"True Soil seizes True Lead,
True Lead controls True Mercury. Lead and Mercury return to the True Soil, body and mind are silent and unmoving."


When a human being is born, Heaven, whose number is 1, generates the Kan ☵ Water, which is the kidneys. The Water of the kidneys, which sinks downwards, is an image of Lead. The kidneys generate the Breath (qi). The one particle of Essence of True Unity within the Breath is True Lead.
The Earth, whose number is 2, generates the Li ☲ Fire, which is the heart. The Fire of the heart, which flies upwards, is an image of Mercury. The heart generates the Liquor (ye). The one particle of Breath of Correct Yang within the Liquor is True Mercury.1
Within Kan there is the wu-Soil, and within Li there is the ji-Soil.2 Water in the first place is Yin, but within the Yin there is True Yang; Fire in the first place is Yang, but within the Yang there is True Yin. These two are the True Soil. The conjunction of Yin with Yang and of Yang with Yin entirely depends on the True Soil.

True Lead is the Breath within the body; True Mercury is the Spirit within the mind; True Soil is the Intention within the body and the mind.3 Sincerity (cheng) can set in motion one’s own True Inten- tion: it causes Mercury constantly to greet Lead, and Lead constantly to control Mercury.



Bai Yuchan, who came from Hainan, had been a disciple of Chen Niwan since his young age.
All of a sudden, nine years had already passed. One day, they were both under a pine on the cli of a moun- tain. The wind was clear and the moon was bright; the night was calm and the air was cool.

Thinking of the great matters of life and death, and of the fast pace of impermanence, Yuchan bowed down twice and asked:

I have not been your disciple for a long time, and I reckon that my fortune and destiny are flimsy and shallow. Yet, I dare ask you: Is my destiny to become an immortal in this life?

Chen Niwan said: Anyone can do it, and this is even more true of you.

Yuchan said: I cannot avoid the obligation of showing respect to you, but I will ask a presumptuous question. How many gateways are there to the cultivation of immortality? How many methods are there to refine the Elixir? I am like one who cannot distinguish jade from the ordinary stones, but I wish to attain realization1 through your word.

Chen Niwan said: Come here, I will tell you. In the cultivation of immortality there are three degrees, and in refining the Elixir there are three accomplishments.
In the Way of Celestial Immortality, one can undergo transmuta- tion and ascend in flight to Heaven. Superior persons can study this Way.

Lead is the body (shen) and Mercury is the mind (xin); Water is concentration (ding) and Fire is wisdom (hui). In the blink of an eye, one can coagulate [the Elixir], and in ten months, one achieves the birth of the embryo. This is the alchemical method of the higher degree. There are no trigrams and no lines, no pounds and no ounces. Its method is simple. Therefore it is transmitted through the Heart and is extremely easy to achieve.
` In the Way of Water Immortality one can enter and exit the mani- fested and unmanifested domains. Median persons can study this Way.