Precelestial and Postcelestial Breath (qi)
Commentary on the Mirror for Compounding the Medicine: A Fourteenth-Century Work on Taoist Internal Alchemy, by Wang Jie (? - 1380), page 7
The precelestial Breath is the original and initial Ancestral Breath. This Ancestral Breath is in the real center of Heaven and Earth within the human body. [Placed between] the Secret Door and the Gate of Life, hanging in the middle, it is the Heart of Heaven. The self-cultivation of the divine Immortals only consists in collecting the precelestial One Breath and using it as the Mother of the Elixir.
The postcelestial Breath is the Breath that circulates internally: one exhalation, one inhalation, once coming, once going. "Exhaling touches onto the root of Heaven, inhaling touches onto the root of Earth. On exhaling, 'the dragon howls and the clouds rise'; on inhaling, 'the tiger roars and the wind blows.'"
When [the postcelestial Breath] is "unceasing and continuous," it returns to the Ancestral Breath. The internal and the external inchoately merge, and coalesce to form the Reverted Elixir (huandan).
Source: Wang Jie, commentary to Ruyao jing (Mirror for Compounding the Medicine)
This page is part of a series on the Mirror for Compounding the Medicine and its commentary. See the complete index.