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Sun Xi Kun on Daoism Part 6: Women’s Aperture Closing Gong – Practice Method for Women

Following Part 1 (Authentic Cultivation of Daoism), Part 2 (True Formula of the Dao Elixir Secret Treasure), Part 3 (The Method of Quiet Sitting), Part 4 (General Discussion of the Medicine-Collecting Method) and Part 5 (Sun Xi Kun on Daoism Part V: Woman’s Seated Meditation Method for Cultivating the Daowe continue with Sun Xi Kun on Daoism with the Women’s Aperture Closing Gong

These articles on Daoism are excerpted from The True Transmission of Ba Gua Zhang (八卦拳真传 Ba Gua Zhang Zhen Chuan), by Sun Xi Kun 孙锡 堃

In front of the two eyebrows and behind Feng Fu (acu-point DU 16), on the left and right, 0.3 cun above the tips of the  two ears, in the center (with the hands crossed), there is a “Qi sack” (Qi Bao) that links with the Yan Sui Guan (“long marrow tube”). [1] This is called Yu Ding (Jade Tripod). [2] There is an acu-point 1.3 cun below and behind the navel, in front of the kidneys (in front 70% and behind 30%) and above the two hips, that is suspended in the center of the body.
It is called Jin Lu (Golden Stove). Originally there is no tripod at Yu Ding and no stove at Jin Lu. When Qi is emitted, they become apertures of a subtle and almost indistinct breathing mechanism. In Daoist cultivation practices one must know the location of the Tripod and the Stove. If the heart-mind is capricious and gives rise to distracting thoughts, one must rotate the Wheel of the Law (Fa Lun) quickly. [3] In Daoism this is known as Xiao Zhou Tian (Small Heavenly Circuit or Micro-Cosmic Orbit). One must think of the Fa Lun and inhale Qi through the nose so that it descends to Dantian, and [guide it] using true intention to Wei Lu and Jia Ji [until it] reaches Ni Wan. Exhale from Dantian through the nose, with true intention descending from Zu Qian (Ancestral Aperture) to Jiang Gong (Crimson Palace) and then to Qi Xue, (Qi Cave) [4] the intention circulating without end. The True Qi gradually will create a warm sensation. After a long time the True Qi will emanate and move from the aperture of life and death, flowing to a certain place that you will know. The Scripture of Wisdom and Life (Hui Ming Jing) [5] says that the four respirations and two comings and goings refer to this.

There is another method that takes the Aperture of Life and Death (Sheng Si Qiao) [6]  as Zi (First Earthly Branch), Jia Ji as Mao (Fourth Earthly Branch, Ni Wan as Wu (Seventh Earthly Branch), and Jiang Gong as You (Tenth Earthly Branch). Inhale Qi through the nose as you silently recite “Zi” with concentration focused on the Aperture of Life and Death, silently recite “Mao” with concentration focused on Jia Ji and silently recite “Wu” with concentration focused on Ni Wan. Pause briefly, and then exhale Qi through the nose as you silently recite “Wu” with concentration focused on Ni Wan. Silently recite “You” with concentration on Jiang Gong and silently recite “Zi” with concentration focused on Qi Xue and back to the Aperture of Life and Death.

In the cultivation of Daoism in Women, one must first eliminate illness, regulate menstruation and then train oneself to cut off the Red Dragon (menstruation) [7]  and finally practice the Small Heavenly Circulation. Excessive menses and irregular menstruation are related to Ren Mo and Dai Mo, and are caused by blood stasis from excess or deficiency. If the menses are not regulated (are irregular) it is necessary to use an herbal formula (a decoction) for dredging the aperture and enlivening the  blood.

9 grams         红花               Hong Hua (Flos Carthami)

3 grams         桃仁               Tao Ren (Semen Persicae)

3 grams         赤芍               Chi Shao (Radix Paeoniae Rubra)

6 grams         川芎               Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong)

9 grams         生姜               Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens)

7 pieces          红枣               Hong Zao (Red Fructus Ziziphi Jujubae)

3 stems          老葱               Lao Cong (Old Green Onion: Scallion)

First, chop up the ginger, green onion and dates, combine them with the other herbs and simmer in ½ kilo of yellow wine (Huang Jiu) until ½ cup remains, then infuse it with a little 麝香 She Xiang (Deer Musk). Again bring to a simmer three times and serve. The blood circulation will be smooth and unblocked. The menses will be regular and without any problem. If one is sick with fatigue (weakness), they should take 四物汤 Si Wu Tang (Four Agents Decoction).

9 grams         当归               Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis)

6 grams         白芍               Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Albae)

6 grams         川芎               Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong)

9 grams         生地               Sheng Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Cruda)

6 grams         人参               Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng)

6 grams         白术               Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)

6 grams         柴胡               Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

9 grams         白茯苓           Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poria)

6 grams         半夏               Ban Xia (Rhizoma Pinelliae)

9 grams         香附               Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi)

3 grams         炙甘草           Zhi Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Praeparata)

3 slices           生姜               Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens)

If Qi is deficient: add 15 grams of 黄芪 Huang Qi (Radix Astragali). Decoct and serve in three doses.

When the blood is sufficient and full, then the Red Dragon can be cut off. Women belong to Tai Yin (Greater Yin). Woman’s cultivation is based on the menstrual flow. Blood represents Shao Yin (Lesser Yin) Jing Luo (meridians). Ren Mo and Dai Mo combine to circulate the flow. Every month, women receive menstruation through one ascension and three harmonies. If the meridians flow smoothly, then menstruation also goes smoothly. At the age of 14, a woman’s whole body emits heat so the meridians are unobstructed and clear, so the menses emerge every month.

If one desires to cultivate life, sit in a quiet room, without others coming and going (alone). First sit in meditation, observing the Ancestral Aperture and stopping distracting thoughts. Focus the Mind-Intention carefully on the area between the two breasts. Namely 1.2 cun in the middle of the two breasts, called the Xue Yuan  (Blood Origin). The Fetus Origin forms the fetus; the Blood Origin gives birth to blood. Dantian gives birth to the elixir. Effort should be made at the time periods of midnight and noon. The heart-spirit and intention attentively watch the aperture of the breasts, while the breath is continuous and unbroken. A little goes out (exhalation) and much more comes in (inhalation). At the time of the menses, the menses are transported from the Dantian to the breasts. As Tian Gui [8] approaches, there are signs of readiness. The woman knows and can prepare in advance because there is perhaps back pain, leg pain, toothache, restlessness, fatigue and poor appetite. This means menstruation is coming. Every 30 days it arrives and True Yin moves.  This is the harmony of Heaven.

At that time one must sit quietly and exhale from the back to the Qian diagram and to the lung, and inhale from the front to the Kun diagram and to the kidney, regulating the breath and concentrating the spirit. Hold the breasts with crossed hands, and lightly rub them 36 times. Employ Qi from Dantian to faintly inhale for 24 mouthfuls (24 cycles of inhalation and exhalation), still holding the breasts with crossed arms, returning the illumination (looking inward) and regulating respiration. After some time, the true yang will be abundant and the menstrual flow will be cut off. The breasts will shrink to resemble those of a man. At the 26th time period, the Gong Fu is finished, meaning that it is in conformity with the required degrees of Heavenly Circuit (Small Heavenly Circulation). For virgin girls it is not necessary to rub and breathe to cut off the Red Dragon. Go straight to the Small Heavenly Circulation Gong Fu.

In quiet sitting (meditation), the training, must correctly use the four seasons – when Heaven’s Qi (the weather) is clear and gentle, avoiding wind, rain and severe cold days and damp, foul and dirty places. Avoid eating meat and cold [food], bitter and sour melons (gourds) and fruits. Within the seven days of menstruation one must cultivate tranquility, and avoid injuring the Qi. One must extricate oneself from the blood devil. After half a year, the temperament will change from turbid to clear, and one will be healthy and bright. It is very important to sit [in meditation] at Zi Hai (Earthly Branches One and Twelve: 9 to 11 pm and 11 pm to 1 am). After sitting, rub the surface [of the body] with the hands to avoid getting wind-cold. In the female method of cutting off the Red Dragon, determine the date that the menstruation will arrive and two and a half days in advance sit quietly looking inward and menstruation will stop. If it is not complete after two and half days use kneading and breathing to cut off the Red Dragon completely. When the Red Dragon is cut off, the menses should change from bright red to yellow and from yellow to white, and from white to none. From none it changes to Qi. Then it is time to do Heavenly Circuit Gong Fu. This is the slow cultivation method done at home (ie: not as a monk). If cultivation is done in the temple, one must use the quick method. The medicine for cultivating the Dao is the Yuan Qi (Original Qi) of the human body.

The mysterious gates of martial arts cannot be fully expressed and the mysteries of the ancient sages that are passed down will not harm people. I invite the reader to think about it. I cannot dare to say that I fully understand this marvelous Pre-Heaven wisdom, but after being instructed by honest teachers, I can give it to the reader to avoid danger. If the reader likes martial arts, I hope they will cherish it. I hope my poor words will create ties [of friendship] and we can research together.

[1] Yan Sui Guan  seems to refer to portion of the brain stem that may include the pons, medulla oblongata. The pons is a portion of the hindbrain that connects the cerebral cortex with the medulla oblongata. As a part of the brainstem, the pons helps in the transferring of messages between various parts of the brain and the spinal cord.

[2] Ding 鼎: An ancient cooking vessel that was tripodal, with two ear shaped handles.

[3] The Dharmachakra: “Wheel of the Law”, ” Dharma Wheel” or “Wheel of Life”, is a symbol that represents the dharma: Buddha’s teaching of the eightfold path, the path to enlightenment.  Dharmacakra is translated as Fa Lun in Chinese, and in Daoism is an alternative name for the Xiao Zhou Tian (Small Heavenly Circuit or Micro-Cosmic Orbit).

[4] Zu Qian 祖窍 (Ancestral Aperture) in this case refers to the Upper Ancestral Aperture which is located between the eyebrows. Jiang Gong 绛宫 (Crimson Palace) is below the heart at the root of the liver and Qi Xue 气穴 (Qi Cave) may be the area below navel know as Qi Hai (Ren 6), or it may refer to the KID 13 acu-point (3 cun below the navel lateral to Guan Yuan: Ren 4). Most likely it is the lower ancestral aperture located in Dantian.

[5] The Scripture of Wisdom and Life 慧命经 Hui Ming Jing was written by the Chan Monk Liu Hua Yang. It is similar to Daoist alchemical texts that talk about the formation of a spiritual embryo. (The Routledge Encyclopedia of Taoism Volume I: A-L edited by Fabrizio Pregadio, London and New York: Routledge, 2008, pp.520-21).

[6] Probably Mingmen.

[7] Cutting off the “Red Dragon”, is a metaphor for cutting off menstruation.
In the Daoist alchemical tradition, Jing is refined into Qi/Breath and Qi/Breath into Shen which eventually merges with emptiness and the Dao. However the process of life depletes the Jing. In men, Jing and semen are related, so sexual activity, particularly in excess, depletes the Jing. The Jing that travels up the spine during the Small Heavenly Circulation is Jing that has been transformed and refined. Over time, the Small Heavenly Circulation gives birth to a pearl (the Mysterious Pearl) in the Dantian, which is the formation of the elixir which grows (the fetus) and moves upward as Qi continues to cycle through the channels. This gives birth to a luminous spirit as the body becomes more yang, returns to the True Yang of the original state, and merges with the Dao.

Women lose Jingqi not through sexual activity, but through the monthly menses. The breasts are thought to be where the secretions of “perfect yin” originate. These secretions, which are the foundations of breast milk, normally descend into the abdomen and transform into menstrual blood. The breasts then, are one of the key centers for physical and spiritual cultivation in women. Part of the women’s practice consists of rubbing the breasts and focusing on the chest area to stimulate secretions which first turn the menses to white (the color of semen) and then ultimately stop them altogether. This practice must be made to coincide with the monthly cycle at the moment Yang Qi is about to transform into yin blood. This is explained later in this text. (Women In Daoism, by Catherine Despeux and Livia Kohn. Cambridge Mass: Three Pines Press, 2003, pp. 223- 227.)

[8] 天癸 Tian Gui (Heavenly Water”): Tian Gui refers to a kind of substance necessary for promoting the development and maturity of the reproductive organs. It is formed mainly from the congenital essence we are born with and is also supplemented and nourished by our acquired essence derived from our nutrition. Tian Gui functions include the regulation of growth, reproduction, menstruation and pregnancy. The Su Wen, one of the seminal texts in Chinese medicine states that when a woman reaches fourteen, “Tian Gui reaches (matures), the Conception vessel (Ren Mo) is open, the Thoroughfare Vessel (Chong Mo) is full and the monthly affair flows down in a timely manner, hence she can have children.” This implies that kidney essence (Jing) is the foundation of Tian Gui which in men produces the sperm and the ability to reproduce. There are alternative thoughts on Tian Gui: that it is innate kidney yin-essence; that it is a component of the Yuan Qi (the Original Qi), or that it is the “moving Qi between the kidneys” (Mingmen). In modern China Tian Gui is sometimes equated with hormones.