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Download Great clarity : Daoism and alchemy in early medieval China by Fabrizio Pregadio PDF

By Fabrizio Pregadio

This is the 1st booklet to envision broadly the spiritual points of chinese language alchemy. Its major concentration is the relation of alchemy to the Daoist traditions of the early medieval interval (third to 6th centuries). It exhibits how alchemy contributed to and used to be tightly built-in into the frilly physique of doctrines and practices that Daoists outfitted at the moment, from which Daoism as we all know it at the present time advanced. The publication additionally clarifies the origins of chinese language alchemy and the respective roles of alchemy and meditation in self-cultivation practices. It includes complete translations of 3 vital medieval texts, them all observed via operating commentaries, making to be had for the 1st time in English the gist of the early chinese language alchemical corpus.

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Great clarity : Daoism and alchemy in early medieval China

This is often the 1st e-book to ascertain widely the spiritual facets of chinese language alchemy. Its major concentration is the relation of alchemy to the Daoist traditions of the early medieval interval (third to 6th centuries). It exhibits how alchemy contributed to and was once tightly built-in into the flowery physique of doctrines and practices that Daoists equipped at the moment, from which Daoism as we all know it this day advanced.

Extra resources for Great clarity : Daoism and alchemy in early medieval China

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If the phrase of the History of the Former Han Dynasty is read zhongdao instead of chongdao (both readings are possible), the relevant portion of the sentence can more accurately be translated as “important methods by Zou Yan for prolonging life,” again with no hint to his involvement in alchemy. Besides the above, there has been another—and possibly more consequential—reason for ascribing Zou Yan with an active role in relation to alchemy, namely his traditional image as the creator of the system of correlative cosmology.

Chemical artisans and alchemists certainly were acquainted with each others’ methods, and it is virtually certain that alchemy, in China as elsewhere, has one of its roots in the technical knowledge of the metallurgists. But interpreting Jingdi’s edict as directed against alchemy involves neglecting to take into account the alchemists’ quest of transcendence or their attempt to communicate with divine beings—in other words, the doctrinal and ritual components of alchemy. As suggested above, it is only the explicit combination of metallurgical or proto-chemical techniques with these components that defines alchemy.

As evidence of historical connections between Zou Yan and alchemy, some scholars have also referred to a passage in the History of the Former Han Dynasty that mentions techniques ascribed to him. The following is Joseph Needham’s translation of the passage: [Liu An, the Prince of] Huainan, had in his pillow (for safe-keeping) certain writings entitled Arts from the Garden of Secrets of the Great Treasure (Hongbao yuanbi shu). ” 11 However, the phrase chongdao does not occur in the alchemical literature, where the canonical terms for processes of cyclical refining are zhuan (“cycling”), huan (“reverting”), or fan (“returning”).

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