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Daoism: An Introduction (Introduction to Religion)by Ronnie L. Littlejohn
Synopses & Reviews
"The way that can be told is not the eternal Way; the name that can be named is not the eternal Name." So begins the first verse of the mysterious Dao De Jing, foundation text of the ancient Chinese religion of Daoism. Often attributed to semi-mythical sage Laozi, the origins of this enigmatic document--which probably came into being in the third century BCE--are actually unknown. But the tenets of Daoism laid down in the Dao De Jing, and in later texts like the Yi Jing (or Book of Changes), continue to exert considerable fascination, particularly in the West, where in recent years they have been popularized by writers such as the novelist Ursula K LeGuin. In this fresh and engaging introduction to Daoism, Ronnie L. Littlejohn discusses the central facets of a tradition which can sometimes seem as elusive as the slippery notion of "Dao" itself. The author shows that fundamental to Daoism is the notion of "Wu-wei," or non-action: a paradoxical idea emphasising alignment of the self with the harmony of the universe, a universe in continual flux and change. This flux is expressed by the famous symbol of Dao, the "taiji" representing yin and yang eternally correlating in the form of a harmonious circle. Exploring the great subtleties of this ancient religion, Littlejohn traces its development and encounters with Buddhism, its expression in art and literature, its fight for survival during the Cultural Revolution, and its manifestations in modern-day China and beyond.
About the Author
Ronnie L. Littlejohn is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Asian Studies at Belmont University, Nashville. He is the author of many articles in the field of Chinese and comparative philosophy, and also of two previous books on ethics and theology.
Table of Contents
* Introduction * Telling the Story of Daoism * The Sprouting of the Trunk of Daoism * The Composite Trunk of Daoism * The Masters who Nurtured the Trunk of Daoism * Growth of the Daoist Vine During the Qin and Han Dynasties * The Earliest Branches of Daoism * The Spread of Celestial Masters Daoism * New Vines and the Masters Who Began Them * Daoism in the Tang: Robust Maturity of the Vine * Scrambling and Overlapping Vines and Stems of Daoism in the Daoism of the Five Dynasties * Daoism Overgrows Chinese Culture: the Ming and Qing Dynasties * Spreading the Daoist Vine at Home and Abroad * A Quick Guide to Pronunciation * Glossary of Titles * Glossary of Names and Terms * Illustrations, Maps and Picture Credits * Works Cited * Index *
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