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An annotated translation and study of Chapters on Awakening to the Real (ca. 1061): attributed to Zhang Boduan (ca. 983-1081)

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Title: An annotated translation and study of Chapters on Awakening to the Real (ca. 1061): attributed to Zhang Boduan (ca. 983-1081)
Author: Crowe, Paul B. M.
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Asian Studies
Copyright Date: 1997
Abstract: The Wuzhen pian (Chapters on Awakening to the Real), composed by Zhang Boduan during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), is one of the most important texts describing the Taoist method of cultivation known as neidan (inner alchemy). Neidan texts, including the Wuzhen plan, contain a complex array of symbols which draws on sources such as waidan (outer alchemy), the Yijing (Book of Changes), and the wuxing (five phases) in addition to earlier Taoist texts. One of the most influential representations of neidan literature is found in volume five of Joseph Needham's monumental reference work, Science and Civilisation in China. It is held here that this representation, while rich in detail, is flawed in its portrayal of the neidan process of cultivation. Needham and his colleagues present neidan as a form of proto-science which is concerned almost exclusively with physiological processes. An argument is made for understanding the Wuzhen pian, which is taken as representative of neidan literature in general, as primarily a spiritual document detailing a process which leads to an experience of enlightenment and transcendence rather than as a chapter of early proto-chemistry in the story of the evolution of modern science. This argument is based on the author's annotated translation of the edition of the Wuzhen pian found in the Xiuzhen shishu (Ten Compilations on the Cultivation of Perfection). The annotation pays close attention to the various commentaries included in this edition of the text as well as the other editions found in the Daozang (Taoist Canon). The main argument and the translation are preceded by a discussion of Zhang Boduan's (ca. 983-1081) life which is based on the hagiographic materials found in the Daozang and several gazetteers. A summary of the various major influences on the text and an overview its structure has also been included.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/7625
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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