CAS-E Lecture Series with Dr. Ilia Mozias (CAS-E fellow), “The Shades of Emptiness: The Alchemical Teaching of the Master Wei Yao 魏堯”

“The Shades of Emptiness: The Alchemical Teaching of the Master Wei Yao 魏堯”

Dr. Ilia Mozias

In 1924-1925, Wei Yao 魏堯, a member of the fourth generation of the influential Western School of Internal Alchemy, delivered lectures that are still used as a widely circulated textbook by members of the school. This lecture explores Wei’s teachings on emptiness and the school’s unique method of practice. The ultimate goal of alchemical practice is the attainment of unity with emptiness, the primordial state of the universe and humanity prior to the manifestation of form and matter. Traditionally, alchemists refine essence, qi, and spirit within the physical body to create an immortal body that returns to emptiness after leaving physical form. The Western school, however, emphasizes the cultivation of emptiness itself. According to Wei Yao, emptiness is a creative force that constantly exists, while the body is a “puppet” Thus, the optimal approach is to disregard the physical body and focus on emptiness from the outset. By unifying the emptiness of the mind, body and universe, practitioners set in motion a natural process that leads to the creation of a new immortal self. This lecture focuses on a close textual analysis of Wei Yao’s lectures and his other works. It examines the concept of “emptiness” in the context of alchemical self-cultivation, exploring the ever-shifting nuances, perceptions, and uses of emptiness in the process of self-cultivation, while highlighting the straightforward yet potent methods of practice that were employed by alchemists and enabled them to harness the transformative and creative potential of emptiness.

12.12.2023 – 18:15-19:45

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