|Literal meaning||cinnabar or red field|
Dantian, dan t'ian, dan tien or tan t'ien is loosely translated as "elixir field", "sea of qi", or simply "energy center". Dantians are important focal points for meditative and exercise techniques such as qigong, martial arts such as t'ai chi ch'uan, and in traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditionally, a dantian is considered to be a center of qi or life force energy. The dantians are important points of reference in neidan, qigong, neigong, tao yin and other self-cultivation practices of exercise, breathing, and meditation, as well as in martial arts and in traditional Chinese medicine. The lower dantian is particularly important as the focal point of breathing technique as well as the center of balance and gravity.
Taoist and Buddhist teachers often instruct their students to center the mind in the navel or lower dantian. This is believed to aid control of thoughts and emotions. Acting from the dantian is considered to be related to higher states of awareness or samadhi.
The Taoist concept of dantians as energy centers is similar to the Indian yoga concept of chakras as key points through where prana is stored (see also nadis). The major difference, however, is that Taoist dantians are the major energetic storage mechanisms whereas the yogic chakras are not so much storage centers, but energetic vortices which act as intake and output ports. Many traditions consider the dantiens and the chakras to be separate, albeit cooperative energetic mechanisms.
Major dantians 
- Lower dantian (下丹田, Xia Dantian): below the navel (about three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel), also called "the golden stove",[clarification needed] associated with cultivating life energy (qi) and with vital essence or sexual energy (jing);
- Middle dantian (中丹田, Zhong Dantian): at the level of the heart, associated with storing life energy (qi) and with respiration and health of the internal organs, in particular the thymus gland;
- Upper dantian (上丹田, Shang Dantian): at the forehead between the eyebrows or third eye, associated with the energy of consciousness and spirit (shen) and with the pineal gland.
Importance of the lower dantian 
The term dantian used by itself usually refers to the lower dantian, which is considered to be the foundation of rooted standing, breathing, and body awareness in qigong and martial arts. The lower dantian has been described to be "like the root of the tree of life".
In speaking of the lower of the three points, the term dantian is often used interchangeably with the Japanese word hara (腹; Chinese: fù) which means simply "belly". In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions, it is considered the physical center of gravity of the human body and is the seat of one's internal energy (qi). A master of calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, martial arts, among other arts, is held in the Japanese tradition to be "acting from the hara".
See also 
- Jing (TCM)
- Mindfulness (Buddhism)
- Pushing hands
- Secret of the Golden Flower
- Silk reeling
- T'ai chi ch'uan
- Triple burner
- Yang, Jwing-Ming. (1989). The root of Chinese Chi kung: the secrets of Chi kung training. Yang's Martial Arts Association. ISBN 0-940871-07-6.
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- T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation by Da Liu, page 92 - Routledge and Keegan Paul 1987 ISBN 0-14-019217-4
- Taoist Yoga by Lu K'uan Yu page 10. (Rider , 1970)
- The doctrine of the elixir by R. B. Jefferson Coombe Springs Press 1982 chapter 4. The Archaic Anatomy of Individual Organs
- T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation by Da Liu, pages 91-92 - Routledge and Keegan Paul 1987 ISBN 0-14-019217-4
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- Porkert, Manfred. The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine. MIT Press, 1974. ISBN 0-262-16058-7.
- Rouselle, Irwin. ‘Spiritual Guidance in Contemporary Taoism’. In Spiritual Disciplines: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks. Princeton University Press, 1960. ISBN 0-691-01863-4.
- Wang, Mu. Foundations of Internal Alchemy: The Taoist Practice of Neidan. Golden Elixir Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9843082-5-5.
- Doctrine of the Elixir by R.B.Jefferson
- Secret of the Golden Flower
- Seiki tanden
- The Three Dantian, Hara and Seika Tanden
- Tai Chi Chuan Tao, The Dan Tian
- Cinnabar Fields, by Fabrizio Pregadio. [From The Encyclopedia of Taoism.]
^ Dantian Qigong video course on QigongJournal.com