Taoism: The Enduring Tradition offers fresh perspectives on a religious and cultural tradition which has unfolded since the fifth century as a form of integration into the unseen realities of life. Exploring Taoist voices in sacred texts and current scholarship, and showing how Taoism (also known as Daoism) differs from, and overlaps with, other Chinese traditions such as Confucianism and Zen Buddhism, it examines Taoism's ancient classical roots, contemporary heritage and role in Chinese daily life. From Taoism's spiritual philosophy to its practical perspectives on life and death, self-cultivation, morality, society, leadership and gender, Russell Kirkland brings to life the Taoist vision as expressed by followers through the centuries. Through attention to Taoism's key elements and examples from the lives of Taoist men and women, he reveals the real contexts of the Tao te ching and Chuang-tzu, and of Taoist understandings of life which still reverberate in modern practices like feng-shui and t'ai-chi ch'nan. His guide to this long misrepresented tradition presents a new paradigm for understanding Taoism in the twenty-first century.
Table of Contents
Foreword Norman J. Girardot Preface
1. Understanding Taoism Realities, constructs, and hermeneutical challenges What "Taoism" is: fact, tradition, and self-identification
2. The classical legacy Taoism and "The Hundred Schools" The "Useless Words" of Chuang Chou Cultivating life's subtle forces: the Nei-yeh From "The Elders" of Ch'u to the Chi-hsia academy: The Tao te ching What Taoists inherited from classical times
3. The course of the Taoist tradition Wellsprings Southerly currents Northerly currents The high-water mark The damming of the Tao? Old currents, new channels Life in the tideways
4. The socio-political matrix of Taoism "Literati Taoism" Women in Taoism: Data, Interpretation, and Issues Women in Taoist History Taoists and Dynasts
5. The cultivated Life Life, death, and "Transcendence" Cultivating reality Conclusion Works cited