The Literati Path to Immortality
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The Literati Path to Immortality

The Alchemical Teachings of Lu Xixing


Paperback $34.95, plus S&H PDF download $15







By Ilia Mozias
240 Pages
January 2020
ISBN 978-1-931483-42-1


The Literati Path explores the life and teachings of the Ming author and alchemist Lu Xixing (1520-1601), who embodied the literati tradition of self-cultivation, learning internal alchemy from books and through spirit-writing seances with Lü Dongbin and other immortals.

After presenting his biography, the book expounds the cosmological doctrines at the foundation of internal alchemy then moves on to describe just how the practice serves to overcome destiny, modeling techniques on biological gestation and creating a new being deep within. It explains major alchemical concepts as applied by Lu Xixing and systematically describes his path to immortality, all the while questioning the validity of his reputation as a sexual alchemist.

Shedding fascinating new light on the religious life of Ming literati and providing a first access to a unique take on internal alchemy in late imperial China, The Literati Path to Immortality is a must for anyone interested in traditional Chinese religion and culture!

The Author

Ilia Mozias was born in 1971. He lived in China for many years, studying and working. In 2019, he received his Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His research focuses on Daoism, internal alchemy, spirit-writing, and thunder rites.


This book — the first devoted to a single Chinese alchemical author in a Western language — examines the work of Lu Xixing, a major master of Daoist neidan (internal alchemy), who lived in the 16th century but is still influential today. Displaying a remarkable acquaintance with relevant primary sources, Ilia Mozias submits Lu’s work to an original and thorough analysis, enabling the reader to rethink several commonplace assumptions not only of Lu himself, but also of all of Daoist alchemy. This book will prove invaluable to anyone interested in the alchemical traditions of China and other cultures. It is an indispensable resource for further studies of late imperial and early modern neidan.—Fabrizio Pregadio, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

Ilia Mozias has a gift for clarity: this comprehensive analysis of a major neidan author, graced with precise translations, forefronts the core human issues at stake in inner alchemy and eschews technicity and floweriness. It shows Lu Xixing struggling with tantalizing but ever unfinished revelations as he tries to make sense of them and remake himself into a transcendent being.—Vincent Goossaert, Professor of Daoist History, EPHE, PSL, Paris

The Literati Path to Immortality is an outstanding example of new and exciting scholarship in the field of Daoist studies and Chinese religious history, setting new levels of excellence through its careful biographical research and meticulous analysis of textual sources. The author explores how late Ming alchemists differ in their views, terms, and practices from earlier masters of internal alchemy. Showing the social structures behind the practice and examining the understanding of immortality, he provides a new dimension to our vision. Ilia Mozias’s work makes an important and unique contribution, opening a new chapter in the ongoing quest for an overarching history of Daoism and internal alchemy.—Livia Kohn, Boston University