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The Supreme Superior’s Jade Canon on the External view of the Yellow Court

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I have read that the External Yellow Court Scripture is considered to be the first internal alchemy text, and that almost all Taoist internal alchemy texts have been modelled on it. I have access to three different translations, one by Jane Huang (actually her father’s translation) in The Primordial Breath: An Ancient Chinese Way of Prolonging Life through Breath Control Volume 2, one by Imios Archangelis and Miaoyu Lanying in Jade Writing, available online Here and one by Stuart Alve Olson in Yellow Court: The Exalted One’s External Illumination Scripture - Attributed to Lao Zi -. 

 

The external Yellow Court scripture is assumed to be written by a scholar, as it uses strictly seven words per line, no mean feat apparently in Chinese. It is divided into three chapters, I will follow Huang’s paragraphs. 

 

Chapter 1.1

太上黃庭外景玉經上

太上閑居作七言,

解說身形及諸神,

上有黃庭下關元,

後有幽闕前命門。

呼吸廬間入丹田,

玉池清水灌靈根,

審能修之 可長存。

 

The Exalted One’s Scripture on the External Illumination of the Yellow Court

Upper Chapter of the Scripture, Part One.

Above there is the Yellow Court and below the Pass of Origination.

Behind there is the Secret Watchtower and in front the Gate of Life. 
Breathe in the spaces of the Thatched Hut so to enter into the Elixir field. 
The pure water of the Jade Pool pours onto the Spiritual Root. 
If you are able to examine and cultivate this you can be long preserved. - Olson


T’ai Shang, the Supreme Superior [Lao Tzu , N.T.], in leisure living, composed the [following] seven-word  verses to explain the body and the spirits.

Up above, there is the Yellow Court and down below there is Kuan Yuan, the Primordial Pass.
In the rear is You Ch’ueh, the Dark Mysterious Gate Towers [the kidneys, N.T.], and in the front, there is Ming Men, the Gate of Life. 

Inhalations and exhalations are done through the Hut and enter into Tan T’ien, the Elixir Field. 
The clean and clear water of Yu Ch’ih, the Jade pond, is to irrigate Ling Ken, the Miraculous Root. 
Whoever can carefully nourish that may enjoy long life. - Huang

 

High Sovereign, residing in peace, wrote a seven-word scripture,

to tell the secrets how to enhance the individual form and spirit. 
Yellow Court is located above, Original Pass is located below. 
Quiet Watchtower is behind, Life Gate is at the front. 

Let your breath precipitate between three joined Dan Tian, 

and clear waters of Jade Pool irrigate Spirit Root.

Practice constantly, to achieve longevity. - Archangelis and Lanying


 

 


 

 

Edited by Bindi
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Perfectly, yet succinctly describes one method of practice of the MCO and transformation of jing to qi.

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黃庭中人衣朱衣,

關門壯籥合兩扉,

幽闕俠之高巍巍,

丹田之中精黑微。

玉池清水上生肥,

靈根堅固老不衰。

 

Within the Yellow Court are persons dressed in vermillion robes.

In the Pass of Origination behind the two closed doors [is a person] with a beautiful flute.

In the Secret Watchtower are very imposing and lofty heroes.

The subtle Jing and Qi are within the Elixir field.

The pure water of the Jade Pool is the foremost fertility of life.

The Spiritual Root is strong. In old age it does not deteriorate. - Olson

 

The person in the yellow Court wears vermillion clothes.
Shut the gates, strengthen the lock, and close the two doors. 
The Dark Mysterious Gate Towers stand up high and majestically on both sides. 
In the elixir Field, the vital energy is subtle and fine. 
The clean and clear water of the Jade Pond is above it, and produces rich and beneficial nutrients
so that the Mysterious Root is strong and firm and will always be free from deteriorating. - Huang

 

Yellow Court people wear red clothes. 
The radiance of the Original Pass is tightly sealed. 
Imperial palace knight comes from the elevated space within space. 

Essence and Qi in the middle of Dan Tian are profound. 
The clear dew from the Jade pool enables pure potency from above.

Spirit root will be firm, never weakening by time. - Archangelis and Lanying

 

Edited by Bindi

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中池有士衣赤衣,            Zhong Chi You Shi Fu Chi Zu,

田下三寸神所居。            Heng Xia San Cun Shen Suo Ju.

中外相距 重閉之,.          Zhong Wai Xiang Ju Zhong Bi Zhi,

神廬之中當修理。             Shen Lu Zhi Zhong Dang Xiu Zhi.

玄膺黑管受精符,             Xuan Ying Qi Guan Shou Jing Fu,

急固子精以自持。            Ji Gu Jing Yi Zi Chi.  

 

 

Within the pool exists a scholar clothed in red vermilion.

This spirit dwells in the three inches horizontally beneath.

The internal and the external severely obstruct one another. 
The spirit within the Thatched Hut cultivates the cure. 
The Mysterious Receptor is the tube that receives the Qi from the Essence Storehouse. 
Naturally restrain the anxious and obstinate Child’s Essence. - Stuart Alve Olson

 

In Chung Ch'ih, the Middle Pond, there is a scholar wearing red clothes.

Three inches beneath the Field is where the spirit resides.

What are inside and outside mutually resist against each other, hence the doors should be shut tightly.

Inside Shen Lu, the Divine Hut, good maintenance should be kept. 

Hsuan Ying, the Dark Breast, and the bronchial tubes receive the tally of the essence. 

One should urgently strengthen one's essence to maintain oneself. - Huang


In the middle pool, seats a high spirit in red clothes. 
At a horizontal and deep place of the three inches in each direction, 

Between the centre and the circumference of the circle, revolves to keep the residence impregnable. 

The centre of the spirit residence synchronizes the cultivation.

The mysterious opening of wind channel receives essence of the essence. 
Very carefully but resolutely strengthen fresh essence to sustain yourself. Archangelis and Lanying

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bindi

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宅中有士常衣絳,

子能見之可不病,

橫立長尺約其上,

子能守之可無恙。

呼嗡廬問以自償,

保守完堅 身受慶。

 

Dwelling within [the face] is a gentleman constantly dressed in a crimson robe.
If able to see the Child, there can be no illnesses. 
From East to West regulate. Restricted to one foot in length, it is foremost. 
If able to embrace the Child, you will be unaffected by illness and disease. 
Inhaling and exhaling within the spaces of the Thatched Hut is natural restoration. 
Guarding the Child brings about good fortune for repairing and making the body strong. - Olson

 

In the Residence, there is a scholar who always wears dark scarlet clothes. 
If one can see him, one will not be ill. 
The long ruler is set horizontally on top of it. 
If one can guard that, one will be free from troubles.

The breathings through the Hut are for self-fulfilling. 
If one can keep oneself strong and intact, the body will receive the welfare. - Huang


At this seat, there is a high spirit that always wears red clothes. 
If you are able to recognize it you would never get ill. 
Around it a constant proportion is established, channeling the higher reality. 
adjoin it consistently and you will make no errors. 
Inhale and exhale from it, to accomplish self-fulfillment,

and guard the whole body firm, capable, and ready to receive the experience of wonder.

 - Archangelis and Lanying

 

 

Edited by Bindi

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方寸之中謹蓋藏,

精神還歸老復壯。

俠以幽闕流下竟,

養子玉樹令可壯。

 

Within the square inch pay careful attention to conceal the Storehouse. 
Old age can be reversed to fertile health through restoring the spirit of vitality. 
When the heart bonds with the Secret Watchtower it flows down unexpectedly. 
Able to command with a staff from the Jade Tree, the Child is nourished. - Olson

 

One should cover and hide carefully what is inside the cubic-inch,

so that the spirits and the essence will return and the strength of the prime years will be restored when one is old. 
Together with the downflow from You Ch’ueh, the Dark and Mysterious Gate Towers,

it will nourish one’s Yu Shu, the Jade Tree [the body, N.T.], and make the body strong and reliable. - Huang
 

Carefully hide a square inch in the centre as a safe house,

for a spirit to return the old and to recover fresh and strength.

Remote mysteries flow down to establish completeness.

Foster your Jade Tree in order to extend your abilities. Archangelis and Lanying

Edited by Bindi

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至道不煩無旁午,

靈臺通天臨中野,

方寸之中至關下,

玉房之中神門戶,

皆是公子 教我者。

明堂四達法海源,

真人子丹當吾前,

三關之中精氣深,

子欲不死修崑崙。

 

There will be no confusion and no troubles when arriving at the Tao.

From within the wilderness the Spiritual Terrace is approached and Heaven penetrated.

In the centre of the square inch is a barrier below. 
Within the Jade chamber are the Spiritual Doors.

Teaching my own self, the gentleman can be seen. 
The Ocean Origin is the Hall of Illumination, giving order to Four Greats. 
The True Person prepares the Child’s Elixir for the beginning of a new self. 
Within the Three Barriers are the subtle Essence and Qi.

The Child seeks to cultivate immortality on Kun Lun. - Olson

 

Chih Tao, the Utmost Tao, is not troublesome.

It has no side tracks that go athwart. 
Ling T’ai, the Divine Terrace, goes up to Heaven, and commands a view of the middle open country. 
From the cubic-inch dwelling to the place beneath the pass, and to all the doors and the windows of Yu Fang, the Jade Chamber,

are all the places where the Prince teaches me. 
Ming T’ang, the Bright Hall, reaches in all directions to the sources of the sea of ways. 
Immortal Tzu Tan is right in front of me.
In the three passes, the vital energy is thick and rich.
If you want to be free from death, you should cultivate Mt. K’un Lun,

the king of the mountains [the head, N.T.]. - Huang
 

Great Tao is easy to practice, but you cannot see it’s highest point. 
The spirit on stage, connected to the Heavens, faces the unknown in the centre. 
It descends through a square inch pass of the heavenly gate, 

entering a jade room behind the gate. 
The True Man residing there is the higher self, a teacher within. 

At the top of the upper palate, four clear rivers join the sea of origin. 
True man prepares elixir for the new Self,

on a three path junction, where Jing and Qi cross. 
If you want this gate to be impassable for death,
build it to be like the Kunlun mountain. - Archangelis and Lanying

Edited by Bindi

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2 hours ago, Bindi said:

 

At the top of the upper palate, four clear rivers join the sea of origin. 

The Xiu Zhen Tu locates this under the tounge, but since the tounge acts like a bridge (aqueduct, in this case), they are not in conflicts. 

 

There are several technical descriptions in this text that refers to Nei Dan, but it is interesting how seldom both translations manages to translate them in an useful way. 

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7 hours ago, Cleansox said:

The Xiu Zhen Tu locates this under the tounge, but since the tounge acts like a bridge (aqueduct, in this case), they are not in conflicts. 

 

There are several technical descriptions in this text that refers to Nei Dan, but it is interesting how seldom both translations manages to translate them in an useful way. 


In the book by Archangelis and Lanying there is almost a third translatIon, where each Chinese word has its exact translation in English beneath it, it adds another dimension to read that alongside the two translations. I posted a link to that book in the OP, I might start doing the same thing in these posts as it adds a lot when trying to understand it. 
 

 

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On 03/09/2020 at 2:19 PM, Cleansox said:

The Xiu Zhen Tu locates this under the tounge, but since the tounge acts like a bridge (aqueduct, in this case), they are not in conflicts. 

 

There are several technical descriptions in this text that refers to Nei Dan, but it is interesting how seldom both translations manages to translate them in an useful way. 


You referred to this line:

 

Quote

At the top of the upper palate, four clear rivers join the sea of origin. 

 

The four interests me,  Huang sees four as referring to the four directions, Archangelis and Lanying add the word rivers to make it four rivers to fit with their concept of the sea of origin. 
 
The original line is:

 

      明               堂              四               達                 法                 海             源,

  Bright           Hall            four          to reach           law               sea          origin
      [Ming Tang]

 

I’d love to know how else this line could be translated, including the word law, which neither translator seems to have taken on board. My best understanding might be “From the Bright Hall [Mingtang] Four reach the source of the law.” 
 

Where have all our Chinese translators gone? @Taoist Texts, @dawei

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1 hour ago, Bindi said:


You referred to this line:

 

 

The four interests me,  Huang sees four as referring to the four directions, Archangelis and Lanying add the word rivers to make it four rivers to fit with their concept of the sea of origin. 
 
The original line is:

 

      明               堂              四               達                 法                 海             源,

  Bright           Hall            four          to reach           law               sea          origin
      [Ming Tang]

 

I’d love to know how else this line could be translated, including the word law, which neither translator seems to have taken on board. My best understanding might be “From the Bright Hall [Mingtang] Four reach the source of the law.” 
 

@Taoist Texts, @dawei

Screenshot_20200915-054312.thumb.png.7f0db3e36691dadbb7adc6bce749303f.png

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Thanks for posting this ^ Cleansox. The author of your quote (Saso?) takes a liberty in translating the ‘four’ as four directions and organs, and then go on to list five organs and directions. 
 

I think this text needs more and better translators, that’s the only way out for non-Chinese interested in it. 
 

 

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Saso draws the Zheng Yi oral priest training trumph card, that's where his interpretation comes from. 

 

The question is, if some of these characters are read together, formning idioms. 

 

With Da as arrive at, Fa as method or way, and four as a shorthand for the four elements that join the fifth in the center (implied by ming tang), then we do get "the five elements join, this is the way to arrive at the primordial". 

 

Check out awakens ppd, thread five qi (something) primordial. That might be it. 

Edited by Cleansox
Added stuff, mostly speculations
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絳官重樓十二級,

官室之中五黑集,

赤城之子中池立,

下有長城玄谷色。

長生要妙 房中急,

棄捐淫欲專守精,

寸田尺宅可理生,

繫系子長留心安寧。

觀志遊神三奇靈,

閑暇無事心太平。


The Zhong Lou in the Red Palace has twelve bracelets. 
Within the Precious Jade House, the Five Color’s assemble. 
Abandon lustful desires and focus intently on the Child’s Essence.

Constantly restrain the difficult Child so the heart can be peaceful. 
Direct the conscious will so that the Spirit can quickly travel to become three extraordinary immortal spirits. 
Coursing about amongst them, there will be no problem in the mind for acquiring the Great Peace. - Olson
 

 

The storied tower of Chiang Kung, the Dark Scarlet Palace, has twelve steps [the trachea, N.T.].

The five breath energies assemble in the palace.

The prince of the Red Town stands in the Middle Pond. 
Beneath it, there are the long walls and the colour of Hsuan Ku, the Dark and Mysterious Valleys. 
The important wonder for longevity is to guard the urges of sex. 

One should renounce all lusts and desires to concentrate on guarding the essence. 
A square inch Field and a foot long Residence can manage life. 
By tying oneself to the Prince to keep him to stay long, one’s mind will be peaceful and calm. 
If one can observe the will and keep the spirits roam about in relaxation,
the three wonders will be quick and miraculous. 

One will be at ease, at leisure and free from troubles, and one’s mind will enjoy great peace. -Huang


 

In a palace made of  12 continuous stores

jade hall in the middle collects the 5 colours

and red spirit manifests itself in the central pool. 
Underneath there is a Great Wall surrounding a profound valley.

Longevity demands carefulness with the room of desires underneath.

Abandon investing to lust, concentrate on the essence of your essence, Pre-Heaven Jing.
The one inch entry within a one-foot land of one’s face is so able to govern human life. 
Concentration on the formation of one’s young self makes possible for the heart to stay at peace. 
Prevent will from dissipating, but let it join three wonderful spirits. 
Let it walk between them, and there would be no problem 

keeping the heart peaceful and content. - Archangelis and Lanying
 


 

Edited by Bindi

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One interesting thing here is: What is the twelve storied tower?

 

Is it the trachea, which have 12-20 cartilage rings? 

Or is it the rib cage, which has 12 ribs?

 

And the square inch field in the one foot area, why is only one translation specifying the face? 

 

The description of what location we are supposed to work with here is rather confusing. 

 

Another thing worth mentioning is the usage of the term "pre-heaven jing". Is that in the text? Or is that an interpretation, adding things that actually developed later? 

 

I have a bit left in Stuart Alve Olson's translation of the External Yellow Court Classic, and then Jade Writing is next. 

Edited by Cleansox

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23 hours ago, Cleansox said:

One interesting thing here is: What is the twelve storied tower?

 

Is it the trachea, which have 12-20 cartilage rings? 

Or is it the rib cage, which has 12 ribs?

 

I’ve always seen it referred to as the trachea, for example in the Neijing  tu Diagram. I still wonder with this text though if people came along and decided it meant something, like the 12 storied tower = trachea, but was this meant by the author? 

 

23 hours ago, Cleansox said:

 

And the square inch field in the one foot area, why is only one translation specifying the face? 

 

 

the one foot area sounds to me like the whole head, the square inch then in the middle of the head. For my own personal reasons I take this to refer to the pineal gland and the area around it. The master gland is the pituitary, this is now known to manage all the other glands, but what if this was information from inner sight, that could easily be represented by a square inch in a square foot area. I have come to believe that the glands are very important in the neidan journey. 

 

23 hours ago, Cleansox said:

 

Reading 

 

The description of what location we are supposed to work with here is rather confusing. 

 

Another thing worth mentioning is the usage of the term "pre-heaven jing". Is that in the text? Or is that an interpretation, adding things that actually developed later? 

 

Yes agreed, pre-heaven Jing looks like a later developed concept. 

 

23 hours ago, Cleansox said:

 

 

I have a bit left in Stuart Alve Olson's translation of the External Yellow Court Classic, and then Jade Writing is next. 


I’ve ordered Olsen’s book, and then I should order Saso’s. 

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30 minutes ago, Bindi said:

 

I’ve always seen it referred to as the trachea, for example in the Neijing  tu Diagram.

If it is in the right location. 

And that can be argued... 😁 

Quote

I still wonder with this text though if people came along and decided it meant something, like the 12 storied tower = trachea, but was this meant by the author? 

We will never know. 

Quote

 

the one foot area sounds to me like the whole head, the square inch then in the middle of the head. 

Check out Olsen. 

He thinks that the one foot area is the entire yellow court, and that there are three of them (Jerry Alan Johnson have great images of it), and the square inch would be the dantian proper. 

 

In the middle section (which the text is about, isn't this from section two/middle section), this would be the chest area, with a focus on the red chamber. 

 

Maybe... 

I reserv the right to be wrong 😁

Edited by Cleansox

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Outer Yellow Court Canon

太上黃庭外景玉經上

太上閑居作七言,解說身形及諸神,上有黃庭下關元,後有幽闕前命門。呼吸廬間入丹田,玉池清水灌靈根,審能修之 可長存。黃庭中人衣朱衣,關門壯籥合兩扉,幽闕俠之高巍巍,丹田之中精黑微。玉池清水上生肥,靈根堅固老不衰。中池有士衣赤衣,田下三寸神所居。中外相距 重閉之,神廬之中當修理。玄膺黑管受精符,急固子精以自持。宅中有士常衣絳,子能見之可不病,橫立長尺約其上,子能守之可無恙。呼嗡廬問以自償,保守完堅 身受慶。方寸之中謹蓋藏,精神還歸老復壯。俠以幽闕流下竟,養子玉樹令可壯。至道不煩無旁午,靈臺通天臨中野,方寸之中至關下,玉房之中神門戶,皆是公子 教我者。明堂四達法海源,真人子丹當吾前,三關之中精氣深,子欲不死修崑崙。絳官重樓十二級,官室之中五黑集,赤城之子中池立,下有長城玄谷色。長生要妙 房中急,棄捐淫欲專守精,寸田尺宅可理生,繫系子長留心安寧。觀志遊神三奇靈,閑暇無事心太平。常存玉房神明達,時念太倉不飢渴,役使六丁神女謁,閉子精 路可長活。正室之中神所居,洗身自理無敢污。歷觀五臟視節度,六腑修治潔如素,虛無自然道之故。物有自然事不煩,垂拱無為身體安,虛無之居在幃問,寂寞曠 然口不言,恬淡無欲游德園,清爭香潔玉女存,修德明達道之門。 

太上黃庭外景玉經上 

太上黃庭外景玉經中

作道優游深獨居,扶養性命守虛無,恬淡無為向#1思慮,羽翼已成正扶疏,長生久視乃飛去。五行參差同根節,三五合氣要本一,誰與共之斗日月,抱玉懷珠和子室。子能知之萬事畢,子自有之持勿失,即得不死入金室。出日入月是吾道,天七地三#2迴 相守,昇降進退合乃久,玉石珞珞是吾寶,子自有之何不守。心曉根基養華釆,服天順地合藏精,九原之山何亭亭,中住真人可使令。內陽三神可長生,七日之五迴 相合。崑崙之山不迷誤,蔽以紫宮丹城樓,俠以日月如連珠,萬歲昭昭非有期。外本三陽神自來,內養三陰可長生,魂欲上天魄入泉,還魂返魄道自然。 

太上黃庭外景玉經中 

#1向:疑當作『何』。 

#2三:原作『二』,據文義改。 

太上黃庭外景玉經下

遊璣懸珠環無端,迅牝金籥常完堅,載地懸天周乾坤,象以四時赤如丹,前仰後卑各異門,送以還丹與玄泉,象龜引黑 至靈根。中有真人巾金巾,負甲持符開七門,此非枝葉實是根,晝夜思之可長存。倦人道士非有神,積精所致為專年,人皆食穀與五味,獨食太和陰陽黑,故能不死 天相既。試說五臟各有方,心為國主五臟主,意中動靜黑得行,道自持我神明光。晝日昭昭夜自守,渴自飲漿飢得飽,經歷六腑藏卯酉,轉陽之陰藏於九,常能行之 不知老。肝之為黑修而長,羅列五臟生三光,上合三焦道飲漿,精候天地長生道,我神魂魄在中央。精液流泉去鼻香,立於玄膺含明堂,通我華精調陰陽。伏於玄門 候天道,近在我身還自守,清今無為神留止,精氣上下關分理。七孔已通不知老,還坐天門候陰陽,下於喉嚨通神明,過華蓋下清且凍。入清虛淵見吾形,期成還丹 可長生,還過華池動腎精,望於明堂臨丹田,將使諸神開命門,通利天道藏靈根。陰陽列布如流星,肝氣似環終無端,肺之為黑三焦起,伏於天門候故道。清液醴泉 通六府,隨鼻上下開二耳,窺視天地存童子,調和精華理髮齒。顏色光澤老不白,下於喉嚨何落落,諸神皆會相求索,下入絳宮紫華色。隱藏華蓋通神廬,專守心神 傳相呼。觀我諸神辟除邪,脾神還歸依大家,藏養靈根不復枯,至於胃管通虛無,閉塞命門似玉都,壽傳萬歲將有餘。脾中之神遊中宮,朝會五神和三光,上合天黑 及明堂,通利六府調五行。金木水火土為王,通利血脈汗為漿,二神相得下玉英,上稟元氣年益長。循護七竅去不祥,日月列布張陰陽,伏於太陰成其形,五臟之主 腎為精。出入二黑入黃庭,呼吸虛無見吾形,強我筋骨血脈成。恍惚不見過清靈,坐於廬下觀小童,日一夕存在神明光,出於無門入無戶。恬淡無欲養華根,服食玄 黑可遂生。還返七門飲太淵,通我喉嚨過清靈,問於仙道與奇功,服食靈芝與玉英。頭戴白素足丹田,沐浴華池灌靈根,三府相得開命門,五味皆至善黑還。大道蕩 蕩心勿煩,被髮行之可長存,吾言畢矣勿妄傳。 

太上黃庭外景玉經下

 

Eternally preserve the Spiritual Illumination penetrating the Jade Chamber. 
When meditating on the Great Granary (the stomach) there will be no more hunger and thirst. 
When this is accomplished there will be a visitation from all Six Jade Maidens.

Close off the Child at the Essence Gate to acquire the medicine for longevity

In front of the Foremost Chamber Hall is where the spirits reside. 
Cleanse the mind to self-heal rather than wither from impurity. - Olson

 

By always thinking and guarding the Jade Chamber, one’s bright spirits [Shen Ming] will arrive. 
By always thinking of T’ai Ts’ang, the Great Warehouse, one will be free from hunger and thirst. 
By commanding the six Tings, the goddesses will come to pay respect.
By blocking off the routes for the essence, one will live long.

The main chamber is where the spirits reside.
One should bathe and groom oneself and be careful not to get dirty. - Huang
 

Frequently store the attained bright light to the jade room. 
Meditate periodically on the stomach area (Great Granary) to eliminate hunger and thirst. 
Once Qi starts flowing, all six Jade girls will be also present. 
Close your essence gate to achieve longevity. 
Straighten the room in the middle so spirit would live within. 
Cleanse the heart-mind [Xin] so it would be inclined to self-healing rather than self-intoxicating. 
- Archangelis and Lanying


 


 

Edited by Bindi

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