Taoism : The Enduring Tradition book cover
1st Edition

The Enduring Tradition

ISBN 9780415263221
Published June 15, 2004 by Routledge
312 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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Russell Kirkland is Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at the University of Georgia. He is a member of the executive board of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions, and of the board of directors of the U.S. Taoist Association. He has been writing on Taoism for over twenty years.


'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