Daoism: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld Beginner’s Guides) by James Miller

By James Miller

Spanning the centuries and crossing the globe, this attractive creation covers every little thing Daoist, from the faith of the ancients to twenty first century T'ai Chi and meditation. whole with a timeline of Daoist heritage and an entire word list, this can turn out priceless to scholars, and an individual who needs to benefit extra in regards to the origins and nature of a profound culture, and approximately its position and relevance in our fast-moving twenty first century lifestyles.

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Sample text

De Groot writes in the introduction to his book: ‘China’s religion proper, that is to say, apart from Buddhism, which is of foreign introduction, is a spontaneous product, spontaneously developed in the course of time. Its origin is lost in the night of ages. But there is no reason to doubt, that it is the first religion the Chinese race ever had’ (1910, p. 1). Work such as this has given rise to the impression that there is – without any question – a single Chinese people who share a common cultural and religious heritage.

On the other hand institutional Daoism in the form of Complete Perfection monasteries and Celestial Masters’ priests has suffered a terrible blow in China. Since the relative liberalization begun under Deng Xiaoping’s regime in 1980, Daoism has begun to function again in China and many temples and monasteries have been reopened, but the bitter loss of a whole generation of the transmission of Daoism cannot be underestimated. qxd 10/26/2007 12:50 PM Page 18 18 Daoism: A Beginner’s Guide Now younger Daoist monks are struggling to rebuild their religion and some are enrolling in university courses to try to recapture their history and doctrines.

In either case the goal is restoring harmony and balance to the life of the body. In the case of Complete Perfection Daoists, their quest is clearly more individualistic in nature, but at a deep level Daoists argue that the many different dimensions of reality that tend to get separated in our everyday experience of the world – the heavens, the earth, the village, the body – are in fact reflections of each other. A modern way of interpreting the Daoist world is by analogy with a hologram or a fractal function in mathematics such as the Mandelbrot Set.

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