This book contains four essays on Internal Alchemy by Isabelle Robinet, originally published in French and translated here for the first time into English. The essays are concerned with:
(1) The alchemical principle of "inversion"
(2) The devices used by the alchemists to "give form to the Formless by the word, and thus manifest the authentic and absolute Dao"
(3) The symbolic function of numbers in Taoism and in Internal Alchemy
(4) The original meanings of the terms External Elixir (waidan) and Internal Elixir (neidan)
Isabelle Robinet (1932-2000) was one of the main Western scholars of Taoism. Her work dealt with several major subjects: the Laozi and the Zhuangzi with their commentaries; the Shangqing (Highest Clarity) school of Taoism; Neidan (Internal Alchemy); and Taoist thought and cosmology. Her publications in English include Taoist Meditation: The Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity (1993) and Taoism: Growth of a Religion (1997).