Awakening to Reality: Poem 9


The Yin essence within Yang(1)
is not a firm substance:
if you cultivate only this thing
you will become ever more weak.

Toiling your body by pressing and pulling(2)
is certainly not the Way,
ingesting breath and swallowing mist
is entirely foolish.

The whole world recklessly tries
to subdue Lead and Mercury —
when will they be able to see
Dragon and Tiger submitted?

I exhort you to probe and grasp
the place where one comes to life:(3)
return to the fundament, revert to the origin,
and you are a Medicine King.

Source: Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality), poem 9.



(1) This line refers to the essence, or rather the essences, found within the body, some of which are at the center of the practices criticized in the present poem.

(2) Anyin ("pressing and pulling") is a shortened form of anmo daoyin ("pressing and rubbing" and "guiding and pulling"). Daoyin is a form of gymnastics based on postures that favor the circulation of breaths and essences found within the body. Anmo is usually rendered as "massage."

(3) According to one interpretation, "the place where one comes to life" is the lower Cinnabar Field (dantian), where the Elixir—often represent as an embryo—is generated.


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