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Chinese Literature
Daoist Treatises (dao lei 道家類)


The Four Categories of Literature
Daoist Treatises (daojia lei 道家類) is a subcategory in traditional Chinese bibliographies and part of the category of Masters and Philosophers (zibu 子部). It includes almost exclusively writings of philosophical Daoism and collections of biographies of Daoist immortals. Writings on religious practices, like diet, fasting, alchemy, ecclesiastical rites, and talismans are barely considered and only included in some chapters of the Baopuzi 抱朴子 and the Zhouyi cantong qi 周易參同契. The focus lies on the writings Laozi Daodejing 老子道德經 and Zhuangzi 莊子 which were always highly respected also by scholars not inclined to Daoism. The Daoist section in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 includes 44 books.
There is a separate tradition of biographies of Daoist masters and immortals. The search for physical immortality in early Daoism was also reflected in the search for a herb providing immortality even by high-standing persons as the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 (r. 246-210 BCE) or Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) of the Han dynasty. A lot of books were produced narrating the lives of Daoist immortals, how they became immortals and with which supernatural powers they were endowed as a result of their practices. The first book including stories of immortals is the Liexianzhuan 列仙傳, followed by the Shenxianzhuan 神仙傳, both written during the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). During the age of Southern and Northern division 南北朝 (300~600) political unrest and social hardship resulted in a deeper interest in religion. Both Buddhism and Daoism profited from this, and it was especially the Daoist side which produced, not only for historiographical, but also for missionary reasons, a lot of stories about immortals. A lot of immortals were historically existing persons, like Dongfang Shuo 東方朔, whom popular belief later attributed supernatural characters. Most stories are relatively short and literally not very high-standing.


書名 Title Author(s)
陰符經 Yinfujing 黃帝 Yellow Emperor; (Tang) 李筌 Li Quan (comm.)
伊尹書 * Yiyinshu (Shang) 伊尹 Yi Yin (?)
辛甲書 * Xinjiashu (Zhou) 辛甲 Xin Jia (?)
老子道德經 Laozi Daodejing (Zhou) 李聃 Li Dan (?); (Han) 河上公 Heshanggong (comm.); (Cao-Wei) 王弼 Wang Bi (comm.)
關尹子 Guanyinzi (Zhou) 尹喜 Yin Xi (?)
老莱子 * Laolaizi (Zhou) 老莱 Lao Lai
列子 (沖虛至德真經) Liezi (Chongxu zhide zhenjing) (Zhou) 列御寇 Lie Yukou (?); (Jin) 張湛 Zhang Zhan (comm; ?)
莊子 (南華真經) Zhuangzi (Nanhua zhenjing) (Zhou) 莊周 Zhuang Zhou (?); (Jin) 郭象 Guo Xiang (comm.)
文子 (通玄真經) Wenzi (Tongxuan zhenjing) (Zhou) 辛銒 Xin Jian (?)
公子牟子 * Gongzi Mouzi (Zhou) 公子牟 Prince Mou
田子 * Tianzi (Zhou) 田騈 Tian Pian
黔婁子 * Qianlouzi (Zhou) 黔婁 Qian Lou
列仙傳 Liexianzhuan (Han) 劉向 Liu Xiang
淮南子 (淮南鴻烈解) Huainanzi (Huainan honglie jie) → Miscellaneous treatises (Han) 劉安 Liu An
周易參同契 Zhouyi cantong qi (Han) 魏伯陽 Wei Boyang
任子道論 * Renzi daolun (Wei) 任嘏 Ren Gu
唐子 * Tangzi (Wu) 唐滂 Tang Pang
抱朴子 Baopuzi (Jin) 葛洪 Ge Hong
神仙傳 Shenxianzhuan (Jin) 葛洪 Ge Hong
枕中書 * Zhenzhongshu (Jin) 葛洪 Ge Hong
蘇子 * Suzi (Jin) 蘇彦 Su Yan
陸子 * Luzi (Jin) 陸雲 Lu Yun
孫子 (孫綽子) * Sunzi (Sunchuozi) (Jin) 孫綽 Sun Chuo
苻子 * Fuzi (Jin) 苻朗 Fu Lang
幽求子 * Youqiuzi (Jin) 杜夷 Du Yi
少子 * Shaozi (Southern Qi) 張融 Zhang Rong
真誥 Zhengao (Liang) 陶弘景 Tao Hongjing
亢倉子 Kangcangzi (Tang) 王士源 Wang Shiyuan
玄真子 Xuanzhenzi (Tang) 張志和 Zhang Zhihe
天隱子 Tianyinzi (Tang) anon.
無能子 (无能子) Wunengzi (Tang) anon.
仙苑編珠 Xianyuan bianzhu (Tang) 王松年 Wang Songnian
續仙傳 Xuxianzhuan (Southern Tang) 沈汾 Shen Fen
雲笈七籤 Yunji qiqian (Song) 張君房 Zhang Junfang
悟真篇 Wuzhenpian (Song) 張伯端 Zhang Boduan
道樞 * Daoshu (Song) 曾慥 Zeng Zao
易外別傳 Yiwai biezhuan (Song) 俞琰 Yu Yan
洞仙傳 * Dongxianzhuan (Song) anon.
疑仙傳 * Yixianzhuan (Song) 玉簡 Yu Jian or 王簡 Wang Jian
集仙傳 * Jixianzhuan (Song) anon.
三洞群仙錄 * Sandong qunxian lu (Song) 陳葆光 Chen Baoguang
墉城集仙錄 * Yongcheng jixian lu (Song) 杜光庭 Du Guangting
長春真人西遊記 * Changchun zhenren xiyou ji (Jin) 李志常 Yu Yan
歷世真仙體道通鋻 * Lishi zhenxian tidao tongjian (Yuan) 趙道一 Zhao Daoyi
三教搜神大全 * Sanjiao soushen daquan (Ming) anon.
正統道藏 * Zhengtong daozang (Daoist Canon) (Ming)
讀抱樸子 * Du baopuzi (Qing) 俞樾 Yu Yue

* not included in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書, the catalogue Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目題要, nor the Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書

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