Cantong qi explained The Cantong qi is deemed to be the earliest book on alchemy in China. The full title of the text is Zhouyi cantong qi, which can be translated as, for example, The Kinship of the Three, in Accordance with the Book of Changes. According to the traditional view, well-established in China, the text was composed by Wei Boyang in the mid-second century CE, and deals entirely with alchemy—in particular, with Neidan , or Internal Alchemy. Besides this one, there has been, within the Taoist tradition, a second way of reading the text: in agreement with its title, the Cantong qi is concerned not with one, but with three major subjects, namely Cosmology the system of the Book of Changes , Taoism the way of "non-doing" , and Alchemy, and joins them to one another into a single doctrine.

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Pregadio, editor of Encyclopedia of Taoism, is the leading expert on this text and on the field of Chinese alchemy in which the text is situated. His account of its origin and history is masterly.

He shows that its roots lie in the study of the Book of Changes that occupied scholars in the 2nd century CE and their thoughts on analogies between micro- and macrocosm. From the 8th century CE onwards, it was adopted by practitioners of Neidan Internal Alchemy and thus came to strongly influence meditation practices well into the 19th century.

He faithfully translates the Can Tong Qi into readable English without sacrificing the richness of the original. Very few of the old texts have been translated into English, let alone with such high quality. In a very readable introduction pp. A must read! Recommended for university courses as well as the general public! Michael Saso - Read the original review "[This book] has already opened my eyes to things that I would not have appreciated before.

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Cantong qi explained

According to this record trans. Campany, , Wei Boyang was the son of a high-ranking family. He and three disciples retired to a mountain and compounded an elixir. When they tested it on a dog, the dog died.



Their colors, white and red, are associated with the agents Metal and Fire. The symbolism of verses 7—8 is complex, but deserves attention as this passage of the Cantong qi is quoted in several later texts. If the two sets of walls are shaped qj joined semicircles, they form a wheel see fig. This portion of the Cantong qi begins with a description of the principles of alchemy.


Cantong Qi - Neidan


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