Nourishing the Essence of Life, text 2


pp. 49-70 Wu-hsu:an P>ien ("Understanding the Mysteries")

1. -- p. 52 pearls

"the true vapor of the primordial yang. In the vapor are 384 golden pearls. {the secretion of a shellfish other than the pearl-oyster?} Within each golden pearl are twenty-four smaller pearls. {properly, ought to be 24 golden pearls [cf. 24-carat gold] in addition to 360 ordinary pearls?}

1 -- p. 53 the 3 gates

in the __ gate

__ is transmuted

into __


c^in (‘generative energy’)

c^>i (‘vapor’)



s^en (‘spirit’)



"the void"

2.1 -- p. 54 sequences of formation of internal organs in the foetus






small intestine

large intestine

2.2 -- pp. 54-5 transformation of ghosts into souls of unborn embryos; 6 meridians

p. 54

"Ghosts dwell in darkness ...

p. 55

and are untouched by light until they follow the glow of the spirit to enter the womb. When they come into contact with the light, ... they are transformed by the vapor. This vapor is ... the primordial vapor called the Great Ultimate."


"When heaven and earth interact, they will give birth to their six children. When these six move, they are transformed into the six meridians, which form a circuit in the body."

2.3 – pp. 56-7 c^>i of yan

p. 56

"When the thoughts are still, yang will emerge. When the vapor of yang emerges, it will rise ... . The vapor rises from the base of the spine and ascends to the area between the shoulder blades. Driven by the wind, it will rumble and roar and rise to the top of the head. The two vapors of yin and yang will interact and merge and

p. 57

then descend to the palate of the mouth. {also thus affirmed by the Sahajiya practitioners of hat.ha yoga} When you taste sweetness, you should ... let it sink into the Central Palace."

2.4 – p. 57 regulation of fire and of water

"When fire is too active, it will rise without control. when water is stagnant, it will fall endlessly. If you use the correct method to regulate them and if the appropriate amounts are applied, ... the precious substance will emerge when it is needed".

2.5 – p. 58 Bathing

"Ten months in the womb and two months of bathing make up one year ... . ... During the two months of bathing, fire is not stoked."

2.6 – p. 58 the beyondness of the Cavity of the Mysterious Gate

"The cavity of the Mysterious Gate lies within ... beyond thousands of mountains."

2.7 – p. 59 C^in & C^>i

"Generative energy and vapor both emerge with the Great Ultimate. The two interact during inhalation and exhalation."

2.8 – p. 59 stoking for circulation of fire

"When you stoke the fire, make sure that the fire travels one full cycle of circulation."

2.9 – p. 59 the Central Palace

There is "ch>i of the center" in "the cavity of the Mysterious Gate."

2.10 – p. 60 Holding the One

"To shed the shell, you must swallow the vapor ... . To become an immortal, you must stay in the mortal realm for nine years ... . Wile living in the earthly realm, you can travel to the sky, tunnel beneath the earth, and wander around the famous mountains and grottoes. Eight hundred days after you have completed the required ... deeds, you will receive the golden writ and jade summons and will be listed in the roster of the immortals."

2.11 – p. 60 liberating the Spirit, shedding the Shell

"As for when and how to shed the bodily shell, these teachings are transmitted orally."

{They are transmitted by word of mouth because the shedder’s attain of other worlds may depend upon rites to be performed thereafter by the transmitter.}

2.12 – pp. 60-2 Cavity of the Mysterious Gate & Yellow Palace

p. 60

"The cavity of the Mysterious Gate ... is the mind within the mind. ... The

p. 61

sage Cheng Ho said, "When their is no perspective or opinion, the center emerges; when there are perspective and opinion, the center will not exist." ... The one cavity of the Mysterious Gate ... is neither filled nor empty. ... Moving without obstruction with the breath, it rises to the White Tiger at the left and emerges from the Green Dragon at the right. ... When the spring wind blows, the furnace will be lit. When the fire is ignited, the vapor will surge up and penetrate the K>un-lun Mountains (the spinal column). Sky and earth will copulate ... . When you feel the vapor descend to the palate of the mouth, you must swallow it into the Yellow Palace. ... When the correct amount of fire has been applied, the spirit will emerge. When the spirit emerges, you must host to the One and nourish the child. After nine years of practice ... and deeds, you will rise to the sky in broad daylight. ...

p. 62

When body and mind are in total stillness, the first yang will emerge and the second yang will follow. Heated by fire, the yang (vapor) will rise to the Silver River. The Jade Pillow and the Mudball cavities will be immersed in fire. Sky and earth will copulate and, joined together {some insect couples remain joined together at the genitalia for hours while copulating}, will descend to the Bright Hall. When these processes occur, an aura of light will hover on top of the head like a bright mirror. As the vapor descends to the palate, the mouth will be filled with a sweet, fragrant nectar. Swallow this nectar into the Yellow Palace, and the body will radiate in golden splendor. {Various of the Jaina Tirthankara-s are said to have had such golden bodies.} ... This is the time for the spirit to leave the body and travel among the constellations and spin and whirl with the movement of the stars. In about a year, the cavity at the top of the head will open. {This opening of the apex of the scalp is a sought-for sign in Bodish >pho-ba practice.} This process is known as "transcending the mundane and entering the sacred." ... With each step of progress, you will get closer and closer to the Great Cavern."

2.13 – p. 63 True C^>i & True C^in

"When gathering the medicine, first collect the true vapor ..., then collect the true generative energy from the vapor. ... When the true generative energy and the true vapor flow to the top of the head, they are transmuted into the golden fluid. Flowing through the meridians, they become the white blood. The gold enters the Central Palace and is coagulated into the pill. When the alchemical work is complete, ... the true generative energy and the true vapor will merge to become the pill. When the process of transmutation is complete, the spirit can exit and reenter the body naturally and freely. ... This is what is meant by "having a body beyond the body," and it is not ... strange".

3.1 – p. 63 the Gate of the Mysterious Female

"The wonder of wonders is ... the cavity of the Mysterious Gate".

3.2 – p. 64 penetrating the Gate

"When the gate of the cavity is pushed open, the two vapors will circulate in synchrony. ... This called turning the wheel."

3.3 – p. 64 the mind as Mirror

"When the mind is clear and original nature is anchored, the light will be ... bright as a polished mirror. ... Those who cultivate the Tao must therefore ... regard all appearances as originating from something other than their own original nature. ... When thoughts arise, original nature will be shaken, and you will see ghostly images."

3.4 -- pp. 64-5 apparitional Monsters; walk the Dipper[-constellation]

p. 64

"When thoughts and desires arise, ghostly images and monstrous beings will appear and multiply. At the same time, you must initiate the wheel of fire and water and send them through the three gates into the Inner Court. In this way, the Three Monsters (that block the gates) ... will be banished".

p. 65

"When you feel the heavy weight of darkness descending, you should take the sword, walk the pattern of the Dipper, and send the wind into the furnace. Stoke the fires of the three yangs".

3.5 – p. 65 setting up the Foundation

"The foundation must be built and the fires must circulate before the pill can be completed. When the foundation is stable and thoughts are extinguished, the light of the spirit will guard the body day and night".

3.6 – pp. 65-6 purple vapor; firing schedule

p. 65

"The eight cavities form eight gates in the wheel of fire. ... When all the procedures are followed correctly, the cinnabar grains in the cauldron will be transformed into the purple vapor.

Immortal Pai (Yu:-ch>an) said, "The schedule of circulating the fire follows twelve periods. One period consists of five hours. There are eight regions in the body, and the micro-

p. 66

cosmic circulation completes one revolution in one hour. The alchemical work should be complete in one year.""

3.7 – pp. 66-8 bathing; block leakage; resonance

p. 66

"Bathing in the month means bathing and moistening the "head" of the pill. ... Draw (on k>an) to replenish (li), increasing the fire continuously. ... When the vapor emerges, you must block the leakage. ... Wait for the vapor to calm down, and then direct it to all areas in the body. ... When the vapor is swirling within {cf. Bodish swirling ambrosia}, you must preserve and cultivate it by closing the doors and abiding in nonaction. The precious substance ... flows as slowly as the movement of ants and

p. 67

trickles out as thin as a strand of hair. ... Be ready when the true vapor of the Palace of K>un sends heat shooting up the spine. Use the gentle wind of spring to fan the fire and lead it into the Celestial Palace (Upper tan-t>ien). Keep it locked within and do not let it leak out. After the vapor fills the head, let it descend. The earth element within should now ... cultivate a forest of nectar.

In the human body, yang gathers in the head. ... The five viscera are where

p. 68

all the yin gathers. ... If you attain the center, you will realize the director of all things. ... Only those who can tune in to the internal universe will be able to resonate with it".


Eva Wong (translatrix) : Nourishing the Essence of Life. Shambhala Publ, Boston, 2004.