Asceticism in Early Taoist Religion (S U N Y Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

200-299 Religion  [ Browse Items ]
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Using a wide variety of original sources, this book brings to light how and why asceticism was carried out by Taoists during the first six centuries of the common era. It examines the practices of fasting, celibacy, self-imposed poverty, wilderness seclusion, and sleep-avoidance, and it discusses the beliefs and attitudes that motivated and justified such drastic actions.
Asceticism in Early Taoist Religion demonstrates that although Taoist ascetics pursued austerities that were extremely rigorous, they did not seek to mortify the flesh. Through their austerities, they almost always sought to improve their physical strength and health, because they aspired toward physical longevity as well as spiritual perfection. Even though they sometimes taxed their bodies severely, they believed that their strength and health would eventually be restored if they persevered. The highest goal was to ascend to divine realms in an immortal body.
However, certain beliefs that emerged during this period particularly those influenced by Buddhism may have caused some Taoist ascetics to virtually abandon their concern with longevity, and to focus disproportionately upon the perfection of the spirit. Such ascetics were more likely to purposely harm and neglect their bodies, contradictory as this may have been to the cherished ideals of the Taoist religion. Eskildsen traces how this problem may have emerged, and how it was viewed and dealt with by those who maintained the ideal of longevity." 

Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-213) and index. 
Biblio Notes
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Eskildsen, Stephen, 1963-
Asceticism in early Taoist religion.
Albany : State University of New York Press, ©1998
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Stephen Eskildsen

ISBN: 0791439550 9780791439555 0791439569 9780791439562
OCLC Number: 38079208
Description: vii, 229 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: The Lives of Taoist Ascetics (1)--Depictions in the Liexian zhuan and Shenxian zhuan --
The Lives of Taoist Ascetics (2)--Depictions in the Daoxue Zhuan --
Taoist Methods of Fasting --
The Fasting Regimen of the Zhonghuang jing --
The Fasting Regimens of the Daoji tuna jing and Tuna jing --
Imbibing the Five Qi --
Imbibing the Essences of the Sun and Moon --
Talisman Swallowing --
Sucking on a Seed --
Drug Recipes --
Final Comments --
Asceticism in the Shangqing Texts --
The Buddhist Influence --
Non-Buddhistic Reasons for Celibacy --
Gaining Divine Sympathy --
Evils in the Worldly Environment --
The Place of Asceticism in the Hierarchy of Spiritual Progress --
The Glorification of Suicidal Methods --
Asceticism in the Lingbao Scriptures --
The New Saintly Ideal --
Precepts and Retreats --
A Soteriological Puzzle --
Criticisms of Heretical Asceticism in the Yuqing jing --
Summary Information on the Lingbao Scriptures Cited in Chapter Six.
Series Title: SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture.
Responsibility: Stephen Eskildsen.  
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