"You indeed raise a valid question, disciple Wei Muchen. There are many reasons. But first you should ask, how to reach the core cultivation realm? And it isn't just an issue of talent. Talking about talents, first I need to describe the advantages of a higher grade of talent.
A better talent has 3 advantages. The first one is cultivation speed. A grade 2 talent cultivates 4 times faster than a grade 1 talent, a grade 3 talent cultivates 9 times faster than a grade 1 talent, a grade 4 talent cultivates 16 times faster than a grade 1 talent, and 25 times faster for a grade 5 talent. If you don't remember it's simple, just square the grade and you get the cultivation speed.
Okay but is lower speed such an issue? In some ways, yes. It isn't a race to reach qi condensation but if you take 10 times or more to reach a certain realm, you will have less lifespan to reach the next realm. Cultivation being an act that defies the heavens is also a race against the end of one's lifespan. A random 1st grade talent cultivator will take 20 to 30 years to reach qi condensation when 1 year is enough for a grade 5 talent. A hard working 40 years old versus a 11-year-old with the same level of power that is going to overtake him. The comparison is quite hard to stomach.
Also, at the qi condensation realm and foundation establishment realm, you can replenish your qi reserves between battles, the difference in speed could be the difference between life and death.
The second advantage is indeed for resources. Let's suppose I provide a precious herb to disciples with grade 1 to 5 aptitudes. A grade 1 disciple who eats the herb will only absorb 1 portion of its medicinal properties. That is not necessarily an issue, if that herb is of low value, the disciple might absorb all of its medicinal properties. Now suppose that the herb is highly potent, let's say the grade 1 disciple is only able to absorb 2% of its medicinal properties after eating it, then all the disciples with higher grades of talent and at the same level of cultivation will absorb more: they will absorb (grade)^2*2% of the medicinal properties. For example, at grade 4 it would be 32%, and 50% for a grade 5.
This plant is indeed better used for higher talents. So lower talents are generally given lower grade resources which further increases the difference in cultivation speed.
The third advantage are bottlenecks. Disciple with higher grades breakthrough cultivation realms easier. It's nearly impossible for grade 1 talents to reach foundation establishment but disciples of grade 4 or 5 won't be much impeded at that juncture.
Now to come back to the topic, you might be wondering why don't we use all our resources on higher talents. I'll give you 3 main reasons.
First, the resources allocated for the 1st years is not even 1% of the resources of the 5th years. For now, you all don't cost us much and more resources will only be detrimental when what you need most is a strong foundation.
Second reason. If you are wondering how many of each talents compose the world's core formation cultivators then let me tell you:
-grade 1, less than 1%.
-grade 2 talents account for 10% of core formation cultivators.
-grade 3, 30%.
-grade 4, 40%.
-grade 5, 20%.
Of course, grade 5 talents have a much better chance to reach core formation, but they are less numerous, same goes for rank 4 and so on. However, if we were to abandon the others and only funnel resources to the highest grades, we would lose out on many core formation cultivators.
You must keep in mind that every core formation cultivator is an exceptional individual in his own right, having emerged from thousands. Strong personalities, unwavering determination and a good amount of luck are necessary.
The third reason actually is linked to the two previous ones. A disciple pampered with resources, who didn't experience any life and death situations or real battles is unlikely to ever reach core formation, even with a grade 5 talent. It's even worse than that: there are huge differences in level between various core formation cultivators. If such a cultivator ever reaches core formation by a stroke of luck, he would be at the bottom of the food chain, only good enough to bully formation establishment cultivators, and will probably never advance again.
Also, a diamond in the rough will outshine others. But it is too early to actually separate the diamond from the mud. And talent being one aspect, it is better to use rankings through combat.
That's about it. Well, there might be another advantage for grade 5 talents but that does not remotely concern you.
This is why we don't force resources down a grade 5 talent's throat. Like the rest, they need to grow steadily for now and NOT become overly arrogant because of their talent. In our sect, we don't give resources, you must learn to earn them. Remember, you are only at the very beginning of the cultivation path. The word foundation in foundation establishment is not for nothing."
The disciples quietly digested all this new information.
Wei Muchen bowed, "Thank you teacher Xian for enlightening us all."
Another disciple stood up. "Teacher Xian, is there a grade 6 talent?"
"Haha, I was wondering when I would be asked this question. The short answer is no. The longer answer is: it's more complicated. For your knowledge, some extremely rare individuals have a talent at a greater tier than grade 5 but you cannot really call it grade 6. You see, the grade number corresponds to your number of qi streams when you cultivate. Those individuals don't have a 6th qi stream, but the 5 qi streams boast a greater qi flow. I don't think there has ever been such a cultivator that crossed the gates of the sect in our 500 years of existence, so in truth this is only anecdotal, or to broaden your horizons as my colleagues enjoy saying.
Any other questions? If not, we will continue the class where we left yesterday, to try to improve how you cultivate."
Han Lingyun stood up. "Teacher Xian, I have a question on a different subject."
"Go ahead disciple Lingyun."
"Is the spirit root what makes us sense the qi around us? Is qi of a spiritual nature? If so, what is the spirit and spirituality?"
Teacher Xian showed a look of surprise and appreciation.
"That's 3 questions and a half disciple Lingyun."
Han Lingyun scratched his head.
Teacher Xian continued: "Well this subject would necessitate a couple of classes to address in a correct manner. I'll try to satisfy your curiosity with a short answer. For the others wondering, you don't need this knowledge to cultivate at your level.
To give an analogy, the spirit root is a tool. Your spirit needs that tool to sense and absorb qi, at least at the first realms. Let's say qi functions in the same world as your spirit.
Defining simply the spirit is hard. A cultivator is composed of one body, one soul and one spirit. Why not just a body and a soul? Because cultivators found out that there was something else beside their body and soul composing them. So, the short answer would be the spirit is what's part of you, without being your body or your soul.
I know that doesn't seem very satisfactory but that's how it is defined at first. You can actually make the experiment. If you kill a cultivator at a high realm and destroy his soul, his spirit could still linger around the dead body, creating a feeling of heavy pressure when a weaker cultivator comes near it. You could make the effort of wiping out the spirit with qi if that's bothering you.
Hum, please don't try to make the experiment, there are easier ways to see this effect.
You see the mountain behind me? The residual effects of my spirit still linger there too. You'll feel the pressure if you get closer.
In theory, you can also distinguish a cultivator's presence in a fight if you can find residual traces of the spirits clashing and matching them with the owners if you know what's their spirit. That's because each spirit is unique. Ah I'm back at rambling again! This won't concern you until the core formation stage, hahaha. Don't worry too much about all this!
Alright back to cultivation. Here are some common little mistakes that can make you lose some time.
Han Lingyun listened with rapt attention but he didn't learn much from the rest of the class. It was always reassuring to see he had found the correct techniques without paying too much attention to some details.
He had many new questions regarding the spirit but he also understood that it was a waste of time to research those thoroughly at his level, when many answers would come by themselves as his cultivation realm increased. For now, he was still stuck at body tempering.
And so, his daily routine began to structure his new life. For the next days. He cultivated diligently and followed the schedule prescribed by teacher Xian. And the effects were rapidly showing themselves.