Volume 1, Chapter 3 – Condensing Primordial Qi
Morning. Zhang Yan’s residence.
Zhang Yan had returned back into his cave mansion. He locked the stone door and began to meditate.
The cave was dimly illuminated. Zhang Yan couldn’t hide his joy in the dark cave. He didn’t expect that he could form his Primordial Qi Seed without difficulty before opening his meridians. This was the most important aspect – condensing Primordial Qi. Could it be achieved this easily? Even if his Qi was still very weak, he was somewhat excited.
He was in no hurry to go back into meditation. Instead, he washed his hands, changed his clothes, and ignited the incense used to aid one’s concentration when cultivating Qi.
He calmed his mind and sat quietly for a moment as he then took out a blank sheet of paper. He rewrote the entire process of this new cultivation method from his memory. His body slowly relaxed as his mind was also gradually calmed along with each character he wrote.
After the entire chapter of the ‘Eternal Meridians Circulation Law’ had been written, his body and mind was finally restored to its peak condition.
There was a mnemonic in the manual that stated: “After the inner Qi is completely condensed, it will form a Primordial Qi Seed.”
Before opening the immortal meridians, this was a checkpoint that must be passed through, since this important step would greatly affect a cultivator’s achievements in the future.
Zhang Yan sat down on the futon. As he slowly discharged all the distracting thoughts from his mind, he practiced the basic breathing technique to stabilize his breath. After meditating for half an hour, he was fully immersed in tranquility.
All the preparations had been set. He began to silently meditate the mnemonic steps as he slowly guided his inner Qi through the meridian path according to the manual.
However, he stopped before long.
Zhang Yan’s brows twitched as he frowned. He could feel that his Qi was flowing and circulating smoothly along the meridian’s paths. But when he intended to condense it, he felt that something was a little bit off. Not only did his breath become slightly rough and heavy, the steps before were also unsteady as if he would stumble when he walked.
Fortunately, he had just begun practicing, as he then quickly dispersed his inner Qi without hesitation. He calmed himself and started again from scratch.
This time, the situation was also the same as the previous attempt.
Zhang Yan’s complexion turned resolute. He opened his eyes and decisively stopped meditating.
Cultivating and condensing inner Qi must not be forcefully done. If he recklessly tried to brave it and had any accidents, it would definitely break his foundation.
Was his aptitude too low to practice this cultivation law?
He shook his head.
It might be justified to say that his poor aptitude was the cause for his inability to practice an advanced cultivation law. However, to continually have symptoms like Qi circulation becoming rough and leaking, was absolutely unreasonable. That meant that the real problem was not his aptitude.
What was the real problem actually? Is it caused by the method itself?
Zhang Yan quickly read the cultivation manual again and pondered.
This cultivation law did not contain any instructions about the reverse flow of Qi, circulating the Qi through the 8 meridian paths, nor how to make the Yin and Yang energy flow backwards, and so on. It was truly the most authentic Daoist way of life. How one should walk each step, how and where to guide the flow of Qi and life, how to accumulate the Qi, how to speak clearly, how to breathe… It’s very detailed and absolutely could not be more detailed in any way. Even if there was no expert there to give pointers or directions, it could still be understood at once. So, what problems did this particular cultivation law have?
If these two reasons were not the cause of the problem, then the only possibility left was that he missed the accurate pointers in practicing the law the correct way.
When he thought about this, Zhang Yan’s heart moved. He took the ‘Eternal Meridian Circulation Law’ manuscript and read it repeatedly for several times and finally stopped at the line “the water flow must be guided downwards in a straight line to arrive at the destination”. When he read these eight characters, he faintly perceived that his answer was related with this line.
Perhaps it was precisely because the law was extremely detailed, of which then it caused him to practice it too casually. Resulting in his forgetfulness of the true meanings of the Dao of Water in nature.
One must know that a Dao’s Sect original laws, were somewhat focused on the divine will like the natural laws, while others focused on the practice methods. Both were indispensable, and each complemented the other. But just like the existence of monarchs and ministers, these two aspects would then become the primary focus and secondary focus. Obviously this cultivation law mainly focused on the divine will as the practice method was only secondary. After contemplating the practice, he realized that he was too obsessed with the “method” and had actually neglected the “meaning”. The order of importance was also reversed between the primary and secondary. He was far too focused in cultivating the Qi of which naturally became the true problem he experienced just now.
Zhang Yan put the manual back as he stroked his robe’s sleeve and pondered.
Although he had found the crux of the problem, he still didn’t have a way to continue.
So long as he practiced this cultivation law wholeheartedly, his obsessions would always exist. This naturally contradicted with the divine will. This way, he undoubtedly would be unable to practice and would be forced to stop his cultivation.
If he stopped cultivating in light of this, it was certain that he could discard his obsession. However, cultivation advancement would naturally be out of the question.
This was like a ring in tight knotted chains. 
Zhang Yan stood up as he crossed his hands behind his back and started walking back and forth, as he tried to figure out of how he should practice.
On the cultivation path, one is destined to encounter various hardships and difficulties. Once one fell into the wrong path, it would affect one’s cultivation path. Ranging from halting one’s cultivation advancement, causing cultivation retrogression, damaging one’s foundation, and even Qi deviation. Which could endanger one’s own life.
This occurrence was exactly the benefit of having teachers. Not only did they give pointers personally, but also provided the protection and support needed. Which would greatly reduce the dangers faced by a disciple in their cultivation. However, Zhang Yan was only an outer disciple. He didn’t have a teacher or someone worth trusting in for advice. Therefore, he could only rely on himself and slowly figure out how to avoid the difficult heart’s demon.
Zhang Yan was fully aware that at this time, he must not be restless. Instead, calming his state of mind was essential. Otherwise, once he got pulled by his heart’s demon, it would take root and drag him deeper.
After thinking for a long time, he found that there was actually one feasible way.
That was to go out and travel.
Traveling to famous mountains and scenic places. Observing and emulating the nature to calm the mind, making the heart tranquil. Waiting for the best opportunity to have a breakthrough while appreciating and learning from other Daoist works. This was the natural way to practice the Daoist way of life.
However, this method was immediately rejected by Zhang Yan. The reason was, that it would take a long time. The second was that there were too many variables involved.
This was only the obstacle before opening one’s meridians. If in the future, he encountered the same problem while practicing more advanced laws, would he go sightseeing every time? That would be a waste of time. Not to mention, the reason why he chose to immediately retreat and meditate was because he felt that tonight was the best time to condense his Primordial Qi. If he missed this opportunity, he didn’t know when the next opportunity would come.
He couldn’t help but turn a blind eye to meditating. Since he read the law from the travel journal that this was for a “predestined person”. It didn’t make any sense that that senior would leave behind such an obvious flaw, making it so easy to resolve.
There must be some other way, and it was definitely hidden in the manual!
He quickly stared at the manuscript and read the dense and numerous characters repeatedly until his eyes ached. After a while, he abruptly stood as an idea suddenly flashed in his mind.
Right! How could he forget that this Dao manual was also derived from the Eclipse Canon!
The Eclipse Canon was simple, yet complex. The meaning was very deep and vast, every word represented a light that shined down on heaven and earth. A few pens could be used to decide the life and death of this world’s myriads things. Moreover, the cultivation law in this manuscript was also his interpretation which consisted of several thousand words. If he wrote it with the Eclipse Canon codes, it would not be over 600 words.
These 600 words would have fully explained this cultivation law. Besides, the Eclipse Canon’s code that was written by that senior in this law, was shallow and straightforward. While Zhang Yan tried to practice this law by only reading his own interpretation. With this in mind, wasn’t it the same as diverting himself from the essential matters by talking about trivial issues?
In this case…
Zhang Yan’s eyes flashed. He quickly took out a pen and dipped into the ink along with a white piece of paper and recalled the ‘Eternal Meridian Circulation Law’ from his memory to rewrite it based on the Eclipse Canon’s code.
He was about to finish rewriting the entire manuscript when his body suddenly became stiffly deadlocked and was unexpectedly emitting an indescribable strong odor.
Zhang Yan didn’t pay attention to the odor. Instead, he became more spirited. He realized that he had found the correct method, as he then kept writing and finally finished the entire manuscript in one breath. Even after he finished it, he quickly drew out another blank piece of paper. Then, as he picked up the pen, he continue to write again.
Gradually, a thick and solid Qi from inside his body was surging up from his Dantian like a dragon that was hidden in deep water suddenly stirred up and gushed toward his four limbs hundreds of veins. The Qi proliferated and circulated all over his body before it converged in his Dantian, and gushed out again to circulate around the body repeatedly. The more it circulated the thicker it became, as it multiplied endlessly.
The entire process was driven by the Qi automatically and didn’t need any control from Zhang Yan. He was able to just focus on rewriting the Eclipse Canon codes.
His whole body began to emit a trickle amount of dense aura. The more he wrote, the more the aura became stronger as it created waves like the roaring ocean. His aura became increasingly strong as it continued to surge and moved endlessly all over his whole body.
However, Zhang Yan’s mind and heart was steady. He didn’t feel any happiness or sorrow as he completely ignored it. Instead, his eyes became brighter as he continued writing the Eclipse Canon’s code of the manuscript. Even without his control and guidance, his Qi was also starting again and flowing through his meridians’ passageways; where it circulated in a circle as it rushed and forcefully opened his clogged meridians along the way.
After the Qi circulated 365 times through the hundreds of veins, his inner Qi became like a surging tidal wave as it filled every acupuncture point in his body.
When this vast amount of Qi reached its extreme, his previously closed Dantian suddenly shook and opened. Which made all the strands of Qi flood into the Dantian as if it found a way to spread itself, as it rushed forth and finally emerged in abundance. In just a few seconds, every strand of Qi disappeared, and the body became devoid of any Qi. His whole body was as if it was washed of all the energy within his body, which could make most people afraid.
If there was no master to give directions, once a cultivator met such a situation, he would be absolutely restless. They may even be shocked and that would lead to failure, or an accident. However, Zhang Yan had experienced the samsara of life and death. He remained calm and reserved as his conviction was firm. Even when the tidal waves occurred inside his body, he didn’t feel disturbed, as he calmly let them naturally take their course.
It was not long after the disappearance of his Qi, when suddenly his Dantian slowly opened and let out a strand of Qi. However, this time it seemed to be mixed with a trace of Primordial Qi, which was then absorbed by the Dantian again. After it emitted and absorbed the Qi repeatedly eight times, the inner Qi and Primordial Qi started to condense. As it finally perfectly fused, and was now inseparable. When the newly formed Primordial Qi slowly returned to the Dantian for the ninth time, the Qi suddenly surged from an acupoint near the navel.
Zhang Yan’s brain felt like it was being softly hit by a jade hammer, as he could hear a melodious sound near his ears. He could only see a vast expanse of whiteness before his eyes, as a huge bright light which turned into a fluid flashed into his mouth. It entered his throat and fell downward along with the steaming heat and sank down to finally pool into the deepest part of his Dantian and finally stayed motionless.
Zhang Yan abruptly stopped writing. He lifted his head and found out that all the papers he had written were scattered everywhere.
The hole on the wall that divided the cave from his room was penetrated by light. It seemed that a night had passed by.
He didn’t feel tired at the moment, instead he felt refreshed. His five senses seemed to be sharper as tranquility filled his heart.
His imposing manner was also transformed, as his body faintly emitted the light of Qi.
If he could see himself, then he would’ve been able to see that there was a glittering and translucent jade color that was unceasingly flowing on his head. His eyes became as bright as a star. This indicated that from today on, he had entered the initial stage of the Primordial Qi Condensation Realm. It was not that far from the Primordial Qi Establishment Realm.
Zhang Yan put the brush pen away, and quickly walked to the closed cave door as he then opened it and walked out.
After he stepped out for about two steps, he stopped for a moment and looked at his hands in astonishment. This stone door’s weight was more than 150kg. Although his body was strong, it was also quite strenuous for him to move it. However, he only lightly moved the door and it slid to the side easily.
He suddenly remembered from before, he often heard people say that cultivators who had condensed their Primordial Qi would automatically have 500kg of arm strength. His eyes would also be able to penetrate through heavy smoke or dense fog, his ears could hear and understand insects and bird language. It seemed that the legends about immortals were probably true.
Zhang Yan clenched his hands into a fist and contemplated deeply. He sternly reminded himself that this was only the first step in the Great Dao and he should not to let this success blind him. There were still many checkpoints and dangers that were certainly waiting for him in the future. To feel overjoyed and delighted at this moment was rather too early.
At this time, the sound of a clear delighted crane was sounded and lingered faintly for a very long time.
Zhang Yan turned around and looked at the sunrise. The fog and clouds dispersed and opened. The ravine’s mountain forest was completely dyed with golden light as the long river winded and flowed like a white line of jade belt. There were two or three red-crowned, white-feathered cranes that flew over under the plank passageway, which was built along the face of the cliffs.
He went toward the nearby precipice as he stood on the edge of the cliffs in a buoyant mood. The chilly morning breezes blew and stroke at his body. Although he only wore a thin Daoist robe, he only felt a slight cold from the breeze as the sleeve of his robe swung and was blown by the wind.
He had been practicing the basic cultivation law diligently for three years. Once he found himself a more advanced cultivation law, he successfully condensed his inner Qi into Primordial Qi in one night. It could be said that he had been well prepared for this, as he had accumulated a dense inner Qi and built a very solid foundation. He was finally successful.
He could not help but wonder. If he was still practicing hard in the cave every day like today, and just waited for heavenly luck blindly, would good luck come to him?
The answer was: Absolutely not!
The path of cultivation was like a mighty force on a single-plank bridge. There would be no chance to turn back; there was only one rule: that was to move forward. No matter if one had to face thousands of difficulties or disasters, one must regard it as if the path was a level and smooth highway.
The previous generation in I Ching (Book of Changes), Master Zeng once said that “work unceasingly all day long, tread the road repeatedly also”. It was a reminder and a teaching that a gentleman must strive constantly to improve himself and to become stronger. Regardless of the adversity, he must adhere to it repeatedly. Would this then accord and confirm the firm correct path?
It was obvious that one must have self determination to make progress and harden oneself, along with self discipline to exert oneself. Then one must move and act accordingly to the natural law.
In short, one must help oneself. Then would the Heavens would help him!
When he realized this, he was somewhat enlightened.
At this time, his eyes changed slightly as he suddenly turned to look at the plank road on the other side of the cliff.
His five senses were now very keen, as he could hear that some people were hurriedly walking toward him.
In a short while, a 17-18 year old girl came into view. Her hair was shaped like a bun. She had a slender body as she wore a long-narrow sleeved robe, with a set of male Daoist robe attire. She carried a saber on her waist with an aura of chivalry and heroic spirit within her. Only the slightly tapered chin of hers gave off a good familiar feeling to anyone who saw her.
She quickly arrived before Zhang Yan, as anger and disdain was clearly expressed in her eyes, “Are you Zhang Yan?”
Zhang Yan had never seen this girl and calmly replied, “That is exactly myself. Miss, who are you?”
“My name is Zhao Ying.” The girl’s complexion was cold as she waved her hand and said, “Quickly tidy up and go down the mountain with me, if not there will be an accident.”
Zhan Yan looked confused as he asked, ”Miss Zhao, what do you mean?”
“You little…” when she heard this, Zhao Ying felt anger surging up from her heart as she wanted to curse. However, seeing Zhang Yan’s imposing manner and his outstanding appearance, the “thief” word she was about to curse at him was taken back. She only stared at him viciously as she said, “You still have the face to ask? Were you the one who made my brother get into an accident?”
Her heart really cursed this good looking bastard who was still calm and reserved, no wonder he could deceive her elder brother.
Hearing her words made Zhang Yan startled as he looked at this girl’s face. He felt that this girl vaguely resembled Zhao Yuan. He suddenly understood as he asked, “What is wrong with Senior Brother Zhao?”
Zhao Ying only snorted with a complexion full of resentment.
Zhang Yan understood clearly as he sighed secretly. He had long been aware of Zhao Yuan’s state of mind. His conviction was not firm, he had admonished Zhao Yuan to be more prudent in practicing his cultivation, but he never thought that Zhao Yuan would have problems this fast.
Originally, Zhao Yuan had heard Zhang Yan’s advice as he was also aware about it. But since he had a Dao cultivation law manual in his hand, he couldn’t bear but to try his hand on it. He repeatedly observed and emulated the cultivation manual and ended up practicing it. Who would have thought that this cultivation law was related to calming the mind while opening the meridians? Because he excessively practiced too hard despite being anxious and restless. Therefore, something had gone wrong. Resulting in him spitting out several mouthfuls of blood and then fainting.
Because there was a major event in Cangwu Mountain these days, Zhao Yuan studied at the Great Tranquility Temple as his younger sister Zhao Ying attended the event on the mountain. After she heard about it, she was very furious and thought that Zhang Yan was just a swindler. She interrogated Min Lou as to why he led her brother into an accident.
Originally, only a few people knew about Zhang Yan. As Min Lou only mentioned him to several disciples who were close to him. Since they needed to maintain their reputation, they had no choice but to disclose the information about Zhang Yan.
This occurrence had triggered a chain reaction since the three temples’ disciples were now gathered on Cangwu Mountain. Ethics Academic Temple’s true disciple Hu Shengyu also attended the event. He was Bian Qiao’s master, who sold ‘Traversing Through the Eternal River Manual’ to Zhao Yuan.
Bian Qiao learned about this incident. His first reaction was that it was only someone’s prank and completely ignored it. However, after Min Lou personally came, he felt that this incident was not that simple. Min Lou himself was favored by a certain master in the Ethics Academic Temple and he would be an inner disciple sooner or later which made him watch his words, lest he talks carelessly.
But, somebody actually interpreted the manuals in secret?
His heart was filled with anger. The servants of the three temple’s inner disciples frequently engaged in cultivation law discussions. Although the manuscript’s contents had never been brought to light, no one took the chance to profit from it. Zhang Yan helped Min Lou and Zhao Yuan interpret their manual’s with the Eclipse code. In his opinion, that meant that Zhang Yan wanted to cut off his source of income!
However Zhang Yan was a disciple of the Profound Virtue Temple. It was not a wise move to directly act against him as it may lead to other problems. Later, he thought that this Zhao Yuan incident gave him a good excuse. As he would hypocritically say that he would go to the Ethics Academic Temple to visit Zhao Yuan and then ask for fair justice for him.
Zhao Yuan soon woke up as he was then informed about the following matters. He was shocked as he then called Zhao Ying out and reprimanded her. She immediately came to apologize to Zhang Yan as he ordered her to go with Zhang Yan to descend the mountain and avoid the limelight. To lay low until the problem died down.
But, how could Zhao Ying want to apologize? In her mind Zhang Yan was only a swindler, but she didn’t dare to disobey Zhao Yuan’s words. She only thought that she would take Zhang Yan to leave the mountain and then settle the account with him afterwards.
Zhao Ying was reluctant to say many words and tried to cover up her true intentions. However, Zhang Yan basically understood the causal effects and the consequences of this matter.
This incident probably attracted the attention of certain people ahead of time. In order to anticipate the expected occurrences that would come, Zhao Yuan quickly sent Zhao Ying to inform him the same night. That he must seek asylum and avoid the danger of this matter. He only explained to her that Zhang Yan was someone who was worthy to be friends with.
Zhang Yan’s complexion didn’t change as he calmly said, “You go back and tell Senior Brother Zhao, I’m already aware of the crux of this problem, and please tell him my thanks for promptly informing me. However, his worry is unnecessary. I have arranged my own plan.”
Zhao Ying’s heart was unwilling to comply with Zhang Yan, as when she knew that he refused to leave the mountain, she even felt happy. She didn’t have to disobey her brother’s order. She only secretly mused, “This young thief, you can act recklessly now, you don’t know how that Bian Qiao is powerful and ruthless. Just you wait for that wicked servant to act. When the time comes, I’ll see how you deal with that.”
 It means that it was like a problem inside an intractable problem.