The Master Who Embaces Simplicity

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The Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 抱朴子 Baopuzi ), written by Ge Hong, is composed of the Inner Book ( 內篇 Neipian ) and the Outer Book ( 外篇 Waipian ). The Inner Book, which discusses Immortalism and medicine for Immortality ( 方藥 Fangyao ), the transformations of demons and ghosts, nourishing and prolonging life, and exorcism and avoidance of disasters, is a Daoist treatise of altogether twenty volumes, while the Outer Book, which discusses successes and failures in the human world and the good and evil of affairs of human life, is a Confucian work of altogether fifty volumes. The Inner Book sums up the theories of the Immortalists ( 神仙家 Shenxian Jia ) since the Warring States period, and establishes the Daoist theoretical system of Immortality from then on. It inherits Wei Boyang's theories on Refining Elixirs ( 煉丹 Liandan ) and is the culmination of the Alchemical Skills of the Wei and Jin dynasties. Moreover, it is a valuable source for the study of the history of Daoism and that of Daoist ideas before the Jin dynasty. The book is collected in the Supreme Clarity Section ( 太清部 Taiqing Bu ) of the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ). Tao Hongjing of the Liang dynasty compiled the Commentary on the Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 抱朴子注 Baopuzi Zhu ) in twenty volumes, but it has already been lost. The Collation and Interpretation of the Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 抱朴子內篇校釋 Baopuzi Neipian Jiaoshi ) (China Press, 1985) written by Wang Ming in modern times is now in circulation.