electronic resource

English language

Published Jan. 19, 2004 by Taylor & Francis Inc.

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5 stars (1 review)

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.

1 edition

Taoism: The Enduring Tradition

5 stars

This book is essentially a thorough debunking of various western misconceptions about Daoism, with ample historical detail and discussion about how Daoism changed throughout various eras.

A few of the misconceptions that it debunks:

That there is any real distinction between "philosophical" and "religious" Daoism

Thankfully at this point an idea that has been quite thoroughly debunked and largely eradicated in academic circles, but the echoes of this framing remain in popular culture.

That the Dào Dé Jīng (or Zhuāngzǐ) is the primary, oldest, or most important Daoist text

The book goes into some detail about this, particularly on the Dào Dé Jīng, but I'll let it speak for itself as a summary:

My nuanced answers to the question of how the Nei-yeh, Chuangtzu, and Tao te ching affected later Taoism are as follows:

  1. All three of those texts actually played a marginal role in the lives and …