Sitting in Oblivion
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This book began when Kohn's work on the Zuowang lun, Seven Steps to the Dao (1987) went out of print and the editors at Monumenta Serica, who had published it in their monograph series, granted permission to reuse the materials in a new format. The texts, then, are republished from the earlier book with a few minor changes in terminology and annotation, but no serious alteration. Three new texts, since then translated and found relevant, were added into the mix, again with some changes in format and terminology.
The Discussion part of the book is entirely new. The author retains the basic descriptions and references used in the earlier book, but much was outdated, superseded by research in the past decades, or formulated in ways no longer used today. The book still retains the same focus as the earlier one: the Zuowang lun by Sima Chengzhen of the eighth century. It places the text at the beginning of the Translation section and in the center of Discussion.
The latter is designed to build up to the central work, beginning with a general placement of the practice in tation theory and Daoist systems, then working through ancient Daoist texts and the scholastic vision of Twofold Mystery. After a presentation of writers, biographies, and technical information on the texts, it again leads away from the Zuowang lun by first looking at the complexities of the integrated tation system and then, in the last two chapters, relating it to Buddhism and modern science.