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Chinese Literature
Tianyinzi 天隱子 "The Master of the Heavenly Seclusion"


The Tianyinzi 天隱子 "Master of the Heavenly Seclusion" is a Daoist book written by an anonymous author form the Tang period 唐 (618-907). Because it is only a small book, it is often edited as an appendix to the book Xuanzhenzi 玄真子. There is a preface written by the Daoist master Sima Chengzhen 司馬承禎 who lived in the late 7th century. The preface already says that the author is not known. The book is divided into 8 chapters.
Master Tianyin describes how a Daoist practicioner devotes himself to tranquillity and simplicity in order to free himself of all things distracting him from concentrating on the natural way, the Dao. Mentally and physically united with the Dao, he would be able to become an immortal. Sima Chengzhen praises the book as equal to the Zhouyi cantong qi 周易參同契. It seems that the transmitted book is not complete. The Song period 宋 (960-1279) collector Chao Gongwu 晁公武 speaks of a chapter Sangongfa 三宫法 "The method of the three palaces" (see his catalogue Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志). Chao as well as other scholars like Chen Zhensun 陳振孫 or Wu Ceng 吳曾 were of the opinion that the preface might possibly not date from the time of Sima Chengzhen and that the name of this famous Daoist has been misused for the book Tianyinzi. This opinion is not shared by the commentators of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The Tianyinzi is also included in the Daoist Canon Daozang 道藏 (section of the Taixuan tradition 太玄部).


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2309. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Contents
神仙 Shenxian Immortals
易簡 Yijie Change to simplicity
漸門 Jianmen
齋戒 Zhaijie Diet and fasting
安處 Anchu Peaceful living
存想 Cunxiang Resting in thoughtfulness
坐忘 Zuowang Sitting in forgetfulness
神解 Shenjie Explanation of deities
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

March 22, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail