TAOIST YOGA Alchemy and Immortality Part 6
If the practiser wants to overcome drowsiness in order
to be free from dreams, he should use the method called
‘coiling up the body into five dragons’ which will stop his drowsi¬
ness and put an end to his dreams; as a result his nocturnal
emissions will stop and he will no longer have to worry about
the loss of this most precious thing that preserves life. He
will then be able to sublimate generative force into the
The perfect man in whom moral virtues and learned accom¬
plishments reach the highest point; chen jen, the immortal who is no
longer ruled by what he sees, hears and feels;’sheng jen, the saintly
man who is divinely inspired and intuitively wise; and hsien jen, the
sage, a man of excellent virtues.
To achieve this he should rely on the fourfold alchemical
process of breathing: inhalation, exhalation, ascent and
descent which produce the immortal breath which is inde¬
pendent of breathing through the nostrils or mouth.
Who says that sublimation by fire cannot be taught
Since only silent circuits can plumb the depth sublime?
In days of old thousands of saintly men realised this by
looking clearly into their breathing process to win immortality
The practiser now needs good care from his companions
who should avoid disturbing his positive spirit in its serenity.
On no account should he avail himself on this revival of
(eternal) life to come out of the state of serenity. He should
see to it that because of this still vitality his spirit will enter
by itself the major serenity in which his prenatal immacu¬
late vitality will spring from nothingness.
An ancient immortal said: ‘Men are subject to birth and
death becausemouth; if they (practically) cease breathing they will
realise immortality.’ For if the practiser (almost) ceases to
breathe he will achieve major serenity. When the breath
remains (nearly) stationary, the (immortal) foetus will be
as secure as a mountain and by continuing his practice he
will achieve minor and major serenity; all phenomena will
be absorbed into nothingness and with spirit frozen in
this state by day and night, the bright pearl will form in this
unperturbed nothingness. If this serenity is not achieved
the immortal seed cannot be produced. The moment when
he enters this serenity is likened to his approaching death
that precedes the resurrection which is the main object of
alchemy. As to how death is followed by resurrection, this
concerns the method of producing the bright pearl.
When (essential) nature and (eternal) life unite in the
confused state in the cavity of vitality (under the navel) the
least carelessness on the part of the practiser may cause his
failure to keep them together there; spirit will then leave this
centre and the most precious thing will drain away at night.
This is the most critical moment when he will either preserve
or injure (eternal) life. And so he should be determined
firmly to preserve this serenity at all costs by concentrating
his spirit pointedly on this cavity, which is the most im¬
portant thing at this stage of training.
An ancient immortal said: ‘The first stirring thought
threw me into the sea of suffering; now the first subsiding
thought (saves me by) sending me to the other shore (of
liberation) for a single (stirring) thought causes the round
of birth and death.’
‘To remedy this negative state
requires concentration of true inner fire which is done by
fixing spirit in the lower tan t’ien, the source of foetal
breath, by drawing the pupils of the eyes close to each other
in order to bring the cavity of vitality into focus and by
using the bellows to bring quick fire into action; as a result
of pointed concentration a mass of true inner fire will soar
up causing spiritual light in the cauldron to illuminate the
whole body the four elements of which (see note 3 on page
41) are thereby sublimated. It will eliminate this malefic
negative state and restore the brightness of the elixir in
its cavity (under the navel)
This cultivation of (essential) nature and (eternal) life
requires constant attention and the slightest carelessness
can obscure the inner light and cause the drain of the elixir
with the result that all previous efforts will be sterile.
This macrocosmic technique should be practised at all
times and in unbroken continuity. It is not true that it
cannot be taught to others but it is true that it involves great
risks for unguided people.
By way of illustration, when my immortal inhalation
reaches my two heels it has actually gone from the original
cavity of spirit (tsu ch’iao between and behind the eyes)
to the medulla oblongata which is linked with the two
psychic channels starting from the heels.
The widening top of the spinal cord which forms the lowest part of
the brain and controls breathing, circulation, etc.
When my immortal exhalation returns from the medulla
oblongata to the original cavity of spirit (between and behind
the eyes) which is linked with the mortal cavity (at the base
of the penis) my concentration also moves from the medulla
oblongata up to the cavity of spirit driving postnatal (vital)
breath (which has reached the brain) into the trunk pathway
(tung ti) to the original cavity of spirit, thence down (the
jen mo channel) through the throat (and chest to the),
chiang kung cavity (the solar plexus) and the lower tan
t’ien centre before reaching the mortal gate. This shows
that the mortal cavity is the root or immortal exhalation.
Postnatal (vital) breath will thus go up and down inde¬
pendently of ordinary breathing through the nostrils or
mouth, and its constant ascent and descent will in time set
prenatal vitality in motion so that when the former goes
up the latter goes down and vice versa, which is macro-
cosmic functioning that will continue endlessly without a
‘When you are perfectly clear about this
immortal breathing you will achieve immortality.’