This wonderful and important first attempt to fully translate the Yellow Court Classic, a portion of the “Taoist Immortality Cannon,” is a pleasure to read on many levels. Imios Archangelis and Miaoyu Lanying have done an exemplary job of bringing an obscure alchemical Chinese Taoist text vibrantly to life and making it relevant to the twenty-first century. Brilliantly designed, Jade Writing provides readers with an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Chinese characters from the original text, and the romanization of each for pronunciation. The English translations are found on the left side of every page. While on the right side are the flowing verses of the commentary, with extensive footnoting that is tremendously helpful in understanding the ubiquitous symbolism and allegory.
The book’s forty-page introduction, which is densely academic, offers editorial explanation and insight into the Jade Writing’s history and profundity. Its author, Archangelis, a Qigong healer and practitioner of Taoism, with more than thirty years devoted to the study of esoteric and scientific systems, seems eminently qualified to interpret the document. He is passionately attached to the content and his Bodhisattva-like desire to share its timeless power to transform is palpable.
Lovers of poetry will be delighted by the translators’ careful use of words and rhythm to enhance the intrinsic beauty of the ancient text. For example: “Courtiers of the Yellow Castle are all clothed in silk brocade, a splendid purple flying robe that has been woven with cloud Qi. It’s red and green seams are numinous boughs of the Spirit.”
For those with an interest in Chinese traditional medicine, the many references to body systems and health practices should more than satisfy. One such passage suggests, “Prevent a dissolution of the teeth and hair by practicing biting in five directions. Bring the saliva from the Mystical Well to front and upwards, into the Hall of Light.”
Students of philosophy will be challenged by the intellectual depth of the original document: “Tranquility brings inner happiness and clear worries, helping to achieve the lightness potential, an ability to float over the obstacles or to dissolve them. Always prosperous, deep understanding will finally overcome everything.”
Teachers and students of Chinese history and lovers of the Chinese language will also find Jade Writing to be an invaluable resource.
The merits of this superlative book are truly manifold. In fact, the final verse recommends that readers, “Go through it 10,000 times, trying to understand its meaning, to refresh yourself. Loosen your hair, have no lust, so you can live forever.”