Gold Pass, Jade Lock Method
by Wang Zhe 王嚞
WangChongyang 王重陽 (1113–1170)
Master WangChongyang of Zhongnan 終南 mountains
Someone asked, “What are the subtle principles for cultivating perfection (xiuzhen 修真)?”
Perfected Chongyang responded, “First, you must remove ignorance (wuming 無明) and vexations (fannao 煩惱). Second, you must get rid of greed, craving and anger. This is the method of cultivation (xiuxing 修行).
“Now then, the body of each human being contains the principles of the heavens and earth. Heaven and earth are what house and nourish the myriad beings. The myriad beings are what fill the space between the heavens and earth. The elevated brilliance and vast expansiveness of the heavens and earth have never been hidden by the myriad beings. Humans focusing on cultivation, in responding to the various affairs, should embody this.”
Someone objected saying, “The heavens may be dark and obscure; the earth may move and quake. Mountains may collapse and be destroyed; the oceans may dry up and be depleted. The sun and moon have their periods of waxing and waning. Moreover, humans have sickness and impermanence. How should one regulate (zhi 治) this?” Perfected Chongyang responded, “If you wish to regulate this, there is no other response than realizing the Most High [Lord Lao’s] Method for Refining the Five Phases (wuxing 五行).”
Someone asked, “What is this Method for [Refining] the Five Phases?” Perfected Chongyang gave the following instructions: “First, you must observe the precepts (chijie 持戒) and develop clarity, stillness, forbearance, compassion, genuineness, and goodness. You must abstain from the ten evils, practice expedient means, and strive to save all sentient beings. You must also be loyal to the ruler and king, and be filial and reverent to parents and teachers. This is the method of cultivation. Then and only then can you practice the exercises of perfection (zhengong 真功).”
Perfected Chongyang also instructed, “You must first recognize that in the human body east and west correspond to [the branches and stems of ] geng, jia, mao, and you. Second, you must recognize that in the body north and south correspond to [trigrams] Kan-water and Li-fi re as well as to lead and mercury. “Geng 庚 with jia 甲 and mao 卯 with you 酉 correspond to day and night, respectively.
Jia and mao correspond to the qi of the liver orb. Among the Eight Nodes (bajie 八節), they correspond to the beginning of spring and the vernal equinox. Within the mouth, they correspond to the jin-fluids. Geng and you correspond to the qi of the lung orb. Among the Eight Nodes, they correspond to the beginning of autumn and the autumnal equinox. Within the mouth, they correspond to the ye-fluids. Kan-water and Li-fi re correspond to [the phases of] winter and summer.
Within the body, Li-fi re and lead represent the qi of the heart orb. Among the Eight Nodes, they correspond to the beginning of summer and the summer solstice. Within the body, they correspond to the blood. Kan-water and mercury represent the qi of the kidney orb. Among the Eight Nodes, they correspond to the beginning of winter and the winter solstice. Within the body, they correspond to vital essence. Vital essence generates the earthly soul (po 魄). Blood generates the divine soul (hun 魂). Vital essence corresponds to innate nature. Blood corresponds to lifedestiny. Humans who completely realize innate nature and life-destiny understand that this is the method of perfect cultivation. “Vital essence and blood are the roots of the fleshly body. The perfect qi (zhenqi 真氣) is the root of innate nature and life-destiny Consequently, it is said that if there is blood, one can generate the perfect qi. When the perfect qi is strong and substantial, then one can naturally attain longevity. Assembling vital essence and blood completes physical form.”
Someone raised another question: “After becoming a person, what causes some people to live longer, while others die earlier?” Perfected Chongyang answered, “Some people die earlier than others because the human heart-mind is attached to desires and pleasures, as well as to greed and the mundane world. Thus men dissipate their vital essence, while women deplete their blood. Throughout the day, they do not remove ignorance and vexations; throughout the night, they do not expel the Three Death-bringers (sanshi 三尸) and yin-ghosts (yingui 陰鬼). Such men and women already reside in impermanence.”
Someone asked, “How is it that some people do not die?” Perfected Chongyang responded, “Some people do not die because their bodies are clear and still (qingjing 清靜), remaining undefiled. They conserve the perfect qi in the elixir field, so that vital essence and blood are not diminished. Such people do not die.” An objection was raised: “I have often seen people who are clear and still and who, moreover, do not have marital relations (xiuqi 休妻). Nonetheless, they cannot complete the Dao. Why is this?” Perfected Chongyang explained, “Even though these people are clear and still, they have not realized the accomplishment of perfect clarity and stillness. Even though their whole body is clear and still, they cannot stabilize (ding 定) their vital essence and blood or nourish the perfect qi. The bodies of such people may be clear, but their heartminds are not clear; their bodies may be still, but their thoughts are not still.
How can one not listen to the words of the Qingjing jing 清靜經 (Scripture on Clarity and Stillness)? ‘As for the Dao, there is clarity and turbidity; there is movement and stillness. Clarity is the source of turbidity; movement is the foundation of stillness.’Another scripture says, ‘There is no defilement and no purity.’ If we speak of perfect clarity and stillness, there are no tears within the eyes, no mucous within the nose, and no saliva within the mouth. There is no activity in either the bladder or the bowels. In such a state, men nourish their vital essence, while women stabilize their blood. The ten thousand deviations (xie 邪) return to alignment (zheng 正); the myriad diseases are not generated. Only then is there the clarity and stillness of the elixir field. “When people of today speak about clarity and stillness, they merely use one-sided designations (jiaming 假名).
“Now then, when engaging in cultivation, the internal and external should both be considered. I have not yet spoken of the greater transmission, but first I will speak of the lesser transmission. The Xinjing 心經 (Heart Sūtra) says, ‘First you manage the lesser, and then the greater. Before one can speak of the future, one must first speak about the present. The future is the fruit. The present is the effort.’ This sutra also says, ‘As merit is complete, so the fruit is full. I have not yet spoken the truth; thus, I have spoken the false.’ The unifi ed numen ( yiling 一靈) is real; the four elements (sida 四大) of body are false. If you can refi ne the false and complete the real, there will be resonance and harmony. You will become unified.”
Perfected Chongyang also instructed, “If, at the present time, your whole body is calm and joyful, you have the lesser transmission. All of this is the root of the greater transmission. The initial step towards realizing the Dharma Mind (faxin 法心) is the lesser transmission, which bears fruit to produce the greater transmission. The lesser transmission is the root, while the greater transmission is the branch.” Perfected Chongyang also taught the following: “The branches and the root depend on each other. The branch borrows from the root to grow. Today people who practice cultivation remain unaware of how they came to acquire a body, and how the karmic connections (yuan 緣) necessary for innate nature and destiny-life were generated.”
Perfected Chongyang also commented, “Nothing is ever separated from yin and yang; what lives must borrow vital essence from the father and blood from the mother. These two substances are the root of the body. All of the people of today who practice cultivation do not take care of their father’s essence and their mother’s blood. They diminish and disperse their perfect qi and injure and squander their original yang (yuanyang 元陽). Consequently, there is old age. When there is old age, there is sickness. Because of sickness, there is death. Thus there is impermanence. How can one not regulate this? “Now then, as for the perfect Dao, in emptiness there is solidity; in solidity, there is emptiness. A scripture says, ‘The great Dao is without form — it births and rears the heavens and the earth. The great Dao is without name — it grows and nourishes the myriad things.’ Accordingly, from Perfection, innate nature is born.
Being a person is also like this. In the past, Laojun 老君 (Lord Lao) refined [the Five Phases of] Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. He bequeathed three transmissions (sansheng 三乘). His subtle words were as follows: ‘Practice! Practice and extinguish transgressions. Grasp it! Grasp it and live forever.’ The first [transmission] is the highest: attaining spirit immortality (shenxian 神仙) by embracing the One (baoyi 抱一). The second is the middle: enriching the country through creating peace for the people. The third is the lowest: strengthening the army for battle and victory.”
Someone asked, “What do you mean by ‘attaining spirit immortality by embracing the One’?” Perfected Chongyang explained, “‘Embracing the One’ is [realizing] the world is the root of the human body. The One is the root of the myriad beings. The One is the Dao. In antiquity, the initial One was perfect water (zhenshui 真水). Qi is born from water [vital essence]; water is born from qi. The myriad beings are born from the One; the myriad beings thus grow and are nourished. ‘The One gave birth to the two. The two gave birth to the three. The three gave birth to the myriad beings.’
From the three came the following: the accomplishment of the four forms of wisdom (sizhi gong 四智功) and the five kinds of vision (wuyan 五眼), from which arose the Six Roots (liugen 六根). These then dissipate into the Seven Po (qipo 七魄), which moved and opened the eight trigrams. Finally there was speaking about the nine levels of mind (jiusi 九思). The perfect Dao depends on the fruit of non-dissipation (wulou guo 無漏果) being complete. Through intention and thought, spirit naturally grows inside the elixir field. Embrace and guard the original qi. Do not allow it to be dispersed or lost. This is the method for embracing the One.”
Someone posed the following question: “How does one enrich the country through creating peace for the people?” Perfected Chongyang replied, “Within the bodies of men and women, there are nine rivers, four oceans, a dragon palace, and a storehouse. Within this storehouse, there are the Seven Gems (qizhen 七珍) and the Eight Treasures (babao 八寶). Do not allow the Six Thieves (liuzei 六賊) to steal them. This is what is meant by enriching the country through creating peace for the people.”
Someone asked, “What is strengthening the army for battle and victory?” Perfected Chongyang answered, “Now then, battle and victory are what lesser people of the world know. Battle and victory are methods of constancy.” An objection was raised: “[If this is the case, then] when discussing the method of clarity and stillness, why do you speak about the principle of battle and victory?” Perfected Chongyang responded, “People of today do not even approach the method of battle and victory. They attempt to regulate diseases, but they cannot get rid of them permanently. As for battle and victory, one must first fight and conquer ignorance and vexations. Secondly, during the night and on specific days, one must fight and conquer the Three Death-bringers and the yin-ghosts. Thirdly, one must fight and conquer the myriad dharmas. This is the method of battle and victory. “Anyone who can obtain these three transmissions will transform calamities and vexations into good fortune. Anyone who cultivates them will constantly make clarity and stillness his root. This is the method of the greater transmission.
If you wish to practice the greater transmission, you must first inquire into the lesser transmission and begin [with that]. “Clarity is not separate from turbidity. Movement is not separate from stillness. From stillness, movement is born. From turbidity, clarity naturally arises. Then there is heaven and earth, the sun and moon, water and fire, and yin and yang. This is the perfect Dao. “A scripture says, ‘If there is only pure yang, then there is no development; if there is only pure yin, then there is no growth. The harmonization of yin and yang is able to generate the myriad beings.’
People cultivating the Dao today are not cultivating the perfect Dao. That Dao is complete realization (liaoda 了達) of innate nature and life-destiny. Innate nature and life-destiny are vital essence and blood, respectively. Humans have ten thousand diseases; all of these diseases injure human life-destiny. If there are people who are diseased, it is ultimately because they have not attended to the needs of the five yin-orbs. In all cases, it is because they have injured the Three Treasures of vital essence, qi, and blood. Anyone wishing to have tranquility, joy, and long life must remove disease by maintaining awareness of clarity and stillness.
“Sometimes there are those who have not yet left the family (chujia 出家). With few years left, they cannot attain the fruit of clarity and stillness. From the lesser transmission one must proceed to the middle transmission and then to the greater transmission. The first step towards realizing the Dharma Mind is the lower transmission. Awakening is the middle transmission. Complete realization is the higher transmission. The first is the refining realm. The second is silver realm. The third is gold realm. This is similar to a single large tree — first there is the root and then the branches. If you constantly regard clarity and stillness as the correct [method], your alignment with the Dao will become great.”
Someone asked, “If one succeeds in making the body clear but still encounters the day of the Celestial Demon (tianmo 天魔), how should one attend to this? Also, if one encounters deviant ways (waidao 外道) or heart-mind fluctuations (boxun 波巡), please explain how one should attend to them.” Perfected Chongyang answered, “Heart-mind fluctuations are the world. Mental conditions and the world are always present. You have to be aware of the Three Essentials (sanyao 三要) and of how they Perfected Chongyang also said, “‘Three thousand’ indicates the number of perfect accomplishments (zhengong 真功). ‘Strong troops’ refer to the qi.
If the demon army comes and does not leave, breathe a thousand respirations, repeatedly accumulating qi in the elixir field without letting it be dispersed. Maintain the warmth without allowing it to cool. Naturally the immortal embryo (taixian 胎仙) will coalesce. This is a subtle method. If people can realize the subtlety of the above, they will eternally attain the perfect accomplishments also mentioned above. If the accomplishments are complete, then the fruits are full, and one can eternally attain tranquility, joy, and long life. All people who cultivate these accomplishments, when they encounter difficult times, will take care and be prepared.”
Someone asked, “How should one regulate such a situation?” Perfected Chongyang responded, “If you encounter difficult times, you must first be attentive to the signs of death (sixiang 死相).” Someone inquired further, “What are the signs of death?” Perfected Chongyang answered, “the Celestial Pillar (tianzhu 天柱) is disrupted and agitated. Trees are upturned and mountains are collapsing. The Six Spirits (liushen 六神) are all thrown into confusion. Innate nature and life-destiny cannot be protected. Vital essence and spirit become wild and indistinct. The heavens and earth are eclipsed. The sun and moon no longer have radiance. These are the sprouts of impermanence. “A body with dissipation turns into one’s own Earth Prison (diyu 地獄), while the fruit of non-dissipation is the Celestial Hall. If people have a body with dissipation, they must pursue the fruit of non-dissipation. Once this is complete, then you can attain the other fruits of the Dao (daoguo 道果).”
Someone asked, “If the white ox (bainiu 白牛) is about to escape, how can one capture it?” Perfected Chongyang gave the following response, “If the white ox is about to escape, you should tightly close the Mysterious Pass (xuanguan 玄關) and securely guard the Four Gates (simen 四門). You should urgently employ the Immortal’s Fishing Method. You should also use the Sacred Gesture of the Three Islands to direct the Yellow River to reverse its course. You should cover the Gold Pass (jinguan 金關) from above and shut the Jade Lock (yusuo 玉鎖). If this is accomplished in the blink of an eye, then the white ox naturally will not depart. This is called the Method for Mechanically Issuing Water to Ascend the Other Shore. There are ten categories (pan 般) of methods for stabilizing (ding 定) innate nature and life-destiny.”
Perfected Chongyang also instructed, “The first is called the ‘Stabilization of the Gold Pass and Jade Lock.’ The second is called the ‘Stabilization of the Three Islands for Returning to Life and Removing Death.’ The third is called the ‘Stabilization of the Nine Curves of the Yellow River Reversing their Flows.’ These names refer to the fruit of non-dissipation. When perfected, they complete the way to immortality. When you completely stabilize the treasures cease [your following of] the instructions. [If you do not], from the waist through the legs there will be obstruction; the eyes will be obscured as well. This is the Method for Stabilizing the Three Treasures.”
Someone asked, “If there are people who collect and stabilize the Three Treasures, after circulating them [throughout the body], where should they store them? Perfected Chongyang said, “First use the Method of Reeds and Sprouts Threading the Knee. Decoct the qi to open up the treasures. Warm the bones to move the qi. Direct it to reach Bubbling Well (yongquan 湧泉) located in the feet. Once you finish this, [use] the Method of the Seven Times Reverted Elixir. When the qi is settled in the waist and legs, practice the Exercise of the Iron Cart and Black Ox. Afterwards, open the Governing Gate (zaimen 宰門).
In order to get the original qi to fill the belly, first practice the Method of Flying the Gold Crystal Behind the Elbow. If you do not practice this exercise, do not [proceed to] practice the Method of [Sprouts] Threading the Knee or the Method of Three Islands and Seven Reversions. In that case, practice the Method of Transporting Vital Essence behind the Elbow to Restore the Brain. Hoping for long life and not to grow old, the people of today, practicing certain exercises, regard the upper parts [of the body] but disregard the lower parts [of the body]. Like small children building a pagoda [in loose ground], their foundations are unstable.”