Self-Refinement

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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

"Self-Refinement" ( 煉己 Lianji ), a term of Inner Alchemy ( 內丹 Neidan ), means to banish distracting thoughts and concentrate one's attention on cultivation. It just refers to the cultivation of the mind and one's spiritual nature. Daoism regards Self-Refinement as a preliminary step. Zhang Sanfeng, a famous Inner alchemist of the Yuan and Ming dynasties, pointed out in the Essentials of the Mysterious Dao ( 玄要篇 Xuanyao Pian ) that "the cultivation of one's spiritual nature should precede the cultivation of the Reversion Elixir ( 還丹 Huandan ), and the cultivation of the mind should precede the production of great elixirs." It shows that Daoism attaches great importance to "Self-Refinement". The mind of a mortal is easily subjected to outside enticement and attraction. In Daoism, this restless mind is called “a heart like a capering monkey and a mind like a galloping horse". The impetuousness and perturbation of the mind are regarded as a root of the harm to the human body. A practitioner of Inner Alchemy first cultivates and concentrates his own mind in order further to adjust his breath so as to empty his mind and achieve the state of holding no spirit to be concentrated. It is difficult to stabilize one’s mind. Our predecessors controlled their mind by “drooping the eyes, looking at the nose, and listening to the breath”. "Drooping eyes” means drooping one’s eyelids, "looking at one's nose"means paying attention to the tip of one’s nose, and "listening to one's breath” means listening to one breath attentively. This way of control is one of "Interfering Action" ( 有爲 Youwei ). It aims at restricting the impetuous thoughts "with other thoughts". However, one has to banish all the thoughts in the end in order to enter the active state of Inner Alchemy.