ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (PRIVATE NOTES): Xuánguān 玄關 Mysterious Pass

xuanguan copy
That kind of things is truly interesting stuff when one term -xuánguān 玄關, for example – can join our body constituency and very general philosophical pointing. Three quotes were chosen to keep reflection going, the entry in the body of Encyclopedia of Taoism this time was written by Monica Esposito, a great sinologist. I put tones as usual, and I do think this act makes citations look better and easier to pronounce and track term further in the dictionaries.

“In neidan, the Mysterious Pass represents the time and place in which an alchemist joins the complimentary antinomies on which he or she works, such as inner nature and vital force (xing and ming), Dragon and Tiger (longhu), lead and mercury, Fire and Water, heart and kidneys, or kăn 坎 (Yang within Yin) and lí 離 (Yin within Yang).”—Monica Esposito.

“The Mysterious Pass, which opens beyond space and time, is inconceivable by means of discursive thought and has, by definition, no fixed position.”—Monica Esposito.

“Only here [in the Center] a new union can occur, as the Mysterious Pass is the ideal space and time to experience the interpenetrating fluctuations of Yin and Yang. The Mysterious Pass is therefore the primordial Chaos (hundun) containing the germ of life—the pre-cosmic sparkle of Original Yang and Original Yin—which is the prime mover and the materia prima of the alchemical work.”—Monica Esposito.

Practically speaking, we do it everyday — placing antinomies (“inner nature and vital force, Dragon and Tiger, lead and mercury, Fire and Water, heart and kidneys”) in one fuel pot and witching fantastic brew — but as always we can do it in Western way or an Asian one, and those people who choose Asian I consider a little bit smarter, as Asian philosophy having had longer history to live in peace with nature in and out of us because this nature definitely can be and is as a matter of fact just merciless to human race. To see this world bewitched one should have very special eyes.

In Modern Chinese ‘xuánguān’ means ‘entrance hall, front door, porch, vestibule’.

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