The Internal Alchemy course (Dan Dao) 2016 took place from the 4th July to the 12th July. It was attended by 25 students from France, Portugal, Germany, Luxembourg, Australia, Ireland, England, Hungary, Romania, Brazil, America, Holland, Switzerland.
With only 8 days to cover a great amount of content, the course was very intense.
Every morning, all the students gathered at 5am at the sound of the drum to run up to the top of the mountain, and then practiced Qi Gong for one and a half hour, or accompanied the Morning Scriptures in the Five Immortals Altar. Every evening, all the students practiced sitting meditation for one to two hours in the Five Immortals Altar or in the Guan Yin Altar.
Most of the time was dedicated to theory classes, with a 3 to 4 hours of theory classes every morning and every afternoon. Every day, a lot of time was offered for the students to have the opportunity to ask questions related to their practice or to the content of the course.
We first got introduced briefly to the general history of inner alchemy, before studying the foundations of the cultivation of the path of the elixir, and especially the cultivation of stillness – how to lock up the monkey-heart and to tie up the horse-mind. Specific methods of meditation were taught focusing on clearing, sharpening and focusing the mind on the present moment in order to achieve a proper foundation for a further alchemical training, as well as principles of cultivation of stillness, contra-indications to meditation, and incantations and prayers to support meditation.
We studied the essential points of the Scriptures and Classics related to the cultivation of the elixir : the 49 barriers, Dao De Jing, Huang Ting Jing (Yellow Court Scriptures), Yin Fu Jing (Scripture of the Hidden Talisman), Qing Jing Jing (Scripture of Purity and Stillness), Lü Zu Bai Zi Bei (the Hundred Characters Tablet of Ancestor Lü), Long Men Xin Fa (Law of the Heart of the Dragon’s Gate), and, finally, Da Cheng Jie Yao (Essentials of the Shortcut to the Great Achievement).
We studied the practice of sitting meditation and cultivation of stillness on 3 levels :
- on a foundation level, to regulate one’s body, to balance the endocrine system
- on a middle level, to open the thoughts, to feel energy fields, to unify with Heaven and Earth and open one’s door
- on a higher level, to resolve the issue of life and death, to achieve the unification of the body and the higher self, and to sublimate oneself.
A class was dedicated to women only, on the subject of the female elixir.
We also studied 2 ancient maps representing the path of Inner Alchemy : the Nei Jing Tu (Inner Landscape Map) and Xiu Zhen Tu (Map of the Cultivation of the Truth).
The central emphasis of the course could be summed up in 4 characters : 放下静观, fang xia jing guan – to let go and to observe stillness. Refining oneself in the world, practicing compassion, tolerance and forgiveness, doing good deeds, reducing desires and attachments, growing an energy field of pure light and merit – this is the true foundation of the path of the elixir, a foundation that may take a lifetime to build, before the actual methods of refinement and transformation may be properly applied.