Matching Items (10)

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The Influence of Ancient Chinese and Arab-Islamic Alchemy on Medicine

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Modern medicine is a wonderfully complex field of study, with several advances in both its theoretical and practical aspects being made everyday. In light of the pride modern physicians and

Modern medicine is a wonderfully complex field of study, with several advances in both its theoretical and practical aspects being made everyday. In light of the pride modern physicians and scientists take in their vast knowledge, it is important to remember how far we have come throughout history. Many civilizations and cultures around the world have made essential contributions to medicine, both great and small, but no one can deny the impact both ancient Chinese and Islamic medical and alchemical practices have had on modern medicine. Qi was the central principle behind Chinese correlative thought, and it was believed to be the one thing that drove human life, as it occurred everywhere. Written texts took an increasingly more prominent role in the transmission of knowledge, and in no time at all, the educated yi ("physician") emerged. Other noteworthy contributions include an early conceptualization of the circulatory system, the development of pharmacies, the establishment of proper medical school systems, and the emergence of a set of standard hygienic practices that would allow people to take responsibility for their own health. The scholars of the Islamic Golden Age, for the most part, seemed to decry the mixing of the occult with science, and therefore sought to draw a clear distinction between alchemy (by limiting its application to the transmutation of metals) and what they deemed "real" science. Notable contributions of Arab-Islamic scientists include the pioneering of a hospital prototype, along with the development of the science of chemistry and the introduction of the experimental laboratory as the birthplace of new scientific knowledge. The important question that has yet to be answered is how extensive the connection was between the Chinese and Arab worlds. Trade was thriving during the medieval period, and so it is not wrong to assume that the exchange of goods would go hand-in-hand with the exchange of knowledge. We may never fully know exactly what happened, but further research on this topic may eventually bring an answer to light.

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  • 2018-05

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The confessional writing in early Daoism: a survey of medieval Daoist petition and declaration documents

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Since Ruth Benedict introduced the dual concepts of “shame culture” and “guilt culture,” far Eastern Asian societies have placed more emphasis on such “shame culture.” However, Wolfram Eberhard has indicated

Since Ruth Benedict introduced the dual concepts of “shame culture” and “guilt culture,” far Eastern Asian societies have placed more emphasis on such “shame culture.” However, Wolfram Eberhard has indicated that Ruth’s dualism may be questionable, and he has pointed out that there are several documents composed by non-Confucian elites that are available to study. Furthermore, Paul Ricoeur claims that language, especially that in confession, is the best source to study to understand guilt and shame cultures. Thus, I would like to study confessional writings in early Daoism. These so-called confessional writings include the Personal Writs to the Three Officials, the zhang-petition in the Celestial Master tradition, and the ci-declaration in Lingbao rituals. If the Personal Writs documents a true practice in history, it should contain the most itemized and profound “feeling of guilt” according to the earlier texts. Most petitions recorded in Master Vermilion Pine’s Almanac only include some formula for confessional words rather than specific confessions. But, I have found some flexible sections, which may be reserved for specific confession, in these formulaic petitions. I also explore two anecdotes about specific confessions in the Six Dynasties to support my claims. I discuss the format, structure and functions of the ci-declaration, an ancient but new writ system in Lingbao retreats. By far the majority of confessions in Lingbao tradition are public and formulaic, but the Lingbao scripture also contains personal confession. Much like the petition, the ci-declaration is personal but contains formulaic writing.

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  • 2017

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Reading resonance in Tang tales: allegories and beyond

Description

As many modern scholars have warned, the complexity of Tang narratives is far

beyond the reach of Lu Xun’s twentieth-century generic labels. Therefore, we should have

an acute awareness of the earlier

As many modern scholars have warned, the complexity of Tang narratives is far

beyond the reach of Lu Xun’s twentieth-century generic labels. Therefore, we should have

an acute awareness of the earlier limiting view of these categorizations, and our research

should transcend the limitations of these views in regard to this extensive corpus or to being

confined to rigid and meager reading of the richness of the stories. This dissertation will

use a transdisciplinary methodology that incorporates both history and literature in close

reading of seven Tang tales composed in the mid-to-late Tang eras (780s–early 900s), to

break the boundaries between the two generic labels, chuanqi and zhiguai, and unearth

significant configurations within these literary texts that become apparent only through

stepping across genre.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Born of the North Wind: Northern Chinese Poetry and the Eurasian Steppes, 1206–1260

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Based on literary works produced by the multiethnic literati of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), this dissertation examines Chinese conceptions of the Steppe world in the early years of the Mongol

Based on literary works produced by the multiethnic literati of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), this dissertation examines Chinese conceptions of the Steppe world in the early years of the Mongol era (1206–1260). As I show, late Jin literati, who took arduous journeys in the Eurasian Steppes, initiated transcultural communications between the Chinese and Steppe worlds. Their writings encouraged more Chinese literati to reach out to the Mongols and hence facilitated the spread of the ideal Confucian-style governance to the Mongol empire. In general, I follow the approach of New Historicism in analyzing poetic works. Even though the Mongol conquest of China damaged many northern literary texts, materials surviving from the thirteenth century still feature a great diversity. I brought historical records and inscriptions on stela to study the social conditions under which these literary works were produced. This dissertation aims to contribute a new voice to the ongoing effort to modify the traditional linear understanding of the development of Chinese literary tradition.

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  • 2020

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Sequence of power: ritual controversy over the Zhaomu sequence in imperial ancestral rites in Song China (960-1279)

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This dissertation explores the history of ancestral rituals and the related political controversy in the Song China (960-1279). Considering the pivotal role played by ancestral rites in shaping Chinese identity

This dissertation explores the history of ancestral rituals and the related political controversy in the Song China (960-1279). Considering the pivotal role played by ancestral rites in shaping Chinese identity and consciousness, this study contributes to a better understanding of how ancestral ritual has been politicized in Chinese history as a specific cultural apparatus to manipulate politics through theatrical performance and liturgical discussion. Through a contextual analysis of a variety of Song scholar-officials and their ritual writings, including memorials, private letters, and commentaries on the ritual Classics, this study demonstrates that Song ritual debates over the zhaomu 昭穆 sequence--that is, the positioning of ancestral temples and spirit tablets in ancestral temples with preparation for alternation or removal--differentiated scholar-officials into separate factions of revivalists, conventionalists and centrists. From a new perspective of ritual politics, this study reveals the discursiveness of the New Learning (xinxue新學) community and its profound influence on the Learning of the Way (Daoxue 道學) fellowship of the Southern Song (1127-1279). It examines the evolution of the New Learning fellowship as a dynamic process that involved internal tension and differentiation. Daoxue ritualism was a continuation of this process in partaking in the revivalist approach of ritual that was initiated by the New Learning circle. Nowadays, the proliferation of ritual and Classical studies crystallizes the revitalization of Confucianism and Confucian rituals in China. Taking zhaomu as a point of departure, this project provides a lens through which modern scholars can explore the persistent tension between knowledge and power by rethinking the modernization of ritual and ritual politics in contemporary China.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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

Description

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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Changing political and intellectual landscapes during the mid-Ming: revival of private academies, emergence of jianghui, and the enshrinement case of 1584

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This thesis examines the relationship between political culture, Confucian intellectuals, and the rise of a new intellectual and cultural paradigm during the early to mid-Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). The

This thesis examines the relationship between political culture, Confucian intellectuals, and the rise of a new intellectual and cultural paradigm during the early to mid-Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). The main goal of this thesis is to supplement current scholarship on Chen Xianzhang’s 陳獻章 (1428 – 1500) life as an intellectual of Cantonese origin and his political activities at both local and national levels. Furthermore, the thesis supplements current research on the Yangming School and the School’s contribution to the revitalization of private academies during the Ming with a study on the relationship between the three Confucian intellectuals enshrined in 1584 and the revival of private academies from the perspective of political history. In analyzing the relationship between these various aspects of the Ming political and intellectual landscapes, the thesis uses the 1584 Confucian Temple enshrinement, which involved Wang Yangming 王陽明 (1472 – 1529) and his two older contemporary Confucian intellectuals, Chen Xianzhang and Hu Juren 胡居仁 (1434 – 1484), as an entry point to explore the dynamics behind the political and cultural changes at the time. It aims to investigate the issue of cultural power versus imperial power, the central-versus-peripheral narrative in Ming politics, the evolution of how cultural power was asserted by members of the Confucian tradition, and the manifestation of such evolution in response to contemporary political discussions. The author begins with an analysis of the revival of private academies (shuyuan 書院) during the mid-Ming, and the influence of Chen Xianzhang and Hu Juren in this revival. He then dissects the relationship between the revival of private academies and the emergence of jianghui 講會 (discussion gatherings) in the following decades. Finally, the thesis discusses the struggle of mid-Ming intellectuals in gaining cultural legitimization for both private academies and jianghui activities by urging the imperial court to give due recognition through enshrining Wang, Chen, and Hu in the Confucian Temple, and the historical significance of this struggle to the development of the Confucian tradition in the Ming. The author ultimately argues that Chen Xianzhang, contrary to the common perception about him being a philosopher-poet who was indifferent to political discourses, was in fact a politically active intellectual; and that Chen’s contributions to the revival of private academies in Guangdong predated that of Wang Yangming in the Jiangnan region.

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  • 2016

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Protecting the spiritual environment: rhetoric and Chinese Buddhist environmentalism

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This dissertation analyzes the way in which leaders of certain Taiwanese Buddhist organizations associated with a strand of Buddhist modernism called "humanistic Buddhism" use discourse and rhetoric to make environmentalism

This dissertation analyzes the way in which leaders of certain Taiwanese Buddhist organizations associated with a strand of Buddhist modernism called "humanistic Buddhism" use discourse and rhetoric to make environmentalism meaningful to their members. It begins with an assessment of the field of religion and ecology, situating it in the context of secular environmental ethics. It identifies rhetoric and discourse as important but under acknowledged elements in literature on environmental ethics, both religious and secular, and relates this lack of attention to rhetoric to the presence of a problematic gap between environmental ethics theory and environmentalist practice. This dissertation develops a methodology of rhetorical analysis that seeks to assess how rhetoric contributes to alleviating this gap in religious environmentalism. In particular, this dissertation analyzes the development of environmentalism as a major element of humanistic Buddhist groups in Taiwan and seeks to show that a rhetorical analysis helps demonstrate how these organizations have sought to make environmentalism a meaningful subject of contemporary Buddhist religiosity. This dissertation will present an extended analysis of the concept of "spiritual environmentalism," a term developed and promoted by the late Ven. Shengyan (1930-2009), founder of the Taiwanese Buddhist organization Dharma Drum Mountain. Furthermore, this dissertation suggests that the rhetorical methodology proposed herein offers offers a direction for scholars to more effectively engage with religion and ecology in ways that address both descriptive/analytic approaches and constructive engagements with various forms of religious environmentalism.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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

Description

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)

Description

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