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 7)

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.

(31) Liu Yiming 劉一明 (1734-1821)

Cantong zhizhi 參同直指, 1799

Straightforward Directions on The Seal of the Unity of the Three

Cantong qi, Commentary by Liu Yiming (Fushou baozang ed., 1936)

Fushou baozang ed., 1936

Liu Yiming was an eleventh-generation master of a northern branch of the Longmen lineage. His Cantong zhizhi contains a major revision of the "Ancient Text," based on its own principles. The individual portions within the "Canon" and the "Commentary" are rearranged according to their subjects—cosmology, inner cultivation, and alchemy—in such a way that they follow corresponding sequences. This enables Liu Yiming to precisely point out for each portion of the "Commentary" a corresponding portion of the "Canon."

Liu Yiming's version of the "Ancient Text" derives from Chen Zhixu's redaction of the standard text (no. 9 above). Complying with other versions of the "Ancient Text," however, Liu Yiming includes the "Eulogium," which he incorporates as the preface to the "Commentary."

Liu Yiming's work was first published in 1819 in his collected works, the Daoshu shi'er zhong 道書十二種 (Twelve Books on the Dao), which is available in several other editions and reprints. This page is reproduced from the Fushou baozang 福壽寶藏 edition of 1936.

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 71-72 and 195-97

(32) Li Shixu 黎世序 (1773-1824)

Zhouyi cantong qi zhushi 周易參同契注釋, 1823

Commentary and Explanation of The Seal of the Unity of the Three

Cantong qi, Commentary by Li Shixu (Qianyu zhai ed., 1823)

Qianyu zhai ed., 1823

Li Shixu's commentary is partly inspired by the principles of the "Ancient Text" of the Cantong qi, but does not follow its arrangement. In Li Shixu's text, each portion of the "Canon" (the four-character verses) is immediately followed by the respective portion of the "Commentary" (the five-character verses), or stands alone when there is no corresponding portion in the "Commentary."

One of the introductory sections of Li Shixu's work contains illustrations of a remarkable quality, including the one reproduced here from the original Qianyu zhai 謙豫齋 edition (1823). An exemplar of this edition is found in the Tōyō Bunka Kenkyūjo 東洋文化研究所 (Institute of Oriental Culture), Tokyo University

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 73-74 and 180-82

(33) Lü Huilian 呂惠連 (fl. 1879)

Cantong qi fenjie bijie 參同契分節祕解, 1879

Explication of the Secrets of The Seal of the Unity of the Three, Divided into Sections

Cantong qi, Commentary by Lü Huilian (Wanjin tang ed., 1911)

Wanjin tang ed., 1911

The Cantong qi fenjie bijie was composed by Lü Huilian, who signs his preface as Apprentice Physician (yiyuan 醫員) in Fushan (Shandong).

His remarkably long work essentially follows the arrangement of the original "Ancient Text," with two main exceptions. First, Book 1 of the "Canon" is immediately followed by Book 1 of the "Commentary." Second, Books 2 and 3 of the "Commentary" are merged into a single chapter. In addition, each chapter is introduced by a preface by Lü Huilian.

This page is reproduced from the Wanjin tang 萬金堂 edition (1911), reprinted in Zangwai daoshu 藏外道書, vol. 25 (Chengdu: Ba-Shu shushe, 1994).

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, pages 74 and 197

(34) Gong Yitu 龔易圖 (1835-94)

Guben zhouyi cantong qi 古本周易參同契, 1891

Ancient Version of The Seal of the Unity of the Three

Cantong qi, Commentary by Gong Yitu (Edition of 1891)

Edition of 1891

Gong Yitu's work was published under his sobriquet, Hanjing daoren 含晶道人. It contains selections from earlier commentaries, including those of Peng Xiao (no. 3 above), Chen Xianwei (no. 7), Chen Zhixu (no. 9), and Lu Xixing (no. 11-12), rearranged according to the ordering of the "Guwen" version.

This page is reproduced from the 1891 edition of Gong Yitu's work. An exemplar of this edition is found at the Shanghai Library.

Book IconThe Seal of the Unity of the Three, Vol. 2, page 75.

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