Baopuzi(Master Embracing Simplicity), a famous Chinese ancient book written by the Taoism master Ge Hong in the Jin Dynasty (265-420), consists ofBaopuzi Neipian(inner chapters) andBaopuzi Waipian(outer chapters). It was regarded as the Taoism Canon.
TheBaopuzi Neipianmainly describes the prescriptions of supernatural being, apparition change of ghosts, health preservation and secrets of longevity, and avoidance of disasters and cure of disease. These contents belong to the Taoist school, and they can be concretely concluded as follows: elaborate the noumenon of universe, demonstrate the existence of supernatural being, describe the manufacturing method and application of wonder drugs and pills of immortality, discuss the study and applications of various arts of necromancy, astrology and medicine, etc., list the bibliographies of Taoist canons, and illuminate the universality for common people to cultivate vital energy.
Baopuzi Waipianis mainly about social affairs, which belongs to the scope of Confucianism. Moreover, this book also testifies the author's development of his thoughts from the Confucianism to Taoism. Its concrete contents can be concluded as follows: discuss the gain and loss of current affairs, sneer the common customs, explain the method to rule common people; appraise occurrences in human life, advocate self-denying and waiting for the right moment to demonstrate one's ability; persuade king to appoint able people, love people, restrain desires and fully come into power; discuss the importance of talented people, moral self-cultivation and writing books.
In a word,Baopuziintegrates the metaphysics, Taoist theology, arts of necromancy (astrology and medicine, etc.), pills of immortality, ancient cooking vessels of pills, magic figures or incantations, Confucianism and immortality into a whole system. As a result, it establishes the theoretical system of Taoist supernatural being.