By Xiaoyao Xingzhe
Baí Yùchán (1194-1229?) was a key figure in Southern Song dynasty Daoism and internal alchemy. The following is written as a discussion with his teacher Chen Nan
(d. 1213), the fourth patriarch of the Nanzong lineage, and has not previously, as far as we know, been translated into English. The excerpt translated below is section four of the Zazhu Zhixuan Pian (Miscellaneous essays guiding toward the mystery) found in Bai’s Xiuzhen Shishu (Ten Books on Cultivating Trueness). This passage is notable for how clearly it states that context will determine the meanings of alchemical terms, and for its precise directions regarding getting to grips with the practice.