Chinese Magical Medicine, 4





pp. 125-130 C^en-i Fa-wen Hsiu-c^en C^ih-yao ('Essentials of the Practice of Perfection') HY 1260

p. 125

HY 1260:12a-13a "If there is illness of the heart, ... the symptom consists of

dreaming at night of a man dressed in red, holding a sword or staff ... .

{This would be the divinity causing the illness. In the shamanic method of curing, such a divinity would be seen (usually in a dream) only by the shaman performing the cure, and would have to be cajoled or bargained with by that shaman.}

A mirror should be set up ... .

{Mirrors seen in dreams are highly functional there.}

... in order to assemble your body's spirits, collect your three ethereal souls ..., you are to pace along [p. 315, n. 4:15 : "the Step of Yu: ... mimics the limping gait of the ... demiurge Yu: the Great ... with the seven (or nine) stars of Ursa major ... . See ... Granet 1953a ... ."] the seven stars of the Dipper and ingest their primal breaths. ...

[HY 1260:13b :] As for color {proffered to divinity within same dream?} :-

thy __

ought to be that of __

not that of __


"vermilion inside silk"



"sulphur within silk gauze"



"many layers of lacquer"



"disk of azure jade"


p. 126

"Fan Li practiced this, causing mountains to crumble, rivers and seas to flow backward, spirit-powers to tremble with fear, and thunderclaps to resound. [p. 315, n. 4:11 : "On Fan-li ..., see Kaltenmark ... (1953):103-4."]

With seals one can ... restore vital breaths and bring back the ethereal souls ["to reanimate corpses"] ... . ...

p. 127

[HY 1260:15b-20a :] For the sevenfold rite of the vital breaths, ... place your back to the reigning asterism of the month and face the Breaker Star. Visualize in front of you a celestial official in a vermilion robe; he is nineteen [Chinese] feet tall; on his head he wears a spirit-register; set in it is a nine-phoenix hat. In his mouth he takes water and sprays it out in front of it over the sick person ... : It is brilliantly red, like the sun rising at dawn. Then ..., visualize the seven stars of the Dipper above your own head ... .

Recite ... :

I respectfully request the spirit-essences

of the Northern Dipper's seven stars

to descend ... so that all noxious demons

quickly depart, ten thousand leagues away! ...

Speedily, as the Statutes and Ordinances command! ...

Step One : First visualize yourself as a spirit bearing heaven on his head and stamping on the earth with his feet. A five-colored cloud of vapor covers your body.

Step Two : Over your head visualize the five planets ..., a foot away over your head.

Step Three : In front of your face visualize on the left the sun, on the right the moon, nine inches away from your face.

p. 128

Step Four : On top of your head visualize the vermilion bird, to the left the azure dragon, to the right the white tiger, beneath your feet ... the divine tortoise. ...

Step Five : Visualize fire-colored vital breaths of Perfection, the size {thickness} of strands of thread, proceeding from your five viscera, coming [via the interior of thorax-and-throat] out of your mouth, and rising into the air to a height of eighteen [Chinese] feet above your head. They go three times around your head."

The 3 little men in thy __

dressed in __ robes and __ caps

emerge and stand to thy __ .












{front} "south"

"They all hold swords in their left hands and war hatchets {tomahawks} in their right. ...

Then recite ... :

The spirit-seal of the Monarch of Heaven : ...

Seal pain, and pain stops.

p. 129

Seal sickness, sickness disperses. ...

It overcomes the symptoms and ... banishes afflictions ... .

May ... the True Spirits take up their abode in you. ...

Then bring down the seal ["on the patient's body"]. You must close off your breaths for a good long time; only then raise the seal and step back. Then recite : ...

Your servant respectfully requests

the General of the Three Divisions,

the General Who operates the Seal,

the General Who Cures Illness, ... and

the General Who Arrests Devils --

requests that all of you accompany the seal and cure the illness, and save that person from the ailment in his body. ...

Each time ... recite this through ..., and recite :

p. 130

... demons of the spirit-demons (shen-kuei),

demons of the man-demons,

demons of the woman-demons,

demons of the sunken corpse-specters,

toxic ghost-infestations -- ...

Swiftly come forth, swiftly come forth! ...

Before taking action, you should enjoin the sufferer not to consume ... shellfish ..., and fresh meat should be avoided. Only a very small amount of dried deer meat is acceptable. ...

After using the seal, bathe it in fragrant hot water ..., and place it in a box. ...

If when asleep you should suddenly be frightened by a dream, or be unusually shaken by a sound, arise at once and call out in a loud voice :

"Ye seven spirits of the house, Director of Destinies, Lord of the Hearth! How have you permitted uncouth demons to strike at a descendant of the Yellow Monarch? ... "

When you have said this, take the seal and hang it over the door. ...

If a person is suddenly struck by flying ... cadaver-specters, demonic hereditary infestation ...,

seal him over the heart and it will stop at once.

If a person talks demon-speech

{speaketh in unknown tongues (of angels) by the power of the Holy Ghost -- in New Testament terminology}

incessantly, seal him according to the ritual and it will stop at once."

Granet 1953a = Marcel Granet : "Remarques sur le taoi:sme ancien". E'tudes sociologiques sur la Chine. Paris : Pr U de France. pp. 243-9.

Kaltenmark 1953 = Max Kaltenmark (transl.) : Le 'Lie Sien Tchouan' : biographies le'gendaires des Immortels taoi:stes de l'antiquite'.

pp. 133-136 "Devil-Subduing Sigils & Great Spirit-Spells of Consecration", chapter 7 of Kuan-tin C^in ('Book of Consecration'), T. 1331.21:515a4-516a15

p. 133

"If ... wraiths (hsieh) ... should cause ... horripilation, one should first visualize his own body as ... the color of purple gold. ... .

... visualize the great spirits of the directions." [p. 316, n. 4:24 : "not Indian"]

name of deity

stature in ft.

garment & vapor






















"each spirit-king is accompanied by seventy thousand spirits. Thus ... there are ... 350 thousand spirits ... .

p. 134

... These spirit-kings protect human beings and keep malignant wraiths {disease-spirits} from carrying out their projects ... . Visualize" :

the spirit of the __ vapor exhaling those vapors

into the patient's __


thumb of left hand


big toe of left foot

pp. 134-5


thumb of right hand

p. 135


big toe of right foot



If one impress this mudra upon __

it will __




be overthrown

river or ponds or spring

dry up

fire or flood


violent wind





they will disperse

"They will ... expell demons to a distance of 400 yojanas".

"in the dwelling places or ordinary people, there are always seven protective spirits." [p. 317, n. 4:30 : no Samskr.ta sources]








p. 136

"The seal should be kept in a fine container covered with silk cloth."

pp. 144-149 Dharan.i Book of At.avaka (guardian-deity of Japanese imperial house, p. 144), T. 1238

p. 144

exorcism: tie up the patient, make as if to beat him

p 145

talisman, guaranteeing:-

freedom from bad dreams,

victory in battle,

enter water without drowning, enter fire without burning

the 8 spirit-sigils

p. 146


"heart"-sigil (to be inked with bezoar, impressed on bamboo-membrane):-

doeth away with ailments,

eliminating obstacles,

moveth mountains, {cf. Gospel -- "faith ..."}

halteth watercourses,

extinguisheth fire,

draineth the sea {cf. Rev. of St. John -- "no more sea"}

p. 147


ensureth complete command of the 8 divisions of the spirit-armies:-

to summon for interrogation the spirit-kings of the 4 quarters (directions)

a summons to the water-spirits


small, round "golden disk" sigil


large, square "lunar disk of the Asura-s"

p. 148


sigil of Hound & Leaping Snake (lion-resembling Hound of Heaven, above head of coiling dragon; in Japan, "Hound of Heaven" is long-nosed, winged denizen of mountains, noted for lechery, p. 148):-

subduing all poisonous drugs & all disease-causing daemones


above, the head of a coiling dragon, and below, the Dog of Heaven ... with a wide-open mouth

long-nosed winged being that frequents the high mountains, possesses powerful occult techniques, and is noted for unbridled lechery


sigil "of the solar -disk's samadhi-flames", viz. the 3-foot crow surrounded by flames (to be engraved in copper):-

"Whenever you wish to go somewhere, you simply point the seal in the desired direction ..."

p. 149


"sword"-sigil (depict with bezoar on square silk: gods bound by oath to serve):-

in order to __

call upon __

beat daemones

the Black King of Heaven

overcome all poisons & dragons

the big-bellied Kumbha-an.d.a daemon

conquer the devils of the 4 quarters

Caelestial Devil P>o-hsu:n

overcome tree-goblins

the Vajra-sattva-s

conquer disease within the body


deal with robbers

Sangha Man.i-bhadra

conquer mountain-gods


promoting life & seeking profit

Caelestial King of Merit

to accompany thee at all times in all thy comings and goings

the 14 Raks.asa-Kings

pp. 152-5, 173 texts concerning wooden sigils, including of jujube-wood





Treatise on the Five Sciences


Book of the Janguli Woman (T. 1265)


Red Script of the Three Registers of Divinity (HY 589)

5. aloeswood

4. pith of jujube wood


in front of Janguli is "a boy dressed in blue" [= Azure Lad of the Eastern Sea]

1st sigil: carven "from a jujube tree that has been struck by lightning."

5 wooden sigils (to be carven in "wood from a jujube tree that has been frightened by a dragon.") their effects are:-

3. red jujube wood

"supplanting the moon's light"

"levitation a hundred feet into the air"

[by "earth" sigil alone:] "walk on water and cross river and streams"

2. white sandalwood

2nd sigil: carven "from white sandalwood"


the Janguli maiden is: green, a dragon-woman, with 7 heads, 4 arms, the serpentine adornments, and fire streaming from her body-pores:-

{the author (M.S.) here (p. 319, n. 53) is inclined to bring into account the [Hina-yana] suggestion that a man "put his penis into the mouth of" this cobra[-goddess] rather than into her "vagina."}

throw bowlful of enchanted water on patient

1. peach-tree root

p. 155 "In Tantric Buddhism, the finger-seal applied to the body of course imprints a "seed-syllable" (bija-mantra)"

pp. 158-159 Hui-c^i C^in-kan C^in Pai-pien-fa C^in ('Rites of the Vajra-sattva of Impure Traces for Exorcizing the Hundred Weirds') T. 1229


T. 1229


the means for this


drying up the sea

copper dragon

causing rivers to reverse their courses

elephant modelled in "parthian" incense, i.e., gum guggul

to stop poisonous dragons

1st finger-sigil

"all the world's evil demons will flock to you in clouds and reveal their true forms"

2nd finger-sigil

lay ban of quietude on mountain

3rd finger-sigil


cause vajra to rise off the ground

invoke "Leftovers" (of a meal) [= Maha-bala, p. 156]

its effect



Knowledge of the Heart

Spontaneous Knowledge

Knowledge of Former Lives

"it will cause everyone to love you"

"you will be able to fly up into space and go anywhere you wish."

"it will enable you to travel 3 million leagues a day without anyone seeing you."

p. 165 Tun-huan fragment 2906 (of Great Purity) -- the 3


degrees of results of carving a sigil


obtain black "heart of wishing-jewel medicine."


"will immediately perceive an exotic, fragrant aroma."


"will hear the sound of a bell in the middle of the night."

eat __

resultant attainment


"you will know in advance what will happen on the three planes of existence ["gods, men, demons"]."

"bark of mulberry root"

"obtain the services of the hundred thousand myriad spirits ..., and the ten thousand demons will come and offer you their submission."

pp. 167-8 Pekin Tun-huan fragment 8738 -- of impressment of the sigil





press on pate

"there will immediately be rays of light in all five colors, illuminating the world and all the ten regions of space."

press on heart

"will at once enter samadhi -- a perpetual samadhi that will last for eight great kalpas."


carry about

"you will always have the gods and the bodhisattvas strewing splendid flowers about you, from incarnation to incarnation you will always attain samadhi, and you will always be born in the presence of a buddha".

pp. 170-1 Lun-s^u Wu-min Lun (T. 1420) "large numbers of "heretics" ... inform ... that their faith has many excellent techniques for benefiting humanity"

p. 170

"A human figure carved from willow wood, properly empowered with spells and buried in the courtyard of your house, will bring great riches.

Medicinal pellets composed of cow's bezoar, ginger, hemp, Scutellaria macrantha, Rheum officinale, and Glycyrrhiza, gathered on the fifth day of the fifth

p. 171

month and pounded together ... on seventh of the seventh, will send demons running from the body of anyone they may have afflicted".

pp. 172-6 Lun-s^u Wu-min Lun ('Naga-arjuna's 5-Sciences Treatise'), T. 1420 (vol. 21)



sigil carven in __

its effect



jujube-tree root

"If you wish to enter the dwelling of a king, great minister, or brahman householder, you are to impress the seal on the soles of both your feet and on your chest. You should then wear the seal on top of your head, and thus you will be totally invisible -- neither your body nor your shadow will be seen ... . ... If you encounter wicked persons, chant the seal with the spell and press it


on your coach and you {praesumably including the coach} will become quite invisible to pursuers".



white sandalwood

"whenever you desire to cure anyone's ailment, ... impress it one the ailing part ... . Should you be traveling through wild and desolate country, aim the seal, properly becharmed, in the direction of your route, and all evil beasts will scatter at once".


"Offerings should be made to ... the Bodhisattva Nagarjuna day and night for forty-nine days".

"Seal your eyes, and you will clearly behold all in the past and future undergoing ... the five modes of rebirth.

Seal your heart, and you will know the exact hour and minute of death of all those now living in the world.

Seal your ears, and you will understand the speech of all living creatures."




"your assailants will fall unconscious to the ground in front of you. ... For ... all cases ... bewitchment by phantoms (wang-liang), you need only impress the victims directly with the seal."

p. 177 "excerpt from ... the complete Treatise on the Five Sciences"

"The adept's propitiation ... must be carried out in a carefully constructed oratory, painted green ... . Here, ... a spirit-emissary ... will fill the room with a red or purple radiance. This spirit will do whatever he is commanded".

pp. 179-80 San-huan Nei-pi Wen ('3-Lords Inner-Secrets Script'), HY 854


sigil of Huan-__

can cause __ [HY 854:1.10a-b]



"the stars to fall, the moon to wane, and the sun to be eclipses".


"the earth to split apart, ... make birds fall from the sky".



"impress it upon the heart ... . The seal-impression will then appear on his back".

"The same book also gives [HY 854:1.28b-29a] its own version of the classic Yellow God's Emblem of Transcendence, as well as another seal, that of the Ninefold Ancient Supervisor of the Immortals (Chiu-lao hsien-tu). This is a seal ... used by ... the Pure and Luminous Way of Loyalty and Filial Piety."

pp. 181-2 I-c^ien C^ih ('Record of the Listener') 3:1458 -- a Confucianist physician is, while possessed by literary spirits, formally inducted into the Taoist clergy

p. 181

"called for paper and brush and -- in his delirium -- composed several poems, well-rhymed and cleverly written. Suddenly, ... he cried out : "They're taking me away in a boat ...! I want to run away from them ..., but I can't move!" ... Then he suddenly started to chant scriptures and spells and sing bits of music; none of the verses or songs were anything that he had ever been familiar with before. ... .

p. 182

... the master actually bestowed his seal of power on the patient as he would upon a disciple in a formal rite of transmission, tying the seal into the sufferer's palm and thus transforming him into an authorized official of the Tao with full control over the demons that were possessing him."

pp. 190, 324 tattooing in IndoChina

p. 190

"Ancient Annam was termed "the Country of Crossed Legs" by the Chinese ... because of its inhabitants' resemblance to fish,

{implying an Annamese myth wherein fish-species originated from humans who crossed their legs?}

an effect created by the Southeast Asian custom of tattooing the male body from the waist down with a delicate, scale-like tracery of blue designs. This custom still persists in Burma and Thailand" (Bizot 1981).

p. 324, n. 4:116

"The term for the Country ... is "Chiao-chih," and the natives were often said to cut their hair {in dragon-fashion?} and tattoo their bodies to resemble the type of dragon known as chiao; see Stein 1947:298, Kaltenmark 1948:2."

Bizot 1981 = Franc,ois Bizot : Le Don de soi-me^me. Publ de l'EFEO, 130. Paris : E^cole Franc,ais d'Extre^me Orient.

Stein 1947 = Rolf A. Stein : "Le Lin-yi ... du Champa ... ." HAN-HIUE 2.1-3:1-335.

Kaltenmark 1948 = Max Kaltenmark : "Le dompteur des flots". HAN-HIUE 3.1-2:1-112.


Michel Strickmann (ed. by Bernard Faure): Chinese Magical Medicine. Stanford U. Pr, 2002.