By Dr. Bernard Shannon
Purify the Heart is the first of the Big Eight Incantations of the Morning and Evening Prayers and is the groundwork upon which subsequent Morning and Evening Prayers are built. As an incantation, it purifies and transforms the mind, emotions, spirit, and body while purging turbidity.
Purifying and transforming, the prayer clears turbid and disturbing thoughts and energy, thus helping to protect and root the Hún and Pò. The incantation allows Daoists to enter a state of tranquility and enables them to envision the heart of the Dào. Without this foundation solidly in place, our journey will be without merit and we will never find true tranquility.
In this article, a line-by-line interpretation of this prayer is presented. This interpretation is rooted within the alchemical process that occurs as the prayer is worked, offering a deepening understanding of both the alchemical work of heart purification, and of the prayer itself. Each of the Five Elements undergoes transformational processes within the Heart Incantation and each of these transformations is discussed within the context of the prayer.