The Internal Companions
Cultivating the Tao: Taoism and Internal Alchemy, by Liu Yiming (1734-1821), page 151
. . . Therefore being connected with companions who have the same mind is the most important thing in the cultivation of the Tao. However, companions who share the same mind are very difficult to discern. They have no form and no image, no sound and no color, no front and no back. Facing evil, they transform themselves into yakshas; facing goodness, they transform themselves into bodhisattvas.(1) Their transformations have no limit: they conceal or manifest themselves in unfathomable ways. Everyone has them in front of their eyes, but misses them. If you are unwilling to discern the true, day after day they increasingly separate from you.
When all of a sudden an intimate friend appears, you become of one mind with him: walking, standing, sitting, or lying, neither of you separates from the other for a single instant. . . . Those who intend to cultivate Reality might be without external companions, but should never be without internal companions.
Source: Xiuzhen houbian (Further Discriminations in Cultivating Reality), sec. 25.
(1) In Buddhism, a yaksha is a minor deity who protects from evil, and a bodhisattva who operates for the liberation of all beings. Liu Yiming seems to say here that the "internal companions" protect one in unfavorable circumstances, as do the yakshas, and support one when the circumstances are favorable, as do the bodhisattvas.
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