Holding Yin, Embracing Yang, text 3

pp. 157-178 San-ju Bi-z^i ("Secret Teachings on the 3 Wheels") [lectures by compiled by a disciple of Li Xi-yue (1806-56 Chr.E.)]

0 (p. 159) Introduction


circulateth __

is called __

its function, application



"Microcosmic Orbit"

"application of fire in the hours of zi and wu."


generative energy

"waterwheel of the jade elixir"

"to move water for purposes of incubating and nourishing the sacred fetus."


both (g.e. & v.)

"Macrocosmic Orbit"

"moving the pre-celestial metal of mercury ... returning the numeric seven and the numeric nine".

"The movement of the three wheels is driven by true spirit and true intention."

1 (pp. 161-3) the 1st Waterwheel

p. 161

"a spark of clarity will emerge. Let go of everything until there is no differentiation between yourself and the external world. ... Oblivious to day and night, with no duality of knowing and not knowing, ... in this state of not thinking and not knowing ... the one yang will emerge. When the one yang stirs, you will feel the presence of smoke, yet there is no smoke. {"the mind holding up the inner sky. The contours of this inner space are made clear by the smoke" (PS 10).} {"smoke" is the 2nd sign (stage) of dreamless sleep (DR, p. 478).} You will feel vapor stirring, ... something rising from the lower dantien to the heart.


When you feel as if youíve just awakened {bodhi} from a deep sleep, you will be in a state known as the "living hour of zi." At this time, you must start the first waterwheel immediately and keep it moving. If you delay, the formless vapor will taken on form and be lost. This vapor ... is also known as the post-celestial yang fire. ... . ... stoking the yang fire ... means taking the just-awakened mind and directing it down to the Raven Bridge (qiaoqiao) cavity, which is ... just below the area of the

p. 162

Celestial Wheel (tienji). ... This mind ... is referred to as the subtle mind ... . Next, the intention associated with the subtle mind is directed down to the Tailbone cavity. Hold it there ... . After a while, the true vapor will begin to heat up. Once heated, the vapor will rise from the two cavities at the tip of the tailbone {cf. the doctrine in the Qabbalah that the resurrection (rising-up) of the dead [death being likened to dreamless sleep] will commence at the coccyx} through the lower spine up to the Jade Pillow (yuzhen) cavity and into the Mudball cavity. ...


The Yellow Pavilion Classic (Huangtingjing) says : "Ingest the mysterious vapor ... ." This vapor of yang fire is dark purple in color and is called the mysterious vapor. To ingest it, you must receive ... a teacher. {As always, whenever a teacher is required, that teacherís function is to invoke a deity (tutelary spirit-helper) to accomplish the task in the studentís subtle body.} ... The vapor must be channeled down ... into the Mysterious Orifice (xuanwei) cavity .. . The Yellow Pavilion Classic describes this process as "the Mysterious Orifice of the breath channel receiving the magical generative essence." The Mysterious Orifice cavity is also known as the Mysterious House (xuanhu) cavity or the Mysterious Cloture (xuanyong) cavity. When vapor enters this cavity, it will be secured and locked within. ... .

p. 163

... the Yellow Pavilion Classic says : "The clear vapor comes out and the subtle vapor goes in during the exchange. ..." What this means is that the pure clear vapor comes out of the dantien and the subtle vapor enters into the Mysterious Orifice cavity. When the two exchange, the vapor will be transformed into water, which will moisten the heart palace. ... Treasure {"where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthaios 6:21; Loukas 12:34)} the water, ... and it will become the foundation of the pill. In time, the foundation of the pill will be strong ... . ... .


... you will suddenly feel a substance emerge from the dantien, roaring like wind and thunder and shooting up like a comet. This is a sign that the pre-celestial medicine has emerged from its hiding place within the post-celestial. When this happens, you should start the first waterwheel to move the substance into the Mudball cavity, where it will be transformed into ... the jade elixir of the head of the pill. This is the beginning of the crystalization of the medicine. Once the medicine emerges, you must circulate it ceaselessly".

PS = Prajn~a Sutra http://www.orientalia.org/printout243.html

DR = Anthony Shafton : Dream Reader. State U of NY Pr, 1995. http://books.google.com/books?id=90Vh8wUThAgC&pg=PA478&lpg=PA478&dq=

2 (pp. 164-6) the 2nd Waterwheel

p. 164

"the pill will coagulate into something soft like a cotton ball. Let it rise to the heart ... . It is important to keep the pill in its formless state; otherwise it will dissipate."


"you will feel something gushing out of the dantien, swirling and bubbling like the waters ... . ... Heat the water and it will be transformed into steam. Let it flow down your inner thighs to enter the Bubbling Spring cavity [located at the soles of the feet (p. 17, Figure 1)]. When you feel a sensation in the Bubbling Spring, you must focus the spirit ... into the belly , and direct the true breath to follow it."

"In the midst of stillness, a substance will emerge

p. 165

suddenly from the Tailbone cavity : something like ... bread dough, or thick molasses. At this time, you should ... focus your intention to refine this substance. If you are successful, you will feel a rush of hot liquid rising from the Tailbone cavity to the spinal column in the vicinity of the pelvis. ... This process is referred to as "the Yellow River churning and the Cao River running in reverse." This is the second waterwheel in motion ... . ... When the second waterwheel in engaged, the water will roar like a waterfall ... . After a while, the sound of water will disappear. This is a sign that the spirit is at rest within the cavity. To hold the spirit in the... cavity, you should place your tongue on the palate {a typical procedure in yoga}, ... through the twelve rungs of the ladder to ... the Radiant Pool cavity. The exact location ... of the Radiant Pool cavity ... is just below the palate; others say that ... the ... Radiant Pool Cavity is located below the two nostrils. {the implication may be the nasal sinus, which is located just above the palate} It is also known as the Upper Sea of Vapor (shangqihai), and it is near the Mysterious Orifice cavity. {another intracranial cavity} Immortal Baiyuchan said, "The Radiant Pool is located in the Sea of Vapor." When fluid is plentiful in the Radiant Pool, it will flow down to the Crimson Palace. When the Crimson Palace is moistened, you will feel a coolness washing over the body. {cf. baptism} Simultaneously, you will feel openness and joy in your heart. As the fluid continues to descend to the Yellow Pavilion {diaphragm?}, the fires of the heart will be quenched and you will feel peaceful and harmonious."

p. 166

"When the hexagrams "After Completion" (jiji ...) and "Before Completion" (weiji ...) cycle back and forth ceaselessly, the jade elixir is at work refining the body. The jade elixir, however, does not emerge every day. Usually, it emerges only after several rounds of circulating the vapor. If the jade elixir can be made to emerge reliably, the Yellow Pavilion will be in order, ... the heart will feel at ease, and the light of original nature will radiate."

3 (pp. 167-9) the 3rd Waterwheel

p. 167

"when mercury has become numinous and can flow and ebb with ease, ... you can begin the great alchemical work of returning the numeric seven to the dantien. First, take the refined mercury and inhale it as the internal pill. Then, ... secure and store the internal pill in the empty cavern. ... Begin by letting existence enter nothingness. In a little while, something will emerge out of nothingness. "

p. 168

"The spirit will be tested and tempted as numerous monsters and warriors appear as benevolent and malevolent beings. {similarly to the temptation of S`akya-muni under his bodhi-tree} ... When the primordial spirit is focused, a ray of light of yang vapor will suddenly arise. At this time, you should eject the one spark {cf. the "power over fire" which commanded to harvest (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 15:18)} of yin from the palace ... to welcome the yang. This is known as ... "dissolving the barriers between the internal yin and yang." When the barriers are down, you should tell the lady of the primal beginning to take the female sword {the feminine sword wielded by goddesses in Tantrik iconography is curved (falchion, scimitar)} to harvest {sickles for harvesting are likewise curved} the substance[s] that will become the ingredients of the pill. This is the process of returning the numeric seven to the dantien. {is this numeric 7 aequivalent to the seven heads of the beast whereupon was seated (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 17:3) "a woman" = lady of the primal beginning?} ...

The dui of the female is what the internal alchemists refer to as the first menstrual blood ... . The gathering of this blood is called "taking the feelings and returning them to original nature." {"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 17:6).} In five thousand forty-eight {"five are fallen, and ... even ... the eighth" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 17:10-11)} days, the blood will return {"found the blood" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 18:24)} to the Yellow Pavilion {cf. yellow jasper? : "her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:11)}, and you will be filled with the brilliant light of the full moon. ... When you reach this stage of practice, you should start the Great Waterwheel immediately. When the circulation of this waterwheel reaches ..., you will feel a sweet fluid sinking into the mouth. The drops {cf. teardrops : "all tears from their eyes" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:4)} of this liquid are as large as a birdís {is the bird the Holy Spirit, often depicted as an eagle or as a dove? : "And he carried me away in the spirit" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:10).} egg. {cf. the ruh^-birdís nest-egg as attractant for a person to be carried aloft by that bird (according to the "tale of the Valley of Diamonds" in the 1001 Nights)} ... the liquid is ... the golden fluid of the great pill that is produced by the return of the numeric nine to the dantien. Make sure you swallow this liquid." {"I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 21:6).}

"The fetus will be

p. 169

conceived and introduced to its mother, and when the fetus is embraced by the mother, it will be nursed and nourished day and night. In time, as you gaze within, you will see the internal organs glow with a bright light, because the true One now resides in them. When the period of incubation is complete, the mother will give birth to the infant. Nourish the infant ... . Warm and hold it every hour. When it is mature, move it from the Numinous Valley (lingu) cavity to the Celestial Valley cavity, where it will exit and reenter naturally. Once the spirit-child is confident of leaving and returning to its corporeal shell, it can travel to the realm of immortality and be transformed into wondrous beings." {"she brought forth a man child ... : and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne." (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 12:5)}

4 (pp. 170-2) beginning stages of cultivating the Mind

p. 170

"Direct the spirit to below the kidneys toward the Yin Bridge vessel (yinqiao). (The Yin Bridge vessel runs down the inner side of the leg.) ... Once the breath has reached the cavity of emptiness, you should allow the true breath to take over ... . If the mind is too rigorous and strict, you should tame it with the scholar (slow) fire. ...


In the transition between emptiness and nonemptiness and the void and not-void, stillness will become even more still and clarity will become even clearer. ...

p. 171

In this state of nondifferentiation, vapor will emerge, its existence felt only by the primal spirit. Now is the time to engage the true breath. When the true breath begins to move, you will feel a slight itch in the area of the heart. You should massage that area of the body immediately and direct the breath into the cavity of emptiness in the chest. With time, the root of life will be born, the vapor of yang will grow, and you will be able to open the gates and circulate the vapor. ...


Coax and persuade the mind to return home. ... This process is called focusing the spirit. ... All you have to do is to ... direct the sacred light to shine downward. This is what the sages mean by "regulating the breath in the Yin Bridge vessel and preparing to meet the breath of the heart in the cavity of vapor." Immerse the spirit in vapor and focus it in stillness in the Sea of Vapor cavity. If you donít force spirit and vapor to interact, they will copulate naturally. ...

Hold on to original nature and donít let it go astray. Keep the spirit within and donít let it become sleepy or lethargic. These are the keys to entering the state of nondifferentiation.

To focus the spirit, you need to focus the mind on the area below the navel. ... When you feel that spirit and breath are merged, you must hold on to the natural state of ... clarity. This is what is meant by "not neglecting." To be naturally clear ... Ė this is what is meant by "not forcing

p. 172

things." ... Let the void be the hiding place of the mind, and let nondifferentiation be the home of the sacred breath. ... Suddenly, ... without realizing it, the one yang will be born."

5 (pp. 173-8) quaestions & answers on the methods of cultivating Body & Mind

p. 173

"To expose the secrets of the three waterwheels is to reveal the subtle workings of heaven. ... Slow the breath and look for the true breath. Only then can you still the spirit, gather the vapor, and enter the state of nondifferentiation. ... Before you can attain the true breath, you must attain true nondifferentiation. The early stages of cultivation are the most difficult ... . ... When I was a beginning practitioner learning the method of nondifferentiation in the celestial caverns, it took me seven or eight years".

p. 174

"There are three qualities that a practitioner must have : diligence, sincerity, and perseverance. ... Be diligent, be sincere, persevere, and you will obtain results. Confucius once said, ĎIf you donít persevere, you canít become a shaman ... .í ...

Sincerity is the key to slowing the breath because in stillness the great

p. 175

structure and great function of all things can be realized. ...

Diligence is required to nourish the natural breath and calm the natural mind. ...

Those who are adept at refining the mind and vapor are in a state of wakefulness even when sleeping ... . ... The Triplex Unity states : ĎStay in the embrace and the intertwined during sleep; wait for existence and nonexistence to occur during waking.í "


"Li Hanxui said, "Copulation is the foundation of the absolute yin and the root of nonduality. Only when you are in a state of nonduality can you copulate successfully. ... It is from the depths of absolute yin that the absolute yang is born.

p. 176

There are two kinds of copulation : pre-celestial and post celestial copulation. In pre-celestial copulation, original nature is used to build life; in post-celestial copulation, spirit is merged with vapor. ...

While there is only one undifferentiated substance in pre-celestial existence, there are three in post-celestial existence. In one aspect they are generative essence, spirit, and true intention; in another they are vapor, spirit (original nature), and feelings. ... . ... if you need to work through post-celestial existence, youíll need to cultivate the true yang through copulation. ...

The spirit in the heart can descend and the vapor in the kidneys can ascend. When spirit and vapor exchange places, the essences of the internal organs themselves ... will exchange places. When the exchange occurs, the one yang will be born ... . ...


The feelings of metal and the original nature of wood are called the white tiger and green dragon respectively. When the dragon is attracted to the tiger, it is analogous to the infant embracing the mother.

Know that within life is original nature and within original nature is life. ...

p. 177

The goal of the Taoists, however, is to preserve the true vapor. This is because they believe that ... there is no honor left in society. You donít need to sacrifice yourself ... . ... Donít be attached to the idea that you must always play the role of the hero.

Taoist begin their cultivation by nourishing the natural vapor. ... Nourish it in a roundabout way and you will not come to harm. ... It is from this vapor that the generative essence is born. In contrast, the vapor that forms the foundation of returning the pill to the dantien is expansive and powerful. If you attain this vapor, you could ... sacrifice yourself for the greater good. In the past, this kind of sacrifice has been used by Taoist adepts to shed the shell and liberate the spirit. ... When Taoists shed their shell voluntarily, they can return to the earthly realm as spirit beings, appearing young and rigorous {sic : read "vigorous"} and often in the company of immortals. ... When you attain the Tao, bodies will emerge beyond your corporeal body, and when your time is over in the earthly realm, you can shed your shell and send the spirit into immortality."

p. 178

"Three levels of attainments are available to those who complete their cultivation. First, those with deep understanding of the Tao can become numinous beings and enter the celestial realm {as caelestial immortals}. Second, those who are sincere and motivated can become realized beings ... on earth {as earthly immortals}. Finally, those who delight in the Tao will become extraordinary people and live a meaningful and full life among humans."

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