The “Du Ren Jing” - book 5 of the Taoist canon, is a 61-scroll expanded version of a single scroll scripture.
The expanded scripture was an important centerpiece of LingBao Daoism and the first LingBao scripture included in the canon, but it’s not the foundational piece, and so after reading the five scrolls of it that were translated by Norman and translating one more, I decided, rather than tackling another one right away, to look into the foundational LingBao scripture that was the source of all the others.
In doing this I found several of my questions answered, things that I had tried to research while reading the Du Ren Jing but failed to get anywhere with - ‘who was the White Emperor, and what was his significance?’, what is the ‘Yellow River Map’ and where did it come from?’ - and other origin stories from the LingBao tradition. Book 388 of the Taoist Canon is sometimes called “Book of the Five Talismans”, and begins with a long prologue explaining the flood story of Ancient China in all it’s beauty and complexity, and goes on to list several mystical practices that were assumed and expanded upon in the Du Ren Jing. I found the entire scripture of the “Taishang lingbao wufu xu” (Book of the Five Talismans) on ctext.org, and in html at:
If someone were to take up such a project, after studying what has already been done, I’d recommend going back to the Du Ren Jing, a magnificent talisman about the universe, and perhaps start with one of the other scrolls’ “32 Heavens” sections, where short sentences of four or five characters ostensibly name one of the Heavens and tend to express foundational insights about the LingBao cosmological ideas. It would be an easy way to get started, only committing to a handful of characters at a time, and could also provide the springboard to go further into the rest of a scroll.
Beyond that, there are several other LingBao documents in the Canon, listed on a Wikipedia page about LingBao, and here - http://www.goldenelixir.com/publications/eot_lingbao.html - and then there is the rest of the Taoist Canon itself; the difficulty is in not knowing what is out there. We have some dim lights to be guided by in the darkness of the catacombs from Kristofer Schipper’s “A Historical Companion to the Daozang, with his short paragraphs about each of the 1500+ scriptures in the canon, though for the couple of scriptures I’ve become familiar with, the paragraphs don’t shed much light on the true essence of what sits below the surface waiting to be revealed.
Links on LingBao Daoism -
It’s the sky as the path to greatness, tranquility road, with the purpose of Boundless Salvation (Du Ren) a 1600 year old scripture that still has value, and always will as long as there is a universe above and a deep well below.
“the flower seed receives, accepts, and endures the seasons in their fixed patterns, leaving behind its former life, and happy like a joyful tune, the seed grows, developing forward constantly, like spirit names emerging from a book, like an ivory tooth emerging from beyond the nature’s green; in the eastern direction, bringing the Qi of the nine sky divisions, the Qi like smoke rising from the joyful expression of the spring scenery, the spring bloom of life’s vitality, like the initial sprouting and budding of a manuscript of grasses and herbs, its bright ray like the dawn sunshine, growing grand and thick, plentiful and abundant as it swells like the sound of approaching drums; below is the morning court, like the deep pool of a flower abyss; above there is the revolving floating spreading flower petals of bright glory in the temple palace; in the house room is the jade girl, and in the temple hall there is the great true king; ”