JDS 6 (2013)

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Galia DorThe Chinese Gate: A Unique Void for Inner Transformation
Mihwa ChoiMaterializing Salvation: A Liturgical Program and Its Agenda
Elmar OberfrankSecretly Transmitted Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir
Daniel M. MurrayThe Daoist Society of Brazil and the Globalization of Orthodox
Xu LiyingDaoist Temples in Modern City Life: The Singapore City God Temple
Sharon SmallNew Visions of the Zhuangzi
Michael M. TophoffDaoist Principles in the Martial Arts: Their Relevance for Illness Prevention
Adam D. FrankEnacting a Daoist Aesthetic through Taiji quan Training
Gerhard Milbrat & Knut Gollenbeck Master Li Jiacheng and the New Ways of Internal Alchemy
Steve JackowiczOm Mani Padme Hum in Daoist Revision
Jeanne WhiteFlowing in Life with the Yijing

Galia Dor – The Chinese Gate: A Unique Void for Inner Transformation   

The gate, a conspicuous element in the Chinese architectural landscape, appears as the character men in ancient Daoist philosophers as well as in later religiousDaoistand Buddhist texts, works on Chinese medicine, and more. Its many, varied occurrences notwithstanding, this paper focuses on the symbolic meaning and significance of the gate in the first chapter of the Daode jing andits medieval expansions in combination with an analysis of the gate’s role in architecture. Gates in architecture differ according to structural type, and their symbolic meanings vary accordingly. Nevertheless, they all constitute a powerful locus that conveys diverse messages and connects two different realms—inside and outside. I suggest taking the Chinese gate as a significant, multi-layered symbol that constitutes a “potentiality gap,” in which a rite of passage takes place. It also offers a unique opportunity for any human being to take a quantum-leap of the mind and internal transformation. Earthly and textual gates can be named and discussed in ordinary language, yet they carry the potential of opening to the way to the world of absolute truth (i.e., take part in the creation of Dao), which cannot be named or talked about. Special emphasize will be given to one specific type of ‘transformative gate’, namely, texts (or books).

Mihwa Choi – Materializing Salvation: A Liturgical Program and Its Agenda     

The Wushang huanglu dazhai licheng yi synthesizes both old and new rituals dedicated to saving souls from purgatory at the time that the Yellow Register Purgation has increasingly become a popular form of death ritual. The ritual presented in the text is designed to assure supplicants that the ritual performance is successful in bringing about the salvation of the deceased. The text adopts the “old method” of constructing the basic structure of the Ritual Enclosure, one that represents it as a micro-cosmos. As each space and item within the Ritual Enclosure functions as an index to the cosmos, they are expected to have a direct influence on that for which they stand. The ritual also employs a heavy use of official documents addressing deities and other spiritual beings in the highly bureaucratized World-beyond. Their official confirmation of the success of each rite is meant to assure the participants of the desired outcome of the liturgy. The text also incorporates new highly theatrical liturgical programs such as the Rite of Smashing of Purgatory and burning talismans in the Rite of Refinement. Despite such a high level of dramatic performance, the ritual keeps the Ritual Master’s visualization as the very ground by which all ritual acts are made possible because they are performed with the assumption that the content visualized has been activated. As such, the ritual at once manifests the world of the imaginary that has taken place in the world of the Ritual Master’s visualization, but also acts upon that world. The ritual program offers a visual message underscoring the immediacy of the ritual efficacy of salvation that has taken place in the here-and-now of the altar.

Elmar Oberfrank – Secretly Transmitted Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir

This paper presents a complete annotated translation and exegesis of the Michuan dadan zhizhi (Secretly Transmitted Direct Pointers to the Great Elixir), a late imperial text that deals with various practical, theoretical, and philosophical concepts in relation to internal alchemy. Despite its relevance and high quality, it has hardly been noticed so far in China and was only published very recently. In the West, it is virtually unknown, even among China scholars and Daoist practitioners. Its fifteen chapters have much to offer to our understanding of the system and process of internal alchemy.

Daniel M. Murray & James Miller – The Daoist Society of Brazil and the Globalization of Orthodox Unity Daoism Taken out of Chinese cultural context, Daoism is often associated with physical cultivation practices such as qigong or taijiquan rather than the traditional lineages of Quanzhen or Zhengyi a hierarchically organized religion. The Daoist Society of Brazil, however, is an example of non-Chinese Daoist practice associated with the Zhengyi (Orthodox Unity) tradition. The society’s ordained Brazilian priests perform rituals before a largely non-Chinese lay congregation. The result is a cultural hybrid form of Daoist practice that provides insight into how Daoism is transforming through globalization.

Xu Liying – Daoist Temples in Modern City Life: The Singapore City God Temple

This paper is a case study of a the City God Temple in Singapore, examining how a traditional Chinese temple has adjusted and created a new, Daoist identity to keep pace with the social changes and development of a modern city. Chinese religion first arrived in Singapore with immigrants from southeast China shortly after the city was first discovered and colonized by the British in 1819. Their practitioners remained closely connected to their original places, perpetuating their deep memories and unique cultural characteristics. In recent decades, as both society and city have changed to keep pace with modernity, the temples had to find ways to balance traditional culture and modern life. The City God Temple is an example of a successful adaptation to social change by moving beyond traditional social structures into new management modes and by overcoming the multi-sectarian patterns of Chinese religiosity and creating a firm Daoist identity. In this study, I examine this process from three main perspectives: historical background, approaches to management, and religious identity.