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Chapters on Awakening to the Real : A Song Dynasty Classic of Inner Alchemy Attributed to Zhang Boduan (circa 983-1081)

Chapters on Awakening to the Real : A Song Dynasty Classic of Inner Alchemy Attributed to Zhang Boduan (circa 983-1081)

By Paul Crowe

B.C. Asian Studies, No.12 (2000)

Abstract: This article is intended to provide a basic introduction to one of the greatest masters of inner alchemy, Zhang Boduan, and to his text Chapters on Awakening to the Real (Wuzhen pian). The paper opens with a description of Zhang Boduan’s life based on information found in four canonical hagiographic texts. The second section discusses the lineage known as the Southern School which has become associated with Zhang. The third section considers some of the most important influences which were brought to bear on Zhang’s alchemical system of cultivation which include the Daode jing , Zhuangzi, Han cosmological ideas and Chan Buddhism. The fourth section provides a very brief introduction to the translation of a sixteen verse excerpt taken from the opening section of Chapters on Awakening to the Real.

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