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Taoist principle to immortality:

There are two Taoist approaches to immortality: 1) Outer Alchemy, and 2) Inner Alchemy. Outer alchemy works from the outside in, while inner alchemy works from the inside out. It is the same as the difference between external and internal martial art. Generally speaking, outer alchemy strengthens the physical body first with moving meditation, and various herbal formulas. Inner alchemy on the other hand, strengthens the energetic body first with still meditation and cultivating the chi. Although the 2 approaches are different, they are usually used together to complement each other in self-cultivation. This is the same dual-approach that we recommend and encourage here in this web site. Tai Chi Chuan is an excellent example and model of this dual- approach.

Taoists often value the number "3" because the principle to immortality is derived from the "Three Treasure of the Universe". The 3 treasures of the universe are Heaven, Earth, and Mankind. And each "treasure" contains its own three treasures. The 3 treasures of Heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. The 3 treasures of Earth are fire, water, and air. The 3 treasures of mankind are chi, jing, and shen.

Chi, as described earlier, is the life force energy. Jing can be translated as Essence. Jing is the Original Chi that was given to us from our parents. Jing is often named as Pre-birth, Pre-heaven chi, or Sexual energy. Shen is the name for our spiritual-self. When our spirit is raised to the head, our vitality can be seen through the brightness of our eyes.

In order to receive immortality, we must work on our three treasures to raise our spiritual energy and refined it to the same level, or frequency as the Tao. We live and interact in this physical 3 dimensional world to learn and nourish ourselves to achieve Realization. But our physical body dose not last forever. When our physical body fail, our energy will leave our body. It may be recycled into a new body through reincarnation, but then we might not see Realization until our new bodies are physically and mentally matured. That might be a waste of time and resources, because a new life takes tremendous amount of time, energy resources, and caring. So in order to continue our "education", the Taoist says, "why not build spiritual body?" that way our spirit has a place to reside, even after our bodies have failed us. The spiritual self then lives forever, thus Immortality. Another advantage for having a spiritual body is that it has transcended the limit of a physical body. The spiritual body can go where the physical body can’t – the Fourth Dimension, time. So Taoists proposed an immortal formula: first, use the chi to nourish our jing. Secondly, transform the jing into refined chi. Afterward, use this refined chi to build up the shen. Then reunite the shen with the Tao.

To summarize this transformational process, it is usually separated into a number of different stages. The amount of stages depends on the system of teaching.

.The first stage: "Using the Post-birth chi to nourish the Pre-birth chi"

Post-birth chi is the energy we consume from our environment through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the subtle energy from the universe. We use this Post-birth chi to nourish our Pre-birth energy, our Original chi. To build up and strengthen our Original chi also means we must conserve it, because to save also means you must cut down on your spending. Therefore it is recommended that men should stop ejaculation to conserve their Essence (jing), while women need to regulate the menstrual cycle to conserve their Essence. (We will discuss more about these energy conservation techniques later.) The Microcosmic orbit and chi cultivation techniques are taught in this stage.

.The second stage: "Transferring jing to chi"

When the jing is full from the nourishment of chi conservation and cultivation, we will transfer it into chi. One might ask why? Why even bother changing chi into jing in the first place, when you have to change it back to chi anyhow? The answer is simple. When you transform jing into chi, it is refined. It is refined to the level where your body can easily digest or store for further application. It can be compared to the process where your liver transforms sugar into glucose, where your body can either store it or digest it. The liver removes excess glucose from your system; then it is stored until it is needed. Similarly, the dantien can store excess or extra chi until it is needed. This stage of transforming jing into chi is sometimes called "Water and Fire" meditation. It is expressed by the sixty-third hexagram, "ji ji". In this hexagram, water is on top of the fire. Water means our sexual energy. Fire means the fire in the cauldron, the Real Dantien. (Fire can also be interpreted as the fire of the heart) When fire is below water, the water will boil and steam. So the hexagram "water above fire" means steaming the sexual energy, jing. Steam is light, so it moves upward to the head. This process is equivalent to the Indian Yoga’s kundalini awakening. Kundalini is merely a different name for jing. The Taoist system teaches us to bring the "steam" down to the dantien. Like water vapor that is condensed into cloud and come down as rain. When the rain comes down, we will store it at the dantien. Dantien literally means "elixir farm". After the rain, we will have harvest. What do we harvest? The pill of immortality! That is where the name dantien came from. The environment, we created at the dantein, where the Heavenly chi and Earth chi can interact and mix, are called "The reunion of Heaven and Earth". The intercourse of Heaven and Earth will give birth to the "Spiritual Fetus", which will develop into what we called the Spiritual body. Water and Fire meditation is taught along with the opening of the other 6 Extraordinary Channels in this stage.

.The third stage: "Transferring chi into shen"

Once you have achieved the first two stages, you will have an abundant amount of energy to nourish your "spiritual baby". This stage can be divided into 3 steps. The first step is to nourish this spiritual fetus for ten months just as a real pregnancy. We will feed it with the energy from Universal chi, Earth chi, and Cosmic chi. Because the vitality of our spiritual body, or baby, is heavily dependent on its nourishment during the pregnancy, we should be careful of what kind of energy we feed it with. Of course we will want the best for our "baby". After the ten month period, we will move the fetus to the upper dantien and give birth to this spiritual baby.

The second step is to nurse the baby for three years. During this 3 year nursery, the baby should never leave the physical body far, or for a long time, because it is still young and premature. In this stage we can catch a glimpse of the Fourth Dimension, or the Immortal realm, but distance traveling is still not recommended.

The third step is the nine years of education. The spiritual body can now travel further each time with practice. During this nine year period, we will teach it everything we know, and help it to become independent.

.The fourth stage: "Return the shen to the Tao"

After the nine years of exploring, the spiritual body can now travel freely. It is time to return to the Tao. You now can transcend space and time without any limitation. You have transformed into a true immortal.





Using Post-birth chi to nourish the Pre-birth chi Transferring jing to chi Transferring chi to shen Return the shen to the Tao


Chi cultivation, chi kung , opening the Microcosmic orbit

Water and Fire meditation,

opening of the other 6 extra channels

10 month pregnancy,

3 year nursery,

9 years of education

Exploration of the 4th dimension


3 to 6 months

100 days

13 years



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