The Seal of the Unity of the Three: A Study and Translation of the Cantong Qi, the Source of the Taoist Way of the Golden Elixir (英語) ペーパーバック – 2011/10/7
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Under an allusive poetical language and thick layers of images and symbols, The Seal of the Unity of the Three (Cantong qi) hides the exposition of the teachings that gave birth to Taoist Internal Alchemy, or Neidan.
Traditionally attributed to Wei Boyang and dated to about 150 CE, The Seal of the Unity of the Three is concerned with three major subjects - Taoism (the way of "non-doing"), Cosmology (the system of the Book of Changes), and Alchemy - and joins them to one another into a unique doctrine. The charm of its verses, the depth of its discourse, and its enigmatic language inspired a large number of commentaries and other works, and attracted the attention not only of Taoist masters and adepts, but also of philosophers, cosmologists, and poets.
In addition to a complete translation, this book contains a detailed introduction to the history and the teachings of The Seal of the Unity of the Three, explanations of each of its sections, and notes on its verses. Also included are several tables and pictures, an index of main subjects, and the complete Chinese text.
Fabrizio Pregadio has taught at different universities in Italy, Germany, the United States, and Canada. He is the author of Great Clarity: Daoism and Alchemy in Early Medieval China (Stanford University Press, 2006) and the editor of The Encyclopedia of Taoism (Routledge, 2008). In addition to his scholarly activities, he publishes translations of original texts on Taoism and Taoist Internal Alchemy (Neidan) addressed to a wider audience. These translations, published by Golden Elixir Press, include the Cantong qi (Seal of the Unity of the Three); the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality); the Ruyao jing (Mirror for Compounding the Medicine); the Yinfu jing (Scripture of the Hidden Accordance); and Cultivating the Tao, a work by the great Taoist master, Liu Yiming.
I took up the reading of this book as part of a deeper study into the I Ching and taoist philosophy. It has opened up a whole new realm of understanding for me. Most enjoyable read.
One brief aside -- doesn't the figure on the book cover (a painting of a Taoist immortal c. 1300) look a lot like the photo of Pregadio himself shown on this page? Perhaps he chose it as a sly joke?