ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (THE END NOTE): Tàiyī jīnhuá zōngzhĭ 太一金華宗旨 The Ultimate Purport of the Golden Flower of the Great One

taiyi jinhua zongzhi

“Better known as the Secret of the Golden Flower, this is a famous neidan text that the Western world came to know through Richard Wilhelm’s 1929 translation. The Chinese text used by Wilhelm was edited by Zhanran Huizhen zi in 1921. Besides this, at least five more versions are available, all of which date to the late Qing dynasty (1644—1911) and are ascribed to Lu Dongbin, who revealed them through spirit writing.”—Monica Esposito, the author of the encyclopedia entry.

I have said already my point of view here (Jīndān 金丹 Golden Elixir, Volume 1)and I have nothing to add but the exact title of the book in German and English:

Wilhelm, Richard. 1929 Das Geheimnis der Goldenen Blüte: Ein chinesisches Lebensbuch, Zürich and Stuttgart: Rascher Verlag. Translated into English by Cary F. Baynes as The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962; New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962). [Includes translations of the Taiyi jinhua zongzhi and the Huiming jing].

One useful link to Fabrizio Pregadio (the editor of Encyclopedia of Taoism) pdf file on the subject:


Probably, humanity doesn’t use all potentials of the brain power to feel the beauty around every second, but humanity has enough abilities to feel the beauty around after and/or before the tough conditions handmade by people themselves. I am sure there is some other ways to achieve the goal of the Tàiyī jīnhuá zōngzhĭ (太一金華宗旨), not only following the very ancient and difficult to understand treatise of the old times. At least, the sky was beautiful when I had shot the picture (photo above).



The best quotation from the current encyclopedia entry I’d like to share was written by the editor, Fabrizio Pregadio: “Modern studies usually refer to the Chinese arts of the elixirs as waidan (external alchemy) or neidan (inner alchemy), but the authors of the alchemical texts often call their tradition the Way of the Golden Elixir (jīndān zhī dào 金丹之道). Gold (jīn 金) represents the state of constancy and immutability beyond the change and transiency that characterize the manifested world. As for dān 丹, or “elixir,” lexical analysis shows that the semantic field of this term—which commonly denotes a variety of red—evolves from a root-meaning of “essence,”and that its connotations include the reality, principle, or true nature of an entity, or its most basic and significant element, quality, or property.”– Encyclopedia of Taoism, London, Routledge, 2008. (By the way, all tones in the quotation are mine as usual.)

Several times in my life I was serious in attempts to understand and put in the practice the Golden Elixir theories. In the first translation from Chinese into English (I have met many years ago) the translators changed the original terms into what they thought would be more appropriate for Western readers but I couldn’t agree at all; the second translation included Traditional Chinese but without Pinyin transliteration and was not easy to make cross-reference through dictionaries.  Putting your hand on the heart, how many people in the U.S.A. with 316,668,567 population (July 2013 est.) can enunciate  the original Jindan texts properly?

In addition, I cannot help myself to quote here another source: “The real Tao is when you get rid of the brand new blender which you didn’t use the whole year and acquire a spice rack with a bunch of spices which you begin on every cooking day and become sick don’t doing it from time to time.”–Say Syonagone, Notes at the Kitchen’s Threshold, 14-16 century, Japan.

Of course, I am mocking now in a cruel way, but I would like to underline that translator’s work shouldn’t be like this, if you do like and care for your business.

The original  Sei Shōnagon’s (966-1017) The Pillow Book is actually a very nice reading for those who can appreciate ancient diaries (including me) and if you are truly interested (still) in the Golden Elixir, try this:


  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • Cayenne
  • Honey


In a mug, stir together water, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne and honey to taste. Enjoy the Golden, enjoy the Elixir :)))