By Jean Cooper
Here in a single slim quantity is a simple advent to chinese language alchemy--a culture that dates again 5,000 years.
Chinese alchemy, principally linked to Taoism, has a recorded historical past of greater than 2,000 years, yet typically it is going again even extra to almost 3000 BC and the time of the Yellow Emperor. whereas Western alchemy was once focused on the hunt for non secular and fabric gold, vintage Taoist alchemy used to be a magical quest for immortality with its target being union with the Absolute.
Jean Cooper describes the background and improvement of Taoist alchemy, compares it to related traditions in India and Turkistan, and offers it context through contrasting it with the explanation of the Western airtight culture. As she writes in her concluding bankruptcy: The complete paintings of alchemy is summed up within the word "To make of the physique a spirit and of the spirit a body". . . . The target of the Taoist alchemist-mystic was once transformation, or maybe extra accurately, transfiguration, of the entire physique till it ceases to "be" and is absorbed into and turns into the Tao.
This is a vital consultant for somebody drawn to chinese language legend and lore, chinese language magic and medication, and Taoism.
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Extra info for Chinese Alchemy: Taoism, the Power of Gold, and the Quest for Immortality
This attitude also occurs in Indian and Tantric alchemy. There are accounts of Indian yogins living for more than three hundred and fifty years. The theme also appears in Muslim writings, probably having been spread westward from China via Turkistan. Talismanic characters for Longevity and Happiness As to immortality, ‘The body must be brought into complete subjection to, and into complete harmony with, the principles of the Tao. Through this process the body would eventually acquire the attributes of the Tao, and since Tao is immortal, immortality of the body would be a natural and logical result.
The language of the Ts'an T'ung Ch'i being too complicated and esoteric to be of general use, it is to Ko Hung that we must turn for the earliest complete treatise. He lived about AD 260 to 340 and is regarded as the most famous of writers on Chinese alchemy. ’ The work is in two parts, the nei p'ien, comprising some twenty scrolls, and the wei p'ien, some fifty. He says: ‘My nei p'ien, telling of gods, genii, prescriptions and medicines, ghosts and marvels, transformations, maintenance of life, extension of years, exorcising evils and banishing misfortune, belongs to the Taoist school.
Originally an imposing and handsome man, he left his body behind when he went off in spirit to meet Lao Tzu in a sacred mountain. One story is that he was gone so long that a disciple had his body cremated. Another version is that he left instructions for his body to be cremated after seven days; on the sixth day the disciple who was looking after the body had news that his mother had died and, feeling sure that Li would not return, cremated the body. Returning on the seventh day, Li's spirit saw only a heap of ashes, and so he entered the body of a beggar who had just died by the roadside.
Chinese Alchemy: Taoism, the Power of Gold, and the Quest for Immortality by Jean Cooper