Myth and Meaning in Early Daoism
The Theme of Chaos (Hundun)
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|Norman J. Girardot|
Myth and Meaning in Early Daoism examines some of the earliest texts associated with the Daoist tradition (primarily the Daode jing, Zhuangzi, and Huainanzi) from the outlook of the comparative history of religions and finds a kind of thematic and soteriological unity rooted in the mythological symbolism of hundun, the primal chaos being and principle that is foundational for the philosophy and practice of the Dao as creatio continua in cosmic, social, and individual life.
Dedicated to the proposition that ancient Chinese texts and traditions are often best understood from a broad interdisciplinary and interpretive perspective, this work when it was written challenged many prevailing conceptions of the Daode jing and Zhuangzi as primarily philosophical texts without any religious significance or affinity with the later sectarian traditions. While controversial and at times playfully provocative, the methodology and findings of this book are still important for the ongoing scholarship about Daoism in China and the world.
Historical Background: Schools and Politics
Major Representatives: Daoists of the Liang and Tang
The Sources: Commentaries and Scriptures
Key Concepts: Mystery, Dao, and the Greater Cosmos
Salvation: Dao-nature and the Sage
The Teaching: Mysticism, Cultivation and Integration
Changes in the Pantheon: Laozi and the Heavenly Deities
The Body of the Sage: The Three-in-One and the Three-fold Body of the Buddha