By Hu Xuezhi
Internal alchemy, also called spiritual alchemy, (內丹術 - nèi dān shù Traditional Chinese, 內丹术 - Simplified Chinese) is a term used for different esoteric disciplines focused on balancing internal and spiritual energies for enlightenment. In China, it is an important form of practice for most schools of Taoism. Historically, it has borrowed the symbolism and terminology of classical alchemy, employing them in process and metaphor to spiritual development.
The term is also used to translate various terms used in the native languages of some Taoist and Buddhist practices. Neidan and Tantra are considered forms of internal alchemy, but western commentators often focus on sexual practices.
Internal alchemy, like the more general alchemy from which it derived, focuses on transmuting energies and substances. The practices focus on restoring balance and elevating spiritual vitality. The goals of internal alchemy are improved health, longevity, peacefulness, the free of hindrance with all principle and phenoumena. Some people claim it is aimed to seek immortality. That is nearsighted and to be partly true. To achieve reunion with nature eventually is what all practitioners want to "persue".
The energies and substances of the body are described in metaphor. Elements, metals and humours have all been used to classify and define characteristics of the human system. Internal alchemists map the body, noting which routes energy move through and which areas are associated with particular "elements". There are so many metaphor used in every books in this field that to understand them is almost impossible. Here, through the efforts made by master Hu, we like to publish the mainstream contents popular in Taoism alchemy practice---most from Long Men, Quan Zhen and Western school of Taoist internal alchemy--for people to understand its outline.
NOTES: The follow-up is excerpt from the book The Way to Eternity written by master Hu. For people who want to read complete contents please refer to DaMo Qigong Home Study Course. Also, people are advised not to practice alone by following the methods introduced herein. Without correct guidance it would be dangerous and could lead up to occurence of unexpected disorders that cannot be easily treated by any modern medical means.