Laughing at the Dao: Debates among Buddhists and Daoists in Medieval China
The Xiaodao lun (Laughing at the Dao) is a key document of medieval debates among Buddhists and Daoists. Written by the Daoist renegade Zhen Luan in 570, it aims to expose inconsistencies in Daoist doctrine, cosmology, ritual, and religious practice. This complete and fully annotated translation places the work in the context of the debates and exposes the political schemes behind apparently religious disputes. The introduction outlines the history of the debates while two appendixes present materials of earlier and later debates and Daoist sources cited in the text. Richly informed and highly relevant to an understanding of medieval China, the work enhances the study of medieval Buddhist and Daoist myth, rhetoric, and ideology.