Xing Qi English Translation 1999

In: Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundation of Taoist Mysticism by Harold D. Roth, 1999

01   To circulate the vital breath:

02   Swallow it and it will collect.

03   When it is collected, it will expand.

04   When it expends, it will descend.

05   When it descends, it will be become stable.

06   When it is stable, it will be firm.

07   When it is firm, it will sprout.

08   When it sprouts, it will grow.

09   When it grows, it will return.

10   When it returns, it will become heavenly.

11   The heavenly dynamism is revealed in the ascending [of the breath];

12   The earthly dynamism is revealed in the descending [of the breath].

13   Follow this and you will live;

14   Oppose it and you will die.

Xing Qi Traditional Chinese Text With English Vocabulary

01 行氣 xíngqì

02 吞則蓄 tūn zé xù

03 蓄則伸 xù zé shēn

04 伸則下 shēn zé xià

05 下則定 xià zé dìng

06 定則固 dìng zé gù

07 固則萌 gù zé méng

08 萌則長 méng zé cháng

09 長則復 cháng zé fù

10 復則天 fù zé tiān

11 天機舂在上 tiān jī chōng zài shàng

12 地機舂在下 dì jī chōng zài xià

13 順則生 shùn zé shēng

14 逆則死 nì zé sĭ

Xing Qi Different Characters (1-20)

01 xíng (1) walk, move, travel, about to, soon, will, behavior 

02 氣 qì (1) vital energy, air, vapor

03 吞 tūn to swallow, to take (1)

04 則 zé (11) rule, standard, norm, example, imitate, follow, linking statements: then, already, turned out that, but …

05 蓄 xù to store up, to grow (e.g. a beard), to entertain (ideas) (2)

06 伸 shēn extend, stretch out, open up; trust (2)

07 下 xià (3) postpos.: under, below, lower, get down from, go down

08 定 dìng to set, settled, to fix, fixed,  to determine, to decide, to order, forehead, name of a star (2)

09 固 gù hard, strong, solid, sure, assuredly, undoubtedly, of course, indeed, admittedly (2)

10 méng people, sprout, bud (2)

11 cháng (2) long, height, (read zhăng = grow, increase, excel)

12 復 fù (2) again, return, repeat

13 天 tiān (2) sky, heaven, nature, god, divine

14 機 jī changes, motion, machine, secret, engine, opportunity, intention, aircraft, pivot, crucial point, flexible (quick-witted), organic (2)

15 舂 chōng to pound (grain), beat (2)

16 在 zài (2) be at, rest with, consist in, be present, be alive

17 上 shàng (1) postpos.: on, above, upper, ascend, go up, supreme

18 地 dì (1) earth, round

19 順 shùn to obey, to follow, to arrange, to make reasonable, along, favorable (1)

20 nì disobey, rebel, oppose, contrary, opposite, backwards, to go against, to betray, accord with (1)

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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (SYNOPSIS FOR MYSELF): Zhōutiān 周天 Celestial Circuit

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“The term zhōutiān 周天 denotes the continuously circular movement of the universe. In nèidān 內丹 and also in qigong, this term is related to a method of purification and transformation. Two main types of zhōutiān 周天 are distinguished, namely, the Lesser Celestial Circuit (xiăo zhōutiān 小周天) and the Greater Celestial Circuit (dà zhōutiān 大周天).”–Martina Darga

The Control and Function Channels (dūmài 督脈 and rènmài 任脈) and the lower Cinnabar Field (dāntián 丹田) are the main energetic centers involved in this practice.
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The Lesser Celestial Circuit 小周天 (xiăo zhōutiān)

“The main purpose of the Lesser Celestial Circuit is to preserve the essence (jing) and transform it into energy (qi). This method, also known as “returning the essence to replenish the brain” (huanjing bunao), is performed in the first stage of the neidan process, the second and third stage being the transformation of energy into spirit (shen) and the transformation of spirit into emptiness (xū 虛).”—Martina Darga

The Greater Celestial Circuit 大周天 (dà zhōutiān)

“The practice of the Greater Celestial Circuit is meant to transform energy into spirit and is therefore related to the second stage of the inner alchemical work. The lower Cinnabar Field is likened to a furnace, while the middle Cinnabar Field is a crucible. The energy should circulate through the twelve channels (jingluo). There is no division of the channels into sections in this practice: the whole body is involved. Energy should circulate without stopping, while heart and mind dwell in absolute quiescence.”—Martina Darga

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (SYNOPSIS FOR MYSELF): Zhŏngxī 踵息 breathing through the heels

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““Breathing through the heels” is first mentioned in the Zhuangzi 6, which states that “the Real Man (zhēnrén 真人) breathes through the heels whereas the ordinary man breathes through the throat”. A study by Ishida Hidemi (1988) shows that zhongxi designated in antiquity one of four kinds of breathing: through the skin, through the nose and mouth, through the throat (to absorb the celestial breath), and through the heels (to absorb the earthly breath).”—Catherine Despeux

“From the Song period (960-1270), under the influence of neidan, zhongxi also refers to the circulation of the inner energies that descend to the heels and then rise from the yŏngquán 湧泉 point, located in the middle of the sole of the foot, to the top of the head.”—Catherine Despeux

As always I have put tones in Pinyin; I feel myself better that way.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (CLEAR ONCE THE TERMS NOTE): Yăngshēng 養生 Nourishing Life

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My guess is the clearing techniques should be absolutely popular now (not so popular like popularity itself though) but giving a kind of refreshment and a new start after swimming in the mass media 24/7 streaming. Some quotations from the second volume of encyclopedia look helpful.

“The idea of “nourishing” (yang) is prominent in Chinese thought: one can nourish life (yăngshēng 養生), the inner nature (yăngxìng 養性), the body (yăngxíng 養形), the whole person (yăngshēn 養身), the will (yăngzhì 養志), and the mind (yăngxīn 養心). The term yăngshēng 養生 designates techniques based on the essence, the inner or outer breath, and the spiritual force (jing, qi, shen); these techniques are grounded on physiological, psychological, and behavioral principles and include gymnastics (dăoyĭn 導引), massage, breathing (fuqi, xingqi), sexual hygiene (fángzhōng shū 房中書), diets (bigu), healing, meditation and visualization, and rules of daily behavior.”

“The term is first mentioned in Zhuangzi 3, a chapter entitled “Mastering in Nourishing Life” (“Yăngshēng zhŭ” 養生主).”–Catherine Despeux.

“The yangsheng practices flourished during the Han period. They are described in several Mawandui manuscripts dating to about 200 BCE, including the Hé yīnyáng 合陰陽 (Joining Yīn and Yáng), the Tiānxià zhìdào tán 天下至道談 (Discourse on the Ultimate Way Under Heaven), the Yăngshēng fāng 養生方 (Recipes for Nourishing Life), the Shíwèn 十問 (Ten Questions), and the Quègŭ shíqì 卻穀食氣 (Refraining from Cereals and Ingesting Breath; see translations in Harper 1998). These manuscripts give importance to sexual hygiene and to the ingestion of breath (see fuqi).”

“One of the most influential works of the time, preserved only in fragments, is the Yangsheng yaoji (Essentials of Nourishing Life) of Zhāng Zhàn 張湛 (early fourth century).”

“In the twentieth century, yăngshēng 養生 evolved into the modern science of wèishēng 衛生 (hygiene) on the one hand, and into qìgōng 氣功 on the other.”—Catherine Despeux.

Frankly, I don’t like the idea of recent separation of yăngshēng into wèishēng and qìgōng at all, I do would prefer to read the chapter “Mastering in Nourishing Life” (Yăngshēng zhŭ 養生主) in Zhuangzi soon after it has been done by the ancient author.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A NOTE WITH ELEGANCE AND MYSTERY OF SEX): Xuánnǚ 玄女 Mysterious Woman

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The longer my life is the harder is writing about what I truly think about man-woman relationships. Not of that I am tired mass media brainwashing any topic reporters can fetch but mainly the fact that young generation (my guess only) doesn’t feel elegance and mystery of ancient Chinese text the way I feel. Sad thing, right, but there is still a small trace of stuff worthy to think this evening, I mean three quotes from the second volume of Encyclopedia of Taoism. The author of this entry is Gil Raz, and he has some other publications on the topic.

Just let’s imagine for a couple of hours a woman who can teach a modern man ‘military, sexual, alchemical, and divination techniques’.

“Also known as Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens (Jiŭtiān Xuánnǚ 九天玄女) or Mysterious Woman, Damsel of the Nine Heavens (Jiŭtiān Xuánnǚ niángniang 九天玄女娘娘), the Mysterious Woman instructed the Yellow Emperor (Huángdì 黃帝) in military, sexual, alchemical, and divination techniques.” — Gil Raz.

“In relation to sexual practices (fángzhōng shū 房中書), the Mysterious Woman is usually mentioned with the Pure Woman (Sùnǚ 素女). While absent from the early manuals unearthed at Mawandui, their names are listed among the main sexual practitioners in post-Han sources, including the Baopu zi.”— Gil Raz.

My other guess today is we are still lucky having several wonderful examples of fángzhōng shū 房中書 from Mawandui findings. I mean my favorite sources of erotical fantasy: Hé Yīn Yáng 合陰陽 (Conjoining Yin and Yang), Shí Wèn 十問 (Ten Questions), and Tiānxià Zhìdào Tán 天下至道談 (Discourse on the Ultimate Way Under Heaven).

“Within numerological divination, the Mysterious Woman is particularly associated with the liùrén 六壬 method (see Kalinowski 1983; Kalinowski 1989—90, 91) based on the shì 式 (cosmic board, cosmograph), which is also known as Xuánnǚ shì 玄女式. — Gil Raz.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel myself familiar with this particular kind of divination, but that reminds me another source of divination technique—I Ching— and it looks much, much stronger to my taste.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (PRIVATE NOTES): Wŭzàng 五臟 five viscera, (lit., “five storehouses”)

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1. Medicine

“In Chinese medicine, wŭzàng 五臟 refers to a system of “orbs,” “viscera,” or “depositories,” which have some features reminiscent of the organ system known from Western anatomy. The five viscera comprise the liver (gān 肝), heart (xīn 心), spleen (pí 脾), lungs (fèi 肺), and kidney system (shèn 腎).”
“The wŭzàng 五臟 system went hand in hand with the integration of the Five Phases (wŭxíng 五行) theory into medicine. From the fourth century onward, the system of the Five Phases—Wood, Fire, Soil, Metal, and Water—developed in the context of divinatory calculations as a means for assessing cyclical change.”—Elisabeth Hsu

2. Meditation

“In all cases, the basic system of association is the set of correspondences linked to the wŭxíng 五行, which associates specific colors, physical energies, spiritual powers, numbers, and animals with each organ. The system also identifies specific gods and written symbols with each organ, allowing the meditator to reinvent the inner organs of her body as nodes in a larger cosmic network.”—Livia Kohn

3. Neidan

“In Nèidān 內丹 (inner elixir, inner alchemy), in which the five viscera are energetic centers where transformation takes place, the term wŭqì 五氣 (five pneumas) is often used as a synonym for wŭzàng 五臟. Besides the five viscera themselves, this term denotes the essence (jīng 精) situated in the kidneys, the spirit (shén 神) in the heart, the hún 魂 in the liver, the pò 魄 in the lungs, and the intention (yì 意) in the spleen. Transformation occurs through refining these five components of the human being, and restores the original order of the Dào 道.”—Martina Darga.

Note: Hún and Pò (魂 and 魄: Yang soul and Yin soul; celestial soul and earthly soul), and there is an article on them in the first volume, yes. Traditional Chinese and Pinyin tones inside quotations are mine, as usual. After rereading Neidan by Martina Darga, the 36th line was added to the previous article, Wŭxíng 五行 Five Phases. Are you still sure that you know better place with more lines of clusters of the wŭxíng 五行 theory?

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (THE END OF VOL. 1): Liùzì jué 六字訣 “instructions on the six sounds”

Liùzì jué  六字訣  “instructions on the six sounds”

Catherine Despeux, the entry’s author tells us exactly what sounds they are. “This breathing technique, also known as “method of the six breaths” (liùqì fă 六氣法), consists of inhaling through the nose and exhaling in six ways through the mouth. The corresponding sounds are designated by six characters (hence the name of the method, literally meaning “instructions on the six characters”). They are xū 噓, hē 呵 (or xu 呴, nowadays also pronounced gou), hū 呼, si 呬 (nowadays also pronounced xì), chuī 吹, and xī 嘻”.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Some advices on medical application of ‘six sounds theory’ we can extract from the same article: “The six breath are related to the five viscera (wŭzàng 五臟) and to a sixth organ which, according to different sources, is either the “triple burner” (sānjiāo 三焦) or the gallbladder. Essentially they have a therapeutic or prophylactic action upon the viscera and their corresponding symptoms according  to the principles of Chinese medicine. Chuī 吹 heals ailments resulting from cold and wind, hū 呼 ailments resulting from the heat, xī 嘻 ailments resulting from the wind and heat, hē 呵 relaxes the qi, xū 噓 clears away stagnation, and si (xì) 呬 dispels heat”. — C.D.

How often people should practice six sounds exercise? My first guess is you can practice it anytime you think you need it and how often you want it, but it does not look professional. So, different sources can give us different numbers, 81 times after midnight, 72 times at cockcrow, 64 times at dawn, etc. And sometimes people used to consider the gymnastic movements and body directions too.

The information about six sounds was very interesting in medical aspect in this entry but there is a couple of things nice to add. I mean martial arts and erotical guides.

Martial Art (One Example)

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My favorite example is a short episode from the movie The Sword Identity (2011) with a master Yu Chenhui in the lost field. It takes 51 second, or exactly 38 second when master does absolutely stunning martial training form. We can hear 18 sounds, the first five will be repeated to the end in different order. As far as I can write it down right, they are Hu, Uh, Xu, He, and Ha-ah. Every two-seconds sounds help master to train self right. Probably, there are six sounds instead of five but they are not the same we have seen in medical usage above. However, using sounds in martial art forms is an important fact to me and I would like to see more information in the encyclopedia.

Sex Guides in Ancient China

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Once again, only one example from my favorite text Tiān Xià Zhì Dào Tán (天下至道談)

五音:一曰喉息。二曰喘息、三曰累哀、四曰吙。五曰齧。審察五音,以知其心。

Wŭ yīn: yī yuē hóu xī.  Èr yuē chuăn xī, sān yuē lèi ài, sì yuē huō.  Wŭ yuē niè.  Shĕn chá wŭ yīn, yĭ zhī qí xīn.  “The five sounds: the first is ‘sighing’.  The second is ‘short breathing’.  The third is ‘implicating sadness’.  The fourth is ‘panting’.  The fifth is ‘nibbling’. Pay attention to the five sounds to know her affections.” So sounds rule everywhere:)))

The word 訣  (jué) from the title has a meaning ‘secret’ also. How about 6 (or 5) secret sounds in martial art or in love making? Frankly, I wanted to join martial art example and traditional medicine and erotic guide long ago. Probably, it is on a whim mostly.