Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir

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The two-volumed Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir ( 《大丹直指》 Dandan Zhizhi ) by Qiu Chuji in Yuan Dynasty is a Daoist book about the theory and way of inner alchemy ( 內丹 Neidan ). It holds that the secret of the golden elixir lies in nature and in life. Nature as heaven lies in the nature-root ( 性根 Xinggen ) head top, while life as earth in life-root ( 命蒂 Mingdi ) navel. One who orients his five breaths to their origin ( 五氣朝元 Wuqi Chaoyuan ) and his spirit to the head top can become an immortal. Man, descending his heart vital breath ( 心氣 Xinaqi ) and ascending kidney vital breath ( 腎氣 Shenqi ) for their intercourse in the middle palace as true essence ( 真精 Zhenjing ) and true vital breath ( 真氣 Zhenqi ) invoked by true mind ( 真心 Zhenxin ), can refine it with spiritual fire ( 神火 Shenhuo ) and make it flow all over the body. Full vitality and perfect spirit, combining as golden elixir, can help one to achieve not only longevity, but also sainthood if added with merits. The book divides nine steps for cultivation: intercourse of dragon and tiger ( 龍虎交溝 Longhu Jiaogou ), Fire Phases of the Cosmic Orbit ( 周天火侯 Zhoutian Huohou ), ascending golden essence behind elbows ( 肘後飛金精 Zhouhou Fei Jinjing ), reversion elixir of liquefied gold ( 金液還丹 Jinyie Huandan ), refining form with supreme Yang ( 太陽煉形 Taiyang Lianxing ), harmony of three elixir fields ( 三田既濟 Santian Jiji ), refining spirit into the head top ( 煉神入頂 Lianshen Ruding ), refining spirit into the Dao ( 煉神合道 Lianshen Hedao ), entering sainthood. It summarizes these into three ways of minor, middle and great achievement, and illustrates each with charts, explanations and formulae. Citing much from Shi Jianwu, it is similar to the Record of the Realization of Perfection by the Concourse of Immortals of West Mountain] ( 《西山群仙會真記》 Xishan Qunxian Huizhen Ji ) and the Transmission of Dao by Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbi ( 《鍾呂傳道集》 Zhonglu Chuandao Ji ). The book is collected in Subsection of Skills, Pervasive Perfection Section ( 《洞真部》 Dongzhen Bu ) of the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ).