Below you can find the abstracts of the papers which will be presented at the conference (listed alphabetically by author’s last name). This page includes abstracts by authors whose last (family) names start with the letters A-M. This list will be continually updated.
Allen, Sean. Lam Ching-ying’s Affective Capital: Taoism in Recent Hong Kong Cinema and Popular Culture
This presentation looks at the uses of Daoist ritual in the Hong Kong cinema since the 198,, its horror and fantasy traditions. It features the more enduring images of Daoists from that era: Wu Ma in A Chinese Ghost Story (Ching Siu-Tung 1987) and Lam Ching-ying in various roles and films related to the Mr. Vampire series. Through filmDaoism endures in popular culture, as a force for entertaining and comforting. It also animates the Hong Kong horror film tradition and its allegorical power. This presentation situates performances politically, seeing the body of the Daoist-at-work as an image of working-class Hong Kong, grounded in a historically distant tradition. It partly fills a void left after the closing of left-wing cinema production centers, being political in an affective sense. The dignified, quietly determined, rigorously focused Lam Ching-ying character and the nonchalant but committed Wu Ma character represent two iterations of a respectable approach to everyday life. I ask, “Why Daoism?” then probe ways in which Daoist components of characterization blend well with Lam’s and Wu’s screen presence and consider the location of Daoism in Hong Kong life.
Allinson, Robert E. Metaphor and the Zhuangzi
The argument of my paper is that one can only understand the connection between the text of the Zhuangzi and the attainment of transcendental states pointed to in the Zhuangzi if metaphors are understood to be cognitive. To establish this claim, I take the understanding that metaphor is non-cognitive and apply it to the project of interpreting the text of the Zhuangzi. I argue that the consequence of applying a non-cognitive theory of metaphor to the Zhuangzi is that the connection between the text of the Zhuangzi and the attainment of transcendental states cannot be envisioned. I then proceed to elaborate a cognitive theory of metaphor that illustrates the connection between the text of the Zhuangzi and the attainment of transcendental states.
Ames, Roger. Thinking Through Abduction in Early Daoist Cosmology
Marcel Granet makes the claim that early Chinese cosmology offer us a way of thinking that is distinctive—what some sinologists have come to call “correlative,” “analogical,” or “coordinative” thinking. In this essay, I want to build on the notion of “abductive reasoning” as it was developed by C.S. Peirce and to explain why David Hall and I needed to introduce the neologism, ars contextualis—the art of contextualizing—to give a sufficiently capacious account of “correlative thinking” and the role that the human being has as a source of cosmic meaning. I will appeal to the Daoist cosmology as it is developed in the Daodejing as my source of textual corroboration.
Arandelovic, Miomir. Daode jing: Ancient Immortals’ Theory of Everything
The Daode jing is one of the most translated and studied books in the world and its wisdom has inspired people for millennia. It has been approached from many different angles, so author thought that his attempt to provide a translation and commentary, from the perspective of an active Daoist practitioner, Quanzhen Daoist priest and Science and Technology professional (with degrees in Computer Science, Electronics and Physics) might also provide some contribution to the field.
The goal of the present work was to provide translation as faithful as possible to Laozi’s original text (providing supplemental literal meanings of each Chinese character), which is also in the language of the modern popular science and usable for personal alchemical study. In author’s opinion in the Daode jing we find almost no arbitrary axioms or reliance on faith and authority, as in the most old religions, all postulates are cleanly principle-driven and with a rigorous confluence alike to one of modern science. Divine beings are considered primarily as benevolent, virtuous, Supreme Teachers or Role Models of the humanity, rather than its owners or creators, as every individual being is considered primordial and eternal by nature. Laozi’s postulates about social entities, such as sovereigns, countries and population, presented in the Daode jing, even though often applicable literary, serve mostly as allegories or easy to understood projections of the deeper metaphysical and alchemical reality. Through these seemingly simple allegories, the Daode jing reveals precious information about burning questions that existed from the dawn of mankind and are still a vital topic of research today: like relationships between constancy and variability, space and matter, structure of elementary particles and the source of their energy. It is author’s hope that some of his modest insights to these subjects, obtained through long study of wonderful Laozi’s text could be interesting to other researchers and practitioners.
Barea-Young, Christina. ROUNDTABLE: Women’s Practice
This is a call to all women who follow and cultivate the Dao. A special meeting is scheduled during the conference to begin a dialogue on the practices as they pertain to and affect female Daoist practitioners. Much of the information available today regarding Women’s practices was written by or interpreted by men. However, throughout the centuries female Daoists had their own set of practices to address the special needs of women. More than just “slaying the Red Dragon”, there are high level practices that speak directly from the woman’s perspective on life, harmony and balance. Join us for a preliminary discussion on how together we can preserve these sacred teachings.
Please note that Christina is NOT teaching methods, but rather encouraging a dialogue amongst women who in their own right have started and maintained a practice. The meeting is intended to be a “round table” within a sacred space to be able to provide women with a much needed support group with the purpose of preserving authentic teachings for years to come.
Sorry guys, this one is for the ladies only.
Bidlack, Bede. ROUNDTABLE: Spreading Daoist in the West
In recent decades, the world looks to China and sees economic growth, increased religious freedoms, and the renewal of Daoism. Beyond China’s borders, religions of the world are engaging in interreligious dialogue with greater vigor. The result is that monologue of Daoist texts is no longer the primary medium of global, religious communication, but dialogue among Daoist practitioners and members of other faith traditions is more frequent. This panel explores the ways Daoism has surpassed its role as an object of study to become an active participant in interreligious conversation.
Brooks, Bruce E. The Dao/De Jing in Its Original Military Context
Recent research shows that the DDJ was composed in Lu over about a century, c0350-c0250, and had three successive authors, of whom the second was Li Dan or Lau Dan “Old Dan.” The DDJ came into being in a period of increasingly violent warfare: one incident reflected in the text is the Chi invasion of Yen in 0315 and its disastrous aftermath. Though the DDJ opposed war, it was also influenced by contemporary military theory (the Sundz). Li Dan’s own son, Li Chung, went into military life and gained honor as a general in Ngwei. Chung’s son, Li Ju, turning away from the profession of war, returned to Lu and in time succeeded his grandfather as the third and last proprietor of the DDJ text. His portion of the text shows a more knowledgeable opposition to war, but lacks all input from meditation practice: DDJ at the end becomes a secular opponent of war and a general critic of contemporary domestic policy, from an inherited position of caution and frugality.
Budriūnaitė, Agne. The Joys of an Empty Skull: The Tension between Nature and Death in the Zhuangzi
This presentation deals with the problematic interrelationship between the notion of human nature and understanding of death. There are a lot of different opinions East and West regarding what should be called “nature” and what should be called “death”. Death will be understood as a transition from temporary incomplete life to a higher and more perfect state if the nature is comprehensible as a part of the divine order. Accordingly, death will be perceived as a dissolution of the human being if nature is reduced to the physical, psychological, and rational elements.
The aim of the presentation is to reveal the multi-dimensional notion of death found in the Zhuangzi and its relationship to the miscellaneous perception of nature. Aiming this, I will discuss and analyze various paradoxical relationships between the natural order of things (tian) and the “immortality” of a sage, the emotional nature of man and Zhuangzi’s conception of mourning, as well as relationship between individual and common nature. The presentation will also show the Zhuangzi’s way of reducing the tension between nature and death founded on the philosophical notion of Emptiness (wu, xu), non-metaphysical concept of Dao and understanding of the empty self (wuwo).
Burik, Steven. Comparative Resources: Continental Philosophy and Daoism
I argue that continental philosophical resources are more appropriate for comparative philosophy with regards to classical Daoism, since they in various ways challenge the dominant metaphysical orientation of Western thought and give us a better and more appropriate vocabulary to make sense of Daoist key ideas.
Since classical Daoism is largely non-metaphysical, or at least not metaphysical in the same way as the western history of philosophy has understood, it makes sense that those within the western tradition that have sought to attack the dominant metaphysical tradition would be more in tune with such non-metaphysical considerations. I focus on Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida and will present four interrelated areas of comparison with classical Daoism: First, the constant complication of any seriously dualist approach. Second, the attempt to put humans in a constructive and primarily interdependent relationship with the rest of the world, which points to a form of process philosophy present in both traditions. Third, the decentring of the subject is another feature prominent in both Daoism and the continental thinkers, although in different ways. Lastly, I will focus on the ideas on the use and limitations of language that both traditions display, and on the resulting efforts to understand language differently.
Cady, Dona. Half the Sky: Untangling Roots to Reach the Heights of Wisdom
This presentation will explore co-creating relationality in the poem Mulan. In looking closely at the concepts of wuwei and ren with regards to the body, society, and nature, we see a spirit of symbiosis and mutuality between particulars and totality as referenced in classical texts such as the Zhuangzi, Daode jing, and the Analects. In the classic literature of heroic women and in particular the poem Mulan, there is the effortless natural action of consummate personal conduct — — intellectually, physically, and spiritually — in significant social and familial roles and relationships. This commitment to personal cultivation is both the root and the heights of wisdom.
Cohen, Ken. Yang Sheng: Shamanic Roots, Scientific Branches
In this presentation we will explore the evolution of yang sheng from wu shamanism through Daoism and modern medical qigong. We will also summarize research into the mechanism and healing benefits of qigong while suggesting that there may be aspects of qi that are immeasurable and beyond knowledge.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mark. The Han Laozi held at Beijing University and Han readings of the Laozi
Beida’s Laozi has several differences from received versions like the Wang Bi edition both in terms of organization and in terms of graphic variants. This paper looks at several of these differences in light of the Mawangdui and Guodian parallels, and in light of citations of Laozi in Western Han texts. The analysis will focus on two core questions: what can such comparisons tell us about the formation of the text in the late
Cui, Xiaojiao崔曉姣. The Textual Transmission and Development of the Laozi in the Western Han Dynasty：In Light of the Peking University Bamboo Slip Manuscripts Laozi
This paper presents a preliminary observation of the recently published Western Han period bamboo-slip Laozi, which is now in the collection of Peking University. I also make comparisons among the Peking University manuscripts Laozi (the Beida Laozi), Mawangdui silk-manuscript copies A and B of the Laozi (the Mawangdui Laozi), the Daode Zhenjing Zhigui道德真經指歸, and the received Laozi. In order to shed some light on the textual transmission and the development of the Laozi in the Western Han period, I mainly focus on the textual formation, including the titles, chapter divisions and sequences of the Laozi in the Western Han Dynasty; the relationship of the Beida Laozi to the Mawangdui Laozi, Daode Zhenjing Zhigui and the received Laozi; the analysis of graphic variations and some particular concepts.
Davis, Donald D. Daoist Practice and Human Flourishing in Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is a new perspective that examines factors that are related to human flourishing. Flourishing is defined as a high level of integrated physical well-being, emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being. We will report results of a review of evidenced-based factors that contribute to flourishing. We will emphasize factors that may be influenced by Daoist practices such as meditation, taijiquan, and qigong. We will describe a program of training that employs Daoist practices to enhance human flourishing.
Deng, Bo. Femininity in the Laozi
Laozi can be considered the earliest feminist thinker with its text referring to femininity. The femininity conveyed here is neither female physiological characteristics which the post-feminist refuted, nor semiotics-games isolated from the body. Contrarily, with the femininity based on the whole-body which Laozi stressed, we not only avoid the tragedy of asexual body, but also break post-feminist’s “gender trouble”. Finally, we should have a new future with the light of Laozi’s femininity.
Di Fiori, Larson. Uses of Laozi in Huainanzi and Wenzi
This paper examines the uses of the Laozi, in the forms of both quote and allusion, as it appears in the Wenzi and the Huainanzi. Through an analysis of their relation to the Laozi, and its role as a source of authority, the connections between Huainanzi and Wenzi ar
Diamant, Hirsh. Perfection through Practice: A Requisite for Fine and Martial arts—The Cognitive Relationship of Daoist Thought and the Arts
Chapter 10 of the Daode jing gives recommendations for practices that could be applied to perfecting visual, media, and martial arts. My presentation will examine this and other classical texts in relation to practice and I will show pertinent examples in film, movement, and images. I will also examine the Daoist concept of the Nine Perfections in fengahui and the practice of art as a form of yangsheng.
Dor, Galia. Between the Worlds: Gateways in Ancient Daoist Thought
Gates constitute an immensely important element in Chinese architecture and they appear as the character men 門 in ancient Chinese philosophies as well as in later religious texts, and more. Its many, varied occurrences notwithstanding, my paper will focus on the philosophical and psychological implications of the gate in our daily lives. It is my argument that the constant changing and transforming of the human being constitutes a key role in ancient Chinese thought (indeed, a common feature of all schools) and that the gate, as s symbol (xiang象), plays an important role in this process. I suggest that the gate functions analogically by the principle of resonance (ganying 感應) – from the outer world dimension to the innermost one. In the same way that architectural gates stand along the path (dao 道) and at the entrance to structures and forces us to make a decision according to their (open or closed) situations, so do the gates that connect our inner world to the outer, play a vital role in our psychology and behaviour: the mechanism of opening and closing these gates could be the key to self transformation, growth and change along our personal way. The thesis proposes that, according to the constantly changing circumstances of life, one should spontaneously feel/know (xin 心) what would be the correct response and action or indeed, non-action (wu-wei無爲) of that specific moment and recognizes opportunities (an opening) for inner transformation and change. It also holds that one of the means for inner transformation is the absolute opening of the gates so that the barrier collapses and hence unity with the Dao道 is achieved (in other words, meditation). This thesis is the product of the analysis of primary materials such as the Yijing, Daodejing, Laozi’ hagiography, Zhuangzi and the Huaninanzi and materials from psychology and meditation.
Favraud, Georges. A Daoist Medical Tradition in the 20th Century (Jiangxi, Pingxiang)
This paper discusses the transformations and the hybridizations of the female Chunyang transmission of the Henglongdong temple (Pingxiang, Hunan-Jiangxi border), through five generations. This community specialized in nüdan, is from the 1980s regionally famous for taking care of and healing children (with the help of physiognonomical diagnosis, discreet incantations, sometimes talismans and mainly herbal prescriptions). This healing tradition inherits from the practices and the ritual parenthood of the Daoist hermit, medium and healer Zhou Fuhai (who revived the Lü Dongbin cults, in this area in the vicinity of Yüeyang, in the beginning of the 20th century). In 1947, when his “disciple’s disciple” (tusun) the female Master Li Tiantai arrived Pingxiang and bought the Henglongdong temple to a Buddhist community, she took as a disciple Zhang Yuandeng, the heir of a local medical family tradition, that melted with the Daoist healing tradition. During the Maoist era, the feminine community was first in charge of a medical center, before been dispersed during the Cultural Revolution. At that time, some of these women made “Hunan embroidery” (Xiangxiu) or became “barefoot doctors” (chijiao yisheng). In the 1980s, the community has been restored by female Master Liu Yangying who, after Li Tiantai’s death in 1984, specialized their healing tradition in the taking care of children. Since that time, the female masters of this community also read Modern traditional medicine manuals. Liu Yangying died in April 2013, at the age of 89 years old, handing over the communitiy’s responsabilities to her disciple Huang Fuming, a former student of Nanyue’s “Daoist Female Academy” (kundao xueyuan) currently in her forties. Their story shows, on one hand, how Daoist ritual traditions, technical transmissions such as medicine and local societies are deeply entangled, and, on the other, how ritual and technical changes are both linked to social context and personal choices.
Feng, Alex. Connectivity – Cosmic, Medical, and Ergonomic
The integration of Daoist (cosmic), medical (healing) and ergonomic (martial) practices form the foundation for the practice of a Daoist martial artist. The human as a conduit between heaven and earth is a fundamental Daoist concept. , which sets the basis for the spiritual practice of martial arts. This presentation describes and explores these components and how they shape one’s practice.
Fox, Alan. Zhuangzi’s ‘Weiwuwei Epistemology’: Seeing through Dichotomy to Polarity
Despite the fact that we are doing exactly what Zhuangzi recommends we not do, our goal is to articulate some epistemological principles consistent with his view, if we can call it that. Zhuangzi seems to recommend ming明 as an epistemological stance which sees through dichotomy to polarity, through the superficial to the subtle, from the manifold to the pluralistic, by privileging the concrete over the abstract. In the Zhuangzi, this stance is adopted to reconcile apparent contradictions. This emphasis on what we can call a “Virtue Epistemology” is consistent with Zhuangzi’s particular presentation of weiwuwei, and has implications for linguistic theory as well.
Friedrichs, Elisabeth. “When managers support the sky” – Acupuncture and Qigong in a German General Practice of a Family Doctor
Today many people survive acute stages of severe diseases, such as heart attack or cancer, yet they often do not recover completely and suffer from chronic ailments. Other chronic conditions have increased also, due to of metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. Beyond that, many people suffer from the hectic pace of life, loneliness, and alienation. Mental disorders due to excessive stress cost societies a lot, but are not dealt with adequately by existing health care systems. Chinese medicine uses contextual thinking and continuous observation, providing diagnostic and therapeutic concepts that serve as a welcome contribution to modern diseases. In this context I will speak of my experiences as a family doctor, acupuncturist, and qigong teacher in Germany, showing both the Daoist connection and modern relevance of these methods.
Guan, Yinlin. Ethics in the Laozi: The Guidebook for Ordinary People to Have Good Lives
The common view of the ethics of Laozi is, broadly speaking, that it is merely regarding a general discussion that encourages people to live in detached lives and to act with the flow. Nevertheless, we read Daodejing in detail, and carefully, we can see that, based on the contemporary understanding of ethics in general that in Daodejing there are many ethical discussions scattered throughout the chapters, which look into and detail how people can live happy lives by following the Dao and the De and have well-being in society by practicing Wuwei and living with spontaneity etc. In this paper, I will draw a full picture of the ethical theory of Laozi by going through Daodejing in detail and propose that Daodejing is not only a book for the rulers or emperors, but also for the ordinary people to lead them to fulfilled lives and well-being.
Harrington, Michael. Daoist Hexagrams in Cheng Yi’s Yijing Commentary
When Paul-Louis-Félix Philastre translated the Yijing into French in the late nineteenth century, he noticed an unusual series of characters in Cheng Yi’s commentary on the ninth hexagram. The characters read: 君子所蘊畜者, 大則道德經綸之業. Philastre translated this series of characters as follows: “ce que l’homme doué amasse et retient de plus important, c’est l’aptitude aux pratiques fondamentales de la voie morale de la vertu”—that is, “the most important thing accumulated and retained by the talented man is the aptitude for the basic practices of the moral way of virtue.” In a footnote, however, he noted that this set of characters was interesting to him because it could also be translated in a more suggestive way: “cette phrase est remarquable; on peut lire: ‘c’est l’art, (ou capacité) du principe fondamental du Tao te king’ (livre de Lao Tse)”—that is, “this phrase is remarkable; one could read: ‘this is the art (or capacity) of the fundamental principle of the Daodejing.’” In other words, Philastre thought Cheng Yi might be referring to a Daoist principle that he saw at work in the Yijing. Is there any merit to this suggestion? In this paper, I will argue that the series of characters is both more and less significant than Philastre suggested. It is less significant, because it is virtually out of the question that Cheng Yi was referring to the Daodejing here. It is more significant, because Cheng Yi is nonetheless strongly influenced by the principles articulated in the Daodejing, and his commentary on the ninth and twenty-sixth hexagrams reflects one of these principles.
He, Shanmeng. The Philosophy of Emotion in Zhuangzi《庄子》中的情感哲学
道 家对于情感问题的关注程度在总体上来说不如儒家，因为儒家是要强调现实的人，即在现实的道德框架之中，讨论人的行为问题，而对于现实的人来说，情感问题无 疑是一个基本的问题，而道家则是追求一种超越的精神境界，这种精神境界在一定程度上是排斥现实的，所以两者的差别也就显而易见了。但是，这并不是说道家无 视情感问题，对于情感哲学，先秦道家事实上也做了非常详细的探讨，这主要体现在《庄子》之中。本文对于《庄子》情感哲学的分析，主要是以《庄子》为基本的 文本依据。而《庄子》，按照其作者判别而言，体现了庄子及其后学的观念，因此，在一定程度上也可以说是体现了战国之际道家的思想观念。
Hendrischke, Barbara. Views on prognostication in early religious Daoism
For this paper “early religious Daoism” is seen as represented by the different textual groups that make up the Scripture on Great Peace (Taiping jing ???) and reach back to the second century C.E. These textual groups hold different views on the value of prognostication. Some curtail interest in prognostic enquiry by proposing that a divine heaven holds absolute power to reward believers and punish those who disobey its commands. Another group proposes that only the future of all-under-heaven is worth looking into. Here prognosticative methods follow the pattern of cosmos-oriented correlative thinking. The textual group that deals intensely with queries into individual fate suggests to co-opt spirits in order to arrive at reliable results. When juxtaposed to general Han dynasty prognosticative practice and theory all textual groups share a disregard for predetermination and a radical reduction of the future worth looking into. For an individual longevity is the focus of all enquiry, and for the community it is security and peace.
Herrou, Adeline. Transmitting the Daoist Master’s Role Beyond the Vicissitudes of the 20th Century: The Story of a Zhengyi Daoist of Beijing Who Perpetuated a Martial Arts Tradition among Quanzhen Monks
This paper examines the case of a Daoist master of Beijing who, just before the Cultural Revolution, entered religious life in a Zhengyi temple in China’s capital. He was a member of a martial arts tradition that he succeeded in perpetuating by practicing it every day, even after being forced to return to secular life and work in a factory. After the religious revival of the 1980s, he resumed teaching these martial arts to the Daoist monks of the White Cloud Temple and rewriting the lost book of this tradition. This case illustrates the proximity and mutual assistance between obediences (Quanzhen and Zhengyi), which tend to be presented as more distinct than they actually were at certain points in history. More generally, this paper considers the different shifts that have allowed traditions to be built and recreated at the interstice between ancient and post-revolutionary China.
Jackowicz, Steve. The Martial Body: Chinese Medicine as a Basis of Natural Science in Chinese Martial Arts
This paper explores the axioms of Chinese medicine as a foundation for the development of Chinese martial art technique. Through an examination of Chinese medical and martial texts, the paper explores how the axioms of Chinese medicine shaped the development of Chinese martial arts training and methodologies of personal combat. The underlying structures of the body’s inner landscape are viewed as foundational to techniques of offense and defense, as well as relevant to the development of martial training regimens. By understanding the traditional medical view of the body, a deeper understanding of the Chinese martial tradition can be derived, as well as a better appreciation of the contextual relationship of the Daoist underpinnings of both Chinese medicine and martial arts.
Jia, Jinhua. The Tang Priestess-cum-Physician Hu Yin and Her Scheme of Nourishing Life
The Tang Daoist priestess and physician Hu Yin 胡愔 (fl. 848) wrote a work entitled Huangting neijing wuzang liufu buxie tu 黃 庭內景五臟六腑補瀉圖 (Illustration of the Tonification and Purgation of the Five Viscera and Six Receptacles according to the Inner Landscape of Yellow Court Scripture). Here she establishes a scheme of seasonal nourishing the viscera, which combines dietetics with breathing exercise and gymnastics. This scheme has been cited by many later books and exerted profound influence on the development of Daoist inner- cultivation and nourishing-life theories and practices.
Kleeman, Terry. Ordination Ritual in Early Daoism: What the S.203 Manuscript Can Tell Us about Daoist Communities
The early Daoist church was characterized by a universal priesthood marked by the conferral of a series of ranked documents called registers (lu 籙). Although much remains obscure about the higher-level registers held by high church officers (see Lagerwey 2005), we do have a detailed description of the ritual used to transmit the “outer registers” to novices (lusheng 籙生).The Dunhuang manuscript S.203 gives both the actual ritual and templates for many of the documents used in the ritual for transmitting the One General, Ten General, Seventy-five General, and Hundred Fifty General registers. This material can also be supplement by reference to the templates and instructions preserved in the Protocols of the Most High for the External Registers 正一法文太上外籙儀. In this paper I will give a detailed description of this ritual, explaining its significance for the training of Daoist priests and the maintenance of Daoist ritual traditions.
Knight, Sabina. Daoism, Deep Ecology, and Contemporary Chinese Literature
This paper analyzes Daoist thought and practice in the nonfiction essays of contemporary Chinese nature writers. How did Daoist thought nurture the enormous influence of Thoreau’s Walden 《瓦尔登湖》, a work seized on by those concerned about the pace, scale, and social, moral, and environmental costs of China’s breakneck economic growth? Adding to scholarship on Thoreau’s sudden and huge popularity in China since the early 1990s, I analyze the Daoist resonance of specific terms chosen by Thoreau’s Chinese translator, Xu Chi 徐迟, and underscored in the prose poetry and essays of writers such as Wei An 苇岸 (1960-1999) and Li Juan 李娟 (1979-).
The great emotional, literary, and philosophical resonance of these terms also helps to account for the development of an eclectic, syncretistic spiritual faith that combined Daoism, Confucian role ethics, transcendentalism, and deep ecology. Such faith can be seen in Wei An’s The Last Romantic最后的浪漫主义者 (2009) and especially through close readings of “Things on Earth” (大地上的事情, 1991-99), a work whose references to “salvation” and other seeming allusions to Christianity also suggest interreligious dimensions. The seventy-five short meditations collected in “Things On Earth” include explicit praise for Emerson and Thoreau, and particularly for Thoreau’s call for emancipation from “the quicksand of material desire.” Finally I consider the legacy of Daoism, Thoreauvian thought, and deep ecology in more recent Chinese eco-literature (绿色生态文學 ), especially in the young writer Li Juan’s collections Nine Chapters about Snow 《九篇雪》(2003), My Altay《我的阿勒泰》(2010), and Winter Pasture 《冬牧场》(2012).
Kohn, Livia. Forget or not Forget? The Neurophysiology of Zuowang
One of the key Daoist meditation practices is zuowang 坐 忘, literally “sit and forget” or, more formally, “sitting in oblivion.” Typically it involves actions of release: let fall away (duo堕), do away (chu 黜), separate (li 离), let go (qu去), and so on. What does this mean neurologically? The brain consists of three parts that manage instincts, emotions, and thinking. Memory similarly comes in three major types: muscle (procedural), episodic (implicit, emotional), and semantic (declarative, learning). Zhuangzi is in favor of the first as the center of high performance skills (like Cook Ding), suspicious of the second as the locus of a socially created self (shen 身), and opposed to the third as the seat of cultural evaluations (right and wrong). Long-term memory is processed by the hippocampus. Injuries or lesions to this area lead to “forgetfulness,” the inability to remember what happened even a few hours ago, which renders people detached and amused but also completely helpless and socially inadequate—not what the Zhuangzi proposes at all. Emotional memory, on the other hand, is processed in the amygdala, leading to neuron loops of stress. It can be altered and its responses controlled by a shift in attention, notably by focusing on a higher, more permanent value, like Heaven or life. This leads to the inhibition of automatization or emotion regulation, neurologically the core process of zuowang.
Lambert, Andrew. Daoism and Disability: alternative models of personhood and agency in disability studies
There has been some interest in thinking about how ideas found in the early Daoist texts can inform current debates about disability; the latter often involve assumptions about personhood and agency, which Daoist texts do not share. The two canonical texts of classical Daoism, the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, do not explicitly discuss disability as an object of theory or offer a model of it. They do, however, provide resources and concepts that can enrich contemporary discussions of disability. Two particular ideas are discussed here. Daoist thinking about the body undermines normative assumptions about it that attributions of ‘disabled’ often depend upon; and Daoism warns against the premature inferential leap from perceived and pronounced incapacity to a more general judgment of “useless”. In general, I argue, Daoism’s skepticism and particularistic approach to experience suggest caution about the value of appealing to theoretical models of disability.
Lee, Mei-Yen. Daoist Breathing and Guqin Music
As first mentioned in the Zhuangzi, Daoists have placed a great emphasis on breath cultivation. This has also influenced ancient Guqin (lute) music, notably in its cosmology and spiritual philosophy. The paper discusses the various methods of breath regulation as well as the relationship of breath, Dao and qi. In music, players work with controlled breath while composers gain inspiration from breathing exercises. Connecting body and cosmos, both Daoists and Guqin musicians experience oneness with Dao and qi.
Lee, Jung. The Rhetoric of the Way: The Arts of Persuasion in the Zhuangzi
This paper examines the arts of persuasion at work in the Zhuangzi, particularly in the narratives which feature sages and “realized persons.” Bernard Faure suggests that early Daoist figures can be considered as precursors to the “trickster” type of the later Chan Buddhist tradition, but this way of describing the nature and function of literary characters in early Daoist texts marginalizes the artistry and philosophical acumen that many dialogues and stories reveal. I argue that we can view the various modes of rhetoric at work in the Zhuangzi as serving to establish and legitimate normative authority for the particular way of life endorsed by Zhuangzi. I identify three distinct modes of rhetoric at work in the Zhuangzi: The first is what can be called “contextual authority,” a situation in which one character accepts the judgments of another as normative based on a context of shared norms, usually when a person accepts what another says based on his or her authority. The second mode of rhetoric can be characterized as “Socratic influence,” or when a speaker prods listeners to think along certain lines and come to their own conclusions. We see many instances of this in early Daoist texts when a sage instructs a novice. And finally, there are what I call “epiphanic pointers” where the speaker persuades the listener through a performance of some kind which suddenly reveals the essence of the matter. All of these different modes of rhetoric, then, serve to establish the normative authority of Zhuangzi’s moral vision.
Li, Juntao & Nie Qunhui. Dao of Tai Chi: Chinese Spiritual Practice and Body Practice
The Dao of Tai Chi of China fully discusses the relationship of body and spirit(形神关系)，emphasizes the integration of body and mind. Tai Chi can provide a more efficient energy storage mode and operational mode to future people’s lives. Dao of Tai Chi does not only exist in Chinese spiritual practice, but also work as an accessible physical and mental training. In Tai Chi diagram, white characterizes yang, black characterizes yin, the fishlike counterpart position of yin and yang characterizes the conflicts and fusion, and as well as the harmony they will reach, and the latter is a symmetrical, correlational and dynamic process. Dao of Tai Chi emphasizes the harmony of yin and yang and makes human life escalates into a satisfactory state, this could provide a positive answer to the health problems faced by society today.
Lin, Ming-chao. Reflection, the Other, and the Response of Qi: The Ethical Dimension of Zhuangzi
This paper explores the ethical dimensions of Zhuangzi from the points of view of reflection, otherness, and the response of qi. Through reflection, Zhuangzi broadens the ethical dimension toward facing difference, i.e., the other. To Zhuangzi, life’s differences follow the changes and responses of qi, thus preserving them together with otherness. In Zhuangzi’s ethics, facing differences, otherness, and the interaction between others and myself in response of qi, in fact, form one organic whole. In addition, the ethics of the response of qi also has an aesthetic significance. Some of these facets, moreover, have parallels in Levinas’s ethics of the Other, a major subject in Western academia. This allows for a meaningful dialogue between cultures today.
Liou, Chien-cheng 劉見成. Sudden Transcendence and Direct Entry: Ideas on Cultivating Dao in the Wenshi True Scripture” 頓超直入：《文始真經》的修道思想
The three stages of cultivation –jing to qi to shen, to emptiness—had their origin in the Wuji Diagram transmitted by Chen Tuan. They are the initial, middle and upper barriers, representing a gradual transition from purposive to wu-wei practice. To directly cultivate the upper stage is a sudden practice, commencing with refining shen back to emptiness and naturally transcending the initial and middle barriers.
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Liou, Chien-Hui 劉劍輝. Exploring Cosmogonic Models in Laozi and in Solar System Formation as Presented in Tiandi Jiao’s Teaching Text 老子及天帝教教義中太陽系生成之宇宙模型探討
Since ancient times Chinese people have emphasized the idea of “Heaven-human union,” which values harmony between human beings and the natural world. Could it be that the experiential wisdom of our sagely forebears already implies and perhaps in some ways surpasses the grasp and findings related to cosmogony in a context of modern astrophysical research? This paper first gives a simple outline of knowledge from astrophysics about the formation of fixed stars, from the 18th-century hypothesis of stellar nebulae to the current model of star-forming nebular discs. This paper will then introduce Lee Yü-chieh’s theory of fixed star formation, focusing on how his theory is supported by the idea of solar system formation found in Laozi’s Daodejing. The present writer expresses admiration for specific ideas about the fixed-sta- formation process in the discourse of these two sagely predecessors, one of them ancient and one modern. Through synthesis and contrast with the relevant views of astrophysics, arranging the information in an organized form, we can see the concreteness and forward-looking features in the theory of these two wise predecessors. This theory is here given the name “Two-Li Model of Fixed Star System Formation by Dynamic Qi Workings.” [“Two Li” refers to Li Dan and Li Yü-chieh.]
Liou, Tong-Miin 劉通敏. Heaven-Human Communion Viewed in Light of Innate and Acquired Qi 天人親和之炁氣觀
The truth of the cosmos is ever-unceasing and inexhaustible, but its discovery and transmission depends on humankind. To discover cosmic truths of higher-dimensional space, we cannot rely wholly on acquired knowledge and abilities but need to use spiritual awareness .Tiandi Jiao does research into “Heaven-human communion,” showing that information from our consciousness being beamed to higher dimensional spaces is a “bonding force,” while the responses of spirit-entities are a matter of “harmonizing force.” Transmission of information in consciousness must rely on a medium, commonly described as qi. It depends on the numinous energy level (rezhun) of the bonding-harmonizing forces, raised through quiet sitting and other with mind-tempering practices. This paper hopes to show a deeper realization of “matter envisioned within nature” and “spirit envisioned within human life.” This paper further will discuss the e-tropons (material particles) and harmonons (spirit particles), which together constitute a monistic unity with dual functions of mind and matter.
Liu, Xiang. “I Effaced Myself” and “The Disappearance of the Subject”: A Comparison between Zhuangzi and Jean Baudrillard’s Anti-Subjectivism
In the chapter “The Adjustment of Controversies” (Qiwulun) in his eponymous work, Zhuangzi has the character Nanguo Ziqi declare “I effaced myself,” thereby holding that one can return to the state of naturalness only after he breaks with the “self” that is in opposition to “objects,” abandoning his subject-object standpoint and entering a state of “effacement” wherein one fuses with the Dao. Coincidently, the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard also repeatedly stresses the “disappearance of the subject” in his later philosophy, trying to dissolve subject-centrism by means of a counterattack by the object wherein its logic would entrap the subject. Although they lived in different times, both Zhuangzi and Baudrillard note the predicament of man, that is, the situation wherein the “I as subject” constantly obscures the “real I.” Their resolutions of the predicament are similar: both put their hopes in the dissolution of the “I” or self in subject-object relations, with Zhuangzi declaring “I effaced myself” and Baudrillard mooting the “disappearance of the subject.” They differ, however, on how to dissolve the “I” (myself). Briefly, Zhuangzi advocates “effacing myself through the Dao,” that is, quitting one’s “fixed mindset” and “egoism” and making man return to the Dao by means of “forgetting” or “effacing”; in comparison, Baudrillard proposes to “efface oneself through the object,” i.e., replace the supremacy of the subject with that of the object. Baudrillard’s theory has often been criticized as pataphysics because of its nihilism without transcendence; in contrast, Zhuangzi’s view, which construes the whole world as the unfolding of the Dao, seems more thought-provoking.
Lorge, Peter. The Daoist Thread in Chinese Military Thought
The interpretation of Chinese military thought effectively began with Cao Cao’s commentary on the Sunzi. While Cao Cao’s intellectual position did not favor one school of thought or the other, the same cannot be said of some of the other commentators who followed in the tradition. The Tang dynasty commentator Li Quan invoked the Daodejing at the onset of his discussions, and several of the later Song commentators stressed Confucian readings of the Sunzi. This paper will explore the Daoist thread of interpretation of Chinese military thought, and argue that it was always inherent in the textual tradition.
The Daoist reading of Chinese military thought developed over centuries, culminating in one 19th century interpretation that went so far as to argue that all military thought stemmed from the Daodejing. As the commentarial tradition developed, the different lines of interpretation grew not only in response to the milieu of the individual writer, but also in response to the ongoing intellectual history of the tradition itself. A Daoist reading was produced by the ideas in the texts and in reaction to other commentators.
Lu, Xichen 吕锡琛. Daoist Wisdom in Health Cultivation 道教養生智慧(提要)
Daoism respects life and advocates cultivation of both nature and life. It thereby contains great wisdom of value conception, daily diet and care, interpersonal relationships handling, exercising and health preserving. This paper explores the Daoist wisdom in health cultivation from four aspects.
First, conforming to nature includes not only observing the law of season change, of nature, and of heaven and earth, but also adapting to the society, individuality and personal strength.
Second, holding stillness and attaining emptiness. Out of Lao-tzu’s “holding stillness and attaining emptiness”, Daoism has developed systematic practice procedures of staticizing, securing and emptying. And this will surely help the internal information system, the neural system, the digestion system, the endocrine system and the like, with self-adjustment and restoration so as to obtain the balanced and harmonious state as of the beginning of life.
Third, sparing and eliminating desire. According to Daoism, excessive indulgence in sensual pleasure, or fame or wealth will cause great harm to one’s body and will even hinder people from achieving spiritual enlightenment. Therefore, one must restrain his material wishes or personal desires, and abide by the principle of simplicity and easiness. In fact, this theory has been well proved by people of longevity worldwide.
Fourth, hold fast to the submissive and discernment. Daoists believe that the submissive and weak may contain even greater vitalization and anti-pressure ability. This does not mean one must refrain his anger, instead, Daoism instructs people to be generous, farsighting, so to observe demerit of impartiality and merit of discernment. Lao-tzu has taught us: “The violent shall not come to a natural end”，“The submissive and weak will overcome the hard and strong”，“The most submissive thing in the world can ride roughshod over the hardest in the world.”“Those who are good I treat as good. Those who are not good I also treat as good. In so doing I gain in goodness”These teachings have strengthened the interior initiatives of holding fast to the submissive and discernment and have hence been a psychological adapter.
In short, emphasis of having in one’s command the initiatives of living, is an easy and effective mode of health cultivation. And it will benefit contemporary people troubled by various physical and psychological problems.
Lv, Dongsheng. Applying the Daode jing in Company Management
Laozi’s Daode jing not merely describes the methods of management but also profoundly reveals the philosophy lies in management, hence it has been increasingly favored by managers from both home and abroad. This paper, by the means of combining the author’s in-person experience of applying the text in company management, elucidates its management philosophies from four perspectives: first, leading by examples; second, governing by non-interference; third, retaining talents with care and benevolence; fourth, being tolerant and humble. Effective utilization of these management philosophies mentioned above is in the benefit of activating passion and creativity of our staff, better drawing on the wisdom and talent of the management, promoting harmony and interaction between the upper and lower levels, and bringing impetus and vitality to the development of the company.
Mair, Denis. The Mother-Daughter Relation of the Earth and Fire Trigrams
In the Yijing the Kun hexagram, formed from two Earth trigrams, is a symbol for all that is motherly, earthy and receptive. In this paper I show that exploring associations on Kun within the Yijing’s own symbol matrix is a way of elaborating a Daoist world view. It is helpful to place Kun in context because the whole matrix constitutes a composite symbol which is well-suited to participatory contemplation of the Dao. To demonstrate such a possibility in microcosm, I will focus on symbolic relations between Earth and Fire. The “Treatise on Explication of Trigrams” (one of the Ten Wings) tells us, “Qian is Heaven and is likened to the Father; Kun is Earth and is likened to the Mother. When the two parents seek offspring, they get a first son, which is Zhen” (Thunder), and so on. In this account Fire is described as the ”middle daughter.” My paper shows that this this claim of a “familial” relation is supported by a rich fabric of associations. By looking at meanings which Earth and Fire contribute to hexagrams they appear in, I show that the meaning of Kun/Earth is foundational, and that the two trigrams have kindred but distinct qualities.
Meulenbeld, Mark. Let the Demons Play: Daoist Exorcism and Theatrical Redemption
The Daoist engagement with demons (gui) or other kinds of noxious spirits has been described in great detail by traditional observers and modern scholars alike. Typical stories about human attempts to control demonic threats will feature a performance of “exorcist” methods. These methods can be described empirically (the observable acts of the exorcist) or metaphysically (the invisible acts of the exorcist), and commonly are based upon either one of two assumptions: (1) that a demonic spirit is defeated and annihilated; or, (2) that a demonic spirit is captured in order to reform it. In this talk I argue that the most common treatment that Daoist priests impose upon demons is to lock them up in a substitute body, leave them temporarily contained at the Daoist’s altar, and release them at year’s end. Their release marks the beginning of a new cycle of independent existence on earth, a period in which they are ritually given a chance to make merit. Imagined as violent acts against other demonic entities, their deeds are often theatrically represented during festivals. The play of demons really is an enactment of their redemption.
Meyer, Andrew. Yang Zhu and “Yangism” in the Huainanzi
After the Mencius, the Huainanzi is the best early source for the mysterious figure of Yang Zhu (fl. ca. 350 B.C.E.). Yang Zhu produced no writings that survived or the existence of which were even recorded. No text provides any biographical information for him. Yet according to the Mencius, Yang Zhu at one time had as many latter-day followers as Mo Di.
The Huainanzi attributes several specific doctrines to Yang Zhu himself, thus all modern attempts to reconstruct “Yangism” begin retrospectively from the testimony of the Huainanzi, reading its evidence of Yang’s reported doctrines back into the record of the Warring States. In this paper I will explore the question of Yang Zhu and “Yangism” within the text of the Huainanzi itself. Does the text treat Yang Zhu as a seminal figure? Does anything identifiable as “Yangism” contribute to the content or message of the text as a whole? In doing so I hope to examine both what the Huainanzi can teach us about the historicity of Yang Zhu, and what light “Yangism” might throw on the meaning of the Huainanzi.
Michael, Thomas. Images of Legendary Recluses in the Zhuangzi
Daoism is often approached in terms of a philosophy and/or a religion, especially in relation to its early formations. A handful of scholars, beginning with Maspero, have sought a different kind of a very early, Warring-States Daoism based on a master-student relationship that centers on the mastery of a program of physical cultivation, often called yangsheng. In my search for this kind of an elusive third tradition, I like to speak in terms of a reclusive Daoism centered round something like networks of mountain communities. If such a tradition can be conceived of having existed at that time, it left next to no historical records, unlike the recluses of the Confucian tradition. But it did leave a different kind of record, a record of legendary sages who seem to spend a lot of time in mountains, and the Zhuangzi provides images of many such legendary figures. In this presentation, I explore the ways in which such records can help us to conceive of an early Daoist tradition of reclusion by looking into many of the behaviors shared among the recluses scattered throughout the pages of the collection, with particular attention to the series of shared themes, images, and consequences cohering around their textual episodes.
Mollgaard, Eske. Zhuangzi and the Coming Community
It is generally assumed that the Zhuangzi offers little social and political philosophy. I argue, on the contrary, that the Zhuangzi presents us with a clear picture of community, a picture that is just as substantial as the well-known Confucian conception of community. Furthermore, I suggest that Zhuangzi’s idea of community may offer us a better vision of the coming community in our age of globalization than the Confucian ideal of community that is being promoted both in China and in the West.
Mozina, David. Zhima 紙馬 and the Production of Daoist Ritual Images in Hunan Province
An exploration of the category zhima–artisans who supply Daoist and Buddhist ritual masters with paper ritual implements made by woodblock printing. Based on extensive field work and textual analysis, this talk shows something of the ritual procedures zhima include in the fabrication of these paper handicrafts. Local artisans like zhima are more than local artisans; they themselves are ritual practitioners, complete with the performative, textual, and lineage-based traditions that characterize Daoist and Buddhist ritualists. The implication is that we must blur the hard and fast boundary between art and religion, image and ritual when examining the religious life of today’s rural south China.
Murray, Judson. Shenming 神明 in the Huainanzi: An Inter- and Intratextual Analysis
This paper examines both the meanings and functions of the challenging and polysemous term shenming (神明) in the Huainanzi’s cosmological and political vision. As the term appears throughout numerous chapters of the work that relate to diverse subjects with different sources and intellectual traditions informing them, a key question the analysis seeks to answer is whether the definition and use of shenming in the Huainanzi vary as the subjects and chapters vary. Alternatively, is there a more uniform and prevailing conception of shenming that the Huainanzi’s authors adopt, and, if so, what is it and why do they prefer it? Methodologically, the analysis employs both intertextual and intratextual approaches. On the one hand, the paper contextualizes how the Huainanzi conceives of and employs shenming in relation to other understandings of it appearing in different noteworthy pre-Han and Han sources. On the other hand, the examination compares occurrences of the term across the different chapters of the Huainanzi. Both types of analysis assist us in determining whether the Huainanzi’s authors simply redeployed established and conventional pre-Han usages of shenming, or innovatively reimaged the term to suit their own particular philosophical and political interests and objectives. Thus, another aim of the paper is to engage two ongoing scholarly debates regarding early Chinese thought. The first concerns the nature of early or proto-Daoist traditions and the conceptual categories relating to them. The second pertains to the intellectual innovativeness or lack of it that we find in Han sources such as the Huainanzi, compared to examples of preceding pre-Han sources from China’s so-called philosophical “golden age.”