The True and the Illusory Body and Mind


Cultivating the Tao

Quoted from:

Cultivating the Tao: Taoism and Internal Alchemy, by Liu Yiming (1734-1821), pages 39-40

The illusory body (huanshen) is the body of flesh; the illusory mind is the human mind. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, mouth, and intellect all come forth from the illusory body; pleasure, anger, sorrow, joy, love, hate, and desire all come forth from the human mind. Each of the six senses as well as the gatekeeper is sufficient on its own to take your life; each of the seven emotions and each errant thought is capable on its own of giving you death.(1) If they are even accidentally activated, how many are those whose Nature (xing) and Existence (ming) would not be harmed and injured? . . .

As for the true body and the true mind, they are the dharma-body (fashen) and the celestial mind (tianxin). Yin and Yang and the five agents come forth from the dharma-body; the Infant, the Lovely Maid, the Mother of Wood, the Lord of Metals, the Yellow Dame, as well as coral, agate, crystal, jasper, and gold are all born from the celestial mind.(2)

Source: Xiuzhen houbian (Further Discriminations in Cultivating Reality), sec. 4.



(1) The "gatekeeper" (mentou) is consciousness.

(2) The Infant and the Lord of Metals are images of True Yang; the Lovely Maid and the Mother of Wood are images of True Yin; and the Yellow Dame is an image of the True Intention, which makes the conjunction of True Yin and True Yang possible. Coral, agate, crystal, jasper, and gold are five of the "seven treasures" (qibao; other items mentioned in different lists of the "treasures" include jade, amber, agate, pearls, etc.).


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