The reputed author of this text, Wang Chongyang, was the founder of the Northern Lineage (Beizong) of Neidan, or Internal Alchemy. Also known as Wang Zhe, he apparently led a rather turbulent life until 1159, when he is said to have met Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin (two illustrious Taoist immortals, related to several Neidan lineages) and to have become an ascetic. From 1167, he begun preaching with his followers in the northeastern province of Shandong. In the strict sense, the Northern Lineage consists of Wang Chongyang and his seven main disciples.
The Northern lineage is the original nucleus of Quanzhen (Complete Reality), which continued to develop and is in the present day, with Tianshi dao (Way of the Celestial Masters), one of the two main branches of Taoism, headquartered in the Baiyun guan (Abbey of the White Cloud) in Beijing. Within Neidan, the Northern Lineage is especially important for its teachings on inner Nature (xing) and Existence (ming), on the equivalence between inner Nature and the Golden Elixir, and on the practice of “clarity and quiescence” (qingjing).
While there are reasons to doubt that the Fifteen Essays to Establish the Teaching, which combines doctrinal teachings and advice on lifestyle, is actually Wang Chongyang’s own work, it is nevertheless deemed to be an original Beizong/Quanzhen document. This ebook contains a complete translation of the text.