The Golden Elixir Taoist Alchemy Masters and Texts Awakening to Reality

Awakening to Reality (Wuzhen pian)

Poem 7: Commentary by Liu Yiming

Translated by Fabrizio Pregadio

Wuzhen pian

Reproduced from:

Awakening to Reality: A Taoist Classic of Internal Alchemy

Translated by Fabrizio Pregadio
Golden Elixir Press, 2009
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The Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality) is one of the most important and best-known Taoist alchemical texts. Written in the 11th century, it describes in a poetical form several facets of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy. Read more on this book.

Text

1 要知產藥川源處,只在西南是本鄉。 3 鉛遇癸生須急採,金逢望遠不堪嘗。 5 送歸土釜牢封閉,次入流珠廝配當。 7 藥重一斤須二八,調停火候託陰陽。

Translation

1You should know that the source of the stream,
 the place where the Medicine is born,
 is just at the southwest —
 that is its native village.
 
3When Lead meets the birth of gui,
 quickly you should collect it:
 if Metal goes past the full moon,
 it is not fit to be savored.
  
5Send it back to the earthenware crucible,
 seal it tightly,
 then add the Flowing Pearl,
 so that they are match for one another.
 
7For the Medicine to weigh one pound
 the Two Eights are needed;
 regulate the fire phases
 relying on Yin and Yang.

Commentary by Liu Yiming

Commentary on lines 1-2: "You should know that the source of the stream, the place where the Medicine is born, is just at the southwest — that is its native village."

The southwest is direction of Kun ☷, the land in which Fu Fu hexagram is reborn after the last day of the month, and in which Yin culminates and generates Yang.(1) In the human being, it is the time of the initial movement after quiescence culminates. This movement is the time of the emergence of the Great Medicine.

However, this movement is not the movement of emotions and desires arising from external stimuli; and it is not the movement of thoughts and ideas arising from the internal mind. It is the movement of innate knowledge of the celestial mind, the movement of the true knowledge of the mind of the Dao.

This innate knowledge of the celestial mind, this true knowledge of the mind of the Dao, can make one transcend the ordinary and enter sainthood,(2) rise from death and return to life; therefore they are represented by the image of the Medicine. At the time in which quiescence culminates and the ten thousand conditions are at rest, the innate knowledge of the celestial mind and the true knowledge of the mind of the Dao have a particle of radiance that reveals their origin; therefore they are represented by the image of the birth of the Medicine. The innate knowledge of the celestial mind and the true knowledge of the mind of the Dao are the white within the black; their movement is generated from quiescence, just like the source of a stream; therefore they are represented by the image of the source of a stream where the Medicine is born.

(1) As shown by its graphical representation, the hexagram Fu (lit., "Return") stands for the rebirth of the Yang principle after the obscuration of Yin, represented in turn by Kun Kun hexagram.

(2) On this expression see the note to Poem 14, line 8.