Matching Items (10)

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The Art of Boundlessness: Living with Desire, Others, and Time

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One of humanity's perpetual endeavors has been to come to an understanding of its nature so as to maximize the ability of persons to acquire happiness in this lifetime as

One of humanity's perpetual endeavors has been to come to an understanding of its nature so as to maximize the ability of persons to acquire happiness in this lifetime as well as to live in harmony with the cosmos. This philosophic work seeks to contribute to that perpetual mission by delving into the nature of desire and seeks to make the findings of this project relevant to society by identifying contemporary ills that are related to a deficient understanding of desire. This work not only seeks to help society achieve balance in the present but also seeks to help it maintain that balance through the provision of insights and teachings that are timeless in nature, for they have relevance to all ages through their illumination of the nature of humans. This project does so by turning to the Chinese Daoists and the Roman Stoics for their wisdom in regards to desire and how to relate to it. Additionally, this project turns to Paul Tillich to help preserve whatever balance this project helps achieve as he provides a remedy to modern ills by illuminating the course that was taken to bring it to its current predicament. Passages from the Daoist text the Dao-de-jing, the diary of the Roman Emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius, and the correspondences of the Roman Stoic Seneca the Younger found in On the Shortness of Life are interpreted in the hopes of not only providing advice on how to co-exist with desire but also in the hopes of establishing or contributing to an existing bridge that links Eastern and Western thought so that both hemispheres can cooperatively contribute to the development of humanity. This project also seeks to cultivate a desire amongst the populace to engage with philosophic works by showing that the insights they provide can be practically applied so as to develop one's characteristics that are conducive to finding that which helps one feel personally fulfilled and to achieving success in one's endeavors.

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  • 2017-12

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Bodyscapes

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Many cultures find connections between humans and nature. Chinese philosophies such as Daoism assert that mountains are sacred beings of cosmic energy. These cosmic beings have elements that coincide with

Many cultures find connections between humans and nature. Chinese philosophies such as Daoism assert that mountains are sacred beings of cosmic energy. These cosmic beings have elements that coincide with parts of the human body: rocks are bones, water is blood and veins, trees and grass are hair, clouds and mist are breath, the mountains themselves are the body. "Bodyscapes" is an exploration of these concepts using charcoal and ink to merge the human form with natural landscape.

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  • 2016-05

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Xianyou (Transcendent Journeys): The Pursuit, Inquiry into and Experience of Dao in the Quanzhen School of Daoism

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The following paper is a translation of National Zhengzhi University Professor Li Fengmao’s original Chinese article. This translation was completed with the express approval of Professor Li, and under

The following paper is a translation of National Zhengzhi University Professor Li Fengmao’s original Chinese article. This translation was completed with the express approval of Professor Li, and under the direction of Professor Stephen R. Bokenkamp.
Quanzhen Daoism (“The Way of Complete Perfection”) is a sect of Daoism founded by master Wang Chongyang (王重陽 1113-1170) in the twelfth century AD. The tradition is, in essence, the systemization and formalization of traditional Daoist practices through the implementation of Confucian and Buddhist infrastructure. Synthesizing Confucian practices of study and copying of classics, proper human relationships, and master-student succession, and Buddhist chujia (出家 “to leave the household”) and large public monastic systems, Quanzhen Daoism established systematic mechanisms which facilitated the zealous advancement of practitioners.
The Quanzhen sect formalized the Daoist tradition of “famous mountains and enlightened teachers” and integrated the respective practices of residing in a monastery and participating in fangdao (訪道) as required components of personal cultivation, constituting “monastery residence” and “travel” experiences. These two components complemented each other and eventually came to form the integral experiences of Quanzhen cultivation. The establishment of a uniform “household system,” inter-monastery exchange system, “Pure Rules,” “Collection of Orthodox Chants,” “percept transmission system,” and “name assignment system” streamlined the acclimation process for both entering the household of religion and participating in required ceremonies during travel.
Ultimately, the systemized infrastructure established by Quanzhen Daoism allowed for the formation of a complete ordered society outside of the secular world. This Quanzhen world, in turn, provided the framework for large-scale, practical implementation of Daoist techniques, the most ideologically significant of which are participation in arduous travel and actualization of “an irregular accordance with the Dao.”

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  • 2014-05

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Biography and the world of discourse in early medieval China a study of "The Stele of Lord Lu

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Wu Yun (d. 778) was prominent poet at the Tang court. His biography of the Daoist ritualist Lu Xiujing (406-77) can be read on several levels. It functions as a

Wu Yun (d. 778) was prominent poet at the Tang court. His biography of the Daoist ritualist Lu Xiujing (406-77) can be read on several levels. It functions as a source of information on Lu's life and works, but a reading focused on this alone is insufficient. Conventions of Chinese biography dictate the text is read not just with an eye towards who Lu "really was," but also how he functions as a character fashioned by an author for certain purposes. With this in mind, the reader can learn not just about Lu, but about the audience of the text and the aims of its author. Lu functioned as a model for later Daoist masters and as an exhortation to proper conduct towards them on the part of rulers and elites. Finally, with reference to the work of Michel Foucault and scholars of collective memory, this work can be read as a window onto the world of discourse in early medieval China.

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  • 2012

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Neither dust nor gold: a comprehensive study of the Dadao School from 1115-1398

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During the twelfth century, three new schools of Daoism were founded in North China: Quanzhen (Complete Perfection), Taiyi (Supreme Unity), and Dadao (Great Way). While Quanzhen has received much scholarly

During the twelfth century, three new schools of Daoism were founded in North China: Quanzhen (Complete Perfection), Taiyi (Supreme Unity), and Dadao (Great Way). While Quanzhen has received much scholarly attention, the others have been largely ignored. By focusing on just one school--Dadao--as in depth as possible and within the historical context, I hope to elucidate the flourishing state of Daoism in North China during the twelfth through fourteenth centuries beyond just the activity of the Quanzhen school. To that end, I have amassed sixteen inscriptions and records, as well as reconstructed one inscription previously incomplete, and added them to the eleven inscriptions and records published in the Daojia jinshi lüe and the three pieces of Yuan-dynasty poetry and prose contained in the Nan Song chu Hebei xin Daojiao kao. This has doubled the available source material. Most of these have been previously published individually, but have never been studied in conjunction with the other known Dadao texts. The result is the most comprehensive study of the school in over seventy-five years, in which I also present a new understanding of the school’s founder, how the lineages developed, and the school’s ultimate fate. The portrait of the school which emerges from this dissertation challenges the notion that Dadao was nothing more than a minor variation of the Quanzhen school or is otherwise unworthy of scholarly attention.

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  • 2017

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Signs, signs, everywhere a sign: an annotated translation and study of the Scripture on the cycles of heaven and earth

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Sacred apocalyptic texts claim to foretell coming events, warning the faithful of some terrible fate that lies beyond the present. Such texts often derive their power from successfully recasting past

Sacred apocalyptic texts claim to foretell coming events, warning the faithful of some terrible fate that lies beyond the present. Such texts often derive their power from successfully recasting past events in such a way as they appear to be "predicted" by the text and thus take on additional meanings beyond the superficial. This ex eventu status allows apocalyptic texts to increase the credibility of their future predictions and connect emotionally with the reader by playing on present fears. The fifth-century Daoist apocalyptic text, the Scripture on the Cycles of Heaven and Earth (Tiandi yundu jing, 天地運度經), is no exception. This thesis examines the apocalyptic markers in the poetic sections of the text, attempting to develop a strategy for separating the generic imagery (both to Chinese texts and the apocalyptic literary genre as a whole) from the more significant recoverable references to contemporary events such as the fall of the Jin dynasty and the subsequent founding of the Liu-Song dynasty.

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  • 2011

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A work and its shapers: the "Most High Scripture of the Rectifying Methods of the Three Heavens" in early medieval China

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Religions, following Max Müller, have often been seen by scholars in religious studies as uniform collections of beliefs and practices encoded in stable “sacred books” that direct the conduct of

Religions, following Max Müller, have often been seen by scholars in religious studies as uniform collections of beliefs and practices encoded in stable “sacred books” that direct the conduct of religious actors. These texts were the chief focus of academic students of religion through much of the 20th century, and this approach remains strong in the 21st. However, a growing chorus of dissidents has begun to focus on the lived experience of practitioners and the material objects that structure that experience, and some textual scholars have begun extending this materialist framework to the study of texts. This dissertation is a contribution in that vein from the field of Daoist studies. Now split between two separate texts, the Most High Scripture of the Rectifying Methods of the Three Heavens began as a 4th-century collection of apocalyptic predictions and apotropaic devices designed to deliver a select group of Chinese literati to the heavens of Highest Clarity. Later editors during the early medieval period (ca. 220-589 CE) took one of two paths: for their own reasons, they altered the Rectifying Methods to emphasize either the world’s end or its continuation. Detailed study of these alterations and their contexts shows how individuals and groups used and modified the Rectifying Methods in in ways that challenge the conventional relationship between religious text and religious actor.

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  • 2019

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Rebirth of a lineage: the hereditary household of the Han Celestial Master and Celestial Masters Daoism at Dragon and Tiger Mountain

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This dissertation is a study and translation of the Hereditary Household of the Han Celestial Master (Han tianshi shijia 漢天師世家), a hagiographical account of successive generations of the Zhang family

This dissertation is a study and translation of the Hereditary Household of the Han Celestial Master (Han tianshi shijia 漢天師世家), a hagiographical account of successive generations of the Zhang family patriarchs of Celestial Masters Daoism (Tianshi dao 天師道) at Dragon and Tiger Mountain (Longhu shan 龍虎山) in Jiangxi province that was compiled in stages between the late fourteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The Zhang family emerged in the late Tang or early Five dynasties period and rose to great prominence and power through the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties on the basis of the claim of direct and unbroken lineal descent from Zhang Daoling 張道陵 the ancestral Celestial Master whose covenant with the deified Laozi in 142 C.E. is a founding event of the Daoist religion. In this study I trace the lineal history of the Zhang family as presented in the Hereditary Household in chronological parallel to contrasting narratives found in official histories, epigraphy, and the literary record. This approach affords insight into the polemical nature of the text as an assertion of legitimacy and allows for a demonstration of how the work represents an attempt to create in writing an idealized past in order to win prestige in the present. It also affords the opportunity to scour the historical record in an attempt to ascertain a plausible timeframe for the origin of the movement and to explore the relationship of the Hereditary Household to earlier hagiographic works that may have informed it. This study also contextualizes the Hereditary Household in the post-Tang religious climate of China. In that period the establishment of lineal authenticity and institutional charisma through narratives of descent became a widespread tool of legitimation employed by Buddhists, Daoists, and Confucians in hopes of obtaining imperial recognition and patronage.

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  • 2016

These are not just words: religious language of daoist temples in Taiwan

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This dissertation examines lexical and phonetic variations between Daigi, Hakka, and Modern Standard Chinese elements as used in two Daoist temples of southern Taiwan, the Daode Yuan (DDY) and Yimin

This dissertation examines lexical and phonetic variations between Daigi, Hakka, and Modern Standard Chinese elements as used in two Daoist temples of southern Taiwan, the Daode Yuan (DDY) and Yimin Miao (YMM) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which form linguistic repertoires from which religious communities construct language variants called religiolects. Specific variations in the use of these repertoires appear to be linked to specific religious thought processes. Among my results, one finds that phonetic features of Daigi and Hakka appear linked to the use of language in religious contexts at the DDY and YMM, especially such that alterations in pronunciation, which would otherwise be inappropriate, are linked to speakers of the religiolects processing and producing religious thought in ways they otherwise would not. For example, what would normally be pronounced [tʰe laɪ] internal to one's body would be archaicized as [tʰe lue], from frequent contact with [lue tan] inner alchemy; this leads to reinforced conception of the inner body as sacred space. One also finds that semantic features of lexical items received sacralized contours in overt and non-overt ways, such that lexical items that would otherwise be irreligious become religious in nature; e.g., instances of the appearance of 道, especially in binomial items, would be resolved or parsed by reference to the sacred meaning of the word (such as the [to] in [tsui to tsui], which normally means having its source in, coming to be associated with 道 as path from sacred font).

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  • 2015

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Transmission of law and merit: a comparative study of Daoist ordination rite and esoteric Buddhist abhiṣeka in medieval China (400-907)

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This is a comparative study of two advanced ordination rituals, Daoist chuanshou (conferral of ordination rank) and Buddhist abhiṣeka (guanding) in the mid-late Tang and Five Dynasties (763-979). I analyzed

This is a comparative study of two advanced ordination rituals, Daoist chuanshou (conferral of ordination rank) and Buddhist abhiṣeka (guanding) in the mid-late Tang and Five Dynasties (763-979). I analyzed a number of not-well-studied Daoist ritual protocols in the early medieval period, and revealed that rituals recast gender and fostered monastic relations. On the other hand, relying on both canonical materials and a manuscript preserved in Japan that recorded an abhiṣeka performed during the Tang dynasty in 839 C.E., I demonstrated how the canonical prescriptions of Indian origin, with modified actions and reinterpreted meaning, were transformed to respond to the Chinese religious and social environment. Having examined the language of the texts and the step of the rituals, I interpreted how these rituals were made sense in their own religious context, and compared their frame, structure, modality, symbol, and meaning.

Ordination rite concerns the transmission of religious knowledge and authority, and the establishment of religious identity. It is in the relationship between the individual body and the community that Daoists and Buddhists found the form of apprenticeship that led to the embodiment of the community. The mastery of religious knowledge within the community––scriptures, register, mantras, and precepts, etc., was known only through the actual ritual practice. In other words, the ritual body became the locus for coordination of all levels of bodily, social, and cosmological experience via the dialectic of objectification and embodiment in the ordination rites. As the ritualized bodies, those who were ordained coherently comprised the community, which in turn remolded them with dynamically and diversely shaped identities.

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Date Created
  • 2019