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READ FOR FREE Volume 8 (2015)
The Creation of Daoism by Paul Fischer
This paper examines the creation of Daoism in its earliest, pre-Eastern Han period. After an examination of the critical terms “scholar/master” (zi 子) and “author/school” (jia 家), I argue that, given the paucity of evidence, Sima Tan and Liu Xin should be credited with creating this tradition. The body of this article considers the definitions of Daoism given by these two scholars and all of the extant texts that Liu Xin classified as “Daoist.” Based on these texts, I then suggest an amended definition of Daoism. In the conclusion, I address the recent claim that the daojia 道家/daojiao 道教 dichotomy is false, speculating that disagreement over this claim arises from context in which Daoism is considered: among the other pre-Qin “schools of thought” or among other world religions.
Ge Hong’s Xian: Private Hermits and Public Alchemists by Thomas Michael
This article addresses the position of Ge Hong (283-343) in early medieval Daoism by provoking a reconsideration of earlier forms of Chinese religion. The article argues that Ge Hong’s greatest innovation was his bringing together two separate traditions of early Chinese religion, namely that of the xian (often translated as “immortal”) that I identify with early Daoism, and that of alchemy that somehow was related to the fangshi movement. The article examines the historical trajectory of these two traditions as Ge Hong received them by exploring two of his major works, the Baopuzi neipian and the Shenxian zhuan, and examines the ways in which he relates these two early traditions to each other. He does this by portraying and describing two kinds of xian, which I call “private” and “public.” The article shows that Ge Hong’s accomplishment had a deep and lasting impact of the future traditions of medieval Daoism.
Changing Views on Sexuality in Early and Medieval China Ping Yao
The discourse on sexuality underwent tremendous transformations in early and medieval China. While early imagery and terminology of sexual intercourse reflect a naturalistic attitude toward sexuality, writings from the Han dynasty and the division periods largely reflected the Daoist perception of body, gender, and sex. Such domination gradually gave way to a diverse discourse on sexuality in the Tang, largely due to Buddhist influence and the rise of the examination culture. Tang discourse on sexuality, with its emphasis on sensuality, pleasure, and spiritual bliss, shaped ideals of femininity, masculinity, and intercourse.
Daoist Wisdom for Teachers A Diary Study by David McLachlan Jeffrey
Daoist wisdom as presented in the Daode jing is the philosophy of living in harmony with Dao, considered as the way everything exists. It is one of the three main Chinese worldviews, alongside Confucianism and Buddhism. Its mystical and individualistic essence emphasizes a realization of virtue (de) through an appreciation of paradox and nonaction (wuwei) as well as choosing simplicity and spontaneity or naturalness (ziran) in place of complexity and impulsiveness through adherence to the three core values of compassion, moderation, and humility. Through the Daoist prism, everything coexists mutually and is interdependent because of the interaction of two interdependent elements known as yin and yang. These are not polar opposites but two sides of the same coin. Daoism regards all elements as being complementary in that each defines itself in relation to the other. With this come paradoxical notions of the seemingly weak overcoming the strong in the sense that flimsy bamboo yields to storms and survive while mighty oaks fall, and wind and water patiently flow around rocks while turning them into sand over time.
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