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By Fabrizio Pregadio
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Additional resources for Great clarity : Daoism and alchemy in early medieval China
It has also been suggested that “after 144 [bce], alchemy could only be practiced openly under imperial or royal patronage,” and that the edict had a lasting effect on the arts of the elixirs, as shown by the Huainan zi (Book of the Master of Huainan; ca. 148) The edict does not refer to the practice of alchemy and does not mention the compounding of elixirs. According to Ying Shao’s (ca. 140 – ca. 14 This particular instance of confusion in the historiography of Chinese alchemy is also worthy of attention.
On the other hand, the alchemical process reveals the original state of the cosmos, and the puriﬁed matter of the elixir is the visible token of the “essence” issued from the Dao, from which the entire existence evolves. The sentence quoted by Ge Hong from the Scripture of Great Clarity shows that this was the aspect of their work that the Taiqing adepts deemed to be most important. In a tradition like the one we study here, nonetheless, ritual is needed to frame doctrines and techniques into a practice.
5 He takes life and death as a single transformation, and the ten thousand things as a single extension (fang). He communicates through his essence with his foundation in the Great Clarity (tong jing yu taiqing zhi ben) and roams in the indistinct space. He does not stir his essence and does not budge his spirit. 7b – 8a) Elsewhere in the Huainan zi, the inner condition of Great Clarity is projected into the indeﬁnite past, so that the original state of being is represented as the way of life enjoyed by human beings in primordial times: At the commencement of Great Clarity, in harmony and conformity people were silent and boundless, and in the perfection of their constitution (zhizhen) they were pure and simple.
Great clarity : Daoism and alchemy in early medieval China by Fabrizio Pregadio