Chinese woodcut: Daoist internal alchemy (13)
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Woodcut illustration of the practice known as 'Refining form in the True Void' from Xingming guizhi (Pointers on Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life) by Yi Zhenren, a Daoist text on internal alchemy published in 1615 (3rd year of the Wanli reign period of Ming dynasty). 'Refining form in the True Void' (zhenkong lianxing) is a term from Daoist internal alchemy, referring to the achievement of a state where spirit and form are as one, through Daoist cultivation exercises. Zhenji, in Pointers on Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life records the following: 'The Scripture of Stillness and Clarity (Qingjing jing) states: If one visualises the heart internally, the heart is without heart; if one views the form externally, the form is without form. When form is without form, the body is empty. When heart is without heart, the heart is empty. When the heart is empty and without impediment, the spirit becomes more refined and more subtle. When the body is empty and without impediment, the form becomes more refined and more limpid. If one truly practises refinement till form and spirit are contained in one another, and body and heart become one, form and spirit will at once achieve Sublimity, and enter into harmony with the Dao and Perfection.'
PICTURE TITLE: Refining form in the True Void OTHER LETTERING: Method of refining form in the True Void; the Five Containers are empty yet not empty; if the Five Containers are not emptied, then they will all be empty…