What does “Three Flowers cluster in the ‘tripod vessel’
and five Qi faces the origin” mean?
This phrase refers to the highest achievement of practicing Tao
through the Gong-fu15 of adhering to the Right Portal. Three
Flowers are the three treasures of the body; the vitality, spirit
(Qi) and soul. The body is the “stove”. The Right Portal is the
“tripod vessel”. Refining vitality so it transforms into spirit (Qi),
then from spirit (Qi) into soul, and finally returning the soul to the
Void are the three stages of the Gong-fu of adhering to the Right
Portal. Once the soul returns to the Void, one is unified with Tao.
In this Gong-fu, one must unify all three treasures of the body into
One. Thus, one must be pure and tranquil constantly and avoid eating
all kinds of meat to prevent the contamination of the unity. The
Taoist saying “settling the stove and setting the tripod vessel” refers
to the same Gong-fu.
The five Qi is the Qi of the five internal organs (heart, liver, spleen,
lungs and kidneys). Whenever one’s heart is active, his five Qi
becomes contaminated. The five Qi become purified and recover
their original states when one’s heart is pure and tranquil. Thus,
one must follow the five disciplines17 of Buddhism and not eat the
five impure vegetables (onion family, garlic family, shallots, leeks
and tobacco) to prevent the five Qi from dispersing. Constantly
adhering to the Right Portal in quiescence as though the Right
Portal both exists and doesn’t exist, the more the better, one can