Explorations in Daoism
Medicine and Alchemy in Literature
By Ho Peng Yoke
Routledge – 2007 – 228 pages
The Daoist canon is the definitive fifteenth century compilation of texts concerning ritual, alchemical and meditation practices within Daoist religion. Many of these texts are undated and anonymous, so dating them is essential for a clear understanding of the development of Chinese alchemy, and the place of these texts in history.
Ho Peng Yoke's Explorations in Daoism brings together an extraordinary compendium of data on alchemical knowledge in China, describing the methods used for dating important alchemical texts in the Daoist canon, and reconstructing and translating a number of alchemical texts that exist only in fragments scattered throughout the Daoist canon, pharmacopoeia and other compendia.
This book provides a clear guide for students and scholars about the methods required for dating and reconstituting texts using techniques that can be applied to other areas of traditional Chinese culture also. As such, this book will appeal to those interested in Chinese alchemy, the history of science, Daoism and Chinese history.
"Ho's mastery of the history of science in China is awe inspiring…this is an extremely well-edited volume, with in-text Chinese characters, chemical formulas, and extensive cross-referencing. It will be an essential reference for scholars of the history of Daoism, alchemy, and Chinese science." - Bridie Andrews Minehan, ISIS, 100:1 (2009)
"Based on solid scholarship in both the natural sciences and history of religions, this collection of articles by Ho Pend Yoke makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Daoist alchemy. It presents important materials, both from within the Canon and beyond, in their original wording and with careful examination of their provenance, editorial history, and traditional relevance. The scholarship is impeccable and the work most essential – providing access to materials otherwise hidden in the nebulous realm of Daoist alchemy and encouraging scholars to engage more actively in the interdisciplinary examination of traditional sources." – Livia Kohn, EASTM
Author's Preface Preface by T. H. Barrett 1. Introduction 2. On the dating of alchemical texts 3. Danfang jianyuan and Danfang jingyuan 4. Partial restoration, collation and translation of lost alchemical texts 5. General discussions Appendix 1: Beyond the Daoist Canon: Proto-chemistry in the pharmacopoeia Appendix 2: Extracts from al-Biruni's pharmacopoeia with added Commentaries Bibliography
Ho Peng Yoke has published widely on Chinese alchemy, astronomy, divination and mathematics. He occupied senior academic positions in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Hong Kong before becoming the Director of the Needham Research Institute in 1990. On his retirement at the end of 2001 he became its Emeritus Director. He is an academician of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Academia Sinica and the International Euro-Asia Academy of Science.