The first difficult issue: All the twelve conduits have [sections where the] movement [in these] vessels [can be felt]. Still, one selects only the "inch-opening" in order to determine whether the [body's] five depots and six palaces [harbor a] pattern of death or life, of good or evil auspices. What does that mean?
It is like this. The "inch-opening" constitutes the great meeting point of the [contents passing through] the vessels; it is the [section of the] hand-great-yin [conduit where the] movement [in that] vessel [can be felt]. When a [normal] person exhales once, [the contents of] the vessels proceed three inches; when [a normal person] inhales once, [the contents of] the vessels proceed three inches [too]. Exhaling and inhaling [constitute one] breathing [period]. During this period, [the contents of] the vessels proceed six inches. A person, in the course of one day and one night, breathes altogether 13,500 times. [During that time, the contents of] the vessels proceed through 50 passages. [That is,] they circulate through the body [in the period needed by] the [clepsydra dripping water to move down by 100 markings. The constructive and the protective [influences] proceed through 25 passages [during a] yang [period], and they proceed through 25 passages [during a] yin [period]. This constitutes one cycle. Because [the contents of the vessels] meet again, after 50 passages, with the inch-opening, [this section] is the beginning and the end of [the movement of the contents of the vessels through the body's] five depots and six palaces. Hence, the pattern [of death or life, of good or evil auspices harboured by the body's five depots and six palaces] is obtained from the inch-opening.
Yü Shu: [Food items carrying] the five tastes enter the stomach. There they are transformed to generate the five influences. The five tastes are sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and acrid; the five influences are rank, frowzy, aromatic, burned, and foul. These are the influences and tastes [associated with] the Five Phases. After the tastes have been transformed into influences, [the latter] are transmitted [from the stomach] upward into the hand-great-yin [conduit]. The great-yin [conduit] is responsible for the influences. It receives the five influences in order to pour them into the five depots. If the stomach loses its harmony, it cannot transform [taste into] influences. As a consequence, there is nothing for the hand-great-yin [conduit] to receive. Hence, from [examining at] the inch-opening [whether the movement in the vessels is] at the surface or in the depth, whether it is extensive or short, smooth or rough, one can know, in which depot an illness has developed. This is why the scripture states: "The inch-opening constitutes the great meeting-point of [all] the vessels."
Ting Chin: The circulation in man’s blood vessels reaches everywhere in his body and never stops. When it is stated [in the Nan-Jing] that the influences in the vessels move six inches during one breathing [period], this refers to the hand-great-yin vessel of the lung as start and returning point [of that movement]. One may compare [the movement in the vessels] with the counting of the [rosary] pearls while reciting Buddhist [prayers. The pearls, too,] have a first one and a last one, and they are moved around one by one in a way that all the pearls revolve. To proceed from start to end, one considers the first pearl to be the leader and then determines the number [of rosaries] to be counted. Similarly, the lung vessel is the [place where the] first movement over six inches takes place, but the same movement of six inches takes place in all vessels throughout the body [at the same time]. Now, because each of the twelve conduits passes [its contents] along its path, the constructive and the protective [influences] proceed relatively fast. During one day and one night they circulate through the body fifty times and, of course, they also return to the inch-opening fifty times.
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Giancarlo Nerini – Acupuncturist (Melbourne CBD)