Bathing

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Inner Alchemy
Terms of Inner Alchemy
Mind , Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life
Essential Matter , Vital Breath and Spirit
Great Reversion Elixir
Small Reversion Elixir
Integrated Cultivation of Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life
Three Flowers Condensing onto the Head
Transporting through the Three Vehicles
Meeting of the Three Parts
Refining the Mind through the Nine Cauldrons
Intercourse of Dragon and Tiger
Refinement of Essential Matter into Vital Breath
Refinement of Vital Breath into Spirit
Refinement of Spirit Back to Emptiness

Refinement of Emptiness into Dao
Reversing Kan with Li
Centering Merits When Yin And Yang Join
The Five Vital Breaths Oriented to the Origin
Rebirth from the Original Fetus and Bones
Basic Cultivation
Self-Refinement
Harmonizing the Breath
Obtaining the Elixir Drug
Collecting Elixir Drugs
Fire Phases
To Increase Fire
To Reduce Fire
To Nourish in Warmth
Bathing
Unfixed Zi Phase
River Chariot
Mysterious Pearls
Passages and Cavities
Cosmic Orbit
Feminine Alchemy
Cutting the Red Dragon
Refining the Form through the Supreme Yin
Body of Original Chastity

"Bathing" ( 沐浴 muyu ) is a term of the science of the Golden Elixir ( 金丹 jindan ). The word "bathing" originally means washing one’s hair and body, or to use a common expression, taking a bath. The ancients had to bathe before holding a religious ritual or participating in an important activity to show their seriousness. To bathe in medicinal liquid was a traditional way of breathing in ancient times. Daoist practitioners of Outer Alchemy ( 外丹 waidan ) compare the treatment of elixir drugs to bathing. The Collection on Daoist Internal Alchemy ( 庚道集 gengdao ji ) records the way of steeping and washing red lead in medicinal liquid. The term "Bathing" was later introduced into the process of Inner Alchemy cultivation. As far as Inner Alchemy cultivation is concerned, bathing refers to the skill of mitigating the Fire Phases ( 火候 huohou ) to purify the heart and get rid of thoughts. Specifically speaking, it means to avoid restless thoughts while guiding the true Vital Breath ( 氣 qi ) and running the "River Chariot" ( 河車 heche ). Inner Alchemists hold that the six Yang Vital Breaths in the human body ascend the Du channel, reaching the acupoint of the perineum at the Zi hour and that of Jiaji at the Mao hour; and that the six Yin Vital Breaths descend through the Ren channel, reaching the Niwan palace at the Wu hour and the Yellow Court ( 黃庭 huangting ) at the You hour. Bathing should take place at the Mao and You hours. The key to the bathing of the back ascent is to rest the spirit at the acupoint of Jiaji, simply inhale and stop, without increasing or running fire; while the key to the bathing of the front descent is to rest the spirit at the Yellow Court ( the middle Elixir Field ( 丹田 dantian )), simply exhale and stop, also without increasing or running the fire. One can find symbolic indications of Bathing in Inner Alchemy masterpieces, such as On Realizing Perfection ( 悟真篇 wuzhen pian ) by Zhang Boduan and the Rootless Tree ( 無根樹 wugen shu ) by Zhang Sanfeng. Read them carefully, and you may gain a good deal of enlightment.