Inner Alchemy and Mystical Experience in the Zhuangzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter has attempted to examine the concepts relating to the metaphysical grounding of the universe as well as the spiritual and corporeal conditions of the mystic, such as qi氣, jing精, shen神and their compounds and cognates in the text in order to show that Yearley’s characterization of Zhuangzist mysticism as an intraworldly type, in which the connection between the mystic and the transcendent Reality is not acknowledged, is culturally embedded and owes more to the trend treating Chinese philosophy as anti-transcendental than any textual evidence from the Zhuangzi. By investigating and clarifying the ambiguity of the cognates of concepts, I have argued that the text’s significance lies in its description of a thorough-going series of cultivation practices, through which it is possible for the mystic to convert the qi in their body in order to return to the origin and to merge with the Dao.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameDao Companions to Chinese Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2211-0275
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8780


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