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  1. Zhang Bo-duan

    Back in the times of the Song dynasty, there was an elderly military official named Zhang Bo-duan, a remarkable man, whose magnum opus, Awakening To The Real, gave rise to the venerated Southern Lineage of the Taoist alchemy. Being around 80 years old, and meeting his teacher in Chengdu, province of Sichuan, Zhang spent less than a year with his teacher, till teacher’s passing. In order to fulfill his teacher’s wish to disseminate the teaching freely and fully, Zhang first preached unsuccessfully, then wrote the Awakening, then recruited students, (which ended in a spectacular failure), so much so that Zhang swore never to teach in person again. Instead, he transmitted the Awakening, a book on the Buddhist-Taoist alchemy, which ends with a poignant Afterword promising a full transmission to anyone who studies it closely. The Afterword is a deeply moving passage, a magic window into the real Daoism of a thousand years ago. This Christmas, let us rejoice in celebrating the old man Zhang and a brilliant scholar, Paul B.M. Crowe, who gifted this gem to the public domain in the now oh-so-distant 1997.