The Golden Elixir Taoist Alchemy Masters and Texts The Seal of the Unity of the Three

The Seal of the Unity of the Three (Cantong qi)

Commentaries and Editions (Part 3)

Fabrizio Pregadio

These materials on the The Seal of the Unity of the Three, the main text of Taoist Internal Alchemy, are excerpted from:

Cantong qi: The Seal of the Unity of the Three, vol. 2

The Seal of the Unity of the Three. Vol. 2 — Bibliographic Studies on the Cantong qi: Commentaries, Essays, and Related Works

Fabrizio Pregadio
Golden Elixir Press, 2011
Paperback

Part 1 of this book contains a bibliographic catalogue of about 150 extant and lost commentaries, essays, and other works related to the Cantong qi, with details on authors, dates, editions, and reprints. Part 2 contains a survey of the textual tradition of the Cantong qi, focused on the composition and contents of about 40 major texts.

NOTE: This article contains notes on 28 of the 34 extant premodern commentaries of The Seal of the Unity of the Three. Commentaries are numbered according to numeration found in The Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2.

(10) Zhang Wenlong 張文龍 (fl. 1546-66) and Zhu Changchun 朱長春 (fl. 1583-1612)

Zhouyi cantong qi jiejian 周易參同契解箋, 1566

Explication of The Seal of the Unity of the Three, with Additional Annotations

Cantong qi, Commentary by Zhang Wenlong and Zhu Changchun (1612 ed.)

1612 ed.

The author of the commentary, Zhang Wenlong, served the Qing administration with a minor office in Chengdu (Sichuan). The author of the sub-commentary, Zhu Changchun, was Secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

Zhang Wenlong's text is divided into 35 sections and is based on Chen Zhixu's redaction (no. 9 above). It contains, however, the "Eulogium" ("Zanxu" 讚序), drawn from Yu Yan's redaction (no. 8).

The text of the Cantong qi found in this work—which is ultimately Chen Zhixu's text—was included in the expanded version of the Han Wei congshu 漢魏叢書, published in 1592.

This page is reproduced from the 1612 edition, reprinted in Xuxiu Siku quanshu 續修四庫全書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1995-99), vol. 1292.

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 52-53 and 162

(11-12) Lu Xixing 陸西星 (1520-1601 or 1606)

Zhouyi cantong qi ceshu 周易參同契測疏, 1569

Exploratory Commentary on The Seal of the Unity of the Three

Cantong qi, Commentary by Lu Xixing (Fanghu waishi ed., 1580/1620)

Fanghu waishi ed., 1580/1620

Lu Xixing, the reputed founder of the Eastern Branch of Ming-dynasty Neidan, wrote two commentaries on the Cantong qi. The first is the Zhouyi cantong qi ceshu, which was completed in 1569 and is divided 49 sections. The second is the Zhouyi cantong qi kouyi (Oral Instructions on the Meaning of The Seal of the Unity of the Three), which was completed in 1573 and consists in a considerably revised version of the Ceshu. The Kouyi contains only 46 sections, and refers the reader to the Ceshu for the final three sections.

Although Lu Xixing praises Chen Zhixu in his preface to the Ceshu, and although the titles of several sections in his text are identical or similar to those found in Chen Zhixu's work (no. 9 above), Lu Xixing's text is based on Yu Yan's redaction (no. 8).

The commentary is included in Lu Xixing's collected works, the Fanghu waishi 方壺外史, first published in 1571 or 1572. The picture shows the first page of the second edition, published between 1580 and 1620, from the exemplar preserved at the Kyōto Daigaku Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyūjo 京都大學人文科學研究 (Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University).

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 53-54 and 163

(13) Xu Wei 徐渭 (1521-93)

Fenshi guzhu Cantong qi 分釋古注參同契, ca. 1570

Analytical Explication of Ancient Commentaries on The Seal of the Unity of the Three

Cantong qi, Commentary by Xu Wei (P>Late Ming or early Qing ed. (ca. 1600/1650?)

Late Ming or early Qing ed.
(ca. 1600/1650?)

The famous dramatist, poet, and calligrapher Xu Wei wrote his commentary to the Cantong qi in jail. Xu Wei rejects the arrangement of the "Ancient Text" of the Cantong qi, disputing the view that "Canon" and "Commentary" respectively consist of the portions in four- and five-character verses. In his view, the portions that in most redactions of the Cantong qi correspond to Book 1 are Wei Boyang's "Canon"; those that correspond to Book 2 are Xu Congshi's "Commentary"; and those that correspond to Book 3 are equally divided between "Canon" and "Commentary."

In Xu Wei's edition, each section of the "Canon" is immediately followed by the corresponding section of the "Commentary." The result of this rearrangement is actually similar to the version that Xu Wei criticized: the correspondences between the sections that he designates as "Canon" and "Commentary" often match those pointed out by commentators of the "Ancient Text". The main difference is that, in Xu Wei's text, "Canon" and "Commentary" are not set apart from one another according to their meter, but principally according to their placement within the standard text.

The individual sections of Xu Wei's text correspond to the chapters established by Chen Zhixu (no. 9 above). The text is also partly based on Chen Zhixu's redaction.

The picture shows one page from the late Ming or early Qing edition (ca. 1600/1650?) of Xu Wei's work. An exemplar of this edition is found at the Naikaku Bunko 内閣文庫 (Cabinet Library), Tokyo.

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 55-56 and 163-66

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