Daoist Mystical Philosophy
The Scripture of Western Ascension
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Originally published by SUNY Press in 1991, Taoist Mystical Philosophy went out of print and the copyright reverted to the author. She has now updated the terminology and bibliography, and makes the book accessible again in a new Three Pines Press edition.
The Scripture of Western Ascension is a central text of medieval Daoist mysticism. Written by an unknown author, probably of the Northern Celestial Masters at Louguan, in the late fifth century CE, it closely resembles the Daode jing in structure and contents. Edited and commented on several times until the twelfth century, the text played an important role in Tang religious thought.
Kohn presents the first Western introduction to this aspect of traditional Chinese religious and culture. Through her careful textual study and fully annotated translation of the Scripture of Western Ascension, she delineates the history, structure, and contents of what mystical thought meant within the Daoist religion. She also discusses the religious background of the text and provides detailed analyses of philosophical concepts in chapters called "The Physical Universe," "Mind, Knowledge, Language," "The Way of the Sage."
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