Liu Yiming on the Five Agents
Awakening to Reality: The "Regulated Verses" of the Wuzhen pian, a Taoist Classic of Internal Alchemy, translated by Fabrizio Pregadio, pages 78-79
The five agents are the five breaths of Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Soil. In the precelestial state, these five breaths are the "five origins," namely Original Nature, Original Emotions, Original Essence, Original Spirit, and Original Breath. In the postcelestial state they are the "five things," namely the wandering Hun-soul, the ghostly Po-soul, the Yin essences, the cognitive spirit, and the errant intention.
The "five origins" include the five virtues, which are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity. The "five things" include the five thieves, which are pleasure, anger, grief, joy, and lust. When the five agents are whole, the precelestial and postcelestial are gathered together, and the "five origins" control the "five things."
Source: Introduction to Awakening to Reality>.
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