Essential Secrets of the Most High

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Essential Secrets of the Most High ( 無上秘要 Wushang Miyao ) is a Daoist encyclopedia. It was compiled by adepts of the Tongdao Temple under the imperial order from Emperor Wudi Yu Wenyong (r. 561-578) of the Northern Zhou dynasty. The sections of bibliographies in The Old History of the Tang Dynasty, The New History of the Tang Dynasty and History of the Song Dynasty collect 72 volumes. The catalogue of the Supreme Peace Section ( 太平部 Taiping Bu ) of The Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era ( 正統道藏 Zhengtong Daozang ) is ended with the 100th volume, but 31 volumes, i.e. volumes 1-2, 10-14, 36, 58-64, are lost, and 69 volumes really exist. This shows that there were originally 100 volumes in the book, only 72 volumes remained in the Tang and Song dynasties, and three volumes were lost again in the Zhengtong era of the Ming dynasty (1436-1449) when The Daoist Canon was compiled. The book selects the major Daoist books of the Three Grottoes ( 三洞 Sandong ) and Four Complements ( 四輔 Sifu ) and classifies them into different sections. The Daoist books since the Wei, Jin, and the Southern and Northern Dynasties it cites are as many as 287 (see the third edition of Historical Studies of Daoist Scriptures (daozang jingdian shilun) by Yoshioka Yoshitoyo). This book is an important reference for the study of the history of Daoism of the Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties.