by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)

The Taoist Tradition of Breath Meditation

Yin Yang symbol of TaoismChapter 5 of The Breath of Life

Taoism is a religion so old it can justly be called primeval–and it vastly predates its written scriptures. Somewhere along its immeasurable history-line (if not from the very beginning) meditation or “internal alchemy” became a major factor in at least some of the schools of Taoism. Breath is a major factor in Taoist yoga as will be seen. If you keep the Buddhist material in mind, you will easily understand what is presented here.

The Tao is the totality of Reality, transcending name, form, and even conception. Nevertheless It can be known by those who cultivate the Tao–the Way. However, that cultivation is not a “doing” or a “making.” All of our troubles come from our resistance, avoiding, and denial of the Tao, of our being out of phase or out of harmony with the Tao. What is needed is for us to stop doing and making, and enter into the stream of the Tao. Then everything we need will occur spontaneously. Since we cannot ever be separated from the Tao we need not invoke or find It. We must let Tao be the Tao and carry us on to the perfection that is the entire purpose of the Tao. We are ourselves part of the Tao, so Taoist yoga is intelligent and skillful undoing and unmaking. That is why Buddha used the word Nirvana–Unbinding–to speak about enlightenment. Anapanasati–known in Taoism as Uniting Intention With Breath–is the way to live in and as the Tao.

Right meditation is a great deal like the opening of a water gate in a dam. Opening the gate does not cause the water to flow out–that is a matter of internal pressure within the dam. The gate just gets out of the way and the water pours forth in great power. In the same way, when we get out of the way of the Tao in meditation It will flow forth and flood our life and consciousness with Its transforming power and light.

Taoist texts often express themselves symbolically in the terminology of alchemy, considering the human body to be the laboratory of spiritual transmutation. Since heat is an essential element of alchemy, the tip of the nose is called the Spirit Stove.

Tao Teh King

“When one gives undivided attention to the breath, and brings it to the utmost degree of pliancy, he can become as a babe. When he has cleansed away the most mysterious sights, he can become without a flaw” (10. James Legge translation)

An infant is utterly natural. It has no motivations, analyses, or reflections. It simply IS. It does not think; it perceives. It lives as a matter of simple being. The supreme sage Lao Tzu, speaking as the voice of the Tao, tells us that undivided attention to the breath, letting it be spontaneous and subtle, enables us to become as infants. He then tells us that when we clear away all mind mirages, our consciousness shall be like a flawless crystal. This is the way of anapanasati. This verse may also be a reference to “womb breathing” mentioned in texts cited later on in this chapter. Womb breathing is internal breathing, the movement of the subtle breath that occurs in the womb before the child is born and begins breathing through the lungs. In meditation the breath becomes subtle and internal, mirroring the state in the womb.

Anthology on the Cultivation of Realization (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“The spirit cannot be stabilized by force; when the mind and breathing rest on each other, then the spirit naturally stabilizes” (Old Age). This is said because mind, breath, and spirit are one–the mind and breath are manifestations of the spirit.

“Life has its stem of life, which is the true breath” (Essence and Life). The true breath is the inmost breath, of which the physical breath is its shadow.

“The whole work is in stopping thought. The most direct and rapid method for this is keeping mind and breathing together. How so? Energy is the mother of spirit, spirit is the child of energy; mind and breathing keeping together is like child and mother meeting. When spirit and energy merge into one, after a long period of close intimacy this produces great stabilization. This is called returning to the root and restoring life. When the root is deep, the stem is solid; this is the way of long life and eternal vision.

“Ancestral Teacher Qiu said, ‘If the breathing is at all unsettled, life is not your own.’ I say, ‘If the mind is at all unforgotten, breathing cannot be settled’” (Essence and Life).

“When there is no minding, continue this by resting on the breathing. When the breathing is settled, the spirit settles along with it” (Mind).

“When energy goes out and in, this is called ordinary breathing; when it does not go out and in, this is called true breathing.

“Generally speaking, when the ordinary breathing is stilled, the true breathing is spontaneously activated. The way breathing is stilled is not by forcefully holding it so that it does not come out. It is a matter of absolute emptiness and utter stillness; the steadier the mind, the subtler the breathing.

“The way to do this is to return the mind to quietude whatever you are doing, not imagining what is yet to come and not thinking about what has already passed. After a long time at this spirit and energy merge, feelings and objects are forgotten; spirit solidifies, energy congeals, and there is just one breath revolving without going out or in. This is called womb breathing.

“Once this breathing occurs, keep strictly to empty quiet, refining vitality into energy…. This is called the real bellows, the real furnace and cauldron, and the real firing process” (Energy).

“In realized people, the spirit rests on the breath, entering deeply into its own lair, subtly continuous, there as such, without the slightest interruption.

“Thus one attains the wonder of ‘concentrating energy and making it supple’ and so one is able to ‘observe its return.’

“Lao-tzu said, ‘The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows.’ Human beings are born by virtue of the energy of heaven and earth; respiration is the mechanism of the bellows.

“The breath is the energy of respiration. So this true breath is the stem of reception of energy, the source of production of energy.

“The rising and descending of exhalation and inhalation in alternate succession corresponds to the relationship of yin and yang.

“Therefore it is said, ‘the breath count of the natural cycle is counted very subtly; the cold drip of the water clock matches drop by drop.’

“Some ask if it is also said that the true breathing is the alchemical fire. The answer is that the true breathing is not considered the fire.

“The fire is the human spirit; the breathing is the bellows of the fire. The unbroken continuity of the bellows is as realized people do.

“Therefore it is said, ‘Stay leisurely by the medicine stove to watch the firing process; just calm mind and breath and leave it to nature’” (Energy).

“It is essential to unify the mind and stop the breath so the spirit is pervasive, the energy is full, and energy flows easily” (Energy).

“Now your breath is going out and in; are you aware of it?

“If you can be aware of it and can stay with it, you can thereby not deliberately exhale or inhale.

“When you arrive at the point of not exhaling or inhaling, then energy is whole and life is established” (Knowledge).

“When you are mindful at every moment, nurturing it with each breath, the work is never interrupted; perfected day after day and month after month, learning will shine with light” (Action).

Secret Writings on The Mechanisms of Nature (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“When mind and breath stay together and work in unison, this keeps the mind from leaping about and prevents attention from running off” (Collecting the Mind and Refining the Self).

“As long as you sense your breathing is gentle and feel empty, clear, and exhilarated, this is correct practice of solidifying the spirit and attaining transformation” (Returning to Emptiness and Hibernating in the Cavern of Energy).

“It is all a matter of making space the place you store your mind, using abstruse silence as the place you rest your spirit. Do it over and over again, clarifying and clarifying, deepening and deepening; gradually mind and breath come to stay together, spirit and energy merge harmoniously. Before you realize it, positive energy arises ecstatically, and you are as if intoxicated” (Returning to Emptiness and Hibernating in the Cavern of Energy).

“With the ethereal spiritual light of essence of the basic spirit within, be like a turtle hiding, like a snake hibernating; do not forget, do not force, as if present yet as if absent. Eventually exhalation and inhalation will join, spirit and energy will embrace, the mystic pass will naturally open, and the seed of realization will be produced” (The Natural Mechanism of Turning Attention Around to Gaze Within).

Zhang Sanfeng’s Taiji Alchemy Secrets (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“Sit down, close your eyes, become aware of the spirit, quiet the mind, and tune the breathing. This exercise is to refine vitality into energy.

“Turn attention around to gaze inwardly, freeze the spirit in the alchemical opening, make the true breath circulate” (2).

We will be encountering quite a few references to “tuning” the breath. This is a precise term and easy to misunderstand since we are so used to meddling and controlling things. In his commentary on Ancestor Lu’s Hundred-Character Tablet Chang San-feng says: “Tuning the breath is not difficult. Once the spirit of mind is quiet, breathe naturally. I just keep this naturalness, and also focus attention downward [into the nosetip]. This is tuning the breath.” Chen Yingning in his commentary on Sun Bu-er’s Cultivating the Elixir, tells us: “Sanfeng also said, ‘To tune the temporal breathing calls for letting it tune itself, for only in this way can it be tuned in such a way as to be able to rouse primal breathing. I just become empty and stay quiet, that is all.” This should be kept in mind while reading the other sections that speak of tuning the breath.

Lu Yen (Ancestor Lu)–Sayings (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“To restore the mind to its unfragmented origin, sit quietly and…tune the breath until it is imperceptible” (Restoring the Mind).

This can be taken in two ways: 1) that during meditation the breath must cease to be perceived as just the physical in-and-out movement of the breath, but rather be experienced as a subtle movement of inner force–even of mind itself; and 2) that the breath must cease to even be a movement, and become known/perceived as an interior state–eventually as consciousness itself.

“As long as the breath is even slightly unsettled, one’s life is not secure. It is necessary to reach the point where mind and breath rest on each other….In essence it requires relaxation and patience. The secret is put this way: ‘…Just settle spirit and breath, and trust nature’” (A Temporary Device).

“Exhalation and inhalation are ‘extraction’ and ‘addition.’” (Three Levels of Attainment) This is a reference to the alchemical symbolism used throughout many Taoist texts.

Chang Po-tuan (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“Containing the light of the eyes, freezing the tones of the ears, tuning the breath in the nose, sealing the energy of the tongue–this is called combining the four signs.”

This is significant for two reasons. First, it tells us that the focus of breath awareness is to be in the nose. Second, it tells us that the function or sensory experience of the eyes (sight), ears (hearing), and tongue (speech) are to be eliminated, both as activity and passive experience. But this is not said about the breath. Rather, it is to be experienced and tuned to the most subtle component. So in meditation awareness is confined to the breath.

“In one day one forms an embryo of thirteen thousand five hundred breaths” (Introduction to the Four-Hundred-Character Treatise on the Golden Elixir).

A great deal is said in Taoist writings about the formation of the “spiritual embryo”–the “new life” or “new person” that manifests through meditation. Here we are told that mindful, subtle breaths are the very substance that becomes the “embryo.”

“The breath through your nose will naturally become light and subtle, going out and in evenly and finely, continuously and quietly, gradually becoming slighter and subtler.…each exhalation and inhalation so subtle as to seem to be on the borderline of existence and nonexistence. After a long time at this, the true breath naturally remains, and there seems to be no flow of air through the nose.” (The Secret of Opening the Passes)

Ch’en Hsu-pai–Compass Center Directions (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“A poem says, ‘…Breathing out and breathing in without interruption, the complete embryo forms and combines with the original beginning.’

“Then what should one do? If you use your will undividedly, then you solidify the spirit. Just clarify the mind, cut off rumination, tune the breathing until it is even, and maintain a calm, constant awareness. Do not allow yourself to become oblivious or distracted. Watch for your energy to become peaceful and harmonious; real people enter concentration herein.

“In concentration you observe your inner state: when attention reaches it, evidence of it appears, and you notice a breath arising…, flowing continuously, steady yet lively. Sustain this earnestly, listen to it mentally. The six sense faculties become calm and steady, the womb breathing stabilizes; neither stopping nor counting it, you let it be as it is. When stillness climaxes, you breathe out, like fish in a spring pond; when movement climaxes, you breathe in, like insects going into hibernation” (The Mysterious Female).

The foregoing is an excellent summary of how to meditate rightly. It is interesting that he speaks here of the continuous breath and the subtle sound of the inner breath.

“Breath after breath, continuity unbroken, in every action, and whenever sitting, it becomes increasingly clear.” Breath awareness must be paramount whatever we are doing, throughout everything. He then says that “clarity and calm are made into a pill”–the medicine of immortality.

“In sum, the mysterious female is the source of yin and yang, the house of spirit and energy. Spirit and energy are the medicines of essence and life, the root of womb breathing, the ancestor of respiration, the way to make the roots deep and the stem firm. The ‘womb’ is the place where the spirit is stored, the breathing is the basis of evolving the embryo. The embryo is produced by the breathing, the breathing is stabilized by the embryo. Without the breath, the embryo does not form, without the spirit, the breathing has no master” (The Medicinal Substances).

As I said, Taoists use a great deal of alchemical terminology in symbolic manner. The elixir of immortality can only be made by “firing”–what the Indian yogis call “heating” or tapasya. So now he give us a very interesting exposition: “However, the essential point of verbally transmitted secrets of the firing process should above all be sought in true breathing. This is because breathing comes from mind, when the mind is quiet the breathing is harmonious. When each breath returns to the root, that is the matrix of the gold pill. This is what is meant by the Heart Seal Scripture when it says, ‘The returning breeze mixes the compound, the hundred days’ work is effective.’…exhalation and inhalation are allowed their natural spontaneity.” Then he gives a list of the essential processes for inner success, and comments: “None of this is apart from a single breath,” the idea being that they are all manifestations–products–of the breath.

In conclusion, speaking of length of practice, he says: “If you talk in terms of time, then it can be practiced twenty-four hours a day, whenever the attention is there.…Just settle spirit and breath, letting them be natural” (The Firing Process).

Chang San-feng–Commentary on Ancestor Lu’s Hundred-Character Tablet (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“Keep mind and breath on each other.”

“Activity and quietude mean tuning and harmonizing of the true breath, or true energy, and securely aligning the truly fundamental in its proper position in your life.

“It is said that when you breathe out you contact the Root of Heaven and experience a sense of openness, and when you breathe in you contact the Root of Earth and experience a sense of solidity. Breathing out is associated with the fluidity of the dragon, breathing in is associated with the strength of the tiger.

“As you go on breathing with this frame of mind, with these associations, alternating between movement and stillness, it is important that the focus of your mind does not shift.

“Let the true breath come and go, a subtle continuum on the brink of existence. Tune the breathing until you get breath without breathing; become one with it, and then the spirit can be solidified and the elixir can be made.”

“The secret is to turn the attention around to illumine the source of consciousness, the whole unified mind remaining within, inward thoughts not coming out, outward thoughts not coming in.”

“Then the true breath spontaneously stills, all the body’s nerve channels spontaneously stop. Sun and moon halt, the stars do not revolve in the sky.”

In Discourses on the Teachings of Wang Che, he simply says: “When the energy is settled, true breath grows daily.”

As already cited, in Words on the Way he has this to say: “‘Freezing the spirit, tune the breath; tuning the breath, freeze the spirit.’ This is the starting work. This should be done single-mindedly, continuing from step to step.…Tuning the breath is not difficult. Once the spirit of mind is quiet, breathe naturally. I just keep this naturalness, and also focus attention downward [into the nosetip]. This is tuning the breath.…When spirit and breathing stay together, keeping their clarity and naturalness is called ‘not forgetting’ going along with their clarity and naturalness is called ‘not forcing.’ Not forgetting, not forcing, quietly, gently, the breath is vigorous and the mind is free.…clarify them again and again, until suddenly the spirit and breath are both forgotten, spirit and energy merge.”

The Secret of the Golden Flower (Thomas Cleary, translator)

There is deluded awareness and there is undeluded awareness–ignorance consciousness and wisdom consciousness. How do we leave the one and enter into the other? Verse 3:7 says: “Just observe clearly, and when your breath grows quiet you then become accurately aware. This is application of the method of reversal.”

The fourth section has very important things to say about breath: “On the whole, beginners suffer from two kinds of problems: oblivion and distraction. There is a device to get rid of them, which is simply to rest the mind on the breath. The breath is one’s own mind, one’s own mind does the breathing.…Should one not breathe? It is impossible not to breathe. Nothing compares to making the affliction itself into medicine, which means to have mind and breath rest on each other” (4:2, 3, 5).

Then the process is reviewed: “When you sit, lower your eyelids and then establish a point of reference [the nosetip]. Now let go [that is, relax].…You should not allow your breathing to actually be audible [to the ears], just listen to its soundlessness.…The more you let go, the greater the subtlety [of the breath], and the greater the subtlety, the deeper the quietude. Eventually, after a long time, all of the sudden even the subtle will be interrupted and the true breathing will appear, whereupon the substance of mind will become perceptible. This is because when mind is subtle, breath is subtle; when breath is subtle, mind is subtle” (4:7-10).

Next, the subject of “movement” is introduced and defined as “control”–a product of ego. The sage then asks: “Since you can cause movement by vigorous action, how could you not be able to cause stillness by pure quietude?” (4:11).

Life and death in the metaphysical sense then come under consideration: “The life of the spirit comes from the prior death of the [delusive] mind. If people can kill the [delusive] mind, the original [true mind] comes alive. Killing the mind does not mean quietism, it means undivided concentration. Buddha said, ‘Place the mind on one point, and everything can be done.’ If the mind tends to run off, then unify it by means of the breath, if the breath tends to become rough, then use the mind to make it subtle. If you do this, how can the mind fail to stabilize?” (4:14, 15).

Once more the subject of oblivion and distraction is taken up. “Generally speaking, the two afflictions of oblivion and distraction just require that quieting practice continue unbroken day after day until complete cessation and rest occur spontaneously.…Repelling oblivion is simply a matter of tuning the breath. The ‘breath’ in this case is respiration, not the ‘true breathing.’ Nevertheless the true breathing is present within it. Whenever you sit, you should quiet your mind and unify your energy. How is the mind quieted? The mechanism is in the breathing, but the mind alone knows you are breathing out and in; do not let the [outer] ears hear. When you do not hear it [physically], the breathing is subtle, and when breathing is subtle, the mind is clear.…The mind should be kept on the breathing. It is also essential to understand that this device is not mechanical or forced. Just maintain a subtle looking and listening. What is ‘looking’? It is the light of the eyes spontaneously shining, the eyes only looking inward and not outward. Not looking outward yet being alert is inward looking; it is not that there really is such a thing as looking inward. What is ‘listening’? It is the light of the ears spontaneously listening, the ears only listening inward and not outward. Not listening outward yet being alert is inward listening; it is not that there really is such a thing as listening inward. Listening means listening to the soundless; looking means looking at the formless” (4:16, 21-26).

It is definitely true that the subtle energies of the seeing and hearing faculties can be perceived at times by the meditator, but we are not seeking to produce that. Further it is important to realize that the terms “inward” and “outward” are not to be taken literally, but as indicative of internal and external consciousness, of gross and subtle awareness. This is important, as some very materialistic teachers in the East have taught that the physical eyes must be forced to turn around until the pupils are facing inward and the backs of the eyeballs are turned fully outward. This is insane and destructive.

“Breath is one’s own mind; one’s own mind is the breath’s original spirit, original energy, and original vitality; rising and descending, parting and joining, all arise from the mind” (9:3).

“Midnight, noon, and in between, if you stabilize breathing, the light returns to the primal opening, so all psychic functions are calm. There emerges the unified energy of the river source that produces the medicine [of immortality]” (13:3-5).

“‘Settling the breath’ means a state of centeredness in which you go back to the root with each breath. ‘Sitting’ means that the mind is unmoved.…just use the true breathing for stable awareness. After a long time at this you will naturally commune with the spirit and attain transmutation.…You should each practice diligently; it would be too bad if you wasted time. If you do not practice for a day, then you are a ghost for a day; if you do practice for a single breath, then you are a realized immortal for a breath. Work on this” (13:22).

“Only when mind and breathing rest on each other is this the true breath” (“Questions and Answers Opening up the Mysteries of the Doctrine of the Golden Flower” 19).

Teaching of Sun Bu-er (Thomas Cleary, translator)

Sun Bu-Er was a female Taoist Immortal, her spiritual name being Clear and Calm Free Human.

The meaning of “tuning the breath” is important, since it must not be thought of as an artificial conditioning or working with the breath. Here is how the sage Chen Yingning defines it in his commentary on Sun Bu-er’s Cultivating the Elixir: “Sanfeng also said, ‘Tuning the breath calls for use of the temporal breathing to seek the realm of the breathing of the Real Human Being. But to tune the temporal breathing calls for letting it tune itself, for only in this way can it be tuned in such a way as to be able to rouse primal breathing. I just become empty and stay quiet, that is all. Once the true breath stirs, the Mysterious Pass [to enlightenment] is not far away. If you progress in practice with this in mind, you may be expected to have constructed the foundation soon.’”

In The Womb Breath Sun Bu-er wrote: “Attentively guard the spiritual medicine [of immortality]; with every breath return to the beginning of the creative,” and Chen Yingning says: “The spiritual medicine is subtle being, and subtle being means true breathing. So attentively guarding the spiritual medicine means keeping the attention on the breathing. The beginning of creation is true openness, and true openness is the awareness of Tao. With every breath returning to the beginning of creation thus means the breathing staying with the mind. Even if beginners can keep mind and breath together, because they have not done it for long, they again separate; when one reaches the womb breath, then mind and breath are always together.”

The Convergence and the Fire: “At the point where the womb breath is continuous, you should distinguish the beginnings of movement and stillness.”

Grafting the Medicine: “Gazing at the nose, one takes in pure positive energy.” Chen Yingning: “This statement is about the real work by which one can transcend the ordinary and become a sage;…. According to this method, the breath of Heaven and humanity is a continuum, flowing back and forth. Humans live on the breath given by Heaven, and they die when Heaven takes the breath away again.…Master Qiu of the Eternal Spring said, ‘If you can keep your attention continually on your breath, you will change your body so that in it jade liquid [–immortality; the Tao–] will flow.’”

Spiritual Alchemy for Women (Thomas Cleary, translator)

Spiritual Alchemy for Women was written in 1899, but the author’s name is unknown.

“Self-refinement is a matter of mind and breathing resting on each other. This means that the mind rests on the breathing, and the breathing rests on the mind. What is most important in this is harmony. Harmony is in balance, balance is in harmony. Are they one or two? The union of balance and harmony is called the go-between. With the harmonious attunement of the go-between, there is natural mutual love between mind and breathing, there is mutual attraction, mutual inspiration, mutual expiration. Continuing uninterrupted, do not forget, yet do not force.…The reality behind all of these sayings is spirit and energy being together, which means mind and breathing being together. Spirit is essence, energy is life. This is what is meant by the classic saying, ‘The root of essence is rooted in mind; the stem of life stems from breathing.’ It is necessary to know that creative evolution only takes place when spirit and energy are joined into one. The joining of the two into one is the reversion of the two modes–yin and yang–back into one totality. This is called the twin cultivation of essence and life. The twin cultivation of essence and life is a matter of keeping the mind and breathing together, not letting them separate even for a moment. Therefore an ancient alchemist said that ‘firing the medicine to produce the elixir’ means driving energy by spirit, thereby attaining the Tao. In daily practice it is essential to embrace the breathing steadily with the mind and embrace the mind steadily with the breathing. When you have done this for a time, once you reach even balance you naturally become very stable and concentrated. You plunge into a profound trance where there is no sky and no earth, where you forget about everything, including your own body.”

Secret Records of Understanding the Way (Thomas Cleary, translator)

“If…the breath in the nose has not become subtle,…no state is genuine.”

“You must reach the point where…the breathing in the nose is extremely subtle.”

This is a reference to “tortoise breathing,” which Eva Wong defines as breathing in which “the breath is so light that it is almost nonexistent. Called tortoise breathing because it resembles a tortoise’s way of breathing when the animal is inside its shell, such breathing occurs naturally at advanced stages of internal alchemy. It is said that the tortoise leads a long life because of this form of breathing” (The Shambala Guide to Taoism, p. 215).

Wu-jen p’ien–Understanding Reality (Eva Wong, translator)

“I advise you to find the place where your body was born” (1:9).

Our body is “born” at our first breath. The “place” of our birth, then, is the nosetip.

“Relax beside the medicine furnace and watch the fires. Let the spiritual breath follow its natural way” (1:13).

The nosetip is called the “spirit furnace.” “The fires” are the inhalations and exhalations.

Tao-hsuan p’ien–The Mysteries of the Tao (Eva Wong, translator)

“The spirit resides in the breath, and the breath lives in the house of the spirit. When spirit and breath unite, you will attain great clarity” (18).

T’ai Shang Ch’ing-ching Ching–Cultivating Stillness. Commentary of Shui-ch’ing Tzu (Eva Wong, translator)

“Practice the art of purity and stillness and let heavenly breath in the body return to its place. Then the breath of heaven outside the body will follow this course.…Practice the art of purity and stillness and let the earthly breath return to its place. Then the breath of the earth outside the body will follow this course as well.

“…When heaven and earth, when the inside and outside of the body resonate with each other and are guided by the same master, the breath of heaven and the breath of earth will return to the origin. If there is no guide, then the breath of heaven and earth in our body will flow out of us. Not only can we not achieve union with the Tao, but the Tao will be damaged” (5).

“Humans are created from the descent of heavenly breath and the ascent of earthly vapor” (6).

“The breath of the natural course can envelop the universe,

“It radiates the first yang and forever permeates through the ages,

“Peacefulness and bliss know no boundary,

“The pure air emerges from the spirit like the opening of a precious book,

“As heaven and earth have their origins, so will this be,

“True nature is mysterious through and through” (12).

Those who practice Breath Meditation will tame and ride both the tiger and the dragon.

Next Chapter in The Breath of LifeThe Jewish Tradition of Breath Meditation