The Seal of the Unity of the Three (Cantong qi)

Under an allusive poetical language and thick layers of images and symbols, the Cantong qi (Seal of the Unity of the Three) hides the exposition of the teaching that gave origin to Taoist Internal Alchemy (Neidan).

Materials listed on this page are excerpted from:

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, by Fabrizio Pregadio. Golden Elixir Press.

Paperback ● Hardcover ● PDF (abridged)

Book Previews

Chrome bullet The Seal of the Unity of the Three: A Study and Translation (PDF)

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. Download the preview (PDF), containing translations of 9 sections, with notes.

Chrome bullet The Seal of the Unity of the Three — Vol. 2: Bibliographic Studies (PDF)

Part 1 of this book contains a 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. Download the preview (PDF).


Chrome bullet Qian and Kun, Kan and Li

"Qian ☰ and Kun ☷ are the door and the gate of change, the father and the mother of all hexagrams. Kan ☵ and Li ☲ are the inner and the outer walls, they spin the hub and align the axle. . . ."

Chrome bullet Nourishing Inner Nature

"Innerly nourish yourself, serene and quiescent in Empty Non-Being. Going back to the fundament conceal your light, and innerly illuminate your body. . . ."

Chrome bullet The Principles of Alchemy

"Know the white, keep to the black, and the Numinous Light will come of its own. White is the essence of Metal, Black the foundation of Water. . . ."

Chrome bullet The Lovely Maid and the Yellow Sprout

"The Lovely Maid of the River is numinous and supremely divine: when she finds Fire she flies away, leaving behind not a speck of dust. . . ."

Chrome bullet   Other Selections

Other short selections from The Seal of the Unity of the Three:

The Three Treasures
The Way of Heaven Renders No Favors
The Joining of Sun and Moon
The Artisan and the Charioteer
The Timeless Instant between End and Beginning
"The Seal of the Unity of the Three"
The Way of the Golden Elixir


Chrome bullet An Introduction to the Cantong qi


Chrome bullet Commentaries and Editions

Part 1: Anonymous; Yin Changsheng 陰長生 (attr.); Peng Xiao 彭曉; Zhu Xi 朱熹.
Part 2: Chu Yong 儲泳; Chen Xianwei 陳顯微; Yu Yan 俞琰; Chen Zhixu 陳致虛.
Part 3: Zhang Wenlong 張文龍 and Zhu Changchun 朱長春; Lu Xixing 陸西星; Xu Wei 徐渭.
Part 4: Wang Wenlu 王文祿; Peng Haogu 彭好古; Huang Shiying 黃士英; Zhen Shu 甄淑.
Part 5: Zhu Yuanyu 朱元育; Tao Susi 陶素耜; Li Guangdi 李光地; Qiu Zhao'ao 仇兆鰲.
Part 6: Yuan Renlin 袁仁林; Wang Fu 汪紱; Dong Dening 董德寧; Ji Dakui 紀大奎.
Part 7: Liu Yiming 劉一明; Li Shixu 黎世序; Lü Huilian 呂惠連; Gong Yitu 龔易圖.

Chrome bullet Other Materials

Two Biographies of Wei Boyang, on the reputed author of the Cantong qi
The Alchemical Model of the Cantong qi
The Title of the Cantong qi (PDF, 5 pp., free download)
Main Subjects in the Cantong qi (PDF, 11 pp., free download)
Chinese Text of the Cantong qi (PDF, 21 pp., free download)