The Way of the Golden Elixir


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Taoism & Taoist Alchemy
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The Way of the Golden Elixir

A Historical Overview of Taoist Alchemy

Fabrizio Pregadio


Occasional Papers, No. 3

60 pp.
Golden Elixir Press, 2012

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Chinese alchemy has a history of more than two thousand years, recorded from the 2nd century BCE to the present day. Its two main branches — Waidan, or External Alchemy, and Neidan, or Internal Alchemy — share in part their doctrinal foundations but differ in the respective practices.

This article outlines the main stages of development of the Chinese alchemical tradition, and the analogies and differences among doctrines and practices of its main branches and lineages.

1. Origins of Waidan
2. The Taiqing (Great Clarity) Tradition
3. Taoist Meditation and the Origins of Neidan
4. The Cantong qi (Seal of the Unity of the Three)
5. Waidan After the Cantong qi
6. Main Neidan Lineages and Masters
7. Neidan: General Perspectives
8. The Internal Elixir and the View of the Human Being
9. The Practice of the Internal Elixir

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