ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (SMART NOTES): Nèiyè 內業 Inner Cultivation

A State of Qi with its capital Linzi, where the academy Jixia Gate was established and the book Nèiyè 內業 was compiled by Guănzĭ 管子.

A State of Qi with its capital Linzi, where the academy Jixia Gate was established and the book Nèiyè 內業 was compiled by Guănzĭ 管子.

“A long overlooked text of classical times, the Neiye (“Inner Cultivation” or “Inner Developement”) is a text of some 1,600 characters, written in rhymed prose, a form close to that  of the Daode jing. It sometimes echoes that text and the Zhuangji, but it lacks many of the concerns found in those works. Generally dated to 350-300 BCE, it is preserved in the Guanji, along with two later, apparently derivative texts.”—Russell Kirkland, and the whole entry is cool enough to say what we have and what we do not have in the ancient text.

There are four translations the internet is easy to provide to careful reader, but no matter how careful you are one question is obvious: the four terms (qi ‘energy’, jing ‘vital essence’, dao ‘the way’, and sheng ‘spirit’) are too broad to understand and something should be definitely done here. Who, when, how?

Another example of difficulty to deal from the first ‘zhang’ (actually there is no ‘zhangs’ in original text, no titles to zhangs, and let us remember it, no punctuation marks for Classical Chinese up to 1919 at all): 謂之鬼神 wèizhī guĭshén  were translated ‘we call it ghostly and numinous’ (Harold D. Roth), ‘we call these ghosts and spirits’ (Indiana University, R. Eno?), and another translation under the nickname Shazi Daoren,  ‘we call this the ‘spiritual being’. More complex situation we shall have in zhang 19 in the phrase, where ‘guĭshén’ will be used twice: 鬼神將通之,非鬼神之力也,精氣之極也。

“While the ghostly and numinous will penetrate it,

It is not due to the power of the ghostly and numinous,

But to the utmost refinement of your essential vital breath.”—(Nineteen, Harold D. Roth)

“…the spirits will make it comprehensible. 

Yet it is not by the power of the spirits:

it is the utmost of the essential qi.”—(Indiana University, R. Eno?), by the way, it is Section 13: Concentration now.

“12 A Spiritual Being will fathom it,

  13 Not due to the Spiritual Being’s power,

  14 But due to the ultimate of Jing and Qi.”— (Shazi Daoren, zhang 19-Concentration qi).

I do understand people who do not have time to read two volumes of Encyclopedia of Taoism, how about to read my f***ing blog, it is smart, cute, SHORT. For example, Miura Kunio on our favorite ‘guĭshén’ phrase is here. I still believe, it can be helpful for further translations somehow (and for careful, very careful readers too).

As far as I can see, humanity is not ready to print out this text in Classical Chinese, Pinyin with tones (easy to read for every student), and two or three translations into English with numeration of every line. Probably, humanity will be ready to do it in a couple of years. 

Gimme another summer break and we shall see :)))

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