September 3, 2006 at 11:27 am #17483
A interesting short paper on Daoist Alchemy during Nan Bei era, pay attnetion to this main point:
*****In this thesis, it is believed that the Dan made in Daoist alchemy is actually a kind of seeable, tangible, and materialized Dao which contains the condensed energy from the heaven and earth. Dao has no beginning and is immortal and imperishable. If human eats this Dao, he will get Daos (Dans) characteristics or functionality of no beginning, immortal, and imperishable. Therefore, if Dao is immortal then human can become immortal. Alchemy is to get Dao, eating Dan is to merge with Dao, Dao is in my body, and my body is Dao. What an attractive prospect. To get the Dao, to merge with Dao, and to become immortal, in more than one thousand years, the Daoists persistently put the mineral into the stove, wishing they can make the solidified Dan, the representative of Dao.*****
Personally not a big fan of external herbal Alchemy, did serve me well in the beginning stages…Snowlion
Daoist Alchemy of Nan Bei Dynasties
by Zhi Shi Roung (from a Word Doc.)
During the Nan Bei Dynasties (the Northern and Southern Dynasties ), after the reformation by Kou Qian Zhi, Lu Xiu Jing, and Dao Hong Jing, et al., Daoism has been transformed from the original Daoist team popular among the ordinary people to an officially recognized and legitimated religion. For this reason, the Dao alchemy was prevalent during the same period, elevated from the scattered alchemical experiments conducted mainly by individual Daoist or Daoist team, to the systemized and officialized alchemical activities supported by the governor and participated by influential families. These alchemical activities not only significantly impacted the debate between Buddhism and Daoism, but also shook up the cultural and political environment of the Nan Bei Dynasties. By the studies of Daoist alchemy in the Nan Bei Dynasties,we not only deeply and completely analyse the cause of the tangling of religion, politics, and culture in that period , but also systematically investigate and reorganize the Daoist technology, especially the original chemistry material at that time. In addition, this study will provide a more accurate evaluation of the historical role of Daoist alchemy in the development of science and civilization in ancient China.
History is the history of relation, relation is the relation of history. Therefore, in this thesis, by the studies of the historical development of Daoist religion of immortality, we try and investigate the relation between Daoist alchemy and the original chemistry. By studying the development history of specific alchemy, we investigate and illustrate its tangled relation and history with the original chemistry, or even with the whole science.
For this goal, and based on the fact that the studies of Daoist alchemy involves the history of science and civilization and the realities of philology, in this thesis, we focus on doing research on the literature itself, using the method of analysis and comparison, while in the mean time taking the methods and principles of the school of Qian Jia. Based on this research, and by referring to the modern chemistry and physics, we provided interpretation of the scientific meaning of the literature that is in line with the original meaning.
In the discussion of the relation between Daoist alchemy and chemistry in this thesis, we used an un-proven assumption, that is, there is a very close relation between Daoism and science. There is still controversy about this assumption in the academe, and the opinions are totally different. The British scholar, Dr. Joseph Needham, has repeatedly expressed the following viewpoint:Daoism is the foundation of science and civilization in China. (Joseph Needham: Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 2, Page 142, Science and Technology Press, 1990). If there were no Daoism, China would have been like a big tree with rotten root. (Same as above, Page. 178). From Joseph Needhams point of view, Daoism contains science, and the science of ancient China was closely linked with Daoism. However, the American scholar N. Sivin had a contrary viewpoint:
“There is no evidence for any regular and necessary link between Daoism and science that will let us predict, given an individual”s affiliation to one Daoism or another, that we will find attitudes friendly to scientific investigation; nor, given an individual”s involvement in science, technology, or medicine, that we will find Taoist motivations. This is true whether we consider the philosophy or the religion. (Nathan Sivin, Daoism and Science, Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China, Researches and Reflections, pp.1-72.)
What Sivin asked for are some examples. Lets take the example of Dao Hong Jing, who lived in the period that this thesis is focused on, e.g., the Nan Bei Dynasties, and see if we can find his Daoist motivations in his scientific activities. In Daoist scripture Hua Yang Tao Ying Ju Nei Zhuan, there is one paragraph describing the scene where Tao Hong Jing was making Hun Tian Xiang (an equipment to observe the astronomical phenomena):
“He built a Hun Tian Xiang, three feet high. The heaven rotated while the earth remain still. It has all the constellation, the marks of the seven days, their traces, days and nights, all the seasons. Operated by a machine, what it showed matched what observed from the sky. He said: “It was built for cultivating Taoism, rather than for the use by official or family.”He also built a water clock that propeled itself by the flowing water all the time, and there is no need for someone to monitor it. ”
His objective to build Hun Tian Xiang and Water Clock was to decide the season and time to make the pills of immortality or perform self-cultivation in Daoism, and these equipments were indeed not for the use by official or family and were only for cultivating Daoism. That is to say, it was really for his Daoist motivation. Given this example, it seems there is no need for other examples. Among all the religions in the world, only Daoism actively particpated activities of scientific production and exploration for its own religious purpose.
In this thesis, it is believed that the Dan made in Daoist alchemy is actually a kind of seeable, tangible, and materialized Dao which contains the condensed energy from the heaven and earth. Dao has no beginning and is immortal and imperishable. If human eats this Dao, he will get Daos (Dans) characteristics or functionality of no beginning, immortal, and imperishable. Therefore, if Dao is immortal then human can become immortal. Alchemy is to get Dao, eating Dan is to merge with Dao, Dao is in my body, and my body is Dao. What an attractive prospect. To get the Dao, to merge with Dao, and to become immortal, in more than one thousand years, the Daoists persistently put the mineral into the stove, wishing they can make the solidified Dan, the representative of Dao. In this activity, the persistence of religion and the exploration of science is combined together: The persistence of religion propelled the exploration of science, while the exploration of science strengthened the persistence of religion.
We tend to believe that in the current course of investigating the relation between Daoism and science, although it is important to understand, in a large scale, the historical or the whole skeleton of their development, it is more urgent to perform the concrete and verification work. Therefore, this thesis not only focuses on why and how the alchemy get connected with politics during the course of the transformation of Daoism from the original religion to the legitimate religion, it also emphasizes the retrieval, analysis, and interpretation of the science and technology in the literature that is related to the Daoist alchemy, especially the chemical material. This thesis concludes that: The most important characteristic of the Daoist alchemy in the Nan Bei Dynasties is that it transformed the internal, scattered, and small scale experiments conducted by individual Daoist or team of Daoist to the officialized, systemized, and large scale alchemical activities participated by the governor; The reason why Emperor Liang Wu abandoned Daoism and leaned toward Buddhism, while trying to get alchemical medicine, is not because of his need for religion, instead, it is because he wanted to become immortal through the help of Buddhism and Daoism; The reason why Dao Hong Jing performed alchemy for Emperor Liang Wu was because he had no choice. That was the price he needed to pay when he wanted to push the development of Daoism by utilizing the ruling power. That was his tactic rather than his objective. However, the twenty years of alchemical activities made Dao Jing Hong, after Ge Hong, the most contributive representative of Daoist alchemy. This thesis points out that the origination of Daoist Dan Ding Pai is not from Zuo Ci, instead, it is from the teacher of Zuo Ci, Li Zhong Fu. This complements the omissions in History of Daoism in China and Taoism in China edited by Ren Ji Yu and Qing Xi Tai, respectively. Correct a mistake where it was thought previously that Dao Hong Jing just published 87 books. This thesis supplements and verifies additional 13 books, pointing out the fact that Dao Hong Jing actually published a total of 100 books. From nine perspectives, this thesis investigates and verifies the detailed alchemical process of making Jiu Zhuan Dan, pointing out the main reason why Tao Hong Jing failed to make the Dan after 20 years, and illustrating the ultimate outcome from the process and the detailed amount of fuel consumed every two hours. Trace back the time when vermilion was first composed in ancient China, from the original Sui Dynasty, which was proposed by Mr. Zhao Kuang Hua, to Eastern Jin, or even to an earlier time of Eastern Han; We found that during the period of Emperor Liang Wu, which is about 1500 years ago, in order to prevent the Dan stove from being shattered by lightening, the Daoist invented the original lightening rod to protect the stove from being stricken. For the first time from a alchemy point of view, we conduct a full but initial study on the relation between the important Daoist classic Zhen Gao and the Daoism alchemy. On the other hand, in theBy re-elaborating the early classic of alchemy, San Tong Qi, we induced the systematic theory of Daoist alchemy in ancient China, and provided the logical explanation of how the Daoist highly abided Qian Gong Pai and Liu Gong Pai were originated and became prevalent. we pointed out that the idea of Time Contraction, Space Contraction, and Medicine Contraction in alchemy is the one of the most important causes that supported the Daoists to poured the metal stone and mineral into the stove to make the pills that make one live long.
We believed that by the studies of Daoist alchemy in the Nan Bei Dynasties and the related chemistry, we not only can get a clearer understanding of the development history of science and civilization in ancient China, but also obtain the in-depth knowledge of Daoism itself.September 5, 2006 at 7:50 am #17484
Interesting piece, would like to know source of your “word doc”.
>the idea of Time Contraction, Space Contraction, and Medicine Contraction in alchemy is the one of the most important causes that supported the Daoists to poured the metal stone and mineral into the stove to make the pills that make one live long.
I think that eventually external alchemy will achieve a high level (Atlanteans had it) via integration of technology and spirituality, but only after inner alchemy is restored and refined to high level. Otherwise nothing to integrate.
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