Synopses & Reviews
For centuries Daoism (Taoism) has played a central role in the development of Chinese thought and civilization, yet to this day only a few of its sacred texts have been translated into English. Now Stephen R. Bokenkamp introduces the reader to ancient scriptures never before published in the West, providing a systematic and easily accessible introduction to early Daoism (c. 2nd-6th C.E.). Representative works from each of the principal Daoist traditions comprise the basic structure of the book, with each chapter accompanied by an introduction that places the material within a historical and cultural context. Included are translations of the earliest Daoist commentary to Laozi's Daode jing
(Tao Te Ching); historical documents relating the history of the early Daoist church; a petitioning ritual used to free believers from complaints brought against them by the dead; and two complete scriptures, one on individual meditation practice and another designed to rescue humanity from the terrors of hell through recitation of its powerful charms. In addition, Bokenkamp elucidates the connections Daoism holds with other schools of thought, particularly Confucianism and Buddhism.
This book provides a much-needed introduction to Daoism for students of religion and is a welcome addition for scholars wishing to explore Daoist sacred literature. It serves as an overview to every aspect of early Daoist tradition and all the seminal practices which have helped shape the religion as it exists today.
For centuries Daoism has played a central role in the development of Chinese thought and civilization, yet only a few of its sacred texts have been translated into English. Now Stephen Bokenkamp introduces the reader to ancient scriptures never before published in the West, providing a systematic and easily accessible introduction to early Daoism (c. 2nd-6th C.E.). Representative works from each of the principal Daoist traditions are accompanied by commentary that contextualizes the material. Bokenkamp offers an overview of all aspects of early Daoist tradition and of the practices that have shaped the religion as it exists today.
"A work of historic proportions. . . . A whole new world of ancient religious life is being opened to us here, and readers can trust Bokenkamp to guide them through that world."and#151;Russell Kirkland, University of Georgia
"Bokenkamp, whose previous works on Daoism are already deservedly well known and appreciated, presents complete translations of six major Daoist texts. His introductions to each of them delineate and elucidate some points of both the history and fundamental notions of Daoism, which so far have remained unclear or subject to debate. This book will undoubtedly provide a better understanding of Daoism."and#151;Isabelle Robinet, author of Taoist Meditation: The Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity
About the Author
Stephen R. Bokenkamp is Professor of East Asian Languages and Culture at Indiana University.