Abstract

Abstract:

This paper surveys some of the main features of the view of the human body in Daoist internal alchemy (neidan 內丹). The first sections discuss three different terms that refer to the body; cosmological, political, theological, natural, and alchemical metaphors used to describe it; and the use of the body as a support for the system of correspondences that tie the human being to the cosmos. On this background, the development of internal alchemyclosely relates to the earlier Daoist meditation practices on the inner gods. The figure of the Red Child (the innermost deity of the human being), in particular, bears close analogies to the "embryo" that alchemists generate through their practices. The final sections are concerned with the two main alchemical charts of the human body and with the use of the Buddhist concept of "dharma-body," which some masters describe as the true immortal body.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1941-5524
Pages
pp. 99-127
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-17
Open Access
No
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