Images (Xiang) in Neidan
The World Upside Down: Essays on Taoist Internal Alchemy, by Isabelle Robinet, page 26
The xiang is the Image, which in some respects takes in China, it seems to me, the place that the Word or the sound take in other traditions, such as Tantrism. It does so, however, not as a creating force, which is the role of "Breath" (qi) in China; but rather as the form, the configuration—which on the auditive plane is sound—that comes closest to the original form of beings. The Dao is the Great Image. Images and numbers are provided with a cosmic and cosmogonic efficacy and truth that are close to those of the mantra, but on a mode that is visual rather than auditive.
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