This book contains four essays on Internal Alchemy (Neidan) by Isabelle Robinet, originally published in French and translated here for the first time into English. The essays are concerned with the alchemical principle of "inversion"; the devices used by the alchemists to "give form to the Formless by the word, and thus manifest the authentic and absolute Dao"; the symbolic function of numbers in Taoism and in Internal Alchemy; and the original meanings of the terms "External Elixir" (waidan) and "Internal Elixir" (neidan).
Table of Contents
1. The World Upside Down in Taoist Internal Alchemy, 1
2. The Alchemical Language, or the Effort to Say the Contradictory, 17
3. Role and Meaning of Numbers in Taoist Cosmology and Alchemy, 45
4. On the Meaning of the Terms Waidan and Neidan, 75
Tables and Pictures, 103
Appendix: Works by Isabelle Robinet, 113
Glossary of Chinese Characters, 117
Works Quoted, 123
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 commentaies; the Shangqing (Highest Clarity) school of Taoism; Neidan (Internal Alchemy); and Taoist thought and cosmology. Her publications in English include Taoist Meditation: The Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity (1993) and Taoism: Growth of a Religion (1997).
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