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The Northern lineage is the original nucleus of Quanzhen (Complete Reality), which continued to develop and is in the present day, with Tianshi dao (Way of the Celestial Masters), one the two main branches of Taoism, headquartered in the Baiyun guan (Abbey of the White Cloud) in Beijing. Within Neidan, the Northern Lineage is especially important for its teachings on inner Nature (xing) and Existence (ming), on the equivalence between inner Nature and the Golden Elixir, and on the practice of “clarity and quiescence” (qingjing).
While there are reasons to doubt that the Fifteen Essays to Establish the Teaching, which combines doctrinal teachings and advice on lifestyle, is actually Wang Chongyang’s own work, it is nevertheless deemed to be an original Beizong/Quanzhen document. This ebook contains a complete translation of the text.
Wang Mu (1908-92) received the Longmen ordination in his youth. He taught Internal Alchemy (Neidan) and was held in high regard by both Taoist practitioners and scholars. He served as a board member of the China Taoist Association and was for some time in charge of its research activities. He is known outside China mainly for his annotated edition of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality), the text at the basis of the outline of Internal Alchemy that he provides in the present book.
Later texts of Neidan (Internal Alchemy) have often placed the Yinfu jing with the Daode jing (Book of the Way and Its Virtue) and the Cantong qi (The Seal of the Unity of the Three) at the origins of their teachings. Within Neidan, the text is especially well-known for its idea of “stealing the mechanism” (daoji), which Neidan adepts understand as meaning the inversion of the process that leads from the precelestial to the postcelestial domains.
The commentary translated here is by Yu Yan (born in Suzhou, 1258–1314), a learned and prolific author of independent works and commentaries to earlier texts. Part of his works examine the Book of Changes (Yijing) and Chinese cosmology, while others are concerned with Neidan.
This ebook contains a complete translation of the Yinfu jing with Yu Yan’s commentary.
The Jindan sibai zi, or Four Hundred Words on the Golden Elixir, is attributed to Zhang Boduan, the well-known author of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality). The association with the first master of the Southern Lineage (Nanzong) is one of the reasons of the popularity enjoyed by this work within the Taoist tradition of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy.
The text, here entirely translated with a commentary, is made of twenty poems, each containing four verses of five characters. Several verses or parts of them are repeatedly quoted in later Neidan works, often with no need of a precise reference to their source given its renown.
The commentary translated here is by Peng Haogu (fl. 1586–99). His work is one of many examples showing that commentaries to Neidan texts not only offer explications of the original texts, but are Neidan works to all effects.
This ebook is excerpted from Fabrizio Pregadio, Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts (Golden Elixir Press, 2019).
Isabelle Robinet (1932-2000) was one of the most important Western scholars of Taoism. Her work dealt with several major topics: the Laozi and the Zhuangzi with their commentaries; the Shangqing (Highest Clarity) school of Taoism; Neidan (Internal Alchemy); and Taoist thought and cosmology.
This is the first book to examine extensively the religious aspects of Chinese alchemy. Its main focus is the relation of alchemy to the Daoist traditions of the early medieval period (third to sixth centuries). It shows how alchemy contributed to and was tightly integrated into the elaborate body of doctrines and practices that Daoists built at that time, from which Daoism as we know it today evolved. The book also clarifies the origins of Chinese alchemy and the respective roles of alchemy and meditation in self-cultivation practices. It contains full translations of three important medieval texts, all of them accompanied by running commentaries, making available for the first time in English the gist of the early Chinese alchemical corpus.