Refinement of Emptiness into Dao
As a technical word, “Refinement of Emptiness into Dao” was a symbol of the highest phase in the refinement of Inner Alchemy ( 內丹修煉 Neidan Xiulian ), an indication of the reverse way of thinking in Daoism and a reminder of “Breaking Attachment” ( 破執 Pozhi ), a well-known concept in both Daoism and Buddhism. In general, the reverse way of thing dominated the whole process of Refinement of Inner Alchemy, a process covering the “Refinement of Essential Matter into Vital Breath” ( 煉精化氣 Lianjing Huaqi ), the “Refinement of Vital Breath into Spirit” ( 煉氣化神 Lianqi Huashen ), and the “Refinement of Spirit Back to Emptiness” ( 煉神還虛 Lianshen Huanxu ). According to Daoism, even in a phase of Emptiness, when a man was attached, he remained in control of “Interfering Action”; only by breaking the attachment in his mind and the emptiness itself, would his nature come to oneness with the Great Dao. From the Inner Alchemy Tradition founded by Zhong Liquan and Lü Dongbing in the Tang dynasty up to the Inner Alchemists in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the “Refinement of Emptiness into Dao” was strongly stressed. Qiu Chuji, the Perfect Man in the Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quzhen Dao ), for instance, gave profound explanations in his book Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir ( 《大丹直指》Dadan Zhizhi ); Li Daochun, another famous Daoist scholar, referred to this phase as “Breaking Voidness and Emptiness” ( 打破虛空 Dapo Xukong ), which, he argued, featured obliviousness to all attachments, a spiritual state which would lead to a transcendence over both objective entities and a man’s self-consciousness.