Neidan Inner Alchemy is a vast collection of Chinese Taoist esoteric, physical, mental, and spiritual practices with the goal to prolong life (longevity), promote healing, and create a so-called “immortal spiritual body.”
The word Neidan consists of the individual words Nei and Dan, where Nei means inside, inner or internal, and Dan means elixir or alchemy. The earliest written references of Neidan can be found as from the 2th century CE.
Neidan combines theories derived from Chinese external alchemy (Waidan), cosmology, symbols of the I Ching (Book of Changes), medical theory, Taoist meditation and exercises, and sexual practices.
In Neidan, the Three Treasures of Jing (Essence), Qi (Life Energy) and Shen (Spirit) are cultivated and transformed with the aim to improve physical, emotional and mental health and return to the unity of the Tao, that is, becoming an Immortal Spiritual being.
As such, Neidan practices aim at “finding” the Golden Elixir (Jindan), where Gold (Jin) stands for constancy and permanency in contrast to change and transiency, and Elixir (Dan) represents essence, reality, or true nature. For this, Neidan is also called the Way of the Golden Elixir (Jindan Zhi Dao).
Master Mantak Chia from Thailand, the founder of the Universal Healing Tao System (UHT), is one of the great Taoist Inner Alchemy advocates, practitioners and teachers in contemporary times.