple life away from worldly luxuries will especially feel happy when they are presented with these splendid things at the completion of their cultivation. Surrounded by buildings covered with pearls and jade and in the midst of the music of reed pipes, good foods, exquisite plants, and breathtaking scenery, they will feel as if they are immersed in a beautiful painting. They do not know, however, that the celestial paradise they experience is only a reflection of the Inner Court inside the body. If you get attached to these images and feelings, you will be locked forever inside these illusions. Consequently, you will be stuck in the earthly realm and will not be able to liberate your shell and become an immortal. If you practice internal observation incorrectly, not only will you not enter the Celestial Palace, but you will conjure up yin ghosts and monsters. These un-wholesome influences will in turn create a world of illusions called the Monster Wheel. If you are influenced by wayward thoughts, you will stray into evil ways and be enticed into practicing techniques that are not a part of the Tao. Not only will you not attain immortality, but you will be hounded by the three monsters and seven souls who want you dead. Forever chased by the nine worms and the six thieves who thrive on your suffering, you will have nowhere to run or hide."

If you do not understand the Great Tao, you will never know its secret workings. Consequently, you will be familiar with only the minor methods. Lost in untried procedures and strange techniques, you will waste your time and attain nothing. You will get old and die and be trapped in endless cycles of reincarnation. The failures of generations of practitioners have convinced many that longevity and liberation from the mundane world are just empty talk. Moreover, many hear about the Tao but do not understand it. Thus their minds are easily stirred by happenings in the world and their motivation is easily weakened by attachment to material things. In the end they are unable to escape from the ten monsters and the nine obstacles. "Before the great medicine is completed, you will feel the cold and the heat and will need to change your clothes with the seasons. Before the true vapor is born, you will feel hunger and thirst, and every day you will want to eat three meals. Being hampered by the need for clothing and food-this is the first obstacle. "When the burdens of karma are great, you will need to repay what you have owed in previous lifetimes. Oppressed by work, you will not have much time to practice. When you try to set aside time for your cultivation, your aging parents will make you feel guilty about abandoning them. Although you want to cultivate, you are unable to find the time. Being smothered by parental demands-this is the second obstacle.

"When you are attached to your family, you will worry about your spouse and your children. Daily your emotional attachment to them will grow. Driven to provide food and shelter for them, you work tirelessly day and night. Although your mind has a tendency toward stillness, you are hindered by the anxiety of daily life. Being bound by love and attachment-this is the third obstacle.

"When you are rich and powerful, you will find it difficult to give up material goods and fame. Not content with what you have, you will always want more. Being drowned by fame and fortune--this is the fourth obstacle. "In your youth you were unwilling to cultivate, and in old age you continue to injure your spirit. Even when you lose your vitality and become ill, your mischievous mind still refuses to wake up. Or you were born into hardship and were doomed to suffer all your life. Being plagued by self-inflicted suffering and crushed by difficult livelihood-this is the fifth obstacle.

"When you are impatient to find a teacher, you will not care whether the teacher is enlightened or not. Impressed by what the teacher claims he can offer and falling prey to his charisma, you believe chat you have found a true immortal. Eventually you discover too late that the teacher is a fraud who is after fame and power. Being fooled and controlled by false teachers--this is the sixth obstacle.

"When you listen to debates among teachers and fellow students, you are bound to be led astray by their suggestions. You search blindly through a tangle of leaves and branches and then discover that there is nothing worthwhile. These so-called teachers and their students are interested only in arguing about the relative merits of lesser techniques. They do not know that the sun and the moon do not rise easily, and that when they rise, the light is so brilliant that it can be seen by all. They do not know that the thunder does not roar trivially, but when it does, the sound is so deafening that it can be heard by all. They try to dazzle each other with words, not realizing that their elegant speeches are like the fleeting lights of exploding fireworks. Bickering over semantics, they argue endlessly and can never agree on anything. Being blinded by discussions and arguments--this is the seventh obstacle. "When you encounter images of beautiful companions wearing fine jewelry, drinks and food laid out on the terraces at night, sexy bodies in seductive clothing, soft whispers asking you to be a sexual companion, you should ignore them, because this is the monster called sexual desire.

"When you encounter the ten monsters, you should ignore them. If you attend to them, you will be attached to them, and if you are attached to them, you will be grasping at them. Many people fail to attain the Tao because they fall prey to the monsters. If you are not attracted to the monsters in waking life, you will be able to ignore them when you encounter them. Consequently, your mind will not wander and your motivation will not be shaken. If you are able to ignore the monsters in dreams, the mind will not stray and the spirit will not dissipate. If you encounter the monsters while you are practicing internal observation, you must dismiss them as illusions. Do not get swept up by the tide of your thoughts and emotions and do not treat them as though they are your sons. Burn the body with the three true fires and they will go away. Then use the Purple Waterwheel to carry the yang spirit through the Internal Court into the Celestial Palace. Only then can you attain transcendence.

"Many practitioners want to cultivate clarity and stillness but are unable to escape from the ten monsters and the nine obstacles. Slaves to the external environment, they are followers of the Tao only in name. They do not know how to cultivate in daily life, and they think that if they left the dust of the world and retreated to a remote place, they could attain the Tao. In actual fact, the nine obstacles and the ten monsters are with them all their lives.

"Even if you succumb to one or two of the ten monsters, you will not be able to attain the Tao. At best you will get moderate or small benefits from your cultivation and become an immortal among mortals or an earth immortal. However, if you can remove all the monsters and the obstacles and follow the procedures of cultivation correctly, each step of practice will bring you closer to immortality. Finally, if you use internal observation to unite your body with the yang spirit, you will not have to wait long to return to the three islands."
"There are twelve programs of training that should be practiced in sequence. They are the following: introducing yin and yang to each other, gathering and disseminating fire and water, mating the dragon and the tiger, heating and refining the medicines of the pill, ejecting the golden sparks from behind the navel, returning the jade elixir to the tan tiens, using the jade elixir to refine the body, returning the golden elixir to the tan tiens, using the golden elixir to refine the body, moving the refined vapor to the primordial regions, internal observation and exchanging the mundane for the sacred, and transcendence and emanating in different forms.
"You should attend to the following schedules diligently. First, follow the timing of the rise and fall of yin and yang yearly. Second, follow the numerics of the waxing and waning of the sun and the moon monthly. Third, each day is ruled by the four cardinal directions of the pa-k' ua. Therefore you will also need to follow the schedule of the ten celestial stems and the twelve terrestrial branches in the one hundred hours and the six thousand minutes. Review what you have done after each day of practice. Continue to do this until the day you shed your shell and ascend to immortality. Make sure that you do not make mistakes. Even from the beginning you should ignore all questionable techniques and try to apply your cultivation to daily life.
"When you collect the medicine, you will be filled with the golden essence of generative energy. At this time the mind must be prepared to conquer the yin ghosts. First, when the heart channel opens, you will feel something thrusting upward and your mouth will be filled with sweet fluid. Next yin and yang will interact and you will hear sounds of wind and thunder in your belly. Next the spirit and soul will stir and you may experience fearful images in your dreams. Next you will feel discomfort in the six bowels and the four limbs. Then you will discover that minor illnesses will go away naturally. Next the tan-t'ien will feel warm and your complexion will become clear and healthy. Next you will see numinous lights when you are in a dark room. Next, in your dreams you will feel strong and invulnerable; nothing can harm you and no one can hurt you. You will also feel as if you were carrying your child home. Next the golden gate will be locked securely and you will not lose your generative energy in your sleep. Next you will hear a crack of thunder. All your joints will be open and perspiration will pour from your body. Next the jade elixir will coagulate into a sticky sweet fluid. Next the luminous fluid will become a creamy substance. The fluid will gradually fill the mouth and then flow down to the belly. Next the bones will become light and the body will be ready to house the yang spirit. Your gait will be soft and you will be able to run like swift horses. Next your mind will not be stirred by the external environment, because all desires have disappeared. Next you will be able to transfer vapor out of your body and cure others of illness. Next the internal gaze will be clear and bright and will never grow dark. Next the eyes will be sharp and clear, hair will regenerate, and the aged will become young again. Next the true vapor will be plentiful and you will never feel hungry. You will need to eat only a little and you will not feel the effects of alcohol. Next the body will shine with a golden glow. Awareness is enhanced, and you will begin to feel the taste of the sacred pill in your mouth. There is a text titled Ling-pao pi-fa (Scripture of the Definitive Methods of the Precious Spirit). In it are ten chapters covering sixteen programs of training. Each chapter has six sections: the golden advice, the jade writ, sayings from the true origin, examples, the true mnemonics, and the main principles. The text discusses the Great Tao and describes the three purities. It tells us that the principles of cultivation are based on the rise and the fall of yin and yang in the sky and the earth, and that the applications are modeled after the waxing and waning of the essences of the sun and the moon. It contains the teachings of the five immortals on the three paths of cultivation. When the appropriate time comes, I will transmit those teachings to you."

The immortal Hun-fang (Cloud Chamber) [the Taoist name of Chungli Ch'uan] obtained these three volumes of the Ling-Pao (Precious Spirit) Scriptures in a cave in the Chung-nan Mountains. The first volume is titled "Golden Advice of the Primal Beginning"; the second volume is titled "Jade Writ of the Three Kings"; and the third volume is titled "The Commentaries of the True Origin of the Most High." Originally there were thousands of chapters, but these scrolls have been compiled into one volume of "definitive methods." In it are sixteen programs of training and six sections of commentaries. They explain that within yang there is yin and within yin there is yang. They describe the principles of the rise and fall of vapors in the sky and the earth. They tell us that water emerges from vapor and vapor emerges from water. They discuss the workings of the interaction of the heart and the kidneys. They tell us that in applying the principles of the eight trigrams to the twelve segments of the day, the key lies in the trigram ken. In tossing the tan tiens, the key is in the ni-wan (Mud Ball) cavity. They even use examples of swallowing the breath and drawing in the fluid to illustrate how you should practice. However, the true teachings of cultivating the true vapor can only be transmitted orally and are not available in writing.