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TAOIST YOGA Alchemy and Immortality Part 7

“Real Tao means spirit and vitality only. Cultivation of vitality

DRIVING THE ELIXIR OF IMMORTALITY INTO THE CAULDRON

When the spiritual foetus is formed by the ball of fire
A white light from the heart illuminates all
Things and a great blaze of golden light appears;
When all channels have been cleared the macrocosmic
agent’s made.

The bright pearl illuminates the brain
Making in nine turns the elixir.
Only when a drop sinks down to the belly
Does one realise immortals live on earth.

The cultivation of immortality does not go beyond spirit
and vitality. Spirit leads to the realisation of (essential)
nature and vitality to (eternal) life. Spirit comes from the
sublimation of vitality and vitality from the purification
of the generative force. To become immortal it is most
important to sublimate the generative force, and when
(refined) vitality is full it will manifest. If vitality is used to
nurture the generative force the latter, when full, will
produce the immortal seed.

The union of spirit and vitality produces the immortal
seed as revealed by the white light in the heart, lights flashing
in the head, the dragon’s hum and the tiger’s roar in the
ears. If the light of ambrosia is not full and bright, this is
due to lack of instruction and guidance by enlightened
masters. In this event inner fire should be gathered and lifted
to produce spiritual fire which will emit the golden light, and
then the light of ambrosia will be full and bright. But you
should not gather and lift fire at this stage for too long as
it may cause dizziness. If the immortal seed is fully developed
the golden light will manifest; if it does not further training
is necessary (as follows):

‘The method of
producing the immortal seed consists of “uniting” the heart
with the eyes for pointed concentration on the lower ab¬
domen so that if vibration is felt there, vitality can be
immediately circulated (in the microcosmic orbit) for
purification, but the slightest carelessness on the part of the
practiser can cause it to drain away thereby nullifying
all previous progress.

‘If at this preliminary stage the genital organ shrinks
this does not prove that it is really drawn in. If the immortal
seed only sparks it is immature. The practiser should con¬
tinue to work diligently until the penis (appears to) shrink
into the lower abdomen. A white light will first appear
in front of the eyebrows and, as time passes, will fill
the space between them and the lower tan t’ien (under
the navel); this reveals the maturity of the immortal seed.
But if after long training this light fails to appear the prac¬
tiser should light and place an incense stick before him, and
then focus his eyes to gaze at its burning tip; after rolling
them round from left to right nine times, the immortal
seed will be completely mature and bright. Further training
is needed to lift this bright light of the elixir from the lower
tan t’ien (under the navel) to the eyes which will then flash
two or three times. This light of the elixir glitters like pure
gold and resembles a ball of fire which is a sign that the
immortal seed is fully developed.’

‘The real positive generative force is mysterious.’

‘The generative force which is real, exists within that which is profound
and mysterious.’ This real generative force is the true seed
in the human body. Since it is indistinct, it is called t’ai chi
(the supreme ultimate) and since it is the beginning of
creativity, it is called prenatal (hsien t’ien). Since it is the
undivided yin-yang (the union of the negative and the posi¬
tive) it is called the One vitality. It is also called the yellow
bud (huang ya), the mysterious pearl (hsuan chu) and posi¬
tive generative force (yang ching). If this generative force
is frozen between heaven (the head) and earth (the lower
abdomen) it becomes the light of immortal seed.

Question You have said that if the practiser has not re¬
ceived instruction from competent masters, the inner light
which he may produce will not be full and bright. Will you
explain why?

Answer It is called the light of vitality (hui kuang) and
when it develops fully it is called the golden light (shan
kuang). The generative force which is still immature cannot
produce the white light of vitality and the immortal seed
which is immature cannot produce the golden light. The
light of vitality is like the moon and the golden light (of the
seed) shines like pure gold.

The immortal seed is the crystallisation of positive genera¬
tive force. When the latter is fully developed the practiser
should turn back his eyes to concentrate on and look into
the lower tan t’ien centre (under the navel) so that the ele¬
ment of fire in the eyes which are above scorches that of
water in the belly which is below, to produce positive vitality
whose light manifests in front of him. The fullness of the
generative force manifests as the white light of vitality and
the fullness of the immortal seed as a golden light which
reveals negative vitality within the generative force. The
light of the eyes directed downward is positive and when the
positive and negative lights meet, a precious light (pao
kuang) will emerge.

This is like an electric current which, when the positive
and negative poles are joined, gives a bright light, unless
the power supply is deficient. In the same way unless the
generative force has been fully restored to its strength at
puberty it cannot produce the light of vitality which is
white like moonlight.

Any dimness in the light of vitality and in the golden
light is caused by nocturnal emission of the ‘precious
thing’. This is likened to a short circuit that causes a black-
out. If the electric bulb is broken, air will enter it and the
light goes out. Likewise, if thoughts are allowed to arise
during the meditation, outside air will enter the body and
blow out the precious light. Students should pay particular
attention to all this.

This light is bright like that of the moon, revealing the
fullness of generative force and is called the light of vitality.
When this light turns golden and glitters like pure gold,
revealing the maturity of immortal seed, it is called golden
light. If the centres at F and G are not linked the turning
of the eyes will join them up. If the centres at L and A are
not linked the process of sublimating vitality at D and J
will join them up.

The seven passions that damage vitality are: intense delight
that harms the heart; intense anger the liver; grief the lungs;
fear the gall bladder; love spirit; hate the disposition;
and intense desire the stomach.

The ten excesses that injure vitality are: excessive walking
that harms the nerves; standing the bones; sitting the blood;
sleep the pulses; joy the generative force; looking (at things)
the spirit; speaking the breath; thinking the stomach;
eating the heart; and too much sex the life.

The nine unsettled breaths are caused by: anger which
lifts and fear which lowers the breath; joy which slows it
down; grief which disperses it; terror which throws it
out of gear; thinking which ties it up; toil which wastes it;
cold which collects and heat which scatters it.

If the practiser wishes to gather the macrocosmic al¬
chemical agent for the final breakthrough he should guard
against these seven passions, ten excesses and nine disorderly
breaths. If he does not gather that agent for the final
breakthrough but merely practises the other methods that
follow the twelve steps already taught, he can prolong and
enjoy his life.

Those who can gather the microcosmic alchemical agent
but do not know how to practise or to sublimate it by fire
by stages, waste their efforts because of the seven passions
and sexual attractions arising from colour, form, carriage,
speech (voice), softness (smoothness) and features; how
then can they realise immortality?

Some study the stages of purification by fire and expect to
achieve immortality, but they do not realise that this use of
fire is like growing flowers in the winter; too much heat
will shrivel and destroy the plants, while if it is weak they
will not flower and bear fruit. The fire must not be too
strong or too weak but just right. It is the same when you
practise the sublimation by fire by stages, for if you do so
correctly you are certain to produce the immortal seed.

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Author: Peter Horttanainen

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