Daoism, Meditation, and the Wonders of Serenity: From the by Stephen Eskildsen

By Stephen Eskildsen

An summary of Daoist texts on passive meditation from the Latter Han via Tang periods.

Stephen Eskildsen deals an summary of Daoist non secular texts from the Latter Han (25–220) via Tang (618–907) sessions, exploring passive meditation tools and their expected results. those tools entailed gazing the techniques that spread spontaneously inside brain and physique, instead of actively manipulating them by means of capacity universal in medieval Daoist faith comparable to visualization, invocations, and the swallowing of breath or saliva. in the course of the ensuing deep serenity, it used to be claimed, you can reach profound insights, adventure visions, consider surges of significant strength, triumph over thirst and starvation, be cured of diseases, ascend the heavens, and achieve everlasting life.

While the texts mentioned stick to the legacy of Warring States interval Daoism similar to the Laozi to an important measure, in addition they draw upon medieval immortality tools and Buddhism. An knowing of the passive meditation literature offers very important insights into the next improvement of Neidan, or inner Alchemy, meditation that emerged from the track interval onward.

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Additional resources for Daoism, Meditation, and the Wonders of Serenity: From the Latter Han Dynasty (25-220) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

Sample text

Marquises and kings obtained the One and rectified all under Heaven. (Daode zhenjing 2/1b) 道生一 一生二 二生三 三生萬物 (42nd chapter) The Dao produced the One, the One produced the Two, the Two produced the Three, and the Three produced the myriad creatures. indd 37 7/2/15 3:42 PM 38 Chapter 2 Although the Laozi does not specifically say to “guard” the One, it does recommend “embracing” it. It is by “obtaining” the One that all things can exist and function as they ought to. In the sequence of cosmic generation, the One is the first thing produced by the ineffable Dao, and all else is produced by the One.

There are also descriptions of various meditation techniques, both passive and proactive, but it is difficult to determine which or any of them is the specific method that is supposed to generate the vision sequence in question. Chapter 4 begins with a discussion of The Western Ascension (Xisheng jing 西昇經), which is another text that presents itself as teachings that Laozi/Lord Lao conferred upon Yin Xi during their momentous encounter (and which is quoted extensively in The True Record). This text is estimated as dating to the fifth century, and its teachings certainly betray significant Buddhist influence, particularly in how it fully incorporates the doctrine of rebirth (samsāra—“flowing” or “wandering from existence to existence”—in Sanskrit) into its worldview.

First, a certain follower of Gan Ji named Gong Chong 宮崇 of Langye 琅邪 (southeast Shandong) presented the book to the Emperor Shundi 順帝 (r. 126–144). Later, Emperor Huandi 桓帝 (r. 147–167) was presented the book by Xiang Kai 襄楷. ) that book” 後張 角頗有其書焉 (Houhan shu, 4:1084). Although the exact meaning and nuance of this phrase is unclear (hence my awkward translation), it apparently means to say that Zhang Jue adopted the Taiping qingling shu as an important source of inspiration and reinforcement for his teachings and practices.

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