Integrated Cultivation of Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life
Although popularly known as a term related to Inner Alchemy, Spiritual Nature ( 性 Xing ) and Bodily Life ( 命 Ming ) has from early on been regarded as an important concept. The Book of Changes ( 《周易》 Zhouyi ) said that "Principle ought to be pushed to the extreme, and Spiritual Nature be developed to the utmost in order to perfect the Bodily Life". In later periods, however, Confucianism ( 儒家 Rujia ) and Daoism ( 道家 Daojia ) gave utterly different explanations to the concept. For Confucianism, Spiritual Nature stood for the anterior elements of human beings, the nature and universe, and Bodily Life for the destiny or pre-determined fate; Zhuangzi, the great Daoist philosopher, regarded "Spiritual Nature" as virtues and merits in human beings, and Bodily Life as the coherence among myriad beings; in Daoism, however, the concept was injected with new ideas. Generally speaking, in terms of Inner Alchemy ( 內丹 Neidan ), Spiritual Nature stood for the Spirit and Mind of human beings, or the Spirit of Mind ( 心神 Xinshen ), in another term, and Bodily Life for Vital Breath and Substance. According to Daoism, the Cultivation of Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life would lead to the extension of human life. Moreover, Daoist sects gave different answers to the ways leading to cultivation. In the history of Daoism, the idea that the Southern Lineage ( 南宗 Nanzong ) prioritized Bodily Life whereas the Northern Lineage ( 北宗 Beizong ) prioritized Spiritual Nature” is popularly recognized. In this case, the Southern Lineage refers to the Southern Lineage of the Golden Elixir Sect, which credited its tradition to Zhang Beiduan, the famous Daoist in the Northern Song dynasty; while the Northern Lineage stood for the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ), which was founded by Wang Chongyang, a Daoist in the Southern Song dynasty. Noticeably, both lineages stressed the inseparable nature of integrated cultivation of Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life. The trend became even clearer after the integration of the Southern Lineage with the Northern Lineage. In general, Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life are inseparable in Daoist cultivation. The Integrated cultivation of Spiritual Nature and Bodily Life will lead to attainment of integration with Dao.