Internal Alchemy or Nei Dan is the most sophisticated and often mysterious Daoist practice. Traditionally it was described as the Great Golden Pathway to Longevity and Immortality. It was a secret method that could lead to an everlasting life in the heavenly realm.
Through human history, there have been many dreams that mankind have strived to realize: to fly, to dive, to see and hear from far away, to land on other planets, and above all, to live forever. Nowadays many of these dreams have been realized one way or the other. Though humans have not managed to live for ever so far, the Daoist alchemic practice is probably about the best attempt human beings have ever made for achieving eternity. As far as the result is concerned, ascensions and reappearances of passed away Daoist masters have been repeatedly alleged through history. On an empirical level however, what can be verified is some masters lived well over a hundred years with good health and passed a way in a rather conscious and controlled way. That is, they would predict the time of their death, prepare everything, sit down or lie down when the time come, leaving the physical life without illness. May be disappointing to the idealists, but what a difference from the normal story of death! What an inspirational passing away! If only every human being can do this! – This might be an idealistic statement!
Daoist Alchemy or Lian Dan Shu is the chemical and medicinal practice with the intention to realize an elixir or an immortality pill. As many attempts seemed to have failed, more Daoist practitioners become in favour of the idea of internal alchemy or Nei Dan Shu: to produce an immortality pill (golden pill) internally through transforming various aspects of the energy (Jing, Qi, Shen) inside the body by way of meditation. While human life is considered as a product of the universe, the body is seen as a reflection of the cosmic world at large and therefore is referred to as a micro-cosmo. The practice focuses on opening some vital cavities and channels, and regulates the energy to move in a certain direction and route to be in tune with the natural world.
This practice, though powerful and effective, is often mysteriously described in old Daoist texts and is rather difficult to practise without clear guidance.
With the clarity and power through his many years study and practice, Zhixing is able to give us the transmission and teach us the methods that can lead us into great depth of this practice. Many who have attended this retreat with him before can verify the extraordinary experiences and effects.
To deepen and enrich our level and experiences in this practice, the retreat this year is largely divided into two parts: Alchemic Yoga and Nei Dan meditation. This structure reflects the natural process and aspects that we usually go through this practice. The Yoga part works more on releasing negative energy and information, opening vital cavities and channels, and rejuvenating the physical body. The Alchemic Yoga is different from other Yoga methods including other Hua Gong methods. It has extraordinary power that can increase one’s flexibility and strength instantly as demonstrated in some Hua Gong classes. The Internal Alchemy meditation works more on gathering, preserving and transforming the pure energy at the cavities and along the channels. A pearl of light can be `seen` in our vision as a result, together with other unusual light experiences.
One is encouraged to take the two parts as one retreat to have the maximum benefits. However, it is also beneficial to attend one part only. Students new to the practice should attend the first part, while more experienced students can attend either part.
As serious Qigong practitioners, one should aim at the accomplishment of living to the very end of our life and pass away without illness. This is the closest practice.