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67

Mapping the Daoist Body


Part One
The Neijing tu in History
*
LOUIS KOMJATHY
Abstract
This article examinesthe history and content ofthe Neijingtu (Dia
gram of Internal Pathways), a late nineteenthcentury stele currently
housed in Baiyun guan (WhiteCloud Monastery; Beijing). The dia
gramisoneofthemostwellknownillustrationsoftheDaoistbody,though
itshistoricalprovenancehasnotbeensufficientlydocumentedtodate.
The present article provides a more complete account of its context of
production and dissemination, namely, within the context of Baiyun guan,
the late imperialLongmen(Dragon Gate)lineage of theQuanzhen
(CompletePerfection)monasticorder,andeliteimperialcourtculture.I
then turn to a systematicstudy of its contentsand the Daoist methods ex
pressedinitscontours.Withinitstopographicallandscape,onefindsaspe
cificvisionoftheDaoistbody,abodyactualizedthroughDaoistalchemical
*
ThepresentarticleispartofmyongoingresearchprojectonDaoistbody
mapsandDaoistviewsofself.IamgratefultoLiviaKohn,LiuXun,JiangSheng,
and the anonymous readers of theJournalofDaoistStudiesfortheir helpful com
ments. I also wish to thank Kate Townsend for her many insights into Daoist
cultivationandChinesemedicine.
68/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
praxis. As such, the Neijing tu and its various rubbings were more than
likelyintendedasvisualaidsforDaoistreligioustraining.
Forreadability,thearticlehasbeendividedintotwoparts.Thecurrent
section discusses the diagrams historical and terminological dimensions.
Thesecondpart,scheduledtobepublishedinthenextissueoftheJournalof
DaoistStudies,focusesoncontentandincludesacompletebilingualtransla
tionwithillustrations.
ThroughoutthehistoryoftheDaoisttradition,Daoistshavebeenexpert
and extraordinary cartographers. Whether through textual descriptions
or visual representations, Daoists have sought to map the patterns and
constituentsofbothinternalandexternalworlds.Theyhavechartedthe
cosmos through star diagrams, including the forms of the five planets
and the twentyeight lunar mansions. They have mapped the layers of
theheavens,thesubtlerealmsoftheuniverse,andthestellarabodesin
habitedbythePerfected(zhenren).Theyhavediagramedthemoun
tain peaks of this terrestrial landscape and the hidden grottoheavens
(dongtian ) branching out like veins through the earth. They have
charted the geomantic contours and qualities of place. They have
mapped the internal spirits associated with the various orbs
1
and the
processbywhichonerealizesthegivennessofcosmologicalsituatedness.
They have diagramed the alchemical process of selftransformation and
the subtle physiology of human aliveness.
2
In short, Daoists have
mappedtheuniverseinitsvariouslayersandmutualinfluencesauni
verse which is simultaneously cosmos, world, landscape, community,
andself.
1
Onthetranslation ofzang/asorbseePorkert 1974.Althoughzang
hasbeentranslatedinnumerousways(organ,viscera,depot,etc.),orbseemsthe
bestchoiceasitincludesthelargerprocessoriented qi theory.
2
Examples of these various maps may be found throughout the pages of
Needhametal.1983;Despeux1994;2000;Little2000.Ontheimportanceofspe
cificgeographicallocationsintheDaoisttraditionsee,e.g.,NaquinandYu1992;
Verellen1995;Hahn1988;2000;Qiao2000.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/69
70/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
TheNeijingtu (Diagram of Internal Pathways; see Figure 1)
isonesuchdiagram.
3
TheNeijingtuisamapoftheDaoistinternalland
scape and a storehouse of Daoist cultivation practices, specifically visu
alization and alchemical techniques. The diagram depicts the head and
torso of the Daoistbody as seen from thesideand inseatedmeditation
posture.Itillustratesmorecommonlyrecognizableaspectsofthehuman
body in combination with Daoist subtle anatomy and physiology. The
spinalcolumn,framed ontherightandconnecting the lowertorso with
the cranial cavity, draws ones immediate attention. The conventional
representationofthespinalcolumnissupplementedbyspecificallyDao
ist realities: on closer examination one notices three temples within the
3
The rubbing in my personal collection was acquired at Baiyun guan in
2002.Likeothermodernrubbingsfromtheextantstonestele,itlackstheguangxu
inscription in the upper righthand corner (see Eichman 2000a), which is
discussedbelowasakeytothehistoryofthediagram.Oflate,theNeijingtuhas
becomeasortoflogoforDaoistStudiesintheWest.Ithasappearedin numerous
publications,withvaryingdegreesofreflectiveconsideration.Forexample,ithas
appeared on thecover of ThomasClearys TheInnerTeachingsofTaoism, in Livia
Kohns TheTaoistExperience (Kohn1993,177),inJohnLagerweys TaoistRitualin
ChineseSocietyandHistory (Lagerwey1987,289),andinSchippersLecorpstaoste
(Schipper 1982, 143) without any explanation. The most detailedstudiesto date
are Rousselle1933;Sakade 1991; Wang 1991/92; and Eichman 2000a.Additional
commentsmaybefoundinChia1995;Cohen1997,15255;Despeux1994,4448;
2000;Li2003;Liun.d.;Needhametal.1983,11416;Schipper1978,356;Skar2003.
Rousselle and Wang provide fairly systematic accounts, with Wang translating
much of the diagram, but from an art historical perspective. Both also provide
someinformationontherelationshipbetweenarubbingoftheNeijingtu andan
unidentified painting. Eichmans comments are included in the art catalogue
TaoismandtheArtsofChina, and, like Needham and Despeux, arefairly general.
Needham, Despeux and Skar also provide some insights into the historical and
doctrinal relationship between various Daoist body maps, including the Neijing
tu. Here it perhaps deserves mentioning that most of the discussions of Daoist
body maps rely on and often closelyfollowNeedham et al.1983. Note also that
theNeijingtu(andmanyoftheoriginalimages)wasnotreproducedintheEng
lish translation of Schippers La corpstaoste, where we find the following note:
See the image of the Inner Landscape on page 000, where the lower Cinnabar
Field (hsia tantien) is represented by an irrigated rice field being tilled by a
youngbody(Schipper1993,235,n.24).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/71
spine, corresponding to the Three Passes (sanguan ) through which
Daoist adepts engaging in the process of alchemical transformation en
deavortocirculateqi.Inaddition,thethreeelixirfields(sandantian
)
4
withtheloweronecorrespondingtotheox(abdominalregion),the
middle to the Cowherd (heart region), and the upper to the old man
(head region)are clearly discernable. One also notes the head as a se
ries of mountain peaks and the presence of bridges and pagodas inside
the body. In addition, streams are flowing throughout the map (and
throughout the body). These various details, as well as the textual and
visual contours yet to be mentioned, reveal the Neijing tu as a detailed
mappingoftheDaoistbody.Itrevealstheinternallandscapediscovered
andactualizedthroughDaoistcultivation,specificallywithincertaincir
cles of late imperial Daoism and branches of Daoist internal alchemy
(neidan ),
5
notably the Longmen (Dragon Gate) branch of
Quanzhen (Complete Perfection) at Baiyun guan (White
CloudMonastery;Beijing)inthelatenineteenthcentury.Althoughsuch
historical qualifications must, perhaps, be made, in its textual content,
visual representations, and praxisbased concerns, the Neijing tu finds
clear precedents in both SongJin (tenththirteenth century) lineages of
internal alchemy and late imperial internal alchemy.
6
In addition, the
diagram has retained a central place of importance within Daoist com
4
Elixir fields (dantian ), discussed in more detail below, are subtle,
oftenmystical,energeticlocationsinthebody,whichfrequentlyincludeanon
spatial dimension (e.g., mysticalcranial locations). They areplaces in which the
bodysphysicalandenergeticaspects,theingredientsforthealchemicalmedi
cineandthefoundationforimmortality,arestoredandtransformed.Theessen
tial materials for elixirformation are vital essence (jing ) associated with the
kidneys, qi associatedwiththelowerabdomen,spirit(shen)associatedwith
the heartand brain, and bodily fluids (jinye), whichhave a variety of as
sociations. Some internal alchemy systems also place emphasis on the ethereal
soul(hun)andthecorporealsoul(po ).ForanattempttomapDaoistelixir
formationintermsofChinesemedicaltheoryseeKomjathy2007,ch.6.
5
For some insights into the history and practice of internal alchemy see
BaldrianHussein1983; Needham et al. 1983; Robinet 1989b; 1995; Pregadio and
Skar2000;Skar2003;Komjathy2007.
6
TheexactlineageofinternalalchemydocumentedintheNeijingtuawaits
future research.While I makesomesuggestions,acompletestudy of late impe
rialneidan andLongmenmayclarifytheseandrelatedhistoricalissues.
72/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
munitiesintothetwentyfirstcentury,atestamenttotheenduringpower
ofitsmappingoftheDaoistbodyandDaoistreligiouspraxis.
7
Inpart one of this article, Idiscuss thehistoricalbackground of the
Neijingtu as well asthe layers ofmeaning embeddedin its title. Inpart
two,whichwillappearinthenextissueoftheJournalofDaoistStudies,a
detailed study of the graphic and textual components of the diagram is
presented. I also draw attention to three specific Daoist cultivation
methods illustrated in the Neijing tu, namely, praxisoriented applica
tionsofclassicalChinesemedicalviewsofthebody;visualizationmeth
ods which draw their inspiration from the Huangtingjing (Scrip
ture on the Yellow Court; DZ 331; 332)
8
and which find clear historical
precedents in early Shangqing (Highest Clarity) Daoism; and the
alchemical technique known as the Waterwheel (heche ) or Micro
cosmicOrbit(xiaozhoutian ).
Theprimaryfocusofthepresentstudyisthetextualandvisualcon
tent of the diagram itself, especially as one depiction of the Daoist al
chemical or mystical body (see Komjathy 2007) and as one map of
Daoist religious praxis as undertaken in the late imperial period. The
majorcontributionofthispaperis,inturn,threefold.Itprovidesthefirst
complete translation of the Neijing tu, including bilingual renderings of
the diagram as divided into three sections. Second, it supplies greater
specificity than anypreviousstudy concerningthe actual historicalcon
text in which the original stele was commissioned and in which the
original version may have been produced. Finally, I argue for reading
the Neijing tu as a map of Daoist cultivation as understood and under
takeninthecontextoflateimperialDaoismandintheLongmenbranch
of Quanzhen, specifically at Baiyun guan during the late Qing dynasty
(16441911).Onthemostbasiclevel,thediagramisanaestheticallypow
7
Some claims have also been made concerning the Neijing tu as part of
Chinese medical history. See Fu etal. 1999; Li 2003.While purely medical ex
planations prove unsatisfactory in terms of the diagrams content, the overlap
pingcontoursofBuddhism,Daoism,andChinesemedicinemaygiveone
pauseatthereifiednatureofthosecategories.TheNeijingtu,likecontemporane
ous sources, reveals a complex pattern of interaction, adaptation, and transfor
mationoftraditionsinthelateimperialperiod.
8
Daoist texts are cited according to Komjathy 2002, with numbers for the
MingdynastyDaoistCanonparallelingSchipperssystem.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/73
erful depiction of the human body, and thus of the aspiring Daoist
adepts own psychosomatic possibility.
9
On another level, it is the body
as actualized through meditative praxis, and thus points towards two
additional dimensions: seated meditation becomes represented as the
normative and normalizing posture for human beings; and, like earlier
mappingsofDaoistcultivation,theNeijingtuwasmorethanlikelyused
(andcontinuestobeused) asavisualaidformeditation.
Historical Contours
ThereceivedNeijingtuisastonestelehousedatBaiyunguaninBeijing.
Baiyun guan is the seat of contemporary Quanzhen Daoism, the official
statesponsored Daoist monastic tradition in mainland China, and the
headquarters of the Chinese Daoist Association (Zhongguo daojiao xie
hui).
10
ItisalsothechiefmonasteryoftheLongmenbranch
ofQuanzhen,traditionallysaidtohavebeenestablishedbyQiuChuji
(Changchun [Perpetual Spring]; 11481227), but historically
traced to Wang Changyue (Kunyang [Paradisiacal Yang];
16221680)(Esposito2000,628;seealsoEsposito1993;2001).
The received Neijing tu stele is a reproduction of a latenineteenth
century engraving.Accordingto the inscription in the upper righthand
cornerofatleastsomerubbingsofthe Neijingtu(seeEichman2000a),the
engravingoftheoriginalsteleoccurredinthefirstthirdofthesixthlunar
month in 1886 (guangxu bingwu nian heyue shanghuan
),that is, towards the end of the late imperialperiod and oftheMan
chu Qingdynasty (16441911).Theguangxuinscription only occurs
insome extantrubbings, and thishistoricaldetail, frommyperspective,
provides an important clue into the history of the diagram now known
as the Neijing tu. In contrast, the extant Neijing tu stone stele of Baiyun
guan, similar reproductions distributed to various Daoist temples (e.g.,
9
In this respect, the Neijingtu is not simply an artifact, a trace of some
lost historical moment or a monument to disappearing tradition. It remains an
enduring presence in various Daoist communities and in the lives of specific
Daoists.Cf.Eichman2000b:231.
10
ForinformationonQuanzhenDaoismseeYao 1980;Tsui1991;Qingetal.
1996, vol. 3;JournalofChineseReligions29(2001); Eskildsen 2004;Komjathy2007.
ForastudyofthehistoryofBaiyunguanseeMarsone1999.
74/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
Baxian gong, Chongyang gong, Qingyang gong), and modern rubbings
lackthisinscription.This,inturn,pointstoanearlierengraving,regard
ingwhichitscurrentstatus(extantornot),possiblelocation,andoriginal
material(wood,stoneorbronze)remainamystery.
TheoriginalengravingwascommissionedbyaLongmenmonkand
court eunuch(taijian) named Liu Chengyin (d. 1894), whose
Daoistname was Suyun (Pure Cloud).
11
Liu Chengyin was born in
Dongguang county, Zhili province (presentday Hebei), an
area known for its poverty and hence its steady supply of young boys
who were often sold by their parents to be castrated and trained as
eunuchs for the imperial household. Little else is known about Lius
earlylifeandhiscareer.AsLiuXunpointsout,
11
The most readily available biographical information appears in a stele
inscription written by Xiyou, a Manchu bannerman, and entitled Liu Su
yundaoxingbei(SteleontheDaoistActivitiesofLiuSuyun;dat.
1886). It seems that this stele was originally located in the western front of the
Nanji dian(Shrine ofthe Southern Polestar), which is now named Leizu
dian (Shrine of the Patriarch of Thunder). Wang Chiping (pers.
comm..);authors field observations(cf. Goossaert 2007, 224).For reproductions
see Koyanagi 1934, 15859; Li 2003, 714. Other important, related steles include
the Suyun zhenren daoxing beiji (dat. 1895), Suyun zhen
renLiuxianshibeiji(dat.1895),LiuSuyuntaming
(dat. ca. 1900), and Baiyun guan Changchun gonghui beiji
(dat. 1886). On these and contemporaneous steles see Goossaert 2007.
Most of the present biographical information on Liu Chengyin comes from the
firstinscriptionandfromLiuXunsstudy(2004a)ofaseriesofpaintingshonor
ing Bixia yuanjun (Primordial Goddess of Cerulean Mists), which had
been commissioned by Gao Rentong (18411907), twentiethgeneration
abbot of Baiyun guan (see also Liu 2004b). The relevant information on Liu
Chengyin appears on pages 8494. Lius article also provides the interested
readerwithafullerappreciationofthecomplexinteractionamongtheQingim
perial elite,powerful Longmen clerics, and court eunuchs during the end of the
Qing dynasty, withspecial attention tothe latenineteenth century Baiyun guan
environs. See also Vincent Goossaerts The Taoists of Peking (2007), which pro
videsamorecompletepictureofthereligioculturalcontextofBeijingduringthe
late imperial and early modern periods. On Gao Rentong see especially pages
17275;informationofLiuChengyinappearsonpages21823.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/75
Official Qing sources generally neglect the history of eunuchs
likeLiuwhoseprofessionandsocialclasswerewidelystigma
tized. Nonetheless, circumstantial evidence found in non
officialsourcesatteststoLiuspowerfulinfluenceandconnec
tions at Qing court, and to the immense personal wealth he
garneredfromtheseconnections.(Liu2004a,85)
LiuChengyinwasapowerfulcourteunuchtoEmpressDowagerCixi
(18351908) and a generous patron of Baiyun guan.
12
He became one
CixismosttrustedchiefeunuchsfollowingtheexecutionofAnDehai
(d. 1869). More germane to the present study, Liu Chengyin re
ceived formal Longmen ordination under Zhang Yuanxuan
(Gengyun [Tilling Clouds]; 18281887), one of the most famous
Quanzhen monastic leaders of his era. This ordination ceremony oc
curred in 1871 and included several hundred ordainees, one of whom
was Gao Rentong (Shoushan [Longevity Mountain]; 1841
1907),
13
who would become the twentiethgeneration abbot of Baiyun
guan after the death of Abbot Meng Yongcai (d. 1881). As a
Longmen monk at Baiyun guan, Liu Chengyin served as an altar atten
dant (hutanhuazhu) (Min and Li 1994, 482); as a patron of Bai
yun guan and court confidante, he was a generous donor to and advo
cateforthemonastery.
12
Itseemsthatamajormotivationforcourteunuchinterestinandsupport
of Quanzhen Daoism centered on a popular imagining of Qiu Changchun. In
circulationsinceatleastthesixteenthcentury,thoughwithouthistoricalsupport
in terms of Qius actual life, this legend claimed that Qiu castrated himself in
order to resistsexual favors bestowed on him by ChinggisQan (GenghisKhan;
ca. 11621227;r. 12061227),theMongol ruler. Remembrance ofQius legendary
selfcastrationbecamecentralduringfestivitiessurroundinghisbirthday.Occur
ring from the first day of the first moon through the nineteenth day of the first
moon, these festivities culminated in the celebration of Qius birthday on the
nineteenthday,whichwaspopularlyknownasYanjiu . SeeLiu2004a,8891.
OnQiuChangchunseeYao1980;1986;Zheng1995;Zhao1999.
13
GaoRentong,aswastraditionallythecaseforDaoistclerics,hadanum
ber of names, including Yuntong , Tongyuan , Yunxi , and Ming
dong[tong] []. Liu 2004a; Min and Li 1994, 825. The latter source also in
cludesbriefentriesonLiuChengyin(482)andZhangYuanxuan(586).
76/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
Between 1871 and 1890, he helped the monastery raise a total of
some 44,000taels of silver,morethanhalfof whichcame from Liu him
self.Mostofthefundswenttopayforordinationceremonies,including
the one that occurred in 1871, and the renovation and construction of
monastic buildings. Liu Chengyin was also instrumental in funding the
carvinganderectingofseveralmajorsteleinscriptions.Amongthese,he
commissionedtheengraving oftheNeijingtu, whichwas erected at Bai
yunguanin1886.LaterthisstelewasinlaidtogetherwiththeXiuzhentu
(Diagram for Cultivating Perfection) (see Despeux 1994; Skar
2000),another,morecomplexdiagramoninternalalchemy,onawallin
the rear garden of the monastery compound in 1890. The engraving of
theXiuzhentu stele,likethatoftheNeijingtu,wascommissionedbyLiu.
As is evidenced from such patronage, Liu Chengyin was interested in
thepractice anddissemination of internalalchemypractice, at leastpar
tiallythroughthecirculationofrubbingsoftheNeijingtuandXiuzhentu
(see also Goossaert2007, 28593). In addition to studying andpracticing
under Zhang Yuanxuan, Liu allegedly built a small selfcultivation re
treatcalledZizhudaoyuan(DaoistCloisterofPurpleBamboo),
located in the modern park of the same name in the western suburb of
Beijing, where he engaged in neidan training after his retirement from
court.
Outside of the internal textual dimensions, the only known avail
able historical information on this diagram comes from inscriptions in
theNeijingtuitself.AccordingtoLiuChengyinscolophoninthelower
leftcorner(seeFigure1):
This diagram has never been transmitted before. The funda
mental reason for this is because the Way of the Elixir is vast
and subtle, and there are obtuse people who do not have the
abilitytograspit.Consequently,itrarelyhasbeentransmitted
intheworld.
I happenedto observethe diagram among the books and
paintings in the study (zhai ) of Gao Songshan . By
chance,itwashangingonawall.Theskillusedinitspainting
technique isfinely executed. The annotations of the joints and
articulations (jinjie ), meridians and vessels (mailuo )
are clearly distinguished, and each one contains specific cavi
ties(qiao ).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/77
Iexamined[thediagram]foralongtimeandrealizedthat
my comprehension wasgrowing. I beganto realizethat exha
lation and inhalation (huxi ) as well as expelling and in
gesting (tuna ) of the human body are the waxing and
waningaswellastheebbandflowofthecosmos.
Ifyoucandivineandgaininsightintothis,youwillhave
progressed more than halfway on your inquiry into the great
WayoftheGoldenElixir(jindandadao ).
In truth, I did not dare to keep this for myself alone.
Therefore, I had it engraved on a printing block [so that it
mightbe]widelydisseminated.
Engraved with deep reverence as an inscribed record by
LiuChengyin,theDaoistSuyun
PrintingblockpreservedatBaiyun guaninBeijing
WithregardtotheGaoSongshanmentionedintheabovepassage,ithas
most often been taken as a geographical name (Needham et al. 1983;
Despeux1994;2000;Eichman2000a;Wang199192),butmorethanlikely
refers toapersonal name.Withregard tothe former,Gao Songshanhas
been translated conventionally as tall Pine Mountain or as lofty
Mount Song. If these characters refer to a geographical location, the
mountain mentioned here remains unidentified. There are numerous
mountains called Songshan (Pine Mountain) and presumably
severalofthemorthepinesonthemwerehigh.
14
Despeuxsuggeststhat
itrefers to Songshan in Henan (1994, 44; 2000, 521),but thecharac
ter song(lofty) in the famed Songshan is different from that in the
Neijingtu.
15
Liu Xunhas recently suggestedthat Gao Songshan is aper
14
See,e.g.,therelevantentryintheZhongwendacidian .
15
The famed Songshan does, of course,receivethe designation Song
gao inapoembythatnameintheShijing (ClassicofPoetry)(see Legge
189395, vol. 4, 535). However, the context of the original Neijing tu engraving,
that is, among Qingdynasty court elite and by a court eunuch and Longmen
monk, was most likely the urban environment of Beijing. There is no evidence
that Liu Chengyin went mountainhopping or cloudwandering during
which he happened upon the diagram, or that he received some esoteric trans
missioninasecretmountaincave,asmuchassuchdetailswouldprovesatisfy
ing toWestern romanticized ideas about Daoism. Here we are dealing with a
socioeconomic and religiohistorical context of imperial patronage and Daoist
participation, which is substantiated by the fact that the original painting was
78/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
sonal name and most likely refers to Gao Rentong. This conjecture is
basedonthefactthatLiuChengyinhadacloserelationshipwithAbbot
GaoandthatGaoRentongsDaoistnamewasShoushan(2004a,94,
n. 51). Moreover, historical contextualization, the fact that Liu was a
LongmenmonkatBaiyunguan,anassociateandfellowordinandofGao,
and achief eunuch in Beijing, supportssuch areading.However, if this
is the case, then why does song replace the character shou in Gao
RentongsDaoistnameasengravedintheNeijingtustele?Onepossibil
ityisthatSongshanwasanicknameusedbysomeoftheLongmenDao
ists at Baiyun guan, although I have found no evidence to support this
conjecture.Another,complementarypossibilityisthatthetwocharacters,
thoughvisuallyunrelated,wereseenassynonymousinaDaoistcultiva
tionalcontext.Howwouldthisbethecase?Becausepinetrees(song),as
evergreens,areatraditionalsymboloflongevity(shou).
Based on Liu Chengyins testimony, the Neijing tu stele was pro
duced from a painting or hanging scroll: I happened to observe this
diagram among thebooks andpaintings inthestudioofGao Songshan.
By chance, it washanging ona wall. This scantpiece of information is
intriguingintermsofthephysicallocationofthepaintingandthepossi
blecontextofitsuse.Liuscomments,implyinghappenstanceandfortu
nateness,perhapssuggestthatthepaintingwasoutofplaceorobscured
byotheraspectsofDaoistandelitematerialculture.Wasitjustoneitem
among other literati paraphernalia and thus simply part of the environ
ment of late imperial court culture, an aesthetic representation of the
humanbody?Ifso,howcanoneexplaintheclearembodimentofDaoist
cultivationalcultureinthediagram?
Thecontent,specificallytheChinesemedicalandDaoistalchemical
dimensions,point inadifferentdirection:asavisualaid for Daoistreli
giouspraxis,both as an overall existential approach and as adistinctive
set ofmeditative techniquesbased on alchemicaltransformation. Under
this reading, thepaintingmay have only been takenout andhungdur
ing specific practice timesit happened to be out because Gao Song
shan either had been studying the diagram, was about to begin seated
meditation, had just completed a training session, or had not put the
paintingawayaftermeditation.Thispossibility,incombinationwiththe
most likely executed by a highlevel artist in the service of the Qing imperial
household(below).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/79
specifically Daoist content of the diagram, give further pause for reflec
tion: Was the originalNeijingtupainting specificallymade for GaoRen
tong, perhaps under his personal direction regarding content and
graphic depiction? Or, was it perhaps a gift from the Qing imperial
household upon his ascent to the position of abbot of Baiyun guan in
1881(fiveyearsbeforetheengravingoftheNeijingtu)?Ifso,thefactthat
Gao Rentong possessed such a painting tells us something noteworthy
abouttherelationshipamongtheQingrulingelite,Baiyunguan,andthe
Longmenlineageinthelatenineteenthcentury:Baiyunguananditsab
botwererecognizedasanintegralandnecessarydimensionofQingim
perialpower(seeEsposito2000;2001;Liu2004a;2004b;Goossaert2007).
Beyond such conjectures, Lius brief remarks point us towards an
earlierpaintingthatwastheoriginalversionoftheNeijingtuandserved
asthebasisforthecommissionedandreceivedNeijingtustele.Onesuch
paintingiscurrentlyhousedintheZhongguoyishibowuguan
(Museumof ChineseMedical History) in Beijing,and thispaint
ing appearstobethe original Qingdynasty one (seeFu et al.1999, 200;
also Rousselle 1933; Wang 199192, 143; Li 1992, 85; Despeux 1994, 44;
Liu2004a,94,n.51).Itisgenerallyheldthatthispaintingwasaproduct
of the Ruyi guan (Ruyi Studio), the Qing imperial art academy
andpartoftheQingImperialHouseholdDepartment(neiwubu).
IttoothusdatestotheQingdynasty,thoughtheexactdateandarchitect
of production are currently unknown. In textual andvisual content, the
extantpaintingdirectlyparallelstheNeijingtusteleofBaiyunguanwith
someminordiscrepancies.
16
16
AsbothJosephNeedhametal.(1983)andCatherineDespeux(1994)have
pointedout,atleastsomeoftheinspirationfortheNeijingtu derivesfromearlier
DaoistdrawingsandillustrationsofthehumanbodyfoundintheMingdynasty
DaoistCanon.Itisbeyondthescopeofthepresentstudytodocumentallofthe
earlierprecedentsforthe Neijingtu, both in terms oftextual and visual content.
From my perspective, the most significant earlier diagrams are as follows: the
lateTang(618907)Shangqingdongzhenjiugongzifangtu(DZ
156),whichincludesparalleldiagramsofthebodyandpavilions,withthelatter
resemblingthedepictionofthefirstpassinthelowersectionofthe Neijingtu;the
thirteenthcentury Huangdi bashiyi nanjing zuantu jujie
(DZ1024),whichcontainsdiagramsentitledneijingtu(4a5b),thefirstof
which closely resemblesthe received Xiuzhentu;the Zazhujiejing
,ascontainedintheearlyfourteenthcenturyXiuzhenshishu(DZ263),
80/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
Certainfeaturesalsostandout.First,thecolorsusedinthepainting
increasetheaestheticpowerandenergeticquality.Thegreenandbrown
sections of the painting create a heightened contrast and visual impact
with the white,red, andblue sections, with the latterbeing some ofthe
most important locations for alchemical transformation. The painting
also substantiatesthe fact that thetwocircles in theheadregion are the
eyes:theleftoneisred,representingthesun,andtherightoneiswhite,
representingthemoon. In addition, the energeticmovementdepicted in
the painting, and perhaps being activated in the viewers own body, is
even stronger than in the extant stele and related rubbings. The move
ment clearly begins at the base of the torso, moves up the spine, and
around the head. The connection between the Ren (Conception) and
Du(Governing)vessels(below)receivesgreateremphasisthroughthe
two sets of five bands being multicolored in the painting. Finally, the
paintingcontainsanadditionalvisualdimension:twocompletecirclesof
white light. The first surrounds the torso and represents the joining of
the Ren and Du vessels, with the peak of the head clearly emphasized.
Thesecondsurroundsthehead.Bothsuggesttheformationoractivation
of the Daoist subtle body, including the emergence of pure white or
goldenlightasasignofalchemicaltransformation.
which has not only diagrams and an essay entitled neijingtu (18.2b3b)
but also essays on inner observation (neiguan), theNine Palaces (jiugong
),threefields(santian ),fiveyinorbs(wuzang ),andsoforth(18.5b9b);
and the Jindan dayao tu , DZ 1068, which contains a diagram of the
human body asa mountain that includessomeparallelcontent withtheNeijing
tu.Intermsofextracanonicaltexts,thereareimportantdiagramsintheearly
seventeenthcentury Xingmingguizhi(ZW 314), late eighteenthcentury
Huimingjing(ZW 131), early twentiethcentury Xingmingfajuemingzhi
(ZW872), and of coursethe receivedXiuzhentu.Most ofthese were
incirculationand/oraccessibleintheBaiyunguanenvironsofthelatenineteenth
century. However,onecleardifferencestandsout:theNeijingtuissolelyamap
pingoftheDaoistsubtleoralchemicalbody,lackingfleshandabodyascon
ventionally understood. It is the body within the body actualized through al
chemicalpraxis.Foranattempttotracethehistoryofdiagramsrelatedtoculti
vatingperfection(xiuzhen )seeSkar2000.Forachronologicalchartofsuch
mapsintermsofChinesesciencesee Zhu 1995,343.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/81
Terminological Contours
ThetitleoftheNeijingtuhasbeenrenderedintoWesternlanguagesina
variety of ways.
17
Most commentators agree on the standard rendering
of nei as inner, interior, or internal, though nei may also have
the connotation of esoteric. Similarly, tuposes relatively little diffi
culty, and is commonly translated as illustration, chart, map, or
diagram (see Reiter 1990; Despeux 2000; Strassberg2002). Thecruxof
thetranslationenterpriserestsonjing ,mostfrequentlyencounteredin
thesenseofscripture,classic,ortext.Thecharacteriscomposedof
thesilk(si )radicalandthephoneticjing .Takeninthisway,vari
ousmeaningsbranchout:text/classic,topassthrough,toregulate,
to arrange, the warp (of a fabric), and meridians or arteries.
Equallyplausible,andimpliedbysomeoftheseconnotations,isthatthe
jing phoneticelementisalsoameaningcarrier.Etymologicallyspeaking,
it refers to streams running underground or flowing water. Thus, one
couldtranslate thejingof the Neijingtu as watercourse; theNeijing
tu mightthenbeunderstoodastheDiagramofInternalWatercourses.
While my own preferred translation is Diagram of Internal Path
ways, avariety ofmeanings are intended.Onone level, it is adiagram
of the inner currents or inner meridians. Here one may recall the
followingpassagefromchapteroneoftheHuangdineijinglingshu
(YellowThearchsInnerClassic:NuminousPivot;DZ1020):
Generallyspeaking,thetwentyseven[locationsthroughwhich]qi
ascends and descends are as follows: where it [qi] emerges is
called wells (jing ); where it flows is called brooks (ying );
whereitrushesforthiscalledrapids(shu );whereitproceedsis
called streams (jing); where it disappears is called confluences
(he ).(DZ1020,1.3b;seealso Nanjing ch.68;Unschuld1986,
577)
17
The title of the Neijing tu has received the following translations: Die
TafeldesInnerenGewebes(Rousselle1933,207);DiagramoftheInternalTex
tureofMan(Needhametal.1983,114);DiagramoftheInternalCirculationof
Man (Wang 1991/92, 141); Carte de la vision intrieure du corps (Despeux
1994,47);andIllustrationofInnerCirculation(Eichman2000a,350).
82/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
Theprecisemedicalmeaningofthispassageremainsopentoavarietyof
interpretations, but jing is clearly present in the sense of stream and
forms part of the technical description of the width and depth of the
bodys qiflow. In contemporary Chinese medical usage, these jing
streamareasaretheplaceswheretheqiofthemeridiansisbigger,wider,
anddeeper.Intheseplaces,theflowofqiresemblesalargecurrent.They
arecommonly used incontemporary acupuncture as treatmentpoints.
18
Whilethe Neijingtuobviouslyisnotamapofthejingstreamlocations,it
nonethelesscarriesthesenseofsuchtechnicalmedicalterminology.Itis
adiagramofthemeridians,theenergeticpathways,ofthehumanbody.
These views are confirmed by Liu Chengyins own comments in the
colophon:Theskillusedinitspaintingtechniqueisfinelyexecuted.The
annotations of the joints and articulations, meridians and vessels are
clearly distinguished, and each one contains specific cavities. In addi
tiontoDiagramofInternalWatercourses,onecouldthustranslatethe
titleastheDiagramofInternalMeridians.
The abovecomments suggest thatmultiple layers ofmeaninghave
beeninscribedandencryptedintheNeijingtu.Inadditiontothevarious
connotations of jing as stream or meridian, I also would argue
thattwoadditionalcharactersareimpliedbyandembeddedinthetitle.
ThisargumentisbasedontheactualcontentsoftheNeijingtu,theinter
textuality implied in its images and passages, and earlier historical
precedents found in related Daoist body maps. The two characters to
which I am referring are homonyms/cognates of jing pathway. They
arejinglandscape andjingluminosities.Withthis implication, the
Neijing tu is an illustration not only of the meridians of qi running
through the body, but also of the Daoist body as terrestrial and cosmo
18
For a discussion of these points in the context of Traditional Chinese
Medicine(TCM)see,e.g.,Maciocia1989,33553;Ellisetal.1989;Deadmanetal.
2001. In the present article, I use the phrase Traditional Chinese Medicine to
refer to the medical system developed in Communist China during the second
halfofthetwentiethcentury,specificallyundertheinfluenceofallopathicmedi
cine and a Western scientific and materialistic paradigm. Classical Chinese
medicinereferstotheworldviewandpracticesdocumentedintheearlyclassics.
ForthemostcomprehensiveEnglishlanguagesourcesonthehistoryofChinese
medicineseeLu1980;Unschuld1985;Eck1996,37195;Needhametal.2000;also
Sivin 1987. Academic studies of Chinese medicine during the Qing dynasty are
onlybeginningtobeundertaken.SeeUnschuld1998.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/83
logical landscape and as the dwellingplace of inner luminosities or ef
fulgences. From a Daoist perspective, the human body corresponds to,
embodies, various externalpresencesmountains,altars,colors, rivers,
constellations,temples, spirits, forests, andso forth. TheNeijingtumaps
the landscape which is the human self; in this sense, jingpathway also
alludes to the character jing meaning region or landscape. The
Neijingtumaybe understood as the Internal Landscape Map.This ar
gument is supported by the fact that the titles of earlier diagrams that
also illustrate the internalregions of the bodycontainthephraseneijing
tu (see Zazhu jiejing , DZ 263, 18.2b3b; Nanjing zuantu
jujie ,DZ1024,5a6b;Needhametal.1983,10910;Despeux
1994;Skar2003).
Along with mapping the watercourses or meridians of the human
body(jingstreams),andthelandscapewhichisthehumanbody(jing
landscape), the Neijing tu also alludes to the jing luminosities
which reside in various areas of the body. The Neijing tu maps various
dimensionsoftheHuangtingjing(ScriptureontheYellowCourt),
which survives in a neijing (DZ 331) and waijingversion (DZ
332) (see Schipper 1975; Robinet 1984; Huang 1990; Kroll 1996).
19
Al
thoughinthetitlesoftheHuangtingjing thesedesignationscanandper
haps should be read as esoteric or inner view and exoteric or
outer view respectively, in Shangqing Daoism andas a Daoist techni
19
The technical terminology of the Huangting jing, especially its various
esotericnamesfortheDaoistsubtlebody(e.g., mingmen ,yuchi ,sanguan
,santian,jianggong,etc.)wasutilizedbyinternalalchemylineages
from the late Tang onwards (see Robinet 1989b; Pregadio and Skar 2000; Kom
jathy 2007). The Yellow Court (huangting ) of the title and mentioned
throughoutthescriptureismostoftenreadasreferringtothespleenregion.See,
e.g.,theeighthcenturyHuangtingwaijing jingzhu ,DZ263,58.1b2a.
However, it mayalso refertothe lower elixirfield, associated with theabdomi
nalregion.Inthisrespect,itcorrespondstothelocationoftheOceanofQi(qihai
)insomeneidanlineages.See,e.g.,thetenthcenturyChuandaoji,DZ
263, 15.14b; and the seventeenthcentury Xingming guizhi , ZW 314,
9.518. Various attempts were also made in the Tang dynasty (618907) to create
visual representations based on the Huangting jing. See, e.g., Huangting neijing
jing zhu , DZ 402; also DZ 1032, 11.1a12.27b; DZ 263, 5560; and
Huangtingneijingtu ,DZ432;alsoDZ263,54.
84/JournalofDaoistStudies1(2008)
caltermjing alsoalludestotheluminositiesoreffulgencesinthe
body (seeHomann1971;Robinet1989a; 1993). Thesearethe innerbody
godsorradiantspiritswhichresideindifferentcorporeallocations,spe
cifically in the five yinorbs, and which have associations in the Five
Phase(wuxing )systemofcorrelativecosmology,specificallyanimal,
direction and color associations (see below). In the central region of the
Neijingtu,thesebodygodsareidentifiedaccordingtotheesotericnames
oftheorbspiritsasfoundintheHuangtingjing.Inthissense,theNeijing
tu may be understood as the Diagram of Inner Luminosities, adding
yetanotherpossiblelayertoalready multiplemeanings.
Topographical Reflections
The history of the received Neijing tu, a stone stele housed in the
Quanzhen monastery of Baiyun guan, is as complex as its mapping of
the Daoist body. Historical evidence, both internal and external to the
diagramitself,suggeststhatthereceivedstele(anditsvariousrubbings)
was based on an earlier stele, which was in turn produced from a still
earliercolorpainting.Thatpaintingmaybeconsideredthesourcetext
andispossiblystillextantintheMuseumofChineseMedicalHistoryof
Beijing. The originalpainting oftheNeijingtuwasmost likely produced
withintheRuyiStudio,theQingimperialartacademy.Itmayhavebeen
made for or giventoGao Rentong (18411907),thetwentiethgeneration
abbot of Baiyun guan, upon his ascension to abbotship in 1881. This
painting was subsequently seen by Liu Chengyin (d. 1894), a Longmen
monkandchiefeunuchtoEmpressDowagerCixi.Asamajorsupporter
ofLongmenandBaiyunguan,andasafellowordinandandclosefriend
of Abbot Gao, Liu Chengyin was instrumental in maintaining connec
tions among the Longmen lineage, Baiyun guan and the Qing imperial
house. Healsocommissionedtheengraving theNeijingtustele.This oc
curred in 1886, andthestele was later inlaid in themonasticcompound
ofBaiyunguanwithanotherLiucommissionedsteledepictingtheDao
istbody,namely,the Xiuzhentu (DiagramonCultivatingPerfection).
Thesevariousdetailsnot only provide a window into late imperial
Chinesereligionandsociety;theyalsosuggestaDaoistcultivationalcon
textinwhichseatedmeditationandalchemicalpraxisoccupiedacentral
position.ThereceivedNeijingtuis amap of the Daoistbody,the Daoist
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/85
internal landscape utilized and actualized in Daoistpractice.Assuch, it
is theMapofInternalPathways, charting the contours of the Daoist body
as envisioned within the context of late imperial Daoism, especially
withinthe Longmen and WuLiu neidanlineages andwithinthe Baiyun
guan environs. The terminological layers of its title, considered in con
cert with its contents, are multifaceted: it maps the body as alchemical
crucible, as landscape, as cosmos, as soteriological locus.
20
It maps the
many dimensions of Daoist conceptions of self, including, naturalistic,
cosmological, theistic and alchemical visions. These incorporate earlier
Daoist views, practice modalities, and parallel diagrams as well as di
mensions of Chinese medicine and Buddhism. Within its contours, one
findsmountainpaths tobe traversed, summits tobe ascended,fieldsto
be tilled, numinous presences to be awakened, and mystical corporeal
spaces to be entered. In this way, theNeijingtuis one representation of
theDaoistbody,abodyactualizedthroughDaoistalchemicalpraxis.
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64
MAPPING THE DAOIST BODY
PART TWO
THE TEXT OF THE NEIJING TU
LOUIS KOMJATHY
Abstract
PartOneofthepresentarticle,publishedinJDS1(2008),presented thehistorical
and terminological contours of the Neijing tu (Diagram of Internal Path
ways). As a late nineteenthcentury stele commissioned by the Longmen monk
and court eunuch Liu Chengyin (Suyun , Pure Cloud; d. 1894), it is
currently housed in the Baiyun guan (White Cloud Monastery; Beijing).
ThisinstallmentfocusesonthecontentofthediagramaswellastheDaoistculti
vationmethodsembeddedinitscontours.
I first provide a thorough analysis of the textual and visual dimensions of
the Neijing tu, including a complete translation with the diagram divided into
threesections.ThearticlealsoclarifiessomeinfluencesonthisDaoistbodymap
anditscorrespondinginternalalchemysystem,specificallyindicatingapossible
connectionwiththeemergingWuLiu sublineageofLongmen.
This analysis is followed by a reconstruction of Daoist alchemical practice
asexpressedintheNeijingtu.Iemphasizethreemethods:praxisorientedappli
cationsofclassicalChinesemedicalviewsofthebody;visualizationswhichdraw
their inspiration from the Huangting jing and find clear historical precedents in
Shangqing Daoism; and the alchemical technique known as the Waterwheel or
MicrocosmicOrbit.Thethreetechniquesformaninterconnectedsystem,wherein
the adepts overall psychosomatic health is maintained and strengthened, his
body is osmicized, and he awakens the mystical body, the bodybeyondthe
body or yangspirit, i.e., the culmination of alchemical transformation and the
preconditionforpostmortemtranscendence.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/65
Textual and Visual Contours
ThemajortextualcomponentsoftheNeijingtuaretwopoemswrittenin
regulated verse (lshi), or eight sevencharacter lines. They are lo
cated above and below the strand of trees on the lefthand side of the
diagram. Since various lines from these poems are distributed through
out the diagram, attention to them is a prerequisite for further explora
tion. The most significant convergence between the lines of the poems
with thevisualcontentoccurs in the following locations: theabdominal
region, where the ox is plowing the lower elixir field (poem 2, line 1,
abbr. 2.1); the heart region, where the Cowherd is stringing together
coins to form the Northern Dipper (2.2); and the head region, where
Laozi sits inmeditation above the Buddhistmonk with upstretched and
supportingarms(2.56).
Other more general descriptions are also found, including refer
encestothebodyasfields(tian)intheabdominal,heartandheadre
gions(1.1,2.1);thewhitepearlabovetheheadasthegrainofmilletthat
contains the world (2.3); andtheheadregionor the Renand Du vessels
asthelocationwherethemysterybeyondmysteryisrealized(2.78).Fi
nally,there are anumber of streams flowing into andthroughthehead,
whichparallel thereference tothe spring in theUpper Valley (1.6). Cer
tain sections of Neijing tu thus seem to have been executed as specific
illustrationsoftheselines.
ThepoemsthemselvesarefoundinthefifteenthcenturyLzuzhi
(Records of Patriarch L; DZ 1484).
1
They are attributed to L
Dongbin (Chunyang[PurifiedYang];b.798C.E.?),thesemi
legendary patriarch of various internal alchemy (neidan ) lineages.
NumerousneidantextshavebeenattributedtoLDongbinandhissup
posedteacherZhongliQuan,whichformthesocalledZhongL
textualtradition (see BaldrianHussein 1984, especially 2331; Boltz
1987, 13943). L Dongbin is also recognized as a patriarch of both
QuanzhenandthesocalledNanzong(SouthernSchool).Theinclu
sion of these poems in the Neijingtu points to its internal alchemy con
1
Numbers for works appearing in Daoist textual collections follow Kom
jathy 2002, with those for the Mingdynasty Daoist Canon (DZ) paralleling
Schipper and Verellen 2004. Other abbreviations include JH (Daozang jinghua),
JHL(Daozangjinghualu),JY(Daozangjiyao),andZW(Zangwaidaoshu).
66/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
text, thoughthe exact lineage of late imperial neidaniscurrently unclear
and awaits further research. Does the Neijing tu embody a distinctive
synthesis,whichinsomerespectrepresentsanewneidanlineage?Ordid
itemergeasoneexpressionofaspecificlineageofinternalalchemy?As
discussed in the previous installment of the present article and below,
there are someclearand intriguingparallels with theemergingWuLiu
sublineage of Longmen and with the subsect of the WuLiu line
age called the Qianfeng lineage,
2
which was established in early
twentiethcenturybyZhaoBichen(Shunyi[AttunedUnity];
18601942)andwhichcametooccupyacentralplaceinmodernDaoism.
In terms of the Neijing tu, the former, as an identifiable lineage, is
roughlycontemporaneous,whilethelatterisslightlylater.
Theupperpoemreads:
Iamproperlyandattentivelycultivatingmyownfield
Insidetherearenuminoussproutsthatlivefortenthousandyears.
Theflowersresembleyellowgold,theircolornotuncommon;
Theseedsarelikejadegrain,theirfruitsperfectlyround.
CultivationcompletelydependsontheearthoftheCentral Palace;
IrrigationnecessarilyreliesonthespringintheUpperValley.
ThepracticeiscompletedsuddenlyandIattainthegreatDao
IwandercarefreeoverlandandwaterasanimmortalofPenglai.
(Seealso DZ1484,4.16a)
Theemphasishereisonselfcultivationandalchemicaltransforma
tion. The central metaphor is agriculturaljust as the horticulturalist
must attentively tend his or her garden, so the Daoist adept must focus
onspecificelixirfields(dantian )throughoutthebody.IntheNeijing
tu, these fields are identifiedby name:themiddle elixir fieldjustbelow
the heart is Genmountain earth (gentu ),
3
while the lower elixir
2
This sublineage derives its name fromtheMount Qianfeng (Hebei), and
Zhao Bichen was directed to found it by his teacher Liaokong (Realized
Emptiness; fl. 1895), who was a Chan monk. Interestingly, Liaokong claimed to
have received direct instruction under Liu Huayang in 1799. See Xingmingfajue
mingzhi,ZW872; Weishengsanzifajuejing;ZW873;Lu1970;Despeux1979.
3
The phrase Genmountain appears in the Neijingtu near the Cowherd
andreferstothetrigram designatingmountainaswellastohexagram52,
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/67
field near the level of the navel is called the correct [standard] elixir
field(zhengdantian ).
4
Liketilling,planting,andharvestingcrops,
the process of internal alchemy involves a cultivation cycle; one must
prepare the ground and develop the appropriate physiological and cos
mologicalaspects,forwhichtheNeijingtuservesasamapoftheDaoist
internal landscape and as a visual aid for alchemical transformation. In
theabovepoem,thefruitsofDaoistcultivationareflowersthecolorof
yellowgoldandseedslikejadegrain,bothpoeticdescriptionsofspe
cific alchemical experiences. Planted as a seed in the lower elixir field,
and nourished through consistent attentiveness (yi ) and dedication
(zhi ),qiaccumulatesandexpands.Withyellowbeingassociatedwith
the Earth phase in Chinese correlative cosmology (see, e.g., Unschuld
1985; Major 1993), and as one of the esoteric names of the lower elixir
field is the Yellow Court (huangting ), the poem suggests that the
perfect qi (zhenqi ), the qi activated and circulated in internal al
chemy practice, becomes a stronger presence in the body. The body be
comesrarified.
Genmountain . In Daoist internalalchemy, thetrigrams represent various
psychophysiological aspects of the human being and stages in self
transformation. The Genmountain trigram may, in turn, express the state of
stillness as well as practices that help nourish such a condition. In the present
case,the reference tothe heart region asthefield ofGenmountain earthsug
geststhatexcessemotionalandintellectualactivityhasbecomestilled.Anexam
ple of this type of Daoist exegesis on the Yijing may be found in Liu Yi
mings (Wuyuan [Awakening to the Origin]; 17341821) Zhouyi
chanzhen (True Explanation of the Yijing), collected in his Daoshu shier
zhong (TwelveDaoistBooks).TheZhouyichanzhenappearsinZW245
and has been translated in Cleary 1986. In terms of the present discussion, see
especiallyCleary1986,1035,19497,and2079.
4
Itshouldbenotedthatthelocationsoftheupper,middle,andlowerelixir
fields change depending on the system of alchemy being employed. As in the
Neijingtu,themostfrequentlocationsareinthehead,solarplexus/heartregion,
and the lower abdomen. See,for example,the eleventhcentury Yunjiqiqian, DZ
1032,59.2a;alsoLi1991,70,80,139;MinandLi1994,70,110,125,272;Hu1995,
482,745,1141,1449,1675,1681.Insomecontemporaryformsofneidan,thethree
elixirfields arethe head, lower abdomen and perineum, with the latter referred
toasHuiyin andassociatedwithvitalessence.Authorsfieldobservations.
68/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
This is one manifestation of the golden elixir (jindan ) men
tioned in the poem and in Liu Chengyins colophon. The earth of the
Central Palace most likely refers to the Scarlet Palace (jianggong),
the area just below the heart. This interpretation receives substantiation
bytheplacementofthepoemintheNeijingtuinlinewiththeCowherd
(the heart region). Following the mapping of Daoist cultivation in the
Neijing tu, the Daoist practitioner must still the emotions and nourish
spirit, both associated with the Fire phase and thus with the heart. In
addition,thepoememphasizesthepracticeofswallowingtheJadeDew
(yuye;saliva),acentralcomponentofformingtheelixirofimmortal
ity (see Komjathy 2007, ch. 6). At the end of the poem, we also find an
allusiontochapteroneoftheZhuangzi (BookofMasterZhuang;DZ
670), entitled Xiaoyao you (Carefree Wandering); the Daoist
adept,likethegreatPengbird,wanderseffortlesslythroughthetroubles
of the world and maintains a more allencompassing perspective. Ac
cording to the author of the poem, dedication to such cultivation tech
niques will lead to attunement with the Dao and immortality, symbol
izedasentranceintotheeasternparadiseofPenglaiIsland.
The secondpoem againorients onetowardsthe importance ofcul
tivation. Through alchemical transformation, the Daoist adept comes to
encompass and be encompassed by the entire universe. The mutual
resonance between the human body and the cosmos, and the embodi
ment of the cosmos within and as the human body, becomes realized
(seeSchipper1978;1993;Kohn1991a).
Theironoxplowsthefieldwheregolden coinsaresown;
Engravingthestone,theyoungladholdsastringofcash.
Asinglegrainofmilletcontainstheentireworld;
Mountainsandstreamsaredecoctedinahalfsheng cauldron.
TheeyebrowsofwhiteheadedLaozihangdowntotheearth,
Andtheblueeyedforeignmonkholdsuptheheavens.
Orientyourselftowardsthemysteriousanditisrealized
Outsideofthismysterythereisnoothermystery.
(seealsoDZ1484,5.11a)
The first line emphasizes the practice of tending to the bodys fields.
Whilethis involves effort andprolongedpractice, symbolizedby theox
(cf. Needham et al. 1983, 100; Wang 199192, 151; Eichman 2000a, 351),
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/69
theoutcomewillbegoldencoins.Basedontheillustrationsofthe Neijing
tu and theplacement of thepoem,theprimarybody locationbeing em
phasized is that of the lower elixir field. Again taking into account the
abovementioned associations of yellow and gold with the Earth phase
and with the lower elixir field, the sowing and gathering of golden
coinsindicatesanincreasedlevelofenergeticpresenceinthelowerab
dominalregion,theprimarystorehouseofqiinthebody.Liketheprevi
ous encounter with flowers of yellow gold, and like the discovery of
goldingeneral,thisfruitisarareandpreciousoccurrenceintheworld.
A grain of millet contains the world alludes to the famous Yel
low Millet Dream (huangliangmeng ) of L Dongbin. According
to one hagiography, found in the Yuandynasty (12601368) Zengxiang
liexian zhuan (Illustrated Biographies of Arrayed Immortals;
seeKohn1993,12632;cf.Chunyangshenhuaji,DZ305,1.3a5a),untilthe
ageofsixtyfourLDongbin,althoughpracticingDaoistcultivation,still
harboredpolitical aspirations.Havingfailed topass the imperial exami
nation twice, one day L encounters Zhongli Quan, an accomplished
Daoistadept.ZhongliQuaninturninvitesLtoaninnforameal,dur
ingthepreparationofwhichLfallsasleep.Hethendreamsofanentire
officialcareer,beginningwithsuccessandfameandendingwithfailure,
humiliation, and despondency. When he awakens from this dream, the
milletisstillbeingcooked.Inevenlesstimethanittakestocookmillet,
L experiences onepossible life andthedissipation involved in seeking
fame and reputation. He in turn becomes the disciple of Zhongli Quan
(who knew of the dream before L told him), and eventually commits
himself solely to Daoist cultivation, thus coming to represent the aspir
ingDaoistpractitioneringeneral.
Throughsuchdedication,mountainsandstreamsaredecoctedina
halfsheng cauldron.Oneengagesintheactualizationandrefinementof
internal presences and comes to reside in a larger matrix of being. The
entire universe is the context for ones cultivation and ones very exis
tencebecomescosmicized.Asillustratedinthecontoursofthe Neijingtu,
theadeptengaginginalchemicalpraxisdiscoversthatthebodycontains
streams, mountains, fields, forests, temples and constellations. Ones
body is the cosmos, and the cosmos is ones body. Although such con
ventionaldistinctionslikecosmosandself,orinternalandexter
nal, arepotentially necessary atthebeginning of alchemicalpraxis, the
70/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
finaloutcomeofalchemicaltransformation,rarificationandperhapsself
divinization, results in the activation of the Daoist mystical body (see
Komjathy 2007), a body which is transpersonal and infused with the
Daos numinosity. This involves orienting yourself towards the myste
rious.Thefinallinesofthepoem,withthefrequentrepetitionofmys
terious(xuan ),invokechapteroneoftheDaodejing (Scripture
ontheDaoandInnerPower):Mysteriousandagainmoremysterious
the gateway to all wonders. The Daoist adeptmerges with the twofold
mysterywhichistheDao.Heorsheliterallyshiftsontologicalconditions,
abiding in a state of mystical pervasion with the Dao as a mystery be
yond mystery, as a mystery simultaneously present and absent in its
own mysteriousness. It is this presenceabsence that also circulates
through theadepts ownbody asnuminouscurrents.Hereone encoun
ters perhaps one of the most significant Daoist challenges to conven
tional understandings of human being: ones physiology literally is sa
cred. One embodies the Dao, and one may experience the Dao
through/in/as ones own psychosomatic and energetic being. The bifur
cation of transcendent divine and mundane material processes
breaksdowninthisDaoistvisionofself.
Beyond the two poems which provide a general description of the
alchemical endeavor, the diagram as a whole can be seen to depict the
Daoist alchemical practice of reversal in combination with the Micro
cosmic Orbit method. Here I concentrate on the textual and visual as
pects of theNeijingtu, while in thesubsequentsection Iprovide amore
systematic explanation of the practices in the context of Daoist internal
alchemypraxis.Theaspiringadeptmustsealhimselforherselfofffrom
various sources of dissipation, includingsensory andemotionaldistrac
tions.Heorshemustturninwardthroughmeditativepraxistorealizea
return to psychosomatic and cosmological integration. For male adepts
in particular, they must prevent dissipation of their core vitality, vital
essence (jing ), which occurs through sexual activity and resulting
seminalemission.Oneofthefoundationsofthealchemicalprocessisthe
retention, circulation and transformation of the body fluids (see Kom
jathy 2007). In the Neijing tu, this is depicted as movement of vital es
sence, the water of the body, being reversed and transferred upward.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/71
Beginningatthefirstpass,onenoticesaboyandagirlworkingatread
mill,representingyangandyinrespectively(see Fig. 2).
Thecaption next to themreads themysterious yinyang tread
mill.The longertextualcomponentexplains,
72/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
Repeatedly,constantly,[thetreadmill]ispeddledincycles;
Whenthemechanismrevolves,thewaterflowseastward.
Thewater,tenthousandfathomsdeep,isseenstraighttoitsbottom;
Asweetspringbubblesup,risingtothesummitofSouthern
Mountain.
By using the intent and sealing the lower gate, the perineum, the
adept reverses the flow of vital essence. Instead of moving outward in
the form of seminal emission for male adepts and menstrual blood for
female adepts, both primary forms of dissipation, the vital essence be
comes conserved, stored, circulated and transformed. Reference to the
eastward flow of the vital essence (jing) also makes sense when read
in relation to Weil (Tailbone Gate; the coccyx) as the first pass.
5
Accordingtothe Zhuangzi,
Considering the waters of the world, none is greater than the
ocean. Ten thousand streams flow into itthere has never
beenatimewhentheyceased,buttheoceanisneverfull.The
waterleaksoutatWeiltherehasneverbeenatimewhenit
stopped, but the ocean is never empty. (17/42/68; cf. Watson
1968,176).
The occurrence of Weil in the Neijing tu also adds an additional
mythological component to its mapping of the Daoist body and the
Daoistinternallandscape.Justasthewatersoftheoceanareturnedinto
vaporattheWeilrock,sotoothebodyhasacorrespondingplaceinthe
coccyx, identified as the first point on the Governing vessel (GV1) in
contemporary Chinese medicine (see Ellis et al. 1989; Deadman et al.
2001). The lower section of the Neijing tu informs the viewer that the
Kanwaterflowsinreverse,thatis,thevitalessence,associatedwiththe
5
The Three Passes (sanguan ) are usually identified as Tailbone Gate
(weil ; the coccyx), Narrow Ridge (jiaji ; midspine), and Jade Pillow
(yuzhen ; occiput). See, for example, the thirteenthcentury Jindandacheng ji
,Xiuzhenshishu,DZ263,10.6b;thethirteenthcenturyDadanzhizhi
, DZ 244, 1.4a, 1.5a, 1.12a; and the seventeenthcentury Xingming guizhi,
ZW314,9.518.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/73
trigram Kanwater and the kidneys,
6
is redirected upwards. In con
trasttothenormalflowofessenceoutwardasasourceofdissipation,
the Daoist adept, using his or her intent, guides vital essence and qi
through Weil and initiates the reversion (fan; huan) of vital es
sencetorepairthemarrowandbrain(seebelow).
WithregardtotheascentofthebubblingspringtoSouthernMoun
tain, Wang suggests that Southern Mountain should be the mountain
range ofthesamename in the south ofXinjiang, which is regarded as a
majorbranchofMountKunlun(Wang199192,150).Astheheadisfre
quently referred to as Mount Kunlun in Daoist cultivation,
7
South
ernMountainsuggeststhemovementofthevitalessenceandqifromthe
lowerregionsofthebody(north)intotheupperregions(south),specifi
callyintotheheadarea.MountKunluninthewest,inadditiontoPeng
laiIslandintheeast,isaterrestrialparadiseandhometovariousimmor
tals (xian ). In chapter eleven of the Shanhai jing (Classic of
Mountains and Seas), a major source of Chinese mythology which con
tains material from the third century B.C.E. to the second century C.E.,
Mount Kunlun is described as an epicenter of the universe, where the
heavensandtheearthareperfectlyharmonized(seeBirrell1999a,13941;
1999b, 18385).This aspect of themaphints atthe Daoist goal of attain
ing immortality, realizing complete cosmological alignment, mystical
6
In Daoist neidanpraxis,the eighttrigrams (bagua),commonly associ
atedwiththeYijing (ClassicofChange),havevariouscorrespondences.The
trigramsareasfollows:(1)Qianheaven(qian ) ,(2)Kunearth(kun ) ,
(3) Lifire (li ) , (4) Kanwater (kan ) , (5) Duilake (dui ) , (6)
Zhenthunder(zhen ) ,(7)Sunwind(sun ) ,andGenmountain(gen )
. See the tenthcentury Chuandao ji , DZ 263, 14.11b; and thirteenth
centuryJindandachengji ,DZ263,10.12b.
7
OneoftheearliestusagesofKunlunasareferencetothehead,andthusto
the interiorization of paradise and immortality, appears in the thirdcentury
Huangting waijing jing , DZ 332, 1.1b, also 2.1b. See also the eighth
century Huangting waijing jing zhu, DZ 263, 58.7a; Jindandayao tu,
DZ 1068, 3a; Xingming guizhi, ZW 314, 9.318. For some classical references to
Kunlun in Daoism see Li 1991, 339; Min and Li 1994, 637; Hu 1995, 1164, 1176,
1381,1644.
74/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
pervasion and/or selfdivinization.
8
In addition, the reference to the
springbubblingup(quanyong )maybeaninversionofYongquan
(BubblingSpring),locatedinthecenterofthesoleoffootandiden
tifiedasthefirstpointonthekidneymeridianincontemporaryChinese
medicine.
9
This reading adds additional support for the connection of
Kanwater withvitalessence,asthekidneyshousevitalessence.
Above themysterious yinyang treadmill,there aretwo furnaces
withflamesflaringup,fourTaijidiagrams,andaploughboytendinghis
ox(seeFig.2).Basedontheirlocationinthediagram,thefurnacessym
bolizetheelixirfieldswherevitalessenceandqiarestored,transformed
andcirculated.
10
AccordingtothecontoursoftheNeijingtu,theaspiring
Daoist adept must focus his or her intent on various locations in the
body,especiallyonWeil(TailboneGate;thecoccyx),Qihai(Ocean
of Qi; the abdomen), andMingmen (Gate of Life; betweenthe kid
neys) to increase the fire and circulate qi. As noted, agricultural meta
phors abound, and the ploughboy and ox suggest focused attention on
theprocessofalchemicaltransformation,especiallyontheconservation,
transformationandcirculationofvitalessenceandqi.
8
The meaning of xian (immortal or transcendent) varies according
to thespecific Daoistsubtradition and historical moment. In the Neijingtu, im
mortality wouldseem to referto long life andalchemicaltransformation. It also
seems to be taken as parallel to enlightenment or realization in Chan Bud
dhism.InthecaseoftheDaoisttradition,whetherornotbecomingaxianren
orzhenren meanspersonalcontinuationafterdeathisanopenquestion,and
onethatrequirescriticalreflectionandmoreindepthhistoricalresearch.
9
Within Daoism,a clear depictionof Yongquan as located in the center of
thesolesofthefeetappearsintheXiuzhentu. SeeDespeux1994;2000.
10
In neidanlineages,adistinctionisoftenmadebetweenthestoveorfur
nace (lu ) and cauldron or tripod (ding). E.g., the fourteenthcentury
Yuqingdanjue ,DZ240,2.16a;cf. Xiuzhen shishu,DZ263,10.2b.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/75
The four Taiji diagrams may be interpreted in a variety of ways.
11
Underonereading,andtheonethatIwouldsuggestisprimary,thedia
grams symbolize the harmonization of the Five Phases through atten
tiveness on lower elixir field, the central storage location for qi. In this
case, the four diagrams would represent all of the phases (Wood [east,
azure, liver, ethereal soul], Fire [south, red, heart, spirit], Metal [west,
white, lungs,corporeal soul], and Water [north,black, kidneys,vital es
sence or will]) except thatof theEarth, which oftenoccupies thecenter,
or stillness, in Daoist cultivation. Stillness, sometimes spoken of as Per
fect Earth (zhentu ), unites all of the other phases.
12
An alternative
reading,proposedbySchipper,suggeststhattheseTaijidiagramsrepre
sent the qi phases of the elixir field (Schipper 1978, 356).
13
There is no
reason to believe that such interpretations are mutually exclusive; these
layers ofmeaning, along with others unmentionedhere,may all be em
beddedinthissectionoftheNeijingtu.Themostimportantthingtonote
isthecentralityofthelowerelixirfieldinthe Neijingtu,initsmappingof
theDaoistbody,andinitssystemofalchemicaltransformation.
Movingupthespinestillfurther,onearrivesattheflamesbetween
the vertebrae below of the second pass. This is Mingmen (Gate of
Life),whichisagainconnectedwithvitalessenceanditstransformation
into qi.
14
Charted according to function in contemporary Chinese medi
11
The history ofthestandard, modern Taijisymbol, andtheones depicted
intheNeijingtu(i.e.,acircledividedintointerconnectedwhite[yang]andblack
[yin]aspectsthatcontain a dot[seed] ofthe alternate colors[yinyang aspects]),
is currently unclear. For some insights see the relevant entry on the Critical
TermspageoftheCenterforDaoistStudieswebsite(www.daoistcenter.org).Its
historicalusageinChinesecultureandamongDaoistsiscomplex.
12
There are a variety of extant diagrams calledZhentutu(Diagram
ofPerfectEarth),whereinperfectearthisassociatedwiththeYellowCourtand
intent, orthinking (yi). See, e.g.,Zazhuzhixuanpian, DZ263, 1.5a;
Xingmingguizhi,ZW314,9.523. The latter diagram emphasizesstillingthe heart
center.
13
Unfortunately,Schipperdoesnotprovideadetailedexplanationofthese
qiphasesofthedantian.Suchtechnicalinformationmightaddadeeperunder
standingofDaoistcultivation.
14
ThetermappearsasearlyasthethirdcenturyHuangtingjing.SeeDZ331,
11b; DZ 332, 1.1a. According to the eighthcentury Huangting neijing jing zhu,
The Gate of Life is the lower elixir field (DZ 402, 3.19b). However, both the
76/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
cine, where it is identified as the fourth point on the Governing Vessel
(seeEllisetal.1989;Deadmanetal.2001),Mingmenasanenergeticloca
tioninthebodyhastheabilitytoregulatetheGoverningvessel,to tonify
thekidneys,tpnourishthespineandmarrow,andtostrengthenthefive
yinorbs (wuzang ). Ascending still higher, there are two captions:
cavityofthetwokidneystorehousesandmountainsandstreamsare
decoctedinahalfsheng cauldron(seeFigs.3, 4).
ComparingtheNeijingtustelewiththeQingdynastycoloredpaint
ing (see Fu et al. 1999,200), the firstcaption, which reads cavity of the
left andright kidney storehouses in thepainting,shouldhavebeen en
graved at the level of the Weaving Maiden (the kidney region). It obvi
ouslyreferstothekidneysandtheircorrespondinglocationinthelower
sectionofthemap.Hereisonedirectconvergencebetweenthismapping
ofDaoistalchemicaltransformationandclassicalChinesemedicalviews:
the kidneys are the storehouse of vital essence and thus the foundation
ofonescorevitality(seeHuangdineijingsuwen,chs.3,8,9,
10, 23; Ross 1985; Maciocia 1989, 67110; Unschuld 2003, 12444; also
Needhametal.1983,22;Wang199192,150;below).Thusonecanmake
theargumentthatthecentralityofMingmenandthekidneysinthissec
tion of the Neijingtuand in its corresponding system of selfcultivation
strengthens the adepts physical constitution and prepares the way for
more advanced training, specifically rarification through alchemical
transformation.
Ascending themountainpathstill further, there aretwo additional
phrases in line with the third temple orhut in the spine: upperpass of
jadeperfectionand cavity ofthe numinouspeak.These lines refer to
the upper pass known as Yuzhen (Jade Pillow). Passing through
thesevariouslocations,thevitalessenceandqieventuallyenterthehead.
AttentionisdrawntotheThreePassesastheyareareasthroughwhichit
isdifficultfortheqitopassandthustheintentisoftenusedtohelpopen
them.
Xiuzhen tu and Xingming guizhi (ZW 314, 9.518) clearly place Mingmen in the
kidneyregionalongthespine.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/77
78/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
Passing through the final pass, one arrives at the mountain peaks that,
fromaDaoistperspective,arethevariousenergeticlocationsinthehead
(see Fig. 4). While the upper section of Neijing tu contains a variety of
textualcomponentsthatcaneasilyleadtoconfusion,anattempttonego
tiatethemofferssignificantcontributions.Firstandforemost,onenotices
the graphic component depicting the Nine Peaks (jiufeng), some of
which are in the center of the head. Sometimes synonymous with the
Nine Palaces (jiugong ), these peaks are associated with traditional
DaoistsubtleanatomyandphysiologyandareutilizedinDaoistmedita
tionmethods.
15
The second most elevated peak, corresponding to Baihui
(Hundred Meetings; GV20), the crownpoint in contemporary Chinese
medicine, is identified as the Niwan Palace (niwan gong ),
16
a
termthattransliteratesnirvanaandliterallymeansmudball.Thepoint
is also known as prefecture of rising yang (shengyang fu ),
showninthediagramasapearlorballoflightandrelatedtothelinea
grain of millet contains the world from the L Dongbin poem. All of
this, in combination with the phrase to prolong longevity and [attain]
immortalityandBuddhahood,suggeststhefinalgoalofDaoistinternal
alchemythecreationofanimmortalembryo(taixian ),alsoknown
astheyangspirit(yangshen )orbodybeyondthebody(shenwai
shen) (see Komjathy 2007). It may also be understood as nothing
morethanrecoveringtheseedoforiginalyang(yuanyang) thatwas
within the practitioner all along. The fact that the diagram equates im
mortality and Buddhahood may add support for the suggestion that it
15
SeetheYuandanshangjing ,DZ1345,2b8a;also Zazhujiejing,DZ
263,18.6ab.ThefourteenthcenturyJindandayaotu containsan
earlierDaoistmapofthebodyasamountainthatincludessomeofthenamesof
theNinePalaces.SeeDZ1068,3a;alsoNeedhametal.1983,105;Despeux1994,
41;Komjathy2007,chs.4and6.
16
IntheNeijingtu,niwanislocatedabovethehead,andseeminglyrefersto
Baihui as the location where the yangspirit exits the adepts body. However,
Niwanisoftenassociatedwiththeupperelixirfield.See,forexample,theJindan
dachengji, DZ 263, 10.3b. Forsome depictions ofthe exit ofthe yangspiritfrom
thecrownpointseeXingmingguizhi,ZW314,9.585,9.590;Huimingjing, ZW131,
5.881; Xingmingfajuemingzhi,ZW872,26.114,26.119,26.120.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/79
derives from the WuLiu sublineage of Longmen (below), as that
communityhasatexttitledXianfohezong (CommonLineageof
ImmortalsandBuddhas;ZW843).
80/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
Hereonealsonoticesthenuminousplatformofthicklymeshed
net,aphrasewhichalsooccursinthefourteenthcenturyJindaodayaotu
(DiagramofGreatEssentialsoftheGoldenElixir;DZ1068),a
diagram depicting the Daoistbody as amountain and aclearprecursor
tothereceivedNeijingtu.Eichmansuggeststhatthisphrase(anditscor
respondinggraphicdepiction)impliestheultimategoalofalchemy,an
audience with representatives of the celestial hierarchy (2000a, 350).
Like his orher terrestrialbureaucraticcounterpart inrelation to theter
restrialemperor,theDaoistpractitionerseeksanaudiencewiththehigh
est realms of spirit beings, the gods and Perfected (zhenren ). This
section of the diagram, then, invokes higher levels of alchemical refine
ment, ending (or beginning) in an energetic merging with the Dao. If
youorientyourselftowardsthemysterious,themysteriousmaybereal
ized(seealsoWang199192,14546).
In the upper section of the diagram there is an old man sitting in
meditation (see Fig. 4). He wears a robe with the stylized character for
longevity (shou ), and above him there is the following inscription:
The eyebrows of whiteheaded Laozi hang down to the earth. Below
him is a figure with upraised arms and the corresponding inscription:
Theblueeyedforeignmonkholdsuptheheavens.Bothoftheselines
comefromtheLDongbinpoems.Themoststraightforwardinterpreta
tion of the two figures identifies them as Laozi and Bodhidharma, re
spectively (see Rousselle 1933; Needham et al. 1983, 116). However,
Wang, in a fairly convincing art historical discussion, argues that the
iconographyoftheoldmanfiguresuggeststheImmortalOldManof the
Southern Polestar, the eighth spirit of the brain (Wang 199192, 146).
This interpretation may partially derive from the figures placement at
the energetic location corresponding to higher levels of consciousness,
eitherMingtang(HallofLight)and/orZuqiao(AncestralCav
ity).
17
Wang also challenges the identification of the blueeyed monk as
Bodhidharma,arguinginsteadthatheshouldbeunderstoodasacombi
17
As mentioned, in certain forms of Daoist meditation, Mingtang is in
cluded as one of the Nine Palaces and identified as a mystical cranial location.
ReferencestoZuqiaoasanothermysticalcraniallocationatthecenterofthehead
appears inthe Xingmingguizhi(ZW 314) and throughout the pages ofthe Xing
mingfajuemingzhi (ZW872).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/81
nationoftheLaughingBuddhaandtheelementmercuryand/orasMai
treya,thefutureBuddha(Wang199192,149).
Whileconvincing froman arthistoricalperspective andaccounting
for certain iconographic features, this reading fails to provide an ade
quate explanation of the two figures in terms of the larger Daoist tradi
tion in general andneidanlineages associated with L Dongbin and late
imperial Daoism in particular. Why would the person or community
whooriginallyenvisioned,commissionedandproducedsuchamapping
oftheDaoistbodyincludetheLaughingBuddhaand/orMaitreya?
If one follows a relatively straightforward reading that recognizes
the potential connection between the textual and visual contours of the
Neijingtu, then these figures are Laozi and Bodhidharma. In the poems
attributed to L Dongbin, Laozi is mentioned by name and the blue
eyed foreign monk (biyan huseng ) is a standard name for Bo
dhidharma (a.k.a. Damo ; see Xingyun 1989, 5848; also Ding 1939).
Inaddition,withregardtolatemedievalneidan lineages,onefindsthese
twofiguresassymbolicreferentsforalchemicalingredients:theoldman
symbolizes lead (qian), while the monk represents mercury (hong)
(seealsoWang199192,147;Eichman2000a,351).Theyarereferredtoas
such in the Danfangbaojian zhi tu(Diagram ofthe Pre
ciousMirroroftheElixirChamber),whichiscontainedinXiuzhenshishu
(Ten Works on Cultivating Perfection; DZ 263, 26.5b6a), an
anthologyoftheearlyfourteenthcentury.Heremercury(Bodhidharma)
is said tocorrespond to thejade yefluids (yuye),spirit water (shen
shui ), the Maiden (chan ), white snow (baixue ), and the
azure dragon (qinglong), among other things; lead(Laozi) is saidto
correspond to the gold yefluids (jinye), Jade Pond (yuchi), the
Child (yinger ), yellow sprouts (huangya ), and the white tiger
(baihu), among otherthings. In other neidandiscussionsoftheseal
chemicalsymbols/ingredients,leadmayrefertovitalessence(jing)or
originalspirit(yuanshen ),whilemercurymayrefertospirit(shen)
ororiginalqi(yuanqi ).
18
Basedonthesecorrespondences,anumberofreadingsarepossible.
First, and most basic, the adept accumulates and gathers saliva, the ye
18
Cf.Ershisijue,DZ1158,1bandDanyangyulu ,DZ1057,
15b.Seealso Chuandaoji,DZ263,15.11a15a.
82/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
fluidsassociatedwithBodhidharma,inthemouth,theJadePondassoci
ated with Laozi. These fluids are then swallowed down to purify the
heartandeventuallycomminglewithoriginalqiinthelowerelixirfield.
In this respect, onemay again reflect upon the symbolicmeaning of Bo
dhidharma and Laozi as ones own physiology. Another possible read
ingisthatoriginalqi,associatedwithmercuryandthefigureofBodhid
harma, and original spirit, associated with lead and the figure of Laozi,
becomecommingledintheadeptsupperelixirfield.
ReadingtheupperfigureintheNeijingtuasLaozialsomakessense
because Laozi is frequently recognized as the founder of the Daoist
tradition and as the high god Laojun (Lord Lao).
19
In the lives of
specific Daoists and Daoist communities, he also came to symbolize the
culminationof Daoistcultivation. He himself, after all, transformed into
theuniverse:
Laozi transformed his form. His left eye became the sun, and
his right eye became the moon. His head became Mount
Kunlun. His beard became the planets and constellations. His
bones became dragons; his flesh, wild animals; and his intes
tines, snakes. His belly became the ocean; his fingers, the five
sacredmountains;andhishair,grassesandtrees.Hisheartbe
came the Flowery Canopy. Finally, his two kidneys were
unitedandbecamethetruefatherandmother.(Xiaodaolun
, T. 3102,52.144b1315; cf. Yunjiqiqian , DZ 1032,
10.7b8a;seeMaspero1981,340;Schipper1993,114;alsoKohn
1995,5455)
20
Laoziisthesupremelylonglived,forheisthecosmosandthecos
mos is he. The Neijing tu suggests that Laozi represents the Daoist
adepts own possibilityeach persons eyes, the two circles in the dia
gram, are the sun and the moon, and each practitioners consciousness
contains the numinous presence which Laozi embodied, at least from
19
For a revisionist historical analysis oftheconstruction of Laozi asa his
toricalpersonageseeGraham1998(1986).Forstudiesofthesomeofthewaysin
whichhehasbeenrepresentedintheDaoisttraditionseeSeidel1969;Kohn1999.
20
HereLaozitakestheplaceoftheprimordialbeingPanGu(seeBirrell
1999;Kohn1993,16869;1995).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/83
certainemicperspectives.Accordingtothediagram,theessenceofthe
Dao and the Daoist tradition is literally contained in ones own brain.
Thehumanbeing, from this Daoistperspective, is acosmologicalbeing:
onesveryownbodycontainsmountains,temples,constellationsand the
locus for immortality and perfection. In some forms of Daoist religious
praxis, specifically visualization (cunxiang ) and inner observation
(neiguan ) forms of meditation during the early and late medieval
periods, the Daoist adept turns the light of the sun andmoon (the eyes)
inward,thusilluminatingtheinternallandscapewhichishisorherown
body(seeKohn1989;Robinet1989a;alsobelow).Onecanalsoarguethat,
iftheNeijingtu originatesinaLongmencontext,thesignificanceofLaozi
findssubstantiationinthefactthatheisidentifiedasoneofthesocalled
Five Patriarchs (wuzu) of early Quanzhen and as one of the Three
Purities (sanqing ) in later Quanzhen. This, at the very least, may
help to explain the enduring power of the Neijing tu as a mapping of
Daoistexistentialandontologicalpossibility.
ThesignificanceofBodhidharmaisabitmoredifficulttodetermine.
One interpretation is that Bodhidharma, paralleling Laozis place in
manysectorsoftheDaoisttradition,representstheoriginandessenceof
Chan(Zen)Buddhism.Thatis,theChantradition,consideredasawhole,
identifies him as the founder (Dumoulin 1988, 8594).
21
In addition to
the abovementioned alchemical symbolism, the inclusion of Bodhid
harmamay havebeen a way of gainingculturalcapital, suggesting that
neidan practiceandChanmeditationledtothesamegoal.Ifthisreading
is convincing, the Neijing tu may also be suggesting the importance of
crosstradition cultivation practice. Here one thinks of Bodhidharmas
mythic nine years of meditation, or wallgazing (biguan ), as a
symbolofintensiveanddedicatedreligiouspraxis.
22
Chaninspiredemp
21
Critical and revisionist historiography on the Chan tradition in general
and Bodhidharma in particular,parallelingsuch research on Daoismand Laozi,
questionsthehistoricityofBodhidharma.SeeBroughton1999;alsoFaure1993.
22
In this respect, ones interest is peaked by the presence of the four dia
grams on Chan practice (walking, standing, sitting, and lying down) that
areincludedintheXingmingguizhi,DZ314,9.554555.Inthechartonmeditation
practice, one is urged to engage in prolonged periods of seated meditation. In
addition,Liaokong(fl.1895),oneoftheteachersofZhaoBichen(founderof
theQianfenglineage), wasaChanmonkwhopracticedneidan.ZhaoBichenis,in
84/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
tiness meditation becomes represented as the foundation for alchemical
transformation, which alsotakesplace in a seatedmeditationposture as
representedintheNeijingtu.Atthesametime,theremaybeapolemical
dimensiontheBuddhistisplacedbeneathandinsupportoftheDaoist.
It is also plausible to interpret the blueeyed foreign monk holding up
the heavens as an illustration of the Zygomatic arch (cheekbones), and
Laozis eyebrowshangingdownto earth asthe gazebecoming aware
ofinternalaspectsofDaoistsubtlephysiology.
23
Again,alloftheselayers
maybeoccurringsimultaneouslyinthediagramsmappingoftheDaoist
bodyandDaoistreligiouspraxis.
Just to the left of the blueeyed foreign monk, there are two addi
tionaltextualcomponents,whichreadasfollows:
Fazang says: Violet eyes clarify the four great oceans; the
whitelightpervadesMountSumeru.
Cishi says: Between the eyebrows white light con
stantly emanates; this can liberate all sentient beings from the
sufferingofceaselessreincarnation.
Here Fazang most likely refers to the historical Fazang (643
712),
24
the third patriarch of Huayan Buddhism who systematized its
teaching, but preliminary research indicates that none of these lines are
contained in Fazangs extant works. The figure could also be, as Wang
turn, identified as aneleventhgenerationmember of theWuLiu sublineage of
Longmen.SeeXi2004,especially116.Takentogether,thismeansthattherewere
Daoist monks practicing Chan meditation, and Chan monks practicing Dao
ist internal alchemy in the Baiyun guan environs and nearby Buddhist sacred
sitesatatimeroughlycontemporaneouswiththecommissioningandengraving
of the Neijingtu. The central importance of Bodhidharma and Chan again adds
support for a WuLiu connection, as Liu Huayang, the cofounder, was a Chan
monk.ForadditionalinsightsonDaoismandtheoverallreligioculturalcontext
ofBeijingduringthelateimperialandearlymodernperiodsseeGoossaert2007.
23
In terms of Western physiology, the figures also could be interpreted as
thesphenoid bone and the pituitary gland, housed in the sellaturcicaportion of
the sphenoidbone.
24
With regard to Fazang, Rousselle (1933, 213) suggests that Fazang re
fers to Dharmagupta, but Wang points out that Dharmaguptas Chinese name
wasFami(Wang199192,148).
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/85
suggests, an allusion to the name of Amitbha before his attainment of
Buddhahood (199192, 149). Cishi (the merciful one) is the name
of Maitreya, the future Buddha. It is this portion of the Neijingtu that I
believeprovidessomeof theclearestinternalevidentfor aWuLiu
connection.TheWuLiubranchofinternalalchemy,generallyidentified
as a sublineage of Longmen, traces itself to Wu Shouyang
(Chongxu[InfusedEmptiness];15741644)andLiuHuayang
(Chuanlu [Transmitted Containment]; 17351799). Wu Shouyang
identified himself as an eighthgeneration Longmen adherent, and he
mayhavestudieddirectlyunderWangChangyue(Kunyang
[Paradisiacal Yang]; 16221680), the key figure in the late imperial sys
tematization of Longmen.
25
Liu Huayang, a Chan monk who converted
from Confucianism, identified himself as the spiritual successor of Wu,
possibly having received mystical instruction from him in 1780.
26
The
name WuLiu was first used in 1897 in the WuLiu xianzong
(Immortal Lineage of Wu and Liu),
27
a compilation that was edited by
DengHuiji(fl.1897).Thatcollectionisthusroughlycontempora
neous with the Neijing tu. Perhaps most relevant for present purposes,
Liu Huayang continually cites the Huayan jing (Skt.: Avatamsaka
Stra; Flower Garland Sutra) throughout his writings. For example, in
theHuimingjing(Scripture on Wisdom and Lifedestiny), Liu ex
plainsthattheeightdiagramsillustratethecombinedteachingsofDaoist
internal alchemy and the Huayanjing (ZW 131, 5.878, 5.881). So, within
theemerging,lateimperialWuLiusublineageofLongmen,Fazangwas
a patriarch, and the Neijing tu in turn evidences some connection with
thatneidan system.
The content of the Fazang and Cishi couplets is intrinsically Bud
dhist, showing the degree to which Buddhist worldview was an inte
25
For information on Wu Shouyangs life see his Tianxian zhengli zhilun
zengzhu (JHL 77; ZW 127) and Min Yides Wu Chongxu lshi
zhuan (JHL7).
26
ForinformationonLiuHuayangslife, see Huimingjing preface (ZW131).
27
The collection includes Wus Tianxian zhengli (ZW 843) and
Xianfohezong (ZW 843) as well as Lius Huimingjing (ZW 131)
and Jinxianzhenglun (ZW 132). A popular translation of the latter two
worksappearsinWong1998.
86/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
gralaspectofDaoistcultivationmodelsinthelateimperialperiod.
28
The
textual andvisualcontours oftheNeijingturepresentacommingling of
the worldviews and goals of Buddhism and Daoism, perhaps most
clearly expressed in the final goal of prolonging longevity and [attain
ing] immortality and Buddhahood at thehighestpointof thediagram.
Both quotations speak of expansions of consciousness, extraordinary
abilities, and liberation from suffering. That is, one encounters further
attempts to inspire the observer to cultivate more perfected ontological
conditions.
In addition to themaincourse of qicirculation along thespine, the
diagram depicts smaller circulation routes. Some streams flow down
from the upper mountains, while others move from the center of the
headtotheDescendingBridge(jiangqiao).Theformerrelatestothe
Jade Nectar (yujiang ), Sweet Dew (ganlu ) and Spirit Water
(shenshui) (see also Needham et al. 1983, 114; Eichman 2000a, 350).
In theprocess of alchemicalrefinement, theperfectqi(zhenqi) rises
up the Governing Vessel through the Three Gates, where it combines
withtheSpiritWater,asymbolicnameforthesaliva,todescendbackto
thecentralregionsofthebody(Needhametal.1983,7778).Daoistculti
vationmethodsincreasetheproductionofsaliva,whichis,inturn,swal
lowedandmadetodescendtowardsthelowerelixirfield.Thisinvolves
dropping the tongue, represented in the Neijing tu as the Descending
Bridge,fromitsnormalpositionoftouchingtheupperpalateanddrink
ing the Jade Dew. The saliva then passes through the TwelveStoried
TowerandthePalaceoftheSweetSpringandColdPeak,bothnames
for the trachea.
29
The Jade Dew descends through the Scarlet Palace (ji
anggong)tocleanse theheart,before it splashesand expands inthe
OceanofQi(qihai ).
Then,ofcourse,therearetheCowherd(niulang )andtheWeav
ingMaiden(zhin)(seeFig.3).TheCowherd,correspondingtothe
Western star of Altair in the Aquila constellation, is shown standing in
theheartregionholdingtheNorthernDipper(UrsaMajor).Nexttohim
28
There is a similar tendency in such Daoist texts as the Xingming guizhi
(ZW314), Huimingjing (ZW131),andXingmingfajuemingzhi (ZW872).
29
SeetheHuangtingjing,DZ332,1.1b;eighthcenturyHuangtingwaijingjing
zhu,DZ263,58.7a;andthirteenthcenturyJindandachengji,DZ263,10.4b.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/87
is the following line from the lower L Dongbin poem: Engraving the
stone,theyoungladholdsastringofcash.TheWeavingMaiden,corre
sponding tothe Western star of Vega in the Lyraconstellation, sitsnear
the strand of trees working her loom. The textual component near her
reads, The Weaving Maiden transports and transfers. According to
early Chinesemythology, theCowherd and WeavingMaiden are lovers
fated to meet only once a year. They are separated by the Sky River
(Milky Way), over which a magpie bridge is believed to form on their
annual meeting day (see Birrell 1999b, 16567; Schafer 1977; Sun and
Kistemaker 1997).
30
The figures suggest the meeting of two things that
shouldbeunited,butwhichordinarilyremainseparated.Basedontheir
locations in the Neijing tu, and on one alchemicallysymbolic level, the
Cowherd represents the trigram Lifire , and is thus associated with
the heart orb and with spirit. The Weaving Maiden represents the tri
gramKanwater ,andisthusassociatedwiththekidneyorbandwith
vitalessence.Likethemagpiebridge,theDaoistpractitionermuststrive
tounitethesetwophysiologicalandenergeticaspects.Thisisfrequently
referred to as the dual cultivation of innate nature (xing ), associated
withspiritandconsciousness,andlifedestiny(ming ),associatedwith
vital essence and physical vitality (see, e.g., Xingming guizhi, ZW 314;
Xingmingfajuemingzhi, ZW 872).
31
In thecontext of Daoist neidanpraxis,
the Kanwater and Lifire trigrams are frequently related to
LaterHeaven(houtian )conditions,whileKunearth andQian
heaven trigrams are related to Prior Heaven (xiantian) condi
tions. The aspiring Daoist adept is urged to complete the process of in
version(diandao ):replacingtheyanglineinKanwithayinline
to create the pure or perfect yin condition of Kun, and replacing the
30
I leave open the possibility thatthere is an actual astronomical aspectto
this section of the Neijing tu, wherein the adept connects with and ingests the
astralqiofthesestars.Whetherornotthisisthecase,thediagramagainreveals
thepractitionerofalchemicaltransformationasacosmicizedbeing.
31
Note that the Xingming fajue mingzhi, a text from a late imperial neidan
context similar to the received Neijingtu, seems to contain a direct reference to
the diagram.SeeZW 872, 26.67.However, under the interpretation of the Chan
BuddhistLiaokong,thetwofigurestakeonaBuddhisthue,becomingassociated
withaninconstantmindanddesire.Liaokongreversesthesymbolism,believing
thattheCowherdrelatestoqiandtheWeavingMaidentotheheart.
88/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
yinline in Li with a yangline to create the pure or perfect yang
conditionofQian(cf.Xiuzhentu).
32
Like most esoteric alchemical symbolism, this process may be and
hasbeeninterpretedinavarietyofways.First,basedontheassociation
ofthekidneyswithvitalessenceandtheheartwithintent,theprocessof
inversion here involves directing intent toward the Mingmen area. This
initiates an upward movement of vital essence (the yang line), which
includes the generation, transformation and circulation of bodily fluids.
Someofthesefluidsthendescendintoandthroughtheheartregion(the
yinline),cleansingandpurifyingconsciousness,beforefinallybeingab
sorbed into the lower elixir field, the Ocean of Qi. This, in turn, creates
Qianheaven, associated with the upper elixir field and original spirit,
andKunearth,associatedwiththelowerelixir fieldandoriginalqi.Such
an interpretation also adds an additional layer ofmeaning andpractice:
the Later Heavencondition ofheart,characterizedby emotionaland in
tellectual turbidity, is Lifire, while the Later Heaven condition of the
kidneys, characterized by depletion of vital essence, is Kanwater. The
Daoist adept transforms these ontological conditions into their original
and perfected correlates: by conserving and transforming vital essence,
originalqibecomesabundantinthelowerelixirfield;bystillingandpu
rifyingthemind,originalspiritbecomesconcentratedintheupperelixir
field.
Finally, as Schipper observes, the infant born out of the union of
theweaverandthecowherdstringspiecesofcashtogetherthatformthe
constellation ofthe Dipperthestar offate, thuscreating anew life for
thebody(Schipper1978,356).TheimageoftheCowherdandWeaving
MaidenthusremindstheviewerthatprolongedDaoistcultivationleads
toatransformedmodeofbeing,toadifferentontologicalcondition,con
firming yet againthat my fate is withinme,not with theheavens (wo
ming zai wo, bu zai tian ) (Baopuzi neipian ,
DZ1185,16.7a;Xishengjing ,DZ666,3.6a)(seeSchipper1978,365;
see also Kohn 1991b, 250). The Northern Dipper (beidou ) is often
identified in the Daoist tradition as the primary determinant and influ
enceononesfateorlifedestiny(ming )(seeMinandLi1994,369).
32
See,forexample,theeleventhcenturyYuqingneiliandanjue ,
DZ240,1.10b; Li1991,310.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/89
In the Neijing tu, this constellation is no longer located in the external
cosmos. It has become formed and issues from the Daoist adepts own
heartmind. Through dedication to cultivation and alchemical transfor
mation, the practitioner initiates a shift in ontological condition: from
ordinarybeing,separatedfromtheDaoanddestinedtodissipate,toPer
fected, merged with the Dao and transcending the vicissitudes of mun
daneidentity.Onecreatesandinhabitsadifferentcosmos,oratleastthe
cosmosascompletelyintegratedin,asandthroughonesownbeing.
Cultivational and Alchemical Contours
FromtheaboveanalysisofthetextualandvisualcontoursoftheNeijing
tu,wehaveseenthattheNeijingtu representsasophisticatedandmulti
layeredmappingoftheDaoistbodyandDaoistreligiouspraxis,specifi
callyalchemicaltransformationasundertakeninthelateimperialperiod
and more than likely in the emerging WuLiu neidan sublineage of
Longmen active in and around the environs of Baiyun guan during the
late Qing dynasty (16441911). As charted in the present study, theNei
jing tu provides illustrations for a wide variety of Daoist cultivation
methods. Three in particular stand out: praxisoriented applications of
classical Chinese medical views of the body; visualization methods
which draw their inspiration from the Huangting jing (Scripture
on the Yellow Court; DZ 331; 332)and which findclear historicalprece
dents in early Shangqing (Highest Clarity) Daoism; and the al
chemical technique known as the Waterwheel (heche) or Microcos
mic Orbit (xiao zhoutian ). These three techniques form an inter
connected system, wherein the adepts overall psychosomatic health is
maintainedandstrengthened,whereintheadeptsbodybecomescosmi
cized, and wherein the adept awakens the mystical body, the body
beyondthebody (shenwai shen ) or yangspirit (yangshen ),
that is the culmination of alchemical transformation and the precondi
tion for postmortem transcendence. Each of the techniques thus com
plementsandsupplementstheothers.
The Neijing tu contains multiple layers of meaning, including vari
ous earlier Daoist visions of the body. Generally speaking, the founda
tional Daoist understanding of the human body in selfcultivation line
90/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
ages parallels that of classical Chinese medicine.
33
The basic system in
corporatesyinyangandFivePhase(wuxing)cosmologies,withthe
FivePhasesconsistingofWood,Fire,Earth,Metal,andWater.Theseba
siccosmologies,reconciledintoaconsistentworldviewbyZouYan
(ca. 305240 BCE), underlie some of the earliest of the received medical
classics, the Huangdi neijing (Yellow Thearchs Inner Classics)
(seeUnschuld1985;2003).Inthesetexts,theFivePhasesysteminvolves
specificcorrespondences,someofwhichincludedirection,season,color,
taste,grain,constellation,yinorb(zang /),emotion,senseorgan,and
sound (see, e.g., Suwen, ch. 5; Unschuld 2003, 99124). In addition to a
medical application of the now combined yinyangand Five Phase cos
mology,thesemedicaltextsprovidefoundationalinformationonqithe
ory,theoriesofdisease,andthemeridiansystem.
The Neijing tu, in turn, draws attention to the classical Chinese
medical view at the foundation of specific forms of Daoist cultivation,
includingvarious lineagesof internal alchemy (see Robinet1989b; 1995;
Pregadioand Skar 2000; Komjathy 2007).
34
One obvious textual strata in
thediagramthatechoestheHuangdineijing textsistheimportanceofthe
Du (Governing) and Ren (Conception) vessels, two of the Eight
Extraordinary Vessels (qijing bamai ), which are mentioned by
nameintheuppersectionofthe Neijingtu(seeFig.4).Hereisthe Neijing
tu as the Diagramof Internal Pathways. Generally speaking, the Gov
erning Vessel is thecentralmeridian on theback ofthe body, while the
33
Livia Kohn identifies three major Daoist views of the body, correspond
ing to three distinct methods and intellectual traditions within Daoism: (1) the
bodyasanadministrativesystem,rootedintheworldviewoftheDaodejing,and
realizedinquietisticandmedicallyorientedmeditation;(2)thebodyastheresi
dence of spirits or gods and associated with Shangqing visualization practices;
and(3)thebodyasimmortaluniverse,avisiondevelopedundertheinfluenceof
Buddhist insight meditation (Chn.: guan ; Skt.: vipayan) (Kohn 1991a, 230).
ForadditionalinsightsonDaoistviewsofthebodyseeSchipper1978;1993;Lvi
1989;Andersen1995;Saso1997;Komjathy2007;forChineseviewsingeneralsee
alsoAmes1993; Kuriyama1999.ForrelevanttranslationsseeKohn1993,16188.
34
ThestudyofthecrosspollinationbetweenDaoismandChinesemedicine
is only just beginning, butseeUnschuld 1985;Strickmann 2002.Forsome ofthe
better theoretical discussions of Chinese medicine see Porkert 1974; Liu 1988;
Maciocia1989.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/91
ConceptionVesselisthecentralmeridianonthefront.
35
Theformerbasi
cally begins at the coccyx, the Weil point or first of the Three Passes
mentionedabove,movesfromthebaseofthespineupthemiddleofthe
back, around the crownpoint, to the upper lip. The latter basically be
ginsattheperineum,movesupthecenterlineofthefrontofthebody,to
thelowerlip.
36
ThesevesselsaremostclearlydepictedintheNeijingtu as
the two pairs of five bands near the front of the headthe Governing
Vesselcontainstheqiofthefiveyangorbs(gallbladder,smallintestine,
stomach, large intestine, bladder), while the Conception Vessel contains
the qi associated with the five yinorbs (liver, heart, spleen, lung, kid
ney).
37
One also notices the presence of the five yinorbs, combined with
the gall bladder, in the textual material at the center of the Neijing tu.
While only the traditional iconography of the liver is illustratedthe
strand of trees corresponding to the Wood phase (see Fig. 3)the most
basiclayerofmeaninghere referstothehealthof each orb and thusthe
health of the entire organism,
38
with health being the smooth flow of qi
throughoutthebody. Thus, we find thefollowingpassage inthe Suwen
whereQiBo answerstheYellowThearchsinquiriesabouttheorbs:
35
Eichman (2000a, 351) confuses the Governing Vessel with the Thrusting
Vessel. The Trusting Vessel, notthe Governing Vessel, isthe only meridianthat
traversesthecenterofthebodyfromtoptobottom.InDaoistcultivation,diverg
ing here from Chinese medicine, this vessel ascends and descends through the
core of the body from Huiyin (Meeting of Yin; CV1), the perineum, to Baihui
(Hundred Meetings; GV20), the crownpoint. See, e.g., Xingming fajue mingzhi,
ZW872,26.94.PassagesfromtheHuangdineijing ontheThrustingVesselmaybe
foundinSuwenchapter 60 andLingshuchapters33,38and62,and65.Foraclas
sical discussion of the system of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels see Nanjing
chapters27and28.ModernoverviewsofthesystemmaybefoundinLarre1997
aswellasinMatsumotoandBirch1986.
36
For some classical references to the Governing Vessel and Conception
Vesselsee Suwen chapters41and60 andLingshu chapters10and65.
37
Although still developing, future research on Chinese views of embryo
genesis may provide additional insights into the Daoist neidanemphasis on the
EightExtraordinaryVessels.IftheThrusting,Governing,andConceptionvessels
are the first meridians to develop, the Daoist adept would thus be accessing a
moreprimordialmomentinthedifferentiationofself.
38
RecallthefourTaijidiagramsmentionedabove.See Figure2.
92/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
QiBoreplied,Theheartistherootoflifeandtransformations
of spirit (shen )The lungs are the root of qi and the resi
denceofthecorporealsoul(po )Thekidneysaretherootof
quiescenceandstoringandtheresidenceofvitalessenceThe
liver is the root of extremes and the residence of the ethereal
soul (hun )The spleen and stomach, along with the large
intestine, small intestine, Triple Warmer, and the bladder, are
therootofstorageandtheresidenceofnutritive[qi](yingqi
).(DZ1018,9.15b18b;cf.18.8a9b)
39
As expressed in the presence of the five yinorbs in the Neijing tu, the
Daoistadeptmustunderstandthespecificfunctionsofeachorbandthe
variousrelationshipsamong them.
40
Thehealth of eachorband thehar
monization of their respective functions is a necessary precondition for
further alchemical work. If one takes the guidelines of the Suwen seri
ously,thisinvolvesasystemwhereindietetics,seasonalattunementand
cosmology are interwoven: one eats different types of foods and differ
ent flavors depending on ones constitutional tendencies, stage of life
andthe dominant seasonal influence (see, e.g.,Suwen,chs. 1and 2). It is
difficulttoknowifthisaspectofChinesemedicineandofDaoistcultiva
tion is embedded in the Neijing tu, but the diagram clearly orients the
adept towards the importance of the Five Phase system in general and
the five yinorbs in particular. One may say that this textual strata and
leveloftraining,rootedinaclassicalChinesemedicalview,underliesthe
moreobvious allusion to theHuangtingjing,namely, the esotericnames
oftheorbsoccurringinthissectionofthe Neijingtu.
Before moving from this discussion of praxisbased applications of
classical Chinese medicine to the potential visualization practices ex
pressedinthediagram,afewadditionalpointsdeservereflection.Inthe
previous section ontextualand visualcontours, I have emphasizedthat
39
In Chinese medicine, the Triple Warmer (sanjiao ) is one of the six
yangorbs(liufu ).Itispairedwiththepericardium(xinbao ),whichwas
added to the five yinorbs (wuzang ) in order to create parallelism. For an
attempt to chart its significance in Daoist alchemy in general and Quanzhen in
particularseeKomjathy2007,ch.4.
40
ForsomecontemporarydiscussionsseeMaciocia1989andRoss1994.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/93
the Neijingtu drawstheattentionoftheviewer,andoftheaspiringadept
utilizing it as an aid to his or her training, to specific locations in the
body. One must, of course, know the importance of such locations in
Daoistalchemicalpracticetoidentifytheminadiagramthatlacksflesh,
in a diagram of the subtle body and inner realms. The associations of
these points in Daoist alchemical praxis has already been partially dis
cussed above and receives clarification below, but it is also possible to
chart them according their medical function in contemporary Chinese
medicine. While potentially anachronistic in terms of the context in
which the diagram originated, these comments are meant to show that
there are clear psychosomatic effects and therapeutic benefits. Some of
the relevantcorporeal regions are as follows:perineum (yinyang tread
mill; Huiyin [Meeting of Yin]; CV1), coccyx (lower temple/pass;
Weil[TailboneGate];GV1),lowerback(flamesinthespine;Mingmen
[GateofLife];GV4),midspine(middletemple/pass;Jiaji [lit.,
BesidetheSpine; Narrow Ridge]; GV6), occiput (upper temple/pass;
Yuzhen[JadePillow];BL9and/orNaohu [BrainDoor];GV17),
crownpoint(secondhighestpeak;Baihui[HundredMeetings];GV
20), upper lip (end of upperbands;Yinjiao [GumIntersection]; GV
28), and lower lip (end of lowerbands;Chengjiang [FluidRecepta
cle]; CV24) (see also Xingming guizhi, ZW 314, 9.518; Xingming fajue
mingzhi,ZW 872,26.17).
41
As this list indicates, all ofthesepointsare on
theGoverning Vessel (GV) andConception Vessel (CV), which arecon
sidered extra meridians in contemporary Chinese medicine, meaning
that they are not part of the standard twelve meridians associated with
the yinorbs and yangorbs. One understanding of the socalled Eight
Extraordinary Vessels is that they store overflow qi and are empty or
inactiveinmostpeople(seeLarre1997; MatsumotoandBirch1986).
In addition to being reservoirs of qi, they are related to vital es
sence,onescorevitality,andprotectiveqi(weiqi ),theqithatpro
tectsonefromexteriorpathogenicinfluences.Theactivationoftheseme
ridians in Daoist alchemical praxis thus stabilizes ones overall health
and increases ones resiliency to disease. These forms of Daoist cultiva
tion also increase the levels of qi in the body, which fill the Eight Ex
41
FormoreonthefunctionofthesevariouspointsincontemporaryChinese
medicineseeEllisetal.1989;Deadmanetal.2001.
94/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
traordinary Vessels. The ordinary person has twelve active meridians
and eight latent meridians; the Daoist alchemist has twenty active me
ridians, including those associated with psychic abilities. In addition,
although it is beyond the scope of the present study to provide a com
plete explanation, the above acupoints or energetic locations in the
body have specific functional/therapeutic associations in contemporary
Chinesemedicine.Takentogether,theyconnecttheGoverning,Concep
tion and Thrusting vessels; harmonize the entire orbmeridian system;
strengthenthekidneysandvitalessence;nourishthemarrow,spineand
brain; strengthen the digestive system; and calm the heart and spirit. In
short, by activating and concentrating on these locations, Daoist adepts
strengthentheiroverallpsychosomaticwellnessandawakenlatentener
geticlayersoftheirbeing.
As expressed intheNeijingtu, Daoistreligiouspraxisalso involves
visualization methods which draw their inspiration from the Huangting
jing(Scripture on theYellow Court; DZ 331;332)and which find
clear historical precedents in early Shangqing (Highest Clarity)
Daoism,specificallyvisualizingthefiveyinorbsintermsof wuxing color
and light associations.
42
Asmentioned, an additional layer oftheNeijing
tustitleistheDiagramofInnerLuminosities;thatis,thediagrammay
be read/employed as an aid for visualizing/activating/lodging the inner
body gods (see Kroll 1996). In the textual component near the heart re
gion(seeFig.3),thevariousorbsareidentifiedaccordingtotheesoteric
names of their specific spirits as found in the Huangtingneijingjing(DZ
331,3a).Thissectionofthe Neijingtu readsasfollows:
Thespiritoftheheartis[called]ElixirOrigin,givenname
GuardingtheNumen.
Thespiritofthelungsis[called]BrilliantSplendor,givenname
42
Robinet(1993)providesinformationontheplaceoftheHuangtingjingin
ShangqingDaoism(seealsoRobinet1984;2000).Schipper1975providesacritical
edition with an index, while Homann 1971 gives a preliminary analysis of the
Neijing jing. Partial translations appear in Kohn 1993; Kroll 1996. A complete
translation appears in Huang 1990. Michael Saso (1995) has also published a
translation, butthe reader is forewarned that many ofthetranslated passages
bear little resemblance to the original text. For insights on earlier Shangqing
visualizationpracticesseeespeciallyRobinet1989a;1993, ch.2.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/95
EmptinessComplete.
Thespiritoftheliveris[called]DragonMist,givenname
ContainingIllumination.
Thespiritofthekidneysis[called]MysteriousObscurity,
givennameNourishingtheChild.
Thespiritofthespleenis[called]ContinuouslyExisting,given
nameEtherealSoulPavilion.
Thespiritofthegallbladderis[called]DragonGlory,given
nameMajesticIllumination.
43
Comparing the two passages, theNeijingtuhas a number of discrepan
cieswiththestandard,classicallist.Inadditiontotheuseofzi(per
sonal[name])insteadofzi (stylename),thediagramstextinverts
the first name for the lungs: the Huangting jing reading haohua
(SplendidBrilliance),andtheNeijingtureadinghuahao (Brilliant
Splendor). More significantly, the Neijing tu substitutes neng (able
to)forlong (dragon)inthenamesoftheliverandgallbladder,and
thefirstnamefortheliverspiritisincorrect.Inthediagram,itreadsnen
gyao (Capable Glory) instead of longyan (Dragon Mist),
thus reproducing the name for the spirit of the gall bladder from the
Huangtingjing.
Theassociationsoftheorbswithlightandspiritualpresencesparal
lel those documented in the Huangting jingtexts, and the section of the
Huangting neijing jing in which the above esoteric names appear con
cludes as follows:The spirits of the six yangorbs and five yinorbs are
the vital essences of the body....By visualizing (cun ) them day and
night,
44
you will naturally attain longevity (DZ 331, 3b; see alsoHuang
tingneijingfuzangliufubuxietu,DZ432).
43
I have put the orbs in their order of occurrence in the Huangting neijing
jing even though the diagrams text does not follow a recognizable pattern. I
have also corrected the names in my translation in Figure 3. I leave open the
question of whether or not the efficacy of the technique is affected by utilizing
incorrectnames.
44
Orbypreservingthemdayandnight.InthecontextofShangqingprac
tices,cun isusuallytranslatedtovisualize.However,Ileaveopenthepossi
bilitythatcun shouldbetakeninitsmorestandardsenseoftopreserve.Thatis,
the Huangting jing may be more about stabilizing an abode for the various orb
96/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
Reading Daoist religious praxis solely in terms of the diagram, the
most that one can reasonably say is the adept must know the esoteric
namesoftheorbsandtheirrelatedspirits,andheorshemustpracticean
inner observation (neiguan ) and/or visualization (cunxiang )
techniqueinwhichcolorsandnuminouspresencesarecentral.Hereone
must know the following wuxing correspondences: Wood liver (gall
bladder)azuredragoneast;Fire heart red vermilionbirdsouth;
Earth spleen yellow center; Metal lungs white tiger west;
and Water kidneys black north Mysterious Warrior (snaketurtle).
Based on the above passage and the corresponding correlative cosmo
logical associations, the Daoist adept brings his or her awareness to the
heart,recallstheesotericnamesdanyuanandshouling,andvisualizesthe
heart as an orb of red light.Next, the adept brings his awareness to the
lungs, recalls the esoteric names haohua and xucheng, and visualizes the
lungs as an orb of white light. This is followed by the same process for
theliver,kidneys,andspleen.Finally,theadeptbringshisawarenessto
the gall bladder, recalls the esoteric names longyao and weiming, and
visualizes the gall bladder as an orb of azure light.
45
This proposed re
construction of the visualization technique is substantiated by the fol
lowingadditionalpassagefromthe Huangtingjing:
[The youth (tongzi ) of the lungs wears] white brocade
robes with sashes of yellow clouds[The youth of the heart
wears]flowingcinnabarbrocaderobeswithajadeshawl,gold
bellsand vermilionsashes[The youth of the liver wears] az
ure brocaderobeswithaskirtofjadebells[Theyouth ofthe
kidneys wears] black brocade, cloud robes with dancing
dragon banners[The youth of the spleen wears] yellow bro
cade, jade robes with a tigeremblem sash[The youth of the
spirits, about becoming aware of and observing these, than about imagining
somethingtobethecase.
45
Thegallbladderistheyangorbpairedwiththeliver,andthusassociated
with theWood phase. Inthe context oftheHuangtingjing, itis unclear why the
gallbladderissingledout.HereIwouldalsomentionthatdaninthenameof
the heart and xuan inthe kidneyssuggest acinnabarred color in the former
anddeepbluecolorinthelatter.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/97
gall bladder wears] ninecolored brocade robes with a green
flowerskirtandagoldbelt(DZ331,3b6a).
46
Thatis,thewuxing colorassociationsarementionedinthesectionof
the Huangting jing that directly follows the passage listing the esoteric
names of the orb spirits. If the middle section of theNeijingtu is an en
cryptedandabridgedreminderfortheDaoistadeptutilizingtheHuang
tingjing asavisualizationmanual,thenthetechniquebeingemployedis
even more complex than my outline suggests. The wuxing colors are
primary, but there are also secondary colors as well as anthropomor
phic images for the orb spirits.
47
The adept encounters and becomes
inhabitedbybodygodswithveryspecificvisualappearances,including
robeswithcorrespondingcolorsandsymbols.
48
Thepraxisoriented applications ofclassical Chinesemedical views
ofthebodyandthevisualizationofthefiveyinorbsbasedontheireso
tericnamesintheHuangtingjingandcorrespondingwuxingassociations
areintegratedintoacomprehensiveandinterconnectedsystemofDaoist
cultivation and alchemical transformation in the Neijing tu. In this re
spect,thediagramalsoclearly illustrates the neidantechnique known as
the Waterwheel (heche) orMicrocosmic Orbitpractice (xiaozhoutian
;lit.,SmallerCelestialCycle).
49
Generallyspeaking,thispractice
46
Thisisatentativetranslation,asthevariousreferencestojadeandclouds
may be to patterns in the clothes, colors of the clothes, or actual jade and
clouds.Ihaveattemptedtostayasclosetotheoriginalaspossible.
47
In terms of continuities in Daoismin general and neidanlineages in par
ticular,itisnoteworthythattheseesotericnamesoftheorbspiritsappearin,for
example, the Xiuzhen taiji hunyuan zhixuan tu , DZ 150, 7a
(seeBaryosherChemouny1996)andtheXingmingguizhi,ZW314,9.529.
48
Beyond this narrow and relatively conservative reading of the diagram,
onefindssimilarvisualizationmethodsintextswhichslightlypredateorwhich
are contemporaneous with the Neijing tu. See, e.g., the seventeenthcentury
Xingming guizhi, ZW 314, 9.516, 9.519; Xingming fajue mingzhi, ZW 872, 26.101,
26.119.Cf. Jindandachengji,DZ263,10.7a; Dadanzhizhi,DZ244,1.4b,2.1a, passim.
49
Wang(199192,152),followingNeedhametal.(1983,7280;11416),iden
tifiestheSmallerCelestialCycle(xiaozhoutian)withthecirculationofthe
perfectqibetweentheheart(theCowherd)andthekidneys(Needhamsreins;
the Weaving Maiden), while the Larger Celestial Cycle (da zhoutian ) in
volvesthespinalcolumn.Incontrast,inmorecontemporarypracticestheMicro
98/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
involves circulating qi up the Governing Vessel and down the Concep
tionVesselinacontinuouscycle.
50
Thecentralityofthisalchemicaltech
niqueintheNeijingtuissubstantiatedbyvariousdiagrammaticcontours:
the Three Passes, including the importance of the perineum area (yin
yang treadmill); the two sets of fivebands, identified in the map as the
Du(Governing)andRen(Conception)vessels;theheartregion,through
which the Sweet Dew and qi descend; and the lower elixir field, where
theperfectqibecomesstored.Inaddition,thecoloreddimensionsofthe
painting increase ones awareness of this aestheticpractical depiction
andthecorrespondingenergeticmovementthroughthebody.
As expressed in the Neijing tu and other late imperial Daoist
sources,
51
theMicrocosmicOrbitpracticewasacentralcomponentoflate
imperial Daoist neidanpraxis. In one version of this cultivation method,
the Daoist practitioner uses the intent (yi ) to combine vital essence
with qiandcirculate it up the Governing Vessel anddown the Concep
cosmicOrbitfocusesspecificallyontheGoverningandConceptionvessels,while
theMacrocosmicOrbitinvolvescirculatingqi throughalloftheEightExtraordi
naryVessels.See,e.g.,Xingmingfajuemingzhi,ZW872.
50
The history of the socalled Microcosmic Orbit technique is currently
known. There are clear historical precedents in SongJin neidan lineages, where
thepracticeisusuallyreferredtoastheWaterwheel(heche)andsometimes
asthe CelestialCycle(zhoutian).However,asfar as my readinggoes, most
ofthose methods involve circulating vital essenceand qi upthespine,thus cor
respondingtothepracticeofrevertingvitalessencetorestorethebrain(huan
jingbunao). That is, they do not utilize the Conception and Governing
vessels.See,e.g.,thetenthcenturyChuandaojiwhichhasachapterentitledHe
che (DZ 263, 15.19b23b). Some related diagrams may be found in the Dadan
zhizhi, DZ 244; Huangdi bashiyi nanjing zuantu jujie, DZ 1024, 4a. See also the
Xiuzhen tu and the thirteenthcentury diagram entitled the Yixue lei
(Section onMedical Learning), which ispreserved inthefifteenthcentury Shilin
guangji (Needhametal.1983,112).
51
See, e.g.,Xingmingguizhi,ZW 314, 9.51819;Huimingjing,ZW131, 5.879
890; Xingming fajue mingzhi, ZW 872, 26.28, 26.94. On these texts see Wilhelm
1962; Lu 1973; Despeux 1979; Needham et al. 1983, Wong 1998; Darga 1999. A
more thorough comparison between the Neijing tu and contemporaneous texts
mightclarifyitsrelationshiptosuchlateimperiallineagesasLongmenandWu
Liu.Itisalsonoteworthythatthesetextsarewidelycirculatedamongcontempo
raryQuanzhenmonastics.Authorsfieldobservations.
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/99
tion Vessel in a continual cycle. The Neijing tu draws attention to this
particular cultivation method through the presence of not only the
abovementioned vessels but also the three temples or huts along the
spinalcolumn.ThesearetheThreePasses(sanguan )throughwhich
itisdifficultfortheqi topass.Thepasses,fromlowertomiddletoupper,
are as follows: Weil (Tailbone Gate; coccyx), Jiaji (Narrow
Ridge; literally, besidethespine; midspine), and Yuzhen (Jade
Pillow;occiput).IntheMicrocosmicOrbitpractice,particularattentionis
giventothesethreelocationsinordertoopenthevesselsandensurethe
efficacious movement of vital essence and qi through the body. In one
version of the practice, the adept uses the intent to consecutively open
Huiyin (perineum), Weil (coccyx), Mingmen (between kidneys), Jiaji
(midspine), Yuzhen (occiput), Baihui (crownpoint), Shenguan
(SpiritPass;thirdeye),andYinjiao (GumIntersection;cleftofupper
lip).
Next one uses the tongue to gather saliva and swallow it down
throughtheTwelvestoriedTowerandScarletPalace,beforeitjoinswith
theperfectqiinthelowerelixirfield.Eachofthesepositionsinturncor
responds to one of the twelve branches (dizhi ), with the perineum
being zi (north; midnight; winter solstice) and the crownpoint being
wu (south; noon; summer solstice) (see Xingming fajue mingzhi, ZW
872, 26.17, 26.94). Recalling the two sets of five bands in the Neijing tu,
the Microcosmic Orbit practice leads to the activation and maintenance
of the other meridians and their related orbs. That is, circulating qi
through the Governing and Conception vessels harmonizes the entire
subtlebody. The activation ofand/or encounter withthissubtlebody is
thus a central dimension of Daoist neidan praxis as documented in the
Neijing tu and as expressed in late imperial Daoism. In addition, if the
Daoist adept is also incorporating the abovementioned wuxing corre
spondencesandvisualizationtechniques,astheNeijingtuseemstoindi
cate, then his orherpractice literally embodiesatransformedcondition,
atransformingprocess.Astraleffulgencesandvarioussubtlerealitiesare
introduced into, merged with, and circulated through his or her very
being.
100/JournalofDaoistStudies 2(2009)
Reorientations
In theprevious installmentof thepresent article, whichcoveredthehis
torical and terminological contours of the Neijing tu, I emphasized its
originsin theLongmenmonasticcommunityofBaiyunguanduringthe
late Qing dynasty (16441911). These historical details have now been
clarified based on internal textual evidence. The intermingling of Chan
BuddhistandDaoistneidan concerns,specificallythereferencetoFazang,
indicates a potential connection with the emerging WuLiu sublineage
ofLongmen.Inaddition,analysisofinfluentiallateimperialDaoisttexts,
includingworksthatwereroughlycontemporaneouswiththeNeijingtu
andthat alsocirculated within the Longmenmonasticcommunity, indi
catesstrongparallels.Ofparticularnoteinthisrespectisthestrongem
phasis that Liu Huayang, one of the nominal founders of the WuLiu
lineage,places on theHuayanjingand the MicrocosmicOrbitpractice in
his Huimingjing.
From the discussion of the textual and visual contours, as well as
the cultivational and alchemical contours, it has become clear that the
Neijingturepresentsa detailed andmultilayeredmapping ofthe Daoist
body and Daoist religious praxis. On the one hand, it parallels various
earlier neidan lineages and related diagrams of Daoist bodies. On the
otherhand,theNeijingtuseemstobe a unique synthesis. It expresses a
vision of the Daoist body as actualized through alchemical praxis and
transformation. At the core of this vision is an emphasis on self
cultivation:thebodycontainsfieldstobetended,seedstobesown,and
graintobe gathered. That graincontainsthe universe, a universe which
issimultaneouslycosmos,world,landscape,community,self.Itisauni
verseactualizedthroughneidanpraxis,whichaccordingtotheNeijingtu
involves the conservation and transformation of vital essence, produc
tion and ingestion of saliva, visualization of the inner orbs, and activa
tion of the Daoistalchemicalor mysticalbody (see Komjathy 2007).
Thisistheyangspiritorthebodybeyondthebodythatistheprecondi
tionforpostmortemsurvival.Itisamysticalbodybecauseonesbody
becomes cosmicized, rarified and possibly divinized. Ones very physi
ology becomes experienced as the numinous presence of the Dao made
manifestandembodied.Itisalsomysticalbecausetherearenonspatial
andsubtledimensionsthatrequireactualization.BasedontheNeijingtu,
Komjathy,MappingtheDaoistBody/101
it is unclear if the ultimate goal of religious praxis expressed in its con
tours is unification with and absorption into the Dao, enlightenment
conceived of as the emergence of divine radiance, or the formation of a
yangspiritthat will transcend thedeath ofthephysical body. Placed in
thecontextofsimilarsystemsofinternalalchemy,especiallythoseofthe
late imperial period, it is perhaps the latter: a yangspirit which exits
throughthecrownpointuponthedeathofthephysicalbody,expressed
asthepearlofwhitelightabovetheheadinthe Neijingtu.
Toconclude,onemayrecallthewonderexpressedbyLiuChengyin
whenhefirstencounteredthisdiagraminthestudioofGaoSongshan.
Iexamined[thediagram]foralongtimeandrealizedthatmy
comprehensionwasgrowing.Ibegantorealizethatexhalation
andinhalationaswellasexpellingandingestingofthehuman
bodyarethewaxingandwaningaswellastheebbandflowof
the cosmos. If you can divine and gain insight into this, you
will have progressed more than halfway on your inquiry into
thegreatWayoftheGoldenElixir.
AccordingtoLiu,Daoistsviewingthismapseetheirownpossibilityfor
psychosomatic transformation reflected in its lines and images, in its
mapping of the Daoist body and Daoist religious practice. Simultane
ously,themapisnottheterritory(seeSmith1993).Thepurposeofamap
istofamiliarizethetravelerwiththelandscape,andthemapismerelya
preliminary stage indevelopingadeeper awareness of andrelationship
with a particular region, to develop the appropriate orientation. Until
one becomes so familiar with, so oriented towards, the landscape that
one may burn the map as kindling for a mountain fire, the map has
failed to serve its purpose. As a map of the Daoist body, the Neijing tu
urges aspiring Daoist adeptsto dedicate themselvesto alchemical trans
formation, to religious praxis that will result in the emergence of numi
nouspresencesandasubtlebody.ThisistheDaoistbodynotasmapbut
asactuality.
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