Foundations of Internal Alchemy: The Taoist Practice of Neidan
Foundations of Internal Alchemy

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Foundations of Internal Alchemy

The Taoist Practice of Neidan

Wang Mu

Edited and translated by Fabrizio Pregadio


viii + 144 pp.
Golden Elixir Press, 2011
ISBN 978-0-9843082-5-5

Paperback, US$ 19.95 ● € 16.00 ● GB£ 15.00 ● JP¥ 3500 (list prices)
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Originally written for Chinese readers, this renowned book provides a clear description of the Taoist practice of Internal Alchemy, or Neidan. The author outlines the stages of the practice and clarifies several relevant terms and notions, including Essence, Breath, and Spirit; the Cinnabar Fields; the "Fire Phases"; and the Embryo. The book is based on the system of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality), one of the main sources of Internal Alchemy, and contains about two hundred quotations from original Taoist texts.

Wang Mu (1908-92) received the Longmen ordination in his youth. He taught Internal Alchemy (Neidan) and was held in high regard by both practitioners and scholars of the Taoist tradition. He served as a board member of the China Taoist Association and was for some time in charge of its research activities. He is known outside China mainly for his annotated edition of the Wuzhen pian (Awakening to Reality), the text at the basis of the present book.

Originally published as "Wuzhen pian danfa yaozhi" 「悟真篇」丹法要旨

Chrome bullet The following is a simplified Table of Contents. For the complete contents, please download the PDF Preview.

Foreword, vii

     The Basis: Essence and Spirit, 3

     The Four Stages, 13
     "Laying the Foundations," 15
          Main Points in the Practice of "Laying the Foundations," 20
          The Functions of Essence, Breath, and Spirit, 36
          Terms Related to the "Coagulation of the Three Treasures," 52
          Conclusion of the Stage of "Laying the Foundations," 63
     "Refining Essence to Transmute it into Breath," 65
     "Refining Breath to Transmute it into Spirit," 99
     "Refining Spirit to Return to Emptiness," 109

     The "Arts of the Way," 121

Tables, 123
Glossary of Chinese Characters, 133

Chrome bullet " . . .  after reading about half of Foundations I can say I have never met a clearer and more useful book in this very difficult and intricate field." (Email from a Reader)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ In all of my years of searching for a daoist text to illuminate information on nei gong as a companion to my own study of nei gong, I found this book by mistake. But the information within the text is everything both my teachers and my experiences have indicated. Without a doubt, this is the best text I've ever read on the subject of cultivation and the confusion between medical qi gong and true daoist nei gong. I can't stop recommending this book to anyone who is starting the path in the foundation stage. This is one of the most refreshing reads I've ever had the pleasure of reading. (M.W. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Excellent. Very deep study. This book gives a good understanding of daoism. It is a good complementación to the Jade Writings. Read it (S.E. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Excellent!!!. — I've pratice nei dan and qigong for several years, but this book change my mind and my qigong forever. Great! (C.G. de B.J. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Clear and Precise. — Wonderful translation -- clear and precise. Although Wang Mu is a Daoist practitioner, this book has a clear, objective tone which helps to understand the terms and concepts for anyone who wants to know the material. I have been waiting a very long time for this kind of book to come out, which discusses the ideas of the practice of Daoism (not the "philosophical" speculations which have been promulgated in the US for so many years but its religious core) in a comprehensible, academic and accessible manner. Very good work. It is like having a knowledgeable teacher by my side to explain the ideas. (D.Q. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Masterwork of Alchemy and Qigong. — . . . .  I have been a practitioner of Daoist inner alchemy and Qigong for about 20 years, and this is the type of book I wish I had when I first started learning. The descriptions are very detailed and broken down clearly into the various stages of cultivation. The translation is extremely well done and the author includes the relevant key Chinese terms in pinyin romanization and original complex Chinese characters for those interested in that as a reference. (H. McC. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ This is a really interesting book on internal cultivation. I appreciate the efforts of the author to break down many of the metaphors found in Internal Alchemy texts and to help simplify the intellectual side of these techniques. It is also very good that he stresses the practice of neidan. This is something that must be experienced rather than read, but this book is a good start to help simplify the intellectual foundation of that practice. (F. - Read the original review)

Chrome bullet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The best!. — There is profound scholarship behind everyone of Pregadio's books but it's his ability to make accessible these complicated and sometimes ineffable ideas that make these translations simply the best available. (T.C. - Read the original review)

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