Cutting the Red Dragon
"Cutting the Red Dragon" ( 斬赤龍 zhan chilong ) is a term of Feminine Alchemy ( 女丹 nüdan ). In the cultivation of Feminine Alchemy, menses are compared to the "red dragon". Physiologically speaking, a fundamental difference between females and males is that the former has menstruation. The Daoist Pristine Cultivation Sect ( 清修派 qingxiu pai ) believes that unceasing menstruation will result in failure in Inner Alchemy ( 內丹 neidan ) cultivation. Therefore, for a Feminine Alchemy practitioner, the first barrier to be passed is to stop menstruation, namely "Cutting the Red Dragon". Menses are compared to "red dragon" because it is red. Then what is the way of "Cutting the Red Dragon"? To answer this question, we must understand the mechanism and prognostics of the "red dragon". According to traditional medicine, a female's menarche occurs when she is about 14 years old. This is called the coming of "menses (tiangui)". It ceases when a female is 49. One shouldn't rashly exercise the Vital Breath ( 氣 qi ) to hold up menstruation before it ends, otherwise it would "do harm". Therefore, "Cutting the Red Dragon" must be done at a right moment, at the moment when menstruation hasn't begun while its prognostics have emerged. The prognostics are also called "monthly prognostics (yuexin)", the signs of the forthcoming menses, such as waist and legs being aching, head and eyes sore being sore, and having no appetite, etc. At this moment one can take action. Two and a half days later, when the menstruation starts, the practice must stop. Another two and a half days later, if the menses look yellowish gold against "white silk", one can activate the Vital Breath to "cut the red dragon". Then how can one activate the Vital Breath? We must first make clear the locations of the breath point. Unlike that of males, female's breath point is not below the navel (the lower Elixir Field ( 丹田 dantian )), but 1.3 cun deep under the middle point of the breasts. According to Daoist medicine, this place is regarded as the breath point because it is the origin of menses. To "cut the red dragon" one must start with its origin. The following are the specific methods: first sitting in repose with one's eyes closed in order to stabilize the mind and breathing; then concentrating the mind to the breath point, holding one's breasts in crossed hands, rubbing them first slowly and then fast, lightly and then heavily either 144 times or 360 times, and in this process slightly puffing 24 times up from the lower Elixir Field; next, still gently holding one's breasts in both hands, concentrating the spirit on them, and as time passes, the spirit and the Vital Breath will get abundant and the true Yang exuberant, menses cease spontaneously and the breasts feel filled up. The steps of Cutting the Red Dragon finished, the other procedures of female cultivation are generally identical to those of male Inner Alchemy cultivation. There are a lot of discussions on “Cutting the Red Dragon” in the Collected Essays on Feminine Alchemy ( 女丹合編 nüdan hebian ). They are secret instructions of the Pristine Cultivation Sect, and outsiders can hardly pry into the truth. So common people should never practice it blindly.