The internal elixir and external elixir for practicing Taoism
Taoism is well-known with two great Internal Elixir and External Elixir cultivation, and Taoist cultivators can achieve the eternal life by these Achemies.. And it has also played the main role in the traditional philosophies for thousands of years in Chinese’s history. Besides that, Taoism and its methods are related closely to Tai Chi, Qigong, and other Chinese martial arts. Thus, it would be a dismiss to not mention Taoism while discovering about ancient Chinese philosophy and their influence on Chinese culture.
What are the Tao and Taoism?
Tao, or Dao, is the underlying nature of the Universe or the “path” to the intuitive understanding of life. According to Laozi in the Tao Te Ching, Tao is the “eternally nameless”.
Taoism, or Daoism, is a mysticism aiming at the harmony between the human life with Tao. Through the time, Taoism had changed itself gradually and become the magical method in order to achieve the “eternal life”. In the general perspectives, Taoism is the practical solution for improving the overall health for the humanity in society.
In a simple manner, Taoism is the teaching of the right way. This is the first and the most ancient philosophy as well as the religious belief of China.
Nowadays, everybody knows that Taoism is a well-known tradition of philosophy originated from the Chinese worldview. Thanks to the transmission of Qigong, Tai Chi, and various traditional Chinese martial arts, Taoism has become more and more popular with the Asian people and around the world.
The Philosophies of Taoism
In the famous literature researcher Liu Xie point of view, Taoism consists of three key points:
First of all, Taoism concentrates on the cultivation in order to attain the enlightenment. Each Taoist cultivate their mind and come back to the inside self and find the calmness to achieve Tao.
Second, Taoism focuses on the elixir. This is the cultivation aiming at the eternal life and the timeless harmony with the universe.
Finally, this is folk Taoism or “Five Barrels of Rice Taoism”. This sect of Taoism honors the Grand Pure One (or Taishang Laojun)who is one of the Tree Pure Ones and called “The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord”. In the folk perspective, Lao Tzu was the manifestation of Taishang Laojun in the human life. This sect applied the mantras, scriptures, charms, etc to attract the faithful.
No matter whichever sects that each Taoist takes in part in, all of them must follow the core belief of Taoism. In fact, this core value of Taoism is to not compete with life and avoid any desire. Each Taoist must look forward to taking the divine faith as the mission of his life and the theology as the means to cultivate.
Moreover, each Taoist in Taoism must respect the living. The doctrines of Taoism trust that the Taoist can totally prolong the lifespan to the eternal life and become the Fairy. According to Tao Te Ching and Yin Fu Jing, Taoism expressed the various ways of the elixir and the Ayurveda. Besides that, Taoism also considers that each human is the microcosm in the macrocosm or the whole Heaven and Earth. In the Taoist’s worldview, the best way to relieve from all human hardship for everyone is the liberation from the inner self and the harmony with the Universe.
What Is The Real Taoist Look Like?
In order to achieve the high level in Taoist, each real Taoist must follow the compulsory rules.
First of all, it is the requirement to live in the calmness. No ego, no care for fame.
Second, each real Taoist is the one who knows how to keep calm through up and down times.
Third, it is also necessary to live without any fears of fame, money, relationship, parties, etc. That is the reason why we often hear the stories about many Taoists who decide to live close to nature.
And here is the question. How can they achieve these states? It is also the root of two well-known methods of cultivation in Taoism. They are the Internal Elixir and External Elixir. While the Internal Elixir is to cultivate the Qi, the External Elixir aims at making fairy medicine.
However, whether the Taoist chooses Internal Elixir or External Elixir, they must know well about “Dào Shù Zhù Gĩ” or “Tao Shuji”. It means they have to spend 100 days to build the basis of the cultivating journey in order to improve their pure Qi, Breath, and Spirit.
Taoist Cultivators Practice Internal Elixir and External Elixir
Both Internal Elixir and External Elixir in Taoism concludes three main aspects: Essence, Breath, and Spirit. The Taoist cultivators practice the following steps in order to attain the highest level in Taoism.
The Internal Alchemy in Taoism
First of all, they must practice the below Dantian. The below Dantian is about one knuckle from the bellybutton. This is the intersection of the Water factor and Fire factor. According to Taoism, this below Dantian is closely connected to the human life. Besides the below Dantian, there are the Middle Dantian laying below the heart and the Above Dantian laying at the middle of two eyebrows.
Second, cultivating Essence or the whole body. Each Taoist must do exercises in order to maintain the healthy state and cure the diseases.
Third, practicing Qi or controlling the Breath. Practicing Qi is helpful for improving the whole body. In order to practice Qi, each Taoist must stop thinking and concentrate on the breath. It is compulsory to take the soft and regular breath. In this process, the Taoist inhales by the nose and keep the breath for a long time then exhale slowly, or taking a deep breath and keeping the breath at the low Dantian in order to spread the flow of fresh air to the “nadis system” and all viscera.
Fourth, cultivating the pure Yang Qi so as to not waste the pure Qi that plays the important role for the length of lifespan.
The Following Steps Are Related to The Spirit
Fifth, improving the Spirit. The Taoist takes a mindful breath and controls the flow of Qi inside the body. This practice looks like Kundalini Yoga.
Sixth, protecting the second chakra: This Dantian is the most important Dantian that holds the root of life.
Seventh, transforming Qi into Spirit: The Taoist control the pure Qi to strengthen the pure Spirit. The pure Spirit is the combination of Yin and Yang that can help the Taoist rejuvenate forever and prepare for the next step.
Eighth, cultivating Spirit into the highest level of enlightenment: Always be in the calmness and totally getting escape of all human hardship.
Ninth and finally, cultivating the combination of the greatest Pure Essence, Pure Breath, and Pure Spirit. This is the final step of Internal Alchemy in Taoism: Pure Essence becomes Pure Qi, then Pure Qi becomes Pure Spirit, and finally, the great combination converges at the seventh chakra. In fact, only the Supreme Taoist can be able to cultivate to this level without being afraid of falling into the cultivation insanity.
The External Elixir Cultivation
Hereby some main points in the External Alchemy in Taoism.
- Making the fairy medicine to improve the whole body and assist the power of the Internal Elixir.
- Concentrating on the mind, making the visualization into the inner self to purify the mind.
- Focusing on the viscera to harmony the mind and strengthen the pure Qi and live longer.
- Taking a mindful breath to absorb the pure and fresh Qi to nourish the viscera as well as develop the pure Qi and the blood system.
- Eating fairy food or drinking fairy medicine in order to achieve the eternal life.
- Preventing sexual activities to protect the pure Qi.
- Relying on the inside Qi to breathe not the outside Qi.
- Breathe in and breathe out softly to attract the pure Qi and release the polluted Qi.
- Harmonizing the Spirit with the Body together at the same time.
- Maintaining the healthy diet: No eating cereal and meat. However, the Taoist still drink fairy medicine and eat soft foods. Besides that, they also apply the Qi Cultivation to purify the intestine and stomach.
- Practicing Taoism meditation: Sitting meditation or lying meditation, taking the mindfulness meditation to harmonize the Pure Qi and keep the body and mind calm.
- Sitting meditation in silence to get escape from both the body and the spirit.
The above two cultivation methods of Taoism show its complex characters. Thus, it is really difficult for everybody to practice. It is definitely a big challenge to get the best result of each step in each method. Hence, it seems impossible for the normal Taoist cultivators to attain the highest level of Taoism. This is the main reason why Taoism got lost over the time gradually. Taoism has become the folk belief because of this reason.
The Effect of Internal Elixir and External Elixir for Taoist Cultivators
It can be said that Taoism is the ancient Chinese philosophy that aims at the cultivation of the Essence, Breath, and Spirit. By practicing three factors through both Internal Elixir and External Elixir, the Taoist cultivators can get amazing results, such as:
- Improving the overall health.
- Prolonging the lifespan.
- Curing the diseases.
- Having the eternal life.
- Always being in the calmness.
- Taking the mindful living.
- Becoming the Fairy.
- Finding Inner Peace.
Time by time, Taoism has been lost and become the folk belief. However, although the Taoist cultivators can’t become the Fairy in the present life, they totally can apply the practical cultivations of Taoism into Qigong, Tai Chi, and martial arts. This is really the biggest influence of Taoism on the various generations in the real life as well as the Chinese culture for thousands of years.