In interpreting the thoughts of ancients or those of Daoist immortals, we need to understand their intent and the gist of the writings otherwise we could easily misinterpret them since written Chinese often convey different meanings. That is why in messages communicated through the planchette, Daoist immortals speak aloud (through the medium) as the medium uses a rod to write the words down in the sandbox. This ensures that their transmission is properly received. Then it will be up to disciples and/or devotees to interpret the meaning of the flowery message.
Just like his Secret of the Golden Flower, the Hundred Characters stele written by Daoist immortal Lu Dongbin is focused on meditation. In twenty verses, he talked about what a neidan practitioner needs to do and what will happen during meditation as one progresses in stages before finally climbing up Heaven’s ladder.
Lu Dongbin started the hundred characters stele with the verse: ‘Yang Qi Wang Yan Shou’. (Literal translation: Nourish Qi forget speech keeping)
The first stage a neidan practitioner needs to learn is to ‘nourish Qi’ through meditation. Qi is the life force inside every human being. Once the original Qi has dissipated a person will die. (Think of the last breath of a dying person?) If more Qi is accumulated and circulated through meditation, the healthier the practitioner.
The second part of the verse is to ‘forget speech keeping’. How and where do we keep speech? Is it not correct to say that, we store speech (in words and/or symbols) in our brains? If speech is kept there the only thing to recall it is through thinking.
But if thoughts (in words or speech) come to the fore during meditation, the neidan practitioner loses concentration. Therefore Lu Dongbin suggested that the student forgets thoughts during the meditation to nourish Qi. This also ties in with the ‘focus on the breath’ method to forget thoughts.
Bearing in mind that the tract is about neidan meditation, one translated this verse to mean: Nourish Qi, forget thoughts.
Whether one’s translation sounds right or wrong, readers can feel free to disagree.
If we misinterpret ancient thoughts or those of the Daoist immortals at the beginning, we could miss the ending by a mile. If someone has already transgressed into bypaths, nothing can be said to turn them back. They will be too fixated on wrong concepts to return to Light. Therefore one can only just shake the head wherever one reads their unsubstantial posts in the internet.
Hopefully you can learn something today about where wrong interpretations of ancient thoughts and those of the Daoist immortals can lead students to. And learn to be a bit more circumspect.