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Chinese Literature
Zhengao 真誥 "The Proclamation of the Perfect"

The Zhengao 真誥 "Proclamation of the perfect" is an early Daoist treatise compiled by the Liang period 梁 (502-557) writer Tao Hongjing 陶弘景. The 20 juan "scrolls" long book is a collection of early Daoist tradition and teachings mostly transmitted orally. The teachings mainly belong to the Shangqing tradition 上清派, but there are also some Buddhist thoughts included. Immortals, deities and ghosts and there interaction with humans play an important part in the stories of the Zhengao. Moral behaviour plays an important role, as the good are rewarded and the bad are punished. Some religious practices of the Shangqing tradition are also described, like diet, living of the qi (fuqi 服氣), embryonic breath (taixi 胎息), magic spells (songzhou 誦咒), keeping the unity (shouyi 守一), yet also medical practices like acupuncture and massage are mentioned. The Zhengao, along with the books Shangqingjing 上清經 and Xushi shipu 許氏世譜, belongs to the oldest writings concretely describing such methods. The chapter Zhenmingshou 甄命授 might have been added by later persons. It is in many parts identical to the early Buddhist scripture Sishierzhang jing 四十二章經. The last two juan were also added by later writers, probably Yang Xi 楊羲, Xu Mi 許謐 and Xu Hui 許翽. The book is divided into seven chapters, each chapter headed by a three-character title. This method is derived from the apocryphal books of Confucianism.
The edition of the Zhengao in the Daoist Canon Daozang 道藏 includes a preface of the Song period 宋 (960-1279) writer Gao Sisun 高似孫. The Zhengao is also included in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2307. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

1.-4. 運象篇 Yunxiangpian 注文称此篇立辞表意、发咏畅旨、论冥数感对、自相俦会;
5.-8. 甄命授 Zhenmingshou 注文称此篇诠导行学、诚(当作诫)历愆怠、兼晓谕分挺、炳发祸福;
9.-10. 协昌期 Xiechangqi 注文称此篇述修行条领、服御节度、以会用为宜、随事显法;
11.-14. 稽神樞 Xishenshu 注文称此篇区贯山水、宜叙洞宅、测真仙位业、领治所阙;
15.-16. 闡幽微 Chanyouwei 注文称此篇述鬼神宫府、官司氏族、明形式不灭、善恶无遗;
17.-18. 握真輔 Wozhenfu 注文称此篇是三君(指杨羲、许谧、许翙)在世所记录及书疏往来,非《真诰》之例;
19.-20. 翼真檢 Yizhenjian 注文称此篇标明真绪、证质玄原,悉隐居(即陶弘景)所述,非《真诰》之例。
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

June 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail