Edited and translated by Fabrizio Pregadio
viii + 129 pp.
Golden Elixir Press, 2011
Paperback, US$ 15.95 (list price)
PDF, US$ 9.95 (list price)
This book contains four essays on Internal Alchemy 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).
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 commentaries; 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).
PDF sample (62 pages)
Yin and Yang in Internal Alchemy (web page)
"Reversal" in Internal Alchemy (web page)
The Language of Internal Alchemy (web page)
Bibliography of Isabelle Robinet's writings (web page)
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
• "Le monde à l'envers dans l'alchimie intérieure taoïste," Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 209 (1992): 239-57. English translation published with the permission of the Collège de France. [Free online version. (*)]
• "Mystique et rationalité: Le langage dans l'alchimie intérieure taoïste ou l'effort pour dire le contradictoire," Asiatische Studien / Études asiatiques 47 (1993): 645-62. English translation published with the permission of the Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft.
• "Le rôle et le sens des nombres dans la cosmologie et l'alchimie taoïstes," Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident 16 (1994): 93-120. English translation published with the permission of the Presses Universitaires de Vincennes. [Free online version. (*)]
• "Sur le sens des termes waidan et neidan," Taoist Resources 3.1 (1991): 3-40. English translation published with the permission of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions.
(*) The French online versions are provided by the Persée Portal and are fully authorized.