Declarations of the Perfected
Part One: Setting Scripts and Images into Motion
Paperback 35.95 USD
|Electronic file 15.00 USD||
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|Thomas E. Smith|
Declarations of the Perfected is the first complete, annotated translation of the Zhen’gao, Tao Hongjing’s (456-536) masterful compilation of the Shangqing or Higher Clarity revelations, setting the stage for the heyday of medieval Daoism.
This volume presents its first part (fasc. 1-4), centering around the practice of achieving “spiritual union,” a spiritual analogue to sexual intercourse, with Perfected partners. The book is the first to examine in depth the full process of this practice—from preliminary courtship to the mechanics of the act of spiritual union, the gestation of the Perfected embryo in the body of the adept, and finally the adept’s rebirth.
This translation represents a remarkable piece of scholarship. The chosen format is praiseworthy, each section being followed by the translator’s lucid and illuminating comments. The footnotes are comprehensive, providing necessary details to appreciate the translation.
The Zhen’gao is a key text for the understanding of the beginnings of Higher Clarity as a new religious tradition of medieval China. This work renders it fully accessible for the first time. It is a must not only for sinologists and Daoist scholars but also for students of comparative religion and Asia historians.
—Stephan Peter Bumbacher, University of Tübingen
Thomas E. Smith received his Ph. D. in Chinese from the University of Michigan in 1992. Since then he has lived in Taiwan, working as a translator and editor for the Bureau of Foreign Trade and free-lancing for local art museums and galleries.