Theology & Religion

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An Introduction to the Philosophy and Religion of Taoism

Pathways to Immortality

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding title, 1997); Humanism; World Religions: An introduction for students (editor); and Perspectives of Reality – An introduction to the philosophy of Hinduism.

Companion volume to the best-selling Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism

In its rich evolution from antiquity to present times, Chinese religion has encompassed manifold religious expressions. Taoism is one facet of Chinese religion, and exemplifies particularly well the variety of beliefs and practices that humankind has adopted and experienced in the search for answers to both ultimate and proximate questions about life and death. This book explores the different pathways Taoism took in that search, touching at many points on the other interrelated facets of Chinese religion in Confucianism, Buddhism and popular religion. The mystical, philosophical traditions of Taoism are analysed, as well as the more colourful and overtly religious strands of Taoism. Contents include:

The origins of Taoism: ancient China

The interconnected cosmos: the I Ching

Creative forces: yin and yang and the Five Agents

Tao and its early philosophers

Taoism in Imperial China


Life beyond Earth: ancestors, deities, immortals and sages

Religious Taoism

Taoism today

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-085-9
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $75.00
Release Date: August 2005
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-086-6
Paperback Price: £16.95 / $35.0
Release Date: August 2005
Page Extent / Format: 300 pp. / 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgements


1 The Origins of Taoism: Ancient China
Taoism: the nature of the word
The Chinese psyche
The roots of Taoism in ancient practices
The Chinese dynasties
The Hsia/Xia ‘dynasty’
The Shang dynasty
The Chou/Zhou dynasty
The age of philosophers
Early Taoists

2 The Interconnected Cosmos: The I Ching/Yijing
The Book of Changes: the I Ching/Yijing
Historical development
Reality as perpetual flux and change
The Pa-kua/Bagua or Eight Trigrams
The hexagrams
Consulting the I Ching/Yijing: finding the hexagram of the moment

3 Creative Forces: Yin and Yang and the Five Agents
Yin and yang
The origins of yin and yang
The interplay of yin and yang
Diversity in unity
The wider applications of the yin and yang theory
Evaluating yin and yang
The Five Agents
Historical development of the Five Agents
The Five Agents as cosmological functions
The characteristics of the Agents
The theory of correspondences
Wider influences

4 Tao and its Early Philosophers
Lao-tzu/Laozi and the Tao Te Ching/Daodejing
Wu-wei: non-action
Tzu-jan/ziran: naturalness and spontaneity
The functioning of Tao in life

5 Taoism in Imperial China
Imperial China: Early period
The Ch’in/Qin dynasty
The Han dynasty
The period of the Three Kingdoms
The Chin/Jin dynasty
The period of disunity: the Six Dynasties
The Sui dynasty
Imperial China: Middle period
The T’ang/Tang dynasty
Imperial China: Late period
The period of the Five Dynasties
The Sung/Song dynasty
The Y’an/Yuan, Ming and Ch’ing/Qing dynasties

6 Alchemy
What is alchemy?
The origins of alchemical ideas
The Golden Elixir
Outer alchemy
The Taoist anatomy of the body
The Three Treasures
The Spirit Embryo
Sexual alchemy
Inner alchemical praxis
Returning to Tao
The firing process
Becoming the Void

7 Life beyond Earth: Ancestors, Deities, Immortals and Sages
The Eight Immortals (Pa-hsien/Baxian)

8 Religious Taoism
The eclectic nature of religious Taoism
Schools of Taoism
Spirit mediums
The chiao/jiao ceremonies
The calendar
Life-cycle rites

9 Taoism Today
Communist China
Taoism in the West
T’ai Chi Ch’an/Taijiquan

Glossary of Chinese Names and Terms

This is a balanced insight into a most difficult and complex subject. The author manages to present a vast wealth of factual information and academic study on subjects such as history, philosophy, religion and science, while remaining true to the inner mystical tradition. Performing such impossible feats is the essence of ‘The Tao that cannot be spoken’.
Jim Pym is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Listening to the Light, You Don’t Have to Sit on the Floor, and The Pure Principle. He is also the Editor of the Buddhist publication, Pure Land Notes

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