Wu Yun, cap. 7-8

pp. 265-268 deities of Quintessences

p. 265

"The formed universe, posits Wu Yun, is unable ... to "possess itself" ... . In order to exist, it is dependent upon the Great Extremity (taiji ...), i.e., the undifferentiated state before the separation of yin and yang. In its turn, taiji is dependent upon yet another "motor" : that of Perfect Quintessence. Perfect Quintessence is described as having existed prior to the "Empty Cavern" [pp. 249-250, fn. 57 : "Rendered ... "the Hollow of Space" or "the Hollow Space,"" in SSS, p. 333, n. 108] (kongdong, the cradle of the primordial qi), as "being-so-out-of-itself" (ziran), as being "all divinity and illumination" (wei shen wei ming ...) ... . ... Wu Yun .. adds ... that the authentic name of the "overseer of mysterious transformations," of the "universal superintendent of the myriad of living beings" ... is "the August One of Vacuity" (xuhuang ...)."

p. 266

"In [1a-2b of] ... Tao Hongjing’s Dongxuan lingbao zhenling weiyu tu [= DZ 167], ... xuhuang occurs as part of the names of ... nine of the most ancient and exalted divinities, all of them residents of the Palace of the Three Primes (Sanyuan gong ...) in the Heaven of Jade Clarity. The highest divinity in that heaven ... is Yuanshi tianzun, the Celestial Worthy of Primordial Commencement, whose name is sometimes expanded to Wushang xuhuang yuanshi tianzun ..., and whose reign period (nianhao ...) is in some sources designated as Xuhuang. [e.g., Taishang dadao yuqing (= DZ 1312) 5.1a; and Yun-ji Qi-qian 3.13b] ...

In Wu Yun’s own writings, xuhuang is found, e.g., in the ninth ‘Song of Pacing the Void,’ which opens ... [CPV, p. 411] :

I make the ascent all the way from Grand Tenuity,

For an interview, finally, with ... the Resplendent One of the Void."

p. 267

Xuan-gan 3 : "What it is that makes heaven and earth into something is called the Great Extremity. The Great Extremity cannot set itself into motion. What it is that sets the Great Extremity in motion is Perfect Quintessence [z^en-jin]. Perfect Quintessence is so-out-of-itself, it is all divinity and illumination. Its authentic name is the August One of Vacuity. Residing on high, above the nine clarities [i.e., the 9 heavens], it oversees the mysterious transformations, and universally superintends the myriad living creatures. ... Primal harmony (yuanhe ...) [fn. 29 : recluse can "affect alien species by his primal harmony" (Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Wen-ji 3.15a)], pure and upright, is established there. Divine and perfected beings transform in isolation ... . ... On cinnabar terraces and in carnelian forests, they wander and they rest. Cloud liquor [yun-jian = solution of mica] and vaporous dainties [fn. 31 : xia-z^uan -- xia ‘pink clouds’ "were considered the quintessence of the sun (ri zhi jing ...)" (cf. Z^en Gao 2.6a)] serve as their food and drink. ... Listening not with ears, they hear the inexhaustible; looking not with eyes, they discern the limitless."

p. 268

"Revolutions ["the onslaughts of the netherworld’s bureaucracy" (fn. 34)] are interrupted at the Northern Capital,

And the decree ["obviously the one entitling one to life unlimited" (fn. 34)] is posted at the Southern Storehouse [Nan-fu]."

SSS = Edward H. Schafer : "Wu Yun’s Stanzas on ‘Saunters in Sylphdom’ ". In :- MONUMENTA SERICA, vol. 35 (1981-3), pp. 309-345

CPV = Edward H. Schafer : "Wu Yun’s ‘Cantos on Pacing the Void’ ". In :- HARVARD JOURNAL OF ASIATIC STUDIES, vol. 41 (1981), pp. 377-415

p. 271 cosmogonic origins from factors devoid of distinctions, according to Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Wen-ji 3a

the __

was originally devoid of distinction between __

yet nevertheless __ originated from it


motion and rest

yin and yan


purity and uncleanness

heaven and earth

p. 280 successively greater levels to be attained by incessant study, according to the Tai-pin Jin He-jiao




the Way

immortal (xian)

perfected (z^en)

spiritual (s^en)

p. 281 attainments of levels of worthies, according to the Tai-pin Jin He-jiao


their attainment

"who have received the heavenly mandate"

da-du (‘major salvation’)


da-s^ou (‘major longevity’)


xiao-s^ou (‘minor longevity’)

p. 281 according to the Tai-pin Jin He-jiao : " "Every human life ... is subject to predestination."

pp. 282-283 praedestination, as described by Ge Hon

p. 282 Bao-pu-zi Nei-pian Jiao-s^i 7.136

pp. 282-3

"those whose fate belongs to an "asterism of life" (shengxing ...) will naturally be fond of the Way of immortality ... "..., they will certainly obtain it.

p. 283 "immortality can be gained by studying" (Bao-pu-zi Nei-pian Jiao-s^i 2.17; 3.46; 3.51-2; 7.138-9; 8. 152-5; 14.260; 16.287)

Those whose fate depends on a asterism of death (sixing ...), however, will not believe in the Way of immortality ..., they will not engage in it.""

p. 282 "If one has not received the mandate (ming) to become immortal, one will certainly lack any predilection for immortality." (Bao-pu-zi Nei-pian Jiao-s^i 12.226)

p. 291, fn. 37 sexual techniques

"Like many of the earliest immortals, such as Sir Rongcheng ..., Pengzu ..., Master White Stone (Baishi sheng ...) and Laozi himself, Juanzi is said to have practiced sexual techniques. ... "When coiting, he ingested (lit. ‘ate’) his seminal essence" (jie shi qi jing ...)"". {The Kala-cakra Tantra is likewise an advocate of a male’s eating his own semen after sexual intercourse with a woman.}

Juan-zi’s disciple San Jiao "is the same person as the "Mulberry Master," Sangzi ..., with whom the immortal Yuzi ... studied." [p. 361 : "Originally named Zhang Zhen ... and hailing from present-day Jiangling ... (Hubei province), Yuzi purportedly declined an invitation to appear at the court of king You of the Zhou ... (r. 781-771 BC)."]

p. 301 beneficial effect of official emendation of one’s record in divine registers

"Having one’s name erased from the "records of the dead" (siji ...) and added instead on the "mysterious registers" (xuanlu ...) was a formula used by Celestial master priests as part of a basic Zhengyi ritual known as chaozhen ... ("Audience with the Perfected")."

pp. 304-306 an official career in the netherworld for soul of the dead

p. 304, fn. 85

"One establishes yin or "hidden" virtue by helping one’s fellow man without taking credit for it. In another context, however, it may also indicate the virtue {"stock of merit" in Mahayana jargon} amassed during a posthumous stay in the underworld, as a preparation for a career in the immortal bureaucracy."

p. 305, fn. 89

"Zhen gao, 16.10a promises a posthumous appointment in the subterranean bureaucracy to those who had lived lives of extreme loyalty and extreme filial piety."

p. 305, fn. 90

"On the posthumous compensations for the extremely virtuous and extremely incorruptible, see Zhen gao, 16.11a-b."

p. 306, fn. 94

"according to the Yuanshi shangzhen zhongxian ji, 8a, Bo Yi and Shu Qi ... had posthumous careers as Vice Directors of the Nine Heavens (jiutian puye ...), and had Tiantai shan under their jurisdiction." [p. 181, fn. 26 : "Bo Yi ... and Shu Qi ..., sons of the ruler of the ancient state of Guzhu ... (in present day western Liaoning) ... . See Shi ji, 61.2123".]

p. 307, fn. 95 "Cavernous Perfection (i.e., the Shangqing school) esteems the saving of the world" (Quan Deyu : Quan Tan S^i 320.3610).

p. 309 imageless images & image-carrying images, according to the S^en-xian Ke-xue Lun

"vacuous silence and mysterious vastness are the "imageless images" (wu xiang zhi xiang ...) of the Great Way. [Dao-de Jin 14 & 41]

The "two deportments" (yin and yang) ... are the "image-carrying images" (you xiang zhi xiang ...) of the Great Way."

p. 310 successive stages in manifesting the subtle hidden in ultimate voidness, according to the S^en-xian Ke-xue Lun (quoted in Jin-dan Fu 17a)

"the "square inch" [fn. 109 : /tu-du/, cf. the ‘Announcement of Tan’ in the S^u Jin] unobstructed, ... in agreement with vacuity."

"ultimate quietude"

"accumulate stimulation"

"all-pervading communication"

"the universe will be supremely stable and the heavenly glow will emit its brilliance."

pp. 311-312 techniques for achieving immortality, according to the S^en-xian Ke-xue Lun

p. 311

"one intones the golden writ of the Supreme Emperor and


thoroughly investigates the jade chapters of Cavernous Perfection, ...


one lets the Thearchic One ["Diyi, the Thearchic One ... (or the Thearchic Monad) ... within the adept’s body. Diyi’s residence is the heart, also known as the "crimson palace" (jianggong ...)." (fn. 116)] roost inside the "crimson place" and


aligns the Three Primes within the "purple chamber," ... one

p. 312

inhales the florescence of the two radiances and


ascends the numinous net (linggang ...) of the Seven Primes" [fn. 118 : "Qiyuan ... indicates both the seven stars of the Dipper and the primordial qi of the seven orifices of the head. Cf. Huangting neijing jing, 9.3 and its commentary in Yunji qiqian 11.25b".]

pp. 312-313 mystical attainments described by Pan S^i-zen (Wu Yun’s master’s master), according to the Dao-men Jin-fa Xian-c^en Ci-xu


mortal man could aspire to __ (‘__’)

corresponding to the S^an-qin Heaven of __ -qin (‘__ Clarity’)


xian ‘immortal’

Tai ‘Great’


z^en ‘perfected’



p. 312 s^en ‘sage’

p. 313 Yu ‘Jade’

p. 313 Wu Yun’s scheme, however, the term /s^en-ren/ ‘divine man’ is used instead of /s^en/ ‘sage’ : "Wu Yun’s scheme of mystical ascent is thus closer to the one found in the Taiping jing ... than to ... the Lingbao".

pp. 313-314 general characteristics of the divine man

p. 313

"The divine man is able to move between life and death,

He can choose between darkness and light;


Going out beyond the transmuting motor [hua-ji],

he enters into the realm of Great Silence [tai-mo];


Without purposive mind [wu-xin]

he has penetrating insight,


Without wings

he wheels through the air; ...


His happiness is aeonian,

His blessings are boundless;

p. 314

His longevity (shou) equals that of Great Vacuity,

And withstands all measuring."

p. 313, fn. 124 "numinous wind rising up from Great Silence" (Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Wen-ji 2.30a); the adept "scaling Great Silence’s bright vastness" (Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Wen-ji 2.6b)

pp. 315-317 how heaven produced the sacred scriptures, according to Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Xuan-gan Lun 8b-9b

p. 315

"When the nine heavens were still young, ... numinous winds gathered subtle elements, and in Hollow Space, efflorescences congealed.

Precious stanzas crystalized in "creation-from-chaos" (huncheng ...);

jade characters appeared in autonomous transformation (duhua ...).

They stood out on the boundary between being and non-being, and

shone prior to "the dark and the yellow" (heaven and earth).

Sun and moon obtained them in order to irradiate ... ."

[fn. 132 : this is quoted without acknowledgement in Yun-ji Qi-qian 3.1a]


"Thereupon the Supremely August One of Vacuity (Wushang Xuhuang ...) commanded the Heavenly King of Primordial Commencement (Yuanshi Tianwang ...) to compile them into "golden bamboo slips" and arrange them into "jade stanzas."" [fn. 133 : without acknowledgement, in Yun-ji Qi-qian 3.1b-2a]

p. 316

"Who[soever], upon examination, was found to possess the Way, was then granted these writs. Thus,

Fuxi received the chart,

Xuanyuan received the talisman,

Gaoxin received the Canon of Heaven, and

the Great Yu received the Luo Writ."

[fn. 134 : without acknowledgement, in Yun-ji Qi-qian 3.2a; and with acknowledgment, in Z^en-yuan Miao-dao Yao-lu:e (= DZ 924) 5a]


"Therefore the Western Terrace [fn. 138 : = "Terrace of the Tortoise of White Jade" in Tao Hon-jin : Don-xuan Lin-bao Z^en-lin Wei-ye Tu (= DZ 167) 5b] no longer conceals its supernatural writs, and the Eastern Florescence [Don-hua, the palace of "the Azure Lad (Qingtong ...), Lord of the Eastern Sea and the dawn" (p. 317, fn. 139)] no longer keeps secret the instructions of the

p. 317

perfected. Thus the "dragon stanzas [lon-zan] and cloud seals [yun-z^uan]" have gradually found their way among mankind."

pp. 318 sequential study of the scriptures, according to Zon-xuan Xian-s^en Xuan-gan Lun 9b

begin with Z^en-yi (Way of the Caelestial masters)

move to Don-s^en (organized around the San-huan Wen)

dwell in Lin-bao (Don-xuan section of canon)

come to rest in Don-z^en (S^an-qin scriptures)

SINICA LEIDENSIA, Vol. LXXII = Jan de Meyer : Wu Yun’s Way. Brill, Leiden, 2006. pp. 258-279 = cap. 7 ‘Immortality and the Usefulness of Cosmology’; pp. 280-319 = cap. 8 ‘Immortality Can Be Studied’