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

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Posted (edited)

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 two 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 and one by Imios Archangelis and Miaoyu Lanying in Jade Writing, available online Here.

 

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. 

This is an open study, all comments and alternative translations are welcome. 

 

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。

 


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。

 

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

 

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Posted (edited)

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。

 

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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Posted (edited)

 

 

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。

 

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。

 

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

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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。

 

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

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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 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
 


 

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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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