The Supreme Jade Emperor's Heart Imprint Scripture


Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, revised version



There are three degrees of Supreme Elixir: the Spirit, the Breath, and the Essential Vigour.

Obscure and recondite! Confused and dim!

Maintain vacuity, and you will preserve the actual¡ªaccomplishing it in an instant of time.

Make the wind return and mix it up, after a hundred days, the work will be achieved; then you may silently adore the Supreme Ruler, and in twelve years' time may wing your flight above.

The wise understand this easily, but the dull find it difficult to perform.

[Those who have attained it] tread in the Light of Heaven; by inhaling and exhaling, they nourish the Pure Breath; they emerge from the Azure (Heaven) and enter the Female (Earth);

now, as it were, annihilated, and now, as it were, existing,
they never cease to all eternity; their supports are strong, their roots deep.

Men are all possessed of Essential Vigour; this corresponds with the Spirit, the Spirit with the Breath, and the Breath with the essential p. 67 nature of the body. Those who have not obtained their original or essential nature, all usurp their reputation.

The Spirit is able to enter stone; the Spirit is able to fly through solid bodies. If it enters water, it is not drowned; or fire, it is not burned.

The Spirit depends, for its birth, upon the body; the Essential Vigour depends, for attaining its full proportions, upon the Breath. They never lose their vitality or force, but are evergreen, like the pine and cedar trees.

The three are all one Principle. Their mystery and beauty cannot be heard. The combination of them produces existence; their dispersion, extinction.

If the seven apertures are all open, each aperture will be bright and luminous, [for] the Holy Sun and Holy Moon will pour their effulgence upon the Golden Hall.

Once obtained, they are obtained for ever; then the body will become naturally buoyant, the Universal Harmony will be replete, and the bones will dissolve into the cold chrysoprasus-flower.

If the Elixir be obtained, supernatural intelligence will result; if it be not obtained, there will be defeat and ruin. The Elixir, being in the centre of the body, is neither white nor black.

If this treatise be conned-over and observed ten thonsand times, its beautiful and mysterious doctrine will become clear of itself.

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