Cultivation is the practice of training the body and mind in order to harness mental and qi energy, so that the practitioner can gain extraordinary powers, and extend their lifespans, potentially to the point of eternal youth.
The most suitable time to start cultivation is when the practitioner is just 4 – 5 years old. This period is known as the golden age for cultivation, since the inborn true qi from the mother’s womb is at the peak. The inborn qi will dissipate fully when the practitioner turn eight.
In order to start, one must first begin taking Body Tempering Liquid, and practicing a foundation Body Tempering Arts, as well as a skill to harness mental energy. This will allow them to start filling their Heart Acupoint with qi and blood. Once it is completely filled, they will have finished their Foundation Building.
Once a practitioner has completed the First Stage of cultivation, they must have a cultivation technique to continue harnessing their qi. Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, and some are only useful up to certain stages of cultivation.
Joining a Sect vs Loose Practitioners
Joining a sect
There will be a specialized master guiding the cultivation, imparting experience, preventing the cultivator from making mistakes during cultivation, and this alone could save the cultivator a lot of time. In addition, as long as the cultivator have talent and are diligent, the cultivator will not lack resources, techniques, or cultivation caves.
However, joining a sect means the cultivator would have to abide by the sect’s rules, and serve the sect. After all, nothing can be accomplished without responsibilities or standards. Since the cultivator are receiving so much help from the sect, it is only right that the cultivator repay them by helping the sect in any way the cultivator can.
In addition, the cultivator’d even have to bid farewell to the cultivator’s family in the mortal world, and cultivate hard until the cultivator apprenticeship ends. If the cultivator luck is bad, the cultivator won’t be able to see the cultivator parents again for the cultivator whole life.
Compared to joining a sect, loose practitioner don’t have a teacher to instruct them in cultivation, they don’t have large amounts of resources, they also don’t have the fortune of using cultivation caves. Everything has to be relied on oneself. Perhaps the only advantage is the unfettered freedom.
In comparison to being in a sect, an ordinary loose practitioner has no teacher, no resources, no information, no cultivation caves. After cultivating to the Second or Third Stage, they would normally reach their limit, and when their life force is burned out they would return to dust.
- Main Article: Cultivation Levels
There are nine stage of cultivation levels, with a detailed and well structured cultivation realms with specific requirement for breakthrough rather than the vague ‘enlightment’ requirement.
Each stage has their own unique characteristics that can be easily identified. Upon breaking through to a new stage, there will be a definitive changes to the body and/or special ability. Certain stages are divided further into small realms, and these realms have their own unique requirement themselves.
Although a new abilities have been ‘unlocked’ upon the break through, a cultivator still needs to learn how to use that particular ability before they can use it. As such, its normal for newly promoted cultivators to consolidate their realms first.
- Main Article: Tribulations
Starting from the Second Stage, every time a practitioner about to break through to the next stage, the practitioner needs to transcend a tribulation.
The tribulation strength is proportion to the practitioner’s talent. More talented practitioner will face a stronger tribulation than a less talented practitioner. However, the stronger a tribulation is, the bigger gain a practitioner will gain.
- “First to be enlightened is the senior„
- — Cultivation World’s custom
Unless there is a pre-existing relationship, seniority is based on a practitioner’s cultivation level, rather than age. A 1,000 years old Fifth Stage Spirit Sovereign will address an 800 years old Sixth Stage True Monarch as ‘senior’ without losing face. But when the same Spirit Sovereign became a True Monarch, he may address the previous senior True Monarch as a fellow daoist.
One of the reasons why this rule is accepted was due to the fact the cultivators’ life span are significantly longer than average mortals and can stay ‘young’ for a very long time. It is a common occurrence for a younger generation to fall in love with a much older generation, which make seniority based on age or generation extremely chaotic.
Gift on the First Meeting
It’s a custom for a senior to give a junior a present on their first meeting. When that junior became a senior, he is expected to do the same for his juniors, and this cycle is repeated continuously.
Respect the Seniors and Cherish the Juniors
- “Few of those who are filial sons and respectful brothers will show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is respectful to superiors and yet creates disorder. A superior man is devoted to the fundamental. When the root is firmly established, the moral law will grow. Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity.„
- — Analects
Seniors are respected for their wisdom and experience. The elders in turn will guide and pass on their wisdom and experience to the juniors. When the juniors became seniors themselves, they are in turn expected to guide guide and pass on their wisdom and experience to their juniors. This cycle is repeated continuously.
This custom not only ensure the juniors’ own upbringing, but ensure the continuing evolution of overall knowledge pool.