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Review Reviewed Work(s): <italic>Daoism Handbook.</italic> Handbook of Oriental Studies. Handbuch der

Review Reviewed Work(s): <italic>Daoism Handbook.</italic> Handbook of Oriental Studies. Handbuch der Orientalistik. Section Four by Livia Kohn Review by: Michael Saso Source: Monumenta Serica, Vol. 50 (2002), pp. 670-675 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: Accessed: 03-04-2017 06:47 UTC

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670 Book Reviews and Notes Monumenta Serica 50 (2002)

den Anhängen gegebenen Statistiken sind äu-

gen, die weit über die Beschäftigung mit dem

ßerst informativ, denn die Prüfungsstatistiken

Bildungs- und Prüfungswesen hinaus von

offenbaren vieles über die Lage eines Landes.

höchstem Interesse sind, etwa mit den natur-

So zeigt etwa die Liste der Examensabsol-

kundlichen Forschungen in der Ming-Zeit (S.

464-468), mit Fragen des Curriculums allge-

venten der Palastprüfungen unter der Mon-

golenherrschaft (dreijährige Staatsprüfungen mein sowie mit der seit der Song-Zeit immer

wurden 1315 wieder aufgenommen) aus dem

wieder aufflammenden Diskussion des Ver-

Jahre 1333, daß die fünfzig chinesischen etwas

hältnisses von Geschichtsforschung und Klas-

älter waren als die nichtchinesischen (31 : 28

sikergelehrsamkeit. Das größte Verdienst die-

sui ). Von den Chinesen waren 92 % verheiratet

ses Werkes von Benjamin A. Elman aber dürf-

im Gegensatz zu 74% Verheirateten unter den

te wohl darin liegen, daß er mit seiner Kul-

Nicht-Chinesen. Die Vermischung turgeschichte zwischen des Prüfungswesens im spät-

kaiserzeitlichen China viele Fragen in neuem

deutlich, daß von den Nicht-Chinesen 58% Kontext und angereichert durch neue Mate-

Chinesen und Nicht-Chinesen wird daran

chinesische Mütter hatten, während aus dieser rialien aufgegriffen hat und damit die Diskus-

Gruppe die Verheirateten zu 70% mit chine-

sion über den Charakter dieser wichtigen Pe-

sischen Frauen verheiratet waren (siehe The

riode der Geschichte Chinas sicherlich neu

Cambridge History of China, vol. 6 [1994], S.

beleben wird.


Das Werk von Elman beschäftigt sich im Zusammenhang der Prüfungsinhalte und im

Hinblick auf die fachliche Professionalisierung

innerhalb des Bildungswesens mit vielen Fra-

Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer

Livia Kohn (ed.), Daoism Handbook. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Handbuch d

Orientalistik. Section Four, China. Leiden: Brill, 2000. xxxviii, 915 pp. Indices, Bi

bliographies. ISSN 0169-9520. ISBN 90-04-112081

This ground-breaking compendium edited by

To accomplish this, each of the contribu-

Livia Kohn presents the articulate research of

tors was asked by the editors (Livia Kohn,

some 30 established and younger scholars in

Russell Kirkland, and T.H. Barrett) to present

the field of Daoist Studies. Volume 14 in a

their research for publication in a four part

projected 16 volume series of Brill publish-

pattern: Daoist history, texts, world view, and

ers, Kohn's (900+ pages) edited opus

practices. Even though some texts are refer-

enced more than once, the reader is able to

magnum brings together, in an amicable and

collaborative way, a selection of works of

deepen the insights gained into elusive Daoist

international scholars, who have published in

the broadly conceived field of Daoist (Taoist)

studies. Not only is it a "first" of its kind, in

Canonical themes, by interpretations from

differing scholastic traditions; e.g., the Asian

contributors include Chinese, Japanese, and

a field as widely divergent as Daoism has

Korean perspectives on the influence of Dao-

become, it also offers a forum for integrating

the work of Asian and Western scholars in a

manner not yet attempted in a western lan-


ism in various Asian cultures. In a Derridean

sense, the differance (deferral) of defined

meaning, until each scholar, from a wide cul-

tural and linguistic background, has exposed

The handbook is organized in such a way as

the results of his or her research before a

to allow the beginner as well as the knowl-

critical audience, is a singular and admirable

edgeable reader "to gain insight into the struc-

pursuit in itself.

ture and organization of the (Daoist) religion

The presentation of the collected essays

from an integrated perspective" (Preface, p. vii).

follows a diachronic pattern, from the pre-Han

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Monumenta Serica 50 (2002) Book Reviews and Notes 671

through the North-South period, the Tang,

works, of which I had as yet no knowledge. A

Song- Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, to

discussion of each of the 28 articles in detail

surveys of Daoism in China today. Inter-

would make a review of the Daoism Handbook

spersed through the work, more clearly from

long and cumbersome. Each of the 28 chapters

are worth reading, a task that took me two

(chap. 14) onward, are papers on months, "Inner and Al- many side references, to com-

chemy" (Lowell Skar and Fabrizio Pregadio),

"Talismans and Sacred Diagrams" (Catherine

Despeux's second offering), Daoist divination

Catherine Despeux's "Women in Daoism"

plete. I shall limit myself to comment on those

articles which I felt were of particular value for

myself, or needed further comment, to be more

(Sakade Yoshinobu), the Quanzhen school

(Ted Yao), "Daoist Ritual Today" (Kenneth

useful tools for classroom instruction.

I was particularly helped in understanding

Dean), "Daoist Sacred Sites" (Thomas recent Hahn), advances in Daoist studies by the re-

"Daoist Art" (Stephen Little), "Daoist searches Ritual of Russell Kirkland, who brings an

Music" (Takimoto Yuzo and Liu Hong). There

are also articles on "The study of Daoism in

aura of common sense and depth of overview

into the various contributions to Daoist re-

China Today" (Ding Huang), "Daoism in

search developed in the 1990s. Though I was

Korea" (Jung Jae-seo), and "Daoism in Japan"

never convinced that Taiwan had any monop-

(Masao Shin'ichiro).

oly on Daoist ritual (see p. xv), extended re-

Each of the 28 chapters has its own set of

search visits made by myself to Maoshan,

references (bibliography), supplemented by

Longhushan, Wudangshan, and more fre-

four indices at the end of the work, listing

names, places, titles, and subjects mentioned

quently to Baiyunguan in Beijing demonstrated

conclusively that the registers of the Lingbao

in the main body of the work. Each of the

wanwu dugong, Zhengyi mengwei, Qingwei

studies displays standards of scholarship in

wulei fa, and especially the Beiji (Pole Star

their own right; none can be faulted in any

Registers), which latter are surprisingly mis-

way, at least by this reviewer. In addition, sing from the the discussions of the Daoism Hand-

lucent and carefully thought out introduction book, are in healthy condition and being passed

co-authored by Russell Kirkland (a concise

on from master to disciple in China today,

explanation of Daoism as it is conceived more or less by as they have been transmitted

scholars today), T.H. Barrett (a succinct his-

from the Song dynasty to the present.

tory of Daoism), and Livia Kohn (a summary More to the point, it was clear from fre-

of modern research on Daoism) presents a

quent study with the masters of Longhushan

clear elucidation of the field of Daoist studies,

and Maoshan, that the same titles, Daoist ritual

which must be read before attempting to peruse

individual articles within the massive and

documents, and jiao/zhai texts taught by the

Daoists of these historic sanctuaries, are used

somewhat forbidding opus. The writers of the

by Taiwan's Zhengyi citan (heirs to the

introduction bring organization and life to what

Chengyi Tradition). Maoshan, Longhushan,

would otherwise appear to the uninformed

and Baiyunguan masters recognize Taiwan

student as a huge and threatening work. The

materials as coming from a common origin.

reader may pick and choose individual essays

The content of these texts, some of which have

according to taste, but the introduction must by

been published in the Dokyo Hiketsu Shusei

all means be considered first, as a guide to the

(Tokyo: Ryukei Shosha, 1979) are used by

rich materials that follow.

Coming from a twelve year period of living

in China and various Tibetan cultural regions,

separated from all but Chinese scholars'

studies of Daoism, I found the Daoism Hand-

book a useful work indeed. Not only was I

Daoists in places as distant from each other as

Suzhou, Hangzhou, Changsha, as well as at

Maoshan and Longhushan. The extent of the

use of the crucial Lu registers, their diversity, and how they are passed on today from master

to disciple, are topics which, one hopes, will

brought up to date, as to what had transpired

be covered by scholars in future studies, which

between 1986 and 1998 (my return to the

go beyond the mainly text-oriented studies of

U.S.), I also discovered a new set of scholars'

the Handbook.

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672 Book Reviews and Notes Monumenta Serica 50 (2002)

These and the following comments are not

Hiketsu Shusei (Tokyo: 1979, pp. 33-34). This

meant to be critical of the studies in the Daoist

Handbook. Rather, I would like to point out

sources and topics for further research, com-

plementing the data presented by articles in the

handbook. For instance, study tours conducted

by Zhao Zhendong and the Daoists of the

Yuanxuanxue Yuan in Samdip Tan, Kowloon,

have produced videotapes which confirm

striking differences between the rituals of Zhengyi and Quanzhen styles of ritual. The Zhengyi rituals of central China, based on

registers and texts derived from Maoshan and

Longhushan, are analogous to the styles used in Taiwan. The rituals of Baiyunguan in Bei-

jing, Hangzhou temples, and the two great

important manual, copies of which are found at

Longhushan, Maoshan, and Baiyunguan in Bei-

jing, provides important source material for

understanding Daoism as it is taught and prac-

ticed today.

Another important aspect of modern Dao-

ism that does not appear clearly in the Daoist

Handbook, is the common use of grades (pin)

or ranks in Daoist ordination, along with the

titles of various registers, used by all Daoists,

modern and ancient, when signing ritual

documents. Since these documents are "sent

off by burning during Yellow Register zhai

(Huanglu or funerary zhai), and Jinlu jiao

(Jinlu or renewal jiao) rituals, it is essential

centers of Hongkong, Yuanyuanxue Yuan and that scholars see and study them before they

Qingsong Guan, are analogous to the Quan-

zhen system of liturgical performance.

The above survey, conducted in central

China, shows an extended use of Wuleifa (Five

Thunder Daoism, the Daoist version of Tantric

Vajra ritual), bu xu pacing the void, and ba gua

forms of the Dance or Pace of Yu (Yu bu),

deriving from the Lu registers, classical texts,

and rubrics for performing Daoist ritual,

transmitted at Longhushan and Maoshan. This

information can be found in the Dokyo Hiketsu

Shusei (Tokyo 1979), a source not cited in the


are burned, or even better, copy them out

during field research in China.

One notes, for instance, that the influential

Song Daoist Bai Yuchan, noted for his pro-

motion of corrected versions of Shenxiao

Daoist ritual, does not sign himself as a reg- istered and titled Shenxiao Daoist, but as a

Datong (Shangqing), Pole Star Thunder Bu-

reau Master of the South Sacred Mountain (see

Daofa huiyuan, chap. 76,3a, vol. 29, p. 262 of the new Shanghai wenwu chubanshe edition).

As with the masters of Longhushan today, Bai

transmits "correct" or approved versions of

The Wulei Fa (Five Thunder Method, also

the Shenxiao ritual tradition, though not him-

called Leiting or Thunder Bureau) has also self a Shenxiao Daoist when sending docu-

influenced Daoist ritual in the Quanzhen tra-

dition, taught at Baiyunguan in Beijing, and in

ments to the invisible world of spirits. This

practice continues at Longhushan up to the

the Daoist centers of Hongkong.

present time. (See below for a further comment

The text used by the Celestial Masters of

on this phenomenon.)

Longhushan, entitled Longhushan shi zhuan fapai (The Daoist schools taught and trans- shiaki (on The Lingbao School) points out, as

many as nine kinds of zhai/ jiao rituals were

As the excellent article of Yamada To-

mitted by the Masters of Longhushan) affirms

the common origin and use of Taiwan rituals

used in the North-South and Tang periods.

and registers with Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Hubei Later evidence shows that by the Song dynasty

Daoist centers. It also demonstrates the extent

and after, Daoists tended to specialize mainly

to which the Maoshan Shangqing texts and in Huanglu Thai and Jinlu jiao rituals, and

registers, the Shangqing sandong version of

share registers from all of the Daoist traditions.

the Qingwei Five Thunder Register, the

The division of Daoist schools into Lingbao,

Zhengyi mengwei texts and registers, and the

Shangqing, Zhengyi, and so forth, which

(Taishang lingbao) sanwu dugong texts and

seemed to be exclusive in the Tang and earlier

registers, are found in all of the mountans and

periods, by the Song dynasty became com-

sacred places that teach and transmit Daoist

monly shared by all of the major Daoist

texts and registers. Commonly transmitted

schools, including the Qingwei Thunder (Vaj-

registers, titles and texts are listed in the Dokyo

ra) styles, the Beiji Pole Star texts, and the

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Monumenta Serica 50 (2002) Book Reviews and Notes 673

ritual forms of the Shangqing Yellow to or exclusively Court used in the Zhai format of


Daoist liturgy. The spirits of heaven, earth,

and underworld are all to be seen as rulers of

the invisible world, before which the Daoist

No matter what kind of ritual was offered,

from the North-South period through the Tang

and Song, up to the present, each of the

priest appears to present his/her written docu-

documents sent to the celestial, terrestial, and

underworld bureaus of spirits was required to

ments, passports, memorials, and petitions,

receiving back a Shuwen (rescript) as part of

be signed by the Daoist master in order to

identify him or her register to the spiritual

bureaucracy addressed during Thai and jiao

the levee in all forms of Daoist ritual.

Two of the major problems in translating

Daoist terminology can be illustrated here. The

liturgies. To sign these ritual documents,

first is the attempt to use a single, two-di-

Daoists were, and are required to use the titles

mensional English word or phrase to translate

and ranks given to them at the time of receiving

a three or multi-dimensional Chinese word.

their Lu registers and textual transmissions. A Thus, zhai can mean, in various contexts, a fast

complete list of pin ranks and titles given by

during which the subject is purified to receive

the Maoshan, Longhushan, and Gezaoshan

jie or precepts (zhaijie), a Yellow Register zhai

masters, as well as the Wudang Shan Beiß Pole

Star school, can also be found in print (in the

for releasing souls from the netherworld, and a

generic term interchangeable with jiao for a

Dokyo Hiketsu Shusei), as well as the Daojiao

Daoist liturgy of renewal. An analogous situ-

Yuanliu, a manual kept in the private collection

ation exists with the Tantric Buddhist use of

of masters from the various Daoist schools,

and manuals published privately in modern

ritual terms, as in the case of the Homa (Goma)

or Agnihotra ritual. There are in all four major kinds of Homa fire rites used in Tang dynasty

China. One of the most important of these, the

manual published by the Baiyunguan master

China, and modern Japan and Tibet. These

Min Zhiting, entitled "Rituals and rubrics

(Koyi Koujue) transmitted at Baiyunguan,

are: the rite of subjugating evil, by a levee with

an Yidam or Dharmapãla, (half circle manda-

Beijing," shows the extent to which Zhengyi

la), the triangular mandala for subjugating

rubrics and liturgical methods have influenced

wrathful deities, the square hearth with the

the Quanzhen school. Daoist master Min

Zhiting, we note here, is a descendant of a

eight trigrams symbolically represented with-

in, for rituals of increasing blessing, and the special six-sided star mandala for summoning

Qing period Zhengyi Daoist from Jizushan and

Weibaoshan in Yunnan, having joined the

and attaining blessing from the Vajrayoginï

Quanzhen school while studying at Hua Shan

in the 1940s.

The word "levee" is used to translate the

Daoist word Thai in the excellent article of

(see Robert Beer, The Encylcopedia of Tibetan

Symbols and Motifs, Boston: Shambala 1999).

All of these forms of Homa, like the Zhai ritual

of Daoism, can be assumed under the generic

Charles D. Benn (on Tang dynasty Ordinations

and Thai Rituals). Though one can in no way

fault the expertise and careful scholarship of

title of "Fire Rite. " It is only by performing the

Fire Rite oneself, and receiving the transmis-

sion from a ritual master, that one can learn

this article, a true tour deforce, it can perhaps how to understand the term in its practice. In

be suggested that the word "levee" is here used

the actual ritual context (as seen by the mar-

as a synecdoche (using a part to name the

velous Fire Rite celebrated at Gyantse during

whole) rather than as a literal translation of a

the Sa ga zia foz-festival of the 15th day, fourth

term that expresses the complexity of the

Huanglu Thai ritual. ("Levee," from the

lunar month, i.e., celebration of Buddha's

enlightenment), all four of these formal objects

French lever, and the Latin levare, means to

raise up, or present guests to a high ranking official, during a morning audience.) Daoists present written documents during all Daoist

liturgies, which may by synechdoche be called

a "levee." The practice is certainly not limited

and mandala formats are achieved in the actual

burning of the fire ritual, as they are in the Fire

Rites in Japan as well. Likewise, the zhaijie of

Baiyunguan in Beijing, and of Hieizan in

Kyoto, are quite analogous in their structural

manner of performance. The obvious influence

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674 Book Reviews and Notes Monumenta Serica 50 (2002)

of Tantric Buddhism on Daoism, and con-

versely, the influence of Daoist yinyang wu- formance (the sending off of memorials, re-

xing cosmology on the liturgies and healing methods of Kagyu Karmapa in the areas of Kham (eastern Tibet) in Derge and Chamdo,

are remarkable. Comparative studies of Daoist

and Tantric Vajra (Thunder) methods yield

similar analogous results.

cisely "spirit," as an object of liturgical per-

scripts, petitions, and passports to the world of


Longhushan even today transmits Shenxiao

registers in a correct (zheng) version, as op-

posed to the xie or vulgar, unregulated spirits

of popular folk religion. These state regulated

Less studied by modern scholars are the

rites, and jiao/zhai liturgies of Quanzhen

Daoism. Though the essays on Quanzhen

(called "All True" or "Complete Perfection"

and legitimated forms of Shenxiao registers

and rituals are listed in the Dokyo Hiketsu

Shusei (Tokyo: 1979), the Daojiao yuanliu,

and the private manuals of Daoists throughout

by various translators) in the Daoist Handbook southeast China. All of these sources list popu-

are important contributions to our under-

standing of this important movement in mod-

ern Daoism, further research remains to be

done on the vast differences between the lit-

urgies of Quanzhen and of the Zhengyi, Shang-

qing and Lingbao tradition. Quanzhen Daoism

lar Daoist registers as follows: there are twice

nine or eighteen pin or offical grades, (nine

zheng and nine cong, as in the imperial man-

darinate) of Yujing or Shangqing Daoism,

Tianshu or Qingwei Daoism, Pole Star Dao-

ism, Yufu Zhengyi Daoism, and Shenxiao

and its liturgical style has deeply influenced the

Daoism, in that order. The first three sets of

zhai/jiao liturgies of Hongkong, the New Terr- registers (and ordination rites) do not transmit

itories, and much of Guangdong Province,

including the great Buddhist-Daoist complex

Shenxiao titles. The Yufu or Zhengyi Lu reg-

isters contain Shenxiao spirit listings in the

of Luofushan, origin of the Yuanxuanxue

lower grade 9,8, and 7 ranks, but not for grade

Yuan of Kowloon, and its master Zhao Zhen-


Studies of the Ming, Qing, and modern

Daoist centers are still in their incipient stages.

Though the articles in the Daoist Handbook on

these topics are admirable first beginnings,

more research into the various provincial and

local schools, such as that undertaken by John

Lagerwey for the Hakka areas of Fujian and

West Guangdong, must be conducted. There is

a wealth of printed material that indicates a

much broader range of liturgical and exorcistic

style than hitherto indicated by the French/

Dutch or American schools of Daoist studies.

The Shenxiao school is a case in point. This

term, often (mistakenly) translated as "Divine

Empyrean," represents a widely distributed

and popular form of Daoism found in modern

Taiwan and southeast China. The character

six or higher. The popular Shenxiao order

begins to receive Zhengyi, Pole Star, and

Thunder Bureau registers from grade six and

higher. The observant scholar is able to de-

termine that Daoism from the Song dynasty

onward, is indeed regulated by State approval

with the registers and texts transmitted at

Longhushan, Maoshan, Wudangshan, and

more recently by Baiyunguan in Beijing.

There is another key to recognizing the transmission of Daoist registers and ritual texts. This is the use of the 40 word poem, given to the Daoist ordinand at the time of

receiving his or her registers. There are some

72 recognized versions of this poem, published

in the Baiyunguan Gazeteer, and republished

in Taiwan and modern Baiyunguan temple

bookstore sources. Each generation that the

register is passed on, the next character in the

shen in the title, if translated, must be seen in

poem is used in the title of the Daoist ordinand.

terms of its converse or related systems. Shen

The standard poem used at Longhushan,

is not juxtaposed to gui (demon) in this context,

nor does it mean "divine" as in the Daoist

Maoshan, and held in the Baiyunguan collec-

generations since the Song dynasty. The 28th

tion, (found in the Dokyo Hiketsu Shusei, p.

Handbook title. For the Daoists of Longhu- 31) has been transmitted for some 28 or 29

shan, and most of southeast China, the con-

verse of shen is xian (immortal) and ¿hen (true,

character Ding (tripod), 29th character Da

realized). In such a context, shen means pre- (great), and 30th character Luo (network) are

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Monumenta Serica 50 (2002) Book Reviews and Notes 675

now being tranmitted at Longhushan and

I hope that by these additional remarks and


observations, materials not found in the Daoist

Quanzhen, Shenxiao, and popular Lu Shan/

Handbook may be used to supplement its

Sannai Daoists, on the other hand, advance one

character in the poem, everytime an ordination

findings. The editors, and especially the gen-

eral editor Livia Kohn, must be congratulated

ceremony is performed. Thus, the poems of

Shenxiao and Quanzhen Daoists, which may truly ecumenical study, combining the best

be as long as 100 characters, do not represent research of Europe, North America, and Asia.

the diachronic passing on of registers over

time, but the synchronie teaching of registers

during a single master's lifetime.

for presenting to the public for the first time a

Michael Saso

Livia Kohn. God of the Dao: Lord Lao in History and Myth. Michigan Monog Chinese Studies, 49. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies University of M

1998. xiii, 390 pp. Bibliography, Glossary-Index, Illustrations. US$ 25.

0-89264-133-9 (pbk., alk. paper)

This ambitious and edifying book by Livia

Part I has six chapters which describe the

Kohn examines the Daoist god Lord Lao

various source materials that pertain to Lord

(Taishang Laojun - the deified form of Laozi)

Lao in his many roles perceived throughout

through two approaches; the historical and the

history, which include - cultic high god of

mythological. As Kohn explains in her preface,

organized Daoist religion, as portrayed in

the historical approach examines the hagiography "when (chap. 1); a symbol of political

and where and what" (xii) of Lord unity Lao; his and cosmic harmony, as portrayed in

role and image in certain periods for certain

official inscriptions (chap. 2); a revealer of

social groups such as Daoist believers and

wisdom and methods of self-cultivation (chap.

immortality seekers, the government elite, the

3) and of rules and rituals (chap. 4) in Daoist

common people, or adherents of non-Daoist

faiths. To this end, Kohn skillfully draws on

scriptures; a model for other Daoist deities in

terms of their hagiography and their role in the

various sources such as Daoist hagiography,

pantheon (chap. 5); a protector of life and

Daoist ritual and meditation texts, official in-

wealth, as portrayed in various types of

scriptions, Buddhist tales, popular tales, as

well as works of literature and fine art. The

sources (chap. 6). In doing this, Kohn taps into

a wealth of material (mostly from the Daoist

mythological approach examines the meaning

of Lord Lao's life story, particularly in terms

Canon) which has never been consulted by

modern scholars. As a result, she succeeds in

of how it is relevant to the worldview and

providing us with a much fuller picture of what

practice of Daoist believers. It compares spe- Lord Lao has meant to Daoists, and how his

cific episodes and motifs in Lord Lao's story cult to and lore developed over history, than ever

variant Daoist themes, and also compares them

before. Chapters 3 and 4 are particularly

to similar stories and symbols in various Chi-

appreciated by this writer, since they - for the

nese, non-Chinese and Western traditions. The

first time ever - provide a comprehensive sum-

mythological approach tries to look at patterns

mary of the various types of teachings that

of thought and imagery that indicate the

Daoists have attributed to Lord Lao. Also,

workings of the religious mind worldwide.

each chapter in Part I includes a table listing

The book is thus divided into Parts I and II,

the primary sources described and consulted in

which employ respectively the historical ap-

proach and the mythological approach.

the discussion. These tables are very useful for

Daoism specialists who wish to explore the

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