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.

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

““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 (A RED DRAGON AND WHITE TIGER NOTE): Zhăn chìlóng 斬赤龍 beheading the Red Dragon

zhan chilong tripods
Sometimes curious students ask about a difference between Chinese gymnastics for men and women. Well, in some complexes of physical exercises it is difficult to see such kind of variations until you will do private customization. From another point of view such differences definitely existed in strict neidan practice. Lets take a quote to illustrate this statement from the encyclopedia article written by Catherine Despeux.

“Menstrual blood is called Red Dragon (chìlóng 赤龍) in neidan, by analogy with male semen, which is called White Tiger (báihŭ 白虎)… ‘Beheading the Red Dragon’ takes place during the first of the three stages in the Ming and Qing system of neidan practice. In men, this stage consists of refining essence to transmute it into pneuma. In women, it consists of “refining of the form Great Yin,” which is achieved by developing inner concentration and by a controlled stimulation of sexual energy, especially through the massage of breasts.”—Catherine Despeux

If you don’t have a special goal in your mind any complex of exercises will be good enough. If you stick to something strict and classic, and special, this difference can be important to consider and use authoritative sources to achieve success in your practice. Very often not only regular people but specialist yet do want simple instructions and simple results in short time; speaking friendly it is not always the right way to solve the health problems. The easy idea to regulate your food habits can take years to fulfill, and it is not speaking about other ideas you definitely want to die with in the end of your life.


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’.


xingooglescreen copy
The author of this article in the Encyclopedia of Taoism is a classic sinologist Isabelle Robinet, and all five quotations are great illustrations of what the Chinese people think on heart-mind, and the Westerners on heart. I like to read and reread my synopsis more and more due to tones in Pinyin which I will be never tired to put but which are not exist in the official edition.

“The term xīn traditionally designates the ruler of the entire person or, more specifically, the heart as the organ of mental and affective life (hence the translation as “heart-mind”). It is the “master” or “ruler” (zhŭ 主) of ideas, thought, will, and desire: many words expressing mental or affective activities (e.g., yì 意 “intention, idea,” sī 思 “thinking,” ài 愛 “love,” and wù 惡 “hate”) have xīn as their semantic indicator.”

“As a physiological organ the heart is depicted as a lotus flower with three petals. It is said that the heart of a worldly person has five openings, the heart of an average person has seven, and the heart of a sage has nine. The heart is abode of the spirit, and its “gates” are the mouth and tongue.”

“Being the center, xīn represents the center of the world and is located in the three Cinnabar Fields (dāntián 丹田). Hence there are three xīn: a celestial one above that generates the essence (jīng 精), a terrestrial one below that generates pneuma (qì 氣), and a human one in the middle that generates blood. In this view, the center of the body is not the spleen but the heart. Moreover, as it is also located in the head, xīn also denotes what is on high. Whether it is above or in the center, these two locations are equivalent, as they are those of the master and the central “palace” of the body.”

“In neidan texts, xīn takes on a new meaning. The “spirit of the Dao” is the Ultimate Truth, absolute and subtle and present in every human being. The “human spirit,” on the other hand, is both the heart-mind and the spirit; it is weak and frail. Rénxīn and dàoxīn, nevertheless, are one and the same, as they are only two aspects of the Ultimate Truth: rénxīn is the function (yong) and the mechanism (ji) of dàoxīn.”

“In reality xīn cannot be located either in space or in time. It is the Real Emptiness (zhēnwú 真無) to be found in everyday existence and in the phenomenal world. Finding it means rejoining daoxin and renxin. In so far as it is situated at the junction between movement and quiescence (dong and jing), Non-being and Being, xīn is the Ultimateless or Infinite (wújí) that is before the Great Ultimate (tàijí), before the beginning of the differentiation between movement and quiescence .”

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (PRIVATE NOTES): Nèidān 內丹 inner elixir, inner alchemy


This entry was written by a specialist, Farzeen Baldrian-Hussein, and contains enough information to make my life more complex and hard to think. So, the first thing first, let us turn what he had done in seven clicks (screens) into one click (screen). I mean to find a couple of nice quotations to digest this encyclopedia article in the easy and understandable way in several minutes.

 “The aim of nèidān 內丹 is described as achieving immortality or a state of union with the Dao; this is variously imagined as attaining the rank of celestial immortal (tiānxiān 天仙), becoming a “celestial official” (tiānguān 天官) in the otherworldly bureaucracy, joining one’s spirit with the Dao (yúshén hé dào 與神合道), or obtaining “release from the corps”. In all these instances, a neidan master is thought not to die, but undergo a voluntary metamorphosis.” Absolutely great idea for many, especially that part on immortality which I would like to throw away as soon as possible. But that line, ‘a state of union with the Dao’ is deserved to be learnt by heart. Yúshén hé dào 與神合道, duh!

“Originally, the neidan adepts did not belong to any particular group of Taoists; they were mostly individuals who practiced the art with the help of a master or followed the instruction of certain texts.”—(F. Baldrian-Hussein). See, there is no particular need to go anywhere and become a part of any society actually. Once again, I am glad that I have read the whole article, because ‘mostly individuals’ and ‘a state of union with the Dao’ this is exactly what I have been feeling many years already. The means, I quess are still the same: ‘nourishing life’ (yangsheng), meditation on breathing (xingqi), gymnastics (daoyin), and sexual guidance (fangzhong shu).

Probably the best place for those practices you can find in this picture atop. But I prefer my room as always :))

Sri Yantra Master Alive and the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (VOL.2): Míngtáng 明堂 Hall of Light

Míngtáng 明堂 Hall of Light (or Bright Hall)

mingtang copy

Of course, there is a sacred building to use for imperial ceremonies in the history of ancient Chinese culture but for us now more important is the Hall of Light mentioned in Ge Hung’s (283-343) Baopu zi and its location one inch behind the area between the eyebrows. More detailed description can be found in the article written by Martina Darga.  

I cannot add to this note much enough. In the acupuncture  textbook this is the place for Yìntáng 印堂 (Hall of Impression) which corresponds to the area ascribed to the ‘third eye’ by many traditional cultures, and has been classified by some qigong authors as the location of the upper dāntián 丹田. That is an extra point, it does not belong to Rèn Mài 任 脈 (The Conceptor Vessel) or more exactly to Dū Mài 督 脈 (The Governor Vessel).

Speaking on many traditional cultures let us make one step into the Indian heritage of yoga. The region between two eyes is called ājñā chakra (the sixth chakra of classical set of seven or eight in Kuṇḍalinī yoga) and followers denote it like the inner mind’s eye to sense subtle energies and to be a gateway flooded with infinite wisdom, insight, and inspiration. So far so good.

Inside martial art practitioners’ milieu and Dim-Mak 點脈 (diănmài) reference books (Erle Montaigue and Wally Simpson, for example) this acupoint is translated ‘decorating place’ and described like causing KO and sometimes called ‘the old evangelist’s point’ which sounds curious enough.

The big colour picture of the ancient architecture would be probably the better illustration here.