Daoist Meditations

(364–370)

This set of Daoist Meditations, “The Upper Scripture of Purple Texts Inscribed by the Spirits,” is an obscure mystical text dating from the Dong (Eastern) Jin kingdom (317–420) of China’s Six Dynasties period (222–589), when alchemical purifications, apocalyptic imaginaries, Buddhist soteriology, and strict meditative practices heavily influenced the development of Daoism as both an elite esoteric practice and a popular religion. The document was transcribed by the mystic Yang Xi (330–386?) who presented it to his patrons, the aristocratic Xu family, who in turn preserved it for...