Essays on Harmony

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Essays on Harmony ( 中和集 Zhonghe Ji ) was written by Li Daochuan and compiled by his disciple Cai Zhiyi. The title of the book comes from the concept of "harmony" explained in the Book of Rites ( 禮記 Liji ). There are altogether six volumes. The first volume elaborates on the Supreme Ultimate ( 太極 Taiji ), the second on Inner Alchemy ( 內丹 Neidan ), and the other four volumes discuss teachings on nature, life and Inner Alchemy. The book vigorouly advocates the theory of the Integration of the Three Doctrines ( 三教合一 Sanjiao Heyi ) of Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. It holds that the three doctrines evolved in different ways but have the same origin, and advocates that in all three doctrines there is the practise of "Silent Meditation" ( 靜定 Jingding ). "Illumination" ( 圓覺 Yuanjue ) in Buddhism is equal to the "Golden Elixir" ( 金丹 Jindan ) in Daoism, and is called the "Supreme Ultimate" in Confucianism. The book also absorbs the Neo-Confucian theory of "harmony", and changes it into an important skill of Cultivation and Refinement of Inner Alchemy, especially emphasizing "Keeping to the Middle" ( 守中 Shouzhong ). "Keeping to the Middle" just means keeping to the Mysterious Pass ( 玄關 Xuanguan ). Yin is motionless while Yang is in motion, and ultimate motionlessness gives birth to motion. "The position in motion is the Mysterious Pass". At two and six o'clock, if cultivating the mind in motion, the cultivating person could naturally see the Mysterious Pass. When this happens, the use of elixirs and heat control, as well as the transformation from the physical body into the spirit, take place at this pass. This theory of Keeping to the Middle is a distinctive own system in Daoist Inner Alchemy, and was called The Middle Way Sect ( 中派 Zhongpai ) by Daoism in later ages. The book is an important scripture in the history of Daoist ideas. It is collected in the Methods subsection of the Pervasive Perfection Section ( 洞真部 Dongzhen Bu ) in the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ).