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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Xing Qi English Translation 1997

One of the first Xing Qi English translation can be found in the book: Early Chinese Medical Literature by Donald Harper, 1997

“Swallow, then it travels; traveling, it extends; extending, it descends; descending, it stabilizes; stabilizing, it solidifies; solidifying, it sprouts; sprouting, it grows; growing, it returns; returning, it is heaven. Heaven—its root is above; earth—its root is below. Follow the pattern and live; go against it and die.”

To compare parallel translations easier, I put the numbers of lines according to the translation made by Harold D. Roth in his book Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundation of Taoist Mysticism by Harold D. Roth, 1999

01   xing qi [Harper thinks this is a title and he begins his translation from the second line 吞則蓄 tūn zé xù]

02   Swallow, then it travels;

03   traveling, it extends;

04   extending, it descends;

05   descending, it stabilizes;

06   stabilizing, it solidifies;

07   solidifying, it sprouts;

08   sprouting, it grows;

09   growing, it returns;

10   returning, it is heaven.

11   Heaven—its root is above;

12   earth—its root is below.

13   Follow the pattern and live;

14   go against it and die.

I would like to add a couple of paragraphs from the point of view of D. Harper to make some details clear.

“The verbs that identify the stages of cultivation are not obscure words (travel, extend, descend, etc.), but neither is it obvious exactly how the technique is excited. Like the ’Neiye’ and the Laozi, the text is an example of verse meant for recitation by initiates who would have received fuller knowledge of its meaning either orally or in ancillary texts. The verse itself is the verbal distillation of the technique, each verb an icon of the act of circulating vapor.”

“The true focus of the Mawangdui and Zhangjiashan macrobiotic hygiene texts is on techniques. Unlike the ’Neiye,’ which is theoretical exposition on the physiology of the sage, the excavated texts are meant to teach how to do it—whether it be breath cultivation, exercise, sexual  cultivation, or dietetics. Prior to their discovery, the only ancient example of a macrobiotic technique was a rhymed inscription on a dodecagonal block of jade bearing the title xingqi 行氣 (To circulate vapor). The artifact is thought to be late Warring States (perhaps late fourth or early third century B.C.). The technique is presented in nine trisyllabic phrases which describe the stages of breath cultivation from first swallowing the vapor to completion; four explanatory phrases concludes the text.”

I have to say, that running along the cold or hot mountain’s dirty road and keeping in mind all those transformations between the earth and heaven like a smart human being that’s probably the best hours in my life now.

內業 Nèiyè 01-07

I

001   凡物之精   fán wù zhī jīng

002    此則為生   cǐ zé wéi shēng

003   下生五穀   xià shēng wŭ gŭ

004   上為列星   shàng wéi liè xīng

005   流天地間   liú tiān dì jiān

006   謂之鬼神   wèi zhī guĭ shén

007   藏於胸中   cāng yú xiōng zhōng

008   謂之聖人   wèi zhī shèng rén

II

009   01   是故此氣  shì gù cĭ qì

010   02   杲乎如登於天   găo hū rú dēng yú tiān

011   03   杳乎如入於淵   yăo hū rú rù yú yuān

012   04   綽乎如在於海   chuò hū rú zài yú hăi

013   05   崒乎如在於屺    cuì hū rú zài yú qǐ

014   06   是故此氣也   shì gù cĭ qì yĕ

015   07   不可止以力   bù kĕ zhĭ yĭ lì

016   08   而可安以德  ér kĕ ān yĭ dé

017   09   不可呼以聲   bù kĕ hū yĭ shēng

018   10   而可迎以意  ér kĕ yíng yĭ yì

019   11   敬守勿失   jìng shŏu wù shī

020   12   是謂成德  shì wèi chéng dé

021   13   德成而智出  dé chéng ér zhì chū

022   14   萬物畢得   wàn wù bì dé

III

023   01   凡心之 形 fán xīn zhī xíng

024   02   自充自盈  zì chōng zì yíng

025   03   自生自成  zì shēng zì chéng

026   04   其所以失之 qí suŏ yĭ shī zhī

027   05   必以憂樂喜怒欲利  bì yĭ yōu lè xĭ nù yù lì

028   06   能去憂樂喜怒欲利  néng qù yōu lè xĭ nù yù lì

029   07   心乃反齊  xīn năi făn qí

030   08   彼心之情  bĭ xīn zhī qíng

031   09   利安以寧     lì ān yĭ níng

032   10   勿煩勿亂  wù fán wù luàn

033   11   和乃自成  hé năi zì chéng

IV

034   01   皙皙乎如在於側  xī xī hū rú zài yú cè

035   02   忽忽乎如將不得  hū hū hū rú jiàng bù dé

036   03   渺渺乎如窮無極  miăo miăo hū rú qióng wú jí

037   04   此稽不遠  cĭ jī bù yuàn

038   05   日用其德  rì yòng qí dé

039   06   夫道所以充形  fú dào suŏ yĭ chōng xíng

040   07   而人不能固  ér rén bù néng gù

041   08   其往不復  qí wăng bù fù

042   09   其來不舍  qí lái bù shĕ

043   10   寂乎莫聞其音  jì hū mò wén qí yīn

044   11   卒乎乃在於心  cù hū năi zài yú xīn

045   12   冥冥乎不見其形  míng míng hū bù jiàn qí xíng

046   13   淫淫乎與我俱生  yín yín hū yú wŏ jù shēng

047   14   不見其形  bù jiàn qí xíng

048   15   不聞其聲  bù wén qí shēng

049   16   而序其成  ér xù qí chéng

050   17   謂之道  wèi zhī dào

V

051   01   夫道無所    fú dào wú suŏ

052   02   善心安處  shàn xīn ān chù

053   03   心靜氣理  xīn jìng qì lĭ

054   04   道乃可止 dào năi kĕ zhĭ

055   05   彼道不遠  bĭ dào bù yuăn

056   06   人得以產  rén dé yĭ chăn

057   07   彼道不離  bĭ dào bù lí

058   08   人因以和  rén yīn yĭ hé

059   09   是故萃萃乎其如可與索  shì gù cùi cùi hū qí rú kĕ yú suŏ

060   10   渺渺乎其如窮無所  miăo miăo hū qí rú qióng wú suŏ

061   11   彼道之情  bĭ dào zhī qíng

062   12   惡意與聲  è yì yú shēng

063   13   修心靜意  xiū xīn jìng yì

064   14   道乃可得  dào năi kĕ dé

VI

065   01   道也者  dào yĕ zhĕ

066   02   口之所不能言也  kŏu zhī suŏ bù néng yán yĕ

067   03   目之所不能視也  mù zhī suŏ bù néng shì yĕ

068   04   耳之所不能聽也  ĕr zhī suŏ bù néng tìng yĕ

069   05   所以修心而正形也  suŏ yĭ xiū xīn ér zhēng xíng yĕ

070   06   人之所失以死  rén zhī suŏ shī yĭ sĭ

071   07   所得以生也  suŏ dé yĭ shēng yĕ

072   08   事之所失以敗 shì zhī suŏ shī yĭ bài

073   09   所得以成也  suŏ dé yĭ chéng yĕ

074   10   凡道無根無莖  fán dào wú gēn wú jīng

075   11   無葉無榮  wú yè wú róng

076   12   萬物以生  wàn wù yĭ shēng

077   13   萬物以成  wàn wù yĭ chéng

078   14   命之曰道  mìng zhī yuē dào

VII

079   01   天主正  tiān zhŭ zhēng

080   02   地主平  dì zhŭ píng

081   03   人主靜  rén zhŭ jìng

082   04   春秋冬夏天之時    chūn qiū dōng xià tiān zhī shí

083   05   山陵川谷地之材也  shān líng chuān gŭ dì zhī cái yĕ

084   06   喜怒取予人之謀也  xĭ nù qŭ yú rén zhī móu yĕ

085   07   是故聖人  shì gù shèng rén

086   08   與時變而不化  yú shí biàn ér bù huà

087   09   從物而不移    cóng wù ér bù yí

內業   Nèiyè: the good and bad (well, not so bad) news for this blog followers

This spring I have decided to follow emendations of the text made by Harold D. Roth in his book Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism, 1999 Columbia University Press.

Chapter 01-07 are cleared: characters counting are correct after deleting some, the difference is only 3 characters (less). Some characters have different tones in the dictionaries, and if I need to hear Chinese vocal pronunciation I use a special application which allows me to utter Chinese characters closely to native speakers. I don’t show emendations marks and don’t comment on the chapters in blog, I really wanted to have the text I can read, meditate and enjoy.

Only the seven parts of twenty-six are cleared (that’s the bad news) but all seven are here now (and that’s the good one). Cosmogonic introduction, 氣 qì, 心 xīn and 形 xíng are the subjects for the first chapters one-three, 道 dào is considered in chapters four-six, and the seventh chapter is like a conclusion topic for the first one.

People don’t dance like this, people don’t play music like this, and people don’t write like this anymore. There is something in ancient philosophy that has been done once and for a long, long time. I am glad that I can belong to those who can appreciate old traces in the modern times.

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 24 of 26

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 24 of 26

312   01   大心而敢               dà xīn ér găn

313   02   寬氣而廣               kuān qì ér guăng

314   03   其形安而不移       qí xíng ān ér bù yí

315   04   能守一而棄萬苛   néng shŏu yī ér qì wàn kē

316   05   見利不誘               jiàn lì bù yòu

317   06   見害不懼               jiàn hài bù jù

318   07   寬舒而仁               kuān shū ér rén

319   08   獨樂其身               dú lè qí shēn

320   09   是謂雲氣               shì wèi yún qì

321   10   意行似天               yì háng sì tiān

TRANSLATIONS

Twenty-four

When you enlarge your mind and let go of it,

When you relax your vital breath and expand it,

When your body is calm and unmoving:

And you maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances,

You will see profit and not be enticed by it,

You will see harm and not be frightened by it.

Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,

In solitude you delight in your own person.

This is called “revolving the vital breath”:

Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly.

(Translated by Harold D. Roth, 1999)

Enlarge your heart and be daring;
make your qi magnanimous and broad.

With form at rest and unmoving,
you will be able to guard your oneness and discard a myriad burdens.

On seeing profit, you will not be enticed.
On seeing danger, you will not be frightened.

With easy magnanimity you will be jen,

and alone, you will delight in your person.

This is called cloud-like qi,

for thoughts float in it as clouds in heaven.

(Translated by Robert Eno, 2005)

When you expand your heart/mind and free it,
When your Qi is magnanimous and vast,
When your form is calm and unchanging:
You can maintain Oneness and reject the ten thousand trivialities,

You see profit and are not tempted,

You see trouble and are not frightened.
You are magnanimous, relaxed, and kind;
When alone, you are happy with your self.
This is called cloud-like Qi–
Your intent and behavior resemble that of heaven.

(Translated by Bruce R. Linnell, 2011)

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 23 of 26

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 23 of 26

292   01   凡食之道          fán shí zhī dào

293   02   大充氣傷           dà chōng qì shāng

294   03   而形不臧           ér xìng bù zāng

295   04   大攝骨枯           dà shè gŭ kū

296   05   而血沍               ér xuè hù

297   06   充攝之間           chōng shè zhī jiān

298   07   此謂和成           cĭ wèi hé chéng

299   08   精之所舍           jīng zhī suŏ shĕ

300   09   而知之所生       ér zhī zhī suŏ shēng

301   10   飢飽之失度       jī băo zhī shī dù

302   11   乃為之圖           năi wéi zhī tú

303   12   飽則疾動           băo zé jí dòng

304   13   飢則廣思           jī zé guăng sī

305   14   老則長慮           lăo zé cháng lǜ

306   15   飽不疾動           băo bù jí dòng

307   16   氣不通於四末   qì bù tòng yú sì mò

308   17   飢不廣思           jì bù guăng sī

309   18   飽而不廢           băo ér bù fèi

310   19   老不長慮           lăo bù cháng lǜ

311   20   困乃速竭           kùn năi sù jié

TRANSLATIONS

Twenty-three

For all the Way of eating is that:

Overfilling yourself with food will impair your vital energy

And cause your body to deteriorate.

Over-restricting your consumption causes the bones to wither

And the blood to congeal.

The mean between overfilling and over-restricting:

This is called “harmonious completion.”

It is where the vital essence lodges

And knowledge is generated.

When hunger and fullness lose their proper balance,

You make a plan to correct this.

When full, move quickly;

When hungry, neglect your thoughts;

When old, forget worry.

If when full you don’t move quickly,

Vital energy will not circulate to your limbs.

If when hungry you don’t neglect your thoughts of food,

When you finally eat you will not stop.

If when old you don’t forget your worries,

The fount of your vital energy will rapidly drain out.

(Translated by Harold D. Roth, 1999)

The Dao of eating:
gorging is harmful, the form will not be fine;
fasts of abstinence make the bones brittle and the blood run dry.

The mean between gorging and abstinence is the harmonious perfection:

the place where the essence dwells and wisdom is born.

If hunger or satiety lose their proper measures, attend to this.

If you have eaten too much, move about rapidly.

If you are famished, make broader plans.
If you are old, plan in advance.

If you have eaten too much and do not move about rapidly,

your qi will not flow through your limbs.

If you are famished and do not make broader plans,

your hunger will not be alleviated.

If you are old and do not plan in advance,
then when you are in straits you will be quickly exhausted.

(Translated by Robert Eno, 2005)

Always: regarding the Dao of eating–
Over-filling causes injury, and your form will not be right;

Over-fasting makes your bones wither and your blood congeal.

When you reach the space between filling and fasting,
This is called achieving harmony–
That which is the dwelling place of essence
And that which is the creation of understanding.

When hunger and satiation lose their proper value,

Then use this plan of action:
When you are satiated, then move about quickly.
When you are hungry, then neglect your contemplation.

When you are old, then take charge of your concerns.

If you are satiated and do not move about quickly,
Your Qi will be obstructed in your four extremities.
If you are hungry and do not neglect your contemplation,

When you eat you will get full but you will not stop.
If you are old and do not take charge of your concerns,

When you are distressed, then you will be quickly exhausted.

(Translated by Bruce R. Linnell, 2011)

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 22 of 26

Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation: part 22 of 26

280   01   凡人之生也           fán rén zhī shēng yĕ

281   02   必以平正               bì yĭ píng zhēng

282   03   所以失之               suŏ yĭ shī zhī

283   04   必以喜怒憂患       bì yĭ xĭ nù yōu huàn

284   05   是故止怒莫若詩   shì gù zhĭ nù mò ruò shī

285   06   去憂莫若樂           qù yōu mò ruò lè

286   07   節樂莫若禮           jié lè mò ruò lĭ

287   08   守禮莫若敬           shŏu lĭ mò ruò jìng

288   09   守敬莫若靜           shŏu jìng mò ruò jìng

289   10   內靜外敬               nèi jìng wài jìng

290   11   能反其性               néng făn qí xìng

291   12   性將大定               xìng jiàng dà dìng

TRANSLATIONS

Twenty-two

As for the vitality of all human beings:

It inevitably occurs because of balanced and aligned [breathing].

The reason for its loss

Is inevitably pleasure and anger, worry and anxiety.

Therefore, to bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry;

To cast off worry there is nothing better than music;

To limit music there is nothing better than rites;

To hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence;

To hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility.

When you are inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent

You are able to return to your innate nature

And this nature will become greatly stable.

(Translated by Harold D. Roth, 1999)

The life of man must rely on level–balance,

and these are lost through the heart’s joy and anger, cares and dismay.

To quell anger nothing is better than the Poetry.
To dismiss cares, nothing is better than music.
To moderate joy, nothing is better than li.
To observe li, nothing is better than attentiveness.
To maintain attentiveness, nothing is better than tranquility.

Inwardly tranquil, outwardly attentive,

able to return to your nature:
thus will your nature be well stabilized.

(Translated by Robert Eno, 2005)

Always: at the birth of people–
They certainly have equability and proper alignment.

The reason that they lose it
Is certainly due to love, anger, worries, suffering.

Thus: there is nothing that stops anger like poetry,

There is nothing that removes worries like music,
There is nothing that restrains music like propriety,

There is nothing that maintains propriety like respect.

[But], there is nothing that maintains respect like stillness.

Inwardly still and outwardly respectful,
You can return to your [original] nature,
And your nature will be exceptionally settled.

(Translated by Bruce R. Linnell, 2011)