Mahavairocana Buddha seated on a golden lotus flower , by Unkei, 13th C, Japan

2. The Original Spirit and the Discriminating Spirit

1. Master Lu (Dongbin) said, "From the point of view of the universe, man is like a mayfly. But from the point of view of the great Way, the universe too, is like a bubble and a shadow. Only the original spirit or true essence is beyond time".

2. Vitality and energy degenerate along with the universe, but the original spirit always exists; this is the infinite. The creation of the universe is derived from this. When students understand  how to guard and protect the original spirit, they reincarnate outside of yin and yang and they are beyond the three worlds. This is possible only by seeing essence. This is what is called the original face.    

3. When a human being reincarnates and takes shelter in an embryo, the original spirit dwells in the square inch (between the eyes), but the discriminating spirit dwells in the lower heart. The lower heart of blood and flesh has the shape of a large peach: it is covered by the wings of the lungs, supported by the liver, and held up by the bowels. If one does not eat for one day, the heart will feel very uncomfortable. If it hears something terrifying, it throbs; if it hears something enraging, it stops; if it is faced with death, it becomes sad; if it sees beauty, it is dazzled. But the heavenly heart in the head, does it ever move, even slightly ? You ask, can't the heavenly heart move ? I answer: How can the true intent in the square inch move! If it really moves, that is not good, for when ordinary men die, then it moves. But it is good when the light has crystallized in a Dharma body, gradually becoming consciously effective, and about to move. But that is a secret, which has not been revealed through the ages.

4 The discriminating lower heart is like a strong vassal or fierce general who bullies the feeble emperor and takes the law in his own hands from a far away position. As time passes, the affairs of state are upside down.

5. Now fix and keep attention on the original palace, like a brilliant emperor sitting high on the throne. The eyes start circulating the light like two ministers at the right and left wholeheartedly supporting. With the internal government strictly in order, then naturally all rebels will present themselves with lances reversed ready to take orders.

6. The highest secrets of the Tao of the Elixir of Life are three; vitality-water, spirit-fire, and intent-earth. What is vitality-water? It is the true, one prenatal energy. Spirit fire is the light, intent-earth is the heavenly heart of the middle palace. The fire of spirit is the function, intent-earth is the substance, and vitality-water is the foundation.

7. Ordinary people get the sense of their bodies through the impulse of their heart. The body is not only the seven foot-tall physical body. There is a lower self (魄 earthly Po-soul) in the body. The lower self functions in association with discriminating awareness. The existence of discriminating awareness depends on the lower self. The lower self is yin and is the substance of discriminating awareness. If discriminating awareness is not interrupted, transformation and transmutation of the lower self go on endlessly from generation to generation. Then there is the higher self ( celestial Hun-soul), where the spirit is concealed. The higher self resides in the eyes during the day and lodges in the liver at night. When it resides in the eyes, it sees; when it lodges in the liver, it dreams.         

8. Dreams are the wanderings of the spirit. It traverses the nine heavens and nine earths in an instant. If you are dull and withdrawn on awakening, that is a sign of being detained by the body, which means being chained by the lower self. Refining the higher self is brought about by turning around the light, which is a means of preserving the spirit, a means of controlling the lower self, and a means of interrupting discriminating awareness.

9. The method used by the ancients for escaping from the world consisted in refining away the dregs of yin in order to return to the pure Qian (Heaven ☰). It is just a matter of dissolving the lower self and completing the higher self. Turning the light around is the method of dissolving yin and controlling the lower self. Except for the secret of turning the light around, there is no other exercise to return to Qian (Heaven ☰). The light itself is Qian; to turn it around is to return to it. Just persist in this method, and naturally vitality-water will be sufficient, spirit-fire will ignite, intent-earth will stabilize and thus the holy embryo gestates.

10. A dung beetle rolls a pill of dung, from which life emerges, by the pure effort of concentration of spirit. If now an embryo can grow in a dung ball, and shed its shell, why then should not the dwelling place of our heavenly heart also be able to create a body if we concentrate the spirit upon it?

11. Once the spirit of true essence has descended into the palace of Qian ☰, it divides into the higher and lower self. The higher self (celestial hun-soul — 魂) resides in the heavenly heart.  It is yang and has a light and clear energy. It is that which we have received from the great emptiness, that which is identical in form with the primordial beginning. The lower self (魄 earthly po-soul) is yin and has a heavy and dense energy. It is bound to the heart of flesh.     

12. The Higher Self loves life. The lower self looks toward death. All sensuous desires and impulses of anger are the doing of the lower self, which is also called the conscious spirit. After death, it enjoys feeding on blood. When alive, it suffers. Yin returns to yin, through the principle of like attracts like. If the learner refines the yin lower self completely, then he will become pure yang.