Dan Dao 丹道
The original Daoist theory came from the wisdom of The Yellow Emperor(黃帝), Lao Tzu(老子) and Chuang Tzu(莊子). The Daoist practitioners following the philosophies of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu continued to practice and research the Daoist theories for the purpose of the cultivation of life and longevity. This research and philosophy into longevity is known as Dan Dao(丹道). The philosophy and cultivation of life from the Daoist’s in ancient China grew from the Han(206 BC–220 AD) and Tang(618-907 AD) Dynasty through to the Song(960–1279 AD) and Yuan(1271–1368) Dynasties and then increasingly evolved. All of this collection of information is stored within the Dan Dao studies. Moreover, Dan Dao practitioners not only follow the Daoist theory but also adopt the essence of Buddhist and Confucius teachings too.
The Dan Dao practitioner believes that if humans follow the procedure of the evolutionary creation system we will have birth and death. If we Reverse Back this procedure and cultivate Yin and Yang, we can break free from the cycle of birth and death. So the Dan Dao practitioner dedicates some certain part of the body as a cauldron (Ding – cauldron with legs) to practice the procedure of Reverse Back through cultivating “Jing(精) Qi(氣) Shen(神).”
Forming the Golden Elixir
In Dan Dao theory, through the cultivation of Jing Qi Shen, we will form internal alchemy(Neidan 內丹) inside our bodies, we will call this The Boulevard of the Golden Elixir. The initial meaning of the word ‘Dan’ refers to Alchemy, while the initial meaning of ‘Dao’ refers to “The Way.” The ancient documents do not mention clearly whether the Dan Dao practitioner will create physical alchemy within the body or not. The terminology regarding the creation of the Golden Elixir or alchemy is the description of the level of the achievement of the Dan Dao practitioner.
Circulation of River Chariot 轉河車
Some qigong practitioners like to use their mind to circulate qi from the back to the front of the body. This is called circulation of the River Chariot or the microcosmic orbit. This is considered to be a superficial practice by Daoists to generate the sensation of qi. This method of using the mind to lead the qi inside our body is called Daoyin. This gong fu of Daoyin, to use the mind, is not the authentic Daoist cultivation way. It can be risky to use the mind to circulate the qi as it can get stuck in the Jia Ji point (between the shoulder blades) or the jade pillow point (back of head). This will make you feel like you have a stuffy head or even experience delusions. In reality, the microcosmic orbit means the rotational cycle of the moon. After the Ming Dynasty, the Dan Dao practitioner illustrate the qi circulates in our Du and Zhen meridians as circulation of the River Chariot or microcosmic orbit. Actually, we can say in our body, when we are at the stage of silence, the circulation of qi and blood will circulate naturally in our body. Authentic Dao practice is when the circulation of the River Chariot halts all together. In this stage our body will be like a bright full moon at the end of its cycle.
The real authentic Daoist practice is to finally stop the circulation of qi and attain the stage of qi halting altogether, in which breathing stops and the heart beat become very slow (i.e. one beat for a long time). During this stage we can say you have attained the foundation of forming the Golden Elixir and then become Celestial. In Buddhism, if you have this stage for some time you will enter into Samadhi.