Nourishing the Essence of Life, text 3, part 1

pp. 71-104 T>ai-hsu:an Pao-tien ("The Sacred Treatise on the Great Mystery")


pp. 73-79 Part 1, Section 1 : Cultivating the Underlying Reality to enter Stillness 1

1.1.1 – pp. 73-4 numinous spirit

p. 73

"hold on to the primal One, and the white in the void will emerge. ... The workings of heaven will be known to you; ghosts ...

p. 74

will be yours to command ... . The way of immortality, therefore, lies in cultivating the void in the spirit".

1.1.2 – p. 74 vapor of the void resonating in the Cavern

"If you can attain clarity, the true yang will be empty, and you can merge with all things. Departing from death and entering life, you can change your form and transform your body. When energy is merged with the void, the spirit will become numinous. ...

When vitality is conserved, it will become numinous and will resonate with all things. ... If you succeed in cultivating vital energy, you will attain the spirit of the cavern, and eventually you will be able to resonate with things in all directions."

1.1.3 – pp. 74-5 strengthening C^in

p. 74

"Generative energy (ching) is the true essence. the true essence is the true beginning of all things, ... and the root of both life and death. If you want to preserve life,

p. 75

you must strengthen generative energy. ... When vital energy is stable it will become thick and heavy. ... When generative energy is stable, apply fire to circulate it. ... Next, use the breath to move vital energy around while continuing to cultivate generative energy. Once these processes are complete, the mysterious fetus will be formed."

1.1.4 – pp. 75-6 copulation of Sky & Earth

p. 75

"Those who understand the principles of heaven will know how to cultivate life, and those who understand the principles of earth will know how to cultivate vapor. The enlightened ones tell us that vapor rises upward from the (lower) elixir field (tan-t>ien). If you don’t want this vapor to dissipate,

you must direct it to move from the right kidney

through the abdomen and down the leg.

p. 76

From the foot,

let it ascend the right side of the body into the right arm. Then,

move it up to the shoulder blade and

bring it into the ears and the brain. From there,

let the vapor descend into the left ear,

down through the shoulder blade, and

into the left arm. Then, direct the vapor down the left side of the body,

letting it run through the abdomen and down into the left leg. Finally,

let the vapor rise from the foot to return to the (lower) elixir field. ...

When the vapor rises to the gate at the top of the head,

a cold vapor will penetrate the Radiant Pool.

When you hear the sound of running water, this is a sign that the primordial vapor is born. The primordial vapor moves naturally ..., penetrating all the circulatory channels in the body.

When you feel it moving in the left side, you should use the right hand to massage the left side of the body;

when you feel it moving in the right side, you should use the left hand to massage the right side of the body.

When the ... sky and earth will copulate, ... the internal universe will mirror the external universe. ...

After directing the vapor through its complete circuit three thousand times, the primordial vapor will circulate on its own."

1.1.5 – pp. 76-7 creative power of yin & yan

p. 76

"Receiving the vapor of yang, the kidneys are first to emerge. ...

Receiving the vapor of yin, the blood

p. 77

and the heart are the first to emerge.

Therefore, to attain immortality,

the male must cultivate vapor and conserve generative energy,

and the female must cultivate blood and preserve the spirit. ...

The male must focus on the kidneys ... . ...

The female must focus on the heart ... so that the fire is not aroused.

She must channel the vapor stored in the breast into the kidneys ... . ...

For the female, ... vapor in the two meridians will be tamed,

one transmuted into breast energy and

the other transmuted into blood."

1.1.6 – pp. 77-8 natural foetal breathing

p. 77

"If you want to circulate vapor, you must first breathe ... like a fetus. ...

p. 78

First, get the vapor to penetrate the ears. ... Once the passages to the ears are opened, the breath will not pass through the mouth and the nostrils ... . {I was doing this, briefly.} ... Then massage to direct the vapor to move counterclockwise until it flows back and forth between the skin and the internal organs."

1.1.7 –p.78 formation of Great Pill in the Golden Cauldron




giveth birth to __



which " " " __



which is __


"green metal"

containing __



"Lead and mercury rise and fall, meeting in the golden cauldron where they are transmuted into the Great Pill and crystallized into the ultimate medicine."


pp. 79-85 Part 1, Section 2 : Cultivating the Ultimate Reality to merge with the Sacred

1.2.1 – pp. 79-80 S^en transmuting S^en

p. 79

"Use the void as structure, and use the light of stillness as function. ...

p. 80

Merge with the formless, and you will be able to wander in the realms of the subtle cavern, penetrate the roots of life and death, and arrive at the ultimate answer to gain and loss. This process is known as the spirit resonating. ... After three thousand sessions of practice, the spirit will exit the body."

1.2.2 – pp. 80-1 C^>i transmuting C^>i

p. 80

"In order for the vapor to become numinous, we need to practice inward gazing, apply the technique of massage, and realize the sacred numerics (the internal dimensions of the cauldron). ... The

p. 81

movement of the vapor begins at the (lower) elixir field. First, it circulates within the musculoskeletal shell. Then it visits the three palaces and lingers there. Exiting the palaces, it can move ... . Carried by the three carts, it will move up to the Mudball cavity. ... You can also direct the vapor from the waist to the top of the head by massaging yourself. When you feel the vapor moving up, swallow the nectar of the Radiant Pool (hua-chih) forty-nine times."

1.2.3 – pp. 81-2 C^in transmuting C^in

p. 81

"The aim of preserving generative energy is to refine vital energy. ... To preserve the generative energy, you must lock the nine gates ... . Generative energy beings its movement from the base of the

p. 82

spine. {as doth the Kun.d.alini} After it is awakened, for three hours vapor and generative energy will interact nine times in the area below the navel. ... Circulate the vapor 360 times during these two periods, and in ten days the true generative essence will emerge naturally. It is important that you absorb the energy resulting from the copulation of yin and yang."

1.2.4 – pp. 82-3 relocating Heaven & Earth

p. 82

"Males receive more of the pure yang of the sky, and females receive more of the pure yin of the earth. ...

p. 83

For the male practitioner, the methods all come down to accumulating generative energy and nourishing the spirit. Women, on the other hand, must refine the blood and pull the energy in from the breasts. To facilitate this process, they can massage the face with their hands."

1.2.5 – p. 83 holding Yin & Yan

during the double-hour __

tzu (11 PM – 1 AM)

wu (11 AM – 1 PM)


emit vapor

emit vapor downward


giveth birth to spirit

emit spirit upwards

form a first with the __ hand



close the __ eye



focus attention on the __



In each case, "Open the hand and open the eye after 360 circulations." "Practice this for three thousand days and you will have knowledge of events tens of thousands of miles away. You will see all the phenomena in the sky, earth, mountains, rivers, stars, and planets."

1.2.6 – p. 84 foetal inhalation & exhalation

"First, regulate the breath until there are no ... inhalation and exhalation. Lock the vapor within and move it to the Radiant Pool cavity. ... After fetal breathing has started, ... the mysterious pearl ... can be ... back in. With time, the Tailbone (wei-lu) cavity will be locked and secure. After ... the fetal breathing has become regular, the mysterious pearl will be formed. When the pearl can move from below up to the Mudball cavity, you will attain longevity."

1.2.7 – p. 84 production-sequences

__ giveth birth

true generative essence

spirit when still

to __ which



giveth birth to __

Yellow Splendor

Mysterious Pearl

in the __

Yellow Palace

Tailbone cavity

"When mercury emerges, the vapor will be able to rise and fall and swirl and tumble. ... The emergence of lead will prevent the breath from going up or down, allowing it to circulate left and right instead."


pp. 85-89 Part 1, Section 3 : Cultivating the Underlying Reality to attain the Wondrous

1.3.1 – p. 85 S^en emerging from S^en

"When the mind is centered, the spirit will become still. ... To cultivate the spirit and refine the underlying reality, the mind must be like the bright moon. When the underlying reality is refined, it must rise to the Mudball cavity and then fall into the sea of elixir. With practice, a halo of light will hover around the body. {I have seen this halo of light (horizontal hoop) around my body, briefly.} When the light emerges, many forms will emanate from the body. ... Because the spirit exiting the body is born from the spirit within, this process is called spirit emerging from the spirit."

1.3.2 – pp. 85-6 C^>i stabilizing C^>i

p. 85

"The true vapor preserves the underlying reality within. ... Vapor is entwined in the root of the Tao ... .

p. 86

... To refine it, you must know that it emerges from the lower elixir field at midnight. When you sense its emergence, you must move it from the place where it is born and direct it into the heart. When vapor is aroused, massage your body with your hands to help it circulate."

1.3.3 – p. 86 preserving the energies

"When the vital energy is strong, the voice will be strong and the body will feel light. ... Only then can you still the mind and attain the empty grotto within. Only then can the vapor move up and down without stopping. ... Let the mind be as clear as the bright moon shining on the body. Let the vapor move strongly up to the Mudball cavity. Accumulate generative energy, do not let it leak out, and move it upward together with the vapor."

1.3.4 – p. 87 extinguishing the forms

"Our goal in the mortal realm is ... that when we die we can shed the bodily shell and liberate the spirit from the dust of the world. Thus, in life, our goal it to extinguish the forms and turn them into shadows.

In death, our goal is to focus the spirit and send it into the realm of the underlying reality of the Tao. ...

After the forms dissolve, you should walk toward the sun at sunrise on the winter solstice and climb up a mountain. If you hold a red mushroom in your hand and standing under a large pine tree, ghostly figures will appear and walk toward you. Call on the Celestial Wolf seven times, and the apparitions will turn around and vanish into a black fog. After this, ... the ghostly shadows will no longer attack you.

At the time of death, gather the spirit. The enlightened ones said : When the spirit does not dissipate, generative essence will not dissipate."

1.3.5 – pp. 87-8 banishing the "soul" [Hun-P>o?]

p. 87

"The soul is particular to the human. When it is bright and virtuous, it is the spirit. ... Those who cultivate the Tao must banish the monstrous soul and allow the spirit to emerge.

p. 88

When the light of the spirit is projected out of the body, extraordinary beings will appear, either to welcome you to the immortal realm or to stop you from entering. Make sure you obey their orders."

1.3.6 – p. 88 transforming old age into youth

"If you want to regain your strength and vigor, you will need to ingest the primal elixir of the nine immortals. ... Fill the body with the eighty-one drops of the true elixir. At first the nectar will not taste sweet, but with time it should."

1.3.7 – pp. 88-9 attaining longevity

p. 88

"Longevity ... can also mean that when you shed your shell, your spirit does not die with the body. ... One way to lengthen your life

p. 89

span is to find the right medicines and ingest them. Examples of such medicines are evergreen needles, [pin~on-nuts from] pine cones, ... and the essence of chrysanthemum."


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