Taoism and Taoist Alchemy

Taoist Internal Alchemy

Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts

Fabrizio Pregadio

This anthology presents complete or partial translations of sixteen important works belonging to the Taoist tradition of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy. The selections are representative of the main Neidan lineages and branches. Read more.

Foundations of Internal Alchemy

Foundations of Internal Alchemy: The Taoist Practice of Neidan

Wang Mu
Paperback ● Kindle ● PDF

This book provides a clear description of the Taoist practice of Internal Alchemy, or Neidan. It is based on the system of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality), one of the main sources of Internal Alchemy, and is enriched by about two hundred quotations from original Taoist texts. Read more.

Liu Yiming, 'Cultivating the Tao: Taoism and Internal Alchemy'

Cultivating the Tao: Taoism and Internal Alchemy (Xiuzhen houbian)

Liu Yiming (1734-1821)
Translated by Fabrizio Pregadio

Divided into 26 short chapters, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the main principles of Taoism and an introduction to Taoist Internal Alchemy, or Neidan, written by one of the most important masters of this tradition. Read more.

Cantong qi: The Seal of the Unity of the Three

The Seal of the Unity of the Three: A Study and Translation of the Cantong qi, the Source of the Way of the Golden Elixir

Fabrizio Pregadio
Paperback ● Hardcover ● PDF (abridged)

Under an allusive poetical language and thick layers of images and symbols, the Cantong qi hides the exposition of the teaching that gave origin to Taoist Internal Alchemy (Neidan). In addition to a complete translation, this book contains a detailed introduction to the history and teachings of the Cantong qi, explanations of each of its sections, and notes on its verses. Read more.

Cantong qi: The Seal of the Unity of the Three, vol. 2

The Seal of the Unity of the Three. Vol. 2 — Bibliographic Studies on the Cantong qi: Commentaries, Essays, and Related Works

Fabrizio Pregadio

Part 1 of this book contains a bibliographic catalogue of about 150 extant and lost commentaries, essays, and other works related to the Cantong qi, with details on authors, dates, editions, and reprints. Part 2 contains a survey of the textual tradition of the Cantong qi, focused on the composition and contents of about 40 major texts. Read more.

Wuzhen pian

Awakening to Reality: A Taoist Classic of Internal Alchemy

Translated by Fabrizio Pregadio
Paperback ● Kindle ● PDF

The Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality) is one of the most important and best-known Taoist alchemical texts. Written in the 11th century, it describes in a poetical form several facets of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy. Read more.

Ruyao jing: Mirror for Compounding the Medicine

Commentary on the Mirror for Compounding the Medicine

Wang Jie (14th century)
Translated by Fabrizio Pregadio

Originally written in the 10th century, the Ruyao jing (Mirror for Compounding the Medicine) describes the foundations of Internal Alchemy in 20 short poems of four verses. This book contains the first complete translation of the text and of the commentary by Wang Jie (14th century). Read more.

The World Upside Down

The World Upside Down: Essays on Taoist Internal Alchemy

Isabelle Robinet
Paperback ● Kindle ● PDF

Four essays on Taoist Internal Alchemy translated for the first time into English. Their subjects are: (1) The alchemical principle of "inversion"; (2) The devices used by the alchemists to "manifest the authentic and absolute Dao"; (3) The role of numbers in Taoism and in Internal Alchemy; (4) The meanings of the terms "External Elixir" and "Internal Elixir". Read more.

400 Words on the Golden Elixir

Four Hundred Words on the Golden Elixir: A Poetical Classic of Taoist Internal Alchemy

Attributed to Zhang Boduan (987?-1082)
Commentary by Peng Haogu (late 16th century)
Kindle edition

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 text, made of twenty poems each containing four verses of five characters, is translated here with the commentary by Peng Haogu (fl. 1586–99). Read more.

Yinfu jing

The Book of the Hidden Agreement: A Taoist Text on the Harmony between Heaven and Humanity

Attributed to the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi)
Commentary by Yu Yan (1258–1314)
Kindle edition

Despite its brevity, the Yinfu jing, or Book of the Hidden Agreement, is one of the most obscure and difficult Taoist texts. 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. Read more.

Wang Chongyang

Fifteen Essays to Establish the Teaching: A Founding Text of Complete Reality Taoism

Attributed to Wang Chongyang (1113–70)
Kindle edition

The reputed author of this text, Wang Chongyang, was the founder of the Northern Lineage (Beizong) of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy. The Northern lineage is the original nucleus of Quanzhen (Complete Reality), which continued to develop and is in the present day one of the main branches of Taoism. Read more.

Pregadio, 'The Way of the Golden Elixir'

The Way of the Golden Elixir: An Introduction to Taoist Alchemy

Fabrizio Pregadio
Third edition
PDF ● Kindle ● iBook

Free DownloadTaoist alchemy has a history of more than two thousand years, recorded from the 2nd century BCE to the present day. This PDF outlines its history, lineages, and main doctrines and practices. Read more. (Note: The PDF and iBook editions are for free download.)

Pregadio, 'The Book of the Nine Elixirs'

The Book of the Nine Elixirs: An Early Chinese Alchemical Text

Fabrizio Pregadio

A complete translation of the Book of the Nine Elixirs (Jiudan jing), the main extant text of the Great Clarity (Taiqing) tradition of External Alchemy. Read more.

Pregadio, 'Chinese Alchemy: An Annotated Bibliography'

Chinese Alchemy: An Annotated Bibliography

Fabrizio Pregadio
Paperback ● Kindle ● PDF

This bibliography contains about 300 titles of books and articles, with short annotations on their contents. Read more.

Fabrizio Pregadio, 'Index of Zhonghua Daozang (中華道藏書目總錄)'

Index of Zhonghua Daozang

Fabrizio Pregadio
Paperback ● PDF

Part 1 of this index contains a list of texts in the Zhonghua Daozang (Taoist Canon of China, published in 2003). Part 2 contains several lists of texts used as "base editions" in the Zhonghua Daozang. Read more.

Pregadio, 'Index of Zhengtong Daozang (正統道藏書目總錄)'

Index of Zhengtong Daozang

Fabrizio Pregadio

Free DownloadThis PDF contains an index of texts found in the Zhengtong Daozang (Taoist Canon of the Zhengtong Reign-Period), printed ca. 1445. Read more.

The Longmen Lineage

The Longmen Lineage: Historical Notes


Free DownloadThis PDF contains a short history of the Longmen lineage, to which many masters of Neidan (Taoist Internal Alchemy) are affiliated. Read more.

9 Taoist Books on the Elixir

9 Taoist Books on the Elixir


Free DownloadThis bibliography contains the main data on nine important original texts of Taoist alchemy. It includes two texts on Waidan (External Alchemy) and seven texts on Neidan (Internal Alchemy). Read more.