Jade Carving

jade-carvingCirculating Qi found on a Jade Pendant

The "Jade Carving" is the oldest known writing on Inner Alchemy, in existence today. Written on a small 12-sided cylinder dating back to 308 BC. This jade cylinder was unearthed in Luoyang, Henan Province. On it 45 characters in ancient Chinese are engraved. Here, we are first giving a literal translation to maintain its simplicity, and them providing commentary at the bottom, for a more in-depth perspective.


To circulate Qi;

Deepen then store,

Store then extend;

Extend then descend,

Descend then settle;

Settle then stable,

Stable then sprout;

Sprout then grow,

Grow then retreat;

Retreat then (return to) the Heavens.

The secret of the Heavens is above.

The secret of Earth is below.

Follow (this principle) then (you will) live (a long life),

Go against (this principle) then (you will) die (as a normal person).

Commentary:

From Historian Guo Moruo:
When circulating your Qi, you should breathe in deeply.

After enough Qi stores in your body, lead your Qi downward, and pause for a second, then use your mind to settle the Qi at the Lower Jiao;

Then slowly breathe out the Qi, like the sprout of a plant which is growing upward, all the way to the top (comparing with the direction that Qi goes down, the way that goes up can be considered as retreating or withdrawing).

Keep breathing out slowly, until all the dirty Qi in your abdomen is out.

In this way, the crucial points or the secret of Heaven is moving up; the crucial points or the secret of Earth is moving down. If you follow this principle, you will live; if you go against this principle, you will die.

From Qigong Master Pang Ming:
Since the Middle Jiao is the place where Qi and Blood are generated, focus your mind on the Middle Jiao.

With thin, deep, smooth breathing you can stimulate the Middle Jiao.

If your Middle Jiao feels warm, it means that it's fulfilled with Original-Qi, which is the foundation for further Qigong practice.

After that, keep deepening the breathing and the warm sensation will also move down gradually to the Lower Jiao.

The Lower Jiao is the place where Original-Qi is generated.

The Lower Jiao, not only supplies and adjusts the circulation of Original-Qi, but also store and conserves Original-Qi (This is the meaning of "deep then store, store then extend, extend then descend").

Your mind should be focused on the Dantian and the Sea of Qi (CV-6) during this period.

These two locations are the "the base of organs, root of the twelve channels, and the gate of breathing" according to the Canon of Questions.

After you focus your Shen on these places, your Jing will be stabled.

When your Jing is stabled, it can generate Original-Qi, which will form a warm Qi mass that keeps growing at the abdomen (this is the meaning of "descend then settle, settle then stable, stable then sprout, sprout then grow").

When the Qi mass grows to certain level, it naturally goes down along the Conception Vessel and pushes open the Hui Yin Point, then moves up along the Governing Vessel, pushes open the Three Gates and goes all the way up to the brain (This is the meaning of "grow then retreat, retreat then return to the Heaven").

In this way, Jing transmutes into Qi, then Qi to Shen.

Shen is located in the brain and is in charge of all the changes in the body.

So if you follow these principles, you can live a long life; if not, you will die naturally (This is the meaning of the rest part of the passage).