Holding Yin, Embracing Yang, text 2, cap. 14-26

pp. 65-156 Dao-jiao Tan ("Discussion on the Cavity of the Tao")

14 – p. 98 two kinds of cinnabar grains

to complete the __-caelestial path



we need to manufacture __

cinnabar grains

another kind of cinnabar grain

which is the treasure attained by return of the numeric __ to the dantian



these grains are the key to the process of the __ return of the pill to the dantian



"When both kinds of cinnabar grains are attained and returned to the dantien, the body will be bathed in a golden light."

15 – pp. 99-100 Spirit, Vapor, Original Nature, and Life

p. 99

the __ caelestial path




worketh with __

spirit & vapor

original nature & life

p. 100

"Original nature comes from heaven, and

life emerges with original nature."


"In the path of mortals,

procreation is possible because of the existence of vapor;

in the path of immortality,

the creation of vapor is possible because of the principles of procreation."


"The vapor that emerges according to the principles of procreation is the one primordial true vapor of the origin, and it is too heavy."

16 – pp. 101-5 meaning of Prae-caelestial


the 3 types of Prae-caelestial


"the precelestial that gives birth to the sky and the earth"

the prae-caelestial "which originates from the sky"

the prae-caelestial "which can help us to attain immortality"


"This pre-celestial existed before the sky emerged and is the creator of sky and earth.

"This pre-celestial gives birth to humankind ... . Capable of incubating and providing warmth, its structure is hidden

"this pre-celestial ... comes from ... the taiyi (Great Beginning).


Within this pre-celestial is vapor, and this vapor is part of the undifferentiated oneness".

Within this pre-celestial is also vapor, and this vapor existed before humans".

When we attain this vapor, the golden pill will materialize."


"the sage Duanyang ... replied : "This pre-celestial is born from the Great Ultimate. The ancients called it the creator of all things. ... When it first emerges, it is subtle and elusive ... . ... When the clear and muddy are separated, the mysterious yellow is born. When the mysterious yellow merges, ... sky and earth are differentiated.""

"Duanyang replied, "This pre-celestial is ruler of the sky and the earth. It is one and yet three, and three and yet one. {Trinity} ... Spirit energy is the numinous spirit of the void. ... When the vapor is subtle, generative energy will swirl up and down in synchrony with the vapor.""

p. 105 "students ... can recover their re-celestial existence ... . ... Finally, use the pre-celestial substance that you have obtained to rebuild and ... you will be able to enter the ultimate pre-celestial realm."


"The nonspirit of spirit is the absolute spirit;

it is the original nature of the dragon.

The pure essence of procreation is the absolute generative energy;

it is the feelings of the tiger."


"The true vapor is also called the true One. If you attain to the true One, the three monsters (that attack the three energies)


and the five thieves (that steal the five senses) will vanish, and

eternal spring will rule in the thirty-six palaces."

17 – pp. 106-10 Spirit; Vital & Generative Energies

p. 106

"Of highest quality are the primordial spirit, primordial vapor, and primordial generative essence. ... The primordial energy is often called the pre-celestial energy because it is born in the Royal Descent (huangjiang) cavity".

p. 107

"Inside the mother’s womb, there is only vapor. ... The fetus now breathes in synchrony with the mother’s inhalation and exhalation, taking in the great harmonious vapor of the sky and the earth. However, at the same time, the yin spirit of reincarnation begins to enter".

p. 108

"Duanyangzi answered,


"The primordial spirit is undifferentiated and ephemeral;

the true spirit is clear and bright.


The former hides within the chaos and is without light;

the latter is tempered and refined. ...


The primordial spirit is unthinking and unknowing; ...

the true spirit thinks and acts, but its intelligence is round and bright. ...""

p. 109

"Duanyangzi replied,


"The primordial generative essence is within us;

the true generative energy is in the other (the partner).


The vapor of the generative energy is stored in the Crimson Palace cavity. ...

The true generative energy in the partner is the strong and thrusting vapor of the Radiant Pool (huachi) cavity. ...""


"Duanyangzi said, "... The true vital energy is the ancestor of the great beginning of pre-celestial existence ... . To attain it, you must receive personal instruction from a teacher on

how to erect the cauldron ...’

how to harmonize the true dragon and true tiger, and

how to join together the true yin and true yang.. ...""


"Duanyangzi told them : "Original nature is celestial will and destiny. The principles of procreation emerge from the One vapor. ...

p. 110

High virtue ... cannot be forced. Only those of high virtue can walk the primordial celestial path and practice single cultivation ... . ...

Those of lesser virtue must walk the primordial human path and practice the method of reversal. ...


In the domain of high virtue, original nature and life nourish each other mutually.

In the world of lesser virtue, original nature and life must both be recovered jointly ... . ...


The method of transforming the sky and earth within is no different from heaven’s way of creation.""

18 – pp. 111-2 further discussion on Generative, Vital, and Spirit Energies

p. 111

"In the domain of high virtue ... energies are called the primordial energies. Primordial energy is a great gift from heaven, and those who possess it will not need to obtain is from another person. This is because the primordial energy is the celestial primordial vapor.

In the domain of low virtue, ... energies are called the true energies. ... you will need to gather them from another. Because true energy is collected from another person, we call it the human primordial vapor."


"When we take the primordial human path to return to celestial primordial existence, we need to

gather the primordial generative energy to replenish the primordial vital energy, refine the primordial vital energy to nourish the primordial spirit, and

refine the primordial spirit to attain the true spirit. ... At this time, you

p. 112

will be able to

return to the origin,

embrace the primordial, and

hold on to the One."

19 – pp. 113-4 forward & reverse paths of cultivating Original Nature & Life


forward path

reverse path


"The forward path is decreed by celestial destiny. In this path, original nature and life have always been one.

The reverse path is tied to human existence. In this path, we take the two and combine them to become one."


"In the forward path, celestial will is embodied in original nature, and original nature is joined with life. ... The original nature of goodness is a manifestation of life. ...

In the reverse path, we recover life in order to attain original nature. ... This path is possible because original nature embodies both spirit and life, and because spirit and life ... can resonate with each other.


Those who belong to the domain of high virtue are able to take the forward path. Using the method of single practice, they can conceive the immortal fetus ... . ...

Those who belong to the domain of high virtue, however, must take the reverse path and conceive the sacred fetus using the method of paired practice."

20 – p. 115 the One Cavity of the Mysterious Gate

"The One cavity of the Mysterious Gate is born from the void. ... The One cavity is the gate to the secret, mysterious, and subtle workings of the Tao. It is the cavity where all the techniques converge into one method."

"A dead cavity is one that is tied to a location in the body, such as the Yellow Pavilion or the lower dantien. A live cavity is one that emerges when the spirit is focused and vapor is gathered. The One cavity, or the Mysterious Gate, is a live cavity."

21 – p. 116 further discussion of the Mysterious Gate

"The Mysterious Gate glows with a numinous light that is the result of spirit and vapor copulating. ... When spirit does not stray, duality of self and other will dissolve, and ghosts and spirits will be unable to predict your actions. Tumbling and swirling in the undifferentiated chaos, you are now at one with the wondrous mystery. ... Only those whose "point of exit" on top of the head is opened and who have received the precepts will know the secret workings of the Mysterious Gate."

22 – pp. 117-8 the Cavity with 2 Openings

p. 117

"the One cavity has two openings and is empty in the center. ... These linkages are located where the ren and du meridians meet. ...


The Triplex Unity states : "When the upper end is closed, the cavity comes into being; when the lower end it closed, it does not exist. The upper end must be absolutely empty because the virtuous spirit resides on top. ..." ...


By closing, we mean completing the circuit when the two openings are joined. By existing and nonexisting, we refer to the characteristics of the subtle cavity. ... Both upper and lower ends are hidden in the cavity. ... The internal

p. 118

alchemists describe this joining as "the ephemeral merging of the generative energies" and "activating the female generative power within the generative fluid." ...

Try to encounter if from the front and you won’t be able to see its head. Follow it from behind and you won’t see its tail. ...


We serve the virtuous spirit with emptiness, and when the service is complete, the vapor will return naturally. ... This is summed up aptly by ... the Triplex Unity : "The test of whether the Tao is attained and whether the pivot of virtue exists lies in the application of softness.""


"The two openings of the One cavity make up the gate of the Mysterious female. It is within the One cavity that the golden pill is born. If you know how to gather the precious substance into the dual openings of the One cavity, the two gates will open and the metal will return home to merge with original nature. This is the process of "returning the pill to the dantien," and the key to this process lies in the production of the vapor of metal".

23 – pp. 119-21 the Foundation of the Mysterious Female

p. 119

"The valley spirit is nourished inside the Mysterious Female. The sage Shangyang said, "The Mysterious Female is made of two entities. Without them, all things cannot be created." The two entities ... we name Mysterious, and ... Female. ... Thus, ... to attain the void of the Mysterious Female, we need to nourish the void of the valley spirit. ...


Zhang Boduan’s Four Hundred Words on the Golden Pill (Jindansibazi) states : "The One cavity ... is called the cavity of the spirit and vapor. ... Thus, the Mysterious Female nourishes not only spirit but also vapor." When spirit and vapor copulate, the cavity of the Mysterious Female emerges. Moreover, when spirit is focused and vapor is gathered,

p. 120

the two will copulate, and a circle formed by qian and kun in embrace will emerge. ... First, the spirit needs to help the upper half focus on the lower half. ... Second, the upper and lower halves must interact so that vapor and spirit can unite. ... During the sacred union, you must reverse the ... forces. Let the male descend into the female, and let the spirit sink into the vapor. ... .


... we must welcome the spirit into the Crimson Palace cavity and make this cavity the command center. ... If you want to extinguish all sounds, sights, and thoughts, the Yellow Pavilion cavity must be kept empty and still. ... Understanding Reality states : "If you don’t want the valley spirit to die, you must build the foundation of the Mysterious Female." ... In building the foundation of the Mysterious Female, mercury is used to attract lead, and when they are joined, the golden pill is formed. The golden chamber is the yellow bedchamber where the golden metal is stored. When the true generative essence returns to the golden chamber, the one bright pearl will never leave.

p. 121

When the metal of lead copulates with the wood of mercury, a bright round pearl will be created."

24 – pp. 122-4 meaning of "Centre"

p. 122

"The center is the Mysterious Gate. The Triplex Unity states : "When moving and circulating, do not lose the center. Floating and swirling, always hold on to the center.""

p. 123

"When you first start your cultivation, you must ... fight the monsters of ... distant stray thoughts, and direct the internal light into the three cavities. The three cavities are the Yellow Pavilion, the Sea of Qi (qihai), and the lower dantien. ... In the absence of thought and intention, a unique feeling will emerge from the center."


Thou wilt experience something __ materializing




but at the same time thou wilt know intuitively that this doth not exist __




"This is a sign that the cavity of the Mysterious Gate has opened."

"The difference between action and nonaction lies in the subtleties of the cavity of the Mysterious Gate. By

p. 124

action, we refer to the subtle cavity of action and initiation. Action is the guiding principle of everything occurring in the upper and lower anvils, the yin and yang cauldrons, and the cavity of the spirit and the vapor."

25 – pp. 125-6 discourse on the Medicines

p. 125

"Shangyang said, "... The lesser medicine is post-celestial in nature and is used to produce the pill. The greater medicine is pre-celestial in nature and is used to return the pill to the dantien. The pre-celestial medicine is without form and structure; the post-celestial medicine has ... function but is not substantive."

p. 126

"The pre-celestial medicine ... uses that which has substance to create nothingness and that which is in us to attain that which is in the other."

"We take one single spark of yin essence of generative energy to plant the seed in the other ... . When the vapor of yang is aroused, we gather and return it within us, and plant the seed in the palace of the womb to conceive the immortal being. ... The seed planted ... is the basis for spreading the other’s seed".

26 – p. 129 difference between lead & mercury

The __ within the mind


generative essence

is called the "__ of mercury".

original nature


The __ of mercury

" "


is accumulated in the __ Pavilion.




The __ of the body


generative energy

is the __ of lead.



Eva Wong (translatrix) : Holding Yin, Embracing Yang. Shambhala Publ, Boston, 2005.