陶弘景(Táo Hóngjǐng):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.
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Tao Hongjing, or Hongjing Tao(Given/Sur Name)
about 456~536 A.D.
《陶隱居本草》(Tao Yin Ju Ben Cao,or Herb Canon of Tao Hermit),《養性延命錄》(Yang Xing Yan Ming Lu,or Books of Nature Cultivation and Life Extending),《肘後百壹方》(Zhou Hou Bai Yi Fang),《本草經集註》(Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu),《陶隱居本草》(Tao Yin Ju Ben Cao),《藥總訣》(Yao Zong Jue),《導引養生圖》(Dao Yin Yang Sheng Tu),etc.
Yang Xing Yan Ming Lu(Books of Nature Cultivation and Life Extending),Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu(the Commentary on Sheng Nong's Herbal), etc.
Biography and legends:
陶弘景(Táo Hóngjǐng), a famous Taoist who specialized in the study of herbs, also called Tao Tongming(year 456~536 A.D.), alias 通明(Tōngmíng), courtesy name 華陽隱居(Huáyáng Yǐnjū, or Huayang Hermit), posthumous title 貞白先生(Zhēn Bái Xiān Sheng), native to Dan Yang Mo Ling. His life passing the three dynasties of the Southern Dynasties(the Song Dynasty,year 420~479 A.D., the Qi Dynasty,year 479~502 A.D., the Liang Dynasty,year 502~557 A.D.), he is a naturalist, with a special contribution to herbalism at that epoch. He is also a famous Taoist Priest at Southern and Northern Dynasties period, ever compiled the Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu(the Commentary on Sheng Nong's Herbal) 7 volumes, one of the most valuable books on materia medica in China, describing 730 varieties of medical substances, including vegetables, animal and mineral herbs. Tao was also the author of the Yang Xing Yan Ming Lu(Books of Nature Cultivation and Life Extending) 2 volumes.
History books recorded that Tao Hongjing has a strange character since childhood, show hobby in books at his four to five years age, "use a reed stick as pen, learn words in ashes", he started to read Confucian classics since his nine years age, Li Ji(the Book of Rites), Shang Shu(the Book of History, or the Book of Documents), Zhou Yi(Yi Jing, or I Ching), Chun Qiu(the Spring and Autumn Annals), Xiao Jing(the bookd of filial piety), Mao Shi(An annotation of the Book of Songs by Mao Heng and Mao Chang), Lun Yu(the Analects of Confucius), etc, know well about them. At his ten years age, got a book named Shen Xian Zhuan(Biography of faries, by Ge Hong), so "read and study it day and night, so has the will of life persevation.", until his adult age, "graceful elegance and bright handsome, clear bright eyebrows and big eyes", "already read books over ten thousands of volumes, if there is one thing out of his knowledge, feel shame deeply", at his fifteen years age, ever wrote a book Xun Shan Zhi(records about seeking mountains), showed his strong admiration for hermit life. At his seventeen years age, he was known widely for his talent and learning, 陶弘景 and 江斅(Jiāng Xiào), 褚炫(Chǔ Xuàn), 劉俁(Liú Yǔ) were called 升明四友(Sheng Ming Si You, or Four Friends of Sheng Ming Years, "Sheng Ming" is the reign title of Liu Zhun, Shun Di of the Song Dynasty, year 477~479 A.D.).
Main books and academic thoughts:
The ancient literature noted, Tao Hongjing got an ancient book named Shen Xian Zhuan(or Legend of Immortals)(written by Ge Hong) at his 10 year age, wrote a book named Xun Shan Zhi(records about seeking mountains) at his 15 age, admire the life of a hermit, he took 孫遊嶽(Sūn Yóuyuè) as his teacher at age 30, learn Qing Jing Method, and started to live in solitude since year 492 A.D., at Mount Ju Qu(today's Mount Maoshan), titled Hua Yang Hermit, constructed Hua Yang Palace with disciples, till his death, Tao Hongjing as a man of parts, excellent in astronomy, calendar calculation, herbs, gold elixir, classics, geography, natural science, literature, and arts, ever written classics more than 80 kinds, the classics survived all became important classics in Taoism and China Scientific Technology history. Tao Hongjing lived at Mount Mao for 45 years, had many disciples, passed away at the age of 81 years old, posthumous title Zheng Bai.
Except for his famous herbal classics, Tao Hongjing wrote some other herbal classics, such as Xiao Yan Fang(Effective Recipes) 5 volumes, Zhou Hou Bai Yi Fang 3 volumes, Tao Yin Ju Ben Cao(Herb Canon of Tao Hermit), Ya Zong Jue, Da Yin Yang Sheng Tu, etc. Tao Hongjing wrote many books about Taoism, etc.
Tao Hongjing's classic Yang Xing Yan Ming Lu(Books of Nature Cultivation and Life Extending) summarized the Taoist Preservation Science, like spirit-cultivation, build physical shape, Qi-promoting method, coition medicine, etc. This classic gave a new medicine classification system according to species: stones, herbs and woods, insects, animals, fruits, vegetables, kernel, seed, it enriched the system of Taoism Medicine. Followed Taoist Ge Hong, Tao Hongjing developed Jin Dan School Taoism and discovered the flame identification method of saltpeter(KNO3).
According to records, herbalist Tao Hongjing left many books, the ancient book Hua Yang Yin Ju Nei Zhuan(Inner Biography of HuaYang Hermit) by 贾嵩(Jia Song) of Song dynasty, recorded that herbalist Tao Hongjing ever had 32 kinds of books, total 233 volumes. In nature cultivation, his representative books are Yang Xing Yan Ming Lu(Books of Nature Cultivation and Life Extending), and Yang Sheng Jing(classics for health maintenance), on herbalism, except his book Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu(the Commentary on Sheng Nong's Herbal), he ever wrote a bookYao Zong Jue(general knack of herbs), etc.
About physical shape building, herbalist Tao suggested that the basic principle is "eating habit should obey limit or demarcations on time and volume", he proposed: "the cause and damage from eating, may over than sexual desire and passions. Sensual passions and desire could be suppressed over years, but eating could not stop for one day. When it does more good, it brings much troublesome too."
1.陶弘景(Táo Hóngjǐng):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.