Introducing Daoism: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introducing Daoism

1st Edition

By Livia Kohn


282 pages

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Paperback: 9780415439985
pub: 2008-09-26
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pub: 2008-09-30
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Daoism is one of the major religious traditions of the East, but in the past has not been as well known as Buddhism and Hinduism. With the increased interest in Eastern religions, and alternative spiritual traditions, interest in Daoism is increasing. Introducing Daoism is a lively and accessible introduction to this fascinating religion.

Introducing Daoism presents Daoism’s key concepts and major practices in an integrated historical survey. From Daoism’s origins in antiquity, through the Tang, Ming, and Quing dynasties, and into the present day, Livia Kohn explores Daoism’s movements and schools, including: Daoist philosophy, the organized religion, and Daoist health practices. Each chapter introduces the main historical events of the period, the leading figures in Daoism, and Daoist scriptures and practices, as well as covering a wealth of fascinating topics such as Chinese cosmology, Daoist understanding of the body, rituals and doctrine, meditation, mythology, and poetry. Livia Kohn examines the connections between the defining concepts, history, and practices of Daoism, and key issues in Asian and Western comparative religions, making this the essential text for students studying Daoism on World Religions courses.

Illustrated throughout, the book also includes text boxes, summary charts, a glossary which includes Chinese characters, and a list of further reading to aid students’ understanding and revision. The accompanying website for this book can be found at

Table of Contents

Part 1: Foundations 1. The Dao that Can't be Told 2. At Ease in Perfect Happiness 3. From Health to Immortality 4. Cosmos, Gods and Governance Part 2: Development 5. Major Schools in the Middle Ages 6. Ethics and Community 7. Creation and the Pantheon 8. Religious Practices Part 3: Modernity 9. Modern Daoism 10. Reaching for the Dao 11. Daoism in China Today 12. Western Adaptations Part 4: Reflections 13. The Nature and Study of Daoism

About the Author

Livia Kohn is Professor Emerita of the Department of Religion at Boston University. For her current activities see

About the Series

World Religions

This exciting series introduces students to the major world religious traditions. Each religion is explored in a lively and clear fashion by experienced teachers and leading scholars in the field of world religions. Up to date scholarship is presented in a student-friendly fashion, covering history, core beliefs, sacred texts, key figures, religious practice and culture, and key contemporary issues. To aid learning and revision, each text includes illustrations, summaries, explanations of key terms, and further reading.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Taoism (see also PHILOSOPHY / Taoist)