The Daoist Canon

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The Daoist Canon ( 道藏 Daozang ) is a comprehensive collection of Daoist scriptures. Its compilation began in the Tang dynasty. Daoist books increased day by day after the Wei and Jin dynasties. Chapter "Xialan" (extensive review) of The Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 抱朴子内篇 Baopuzi Neipian ) had already registered over 600 volumes of Daoist books by then. During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, Lu Xiujing classified the books into "Three Grottoes" ( 三洞 Sandong ) and compiled The Catalogue of Scriptures of the Three Grottoes ( 三洞經書目錄 Sandong Jingshu Mulu ), the first catalogue of scriptures in the history of Daoism. Afterwards, ritual master Zheng compiled The Catalogue of the Seven Sections of the Jade Apocrypha ( 玉緯七部經書目 Yuwei Qibu Jing Shumu ) according to the classification of the Three Grottoes and the Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ). Later, Tao Hongjing compiled The Catalogue and The Catalogue of All the Supreme Scriptures ( 太上衆經目 Taishang Zhongjing Mu ). It was not until the Kaiyuan era of the Tang dynasty (A.D. 713-741) that for the first time Daoist books were compiled into a corpus, namely The Daoist Canon of the Kaiyuan Era, the first Daoist corpus in Chinese history. Daoist books were missing in large numbers due to the turmoil at the end of the Tang dynasty and in the Five Dynasties. After the founding of the Song dynasty, Daoist scriptures were collected and collated on five occasions, and The Daoist Canon was re-compiled. Completed altogether were The Comprehensive Catalogue of Precious Literature ( 寶文統目 Baowen Tonglu ), The Precious Canon of Heavenly Palace ( 天宮寶藏 Tiangong Baozang ), The Daoist Canon of the Wanshou Era, and The Precious Canon of Exquisite Writings ( 瓊章寶藏 Qiongzhang Baozang ). Compiled in the Jin dynasty was The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis of the Great Jin ( 大金玄都寶藏 Dajin Xuandu Baozang ), and compiled in the Yuan dynasty was The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis. These Daoist canons were lost long before after suffering from wars and the burning in the Yuan dynasty. Extant today are The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) printed in the tenth Zhengtong year of the Ming dynasty (1445) and The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Wanli Era ( 萬曆續道藏 Wanli Xu Daozang ) compiled and printed by Zhang Guoxiang in the 35th Wanli year (1607).

History of the Canon's Compilation

The Daoist Canon of the Kaiyuan Era ( 開元道藏 Kaiyuan Daozang )

It is the first Daoist canon in Chinese history and was compiled in the Kaiyuan years of the Tang dynasty (A.D. 713-741). After ascending the throne, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang dynasty ordered more than 40 persons, including Shi Chongxuan, to compile The Pronunciation and Meaning of All Daoist Scriptures ( 一切道經音義 Yiqie Daojing Yinyi ). Subsequently, on this basis, he sent people to search for Daoist scriptures here and there in the Kaiyuan era, and together with those collected in the capital, a corpus named The Exquisite Compendium of the Three Grottos ( 三洞瓊綱 Sandong Qionggang ) was compiled, which consisted of 3,744 volumes (some say there are 5,700 volumes, some say there are 7,300 volumes) altogether. The Daoist Canon of the Kaiyuan Era was compiled according to the classification into Three Grottoes ( 三洞 Sanding ). It was composed of three grottoes, containing 36 books in all. Each of the sections, the Pervasive Perfection ( 洞真 Dongzhen ), the Pervasive Mystery ( 洞玄 Dongxuan ) and the Pervasive Divinity ( 洞神 Dongshen ) consisted of 12 books. In the seventh year of the Tianbao era (748), an imperial order to copy the canon was given in order to spread it widely. At the end of the Tang dynasty and in the Five Dynasties, the canon was destroyed in wars and is no longer extant.

The Comprehensive Catalogue of Precious Literature ( 寶文統錄 Baowen Tonglu )

It was one of the Daoist corpuses compiled in the Song dynasty, in the era of Dazhong Xiangfu during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty (1008-1016) to be exact. After the rebellion of An Lushan in the Tang dynasty, most of the Daoist books collected in the two capitals were burnt. Later, ordered by Emperor Suzong and Emperor Daizong of the Tang dynasty, the Daoists Shen Fu, Du Guangting and Ji Qiwu searched all over the country for Daoist books, but "few of the precious excellent books still existed" (Volume 52 of The Supreme Yellow Register Fasting Rituals ( 太上黃籙齋儀 Taishang Huanglu Zhaiyi )), and most had been lost. After the founding of the Song dynasty, more than 7,000 volumes of Daoist books were collected during the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Song dynasty, and Sanqi-Changshi (imperial attendant) Xu Xuan and Zhizhigao (official in charge of imperial documents) Wang Yuchen were ordered to collate, delete and copy them. After this, there were 3,737 volumes. During the first years of the Dazhong Xiangfu era, Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty ordered Prime Minister Wang Qinruo to be in charge, choosing Daoists Zhu Yiqian, Feng Dezhi, etc. to collate the canon. Based on Xu Xuan and Wang Yuchen's edition, they supplemented 622 volumes. There were altogether 4,359 volumes, including 620 volumes of the Pervasive Perfection Section, 1,013 volumes of the Pervasive Mystery Section, 172 volumes of the Pervasive Divinity Section, 1,407 volumes of the Supreme Mystery Section ( 太玄部 Taixuan Bu ), 192 volumes of the Supreme Peace Section ( 太平部 Taiping Bu ), 576 volumes of the Supreme Clarity Section ( 太清部 Taiqing Bu ), and 379 volumes of the Orthodox Oneness Section ( 正一部 Zhengyi Bu ). A catalogue of the corpus was compiled and presented to the emperor and was given the title The Comprehensive Catalogue of Precious Literature. It has been lost today.

The Precious Canon of Heavenly Palace of the Great Song ( 大宋天宮寶藏 Dasong Tiangong Baozang )

It was one of the Daoist canons compiled in the Song dynasty. Since the compilation of The Comprehensive Catalogue of Precious Literature was not too ideal, in the fifth year of the Dazhong Xiangfu era (1012) Emperor Zhenzong of the Song dynasty appointed Zhang Junfang Zhuzuo-Zuolang (assistant historian) who was to compile the canon specially. Based on the existent Daoist books and scriptures collected from Suzhou, Yuezhou, Taizhou and so on, Zhang Junfang and Daoist priests discussed the stylistic rules, examined different versions, selected and arranged them in the order of the Three Grottoes and the Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ), and compiled a corpus of 4,565 volumes. With the item "heaven" in the 1000-Word Writ ( 千字文 Qianzi Wen ) as its first heading and the item "palace" as the last, the canon was titled The Precious Canon of Heavenly Palace of the Great Song. It is not currently extant.

The Longevity Daoist Canon ( 萬壽道藏 Wanshou Daozang )

It was one of the Daoist canons compiled in the Song dynasty. In the Chongning era of the reign of Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty (1102-1106), an imperial order was given again to search for Daoist books, and Daoist priests were ordered at the publishing office to collate The Precious Canon of Heavenly Palace, which added up to 5, 387 volumes. In the Zhenghe era (1111-1118), the emperor ordered to look for missing Daoist books and set up an office in charge of scriptures. He ordered Daoists Yuan Miaozong and Wangdaojian to collate the scriptures and sent them to Minxian County, Fuzhou. Huang Shang, a court scholar, official and prefect of Fuzhou, employed workers to print them. The canon, 5,481 volumes altogether, filled 540 boxes. It was called The Longevity Daoist Canon, or The Longevity Canon of the Zhenghe Era as it was compiled in the Zhenghe era. This is the first printed Daoist canon. In the turmoil of the Jiajing era (1126-1127), it was lost, and in the Jin dynasty, it was completed. Today it does not exist.

The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis of the Great Jin ( 大金玄都寶藏 Dajin Xuandu Baozang )

It was a Daoist canon compiled in the Jin dynasty. In the 26th Dading year during the reign of Emperor Shizong of the Jin dynasty (1186), the emperor ordered to give the printing board of The Daoist Canon in the southern capitcal (i.e. today's Kaifeng, Henan) to the Tianchang Temple in Zhongdu (i.e. today's Beijing). In the first Mingchang year during the reign of Emperor Zhangzong of the Jin dynasty (1190), the emperor ordered the temple's inspector Sun Mingdao to search for missing books and re-compile The Daoist Canon. Sun Mingdao sent Daoists looking for the missing scriptures in different places of the country, and got 1,074 volumes. Together with the more than 21,800 books that survived, there were 83,198 books in all. They classified them into Three Grottoes and Four Complements, discussed the stylistic rules, examined different versions, and compiled one corpus, which totaled 602 books, 6,455 volumes and was titled The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis of the Great Jin. Due to the fire of the Tianchang Temple in the second Taihe year during the reign of Emperor Zhangzong of the Jin dynasty (1202), the canon was burnt and does not exist today.

The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis ( 玄都寶藏 Xuandu Baozang )

It was a Daoist canon compiled in the Yuan dynasty. In the ninth year during the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Yuan dynasty (1237), the Daoists Song Defang and Qin Zhi'an searched for the missing scriptures and planned to reprint The Daoist Canon. After eight years of compilation, the canon was completed in the third year during the reign of Empress Naima Zhen of the Yuan dynasty (1244). The canon consisted of over 7,800 volumes in all and was still titled The Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis. The printing board was kept at the Temple of Mysterious Metropolis in Pingyang. In the eighth Zhiyuan year during the reign of Emperor Shizu of the Yuan dynasty (1281), an imperial order was given to burn the printing boards of all Daoist canons except The Book of Dao and Its Virtue ( 道德經 Daodejing ). So the printing board of the Precious Canon of the Mysterious Metropolis was burnt and many scriptures collected were lost as a result. The canon does not exist today.

The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正统道藏 Zhengtong Daozang )

It was a Daoist canon compiled in the Ming dynasty. At the beginning of the reign of Emperor Chengzu of the Ming dynasty (1403), Zhang Yuchu, the Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) of the 43rd generation was ordered to re-compile The Daoist Canon. After his death in the eighth Yongle year (1410), Zhang Yuqing, the Celestial Master of the 44th generation was ordered to continue the compilation. The board of the canon began to be made in the ninth Zhengtong year during the reign of Emperor Yingzong of the Ming dynasty (1444). Then Daoist Shao Yizheng was ordered to collate and supplement the canon. It was completed and printed in the tenth Zhengtong year (1445). The canon, titled The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era, consisted of 5,305 volumes and filled 480 boxes. The scriptures were classified into Three Grottoes, Four Complements, and Twelve Subsections. The headings, from "tian" to "ying", were taken from the 1,000-Word Writ. Under each heading, there were a few volumes. The canon was spread in the country and kept in famous mountains and Daoist temples. In the 35th Wanli year during the reign of Emperor Shenzong of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1607), Zhang Guoxiang, the Celestial Master of the 50th generation, was ordered to complement The Daoist Canon. The headings, from "du" to "ying", were also taken from the 1,000-Word Writ. There were altogether 32 sections, 180 volumes. This canon was titled The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Wanli Era ( 萬曆續道藏 Wanli Xu Daozang ). Together with The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era, there were 5,485 volumes in all which filled 512 boxes. Only the edition of the Ming dynasty now exists. It is the only existent government-compiled Daoist canon of our country. From 1923 to 1926, Shanghai Commercial Press borrowed The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era printed in the Ming dynasty, which was kept in Beijing White Cloud Temple ( 白雲觀 Baiyun Guan ), and photocopied it in the name of Hanfen Tower. The canon was reduced into 6 mo. The books amounted to 1,476 and were included in 1,120 volumes. Today, there is the photocopied edition of The Daoist Canon published in 1987 by Wenwu Press, Shanghai Shudian Press, and Tianjin Guji Press. In addition, a photocopied edition published by Taiwan Yiwen Yinshuguan Press and Taiwan Xinwenfeng Publishing House is in circulation.

Organization of the Canon

The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) is classified into Three Grottoes ( 三洞 Sanding ), Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ), and twelve subsections. The "Three Grottoes" refer to those of Pervasive Perfection ( 洞真 Dongzhen ), Pervasive Mystery ( 洞玄 Dongxuan ) and Pervasive Divinity ( 洞神 Dongshen ). When Daoist Lu Xiujing (A.D. 406-477) of Liusong of the Southern Dyansty compiled The Catalogue of Scriptures of the Three Grottoes ( 三洞經書目錄 Sandong Jingshu Mulu ), he classified the Daoist books into three categories: Pervasive Perfection, Pervasive Mystery and Pervasive Divinity. The first kind mainly consists of Scriptures of the Highest Clarity ( 靈寶經 Lingbao Jing ) and is known as the first-class; the second kind mainly consists of Scriptures of the Numinous Treasure ( 上清經Shangqing Jing ) and is known as the second-class; the third kind mainly consists of The Book of the Three August Ones ( 三皇經Sanhuang Jing ) and is known ad the third-class. This classifying method originated by Lu Xiujing sorted out numerous Daoist books and laid a foundation for the subsequent compilation of The Daoist Canon. The "Four Complements" were first seen in ritual master Meng's The Catalogue of the Seven Sections of the Jade Apocrypha ( 玉緯七部經書目 Yuwei Qibu Jing Shumu ). Because the classification as Three Grottoes could not include all the Daoist books, the "Four Complements" came into being as a supplement. They refer to the sections of Supreme Clarity ( 太清 Taiqing ), Supreme Peace ( 太平 Taiping ), Supreme Mystery ( 太玄 Taixuan ) and Orthodox Oneness ( 正一 Zhengyi ), which supplement Pervasive Perfection, Pervasive Mystery, Pervasive Divinity and all the above six divisions and the three classes respectively. The twelve subsections are:

  1. Original texts, which refer to the original true texts of the scriptures;
  2. Divine talismans, which refer to the scripts of characters on seals and numinous talismans;
  3. Jade formulae, which refer to the commentaries of Daoist books;
  4. Numinous charts, which refer to the illustrations of the texts or scriptures mainly composed of charts;
  5. Records of lineages, which refer to Daoist scriptures recording the deeds of Perfect Men and Sages' transformation and their merits and ranks;
  6. Precepts, which refer to scriptures about commandments and Ledgers of Merits and Demerits ( 功過格 gongguo ge );
  7. Rituals, which refer to scriptures about Fasts and Offerings ( 齋醮 zhaijiao ) and rituals;
  8. Methods, which refer to Daoist books on methods of cultivation of perfection, nourishing spiritual nature, worship and refinement;
  9. Techniques, which refer to Daoist books on Outer Alchemy ( 外丹 waidan ) and Divinatory Calculation ( 術數 shushu );
  10. Biographies, which refer to the biographies and stele inscriptions of immortals and Perfect Men and annals of Daoist temples;
  11. Hymns, which refer to scriptures lauding spirits;
  12. Petitions and memorials, which refer to the petitions and Qingci (Daoist prayers written in vermilion on a kind of special paper) presented in fasts and offerings.

The existent Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era is classified into Three Grottoes, Four Complements and twelve subsections. This classifying method has its shortcomings. For example, there is no further classification under the Four Complements so that the stylistic rule is in disorder and reference is not convenient. A recent scholar Chen Yingning re-classified the Daoist Canon in the 1930s. He classified the canon into 14 categories according to the character of the scriptures. We believe that there will be a more scientific and reasonable classification of The Daoist Canon when it is re-compiled. The extant canon, though not so scientific in its levels of classification, is rich in content. In addition to Daoist scriptures, it collects works of the various schools of thought and their exponents during the period from pre-Qin times to the early years of the Han dynasty. It provides valuable materials for the study of philosophic ideas, social history, science and techniques, literature and arts, peoples' conditions and customs, and the national psychology of ancient China. Moreover, it can be used for the study of versions and collations. Presently scholars are planning and preparing for the compilation of a new China Daoist Canon.

Reference Aids

The Catalogue of the Scriptures of the Daoist Canon ( 道藏經目錄 Daozang Jing Mulu ): The author is unknown. It is a four-volume Daoist catalogue. At the very beginning are "The Origin and Lineage of Daoism" and notes on the use of the canon that explain the classification of Three Grottoes ( 三洞 Sanding ), Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ), and twelve subsections. The first volume is the catalogue of the Pervasive Perfection Section ( 洞真部 Dongzhen Bu ), the second volume is the catalogue of the Pervasive Mystery Section ( 洞玄部 Dongxuan Bu ), the third volume is the catalogue of the Pervasive Divinity Section ( 洞神部 Dongshen Bu ), and the fourth volume consists of the catalogue of the Supreme Mystery Section ( 太玄部 Taixuan Bu ), the Supreme Peace Section ( 太平部 Taiping Bu ), the Supreme Clarity Section ( 太清部 Taiqing Bu ), and the Orthodox Oneness Section ( 正一部 Zhengyi Bu ). A catalogue of 1,415 Daoist scriptures, it is arranged in 4,517 volumes and numbered according to the 1000-Word Writ ( 千字文 Qianzi Wen ). Attached to the catalogue is The Supplementary Catalogue of the Scriptures of the Daoist Canon ( 續道藏經目錄 Xu Daozang Jing Mulu ). Numbered from "du" to "ying", it collects 52 Daoist scriptures and is arranged in 180 volumes. At the end of the catalogue is written: Zhang Guoxian collated and printed it by imperial order in the 35th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty (1607). Zhang Guoxiang was the Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) of the 50th generation. He compiled The Supplementary Daoist Canon (of the Wanli Era) ((萬曆)續道藏 (Wanli) Xu Daozang ) by imperial order in the Wanli era. Therefore, The Catalogue of the Scriptures of the Daoist Canon must have been completed at the same time as The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) and The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Wanli Era. It is collected in the Orthodox Oneness Section of The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era. The Catalogue of the Missing Scriptures of the Daoist Canon ( 道藏缺經目錄 Daozang Quejing Mulu ): The author is unknown. It is a two-volume Daoist catalogue. A note to the title of its first volume says, "It is copied from the former catalogue". A recent scholar Chen Yuan believes that this is just the catalogue of missing scriptures collected in the Daoist canon of the Yuan dynasty, but not in The Daoist Canon of the Zhenggtong Era. It is a catalogue of 768 missing scriptures. Attached at the end is The Detailed Outline of the Venerable Scriptures of the Past Dynasties Collected in the Daoist Canon ( 道藏尊經歷代綱目 Daozang Zunjing Lidai Gangmu ). As for the Three Grottoes and Four Complements, it says that the Supreme Clarity and Orthodox Oneness Sections supplement the Pervasive Divinity Section, which is slightly different from the traditional view that the Supreme Clarity supplements the Pervasive Divinity Section and the Orthodox Oneness Section supplements all the six sections. This catalogue provides reference material for the study of the evolution of The Daoist Canon. It is collected in the Orthodox Oneness Section of The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era.

The Detailed Annotations of the Contents of the Daoist Canon

The Detailed Annotations of the Contents of the Daoist Canon ( 《道藏目錄詳注》 Daozang Mulu Xiangzhu ) (4 volumes) was written by Bai Yunzhai at the White Cloud Temple of Beijing (Mr. Cheng Guofu considers that Bai Yunzhai was from the Temple Facing the Heaven) in the 6th Tianqi year of Emperor Xixong in the Ming dynasty. The book is based on the Daoist Canon, being classified by the Three Grottoes, the Four Complements, and the Twelve Types. Each entry has some interpretations on the title: the Chongwen Comprehensive Bibliography ( 《崇文總目》 Chongwen Zongmu ) and Reading at the Junzhai ( 《郡齋讀書志》 Junzhai Dushu Zhi ) are suitable examples. The book is titled as detailed annotations, but in fact it is fairly brief, and later it was included in the Four Repositories. It is a reference book for the Daoist Canon.

Annotated Bibliography of the Daoist Canon

The Annotated Bibliography of the Daoist Canon' '( 道藏提要 Daozang Tiyao ) was first published by the China Social Sciences Press in January 1997, with Ren Jiyu as the Editor in Chief and Zhong Zhaopeng as assistant editor. Numerous in volumes and rich in contents, the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) and the Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Wanli Era ( 萬曆續道藏 Wanli Xu Daozang ) of the Ming dynasty are the main materials for the study of Daoism. But it is inconvenient to search for books in the canons, due to their lack of a systematic classification system as well as the unknown authors and times of some books. Imitating the compilation methods of the Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of the Four Repositories, the Annotated Bibliography of the Daoist Canon adopted the fruits of the research of previous scholars, including Liu Shipei, Chen Yuan, ChenYique, Tang Yongtong, Chen Guofu, Wang Ming, Chen Yingning, and Weng Dujian in China, and Yoshioka Yoshitoyo, Ofuchi Ninji, and Fukunaga Mitsuji in Japan. Aiming at examining the time, author and contents of each book in the canon, it adopts traditional methods of textual criticism and gloss explanation. Besides, it also compares Daoism with Buddhism in their mutual influence. Meanwhile, it judges the dates of texts based on the historic development of Chinese philosophy. As appendixes, it contains a "Brief Introduction to the Authors of Daoist Scriptures", a "Bibliography with New Classification of the Scriptures in the Daoist Canon", a "Bibliography of the Daoist Canon and of the Supplementary Daoist Canon", an "Index to the Authors of Daoist Scriptures", and an "Index to the Books in the Daoist Canon". As a complete and useful reference book with high academic value, it provides readers with great convenience.

Index to the Daoist Canon

The Index to the Daoist Canon ( 《道藏索引》 Daozang Suoyin ) was originally compiled by Kristofer M. Schipper and recomposed by Chen Yaoting. With the subtitle Concordance of the Daozang, it was published by the Shanghai Bookstore Press in 1996. The traditional classification of the voluminous Daoist Canon makes it inconvenient for modern scholars to search scriptures, and they commonly adopt the Concordance du Tao-tsang ( 《道藏通檢》 Daozang Tongjian ) composed by Prof. Kristofer M. Schipper in 1975. With this concordance, it is rather convenient for users to search a text in the canon. In 1989, Prof. Chen Yaoting, the director of the Institute of Religions of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, during his academic visit to France, obtained Prof. Schipper's agreement to recompose his index without any fee. Schipper's index arranges all Daoist books according to clear classifications as petitions, rituals, etc. Moreover, it simplifies the names of the scriptures into the most important parts as clues to related scriptures as well as the original scriptures. Also, it helps the reader to search for scriptures with changed titles. The principles of the recomposition include:

  1. Keeping the concordance.
  2. Following the order of Schipper's index, compiling a United Bibliography of the Titles of the Books in Five Versions of the Daoist Canon, listing the different sections, volumes and numbers of pages of each scripture in each of the five different versions.
  3. Compiling an alphabetical index following Chinese reading habits.
  4. Compiling two new appendixes for readers' convenience. As a fruit of cooperation between Chinese and French scholars, this index of five versions of the Daoist canon is very beneficial for the promotion of Daoist studies worldwide and nationwide.

Other Daoist Compilations

Collections of Daoist Scriptures Outside the Canon

Besides Selections from the Daoist Canon ( 道藏輯要 Daozang Jiyao ), Extracts from the Daoist Canon ( 道藏精華錄 Daozang Jinghua Lu ) compiled by Ding Fubao, "master who guards the oneness", in the era of the Republic of China collects some Daoist scriptures outside the Daoist canon as well. Having collected Daoist books since the 1950s, the Taiwanese scholar Xiao Tianshi compiled Essence of the Daoist Canon (daozang jinghua), bringing together several Daoist scriptures outside the Daoist canon and amounting to more than 800. The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Zhuang and Lin Lineages ( 莊林續道藏 Zhuanglin Xu Daozang ) compiled by the American scholar Michael Saso collects plenty of Taiwanese Daoist scriptures on talismans, registers and rituals, most of which are secret hand-written copies. At the end of 1994, Bashu Press published The Collection of Daoist Scriptures Outside the Canon ( 藏外道書 Zangwai Daoshu ) in 36 volumes. It is known as "a comprehensive collection of new supplementary Daoist scriptures". Its chief editors are Hu Daojing, Chen Yaoting, Duan Wenjia, Lin Wanqing, etc. The scriptures are not classified into Three Grottoes ( 三洞 Sandong ), Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ) and twelve subsections in the traditional way adopted by The Daoist Canon ( 道藏 Daozang ). Instead, they are classified into 11 categories, namely missing ancient Daoist books, scriptures, doctrines, Nourishing Life ( 攝養 Sheyang ), precepts and Moralistic Storybooks ( 善書 Shanshu ), rituals, hagiographies, annals of temples and geographical records, literature and arts, catalogues, and other books. This book is the largest Daoist collection since the edition and publication of The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ). Among the books collected, some are the only existing copies throughout the country, some are rare copies, and some have never been published. This collection has a very high reference value.

The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Zhuang and Lin Lineages

The 25-volume Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Zhuang and Lin Lineages ( 道藏輯要 Daozang Jiyao ) compiled by U.S. Scholar Michael Saso (Su Haihan in Chinese) was published in photocopied form by Chengwen Publication Co. Ltd. Of Taiwan in 1975. The work collected 104 kinds of Daoist scriptures frequently used in the north of Taiwan, including many secret manuscripts of talismans and rituals. It is divided into four parts according to the rituals and usage:

  1. The Golden registers ( 道藏精華錄 Daozang Jinghua Lu ) section, containing 50 volumes of scriptures about Golden Register rituals and Five-Time offerings for audience rituals ( 莊林續道藏 Zhuanglin Xu Daozang ).
  2. The Yellow registers ( 藏外道書 Zangwai Daoshu ) section, containing 19 volumes of Daoist texts of the numinous treasure ( 三洞 Sandong ), salvation of the dead ( 四輔 Sifu ), refinement and salvation ( 道藏 Daozang ), and blood lake ( 攝養 Sheyang ), etc.
  3. The Ritual Documents ( 善書 Shanshu ) section, containing 10 volumes of texts of talismans, incantations and secret formulae. Its first volume contains the talismans, incantations, registers and formulae brought to Taiwan by Huashan Daoist Wu Jingchun.
  4. The Minor Divine Heaven Rituals of the Lushan Lineage ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ), containing 25 volumes of registers and talismans of Divine Heaven lineage granted to lushan Daoists by Celestial Master Zhang on the Dragon and Tiger Mountain. The Supplementary Daoist Canon of the Zhuang and Lin Lineages provides valuable materials for the study of Taiwan Daoism.

Selections from the Daoist Canon

The Daoist Canon ( 道藏 Daozang ) was not re-compiled in the Qing dynasty, but a selected version of The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) (some Daoist books of the Qing dynasty were supplemented in it) ---- The Selections from the Daoist Canon ( 道藏輯要 Daozang Jiyao ) was produced. In the Kangxi era of the Qing dynasty (1662-1722), Jinshi (a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations) Peng Dingqiu selected about 200 important books from The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era, and divided them into 28 collections according to the names of the 28 constellations. They compose more than 200 volumes, where major Daoist scriptures, rituals and precepts, stele inscriptions, biographies and lineage records are all collected. In the Jiaqing era (1796-1820), Jiang Yuanting compiled the one-volume Catalogue of the Selections from the Daoist Canon, which records 279 Daoist books in 268 books. In the 32nd year of the Guangxu era (1906), because the original Selections from the Daoist Canon were rarely seen, the Temple of the Two Immortals ( 二仙庵 Erxian An ) in Chengdu reprinted it and supplemented the five-volume Sub-catalogue of the Selections from the Daoist Canon compiled by He Longxiang and Daoist books appearing afterwards in the Qing dynasty. The Daoist books and catalogues of Daoist scriptures add up to 319, and newly supplemented Daoist books total 114. The printing board is now kept in Black Sheep Temple ( 青羊宮 Qingyang Gong ) in Chengdu, and Bashu press reprinted the book according to it. In Taiwan, there is the clothbound edition of Selections from the Daoist Canon. The scriptures not collected in The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era of the Ming dynasty in this edition are important references for the study of the Daoist thought and history of the Ming and Qing dynasties.