Declarations of the Perfected
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Declarations of the Perfected

Part One: Setting Scripts and Images into Motion

Paperback 35.95 USD
Electronic file 15.00 USD To order, please go to
Thomas E. Smith
350 Pages
April 2013
ISBN 978-1-931483-81-0


Declarations of the Perfected is the first complete, annotated translation of the Zhengao, 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 Zhengao 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 Tuebingen


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.