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Study of the creativity of Dao and De in the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu

Authors Yuen, Hong-chau (袁康就)
Issue Date 2004
Summary The impacts of the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu on the formation and developments of the Daoist culture are enormous. While it is the ultimate goal of the Daoist religion to pursue immortality, the Daoists consider the practice of inner alchemy the way that can never be bypassed in order to achieve that goal. In conviction of the attainability of immortality, the Daoists had, however, experienced much frustration and painfulness before they ceased swallowing alchemic pills and started practicing inner alchemy. The inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu that appeared in the Late Tang and the Five Dynasties had not only inherited the theory of immortality and the concept of the immortals from the past, but also successfully transformed the practice of the outer alchemy into that of the inner alchemy. And, as a result of its being repeatedly adopted by those practicing inner alchemy of the subsequent ages, it has been exerting an influence that lasts till even today. This thesis is intended to be an in-depth investigation into the formation, developments, and the basic teachings of the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu, focusing on its notion of the creativity of Dao and De. The whole thesis is consisted of six chapters, including an introduction and a conclusion. The 'Introduction' outlines briefly the teachings of the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu and its significances. It also introduces readers to the primary sources that are directly related to the investigation of Zhong-Lu. Chapter Two, 'Formation of the Inner Alchemy of Zhong-Lu,' discusses the various sources from which it originated. Through analyzing the ancient shamanism and the Daoist theories of immorality of the Pre-Qin dynasties, the Earlier Han and the Later Han, the Wei-Jin and the Sui-Tang periods, the Chapter points out the influences the unsuccessful experiments in the area of outer alchemy, the evolution of the theory of yuan-qi, the changes in the concepts of body and mind, and the Mahayana and the Theravada Buddhism had exerted on the inner alchemy. Chapter Three is on the 'Main Themes of the Inner Alchemy of Zhong-Lu.' The Chapter starts with a brief discussion of Laozi as a legendary figure and the book that bears his name, the Laozi. It then spells out the remarkable impacts the Laozi, especially its concepts of Dao and De and its dialectical thinking, had on the formation of the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu. In addition to exploring how the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu treats the naturally endowed yuan yang as the moral basis of life, through analyzing the ultimate stage of the yang shen fleeing from the shell or the body, this Chapter also investigates the views held by the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu on a number of issues, including the significances of the shell and the moral implications of the relationship between body and mind in this this-worldly practice. Besides, what is also intended to demonstrate in this Chapter is the fact that the ultimate meaning of the inner alchemy, as seen from the series of ranking designed by Zhong and Lu in which the immortals are classified into such categories as shen-xian and tien-xian, lies nowhere but the moral practice within this ordinary world. Chapter Four, 'Significance of the Inner Alchemy of Zhong-Lu,' discusses two issues, with the first one on the characteristics of the Daoist concepts of Dao and De and the second specifically on these concepts in the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu. While the discussion of the first one is intended to point out that the way of understanding Dao and De in terms of nature i n the Laozi has generally been inherited by the Daoist religion, that of the second is aimed at analyzing how the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu, through integrating the cosmology and ontology in the Laozi into its theory of yuan-qi, formulates its distinctive notion of the creativity of Dao and De and draws up a program that emphasizes the cultivation of both body and mind. Chapter Five examines the impacts of Zhong-Lu on the subsequent developments of the inner alchemy. It points out that not only had the Southern and the Northern Sects in the Song Dynasty inherited directly from the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu, but also the Eastern, the Western and the Central Sects of the Song, and the Dragon-gate Sect of the Ming and Qing all had followed closely the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu, both in terms of theory and practice. On the basis of these historical evidences, it further maintains that the dual emphasis placed on the cultivation of body and mind by the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu is indeed something of a moral actualization, which is integral to the process of cultivation, and an ultimate goal in its most fundamental sense. Chapter Six concludes the thesis with two major points. First, the dual emphasis on body and mind of the inner alchemy of Zhong-Lu is in actuality an extension of the concepts of Dao and De in the Laozi, with mind being equivalent to Dao and body to De, respectively. Second, the concept of the immortals put forward by Zhong-Lu furnishes an ultimate state wherein morality is fully attained by virtue of the practice of qi.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2004
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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