The Heavenly Cycle / 周天


In relation to the Heavenly Cycle, energy is not the main thing; the secret is in the mind. All popular methods of practicing the Heavenly Cycle, are like trying to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward. The Heavenly Cycle is maintained without minding, carried out without deliberate intention. Look up at the sky; it is always changing through the 365 days, yet the polar star never moves. Our mind is also like this; mind is the pole, energy is the myriad stars revolving around it. The energy in our limbs and throughout our whole body is basically a network, so do not exert your strength to the full on it. Refine the conscious spirit, remove arbitrary views, and then after that medicine will develop.

周天非以氣作主,以心到為妙訣。若畢竟如何周天,是助長也,無心而守,無意而行。仰觀乎天,三百六十五度,刻刻變遷,而斗樞終古不移,吾心亦猶是也。心即斗樞,氣即群星。吾身之氣,四肢百骸,原是貫通,不要十分著力。於此煅煉識神,斷除妄見,然後藥生,

This medicine is not material; it is the light of essence, which is none other than the primordial true energy. It always appears after great concentration. There is no method of gathering the primordial true energy; those who speak of gathering are quite mistaken. When you have experienced this primordial energy for a long time, eventually one’s mind is filled with light. When the mind is empty, and all indulgence is ended, you are liberated from the ocean of dust. Talking about dragon and tiger today or water and fire tomorrow, are all illusions in the end. The spells I learned from my teacher Huolong are as I explained; I don’t know about the teachings of other Taoist sutras.

藥非有形之物,此性光也。而即先天之真氣,然必於大定後方見,並無採法,言採者大謬矣。見之既久,心地光明,自然心空漏盡,解脫塵海。若今日龍虎,明日水火,終成妄想。吾昔受火龍真人口訣如是,不知丹書所說更何如也。

There is a cycle in each day, there is a cycle in each hour; where Kan (Water ☵ ) and Li (Fire ☲) interact there is a cycle. This interaction is like the revolving of Heaven. As long as you are unable to stop the operation of the mind in the moment, as a consequence there are times of interaction and times of non-interaction. Yet the revolving of Heaven never stops for a moment. If you are actually able to unite yin and yang in tranquility, the whole earth is yang (positive) and harmonious; when your central chamber is in the right place, all things simultaneously expand to fulfillment. This is the method of bathing spoken of in alchemical classics. What is it if not the great cycle?

一日有一周天,一刻有一周天,坎離交處,便是一周。我之交,即天之回旋也。未能當下休歇,所以有交之時,即有不交之時。然天之回旋也,未嘗少息。果能陰陽交泰,大地陽和,我之中宮正位,萬物一時暢遂,即丹經沐浴法也。非大周天而何?

The firing process of the cycles differs in scale, but ultimately there is no way to distinguish great and small firing. When you reach the point where practice is fluent, you do not know what Kan (Water ☵ ) and Li (Fire ☲) are, what Heaven and Earth are, what is interaction, what is one cycle or two cycles, or where to find any distinction between great and small. It is all the operation of one body; though it appears to be most great, it is also small. Each time it takes a turn, the universe and the ten thousand things take a turn with it. It is in the square inch but it is also most great.

此中火候,寔寔有大小不同,究竟無大小可別。到得工夫自然,不知坎離為何物,天地為何等,孰為交,孰為一周兩周,何處覓大小之別耶。總之一身旋運難真。不真得極大亦小,若一回旋,天地萬物,悉與之回旋,即在方寸處,極小亦為極大。

The firing process of the gold elixir should ultimately become natural . If it is not natural, then Heaven and Earth will revert on their own to Heaven and Earth; the ten thousand things will go back to the ten thousand things: no matter how hard you try to unite them, you cannot. Then it is like a season of drought, when yin and yang are not in harmony. Even though Qian (Heaven) ☰ and Kun (Earth) ☷ go through their cycles every day, in the end you will see a lot that is artificial. If you can operate yin and yang, turning them into similar things, then naturally all at once clouds will form and rain will fall, the plants and trees are refreshed and the mountain rivers flow freely. Even if there is something offensive, you can drop it all at once. This is the Great Heavenly Cycle.

金丹火候,要歸自然。不自然,天地自還天地,萬物各歸萬物。欲強之使合,終不能合。即如天時亢旱,陰陽不和。乾坤未嘗一日不周,然終見得有多少不自然處。我能轉運陰陽,調適自然,一時雲蒸雨降,草木酣適,山河流暢,縱有乖戾,亦覺頓釋,此即大周天也。

Students ask about living midnight. This is very subtle. If you insist on defining it as true midnight, that would seem to be sticking to forms; but if you do not focus on forms and do not point out true midnight, by what means can the living midnight be known? Once you know living midnight, there is definitely also true midnight. Are they one or two, not true or not alive? It all requires you to see the real. Once you see the real, everything is true, everything is alive. If your seeing is not real, what is living, what is true? As for living midnight, when you see it at all times, finally you reach true midnight; your mood is clear and light, and living midnight gradually blooms into ever-greater awareness. At present, people do not yet clearly know the living; just test it out when you head for the true, and the true will appear, while the living will be sublime.

问活子时其妙,必认定正子时似着相,不着相不指明正子时,从何识活子时。 正者现前,活者无不神妙矣。 即识得活子时,确然又有一正子时,是二是一,非正非活,总要人看得真,一真则无不正,无不活矣。见得不真,何者为正,何者为活耶。即如活子时,是人所时时见得的。毕竟到正子时,志气清明,活子时愈觉发现。人未识得活的明了,只向正的时候验取,则正者现前,活者无不神妙矣。人未识得活的明了,只向正的时候验取,则正者现前,活者无不神妙矣。