Awakening to Reality (Wuzhen pian)

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, and in a typically cryptic and allusive language, several facets of Neidan (Internal Alchemy).

Materials listed on this page are excerpted from:

Wuzhen pian

Awakening to Reality: A Taoist Classic of Internal Alchemy, translated by Fabrizio Pregadio. Golden Elixir Press.

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Chrome bullet Awakening to Reality: A Taoist Classic of Internal Alchemy (PDF)

This book presents the first part of the text, consisting of 16 poems that contain a concise but comprehensive exposition of Neidan. The translator's notes clarify the meaning of the more obscure points. In addition, the book contains selections from Liu Yiming's commentary (late 18th century), which is distinguished by the use of a lucid and plain language. Download the Introduction (PDF).


Chrome bullet   Poem 3

"If you study immortality, you should study celestial immortality: only the Golden Elixir is the highest principle. When the two things meet, emotions and nature join one another; where the five agents are whole, Dragon and Tiger coil. . . "

Chrome bullet   Poem 7

"You should know that the source of the stream, the place where the Medicine is born, is just at the southwest -- that is its native village. When Lead meets the birth of gui, quickly you should collect it: if Metal goes past the full moon, it is not fit to be savored. . . "

Chrome bullet Commentaries by Liu Yiming

Commentary to Poem 3
Commentary to Poem 7

Chrome bullet   Other Selections

Other short selections from Awakening to Reality:

Poem 1
Poem 6
Poem 9
Poem 12
Poem 14


Chrome bullet An Introduction to the Wuzhen pian

Zhang Boduan and His Work
Doctrinal Sources
The Elixir
Cosmological Emblems
Final Remarks