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"The primary purpose of meditation is
to become conscious of, and familiar
with, our inner life. The ultimate
purpose is to reach
the source of life and consciousness."
Nisargadatta, I Am That, Chapter 6
"There are two Taoist approaches to immortality: 1) Outer Alchemy, and 2) Inner Alchemy. Outer alchemy works from the outside in, while inner alchemy works from the inside out. It is the same as the difference between external and internal martial art. Generally speaking, outer alchemy strengthens the physical body first with moving meditation, and various herbal formulas. Inner alchemy on the other hand, strengthens the energetic body first with still meditation and cultivating the chi. Although the 2 approaches are different, they are usually used together to complement each other in self-cultivation. This is the same dual-approach that we recommend and encourage here in this web site. Tai Chi Chuan is an excellent example and model of this dual- approach.
Taoists often value the number "3" because the principle to immortality is derived from the "Three Treasure of the Universe". The 3 treasures of the universe are Heaven, Earth, and Mankind. And each "treasure" contains its own three treasures. The 3 treasures of Heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. The 3 treasures of Earth are fire, water, and air. The 3 treasures of mankind are chi, jing, and shen."
excerpted from: Taoist approaches to immortality