This clear and reliable introduction to Taoism (also known as Daoism) brings a fresh dimension to a tradition that has found a natural place in Western society. Examining Taoist sacred texts together with current scholarship, it surveys Taoism's ancient roots, contemporary heritage and role in daily life.
From Taoism's spiritual philosophy to its practical perspectives on life and death, self-cultivation, morality, society, leadership and gender, Russell Kirkland's essential guide reveals the real contexts behind concepts such as Feng Shui and Tai Chi.
'Those of us who have been waiting for a thoroughly undated introduction to Daoism need wait no longer. Russell Kirkland, among America's best known scholars of Daoism, has offered us one in Taoism: The Enduring Tradition. … [T]his work is a genuinely new introduction to Daoism that helps clear away much of the dense underbrush of Daoist history and textual relations, and also utilizes the most recent findings and conclusions of scholars of Daoism to set the reader on a more solid path to understanding China's most misunderstood and underappreciated transformational tradition.'
– Ronnie Littlejohn, Philosophy East & West
Foreword Norman J. Girardot Preface 1. Understanding Taoism Realities, Constructs, and Hermeneutical Challenges What "Taoism" is: Fact, Tradition, and Self-Identification 2. The Classical Legacy Taoism and 'The Hundred Schools' The 'Useless Words' of Chuang Chou Cultivating Life's Subtle Forces: The Nei-Yeh From 'The Elders' of Ch'u to the Chi-hsia Academy: The Tao Te Ching What Taoists Inherited from Classical Times 3. The Course of the Taoist Tradition Wellsprings Southerly Currents Northerly Currents The High-Water Mark The Damming of the Tao? Old Currents, New Channels Life in the Tideways 4. The Socio-Political Matrix of Taoism 'Literati Taoism' Women in Taoism: Data, Interpretation, and Issues Women in Taoist History Taoists and Dynasts 5. The Cultivated Life Life, Death, and 'Transcendence' Cultivating Reality Conclusion Works Cited Index