The Elixir Mirror

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Elixir Mirror ( 入藥鏡 Ruyao Jing ) was written by Cui Xifan of the Tang dynasty. Chapter bibliographies of History of the Song collect three volumes of Elixir Mirror by Master Cui. Today's The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) collects four versions, namely The Upper Chapter of Elixir Mirror and The Middle Chapter of Elixir Mirror in volume 37 of the Pivot of Dao ( 道樞 Daoshu ), and Commentaries on Elixir Mirror by Master Cui and Elixir Mirror of Heavenly Origin in volumes 13 and 21 of Ten Books on the Cultivation of Perfection ( 修真十書 Xiuzhen Shishu ). "Yao" (elixir) refers to man's essential matter, vital breath and spirit, i.e. man's "three subtleties". The process of the inner refinement of essential matter, vital breath and spirit is called "ru". "Jing" (mirror) refers to man's heart, whose nature is fire. The inner brightness of heart fire can brighten everything, so the mirror of mind is indispensable for the refinement of essential matter, vital breath and spirit. This is what the title of the book indicates. The book integrates the Science of Changes ( 易學 Yixue ) and Inner Alchemy ( 內丹 Neidan ) and constructs a system of theories and methods of inner alchemy refinement. It stresses that the guideline of inner alchemy refinement consists in the integration with Dao into perfection and the imitation of the quietness and nonintervention of the nature. Moreover, it takes the heart and kidney as the basis for refining elixirs and divides the process into 16 levels. One passes the levels from the easiest to the most difficult, and attains immortality after nine times of transformation. This book is an important work on Daoist inner alchemy of the late Tang dynasty and the Five Dynasties, and bares profound influences on the science of inner alchemy of the Song and Yuan dynasties.